DUMONT, N.J. — Some take it a little easier during their retirement years — not Dumont couple Bob and Barbara Konig.
The husband and wife decided to get involved in theater with Bergen County's only grand opera company, the New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera, a nonprofit organization based in Fort Lee.
Bob, who owned a Coca-Cola distributorship for over 20 years, retired 15 years ago and joined the opera company in 2008. He grew up listening to opera at home, with the music from La Boheme his favorite.
When Verismo Opera, the house opera company of the Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC) in Englewood, announced a call for supernumeraries (super), a nonspeaking, nonsinging acting role, to appear in La Boheme, Bob signed up.
He has continued to appear in several other productions assuming a range of cameo roles, including a soldier, servant, gypsy, judge, priest, and vendor, as well as an aristocrat in AIDA, Tosca, Rigoletto, Carmen, Il Trovatore and Die Fledermaus.
On April 23, he will assume again the role of a priest in Verismo Opera's grand production of AIDA at bergenPAC.
"I look forward to being part of the grand production, AIDA, and meeting and interacting with the artists who perform in the productions. The overall experience is very enjoyable," he said.
While Bob is on stage in AIDA, Barbara will work behind the scenes making sure all the cast has their respective costumes.
Since 2015, Barbara has been Verismo Opera's Costume Designer and Wardrobe Director. "In AIDA, the audience will see the cast wearing a lot of colors, ranging from white to burgundy and gold, in costumes representing ancient Egypt. Being involved in the production is a welcome challenge to dress a cast of over 100 people. I receive much satisfaction seeing what I have created come to life on the stage," she said.
In 2008, she began working with the grand opera company fitting costumes and later joined as a seamstress and assumed the position of Assistant to the Costumer. Her costume creations have appeared in several of the grand opera company’s productions, including La Gioconda, Il Trovatore, Carmen, Rigoletto, La Boheme, La Traviata, Madama Butterfly, and others.
The Konigs also serve on the organization’s Advisory Board. In recognition of their contributions to Verismo Opera, they were recognized with Verismo Opera's Volunteer of the Year Award.