VSMF PERFORMANCE 06/24/2021
Loathly Lady and Carnival of the Animals (Improv Opera)
Written by local composer Paul Richards, The Loathly Lady is a three-part comedy based on Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Wife of Bath’s Tale. The Loathly Lady is the first production in a twin-bill, followed by Improv Opera, which the festival describes as an immersive experience that “utilizes music from Carnival of The Animals by Camille Saint-Saens and allows VSMF singers to create characters, action and plot on the spot.” Show dates for the double bill are Thursday, June 24 at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, June 27, at 3:00 p.m.
06/24/2021 | 7:30pm
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Artistic Director: Vince Connor
Executive Director: Michael Polo
Director of Development: John Kaneklides
Susan Stone Li is a stage director with a specialty in producing operas within non-traditional venues. In February of 2020 she directed Mother of Us All for the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. In February of 2019, Ms. Stone Li directed Rossini’s, La cambiale di matrinonio, for Opera Southwest, housed in a local tango club. Through her ability to transition classical production aesthetics into non-traditional spaces, Ms. Stone Li worked with Wolf Trap Opera to further their commitment to being on the forefront of innovative performances. Most recently assisting Hong Kong Ballet’s Artistic Director, Septime Webre as he choreographed members of Hong Kong Ballet and Wolf Trap Opera in, The Seven Deadly Sins. In 2016 she created a social media initiative for Wolf Trap Opera’s social engagement program called “The Lucretia Project.” Ms. Stone Li’s initiative was noted by Anne Midget in the Washington Post’s review of WTO’s production of, The Rape of Lucretia. Ms. Stone Li has directed and assistant directed mainstage and outreach performances for Houston Grand Opera, as well as their community engagement division, HGOco. When not in rehearsal Ms. Stone Li can be found gardening with her golden retriever, Waffles, on a homestead in rural Texas.
Keith Chambers has conducted over 150 performances of over 50 operas for The Dallas Opera, Indianapolis Opera, Amarillo Opera, Shreveport Opera, Asheville Lyric Opera, First Coast Opera, Florida State University, Queens College, among others. As Founder & Artistic Director of New Amsterdam Opera, his performance of La favorita was named 2018 Best Opera in Concert in the United States by noted WQXR opera blogger Fred Plotkin. A former assistant to noted conductors Patrick Summers and Emmanuel Villaume, Mr. Chambers was Assistant Conductor of New York City Opera and The Dallas Opera. He has been Director of the Young Artist Program for Opera New Jersey and Guest Coach for Seattle Opera and Florida Grand Opera. A protégé of pianist Ivan Davis, Mr. Chambers has appeared as concerto soloist with the Naples Philharmonic and Delaware Symphony. Upcoming conducting engagements include La bohème for Vienna Summer Music Festival, Don Giovanni for Indianapolis Opera, and I Vespri Siciliani for New Amsterdam Opera.
Brent Douglas is an accomplished American conductor, pianist and educator with a highly varied and international career. He has served as a pianist and vocal coach for the Savannah Voice Festival and VoicExperience for 9 years. He made his debut as an opera conductor with Dusseldorf (Germany) Lyric Opera in 2017, where he conducted Mozart’s MAGIC FLUTE for the company’s inaugural performance. He has worked with Opera Tampa, St. Petersburg Opera, Springfield Regional Opera (MO), and Opera in the Ozarks. Most recently, he appeared on the podium at the Vienna Summer Music Festival where he conducted a new avant-garde improv opera based on
Saint-Saens’ “Carnival of the Animals.” He was named a Conducting Scholar at Eastern Music Festival in the summer of 2019 and currently serves as Assistant Conductor of Tampa Bay Symphony. He has also conducted the London Classical Players Orchestra, National Women’s Chorus of Cuba, The Bard College Summer Symphony, The Norwalk Chamber Orchestra (CT), and the English Choir and Sinfonietta Berlin. Brent is a professor at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida, where he conducts both the string orchestra and chorus and teaches piano. This is his seventh season playing piano and keyboards in the Florida Orchestra and has also played with Tampa Bay Symphony and Springfield Symphony (MO). He is an active member and grant recipient of MTNA and regularly judges competitions for young musicians. He holds a Master of Conducting and Bachelor of Piano from the University of South Florida in
2016 where he studied with Dr. William Wiedrich and Dr. James Bass. He was named “2016 Classical Musician of the Year” by Creative Loafing Magazine of Tampa Bay.
Faith Ann Santucci