NORTH TONAWANDA — On Halloween, there may not be any phantoms at the Riviera Theatre — but there will be opera.
On Wednesday, more than 800 local students will visit the theater for Opera-Lytes’ presentation of the W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan operetta “The Sorcerer,” the culmination of a program that brought members of the group into their classrooms to teach them about opera, its background and history.
Paul Waara, Opera-Lytes music director, said that this was the first year of the outreach program, something the group hopes to expand in the future.
“As a board, we’ve committed our group to not only sharing opera with the community, but we’re very deeply committed to this educational program,” he said. “Opera does have a lot that it can offer audiences. Gilbert and Sullivan in particular have a very witty libretto, plays on words, a lot of political satire ...
IF YOU GO
• WHAT: Gilbert and Sullivan's "The Sorcerer"
• WHEN: 2:30 and 8 p.m. Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday (School matinee will take place at 10 p.m. Wednesday)
• WHERE: The Riviera Theatre, 67 Webster St., North Tonawanda
• TICKETS: Can be purchased at the Riviera box office, by calling 692-2413 or online at www.rivieratheatre.org.
“Music and theater in general are something that should be shared with the community. We’re very interested in making that happen.”
The comic operetta is a Victorian-era tale of a young aristocrat who believes marriage “is the cure for every ill” and hires the sorcerer of the title to make that dream become a reality, with disastrous (and typically Gilbert-and-Sullivan) results.
In conjunction with the school visits, Deborah Jasinski, a North Tonawanda resident and retired music teacher, and Waara created a resource manual for teachers offering information about the characters and plot of “The Sorcerer,” the background of Gilbert and Sullivan, the time period in which the operetta is set, a vocabulary list and classroom questions and activities for both before and after the show.