OPERIZZA: Surprise opera comes to a new London pizzeria

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Diners at a London pizzeria experienced a meal of an operatic magnitude as they were treated to an incredible impromptu musical performance.

Secret opera singers, disguised as restaurant staff, broke into song during the lunchtime rush hour at an Italian pizzeria.

The performance was orchestrated by Sacla’, the Pesto People, who brought the spirit of Italy and the passion of the opera to Firezza in Soho.

From soaring soprano to booming baritone, the singers’ stunning performance thrilled the unsuspecting diners, whose shocked and surprised reactions were captured by a series of hidden cameras placed around the restaurant.

The pizzeria was brought to a standstill as two waiters settled a dispute with an operatic sing off, performing ‘Largo Al Factotum’ an aria from Rossini’s The Barber of Seville. The theatrical argument was shortly interrupted as the Italian Mamma head chef belted out a powerful rendition of ‘Habanera’ from Bizet’s 1875 opera Carmen.

The spectacle reached a dramatic climax as a passing nun joined the trio and broke out into an incredible performance of Mozart’s ‘Queen of the Night’. The surprise operatic performance came to a jaw-dropping climax as all four singers belted out ‘The Anvil Chorus’ from Verdi’s 1853 opera II trovatore.

Celebrity Italian chef Aldo Zilli, who helped engineer the surprise, pranked his own friends as they dined for lunch and were caught off-guard when the performance kicked in.

The ‘Operizza’ performance forms the finale in a hugely popular trilogy of surprise opera videos shot by Sacla’ – with the previous ‘Shopera’ and ‘School Opera’, having now been viewed nearly 10 million times on YouTube.

Clare Blampied, MD of Sacla UK said: “Sacla’ products make food sing and bring real Italian passion to the table, so when we served up a slice of Italian emotion to guests during a busy lunchtime at a London pizzeria, we gave them a real taste of Italy.”

Aldo Zilli commented on the experience, “Opera is in every Italian’s blood, just like pizza, so pairing the two together in the heart of Soho is a dream come true.”

Opera singer Mariam Murphy said: “I have played some interesting roles over my time as a professional opera singer but this was certainly one of the most exciting, as no one in the restaurant was expecting to get a full operatic performance as they sat down to eat.” 

The parts were played by the following singers:

Waiter 1

Thomas Kennedy is a previous choral scholar at New College, Oxford. Thomas was singled out by Opera Now magazine as a “tour de force.” Some past roles include Belcore, Onegin, Mozart’s Figaro and Lads in Their Hundreds which was played on BBC Radio 3.

Waiter 2

Tristan Faes made his professional debut in 2008 singing Papageno at the Opera Royal de Wallonie in Liege. Whilst performing Schaunard at the Nederlandse Reisopera he toured the UK with the Dorset Opera Festival. Tristan also regularly sings with the choirs of Opera Vlaanderen and La Monnaie.

Italian Mamma

Miriam Murphy graduated from the Royal Academy of Music and has won the inaugural Seattle International Wagner competition. She has previously performed Lady Macbeth in Macbeth at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden and Mrs Gloop / Grandma Georgina in The Golden Ticket at the Wexford Opera Festival

Nun

Sara Hartley Llewellyn graduated with distinction from the San Francisco Conservatory, and has since captivated as the Verdi Requiem soloist in the Birmingham Symphony Hall, with roles including Gretel in Hansel & Gretel, Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro, and upcoming this July as the lead in Pucinni’s Suor Angelica with the Festi’Val de Musique Valois.

The incredible medley sung by the 4 singers consisted of

  • Largo Al Factotum, an aria from The Barber Of Seville by Gioachino Rossini
  • Habanera, an aria from Carmen by Georges Bizet
  • Queen of the Night, an aria from The Magic Flute by Wolfgang Mozart
  • The Anvil Chorus, from II trovatore by Giuseppe Verdi

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