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Music: Opera to expand offerings in 2014-15 season


    Ritter Bernardini

  • Levi-Hammer-will-conduct-the-T

    Levi Hammer will conduct the Toledo Symphony at 4 p.m. May 18 in Peninsular Farms, 2716 Whittaker Dr., Fremont.


Levi Hammer will conduct the Toledo Symphony at 4 p.m. May 18 in Peninsular Farms, 2716 Whittaker Dr., Fremont.


Toledo Opera is expanding its 2014-15 season to three productions — Puccini’s Tosca, Carlisle Floyd’s Susannah, and Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor — each with the theme of “a powerful female lead pushed by impossible circumstances to take up arms to defend herself in no uncertain terms.”

A traditional production conducted by James Meena, Tosca opens the new season on Oct. 10 and 12.

Renowned American bass-baritone Samuel Ramey performs as tortured preacher Olin Blitch in Susannah on Feb. 13 and 15 in a fully staged concert format, with the Toledo Symphony, conducted by Robert Mirakian, onstage behind the opera’s action.

Co-produced with Opera Carolina, Lucia di Lammermoor is scheduled for April 24 and 26. The opera will feature rising opera star Kathryn Lewek in her debut as Lucia, and will be conducted by Meena and directed by Bernard Uzan.

All productions are at the Valentine Theatre, 410 Adams St. Subscriptions to Toledo Opera’s 2014-2015 season are on sale and can be purchased at 419-255-7464 or

Toledo Opera’s annual gala concert fund-raiser, titled “Men in Black,” is scheduled for May 9, 2015, at the Toledo Club, 235 14th St.

The Clarence Smith Community Chorus announces its spring concert, A Choral Bouquet, at 6 p.m. May 17 in Epiphany Lutheran Church, 915 N. Reynolds Rd.

Founded more than three decades ago by Clarence Smith, Jr., who will conduct this concert, the lively singing group will present special guests, dancers from the Toledo Ballet Adaptive Dance Troupe.

Tickets are $8-$10 at the door or in advance at 419-535-0933.

The final concert in Musica Antigua de Toledo’s 2013-2014 season, will begin at 3:30 p.m. May 18 in Epiphany Lutheran Church, 915 N. Reynolds Rd.

Under the direction of founder Alice Neff Petersen, early music experts will perform music from Merrie Olde England’s Golden Age of music, sparked by the composer Henry Purcell. Tickets are $2-$10 at the door.

The Toledo Symphony announces the next in its Simple Gifts Concert Series, a program presented in collaboration with the Black Swamp Nature Conservancy. This event is set for 4 p.m. May 18 in Peninsular Farms, 2716 Whittaker Dr., Fremont.

The farm’s 474 acres is the remaining stretch of what was more than 1,280 acres deeded in the 18th century by the federal government to Elizabeth Whittaker, widow of James Whittaker, who had been raised by Wyandot Indians in the region. Now managed by the Black Swamp Nature Conservancy, it takes its name from the peninsula created by the Sandusky River flowing through the property.

The orchestra, conducted by guest Levi Hammer, will perform Aaron Copland’s score for Appalachian Spring and other selections to be announced.

Tickets are free but reservations are required through the symphony office, 419-246-8000.

The Toledo Piano Teachers Association announces its May recital at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday in the Wildwood Preserve Metropark Manor House. Performers will include several of the area’s top pianists: Ana Yoder Coulter, Nathan Leonard, and Michael Boyd. On their program will be solos and duets by Mozart, Dvorak, Brahms, and Stravinsky. Admission is free. A salad and dessert luncheon will follow at a cost of $7.

Maumee’s Community Band will perform a free 7 p.m. concert Tuesday in the Maumee Indoor Theater, 601 Conant St., Maumee. Conductor Kevin Heidbreder will lead a program of marches, medleys, concert band music, and patriotic tunes.

The Dixie Company, a traditional jazz group from Poznan, Poland, will perform at 7 p.m. Wednesday and May 15 in the recital hall at the University of Toledo Center for Performing Arts. Reservations may be made by calling the Franciscan Center at 419-824-3999; tickets, $20, are cash or check only.

Ann Arbor’s Symphony Orchestra plans its chamber concert finale at 1:30 p.m. Friday in the Jewish Community Center of Greater Ann Arbor, 2935 Birch Hollow Dr. Conductor Arie Lipsky with Aaron Berofsky, Kathryn Votapek, and Barbara Sturgis-Everett will perform Haydn’s Quartet Op. 77, No. 1, The Lobkowitz, and Dvorak's Quartet in E flat major, Op. 51 Slawisches.

Tickets are $10 at the door. A dessert reception will begin at 1 p.m. for ticketholders.

The Scarab Club, Detroit’s historic arts studio just behind the Detroit Institute of Arts, announces concerts at 7 and 9:30 p.m. Friday in the brick landmark, 217 Farnsworth St.

The occasion will be a launch for an 1870 Pleyel piano donated to the club by a local family. Restored by piano technician Dan Harteau, the instrument will be used in the concerts, which benefit its maintenance fund.

Putting the Pleyel through its musical paces will be pianists Mary and Julia Siciliano, Jacqueline Csurgai-Schmitt, and Diana Munch, performing with flutist Laura Larson, violinist Velda Kelly, cellist Nadine Deleury, and soprano Linda Munch. On the program will be works by Pleyel, Chopin, Debussy, Bizet, Faure, and others. Tickets are $25 for the 7 p.m. performance; $40 allows one to stay for both programs. Refreshments will be on hand.

Kerrytown Concert House presents the Arborsong Chamber Choir of Concordia University in a free concert at 8 p.m. Wednesday. Jane Panikkar will direct the group drawn from the student body. Julien Labro and the Spektral Quartet will perform in a CD release party at 8 p.m. May 15 in Kerrytown, 415 N. Fourth Ave., Ann Arbor.

Labro, a French-born accordionist and bandoneon player, also composes and writes in the Tango Nuevo style which developed after the work of Argentinian composer Astor Piazzolla established the tango as a crossover musical style.

His ensemble also comprises Arelien Fort Pederzoli and Austin Wulliman, violins; Doyle Armbrust, viola, and Russell Rolen, cello. The group’s new album, From This Point Forward, explores the development of the Argentinian dance music form made world famous by Piazzolla. Works by Fernando Otero are on this CD.

Tickets are $5-$30 at or 734-769-2999.


Ritter Bernardini


Denise Ritter Bernardini, vocal chairman at the University of Toledo and director of its Opera Ensemble, announces plans to take her successful summer program, Art Song Festival, on the road — a long, long road.

She and her students will spend three weeks in July in Sansepolcro, Italy, studying, critiquing, and performing operas, art songs, musical theater, and language. The operas are Puccini’s comic one-act, Gianni Schicchi, and Pergolesi’s comedy, La Serva Padrona.

While in Sansepolcro, Ritter Bernardini will perform a recital, which also is to be presented in Tblisi, Georgi.

Blade staff writer Kirk Baird contributed to this story.

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