Congratulations to all the singers who helped make this year’s Quest for the Best an outstanding success. Thanks to the generosity of donors and attendees we awarded over $8,000 in prizes, with all singers receiving prize money. The top award winners are noted below; click on their names to go directly to videos of their arias. Or view (and download) all the graduate and undergraduate arias.
Graduate Singers and Top Awards
|First (tie)||$1250||OGSA in honor of Patrick and Patricia Schifano||Chunghee Lee|
|First (tie)||$1250||OGSA in memory of Stokes Tolbert||Diana Peralta|
|Third||$750||Mary Casady in memory of Richard L Casady||Yuchen Luo|
Undergraduate Singers and Top Awards
|Second||$600||Carolyn & Russ Russo||Ezra Zurita|
|Third||$500||Patrick and Patricia Schifano||Kelsie Grimsley|
OGSA previews Arizona Opera’s production of The Marriage of Figaro April 1 in Oro Valley and April 5 in Tucson. Past president Carol Garrard considers the socio-political background of the opera and the play it is based on.
When Lincoln met Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, he said, “So you are the little lady who made this great war.” And indeed, her book did play a role in marshaling Northern opinion against slavery. But how many Americans know about the role the French author Pierre-Augustin Beaumarchais played in the role of helping the infant United States in their revolution against the British King George III? And even more astonishing, how many know the role his play, The Marriage of Figaro had in setting off the French Revolution which would not only topple the French monarchy but send King Louis XVI and his queen Marie Antoinette to the guillotine?
Napoleon came to describe The Marriage of Figaro as “the Revolution already in action.” But was he referring to Beaumarchais’ play or Mozart’s opera? Exploring the answer takes us on a fascinating journey: where art ends, and history begins.Read entire article
by Carol Garrard
The Opera Guild has once more teamed with the UA Voice and Theater Program and the Jewish Community Center to fill the J’s lovely outdoor space with beautiful music at 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 30. The program features excerpts from two unusual contemporary operas, performed by voice students under the direction of Cynthia Stokes, Director of the UA Opera Theater and Artistic Director of the San Diego Opera. An aria concert by Fred Fox School of Music faculty members follows, and it’s all capped off by light refreshments and the opportunity to chat with students and faculty. Tickets are $10 through the JCC (520-299-3000) or at the door.
The Sculpture Garden is ideal for the fluid staging and rapid pace of both operas excerpted: La hija de Rappaccini, by Mexican composer Daniel Catán (1949-2011), and Speed Dating Tonight!, by American Michael Ching (born 1958). Neither opera has been previously presented in Arizona, but UA Opera Theater will mount a free fully staged site-specific production of La hija on November 10 and 11, in the UA Environment and Natural Resources 2 Bldg.
La hija de Rappaccini (Rappaccini’s Daughter) is set in Renaissance Padua, where Dr. Rappaccini’s garden is tended by his beautiful daughter Beatriz, who was raised on the same poisonous plants that she cares for. When a young student falls in love with her, drama ensues. See our October 2018 Guild Voice for more on the opera and UA’s innovative staging.
In a completely different mood, Speed Dating Tonight! imagines a contemporary bar hosting a session of speed dating. Each participant expresses his or her thoughts and emotions in a brief aria, giving us an intense view of the character. Things turn serious, then zany. For some daters, the evening is their worst nightmare. For others, there is hope of a romantic future. Each one’s future lies within our own engagement and imagination. It promises to be riveting.
As the finale to our program, members of the UA voice faculty will sing some of the best-loved arias in opera; which ones are up to the audience. Here’s how it works: each artist will offer to sing one of two arias. Audience members then “vote” for the aria they prefer, by pledging a dollar amount to our grant and scholarship fund for student singers. The “votes” are then tallied and the aria with the larger total sum is performed. Donations are tax-deductible.
So do not miss a unique musical experience. Mark October 30th on your calendar today!
In late May, four sopranos from UA’s Fred Fox School of Music flew to picturesque Orvieto, Italy, the first music students to participate in UA’s long-standing study-abroad program. AZ in Orvieto offers a wide range of courses for UA credit in summer, fall, and spring sessions, but this was the first time a course specific to vocal students was offered. Dr. Andrew Stuckey guided them in Aria and Song Intensive Study over a five-week period. He worked with the students in masterclass fashion, as well as in private lessons, helping them through repertoire which the students then performed in two public concerts. His teaching went well beyond the confines of the prescribed six hours a day, extending into role preparation for the upcoming year, something for which the heavy course load of a student musician often leaves no time.
Here is what the four UA singers were doing:
Senior Emily Garcia, undergraduate winner of the 2018 Quest for the Best, began coaching for her lead role in the new Mexican opera Marea Roja, and performed “Si, mi chiamano Mimì” and Gershwin’s “Summertime” in concerts.
Coloratura soprano and Master’s candidate Kristen Lucas, also a 2018 Quest participant, worked on and performed arias including the challenging and impressive Bell Song from Delibes’ Lakme, and the famous “Caro nome” from Rigoletto.
Undergraduate soprano Bridget Marlowe, who was featured in student productions during the past academic year and also performed at the 2018 Quest, sang Mozart arias and charmed the local concert audience with “Think of Me” from Phantom of the Opera.
Lauren Ludovico, a music minor with a background in musical theater, worked on operatic music for the first time, singing “Nel cor più non mi sento,” a well-known aria by Paisiello, and also the moving “I dreamed a dream” from Les Miserables.
Dr. Stuckey also taught an opera appreciation course that was attended by five non-music majors and two of the singers. This course offered a mixture of history, journal articles, and guided listening to scenes from some of opera’s greatest hits.
The first concert filled up the sizable Locanda del Lupo (a “locanda” is an antique hotel-eatery), leaving concert-goers and passers-by crowded around the large entrance for more than an hour. Word of the concert traveled, and compliments on the students’ performance poured in from the community. The second concert was held in the 14th-century Palazzo del Popolo (photo left), and drew a local crowd, in addition to many members of the AZ in Orvieto program. A review was published in the local newspaper, and city officials promised to open the impressive building, not normally accessible to the public, to opera students in years to come.
OGSA is proud to have helped the three music majors to experience this unique program through grants, scholarships, and/or prize money.