Tulsa Opera’s ‘The Marriage of Figaro’ to air on KWTU radio on Friday
Ava Pine as Susanna and Seth Carico as Figaro star in Tulsa Opera’s “The Marriage of Figaro.” KWTU (88.7 FM) will broadcast the opera beginning at 8 p.m. Friday. JAMES GIBBARD/Tulsa World file
Posted: Friday, November 22, 2013 12:00 am | Updated: 5:37 am, Fri Nov 22, 2013.
By JAMES D. WATTS JR. World Scene Writer | 0 comments
Tulsa Opera’s season-opening production of “The Marriage of Figaro” will be broadcast beginning at 8 p.m. Friday on KWTU (88.7 FM), the University of Tulsa’s classical music station.
The broadcast is part of “Performance Oklahoma,” a weekly program hosted by Kimberly Powell and originating from the Edmond-based public radio station KCSC.
“The Marriage of Figaro” was performed at the Tulsa PAC on Oct. 18 and 20, with a cast that featured Seth Carico, Alexander Elliott, Ava Pine, Lauren McNeese, Eleni Calenos, Lauren McNeese, Peter Strummer and Linda Roark-Strummer.
“I’m pretty certain this is the first time we’ve had one of our productions broadcast statewide,” said Kostis Protopapas, Tulsa Opera artistic director. “We are wanting to get opera before as wide an audience as possible and to generate interest in the company itself. We’re very proud of what we do, and we want to share that.”
Microphones were set up throughout the PAC’s Chapman Music Hall for both performances, as well as the production’s dress rehearsal.
Protopapas said the opera’s final performance, on Oct. 20, is the one that will be broadcast.
“The idea was to present the opera as it happened, to be as close to the live experience as possible,” he said. “That’s why we had the microphones in the main part of the hall, to capture the sound of the audience. Without that, it would probably sound as if it had been recorded in a studio.”
The broadcast will also include Powell a recent recipient of the Governor’s Arts Award for her work with the show introducing the opera and conducting interviews with members of the cast and Protopapas that will be aired during the opera’s intermissions.
“We plan to do these broadcasts throughout this season and for years to come,” Protopapas said.
BY JAMES D. WATTS JR.
World Scene Writer
In music, as in comedy, timing is everything. And for mezzo-soprano Lauren McNeese, the timing of her debut with Tulsa Opera could not have been better.
The Tulsa native, whose career has taken her to some of the country’s most prestigious opera stages, recently gave birth to her first child.
“She’s just about 8 weeks old,” McNeese said. “Fortunately, my family still lives in Tulsa, and they’re quite happy to look after her while I’m working.”
That work involves portraying
Cherubino, the lovestruck page whose youthful habit of falling in love with every woman he meets adds to the comic confusion of Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro.”
For McNeese, the opportunity of being a boy — what is known in the opera world as “pants roles” — is a joy.
“I love roles like this,” she said. “For one thing, I love to be active, even when I’m on stage, and I love Cherubino’s energy — that boisterous adolescent drive he has. And you don’t have to worry about decorum, so you can get away with a lot of physical stuff you wouldn’t dream of doing if you were playing a woman.”
This is McNeese’s first time to perform with Tulsa Opera, though the company did provide her with her first experience with the art form.
“My mother bought me a CD of’The Magic Flute’ and, when it was apparent that I really loved the music, took me to a production at Tulsa Opera,” she said. “I still have that CD — it’s what I listen to whenever I need to remind myself what ‘Magic Flute’ sounds like.”
But it wasn’t until McNeese left Tulsa for the University of North Texas that she began to pursue a career as a singer.
“They have a great music program, and that’s where I really blossomed vocally,” she said. “And then it was a matter of doors that just kept opening for me.”
A performance with Central City Opera in Colorado led to McNeese being selected for the young artist program of the Lyric Opera of Chicago and its Ryan Opera Center.
“That’s where I really developed as an artist,” McNeese said. “It’s a full-time program with classes in languages, acting, as well as singing and doing performances.”
It was for the Lyric Opera of Chicago that McNeese did her first professional performance as Cherubino in 2003. Since then, McNeese has performed with companies that include San Francisco Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Minnesota Opera and the Metropolitan Opera.
Her repertoire is equally varied, with male and female roles in Mozart operas such as “Don Giovanni,” “Cosi fan Tutte” and “The Magic Flute,” as well as in productions of operas from Wagner’s “Ring” cycle.
She’s also one of few opera singers to have been directed by Woody Allen.
“He did a production of ‘Gianni Schicchi’ for Los Angeles Opera, about five years ago,” McNeese said. “And believe me, I learned a lot about co- medic acting. One of the first things he told us was ‘You’re not funny. The situation is funny.’ There is a tendency to play ‘Gianni’ very broadly, but Woody kept after us to play everything very small.
“And when we performed it, the audience basically was laughing the entire 40 minutes it takes to do this piece,” she said.
Her job right before coming to Tulsa was as part of the Metropolitan Opera’s acclaimed production of Wagner’s “Parsifal,” which was one of the operas broadcast live to movie houses as part of the Met’s “Live in HD” series.
Knowing that a live performance was to be broadcast “changes the way you do things a bit,” McNeese said. “The emphasis is to make what you do look as natural as possible. I remember the director saying over and over, ‘Keep your mouth closed!’ When you weren’t singing that is. And you never look at the camera.”
There is some glamour to the life of a professional opera singer, yet the traveling and odd hours can play havoc with one’s health.
That is one reason why McNeese took time to study at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition to become a certified health coach.
“I’ve always had an interest in health and nutrition,” she said. “I’m not a naturally lean person, and you have to look a certain way if you’re going to be playing teenage boys on stage.
“When you’re on the road, you’re something of a scavenger, and it’s so easy to fall into bad habits,” McNeese said. “I wanted to help my fellow singers get out of those habits and back to a more healthy way of living.
“The thing is,” she said, laughing, “I’ve only worked with a few clients, and none of them are singers. And with all the changes that have been going on in my life, I haven’t had to time to pursue this like I might want to. But I know this is something I want to do, that I will do. I want to be a force for good.”
‘I love Cherubino’s energy — that boisterous adolescent drive he has. And you don’t have to worry about decorum, so you can get away with a lot of physical stuff you wouldn’t dream of doing if you were playing a woman.’
See original article with pictures here
By JAMES D. WATTS JR. World Scene Writer
The husband and wife will share Tulsa Opera stage for first time.
As spacious as the south Tulsa house that Peter and Linda Strummer share with their two Siamese cats is, the two-story structure can’t begin to contain the couple’s operatic careers.
Memorabilia from more than three decades on the world’s opera stages adorn the walls: photographs of the Strummers in costume; playbills from such places as La Scala, La Fenice, the Metropolitan Opera and others that feature their names prominently; citations and medals in recognition of their artistry.
In the second-floor music room, one wall is given over to audio cassette tapes of the couple’s live performances.
“The thing is,” Peter Strummer said, “we’ve got so much more of this sort of thing in storage. There’d be no way of getting it all in here.”
And they continue to add to this collection. While Linda, known professionally as Linda Roark-Strummer, has moved away from performing in staged operas, Peter Strummer continues to be greatly in demand, primarily for his ability to bring some real humanity to broad comic roles such as Dr. Bartolo, the character he will portray in Tulsa Opera’s season-opening production of Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro.”
This production will also mark the first time the Strummers who have been married for 38 years have appeared together in a Tulsa Opera production. Roark-Strummer will have the role of Marcellina, the housekeeper and, it turns out, much more than that to Dr. Bartolo.
The couple, who have made their home in Tulsa for the past 14 years, aren’t strangers to Tulsa Opera.
Roark-Strummer, a Tulsa native, performed as a member of the chorus and in comprimario roles while a student at the University of Tulsa. Her career as a dramatic soprano kept her so busy that she was able only to return once to Tulsa, to sing the title role in the company’s 1991 production of “The Girl of the Golden West.”
Strummer, on the other hand, has been a regular performer with Tulsa Opera, beginning with a 1987 production of “The Marriage of Figaro.”
“That was the infamous production, when the orchestra was on strike and we did the whole opera with two pianos and a harpsichord,” Strummer recalled. “I remember Lorna Haywood, who was the Countess in that show, saying to me, ‘Well, we’re going to have a hit with a capital S.’”
“Actually, it’s pretty rare for us to work together,” Roark-Strummer said. “I’m sort of coming out of retirement to do this and the fact that it’s for ‘Figaro’ is nice, because one of the first shows we ever performed together was a ‘Marriage of Figaro.’”
That was in the mid-1970s, when the two were just beginning their careers.
“I credit Jeanette Turner (former managing director of Tulsa Opera) with really getting me started,” Roark-Strummer said. “She sent me off to Wolf Trap to audition, which led me to New York where I got a job with Western Opera Theatre.”
Western Opera Theatre was a touring company affiliated with the San Francisco Opera and, in October 1975, Strummer was making his debut with that company in “The Elixir of Love.”
“I had about a two-week break between that show and the next one I was to do, when I got asked to step in at the last minute to do Papageno in ‘Magic Flute,’” he said. “And Linda was First Lady in that show.”
What brought the two together was a bit of deception. Two other singers in the production were in the midst of an affair, and “they would bring us along as beards when they would meet, to try and make it less obvious what was going.”
Within a couple of months, Strummer proposed. But their performing schedules were such that it took all sorts of planning and travel to get together to have a wedding.
“Linda was still touring with Western Opera Theatre, and they had our wedding date on their schedule as the ‘WOT Knot,’” Strummer said.
“We had one day,” Roark-Strummer said, “and then I was back on tour and he was off to Minneapolis for his next job.”
The couple lived for many years crisscrossing the country performing, then made the decision to move to Europe, living and working in Germany and Austria for about 12 years.
What brought the Strummers back to the United States was two things one artistic, one political.
“We were working continually in Europe, but my American agent was getting all these offers to work in the states,” Strummer said. “So, when my contract with the opera house we were with came up for renewal, I turned it down.”
Strummer did an audition for Beverly Sills, who was in charge of New York City Opera at the time. Sills dismissed him, but a representative from the Metropolitan Opera hired him immediately.
On the other hand, Roark-Strummer’s audition for Sills went quite differently.
“I was sitting about five rows behind (Sills),” Strummer said. “And when Linda started to sing, just the first few notes, Sills said, ‘Whoa! Where have you been?’ ”
“I told her I’d been working in Europe,” Roark-Strummer said. “She said that she had just been to Europe and never saw me. I told her I was working in the provincial theaters. That’s where all the good singers were.”
Sills hired Roark-Strummer to sing Odabella in “Attila,” a role that up to that time she had never sung. And that 1985 production made Roark-Strummer a star.
“When she did her first aria, the roof just came down,” Strummer said. “I had never heard an ovation like that. And I don’t think Linda really had any idea all that was going on.”
“I just remember Sam Ramey, who was playing Attila, standing there grinning, shaking his head just a little,” Roark-Strummer said.
“And after that it was a whirlwind,” Strummer said. “She was singing at La Scala, Verona, the Met, everywhere.”
The event that sealed the couple’s decision to move back to the United States was the election in 1986 of Kurt Waldheim, a former Nazi officer, as president of Austria.
“When that happened,” Strummer said, “Vienna which is my hometown became very xenophobic. Neo-Nazis came crawling out from under the rocks. The National Guard had to surround theaters to protect the artists.
“Before that time, I experienced only one anti-Semitic incident in all our years in Europe,” said Strummer, who is now an American citizen. “We knew it was time to get the heck out of Dodge.”
In addition to performing, the Strummers are also active in educating the next generation of opera artists. Roark-Strummer taught at the University of Tulsa for several years, and they work with about a dozen private voice students.
One project they are most proud of is the Land of Enchantment Opera Institute, a four-week intensive training program held each summer in Gallup, N.M.
“We’re trying to serve as a bridge between academic study and a professional career,” Roark-Strummer said. “It’s about learning the trade of being an opera singer.”
The program offers master classes, voice lessons, acting instruction, coaching for auditions, as well as preparing for a fully-staged opera production. The Strummers are part of the faculty, along with artists and performers from around the country.
“We started with 12 students, and this last year we had 21,” Strummer said. “It’s always been a dream of mine to do something like this, because the academic world really only prepares for the academic world. It doesn’t ground them in the reality of the business of being an opera singer.”
By JAMES D. WATTS JR. World Scene Writer
“The Marriage of Figaro” is about as close as opera gets to a door-slamming farce, as its characters are forever dashing into or out of rooms, or ducking behind furniture, or putting on other people’s clothes, or concocting cockamamie schemes that never go the way they should.
And Tulsa Opera does its best to make sure its current production of this Mozart masterpiece has comic energy to spare, without shortchanging the vocal and instrumental musical artistry that has made this opera so enduring.
A bit of explanation first: This season Tulsa Opera is presenting only two performances of its productions, so the company arranged that the Wednesday invitational dress rehearsal be reviewed.
Such performances are as technically complete as an opening night, though there might still be room for minor changes here and there. As I was leaving the Tulsa PAC after the show, I happened to overhear director Elise Sandell say to a colleague that she had “a ton of notes” to share with the cast and crew.
Other than a couple of mishaps with props and hats that wouldn’t stay on, Wednesday’s performance seemed to go off without any major hitches an impressive feat considering how physically active Sandell’s staging is.
The cast is kept more or less in constant motion, yet even when things verge on the slapstick, the action is as real and believable as the things people are driven to do in the course of a farce can be.
And many in the cast seem energized by all this gamboling around. Seth Carico, as Figaro, brings a swagger and brio to just about everything he does.
There’s an easy confidence in the way he moves on stage that’s just as apparent in his singing, which is powerful, supple and full of character that jaunty, percussive phrasing in “Se vuol ballare” as he describes how he plans to humble his employer, the bluster of rage as he decries women in “Aprite un po’ quegl’occhi.”
Former studio artist Alexander Elliott is equally good as Count Almaviva, whose lecherous designs on every woman but his wife set the story in motion. You never doubt that this is a fellow used to getting everything he wants. The character’s aggressive nature is evident in everything from Elliott’s posture to the commanding way he sings the Count’s declaration of vengeance, “Vedrò, mentr’io sospiro.”
That forcefulness makes the moments when he’s the butt of the joke, or having to apologize yet again, all the more comic.
Tulsa native Lauren McNeese is superb as Cherubino, capturing the exuberance and petulance of a teenage boy. And she sings the show’s best-known melody, “Voi, che sapete,” in winning fashion, showing the self-consciousness and shyness melting away as the song progresses.
Ava Pine is a feisty Susanna, able to deal with rambunctious teens and amorous employers, while showing her tender side in “Deh! vieni, non tardar” that was beautifully sung.
The bright tone of Eleni Calenos as the Countess melded well with Pine’s richer, earthier sound in their duets. Yet her performances of “Porgi, amor” and “Dove sono” weren’t quite the cries from the heart one expected. They sounded pretty, but it was only when the emotion shifted from sorrow to anger that one got a real sense of the character’s emotions.
Peter Strummer and Linda Roark-Strummer made brief but effectively comic impressions as Dr. Bartolo and Marcellina, and Marc Schapman was a nicely prissy Don Basilio.
Mozart scores seem to bring out the best from the Tulsa Opera Orchestra, and Wednesday night’s dress rehearsal showed that this tradition continues.
Under the direction of Tulsa Opera artistic director Kostis Protopapas, the orchestra had an assured, polished tone and a rich, voice-like sense of phrasing. From the first fizzy notes of the overture to final chord, it made this very human music breathe.
Protopapas deftly maintained the balance between pit and stage, and harpsichordist Lyndon Meyer shone in the solos.
“The Marriage of Figaro” will be performed 7:30 p.m. Friday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday at the Tulsa PAC, 101 E. Third St. Tickets: 918-587-4811, myticketoffice.com
James D. Watts Jr. 918-581-8478
Tulsa Opera is closing out its 65th season in grand fashion with a production of Verdi’s “Aida” that is at once sumptuously grand and surprisingly, searingly personal.
Few places and times inspire artists to such heights of excess as ancient Egypt – all that space, all that wealth, all those pyramids, all those enigmas. Tulsa Opera’s production certainly has its epic aspects, with more than 100 singers, supers, dancers and musicians on stage for the Triumphal March of Act Two, and gigantic set pieces that loom impassively over the action.
But director Stanley M. Garner and his fine cast understand that what is truly epic about “Aida” is its emotional content – the very personal dilemmas of a few people in extraordinary circumstances. Without that, “Aida” can simply be pomp without any circumstance.
That was not the case at Saturday’s opening night performance at the Tulsa PAC. From start to finish, this “Aida” was a winner, filled with beautiful, emotive singing, accompanied by an orchestral performance that was sumptuous and dynamic, all working together to bring forth every possible nuance in Verdi’s music.
For example, as Amneris, the Egyptian princess who has everything except the man with whom she’s infatuated, Dana Beth Miller makes every mercurial mood change palpable.
From Amneris’ craftiness at drawing out why her slave Aida is so distraught, then exulting in that knowledge, or from her desperate pleading Radames to save himself from the judgment he faces to her fury at being scorned yet again, Miller embodied this character so completely, so believably, that one hardly needed the surtitles to know exactly what Amneris was thinking and feeling.
And it was all expressed in a voice of great, yet precisely wielded power, able to cut through the densest ensembles.
Adrienne Danrich’s Aida was equally good – her first scene seemed to be a bit underpowered, but as the evening unfolded, so did Danrich’s voice, growing more nuanced and focused. She was especially strong in Act Three, with its elegiac “O patria mia,” the harsh dialogue with her father, and her duet with Brian Landry as Radames, “Pur ti riveggo, mia dolce Aida,” which culminated with Danrich floating the final high note perfectly.
Landry, in his debut as Radames, was especially good in the more forceful scenes – the dreams of military glory, the defiance in the face of death, even in his efforts to convince Aida to escape with him, music that allowed his muscular, exuberant tenor to have free rein.
On the other hand, his performance of the ruminative aria “Celeste Aida” had all the notes in place, but the tone was not as delicate, as tender – as “lovestruck,” if you will – as might be expected. It was a rare moment when one of the singers was telling the audience what he was thinking, rather than showing it.
Peter Lindskoog brought a nicely nasty edge to Amonasro, Aida’s revenge-minded father, Harold Wilson’s resonant baritone made for a magisterial high priest Ramfis and Michael Ventura was a stately King of Egypt.
Phena Hackett gave a wonderfully ethereal voice to the High Priestess and Stefan Barber declaimed his message well.
Garner’s staging was deftly economical, even when there were a hundred or so people on stage.
Crowd scenes were arranged in artful stasis, to evoke the pictographs on ancient temple walls, while the more intimate scenes allowed the music to do the majority of the work.
Tulsa Opera artistic director Kostis Protopapas conducted the Tulsa Opera Orchestra in a most colorful and perfectly balanced performance, that featured standout moments by cellist Kari Caldwell, oboist Lise Glaser and bassoonist Carolyn Beck. Protopapas also prepared the Tulsa Opera Chorus, which gave its collective voice to the Triumphal March as well as the more enigmatic music of the Temple of Vulcan scene.
Ma Cong choreographed the dances – a stately religious display for Act One, a fast-paced whirl of celebration for Act Two, all performed by dancers of Tulsa Ballet II.
Mark Stanley created the lighting design that bathed the sets and costumes, on loan from New Orleans Opera, with a bronze glow.
“Aida” continues with performances at 7:30 p.m. Friday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday at the Tulsa PAC.
For tickets: 918-596-7111, tulsaworld.com/mytix
Photo: Adrienne Danrich sings the title role in Tulsa Opera’s production of “Aida,” at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center. The opera has two more performances. JAMES GIBBARD/Tulsa World
An evening of family tradition, elegance and beauty awaits those attending the 53rd annual Tulsa Opera Debutante and Squire Ball on Saturday at Southern Hills Country Club.
Calling it a “once in a lifetime experience,” Kristen Kenneally, who is ball co-chairwoman with Cindy Wheeler, noted, “This is the most elegant family event in Tulsa before these young adults depart for college.”
“Memories like none other are made at the Tulsa Opera Ball, and they last a lifetime,” Wheeler said. “It truly is a family affair where parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and family friends take part in this important stepping stone in the lives of the high school seniors whose parents are Tulsa Opera supporters.”
“This is so much more than just a series of parties and activities,” Kenneally said. “The debutantes and squires learn to waltz, have lessons in etiquette and are exposed to arts, particularly opera.”
The evening’s entertainment will be provided by SquadLive from Norman.
Wheeler and Kenneally’s children – Margaux Wheeler and Dominic Kenneally – will be among those presented.
Ball patrons are Mollie Williford, and Mark and Cinda Marra.
The ball culminates a six-months-long journey of parties and preparation. These included a welcome party at The Summit Club with entertainment by Tulsa Opera; a bowling party at the downtown Dust Bowl; a video scavenger hunt at Girouard Vines Urban Winery; and a fathers-and-squires and mother-and-debs dinner hosted by Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse. They also attended Tulsa Opera’s “The Most Happy Fella” and were the guests of the Eric Davis family for Cirque du Soleil at the BOK Center.
Bruce G. Weber Jewelry will continue its tradition of presenting each of the debutantes with a pearl necklace, which will be worn at the ball. Each squire will wear engraved cuff links courtesy of Moody’s Fine Jewelry.
Debutantes and squires, and their parents include: Madeleine Auffenberg, daughter of Jan and Dan Auffenberg; Taylor Davis, daughter of Tricia and Eric Davis; Aubrey Downing, daughter of Kim and David Downing; Connor Doyle, son of Karlyn and Kevin Doyle; Hannah Frizzell, daughter of Kelly and Greg Frizzell; Katie Girouard, daughter of Jan and Chris Girouard; Abby Jordan, daughter of Shawn and Patrick Jordan; Dominic Kenneally, son of Kristen and Timothy Kenneally.
Also, Lauren Langholz, daughter of Alyson and Larry Langholz; Matthew Marra, son of Cinda and Mark Marra; Grant Murphy, son of Cheryl and Steve Murphy; Philipp Piplits, son of Barbara and Martin Piplits; Reid Stinson, son of Sherry and Charlie Stinson; Cameron Taylor, son of Lee and Dr. Jordan Taylor; Richard Allen Williford II, son of Louise Williford and Richard Allen Williford Jr.; and Margaux Wheeler, daughter of Cindy and Larry Wheeler.
Schools represented at the Tulsa Opera Ball this year include Bishop Kelley, Booker T. Washington, Cascia Hall, Holland Hall, Memorial and home school.
Tickets are still available for the ball by calling Tulsa Opera, 918-582-4035.
Photo: Lauren Langholz (left), Hannah Frizzell, Aubrey Downing and Margaux Wheeler are among the debutantes attending the 53rd Tulsa Opera Ball on Saturday at Southern Hills Country Club. ERVING PHOTOGRAPHY / Courtesy
Sherrill Milnes will enlighten singers, audience in connection with the Crescendo Music Awards
World renowned opera baritone Sherrill Milnes will conduct a master class for young professional singers before a live audience on Sunday, March 24, 2013 at 2 pm at the Meinig Recital Hall in the Lorton Performance Center at the University of Tulsa. The class is presented as part of the Rotary Club of Tulsa’s 15th Annual International Crescendo Music Awards and in cooperation with Tulsa Opera. Both singers and audience members will benefit as Mr. Milnes shares valuable insight on vocal expression and explores the unique qualities of performance that make for world class professional vocal careers. Audience members will also have the opportunity to meet Mr. Milnes during class intermission.
A Five-time Grammy® nominated, three-time Grammy® winner and 2008 Opera News Award winner, Milnes is internationally recognized as the leading Verdi Baritone of his time. A world renowned opera star who sang for over four decades, Milnes has conquered all of the great opera capitals of the world, including the Royal Opera, Covent Garden; La Scala, Milan; Berlin’s Deutsche Opera; the Paris Opera; Buenos Aires’ famed Teatro Colon; the Liceu in Barcelona; the Bavarian State Opera in Munich; the Salzburg Festival; the Hamburg Opera; and Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre. Milnes is Commendatore of the Italian Republic and a Chevalier of the French Republic and was inducted into the Lincoln Academy, the highest honor the State of Illinois can bestow. He has had the honor of performing for every United States President since Gerald Ford.
Milnes has worked extensively with young singers throughout his career. He has led master classes at the Juilliard and Manhattan Schools in New York, at most major universities throughout the country and at the Mozarteum in Salzburg. More extensive teaching has been done in education institutions around the world including the Yale University School of Music; Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow; the Northern Royal College of music in Manchester, England where he is also a fellow; the Israel Vocal Arts Institute in Tel Aviv; Montreal; Puerto Rico; and the International Institute of Vocal Arts in Italy. The legendary artist and educator is now Distinguished Professor of Music Emeritus from Northwestern University and continues to teach and judge vocal competitions around the world. Having founded the VOICExperience Foundation with his wife soprano Maria Zouves, they have mentored singers through training programs and built opera audiences throughout the nation, most recently creating the Savannah Voice Festival, launching in the summer of 2013.
The event will feature performances by Tulsa Opera Studio Artists and other talented young artists. Doors open at 2:00 pm with class beginning at 2:15 pm. Q & A during Intermission. Class runs 2.5 to 3 hours. There is no cost to attend.
This Master Class is made possible by a generous gift from Scott and Margee Filstrup, and is presented by the Rotary Club of Tulsa International Crescendo Music Awards; Joseph A. Bias, Founder; and Tulsa Opera.
Read why Tulsa Opera’s production of The Most Happy Fella is a must see!
Frank Loesser’s The Most Happy Fella seemed an obvious choice as our featured American work this season. Often referred to as “the most operatic work ever written for the Broadway stage,” the complexity of the production and the emphasis on vocal quality set it apart from other Broadway works, making it a natural fit for adventurous opera companies like Tulsa Opera.
Read the article featured in the February issue of Intermission Magazine and learn more about this rare revival of a major work by Frank Loesser, one of Broadway’s most iconic composers. You’ll understand why Tulsa Opera’s production of The Most Happy Fella is a must see.
The current incarnation of this ensemble, a project of Tulsa Opera’s education and outreach programs, will reprise this work by Hans Krasa with two performances, Sunday and Jan. 20.
“This year is also the 70th anniversary of the opera itself,” said Aaron Beck, Tulsa Opera’s director of education and outreach. “It’s such a historically significant piece, and one that people continue to relate to, that it seemed the logical thing to perform it for our 15th anniversary.”
The production will feature the 35 members of the Tulsa Youth Opera, along with baritone Tim Petty as Brundibar. Stanley M. Garner, who has directed a number of Tulsa Opera productions including its 2011 “Norma,” is the stage director. Beck will conduct the performance. Read the Tulsa World article by James D. Watts.