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Call for Volunteers

Enjoy meeting others in Rochester's opera community and contributing to the availability of opera activities by volunteering for the Opera Guild!  Learning a small job or part of a larger one will pay off in numerous ways for anyone who wants to participate.  Currently there are several jobs posted: Assistant Publisher, Publicity Manager, Mail & Database Maintenance Assistant, Document Designer, and Audio/Visual Technician.

If you would like to volunteer in some other way, just let us know what your interest is and we will certainly find a place to accommodate it.  Contact Carol Crocca, Director of Development, at


Edition Viva Voce, November 2015
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 over 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

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

BeatTheBlahsThe Haskell Rosenberg Memorial Series
(Beat the Blahs)
Opera Presentations

Tchaikovsky's The Tsarina's Slippers
Sunday, January 10, 2016 at 1 PM

The Royal Opera House Covent Garden production of a comic Russian opera with Olga Guryakova, Vivold Grivnov, Larissa Diadkova, Conductor: Alexander Polianichko, Director: Francesca Zambello. Opera talk presented by Art Axelrod.

Ponchielli's La Gioconda
Sunday, January 17, 2016 at 1 PM

Vienna State Opera production with Placido Domingo, Eva Marton, Matteo Manuguerra, Ludmilla Semtschuk, Kurt Rydl, Magerita Lilowa. Conductor: Adam Fischer, Producer and Designer Filippo Sanjust. Opera talk presented by Peter Dundas.

Verdi's Giovanna d'Arco
Sunday, January 24, 2016 at 1 PM

Parma Opera production with Evan Bowers, Renato Bruson, Svetlana Vassileva, Luigi Petroni, Maurizio Lo Piccolo. Conductor: Bruno Bartoletti. Opera talk presented by Carol Crocca.

Meyerbeer's L'Africaine
Sunday, January 31, 2016 at 12:30 PM

San Francisco Opera production with Shirley Verrett, Placido Domingo, Ruth Ann Swensen, Justino Diaz. Conductor: Maurizio Arena. Opera talk presented by Agneta D. Borgstedt.

We meet at 1 PM on Sundays at the Social Hall (rear entrance) at Temple B'rith Kodesh, located at 2131 Elmwood Avenue in Rochester, NY.  For complete details, including maps, flyers, and registration forms
Please return your green fliers with your choice of operas and the information on the bottom of the flier, which speeds the sign-in process. In the intermissions we have delicious dessert provided by the opera guild hostesses.

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LibraryLecturesOpera Lecture Series
Brighton Memorial Library
2300 Elmwood Avenue
Rochester, NY 14618
(585) 784-5310

The Guild continues its lecture and listening series on operatic topics. All presentations are free.   

Viennese Operettas of Johann Strauss Jr., presented by Agneta D. Borgstedt (see this month's Reader Article)
Monday, January 4, 2016 from 7:00 to 9:00 PM

Romantic Romps: The Comic Operas of Rossini, presented by Carol Crocca
Monday, January 11, 2016 from 7:00 to 9:00 PM

Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov, presented by Peter Dundas
Monday, January 18, 2016 from 7:00 to 9:00 PM

Donizetti's Anna Bolena, the first of the 'Three Queens' Operas, presented by Rosalba Pisaturo
Monday, January 25, 2016 from 7:00 to 9:00 PM

The Mezzo Voice in Opera, presented by Art Axelrod
Monday, February 1, 2016 from 7:00 to 9:00 PM

METHDHD Season Live at the Met

Bizet's Les Pecheurs de Perles - New production 
January 16, 2016

Bizet's gorgeous opera of lust and longing set in the Far East returns to the Met stage for the first time in 100 years. Soprano Diana Damrau stars as Leila, the beautiful Hindu priestess pursued by rival pearl divers. Her suitors are tenors Matthew Polenzani and baritone Mariusz Kwiecien, who sing the lilting duet "Au fond du temple saint," which opera fans know and adore. Director Penny Woolcock explores the timeless themes of pure love, betrayal, and vengeance in a production that vividly creates an undersea world on the stage of the Met. Conductor Gianandrea Nosea brings his romantic flair to the lush score from the composer of Carmen.

Puccini's Turandot 
January 30, 2016

Nina Stemme, one of opera's greatest dramatic sopranos, takes on the title role of the proud princess of legendary China. Tenor Marco Berti is Calaf, the brave prince who sings "Nessun dorma" and wins her hand. Franco Zeffirelli's golden production is conducted by Paolo Carignani.

Click on the following links to get more information

eastmanEastman Opera Theater Season
Suor Angelica by Puccini
Mese mariano
by Giordano 
January 28, 29, 30 at 7:30 PM, January 30 at 2 PM  
804 Annex 
Suor Angelica is the second in a trio of operas known as Il trittico.  
Mese mariano is an opera in one act with an Italian libretto by Salvatore Di Giacomo,  adapted from his own play. 
Both operas deal with the grief of women who were forced to give up their children.

Stephen Carr, stage director; Ksenia Leletkina, music director.

Le nozze di Figaro by Mozart 
April 7, 8, 9 at 7:30 PM, April 10 at 2 PM 
Eastman Theater 
Mozart and librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte's most popular and delightful comedy in which the servants succeed in thwarting the Duke's lecherous plans. 
Friends of Eastman Opera Annual Dinner
April 7 at 5:00 PM at Miller Center
Friends of Eastman Opera Voice competition
February 12 at 8 PM
Tickets sold through the Eastman Theater Box Office
433 East Main Street, Rochester NY
Tel: 585-454-2100
More information can be obtained at   

festivalGlimmerglass Festival Season 2016

La Boheme
Puccini / Illica & Giacosa

July 8 - August 26, 2016
Sweeney Todd
Sondheim / Wheeler
July 9 - August 27, 2016
The Thieving Magpie (La gazza ladra) 
Rossini / Gherardini
July 16 - August 25, 2016
The Crucible
Ward / Stambler
July 23 - August 27, 2016
More information can be obtained at
or by calling (607) 547-2255

Single tickets from $26.00 on sale January 25, 2016

Syracuse Opera Season

2015-2016 Season

La Boheme

Feb. 5, 2016 at 8 p.m.

West Side Story

Apr. 8, 2016 at 8 p.m

For season tickets call the box office (315) 476 7372

Click Here for more details

Tri-Cities Opera Season

The Telephone / Trouble in Tahiti   
Sweeney Todd
Feb. 18-21, 2016
April 29 & May 1, 2016

For season tickets call the box office ( 607) 797-6344
For more information click here

NickelNickel City Opera
 2015-2016 Season

Songs of Love
Valentine's Day, February 14, 2016, 2:30 pm
The Lancaster Opera House
For details and tickets call the Box Office at (716) 683-1776

International debut of
Persis Vehar's
Libretto by Gabrielle Vehar
Shea's Performance Arts Center
Friday June 10, 2016, at 8 p.m. and Sunday June 12 at 2:30 p.m.
For details and tickets call the Box Office at (716) 939-3722

Shot is the seventh opera by Buffalo native and Composer-in-Residence, Persis Parshal Vehar.

The opera deals with the assassination of President William McKinley on September 6, 1901, in Buffalo on the grounds of the Pan-American Exposition. He was shot by anarchist Leon Czolgosz and died on September 14, 1901 from his  wounds. 
Persis Vehar
Persis Vehar
Photo: Jim Bush
The opera was commissioned by Valerian Ruminski, the Director of Nickel City Opera, who will be singing the bass-baritone role of President William McKinley.

Click here for Persis Vehar's biography

For Nickel City Opera Website click here:  

Chautauqua Opera Season 2016

This is the first Chautauqua Opera Season under new general/artistic director Steven Osgood.

Mainstage Production

Verdi's La Traviata
Chautauqua Amphitheatre
July 9, 2016.
Stage Director and Choreographer, Keturah Stickann

Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado
July 29 and August 1, 2016 at Norton Hall

The Chautauqua Opera Company will present a re-imagining of this beloved opera, directed and conceived by Ned Canty.

Canty's Mikado received rave reviews in St. Louis and Memphis. He infuses the opera with references to modern Japanese animation, fashion and pop culture, including anime, manga and Hello Kitty. This colorful and spectacular production is sure to delight and engage opera audiences of all generations.

Missy Mazzoli's Song from the Uproar
The Lives and Deaths of Isabelle Eberhardt
Logan Chamber Music Series, August 8, 2016

The opera is inspired by the life and writings of the 19th century Swiss adventuress Isabelle Eberhardt, who at the age of 20 traveled alone to North Africa, where she dressed as a man, joined an all-male Sufi sect, married an Algerian soldier and was drowned in a flash flood at the age of 27.

Music Director Stephen Taylor has woven together voice, live chamber music, electronics, and film. Song from the Uproar was written for mezzo-soprano Abigail Fischer and NOW Ensemble, who will perform the work this summer with five Chautauqua Opera Young Artists.

For more information about the Chautauqua Opera season 2016 please visit:


CanadaCanadian Opera Company
2015-2016 Season

Wagner's Siegfried
January 23, 27, 30 and
February 2, 5, 11, 14, 2016

Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro
February 4, 7, 9, 13, 17, 19, 21, 22, 23, 25, 27,  2016
Bizet's CarmenApril 12, 17, 20, 23, 28, 30 and
May 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 2016

Rossini's Maometto II
April 29, and
May 1, 3, 5, 7, 11, 14,  2016

Subscribe by phone: 

(416) 363-8231

1 800-250-4653

by mail:

Ticket Services Canadian Opera Company

227 Front St. E.

Toronto, ON M5A 1E8

Click Here for more information.

ReaderArticlesReader Articles

This 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, we encourage you to submit it to us and we will schedule it for inclusion.  Please send your submissions to and please limit them to 500 words.  All submissions are subject to editorial review.

Reader Article #1

Johann Strauss Jr., King of Viennese Operetta
By Agneta D. Borgstedt
The Opera Guild of Rochester's free public library opera lectures at the Brighton Memorial Library will start on Monday January 4, 2016 at 7-9 p.m. Johann Strauss Jr. (1825-1899) and his Viennese Operettas will be the presentation.

Johann, or in his lifetime called "Schani," was born into a musical family, his father having achieved fame and popularity as the "Waltz King" in the first half of the 19th century. At that time, without radio, television or electronics, social life centered around dance halls, usually in the suburbs of Vienna such as Hietzing's Dommayer's Casin. Father Johann Strauss conducted an orchestra for waltzes, polkas, mazurkas, marches, and dances that the public enjoyed. His three sons followed him and in the 1840's Schani's orchestra even competed with that of his father.

After his father's death in 1849, Schani combined the two orchestras. By 1850 he had started concert tours outside of Vienna to Breslau, Warsaw, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Of his many waltzes, Schani's On the Banks of the Blue Danube (An der schoenen blauen Donau), became the first "Schlager" (popular hit) of the world in 1867 and was the first high point of his career.

In 1862 Strauss married his first wife Jetty Treffs, and in addition to organizing his concert tours, she influenced him to turn his attention to operetta during the 1860's.

An operetta has spoken dialogue between the music parts and is related to the German Singspiel. Viennese operettas are full of balls, with waltzes, polkas, quadrilles, mazurkas and marches. They have distinct comic elements with disguises, misunderstandings and womanizing aristocrats. There is usually a happy ending, with the whole ensemble singing and dancing.

The first operetta, Indigo and the Forty Robbers, premiered in February 1871. One of the reviews subsequently judged it: "the first operetta by Johann Strauss, weighing much more than all of Offenbach's operettas together" and there was a cartoon of this in the newspaper.

Schani composed nineteen comic operettas, the last one being a pastiche of his waltzes and polkas. Put together by Strauss' friend Adolf Mueller Jr., it premiered four months after his death.

Four of these operettas are still in the repertory and available on DVD. His most well-known is Die Fledermaus (The Bat), which premiered in 1874 at the Theater an der Wien. It was subsequently the first operetta presented by an opera house, the Hamburg Staatsoper in 1894, and it is now produced all over the world.

Strauss used Carnevale season in Venice for Eine Nacht in Venedig (A Night in Venice) in 1883 and a Hungarian setting for Der Zigeuner Baron (The Gypsy Baron) in 1885.

In the 2017 season of the opera lecture series, you will have a chance to compare Offenbach's opera bouffes with Johann Strauss Jr.'s comic operettas, when I will present a lecture, Offenbach's Opera Bouffes from 1858-1868. In 1864 Jacques Offenbach had a Waltzer Duell (waltz competition) with Strauss, when he presented in Vienna one of his comic operettas Die Rhein Nixen (The Rhine Maidens.)

Meanwhile, see you on January 4 to explore the Viennese operetta music with me at the Brighton Memorial Library.

Resource : German Biography of Johann Strauss by Norbert Linke, Rowohlt Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH, 6. Auflage April 2003, ISBN 3 499 50304 2, printed in Germany

NewsNews about two of Rochester's young singers

Eapen Leubner continues his singing career across the country from Alaska to New York. You may remember Eapen from his role as "Mengone" in Rochester Lyric Opera's production of Haydn's Lo Speciale. Between opera performances, Eapen founded the "Denver Art Song Project," a Colorado-based ensemble dedicated to performance and education of the art song genre. They have released their first digital album "A Single Step...Songs of Donaudy and Beethoven." You can purchase it through iTunes, Google play, and Amazon Music

Jessica Best has premiered the lead character "Alice Ryley" at the Savannah Music Festival.  Click here for a review. 

From your Opera Guild 

The Annual Recital for donors to the Opera Guild will be on May 15, 2016. For the first time in 25 years we will offer a mature, well-known bass baritone. His theme for this presentation is power and corruption. Among others, he will sing Sarastro's aria "In diesen heilgen Hallen" from Mozart's Die Zauberflöte, Wolfram's aria "O! du mein holder Abendstern" from Wagner's Tannhäuser, and Wotan's aria "Abschiedslied" from Wagner's Die Walküre.

Click here for more information and Mr. DuPont's biography. 
Carl DuPont
Carl DuPont

Please consider the Opera Guild of Rochester among your charitable organizations for 2015. Donations to the Opera Guild of Rochester are fully tax deductible and donors will receive an invitation to a free Annual Recital in May 2016, 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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Submission deadline for the next issue is the 15th of the previous month