On Feb. 27th, The Carolina Theatre of Durham hosted a crowd-pleasing performance of the Metropolitan Opera Rising Stars Concert Series, as part of its Series 26. Pianist/M.C. Brent Funderburk described their offerings as “a potpourri of [their] favorites.” And we were treated to 19 well-chosen, well-performed songs from various operas and musical theater.
In addition to being a very capable pianist, Funderburk was an ideal host, making us feel as though we were at home, with these artists as our guests. He introduced each number with a brief description of its context, giving us the name of the opera, the name of character, his/her relationship to the person(s) that he/she is addressing, and the immediate circumstances. Then, following a brief flourish on the piano, a singer would come onstage and perform the selection.
The evening included pieces from such works as:
- Faust by Charles Gounod
- Samson et Dalila by Camille Saint-Saëns
- Carmen by Georges Bizet
- Hamlet by Ambroise Thomas
Other operatic composers represented were Mozart, Verdi, Rossini, Delibes, and Lehár.
The stellar performers were:
Although most of the selections were solos, the most engaging pieces were the duets. There was an obvious chemistry between the pairs of singers in each duet. This was most pronounced in the duets that included Janai Brugger. Brugger also seemed to engage individual audience members at times. We found the selection from Mozart’s Don Giovanni to be the most entertaining.
The final numbers were pieces from popular musical theater:
- Hugh the Drover (or Love in the Stocks) by Ralph Vaughan Williams
- Porgy and Bess by George Gershwin, DuBose Heyward, and Ira Gershwin
- South Pacific by Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein II
- Carousel by Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein II
- And two selections by Frederick Loewe
The audience was quite receptive. After an evening of music of this quality, we found ourselves in accord with the sentiment of the final selection from My Fair Lady: “I could have danced all night ….” And we suspect that most of our fellow audience members would concur.
METROPOLITAN OPERA RISING STARS CONCERT SERIES (The Carolina Theatre of Durham, Feb. 27 in Fletcher Hall in Durham, presented as part of Series 26).
SHOW: http://www.carolinatheatre.org/events/metropolitan-opera-rising-stars and https://www.facebook.com/events/131106357223623/.
VIDEO PREVIEW: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6MyJ9xntrbM.
PRESENTER: http://www.carolinatheatre.org/, https://www.facebook.com/CarolinaTheatreDurham, and https://twitter.com/CarolinaDurham. BLOG: http://www.carolinatheatre.org/blog.
Metropolitan Opera Rising Stars Concert Series (concert series): http://www.cami.com/?webid=2409 (official web page).
Metropolitan Opera (New York City-based opera company, founded in 1880): http://www.metopera.org/ (official website), https://www.facebook.com/MetOpera (Facebook page), and https://twitter.com/metopera (Twitter page), and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metropolitan_Opera (Wikipedia).
[RUN HAS CONCLUDED.]
Pamela Vesper has been a Raleigh resident for more than 20 years. A local attorney for licensed professionals, when she’s not in court, Pam can be found watching or participating in local theater productions or enjoying the vibrant Raleigh music and craft beer scene. She also loves indie and foreign films and was an anchor on the local cable show, Movie Minutes. Pam has an opinion on just about everything; just ask her. Kurt Benrud is a graduate of Cary High School and N.C. State University, and he has taught English at both. He first became involved in local theater in 1980. He has served on the board of directors for both the Cary Players and the Cary Playwrights’ Forum. He is also a volunteer reader with Triangle Radio Reading Service. Click here to read their reviews for Triangle Review and Triangle Arts and Entertainment.