• Opera in the Pines by NC Opera - Review

    NC Opera closed its 2013-2014 season with a compelling open-air concert at the fabulous Koka Booth Amphitheater in Cary on May 17. Opera Lively was present, after having interviewed star tenor Noah Stewart for the event (read his interview which contains his interesting 'rags to riches' story by clicking [here]).

    Not all metropolitan areas have such a nice venue like the Koka Booth. It sits by a lake in Cary, NC, in a nice and well maintained wooden area, and in spite of it being open air, it features good acoustics. A lawn in front of the stage allows patrons to bring folding tables, chairs, and blankets, and pic-nic foods including alcoholic beverages. For those who want more comfort, there are conventional tables under a roof further back, and concessions that sell gourmet items as well as soft drinks, beer, and wine.

    The weather was gorgeous with blue skies, no wind, and a pleasant temperature of about 65 degrees.

    Here are some Opera Lively pictures of the event:

    The North Carolina Opera Orchestra performed beautifully, under the always secure conducting of maestro Timothy Meyers (except when otherwise noted, since the maestro gave to two of the NC Opera sponsors the pleasure of conducting the orchestra).

    The program included a selection of some of the most popular operatic overtures, arias, and duets, as well as some Broadway songs:

    Overture to The Barber of Seville, Rossini - NC Opera Orchestra
    'La donna è mobile' from Rigoletto, Verdi - tenor Noah Stewart
    'O mio babbino caro' from Gianni Schicchi, Rossini - soprano Hailey Clark
    'Largo al factotum' from The Barber of Seville, Rossini - baritone Ted Federle
    'Faites-lui mes aveux' from Faust, Gounod - mezzo Kate Farrar
    Prelude to Act 3 of Lohengrin, Wagner - NC Opera Orchestra, guest conductor C. Thomas Kunz
    Juliet's waltz from Romeo and Juliette, Gounod, Ms. Clark
    The Flower Duet from Lakmé, Delibes, Ms. Clark and Ms. Farrar
    Prelude to Carmen, Bizet, NC Opera Orchestra, guest conductor Edythe Poyner
    'Nessun dorma' from Turandot, Puccini, Mr. Stewart
    'Au fond du temple saint' from The Pearl Fishers, Bizet, Mr. Stewart and Mr. Federle
    Overture to West Side Story, Bernstein, NC Opera Orchestra
    'Tonight' from West Side Story, Bernstein, Ms. Clark and Mr. Stewart
    'Stars' from Les Misérables, Schönberg, Mr. Federle
    'Recondita armonia' from Tosca, Puccini, Mr. Stewart
    'I could have danced all night' from My Fair Lady, Lowe, Ms. Clark
    'Lily's Eyes' from The Secret Garden, Simon, Mr. Stewart and Mr. Federle
    'Without a Song', Youmans, Mr. Stewart

    Highlights included Mr. Federle's interesting and original ornamentation in the 'Largo al factotum;' a very beautiful Flower Duet with the two ladies, one of the best renditions of 'Au fond du temple saint' we've heard lately, by Mr. Stewart and Mr. Federle; a great display of the star tenor's gifts in both 'Nessun dorma' (at night fall!) and 'Recondita armonia; and also an outstanding rendition of 'Tonight' by Ms. Clark and Mr. Stewart, not to forget how good-looking the soprano and the tenor are, for the eye-candy factor.

    After the incredible musical success of NC Opera's last production, Rusalka, and this pleasant concert, we look forward to the announcement of the 2014/15 season, which is coming soon. NC Opera, unlike many regional companies, has been presenting daring programming with a couple of the acclaimed favorites but also modern and contemporary opera, and works that are a bit out of the beaten path. Casting by NC Opera is another great asset for this company - director Eric Mitchko and principal conductor Tim Myers are always able to find outstanding singers!

    The next NC Opera event is a fundraising called Tuscan Celebrazione, in which Frances Mayes, author of Under the Tuscan Sun, will give a presentation in the gardens of a beautiful home in Cary, followed by an evening of song, food, and wine all inspired by the glories of the Italian countryside. Tuscan Celebrazione takes place on Sunday, June 1 from 4:30-7:30 PM. Tickets are $75 per person and all proceeds benefit NCO's upcoming 2014-15 season. RSVP to Julie Williams by May 27 at 919-792-3856 or julie.williams@ncopera.org.


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    Bookmark our site and come back for more - several new and exciting interviews are always coming to Opera Lively - recent ones have included composer Kevin Puts, tenor Giuseppe Filianoti, mezzo Magdalena Kozená, tenor Lawrence Brownlee, international stars Diana Damrau and Eva-Maria Westbroek, veteran mezzo Frederica von Stade, emerging soprano Lisette Oropesa, stage director and opera company administrator Francesca Zambello, and brilliant contemporary composer George Benjamin. More recent ones have included famous stage director Laurent Pelly, Greek National Opera artistic director and principal conductor Myron Michailidis, the great mezzo Sarah Connolly, and others. Upcoming, in-person face-to-face interviews with Juan Diego Flórez (his second interview with us, under revision), Olga Peretyatko (just published), and Isabel Leonard (under transcription).

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