There are few things a glass of beer does not improve upon—and the list of those things for which it is not normally associated with deserves to be revised. Take opera, for instance. When most think of opera, they imagine gilded concert halls filled with stuffy patrons. If they imbibe at all, it’s likely a cocktail or glass of wine before or after the performance. Buddy Shirk wants to change that.
Shirk is the manager of Summitt Pianos and the creative force behind a number of unstuffy events at the instrument store. His latest? Hops & Opera, the fifth version of which offers both free opera and free beer at 8 p.m. on Saturday, July 28, at the store, located at 6209 Lee Hwy. “Free opera, free beer,” Shirk says, “What’s not to like?”
Indeed, if you (like us) are opera-phobic, this casual event (and the addition of beer) could ease your fear. Shirk and the Summitt crew have teamed with Big River Grille to bring international soprano Stella Zambalis to perform (who has performed in Chattanooga several times), along with local sopranos Vanessa Niblack-Kimbrough, Sara Snider Schone and pianist Jason DuRoy. Guest artists include soprano Luisa Rodriguez of Boulder, Colo., soprano Sara Peeples and baritone Joseph Ryan of Sarasota, Fla. The singers will draw from opera classics from composers such as Bellini, Strauss and Pucciini as well as the music of Mozart and Mendelssohn.
“If you’ve never heard an operatic voice live—and only 15 feet away,” Shirk says, “Stella’s is the one to start with.”
The free concert is open to the public, but seating is limited and an RSVP is required to reserve your chair (and beer). Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and Shirk promises two Big River kegs will flow freely as long as they last. To RSVP, contact Shirk at Summitt Pianos at (423) 499-0600.