Arts Beat

by Mark G. Auerbach

From Carmen to Cleopatra: Opera Time

Rebecca Krouner sings Carmen at The Academy of Music

Rebecca Krouner sings Carmen at The Academy of Music

Panopera Brings Carmen To Northampton’s Academy of Music

It used to be that opera lovers could see fully-staged productions of their favorite operas at Commonwealth Opera or Connecticut Opera, if they didn’t want to travel to New York or Boston. It wasn’t all that long ago that New York City Opera performed in Springfield, under the auspices of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra. In recent years, locals have to travel or go to one of the high-def Metropolitan Opera screenings at the cineplex.

Sam Rush directs Carmen at The Academy of Music

Sam Rush directs Carmen at The Academy of Music

Panopera, the group that has presented Tosca and La Boheme for area audiences, is trying to change that. They’ll be performing Bizet’s beloved opera Carmen at the Academy of Music in Northampton on January 27 and 29. Panopera is an artist-led company with the mission of performing professional opera using local singers and instrumentalists. All of the cast and orchestra are from Massachusetts or Connecticut, with many having local ties to the Pioneer Valley.

Sam Rush, co-founder of Northanpton’s New Century Theatre will stage the opera, and E. Wayne Abercrombie, Professor Emeritus of Music at UMass/Amherst, conducts the orchestra. Rebecca Krouner sings the role of  Carmen;  Alan Schneider plays Don Jose, Joshua Jeremiah sings Escamillo, and Emily Baker is Micaela. Carmen’s costumes are by Suzu Sakai , who graduated from Smith College with a degree in theatre design..

For details: http://www.panopera.org/ or http://www.aomtheatre.com/

Othalie Graham headlines the Springfield Symphony’s Leontyne Price celebration.

Othalie Graham headlines the Springfield Symphony’s Leontyne Price celebration.

The Springfield Syphony Celebrates Leontyne Price

Kevin Rhodes and The Springfield Symphony celebrate an extraordinary life in opera, that of the great American singer Leontyne Price, who turns 90 this year. The celebrated soprano Othalie Graham, who sang with the Springfield Symphony last season in Porgy and Bess, returns to present an evening of Miss Price’s greatest hits on February 18 at Springfield Symphony Hall.

Leontyne Price sang the role of Cleopatra in Samuel Barber’s Antony and Cleopatra, which opened the new Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center 51 years ago. Graham and Orchestra perform that opera’s “Give Me Some Music | Death of Cleopatra”, along with arias from Puccini’s Tosca–the famous “Visi d’Arte”;  The Dance of The Seven Veils from the Strauss opera Salome; and excerpts from Verdi’s Aida, Strauss’ The Egyptian Helen, and Puccini’s Manon Lescaut.

Canadian-American soprano Othalie Graham continues to receive critical acclaim throughout North America and is widely known for her interpretations of the title roles in Turandot and Aida and her commitment to Wagnerian repertoire.

Ms. Graham has performed the title role of Turandot with Nashville Opera, Opera Carolina, Orquesta Filhamónica de la UNAM, Opera de Nuevo León, Boston’s Chorus Pro Musica, Arizona Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, Sacramento Opera, Opera Columbus, Opera Delaware, Utah Festival Opera, Connecticut Grand Opera, Pensacola Opera, the Westfield Symphony Orchestra and the Harrisburg Symphony. For details on Miss Graham’s career: http://www.othaliegrahamsoprano.com/

The Westfield News Group is a sponsor of this performance. For details on the Springfield Symphony: 413-733-2291 or www.springfieldsymphony.org.

Of Note

New Century Theatre has finalized venues for its 2017 summer season, after losing its home of 26 years at Smith College. The summer theatre will divide its time between Northampton’s Academy of Music and the mew theatre at  Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter School (PVPA) in South Hadley. . For details: http://newcenturytheatre.org/

Todd Rosenthal, the Tony Award-winning scenic designer from Longmeadow, MA is creating the sets for the Broadway-bound musical, Roman Holiday, based on the Academy Award-winning movie, with music from the Cole Porter catalogue. Roman Holiday opens in San Francisco in May. Marc Bruni will direct.

Bob Smith of Westfield was recently honored at Bravo Newspaper’s 25th Anniversary celebration. Smith was Bravo’s first employee. Bravo has morphed into the website In The Spotlight, which showcases the performing and visual arts in the area. He writes reviews and serves as webmaster. For details: www.inthespotlightinc.org.

Lauren Winter performs with Longmeadow Chamber Music Society

Lauren Winter performs with Longmeadow Chamber Music Society

Keep in Mind...

Michael Winter performs with Longmeadow Chamber Music Society

Michael Winter performs with Longmeadow Chamber Music Society

Longmeadow Chamber Music Society Winter Concert

The Jannuary 29 performance of the Longmeadow Chamber Music Society at the First Church of Christ on the Longmeadow Green features husband and wife French Horn duo Lauren Winter and Michael Winter performing works for two French Horns and string quartet.

Lauren Winter is Principal French Horn player at the Springfield Symphony; husband Michael Winter is a member of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. They’ll bring a string quartet of colleagues from Boston to perform with them. The program includes Beethoven’s Sextet for Two French Horns and String Quartet, Schubert’s Death and The Maiden, and other works for solo and duo horns. The Westfield News Group is a sponsor of this performance. Tickets will be available at the door. For details: 413-567-8213 or www.longmeadowcms.org.

Broadway, Baby!, the UMass Fine Arts Center 28th Annual Gala, brings some razzle dazzle to the the Campus Center on February 4. Dress as your favorite Broadway character or star. the evening includes cocktails, appetizers, red-carpet photos, and an “early-bird” auction, followed by a three-course dinner, dancing to live music, a FAC spring season preview, and live and silent auctions. The Gala benefits the Arts/Access program. For details: 413-545-2511, 800-999-UMAS, or www.fineartscenter.com.

Mark G. Auerbach studied theatre at American University and the Yale School of Drama. He’s worked for arts organizations and reported on theatre for newspapers and radio.

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