Verdi Opera Favorites Concert (2006)
Sung in original language with English surtitles

Friday, August 11, 2006 at 8:00 p.m.
First United Methodist Church
301 S. Fourth St.
Watseka, Illinois

Featuring

   
  Helen Todd
soprano
Jane Dutton
mezzo-soprano
Grant Youngblood
baritone
  Michael Hayes
tenor
Matthew Lau
bass
   

 

 
    James Meena
conductor

From Rigoletto

ACT I, Gilda and Rigoletto aria and duet, "Pari siamo" through "Ah! Veglia, oh donna"
ACT II, Rigoletto aria, "Cortigiani"
ACT III, Duke aria, "La donna e mobile"
ACT III, Quartet, "Bella figlia dell'amore"

 

From Il trovatore

ACT I, Leonora aria, "Tacea la notte placida"
ACT II, Anvil Chorus
ACT II, Azucena aria, "Stride la vampa"
ACT III, Count di Luna aria, "Il balen del suo sorriso"
ACT III, Manrico aria, "Di quella pira"
ACT IV Azucena and Manrico aria, "Si, la stanchezza"

   

From La traviata

ACT I, Violetta and Alfredo duet, with chorus "Libiamo"
ACT I, Violetta aria, "Ah, fors'e lui Sempre libera"
ACT II, Germont aria, "Di provenza"
ACT III, Fight scene with full company and chorus

 

From Un ballo in maschera

ACT II, Amelia and Riccardo aria and duet, "Ma dall'arido stelo divulsa" and "Teco io sto (non sai tu che se l'anima)"
ACT III Renato aria, "Eri tu"

From Don Carlos

ACT III, Filippo aria, "Ella giammia m'amo"
ACT III, Eboli aria, "O don fatale"
CHORUS, "Va pensiero"

   

 

Mozart Opera Favorites Concert (2006)
Sung in original language with English surtitles

Sunday, August 13, 2006 at 2:00 p.m.
First United Methodist Church
301 S. Fourth St.
Watseka, Illinois

Featuring

 
  Helen Todd
soprano
Jane Dutton
mezzo-soprano
  Grant Youngblood
baritone
Matthew Lau
bass
  Emily Jarrell Urbanek
pianist

From Marriage of Figaro

Overture to The Marriage of Figaro for octet

ACT I, Figaro and Susanna duet, "Cinque, dieci, venti"
ACT I, Figaro and Susanna duet, "Se a caso madama la notte ti chiama"

ACT I, Figaro aria, "Se vuol ballare signor"
ACT I, Cherubino aria, "Non so più cosa son, cosa faccio"
ACT II, Countess aria, "Porgi amor qualche ristoro"
ACT III, The Count's aria, "Hai già vinta la causa"

 

From Così fan tutte

Overture to Così fan tutte for octet

ACT I, Fiordiligi, Dorabella, and Don Alfonso trio, "Soave sia il vento"
ACT I, Dorabella aria, "Smanie implacabili che m'agitate"
ACT II, Fiordiligi and Dorabella duet, "Prenderò quel brunettino"
ACT II, Gugliemo and Dorabella duet, "Il core vi dono"

   

From Magic Flute

Overture to The Magic Flute for octet

ACT I, Papageno and Pamina duet, "Bei Mannern, welche lieve fuhlen"
ACT II, Papageno and Papagena duet, "Pa-pa-ge-na!. . . Pa-pa-ge-no!"

 

Instrumental

Oboe Quartet in F, K. 370
- Allegro
- Adagio
- Rondeau (Allegro)

   

Helen Todd (soprano). Ms. Todd's recent performances in Nixon in China with Minnesota Opera as Madame Mao caused quite a stir. The Pioneer Press wrote that "the energy in the Ordway spikes when Helen Todd takes the stage as Mao's wife, Chiang Ch'ing. There are no bad voices in the company, but when Todd's crystalline soprano rips into a politically charged aria, it's like she's grabbing each individual in the audience by the shoulders and giving them a good shake." In 2003, Ms. Todd earned national media attention in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today for her portrayal of Aunt Lydia in Minnesota Opera's The Handmaid's Tale. Ms. Todd performed the role again in the Canadian premiere at Canadian Opera Company in Toronto in 2004. The National Post of Canada wrote that "Ruders has placed Aunt Lydia . . . in a long line of hysterical, sexually repressed operatic women who sing the glass-shattering range of the Queen of the Night. Helen Todd did a superb job, her eyes gleaming with a fanaticsm that was truly scary." Ms. Todd's many roles include Queen of the Night with New York City Opera, Violetta in La traviata with Minnesota Opera, Gilda in Rigoletto with Calgary Opera, and Lucia in Lucia di Lammermoor with Opera Illinois, among many others.

Jane Dutton (mezzo-soprano). Acclaimed for her "rich and sonorous sound" (Pravo Newspaper, Czech Republic), mezzo-soprano Jane Dutton is in demand for operatic and concert engagements internationally. Regularly engaged by the Metropolitan Opera, during her sixth season on the roster, Miss Dutton performed as Jordan Baker in John Harbison's The Great Gatsby, which was conducted by James Levine. Her performances in past seasons have ranged from Stephano in Roméo et Juliette conducted by Bertrand de Billy, to Mrs. Gleaton in the Metropolitan Opera premiere of Carlisle Floyd's Susannah, conducted by James Conlon. She was also responsible for roles in Ariadne auf naxos, Lulu, Madama Butterfly, Rigoletto and in Wagner's Ring Cycle. She recently added the Composer in Ariadne auf naxos to her repertoire in her first engagement at the San Francisco Opera and was reengaged for Sonjetka in Johannes Schaaf's acclaimed production of Shostakovitch's Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk, conducted by Donald Runnicles. She made her debut at the Tokyo Opera Nomori in Robert Carsen's production of Elektra, with performances conducted by Seiji Ozawa.

Grant Youngblood (baritone). Mr. Youngblood received praise for his recent performances of Rigoletto at Virginia Opera where the Daily Press wrote "Youngblood's rich voice with its dark tones suggested the bitterness Rigoletto feels trapped in the duke's employ," while the Washington Post wrote that "Rigoletto (was) brilliantly sung and acted by Grant Youngblood." Engagements for Mr. Youngblood during the 2005-06 season include both the title role in Rigoletto and Ashby in La fanciulla del West with Florida Grand Opera; Scarpia in Tosca with Orlando Opera; Amonasro in Aida with L'Opéra de Montréal; Marcello in La bohème with New York City Opera; Germont in La traviata with Virginia Opera; and Escamillo in Carmen with Pensacola Opera. Engagements for Mr. Youngblood during the 2006-07 season include Michele in Il tabarro at L'Opéra de Montréal, Sharpless in Butterfly at New York City Opera, Count di Luna in Il trovatore at Opera Delaware, as well as Germont in La traviata at Central City Opera.

Michael Hayes (tenor). American tenor Michael Hayes is well known for his exciting portrayals of dramatic tenor roles. Career highlights have included Don José in Carmen with New York City Opera and Florida Grand Opera; Cavaradossi in Tosca with Florida Grand Opera, and Fort Worth Opera; Radames in Aïda with Portland Opera; the title role in Otello with Opéra de Nantes; the title role in Les contes d'Hoffmann and Erik in Der fliegende Holländer with Fort Worth Opera; title roles in Faust, Les contes d'Hoffmann, and Werther with Portland Opera; title roles in Les contes d'Hoffmann and Faust with Cleveland Opera; Calaf in Turandot with Edmonton Opera and Virginia Opera; Rodolfo in La bohème with New York City Opera and Austria's Kamptal Festival; Schwalb in Mathis der Mahler and Danilo in The Merry Widow with New York City Opera; fully-staged Das Lied von der Erde with L'Opéra de Rouen; the Duke in Rigoletto with Cleveland Opera and Manitoba Opera; Tichon in Katya Kabanova with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis; title role in Otello and Canio in Pagliacci with Washington DC's Summer Opera Theatre; and Steva in Jenufa with Sarasota Opera. Concert highlights have included Radames in Aïda with L'Orchestre National de Lyon and Steva in Jenufa with Washington Concert Opera.

Matthew Lau (bass). Mr. Lau continues to be an audience favorite at Sugar Creek Symphony & Song. Last summer, he wowed audiences with his hilarious portrayal of Don Magnifico in La cenerentola. Along with performing at Sugar Creek in 2005, Mr Lau performed the role of Wurm in Luisa Miller for Washington Concert Opera, and Zuñiga in Carmen with the Dallas Symphony. His natural humor and playfulness were also seen as PooBah in The Mikado for Lake George Opera. In the fall of 2005, Mr. Lau returned to Atlanta Opera as Dottore Grenvil in La traviata and went to Anchorage Opera for his first Mustafa in L'italiana in Algeri. Also this past year, Mr. Lau appeared as Don Magnifico in La cenerentola for Louisville Opera, Don Bartolo in Il barbiere di Siviglia for Syracuse Opera and the West Virginia Symphony, as well as Leporello in Don Giovanni for Boheme Opera in Trenton, New Jersey.

James Meena, (Conductor). Opera Carolina general director and principal conductor James Meena consistently receives critical and public praise for his performances. He has a special passion for the music of Verdi, having conducted acclaimed performances of Verdi's Falstaff, La traviata, Macbeth, Nabucco, Aïda, Rigoletto, and Il trovatore. Maestro Meena has conducted such luminaries as James McCracken, Mignon Dunn, Marilyn Horne, Jerome Hines, Renee Fleming, Denyce Graves, Jerry Hadley, Mark Delavan and Marcello Giordani. Conducting highlights of recent seasons include a new production of Le nozze di Figaro for L'Opera de Montreal, Nabucco, La bohème, Macbeth and Samson et Dalilah for Opera Carolina, and performances of Stravinsky's tour de force, Le Sacre du Printemps, with the National Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Meena has appeared as guest conductor with orchestras and opera companies in the United States and Italy, the Orchestra della Toscana in Florence, the Orchestra Teatro Massimo Bellini in Catania, the Washington Opera, and Opera Pacific. Mr. Meena has served as an assistant conductor to Andre Previn, Gunther Schuller, Michael Tilson Thomas, Anton Guadagno, and Anton Coppola.

Emily Jarrell Urbanek (pianist). Ms. Jarrell Urbanek is a pianist living in Charlotte, North Carolina. She performs and accompanies for Opera Carolina and Queens University and freelances in the area. A Clevelander for a time, Emily received her DMA from the Cleveland Institute of Music and has worked with Cleveland Opera, Sugar Creek Symphony & Song, Lyric Opera Cleveland, Washington Concert Opera, The OK Mozart Festival, Akron Lyric Opera Theatre, and Asheville Lyric Opera.