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‘Catalyst Sessions’ recap: Chris Romeo

Bill DeYoung

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Operatic tenor Chris Romeo was a trumpet player and a pre-med student when he switched gears, halfway through his undergraduate years, and turned to singing.

Good choice. Today, 10 years after his debut appearance with St. Petersburg Opera Company, the St. Pete native has become one of the most recognizable vocal artists in the ranks.

In fact, artistic director Mark Sforzini chose Romeo for the company’s first forays back into live performance – the “Popera” series of outdoor shows, in which the singers and their accompanist appear on the back of a 14-foot flatbed trailer, towed behind a truck.

The August edition attracted 400 people to the grassy field just north of the Museum of Fine Arts St. Petersburg.

Romeo will be at it again Sunday (Sept. 13), when St. Pete Opera’s pop-up caravan plays the Westminster Palms facility (at 4 p.m.) and at the MFA at 6:30. There is no admission charge to see and hear “The Three Tenors” (the others are Russell Andrade and John Kaneklides). A third performance, at the Side Lot, is a ticketed event and is sold out.

During the interview, Romeo treats us to a riveting live performance of the Puccini aria “Nessun Dorma,” and enthusiastically explains the work he does with Creative Leaps, a Hillsborough-based music therapy clinic.

Monday on The Catalyst Sessions: Kristen Shepherd, executive director of the Museum of Fine Arts, on re-opening the museum’s doors to the public.

Streaming weekdays at 7 p.m. on the Catalyst Facebook page. All episodes are archived on our YouTube page.

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