Comedic fun melds with operatic arias during two upcoming shows starring soprano Natalie Choquette.
The performer stars in La Mamma and Mimi la Diva Malbouffa presented by TheatreOne Saturday (Jan. 30).
La Mamma is the story of an Italian mother, called Mrs. O Sole Mio but who insists everyone call her Mamma.
She was born in Naples and moved to America. After working for years at a pizzeria she dies and begins a new life in heaven as an international speaker and life coach to the rich and famous.
“She’s just a storyteller,” said Choquette, adding the character offers down-to-Earth wisdom to people she speaks to. “She looks at life and all the things she would have liked to be. She kind of likes to glorify her life.”
La Mamma has several favourite topics, life, love, gossip, in-laws and overcooked spaghetti. The show combines humour, classical music and Choquette’s operatic skills to weave a humorous tale.
“Opera, it’s really my passion,” she said.
La Mamma features hit songs “everybody knows,” said Choquette and some opera arias. She studied opera and uses it in her theatre presentations to teach adults and youth about the art form.
“It’s a really fun show, with audience participation and silly humour,” said Choquette.
La Mamma is a fundraiser for TheatreOne. For the younger audience, Mimi la Diva Malbouffa is being presented as part of TheatreOne’s Just Kidding for Kids series. The main character is called Mimi and she has unhealthy eating habits.
“Mimi is the naughty one in the show and she eats hamburgers and french fries,” said Choquette.
As a result of the junk food diet Mimi gets a stomach ache and loses her voice before her performance at the Grand Opera Gala.
Children in the audience learn about healthy eating and how eating badly can affect your health.
“It’s done in a playful way,” she said.
Audience members come onstage and help Mimi tackle her dilemma so she can sing with DJ Rico the organic chicken and Maestro Figaro.
Throughout the show Choquette sings opera excerpts and children learn about where opera was invented and hear some famous opera arias.
La Mamma is Saturday (Jan. 30), 7:30 p.m. at Vancouver Island University’s Malaspina Theatre.
Tickets are $50 and include a $25 tax receipt.
Mimi la Diva Malbouffa is Jan. 30 at 1 p.m. at Malaspina Theatre. Tickets are $10 each or $18 for two. Tickets for either show are available by calling 250-754-7587, www.theatreone.org or at the door.
For more information about Choquette please go to http://www.nataliechoquette.ca/en.