When David Gibb, President of the Board of Directors of the Opera Buffs, suggested “Music in the Air” as the title for the organization’s Spring Performers Showcase – which will take place on Sunday, March 25 at 2:30 p.m. at the Colburn School’s Thayer Hall in downtown Los Angeles – Music Director Mona Lands was instantly captivated.
“I loved it because ‘Music in the Air’ worked with whatever I might make of it,” Lands recalls. “In this case, it made me think of the African American Spiritual, Over My Head, which begins with the lyrics ‘Over my head, I hear music in the air.’ “
However, the young artists taking part in the production will not only sing the first two verses of the hymn, itself, but perform fully staged excerpts from an array of operas and operettas. These include Mignon by Ambroise Thomas, Edgar and Le Villi by Giacomo Puccini, I Pagliacci by Ruggero Leoncavallo, Die schweigsame Frau (The Silent Woman) by Richard Strauss, Werther by Jules Massenet, Die Entführung aus dem Serail (The Abduction from the Seraglio) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and La Périchole and La Grande-Duchesse de Gerolstein by Jacques Offenbach. Baïero, from Chants d'Auvergne by Joseph Canteloube, will round out the program, along with songs from various works by Gilbert and Sullivan.
“I wanted to make the afternoon light and fun and spring-like,” Lands explains. “We will definitely have some sublime and some ridiculous moments to enjoy!”
But, most of all, the audience will enjoy making the acquaintance of the performers themselves. Joining the cast for the Spring Performers Showcase are soprano Anush Avetisyan, mezzo-soprano Shabnam Kalbasi, tenor Ashley Faatoalia, baritone Brian Vu, and
bass Erik Anstine.
“The Opera Buffs’ is an all-volunteer organization, founded to support emerging opera singers at a very crucial juncture–
the years of transition from student to professional performer,” says David Gibb. “Each member of our cast for ‘Music in the Air’ is a perfect illustration of the exceptional young singer we have been proud to introduce to opera lovers throughout Southern California
since our first Performers Showcase back in 1983. Erik Anstine is a young artist with LA Opera's Young Artist program, Ashley Faatoalia won 2nd place in the 2011 Metropolitan Opera Regional Finals here in Los Angeles, and the other three are college seniors whose talent is already attracting attention.”
“And they’re not just highly gifted singers. They’re great actors as well!” adds Lands with a smile.
To make reservations to attend “Music in the Air,” contact email@example.com or Joan at 310.470.6268. Tickets are free for members and available to 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. Parking is available at Disney Hall or in surrounding lots.
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, over 400 Southern California-based singers, including such artists as Brian Asawa, Richard Bernstein, Michelle DeYoung, Julianna DiGiacomo, 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.