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Call for Volunteers

Enjoy meeting others in Rochester's opera community and contributing to the availability of opera activities by volunteering for the Opera Guild! Currently there are two jobs posted: Event Host or Hostess and Assistant Publisher.  Click on links for the job descriptions.  

Let us know of your interest by contacting Carol Crocca, President, at


Edition Viva Voce, September 2017

The Opera Guild of Rochester, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization with a mission to support opera and opera education in the greater Rochester area.

The Guild presents free opera lectures at local libraries, tours to productions of local opera companies and the Metropolitan Opera in New York City, and our popular Beat-the-Blahs, Haskell Rosenberg Memorial Series, at Temple B'rith Kodesh in Brighton.

Our Website serves as a clearinghouse for local and regional opera, concert, and recital information, with links to other music organizations in our area. Please visit us at   

This newsletter is sent via eMail each month, currently to over 3,000 subscribers.  For a free subscription send your contact details, including your eMail address, to

The Opera Guild of Rochester is also on Facebook. For up-to-date information on opera-related news and events, please visit us on

Reader Article submission deadline for the next issue is the 15th of the previous month.

Survey coming

Please watch for our SURVEY, which will arrive in the next few weeks.  Please give us feedback to help us serve you better. 

Fairport Library lecture series for this season is cancelled.

EastmanOpera2017-2018Eastman Opera
2017-2018 Calendar

Opera Season Preview
October 1 at 4:00 p.m.
Hatch Hall
by W. S. Gilbert & Arthur Sullivan
October 8th at 2:00 p.m.
Hochstein Music School - OrKIDStra Series

L'incoronazione di Poppea* (1642)
by Claudio Monteverdi and G. F. Busenello
November 2, 3, 4 at 7:30 p.m.
November  5  at 2:00 p.m.
Kilbourn Hall
Les Enfants Terribles* (1996)
by Philip Glass and Susan Marshall
Adapted from the Jean Cocteau Novel and 1950 French Film
February 1, 2, 3 at 7:30 p.m.
February 4 at 2:00 p.m.
804 Black Box Theatre
Friends of Eastman Opera
Voice Competition
February 9 at 8:00 p.m.
Kilbourn Hall
Behind the Scenes of
Guettel's The Light in the Piazza
March 31 at 12:45 p.m.
Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre
Friends of Eastman Opera
Annual Dinner
April 5 at 5:00 p.m.
Miller Center Atrium
The Light in the Piazza *
by Adam Guettel  and Craig Lucas
Based on the novella by Elizabeth Spencer
April 5, 6, 7 at 7:30 p.m.
April 8 at 2:00 p.m.
Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre
May 5 at 7:30 p.m.
May 6 at 2:00 p.m.
804 Black Box Theatre

*Tickets sold through the
Eastman Theatre Box Office
433 East Main St., Rochester NY
Pre-performance Talks one hour
before each Eastman Opera Theatre
performance except April 5
Information about upcoming
Eastman concerts and events can be found at


341 Delaware Ave
by Donizetti
A hilarious comic opera about a young man who wants to win over the woman he loves and the con artist who sells him the perfect potion to do it. 
Valerian Ruminski as Dulcamara
Karen D'Angelo as Adina
Jim Judd as Nemerino
Conducted by Matt Marco
A full chorus
TICKETS $25 plus fee
for info call 716 222 3969

2017-2018 'Doomed Divas' season!

Bizet's Carmen
Oct 20 at 8 PM
Oct 22 at 2 PM
Directed and choreographed by Syracuse's own Anthony Salatino, Syracuse Opera opens its 43rd season with an audience favorite. Christian Capocaccia (Rigoletto) returns to conduct the instantly recognizable score.

Verdi's La traviata
Feb 2 at 8 PM
Feb 4 at 2 PM

Soprano Raquel Gonzalez and tenor Andrew Maughan (Eugene Onegin) return to bring Verdi's gorgeous score to life. Directed by Stephanie Havey (Rigoletto) and conducted by Christian Capocaccia.

Puccini's Madama Butterfly (Opera Guild spring trip)
April 13 at 8 PM
April 15 at 2 PM

Soprano Toni Marie Palmertree, having debuted the role of Butterfly at San Francisco Opera in 2016, will reprise the role for Syracuse Opera. CNY native Dinyar Vania returns to play Pinkerton, with baritone Troy Cook (Eugene Onegin) as Sharpless, the American Consul. Glenn Lewis of Pittsburgh Opera will conduct, with Alison Moritz making her Syracuse Opera debut as stage director.

Tickets from $26 to $206, student tickets, $10.
To buy tickets call (315) 476.7372 or go to
Tri-Cities Logo

      2017 - 2018 Season

Giacomo Puccini La Bohème
October 15, 3pm
The Forum Theatre
236 Washington St.
Binghamton, NY 13901

Tom Cipullo Glory Denied
November 10, 17  7:30 PM
November 12, 19  3:00 PM
Tri-Cities Opera Center
Savoca Hibbitt Hall
315 Clinton St
Binghamton, NY 13905

Terrence McNally Master Class
February 23, 24  7:30 PM
February 25, 3:00 PM
Tri-Cities Opera Center

Peter Brook and Georges Bizet The Tragedy of Carmen
April 27, May 4, 7:30 PM
April 29, May 6, 3:00 PM
Tri-Cities Opera Center

For tickets and information call (607) 772-0400 or go to

MetTourMetropolitan Opera 2017 Fall Tour

The Guild organizes informal group trips to the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. The Guild will buy tickets and make group hotel and restaurant reservations. Participants are responsible for their own travel arrangements.

Click here to download a PDF information file which also includes the registration form!

Bellini's Norma   Wednesday, October 11, 2017
New production with Sondra Radvanovsky (Norma), Joyce DiDonato (Adalgisa), Joseph Calleja (Pollione), Matthew Rose (Oroveso)     Conductor: Carlo Rizzi

Puccini's Turandot    Thursday, October 12, 2017
This is the Met's spectacular, not-to-be-missed production of Puccini's last opera. With Oksana Dyka (Turandot), Maria Agresta (Liu), Marcelo Álvarez (Calaf ), James Morris (Timur)     Conductor:Carlo Rizzi

Offenbach's Les Contes d'Hoffmann  Friday, October 13, 2017
With Erin Morley (Olympia), Anita Hartig (Antonia/Stella), Oksana Volkova (Giulietta), Tara Erraught (Nicklausse/The Muse), Vittorio Grigolo (Hoffmann), Christophe Mortagne (Four Servants), Laurent Naouri (Four Villains)     Conductor: Johannes Debus

Additional Information:

You can choose one, two or all three operas! We will order opera tickets in the price range of your choice, reserve hotel rooms, make arrangements for pre-performance dinners, and book your flight, if requested.

Our hotel will be the Watson Hotel (formerly the Holiday Inn) on 57th St. between 9th and 10th Avenues. You are welcome to make your own hotel arrangements. If you desire to share a room, it is your responsibility to find a roommate. Individual hotel bills are to be paid at check-out. (It is possible that we may be able to negotiate an attractive group rate. If so, registered attendees will be notified.)

Opera tickets have to be paid at the time of your order. We will pay the restaurant checks and bill you later. Travel arrangements to New York City are the responsibility of the participants. If you need help with airline reservations, call Helga Strasser at (585) 586-2274 or e-mail

If you'd like to take a Met Opera Backstage Tour, please indicate on the reservation form. The tours start at 3:30 pm and last about 1½ hours. The price is about $16.00.

MetHD17-18Metropolitan Opera HD Season 2017-2018

Watch for our docents' essays on the composer and background of the opera in the monthly e-newsletter issue of Viva Voce preceding the performance.

Vincenzo Bellini, Norma
Sat, Oct 07, 2017 12:55 PM
Synopsis and Cast: Click Here
A new production by Sir David McVicar, starring Sondra Radvanovsky (who played all three of Donizetti's queens at the Met last year) as Norma, Joyce DiDonato as Adalgisa, and Joseph Calleja as Pollione. Carlo Rizzi will conduct.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Die Zauberflöte
Sat, Oct 14, 2017 12:55 PM
Synopsis and Cast: Click Here
A full-length German version of Julie Taymor's famous production, starring Golda Schultz as Pamina, Kathryn Lewek as the Queen of the Night, Charles Castronovo as Tamina, Markus Werba as Papageno and Rene Papé  as Sarastro. James Levine will conduct.

Thomas Adès, The Exterminating Angel
Sat, Nov 18, 2017 12:55 PM
Synopsis and Cast: Click Here
The American premier inspired by the Luis Bunuel film of the same name. It is a surreal fantasy about a dinner party from which the guests cannot escape. The composer (who also wrote "The Tempest") will conduct.

Giacomo Puccini, Tosca
Sat, Jan 27, 2018 12:55 PM
Synopsis and Cast: Click Here
A new production by Sir David McVicar, starring Kristine Opolais as Tosca, Jonas Kaufmann as Cavaradossi and Byrn Terfel as Scarpia. Andris Nelsons will conduct.

Gaetano Donizetti, L'Elisir d'Amore

Sat, Feb 10, 2018 12:00 PM
Synopsis and Cast: Click Here
A Bartlett Sher production, starring Pretty Yende as Adina, Matthew Polenzani as Nemorino, David Luciano as Belcore, and Ildebrando D'Arcangelo as Dulcamara. Domingo Hindoyan will conduct.

Giacomo Puccini, La Bohème
Sat, Feb 24, 2018 12:30 PM
Synopsis and Cast: Click Here
Franco Zeffirelli's classic production, starring Sonya Yoncheva as Mimi, Susanna Phillips as Musetta, Michael Fabiano as Rodolfo and Lucas Meachem as Marcello. Marco Armiliato will conduct.

Gioachino Rossini, Semiramide
Sat, Mar 10, 2018 12:55 PM
Synopsis and Cast: Click Here
Its first appearance at the Met in almost 25 years, starring Angela Meade as Semiramide, the murderous Queen of Babylon, Elizabeth DeShong as Arsace, Javier Camarena (the current "King of the High C's") as Idreno, Ildar Abdrazakov as Assur and Ryan Green as Mitrane. Maurizio Benini will conduct.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Così fan tutte
Sat, Mar 31, 2018 12:55 PM
Synopsis and Cast: Click Here
A new production by Phelim McDermott set in Coney Island in the 1950's, starring Amanda Majeski as Fiordiligi, Serena Malfi as Dorabella, Broadway star Kelli O'Hara as Despina, Ken Bliss as Ferrando, Adam Plachetka as Guglielmo and Christopher Maltman as Don Alfonso. David Robertson will conduct.

Fun cartoon synopsis: Click Here

Giuseppe Verdi, Luisa Miller
Sat, Apr 14, 2018 12:30 PM
Synopsis and Cast: Click Here
Its first Met performance in more than 10 years, starring Sonya Yoncheva as Luisa, Piotr Beczala as Rodolfo, Olesya Petrova as Federica, Placido Domingo as Miller, Alexander Vinogradov as Walter and Dmitry Belosselskiy as Wurm. James Levine will conduct.

Jules Massenet, Cendrillon
Sat, Apr 28, 2018 12:55 PM
Synopsis and Cast: Click Here
Its premier at the Met in an imaginative, new storybook production by Laurent Pelly, starring Joyce DiDonato as Cendrillon (Cinderella), Alice Coote (in a trouser role) as Prince Charming, Kathleen Kim as the Fairy Godmother and Stephanie Blythe as Madame de la Haltiere. Bertrand de Billy will conduct.


OCTOBER 5 TO 28, 2017
More Information
The Elixir of Love
More Information
More Information
The Abduction from the Seraglio
FEBRUARY 7 TO 24, 2018
More Information
The Nightingale and Other Short Fables
APRIL 13 TO MAY 19, 2018
More Information
Anna Bolena
APRIL 28 TO MAY 26, 2018
More Information

To buy individual or subscription tickets Click Here

OasisOasis Course 303: New York's METROPOLITAN OPERA, Live in High Definition!

Oasis is a national organization for adults age 50 and older, who wish to remain active physically, socially and mentally.  Rochester has a thriving chapter located at 259 Monroe Avenue.

Oasis Course 303: New York's METROPOLITAN OPERA, Live in High Definition!

Wednesdays      09/06/17 - 11/29/17       09:30 - 11:00

Each season the Metropolitan Opera broadcasts 10 Saturday matinee performances live in high definition and surround sound with English subtitles to 2,000 movie theaters in 71 countries, including four theaters in this area. The five operas scheduled to be shown this fall and winter are listed in this issue of the newsletter, from Norma to L'Elisir d'Amore.  If you miss a Saturday performance there is an encore on the following Wednesday evening.  

John Bouman, Retired Partner, Nixon, Peabody, LLP, will give lectures and show DVDs about these operas to prepare you for the performances. Attendance at the broadcasts is not required as part of the class, but is highly recommended. Included will be a look at Claudio Monteverdi's early opera masterpiece L'incoronazione di Poppea (The Coronation of Poppea) which will be presented by the students of the Eastman School of Music in November. The last five operas will be covered in the second semester of the class which will start in January and for which registration will begin in December if you wish to continue.

$70.00 12 classes. You may register online or call Oasis at 585-730-8800 from 9am-3pm.



1441 East Avenue
Rochester, NY 14610

Sundays at 2 pm.  Oct. 22, Nov. 19, Jan. 21, March 4, April 8

Rebecca Penneys, piano
Stefan Reuss, cello
Mikhail Kopelman, violin

Doors open at 1:15. Tickets are $35 at the door for non-members and subscriptions are available.

Go to or contact Lydia N.C. Nicolson at 585-271-1314 or for more information.


As an Amici, your contribution in any amount is greatly appreciated. All donation levels  receive an invitation to the Annual Recital; those listed below will be given priority until a date specified on the invitation. 

Chorus: $60-$99
Comprimario: $100-$149, one additional recital invitation.
Primo: $150-$199, $20 discount on trip (except to New York City).
Maestro: $200-$299, $30 discount on trip (except to New York City).
Impresario: $300 or more, $30 discount on trip (except to New York City); two additional recital invitations. 
To donate online go to

You may also mail a check to Opera Guild of Rochester, P.O. Box 92245, Rochester, NY 14692-0245. Please include an email or other address for your tax receipt.

Return to Contents

ReaderArticlesReader Articles

This section brings you articles written by anyone involved in opera, from impresarios to singers to fans.  If you have seen a performance that you want to review, or have attended a class or workshop that you want to write about, or have a story or a review that would interest others, we encourage you to submit it to us and we will schedule it for inclusion.  Please send your submissions to  We generally limit articles to 500 words.  All submissions are subject to editorial review.

The Bel Canto Boys 
Carol Crocca
In the Met's HD season this year, we have operas by Rossini, Bellini and Donizetti, three composers whose style is called ' bel canto.' An imprecise term, ' bel canto' literally means 'beautiful singing.' It is not an accident that all three composers are Italian, for by the end of the 17th century, Italian opera had a strong emphasis on the voice, influenced by the extreme popularity of singers and arias in Venice, where opera was performed during Carnivale and became a popular art form.  Writing for the voice in the 18th century always assumed the singer would decorate the vocal line.  In serious opera, the castrati were famous for this, and the more skilled could hold and decorate a note for extended periods.  So appreciative was the audience of these vocal acrobatics that sometimes the orchestra would just stop and leave the singer to continue on his own.

Although it was handled differently by different composers, the decoration of the vocal line continues to be a defining characteristic of bel canto singing into the 19th century.  Bel canto is defined by the Harvard Dictionary of Music as follows:

A manner of singing that emphasizes the beauty of sound, with an even tone throughout the full range of the voice; fine legato phrasing dependent on a mastery of breath control; agility in florid passages, and an apparent ease in attaining high notes.

So, the bel canto style called for high, light flexible voices which could perform these embellishments.  Whenever the bel canto composers diverged from this style in their works, and, when Verdi, who is not considered a bel canto composer, came along in the middle of the 19th century with a different, dramatic style of singing, they were accused by some of "ruining the art of singing."

The embellishment of the vocal line is called ' fioritura' or ' coloratura' in Italian.  The decoration of the singing tended to interfere with the expression of emotion, but in the hands of the more skilled singers, it could be used to enhance the expressiveness of the music in the dramatic context.  An example from Mozart's The Magic Flute (also to be heard this season) would be the first aria of the Queen of the Night. Its loud, repeated staccato notes up and down the scale, which I always think of as crowing, is just the sort of bombast one would expect from the vengeful Queen.

When Rossini came along, straddling the 18th and 19th centuries, fioritura was in full flower, so to speak, but he tried to curb the decorative exuberance of singers by writing out the embellishments himself.  This did not always work, however.  There is an anecdote from his time in Paris where a soprano sang " Una voce poco fa" (from The Barber of Seville) for him with so much coloratura that he remarked, "Nice aria. Who wrote it?"

Rossini composed operas between 1810 and 1829 and then retired at the age of 37.  In Semiramide, his last opera for Italy, the protagonist has a highly decorated aria in the first act, Bel raggio lusinghier, (Beautiful alluring ray), sung while she awaits the arrival of Arsace, the man she loves. One of the reasons Rossini may have remained in such early retirement was the fact that toward mid-century the style of Italian singing was changing to suit the more dramatic and forceful music of Romanticism.

Bellini had his own take on bel canto, developing it both lyrically and dramatically.  Some critical opinion says that his Norma (1831) brought the style to its apogee.  His long, long melodies are exemplified by the famous " Casta diva" sung by the soprano in the first act of this opera, where the form suits the dramatic situation as a priestly incantation.  Bellini, too, went to Paris, where he was befriended and mentored by Rossini.  Because of his tragically early death at the age of 33 in 1834, we do not know how his music would have developed over the course of a longer life.

Donizettti (1797-1848) had a longer and more prolific career than either of the others (he wrote 65 operas) and was responsible for many developments in Italian opera which were further evolved by Verdi.  By the time of his later operas, florid writing for male singers had been nearly eliminated.  The trace can be seen in the famous aria, "Una furtiva lagrima" from L'elisir d'amore in which the tenor may improvise decoration on the verse cadences (endings).
From your Opera Guild 
It was a lovely summer, opera-wise.  I saw Porgy and Bess and The Siege of Calais at Glimmerglass, both excellent, and Tosca (Finger Lakes Opera) and Dido and Aeneas (Pegasus Early Music) closer to home, equally enjoyable.

But fall has always been my favorite season - new beginnings and all the opera events of the year to look forward to. I am especially anticipating the Beat the Blahs showing of The Cunning Little Vixen, to which you can bring your kids and grandchildren. There will be two versions shown: first, the cartoon one. then after intermission the original with all the delightfully-costumed forest creatures played by humans. So if younger ones get restless, there is a natural point at which to curtail their opera experience.

It will also be a challenging year for me, my first as President, and you can be of great help to the Guild if you return the survey which will be coming in your email soon.  This information will be very important to us in planning new directions and in improving our current offerings. Thanks for your help.

and Happy Fall!

Carol Crocca, President

Computer Skills Needed

Electronically publishing the newsletter requires a few fairly sophisticated computer skills and we are fortunate to have two accomplished volunteers working in this capacity.  But since it is a job requiring 2-3 days per month on a regular basis, two technical publishers are not enough to make sure we have coverage for times of illness, vacation, computer malfunction, etc.  If you have computer skills, please consider helping with this valuable project, even if you cannot, or would prefer not, to work every month.  Summer is an excellent, less-pressured time to start.  Thanks for your consideration!  Just see the beginning of the newsletter to find a job description and how to let us know of your interest.

Please consider the Opera Guild of Rochester among your charitable organizations for 2017. Donations to the Opera Guild of Rochester are fully tax deductible and donors will receive an invitation to the Annual Recital in May 2018, which includes a dessert reception with the artists.

To donate online Click Here.  

Enjoy our free Lecture/Listening series, which you can download from the Website at by clicking on Reading Room. While at our Website you can also learn about our opera program at Temple B'rith Kodesh, our opera trips to regional opera companies including the Glimmerglass Festival, and our Metropolitan Opera trips.

Cindy New Ad 2016

Submission deadline for the next issue is the 15th of the previous month

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