After feeling somewhat, well, underwhelmed with the first experience that we had at Cosmic Opera’s First Act, we had our reservations going into Act II: Imbroglio.  With hopes that some of the kinks from the first time around would be worked out, and that the organization would be a bit tighter to avoid the previous confusion that was felt, we were excited by the lineup for the Second Act and to return to the Hammerstein Ballroom to see what was in store for us.  When we arrived (on the early side, about 9 P.M.), Felix Cartal’s set was already underway.  I’ll admit that the crowd was not very receptive to Felix Cartal at first.  He played many tracks from his newest release “Different Faces”, including Higher and Black to White.  The crowd did stop and listen when Polina appeared on the stage for a live version of “Don’t Turn on The Lights”, which was very well received.  This addition to a normal set provided a meaningful seam to the opera feel that was trying to be achieved.  Felix Cartal’s set finished around 10:30, and he was whisked off stage by porcelain-doll type dancers.

Listen : Don’t Turn on The Lights (ft. Polina) – Felix Cartal

Listen : Dovregubben – Zedd

A sequence of strange pirates and fire breathers doing a demonstration (and even setting the stage on fire momentarily) brought Zedd into the booth.  Though again, the transition seemed to be unrelated with the tracks or the actual artists, they did provide visually entertaining elements which would gain the show a few points toward the “extrasensory experience”.  Zedd kicked off his set with his original track “Dovregubben”, a classic for any of Mr. Zaslavski’s fans.  His high-energy set also included his remixes of “Cinema” and “Breakn a Sweat”, and of course he dropped his latest track “Shotgun” on us.  Zedd provided a big-room vibe set that was enjoyed by the entire crowd, which was well-deserved, as Zedd wasn’t so well received the last time he was in New York (with David Guetta in February at the Roseland Ballroom).  The production crew did a better job during Zedd’s set as they incorporated the giant claw-shaped chandelier (which is actually the world’s heaviest chandelier at the moment) into the LED light show.  During Act II, I will admit, it was difficult to actually see the producers, as it seemed that the booth was at a slant, which only allowed a small portion of each producer’s face to be visible.  When Zedd closed out his set, he passed the baton via the “opera master” (an extra dressed as a sort-of circus master), to headliner Fedde Le Grand.

httpv://youtu.be/LXLbJ1RwHbU

Listen : Shotgun (Preview) – Zedd

Fedde Le Grand made quite the entrance by dropping Cosmic Opera Act I performer Deniz Koyu’s version of “So Much Love” around 1 A.M.  This was accompanied by yet again a seemingly unrelevant attempt at making this set seem “opera-ish” when a sea of extras surrounded both sides of the stage and broke out in unisom dancing the robot.  The crowd seemed a bit confused as to what this had to do with Fedde, or the set.  Many of his remixes were showcased, including “Praise You” and “Thunderstruck”.  The highlight of his set, for me personally, was his incredibly unexpected mash-up of “Leave the World Behind” and “Sweet Dreams” (Eurythmics).

Listen : Turn It (Snippet) – Fedde Le Grand & Deniz Koyu

Personally, my favorite part of the night was Zedd’s set, as I was a bit underwhelmed by both Felix Cartal and Fedde Le Grand, who I had expected more from.  I do commend the staff and production crew of Act II: Imbroglio, as it seems they have progressed in their challenge to fuse opera and EDM.  Although I don’t believe that perfection was achieved, yet.  I hope that with the final portion of the series, Act III, that the production crew, the performers, and the producers can be completely in-sync with their sounds, movements, lights, and performances.  We await Act III in May, which we’ve already heard rumors about their pending maestro and headliner of the night (not yet, guys, sorry!)

About Amelia Waters