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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 is one job posted: Event Host or Hostess.

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, June 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 on 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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OperaTourGlimmerglass Opera Tour
The Thieving Magpie (La gazza ladra)

The Opera Guild of Rochester will conduct a tour to the Thieving Magpie (La gazza ladra)
on July 25, 2016. For a copy of the opera tour flier and registration sheet click here. Please look for it and respond quickly if you'd like to go on the tour. The bus seats 55 people. See the article below for more information about the opera. Helga Strasser, our tour director, obtains prime seats in the Festival Circle, private lunch at the pavilion with introduction to the opera, and private dinner at the Brewster Inn.

For an audio preview of Gianetta's cavatina (entrance aria) Click Here

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AnnualRecitalDupontAnnual Recital
May 15, 2016

The Recital for Donors to the Opera Guild was special this year in that we were treated for the first time to a professional bass, Carl Dupont of North Carolina.  An Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte, Dupont was accompanied by Rochester's Dr. Kevin Nitsch at the piano. They began with "In diesen heil'gen Hallen," Sarastro's aria from Mozart's The Magic Flute, which expresses the philosophy of the Age of Enlightenment in the last part of the 18th Century: if humans stumble and fall, we should forgive and lift them up with a friendly hand to their duty, or we are not worthy of humankind.

Pizarro's aria from Beethoven's Fidelio followed, in which Dr. Dupont ably dramatized a completely different character, who expresses his hateful desire to murder the political prisoner Florestan.  Then in two selections from Floyd's Susannah, Carl gave an impressive rendition of a more nuanced role, that of the pastor who is charged with counseling Susannah, but who succumbs to sexual temptation and must beg the Lord's forgiveness. The Tempter himself was portrayed In "Ecco il mondo" from Boito's Mefistofele, and in an aria from Verdi's Ernani, Carl expressed the feelings of many basses and baritones when they discover that the soprano loves the tenor after all.  In Ambroise Thomas's "Air du Tambour-Major" from Le Caïd, Carl again demonstrated his dramatic versatility in the song of the pompous officer.
Photo courtesy W. Crocca

After the intermission, Carl gave a wonderful and moving performance of "Ol' Man River" from Jerome Kern's Showboat.  This was followed by a very interesting and affecting piece, "The Martyr" from Pathway to Freedom by a contemporary composer, Cynthia Cozette Lee.  Inspired by a story from the civil war, it portrays the feelings and thoughts of a soldier whose task is to bury the fallen of his fellow soldiers of the United States Colored Troops.  The upbeat "I Got Plenty o' Nuttin" from George Gershwin's Porgy and Bess relieved this solemn mood beautifully and the recital closed with rich renderings of two American spirituals by Wendell Whalum and Hall Johnson.

- Agneta Borgstedt and Carol Crocca

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NickelNickel City Opera

International debut of Persis Vehar's SHOT!
Libretto by Gabrielle Vehar

Shea's Performance Arts Center, Buffalo
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 much more information and a small preview:   http://operaguildofrochester.org/shot.html

For Nickel City Opera Facebook page click here: https://www.facebook.com/NickelCityOpera/.   

Met2016SummerEncoreMet HD 2016 Summer Encores

Tosca, Giacomo Puccini
Wed, Jun 22, 2016 7:00 PM
Roberto Alagna, Patricia Racette, and George Gagnidze, conducted by Riccardo Frizza

L'Elisir d'Amore, Gaetano Donizetti
Wed, Jun 29, 2016 7:00 PM
Anna Netrebko, Matthew Polenzani, Marius Kwiecen and Ambrogio Maestri, conducted by Maurizio Benini

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 on sale January 25, 2016

ChautauquaChautauqua Opera Company Season 2016
La Traviata (sung in Italian with English subtitles)
Giuseppe Verdi / Francesco Maria Piave
Sung by Caitlin Lynch as Violetta, Dominic Armstrong as Alfredo, Todd Thomas as Germont
July 9, 2016 - 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. Individual tickets go on sale April 1, 2016. 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.

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 transportation for each performance; fliers will be sent out at the end of May.

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.

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, 2017
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.

Met201617SeasonMet HD 2016-2017 Season

Tristan und Isolde, Richard Wagner
Sat, Oct 08, 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 07, 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.

MagpieThe Thieving Magpie (La gazza ladra)
Agneta D. Borgstedt

Composer, Gioachino Rossini   Librettist, Giovanni Gherardini

The Glimmerglass Festival should be congratulated for bringing one of Rossini's masterpieces, La gazza ladra (The Thieving Magpie), to an American opera house in its 2016 season in Cooperstown, New York.

Rossini's work premiered with much success on May 31, 1817 at La Scala, Milan. The opera is a semiseria, a serious opera with comic elements, also called a dramma giacoso. It is based on a real-life event in France, the subject of a subsequent play, in which a peasant girl was convicted and hanged for thefts which were later discovered to be the work of a magpie.

For the opera, Gherardini, who was a philologist, poet and medical man, gave the story a happy ending. The story plays against the background of the Napoleonic wars in Italy in which the French fought the Austrians, who dominated the area of Bologna and Pesaro, Rossini's birthplace. Rossini's father was imprisoned in 1800 by the French for a short time, a painful childhood memory for him.  The opera also reflects the conflict of the harsh authorities of the time and the common people.

It tells the story of the servant girl Ninetta, in love with her employer's son Gianetto, who is coming home from the war. Fernando, Ninetta's father, comes to visit her.  He is in flight from the authorities, having been insubordinate to his superior officer and subsequently escaped from prison. He witnesses the mayor pursuing his resisting daughter, during which the mayor receives a message. Since he does not have his glasses, he demands that Ninetta read it to him;  to protect her father she changes the description of the fugitive. The mayor is angry that Ninetta does not respond to his advances.

Meanwhile another piece of silver cutlery is missing and Ninetta is accused of stealing it. The mayor demands a trial, Ninetta is found guilty, imprisoned, and condemned to death. Her father has tried to save her at the trial, which results in his being discovered as the deserter and he is also imprisoned. The village boy Pippo, who is in love with Ninetta, sees the magpie snatching a coin, and he finds the other missing objects in the magpie's nest. This news comes just in time to prevent Ninetta's execution and the happy ending is completed when her father's friend brings a message from the king, pardoning him. The whole village now celebrates the marriage of Ninetta and Gianetto.

Pippo's love for Ninetta reminds us of Cherubino's love for the Countess in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro.  The village background of the story gives us a taste of the verismo operas to come at the end of the 19th century. The deep love between Ninetta and her father foreshadows the father-daughter relationships of Verdi's operas. The mayor's fierce pursuit of Ninetta reminds us of Scarpia pursuing Tosca. The king's forgiveness for Ninetta's father shows that the philosophy of the Age of Enlightenment of the latter part of the 18th century (represented by Sarastro's aria in The Magic Flute) is also reflected in this opera at the beginning of the 19th century.

At least two DVD's (Kultur, Cologne, 2009 and Dynamic, Rossini Opera Festival, 2008) and one recording (Naxos, Wildbad, 2009)  are available in Italian.  These are each about three hours long, the length of the original opera.  Chandos has a CD version in English (Garsington, 2002) which, at two hours twenty minutes, obviously leaves out some scenes.   In my opinion, the Opera Cologne production comes closest to the interpretation of the story Rossini and Gherardini envisioned.

Reference: Osborne, Richard, Rossini  (Master Musician Series), Oxford University Press, IBNO 19-816490-4, 1986, 1987.  

From your Opera Guild 
The Opera Guild whole-heartedly thanks the volunteers who prepared the refreshments for the reception following the Annual Recital for Donors on Sunday afternoon, May 15: Lillian Bonani is the coordinator and Joan Schultz, Margaret Dundas, and Simi Singer all joined in the setting out and clearing up. While the rest of us had a lovely time socializing before the concert, these ladies were busy in the kitchen so that we could enjoy cheese, fruit and sweet treats while waiting our turns to greet the artists afterwards.

We had a beautiful day for the recital, and, as usual, the reception was buzzing with discussion. Carl Dupont proved to be a not only a wonderful performer, but one who generously shared his thoughts and experiences. There are many opera events during the year, but the Opera Guild Recital is special because of its intimacy and relaxed atmosphere. One of the best reasons, from a strictly personal viewpoint, to become a donor to the Guild.

Photo courtesy W. Crocca 

Enlarged from previous edition 

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 web site 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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