Din­ner the­ater

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - LIVING - By Bob Keeler bkeeler@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @by­bob­keeler on Twit­ter

SOUD­ER­TON » There’s noth­ing sur­pris­ing or un­usual about hav­ing mu­sic at a restau­rant named after En­rico Caruso.

Get­ting a full opera with your meal, though, is a bit dif­fer­ent.

“We’ve had opera mu­sic,” said Caruso Brick Oven Trat­to­ria coowner Giuseppe “Joe” Chiaro, “but never opera staged.”

That’s about to change, though, when “Pagli­acci” is per­formed 6 p.m. Wed­nes­day, Sept. 21 at the restau­rant on Main Street in Soud­er­ton.

“We’re the only opera com­pany that does staged opera in a restau­rant,” said Raf­faele Tud­isco, founder of the North­east Philadel­phia-based Amici Opera Com­pany. “We’re in cos­tume and fully staged.”

“It’s kind of fun the way they do it,” Chiaro said. “The restau­rant is their stage.”

“It makes it much more in­ti­mate in the restau­rant be­cause peo­ple feel like they’re so close to you,” Tud­isco said.

Writ­ten by Rug­gero Leon­cav­allo in 1892, “Pagli­acci,” (which means clowns), is based on mur­ders fol­low­ing per­ceived ro­man­tic en­tan­gle­ments in­volv­ing a vil­lage girl with whom two men are in­fat­u­ated, ac­cord­ing to show in­for­ma­tion.

“I think it’s go­ing to do very well there,” Tud­isco said. “It’s not an overly long opera. It’s pop­u­lar.”

Tud­isco, a bari­tone, por­trays To­nio in the show, as well as be­ing stage di­rec­tor.

“I’ve been singing on the stage since I was 15,” he said. “I’m go­ing on my 243rd role in Septem­ber.”

The rest of the cast is tenor Dante Fiore as Canio, so­prano Eve Ed­wards as Nedda, bari­tone Chaka Allen as Sil­vio and tenor Don Green­berg as Beppe. Tim Craw­ford is the mu­si­cal di­rec­tor.

Amici does 80 to 90 per­for­mances each year, Tud­isco said.

“We do about 35 or 40 dif­fer­ent op­eras every sin­gle year from Septem­ber to Au­gust and they’re all staged in cos­tume,” he said.

Not all are in restau­rants, though.

One of the non-restau­rant venues is the monthly per­for­mances at Dock Woods in Towa­mencin Town­ship, Tud­isco said.

There are din­ner opera per­for­mances every two months in South Philadel­phia, but Caruso’s will be the first restau­rant show in the lo­cal area, he said.

Both Chiaro and Tud­isco said they ex­pect “Pagli­acci” to be the

first of what will be­come a se­ries of din­ner op­eras at Caruso’s, with the per­for­mances hap­pen­ing about once every two months.

Tick­ets for din­ner and the staged opera at Caruso’s are $49.95 plus tax and gra­tu­ity. Pre­paid reser­va­tions or in­for­ma­tion are avail­able by call­ing 215-799-1312.

An an­tipasto board served fam­ily style will be the meal’s first course, fol­lowed by a sec­ond course choice of wood fire mac­cheroni, chicken cac­cia­tore or wood fire At­lantic salmon, and Si­cil­ian can­noli with cof­fee or hot tea for the third course.

The din­ner opera will take place in the restau­rant’s main floor din­ing room, Chiaro said. The down­stairs din­ing room will be open for reg­u­lar din­ing.

SUB­MIT­TED — AMICI OPERA COM­PANY

Rug­gero Leon­cav­allo’s “Pagli­acci” will be per­formed 6 p.m.

SUB­MIT­TED — AMICI OPERA COM­PANY

The opera “Pagli­acci” will be per­formed Sept. 21 at Brick Oven Trat­to­ria in Soud­er­ton.

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