Duets and Drinks: World famous opera stars to appear at virtual Toledo Opera event

On January 29, there will be music in the air— and over wifi. Toledo Opera will present a special Duets and Drinks event beginning at 7pm, featuring renowned opera stars Kathryn Lewek and Zach Borichevsky. The pair are more than just co-stars for this special evening, however— they are husband and wife.

“All of our times meeting before we were married were because we were performing together,” Lewek said. “We met in Verona, Italy in 2013, while we were both singing— and winning— the Operalia competition that’s put on by the Domingo Foundation.”

The pair have a sentimental attachment to the Glass City. Two years after they became friends, they were cast in a joint production between Opera Carolina and Toledo Opera. It was during work on this show that their bond blossomed.

“We fell in love during that production, and then we were engaged a year later and we were married a year after that. Then we had a baby, and now we are expecting our second child,” Lewek explained.

Working together
Lewek and Borichevsky have worked together on shows and recitals in the years since. They had been preparing to perform in a production of Verdi’s Rigoletto before COVID hit. “Neither of us had done the whole roles before, so it was nice to work together on it, to have somebody around to run lines with back and forth at home,” Borichevsky said.

“When Zach and I work together, it creates a more collaborative atmosphere from the very beginning, instead of the collaborative atmosphere which takes over sometime when you’re in rehearsals, with the rest of your colleagues.”

The show that Toledo Opera fans will enjoy as part of Duets and Drinks is not a live performance, but a prerecorded recital that was held at the Michener Museum in Pennsylvania a few years ago. The pair have not been able to do much in the way of performing as of late, save for a few area opera fundraisers.

“We did a local performance with a local orchestra in Scarsdale, New York. We performed Messiah socially distanced, no audience, for streaming online back in December. It was a relief to get back into the swing of things, as weird as it was,” Borichevsky said.

Virtual cocktails
Though the show itself may be taped, Toledo Opera fans will get the chance to interact with the stars themselves live afterward. Audience members who pay the $75 ticket price will be able to attend a virtual cocktail party with Lewek and Borichevsky. The pair often interact with fans in a post-show after events, though there are benefits to this online variation.

“As a pregnant lady, I like wearing PJ bottoms,” Lewek said with a laugh.

“After I sing a performance and I have to go to a cocktail party with people who have just seen the show,” she continued. “And I’m just like, my brain is so done for the evening, because putting on a performance is so exhausting, in a mental and physical way. So this is kind of a unique situation, because even though they are gonna feel like they’ve just seen a performance, even though it’s virtual, they’re then getting us kind of fresh.”

In addition, Borichevsky will demonstrate to viewers how to create a special cocktail in honor of the occasion, his own variation on a Manhattan in honor of his father. And the pair will also be sharing a big announcement for Glass City opera fans.

“The announcement has to do with the future season at the Toledo Opera,” Lewek said.

Virtual concert: Free. Zoom Cocktail Party: $75. For tickets visit ToledoOpera.org.