Depending on the repertoire chosen, it may be suitable to introduce some elements of the scenery, props and characters from the opera.
For example, for the Letter Duet (Le Nozze di Figaro), a letter prop would be suitable, and perhaps a pen, table and chair for Susannah to use. For Il Brindisi (La Traviata), the use of champagne glasses for the main characters could help to create the atmosphere.
A general ‘opera gala’ style opera concert could benefit from some floral displays, or creative use of swathes of fabric to add to the opulent atmosphere of the concert.
In this image, I am performing the letter duet from Die Lustige di Windsor, and have a letter as a prop. This was for the Little Venice Opera Gala on 15th October 2010. There also flowers which add to the opulent atmosphere. If a ‘Proms’ style concert is sought, then some reference to the Union Jack may add to the atmosphere, along with the general opulence.
For arias sung with other characters in the opera on stage, other performers could be those other silent characters, if the concert contains for than one singer. For example, in Batti Batti, another performer could be Masetto, or in La Vendetta, Marcellina could be on stage to whom Bartolo could address his comments. The use of selective props and other ‘silent’ characters can help the audience to understand the context of a particular aria. However, if a new narrative has been chosen for the concert as a whole, this may not be necessary.