Join the Louisiana Opera Friday, Feb. 12th in their fifth season for a fundraiser for the opera company off campus in Kilbourne Hall at Grace Church in Monroe’s Garden District. Rodgers and Hammerstein’s beloved musical Carousel will be presented by members of the Louisiana Opera: professional singers from throughout the U.S., and local Monroe talent from ULM and the community.
Welcomed back to Monroe is baritone Corey McKern, who sang the role of the Barber in the LA Opera production of The Barber of Seville this past June. Soprano Betsy Uschkrat, the former Miss Indiana, will also return to Monroe after so many stellar performances in Monroe. Betsy and Corey will be Julie and Billy in the musical about the star-crossed lover’s ill-fated romance. “If I loved you” and “You’ll never walk alone” are only two of the many well-known tunes in the show. Also returning is tenor Tyler Smith and baritone Ron Ulen. Familiar to our audience will be Monroe residents Claire Vangelisti, Lynn Clark, and pianist Richard Seiler.
The party kicks off at 7:00 p.m., and heavy hors d’oeuvres and beverage will be served, and admission will be $40 per person. Tickets will go on sale by January 8, and will be available at FIESTA NUTRITION, 1211 N. 18th Street, and in the VAPA office at the University of Louisiana-Monroe Biedenharn Music Building during university office hours, 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. For more information, call (318) 342:3247.
On April 1 and 3 the Louisiana Opera will present its first full production of the season, the exciting and passionate Tosca, by Giacomo Puccini. The opera will be fully costumed and staged and will be sung in Italian with English translated titles above the singers onstage. The Friday night performance (April 1) will begin at 7:00 p.m., while the April 3 Sunday matinee will be 2:00 p.m.
Returning by popular demand is the Metropolitan Opera tenor Allan Glassman, who sang the role of Canio in LA Opera’s production of Pagliacci in 2014. Also returning is soprano Rebecca Wascoe and Ron Ulen, baritone, both singing major roles in last year’s Dialogue of the Carmelites. Rounding out this extraordinary cast as the comic priest is bass Bill Bugg, returning to Monroe after starting his singing and teaching career here many years ago. ULM faculty member Julian Jones and outstanding graduate Nathanael Medlin also have important roles in the musical drama. Making an appearance will be members of the outstanding Delta Youth Chorale, conducted and created by their leader Jarrod Richey. The chorus, made up of ULM students and the community, are an important part of this production.
The production team is led by director Mark Ross Clark, with Jeffrey Peterson (from the Baylor University Opera faculty), and pianist Richard Seiler. Margaret Hall is the costumer, while ULM technical director Steven Burnside executes the costume design.
Tickets will be available March 1, and will be $25 per ticket, student tickets are $10.
The final production of the season will be The Magic Flute, by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. This eternal comic favorite (with glorious music) will be performed on May 20 and 22 with a professional cast, including Corey McKern, Betsy Uschkrat, and Tyler Smith. Newcomers to Monroe will be basso John Paul White, singing the role of Sarastro, who has sung the role many times in Germany, and the Queen of the Night will be coloratura dramatic soprano Kelly Holst, a faculty member on the staff of the renowned university known for its opera and musical theatre productions, Oklahoma City University. This outstanding cast includes Claire Vangelisti, Lynn Clark, and Julian Jones. Richard Seiler is the pianist, while director Mark Ross Clark will stage the performance, which will be sung in German (with subtitles) and the dialogue will be spoken in English. This music-drama is a family favorite for all ages.
Tickets will be available in April, 2016.
From the online TRIP ADVISOR, an unsolicited review of the LA Opera’s performance of The Barber of Seville in June, 2015:
I was very impressed and moved by this production. The community came out in droves. They cheerfully filed into the Recital Hall and took their seats (open seating). They laughed at the hilarity, grinned ear to ear, and readily applauded the performers, who were, in turn, giving it their all. At intermission, the audience filed out of the hall, raving about this singer or that, or chuckling about the hilarious twists and turns of this particular opera story.