top of page

Nickel City Opera Enters Season 14!

Rossini’s ‘The Barber of Seville’ in Buffalo & The Southtowns June 2023


Buffalo, NY-Nickel City Opera is back in full force with Gioachino Rossini’s comic opera ‘The Barber of Seville’ with full orchestra, costumes and sets gracing the stage of the newly renovated Hollywood Theater in Gowanda, NY Friday, June 23, 2023 and returning for the second year at  Nichols Flickinger Performing Arts Center in Buffalo Sunday, June 25th. The 14th Annual NCO Fundraising Gala is returning  to Ilio DiPaolo’s after many years June 12, 2023 in addition to a Christmas concert in December.


Founder and Artistic Director, Valerian Ruminski looks ahead..“Moving forward into 2022/23 is quite a thrill since all of us were stalled in 2020/21 because of COVID-19. Our June 2022 Rigoletto was a resounding success and we will be bringing our productions to a wonderful, refurbished grand old theatre in Gowanda NY. The Hollywood Theater on W. Main St in Gowanda, NY will be humming with opera on June 23rd, 2023. This ornate, historic theatre will be a new destination for Nickel City Opera to service theatre-goers in East Aurora, Hamburg, Orchard Park, Chautauqua, Angola, Silver Creek and other Southtowns. The hilarious comedy by Rossini, The Barber of Seville, will be our production both in Buffalo at the Nichols Flickinger Center for the Performing Arts and at the Hollywood Theatre in Gowanda NY. Bringing opera to the entire region of Western New York is part of our mission and a pleasure to do. We are looking forward to a long term partnership.”


The Barber of Seville, or The Useless Precaution is an opera buffa in two acts composed by Gioachino Rossini with an Italian libretto by Cesare Sterbini. The libretto was based on Pierre Beaumarchais's French comedy The Barber of Seville (1775). Rossini's The Barber of Seville has proven to be one of the greatest masterpieces of comedy within music and has been described as the opera buffa of all "opera buffa". After two hundred years, it remains a popular work.


Nickel City Opera, Inc. was founded in 2003 by Valerian Ruminski and has produced over 20 operas including the world premiere of SHOT! by Persis Vehar in 2016 at Shea’s Buffalo Theatre. Other productions include La Boheme, The Barber of Seville, Tosca, Don Pasquale, The Marriage of Figaro and Il Tabarro staged on the USS The Sullivans at the Buffalo Erie County Naval & Military Park. NCO’s mission is to bring high quality opera and events to WNY and is launching an Expansion Project to further the arts in WNY and beyond.


#          #           #

Monday, June 12th, 2023

14th Annual Nickel City Opera Fundraising Gala

Ilio DiPaolo's Restaurant & Banquet Facility

3785 South Park Avenue

Blasdell, NY 

6:00 pm Cocktails/Hors' d'oeuvres

7:00pm Dinner & Entertainment




Enjoy opera singing, raffles, auctions, door prizes and a delicious meal at the 14th Annual Nickel City Opera Gala Dinner. Hosted by Valerian Ruminski with singing guests and pianist. This event will support our production of THE BARBER OF SEVILLE on June 23rd in Gowanda NY at the Hollywood Theater and June 25th at Nichols Flickinger Performing Arts Center in Buffalo.


Friday, June 23rd, 2023

Gioachino Rossini’s ‘BARBER OF SEVILLE’

Hollywood Theater

39 W Main Street

Gowanda, NY 14070





Nickel City Opera comes to the lovely 660 seat Hollywood Theater in Gowanda NY for a night of fun and gorgeous music by Rossini with THE BARBER OF SEVILLE. A fully produced comic opera with theatrical sets, a full orchestra, chorus, costumes and supertitles giving you every word in English. A lot of the show is sung in English too! It's a game of cat and mouse for old Bartolo and Figaro who tries to stop him from marrying a woman who is much too young for him! Starring Valerian Ruminski as Bartolo, Carla Portillo as Rosina. Conducted by Jason Tramm. Directed by Giorgio Lalov and Steve Vaughan. Produced by Nickel City Opera-Valerian Ruminski and Eileen Breen.


Sunday, June 25th, 2023

Gioachino Rossini’s ‘BARBER OF SEVILLE’’

Nichols Flickinger Performing Arts Center

1250 Amherst Street

Buffalo, NY





Don't miss the special, one day only, performance of THE BARBER OF SEVILLE by Rossini. It's a hoot. It's a blast! Laughs galore! Side splittin', knee slappin' funny! You won't need a whoopie cushion to get you started! Ha ha ha! Starring Metropolitan Opera basso Valerian Ruminski as the old windbag Bartolo who gets his comeuppance! Features a full set, orchestra, chorus and props. Directed by Giorgio Lalov and Steve Vaughan. Produced by Nickel City Opera-Valerian Ruminski and Eileen Breen.


#          #           #

Nickel City Opera’s Valerian Ruminski Sings Broadway and the Classics in Concert 

April 10th at Nichols Flickinger Center for the Performing Arts

13th Annual Gala Dinner & ‘Rigoletto’ in June


Buffalo, NY-Nickel City Opera’s Valerian Ruminski will perform a solo concert Sunday, April 10th at 4:00pm at Nichols Flickinger Center for the Performing Arts, 1250 Amherst St, Buffalo. Season 13 includes an opera dinner theatre production at the Annual NCO Gala Dinner June 13th with additional Community Events to be announced soon. Tickets available at Eventbrite. 


For the first time in many years, Valerian will perform classics including music by Victor Herbert, Rodgers & Hammerstein, Cole Porter, Verdi, Puccini and Brahms. Accompanied on piano by Elizabeth Rodgers. “My international career is filled with opera roles but being able to sing non-opera music like songs by Schubert or Brahms is not so common. I have enjoyed much of this recital music for many years and after the last year it felt refreshing to re-approach this music and prepare it for a local audience. These are settings of poems and lyrics that I am highly inspired by so I hope that everyone comes and can enjoy them with me.”

After a January Covid-19 postponement, NCO looks forward to staging Verdi’s ‘Rigoletto’ June 25th and 26th at Nichols Flickinger Center for the Performing Arts, Buffalo. Giorgio Lalov of Teatro Lirico D'Europa will be Directing and bringing his Rigoletto set to Buffalo utilizing WNY singers along with international talent. Tenor Eric Fennell (New York City Opera/Glimmerglass/Hawaii Opera Theatre), returns to Buffalo reprising his 2010 role as the Duke of Mantua. 


Valerian Ruminski Sings Broadway and the Classics

A solo concert with Nickel City Opera’s Artistic Director Valerian Ruminski

April 10th-4:00pm 

Nichols Flickinger Center for the Performing Arts

1250 Amherst Street, Buffalo.


Lucky 13th Annual NCO Gala Dinner

A Lucky Evening of food, fun and singing featuring a special NCO production, door prizes and a four-course dinner. 

June 13th-6:00pm

The Saturn Club

977 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo


Nickel City Opera presents ‘Rigoletto’ by Giuseppe Verdi

Fully staged opera with orchestra, set and costumes.

June 25th, 7:00pm

Nichols Flickinger Center for the Performing Arts

1250 Amherst Street, Buffalo.


June 26th, 4:00pm 

Nichols Flickinger Center for the Performing Arts

1250 Amherst Street, Buffalo.


#     #     #

Nickel City Opera’s 13th Annual Gala Goes Jazz 

Buffalo, NY-Nickel City Opera's 13th Annual Dinner Gala featuring a silent auction, raffles, door prizes plus a special Sinatra show during dessert with Mark Marinaccio and Friends, a jazz trio. Proceeds help to support the 2022 NCO season.

On June 25th & June 26th, Nickel City Opera presents ‘Rigoletto’ with orchestra, set and costumes at Nichols Flickinger Center for the Performing Arts, 1250 Amherst Street, Buffalo. An opera in three acts by Giuseppe Verdi with Italian libretto, the opera's original title, La Maledizione (The Curse), refers to a curse placed on both the Duke and Rigoletto by a courtier whose daughter the Duke has seduced with Rigoletto's encouragement. Giorgio Lalov of Teatro Lirico D'Europa Directing and bringing his Rigoletto set to Buffalo with WNY singers and international talent. Metropolitan Opera singer Valerian Ruminski reprises his role as the assassin 'Sparafucile'. General admission tickets for all NCO events available online at Eventbrite or at the door.

Lucky 13th Annual NCO Gala Dinner

A Lucky Evening of food, fun and singing featuring a special NCO production, door prizes and a four-course dinner. 

June 13th-6:00pm

The Saturn Club

977 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo


#     #     #

Nickel City Opera presents ‘The Moon and the Stars’ at The Saturn Club

With NCO All-Star Singers Thursday, December 12th, 7pm

Buffalo, NY-Join NCO for an evening of planetary alignments with the NCO All-Star Singers, Nancy Townsend accompanying and Valerian Ruminski as your host for this special evening  to see the stars by under the Full Moon. NCO brings back singers from 10 years of productions to lift you up, contemplate and meditate. Enjoy a generous table of sustenance and a cash bar of liquid spirits. 

Thursday, December 12th,7pm at The Saturn Club, 977 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo.  $23. For Tickets:


Adam Klein & Tami Schwartz (TOSCA 2014)

Greg Sheppard (AMAHL, 6 Seasons)

Ubaldo Feliciano-Hernandez (THE MUSIC SHOP 2017


Stephen MacDonald (TOSCA 2014/SHOT! 2016


With special guests:

Lara Secord-Haid (MANITOBA OPERA

Michele Bogdanowicz (COC/TORONTO

And your host, Valerian Ruminski, back from six months in Europe.

Accompanied by Nancy Townsend on piano.

With NCO’s Managing Director, Suzanne Fatta and Jaqueline Ornsby, Opera Buff’s Co-President, Lecture & Education Chair, singing starry Broadway & Jazz tunes in the Green Room prior to the main event.


Suzanne is looking forward to this special night, “I kind of grew up at The Saturn Club… it feels like my second home. The Club turns into a magical fairyland at the holidays and we’re so excited to share this night of celestial sparkle with this cosmic opera concert. The Saturn Club has become NCO’s second home — they understand the value of the arts, especially the classical arts like opera and ballet. We look forward to celebrating  this magical evening of holiday luminosity with all our patrons, friends and family!”


Nickel City Opera will also be announcing upcoming events and productions for the 2020 Season.


The Saturn Club

977 Delaware Avenue

Buffalo, NY 14209

7:00pm Cash Bar/Snacks

$23. For Tickets:

#     #     #

Nickel City Opera’s ‘Rigoletto’ LIVE by Giuseppe Verdi 

Available April 10th on Spotify and All Streaming Platforms

Los Angeles, CA-Nickel City Opera is proud to release the audio soundtrack of the Buffalo, NY production of Giuseppe Verdi’s ‘Rigoletto’ recorded live at the historic Riviera Theatre available April 10th, 2020 on all streaming platforms including Spotify, iTunes, Amazon Music and Pandora 

We’re proud to be able to share this special production and thrilled to be able to bring this recording to opera fans worldwide on their favorite streaming platforms. The quality level is on par with other available productions and a true testament to the goals of NCO to create productions that are of the highest standards.”..Valerian Ruminski, Artistic Director.

Rigoletto stars John Packard in the lead role, Heather Buck as Gilda, Eric Fennell as The Duke, Valerian Ruminski as Monterone and Sparafucile, Quinn Patrick as Maddelena, Edward Albert as Marullo, Rose Serrano as Giovanna,Tom Witakowski as Count Ceprano, Nadia Petrella as Countess Ceprano, Brett Potts as Borsa, Gary Sage as the Messenger and Danielle DiStefano as the Page. Conducted by Zachary Kampler with the Eastern Festival Symphony Orchestra. Directed by David MacAdam. Produced by Valerian Ruminski and Eileen Breen.


Rave reviews from The Buffalo News:

John Packard sang his heart out as Rigoletto, his flexible, strong baritone brought out the beauty of Verdi's writing. Heather Buck, as Rigoletto's daughter Gilda, dazzled the audience with her bell-like high notes. Strong-voiced tenor Eric Fennell made a terrific, rakish Duke of Mantua..filled out what could have been a cardboard part with humanity and lent even the chilling ‘La donna e mobile’ a certain allure. You could see why Gilda could not resist him, and you sensed that the womanizing Duke could have reformed. NCO director Valerian Ruminski as the assassin Sparafucile looks as if he walked in off the set of ‘Boris Godunov’, with long, lank black hair and an indifferent, oafish expression. He takes chances. You have to love him.”..The Buffalo News


Nickel City Opera is a 501c3 non profit based in Buffalo, NY dedicated to bringing opera to underserved communities.


Nickel City Opera website:

#     #     #


Nickel City Opera Keeps Busy with 2018-2019 Events, A Grand Opera &

Welcomes Arts Devotee & Performer Suzanne Fatta as Managing Director


Buffalo, NY-Entering into Season 11 Nickel City Opera forges on with a range of  events and moves to a new venue with Verdi’s grand opera ‘La Traviata’ May 2019. NCO is also honored to welcome Buffalo arts devotee, Suzanne Fatta as Managing Director.

The Season kicks off with the NCO Musical & Opera Showcase Thursday, December 6th presenting Broadway tunes and a bit of opera at The Saturn Club, 977 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo. Fast forward to next spring for the 11th Annual NCO Gala Dinner returning once again to The Saturn Club May 13th, 2019. For the grand presentation: Giuseppe Verdi’s ‘La Traviata’ will be presented May 24th & May 26th at The Villa Maria College Theatre followed up by Echoes of Opera Five, June 7th in the 120 foot reverberating silo at Silo City in downtown Buffalo.


It’s been a tough few years for NCO but General Director Valerian Ruminski is optimistic about the future. “NCO is soldiering on in an environment that can be, at times, difficult for small non-profit arts organizations. We will be producing our first large mainstage production since 2016 and excited about presenting opera for another decade in WNY. We’re also thrilled to bring Suzanne Fatta on Board who has been a supporter of NCO from the beginning and a member of the NCO Board of Directors from 2015-2017. She will work on NCO Sponsorship & Marketing Initiatives, will be  an NCO representative at the many arts based functions in and around WNY and looks forward to expanding the NCO Outreach Programs in the community.”


Suzanne is looking forward to her new post, “It  has been such a pleasure to witness the growth of Nickel City Opera in our beautiful Rust Belt city of Buffalo. As the city has gone through a major resurgence and renaissance, so has NCO grown in strength, artistic direction and community involvement. I’m so pleased to be a Managing Director, not only to contribute to the continued long term financial health of the organization, but in building bridges across Buffalo’s and America’s artistic communities!”

Suzanne Fatta

Harvard-educated Contralto Suzanne Fatta sits on Committees for the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Board of Vivaldi’s Women, Strategic Planning Committee at Vocalis Chamber Choir, former Co-Chair of the Metropolitan Opera National Council District Auditions for the Buffalo/Toronto Region and Representative of the UK Royal Musical Association.

Ms. Fatta holds a dual Bachelors with Honors in Musicology & Vocal Performance and Religion from Oberlin College & Conservatory of Music and trained at the doctoral level in Historical Performance Practice at Eastman School of Music and University of York (UK). Suzanne has her Masters in Medieval Studies from Harvard University, winning a university-wide Teaching Award of Distinction for a Music Department course on Jazz and held Research, Editorial and Personal Assistantships for the Chair of the Harvard Music Department. In addition, Suzanne has taught in the Music and Religion Departments at Canisius College and provides self-empowering workshops at Nardin Academy.


Suzanne sings with The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Nickel City Opera, Buffalo Chamber Players, Music Niagara, Vocális Chamber Choir, Sotto Voce Vocal Collective, Camerata di Sant'Antonio, Bach & Beyond Festival, Opera Sacra, OperaBuffs of WNY, DIVA by DIVA and several early music groups in Europe. Delving into the world of jazz and pop, she recently released her demo CD Brucia La Terra and nominated as Best Jazz Female Vocalist in JazzBuffalo 2016 and 2017.


An international curve model with 5 magazine covers, 40+ publications and agency representation in 4 countries, Suzanne is know for her vivacious presence on the runway. In addition to her business MODAL Productions, Suzanne is a Model Mentor & Manager and Diversity Advocate on both sides of the Atlantic. She sings and models around Europe and North America but happy at home in Buffalo NY.


Join NCO in Season 11 with more news to come on Community Outreach Programs and additional events to be announced. NCO is a 501c3 not for profit arts organization dedicated to promoting opera and the arts in WNY.

#     #     #

NCO Musical & Opera Showcase at The Saturn Club


Buffalo, NY-Enjoy a sparkling evening of Broadway tunes, famous chorus numbers and a little popular opera stuff thrown in as well. Staged with style and panache we will be presenting a colorful cast at the historical Saturn Club for a select audience of 180 people. Music will include numbers from Les Miserables, Carousel, South Pacific, Wicked, My Fair Lady, Turandot, Company, A Little Night Music and much more. Get your tickets today! Finger foods included with a cash bar.


Singers include: Valerian Ruminski, Jena Abati, Stephen MacDonald, Suzanne Fatta, John Clayton, Jacqueline Ornsby and Dr. Holly Bewlay. Accompanied by Nancy Townsend on piano.


Thursday, December 6, 2018 at 7:00pm

The Saturn Club       

977 Delaware Avenue

Buffalo, NY 14209

General Admission Tickets: $25.00

Cash bar/snacks

Ticket Link:

#     #     #

11th Annual Nickel City Opera Gala Dinner

Buffalo, NY-Spend an evening with NCO! Eat delicious food, listen to talented opera singers, enter to win raffles, browse the silent auction, bingo bags, door prizes and meet interesting people at the 11th Annual NCO Gala Dinner.


Monday, May 13th, 2019 at 6pm

11th Annual Nickel City Opera Gala Dinner

The Saturn Club

977 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo

6:00pm Cocktails & Auction

7:00pm-9:00pm Dinner & Singing

Three-Course Dinner & Hors d’oeuvres/Cash Bar

Tickets: $65.00

Ticket Link:


Friday, May 24th & Sunday, May 26th, 2019

Verdi’s ‘LaTraviata’

The beloved classic opera by Verdi about a woman who is misunderstood and misguided. Violetta falls in love with Alfredo and loses everything. Memorable and popular tunes abound including the drinking chorus 'Libiamo!'. Don't miss a full opera with costumes, sets, chorus and a full orchestra at the Villa Maria College Theatre!


Friday, May 24, 2019 at 7:00pm

Sunday, May 26, 2019 at 2:30pm

Verdi’s LaTraviata

Villa Maria College Theatre

240 Pine Ridge Road, Buffalo

General Admission Tickets: $42

Ticket Link:


Friday, June 7th, 2019

Echoes of Opera Five

Hear the human voice reverberating in a vibrating medium...the 120 foot high grain silo. Get a seat inside the silo for an acoustic bonanza. Only 100 people can fit inside at one time, a second show may be added for overflow. If the first show is booked, attend the 2nd one hour later. Valerian Ruminski, Metropolitan Opera singer, accompanied on the piano in the silo for opera and show tunes


Friday, June 7, 2019 at 6:00pm & 7:00pm

Silo City

105 Silo City Row, Buffalo

General Admission Tickets: $12.00

Ticket Link:

#     #     #

Nickel City Opera June Events

The Saturn Club Gala, Broadway @ The Lafayette Hotel and

Echoes of Opera IV at Silo City


Buffalo, NY-Nickel City Opera announces the “Good Ol’ Fashioned Opera Jamboree” at three Buffalo Landmarks. Starting Monday, June 25th with NCO’s Annual Gala Dinner & Auction at The Saturn Club then on to Broadway Showtunes at The Hotel Lafayette Thursday, June 28th and Silo City for the 4th installment of Echoes of Opera on Friday, June 29th.


As NCO enters Season 11, General Director, Valerian Ruminski is planning the next large scale production and has been in negotiations with venues, performers and producers. “Our November 2017 production of ‘The Music Shop’ by Richard Wargo was seen by 1500 children over seven performances with the final show at The Flickinger Center. As we enter our 11th Season we are now re-organizing, building our Board of Directors and are looking to our loyal patrons and all those new to the WNY area in deciding where and what to stage next. NCO is committed to provide even more programming with an eye for innovation and creativity. With that in mind we have crafted the Good Ol’ Fashioned Opera Jamboree in Downtown Buffalo at some of my favorite Buffalo venues for our loyal patrons and those new to what opera is all about.“...Valerian


Nickel City Opera is a 501c3 not for profit organization serving Buffalo, Western New York and surrounding areas.  All event proceeds to promote opera in Western New York and NCO’s upcoming full opera production at Shea's Performing Arts Center in March 2019.


Join NCO for the “Good Ol’ Fashioned Opera Jamboree”

at the following venues:

Monday, June 25th

NCO’s 10th Annual Gala Dinner & Auction

The Saturn Club

977 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo

6:00pm Cocktails & Auction

7:00pm-9:00pm Dinner & Singing

Three-Course Dinner & Hors d’oeuvres/Cash Bar/$60 per person

Spend an evening with NCO! Eat delicious food, listen to talented opera singers, enter to win raffles, browse the silent auction, bingo bags, door prizes and meet interesting people at the 10th Annual NCO Gala Dinner.


Thursday, June 28th

Broadway at The Lafayette

Hotel @ The Lafayette

391 Washington Street

Buffalo, NY


Cash bar/snacks/$20.00 per person

Join Valerian and other stylish singers for after hours show tunes and drinks at the lovely art deco Lafayette Hotel! This show was cancelled last June so we rescheduled it and here we go!



Friday, June 29th

Echoes of Opera IV

Silo City

105 Silo City Row

Buffalo, NY


Refreshments/Snacks/$10 per person

Join NCO for the 4th annual acoustic experience of ECHOES OF OPERA IV in the 90 foot high silo at Silo City. Hear Metropolitan Opera bass Valerian Ruminski accompanied on piano sing favorites and classics in an acoustic reverberation experience you will never forget. Come to the waterfront, have a drink and soak in the sights at SILO CITY with Nickel City Opera.


 #     #     #


bottom of page