We love all of the local talent showcased this month! Check out a couple of our favorite events below, and share your photos at those events with us on Facebook!
The Blue Ridge Potters Guild Show and Sale at Patrick Henry High School will open at 6:30pm on Friday, October 13. The show will continue through the weekend, allowing those in attendance to enjoy refreshments as they peruse the potters’ latest works and shop for holiday gifts at more than 50 booths. The largest all-pottery show in Virginia will be open Saturday from 10am to 6pm and Sunday from 12pm to 4pm. Demonstrations for adults and kids will be held throughout the day on Saturday and Sunday. A favorite feature for both participants and customers is the Gallery. This year’s theme is “The Garden.” The Gallery is open to all Guild members to enter a piece based upon their interpretation of the theme. A wide range of work will be available at this event as more than 70 Blue Ridge Pottery Guild members are expected to participate! Visit www.blueridgepotters.com for more information.
The 42nd season of Opera Roanoke opens with a new production of Tosca on October 27 at 7:30pm and October 29 at 3pm in the Shaftman Performance Hall at the Jefferson Center. The show features a cast of Opera Roanoke returning favorites including Dinyar Vania (La Traviata ’16), Thomas Cannon (Madama Butterfly ’11), and Emily Johnson (Falstaff ’08). This Puccini selection is riveting and perfect for Halloween weekend. When romance and politics mix, the result is a thrilling melodrama focused on the haunting aftermath of jealousy, sabotage, and betrayal. To purchase tickets, visit www.operaroanoke.org.
In a time when the NEA (National Endowment of the Arts) might face elimination due to proposed budget cuts, Opera Roanoke is pushing for more arts & culture in the region.
The 41-year-old non-profit organization announced the appointment of Nancy Harder as the Director of Outreach and Associate Conductor.
“I am thrilled to join Opera Roanoke in a leadership role after my involvement as a pianist and vocal coach,” says Ms. Harder. “Opera Roanoke is an innovative, exciting opera company with a national reputation that is an integral part of the arts & culture scene in Roanoke and the New River Valley. I look forward to playing a significant role in its future.”
Opera Roanoke was recently named as one of only a handful of recipients of OPERA America’s highly competitive Building Opera Audiences grant.
“The most recent grant awardees demonstrate the many ways companies are developing innovative strategies to not only attract audiences, but to increase the civic impact of new works — by engaging generative artists with local communities, developing partnerships with organizations outside the arts, and facilitating dialogue to connect storytelling with contemporary issues”, said Marc Scorca, OPERA America President/CEO.
Following the OPERA America announcement, Opera Roanoke was awarded a $50,000 challenge grant from the Ceres Foundation. The grant must be matched by new contributions before June 30. The grant will assist Opera Roanoke in leveraging funds towards its productions, programs and youth music education opportunities in our region.
As a way to connect with new audiences, Opera Roanoke will be holding its first “Opera Tap Takeover” at Soaring Ridge Brewery on April 19 at 6pm. The fundraising event includes great southern food, live music and craft beer.
And on April 28 & 30, Opera Roanoke will present Carlisle Floyd’s American opera Susannah at the Jefferson Center under the baton of Metropolitan Opera conductor, Steven White. Artistic Director Scott Williamson will direct the company premiere of Floyd’s award-winning “folk” opera, set in the Appalachian mountains, which will feature the mainstage debut of Met Opera soprano, Danielle Talamantes.
“We couldn’t be more excited and grateful for all of the great things happening right now,” said Williamson. “The recognition and support from OPERA America, one of the leading arts organizations in the country, and the matching grant from one of our most generous foundations just heightens the anticipation of our premiere production of Floyd’s Susannah. We hope our community here will not only share the excitement of our good news, but will join us for this moving and lyrical drama, full of music which sounds like it came from our beloved Blue Ridge Mountains.”
For more information on Opera Roanoke, and how you can help give back to keep the arts alive in our region visit www.operaroanoke.org.
Linda Webb is more than the Executive Director of Opera Roanoke. She is a powerhouse for the art community, encouraging support for multiple organizations in our area. From Opera Roanoke’s performances to the exhibits at the Taubman Museum (and everything in between), she is one of many who reiterates that sustaining the arts is not just about raising money. It is about making sure people realize how special they are to Roanoke.
How did your interest in the art community begin? I grew up loving literature, music, and theatre. It spoke to my soul and I had a little bit of talent in those areas. When I was in college, I studied playwriting with Pulitzer Prize-winning Paula Vogel. After I graduated, I began working in the business side of publishing in New York, but I kept my hand in the theatre world. After ten years in New York, I moved to Roanoke to get married and made the switch to nonprofit fundraising.
I began volunteering at Mill Mountain Theatre. I was excited about what they were doing there, and when their development person left, Jere Hodgin asked me to take the spot. I found that much of what I had done in New York in ad sales was transferrable. My experience had made me fearless when it came to calling on high level people.
What led you to Opera Roanoke?
I took some time off when I had a baby. I was still on boards even though I wasn’t actually working. The first board I was asked to be on was for Opera Roanoke. They asked me to contribute the fundraising knowledge I had as a volunteer. It was a way that I could keep my hand in that world even though it wasn’t full time.
Soon after, I began working at United Way. I always tried to include friends from the art world in various things that we did.
I stepped out of the working world for a while when my mother was ill. When I began looking for a job again, the president of Opera Roanoke’s board asked me to be the Executive Director and I accepted the offer. I know just enough to be dangerous, but I know more about opera than I did a year and half ago.
What can audiences expect from Opera Roanoke in 2016?
First, it’s important that even those who don’t think they like opera come out and give it a try. If you come to an opera once, you might just be hooked. Our unofficial slogan is, “Opera Roanoke, we don’t care what you wear.” It’s fun to dress up, but not everyone does. Be comfortable, come in your jeans.
Also, if you are a student, your ticket is free. If you’re not a student, you can buy a ticket for $25 and sometimes less with Groupon. Regardless of where you are sitting, you are going to enjoy the show.
This fall, we are going to do South Pacific. It’s sad, it’s happy, and the music is unbelievable. In the spring of 2017, we will be doing Susanna by American composer Carlisle Floyd. Both of these shows have to do with prejudice and overcoming it or not overcoming it. It’s very timely when you think about all the unhappy stuff that is going on in our country right now. However, it is going to speak to your heart and your brain on a different level than when you read or see the news. That is why I say, and I’m not kidding, opera can save the world.
For more information about Linda and Opera Roanoke’s upcoming season, visit www.operaroanoke.org
Opera Roanoke launches its Ruby Anniversary season with Stephen Sondheim’s musical thriller Sweeney Todd. Audiences can see performances of this popular drama on Friday, October 30 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, November 1 at 3 pm at the Jefferson Center’s Shaftman Performance Hall.
Sweeney Todd is an alias used by the main character, Benjamin Barker, who returns to London to seek revenge on a judge who banished him to life imprisonment fifteen years before. Below his former barber shop, he finds a struggling meat pie shop, inhabited by proprietress Mrs. Nellie Lovett. She recognizes him and, together, they form a plan of murderous revenge against the judge who sentenced him based upon false charges.
In this production, Carla Dirlikov makes her role debut as Mrs. Lovett, opposite young baritone Corey Crider, who will play the Demon Barber of Fleet Street title character. Dirlikov is widely- known for her roles in Carmen, The Flying Dutchman, and Julius Caesar. Crider was praised by Opera News for his “seductively sympathetic” portrayal of Sweeney Todd. Together, they are sure to deliver an unforgettable performance.
Visit www.operaroanoke.org for additional information on how to purchase tickets for this event.
Enjoy phenomenal entertainment from Opera Roanoke this Thursday, May 14 and Friday, May 15! Their Comedy Tonight season will conclude with, “A Weekend in the Country,” An Apprentice Artist Showcase of Sondheim and Weill, showcasing rising stars on Waldron Stage at Center on Church. The show will begin at 7:30 pm both nights.
The “Broadway Operas” of Sondheim and Weill are among the greatest written for the American musical stage in the 20th century. Best known for The Threepenny Opera and its famous ballad, “Mack the Knife”, Kurt Weill immigrated to the United States and composed a series of great works for the stage and screen with collaborators like Ira Gershwin and Langston Hughes.
Scenes from Weill’s Street Scene and Lady In The Dark will be paired with excerpts from Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods, A Little Night Music, and Assassins. Performed by Opera Roanoke’s acclaimed roster of young professional Apprentice Artists, under the leadership of Artistic Director Scott Williamson and Apprentice Co-Director Amy Cofield Williamson, “A Weekend in the Country” promises to be an evening filled with great musical comedy. One of Roanoke’s most beloved musicians, Judy Clark, accompanies the ensemble under the baton of Maestro Williamson.
A voluntary $20 donation per attendee is suggested, and reservations are strongly encouraged. Please call (540) 982-2742 to reserve your seats. Visit www.operaroanoke.org for more information.
14 Days of Love: Day FOUR!!Bella is giving away two tickets to Opera Roanoke‘s presentation of Rossini’s Cinderella. The lucky winner (and a guest!) will enjoy Rossini’s operatic interpretation on a classic fairy tale at the Jefferson Center on Friday, March 20 at 7:30 pm.
Visit our Facebook page for details on how to enter! Good luck!