Farmers Market enjoys an ‘attack opera’
by Staff Writer
DAVIDSON – Visitors at the Davidson Farmer’s Market Saturday got a nice surprise, and it had nothing to do with homegrown foods.
The treat came in the form of several impromptu performances by four members of Opera Carolina that caught shoppers completely by surprise. The musical interludes were part of the Knight Foundation’s national Random Acts of Culture program. Davidson Farmer’s Market manager Courtney Spears said the point of the June 25 event was to allow more people to experience the arts around the region.
Opera Carolina member Mary Kathryn Withers was one of the singers who wowed the crowd.
“I call this attack opera,” Withers said jokingly. “It brings culture to people whether they like it or not.”
Joining Withers in entertaining and enlightening the Davidson Farmer’s Market shoppers was fellow Opera Carolina member Gina Gutierrez.
“By performing at places like the market, it allows people to experience a different kind of culture,” she said. “It shows that opera is not just for the elite.”
Besides Davidson, local Random Acts of Culture also have taken place at Atherton Mills in Charlotte and Charlotte-Douglas International Airport.
According to Arts and Science Council Public Relations and Communications Assistant Aaron Fiedler, the Davidson Farmer’s Market singing was the 16th Random Act of Culture his group has performed.
“We started doing them in August 2010,” Fiedler said. “Other events have been performances by members of the N.C. Dance Theatre and the Charlotte Symphony.”
Gutierrez serenaded shoppers Joe and Lois Forti of Huntersville with a heartfelt version of the soprano aria “O mio babbino caro” from the Giacommi Puccini opera “Gianni Schicchi.”
“I am really impressed,” Joe Forti said. “It was so unexpected. It made coming to the Farmer’s Market more enjoyable.”
Joining Withers and Gutierrez, male singers John Fulton and John Kaneklides strolled through the market crowd belting out rousing opera hits such as “Les Toreadors” from George Bizet’s “Carmen.”
At one point, Fulton picked up a squash and pretended it was a microphone.
“Hopefully, this will encourage people to come see us perform on stage,” he said.
To add extra drama to his song selections, Kaneklides climbed atop a piece of playground equipment on the market grounds.
“It’s super fun,” Kaneklides said. “I really love seeing the reactions from people.”
Judging from the looks on people’s faces at the Davidson Farmer’s Market, it worked.
Want to know more?
For more information, contact the Davidson Farmer’s Market at 336-207-6261 or www.davidsonfarmersmarket.org.
Opera Carolina can be reached at 704-332-7177 or www.operacarolina.org.
The Arts and Science Council can be reached 704-335-3050 or www.ArtsAndScience.org.