Tonawanda News — “The economy’s getting better, but that never really affected us,” Ruminski said over coffee. The last time we played, two nights, we played to 75 percent capacity.”
The Riviera Theatre holds about 1,200 people.
“We submitted grants, two years ago, to the National Endowment for the Arts. They were dubious. Now we’ve got nine major productions (over five years) under our belts.”
The Nickel City Opera has commissioned a work of its own. “Shot!,” about President William McKinley’s assassination, is “98 percent finished,” Ruminski says. With libretto by Ruminski and Gabrielle Vehar, and music by Persis Behar, the two-act opera (with scenes at the Milburn House, the Pan-American exposition grounds and Leon Czolgosz’s jail cell) will be ready for its 2014 premiere at either the Riviera or at the Canton, Ohio, Opera house (McKinley’s hometown).
In a world in which people say a lot and little comes of it (Buffalo, historically, seems to be Exhibit A in that category), Ruminski came home and started his own little opera company, and has seen it grow like a garden. Hard work and worry seem to be secrets of its success, but that’s show business.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” he reminisced. “We nearly cancelled the first ‘Amahl” (“Amahl and the Night Visitors,’ the Nickel City Opera’s annual pre-Christmas performance).
“I always expect the worst. I’m overprepared. You gird against failure by being prepared.”
Ed Adamczyk is a Kenmore resident and can be contacted at EdinKenmore@gmail.com.