Opera high notes in our own backyard
Opera lovers can shell out up to $360 for good seats at the Met. And then there's parking and dinner. Or, you can pay a suggested $10 donation to see undiscovered, hugely talented singers at Northport's Opera Night Long Island. And there's on-street parking and a free cookie across the street at Caffe Portofino.
The glamour quotient might be a bit lower, but the hometown ambience can't be beat.
"Opera should be more accessible to folks on Long Island," says Isabella Eredita-Johnson, director of Opera Night. "There are plenty of opera lovers out here."
Opera Night audiences are treated monthly to an assortment of arias and excerpts from famous operas, Neapolitan classics, show tunes and art songs with piano accompaniment.
Several other opera companies offer fully staged performances with costumes, sets and live orchestras. This is the first time in 10 years that the Long Island Opera Co., founded in 1958 and based in Rockville Centre, has returned to putting on larger-scale productions.
"One of our dilemmas has been people don't think they can get quality opera on Long Island," says Joy Berta, the company's executive director. "We're more than just your community theater or a mom and pop-style opera."
The five-year-old Amadeus Opera Company, based in Holbrook, also presents fully staged productions with professional musicians and singers, says John Benedict. He owns and operates the company with his wife, Marianna, who often performs in the operas.
Rodee Hansen, a Northport resident, says she has been a regular at Opera Night since the beginning, adding, "It's a wonderful thing to have the opportunity to see opera close by."
Opera Night Long Island
WHEN | WHERE 8 p.m. Oct. 5 and Nov. 2 at St. Paul's United Methodist Church, 270 Main St., Northport. Also 8 p.m. Nov. 16 at Christ Church, 61 E. Main St., Oyster Bay
INFO 631-261-8808, operanight.org
ADMISSION $10-$15 suggested donation
MUSIC What started as an impromptu musical gathering at Caffe Portofino in Northport eight years ago has blossomed into regular concerts by a rotating roster of 50 professional and semi-professional operatic singers. The performances, enhanced by the acoustics of their church settings, are the first Friday of every month in Northport and regularly in Oyster Bay.
SPECIAL EVENT The group's upcoming gala fundraiser (4 p.m. Oct. 28) will transform the Northport church's gymnasium into a carnival with performers dressed as gypsies, divas in gowns, a piano player and palm reader. Guests can enjoy refreshments, raffles and the chance to socialize with performers. Funds raised will go to producing future performances. Admission is $20.
The Long Island Opera
INFO 631-772-9544, longislandoperaco.org
MUSIC Performing "Rigoletto," a 20-piece orchestra will accompany the cast of 13, including professional baritone Ted Labow as Rigoletto. Labow is also a cantor at Temple Isaiah of Stony Brook. Supertitles will provide an English translation for the opera, sung in its original Italian.
The Amadeus Opera
WHEN | WHERE 7 p.m. Nov. 10 and 17 at St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Northport
INFO 631-793-7476, amadeusopera.com
MUSIC The group puts on a double feature: Mozart's "Bastien and Bastienne" and "The Impresario." Performers will sing in English rather than the original German. A seven-piece orchestra will accompany the singers.