Brett Pole­gato brings some Broad­way home to Ni­a­gara Falls

The Niagara Falls Review - - Arts & Life - JOHN LAW John.Law@ni­a­ 905-225-1644 | @JohnLawMe­dia

Brett Pole­gato has played some of opera’s most iconic roles in the world’s most fa­mous the­atres.

But put him in a church in Ni­a­gara Falls, and he’s back to be­ing a kid.

It’s here where the cel­e­brated bari­tone found his voice. At both Lundy’s Lane United Church and Stam­ford United Church — which amal­ga­mated in 2015 to be­come Stam­ford Lane United Church — the young Ni­a­gara Falls singer was a stand-out mem­ber of the church choir and star pupil of mu­si­cal men­tor Mar­jorie Slinn.

On Satur­day, be­fore an­other packed sched­ule brings him to France, Aus­tralia and across Canada, he brings it on home again. For “The Im­pos­si­ble Dream,” he’ll join pi­anist Robert Kort­gaard for a night of Broad­way hits at Stam­ford Lane United Church, start­ing at 7 p.m.

Pole­gato has al­ways re­garded Ni­a­gara Falls as an un­der­rated arts town.

“I’m very proud to be from Ni­a­gara,” he says. “There’s a tremen­dous num­ber of un­sung he­roes. Peo­ple who are in­cred­i­bly gifted and tal­ented at train­ing young peo­ple.

“We re­ally do have a her­itage of great per­form­ers, and I would imag­ine great sports fig­ures and other promi­nent peo­ple com­ing from the area. This is where I got started — my life didn’t start when I moved to Toronto.”

Since win­ning the pres­ti­gious Cardiff Singer of the World Com­pe­ti­tion in 1995, Pole­gato has been a con­stant pres­ence on stages around the world. He has per­formed with the Bos­ton Sym­phony, Lon­don Sym­phony Orches­tra and Chicago Sym­phony, and while opera is his first love, he was in­trigued by the chance to sing Broad­way tunes.

The Ni­a­gara Falls show will in­clude mu­sic from Romberg to Sond­heim.

“It re­ally is a pro­gram for ev­ery­one,” he says. “Even the younger gen­er­a­tion … I think they would learn a lot about the de­vel­op­ment of mu­sic the­atre, and also my de­vel­op­ment, be­cause I do talk about grow­ing up in Ni­a­gara.”

Kort­gaard orig­i­nally com­piled the show with Cana­dian singer Re­becca Caine (“Phan­tom of the Opera”) in mind, but pitched it to Pole­gato when Caine couldn’t do some west coast per­for­mances.

Pole­gato orig­i­nally re­lented, feel­ing out of his el­e­ment, but worked out an idea with Kort­gaard to make it a ret­ro­spec­tive.

“I told him, there’s a lot of Sig­mund Romberg and Cole Porter that I sang when I was younger that just doesn’t get heard any more,” he says. “And there’s a lot of more mod­ern things, like Les Miz and the big bal­lad num­bers, that we only ever hear with orches­tra or am­pli­fi­ca­tion, and they lend them­selves very well to un­am­pli­fied singing.”


Ni­a­gara Falls-born opera star Brett Pole­gato re­turns Satur­day for a night of Broad­way tunes at Stam­ford Lane United Church.

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