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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, President, at operaguildofrochester@gmail.com.


Edition Viva Voce, August 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.

FingerLakesOperaThe Finger Lakes Opera

FLO Tosca Image



Canandaigua Academy Theatre 
435 East Street, Canandaigua, NY 14424 
Friday, August 11 at 7:30 p.m.   
Sunday, August 13 at 2:00 p.m.


Jennifer Rowley as Tosca 
Yeghishe Manucharyan as Cavaradossi 
Corey Crider as Scarpia 
Kian Freitas as Angelotti 
Alan Cline as The Sacristan


FingerLakesOpera.org or by calling 585-532-2711

This production is made possible by a generous grant from 
The Opera Guild of Rochester

Tickets are $75, $50, $40 and Students, $25. 
Blocks of 10 or more tickets receive a 10% discount.   
For Finger Lakes Opera Facebook page Click Here. 
Directions from Rochester: 490 East to 90 East to exit 44, Canandaigua.  Follow Rt. 332 south into the Village of Canandaigua.  Left onto Chapel Street.   Canandaigua Academy will be ahead on the right.  

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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


Glimmerglass Festival Season 2017
Porgy and Bess
George Gershwin/DuBose Heyward & Ira Gershwin
July 7-August 22

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.


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 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

Call the box office at (518) 532-7875 or visit  www.seaglecolony.org

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
August 2 at 2 pm
August 4 at 7:30 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.

Tri-Cities Logo

      2017 - 2018 Season

Giacomo Puccini La Bohème
October 15, 3pm
The Forum Theatre
236 Washington St.
Binghamton, NY 13901

Tom Cipullo Glory Denied
November 10, 17  7:30 PM
November 12, 19  3:00 PM
Tri-Cities Opera Center
Savoca Hibbitt Hall
315 Clinton St
Binghamton, NY 13905

Terrence McNally Master Class
February 23, 24  7:30 PM
February 25, 3:00 PM
Tri-Cities Opera Center

Peter Brook and Georges Bizet The Tragedy of Carmen
April 27, May 4, 7:30 PM
April 29, May 6, 3:00 PM
Tri-Cities Opera Center

For tickets and information call (607) 772-0400 or go to http://www.tricitiesopera.com

Syracuse Opera 2017 - 2018 Season "Doomed Divas"

Georges Bizet Carmen
Friday, October 20, 2017 at 8:00 PM
Sunday, October 22, 2017 at 2:00 PM

Guiseppe Verdi La Traviata
Friday, February 2, 2018 at 8:00 PM  
Sunday, February 4, 2018 at 2:00 PM

Giacomo Puccini Madama Butterfly  (Opera Guild Spring Trip)
Friday, April 13, 2018 at 8:00 PM  
Sunday, April 15, 2018 at 2:00 PM 

Performances are at the Crouse-Hinds Theater in the John H. Mulroy Civic Center.
There is a talk by conductor Christian Capocaccia or Glen Lewis one hour before each performance.

Tickets start at $26; Student tickets are $10.
For Tickets call (315) 476-7372 or visit SyracuseOpera.org

MetTourMetropolitan Opera 2017 Fall Tour

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.

Click here to download a PDF information file which also includes the registration form!

Bellini's Norma   Wednesday, October 11, 2017
New production with Sondra Radvanovsky (Norma), Joyce DiDonato (Adalgisa), Joseph Calleja (Pollione), Matthew Rose (Oroveso)     Conductor: Carlo Rizzi

Puccini's Turandot    Thursday, October 12, 2017
This is the Met's spectacular, not-to-be-missed production of Puccini's last opera. With Oksana Dyka (Turandot), Maria Agresta (Liu), Marcelo Álvarez (Calaf ), James Morris (Timur)     Conductor:Carlo Rizzi

Offenbach's Les Contes d'Hoffmann  Friday, October 13, 2017
With Erin Morley (Olympia), Anita Hartig (Antonia/Stella), Oksana Volkova (Giulietta), Tara Erraught (Nicklausse/The Muse), Vittorio Grigolo (Hoffmann), Christophe Mortagne (Four Servants), Laurent Naouri (Four Villains)     Conductor: Johannes Debus

Additional Information:

You can choose one, two or all three operas! We will order opera tickets in the price range of your choice, reserve hotel rooms, make arrangements for pre-performance dinners, and book your flight, if requested.

Our hotel will be the Watson Hotel (formerly the Holiday Inn) on 57th St. between 9th and 10th Avenues. You are welcome to make your own hotel arrangements. If you desire to share a room, it is your responsibility to find a roommate. Individual hotel bills are to be paid at check-out. (It is possible that we may be able to negotiate an attractive group rate. If so, registered attendees will be notified.)

Opera tickets have to be paid at the time of your order. We will pay the restaurant checks and bill you later. Travel arrangements to New York City are the responsibility of the participants. If you need help with airline reservations, call Helga Strasser at (585) 586-2274 or e-mail helgas@rochester.rr.com.

If you'd like to take a Met Opera Backstage Tour, please indicate on the reservation form. The tours start at 3:30 pm and last about 1½ hours. The price is about $16.00.

MetHD17-18Metropolitan Opera HD Season 2017-2018

Watch for our docents' essays on the composer and background of the opera in the monthly e-newsletter issue of Viva Voce preceding the performance.

Vincenzo Bellini, Norma
Sat, Oct 07, 2017 12:55 PM
Synopsis and Cast: Click Here
A new production by Sir David McVicar, starring Sondra Radvanovsky (who played all three of Donizetti's queens at the Met last year) as Norma, Joyce DiDonato as Adalgisa, and Joseph Calleja as Pollione. Carlo Rizzi will conduct.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Die Zauberflöte
Sat, Oct 14, 2017 12:55 PM
Synopsis and Cast: Click Here
A full length German version of Julie Taymor's famous production, starring Golda Schultz as Pamina, Kathryn Lewek as the Queen of the Night, Charles Castronovo as Tamina, Markus Werba as Papageno and Rene Pape as Sarastro. James Levine will conduct.

Thomas Adès, The Exterminating Angel
Sat, Nov 18, 2017 12:55 PM
Synopsis and Cast: Click Here
The American premier inspired by the Luis Bunuel film of the same name. It is a surreal fantasy about a dinner party from which the guests cannot escape. The composer (who also wrote "The Tempest") will conduct.

Giacomo Puccini, Tosca
Sat, Jan 27, 2018 12:55 PM
Synopsis and Cast: Click Here
A new production by Sir David McVicar, starring Kristine Opolais as Tosca, Jonas Kaufmann as Cavaradossi and Byrn Terfel as Scarpia. Andris Nelsons will conduct.

Gaetano Donizetti, L'Elisir d'Amore

Sat, Feb 10, 2018 12:00 PM
Synopsis and Cast: Click Here
A Bartlett Sher production, starring Pretty Yende as Adina, Matthew Polenzani as Nemorino, David Luciano as Belcore, and Ildebrando D'Arcangelo as Dulcamara. Domingo Hindoyan will conduct.

Giacomo Puccini, La Bohème
Sat, Feb 24, 2018 12:30 PM
Synopsis and Cast: Click Here
Franco Zeffirelli's classic production, starring Sonya Yoncheva as Mimi, Susanna Phillips as Musetta, Michael Fabiano as Rodolfo and Lucas Meachem as Marcello. Marco Armiliato will conduct.

Gioachino Rossini, Semiramide
Sat, Mar 10, 2018 12:55 PM
Synopsis and Cast: Click Here
Its first appearance at the Met in almost 25 years, starring Angela Meade as Semiramide, the murderous Queen of Babylon, Elizabeth DeShong as Arsace, Javier Camarena (the current "King of the High Cs") as Idreno, Ildar Abdrazakov as Assur and Ryan Green as Mitrane. Maurizio Benini will conduct.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Così fan tutte
Sat, Mar 31, 2018 12:55 PM
Synopsis and Cast: Click Here
A new production by Phelim McDermott's set in Coney Island in the 1950s, starring Amanda Majeski as Fiordiligi, Serena Malfi as Dorabella, Broadway star Kelli O'Hara as Despina, Ken Bliss as Ferrando, Adam Plachetka as Gugiemo and Christopher Maltman as Don Alfanso. David Robertson will conduct.

Fun cartoon synopsis: Click Here

Giuseppe Verdi, Luisa Miller
Sat, Apr 14, 2018 12:30 PM
Synopsis and Cast: Click Here
Its first Met performance in more than 10 years, starring Sonya Yoncheva as Luisa, Piotr Beczala as Rodolfo, Olesya Petrova as Federica, Placido Domingo as Miller, Alexander Vinogradov as Walter and Dmitry Belosselskiy as Wurm. James Levine will conduct.

Jules Massenet, Cendrillon
Sat, Apr 28, 2018 12:55 PM
Synopsis and Cast: Click Here
Its premier at the Met in an imaginative, new storybook production by Laurent Pelly, starring Joyce DiDonato as Cendrillon (Cinderella), Alice Coote (in a trouser role) as Prince Charming, Kathleen Kim as the Fairy Godmother and Stephanie Blythe as Madame de la Haltiere. Bertrand de Billy will conduct.


OCTOBER 5 TO 28, 2017
More Information
The Elixir of Love
More Information
More Information
The Abduction from the Seraglio
FEBRUARY 7 TO 24, 2018
More Information
The Nightingale and Other Short Fables
APRIL 13 TO MAY 19, 2018
More Information
Anna Bolena
APRIL 28 TO MAY 26, 2018
More Information

To buy individual or subscription tickets Click Here



1441 East Avenue
Rochester, NY 14610

Sundays at 2 pm.  Oct. 22, Nov. 19, Jan. 21, March 4, April 8

Rebecca Penneys, piano
Stefan Reuss, cello
Mikhail Kopelman, violin

Doors open at 1:15. Tickets are $35 at the door for non-members and subscriptions are available.

Go to www.raom.org or contact Lydia N.C. Nicolson at 585-271-1314 or lydia.nicolson@ram.org for more information.


As an Amici, your contribution in any amount is greatly appreciated. All donation levels  receive an invitation to the Annual Recital; those listed below will be given priority until a date specified on the invitation. 

Chorus: $60-$99
Comprimario: $100-$149, one additional recital invitation.
Primo: $150-$199, $20 discount on trip (except to New York City).
Maestro: $200-$299, $30 discount on trip (except to New York City).
Impresario: $300 or more, $30 discount on trip (except to New York City); two additional recital invitations. 
To donate online go to  http://operaguildofrochester.org/donate.html

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.

History of the Opera Guild of Rochester

What is currently the Opera Guild of Rochester was originally formed sometime in 1988 as the Rochester Opera Theater Guild.  It was started by Haskell Rosenberg, to support the then-extant Rochester Opera Theater.  Haskell had been active in opera affairs, giving opera lectures at the adult club at Rochester Institute of Technology.

The Guild sponsored recitals and also presented opera DVD's at Temple B'rith Kodesh on four Sundays in January, called, appropriately for winter in Rochester, "Beat the Blahs." Synopses were available and the opera was preceded by a short talk about its composer and background.  After Haskell Rosenberg's death in 2004, the Board of the Guild added The Haskell Rosenberg Memorial Series to the title, in his honor as founder.  Haskell also arranged tours to Syracuse Opera, Tri-City Opera, Canadian Opera at Hamilton, Canada, the Buffalo Opera and Glimmerglass Opera (now called the Glimmerglass Festival).

The Opera Guild helped support the Rochester Opera Theatre until it ceased sponsoring productions, and then helped support the newly-formed Opera Rochester, attached to the Broadway League, which existed from 1998 to 2003.

From about 1996, the Rochester Opera Theatre Guild had a loosely-organized Board which met at President Mort Bittker's home for two years.  After her retirement in 2000, Dr. Agneta Borgstedt was elected President of the Board.  As President, Agneta arranged that the Annual Recital for Donors be held regularly at the Rochester Academy of Medicine on the third Sunday of May. The Board was enlarged to eight members, and in 2003, Mary McNamara became Vice-President, followed in March 2009 by Art Axelrod who currently continues in that office.  Also joining the Board was Helga Strasser, who took over tour organization and also continues in that role.

In 2002-2003, Art developed a newsletter which resulted in a request by the Brighton Memorial Library that the Guild give free opera lectures on Monday nights in January.  The first lectures were given by Art Axelrod, Agneta Borgstedt and Mary McNamara (now deceased), and over twelve years the program expanded to include five docents and eight to ten presentations per year, with over 70 lectures archived on the Guild website.  Current docents are Art Axelrod, Agneta Borgstedt, Carol Crocca, Peter Dundas and Rosalba Pisatura.  Brighton Memorial Lectures now take place at the end of February and during March instead of in January.

Opera Rochester ceased presentations in 2003 and Haskell Rosenberg and Dean Undercofler of the Eastman School of Music worked with the former manager of Opera Rochester, The Rochester Opera Theatre Guild (a major contributor), and the Rochester Opera Factory (which had been formed from the chorus of Rochester Opera Theatre) to organize Mercury Opera Rochester.  The Guild now came under the umbrella of the new company's charitable corporation, with Agneta Borgstedt and Art Axelrod becoming members of the new Board.  Some of the Guild's funds, however, were invested as a reserve for the Guild in the Rochester Area Foundation.

Kristin Kessler, former director of the Opera Factory, became managing director of Mercury; Benton Hess, of the Eastman School, became Artistic Director and Principal Conductor; Gerard Floriano, of SUNY Geneseo, became Assistant Conductor, and the President of the Board was Sarah Collins. The company planned for one large production each season in January and two smaller productions in the spring and fall.

Mercury Opera Rochester had about five years of successful productions, including The Barber of Seville, L'amico Fritz, Madama Butterfly, Tosca, L'elisir d'amore, Show Boat, Norma, Pirates of Penzance, La traviata, and Falstaff.  Unfortunately, the company accumulated a deficit from the second season on and by 2010, its resources were exhausted.  The generous contributions of several Board members and the release of the balance of the Guild's reserve discharged the remaining debt.  In June 2012 the remaining members of the Mercury Board resigned, and the tax-exempt corporation was taken over by the Guild with its name changed to "Opera Guild of Rochester."  The current officers are Carol Crocca, President, Art Axelrod, Vice-president, Agneta Borgstedt, Treasurer, and Marcia Elwitt, Secretary.

The Opera Guild of Rochester developed its own by-laws and became an independent opera education and support organization.  Shortly afterwards, the Guild was a beneficiary of a testamentary trust which re-established its reserve.  It has a dedicated corps of donors and volunteers and looks forward to expanding its contribution to opera activities in our region.

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From your Opera Guild 

Pictured are Rosalie DiPasquale (seated left), Agneta Borgstedt and Lillian Bonanni celebrating the 102nd birthday of Ettie Rubenstein (seated right). Ettie, with her late husband Philip, was one of the longest supporters of the Opera Guild. The birthday event has become a tradition for the three ladies, who enjoy continuing this connection with a long-standing friend and fellow opera lover. 

A Time of Change  
All good things must come to an end - and so, Agneta Borgstedt, who has presided over the Opera Guild for 17 years, has  become President Emerita.  At eighty-six, our still energetic board member will continue her activities as Treasurer and Chair of the Traditional Events committee.  Agneta's devotion and hard work for the Guild will still assist us until the transition for these particular functions that she has faithfully performed all these years. Agneta is pictured above.      

President Carol Crocca
Photo © Gillian

At the Board meeting on June 27th, Agneta nominated Carol Crocca as her succesor; she was elected President and agreed to serve. Carol began work for the Guild in 2007 as a lecturer and was elected to the Board shortly after that.  She has served on the Executive Committee as Treasurer and then Vice-President for Development; she will continue her roles as Editor of the newsletter and docent. 

Carol is married to Bill Crocca, who publishes the newsletter, and they have lived in Penfield for almost 30 years. A former attorney, Carol did legal research and writing for (what used to be) Lawyers Coop in Rochester.  Carol has also done long-term volunteer work for AFS, an international student exchange oganization, and the Rape Crisis service (now "Restore") of Planned Parenthood, among other organizations.  She sings in the Chorus at Oasis, where she has also taught opera courses, studies Italian when she has time, and enjoys her new granddaughter, who, so luckily, lives nearby. She says,"I very much look forward to working with the Board to support our current endeavors and to broaden our involvement in the vibrant Rochester music community. If you haven't yet, please consider donating or volunteering for the Guild as we explore new territory and find inspiration in our love for opera."

Computer Skills Needed

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.

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 2018, which includes a 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

Free subscription on-line at operaguildofrochester.org

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