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Our Fall Donation Campaign is Underway!  

Please make a tax-deductible contribution to the Opera Guild of Rochester to support our programs in opera education, outreach, and grants to opera performances.

We've added Bravo Nights, Opera Meet-ups and Opera Week activities this year and we want to continue expanding and attracting new opera fans with your help!

You can donate securely via Pay Pal or mail a check to Opera Guild of Rochester, PO Box 25613, Rochester, NY 14625. Please include an email or other address for your tax receipt. Levels start at $50 for an individual and $80 per couple. All donors receive an invitation to the Annual Donor Recital in May, and those who donate above the Comprimario level ($100) may request extra tickets. For further information about our programs and activities, see the feature on 'Beat the Blahs' and From Your Opera Guild. Volunteering also makes a great contribution!


Edition Viva Voce, November 2018

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.

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.

Our Website and Facebook pages serve as a clearinghouse for local and regional opera, concert, and recital information, with links to other music organizations in our area. Please visit our Website at operaguildofrochester.org.   

For up-to-date information on opera-related news and events, please visit us on facebook.com/OperaGuildofRochester.

Some events are now being recorded.  Click the YouTube logo to visit us there.
For OGR Channel
Reader Article submission deadline for the next issue is the 15th of the previous month.

TheMonth November Banner

Nov 1, 2, 3             Eastman Opera Theatre, The TIbetan Book of the Dead
Nov 4                     Pegasus, Venice (concert)
Nov 9, 11, 16, 18   TriCities, Suor Angelica
Nov 10                   Met HD, Marnie, see essay
Nov 10                   The Lyric Theatre,  Mark Daniels (recital)
Nov 25, 27             The Little, Die Walküre

(For those wishing to explore opera without spending a lot of money)

FREE - Friends of Eastman Opera Voice Competition. Look for listing in February 2019 Viva Voce. 8 pm, Kilbourn Hall, Gibbs Street, Rochester.
FREE - The Lotte Lenya Competitionyoung multi-talented singer/actors performing both opera and musical theater selections.  See Viva Voce for Saturday in April, 11am-4 pm and an evening concert, Kilbourn Hall, Gibbs Street, Rochester.
FREE - Opera Guild Lectures in February and March (with many video selections) at Brighton Memorial Library, 7 pm, 2300 Elmwood Ave, Look for listing in January 2019 Viva Voce
$9/10 suggested donation - Opera Guild "Beat the Blahs."  Opera DVD presentations at Temple B'rith Kodesh.  
Four Sundays in January at 1 pm, see the 2019 schedule in this issue.  Pre-performance talk, refreshments at intermission, children and students always FREE.
$18 - Pre-recorded operas from the current season of the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden (London).  Die Walküre, Nov. 25, 27; Queen of Spades, Feb. 24, 26; La traviata, March 24, 26; La forza del destino, April 28, 30; Faust, May 26, 28; followed by informal chats in the café.  The Little Theater, 240 East Ave, Rochester. See listing in Viva Voce.
$24; UR students $10 with ID - The Eastman Opera Season:  (Eastman voice students).  Pre-performance talks; see full listing in Viva Voce.
$25 per (senior) ticket - Metropolitan Opera simulcasts in HD of live performances on Saturdays usually at 1 pm.  An encore performance, not live, is given on the Wednesday following for $23.  Theaters are at Tinseltown, Eastview, Webster and Henrietta. See full listing and essays in Viva Voce.
FREE - Opera Guild Bravo Nights at The Little Café, live accompanied singers perform opera favorites in an informal atmosphere.  See Viva Voce for next date, in 2019.


From Death to Rebirth
The Tibetan Book of the Dead: The Great Liberation Through Hearing
Music by Ricky Ian Gordon, Libretto by Jean-Claude Van Itallie
November 1, 2, and 3 at 7:30 pm; November 4 at 2 pm, Kilbourn Hall

From Sorrow to Joy
Orfeo ed Euridice
In Italian with English supertitles
Music by Christophe Willibald Gluck, Libretto by Ranieri de' Calzabigi
January 31, February 1 and 2 at 7:30 pm; February 3 at 2 pm, Annex 804 Black Box Studio

From Seduction to Damnation
Don Giovanni
In Italian with English supertitles
Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte
April 4, 5, and 6 at 7:30 pm; April 7 at 2 pm, Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre

The Voice and Opera Department presents
L'enfant et les sortilèges (The Child and the Spells)
Sung in French and performed with piano
Music by Maurice Ravel, Libretto by Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette
May 3 and 4 at 7:30 pm, Annex 804 Black Box Studio

Eastman Theatre Box Office (585) 274-3000; To purchase tickets Click Here
Mark Daniels Recital 
On Sunday, November 10, at 4 pm, Mark Daniels, tenor, will give a recital at the Lyric Theater, 440 East Avenue, 14607. Mr. Daniels, an Eastman graduate, has been coached and will be accompanied by Rob Goodling, well-known Rochester teacher and adjudicator, with whom he has given four recitals this past spring in the Rochester and Syracuse areas. Mark will be singing opera arias, Neapolitan songs, art songs, and musical theater repertoire. Guest artist Susan Cotroneo, soprano, will join Mark in a scene from Puccini's La bohème and guest artist Marc Falco, baritone, will join him in the famous duet from Bizet's The Pearl Fishers.

General Admission tickets are $30 and Preferred Seating tickets of $50 will enable you to attend the "Meet the Artists Wine and Hors d'oeuvres Reception" following the performance. Half-priced student tickets will be available at the box office on the day of the recital. Tickets may be purchased in advance at lyrictheatrerochester.org  by clicking on the 'Performances' tab at the top.

Royal Opera House Film Series at The Little

Sunday performances at The Little are followed by informal meet-ups in the café to chat about the opera with other fans. Everyone is welcome.  

Sunday November 25 (Noon)
Tuesday November 27 (6 pm)
Est. RT: 4:50

Sunday February 24 (Noon)
Tuesday February 26 (6 pm)
Est. RT: 3:30

Sunday March 24 (Noon)
Tuesday March 26 (6 pm)
Est. RT: 3:35

Sunday April 28 (Noon)
Tuesday April 30 (6 pm)
Est. RT: 4:15

Sunday May 26 (Noon)
Tuesday May 28 (6 pm)
Est. RT: 3:45

MetHD2018-2019SeasonMetropolitan Opera HD Season 2018-2019

Muhly, Marnie
November 10, 12:55
Synopsis and other info: Click Here
Based on a novel by Winston Graham, this new opera by Nico Muhly was commissioned by the Met. It tells the story of a beautiful and elusive woman and the man who pursues her.  Mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard and baritone Christopher Maltman sing the principals, with Robert Spano at the podium.  Click here to see the essay in this issue.

Verdi, La Traviata
December 15, 12:55
Synopsis and other info: Click Here
Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts Michael Mayer's richly textured new production, featuring a dazzling 18th-century setting that changes with the seasons. Soprano Diana Damrau plays the tragic heroine, Violetta, and tenor Juan Diego Flórez returns to the Met for the first time in five seasons to sing the role of Alfredo, Violetta's hapless lover. Baritone Quinn Kelsey is Alfredo's father, Germont, who destroys their relationship.

Cilea, Adriana Lecouvreur
January 12, 12:55
Synopsis and other info: Click Here
Anna Netrebko sings the title role, based on the life of an actual 18th-century actress who dazzled audiences with her on- and off-stage passion. Piotr Becsala is her lover, Maurizio, and Gianandrea Noseda leads the orchestra. The story is superbly set by David McVicar in a working replica of a Baroque theater.

Bizet, Carmen
February 2, 12:55
Synopsis and other info: Click Here
Mezzo-soprano Clémentine Margaine reprises her remarkable portrayal of opera's ultimate seductress, a triumph in her 2017 debut performances of Bizet's masterpiece. Tenor Roberto Alagna is her lover, Don José, in Sir Richard Eyre's powerful production, a Met favorite since its 2009 premiere. Louis Langrée conducts.

Donizetti, La Fille du Régiment
March 2, 12:55
Synopsis and other info: Click Here
Tenor Javier Camarena and soprano Pretty Yende team up for a feast of Donizetti's bel canto vocal fireworks-including the show-stopping tenor aria "Ah! Mes amis," with its nine high Cs. Maurizio Muraro is the comic Sergeant Sulpice, with mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe as the outlandish Marquise of Berkenfield and Enrique Mazzola in the pit.

Wagner, Die Walküre
March 30, 12:00 
Synopsis and other info: Click Here
In what is expected to be a Wagnerian event for the ages, soprano Christine Goerke plays Brünnhilde, Wotan's willful warrior daughter who loses her immortality in opera's most famous act of filial defiance. Tenor Stuart Skelton and soprano Eva-Maria Westbroek play the incestuous twins Siegmund and Sieglinde. Greer Grimsley sings Wotan, Fricka is Jamie Barton, and Hunding, Gunther Groissbock. Philippe Jordan conducts.

Poulenc, Dialogues des Carmélites
May 11, 12:00 PM 
Synopsis and other info: Click Here
Yannick Nézet-Séguin leads the classic John Dexter production of Poulenc's devastating story of faith and martyrdom. Mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard sings the touching role of Blanche and soprano Karita Mattila, a legend in her own time, returns to the Met as the Prioress.

BeatBlahBeat the Blahs, The Haskell Rosenberg Memorial Series

***PLEASE NOTE CHANGE ON JAN 20TH!*** On our program handout for 2018-19, Elektra is listed. It has been changed to Arabella, below.

Opera DVDs on the big screen, introductions by Opera Guild docents, refreshments at intermission. 
Temple B'rith Kodesh, 2131 Elmwood Avenue, Sundays, 1-5 pm.

Jan 6 1-5 p.m. Gounod's Mireille
Opera Talk, David Dean
One of Gounod's "French Provence" operas from 1864 and perhaps the first French impressionist opera.

Jan 13 1-5 p.m. Mark Adamo's Little Women
Opera Talk, Carol Crocca
This production, with Joyce DiDonato and Katherine Ciesynski, is of "a beautifully crafted work, brilliantly molding Alcott's tale into operatic form." (The New Yorker) It is a coming-of-age story with a particular focus and great appeal for adults and children alike.

Jan 20 1-5 p.m. Richard Strauss's  Arabella
Opera Talk, Peter Dundas
From 1928. Librettist Hugo von Hofmannsthal convinced Strauss to abandon the dissonant style of Electra and to return the lyrical style of Rosenkavalier, with this delightful opera as the result. Today's production features Kiri te Kanawa.

Jan 27 1-5 p.m. Rimsky-Korsakov's  Golden Cockerel
Opera Talk, Art Axelrod
Rimsky-Korsakov's last opera. Two hours long, a satire on military ineptitude with mystical plot elements and beautiful arias and orchestral numbers.

If you are on our snail mail list, you may have received a green flyer which you may return with donation for your selected operas. However, anyone is welcome to come without pre-registration. If you would like to be on our snail-mail list, send your address to PO Box 25613, Rochester, 14625 or visit operaguildofrochester.org for more contact information.

Nickel City Opera Season

The Saturn Club, 
Thursday December 6 at 7pm

Hits from Carousel, Les Miserables, A Little Night Music, Don Quichotte, The Sound of Music and many more! 
$25 per person, limited seating
For more information, please send an eMail to Valopera@gmail.com.

Villa Maria College, May 24 and 26, 2019


The beloved classic opera by Verdi about a woman who is misunderstood and misguided. Violetta falls in love with Alfredo and loses everything. Memorable and popular tunes abound including the drinking chorus 'Libiamo!' Don't miss a full opera with costumes, sets, chorus and a full orchestra at the majestic 1250-seat Villa Maria College Theatre in Buffalo near Pine Ridge and Doat St. Plenty of parking, easy access and a great acoustic will leave your ears ringing with opera. 

Crouse-Hinds Theater at the John H. Mulroy Civic Center
Free conductor's talk an hour prior to each performance

Christian Capocaccia, Conductor
Symphoria Orchestra
Syracuse Opera Chorus, Ensemble

To purchase a subscription, Click Here
Mozart, Don Giovanni
Friday, February 1, 2019 at 8:00 PM  
Sunday, February 3, 2019 at 2:00 PM
Sung in Italian with English surtitles.

Ophelie Wolf, Director
Marcus DeLoach, Don Giovanni
Julia Ebner, Donna Anna
Pamela Armstrong, Donna Elvira
Robert Mellon, Leporello

Weill, Three Penny Opera
Friday, April 12, 2019 at 8:00 PM  
Sunday, April 14, 2019 at 2:00 PM  
Sung in English with English surtitles.
Cara Consilvio, Director
Peter Kendall Clark, Macheath
Ron Lloyd, Peachum
Melissa Parks, Ceila Peachum
Gregory Sheppard, Tiger Brown

To purchase single tickets, Click Here



Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, EUGENE ONEGIN
For more details, Click Here
Richard Strauss, ELEKTRA
For more details, Click Here
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, COSÌ FAN TUTTE
FEBRUARY 5 TO 23, 2019
For more details, Click Here
Giacomo Puccini, LA BOHÈME
APRIL 17 TO MAY 22, 2019
For more details, Click Here
Giuseppe Verdi, OTELLO
APRIL 27 TO MAY 21, 2019
For more details, Click Here


Nov 9th, & 16th, 2018 - 7:30pm
Nov 11th, & 18th, 2018 - 3:00pm
Trinity Memorial Episcopal Church
44 Main Street
Binghamton, NY 13905

Suor Angelica is a unique one-act opera set in a 17th century Tuscan convent, containing moments of harrowing drama and unequaled redemptive beauty. The story take place over one day and intensifies as it unravels.

For details and tickets, Click Here

Feb 22 & March 1, 2019 - 7:30pm
Feb 24 & March 3, 2019 - 3:00pm
Tri-Cities Opera Center
315 Clinton Street
Binghamton, NY 13905

Three Decembers is a 90 minute one-act opera based on Terrence McNally's original script for Some Christmas Letters. The story takes place over three decades of the AIDS crisis, each section recalling the events of a December, as the characters struggle to connect when family secrets are revealed.

For details and tickets, Click Here

 April 28th, 2019 - 3pm
The Forum Theatre
236 Washington St.
Binghamton, NY 13901

Gilbert & Sullivan's beloved operetta takes place aboard the ship HMS Pinafore. The captain's daughter is in love with a lower class sailor although her father intends her for Sir Joseph Porter, the First Lord of the Admiralty. They declare their love for each other and eventually plan to elope. Will their plan succeed?

For details and tickets, Click Here

Pegasus Logo
2018-2019 Season

All concerts at Downtown United Presbyterian Church, 121 N. Fitzhugh Street, Rochester. Pre-concert talk at 3:15 pm, concert at 4:00 pm

For more information or to buy tickets, Click Here

November 4, 2018 @ 4 pm

An excursion to 17th century Venice to explore the stunning vocal music of Barbara Strozzi, her contemporaries, and her influences. Music of Strozzi, Monteverdi, Schütz, Grandi, Ferrari, and others who lived during this innovative period.

February 24, 2019 @ 4 pm

It's a musical party as we celebrate with 17th century music and dance from Spain and the New World, including Bolivia, Peru, and Mexico.

April 7, 2019 @ 4 pm

"The magical duo Bedlam" (Fanfare Magazine) is Kayleen Sanchez, soprano, and Laudon Schuett, lute. Our first Pegasus Rising artists, they return to Rochester with a program of renaissance French and English lute songs. Sacred, secular, bawdy and tender!

Acis & Galatea
May 5, 2019 @ 4 pm

A semi-staged concert version of this beloved pastoral opera by Handel. Will the monster Polyphemus woo Galatea to his side? Michael Beattie, musical direction; Emily Cuk, stage direction.

SalonConcertsSalon Concerts with the Rochester Academy of Medicine

Join us for a performance by The Academy Salon Trio 
followed by a reception with the artists.
1441 East Avenue, 14610

21st Salon Concert Season

November 4, 2018
February 3, 2019
March 24, 2019
April 28, 2019

All concerts take place at 2:00 pm in the Lyon Family Salon in the Rochester Academy of Medicine. Tickets are $35 at the door, $30 with reservation by phone, online or message. $26 Academy Members with reservation and $5 student. Seating is extremely limited. For more information Click Here.

From your Opera Guild 

Another reason we are so lucky to be in Rochester: Yesterday (October 25) I received an email from the Friends of Eastman Opera inviting me, as a supporter of that organization, to a session that afternoon with none other than Renée Fleming. As an Eastman Distinguished Visiting Artist, she was making herself available to students and faculty for an update on her activities and questions and answers. I am a profound admirer of Ms. Fleming, and it was a wonderful opportunity to enjoy her generosity in sharing her enthusiasm and experience with the audience. Too late for this issue, but I will tell you all about it next month...

As I mentioned last month, the Board of Directors' main task this year is attracting new members. However, we have at last gotten started on getting some high school students to the Met HD broadcasts in December. We also have a presentation at St. John Bosco School in East Rochester for Opera Week, which grew out of contacts made for Bravo Nights. And, we'll be showing an opera at Beat the Blahs on January 20th suitable for children and high school students, as well as equally entertaining for adults: Mark Adamo's Little Women, based on Louisa May Alcott's classic novel.  
Our fundraising campaign is underway! Please help us continue and expand our programming in support of opera in the Rochester region! 
Carol Crocca, President

Please consider the Opera Guild of Rochester among your charitable organizations for 2018-19. Donations to the Opera Guild of Rochester are fully tax deductible and donors will receive an invitation to the Annual Recital in May 2019, which includes a dessert reception with the artists.

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, and our opera trips to regional opera companies including the Glimmerglass Festival.

Cindy B Advert


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, and at the Comprimario level and above may request extra tickets.

Chorus: $50 per person, $80 per couple.
Comprimario: $100-$149.
Primo: $150-$199.
Maestro: $200-$299.
Impresario: $300 or more. 

You may also mail a check to Opera Guild of Rochester, P.O. Box 25613, Rochester, NY 14625. Please include an email or other address for your tax receipt.

Return to Contents

OperaEssaysOpera Essays

This section brings you articles written by Opera Guild docents, previously distributed at HD performances. Other essays previously published as Reader Articles are also published in this section. All these essays are available on the Website in the Reading Room.

The Composer and the Thief

By Carol Crocca (Disclaimer: I am in general not a fan of late 20th and 21st century opera.)

Nico Muhly, who is all of 37 years old and has an extensive list of compositions and collaborations in several genres, was raised in Providence, Rhode Island, and began piano study at age 10. He attended the Wheeler School, received an English degree from Columbia and completed a master's degree in music at the Juilliard School. Muhly has also studied composition with John Corigliano and Christopher Rouse. (Wikipedia.) He has composed three operas: Dark Sisters, a chamber work about family crisis for four wives in a fundamentalist Mormon polygamous family; Two Boys, an opera about one teen-aged boy killing another based on relationships developed through the internet, staged by the Met in 2013; and the current Marnie, which premiered at English National Opera in fall, 2017.

Marnie is different because the other works concern contemporary events (Dark Sisters was inspired by news coverage of a government raid on the Mormon compound after allegations of child abuse) and Marnie is set in and evocative of 1950's England, based on a 1961 novel by Winston Graham. It tells the story of a young woman who moves compulsively from job to job, embezzling money from each employer and creating a new identity for herself with each move to cover her tracks. She is phobic about interactions with men, and avoids or merely endures their attentions, both appropriate and inappropriate. Ironically, however, with recent emphasis on revelations of sexual harassment and coercion in the workplace, Marnie may be, in part, the most relevant of all. Depictions of unwanted sexual approaches in employment situations are unfortunately still realistic over sixty years later.

I did not see the Alfred Hitchcock film (1964), which apparently diverges significantly from the opera in emphasis and plot. (For a detailed comparison of opera and film, see operawire.com/opera-meets-film.) Although the creators emphasized that the opera is based on the novel rather than the movie, this did not stop the Met from capitalizing on the inevitable comparisons by having Tippi Hedron, who played Marnie in the film, come out on stage, age 88, at the end of the premiere.

Sexual harassment is not, however, at the core of the Marnie story. She is dissociated from ordinary life and love because of childhood experiences of which she herself is not consciously aware. Her criminal activity exerts its usual fascination on the law-abiding, but her inner life is, or should be, the pivot of the story. Especially since the novel is written from her point of view, the opera should be judged on how well it conveys this inner life.

All Muhly's works have gotten mixed reviews, both in the sense of some favorable and some not, and in the sense of critics finding considerable merit, but significant flaws as well. One critic suggested that Muhly has spread himself too thin and therefore not evolved as an opera composer. The snippets of music I listened to are not ugly and jarring (let me qualify the implication of that statement: ugly and jarring have their dramatic importance - I just don't care to sit through three hours of ugly and jarring), so I am prepared to listen with an open mind. The staging, video projections and costuming have been uniformly praised and the performances almost so. One sidelight: it seems that even the Met cannot realistically stage a fox hunt!

After reading some of the composer's blog, and listening to his comments on the opera, I found him intelligent and engaging in spite of an excessive use of "like'' and other indicia of his generation (he begins his blog thus: "Beloveds''), far removed from mine. Here are some of his remarks on Marnie which you might find helpful:

On the four characters surrounding Isabel Leonard as Marnie: "The Shadow Marnies represent her past personas, and they are invisible ghost-like figures who surround her, encourage her, antagonize her and echo her. With a few exceptions, they don't sing complicated text, and usually their text is fragmented and more sonically interesting: They sing without vibrato, in a kind of early music style, setting them apart from the rest of the singers and the chorus. It's almost like another character made of four people, and another set of instruments as well." [It should be noted here that Marnie does not have multiple personalities: she has created different identities to escape detection in her criminal activities.]

On the male dancers: "The decision to include dancers I think arose from the idea of the Shadow Marnies - we have these woman constantly there, but also, it was important to show her always subtly antagonized by men - they represent a sort of male gaze which exists less as specific incidences of harassment and more as an atmosphere of vague menace."

On what opera might be like in the future: "I really hope nobody has an answer to this! We just have to fight for this thing to still exist, and to open the doors wider, and to create new doors if the ones we have aren't big enough."

All from an interview reported on allarts.wliw.org, October 17, Elizabeth Svokos

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

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