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Popular tale 'Susannah' combines good story, lush music

The Toledo Opera will boldly venture into contemporary American opera next weekend when it mounts its first production of Carlisle Floyd’s landmark work, Susannah.

Performances are set for 7:30 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Feb. 15 in the Valentine Theatre.

As All-American as Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess or Aaron Copland’s The Tender Land, this 1955 work is set in rural Tennessee, peopled with country folk, and infused with the values of old-time religion.

It’s among the most frequently produced American operas, popular with companies from collegiate to New York’s Metropolitan Opera.

“It’s a sensational piece of music,” said Robert Mirakian, who will make his Toledo Opera conducting debut leading the Toledo Symphony and cast in the production.

Sunday, February 8, 2015 | MORE INFO >>


Susannah takes the midseason stage

Considering the musical tradition, some styles are more similar than others. Sure, reflection might be easy in 2015; vapor-wave (whatever that means) came and went, but how similar could Appalachian folk and opera possibly be? 

Apparently, the genres are not too far apart. In 1955, 24-year-old composer  Carlisle Floyd melded these traditions and premiered his first opera, Susannah.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015 | MORE INFO >>


OPERA ON WHEELS: Bizet’s ‘Carmen’ goes to preschool

The Toledo Opera really wants to make opera accessible to all.

For years, it has taken adapted productions of famed operas to elementary schools all over the northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan region through its Opera on Wheels program. Some 20,000 students in 60 schools engage with opera first-hand.

Now, the Toledo Opera is lowering the age of its latest target audience — all the way to preschool.

Sunday, November 23, 2014 | MORE INFO >>


Sopranos deliver varied shades of sound

The Toledo Opera’s Ladies in Red Gala on Friday was like a great late-night party with 900 people invited. The Valentine Theatre was wall-to-wall glitz and tux as local society turned out ready to celebrate I-Heart-You Day in style.

And onstage were five divas in elaborate gowns — plus, maybe, a few others in tuxes — with a great house band. And all were dedicated to bringing the music of love to life for one enchanted Valentine’s Day evening.

If you thought all sopranos sound the same, well, lesson learned.

Audrey Babcock, Elizabeth Baldwin, Sarah Jane McMahon, Jennifer Rowley, and Amy Yekel, sopranos all, demonstrated the great variety of color, quality, timbre, and potential for this highest of female voices.

Saturday, February 15, 2014 | MORE INFO >>


Toledo Opera Returns to its Origins with AIDA

Toledo, OH - August 29, 2013 -- On Friday, October 4th at 7:30pm and Sunday, October 6th at 2:00pm, Toledo Opera will begin its 2013-2014 season with Giuseppe Verdi’s grand opera Aida at the Valentine Theatre. With its challenging roles, large orchestral and choral forces, massive scenery, and lush costumes, successfully producing Aida is a major achievement for any opera company. Significantly, it was the first opera ever produced in Toledo, in 1959, and launched both the Toledo Opera Guild and what would become today’s Toledo Opera.

Thursday, August 29, 2013 | MORE INFO >>


Opera’s performances radiate emotion

Friday night’s Toledo Opera Gala celebrated what was dubbed “the architects of love,” composers who capture potent yet fleeting emotions and fix them forever in our hearts through memorable music. Read more...

Tuesday, August 27, 2013 | MORE INFO >>


Pianist plays key role in Toledo Opera gala

TOLEDO - Bowling Green tenor Shawn Mathey will be surrounded by women during the upcoming Toledo Opera Gala. The event features international performer Mathey with four sopranos, including his wife Sujin Lee, all from this area but with impressive resumes. The conductor will be Sara Jobin, of the San Francisco Opera. Read more....

Friday, April 5, 2013 | MORE INFO >>


Toledo Opera 2013 Opera Gala Concert

TOLEDO, OH – March 18, 2013 – Toledo Opera’s 2012-2013 Season continues on April 12 at 8 pm and April 14 at 2 pm, 2013 with its annual Opera Gala Concert, performed for the first time at the Valentine Theatre. The Gala features five nationally and internationally acclaimed singers who make their homes in or near Toledo. Sara Jobin, Assistant Conductor of San Francisco Opera and Toledo Opera’s first female conductor, will conduct the Toledo Symphony Orchestra and the Toledo Opera Chorus in a program of opera favorites, including Verdi’s “La donna e mobile” from Rigoletto and lesser-known gems such as Dvorak’s “Song to the Moon” from Rusalka. She and Kevin Bylsma, Head of Music Preparation for Toledo Opera, will provide a narrative tying the program’s wonderful and varied numbers together. Prior to the performances, there will be two events benefiting Toledo Opera: a Jazz Dinner ($100 per guest) at 6:00 pm in the Valentine Theatre’s Grand Lobby on April 12th and a Champagne Brunch ($75 per guest) at 12:00 pm, also in the Valentine’s Grand Lobby, on April 14th. Guests will enjoy a preview of Toledo Opera’s 2013-2014 season. Call Toledo Opera (419-255-7464) for reservations.

Monday, March 18, 2013 | MORE INFO >>


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