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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 three 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, February 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.

BeatTheBlahsBeat the Blahs - Notice of Change
The Haskell Rosenberg Memorial Series
January, 2017
Temple B'rith Kodesh,
2131 Elmwood Ave.
Social Hall (rear entrance)

Because of technical difficulties,Cosi fan tutti was shown on Jan 15 instead of the originally scheduled performance of Rusalka, which will be shown on Jan 29.

Jan 29, 1 p.m. 
Antonin Dvorak's Rusalka
A Met Opera production with Renée Fleming and Pyotr Beczala, conducted by Yannick Nezet-Seguin
Opera talk: Carol Crocca

EastmanOperaEastman Opera 2016-2017 Season

Out of Darkness  
Jake Heggie
February 2, 4, 9 at 7:30 pm, and Feb 12 at 2:00 pm  
Annex 804

Into the Fire  
Jake Heggie
February 3, 11 at 7:30 pm  
February 5 at 2:00 pm  
Annex 804

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

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

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PenfieldPenfield Symphony Orchestra "Operatic Gems"

Monday, February 13, 7:30 pm
Penfield High School Auditorium, High School Drive, (off Five Mile Line Road)
Tickets (at the door):   Adult, $15; group of 6 or more, $10
                                       Senior, $12, group of 6 or more, $8

The soprano soloist is Keely Futterer, doctoral student at Eastman School of Music, where she studies with Katherine Cowdrick. Among many other recognitions, she received the Encouragement Award at the Met National Council auditions.


Overture to The Marriage of Figaro
"Dove sono" from The Marriage of Figaro
"Una voce poco fa" from The Barber of Seville
"Song to the Moon" from Rusalka
"Quando m'en vo" from La Boheme
Overture to La forza del destino
"Prelude" and "Liebestod" from Tristan und Isolde
Porgy and Bess, selections

For more information, please go to http://www.penfieldsymphony.org/

FEOVoiceCompettition20172017 FEO Voice Competition
Friends of Eastman Opera's Voice Finals Competition
Friday, Feb. 10, 2017, 8 pm (admission is free)
Eastman School of Music
Kilbourn Hall
Each academic year the Friends of Eastman Opera sponsor an aria competition adjudicated by an outside guest from the opera world for Eastman students who are seniors or graduate students. Finalists will prepare three arias featuring at least two languages. For general information, Click Here.

Stephen Wadsworth is the outside adjudicator for the competition this year.  Mr. Wadsworth is the director of dramatic studies at the Metropolitan Opera's Lindemann Young Artist's Program.  He is a professor at the Juilliard School and an internationally acclaimed director of both opera and the spoken stage, in addition to credits as a writer and translator.  He has directed operas at the Met, Santa Fe, and Seattle Opera, and in many European houses, and has directed plays and musicals on Broadway and London's East End. 

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LittleTheaterThe Little Theater
240 East Avenue,  
Rochester, NY 14604

Royal Opera House at Covent Garden Productions, 2016-2017

Verdi, Il trovatore
Feb 18, 12 p.m.
Feb 21, 7:30 p.m.
Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Anita Rachvelishvili.

Verdi, Otello
July 22, 12 p.m.
July 25, 7:30 p.m.
Antonio Pappano conducts Jonas Kaufmann in his title role debut.

Met201617SeasonMet HD 2016-2017 Season

Rusalka, Antonín Dvořák
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 Dvořák'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.   For more about Dvořák and Rusalka, 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. 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

TinseltownNotice to Tinseltown Attendees of Met HD Simulcasts

Tinseltown in Gates has converted to reserved lounge seating and there will be fewer seats available. Tickets may now be purchased and seats reserved on-line at cinemark.com. The box office phone is (585) 247-0042. When on-line, search for the opera by name if there is no picture or listing. 


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OGRLectureSeriesOpera Guild Lecture Series - Notice of Change
Brighton Memorial Library
2300 Elmwood Ave., Rochester, NY 14618, (585) 784-5310

Monday, Feb 27 at 7:00 - 9:00 PM
Verdi's Don Carlo (Rosalba Pisaturo)

Monday, Mar 6 at 7:00 - 9:00 PM
Mozart's Cosi fan tutte (Peter Dundas)

Monday, Mar 13 at 7:00 - 9:00 PM
Jacues Offenbach's Comic Operas (Agneta Borgstedt)

Monday, Mar 20 at 7:00 - 9:00 PM
This lecture is cancelled.  For more information, Click Here.

Monday, Mar 27 at 7:00 - 9:00 PM
Mostly Mozart: Italian Comic Opera in the 18th Century (Carol Crocca)

Syracuse Opera 2016 - 2017 Season

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

           2016 - 2017 Season

 L'Heure Espagnole
Brettl-lieder (cabaret songs)

The Opera Center 
315 Clinton Street 
Binghamton, NY 
7:30 PM Feb 17,24
3:00 PM Feb 19, 26 
Hydrogen Jukebox
The Opera Center 
315 Clinton Street 
Binghamton, NY
7:30 PM April 21, 28
3:00 PM April 23, 30 
For more information, click here.



The Magic Flute
JANUARY 19 to FEBRUARY 24, 2017
More Info, Buy Tickets
FEBRUARY 2 to 25, 2017
More Info, Buy Tickets
Louis Riel
APRIL 20 to MAY 13, 2017
More Info, Buy Tickets
APRIL 30 to MAY 20, 2017
More Info, Buy Tickets

VoiceCompetitions20172017 Rochester Voice Competitions
Watch for additional information closer to the events.
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.

Lotte Lenya Competition
Saturday, April 22, 2017, admission is free
In prior competitions, 11 am to 3pm, 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.  For more general information about the competition, Click Here.


Tour to Syracuse Opera

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

For a flyer and registration materials click here

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. 


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 and Beat the Blahs 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.

Dvořák's Vacation
by Carol Crocca

Antonin Dvořák (1841-1904), is better known as a composer of instrumental music than opera, but the fairy-tale nature of Rusalka seemed to inspire him, and allow him scope for the lyricism and nature poetry that came naturally to him.  Among his instrumental works is the famous New World Symphony, written during his time in this country. How did he come to be here?

After years of struggle as a musician, he won the Austrian State Prize in 1874.  Brahms was on the jury and was very impressed with his talent.  He recommended Dvořák to his publisher and his international career began to take off.  He visited England and Russia, and in 1892 was asked to become the director of the National Conservatory of Music in America, located in New York City, by Mrs. Jeanette Thurber, its founder.  By this time he was employed by the Prague Conservatory and had a wife and six children.  Dvořák was concerned that with his duties in the American post he would not have time for composing; however, the salary offered was a huge increase over what he was making in Prague.  Here is what happened, told in a memoir by his son, Otakar:

My father never coveted higher incomes than he needed for his own existence...  But mother had more concerns about the improvement of our financial situation...  Mother discussed [the offer] with father and wanted him to accept the position.  I remember the lunch when my mother again discussed this question with Father and she proposed that we all vote on it.  At that time eight of us sat at the table.  Some votes were "for" and some votes were "against," but there were more votes "for."  The contract was in Father's study, ready to sign.  Mother discontinued lunch and took father's hand.  They went into the study and she gave him a pen to sign the contract.  After he returned to the lunch table, Father declared that it was not definite as long as the contract was at home.  So Mother took the contract and delivered it to the post office.

"Dvořák and Spillville, Forty Years After," a wonderful article written for the publication Musical America, Vol.53 (1933) by Helen Kinsella, gives an account (pp. 4-49) of Dvořák's stay in Spillville, Iowa.  Perhaps these incidents from his life will illuminate what kind of man Dvořák was and why the tale of the water sprite inspired him to compose so beautifully.
On May 24, 1853, Dvořák finished the New World Symphony, and some days later he and his family set out for northeastern Iowa.  Ms. Kinsella described his life as it had been in New York City:

That winter was very trying for Dvořák.  He was by nature a country gentleman, used to the serenity of rural life and accustomed to the solitary enjoyment of nature.  In contrast to such an environment he was suddenly the center of great attention in New York.  His social engagements were scarcely less numerous than his musical appointments.  After meeting these private demands in addition to his duties as Director of the National Conservatory, he had little time left for composing.  And when he did try to make a tune, it was invariably accompanied by the roar of elevated railway trains and the general clamor of traffic. 

It so happened, however, that Dvořák's secretary and musical assistant, Kovarik, was the son of the schoolmaster in Spillville, Iowa.  Since Dvořák was anxious to escape the city when spring approached, Kovarik suggested that he visit his hometown.  He explained that it was a Bohemian settlement where his native language was spoken on the street; it was beautiful, peaceful and quiet, and best of all, there were no railroads.  And so, one day in June, Dvořák, his wife, six children, a sister, a maid, and the assistant arrived by train at the nearest station, safely distant by eleven miles from their destination.

A few anecdotes will reveal some of Dvořák's personality and interests.

One morning, a villager spied Dvořák walking near the school.  It was so early that she assumed something was wrong and ran out to ask him what had happened.  He replied:

Why, nothing has happened.  And yet - a great deal.  I have been rambling in the wood, along the brook, and for the first time in eight months I hear the birds sing.  But I must go home now for breakfast.  Afterwards I shall come again.

Another man recalled:

Dr. Dvořák liked nothing  better than to get a few of our Spillville 'old settlers' together every afternoon and listen to the narration of their struggles and experiences in the Middle West.  They so allured him that he would ply the speaker with question after question.  He, in turn, would tell stories of mutual friends in the Old World, or of the New Yorkers whom he could not entirely fathom. 

The schoolmaster Kovarik, the assistant's father, noted that the composer was very interested in the church music of the town.  He related that Dvořák visited the church on his first day and thereafter played at the daily service, to which his wife Anna contributed her fine contralto voice.  Finally, the schoolmaster reported:

...Dvořák was greatly interested in the Indians and one day while he was still at Spillville a band of Indians came to town selling medicinal herbs.  We were told they were the 'Kickapoo' and belonged to the Iroquois tribe.  Every evening they gave a little performance of their music and dancing and Dvořák was so interested that he make it a point always to be present.

Dvořák believed that a true American music could be achieved only with the contributions of the native peoples and the great black heritage of spirituals and other genres.  But while he was enthusiastic about many aspects of America, he was too homesick for his native land to remain here and he returned to Europe in 1895, leaving Spillville and the rest of us richer for his brief presence.

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From your Opera Guild 
We are glad that Art Axelrod is now home from rehabilitation.  His injuries from a fall on the ice in December are healing well, but he will not be able to put weight on the ankle for some time.  His lecture which was to be given in March on opera ensembles is cancelled, but we look forward to hearing it next year.  

All of our technical advisors, Art,
Peter Dundas, and Bill Crocca worked to cope with our computer disaster this month, but it was Peter who spent many hours actually at the computer, analyzing problems and recapturing data.  There is still work to be done and a new system to consider, but Peter has made it possible to keep functioning.  The Italian seems appropriate:  "Mille grazie! " (A thousand thanks!) 

The Guild is sad to report that Joe Heintzman passed away on Monday, January 2nd. He went peacefully, and he will be missed and remembered both by Rochester and Buffalo opera friends.

He was one of the longest supporters, donors and volunteers of the Opera Guild. He was a kind man and a faithful volunteer: helping our Guild with the mailing and also helping with the mailing at the Brighton Senior Center.  He was also a member of the Opera Buffs in Buffalo and the WNY Friends of COC.  He enjoyed their trips to the Canadian Opera and the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.

Joe was a beloved teacher at the Henrietta School District and he was a teacher to the end: he donated his body to the students at the University of Rochester medical school.

  Joe and his sister Kathy have specified that donations can be directed to the Rochester Opera Guild and Lollipop Farm in Rochester, as well as other organizations in Buffalo.  There will be no funeral, but Kathy will have a celebration of Joe's life in Jamestown NY in April 2017. 

This picture with Anastasia Johnson, North East President of the Opera Volunteers International (OVI) was taken in May 2015 
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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