Fast becoming a mainstay within the Princeton landscape is Boheme Opera’s annual concert on the stage of historic Richardson Auditorium at Alexander Hall. On Thursday, January 15, at 7:30 p.m., the company’s 26th season is kicking off its 2015 events with a spectacular array of quintessential arias and duets, sung by four international artists, two of whom are making their debuts with Boheme Opera. They will be accompanied by the Boheme Opera Orchestra with BONJ Artistic Director Joseph Pucciatti on the podium.
At a time when opera is being reinvented on the main stage in order to lure younger and more diverse audiences, it is becoming increasingly attractive to introduce young and diverse artists, up close and personal, through the presentation of memorable melodies and themes. The Richardson concert, with on-stage narrative, will feature an evening of ear-caressing, love-themed, and recognizable opera gems that will conjure up the stories and visions of some of opera’s most iconic creations.
Some of the operas to be highlighted are Verdi’s “Rigoletto” and “Il Trovatore,” Puccini’s “Madame Butterfly” and “Turandot,” Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville,” Saint-Saens’ “Samson and Delilah,” Offenbach’s “The Tales of Hoffmann,” and more.
Returning to Boheme Opera are two ladies who have graced its main stage more than once in recent years. Nationally known soprano from Seattle, Washington, Kristin K. Vogel has performed to rave reviews throughout the United States and abroad. Her starring roles include Nedda in “I Pagliacci,” both Donna Anna and Donna Elvira in “Don Giovanni,” Suor Genovieffa in “Suor Angelica,” and for Boheme Opera, Marguerite in “Faust” and Pamina in “The Magic Flute.”
A native of Korea now hailing from Dayton, Ohio, mezzo soprano Ryu-Kyung Kim has delighted audiences world-wide with a blend of dark luscious voice and powerful stage presence. She has starred as Suzuki in “Madame Butterfly”, Brangane in “Tristan und Isolde,” title role in “La Cenerentola,” Emilia in Verdi’s “Otello,” and for Boheme Opera NJ as Maddalena in “Rigoletto” and as a soloist in its 25th Season Reunion Operathon.
Making their debuts with Boheme Opera are two gentlemen from two separate hemispheres. Tenor Won Whi Choi is native of Korea now residing in New Jersey, whose current season includes the roles of Rodolfo in “La Boheme,” Edgardo in “Lucia Di Lammermoor” and the Duke of Mantua in “Rigoletto.” With past leading roles of Hoffman in “The Tales of Hoffman,” Alfredo in “La Traviata” and Don Jose in “Carmen,” he has also performed internationally as a concert and oratorio soloist.
A native of Argentina now residing in New York, who has delighted audiences throughout the world with a rich, powerful voice, baritone Gustavo Ahualli has been heard in leading roles including Escamillo in “Carmen,” Malatesta in “Don Pasquale,” Enrico in “Lucia Di Lammermoor,” the title role in “Don Giovanni,” both the Count and Figaro in “The Marriage of Figaro,” both Marcello and Schaunard in “La Boheme,” Figaro in “The Barber of Seville” and many Verdi baritone roles.
Tickets for Love’s Music from the Opera Stage at Richardson Auditorium are available online 24/7 throughout the holiday season at www.princeton.edu/utickets or through the homepage link on www.bohemeopera.com. Starting Monday, January 5, tickets are available as well by phone through Princeton University Ticketing at 609-258-9220, Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., or in person at Frist Campus Center Box Office, 100 Level, directly across the hall from the Welcome Desk. The center is located on Washington Road, between Prospect Avenue and Ivy Lane.
Later this season, for the first time in 12 years, on Friday and Sunday, April 24 and 26, Boheme Opera will present Puccini’s “La Boheme” in a new production by New York director Eric Gibson featuring an almost all-debut cast, with more innovative digital sets by J. Matthew Root. For details on the Richardson concert, La Boheme and BONJ’s outreach events, visit www.bohemeopera.com.
Major support for Boheme Opera NJ programs is made possible by grants from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, Roma Bank Community Foundation and Boheme Opera Guild Inc.