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Safety in satire: Charlotte: The Opera 

It was only when I learned that Squonk Opera's Charlotte: The Opera was infused with the work of such local notables as Martha Connerton and Boris "Bluz" Rogers that I decided to give Squonk a chance. I'd venture to say that if you adored Moody Blues in its day -- and don't mind the sort of sugary lyrics penned by Christina Acosta and Squonk composer Jackie Dempsey -- you might have been swept up in the "Up With People" spirit that invaded McGlohon Theatre last weekend.

Vocalist Autumn Ayers first unfurled her rather impressive soprano as a face inside the sun, if you're trying to grasp the incurably upbeat chamber-of-commerce view of Charlotte that shone throughout. Slam poet extraordinaire Rogers was actually complicit in a celebration of NASCAR!

From a tech standpoint, Charlotte: The Opera brought a level of polish and innovation that locals could learn from. Its 20 segments seamlessly meshed live performances by musicians, singers, dancers and a stunning young tap troupe fronted by Stefan Harris (obviously an accomplished Savion Gloverite), with creative and documentary AV. Plus the obligatory live video and T-shirt giveaways.

Peak edginess was reached when Rogers mentioned the flying chicken bones at Lowe's Motor Speedway and when one of the interviewees in the video delved into the dark matter of the changing identities of Charlotte street names and the ubiquitous Queens Road. That subject was worn out for comedy usage long before Charlotte Squawks salvaged it from a moldering trash dump six years ago.

Charlotte: The Opera could claim to have earned an official Safety in Satire seal of approval. Indeed, two establishment pillars, WBTV and Charlotte Center City Partners, partnered in producing local portions of the video. Partners stalwart Moira Quinn was featured prominently among the talking heads, introducing -- and describing -- the concluding "Planet Charlotte!" extravaganza.

So yes, when a pretentious rock soup wasn't overloading the eardrums, there was a cheery boosterish respite at times, better suited to a Marriott ballroom than the McGlohon.

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