Opera and romance are almost invariably intertwined, as music lovers will discover when they attend “Romantic Journey” – the Opera Buffs’ Fall Performers Showcase on Sunday, November 13 at 2:30 p.m. at Thayer Hall at the Colburn School in Los Angeles.
“When David Gibb, President of the Board, suggested the title, I loved it instantly,” confides Music Director Mona Lands. “It’s a great title for an opera arias and scenes program because opera is all about love and romance, with a lot of heartbreak and death added. But we are leaving out the heartbreak and death!”
Gibb resonates to the ‘travel’ theme suggested by the title as well. “We’ve planned a full itinerary for those who join us on our journey,” he says with a smile. “The musical selections include visits to Paris, Moscow, Seville, Windsor, Arles, Venice, Santiago de Compostela and the Alcazar. And our composers hail from a variety of lands as well – Italy, Germany and Russia.”
Those who attend “Romantic Journey” will see staged scenes from Verdi’s La Traviata and Simon Boccanegra, Donizetti’s La Favorita, Puccini’s La Boheme, Tchaikovsky’s Pique Dame, Rossini’s Il Barbariere Di Siviglia, Cilea’s L’Arlesiana and Lehar’s Die Lustige Witwe (The Merry Widow). Performing the scenes, under the direction of Stage Director Michael Van Duzzer, are four vocal artists of distinction who recently came to the attention of the Opera Buffs after participating in the organization’s Auditions Program: Anush Avetisyan, soprano; Leslie Anne Cook, mezzo soprano; Joshua Guerrero, tenor; and Bernardo Bermudez, baritone.
“The Opera Buffs hears more than 70 singers each year at our auditions,” Gibb explains. “Then, for our Performers Showcases, we select the singers with the greatest talent and the most potential for careers in opera. We look forward to introducing Anush, Leslie, Joshua and Bernardo to our members and the public.”
Both the Auditions Program, which provides a wide range of aspiring young singers an invaluable opportunity to gain experience performing, and the Fall and Spring Showcases, which expose the singers’ talent to a discriminating audience, are central to the Opera Buffs’ mission to assist and encourage young artists.
The Opera Buffs also provides direct grants. This year the organization distributed more than $40,000 among 41 potential opera stars in direct grants and honoraria for performances.
To make reservations to attend “Romantic Journey,” contact email@example.com or Joan at 310.470.6268. Tickets are free for members and available for the public for a suggested donation of $15/person and $5 for students. For more information about the Opera Buffs and its mission, visit www.operabuffs.org. Thayer Hall at the Colburn School is located at 200 South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles 90012.
The Opera Buffs, a long-established force in the musical life of Southern California, is dedicated to supporting emerging opera singers at the crucial juncture -- the years of transition from student to professional performer. Since 1983, hundreds of Southern California-based singers, including such artists as Brian Asawa, Richard Bernstein, Michelle DeYoung, Greg Fedderly, Sandra Radvanovsky and Deborah Voigt, have benefited in the early stages of their careers from the financial and moral support of the nonprofit organization and from the opportunity to gain paid performance experience. The Opera Buffs provides funding for career-related expenses based on current talent and career potential, filling a niche generally not served by opera companies, competitions and music schools.