Tonawanda News — He plays the role of an aging doofus, and there’s a lot of physical comedy in it. It’s a demanding role.
Tickets are selling well, he says, “because last year’s production of ‘La Boheme’ was so good. Sixty percent (of the audience) had never seen ‘La Boheme.’ Sixty percent had never been to the Riviera.”
So an opera singer, nowhere near over the hill in terms of his career, returns to his hometown to start an opera company of his own, while continuing to perform in cities around the world. You could make a funny, if exhausting, movie from this.
“Giving to the community gives back to the company,” Ruminski says of the many social engagements on the Nickel City calendar. There are lunches, dinners, raffles, nights in churches in which several of the troupe’s local singers perform recitals, low-cost marketing galore.
It is important to note the opera performances (June 28-30, in the case of “Don Pasquale” this year) are full-blown professional productions, with soloists, sets, lights, an orchestra — the works. This is not a presentation of amateurs.
The opera will be directed by David Grabarkewitz of the El Paso (Texas) Opera. The orchestra, conducted by David Ching, is from Westchester County. The soloists are Ruminski as Don Pasquale, Zulimar Lopez-Hernandez as Norina, Benjamin Brecher as Ernesto and James Wright as Malatesta. A chorus of 15, an orchestra of 16. This is how it works in the opera world; all the principles fly in to rehearse and perform, then fly out to the next gig.
“Two weeks,” Ruminski says of the three-day production. “All in, all out.”
This seems to be working. The Buffalo area now has an established opera company to complement its art galleries, symphony orchestra, football team and the rest of the cultural touchstones an urban center features, and it’s parked in North Tonawanda.