Chelsea Opera presents Great Opera inspires Great Singers on 11/21 in NYC

Helena Brown, soprano
Andrew Darling, countertenor
Kimberly Lloyd, soprano
Kevin Johnson, baritone

Chelsea Opera & John Russell Productions present Great Opera inspires Great Singers: Selections from Donizetti, Händel, Mozart, Scarlatti, Strauss and Wagner on 11/21 in NYC

Thursday, Nov 21st, 2019 at 7:30 PM
Christ and St. Stephen’s Church
120 West 69th Street, between Broadway and Columbus
General Admission: $20 adv/$25 door
Seniors/students/children: $10 adv/$15 door.

NEW YORK, October 25 – Chelsea Opera proudly presents the second performance of their 16th Season by paying tribute to some of opera’s classics with this special night of arias, duets, and trios sung by luminary practitioners of the vocal art. The program features selections from perennial opera favorites and lesser-known works by some of the greatest composers of the Western tradition. This evening of music occasions the addition of a new member of Chelsea Opera’s creative team – Artistic and Production Associate, John M. Russell. Chelsea Opera’s President and Co-Founder, Leonarda Priore and Mr. Russell have hand chosen both the artists and the repertoire for the evening as a tangible demonstration to the audience that great opera inspires great singers. The program will feature selections from Händel’s Baroque masterpiece Giulio Cesare and an aria from the Neapolitan composer Alessandro Scarlatti’s Il Mitridate Eupatore, another opera from the period. Passages from Gaetano Donizetti’s Anna Bolena, a luminous example of the bel canto style, will follow. Arias from Mozart’s much-loved and timeless Don Giovanni will bring the evening to a dramatic crescendo. Closing out the concert will be excerpts from two meisterwerke of German romanticism, Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier and Wagner’s Die Walküre. There will be one performance on Thursday, November 21st at 7:30pm at Christ and St. Stephen’s Church (120 West 69th Street, between Broadway and Columbus) NYC. Tickets: General admission: $20 in advance/$25 at the door, Seniors/students/ children general admission: $10 in advance/$15 at the door. Visit events.html for more information or call 212-260-1796.
John Russell Productions has produced operas, concerts and master classes with internationally known musicians, and dramatic readings with famous actors throughout New York City.

Born in Washington, DC and raised in the West/Midwest, John M. Russell received his Bachelor of Music in Voice from New England Conservatory in Boston and his Master of Music in Opera Performance from SUNY-Binghamton, NY. He also went on to study opera performance at Boston Conservatory. From there he proceeded to join Tri Cities Opera in Binghamton, NY in the new cooperative program with SUNY which included singing leading roles and teaching as a Graduate Assistant in Voice and Choral Activities. He also founded a college-wide community Chorus and a Men’s Chorus under the oversight of the SUNY Music Department.

While teaching singing, John was invited to found and direct the Opera Department of Brooklyn Conservatory, which greatly expanded the school’s influence as an educator of young, professionally motivated singers. Part of this program consisted of presenting full opera performances with orchestra, Master Classes with famous veterans of the art, e.g.: Eleanor Steber, Ataraah Hazan, Chester Ludgin, Enrico DiGiuseppe, RoseMarie Freni, and many others. The program was a huge success and the learning experience was felt on both sides of the proscenium.

From 1992 to 2014, John was an honored member of the regular chorus with the Metropolitan Opera Association. This was a great highpoint of his performing career. In this position, he was called upon to sing solos on the MET stage nearly 70 times. He also was included in performance of MET Premieres, Video Broadcasts and Recordings, and many Texaco Opera Radio broadcasts.
Chelsea Opera is a professional company presenting fully staged operas with chamber orchestra. The company provides for professional singers to advance their careers while making opera affordable and accessible to a broad spectrum of the community. The fine acoustics of the venue provide an intimacy and proximity allowing the audience to feel involved and a part of the opera’s story. Of Chelsea Opera’s sustainability, Anthony Tommasini of The New York Times noted: “With American opera companies large and small struggling financially and a few going under, [Chelsea Opera is] a patch of encouraging news…” Following its production of Aaron Copland’s The Tender Land, writer Jon Sobel declared: Chelsea Opera “certainly ranks as one of the country’s preeminent ‘small’ opera companies.”

Formed in 2004 by singers, Leonarda Priore and Lynne Hayden-Findlay, Chelsea Opera was launched with an all-volunteer production of Suor Angelica. Initially, Ms. Priore and Ms. Hayden-Findlay intended to produce only this one opera. However, artist and audience response was so compelling they agreed to incorporate and obtained their IRS non-profit designation in a record eight days. They have produced extensive standard and contemporary operas, garnering critical acclaim at each outing. Despite its size, Chelsea Opera is the recipient of two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts – Artworks program, most recently for its production of Tom Cipullo’s Glory Denied.

Chelsea Opera has received funding from The Baruch Foundation, The Alice M. Ditson, The Barbara Bell Cumming Foundation, The Tow Foundation, The Amphion Foundation, the H.O. Peet Foundation, the NYU Community Fund, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). 

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