To launch its 2019 production of Gilbert & Sullivan’s “The Gondoliers,” the Gilbert & Sullivan Light Opera Company of Long Island will host a one-night-only musical celebration of La Bella Italia, entitled “Going, Going, Gondoliers,” to be presented at Westy Self Storage in New Hyde Park on Saturday, March 16 at 7 p.m.
“Every Gilbert & Sullivan opera is different,” longtime company member Terry Hochler said. “’The Gondoliers’ is distinctive for the ravishingly beautiful music with which Arthur Sullivan, who was part Italian, depicts Venice and its gondoliers and contadine. Gilbert actually wrote one of the opera’s songs in Italian, which is unique in the entire Gilbert & Sullivan canon, so you can’t really do ‘The Gondoliers’ without getting into the spirit of Italy.”
“This concert is partly to help our audience get into the mood for ‘The Gondoliers,’ but it’s also to help us get in the mood,” Hochler added. “There’s something about Italy — the flowing language, the tradition of music, opera, painting, sculpture — that’s unlike anywhere else in the world. To us ‘The Gondoliers’ is like a chance to vacation in Italy for a couple of hours, and we want ‘Going, Going Gondoliers’ to help our audience share that experience.”
The concert will feature some highlights from “The Gondoliers,” but it’s not a Gilbert & Sullivan show. Artists from the company will perform songs from Italy or inspired by Italian culture. Everything from opera to Broadway, from folk songs to pop, will be represented.
“Our membership is wildly talented,” Hochler said. “We all love Gilbert & Sullivan, but we love a lot of other things, too. This is a chance for our singers to show their stuff — opera, Neapolitan songs, classic Italian-American songs, Broadway show tunes — Italy is all over our culture, and it’s great to have a chance to explore it musically. This show is going to be full of surprises, and I’m sure everyone will have a great time, whether on stage or in the audience.”
All proceeds from the evening will benefit the Gilbert & Sullivan Light Opera Company of Long Island and its production of “The Gondoliers.” Founded in 1954, the company is one of the nation’s oldest organizations devoted exclusively to the promotion and performance of the works of Gilbert & Sullivan. Its performers are all volunteers and come from every walk of life. While very different in many ways, they all have one thing in common: a passion to preserve and present these classic comic operas that have enriched and entertained generations of Long Island audiences.
Westy Self Storage is located at 2400 Marcus Ave. in New Hyde Park. Admission is $15, which includes complimentary refreshments. For further information, visit www.gilbertandsullivanli.com.