Students from Edison Intermediate School Chorus in rehearsal with Music Director Kris Smith-Morasso. Credits: Edison School
Students fromRoosevelt Intermediate School Chorus in rehearsal. Credits: Daisy Lemos
Internationally acclaimed mezzo soprano Maria Todaro will sing the iconic title role in Bizet's alluring tale of passion, fatal attraction and tragedy. Credits: Westfield Symphony Orchestra
Westfield Symphony Orchestra to Open 30th Season with Carmen Featuring Choirs From Westfield’s Edison and Roosevelt Schools
Friday, September 21, 2012 • 12:16pm
WESTFIELD, NJ—On Saturday, September 29, at 7 p.m., at the Presbyterian Church in Westfield, Westfield Symphony Orchestra will begin its 30th Anniversary season with a concert performance of one of the world's most beloved operas: Carmen, by Georges Bizet.
The performance will feature the combined choirs of Westfield’s Edison and Roosevelt intermediate schools, Summit Chorale and Music Director Thomas Juneau. The starring roles will be sung by a roster of outstanding guest soloists, led by internationally acclaimed mezzo-soprano Maria Todaro in the title role, renowned American tenor William Joyner as Don José and Argentina’s Gustavo Ahualli as Escamillo, the dashing toreador. WSO Music Director David Wroe will conduct.
“I think it’s a rare opportunity for middle school students to be able to participate in an opera and to be able to work with a professional ensemble,” said Wroe. He added that the process of performing “contributes to their spiritual, cultural and social growth in an immeasurable way.”
At the same time, he said, working with children in the community is equally valuable to the WSO. “It’s a very positive experience for us,” said Wroe. “We have actually worked with Edison and Roosevelt schools before and each time it has been enormously successful.”
A second performance will take place on Sunday, September 30, at The College of St. Elizabeth in Morristown featuring the New Jersey Youth Chorus in place of Edison’s and Roosevelt’s choirs. The symphony has made a second home for itself in Morristown, allowing them to become a truly regional organization, according to Wroe.
“This expansion into new areas gives us an incredible opportunity to serve as an ambassador for Westfield,” Wroe added.
Carmen contains some of the world’s most recognizable operatic music. (Its Prelude is otherwise known as the theme to the 1976 movie The Bad News Bears and a parody of “Habanera” by the Muppets has gotten over 3.5 million hits on YouTube.)
Though the opera is sung in French, there will be English supertitles, ensuring that the audience will be able to follow the plot. Set in and around Seville, Spain, during the 1800s, the story is about an alluring Gypsy and her fatal attraction to Corporal Don José, even as her fickle and wandering nature lead her to the dashing bullfighter Escamillio. Inevitably, she meets with heartbreak and tragedy.
“It’s a classic dramatic tale of love and adventure,” explained Wroe.
According to the WSO, this not-to-be-missed production has been made possible through the generous support of the Joseph DeAlessandso Memorial Foundation, the NJ State Council on the Arts and the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation.
Saturday’s concert will begin after a free pre-concert lecture by Dr Barbara Thomson at 6:15 p.m. in the Presbyterian Church Chapel. For tickets and more information visit www.westfieldsymphony.org or call 908 232 9400.