Mid-Ohio Civic Opera invites people to enjoy some fresh air Saturday night.
The local company gives an “al fresco” performance of Italian operas in the pavilion of the Mansfield Art Center. The show will start at 8 p.m.
There is no charge, but donations will be accepted.
The evening will feature arias, duets, trios and more from the master of Italian opera, Giuseppe Verdi.
Verdi was best known for his operas. He was born near Busseto into a provincial family of modest means, receiving a musical education with the help of a local patron. Verdi dominated the Italian opera scene after the era of Gioachino Rossini, Gaetano Donizetti and Vincenzo Bellini, whose works greatly influenced him.
When Verdi died, he had a state funeral.
“We all grew up singing his music,” said Mid-Ohio Civic Opera director Joel Vega. “We will honor him.
Vega invites people to grab a picnic, a chair, and a favorite drink.
“When we play outside, people really like to bring a picnic basket,” he said.
Patrons of the Mid-Ohio Civic Opera mingle with art lovers
Vega said her company performed at the art center “three or four times”, initially in 2015.
“We get a cross section for both places,” he said. “Part of our mission is to support other nonprofits. The (Mansfield) Playhouse and Arts Center gets along well with others.”
The Mid-Ohio Civic Opera most recently performed at the Playhouse in May.
Vega said he was introduced to live opera at an open-air venue in New Jersey, across the river from New York.
“I want to bring some of that to Mansfield,” he said.
Vega appreciates an outdoor venue and says the art center pavilion’s acoustics are good.
“It’s fun,” he said of the away performance. “It’s a bit more refreshing. It’s nice to try something different instead of being in a gym all day.”
In case of rain, the event will take place under the pavilion.
Familiar names will perform on Saturday
Most of the performers at Saturday’s concert will be familiar to local opera-goers.
Andrew and Megan Potte will sing bass and mezzo, respectively. Former Virginia residents moved to Richland County.
“As soon as people who sing with us leave, they usually call me and ask when they can come back,” Vega said.
Daniel Juarez will sing tenor.
“He’s been here before and we wanted to find a way for him to come back,” Vega said.
Guest soprano Heidi Kirschenheiter Vega will also perform, with Sharon Grimes on piano.