Guests at the Ancient Order of Hibernians Hall in Akron on Jan. 19 were treated to a night of food and music, as part of the AOH's, Annie Moore Division's "Opera Night."

Providing the opera was Opera Night Cleveland, which was founded by John Watson, who grew up in Kent and graduated from Kent Roosevelt High School. Watson said Opera Night Cleveland started up in September 2011, and that the group does a regular show at La Dolce Vita Restaurant in Cleveland. He graduated from the Cleveland Institute of Music, after he started taking classes there in high school.

Watson also was recently cast in the role of Figaro in Rossini's "The Barber of Seville," which will be staged by Opera Circle Feb. 22 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 24 at 3 p.m. The opera can be seen at the Bohemian National Hall, 4939 Broadway Ave. in Cleveland. Call 216-441-2822 for details.

Watson said this is the second time Opera Night Cleveland has performed at the AOH hall.

"We usually try to set the program with a theme," Watson said.

That evening was a potpourri of opera and Broadway tunes, ranging from Figaro's signature aria in "Seville" and a duet from "La Boheme," to "Bring Him Home" from "Les Miserables" and "People Will Say We're In Love" from "Oklahoma." Along with Watson, performing were tenor Michael Talerico and soprano Mary Beth Crawford, with Adam Whiting on piano. They performed for about 15 minutes between the meal courses, which included bread and olive oil, salad, grilled shrimp, chicken and strawberry shortcake, prepared and served by volunteers from AOH and Our Lady of the Elms High School.

For details on AOH, visit For details on Opera Night Cleveland, visit


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