Opera Roanoke will kick off the 2013 concert series held at The Jacksonville Center with “The Masques of Orpheus – American Voices – Songs and Scenes from the American Stage” on Friday evening March 8th at 7:30 PM. Scott Williamson, tenor and Artistic Director of Opera Roanoke and members of Opera Roanoke’s Young Apprentice Artist Program will appear alongside special guest artist, Amy Cofield Williamson, soprano. Audiences may remember Scott and Amy from their concert “Love at First Duet” presented at The Jacksonville Center in 2011. This year the concert series is being presented by WDBJ7, Your Hometown News Leader. “This is very exciting for us to be working with WDBJ7 and we are truly grateful for their sponsorship”, stated Linda Fallon, President of The Jacksonville Center Board.
“Songs and Scenes from the American Stage” will feature writers and composers like Tennessee Williams, Charles Ives, Andre Previn and include scenes and songs from Broadway’s “Susannah”, “Streetcar Named Desire” and much, much more. This promises to be an eclectic evening of great music, theatre, dance and the spoken word. Mr. Williamson will sing, conduct and narrate the evening. The performance will be staged, costumed and themed around “American Voices” including dramatic scenes – excerpts from Tennessee Williams’ plays for example.
Scott Williamson is the General and Artistic Director of Opera Roanoke and the Artistic Director of the Virginia Chorale. A native Virginian, he brings a wealth of experience to Southwest Virginia’s flagship opera company and the Commonwealth’s premiere professional chorus.
An acclaimed tenor, Williamson was the winner of the Center for Contemporary Opera’s 2005 competition and was featured in a solo recital at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall in 2007. He has appeared with Tulsa Opera, Sarasota Opera, Lake George Opera, Bronx Opera, Opera Roanoke, and in Britain with the New Kent Opera Festival, and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. Stage credits include the title role in Gounod’s Faust, Alfredo in La Traviata, Iro in Monteverdi’s
II Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria, Armand in Massenet’s Therese, Handel’s Acos ad Damon, the Magician in Menotti’s The Consul and most recently, a young steersman in Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman. His performances have been praised by the New York Times, the Times of London, Opera News, the Washington Post and the Baltimore Sun.
He holds degrees from James Madison University and Westminster Choir College and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Maryland. He has studied in Germany at the Franz Liszt Hochschule in Weimar, the International Young Artists Festival in Bayreuth, and the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme.
Soprano Amy Cofield Williamson has performed to critical acclaim across the US and throughout Europe, Taiwan and Guam. Highly regarded for her “technical facility”, “her beauty of interpretation”, an “arresting presence”, Amy was a regional finalist in the MET National Council Auditions at Orchestra Hall in Chicago, and has been praised by the New York Times for her “lovely, rich tone”.
She has appeared with Pro Cantus Lyric Opera (Texas), Annapolis Chamber Orchestra and Chorale, Houston Grand Opera, Fort Worth Opera, Knoxville Opera, Wildwood Opera, Lyric Opera San Antonio, Teatro Lirico D’Europa, American Opera Theater and Opera Lenawee in Michigan. Amy’s busy concert schedule has included performances with Festival Chamber Music in recital at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall in NY, Handel’s Messiah with the Masterwork Chorus also at Weill Recital Hall and concerts with Opera Camerata of Washington and DC’s Mousetrap Series.
Recent performances included “The Flying Dutchman” and Lucia Di Lammermoor with Opera Roanoke under the baton of MET opera conductor Steven White, Carmina Burana with the Virginia Symphony and concerts with Norfolk Chamber Consort and with the Virginia Art Festival.
In 2011, Opera Roanoke’s premiere Young Apprentice Artist Program was launched by General and Artistic Director Scott Williamson with the company’s acclaimed production of Madama Butterfly. In its first year, the program more than tripled in size, growing from 6 to 20 young singers, conductors and production assistants.
Carefully selected from the region’s colleges, universities and recent graduates, Apprentice Artists work directly with Opera Roanoke’s artistic staff and have select opportunities to work with guest artists. Young Apprentice Artists will sing in the chorus of main stage productions. A select number of Apprentice Artists may sing comprimario roles and/or cover principal roles in main stage productions.
Enhancing students’ arts education with professional experiences, Opera Roanoke’s Young Apprentice Artist Program offers aspiring opera performers, artistic administrators and production crew leaders invaluable opportunities while enhancing their education and preparing them for the next stage of their careers.
A “Meet the Artists” Champagne and Wine Reception will follow the performance with a cash bar. Advance tickets are $25.00 per person and can be purchased at The Jacksonville Center; by phone, (540) 745-2784; or online at jacksonvillecenter.org. Tickets purchased at the door are $30.00 per person. The concert will take place in the Community Room at The Jacksonville Center on Friday, March 8th at 7:30 PM.