By day, Doctor James Garvin, Jr. works as a physician at the New York Presbyterian Columbia University Irving Medical Center. On April 23, Doctor Garvin will set his stethoscope aside and turn to a different forum — the operatic stage of the New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera’s (Verismo Opera) AIDA at the Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC). He will assume a new supernumerary (super) role acting as an Egyptian guard.
This is not the first time the Englewood resident has appeared on the Verismo Opera stage. For several years, Dr. Garvin, Professor of Clinical Pediatrics and Director of the Neuro-Oncology Program and Pediatric Oncology at the New York Presbyterian Hospital at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, has portrayed different characters as a super in various nonspeaking roles in Verismo Opera’s productions. These roles included a cardinal, a scribe, a member of a firing squad, and even as a corpse in Giacomo Puccini’s hilarious dark comedy Gianni Schicchi. In 2011, he was also a guard in the company’s last production of AIDA.
A long time opera enthusiast, Dr. Garvin became a super after reading Verismo Opera’s call for extras in an area newspaper. “A few years ago, I spotted an item in the paper announcing Verismo Opera was seeking extras for an upcoming production, Carmen. I knew that ‘extra’ meant supernumerary, a non-singing part, usually a soldier or waiter,” he said.
Doctor Who Acts
Acting is an essential part of these roles. In AIDA, he has worked with Metropolitan legend Lucine Amara, Artistic Director of Verismo Opera, and Raúl Melo from the Metropolitan Opera, who will debut with Verismo Opera as Radames in AIDA. Dr. Garvin explained, “I realize a good amount of acting is involved
in these parts. The experience has turned out to be lots of fun, including getting to know talented singers from Lucine Amara to Raúl Melo, bringing opera stories to life, and enjoying the wonderful music and sets.
“Verismo Opera is a cultural gem in North Jersey, and the Bergen Performing Arts Center is a wonderful setting for these fully staged productions. I look forward to being a guard in Verismo Opera’s AIDA this spring and similar roles in future productions.”
In addition to acting as a super, he has been involved with Verismo Opera for many years in several other capacities. He serves as president of the oprea company’s board of trustees. In 2012, he received the organization’s Volunteer of the Year award in recognition of his contributions.
Verismo Opera will present Giuseppe Verdi’s AIDA at bergenPAC, located at 30 North Van Brunt Street in Englewood, New Jersey, at 3:00 p.m. Tickets may be purchased online at www.bergenpac.org, at the bergenPAC box office, and by calling (201) 227-1030 or toll-free at 1-888-PACSHOW.
bergenPAC is handicapped accessible. Hearing assist systems are available upon request to the house manager in the lobby.