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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: Publicity Manager and 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, April 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.   

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 operaguildofrochester@gmail.com.

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

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

OperaTourGlimmerglass Opera Tour

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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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.  

Annual Recital

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 bass baritone, Carl DuPont. He is a mature, well-known singer whose theme for this presentation is power and corruption. 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, among others. 

Click here for the complete program

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

Carl DuPont
Carl DuPont
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/.   

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 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. 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 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.  See the Reader Article in this issue for more information. 

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.
July 21, 23, 24, 2016
$35 Individual, $50 Couples, $20 Students and Seniors, and free for Children K-12

FLOFinger Lakes Opera
 At SUNY Geneseo
La Traviata 
Giuseppe Verdi

Wadsworth Auditorium Mainstage
Sung in Italian with English supertitles
Danielle Talamantes¹ 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.
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In previous editions Ms. Talamantes name had been inadvertently misspelled.  We regret the error.
Photo courtesy Kurt Weill Foundation
2016 Lotte Lenya Competition Winners

At the Lotte Lenya Competition this year on Saturday, April 16, the Kurt Weill Foundation awarded more prizes and more money than in any previous competition.  Top prizes of $15,000 each went to Jim Schubin of Plainsboro NJ, who is currently in the national touring company of The Sound of Music, and Brian Vu of Los Angeles, who was a Grand Finalist in the Met's National Council Auditions and will be the Kurt Weilll/Lotte Lenya Young Artist at the Glimmerglass Festival this summer.  The $10,000 Second Prize was awarded to the youngest finalist, Dennis Wees, aged 21, of Dallas Texas.  Two Third Prizes of $7,500 each were earned by Talya Lieberman of New York and Eric Michael Parker of Los Angeles.

On Saturday afternoon, each of the 14 finalists performed four selections, which had to encompass opera or operetta, the work of Kurt Weill, and vintage and contemporary musical theater.  The range of talent these young performers command is stunning. In the evening finals, each performs one or two numbers, selected by the judges, and the winners are announced.

Teresa Stratas, international opera star, Rodgers & Hammerstein President Theodore S. Chapin, and Broadway music director and conductor Andy Einhorn comprised the panel of judges.   They also awarded the following prizes: a Lys Simonette Award for the outstanding performance of an individual number to Lindsay O'Neil of New York; Carolyn Weber Awards for creative programming and sensitivity to text/music relationships to Tom Schimon of Vienna Austria and Reilly Nelson of Saulte Ste. Marie, Ontario; and the inaugural Marc Blitzstein Award for a Golden Age musical number to Bradley Smoak of Cary, NC.

Photo courtesy Jerry Wolf Enterprises
ClassicalIdolWinners2016 Classical Idol Winners

Classical Idol Winners, left to right, Jessica Ann Best, mezzo soprano, 4th place.  Joshua Alain Bouillon, tenor, 3rd place. Dana Lynne Varga, soprano, 2nd place. Madeline Cain, soprano 1st place and Audience Favorite.  
Ms. Cain, a California native and Eastman graduate has been heard locally at the Midsummer Night Opera and the Rochester Lyric Opera, and will soon travel to Germany for auditions and further study.

Dana Varga, a native of Yorktown Heights, NY, has an extensive resume including the Caramoor International Music Festival; she has sung at the Boston Lyric Opera and many Massachusetts venues.

Joshua Bouillon and Jessica Best, in addition to many other credits, have both been heard locally at the Rochester Lyric Opera and other venues.

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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.

Seagle Music Colony
Marty and Phyllis Shames Korn

Seagle Music Colony, the oldest summer singer training program in the country, was founded in 1915, by world-renowned baritone, Oscar Seagle. Oscar made several concert tours in the United States and Europe, and recorded albums for Columbia, including the popular World War I hit "Dear Old Pal of Mine." He served from 1903-1914 as teaching associate in Europe with his teacher, the great Polish tenor Jean de Reszke. De Reszke was a star of the Metropolitan Opera as well as Queen Victoria's favorite singer.

Oscar returned home and in 1922 bought the property where the Colony currently stands. During the 1920s, up to 125 students would come each summer, and in the winter many would follow him to Nice, France for further study at the de Reszke-Seagle School.

Oscar's son John made recordings for Decca and RCA-Victor, and sang with a number of weekly network radio programs, and with the Cavaliers Quartet in the 1920's. After Oscar's death in 1945, John directed and taught voice at the Seagle Colony until 1985. The old barn that was Oscar Seagle's studio was extended into a theater in his memory.

Under the Seagle family stewardship, which continues to the present with John's son Pete, his wife Dodie and their three sons, the Colony continued in many of the same traditions. Then, in 1996, Darren K. Woods was hired as General Director. Under his leadership the Colony has grown to become the "Best Summer Vocal Training Program in the United States" (Classical Singer Magazine, 2000). Today over 500 applicants vie for the opportunity to attend the Colony as one of 32 Young Artists. Currently the Colony stages six full productions and over thirty-five performances per summer. In 2008 Tony Kostecki moved to full-time resident General Director and Darren Woods transitioned to part-time summer Artistic Director. Plans are now underway for construction of a new, larger theater and living facilities.

In addition to performance experience in opera and musical theater, young artists receive weekly music coaching and private voice lessons, and take part in career development classes, acting and dance lessons. They sing in master classes for famous singers and artist managers, and learn the ins and outs of the world of opera and musical theater. Post season, new opera workshops and school outreach programs throughout the North Country can enrich the experience.

Only a few hours' drive from Rochester, this vocal music treasure has engaged the time and treasure of our family since the 1940's when Phyllis Korn's parents, Frank and Dorothy Shames, bought a lakeside home in the hamlet of Schroon Lake, NY. Today, we are both happily involved with the activities, faculty, and young artists. Phyllis led a successful campaign to build the Shames Rehearsal Studio, and is still an active board member, while I serve on the guild.

The reputation of the Colony has spread nationally and internationally. Our alumni sing in most of the major opera companies in the US and in Europe, and are regular winners of the Metropolitan Opera competitions as well as other major voice competitions.

Please come and enjoy. It is an easy and scenic car trip, and a beautiful mountain destination with excellent music. There are performances of opera and musical theater, but get your tickets as early as possible. The charming theater, a restored early barn, is small and seats are limited.

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From your Opera Guild 
The Opera Guild extends its sincere condolences to the friends and relatives of James Littwitz, Sarah Collins, Bejan Iranpour, DDS, and Mary Alice Wolf, supporters and friends of the Opera Guild for many years.  

We thought you'd like to see this advertisement that appeared in the concert program for the Toronto Symphony when they performed at the Eastman Theater on April 15. Interested in attending The Thieving Magpie?  Then click the advertisement to get the sign-up form.    
The Opera Guild is pleased to announce that the Lecture/Listening Series of opera presentations is changing its schedule.  Up to now, this program of five lectures with video selections has been given on successive Monday evenings in January and early February at the Brighton Memorial Library.  Disadvantages of this schedule included freezing and sometimes worse weather, and the fact that during this time the Guild is also presenting its "Beat the Blahs" program on Sunday afternoons at Temple B'rith Kodesh.  Additionally, there could be as many as three HD simulcasts from the Met on Saturdays during this period.  Sometimes it might be just too much of a good thing!   So, our Lecture/Listening series in 2017 at Brighton Memorial Library will be presented on five consecutive Monday evenings beginning on February 27th and continuing to March 27th.  We hope to see you there for everything from French comic opera to ensembles to Verdi and Mozart.   

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 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 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.

Cindy Ad 2
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Submission deadline for the next issue is the 15th of the previous month

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