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ONLI opera singers return to acoustically charmed sanctuary at St. Paul’s

People by: Joanne Kountourakis, November 8, 2022

Performers at a recent Opera Night Long Island event at St. Paul’s Methodist Church in Northport Village.

Founded in 2004 as an open mic program in Northport Village’s Portofino Café, a low-key “Opera Night” gained quick popularity, growing so fast that, according to local reports, the fire marshal had to issue a code violation when spectators crowded into the small coffee shop.

With the newfound fame of her nonprofit Opera Night Long Island (ONLI) literally busting at its seams, longtime Northport resident Isabella Eredita-Johnson established a screening process to upgrade the quality of performers, and – two years later – adopted the St. Paul United Methodist Church’s sanctuary as its new home.

All of Opera Night’s activities are devoted to music, with a particular emphasis on operatic music. ONLI’s mission, as stated on its website, is “to foster the production and appreciation of opera by providing affordable performances by the highest caliber singers and emerging young talent to local communities.” ONLI currently provides Long Island’s only live opera performances by accomplished singers and, after a two-year forced hiatus due to Covid, is returning with monthly performances resuming at St. Paul’s on Friday, November 11.

Eredita-Johnson, who serves as ONLI’s founder and director, announced a slate of ten artists, all veterans of the Opera Night stage, who will perform arias from popular operas, including Marriage of Figaro, La Boheme, and Bellini's Norma. The program will also include performances of art songs and numbers from musical theater.

“We are so excited to showcase these talented singers in such an acoustically rich venue,” Eredita-Johnson said. “They are all trained singers and passionate about sharing their art.”

Listed in the National Registry of Historic Places, the sanctuary at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church dates to 1873. Eredita-Johnson said she chose it in 2006 for her growing program in large part because of the vaulted ceiling that accounts for its acoustic excellence. Opera Night continued its tradition of providing monthly musical performances by professionals and serious students until the pandemic put the program on hold in 2020.

Admission to the November 11 performance is a suggested $10 donation at the door. Doors open at 7pm; the program begins at 7:30pm. Light refreshments will be served at the end of the concert.

St. Paul’s United Methodist Church is located at 270 Main Street in Northport. More information is available here or on ONLI’s Facebook page.