In The News



Toledo, OH, April 27, 2015—Toledo Opera will open its 2015-2016 season with performances of Puccini’s beloved opera Madama Butterfly on October 2 and 4, 2015. Conducted by Sara Jobin, with stage direction by Chautauqua Opera’s General/Artistic Director Jay Lesenger, the cast will include tenor Shawn Mathey, a Bowling Green Native, as Pinkerton and soprano Yunah Lee in her signature role of Cio-Cio San. Continuing Toledo Opera’s series of American operas, the second production of the season will be The Gershwins’ Porgy & Bess performed in concert version on February 12 and 14, 2016. This timeless classic will have an all-African-American cast of thirteen artists performing on the stage of the Valentine Theatre with the Toledo Symphony Orchestra conducted by James Meena, and a chorus with members drawn from the Opera’s chorus and other choruses in Toledo. Digital projections will be created especially for the production to express Catfish Row and Kitiwah Island. Bess will be sung by Laquita Mitchell, who, since her debut in the role at San Francisco Opera in 2009, has taken it to audiences around the world. Gordon Hawkins, who will play Porgy, is a leading interpreter of the role in the United States and Europe.

Monday, April 27, 2015 | MORE INFO >>

Toledo Opera's Men In Black gala an ‘homage to the men’

Most affairs are of the heart, but Toledo Opera’s annual Men In Black gala is a poetic affair of food, mixed with the beauty, emotion, and sound of opera.

This year’s gala is truly a feast of the senses.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015 | MORE INFO >>

Portrayal of Lucia a dream role for Kathryn Lewek

Dramatic coloratura soprano Kathryn Lewek is no stranger to Toledo Opera audiences. She earned local fandom as Zerlina in Verdi’s powerful Don Giovanni during the company’s 2013 production.

And, in a showcase of her artistic diversity, Lewek also was soloist that year in the Toledo Symphony’s performances of Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana.

Still, when she takes on the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor, the Donizetti showcase that’s the final season production Friday and April 26, she will be stepping into one of the two top coloratura roles in all of opera.

Sunday, April 19, 2015 | MORE INFO >>

Always performing

Based on the answers she provided to questions I asked, it is clear that  rising opera star  Kathryn Lewek, with  the passion and execution she brings to her craft, has become the leading lady, Lucia,  in the opera Lucia di Lammermoor opening April 24, on the Valentine stage. Lucia foreshadows in Act I:

"That fountain...ah...I never see it without shivering. You know the tale: A Ravenswood, mad with jealousy, stabbed his sweetheart here and the poor girl fell into the water, which became her tomb: I have seen her ghost..." (translation from

In this thrilling drama of murder, deception and madness, Lewek takes the stage in Toledo to dazzle us with her coloratura timbre. She'll breathe life to the blank-faced outline of a woman with a bloody knife seen on the poster and programs. How do you balance playing a character with such intensity? “Yoga and more yoga,” she says. Read on for her fantastic tale of touring, blogging, cooking, exploring and of course, singing her heart out.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015 | MORE INFO >>

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 >>

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