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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, June 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.

NoJulyAnnouncementSpecial Publication Announcement

There will be no July issue of Viva Voce, although we may send you brief notice of August events.  So keep your June issue for all its information about summer programs, or click here to access archived past newsletters, including this one.

An alternate route is to go to our web site at operaguildofrochester.org, click on the tab "reading room" at the top of the page; scroll to and click on "Archive of Past Newsletters" then click again on "Click here for past issues" in the third paragraph.

Our next issue will be the August issue which will arrive July 26 or 27.

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Opera Guild Hosts Tour to Glimmerglass Festival
Gershwin's Porgy and Bess

Photo: Musa Ngqunwana as Porgy and Talise Trevigne as Bess Photo © by Karli Cadel

The Opera Guild of Rochester is hosting a tour to the Glimmerglass Fesival to see Porgy and Bess  
on Monday, July 31 at 1:30 pm. Click Here for flyer and to register. Tour includes breakfast on the bus, lunch catered at Glimmerglass Pavilion with a private introduction to the music, and dinner on the return trip at the Brewster Inn.

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."

This production will be sung in English with projected titles in English.
John DeMain conducts with staging by Francesca Zambello.


Finger Lakes Choral Festival
Finger Lakes Choral Festival

"When Love Goes Wrong" 
Romantic Tragedies in Opera
Hochstein Performance Hall
The Penfield Symphony, conducted by Andy Horn
Sunday, July 23 at 4pm

Some of the most exciting and memorable music of Donizetti, Verdi, Puccini, Grieg, Bizet, and even Wagner will be performed, featuring selections from Lucia di Lammermoor, Aida, Il Trovatore, Otello, Carmen, Dido & Aeneas, and Faust. As a respite from the heart-wrenching drama of end-to-end love disasters, the festival will include the glorious and redemptive final scenes of Turandot and Tannhauser.

Registrations for those who wish to sing in the chorus for this event are now being accepted. Rehearsals begin on May 31.

Soloists will be Madeline Cain (soprano), Jessica Best (mezzo-soprano), Evan Thomas Jones (baritone), and Keith Ikaia-Purdy (tenor).

The event is FREE, but call for tickets.

For more information, Click here or call 585-465-0838

Paige and Jacob at the Donor Recital 2017 AnnualRecitalOpera Guild of Rochester Annual Recital for Donors
The Twelfth Annual Donor Recital of the Opera Guild on May 21st featured soprano Paige Kiefner and pianist Jacob Stebly in a wide-ranging program that included selections from Carmen and Don Pasquale to Young Frankenstein and "They don't let you in the opera (if you're a country star)."

Miss Kiefner possesses abundant acting talent in addition to her vocal skills.  She was effectively partnered in dialogue and duet in several numbers by Mr. Stebly, who has a fine tenor voice to accompany his proficiency at the piano.

The audience was very much taken by their ebullient spirits in several numbers, the animated conversation at the reception reflecting the success of the afternoon's entertainment.  All fueled of course by the cookies, pastry, fruit and cheese served by our generous volunteer hosts and hostesses.  It was a very satisfying conclusion to a year which had its share of trials.  (See January 2017 News from your Guild.)

We would like to give special thanks to Rob Goodling, who assists us every year in arranging the recital and whose help is always valuable and unstinting.    


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
(Tony Award winning Broadway show 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 Spencer, 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 Davies, Children's Opera
(Boathouse Productions)

July 8 at 10,11:30 am

John Davies' 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
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.


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.


Smith Opera House
82 Seneca St.

Geneva, NY 14456

Don Giovanni by Mozart
July 27 and 29 at 7:30pm
July 30 at 3pm

Don Giovanni will be sung by Jimi James.

Tickets: Adults, $35.00; Children K-12, free. Call (315) 781-5483 for tickets.    


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
Friday, August 11 at 7:30 pm 
Sunday, August 13 at 2 pm

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.
To visit the Website or buy tickets Click Here

The Tosca production will feature Met Opera soprano Jennifer Rowley as Tosca, Yeghishe Manucharyan as Cavarodossi, Crey Crider as Scarpia, and Jamie Offenback as Angelotti.  Fenlon Lamb is stage director and Gerard Floriano is the artistic director and conductor. 

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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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.)

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 Peter Dundas and Carol Crocca

In October 1905 Richard Strauss attended Max Reinhardt's production of Hugo von Hofmannsthal's play Elektra in Berlin. He was so enthralled that he contacted Hofmannsthal and mentioned that he would like to set it to music. Hofmannsthal agreed and Strauss replied, thanking him and continuing; "I would ask you urgently to give me first refusal with anything you write, that I could compose. Your manner has so much in common with mine; we were born for one another and are certain to do fine things together if you remain faithful to me." This was the start of a relationship that would last until Hofmannsthal's untimely death in 1929, and produce eight operas with music written by Richard Strauss.
However, even before working on Elektra, Strauss was unsure that this was the right thing to do. In a letter to Hofmannsthal in March 1906 he asked for a different libretto, something based on Hofmannsthal's play Semiramis. He writes, "That is why anyway I should be glad to know if you've got anything else in stock for me, and if I might perhaps have a go at some other subject from your pen, further removed from 'Salome', before doing 'Elektra.'" Hofmannsthal replied with a very long letter, in his typical florid style, rejecting this notion, stating, "But I honestly say that, as I see things, I should be very glad if you could manage to stick to 'Elektra' for a start." As we know, Strauss agreed, even reluctantly, and produced Elektra with music unlike anything he had ever written before, now generally considered to be his most 'modern' work.
Der Rosenkavalier was the very next work composed by Strauss and it is so different from Elektra that many people over the years have asked "Why?" Strauss was severely criticized by the musical elite of the time for retreating from his move into atonality, and producing a sentimental and sugary old-fashioned' piece, which now is the most popular of his operas. A little research reveals that Strauss trusted Hofmannsthal and relied on his judgment. But even while he was composing the music for Elektra, Strauss was pestering Hofmannsthal for something new. Finally, in a letter dated 11 February 1909, Hofmannsthal writes, "I have spent three quiet afternoons here drafting the full and entirely original scenario for an opera, full of burlesque situations and characters, with lively action, pellucid (easily understood), almost like a pantomime ... There are opportunities in it for lyrical passages, for fun and humor." In a later letter, dated 8 March 1912, Hofmannsthal explained, "It was my deliberate intention which made me refrain from continuing the same direction after 'Elektra',    for here as always I was obliged to pursue a line which is my own. To be your librettist in a higher sense, I had to begin by not being it in the banal sense."
Der Rosenkavalier is a comedy, with strains of both farce and sentiment. While on the surface it is completely different from Salome and Elektra, it is not an absolute departure. In addition to harmonic invention, in the opera Strauss continues to develop his 'lyrical conversational' style, described by David Murray (The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, p.47) as follows:
In all previous operas ( at least since Monteverdi's time), if there was dialogue with the quick cut-and-thrust of sophisticated conversation it was set as recitative ["dialogue" as distinguished from the various forms of aria which were usually reserved for expressing a character's thoughts or feelings], or else informal ensembles; but such conversation makes the very texture of Der Rosenkavalier [emphasis added], and here Strauss outdoes Wagner with dramatic music in which distinctions between recitative, arioso and formal set pieces are continuously blurred.
Hofmannsthal's excellent libretto gave Strauss scope for both light comic and sentimental writing. As a character Baron Ochs ("Baron Ox") is a buffoon, but the Countess is a mature sophisticated woman who expresses her poignant feelings of nostalgia and loss. In her relationship with the adolescent Octavian there is an echo of the Countess' flirtation with Cherubino in The Marriage of Figaro, but in Strauss the erotic charge is much more potent. The prelude to Act I unabashedly (how else from the composer of Salome?) depicts the act of love-making, a depiction made effective through skills Strauss honed in the composition of his famous tone poems.
Also explored is the transition of feelings in Octavian from his teenage emotion to a much deeper feeling for Sophie, just a year younger than he. Contrasted with these is the buffa-like plan to embarrass Baron Ochs and allow Octavian's suit for the hand of the fair Sophie to prevail. Again, the skill in musical description developed in the tone poems allows Strauss to effectively portray Hofmannsthal's characters. All of which is set in what Michael Kennedy describes as orchestration marked by "exquisite illustrative detail...the high polytonal chords for flutes, harps, celesta and three violins which depict the silver rose, the fast movement of the hairdresser's hands as he adjusts the Marschallin's coiffure,,,"(The New Penguin Opera Guide, p. 893).

- Peter Dundas and Carol Crocca for the Opera Guild of Rochester

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From your Opera Guild 
Because of a scheduling glitch on May 21st we were unable to take the time to acknowledge our volunteers as we wanted to at the Annual Recital. Our thanks to the many people who volunteer for the Opera Guild and without whom we could not continue our programs.  Here they are:

Cindi Battisti      
Facebook Coordinator 
Mary Bonaccio Publicity, Development Committee, Met HD essays delivery 
Lillian Bonanni Hostess Coordinator 
Elizabeth Beumer Hostess, Mailings 
Bill Crocca Newsletter Publisher, Technical Assistance 
David Dean Mailings 
Rosalie Di Pasquale Hostess 
Margaret DundasHostess, Mailings 
Linda Dunn Assistant Treasurer  
Peter Elliott
Margaret Gibbons Hostess, Mailings 
Rob Goodling Annual Recital Artist Management 
Scott Horsington Publicity 
Ruth Mathews-Leubner Newsletter 
Joe Mancini Mailings 
Sylvia Marshall 
Lida Moore Newsletter Assistant Publisher 
David Sharkey Data Base Management 
Joan Schultz Annual Recital 
Rachel Stuhlman Met HD essays 
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 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

Free subscription on-line at operaguildofrochester.org

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