The Diva Malbouffa is the noon performance by Natalie Choquette, a first-class soprano. In the story, titled Magic Fruit by Wolfmiam Amahungry Mozart Choquette's character, Mimi, is on her way to a show, but gets sidetracked by French fries, greasy burgers and ice-cream. A second, entirely different show, La Diva et le Maestro, starts at 7:30 p.m.
She prefers to fashion herself as a music therapist, not just an opera star.
And her earliest influences and contact with the world of opera came from watching old cartoons.
"Not these new ones, but the old ones like Tom and Jerry and Bugs Bunny and Sylvester the cat who was always trying to catch Tweety Bird," Natalie Choquette explained.
"Those cartoons were full of symphonic
music, and it attracted me immediately," she added.
Born in Tokyo during a raging typhoon, her passion for classical music and opera was easily fed as she travelled around Europe with her diplomat parents.
"We'd change countries every three years, so I speak four languages and understand three others," Choquette said.
"Learning operatic scores was not a difficult thing. Enjoying opera is part of the European culture."
She spent her childhood enjoying good opera in Europe, but when it came time to dedicate her life to opera, she also thought it would a good idea to initiate and educate others to the art form.
"I use comedy and laughter as learning tools," Choquette said from her Montreal home. "It just seems easier to take and enjoy opera when the singer is in curlers, slurping up spaghetti and gargling red wine."
The first-class soprano created her over-the-top one-woman show with the premise that opera "is definitely not boring" and has delighted audiences around the world with her one-of-a-kind take on favourite arias.
"I do zany renditions dressed in outrageous costumes," Choquette said. "But, don't be confused. I am not making fun of opera. I am having fun with opera."
Choquette brings her hilarious and infectious show to Kelowna on March 14, at the Rotary Centre for the Arts, with two shows, the Diva Malbouffa at noon, and La Diva et le Maestro at 7:30 p.m.
Her crystal-clear voice booms out to engage her audience while doing a headstand on the piano, filing her nails while singing Summertime, hanging laundry or interacting with the audience, the musicians and the Maestro while singing her version as La Fettuccini from il Teatro Bolognese, her
interpretation of Puccini's Nessun Dorma or in character as the Diva Malbouffa.
In this spoof on the perils of junk food, her character Mimi, is on her way to a show, but gets sidetracked by French fries, greasy burgers and ice-cream.
"Stuffed with junk, Mimi, has lost her voice and is suffering from indigestion. She can't perform with her good friend, the famous opera star DJ Rico the Organic Chicken!" she explained.
Desperate to get her voice back and carry on with the opera, she follows DJ Rico's healing ideas, and finally stages a mini-opera that is really teaching everyone, especially children, how to eat healthy.
"I call it The Magic Fruit by Wolfmiam Amahungry Mozart," she said.
When she's not delivering her style of classical music to captivated audiences, Choquette performs concerts around the world, notably in France, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam, as well as throughout the United States and Latin America.
"People in all countries recognize many of the songs I perform, and it seems that wherever I go, people are clearly moved when they hear an aria," she added. "It touches them, and hopefully, they will want to hear more, learn more and discover the beauty of opera."
As well as her own performances, Choquette has performed in 37 shows of the Night of the Proms, a rock and classical music extravaganza; sung with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and even appeared in the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal.
"I perform because I just love to sing, I love people, life and music," she said.
What: La Diva et le Maestro & Diva Malbouffa by Natalie Choquette
When: March 14, noon and 7:30 p.m.
Where: Mary Irwin Theatre, Rotary Centre for the Arts.
Tickets: Available at the RCA box office, 250-717-5304