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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 two jobs posted: Event Host or Hostess, Mail & Database Assistant.   

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 operaguildofrochester@gmail.com.


Edition Viva Voce, July 2016
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 in our area. Please visit us at operaguildofrochester.org.   

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


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Opera Saratoga Summer Festival 2016

The Spa Little Theater 
21 Roosevelt Drive 
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 

Saratoga 2016 
Le nozze di Figaro

Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte 
Based on the play by Pierre Beaumarchais

Sung in Italian with English supertitles

Friday, June 24, 2016 at 7:30 pm 
Monday, June 27,  2016 at 2:00 pm 
Saturday, July 9, 2016 at 2:00 pm 
Friday, July 15, 2016 at 7:30 pm  
Saratoga 2016
The Witches of Venice

Music by Philip Glass
Dramatic Composition by Beni Montresor

Two fairies grant the wish of the King and Queen of Venice for a child by giving them a magical plant that sprouts them an heir. They are repulsed, however, by the thought of having a plant-boy as their son. The boy lives a lonely life in the royal garden, until one day he hears that there is a little girl - very much like him - living in the Witch's Grand Palace. He sets off on a wild and whimsical adventure, narrowly escaping captors, fleeing monsters, and ultimately finding a friend. Glass brings this story of adventure and friendship to life through inventive songs and exhilarating dances.

Saturday, July 2, 2016 at 7:30 pm 
Monday, July 11, 2016 at 2:00 pm 
Sunday, July 17, 2016 at 2:00 pm 
 Saratoga 2016
Il Postino

Music and Libretto by Daniel Catán
Based on the novel by Antonio Skármeta and the film by Michael Radford
Sung in Spanish with English supertitles

When exiled Chilean poet Pablo Neruda arrives on a tiny Italian island, he receives so much fan mail that Mario is hired as his personal postman. Mario soon becomes Neruda's student, learning the art of poetry to woo a local barmaid. Inspired by Neruda, Mario's poetic voice continues to take wing as he expresses the struggles of his fellow working-class villagers. A firm friendship develops, and the postman is forever a changed man.

Thursday, July 7, 2016 at 7:30 pm 
Sunday, July 10,  2016 at 2:00 pm 
Saturday, July 16, 2016 at 2:00 pm 
Saratoga 2016
An Evening on Broadway

The South Pacific, where Bali Ha'i will whisper on the wind of the sea... Brigadoon, blooming under sable skies... Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweeping down the plain.... The Secret Garden, where love grows free and wild... Somewhere, over the rainbow, way up high... Camelot, that most congenial spot... New York, New York, a helluva town, where people ride in a hole in the groun'...

One night only, Thursday, July 14, 2016 at 7:30 pm 

For more information: www.operasaratoga.org/2016-season-at-a-glance

For tickets: www.operasaratoga.org/tickets-overview or call the Box Office at 518-584-6018

Single tickets from $50 (for An Evening on Broadway see Saratoga Website). 

Met2016SummerEncoreMet HD 2016 Summer Encores

La Bohème, Giacomo Puccini
Wed, Jul 13, 2016 7:00 PM
Kristine Opalais, Vittorio Grigolo, conducted by Stefano Ranzini

Così fan tutte, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Wed, Jul 20, 2016 7:00 PM
Isabel Leonard, Susanna Phillips, Matthew Polenzani, Danielle DeNiese, conducted by James Levine

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festivalGlimmerglass Festival Season 2016

La Bohème
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 www.glimmerglass.org
or by calling (607) 547-2255

Single tickets from $26 

ChautauquaChautauqua Opera Company Season 2016
La Traviata (sung in Italian with English subtitles)
Giuseppe Verdi / Francesco Maria Piave
Caitlin Lynch as Violetta, Dominic Armstrong as Alfredo, Todd Thomas as Germont
July 9,  8:15 p.m. Chautauqua Amphitheater
Tickets $42 or your evening gate pass.

Verdi's La Traviata has the lyric beauty, the dramatic heft, the love, the passion, and the anger - all those big human emotions that opera can uniquely capture.

The Mikado
Arthur Sullivan / W.S. Gilbert
July 29 and August 1, 7 p.m. Norton Hall
Tickets required. Reserved seating, $52, $42, $15, Youth, $10.

Comic powerhouses Kevin Burdette and Daniel Belcher in Gilbert and Sullivan's zany operetta about forbidden flirtation, preposterous plots, and governmental gaffs. Ned Canty's modern manga-infused production received rave reviews in St. Louis and Memphis. With its references to Japanese anime, video games, Elvis, Hello Kitty and Godzilla, The Mikado is sure to delight audiences of all ages.

Song from the Uproar (concert performance)
Missy Mazzoli/Royce Vavrek
August 8, 5 p.m., Norton Hall
Tickets at no additional cost with evening or seasonal gate pass.

Abigail Fischer sings the part of 19th-century Swiss adventuress Isabelle Eberhardt, who 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. Fragments of Isabelle's writing and diaries are woven into this dreamlike opera by Missy Mazzoli and Royce Vavrek, two of the most prolific and exciting writers of their generation. This uniquely theatrical performance features Abigail Fischer and the NOW Ensemble, for whom the opera was composed, and includes original film by Stephen Taylor projected above the performers.

Ticket Office: Tel (716) 357-6250 or chqtickets.com; call for parking fees and details.

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SeagleSeagle Music Colony
2016 Summer Season

999 Charley Hill Rd
Schroon Lake, NY 12870

The Most Happy Fella by Frank Loesser
     July 6, 7, 9 at 8 pm, July 8 at 2 pm
     Tickets $37.50 adults, $27.50 12 and under

The Elixir of Love (L'elisir d'amore) by Gaetano Donizetti
     July 20, 21, 23 at 8 pm, July 22 at 2 pm
     Tickets $32.50 adults, $22.50 12 and under

Roscoe - a world premiere
     Music by Evan Mack, Libretto by Josh McGuire, based on the novel by William Kennedy
     August 3, 4, 6 at 8 pm, August 5 at 2 pm
     Tickets $32.50 adults, $22.50 12 and under

The Music Man by Meredith Willson
     August 17, 18, 20 at 8 pm, August 19 at 2 pm

Full season tickets on sale now at 15% discount over single tickets. Call the box office at (518) 532-7875 or visit www.seaglecolony.org for information.

The Seagle Colony is one of the oldest organizations (101 years) that has helped young singers to develop their voices and find their repertoire. This is a wonderful vacation place where people with love for opera can discover young singers building their careers.

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Geneva Light Opera

Die Fledermaus (The Bat)
Johann Strauss Jr.
July 21 and 23 at 7:30 pm
July 24 at 3 pm

One of the most beloved operettas of Johann Strauss, Jr., its beautiful music and comic situations add up to wonderful entertainment. This production is sung in English at the Smith Opera House, 82 Seneca St., Geneva, NY. The Geneva Light Opera is sponsored by American Landmark Festival.

Tickets at thesmith.org Tel: (315) 781-5483. The Copy Shop, Seneca Falls, and Mobile Music, Canandaigua.

$35 Individual, $50 Couples, $20 Students and Seniors, and free for Children K-12

FLOFinger Lakes Opera
 At SUNY Geneseo

La Traviata, Guiseppe Verdi

Wadsworth Auditorium Mainstage
Sung in Italian with English supertitles

Danielle Talamantes sings Violeta, Yi Li sings Alfredo, Mark Walters sings Germont

Friday, August 12, 7:30 pm
Sunday, August 14, 2:00 pm

Tickets at FingerLakesOpera.com, (585) 245-5650 Adults $ 75 Red Carpet seating, $50 Premium, $40 General, Students/Faculty/Staff $30 Premium/General.

The Opera Guild of Rochester will coordinate a trip to La Traviata. It includes tickets and dinner, but participants are responsible for their own transportation. Carpooling is recommended and the trip host might be able to coordinate carpooling arrangements. To see the trip flyer Click Here.

OperaToursFall 2016 Opera Tour

Metropolitan Opera Tour, Fall 2016
The Guild organizes informal group trips to the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. The Guild will buy tickets and make group hotel and restaurant reservations. Participants are responsible for their own travel arrangements. You need not attend all three operas or join the  group for meals.

Wagner's Tristan und Isolde (new production)
Monday, October 17, 2016
With a star-studded cast: Nina Stemme, (Isolde), Stuart Skelton (Tristan), Ekaterina Gubanova (Brangäne), Evgeny Nikitin (Kurwenal), and René Pape (King Marke). Conductor: Sir Simon Rattle.

Rossini's Guillaume Tell (new production)
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
With Marina Rebeka (Mathilde), Gerald Finley (William Tell), Janai Brugger (Jemmy), Marianna Pizzolato (Hedwige), Bryan Hymel (Arnold), and Marco Spotti (Walter Fürst). Conductor: Fabio Luisi.

Rossini's epic telling of the William Tell fable returns to the Met stage after an absence of more than 80 years. Gerald Finley sings one of his signature roles as William Tell, the revolutionary on a quest for freedom.

Mozart's Don Giovanni
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
With Hibla Gerzmava (Donna Anna), Mailin Bystrom (Donna Elvira), Serena Malfi (Zerlina), Rolando Villazón (Don Ottavio),  Simon Keenlyside (Don Giovanni), Adam Plachetka (Leporello), Matthew Rose (Masetto), and Kwangchul Youn (Commendatore). Conductor: Fabio Luisi.

See Met HD Season, below, for links to opera casts and descriptions.

Met201617SeasonMet HD 2016-2017 Season

Tristan und Isolde, Richard Wagner
Sat, Oct 8, 2016 12:00 PM

Tristan und Isolde opens the Met season in a new production by Mariusz Trelinski (the director responsible for last season's double bill of Iolanta and Bluebeard's Castle), and will be well served by a cast of outstanding Wagnerians: Nina Stemme as Isolde, Stuart Skelton as Tristan, Ekaterina Gubanova as Brangäne, and René Pape as King Marke, with Sir Simon Rattle conducting, in one of his rare appearances at the Met.

For a complete synopsis Click Here
Don Giovanni, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Sat, Oct 22, 2016 12:55 PM
Simon Keenlyside will perform the role of the title hero, who goes to hell in a dazzling coup de théâtre. The ensemble of great Mozartean singers includes Hibla Gerzmava, Malin Byström, Serena Malfi, Rolando Villazón, Adam Plachetka, Matthew Rose, and Kwangchul Youn. Conducted by Fabio Luisi. 

For a complete synopsis Click Here 

L'Amour de Loin, Kaija Saariaho
Sat, Dec 10, 2016 12:55 PM
Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho's breakthrough opera was described by the New York Times as "transfixing...a lushly beautiful score." Commissioned by the Salzburg Festival, where it was first seen in 2000, it will now finally have its Metropolitan Opera premiere in a dazzling new production by Robert Lepage, featuring glimmering ribbons of LED lights that extend across the length of the stage and over the orchestra pit. Eric Owens is the knight on a quest of love and Susanna Phillips is his lover on the other side of the sea. Conductor Susanna Mälkki makes her Met debut.

For more information Click Here

Nabucco, Giuseppe Verdi
Sat, Jan 7, 2017 12:55 PM
The legendary Plácido Domingo brings another new baritone role to the Met under the baton of his longtime collaborator James Levine. Liudmyla Monastyrska is Abigaille, the warrior woman determined to rule empires, and Jamie Barton is the heroic Fenena. Dmitri Belosselskiy is the stentorian voice of the oppressed Hebrew people.

For a complete synopsis Click Here 

Roméo et Juliette, Charles Gounod
Sat, Jan 21, 2017 12:55 PM

When Diana Damrau and Vittorio Grigolo starred opposite each other in Manon at the Met in 2015, the New York Times said, "the temperature rises nearly to boiling every time Damrau and Grigolo are on stage together." Now they're back as opera's classic lovers, in Gounod's lush Shakespeare adaptation. The production, by director Bartlett Sher, has already won acclaim for its vivid 18th-century milieu and stunning costumes during runs at Salzburg and La Scala. Gianandrea Noseda conducts the sumptuous score.

For a complete synopsis Click Here

Rusalka, Antonín Dvorák
Sat, Feb 25, 2017 12:55 PM

Kristine Opolais stars in the role that helped launch her international career, the mythical Rusalka, who sings the haunting "Song to the Moon." Mary Zimmerman brings her wondrous theatrical imagination to Dvorák's fairy tale of love and longing, rejection and redemption. Brandon Jovanovich, Jamie Barton, Katarina Dalayman, and Eric Owens complete the all-star cast, and Mark Elder conducts.

For a complete synopsis Click Here 

La Traviata, Giuseppe Verdi
Sat, Mar 11, 2017 12:55 PM

Sonya Yoncheva sings one of opera's most beloved heroines, the tragic courtesan Violetta, a role in which she triumphed on the Met stage in 2015, opposite Michael Fabiano as her lover, Alfredo, and Thomas Hampson as his father, Germont. Carmen Giannattasio sings later performances of the title role opposite Atalla Ayan, with the great Plácido Domingo as Germont. Nicola Luisotti conducts.

For a complete synopsis Click Here

Idomeneo, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Sat, Mar 25, 2017 12:55 PM   

Mozart's first operatic masterpiece returns to the Met in the classic Jean-Pierre Ponnelle production, conducted by Music Director James Levine. The superb ensemble includes Matthew Polenzani as the king torn by a rash vow; mezzo-soprano Alice Coote in the trouser role of his noble son Idamante; soprano Nadine Sierra as Ilia; and soprano Elza van den Heever as the volatile Elettra, who loves Idamante to the bounds of madness.

For a complete synopsis Click Here

Eugene Onegin, Peter Tchaikovsky
Sat, Apr 22, 2017 12:55 PM

Tchaikovsky's setting of Pushkin's timeless verse novel is presented on the Met stage in Deborah Warner's moving production, starring Anna Netrebko and Dmitri Hvorostovsky as Tatiana and Onegin. Alexey Dolgov sings the role of Lenski, and Robin Ticciati conducts.

For a complete synopsis Click Here

Der Rosenkavalier, Richard Strauss 
Sat, May 13, 2017 12:30 PM

The dream cast of Renée Fleming as the Marschallin and Elīna Garanča as Octavian star in Strauss's grandest opera. In his new production, Robert Carsen, the director behind the Met's recent Falstaff, places the action at the end of the Habsburg Empire, underscoring the opera's subtext of class and conflict against a rich backdrop of gilt and red damask, in a staging that also stars Günther Groissböck as Baron Ochs. Sebastian Weigle conducts the sparklingly perfect score.

For a complete synopsis Click Here

Syracuse201617SeasonSyracuse Opera 2016 - 2017 Season

Friday, Oct 28, 2016, 8 PM
Sunday, Oct 30, 2016, 2 PM
Rossini's La Cenerentola 
Sung in Italian with projected subtitles.
In his variation of the traditional Cinderella story, the wicked stepmother is replaced by a wicked stepfather, Don Magnifico. The Fairy Godmother is replaced by Alidoro, a philosopher and the Prince's tutor. Cinderella is identified not by her glass slipper but by her bracelet.

Friday, Feb 10, 2017, 8 PM
Sunday, Feb 12, 2017, 2 PM
Verdi's Rigoletto 
Sung in Italian with projected subtitles.
Its tragic story revolves around the licentious Duke of Mantua, his hunch-backed court jester Rigoletto and Rigoletto's beautiful daughter Gilda.

Friday, Apr 7, 2017, 8 PM
Sunday, Apr 9, 2017, 2 PM
Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin 
Sung in Russian with projected subtitles.
The story concerns a selfish hero who lives to regret his blasé rejection of a young woman's love and his careless incitement of a fatal duel with his best friend.

For more information Click Here

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 operaguildofrochester@gmail.com.  We generally limit articles to a nominal 500 words.  All submissions are subject to editorial review.

Agneta D. Borgstedt

On Sunday, June 12, Agneta Borgstedt, Marcia Elwitt, Mona Miller, and Elisabeth Beumer from the Opera Guild of Rochester went to Buffalo's Shea's auditorium to view the premiere of the opera SHOT! Composed by Persis Vehar with a libretto by her daughter Gabrielle Vehar, the opera treats the assassination of President McKinley, an important event in Buffalo history. The stage scenery recreated 1901 Buffalo, where the shooting took place at the Pan- American Exposition. The libretto conveyed a sense of the times during the industrialization of the late 19th century: great wealth for a few people on the backs of the working class, which led to the development of an anarchist movement led by Emma Goldman. Many of the issues of that time are still of concern today, such as wealth inequality, gun control, and even acceptance of women's opinions.  

President William McKinley was shot by a disgruntled immigrant, Leon Czolgosz, sung by the tenor John Packard, who is well-known in both American and European opera houses. General Director of Nickel City Opera Valerian Ruminsky, bass, sang a strong President McKinley. His speech at the Pan-American Exposition and his death scene were impressive performances. Also beautifully sung was the aria by Mariateresa Magiano, a winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, as his loving heartbroken wife Ida. Her lament in the second scene of Act I was the musical high point of the opera.

The rest of the music consisted of recitatives by individual singers and the chorus representing the bereaved citizens of Buffalo. The large, well-prepared orchestra was more effective in conveying the colors of the tonal music and expressing the feelings of the characters than the recitative, however. 

In her review, Mary Kunz Goldman of the Buffalo News opined that the opera could have been more effective if shortened, particularly the prison scene in the second act which consisted of Czolgosz's dream about Emma Goldman's anarchist philosophy.  

The press scenes announcing the state of the President's health were repetitive and the part of the announcer of the Pan American Exposition could have been omitted. The well-done surtitles were absolutely necessary in the large Shea's auditorium. In future, presentations in smaller venues should be considered and would assist the voices. 

Despite any shortcomings, a modern, tonal opera about American history that includes issues of contemporary relevance is an exciting experience! 

AnnualRecitalDupontStreaming Record of Annual Recital
May 15, 2016

Erik Oehler of RocStreams Company graciously produced a video of the May Opera Guild Donors' Recital.  Part of this video is available for viewing from our Website. Just scroll down roughly 3/4 of the way to the bottom of the page and click on the video.  

For full discussion of the Annual Recital, see the June 2016 edition of Viva Voce.
From your Opera Guild 

On Sunday June 20th the Opera Guild of Rochester's President Agneta Borgstedt and volunteers visited the St. John's Home, where Joe Heintzman, one of our longest supporters, now makes his home. After his retirement as a school teacher, Joe followed his passion for opera by attending all the opera tours, lectures and presentations in both Rochester and Buffalo. He never missed one of our annual recitals in May. This time the Annual Recital came to him. The recital, by bass Carl Dupont, was recorded on DVD pro-bono by Mr. Erik Oehler of the RocStreams Company, and was enjoyed by Joe's sister, Kathy, and his friends from the Guild, Joe Mancini, Lillian Bonanni, Rosalie Di Pasquale, and Elisabeth Beumer.

On June 21st Agneta, Lillian and Rosalie celebrated the 101st birthday of Ettie Rubinstein who, with her late husband Phillip, was also a long-standing supporter of opera in Rochester. Ettie and friends enjoyed the company, the gifts, a great chocolate cake, and fresh strawberries.


On Tuesday May 31rst, Agneta had a beautiful sunny day on which to celebrate her 85th birthday with friends from the Opera Guild. Marcia Elwitt drove the guild president, together with Carol Crocca, and Elisabeth Beumer, to the Shaw Festival at Niagara-on-the-Lake to see Bernard Shaw's play Mrs. Warren's Profession. The performance was excellent and the outing finished with a birthday dinner at Phillips' European Restaurant in Henrietta. 

Please consider the Opera Guild of Rochester among your charitable organizations for 2016. Donations to the Opera Guild of Rochester are fully tax deductible and donors will receive an invitation to the Annual Recital in May 2017, 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 Website at operaguildofrochester.org 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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