Resident Artist Karl Perigo MC’s and sings in Operatunity’s 2017 tour of New Zealand and will be entertaining the crowds when they perform over the coming months at the Carterton Events Centre.
Operatunity knocked for Karl back in 2015 when directors Susan Boland and John Cameron asked him to join their national Memories Are Made of This tour. He reluctantly took 5 weeks off work from his job at Michael Hill and in his own word “was blown away by what Operatunity does”.
Throughout his 20s, Karl led a very busy life as a radio host for Classic Hits and ZM, all whilst performing in concerts and musicals all over New Zealand. As happens with many young kiwi performers the promise of a steady paycheque and career progression called and Karl found himself working a 9-5 with Michael Hill Jewellers. Karl channelled his energy away from performances and into helping people find the perfect engagement rings, or anniversary gifts and during his 6 years at Michael Hill he found he had less and less enthusiasm for music, and he eventually stopped performing at all.
“Through music you bring back memories for peoples, you can make people laugh and cry.” Karl was so moved by what the music at Operatunity concerts meant to people that after his 5 week tour with the company he went back to his job at Michael Hill and was miserable; he wrapped up his contract at the jewellers and “ran off to join the circus that is Operatunity.”
“I love my job and I love our audiences. It is a gift to be able to entertain people, meet and talk with people after our concerts. The pure enjoyment and delight on the faces of the Operatunity audiences touches me every day.”
Known by many throughout New Zealand for being a crooning tenor, it’s his signature collection of flamboyant shoes for which he is best remembered. What started as a single pair of Maher shoes purchased for his brother’s wedding quickly spiralled out of control to a collection which now sits at around 80 pairs of the shoes, which are designed by NZ shoe mogul Glen Maher. During the course of Operatunity touring to Invercargill, Managing Director Susan Boland mentioned to Karl that she knew a store that stocked his shoes. “It was like standing at the pearl gates. Maher Shoes OUTLET store. I had died and gone to heaven. I left with 15 pairs that visit.”
Since that first visit, Karl says that many Operatunity performers have added Maher shoes to their closets, including Operatunity Principal Artist Bonaventure Allan-Moetaua, singer Alex Milligan, and pianist Paul Carnegie-Jones. During the meet-and-greet sessions which is a feature after every Operatunity performance, people always say “We love your shoes- it’s the highlight of our day to see what you will be wearing, we counted 5 pairs today!”
Karl thought he was “pretty cool as a kid” because he had a famous uncle, broadcaster Lindsay Perigo, on TV. Lindsay introduced Karl to one of his own great loves, Opera and the incomparable Mario Lanza. A proud Feilding boy, Karl grew up on a farm where every night his grandad would play piano, which Karl calls his “fondest childhood memory.”
While most 7 year olds were listening to MC Hammer or Vanilla Ice on their Walkman, Karl was listening to Phantom of the Opera, the first tape his grandparents bought for him. One day his Nana whisked him away from school and the pair flying to Melbourne to see Phantom of The Opera with Rob Guest (who played the role 2,289 times over seven years) as The Phantom. “As the curtain calls started both my nana and I were in tears, well we saw the same show every night for the next 4 days. I was hooked from that moment.”
In addition to the Glenn Miller and the Andrews Sisters show that toured in April-May he’ll also, quite appropriately, be performing on Operatunity’s upcoming From Phantom to Les Mis tour which runs from May-Jun in 24 centres across New Zealand.
www.operatunity.co.nz for more information