Music for a summer night

The Queen Anne and Magnolia opera preview group held its annual fundraiser June 28 at an elegant venue on Highland Drive with a fabulous view of the Space Needle, downtown Seattle and Mount Rainier in all its glory looking like a giant ice cream cone. The program opened with maestro George Fiore, a long time Magnolia resident. Fiore has displayed his musical talents as a conductor, pianist, organist, coach and choral director. He is associate conductor for Choral Activities Emeritus for the Seattle Symphony and chorus master emeritus of Seattle Opera, a position he held for 17 years. He directed the Northwest Boychoir and its several churches with big music programs: St. James Cathedral, Seattle First United Methodist Church (19 years), Seattle First Presbyterian Church and Prince of Peace Lutheran Church.George gave an interesting talk on Bellini and Chopin and displayed his brilliant virtuosity on the piano with Chopin nocturnes and ballads and excerpts from Liszt and Schumann with interesting comments. After a short intermission we were treated to several famous tenor and baritone operatic duets by tenor Leodigario Del Rosario and baritone Morgan Smith. The concert started with the well-loved duet from George Bizet's The Pearl Fishers (to be presented by Seattle Opera in January 2009). Next a tenor solo from Charles Gounod's, "Faust" and a baritone solo from Mozart's "The Marriage of Figaro," followed by Del Rosario performing Ruggiero Leoncavallo's "Mattinata" in Italian. Next came Morgan Smith who delighted the audience with "Where is the Life that Late I Led?" from Cole Porter's "Kiss Me Kate" dedicated to all husbands who've forgotten an anniversary sung very much in English with all the appropriate zest and flourish. The program ended with the famous duet from Giuseppe Verdi's "Don Carlo" dramatically rendered by our two opera stars. Leodigario Del Rosario made his debut with the Seattle Opera main stage as Nathanael in "Les Comtes D'hoffmann" in 2005 and went on to sing Malcolm in "Macbeth" and the 3rd Foorman/2nd Waiter in "Der Rosenkavalier." He has sung with several Seattle opera companies and has a future engagement as Rodolfo in "La Boheme" in October 2008 in Manila, Philippines.Since making his professional debut in 2001, baritone Morgan Smith has performed with numerous opera companies, symphonies and musical organizations across North America. He made his operatic debut with Seattle Opera singing the role of Donald in Benjamin Britten's "Billy Budd." The two singers sang in perfect harmony ending amid cheers and bravos wafting out onto the evening breeze across the lake and the pink-tinged setting sun. Everyone agreed that it had been a most successful fundraiser to support the operas education program for young singers and that we were indeed fortunate to live in such spectacular neighborhoods as Queen Anne and Magnolia. For more information either call me or't' forget Seattle Opera's production of "Aida" opening Aug. 2.TTFN until next time. Bravo opera.[[In-content Ad]]