It’s not every opera that is also a pizza party.
But that’s what patrons will enjoy when they attend Eastern Kentucky University Opera’s presentation of “La Pizza del Destino.”
The unusual event, on Friday, Nov. 18, at 6 p.m. in the EKU Center for the Arts Black Box Theatre includes pizza, pasta, breadsticks, salad and beverage, courtesy of Apollo Pizza of Richmond. Tickets are $15 for adults, and $10 for children under 12, and must be purchased by Nov. 14 from any Opera Guild member or from Pam Combs in the EKU School of Music Office, Foster 101, or email@example.com or 622-3266.
The action in the evening’s centerpiece production (music by Steve Cohen, libretto by Joseph Renard) takes place in a pizzeria owned by Joe (baritone Chase Ramage), his wife (Julia Holland) and Joe’s mother, Mamma Mia (Connor Sands, tenor). The pizza-ordering public is sung by the EKU Opera Chorus.
Other selections, likewise mostly comedic, during the evening include an aria from “La Serva Padrona” (Emily Schrader, soprano); selections from “The Four-Note Opera” (Zaida Scheff, mezzo-soprano; Michael Beasley, baritone; Isaac Brooks, baritone, and Scott LaFollette, bass.); “Le Marriage de Figaro” (Katie Cornett, mezzo-soprano; Jordan Durham, baritone; Taylor Well, soprano); “H.M.S. Pinafore” (Connor Daniels, baritone; Nastosha Robinson, soprano), and the famous “Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves” by Verdi. Most of the selections are comedic; in fact, both a dancing bear (played by Dana Okruhlica) and tuxedo-clad toad appear during an event-opening Mardi Gras Roman carnival chorus from “Benvenuto Cellini.” All the singers are EKU students except for staff member LaFollette and physics faculty member Mark Pitts.
The singers are directed by Dr. Joyce Hall Wolf, with Edgar Gonsales serving as pianist. The technical director is Jeffrey Richardson. EKU Opera is supported by the School of Music and the SSO EKU Opera Guild.