‘Italian Opera Night’ with Justin’s Kitchen

Justin France. 


Opera is being revived in the Yuba-Sutter community. 

Justin France, the owner and head chef of Justin’s Kitchen is bringing back Opera to the Yuba-Sutter community with Italian Opera Night. Italian Opera Night will take place at Justin’s Kitchen in downtown Yuba City on Saturday, Jan. 25, from 5-9 p.m.

Opera was once completely immersed within the Yuba-Sutter community. Joaquina Calvo Johnson, a vocal arts teachers at Yuba College, was on forefront of the opera scene. As she taught vocal arts Johnson created Borgamaria Lyric Opera Company. The Borgamaria Lyric Opera Company would stage full operas locally.

“(Johnson) had this following,” said Yuba Sutter Arts executive director David Read. “She trained a lot of local singers.”

Among the local singers is France. France was a student of Johnson’s. Through her teachings he started his career as an opera singer. He transferred from Yuba College to San Jose state to further his studies, but ended up finding his passion for the culinary arts. 

Aside from Johnson’s teachings and opera company being a contributor to the opera scene there used to be a restaurant in downtown Yuba City. The restaurant, Salute Italian Ristorante, would host regular opera events. Salute Italian Ristorante used to reside where Justin’s Kitchen is currently. 

Read said if opera can be revived and if the community supports it there will be regular opera events. 

“For those willing to give it a shot, we have so much theater and art,” said Read, “So why not have opera.”

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