Opera in the streets; Regina Opera to perform at Stroll

August 4, 2015 Faraz T. Toor
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Local opera company Regina Opera will present a number of operatic performances in a first-ever concert at the Summer Stroll on Third Avenue on Friday, August 7.

The free concert, which will take place beginning at 8 p.m. at the Summer Stroll center stage at 7414 Third Avenue, will feature segments of the group’s longer performances in an hour-long concert.

“It’s more for the audience,” Nathan Matticks, who will sing baritone, said. “It keeps the audience interested in the music and it really shows the versatility of the performer.”

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“It’s not part of a whole role,” Elena Jannicelli-Sandella, soprano, said. “It’s a little different than an opera when you have a whole orchestra. You get into the character, you know what the song is about and you sing it with as much expression as you can.”

Regina Opera will perform selections from the operas “Carmen” and “Rigoletto,” some Broadway selections, from such shows as “Carousel” and “Kiss Me, Kate,” and some Italian songs.

Jannicelli-Sandella, Matticks, and Lindell Carter (tenor) will be the concert’s soloists, and Maxine Feldman will play the piano.

The group, which is based at Our Lady of Perpetual Help (OLPH) Church in Sunset Park, often plays in Bay Ridge, but said the Summer Stroll will present opportunities different from its usual performances.

“You can hope you can gain the audience’s attention, because they’re walking,” Jannicelli-Sandella said.

“The other festivals we have done are one-day festivals,” said Francine Garber-Cohen, president of Regina Opera. “This is the first festival that we are doing that is a four-day festival, so it’s something that is special.”

“Mozart—how could you go wrong [with that]? They’ll hear these things and maybe they’ll grab on and really like it and want to hear more,” Jannicelli-Sandella said about younger Ridgeites who will attend the Summer Stroll. “Bay Ridge is a premier place to hear opera.”

According to Garber-Cohen, Robert Howe, the president of the Merchants of Third Avenue, gave the company a grant that will cover the costs of its concert.

The company, which usually hosts ticketed operatic performances at OLPH, often performs free of charge in outside venues, but has never before played at Summer Stroll. The concert will also kick off the 2015-2016 Regina Opera season.

“Everyone speaks together and it transforms the audience and brings them to a different place,” Jannicelli-Sandella said. “Very often people cry at these performances because it reminds them of their homelands.”

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