Opera group to perform at Cinema

Jefferson City opera lovers, don’t despair.

This town may not have a huge opera following yet, but it’s gaining strength with every new performance that’s either brought here, performed by homegrown artists, or both, said lifelong enthusiast Anne Riggs.

The next event, titled “To Capitol City Cinema with Love,” by the local musical ensemble MOstly Opera is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 22, in downtown Jefferson City. Show highlights will include arias from Mozart, Puccini, Donizetti and Straus with a mix of musical show tunes and contemporary melodies.

Saturday evening’s event begins at 7 p.m. with an Italian Renaissance meal at Capitol City Cork and Provisions, followed by the show at the new Capitol City Cinema next door. Tickets are $35 and can be purchased at Cork.

“We’re the first group to officially perform there,” said Anne Riggs, who serves as CEO and producer of Mostly Opera.

Riggs — a former vocal music teacher at St. Francis Xavier School in Taos — said a rebirth of opera began six years ago when the St. Louis- based Midwest Lyric Opera successfully produced here in Jefferson City “Die Fledermaus,” an operetta by German composer Johann Strauss II.

“We were convinced we could support an opera show,” she said.

But it’s not been easy.

“We’re trying to get it started,” Riggs said.

She noted that MOstly Opera is filled with about 15 to 17 of the best classical singers in Jefferson City. As its name suggests, the group sings mostly opera pieces with a smattering of Broadway musical songs and contemporary selections.

“We hope to eventually do a full-length opera production,” she said.

For now, the group is keeping it casual in hopes of encouraging more listeners to be open to the medium. Riggs said the group has been reaching out to audiences with “Opera by the Bar,” performances that have taken place in local restaurants and bars around town.

“It’s more fun than a formal, serious show,” she said.

MOstly Opera is accompanied by Bill Lehman, who also accompanies other area musical ensembles, such as the Show-Me Showboaters.

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