Press Release – A Night at the Opera
Choral Artists of Sarasota Presents
A Night at the Opera
Sunday, February 20, at Church of the Palms
Grand passion and scintillating intrigue! Sarasota’s own Grammy-winning soprano, Adelaide Boedecker, takes a brief break from her engagement at the Metropolitan Opera for this concert that also features her husband, the Grammy-winning bass-baritone, Calvin Griffin.
(January 14, 2022) Choral Artists of Sarasota’s 43rd season, “Carried Away,” continues with “A Night at the Opera,” Sunday, February 20, 5 p.m., at Church of the Palms, 3224 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota. The concert features favorite arias, duets, and choruses performed with a full orchestra. The husband and wife team of Adelaide Boedecker and Calvin Griffin will sing duets from Don Pasquale and Marriage of Figaro, along with solo arias and choruses with the Choral Artists’ singers. Even the Phantom of the Opera makes an appearance in this concert filled with grand passion and scintillating intrigue. Tickets are $35; $5 for students. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.ChoralArtistsSarasota.org or call 941-387-4900. For information about Covid health and safety protocol, visit https://choralartistssarasota.org/schedule/health-safety-protocol/.
The program includes works by Mozart, Handel, Rossini, Borodin, William Grant Still, Donizetti, Verdi, and Webber.
Joseph Holt, artistic director for Choral Artists, says that one of the unusual components of the program includes a rarely heard overture, Lucio Silla, by a very young Mozart who was only 16 when he wrote it. “It’s a fascinating piece because you can glimpse the turmoil the teen Mozart was experiencing at the time—and the depth and genius to come,” says Holt.
Holt also points out that the concert pays tribute to Black History Month with the inclusion of two choruses from operas by William Grant Still, a noted Black composer of the 20th century. His opera, Troubled Island, premiered at the New York City Opera on March 31, 1949, notably making it the first grand opera composed by a Black composer to be produced by a major company. “Choral Artists will be performing a chorus from this exceptional opera along with a chorus from Costaso, an opera set in the American Southwest under Spanish rule,” says Holt, adding that the opera received its world premiere 40 years after it was written in 1992.
Other program highlights include Borodin’s exotic “Polovtsian Dances” from the opera Prince Igor. “If the music sounds familiar, you probably recognize ‘Stranger in Paradise,’ because the music from Prince Igor was repurposed for the 1953 musical Kismet,” says Holt. Concert goers will also be entranced by a beautiful chorus by Rossini from Moses in Egypt and the most popular opera chorus of all time, “Va, Pensiero” by Verdi. “The Verdi chorus was played at his funeral and EVERYONE in the funeral procession route sang it as he passed,” says Holt. “Most Italian audiences can sing this from memory.” Finally, rounding out the spectacular array of opera arias and choruses is the quintessential Phantom of the Opera, capping off, says Holt, “an evening of passion and vocal delight.”
Holt adds that he is delighted to have the participation of the husband/wife team of Adelaide Boedecker and Calvin Griffin. “They are taking the opera world by storm,” he says, “performing in major houses throughout the country, including engagements at the Metropolitan Opera in NYC this current season.” Each has participated in Grammy award-winning recordings and are, according to Holt, “the stars of tomorrow. Their performances lend luster to a program which encompasses the major eras of opera: baroque, classical, romantic and contemporary.”
Soprano Adelaide Boedecker has been described as “emotionally transparent and beguiling of tone” (The San Francisco Chronicle). Most recently she has covered the role of Frasquita in Carmen with Atlanta Opera and performed the role of Norina in Don Pasquale with Opera Las Vegas. Boedecker made her professional debut at age 17, as Barbarina, with the Sarasota Opera. She received her Bachelor of Music in vocal performance from University of Florida, where she graduated summa cum laude, and received her Master of Music in vocal performance from the Eastman School of Music.
Acclaimed for his “darkly lustrous voice” (South Florida Classical Review), Calvin Griffin is an alum of the Florida Grand Opera Studio, where he made his debut with the company stepping in as a cover to sing the role of Escamillo in Bizet’s Carmen. In concert, Griffin has sung with the Richmond Symphony as the bass soloist in Handel’s Messiah, and as soloist in Opera Columbus’ Opera Swings Jazz concert. He made his Houston Symphony debut as first apprentice in the Grammy Award-winning production of Wozzeck. Griffin received his master’s degree in vocal performance from Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music under the tutelage of Dr. Stephen King, and his bachelor’s degree from The Ohio State University.
The Choral Artists of Sarasota comprises 32 of the region’s most notable professional singers. Eight young singers, ages 16 to 22, are also invited to join the group each year, as part of the organization’s educational outreach. One of these gifted singers will be awarded the Barbara Diles Apprentice Scholarship, a funding program to support either private lessons or vocal training at an institution of higher learning.
“Ensuring the future of choral music means investing in the next generation of music lovers,” says Susan Burke, executive director of Choral Artists of Sarasota. “Incorporating young singers into the professional ensemble encourages them to further develop their musical talents and appreciation for singing in an ensemble.”
About the Choral Artists of Sarasota
The Choral Artists of Sarasota, entering its 43rd season, features 32 of the region’s most notable professional singers and eight apprentice singers. The group celebrates the rich, artistic expressiveness of choral music through innovative repertoire, inspired performances and stimulating educational outreach. Under the artistic direction of Dr. Joseph Holt, Choral Artists of Sarasota performs a repertoire spanning four centuries, and includes symphonic choral works, intimate madrigals, folk songs, close-harmony jazz, and Broadway show music. The ensemble also specializes in premiere performances of lesser-known choral works—particularly music by living American composers. Choral Artists of Sarasota has performed premieres by René Clausen, Dick Hyman, Robert Levin, Gwyneth Walker and James Grant. As part of the organization’s educational outreach, eight young singers from area schools, colleges and universities, ages 16 to 22, are invited to join the group each year. For more information, visit www.ChoralArtistsSarasota.org.