Arts & Culture

NEMPAC Presents Pop-Up Opera Project in the Streets of Boston’s Little Italy

The North End Music & Performing Arts Center (NEMPAC) has announced a trio of singers will perform selections of “Il barbiere di Siviglia” at surprise outdoor venues in the North End on Saturday, June 6.

The pop-up opera will take Rossini’s The Barber of Seville to the streets of the North End on June 6 between 1:15 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. The Barber of Seville was scheduled to be NEMPAC Opera Project 2020 MainStage Production at Faneuil Hall later this month, but had to be canceled due to COVID-19.

Alexandra Dietrich, artistic director of NEMPAC’s Opera Project, reflects on transitioning the mainstage production to a pop-up program:

“NEMPAC was determined to find a way to safely present an abridged version of “Il barbiere di Siviglia,” an opera that was originally chosen to feature and thank the North End barber shops, as well as other trades and craftspeople, that have been maintaining their cultural heritage generation after generation in Little Italy. By popping up around the North End and having our trio of singers burst into song, I hope NEMPAC brings joy and community to those who can watch from their window, doorway, and balcony during this time when maintaining community from a distance is a challenge, but not an impossibility.”

While all outdoor locations and performance times for the Pop-Up Opera Project will not be disclosed in advance due to the surprise nature of the program, a preview of venues includes:

  • Lovejoy Wharf | 1:15 p.m.
  • The Prado Fountain | 1:45 p.m.
  • Tresca’s Table 77 Balcony | 2:30 p.m.
  • North Square Park | 3 p.m.
  • The Paul Revere Mall | 3:30 p.m.
  • Charter Street Park | 4:30 p.m.

Each stop along the Pop-Up Opera Project will feature different selections from Il barbiere di Siviglia, including arias like “Largo al factotum” and “Una voce poco fa,” the duet “Dunque, io son…” and the trio “Ah! Qual colpo…” Spanish zarzuela and bel canto contemporary arias will also be performed.

The trio of singers includes baritone Gary Leiper as Figaro, mezzo-soprano Elizabeth Kinder as Rosina, and tenor Wes Hunter as Conte Almavivia. Katie Barr, a faculty member in NEMPAC’s community music school, will serve as the Pop-Up Opera Project’s collaborative pianist and record orchestral reductions for the three singers.

The adaptation of NEMPAC’s annual Opera Project into a series of pop-up performances was made possible by the generosity and patronage of the following sponsors: Berkshire Bank ($2,500+) and Brookline Bank ($2,500+).

NEMPAC asks that all attendees wear masks and adhere to Governor Baker’s social distancing guidelines.

Sherri Snow, executive director at NEMPAC says, “The Opera Project is a beloved performance program that our community members know, expect, and love each year. In light of the global public health crisis, we wanted to provide some kind of opera experience for our patrons and neighbors and continue this important musical tradition. Through this Pop-Up Opera Project, NEMPAC is supporting the future of the performing arts and opera in the city and keeping live music present in the minds and hearts of Bostonians.”

NEMPAC’s “Opera from the Balcony,” in collaboration with Tresca, also continues on Saturdays from 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. The June 6 performance will feature Soprano Caroline Corrales and Tenor David Rivera Bozón. Read more here.

Photos courtesy of NEMPAC.