Viva Verdi Performance Marks 200th Anniversary of Composer’s Birth

Posted by triangleoperastudios on November 2, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – DURHAM NC  November 2, 2013 ─ Opera buffs in general and Verdi aficionados in particular can expect a real treat when Triangle Opera Studios (TOS) presents a gala concert, Viva Verdi, to commemorate the great Italian composer’s 200th birth year on Sunday, November 10, 2013 at 2:00pm at Weaver Auditorium, Triangle Opera Studios’ home, at the Durham School of the Arts, 400 North Duke Street, in downtown Durham. 

Free and open to the public, donations are encouraged to support Triangle Opera Studios, a nonprofit organization that offers admission-free presentations and depends entirely on donations to finance its operations.

Italy’s most beloved composer, Giuseppe Verdi wrote 30 operas and single-handedly took Italian opera from the mannered “bel canto” operatic style of the 18th and early 19th centuries up to the doorstep of realism and Romanticism at the turn of the last century. The premiere of a new Verdi opera in Milan or Rome was as big an event as a new Andrew Lloyd Weber musical today.

Viva Verdi (long live Verdi) alludes to the Italian motto that helped make the composer famous.  During his lifetime Italian-speaking people were longing for independence from foreign powers and Verdi’s works reflected their sentiments. His name was used as an acronym for the phrase “Vittorio Emmanual, Re Di Italia” (King of Italy). “VIVA VERDI” was scrawled on walls throughout the Italian provinces and Verdi was plugged every time a patriot wrote of his loyalty to the would-be Italian monarch. As his fame grew, Verdi became the symbol of a united Italy.

The November 10 TOS performance will feature some of the Triangle’s finest singers offering favorites from Verdi’s long career:  Baritone Kurt Melges will perform “Alla vita che terride” from Un ballo in maschera. Mezzo-soprano Monifa Harris will offer the beautiful (and fiendishly difficult) aria “O don fatale” from Don Carlo.  Marie Miller, star of the recent TOS production of Menotti’s The Medium, will sing “Stride la vampa,” the spooky gypsy’s tale from Il trovatore.  Jianghai Ho will perform one of Verdi’s most beautiful and demanding tenor arias “O tu che in seno agli angeli” from La forza del destino. Sopranos Caitlin Reyna and Faith Houck, who alternated as Monica in The Medium, will also be on hand. Miss Houck will perform Amelia’s “Come in quest'ora bruna” from Simone Boccanegra; Miss Reyna will sing Nannetta’s aria, “Sul fil d'un soffio etesio” from Falstaff, Verdi’s final work, his only comedy and the opera many consider his masterpiece.

The second half will feature excerpts from Verdi’s greatest tragedy, the opera Otello–adopted from Shakespeare’s play Othello, The Moor of Venice.  Tenor Bert Bridger will sing the title role, with Kurt Melges as the treacherous Iago. Soprano Audrey Thornhill will appear as Otello’s ill-fated bride, Desdemona and Maria Miller performs as Emilia in Desdemona’s aria.

The performance will be accompanied by pianist Kathyrn Lewis, TOS head musical coach and hosted by TOS stage director Ken Smith who will make the scenes comprehensible and lively for a non-Italian audience.

"Verdi was a great dramatist and a great melodist at the same time,” said Christine Weidinger, TOS General Manger and Artistic Director. “His artistic evolution exemplified to the fullest the power of music to explore human emotions. I am very excited to sponsor our fine singers offering samples of these great works to the public as we celebrate the Maestro’s birthday in a casual setting.”

About Triangle Opera Studios

Bridging the gap between the voice studio and professional stage for aspiring singers by offering them performance opportunities and master classes, Triangle Opera Studios presents quality vocalists who exhibit their talent and skill to the public without financial compensation. The local public benefits from the availability of high quality opera performances at no cost.


Triangle Opera Studios 4106 Bartlett Drive Durham NC 27705