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    Many years ago, as a newspaper journo, I was asked by the editor if I’d heard of Carlton Braganza. “Go meet him. He has a voice like an angel.” I met him and found it was true. I also met his lovely dynamo of a wife, Gina and did several interviews and photo shoots, watching in admiration as they started Opus soon after. Opus rapidly became the must-visit place for music lovers, much more than just a club. It became a cult music space.
    Much has happened since: Gina’s tragic death in 2009 stunned Bangalore. Opus continued on, but then recently came news that it had shut, and many, like I, were quite upset to hear this. So here’s some good news: Opus hasn’t gone away, it will be back in a new and improved avataar come December 2015, with Carlton still very much in the mix, as partner. In fact, fans of Opus can look forward to kicking off the merrymaking with an old favourite — the annual eight days of Xmas festival with a new F&B zing when Opus reopens.
    It all fell into place when I spoke with music-man Carlton. “I felt Opus had done its time. It’s 12 years, we must reinvent to retain the magic.” Also being renovated is Opus In the Creek Whitefield which will move to a larger space complete with swimming pool and beer garden vibe. “Great venue for Sunday hangouts and open air gigs.”
    Meanwhile, the Opus party has gone mobile – aboard a bus called the O-bus, his desi take on the Vengabus (his description!) – and is transitioning into a musical tour de force on the open road. It features singers, many of whom Opus has mentored to fame – Barry, Sylvester, Sheridan – and travels between local Bangalore pubs and outstation venues.
    “Our Sunday Kroak nights became popular 10 years ago. Now we’re taking that vibe to a different city pub each week and different locations around India each month – like Goa from September 10-13.” The O-bus retinue recently travelled to Rotterdam (via Paris, London) for the North Sea Jazz music festival to listen to the likes of Tony Bennett, John Legend, Lady Gaga, a first foray of future grand plans to take groups of like-minded music lovers abroad on curated trips to music festivals around the world. Worth tagging along on, I’d say.
    Carlton occasionally puts on his star performer hat, singing his heart out at glitzy weddings in Udaipur, organising musical flash mobs for 75th birthday parties and after hours collaborative jam sessions at home with fellow musicians. For those who think he is straying too far from his operatic roots and training, that’s taken care of, too. He’s working on a five-song classical/spiritual album— just log on to YouTube and listen to his cover of Andrea Bocelli and Celine Dion’s The Prayer with Kenishaa Francis.
    “It was all Opus-oriented for me thus far,” he says, “Now it’s more Ceebee oriented. And still lots
    of fun.”
    m firstimpressionbangalore@gmail.com

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