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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! Currently there are two jobs posted: Event Host or Hostess and Assistant Publisher.  Click on links for the job descriptions.  

Let us know of your interest by contacting Carol Crocca, Director of Development, at operaguildofrochester@gmail.com.


Edition Viva Voce, April 2017

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.   

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.

Syracuse Opera

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

There will be an Opera Guild of Rochester tour to the Syracuse Opera's performance of Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin on Sunday, April 9, 2017.

For a flyer and registration materials, Click Here

EastmanOperaEastman Opera 

Jules Massenet, libretto by Henri Caïn
April 6, 7, 8 at 7:30 pm  
April 9 at 2:00 pm
Kodak Hall at Eastman Theater

For performance and ticket information Click Here.
For director's notes on Massenet and Cendrillon, Click Here.

Tickets sold at Eastman Theater Box Office (585) 274-3000 
Cendrillon Poster  

2017 Rochester Voice Competitions
Eleventh Annual Classical Idol Competition
Saturday, April 8, 2017, 7:30 pm
Temple B'rith Kodesh
2131 Elmwood Avenue
The Rochester Oratorical Society presents the finalists in its annual international competition for young artists on the rise. For more information, Click Here. If you would like to sit with folks from the Opera Guild, Agneta is arranging tables.  These are all at the front, and seats are available at the table discount price of $68 ($28 is tax-deductible). Call Dennis Rosenbaum at 473-2234 to purchase your ticket(s) and  request seating with the Opera Guild; also contact Agneta Borgstedt, President, to inform her of your inclusion in the group.

Lotte Lenya Competition
Saturday, April 22, 2017, admission is free
In prior competitions, 11 am to 3 pm, semi-finals; finals in the evening
Eastman School of Music
Kilbourn Hall
The Kurt Weill Foundation for Music sponsors this international competition for versatile singers aged 19-32 who must perform opera/operetta, both older and contemporary Broadway selections, and the music of Kurt Weill.

An all-star panel of judges will preside over semifinals and finals. Semifinalists in New York City will have the opportunity to audition for and be coached by stage, opera and concert performer Judy Blazer and Tony-award winning conductor, director and orchestrator, and Artistic Director of MasterVoices Ted Sperling.  In April, renowned stage director Anne Bogart and Tony-award winning actor and singer Shuler Hensley both join the judges' panel for the first time.  Broadway music director, conductor and orchestrator Rob Berman returns to judge the competition for the sixth time.

For more general information about the competition,
Click Here.


The Jessie Kneisel Lieder Competition

Finals: Saturday, May 13, 2017, Kilbourn Hall, 1:00 pm, free and open to the public

Winners' Recital: Saturday, May 20, 2017, Kilbourn Hall, 8:00 pm, free and open to the public

For more general information about the competition, Click Here
WilliamWarfield40th Anniversary William Warfield Scholarship Luncheon

April 26
12:00-1:30 pm                                                                   
Max of Eastman Place
25 Gibbs Street

Mezzo-soprano Alicia Rosser, 2016-17 recipient of the William Warfield Scholarship at the Eastman School of Music, is the featured performer. Rosser, originally from Maryland, is a senior at Eastman studying with world-renowned tenor Anthony Dean Griffey.

WXXI-FM's Brenda Tremblay will emcee. The William Warfield Scholarship Fund was formed in 1977 for Eastman students, in honor of the well known American concert baritone.

Because of the included luncheon, advance tickets are required and must be purchased by April 19. For more information, Click Here.

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Met201617SeasonMet HD 2016-2017 Season

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


Hydrogen Jukebox
The Opera Center 
315 Clinton Street 
Binghamton, NY 13905 
7:30 pm April 21, 28 
3:00 pm April 23, 30 
For more information, Click here.



Louis Riel
APRIL 20 to MAY 13, 2017
More Info, Buy Tickets
APRIL 30 to MAY 20, 2017
More Info, Buy Tickets

Opera Guild of Rochester Annual Recital for Donors
Sunday, May 21, 2017, 2 pm
Rochester Academy of Medicine, 1441 East Avenue

Our recitalist this year will be Paige Kiefner, a recent graduate of Eastman School of Music. She has appeared as Emily Webb in Ned Rorem's Our Town and in Dialogues of the Carmelites, She Loves Me, and Street Scene. Paige starred as Maria in Roberts Wesleyan's production of West Side Story. Her credits also include Rochester Lyric Opera's production of The Tales of Custard the Dragon and Little Red's Most Unusual Day. She is a section leader in the Third Presbyterian Chancel Choir under the direction of Peter Dubois as soprano soloist. Paige is from Cape Girardeau, MO.

The program, "Well-Behaved Women Rarely Make History," will include selections by Verdi, Puccini, Mozart, and Donizetti, as well as some more modern repertoire from Broadway musicals.

Ms. Kiefner will be accompanied by Jacob Stebly. He studied Vocal and Opera Performance at the Eastman School of Music.  Since then he has held positions at Syracuse University as a Music Director and Pianist for their Musical Theater Program, as well as assistant to the Rare Books Department at the Sibley Music Library.  He has recently appeared in You're Gonna Love Tomorrow with the Rochester Lyric Opera and was music director for A Little Night Music with Syracuse University. 

Opera Summer Season


Seagle Music Colony
2017 Summer Season

999 Charley Hill Road
Schroon Lake, NY 12970

Click Here for an article on Seagle Music Colony that appeared in Viva Voce May 2016 edition.   

The Light in the Piazza by Adam Guettel
(Musical based on a novella by Elizabeth Spencer)
July 5,6,8 at 8 pm, July 7 at 2 pm

Seagle Music Colony's 102nd season will begin with this stunning 2005 Tony and Drama Desk winning musical by composer Adam Guettel. Based on the novella by Elizabeth Spenser, the story follows Margaret and her daughter Clara as their lives are changed forever after a summer in beautiful Italy. The gorgeous score has been hailed for its romantic and operatic music - a perfect fit for our talented emerging artists. 

The Magic Flute by Mozart
(Sung in German with projected English supertitles and English dialogue)
August 2,3,5 at 8 pm, August 4 at 2 pm

My Fair Lady by Lerner & Loewe
August 16,17,19 at 8 pm, August 18 at 2 pm

Little Red's Most Unusual Day by John Davie, Children's Opera
(Boathouse Productions)

July 8 at 10,11:30 am

John Davie's take on the traditional Little Red fairy tale includes Dudley the forest ranger and a man-crazy grandma who both take on the big bad wolf.  Using music of Rossini and Offenbach, this 30-minute opera is fun from beginning to end. FREE admission, reservations suggested. 

Individual tickets go on sale April 1, 2017.
Call the box office at (518) 532-7875 or visit  www.seaglecolony.org


Glimmerglass Festival Season 2017

Porgy and Bess
George Gershwin/DuBose Heyward & Ira Gershwin
This production will be sung in English with projected titles in English.
John DeMain conducts with staging by Francesca Zambello.

July 7-August 22

The Opera Guild of Rochester is hosting a tour to the Glimmerglass Fesival to see this performance of Porgy and Bess  
Monday, July 31 at 1:30 pm. Click Here for flyer and to register. 

Set in Catfish Row by the shores of Charleston, South Carolina, George Gershwin's classic work deals with the attempt of Porgy, a disabled beggar, to create a home for himself and Bess, a young woman whose troubled past threatens to consume her present. Porgy and Bess is one of the pillars of the American opera repertory, with unforgettable melodies including "Summertime," "Bess, You Is My Woman Now," and "I Got Plenty o' Nuttin."

Richard Rodgers/Oscar Hammerstein II
July 8-August 22

G.F. Handel/Nicol Minato & Silvio Stampiglia
July 15-August 18

The Siege of Calais
Gaetano Donizetti/Salvatore Cammarano
July 16-August 19

Single tickets start at $26. More information at www.glimmerglass.org or call the box office at (607) 547-2255.


Opera Saratoga 2017 Summer Season 
The Spa Little Theater
21 Roosevelt Drive, Saratoga, NY 12866

Falstaff by Giuseppe Verdi
Libretto by Arrigo Bolto
(sung in Italian with English Supertitles)
July 1,6 at 7:30 pm
July 10,15 at 2 pm

Zemire Et Azor by Andre Gretry 
(Beauty and the Beast)
Libretto by Jean Francois Marmontel

(sung in French with English supertitles)
July 2 at 7:30 pm
July 8,14 at 2 pm

Single tickets $95, $72.50, and $50. Subscribers save up to 15% off single tickets.
Contact the box office at (518) 584-6018 or go to www.operasaratoga.org.

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Chautauqua Opera Company Season 2017 

by Claudio Monteverdi
(sung in Italian with English supertitles)
July 8 at 8:15 pm, Chautauqua's Historic Amphitheater
Tickets $43 or Gate Pass

Orpheus, the man who could charm death itself with his music, travels to the underworld to retrieve his lost love, Euridice. The Chautauqua Opera Company presents the U.S. stage premiere of Ottorino Respighi's dazzling realization of Monteverdi's L'Orfeo. Come hear what happens when luscious and romantic orchestration is married to the rich melodies of one of the first operas ever composed.

Don Pasquale by Gaetano Donizetti (sung in Italian with English supertitles)

Libretto by Giovanni Ruffini
July 28, 31 at 7:30 pm, Norton Hall
Tickets required. Reserved seating, $52, $42, $15, Youth, $10.

True Italian farce returns to the stage of Norton Hall, continuing Chautauqua Opera's dedication to performing operas for the entire family. Hijinks ensue when the aging bachelor, Don Pasquale, pursues the spirited Norina, hoping to trap himself a much younger wife. Don't miss Donizetti's hilarious tale of love and deception.

Hydrogen Jukebox by Philip Glass and Allen Ginsberg
July 27 and August 1 at 4 pm, Norton Hall

Tickets $17

Experience the collaboration of two of America's most revolutionary artists, composer Philip Glass and poet Allen Ginsberg, in this unique chamber opera. Hydrogen Jukebox paints a portrait of America approaching the end of the millennium, touching on political and social issues that are more timely than ever. Six Chautauqua Opera Apprentice Artists take the spotlight in this work which perfectly reflects the mix of arts and humanities that is the spirit of Chautauqua.

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


82 Seneca St.
Geneva, NY 14456

Don Giovanni by Mozart
July 27, 29 and 30

Performance details and ticket information will be forthcoming at www.genevalightopera.com or www.TheSmith.org.  


Dido&Aeneas Logo
Pegasus Early Music
Louis S. Wolk Jewish Community Center
Hart Theater  
1200 Edgewood Avenue
Rochester, NY 14618

Dido and Aeneas by Henry Purcell
August 10, 12 at 8 pm, August 13 at 7:30 pm

The first English opera, composed in 1688 and still fresh, tuneful and engaging, tells the story of Dido, Queen of Carthage, and her doomed relationship with the Trojan Prince Aeneas, bound by fate to abandon her for Italy. In the course of the drama we also meet a wicked sorceress, a drunken sailor, and various witches, spirits, and courtiers, all wrapped in emotionally-affecting music from the heartbreaking to the comedic.

With Grammy-award winner Virginia Warnken as Dido; Jesse Blumberg as Aeneas; Laura Heimes as Belinda and Luthien Brackett as the Sorceress. Directed by Andrew Eggert; musical direction by Michael Beattie; design by Julia Noulin-Merat.

Tickets $100 (Patron), $35, and students, $20. For more information, Click Here.
Call box office at (585)461-2000

FingerLakesOperaThe Finger Lakes Opera

Canandaigua Academy Auditorium 
435 East Street, Canandaigua, NY 14424

Tosca by Puccini
August 11 at 7:30 pm 
August 13 at 2 pm

For Finger Lakes Opera Facebook page Click Here.

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BardSummerscapeBard SummerScape

Bard College
Fisher Center, Sosnoff Theater
60 Manor Ave, Annandale-On-Hudson, NY 12504
Dimitrij by Antonín Dvořák
American Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Leon Botstein, music director
Directed by Anne Bogart
July 28, August 4 at 7:30 pm
July 30, August 2 at 2 pm

Acclaimed at its 1882 premiere for its strong dramatic moments, original melodies, and masterful choral writing, Antonín Dvořák's Dimitrij was widely regarded as one of the most significant works created for the Czech operatic stage. Based on events of 17th-century Russia, Dimitrij resumes where Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov leaves off-vividly depicting the uncertainty, tribal loyalties, and struggles for power in the wake of the revered tsar's death.

Tickets from $25- $95 call box office at (845)758-7900. For more information, Click Here.


As an Amici, your contribution in any amount is greatly appreciated.

All donation levels below receive an invitation to the Annual Recital. (See Annual Recital  information.)

Chorus: $60-$99
Comprimario: $100-$149, 4 passes to Beat the Blahs or two additional recital invitations.
Primo: $150-$199, 5% discount on all trips (except to New York City).
Maestro: $200 or more, 10% discount on trips (except to New York City).
To donate go to  http://operaguildofrochester.org/donate.html

 Of course your donation in any amount is greatly appreciated.

You may also mail a check to Opera Guild of Rochester, P.O. Box 92245, Rochester, NY 14692-0245. Please include an email or other address for your tax receipt.

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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 500 words.  All submissions are subject to editorial review.

by Carol Crocca

To the modern mind, Idomeneo's vow, the impetus for the entire story of the opera, may make it seem like just another irrational example of the genre, subject to our suspension of disbelief in order to enjoy the music.  But the opera reflects the very real ideals and conflicts of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment and its solutions to the break-up of feudal society.  Mozart and Varesco, his librettist, changed the tragic outcome of the original story.  Although the opera of the time did demand happy endings, the way this is accomplished in Idomeneo was more than an accommodation to the requirement.  The opera embodies some of the Enlightenment ideas and attitudes that are part of the foundation of the modern world (although many are under siege in the twenty-first century).

The theory of social contract was the eighteenth century's most workable and lasting answer to the problem of how a society in which the traditional bonds have loosened may be saved from dissolution.  (See reference at end)

This theory of social contract was the necessary underpinning of the economic changes that spurred ideological ferment.  The expanding middle class was built on trade, which could not flourish under the weight of feudal fealties and religious commitments.  Individual responsibility and freedom to make binding agreements were necessary, both to labor and to the new bourgeoisie, and these eventually gave rise to notions of men's right to life, liberty, and, by the end of the century, the pursuit of happiness.  Contracts were made between parties of equal power in conditions free of duress.  Hence the problem with vows: made to God or a god, an unequal party if ever there were one, and usually made under duress - in the case of Idomeneo, his need to save himself and his crew from the storm at sea.

The other unacceptable aspect of Idomeneo's vow was its demand for human sacrifice.  The Enlightment sought a source of authority in "natural law" rather than religion and custom.  Human sacrifice was seen as religious sanction for murder, from which civilized beings naturally recoiled.  More than a rejection of the practice, it was necessary to substitute the idea of a just God, who would never demand an act so inimical to innate morality and filial love.

Idomeneo rails against the injustice of Neptune, but the new philosophy demanded human responsibility.  Finally, half way through Act Three, Idomeneo confesses the vow made to Neptune. Significantly, it is the high priest who insists that the vow be fulfilled.  Although Mozart was devout, he learned both his devotion and a firm anti-clericalism from his father; and of course one goal of enlightened rulers in the eighteenth century was to curb the power of the Church.  Ilia now offers herself as a substitute victim (that's another essay) and incorrectly takes the blame for Neptune's wrath.  Incorrectly because the god does not accept her sacrifice.  Only Idomeneo can end the conflict by ceding power to the new generation.

Ilia, Trojan captive, has made a journey to enlightenment in the opera.  In the first act, she begins by describing her conflict between the need to avenge her people and her love for the enemy, Idamante.  She overcomes the need for vengeance (an old-fashioned imperative of the warrior society inimical to the demands of the new) and accepts Idomeneo as her new father in the second act.  Eventually, as she interrupts the execution of the sacrifice, she becomes the spokesperson for the new ideology:  "The gods are not tyrants; you are all mistaken in your interpretation of the divine will."  Now Neptune appears to end the travesty and restore natural law.  It is not an accident that he proclaims "Ha vinto Amore" - "Love has conquered."

In the seventeenth century, sexual love was seen as an unruly and dangerous passion, to be brought under control by reason and self-denial.  The human sacrifice offered in Idomeneo is itself emblematic of the self-sacrifice demanded by order and public duty.  But in the latter half of the eighteenth century, bourgeois capitalists desired sanction to enjoy their newly-acquired prosperity.  A just and loving god who wanted humans to be happy was one facilitator of this objective.  Another was the idea that naturally-ordained human feelings, and especially love in its various forms, motivated men to good, and were conducive to social harmony.  Brotherhood was a strong ideal of the Freemasons, to which Mozart belonged, and a cry of the French Revolution.  Love in marriage became one of the pillars of bourgeois society because marriage for love and not duty both blessed pleasure and provided restraint.  And so began the notion, so problematic in our time, that the patriarchal family, and not the state or the tribe or the feudal manor or the church, is the natural and most fundamental source of virtue and authority in society.

Reference: Till, Nicholas, Mozart and the Enlightenment, W.W.Norton & Co., New York,
                        1995. Quote, p. 68.

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From your Opera Guild 
Electronically publishing the newsletter requires a few fairly sophisticated computer skills and we are fortunate to have two accomplished volunteers working in this capacity.  But since it is a job requiring 2-3 days per month on a regular basis, two technical publishers are not enough to make sure we have coverage for times of illness, vacation, computer malfunction, etc.  If you have computer skills, please consider helping with this valuable project, even if you cannot, or would prefer not, to work every month.  Summer is an excellent, less-pressured time to start.  Thanks for your consideration!  Just see the beginning of the newsletter to find a job description and how to let us know of your interest.

The summer season is revealed, with much to anticipate; but in the short term, there are great things in April.  We always look forward to the Eastman Opera Theater's spring production, and this year's Cendrillon is no exception.  The Classical Idol Competition is a delightful evening - we seem to feel very close to both singers and judges, especially when sitting up front with the Opera Guild.  It is always amazing to witness the range of talent displayed by the young actor-singers in the Lotte Lenya Competition AND the audience is treated to a terrific variety of musical selections, all for free right here at Kilbourne Hall.  Really not to be missed!

Please consider the Opera Guild of Rochester among your charitable organizations for 2017. 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.

To donate online Click Here.  

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.

Cindy New Ad 2016

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

Opera Guild of Rochester, P.O. Box 92245, Rochester, NY 14692-0245
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