The Queen's Hall Auditorium in St Ann's will once more be filled to the brim with the lush, dramatic sounds of opera as the Classical Music Development Foundation of T&T (CMDFTT) hosts its second annual T&T Opera Festival from July 1-10.
The festival will feature several opportunities for the people of T&T to engage, interact, hear and be introduced to the wonderful world of costume, drama, music and, of course, soaring opera singing.
As a special landmark occasion in 2016, the CMDFTT will be relaunched with the more inclusive and distinctive title of Picoplat Music Development Foundation–a rebranding effort to widen the foundation's scope to the development of musical education within all genres.
The picoplat, one of the Caribbean's distinctive avian citizens, was chosen for its prized virtuosic bird call and golden beak– a symbol of the innate talent and beauty of our nation's musical abilities. The grand launch of the Picoplat Music Development Foundation will take place at the Opera Festival Gala on July 1.
The main highlight of the T&T Opera Festival will be the rising opera stars of The Young Artist Collective, formed under the CMDFTT, who will thrill audiences in a unique production of Offenbach's vividly engaging opera Tales of Hoffmann. The opera will be directed by noted dramaturge Helmer Hilwig with musical direction by June Nathaniel.
The Tales of Hoffmann, an opera by Jacques Offenbach, is a worldwide favourite with opera goers who follow the triumphs and losses of the artiste Hoffmann as he recounts the three great loves of his life in all their beauty and tragedy.
Highlights of this opera include the vocal pyrotechnics of the Doll Song and the duet Belle nuit, � nuit d'amour, considered to contain one of the world's most popular melodies.
The opera opens and closes with scenes of Hoffmann's obsession with Stella, an opera singer. In between are visions of his passions for three other women of his past and all the delicious stories that unfold. Hoffmann will be played by Raguel Gabriel, a T&T tenor who will be returning to Trinidad from his studies at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting in New York City, USA.
T&T Opera Festival 2016 will also feature the launch of 12 Songs of the Islands–a newly commissioned Caribbean song collection by Trinidadian composer Dominique LeGendre. Following in the well-established tradition of setting traditional folk songs and African-American spirituals for classical solo performance, the CMDFTT has undertaken to commission a collection of Caribbean songs and poems newly arranged for piano and voice by a talented home grown composer.
Also happening during the festival will be vocal masterclasses for semi-professional singers, and the Fourth Annual Music Competition where our nation's best young singers will perform two songs each for an international panel of judges, in a bid to win a $30,000 grand prize for continuing study in voice and vocal studies.
The T&T Opera Festival is a nationwide event. This year, new opportunities have been created to make the festival more accessible to everyone, including several events, which will be free to the public. A signature Opera Lime promotion (hashtag: #OperaLime) will allow the social-media savvy of the youth population a chance to win a pair of four general admission tickets to the #OperaLime evening, specifically placed in the programme for locals who will be attending the opera for the first time and for any young or young-at-heart opera-loving enthusiasts.
The T&T Opera Festival along with other developmental outreach events, is presented with the generous support of the National Gas Company of T&T, the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts and under the esteemed patronage of Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly.
For more information on the T&T Opera Festival 2016 visit: http://www.ttoperafest.com/, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or call: 632-2548
The T&T Opera Festival Highlights
�2 Gala Red Carpet Opening Night–July 1
�2 Fourth Annual Music Competition–July 2
�2 Matinee Performance, Tales of Hoffmann–July 3
�2 Eid ul fitr Matinee Kids Special, Tales of Hoffmann–July 6
�2 One Child Free per Adult Ticket
�2 #OperaLime Special Event, Tales of Hoffmann–July 8
�2 Debut: Twelve Songs of the Islands, by Dominique LeGendre –July 9
�2 Closing Night Matinee Performance, Tales of Hoffmann
TALES OF HOFFMAN, CAST HIGHLIGHTS
�2 Hoffmann–Raguel Gabriel, tenor,
Stella Adler Studio of Acting NYC
�2 Lindorf–Justin Welsh, baritone,
Winner Kurt Weill Competition NYC
�2 Antonia–Cara Adams, soprano,
Pacific Opera Victoria Young Artist
�2 Niklaus–Maegan Pollonais, mezzo-soprano, Post Graduate Student Ball State University
�2 Frantz–Rory Wallace, tenor,
Post Graduate Student Ball State University
�2 Giulietta–Stephanie Nahous, soprano,
Alumnus Boston University (vocal minor)
�2 Olympia–Natalia Dopwell, soprano,
Alumnus Manhattan School of Music