The cast of "What Is This Thing Called Opera," 1974: Donald Collins, Shirley Harned, Carol Webber, Leonard Eagleson, Robert Petersen, Connie Koschmann, Archie Drake, and Dori Cole. © David Medley
In 1974, the King County Arts Commission helped Seattle Opera bring what The Seattle Times
called “a diverting musical entertainment” to venues such as schools, libraries, small theaters, and park facilities. “What Is This Thing Called Opera?” starred several enthusiastic young singers and a pianist, who presented arias, folk songs, and Broadway medleys as a way of answering the question posed by the show’s title. With Henry Holt as the conductor and commentator, the company plucked citizens out of the audience and made them part of the action onstage, much to everyone’s amusement.