First Coast Opera opens new season with October and New Year’s events

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The enjoyment of food and entertainment has long been an important social ritual. The tradition of the Roman banquet is often described as a feast for the senses and was an opportunity for a host to impress his guests not just with the bounty of his larder, but with extravagant entertainment. 

First Coast Opera opens the 2021-22 season in October with “An Operatic Feast,” a celebration of fine dining and operatic excerpts. Local performing artists Lisa Lockhart, Brittany Fouche, Regina Torres and John Daughtery will be featured.

The first event will take place Oct. 8 at Jax Beach Brunch Haus, 610 3rd St. South, Jacksonville Beach. Doors open at 6 p.m., and the event includes dinner, performance and general seating. Cost is $75 per guest. Tickets are available at firstcoastopera.com

The second night of the event will take place Oct. 9 at St. Anastasia Catholic Church, 5205 A1A South, St. Augustine. Doors open at 6 p.m. with catered dinner by La Cucina, the performance and general seating. Tickets are $75 per guest. A VIP option includes a pre-show reception at 5:30 p.m. with an artist meet-and-greet, preferred seating, dinner and performance. Tickets are $125 for this special offering. All tickets are available at firstcoastopera.com 

Composers in the 16th century developed works specifically for their wealthy patron’s feasts. In European cities, restaurants and cafes began to provide music for their diners. In his “A Tribute To Vienna With The Philharmonics,” Joseph Joachim cheekily wrote, “a more unintellectual, eating and drinking, dancing and music-loving people do not exist than the good people of Vienna. As long as they can eat gebackene Hendel at the Sperl, or dance in the Augarten, and listen to the immortal Strauss as he stamps and fiddles before the best waltz band in Europe.”

Verdi’s ‘La Traviata’

Plan now to raise a glass to toast “La Traviata” on New Year’s Eve in Lewis Auditorium at Flagler College. Guests will ring in the new year with this classic Verdi masterpiece, fully staged with orchestra. This opera will be offered again on Jan 2.

Details and tickets are available at firstcoastopera.com

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