Bel Canto has a spectacular lineup for its 20th Anniversary Recital. Four performers will be singing some of opera’s favorite arias as well as selections from musical theater. Of course Dr. Stephen Dubberly will perform a solo piano piece as well accompany the performers. Dr. Dubberly has been a mainstay of Bel Canto since its inception twenty years ago.
Leading the cast of performers will be Stella Zambalis, Highlands’ favorite soprano. She has performed here in Highlands more times than any other performer but hasn’t sung here since taking over the duties of Artistic Director. Hailed as having “the world’s most beautiful voice,” Stella is a regular guest of leading opera companies, including the Metropolitan Opera (Cherubino in The Ghosts of Versailles), New York City Opera (Magda in La Rondine, Micaela in Carmen, and Mimi in La Boheme), Houston Grand Opera (Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Dorabella in Cosi fan Tutte, Musetta in La Boheme and Nedda in I Pagliacci), Seattle Opera (Dorabella in Cosi fan Tutte and Sophie in Prokofieff’s War and Peace), Florida Grand Opera (Adalgisa in Norma), to name just a few.
Carol Sparrow, mezzo-soprano, has appeared to critical and popular acclaim as Eboli in Don Carlo at the Komische Oper in Berlin and in St. Gallen, Switzerland. In the title role in Carmen, she is known for her “feline grace and provocative languor, singing with firm, rich tone and secure control,” appearing with many prominent opera companies and the New York Pops Orchestra at Carnegie Hall. She has performed Brangaene in Tristan und Isolde and The Composer in Ariadne auf Naxos for Opera de Bellas Artes in Mexico City. Other roles include Santuzza in Cavalleria rusticana, Suzuki in Madama Butterfly, Maddalena in Rigoletto, and Nicklausse in Les Contes d’Hoffmann. This season she will return to Opera Memphis to sing the role of Musetta in La Boheme. Ms. Sparrow has also been engaged by the Metropolitan Opera for their productions of Die Walküre and Elektra.
Percy Martinez, tenor, is quickly making his presence known as a strong Lyric Tenor with much power in his voice. He was praised as, “…an attractive lyric tenor with power” by Janos Gereben, of the San Francisco Classical Voice. He has performed principal roles and appeared as a featured a guest soloist with opera companies and concert orchestras in the United States and Europe. One of his recent successes was The West Bay Opera where he debuted as Des Grieux in Puccini’s Manon Lescaut , Kathleen Acuff of the Los Altos Town Crier wrote: “The first happy note came from Martinez, making a strong company debut as Des Grieux. His rich tenor and confident delivery emphasized the foreshadowing in the first word of his opening aria – “Lamor!” Mr. Martinez’s performance credits include principal roles in Manon Lescaut, Madama Butterfly, Lucia de Lammermoor, La Boheme, Faust, Idomeneo, The Merry Widow.
Mark Walters, baritone, first performed here in Highlands in the 10th anniversary recital of Bel Canto. He returns for this 20th anniversary. Opera News describes him as “a force to be reckoned with” in Lucia di Lammermoor and as “heroic” in Carmen. The Chicago Sun Times depicts Walters as having “vocal fury” in La forza del destino. The Salt Lake Tribune says “The tall, handsome singer possesses a magnificently resonant voice and unforced dramatic ability.”
For the 2011-2012 season, Walters sings the title role in Rigoletto with Florida Grand Opera, where he will receive the Olson Award for Outstanding American Artist. He also appears as Rigoletto with the Orlando Philharmonic, as Valentin in Faust with Arizona Opera and as Di Luna in Il trovatore in South Carolina. He will also premiere two new operas, The Last Duchess by Theodore Wiprud and The Clever Mistress by Robert Sirota with Cutting Edge Concerts. During the 2010-2011 season, Walters sang Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor and Escamillo in Carmen with Florida Grand Opera. He was featured on a Richard Tucker Music Foundation concert and with Opera Tampa in “A Night of Stars” gala honoring the career of Plácido Domingo.
Don’t miss a note of this 20th Anniversary Bel Canto! So put Sunday, September 9th, on your calendar now and plan to attend the 20th Annual Bel Canto Recital! To contact Bel Canto and get on the mailing list, please call (828) 526-1947.