Italian Market transforms into opera theater

    On Saturday, the vegetable vendors and coffee merchants of the Italian Market of Philadelphia will be extras in an opera.

    On Saturday, the vegetable vendors and coffee merchants of the Italian Market of Philadelphia will be extras in an opera. Center City Opera Theater will stage “The Elixir Of Love” amid produce carts and weekend shoppers.

    A South Philly princess has attracted the affection of a visiting Army recruiting officer, to the consternation of a lovesick DiBruno’s cheesemonger who takes the advice of a con man hawking a love potion. This was written in 1832 in Milan, Italy.

    Singers are rehearsing for this weekend’s production of Elixir Of Love, staged underneath the imposing image of Frank Rizzo on 9th Street in the Italian Market. Director Andrew Kurtz is inviting the street vendors to set up their tables in the plaza and become a working set.

    “This is a neighborhood-y show. The fact that the different vendors in the market at going to help us create a living square – you get that town-square feel. People will watch the opera, but they are going to be freer to get up, buy a sandwhich, get a coffee. More like a ball game than an opera.”

    The fact that there are few Italians left in the Italian Market does not deter this production of Donizetti’s comic opera. Kurtz says he and the Italian Market neighborhood association want to make open-air opera an annual event.

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