Popular comedic-opera diva comes to Penticton
Born in Tokyo during a raging typhoon, it seemed Natalie Choquette was not destined for the mundane life.
As the daughter of diplomats, she studied voice and piano from Moscow to Peru, passing through Rome and Montreal where she started her singing career with the Montreal Opera Choir. The unique and eclectic performer will be in Penticton on March 12 to perform at the Cleland Community Theatre as part of the Community Concert series.
In 1993, while traveling through Switzerland, Choquette decided to ally her energetic humour with opera. The formula was a hit in the show she created, De Vigneault a Mozart, where first appeared her character of the comic diva, La Fettucini Natalie. Her following show, Whoever Said Opera Was Boring, was presented in Montreal in 1994 and hailed as a success. Giving performances to growing crowds, Choquette was wooed by the Just for Laughs Festival, the Quebec International Summer Festival and Lanaudiére International Festival. Shortly after, she released her album La Diva in Canada, Europe and Asia.
In 1997, after a tour of over 120 performances, she was awarded the Rideau Prize for her considerable contribution to the “democratization of the lyrical arts.” Choquette continued to create and portray colourful zany divas dressed in outrageous costumes, singing the most famous and beautiful opera arias while interacting with the audience, the musicians and even the Maestro. In 1999 she travelled to 22 cities attracting a crowd of over 100,000 at the FrancoFolies de Montreal. This was followed by numerous concerts, an appearance on Japanese television and she entered the Guinness Book of Records for most costume changes by an opera singer.
No other first-class soprano in the world has been found impeccably singing Verdi while doing a head stand on a piano or rendering a tear-jerking interpretation of Puccini’s Nessun Dorma while eating spaghetti and gargling with wine.
Choquette’s dizzying schedule included sharing the stage with the likes of Joe Cocker, James Brown, Rock Voisine, The Pointer Sisters, Patrick Fiori, John Miles and Roger Hodgson (Supertramp).
While in Penticton, Choquette will be performing her show La Diva et le Maestro. Expect off the wall divas performing the greatest hits of opera from Verdi to Bizet to Gershwin and Puccini. Tickets are $25 at the door and the show starts at 7:30 p.m.