Gung Haggis Fat Choy invades Gilbert & Sullivan's “The Mikado” in Vernon production
It's not everyday, that a world class baritone opera singer and
director offers “product placement” for a production of Gilbert &
Sullivan's opera “The Mikado.” But that is exactly what happened
in Vernon, BC, on July 22, 2006.
Damon Nestor Ploumis, baritone of great renown, was guest director of “The Mikado” for the Okanagan Vocal Arts Fesival, for which he also played the role of Pooh Bah. Additionally he sang the role of Bartolo in Nozze di Figaro.
Our dragon boat team, Gung Haggis Fat Choy, was attending the Greater Vernon Dragon Boat Races,
and we went to visit the family home of our drummer, “The
Martin's.” Bill Martin is also a member of the board for OVAF,
and annually billets students and staff at his lakeside home.
What happens when dragon boats and opera collide?
The Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner has seen its' share of opera singers, as soprano Heather Pawsey
performed at the 2004 and 2005 dinners, and soprano Veera Devi Khare
also performed at the 2005 dinner. But while opera singers have
performed on the Gung Haggis Fat Choy stage, never before has Gung
Haggis Fat Choy been represented on an opera stage. That is…
until Damon Nestor Ploumis came along and offered product placement.
It is a tradition in Gilbert & Sullivan performances to work in
local references into each production. Hence the McAdo sign –
complete with “golden arches” in the Vernon production. Damon
loved the concept of Gung Haggis Fat Choy, and had been hearing about
it during his stay at the Martin's residence.
Damon Nestor Ploumis sings the role of Pooh Bah wearing Gung Haggis Fat Choy team shirt and kilt.
– photo by TD from http://www.tdineurope.smugmug.com/gallery/1712950/1/84436176
Look closely at the above photo to see Baritone singer Damon Nestor
Ploumis performing as “Pooh Bah” in the Okanagan Vocal Arts Festival
production of “The Mikado,” wearing the uniform of the Gung Haggis Fat
Choy dragon boat team. You can clearly see the gold coins on the
top, and the Fraser Hunting Tartan kilt. Unfortunately, Damon had
to do “quick costume changes” and was unable to go fully traditionally
Scots, by wearing his shorts underneath. Hopefully this
experience has inspired Damon to purchase his own kilt, as he really
enjoyed wearing the tartan. We did give him the Gung Haggis team
shirt as a thank you for the product placement, and to encourage him to
take “Gung Haggis Fat Choy” to the world, and to host his own dinners
in Finland and/or Germany, wherever he may find himself come January
25th, Robbie Burns Day.
Here's a picture of me and Deb in our team uniform with matching kilts.
Below is a picture of Bill Martin, playing a very minor role in the
Mikado. I've only been dating his daughter for three years, and
the asianification process is now almost complete!