We have always maintained that some of the best opera happens away from the major houses at the second tier houses. One of the most innnovative opera companies is Opera Memphis, run by director Ned Canty, who won us over in Santa Fe with his brilliant work on Gian Carlo Menotti's “Last Savage.”
He is one of the leaders in bringing opera to the masses and attracting new audiences to the art form. His latest project is "30 Days of Opera," a month-long event of free opera performances performed at various public venues around the Memphis area. The 30 days will end in time for the company’s season-opening production of Verdi's Rigoletto on Oct. 3th and 5th.
During the first four days they performed at two parks, two libraries, Aldo's Pizza, City Hall, the Little Tea Shop and at the corner of South Main and Monroe.
As part of their promotion, Ned Canty appeared on WNEG Channel 3 with soprano Caitlin McKechney and barihunk calendar model Justin Hopkins, who walked onto the television set singing Escamillo's music from Bizet's Carmen. The Philadelphia native will be making his debut with the company as Ceprano in Rigoletto. Also in the cast is fellow barihunk Matthew Treviño as Monterone/Sparfucile, Michael Corvino as Rigoletto, Anya Matanovič as Gilda, Jason Slayden as the Duke and Caitlin McKechney as Madellena. Tickets are available online.
Hopkins will be singing Nourabad in Bizet's Les Pecheurs de perles at the Fort Worth Opera Festival next spring with our favorite young director, John de los Santos.