MAHONING VALLEY Opera Western Reserve is created
Operatic forces have gathered to put on a new show.
By NANCILYNN GATTA
YOUNGSTOWN -- With success comes progress. Encouraged by the extremely successful presentation last year of Guiseppe Verdi's "La Traviata," the Youngstown Opera Guild became aware of an interest in this art form within the Mahoning Valley and surrounding area.
Filling this need, a new opera company, Opera Western Reserve, was announced at a press conference Thursday at Stambaugh Auditorium's Marble Room.
It is the production company of Youngstown Opera Guild. As a preview of her performance as her character, Nedda, the wife of Pagliacci, Misook Yun performed the aria "Stridono No Lassu."
The mission of the new cultural organization is to present high-quality opera performances to audience members from northeast Ohio and western Pennsylvania. Their first full-scale opera performance will be Ruggiero Leoncavallo's "I Pagliacci" at 8 p.m. Nov. 12 at Stambaugh Auditorium.
Carla Infante, president of Youngstown Opera Guild, said most areas start with a performance company and then require a guild. In the Valley, the opposite was true.
Opera incorporates numerous art forms -- music, dance, singing and acting. As a result, a collaborative effort of local arts groups is needed to create the production. This production brings together Youngstown State University faculty; Misook Yun, soprano soloist; David Vosburgh, artistic director; and Susan Daveny Wyner, music director and conductor of Warren Philharmonic Orchestra.
Vosburgh believes that combining the many art groups from the area builds strength for all of them. "It's amazing that we've lost so much population in this area, but there is so much art here," said Vosburgh.
The creation of this new opera company will provide a performance outlet for local and regional singers as well as musicians and production crews.
It is also an opportunity for area audiences to experience the quality of singing and the beauty of the music through the orchestra and score.
Benefit dinner planned
The Youngstown Opera Guild will once again offer the pre-opera dinner in the Grand Ballroom. Proceeds from the dinner will benefit the Giorgio Tozzi Scholarship Fund.
Besides the fund, Youngstown Opera Guild has new outreach program. At 11 a.m. Nov. 11, middle school and high school pupils from the Mahoning and Shenango valleys will have the opportunity to attend an open rehearsal of "I Pagliacci." Opera-only tickets are also available. Before the open rehearsal, a color guard presentation will be held in honor of Veterans Day.
The Italian Scholarship League donated $15,000 to help support the open rehearsal and the production.
"I Pagliacci" will be presented on the Stambaugh Auditorium stage. Last year's performance of "La Traviata" was performed in the Grand Ballroom.
Vosburgh noted that it is to the credit of the people from this area that this fine performance space continues to exist and has not been turned into a parking lot.