On the Avenue: Regina Opera stars entertain over lunch on Third Avenue

The avenue is alive with the sound of music!

Talented members of Regina Opera Company made a special appearance “on the avenue” to kick off the annual Embrace Winter Festival sponsored by Bay Ridge Arts & Cultural Alliance (BRACA) in partnership with the Merchants of Third Avenue Civic Improvement Association, Inc. on Sunday, Feb 26.

As part of this annual celebration of the arts, held during lunch at Vesuvio Restaurant, 7305 Third Ave., Regina Opera soloists performed a number of popular selections from shows like The Marriage of Figaro, La Traviata and Amleto, among others.

Performing artists included mezzo-soprano Lara Tillotson, baritone Nigel Smith, tenor Percy Martinez, soprano Sian Palmer and tenor Josh Avant. The soloists will be accompanied by flutist Richard Paratley and pianist Catherine Miller.

Baritone Nigel Smith performs “Non piu andrai” from The Marriage of Figaro.

The concert marked the beginning of an avenue-wide celebration of art and culture designed to draw shoppers to Third Avenue and promote small business, according to organizer Victoria Hofmo.

“The purpose of the festival is to provide an event during a time of year when there is a lull in activities, to build relationships between the businesses and arts/cultural organizations and individuals, to promote commerce and to give the community something to enjoy during the cold weather,” she said. “By using storefronts and sidewalks, there is no need to close streets or redirect traffic.”

Tenor Josh Avant performs as lunch is served inside Vesuvio Restaurant.

The next portion of Embrace Winter will include activities taking place in front of participating businesses on March 4. In addition, from Feb. 25 through March 19, a number of local artists will have their work displayed along Third Avenue from Bay Ridge Avenue to 90th Street.

On March 18 at noon, Hofmo will lead the festival’s annual Art Walk, during which artists will speak about their displayed work. There is a $20 cost and reservations are strongly encouraged.

Business owners who are interested in sponsoring an exhibit can contact Hofmo directly at 347-860-1932.

A schedule of activities will be posted online via the BRACA and Merchants of Third Avenue social media channels, Hofmo said.

With some wintry weather finally in the forecast, now is the perfect time to “Embrace Winter” and support the arts in Bay Ridge!

Soprano Sian Palmer performs “L’altra notte in fondo al mare” from Mephistopheles.

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There’s more great music to be enjoyed while supporting Bay Ridge causes and traditions!

The Bay Ridge St. Patrick’s Day Parade kickoff party takes place “on the avenue” at The Leif Bar, 6725 Fifth Ave., on Saturday, March 11. This annual fundraiser will feature a performance by local Irish favorite, the Canny Brothers Band. Tickets are $10 per person and proceeds will benefit the parade — one of Bay Ridge’s grandest traditions.

“Come join us at The Leif Bar! It’ll be a great night as always,” parade officials said.

Prior to the kickoff party, parade fans can show their support by playing Bingo at The Pour House, 7901 Third Ave., on Sunday, March 5, from 4 to 7 p.m. Once again, proceeds will benefit the parade, which is set to step off on Sunday, March 26, starting at Marine Avenue and Third Avenue, then down to 67th Street. The reviewing grandstand will be located in front of Greenhouse Café, 7717 Third Ave.

For more information, contact Parade Committee President Richard O’Mara at 917-769-4624 or Vice President John Bennett at 917-459-0535.

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