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Armonk Singer Stars In Gilbert and Sullivan’s 'Thespis' In Norwalk

John Matilaine, second from right, is the god Apollo, assisting his fellow gods to scold Mercury (Brett Kroeger of Greenwich, center), in the Troupers Light Opera production of "Thespis, or The Gods Grown Old."
John Matilaine, second from right, is the god Apollo, assisting his fellow gods to scold Mercury (Brett Kroeger of Greenwich, center), in the Troupers Light Opera production of "Thespis, or The Gods Grown Old." Photo Credit: Contributed

NORWALK, Conn. -- An Armonk, N.Y., singer will star in Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Thespis” on Saturday and Sunday at All Saints School in Norwalk.

Baritone John Matilaine will sing the role of Apollo in the Troupers Light Opera Company performance of Thespis, by W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan.

John Matilaine is a veteran of operatic performance, having sung solo roles 10 times already with Troupers Light Opera and also in Curtain Call’s production of "My Fair Lady" as Colonel Pickering.

He appears regularly with the Taconic Opera in Yorktown Heights and sings with the Charis Chamber Voices, the Hoff Barthelson Festival Chorus, Collegium of Westchester and the TreasureHouse Chorale, and has toured China, Russia, England, South Africa, The Netherlands, Turkey and South America with the Yale Alumni Chorus.

"Thespis," which opened in 1871, was Gilbert and Sullivan’s first collaboration. The operetta was for years considered lost because although the dialogue survived, the music had not been found.

However, thanks to a skillful reconstruction by opera designer Anthony Baker and conductor/composer Timothy Henty, a version of "Thespis" has been created.

The famous chorus number “Climbing Over Rocky Mountain” first appeared in "Thespis," and it was so successful that Sullivan reused it in "Pirates of Penzance."

Troupers Light Opera Company has been performing Gilbert and Sullivan in Fairfield County for 72 years and is premiering this Baker-Henty version of "Thespis" to Northeast U.S. audiences.

A cast of 20 will present the full comic operetta Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. at the school, 139 West Rocks Road, Norwalk, Conn.

For tickets, visit www.TroupersLightOpera.org

New members are always welcome to join Troupers, both onstage and behind the scenes, said a news release. Click here for information.

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