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Reviews

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“The San Pedro Opera Company is truly a gem in our midst. Their glorious voices and wonderful operatic vignettes are absolutely first rate.”

– Ann Ehrenclou, music educator

 

“[Other singers] do not move me the way Lindsay Feldmeth and Nani Sinha do. Theirs are truly the most beautiful voices I have ever heard.”

— Darlene Vlasek, VP Programs, Los Angeles Philharmonic Peninsula Committee

More Audience Reactions:

I just enjoyed a moving, funny, lyrical and spectacular evening with performances by two of opera’s strong women, Lindsay Feldmeth and Nani Sinha!!! Wow…totally blown away. What a treat!   – Susan S.

This was a stunning concert with phenomenal singing and music-making! – Judith T.

What a stranger we can become to being thrilled… but this was rekindled tonight in the presentations of possibly the two most perfectly blended and beautiful voices and actresses on the planet, Lindsay Feldmeth and Nani Sinha. Catch them next time… I know I will. – Charlene B.

So good! It looked like Bogdan Dulu’s hands were in fast-forward! – Anna L.

 

Beautiful singing, with such style and nuance! I’m still smiling from such fabulous music. – Casey R.

 

Had the most wonderful time at the performance last night. Lindsay Feldmeth and Nani Sinha were stellar! So lovely. – Cheryl R.

*****

Review of SPO’s Cavalleria rusticana in Singerpreneur: http://laurislist.net/blog/tag/san-pedro-opera/

From Cavalleria to Botswana

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Steve Grabe as Turridu, and Lindsay Feldmeth as Santuzza, in a scene from Cavalleria Rusticana.

San Pedro Opera, the newest opera company in the Greater LA area, is named after the home town of its founder, Lindsay Feldmeth.  Its first production, Cavalleria Rusticana, by Pietro Mascagni, played March 16 in San Pedro and March 23 in Claremont. It featured Steve Grabe as Turiddu, Lindsay Feldmuth as Santuzza, Nandani Sinha as Lola, Luvi Avendano as Alfio, Danielle Marcelle Bond as Mamma Lucia and Brian Farrell on the piano.

The theatre for the Claremont performance was a spacious hall in the center of the Claremont School of Theology, the Seeley Mudd Theatre. Large enough to hold 250+ in the audience, it afforded a clear view of the stage for every patron, with nicely banked theatre seating and good acoustics. A grand piano was placed onstage at stage right, a great spot from which Brian Farrell could accompany the action and also perform the piano solos for the Prelude to Scene I and the Intermezzo. A concert pianist, he showed an elegant touch on the keys and exquisite phrasing that evoked the instruments of the orchestra in all his accompaniments, supporting the singers as if he were of one mind with them.

The set, staging and costumes were minimal, just enough to help the audience suspend reality and participate in the drama of the music. The opera was performed without a chorus.

All the singers were well prepared and in good voice. Ms. Feldmuth sang with a beautiful purity of tone and powerful projection, showing excellent resonance through the middle and lower parts of her voice. She played Santuzza with passion and intensity, suffering with every emotional blow Turiddu delivered. Mr. Grabe’s cavalier betrayal of her love, as Turiddu, was well acted and gorgeously sung, with an easy and consistent tone and a heroic sound. His challenge to Alfio was sudden and violent, as he seized him and bit his ear in the traditional demand for a duel. He used the stage confidently, engaging the audience and demonstrating the gradual transformation of his character from thoughtless cad to penitent, responsible son.

Lola, sung by Ms. Sinha, sashayed onstage with sassy attitude and steamy sexuality in a Marilyn Monroe red dress with deep decolletage and a flared skirt that swished and swayed with every move she made. Oh yes, she also sang effortlessy, with a lovely, clear tone and excellent vocal styling, leaving us free to admire her onstage persona and the sparks that flew whenever she showed up with her long black hair and red lipstick. As Alfio, Mr. Avendano’s chesty baritone declaimed youthful virility and optimism at the outset of the story, shifting to jealous suspicion and fury when he discovered his wife in the company of Turiddu.

Ms. Bond, in the role of Mamma Lucia, transformed herself into the older woman with muted costume and makeup colors, taking her character from barely concealed hostility toward Santuzza to a slightly kinder, more empathetic posture, and finally to shared grief at the death of Turiddu. Her warm, strong mezzo carried authority and experience, with rich color and a clear core tone, balancing the other dramatic voices. The entire performance was full of beautiful music and intense passions, a great production for a company that is just getting started.

San Pedro Opera is not only producing its first season. It is also sending a small group of musicians and a documentary filmmaker to Botswana, Africa in a few short days, to launch the #1 Ladies’ Opera Festival at the #1 Ladies’ Opera House, offering workshops and coachings for local singers, a music camp for a local orphan village, and concert performances in Botswana, Namibia and South Africa. The opera, Cavalleria Rusticana, was presented as a publicity event for the upcoming trip and to  help raise funds. For more information about the trip and to contribute, go to this website:
http://globetrottingsoprano.com/2012/10/25/the-no-1-ladies-opera-festival/

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Secrets & Lies at the Opera

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Lindsay and Nani performed a brand new program of arias and duets for the Los Angeles Philharmonic Peninsula Committee:

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Verdi e Vino

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Penn PhilWe were thrilled to perform for the Peninsula Committee Los Angeles Philharmonic on Saturday evening! The event raised thousands of dollars for music education and we were proud to be a part of it.

The Peninsula Committee, founded in 1952, supports the Los Angeles Philharmonic through fundraising and audience development, promotes youth music education, and fosters appreciation of music in the community

 

Desires of the Heart

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SPO in Africa

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922941_10151630156587792_29381106_nSometimes it’s hard to believe that it really happened.

Here at last is a summary of this amazing, beautiful thing we got to do.

These are the highlights of our enchanted April in Southern Africa, where we launched the No. 1 Ladies’ Opera Festival.

So what really happened over there? If you were following our hilarious adventures on Nani’s blog, or Bogdan’s blog, or here on the Globetrotting Soprano, then you know that we were never able to post as much as we wanted to post.  There were power outages and bandwidth emergencies …. and the day our video footage got stolen by an angry baboon (just kidding) … Anyway, we couldn’t tell you the whole story. But now we can.

PART I: THE VOICES OF BOTSWANA

We came to Botswana to meet this dynamic group of singers:

DSCN0918These talented young opera singers live and work in the capital city of Gaborone. If you’ve read the best-selling detective novels by Alexander McCall Smith, then you already know that Gaborone is a special place. But you may not know that McCall Smith also founded an opera house there! With the help of their coach David Slater, this group of singers had been performing full-scale opera productions at the No. 1 Ladies’ Opera House.  In addition to showcasing their vocal talent, these productions were quite original in how they presented opera in the context of Afrocentric themes. But in December 2012, they lost their lease and Botswana’s only opera house had to close its doors.Hm70SM

By establishing the No. 1 Ladies’ Opera Festival, we wanted to bring some momentum back to the opera scene in Gaborone.  So we offered master classes in vocal technique, vocal repertoire, opera history, piano technique, acting, stage skills, musicianship, social media and career management. It was a labor-intensive two weeks, both for us and for our students!  But we discovered some tremendous voices.

By the end of the festival, our singers were doing some very exciting work.  They showcased their talents at a concert in Baobab School Hall.  The students who attended all eight classes graduated from the No. 1 Ladies’ Opera Festival.  And at the finale of the Maitisong Festival (Botswana’s largest arts festival), they delivered a rousing Brindisi from Verdi’s La Traviata (featuring tenor Boyce Batlang & soprano Tshenolo Batshogile). It sounded like this:

PART II: OUR CONCERT TOURDSCN1073_2

We also had a wonderful time making music together.

We presented two full opera recitals in Baobab School Hall, including both the Power Ladies of Opera (a show that Nani and I opened in Los Angeles in February) and The Jewelry Box, a recital featuring some of Bogdan’s virtuosity on the piano, as well as a lot of coloratura pyrotechnics from Nani and myself.

We also gave a guest lecture at the University of Botswana about empowering women through opera.  We performed some of our “Power Ladies of Opera” program and facilitated a discussion about gender issues in Botswana, and how European opera relates to the African female experience.

QSeML0_2But some of our coolest musical experiences happened at church! I’ve already blogged about the amazing church service where the congregation made my rendition of Mozart’s Alleluia into a call-and-response song! And where dignitaries from all over South Africa (including one Zulu king) came to worship God together in a huge white tent on a sunny Sunday in Rustenberg.  Unforgettable.

But I didn’t tell you about our church concerts in Cape Town! Throughout our time in Cape Town, we were hosted by the Global School of Theology. One of my sweetest memories is singing sacred music for a chapel full of energetic theology students.  Later that day, we had the chance to sing at a benefit dinner for a recovery program for drug addicts.chapel This successful program is run by Mt Hope Worship Centre in Mitchell’s Plain, South Africa, and they are doing some great work.

Meanwhile, back in Botswana, we got to participate in the closing ceremony of the Maitisong Festival, singing a few arias from Tosca and La Cenerentola before introducing the graduates of the No. 1 Ladies’ Opera Festival.  The concert was attended by the United States Ambassador Michelle Gavin.  Ambassador Gavin said some very encouraging words that night about the importance of musical and cultural exchange between Botswana and the United States.DSCN1665

We also performed as dancers at the closing ceremony. That’s right!  Nani and Bogdan and I sang and danced a Zulu folk song with the famous Witts Choir of South Africa.  There is video to prove it.  But that footage is far too precious to be released right now.  You’ll just have to wait for the official documentary. ;)

PART III: THE CHILDREN WHO MELTED OUR HEARTS

DSCN1206_2Sadly, AIDS is still a terrible reality in Botswana.  There have been great advances in drug therapies, and the government of Botswana is doing a good job with distribution.  But that doesn’t solve the whole problem. Some experts estimate that one third of the adult population of Botswana is infected with HIV. And the group most affected by HIV is women between the ages of 25 and 45.  So as you can imagine, a lot of young children are losing their mothers.

We decided to create a music workshop for AIDS-affected children (ages 2-6) in Botswana.  Many of these precious children have lost their parents to AIDS, and some of them are HIV-positive themselves.  But they are full of energy and just bursting with music!DSCN1197

We collaborated with a certified music therapist to design our Joyful Noise! workshop. One morning, we traveled to the village of Kanye to play with 60 children at Kgodisong Centre. And then we spent three mornings at St Peter’s Day Care Centre to work with 76 at-risk pre-schoolers! We wanted to give these precious children a fun-filled week of music games.

DSCN1369Some of our generous donors provided streamers and rhythm toys for the pre-schoolers in Mogoditshane.  You should have seen their little faces light up when we gave them their presents.

My sister and her family helped with this part of the festival.  (They had spent the previous two weeks doing a special service project for orphans in rural Swaziland!) So my two nieces, ages 11 and 6, helped us play musical games with the Tswana children.  That was a special joy for me to see!!DSCN1364

Meanwhile, my mom was conducting some exciting academic research towards her master’s degree. As Vice President of Clubs & Mentoring at Royal Family KIDS, she directs a mentoring program for abused and abandoned children in the United States.  DSCN1260While in Botswana, Mom arranged and facilitated a panel discussion with several African church leaders, authors and experts on the subject of  “Church Response in Botswana to Children & Families Affected by HIV/AIDS.” She returned with some very interesting findings about the kinship care model of foster care.

I’ve already blogged about Jackson’s Ridge, a beautiful campground in eastern South Africa dedicated to serving disadvantaged children. It’s the kind of place where you wake up in the morning to the sound of monkeys dancing on the roof of your cabin – pure fun. We met with Royal Family KIDS leaders at Jackson’s Ridge to discuss launch a mentoring club for abused children in South Africa in 2014!images

And we were able to make a very special donation towards a program called Jway Children’s Ministry. They train local churches in ‘child friendly’ outreach and education (40% of Africa’s population is under age 15), using puppets and magic shows to entertain kids from all backgrounds. When you’ve met these kids, you just long to bring joy to their little hearts.  So we decided to donate our last money from the festival towards… a bounce house!

PART IV: THE BEAUTY WE CAN’T FORGET

Yes, we went on safari.  How could we not??  We spent three days in Kruger National Park (South Africa). Here are some of our animal friends:

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And the beauty of Cape Town deserves its own post, but I’ll tease you with a few images:

IMG_4731IMG_4727IMG_4785This wonderful trip would not have been possible without the support of so many wonderful people.  We want to thank David Slater, our chief musical collaborator in Gaborone!  And Gao Lemmenyane, the director of the Maitisong Festival.  Our sponsors: Association of Performing Arts Presenters, Water’s Edge Church, First Presbyterian Church of San Pedro, and Empower International Ministries. Our dear friend Karen Torjesen at Claremont Graduate University.  And Professor David Kerr at the University of Botswana. And all of our singers… and all of the pre-school kids!  Thanks to our dear friends Father Andrew and Gladys Mudereri at St Peter’s Day Care Centre. Also, our best buddies Charmaine and Donovan Manuel with J-WAY, and Neville and Gail Fannin with Royal Family KIDS at Jackson’s Ridge.  And finally a big shout out to YOU, our faithful readers and supporters!!!

We are in the process of making a documentary about the festival.  Our brilliant videographer CAROLYN RAFFERTY got the whole thing on tape. So we have our footage already, but editing costs money. So there will be a Kickstarter campaign next month.  Please consider donating. The world needs to hear the beautiful voices of Botswana! Thank you.IMG_1255

Touring in Botswana

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8564942019_e89e4a4475_bAfter a successful premiere, we are basking in the glow of a great review. Lauri’s List gave SPO’s Cavalleria Rustica a thumbs up: READ HERE

You can order a DVD of the show HERE

In April, some members of our company will be traveling to Botswana to participate in the No. 1 Ladies’ Opera Festival!

Check back here in May for updates about our summer concerts and fall opera season!

http://laurislist.net/blog/2013/03/from-cavalleria-to-botswana/

Our Season

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San Pedro Opera invites you to experience the glorious music and heartbreaking drama of Pietro Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana.

Save the dates:

Saturday, March 16, 7:30 PM,  at First Presbyterian Church in San Pedro (731 S. Averill Ave, San Pedro, CA)

Click here for San Pedro Tickets

AND

Saturday, March 23, 7:30 PM,  in the Seeley G. Mudd Theater at Claremont School of Theology (1325 North College Avenue, Claremont, California 91711)

Click here for Claremont Tickets

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