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The Opera Guild of Rochester, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization with a mission to support opera and opera education in the greater Rochester area.

The Guild presents free opera lectures at local libraries, tours to productions of local opera companies and the Metropolitan Opera in New York City, and our popular Beat-the-Blahs, Haskell Rosenberg Memorial Series, at Temple B'rith Kodesh in Brighton.

Our Website serves as a clearinghouse for local and regional opera, concert, and recital information, with links to other music organizations on our area. Please visit us at  

This newsletter is sent via eMail each month, currently to about 3,000 subscribers.  For a free subscription send your contact details, including your eMail address, to

The Opera Guild of Rochester is also on facebook. For up-to-date information on opera-related news and events, please visit us on

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Reader Article submission deadline for the next issue is the 15th of the previous month.

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Click here to go to our Web site.
Free Opera Guild Lecture/Listening Series

Rochester Public Library
Bausch and Lomb Branch
115 South Ave., Rochester NY 14604
(585) 428 7300

Wednesday, April 15th 12 to 1p.m.
Verdi's Nabucco and the Italian Risorgimento (Rosalba Pisaturo)


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LOL Logo
LOLAdvertRenée Fleming on Broadway in
Living on Love

See LIVING ON LOVE and save up to 35%*!
The world's most famous opera singer Renée Fleming plays the world's most famous opera singer in the hilarious new screwball comedy Living On Love. Direct from a smash-hit run at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, this glamorous romp through the world of music, marriage and celebrity is written by two-time Tony Award® winner Joe DiPietro (Nice Work If You Can Get It), adapted from a work by Garson Kanin (Born Yesterday) and directed by three-time Tony Award winner Kathleen Marshall (Anything Goes). Fleming stars alongside Tony nominee Douglas Sills (The Scarlet Pimpernel) and Emmy® nominee Anna Chlumsky ("Veep").
When a demanding diva (Fleming) discovers that her larger-than-life maestro husband (Sills) has become enamored with the lovely young lady (Chlumsky) hired to ghostwrite his largely fictional autobiography, she retaliates by hiring her own handsome young scribe to chronicle her life as an opera star. Sparks fly, silverware is thrown and romance blossoms in the most unexpected ways.
Click here to visit, or call (800) 872-8997, and use code LLOPERA205 for the discounted prices.*

Performances begin April 1.  The discounted ticket prices are as follows:

Orchestra (Reg. $137)
Orchestra (Reg. $145)
Mezzanine (Reg. $99)
Mezzanine (Reg. $109)
Balcony (Reg. $55)
Balcony (Reg. $65)

*Offer valid on all performance through 8/2/15, excluding any blackout dates whenever they may apply. All prices include a $2 facility fee. All sales are final - no refunds or exchanges. Not valid in combination with any other offers. Normal service charges apply to phone and internet orders. Performance schedule subject to change. Offer may be revoked or modified at any time without notice. Photos by Andrew Eccles.

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OurTownEastman Opera Theater
Announces Ned Rorem's

Our Town takes place in 1901 in the small town of Grover's Corners, New Hampshire, but it proves that "our" is everywhere. In 2006, composer Ned Rorem and librettist J.D. McClatchy turned Thornton Wilder's theatrically innovative play into a moving opera. A Stage Manager is the narrator, commentator, and guide through Wilder's story of love, life and death  among the Gibbs and the Webb families; the play's profound emotions are heightened through Rorem's lyrical music.
Our Town Poster

Thursday, April 9, Friday, April 10 and Saturday, April 11 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 12 at 2 p.m.

Pre- performance lecture one hour before in the Ray Wright Room (room 120).
Tickets available now at (585) 454 2100, 108 East Ave. Rochester NY 14604

Our Town is sung in English with projected English subtitles

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9th Classical Idol Competition
For Young Opera Singers

Temple B'rith Kodesh

2131 Elmwood Ave

Rochester NY 14620


Final competition on Saturday April 18th at 7 p.m.

$ 75.00 - cocktail attire


Sponsored by the Rochester Oratorio Society 


Maestro Gildo DiNuncio, Italian coach and conductor for the Metropolitan Opera, Constance Fee, widely-experienced international performing artist and Associate Professor of Voice at Roberts Wesleyan College, baritone Johnathan Beyer, and Music Director and mid-day host for WXXI Julia Figueras are adjudicating.   


Click here for the flier from the Classical Idol web site for sponsorship opportunities. The Opera Guild has one table filled which gives participants a 10% discount and is looking for more participants to fill more tables. Call (585) 334-2323 if you want to help get together another table with the Opera Guild.  


Jonathan Beyer
Jonathan Beyer 


For tickets to the final round ( $75.00)

Call Rochester Oratorio Society at (585) 473-2234 or e-mail


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RanalettaCall to all Opera Lovers

Vote to nominate Judith Ranaletta to receive the first Tony Award for Excellence in Theater Education.

The Opera Guild of Rochester asks you to join it in voting for Judith Ranaletta's nomination to receive the first Tony Award recognizing excellence in theater education for K-12 grades.  The Tony Awards and Carnegie Mellon University have launched this recognition program for the teacher who best demonstrates a positive impact on the lives of students, advancement of the theatre profession, and a commitment to excellence.  It will be presented on stage at the 2015 Tony Awards and a financial contribution will be made to the theater arts program at the winner's school.
Judith Ranaletta

For more than thirty-five years, Judith Ranaletta has enriched the music life of her students, first in the Greece school system, training hundreds of theatre professionals including Kara Lindsay (Wicked, Glinda), Nikki Renée Daniels (The Book of Mormon, Nabulungi), Donna Lynne Champlin (Sweeney Todd) and many more. She developed the famous Greece Athena Show Choir, which won several national accolades, including the 2005 Fame National Championship, and was featured in the British documentary Gleeful: The Real Show Choirs of America.

Recently, the Opera Guild of Rochester was proud to publicize Judith Ranaletta's superb production of Bernstein's West Side Story at Roberts Wesleyan College.  Judith has continued to bring success to the Rochester Association for the Performing Arts, and is currently also serving as Resident Director of the Accanto apprenticeship-learning program of Rochester Lyric Opera.

At the web site, you may click on the Fact Sheet to see more of her accomplishments. Then please click on Home to cast your Vote and add your name to the more than 1000 people who have already supported her nomination.


Eastman School of Music

2015 Lotte Lenya Competition 


The Lotte Lenya competition seeks exceptionally talented young singers/actors who excel in a wide range of musical-theater styles for the 2015 contest.  


The finals are on April 18, 2015 at Kilbourn Hall, the Eastman School of Music, Rochester, New York.   Both the Daytime Round (11 a.m.-3 p.m.) and the Evening Concert (8 p.m.) are free and open to the public.

Winners will be announced at the conclusion of the Evening Concert. A panel of distinguished musical theater and opera professionals will judge the competition.


Further information may be found on the Kurt Weill Foundation's web site at


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SyrBarberSyracuse Opera Tour
Rossini's The Barber of Seville

Syracuse Barber
Rossini's razor-sharp wit shines through each scene of this fast-paced comedy. With the help of a wily barber, a strong-willed young woman outwits a lecherous old man in this eternally fresh comic masterpiece. From the first notes of one of the world's most famous overtures all the way to the final curtain, you are sure to recognize many hit tunes.

Click here for flyer, call Helga Strasser at 586-2274, or e-mail

Sung in Italian with projected English titles.

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Metropolitan Opera Trip 2015

Wed. April 29, 2015 - a double bill:
Mascagni, Cavalleria Rusticana
Leoncavallo, Pagliacci

With Eva-Maria Westbrock, Marcello Álvarez, Zeljko Lucic (Cavalleria Rusticana), Patricia Racette, Marcelo Álvarez, George Gagnidze, Lucas Meachem (Pagliacci)
Conductor: Fabio Luisi

Opera's most enduring tragic double bill returns in an evocative new production with the verismo action set across two time periods but in the same Sicilian setting.

Thurs. April 30, 2015
Franz Lehár, The Merry Widow

With Susan Graham, Danielle de Niese, Rod Gilfry, Stephen Costello, and Alan Opie
Conductor: Fabio Luisi

Susan Graham stars as the beguiling femme fatale who captivates all Paris in Lehár's enchanting operetta in a new staging in an art-nouveau setting that climaxes with singing and dancing grisettes at the legendary Maxim's.

Fri. May 1, 2015
Stravinsky, The Rake's Progress

With Layla Claire, Stephanie Blythe, Paul Appleby, Gerald Finley, Brindley Sherratt
Conductor: James Levine

Stravinsky's only full-length opera with its wonderful neo-classical score is back on the Met stage for the first time in 12 years.

Click here for flyer


FingerFinger Lakes Opera Festival 2015

Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore


The main stage operatic production in the

Wadsworth Auditorium at Geneseo College


One of Donizietti's masterpieces of opera buffa will be performed on

August 7 and 9, 2015, sung in Italian with English supertitles.

Conductor, Gerard Floriano.


Adina will be sung by Andrea Carroll and Nemorino will be sung by Victor Robertson.


Returning to Finger Lakes Opera will be its creative team, including stage director E. Loren Meeker, scene designer Laura Hawkes, and lighting designer Nic Minetor.


Tickets for the 2015 season will be available online (FingerLakesOpera.comand by phone at (585) 245 5650. A group package of 10 or more tickets will receive a $ 5.00 per ticket discount.


Gerard Floriano
Andrea Carrol
Victor Robertson


Opera Guild of Rochester

Annual Recital  for Donors

The Opera Guild of Rochester is proud to announce its Annual Recital on May 17, 2015. The featured artist will be tenor Matthew Valverde.  Matthew has made his name in Rochester and throughout the United States in opera, recitals, and as a choral soloist and conductor. He teaches at Nazareth College, the Eastman School, and the Eastman Community Music School.

His theme for the program is "Wishes and Dreams," featuring traditional opera arias, zarzuela, and Mexican songs.   


Click here for his biography. 




Metropolitan Opera Live in HD


Mascagni's Cavalleria rusticana

Leoncavallo's Pagliacci - New Production  


April 25, 2015, 12:30 pm ET


U.S. Encore: Wednesday, April 29, 2015 at 6:30 pm local time


Opera's most enduring tragic double bill returns in an evocative new production from Sir David McVicar, who sets the action across two time periods but in the same Sicilian village. Marcelo Álvarez rises to the challenge of playing the dual tenor roles of Turiddu in Cavalleria rusticana and Canio in Pagliacci. Rae Smith (War Horse) has designed the moodily atmospheric 1900 village square setting of Cavalleria, which transforms to a 1948 truck stop for the doomed vaudeville troupe of Pagliacci. Eva-Maria Westbroek (Cav) and Patricia Racette (Pag) sing the unlucky heroines, and Met Principal Conductor Fabio Luisi is on the podium.  



Approximate running time 3:30


GlimmerglassGlimmerglass Opera Tour

Verdi's Macbeth
July 21, 2015
New production.
Presented in Italian with projected English Text.

Shakespeare's tragedy of Macbeth is one of Western civilization's most powerful and iconic tales. In the first Glimmerglass production of Verdi's opera based on the play, Artist in Residence Eric Owens makes his role as the title character with Melody Moore as his scheming wife.

See Reader Article #2 for the first in a series about Verdi and the making of the opera.

Click here for flyer


ReaderArticlesThis section brings you articles written by anyone involved in opera, from impresarios, to singers, to fans.  If you have seen a performance that you want to review, or have attended a class or workshop that you want to write about, or have a story or a review that would interest others, please submit it to us and we will schedule it for inclusion.  Send your submissions to and please limit them to 500 words.  All submissions are subject to editorial review. 

Reader Article #1


Birth of an Opera Company      

Gerard Floriano   
When I was asked to write an article about Finger Lakes Opera for the Guild, I settled on the creation and development of Finger Lakes Opera (FLO), as this has been one of the most interesting and rewarding aspects of our ever-evolving journey.  

During the summer of 2011, shortly after the unfortunate cessation of Mercury Opera Rochester, of which I was the Co-Artistic Director, I sat down for a cup of coffee on the campus of SUNY Geneseo with then President, Chris Dahl.  It was my belief for some time that Rochester and western New York would embrace a summer opera festival.  Having conducted and worked for many summers at the Brevard Summer Music Festival in the mountains of western North Carolina, and in Verona, Italy as well, I saw no reason why western New York audiences would not be excited to experience great singing and lyric theatre at a location nearby.  Being the opera and music lover that he is, Chris agreed and also thought it would be a great asset for the college to host a first-rate professional summer music festival, thereby connecting the college and western New York community in new and dynamic ways.

FLO's first summer performance in the summer of 2013 was not a fully-staged opera production at all, but was a concert presentation of some of the most beloved arias and ensembles, featuring soprano Danielle Pastin, mezzo-soprano Jessica Best, tenor Rolando Sanz and baritone Evan Jones, accompanied by full orchestra with lighting design by Nic Minetor.  The idea behind doing this smaller-scale performance was to gauge the interest level for such an endeavor.  With a large and enthusiastic audience (and very little advance publicity, by the way) our question was answered.  It was very clear that great singing and great music would indeed be embraced by the region.  Last summer's full-scale production of Bizet's Carmen (J'nai Bridges as Carmen and Gregory Kunde as Don Jose), which played to two sold-out audiences, only added to our belief that grand opera is a "hot ticket" and that this timeless art form maintains great appeal for traditional audiences and younger concert-goers as well.

This summer we are expanding our offerings to include a "lightly staged" performance of Rodgers and Hammerstein's A Grand Night for Singing.  This will of course be in addition to our mainstage offering of Donizetti's comic masterpiece, The Elixir of Love.  This production, set in the 1920's, will see the return of our talented creative team of E. Loren Meeker, Director; Laura Fine-Hawkes, Set Designer; Nic Minetor, Lighting Designer, and some very exciting singers.  Visit our website for full details (

As we head into the future, I invite you to stay tuned for great opera and a great festival.  Viva L'Opera! 

Reader Article #2

Verdi and Shakespeare: From Play to Opera 
Part 1 of 3
Carol Crocca

Verdi admired Shakespeare above any other dramatist, calling him the "master of the human heart."  There were two translations of Shakespeare's plays always in the bookcase by his bed, and in a famous letter of 1865 he said, "He is a favorite poet of mine, whom I have had in my hands from earliest youth, and whom I read and reread constantly."

However, Shakespeare's plays were not generally performed in Italy and it is most probable that Verdi had never seen any of the plays before tackling Macbeth.  We know that he saw Macbeth performed in London in June, 1847, after the opera's premiere.  The opera was first composed earlier that year, during a period Verdi called his "years in the galley," when he produced 16 operas in 11 years.  He revised Macbeth in 1865 for a production in Paris.

For Verdi there were several steps in the conversion of a work of literature to an opera. A synopsis was prepared, an outline of the libretto, which frequently Verdi did for himself.  It was the job of the librettist to turn the synopsis into poetry suitable to being set to music.  On average, it takes two or three times as long to sing something as to speak it, and this was one reason that stories were compressed, with subplots and characters omitted. Other reasons were the economics and conventions of the opera business.  Why pay two singers when their functions in the drama could be combined in one character?  Furthermore, there were certain conventional primary and secondary roles in opera, apportioned among the different types of voices, which did not necessarily dovetail with the cast of characters of the original drama.  Another convention, that there be a chorus, affected Verdi's decision to have so many witches.

But perhaps most significantly, opera, in comparison to a story or a play, achieves its purpose not in the logical elaboration of a theme or the contemplation of the human condition, but in the intensification of the human emotions and the drama through music. In the pruning of the original work, elements which lend themselves more to the musical drama might be chosen over those not so well suited, resulting in a different emphasis.

Verdi was most meticulous about being faithful to Shakespeare in some ways.  For example, the following letter concerned the costumes for the play: "Do me the favor of informing Perrone [the costumer] that the period of Macbeth is well after that of Ossian and the Roman Empire.  Macbeth assassinated Duncan in 1040, and he was then killed in 1057...Don't fail to give this information to Perrone immediately, as I believe him to be mistaken about the period."

In the case of Macbeth, however, it might be pointless to criticize departures of the opera from the play, since there was a long stage tradition, stemming from the time of Shakespeare himself, of taking any opportunity for sensation, adding songs and dances, elevating the witches to the status of main characters, and, of course, stage machinery to enable them to fly.  The character of Hecate, who appears in Act III, scene V and Act IV, scene I, of the play seems to have been written by Thomas Middleton, or at any rate not by Shakespeare.  So almost from the very beginning there was no standard, authentic version to which any other could be compared.  In fact, in spite of the freedom with which Verdi sometimes handled the text of the play, it is often conceded that he captured the spirit of the drama and conveyed its essence as Shakespeare would largely have approved.

Next month: The Libretto 


FromOGRFrom your Opera Guild

RPO Traviata Table
Agneta Borgstedt, Joe Mancini, and Carol Crocca at the RPO

The Opera Guild of Rochester promotes the production and enjoyment of opera in the greater Rochester area.  We support efforts to perform opera, to present recorded performances, and we work to inform all who are interested in opera about the music, the drama, and the history.

Most recently the Guild supported the Rochester Philharmonic lightly-staged performance of Giuseppe Verdi's
La traviata.  We also hosted a table in the Eastman Theater's foyer to introduce the Guild to the audience and distribute a printed edition of Viva Voce

On Saturday afternoon, March 7, Art Axelrod and Carol Crocca represented the Opera Guild on a panel convened by Mona Seghatoleslami of WXXI after a showing of the film Moonstruck at the Little Theater.  They were joined by Eric Townell, Artistic Director of the Rochester Oratorio Society, and Constance Fee, Associate Professor of Voice at Roberts Wesleyan College to discuss the role of opera in the film and in our culture.  The panel enjoyed sharing insights about the operatic nature of the film itself, opera as representing the romantic and impractical side of the story, and such operatic elements as curses and choruses. 

Please consider the Opera Guild of Rochester among your c
haritable organizations for 2015. Donations to the Opera Guild of Rochester are fully tax deductible and donors receive an invitation to a free Annual Recital in May 2015, which is our gift to our donors, followed by dessert reception with the artists.

Enjoy our free Lecture/Listening series, which you can download from the web site at by clicking on Reading Room. While at our Website you can also learn about our opera program at Temple B'rith Kodesh, our opera trips to regional opera companies including the Glimmerglass Festival, and our Metropolitan Opera trips.
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Opera Guild of Rochester | P.O. Box 92245 | Rochester | NY | 14692-0245