- Get Involved
Join gala chairwomen Kelly Wrobel-Kotchetov, Bonnie Wrobel, and Megan Malinowski-Kabour for an evening featuring all things French: food, wine, music, and merriment! Hosted on Saturday, April 29, 2017 at 7pm at the historic Secor Building (425 Jefferson Ave.) in Downtown Toledo just a few floors beneath the Toledo Opera offices this year's gala will feature food, wine, and cocktails created and curated by Erika Rapp, chef and proprietor of Registry Bistro.
The evening will begin with a VIP reception and cocktail hour before guests enjoy an intimate performance by soprano Raquel Suarez-Groen and tenor Jason Karn with Toledo Opera's collaborative pianist, Kevin Bylsma. Dinner will feature a live auction of French trips and treasures, with guests then invited to enjoy a delicious dessert and dance the night away to live music.
Join us for what is sure to be an unforgettable evening in support of Toledo Opera!
VIP Tickets $500 per guest (includes VIP reception prior to cocktail hour)
$250 per guest / $150 for guests 40 years of age or younger and Toledo Opera Guild members
Purchase your tickets by speaking with Collin at 419-255-SING (7464) or on-line at toledoopera.org/gala
2016 Men in Black Gala at The Toledo Club
Raquel Suarez-Groen, soprano
Known for her "fresh and clear" sound and her versatile performances of complex characters, Raquel Suarez-Groen is a force to be reckoned with on both opera and theatre stages. Of a recent performance as Roxanne in iFigaro /(90270), the Huffington Post summed up this tour-de-force performance with their review: "Suarez-Groen is poignant and witty." This season Ms. Suarez Green will be returning as a soloist in the International Young
Artists Festival with iSING!, performing the role of Frasquita (Carmen) with Opera San Antonio and will sing in concerts at Couture Fashion Week. Last season, Ms. Suarez-Groen made her debut with Opera Carolina as Marzelline (Fidelia), sang on Opera Carolina's Art Poetry and Music 2015 Gala, and Frasquita (Carmen) with Venture Opera. She was recently featured in a recital in Calgary and appeared as Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro) with Opera on the James. Other favorite performances from recent seasons include Lauretta (Gianni Schicchi ) with DiCapo Opera; Gianetta (L'elisir d'amore) with Opera in Williamsburg; Adele (Die Fledermaus), Musetta (La boheme), and the title role in Cendrillon with New York Lyric Opera; Kate Pinkerton (Madama Butterfly) at Opera Lyra Ottawa; Ilia (ldomeneo) with the Martina Arroyo Foundation's Prelude to Performance festival; and Laurie Moss (The Tender Land) at Opera NUOVA.
Jason Karn, tenor
Tenor Jason Karn has impressed critics and audiences alike withhis vibrant, bright tone and dramatic characterizations. Of a recent New York City performance as Romeo in Romeo et Juliette, the New York Sun said, "He has an attractive soft-grained tenor that at its best reminded me a bit of the late Alfredo Kraus. Mr. Karn's singing was flexible, smoothly phrase, and secure on top." From a performance in Otello, Opera News said, "Jason Karn was particularly suited to
Cassia, cutting a handsome figure and singing well." Noted engagements include his Avery Fisher Hall debut with the American Symphony Orchestra in the American Premiere of Vincent D'lndy's Fervaal, his Washington National Opera debut as Scaramuccio in Ariadne auf Naxos, Cassio in Otello with Opera Carolina, a return to the Pittsburgh Opera as AI Joad in The Grapes of Wrath, Ferrando in Cos/ Fan Tutte with the Duke Symphony Orchestra and with the Chautauqua Opera. While a member of the prestigious Merola Program at San Francisco Opera, critics raved about his portrayal of Tom Rakewell in The Rake's Progress. "Balanced ardency and
lovable stupidity with perfect assurance," said the San Francisco Chronicle. "His tone is vibrant and bright ... and Karn delivered the role's stirring high notes with aplomb."
Kevin Bylsma, Master of Ceremonies and piano
With more than two decades of experience as a vocal coach, collaborative pianist, choral conductor, and organist, Kevin J. Bylsma is a musician of impressive depth and ability, well known for his work in opera, art song, and oratorio. A longtime member of the Toledo Opera staff as Head of Music Preparation and Chorus
Master, Kevin was formerly Music Director of the Department of Community Programs for the Michigan Opera Theatre and vocal coach, accompanist, and chorus master for OPERA! Lenawee. In recitals and master classes, he has collaborated with the great American singers Samuel Ramey, Diane Soviero, Marilyn Horne, Michelle De Young, and Irina Mishura. He is the Co-founder and Artistic Director of the Ann Arbor Festival of Song, and his solo piano performances and collaborative work have been featured on WTGE's Live from FM91 program. Dedicated to the education and training of the next generation of operatic talent, Mr. Bylsma is Instructor of Opera and repetiteur at Bowling Green State University's College of Musical Arts, responsible for vocal coaching and serving as a collaborative pianist for the school's large body of young singers. Mr. Bylsma also serves on the artistic staff of OperaWorks, an intensive opera training program, based in Los Angeles, CA. and he is the Associate Organist of the historic Mariner's Church of Detroit.