On Saturday, October 19 at 7:30 p.m. in the Helena Civic Center, the Helena Symphony Orchestra & Chorale and four internationally-noted opera singers present an evening of Italian opera.  Celebrating the 200th birthday of opera master Giuseppe Verdi, the performance features two dozen highlights from 14 different operas.     From the elephants and tombs of Aïda and Shakespeare’s outscaled heroes, to the epic romances in La Traviata and tragedy of Rigoletto, Verdi’s dramas define the parameters of Grand Opera.

With a true “rags to riches” life story, Verdi’s career paralleled the struggle for Italian unification and independence during the late nineteenth century.  “Ironically, the famous Milan Conservatory said that Verdi had no special talent as a musician,” explains Maestro Scott.  Verdi composed an astounding 28 operas, including such gems as:  Aida, Don Carlo, Nabucco, Rigoletto, Il trovatore, La traviata, La forza del destino; and the operas based on Shakespeare’s works: Macbeth, Otello, and Falstaff.   With favorites such as “La donna e mobile,” Verdi’s operas are some of the most recognized in all of music.

In addition to becoming Italy’s most famous, wealthiest, and most successful composer, Verdi’s operas are perhaps the most performed operas in the world today.  A hero who became a man of the people, Verdi was a kind, generous person who died as one of the most celebrated composers of all time and one of the few composers that was happily married twice.  He lived 87 years and left the world some of the greatest dramatic works in addition to wonderful acts of kindness, most notably to the Rest Home for Aged Musicians in Milan, which still bears his name and is supported by his royalties. In fact, he is buried there. Verdi’s funeral was the largest public assembly in the history of Italy where more than 300,000 people attended.

The performance features four acclaimed soloists, including Soprano Kerri Marcinko (a regular with the New York City Opera), Mezzo Soprano Kimberly Gratland James, Tenor Kirk Dougherty, and Baritone Brandon Hendrickson.

Sponsored by generous support from New West Health Services and St. Peter’s Hospital.

The Symphony is also offering a new Young Professionals Concert Series designed for professionals in their 20’s to 40’s.  This three concert mini-series (concerts January, February and one other choice) features a Beethoven symphony, and is designed so young professionals have an opportunity to become part of the Helena arts scene, mingle and network with other young professionals, and experience the Helena Symphony.  The Young Professionals Concert Series costs $50 for all three concerts, and includes several other bonuses such as a pre-concert social with a complimentary drink.

To subscribe to the 2013-2014 Season, subscriptions can be purchased on line at helenasymphony.org, or by calling the Symphony Box Office (406.442.1860), or at the Symphony Box Office located at new offices on the Walking Mall at the Livestock Building (2 N. Last Chance Gulch, Suite 1) between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.  Subscription packages are available for $240, $165, $144, $120, and single tickets to non-subscription events are on sale as well with all seats reserved.  The 3-concert Young Professionals Concert Series is $50 (45% off the regular price).

Kerri Marcinko – soprano

A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Soprano Kerri Marcinko has been praised for both the beauty of her voice and commanding stage presence.  The New York Times recently raved Ms. Marcinko “brought a gleaming and sharply poised soprano” to her roles in New York City Opera’s Vox Contemporary American Opera Concert.  She has appeared in title roles of productions of Carmen, Il Trovatore, La Bohème, Così fan tutte, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Tosca, Don Giovanni, and Les Contes d’Hoffmann.  In addition to her numerous performances with the New York City Opera, Ms. Marcinko has appeared with San Antonio Opera, Toledo Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Greek National Opera, Opera East Texas, Houston Grand Opera, Nashville Opera, Spokane Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, and Festival Lyrique en Mer in France.

In addition to her appearances at Carnegie Hall, Ms. Marcinko maintains an active concert career, including performances with Richmond Symphony Orchestra, Bellinghamd Festival of Music, Greenwich Choral Society, Adrian Symphony Orchestra, New England Symphonic Ensemble, and the Little Orchestra Society of New York.

A graduate of the Houston Opera Studio, Ms. Marcinko created the role of “Missy” in the world premiere of Tod Machover’s Resurrection with Houston Grand Opera, and later with Boston Lyric Opera.  Ms. Marcinko can be heard on recordings of Carlisle Floyd’s Cold Sassy Tree (Albany Records), Mark Adamo’s Little Women (Ondine Records) and Tod Machover’s Resurrection (Albany Records).  This season marks her debut with the Helena Symphony.

Ms. Marcinki appears courtesy of Wade Artist Management (New York, NY).

Kimberly Gratland James – mezzo-soprano

Mezzo-Soprano Kimberly Gratland James enjoys an active performance career in opera, concerts, and recitals and has appeared with the Helena Symphony as the title role in Carmen, The Marriage of Figaro, and numerous concerts, including the 2012 performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 8.

Ms. James’ recent appearances include a renowned performance of highlights from Carmen at the Helena Symphony’s 2010 Symphony Under the Stars.  She has also appeared in recital with Carroll College professor and pianist Lynn Petersen in Petersen’s song cycle, Mary Dyer, Martyr; “Opera on Draft” with Montana Lyric Opera, Honegger’s King David with the Valdosta Symphony, and Verdi’s Requiem with the Missoula Symphony.   She has also appeared with New Orleans Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Opera Theater of St. Louis, Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Program for Singers, Opera Mundi in Mexico City, Lyric Opera Cleveland, and the Western Plains Opera among others.  Ms. James opera experience includes the roles in Carmen, Little Women, Hansel and Gretel, Cavalleria Rusticana, Lucia di Lammermoor, Albert Herring, The Marriage of Figaro, and Salome.

Ms. James made her debut in Lincoln Center appearing in John Adams’ Grand Pianola Music with the London Sinfonietta, after performing the work with the New World Symphony and Los Angeles Philharmonic.  Concert appearances include Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Mahler’s Symphonies Nos. 2 and 4, Duruflé’s Requiem, and Mendelssohn’s Midsummer Night’s Dream.  Other appearances include Handel’s Messiah, Bach’s St. John’s Passion, Verdi’s Requiem, Ravel’s Scheherazade, and several Baroque oratorio works.  Recently, Ms. James performed Verdi’s Requiem with the Missoula Symphony, Corpus Christi Symphony, and Texas University Chorale & Orchestra, in addition to performances with the Glacier Symphony.

Ms. James holds degrees from Rice University and a Doctor of Music degree and Performer’s Diploma from Indiana University and currently serves on the faculty of the University of Montana.

Ms. James appears courtesy of Wade Artist Management (New York, NY).

Kirk Dougherty – tenor

Opera Magazine and Opera News recently describe Tenor Kirk Dougherty as a “tenor on the rise,” “an “exceptionally beautiful tenor,” with a “limitless, iridescent instrument.”  Mr. Dougherty made his debut with the Helena Symphony in 2012 as part of the performance of Mahler’s Eighth Symphony.

Originally from Sleepy Hollow, New York, Mr. Dougherty’s upcoming engagements include performances with Buck Hill-Skytop Festival, North Shore Music Festival, Salt Marsh Opera, Anchorage Opera, Sarasota Opera, Opera Delaware, and Baltimore Concerto Opera.  Most recently, he appeared with Tri-Cities Opera (Binghamton, NY), Opera Naples, Utah Festival Opera & Musical Theatre, Opéra Louisiane, and New York City Chamber Orchestra at Carnegie Hall.  He has also appeared in concert and in staged productions with Greenwich Choral Society, Manhattan Concert Productions, Loon Opera, The Orchestra of St. Peter by the Sea, Bronx Opera, Mercury Opera Rochester, Central City Opera, Opera Saratoga, Missouri Civic Orchestra, Rochester Bach Festival, Cortland Choral Arts Union, and the Delaware Valley Opera, among others.

Mr. Dougherty’s opera performances include appearances in Il Trovatore, Les Contes d’Hoffmann, La Traviata, Gianni Schicchi, L’Elisir d’Amore, and Così fan tutteo, The Magic Flute, Lucia di Lammermoor, Gounod’s Faust, and Boris Godunov.  This season legendary conductor Lorin Maazel selected Mr. Dougherty to appear at Mr. Maazel’s Castleton Festival in performances of Puccini’s Fanciulla del West and the title role in Verdi’s Otello.

In addition to training as a resident artist at many festivals, Mr. Dougherty recently a festival artist at Utah Festival Opera & Musical Theatre, a resident artist at Tri-Cities Opera, a principal artist at Oberlin in Italy, an apprentice artist at Central City Opera, and a singer at the Franz Schubert Institute in Austria.  He received the Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance and the Performer’s Certificate in Voice from the Eastman School of Music.

Mr. Dougherty appears courtesy of Wade Artist Management (New York, NY).

Brandon Hendrickson, baritone

Making his debut with the Helena Symphony Orchestra last season in a performance of Brahms’ German Requiem, Baritone Brandon Hendrickson appears in operas and concerts throughout the country.  Opera News priased Mr. Hendrickson for his “beautiful baritone.”  He has appeared in productions of La Bohème, Dialogues of the Carmelites, Carmen, Gianni Schicchi, and Handel and Gretel.

Mr. Hendrickson has performed with the Charleston Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Sounds of South Dakota, Pensacola Opera, Opéra Louisiane, and Dallas Opera.  In concert, he has appeared with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, Spoletto Festival, Southeastern Pennsylvania Symphony Orchestra, South Dakota Symphony Orchestra, Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra, Louisiana Sinfonietta, South Dakota Chorale, and Swiss Choral Society.  An Iowa native, Mr. Hendrickson studied voice at Simpson College (Indianola, IA), and received his masters and doctoral degrees from Louisiana State University.  In addition to his performance career, he also serves as professor of voice and opera at the University of South Dakota.

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