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American operas highlight alumni artists and a world premier
Saturday, January 02, 2016

American operas highlight alumni artists and a world premier

Fredonia alumna Amanda Bottoms

On Sunday, Feb. 28 at 4 p.m., the Western New York Chamber Orchestra will bring two American operas to King Concert Hall in a staged concert production.

Leonard Bernstein’s commentary on post war era marriage, “Trouble in Tahiti,” will feature Fredonia alumna Amanda Lynn Bottoms in the leading role of Dinah.

Amanda is currently a graduate student at the Juilliard School and will soon make her Carnegie Hall debut. She will be joined in her theatrical marriage by Fredonia senior Michael Hawk, who has appeared in numerous Hillman Opera leading roles. Both singers have studied opera at Chautauqua Institution.

Also cast in the work is student Nia Drummond, well known for her recent appearances with the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra, and graduate students Marie Karbacka and Amy Cohen.


   American composer John Musto

American composer John Musto’s “Bastianello” will be the second opera featured and is the opera's orchestrated world premier. Mr. Musto and his librettist for this opera, Mark Campbell, have garnered international acclaim for their multiple operatic contributions to the American opera repertoire.

Featured singers in “Bastianello” include Dr. Robert Strauss, a member of the Fredonia voice faculty and Fredonia graduate, as well as fellow alumni artists Margaret Van Norden, Ashley Cappelli and Rusty Ritzel. They are joined by current junior Tyler Mecklenberg. “Bastianello” is a comedy, including a deeply moving “moment of truth”, tracing the journey of a young man frustrated with his new family.

WNYCO Music Director Glen Cortese will conduct and Distinguished Teaching Professor Julie Newell serves as Producer and Stage Director. WNYCO is the professional Ensemble-in Residence at Fredonia and is celebrating a 30th anniversary. Tickets are available at the Fredonia Campus Ticket Office by calling 716-673-3501 or online at and at the door.

All students, of any age, will receive free admission to the concert.

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