June 27 Gala Performance Highlights Opera Summer Intensive
With the sounds of arias and bel cantos filling the air, the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts is partnering with Opera Singers Initiative (OSI) for a two-week opera intensive on campus this summer with emerging national and international professional opera and classical singers, including Marie Masters (pictured). Entitled the "OSI Vocal Institute," the artistic and career development program takes place from June 16 to June 27. The program will culminate in a Gala Concert Performance at the Quick Center on Friday evening, June 27, beginning with a pre-concert reception taking place at 7 p.m., followed by the performance.
The concert, Richard Strauss: A 20th Century Operatic Titan, will feature operatic excerpts by Richard Strauss (1864-1949) and earlier composers who greatly influenced him, in celebration of the 150th anniversary of his birth. Gala tickets are $60 per couple, $45 single tickets. Tickets are available through the Quick Center Box Office: (203) 254-4010, or toll-free 1-877-ARTS-396 (1-877-278-7396). Tickets can also be purchased online.
“Having the Quick Center and Fairfield University working together with Opera Singers Initiative is significant on many levels,” said Quick Center Director Gary Wood. “Given the passion for opera in our region, demonstrated by the interest and attendance for our The MET: Live in HD opera broadcasts, the OSI Vocal Institute grows the Quick Center’s affiliation to the art form, particularly in a vibrant, hands-on, and personal way.”
The OSI Vocal Institute provides vocal training and coaching from master teachers, instructors, directors, and world-renowned master class presenters. Participating students will have been selected on the basis of competitive auditions held in New York, Boston, and San Francisco. During the program, each singer receives an intensive career-focused program that includes acting and musical coaching for performance preparation; workshops and master classes that focus on the business of singing, such as marketing and public relations, branding, finance, and fundraising; plus individual career consultation, all culminating in the gala performance on June 27.
Singers selected for this summer’s OSI Vocal Institute include:
- Aaron Halvey, tenor, who opened 2014 performing with the Theater of Washington in their production of Ariadne Auf Naxos. In the spring of 2013, he sang Pinkerton in his professional debut in Bel Cantanti's production of Madama Butterfly. His second major production with the company was during the summer program as Eisenstein in Strauss's Die Fledermaus, with a repeat performance in December. Returning to his native home of Colorado often, he has had the pleasure of performing with the Opera On Tap association, as well as many other exciting venues.
- Allison McAuley, soprano, a regional finalist in the 2011 Classical Singer Competition in New York City. She has been engaged as an artist in programs including the American Institute of Musical Studies (AIMS) in Graz, OperaWorks, Nevada Opera’s Resident Artist Program, the New York Lyric Opera Emerging Artist Program, and The Manhattan School of Music Summer Voice Festival. This spring she will be performing with New York Lyric Opera Theatre and the Saint Andrew Chorale in New York City, where she will also be seen playing the title role in Psyche, a new opera by Jeff Baker. Ms. McAuley was born in Oakville, Ontario, attained her bachelor of music performance degree at Queen’s University, and earned her master's of music in opera from New York University.
- Amanda Rae Matson, soprano, currently residing in New York City, who has performed in Boston Lyric Opera’s production of Carmen, MetroWest Opera’s The Magic Flute, and Opera del West’s L’Elisir d’Amore. She covered Juliette in Gounod's Roméo et Juliette with The New York Opera Exchange, performing with them regularly. She appeared as a finalist in the Alfredo Silipigni International Vocal Competition with the New Jersey State Opera, was a finalist in the Jesse Kneisel Lieder Competition, and was awarded first place in the Friends of Eastman Opera Competition, judged by Thomas Lausmann. She received her bachelor of music, summa cum laude, from Florida State University, and her master’s in music from The Eastman School of Music.
- Marie Masters, soprano, who performed Ännchen in Der Freischütz, and Pisana in I Due Foscari with Maestra Eve Queler and Opera Orchestra of New York. She was the soprano soloist in Vivaldi’s Gloria with the Cleveland Orchestra; the soprano soloist in Stravinsky’s Le Rossignol and Four Russian Peasant Songs under the baton of Pierre Boulez;the Trainbearer in Elektra with Franz Welser-Möst; Frasquita in Carmen with Opera Western Reserve and Ash Lawn Opera Festival; and Zerlina in Don Giovanni.
Participating faculty members for the OSI Vocal Institute include:
- Dr. Charis Dimaras, musical coach, concert pianist and conductor noted for his diverse activity as solo recitalist, vocal and instrumental chamber music collaborator, orchestra soloist, and conductor of symphonic and operatic repertory.
- Deborah Lifton, voice instructor, currently a faculty member at Western Connecticut State University, Ithaca College New York City, and the Ithaca College Summer Music Academy. An accomplished performer, she is a past winner of the Joy in Singing Competition Prize and is currently featured in American Opera Projects’ Composers and the Voice series.
- Kathy Olsen, instructor, founder of Encompass Arts, and considered one of the most famous and sought-after opera coach/accompanists in the world today.
“Hosting the OSI Vocal Institute on campus in June presents an exceptional opportunity to partner with an organization and art form of national and international scope,” added Gary Wood. “The singers of the Institute are already themselves professionals who attend the Institute as a means to sharpen their musical, developmental and career skills. And the final gala performance on June 27th will be an exciting evening of music, making possible an additional and first-rate experience for our campus community and our patrons from around the area.”
The OSI Vocal Institute will also host two other area workshop concerts:
Pequot Library in Southport, Conn., June 17 at 6:30 p.m. (program to be announced)
Westport Arts Center, in Westport, Conn., June 20 at 7 p.m., in a program entitled Operatic Excerpts and Art Songs by 20th Century American Composers.