AURORA/CHISHOLM/ELY – Topping the area’s entertainment calendar next weekend is the Northern Lights Music Festival’s (NLMF) production of Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, starring Chrystal E. Williams as Rosina and Norman Shankle as Almaviva. Conducted by the Mariinsky Theatre’s Gavriel Heine and directed by Francis X. Kuhn, this hilarious staging, filled with tunes from the Bugs Bunny cartoons,is for audiences of all ages.
The Barber of Seville opens on Friday, July 13, at 7 p.m. at Mesabi East Auditorium. The production then moves to Chisholm High School Auditorium on Sunday,July15,fora3p.m.matinee, followed by dinner at Valentini’s Supper Club to meet the artists; and on Monday, July 16, at 7 p.m. at the Washington School Auditorium in Ely. Noted singer and raconteur (storyteller) Bill Bastian will present lectures on The Barber of Seville in each venue, one and a half hours before curtain times.
Meet the artists
Mezzo soprano Chrystal E. Williams has sung the role of Rosina through the United States to great acclaim. She is a graduate of Yale University’s Master of Music in Opera program, and has sung with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Glimmerglass Opera, Washington (D.C.) Operaand the English National Opera. She sang the role of Olga in the NLMF’s production of Eugene Onegin, last season.
The American tenor Norman Shankle is currently enjoying worldwide acclaim for his portrayals of Mozart’s and Rossini’s most famous tenors. The Boston Globe called Shankle “a real find, a singer of elegance, grace and conviction,” and the San Francisco Chronicle praised him equally as “clearly a singer to watch.” This season, Shankle performed the role of Lindoro in L’Italiana in Algeri with Opera
Memphis, and Ferrando in Mozart’s Così fan tutte. Shankle will also reprise the role of Elder Barber/Gus Greenlee in The Summer King, a new opera that explores the life of Josh Gibson, one of the greatest Negro League baseball players, with the Michigan Opera Theatre.
Singing the role of the Figaro is baritone Sean Anderson, an Ohio native. Mr. Anderson has sung with such prestigious companies as Santa Fe Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Sarasota Opera, Knoxville Opera, the former New York City Opera, New Jersey State Opera and the San Francisco Opera’s Western Opera Theater. Classically trained for the Shakespearian stage, Anderson’s voice has been described as having “warm vocal velvet” by Opera News. He is diversely adept onstage in opera, musical theater and classical drama. His repertoire list includes dozens of leading roles ranging from Verdi to Mozart to Gilbert and Sullivan.
Chamber music concert
The same weekend, the NLMF will present a chamber music concert at the historic B’nai Abraham Synagogue in Virginia on Saturday, July 14, at 7 p.m. The program will include the Debussy String Quartet, marking the 100th anniversary of composer Claude Debussy’s death.
Other chamber works presented by NLMF faculty and student musicians will complete the program. Barbara Baldrica of Virginia, NLMF board president, will be honored for her service to the organization since its inception.