May 17—Outdoor operas are back this year.
For the second year in a row, Heartland Opera Theatre is providing "A Night of Comedy" — a live touring act featuring comedic opera and musical theater performances by area singers.
"Last year, Heartland had a desire to perform for our audiences in the area, so we held this outdoor show," said Jesse Koza, Heartland general director. "It was a success, so we decided to do it again."
Performances will once again be held in the area's three largest towns — Joplin, Carthage and Neosho — three days in a row at the following locations:
—Carmine's Wood Fired Pizza, 524 S. Main St., Joplin, 7 p.m. Thursday.
—Central Park Gazebo, 714 S. Garrison Ave., Carthage, 7 p.m., Friday.
—Big Spring Park in downtown Neosho, 7 p.m., Saturday.
Getting opera out to the masses is the entire purpose behind why Heartland does what it does, he said. "We hope the comedic nature of the event will encourage folks who have been curious but have not yet decided to take a chance on our genre.
Not only are the shows free and open to the public, Koza said, but having them performed outdoors, beneath the stars, "adds to the sense of community that grows out of this type of performance."
The performing soloists include soprano Ashley Ruckman, mezzo-soprano Maddie Breedlove, tenor Patrick Howle and baritone Xavier Moore, along with two young artists, soprano Evangeline Blackert and baritone Corin Staggs. Kathy Nenandal is the pianist, and Madison King directs.
Songs that will be performed during the concerts include "I Cain't Say No" from "Oklahoma," "I'm Called Little Buttercup" from "HMS Pinafore" and recognizable tunes from "Utopia, Limited," "The Pirates of Penzance" and "La Serva Padrona."
"It's Heartland Opera's hope that our established audience will leave excited about the future of the form, given the incredible young talent we'll have on display," Koza said. "We hope those who are opera-curious will see the wide variety of stories opera can tell and seek out more. Finally, we hope any audience member who knows nothing about opera leaves just a little more curious about what we do."
For details, go to www.heartlandoperatheatre.com.