On the Avenue: Embrace Winter Festival kicks off with opera show

What’s better than a delicious lunch “on the avenue” on a cold winter’s day? How about having the meal accompanied by a free opera performance!

Talented members of Regina Opera Company made a special appearance at Vesuvio Restaurant, 7305 Third Ave., to help kick off the annual Embrace Winter Festival sponsored by the Bay Ridge Arts & Cultural Alliance (BRACA) in partnership with the Merchants of Third Avenue Civic Improvement Association, Inc. on Sunday, Feb. 25.

The kickoff event drew a large lunchtime crowd that enjoyed Regina Opera soloists performing a number of popular selections from shows like “La Traviata,” “Carmen” and La Boheme,” among others.

Performing artists included soprano Sara Beth Pearson, mezzo-soprano Melina Jaharis, baritone Eliam J. Ramos and tenor Paolo Buffagni. The soloists were accompanied by flutist Richard Paratley and pianist Catherine Miller.

Tenor Paolo Buffagni (left) and baritone Eliam J. Ramos interact during a performance from “La Boheme.”

Embrace Winter Festival organizer Victoria Hofmo thanked Regina Opera President Fran Garber-Cohen for supplying such talented vocalists for the day’s event.

Embrace Winter organizer Victoria Hofmo (left) welcomes Regina Opera Company President Fran Garber-Cohen.

She also mentioned that this year’s festival will feature an Art Walk event on March 16, during which art aficionados can walk along Third Avenue and see exhibits that are set up within selected businesses from 69th Street to 88th Street.

“A lot of the artists themselves will be joining us as well, which is nice,” she said. “It’s a great chance to get to know their work and ask questions. You may even find something you like and wish to buy!”

Regina Opera’s next production will be Mascagni’s “Cavalleria Rusticana” with performances beginning on Saturday, March 2. General admission is $25, with discounts for seniors and children. For more information, contact 718-259-2772 or email info@reginaopera.org.

A capacity crowd filled the back room at Vesuvio Restaurant to help kick off the 2024 Embrace Winter Festival.

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