Tri-Cities Opera announces changes for 2015-16 season

New season structure offers two shows at TCO’s Clinton Street center

For its 67th season that begins this fall, Tri-Cities Opera is determined to freshen things up a bit — and a few of the changes are starting now.

During a press event Tuesday at the Tri-Cities Opera Center on Clinton Street in Binghamton, Susan S. Ashbaker, the company’s general director, unveiled a new logo and website. But the biggest difference will be how the season is structured and where the performances will take place.

Bookended by what Ashbaker jokingly called “the good barber and the bad barber,” the 2015-16 offerings will begin with Rossini’s classic “The Barber of Seville” on Oct. 23 and 25 and end with the bloody Stephen Sondheim musical “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” on April 29 and May 1, 2016. Both will be presented at the Forum.

Read the full article on the Press & Sun-Bulletin website.…

Tri-Cities Opera announces new changes

Binghamton 03/24/2015 05:18 PM (WIVT)

Tri-Cities Opera logoThe 66 year-old opera company and singer training program unveiled a new logo and freshly redesigned website Tuesday.

It also released its schedule for next season with a slight change in venues and the type of performances it will stage.

The season will begin with Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville” in October and also feature a musical, Sondheim’s “Sweeney Todd” next April.

Read the story and watch the report on BinghamptonHomepage.com.…

Tri-Cities Opera unveils changes

By Cody Butler, WBNG-TV

March 24, 2015 | Updated Mar 24, 2015 at 6:20 PM EDT | Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton)

Tri-Cities Opera Center is getting a makeover. The 66-year-old company made changes to help serve its audience in a more modern way.

The opera house unveiled its brand new website and logo on Tuesday.

General Director Susan Ashbaker decided to split the audience to make it more of a family fun event, allowing Twitter users to ‘tweet’ during live performances.

Read the full story on the WBNG website.

TCO Press Conference Report from WICZ TV

WICZ Fox 40 TV website logoA news report (and video) from WICZ TV Binghamton on the TCU press conference is on the WICZ website here. The video is here.…

TCO press conference to welcome new General Director Susan Ashbaker

Tri-Citieds Opera(from the Tri-Cities Opera Board release) Thursday, July 24, 2014 at 10:00am, you’re invited to the Clinton Street Opera Center, Binghamton, NY, as members of the Tri-Cities Opera Board of Directors introduce our new General Director, Ms. Susan Ashbaker. Additionally, we will announce our incoming Resident Artist roster, and other details of our 2014-2015 Season of REVENGE… REVELRY… REDEMPTION!

Ms. Ashbaker comes to TCO with a wealth of experience on both sides of the opera and music industry. An author and lecturer, she has also served as Executive Director, Director of Artistic and Music Administration, Vocal Coach, Master Class Presenter, Collaborative Pianist, and Singer Advocate. She has been a frequent judge for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Ms. Ashbaker was affiliated with the Opera Company of Philadelphia for 16 years leading the casting practices and identifying and offering opportunities to young singers. She also worked as assistant conductor and vocal coach with the New York City Opera, European Center for Opera and Vocal Arts (Belgium), New Israeli Vocal Arts Institute, International Vocal Arts Institute in Montreal, Theater am Goetheplatz (Bremen, Germany), and the Academy of Vocal Arts.

Don’t forget to join us at the opera center, 315 Clinton Street, Binghamton, NY on Thursday, July 24th at 10:00am!

Learn more about Tri-Cities Opera on their website here.…

Learning from Matthew Rose

It is always wonderful when the tables turn and a student you have worked with teaches the teacher, or in this case, the coach. Having gone to the Metropolitan Opera with two singers that I currently work with, Gerard Michael D’Emilio and Kelsey Stark, to see Britten’s Midsummer Night’s Dream in October, I was greeted backstage by three former students from The Curtis Institute of Music – Matthew Rose (Bottom), Elizabeth DeShong (Hermia) and Evan Hughes (Starveling). They had each performed spectacularly. Matthew’s performance of Bottom truly defines the role. It was beautifully sung and acted with great skill.  Michael mentioned to Matthew that he really enjoyed Matthew’s new recording of Schubert’s Winterreise. This resulted in Matthew journeying to my studio in Philadelphia to work with Michael. Matthew’s insight into the song cycle was amazing. He had not left any word, rhythm, note, dynamic, or meaning unturned. Michael and I listened and learned in amazement. If you have not yet purchased Matthew’s recording, it is a must have. I have listened several times to the journey that Matthew invites us on, and am grateful to know both the music,and the wonderful man who is singing it. Schubert’s Winterreise by Matthew Rose can be found on Amazon.…

Fort Worth Visit

A long time admirer of Darren Keith Woods, I’ve followed the amazing growth and success of Fort Worth Opera under his leadership. Last year I was privileged to work with the four Fort Worth Opera Studio artists. They were exuberant, talented, musically curious, and wonderful to work with.  It was my pleasure to return a few weeks ago to work with the Studio artists chosen for this season. The program, under the sage guidance of Darren Keith Woods and Hannah Guinn, offers four singers, chosen by a national audition process, year-long residency with FWOpera. In addition to lessons, coaching, and master classes, the singers are kept very busy with educational outreach, community performances, preview events, and roles and covers during the April/May festival. Their pianist, Stephen Carey, guides them musically through their many rehearsals and performances during the year. Being there felt like “family.” In the master class portion of my visit, it was clear that the singers and Stephen had all formed close bonds musically and personally. That allows for risks on the part of the performer and trust that they are in a supportive environment. In our individual sessions each singer wanted honest feedback and tangible tools to help hone their craft. I was impressed with the level of talent and the voices. I look forward to my continued association with Fort Worth Opera, and I look forward to watching these talented young singers take the opera world by storm! Bravi! They are on an amazing journey and have a multitude of opportunities for learning, performance and growth.…

Westminster Opera Theater Performances

Westminster Opera Theater cast of The Impressario

I was so proud of the performances of the young singers at Westminster Choir College this weekend for their dedicated and wonderfully musical work on Der Schauspieldirektor and Gianni Schicchi. The performances were terrific, and the audiences both nights were roaring with laughter. Kara-Lynn Vaeni, director, brought so much energy and creativity to the process, I was so happy to have the chance to work with her. And William Hobbs, conductor, brought out so many lovely colors in the orchestra. I am so lucky to call them both colleagues and friends. If you’ve never seen an opera at Westminster Choir College, you are missing the opportunity to see bright young talent on the rise.

Westminster Opera Theater cast of The Impressario

Westminster Opera Theater cast members with me and
the creative and talented Kara-Lynn Vaeni, director

Westminster Choir College OPERA!

I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the singers at Westminster Choir College in a new capacity for 3 weeks. My colleague, William Hobbs, Assistant Professor at Westminster Choir College, will be in Monaco working with Opéra de Monte-Carlo on Das Rheingold (L’or du rein en français). During his absence I will work with the students to prepare them for a multitude of performances. Westminster Opera Theater will be preparing for Mozart’s Der Schauspieldirektor and Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi.  A new addition to Westminster’s offerings this year is the opera performance opportunity exclusively for undergraduates. What a great opportunity for the younger singers to get actual stage and rehearsal time as they prepare a full role. The operas being offered are Menotti’s The Old Maid and the Thief and Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas. The opera workshop class will also be in preparation for a full scenes program. I look forward to the in-depth work I will be able to do with these young singers as they prepare for their roles, (and as they learn HOW to prepare, comprehensively, a full opera role), and as we all jump into the initial weeks of staging. What fun! Several of the students that have been cast were participants in the 2013 CoOPERAtive program, offered during the summer through Westminster. Clink on the following link if you wish to view all or part of my 2013 Master Class: CoOPERAtive Master Class.…

Opera America

I’m pleased to join Opera America in New York City on October 9 as one of the panelists for their Feedback Auditions, held in the Audition/Recital Hall at their National Opera Center.  I will be joined by colleagues Vanessa Uzan, Artist Manager, Uzan International Artists, Mark Moorman, Pianist, Coach, Artistic Administrator of Crested Butte Music Festival, and Djordje Nesic, Pianist/Coach.  If you are not a member of Opera America, check out their website and consider joining.  It’s a terrific organization with lots of networking benefits.  If you are a member, you know exactly what I mean!  Their one-year old National Opera Center has rooms to rent for warm up, auditions, as well as a number of other services.   I like to consider Manhattan an extremely northern suburb of Philadelphia.  Whether driving or taking the train or bus, it’s an easy “commute”!  Hope to see you there.

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