Opera2Go’s principal baritone, Timothy Richard, belts out “Largo al Factotum” from “The Barber of Seville” at Sudbury Airport — a tune he said he was inspired by as a child while watching Bugs Bunny’s version, “The Rabbit of Seville.”
Richard, who doubles as the artistic director of Opera2Go, surprised passengers at the Airport on Sept. 16 with a serenade in an effort to promote awareness of Opera2Go’s first Northern Ontario tour, which kicks-off at Bryston’s on the Park on Sept. 26.
People were somewhat bewildered to see a live operatic performance in such an unlikely place.
“It’s a tough room,” admitted Richard, but added it is part of Opera2Go’s mandate to bring opera to the people, rather than the other way around.
Elizabeth Aman Hume, managing director of Opera2Go, said the group is trying to win people over “one audience at a time” in an attempt to break down some of the elitist stereotypes associated with the ancient art.
“This music was written for everyone to enjoy,” she added.
The origin of Opera2Go was at a kitchen table in Markstay, where Hume lives. She and three others, including Richard, brainstormed and decided the best way to connect people with opera was to “make it portable.” Richard resides in London, Ont., so the logistics of the tour involved a lot of Skyping, he said.
Opera2Go decided a “modest launch” would suit their first tour. A baritone, a soprano and a collaborative pianist will take the stage to perform music ranging from Mozart to Puccini. In true operatic fashion, “passion, shenanigans and drama” ensue.
“We want to partner with people in the communities where we are performing,” said Richard.
The collaborative pianist appearing at Bryston’s on the Park is Dr. Charlene Biggs, a professor at Cambrian College. Opera2Go will also be offering a Masters Class at Cambrian during their stop in Sudbury.
“We are not just about performing — we want to provide education and outreach opportunities in the communities we visit,” said Hume. “Opera is a beautiful art form. We don’t believe you have to go to opera – we will come to you.”
The opening night gala of Opera2Go’s Northern Ontario tour takes place at Bryston’s on the Park on Sept. 26 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $59, which includes an Italian dinner, silent auction and a cash bar. For tickets visit opera2go.ca or phone 705 918-9164.
Noelville and Gore Bay are the next two stops on the tour.
Shannon O'Connor is a freelance writer in Greater Sudbury.