Summer is the season of free opera


`Music Shop' is to be performed at Artscape

July 23, 2002|By Tim Smith | Tim Smith,SUN MUSIC CRITIC

Summertime and the listenin' is easy. Make that free and easy.

The Baltimore Opera's annual summer production, in conjunction with Artscape, will be Richard Wargo's amusing take on a Chekhov tale, The Music Shop. This 1993 work, which lasts about 45 minutes, gets a lot of mileage out of a situation involving a memory-challenged husband who tries to buy a piece of music for his wife.

Performing the clever score will be Elizabeth Davis, Phyllis Burg, Vijay Ghosh and Nimrod Weisbrod (fresh from his star turn in Gilbert and Sullivan's Iolanthe with the Young Victorian Theatre Company). James Harp is both stage director and conductor.

Performances are at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sunday at the Theatre Project, 45 W. Preston St. Admission is free. For more information, call 410-727-6000.

Still more free opera is available, thanks to the Mount Vernon Cultural District, which has been presenting a monthly, outdoors "Opera in the Park" series since May.

The series continues with singers from the Municipal Opera Company of Baltimore performing on Aug. 1, followed by members of Opera Vivente on Sept. 5. Singers from the Baltimore Opera will wrap up the series on Oct. 3.

All concerts are at noon at Mount Vernon Place. For more information, call 410-244-1030 or visit

Still more opera news:

Baltimore Opera has updated its 2002-2003 season. On the down side, sensational coloratura soprano Sumi Jo has bowed out of the opening production of Leo Delibes' rarely staged Lakme (Oct. 5-13) due to health reasons. On the up side, she will be replaced in the title role by Youngok Shin, another hot talent who was heard here last season in the alternate cast of Lucia di Lammermoor.

She will be joined by tenor Fernando de la Mora as Gerald and baritone Daniel Mobbs as Frederic. The alternate cast features Luz del Alba Rubio and Marc Heller. Roberto Lagana will direct; conductor Alberto Veronesi will make his company debut.

Verdi's Rigoletto (Nov. 14-24) offers Mark Delavan in the title role, with Stefania Bonfadelli as Gilda and Stefano Secco as the Duke. Lagana is the director, Andrea Licata the conductor.

Die Fledermaus (Dec. 7-15) will receive a new production directed by John Lehmeyer and conducted by William Boggs. This Strauss favorite, sung in English, stars Susan Patterson and Deidra Palmour alternating in the role of Rosalinda, Theodora Hanslowe as Prince Orlofsky, David Mails as Eisenstein and Gran Wlson as Alfred.

The company's presentation for the Vivat! St. Petersburg festival, Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk (Feb. 22-March 2), will be conducted by Christian Badea, directed by Pierre Lefebvre, Karen Huffstodt has the title role, with Garry Grice as the husband, Leonid Zakhozhaev as the lover Sergei.

And Puccini's Madama Butterfly (May 31-June 8), conducted by Licata, will feature Liping Zhang as Cio-Cio-San and Marc Heller as Pinkerton. Antonia Cifrone and Jose Luis Duval will head the alternate cast.

All performances will be at the Lyric Opera House, 140 W. Mount Royal Ave. For subscription information, call 410-727-6000, or visit Single tickets go on sale Sept. 3.

The Annapolis Opera's 30th anniversary season includes productions of Strauss' Die Fledermaus in November and Verdi's La traviata in March. Performances are in the Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts.

Also on the schedule are the company's annual vocal competition in February and various concerts and social events throughout the season.

For more information, call 410-267-8135 or visit

Guitar Congress

It's not too early to mark June 2-9, 2004, on your calendar. That's when the First World Guitar Congress will be held at Towson University.

Organized by the same indefatigable folks who put together the 2000 World Cello Congress there (executive director Helene Breazeale, associate director Sergei Zverev), this conference will attract guitarists from the classical, jazz, rock, country and ethnic music arenas for concerts, symposia and master classes.

Honorary president of the Guitar Congress is Emilia Segovia, widow of legendary classical guitarist Andres Segovia; honorary chairman is Les Paul, noted jazz artist and inventor of the electric guitar.

The preliminary list of participants includes Sharon Isbin, one of the today's top classical guitarists, and the Brazilian Guitar Quartet, which will premiere a concerto by Ronaldo Mirando.

For more information, call 410-704-3451 or visit

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