Opera edwardsville at THE Edwardsville city park
SEPTEMBER 10, 2021 | Free Community Concert
Following an entirely virtual season in 2020, Opera Edwardsville made a triumphant return to live performance on September 10th when OE performed its first-ever outdoor concert at Edwardsville City Park.
Guest artists included sopranos Angel Azzarra and Katherine Weber, mezzo-soprano Lindsay Metzger, tenor Alex McKissick, baritone Schyler Vargas, and pianist Joseph Welch. Soprano Delaney Holliday, who starred as Jack in OE’s 2021 opera for kids, joined as OE’s student spotlight. The musical program included operatic highlights and selections from the golden era of musical theatre by composers including Mozart, Rossini, Puccini, Verdi, Bernstein, Rogers, and more.
This event featured state-of-the-art amplification provided by Chicago’s Aphorism Studios, led by audio engineer Dan Nichols, with a concert grand piano. Audiences filled the park with their lawn chairs, picnics, and a fantastic display of tables, candles, and fresh flowers to add to the enjoyment of the open-air event. Under a canopy of stars, the excitement of searchlights drew notice from communities in the surrounding area, with cars slowing their drive to glimpse the event.
On September 9, 2021, OE provided the vocal department of SIUE with a free masterclass with Northwestern University voice professor and President of the National Association for Teachers of Singing, Karen Brunssen. Student performers workshopped their vocal technique and performance practice, masked but in person in SIUE’s Abbott Auditorium, with the entire department tuning in via zoom.
Meet the Artists
Soprano Angel Azzarra has been hailed as one of the "40 under 40: A new generation of superb opera singers" by the New York Public Radio, and noted for her powerful "impassioned performances" (American Record Guide).
American soprano Katherine Weber joins OE from Amsterdam, and is described as "simply stunning" and "a confident singing actress with a magnetic stage presence." (Opera News).
Mezzo-soprano Lindsay Metzger trained at the renowned Lyric Opera of Chicago Ryan Opera Center, is noted for her "luxuriously-toned mezzo" (Opera News).
Tenor Alex McKissick is a graduate of the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program at the Washington National Opera, a Sullivan Foundation Grant Winner, and possesses "a melting tone and poignant phrasing" (Opera News).
Baritone Schyler Vargas is a Mexican-American baritone establishing himself as a versatile young talent, bringing interdisciplinary performances to the operatic, theatrical, and concert stage, recently making his Opera Theatre of St. Louis debut in 2021.
Pianist Dr. Joseph Welch joins Opera Edwardsville in concert for all 2021 season events, including the July 2021 opera for kids, Jack and the Beanstalk, September 10 at the Edwardsville City Park, on film for the 12 Days of OE, and on December 18 at Dunham Hall.
Soprano Delaney Holliday is currently completing training in vocal performance and visual art. Delaney participated in a 2019 OE Masterclass we held with renowned voice teacher Karen Brunssen, and starred as Jack in OE's 2021 opera for kids, Jack and the Beanstalk.
OE celebrated a return to live performance in 2021 with the music of Mozart, Rossini, Puccini, Bizet, Verdi, Bernstein, Rogers and Hammerstein, and more. Guest artists performed a program that highlights their favorite arias, opera's great hits, and selections from the golden age of musical theater.
Operatic selections will be performed in their original languages. 90 minutes of music, with an intermission.
La finta giardiniera
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Cosi fan tutte
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Smanie implacabili che m’agitate
Soave sia il vento
Le nozze di Figaro
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Voi che sapete
Il re pastore
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Si spande al sole
Chi il bel sogno di Doretta
Il Bacio by Luigi Arditi
Ti voglio tante bene by Ernesto de Curtis
Sin tu Amor by Miguel Sandoval
Les tringles des sistres tintaient
She Loves Me
She loves me
Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II
You’ll Never Walk Alone
West Side Story
Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim
Tonight (Balcony Scene)
Il Barbiere di Siviglia
Largo al factotum
Una voce poco fa
La forza del destino
Pace, pace, mio Dio
Libiamo ne’lieti calici (Brindisi)
LISTEN TO THE PROGRAM ON SPOTIFY
ANGELL AZZARRA, Soprano
Described by Classical WQXR & Operavore as one of “40 Under 40: A New Generation of Superb Opera Singers,” young dramatic soprano Angel Azzarra is becoming known for having “a warm voice that swells from staggering size to pianissimi as effortlessly as the ocean waves.” (Sybaritic Singer’s Ashley Emrick.) Her Donna Anna (Don Giovanni) with dell’Arte Opera was praised by critic Fred Plotkin as “a standout performance… Angel Azzarra sang with quality and distinction.” Her reprisal of Anna with St. Petersburg Opera followed her professional debut at Mobile Opera as Mimì (La Bohème.) Angel’s performance in the world premiere of the symphony Sheltering Voices with Eureka Ensemble went viral in a documentary by NowThis!News, and was admired “Azzarra’s expressive immediacy gave us an impassioned performance that flowed so organically it was as if each phrase was spontaneously created in that very moment” (American Record Guide). Her recent summer season with Opera Theatre Saint Louis included Gianni Schicchi and On the Edge, a new opera by HBO’s Lovecraft County composer Laura Karpman. For more on Angel’s upcoming season, visit her at angelazzarra.com.
The dramatic soprano is also a popular chamber musician. Most recently she performed the Bachianas Brasileiras no. 5 with the Eastman School of Music, and multiple engagements of Pierrot Lunaire, including at the Shenandoah Fringe Festival. She has held chamber residencies with the Heifetz Institute, D.C. Strings, Música de Cámara (Peru), and the Schubert Institute. When offstage, Angel runs a popular YouTube channel, AngelOpera, where over 5 million viewers have learned about the world of opera.
For more information: www.angelazzarra.com
KATHERINE WEBER, Soprano
Soprano Katherine Weber made her company debut in the title role of Iolanta by Tchaikovsky with Chicago Opera Theater in the fall of 2018, where she was described by Opera News as “gleaming, responsive soprano distinguished by an incisive thrust in the upper register and a very individual splash of citrus in the timbre that was particularly appealing.” She also returned to Du Page Opera in 2020, in Chicago, performing the role of Valencienne in The Merry Widow. In the previous seasons she performed the role of Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus and in 2018 the role of Violetta in La Traviata. Katherine has also made company debuts as Violetta in La Traviata with the Boulder Symphony and the Aspen Music Festival, where she sang under the baton of George Manahan. As Violetta, she was described by Opera News as “confident singing actress with a magnetic stage presence and abundant potential” who “sang the most demanding of arias with seemingly little effort.” Katherine is an American soprano living in the Netherlands. She recently performed her first Mahler 4 with the Noord Nederland Orkest and is looking forward to performing and recording projects with the Zemlinsky Chamber Orchestra in the Netherlands as an Artist in Residence.
For more information: www.katherinewebersoprano.com
LINDSAY METZGER, Mezzo-Soprano
Mezzo-Soprano Lindsay Metzger has been noted for her “easy stage manner and refined voice” by the Chicago Classical Review. A graduate of the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Ryan Opera Center, Lindsay returned to Chicago for the 2018/19 season in Matthew Ozawa’s new production of Jack Perla’s An American Dream. Lindsay has been seen on the stage of the Lyric in the roles of Mercédès in Carmen with guest conductor Harry Bicket, Garcias in Don Quichotte and Alisa in Lucia di Lammermoor, as well as supporting roles in Der Rosenkavalier and Le nozze di Figaro. Additional roles include as Giannetta in L’elisir d’amore with Florentine Opera. She debuted the role of Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro with La Musica Lirica in Novafeltria, Italy, and made her debut with Chicago’s Haymarket Opera Company as Daphné in Charpertier’s La descente d’Orphée aux enfers. Frequently performing with Chicago’s leading arts organizations, Metzger debuted with the Grant Park Music Festival as the soprano soloist in Fauré’s Requiem and with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago in a program featuring the works of Berlioz and Verdi.
Winner of the 2017 Metropolitan Opera National Council District Auditions and second place winner of the 2018 Opera Birmingham Competition, Metzger has also been featured as a finalist in the 30th Annual Dallas Opera Guild Competition. She was awarded the Richard F. Gold Career Grant from the Shoshana Foundation, the 2017 Luminarts Fellowship in Women’s Classical Voice, the Best Vocal Artist prize from the American Opera Society, the Paul Collins Fellowship from University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the Virginia Cooper Meier Award from the Musician’s Club of Women. Metzger is an alumna of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and DePaul University.
For more information: www.lindsay-metzger.com
ALEX MCKISSICK, Tenor
Hailed as possessing a “melting tone and poignant phrasing” (Opera News), American tenor Alex McKissick returns to live singing in a 2021 concert series at Waterline Square Park of songs and arias. Mr. McKissick was scheduled to make his debut as Tamino in The Magic Flute with Opera San José under the baton of Donato Cabrera before the current pandemic forced its cancellation. In the summer of 2019, he covered the role of Rodolfo in La bohème with the Des Moines Metro Opera conducted by Michael Christie and in 2018 performed the title role in Roméo et Juliette with the Wolf Trap Opera led by Eric Melear. He has sung regularly with the Washington National Opera in such roles as Nikolaus Sprink in Kevin Puts’s Silent Night, Roderigo in Verdi’s Otello, The Governor of Montevideo in Bernstein’s Candide, the 1st Armored Guard in The Magic Flute, as well as covering the title role in Faust.
Past performance highlights include Alfredo in La traviata at the Aspen Music Festival; concerts with the Georg Solti Accademia in Venice, Italy; the tenor soloist in Handel's Messiah with the Richmond Symphony and Beethoven's Symphony #9 with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra; and the roles of Monostatos in Die Zauberflöte, Le Journaliste in Poulenc’s Les mamelles de Tirésias, Ein Soldat in Ullman’s Der Kaiser von Atlantis, and Brack Weaver in Kurt Weill’s Down in the Valley at the Juilliard School of Music. Mr. McKissick has worked with conductors Eun Sun Kim, Daniele Callegari, Keri-Lynn Wilson, Nicole Paiement, as well as stage directors David Alden, Francesca Zambello, Tomer Zvulun, Octavio Cardenas, Christopher Mattaliano, and Garnett Bruce. He has coached with Richard Bonynge, Carmen Giannattasio, Angela Gheorghiu, and Anthony Legge, in addition to participating in master classes with Fabio Luisi and Emmanuel Villuame.
Mr. McKissick is a 2018 Sullivan Foundation Career Grant Winner, a 2017 Sara Tucker Study Grant Winner, a 2018 Operalia quarterfinalist, and a Toulmin Scholar. He received his Bachelor’s of Music and Master’s Degree from the Juilliard School of Music. Mr. McKissick is an alumnus of the Cafritz Young Artist Program at the Washington National Opera.
For more information: www.alexandermckissick.com
SCHYLER VARGAS, Baritone
Schyler Vargas, Mexican-American baritone, is establishing himself as a versatile young talent, bringing interdisciplinary performances to the operatic, theatrical, and concert stage. Earlier in 2021, Schyler made his Opera Theatre of Saint Louis debut after joining the prestigious Gerdine Young Artist Program and joined Cincinnati Opera for their reimagined centennial season. Previously, he has been seen in main stage roles at The Atlanta Opera, the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, The Glimmerglass Opera Festival, Dayton Opera, and the Château de Versailles Spectacles in France. On the concert stage, Schyler has performed as the baritone soloist for Orff’s Carmina Burana, Rossini’s Petite Messe Solenelle, Schubert’s Mass in Ab, and Mark Hayes’ Requiem. This fall, Schyler will be joining UrbanArias for a world premiere of UNKNOWN, a dramatic song cycle honoring the 100th Anniversary of the founding of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington Cemetery. An award-winning performer with notable awards including 1st place in the Tri-Cities Opera Vocal Competition, Rocky Mountain District Winner in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, 2nd place and Audience Favorite in the Harold Haugh Light Opera Competition, and 2nd place at the Denver Lyric Opera Guild Aria Competition.
For more information: www.schylervargas.com
SPONSORS AND SPECIAL THANKS
This concert would not have been possible without the generous support of the 2021 OE Business Sponsors and individual donors. 2021 OE Season Presenting Sponsors include Lewis Rice, LLC and Stifel. Additional support for OE's 2021 Season comes from the Bank of Madison County, 222 Artisan Bakery and a project grant from the Junior Service Club of Edwardsville and Glen Carbon. Our student spotlight is made possible by generous support from the Rotary Club of Edwardsville.
Special thanks to the City of Edwardsville Parks and Recreation Department, the Edwardsville Public Library, and the Great Rivers and Routes Tourism Bureau.
LEWIS RICE, LLC
ROTARY CLUB of EDWARDSVILLE
GREAT RIVERS & ROUTES TOURISM
BANK of MADISON COUNTY
EDWARDSVILLE PUBLIC LIBRARY
EDWARDSVILLE PARKS & REC DEPT
GREAT RIVERS & ROUTES TOURISM