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Guild hosts Pittsburgh opera performers

April 13, 2012
From staff reports , The Herald-Star

STEUBENVILLE - The Upper Ohio Valley Opera Guild will host performances by several Pittsburgh-area artists beginning at 7 p.m. April 29 at the Steubenville Country Club,

In its quest to host a variety of quality entertainment in the Tri-State Area, the Upper Ohio Valley Opera Guild once again will host their neighbors, the Pittsburgh Opera Director of Musical Studies for the prestigious Pittsburgh Opera Resident Artist Training Program - formerly known as Pittsburgh Opera Center, with a program led by Mark Trawka.

Trawka also holds the title of chorus master. Trawka coaches and performs with the resident artists and has accompanied renowned mezzo-soprano Marianne Cornetti in her Pittsburgh recital appearances. Trawka has been a member of the music staff at Houston Grand Opera, Dallas Opera and Portland Opera in Oregon, where he was principal pianist and assistant chorus master.

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Mark Trawka brings with him three rising stars from the Pittsburgh Opera Resident Artist Training Program for a night of opera hosted by the Upper Ohio Valley Opera Guild beginning at 7 p.m. April 29 at the Steubenville Country Club. -- Contributed

Trawka has served as coach/accompanist at Chautauqua Opera and at Glimmerglass Opera for many summer seasons. In the summer of 2006, he was director of the resident artist program at Berkshire Opera. He spent two summers at Operafestival di Roma, where he was chorus master and coach. Educated at the Eastman School of Music and the University of Southern California, Trawka began his operatic career in the Houston Opera Studio and in San Francisco Opera's Merolo Program.

"I am extremely delighted that Mr. Trawka has once again accepted my invitation to come and present a program for us," said Anita Jackson, program coordinator for the event. "This is the third time he and his performers will be with us. He has never turned down my invitation."

The evening will consist of arias as well as Broadway music. Trawka will bring with him three Pittsburgh Opera rising stars. Baritone Kyle Oliver has performed such roles as Baron Douphol in "La traviata"; Father in "Hansel and Gretel" and Sciarrone in "Tosca." Oliver holds a master's degree in music from the Julliard School and a bachelor's degree in music from Northwestern University.

The evening also will include music by tenor Juan Jose DeLeon. DeLeon has performed such roles as Gastone in "La traviate"; Spoletta in "Tosca" and Belmonte in "The Abduction from the Seraglio."

DeLeon received his master's degree in music from Southern Methodist University as well as a bachelor's degree in music from the University of North Texas.

Rounding out the evening's performance will be virtuoso mezzo-soprano Stephanie Lauricella. This is her second year with the Pittsburgh Opera and she has performed such roles as Flora in "La traviata"; Hansel in "Hansel and Gretel"; and Shepherd Boy in "Tosca." She also appeared as a guest artist in Beethoven's "Symphony No. 9" with Eric Philharmonic. Upcoming engagements include Rosina with New Jersey State Opera in June. In the 2010-11 season she performed as Rosina in "The Barber of Seville"; the title role in "Rinaldo" and Sister Mathilde in "Dialogues of the Carmelites." In the summer of 2010 Lauricella spent the summer at the Santa Fe Opera, covering the role of Kate Pinkerton in "Madam Butterfly"; Second Lady in "The Magic Flute"; and Estrella in the world premiere of "Life is a Dream." Lauricella is a past studio and apprentice artist at Sarasota Opera and at Central City Opera, where she was awarded the McGlone Award. She recently won the 2011 Fritz and Lavinia Jensen Foundation Encouragement Award, MONC Great Lakes Region second place in 2011 and was the William Matheus Sullivan Award winner in 2010. She also studied in Italy at the Opera Theater and Music Festival of Lucca. Lauricella holds a bachelor's degree in vocal performance from Ithaca College and a master's degree in vocal performance from Manhattan School of Music.

For reservations, call club President Joyce Ryan-Orlando at (740) 264-0292; or program coordinator Anita Jackson at (740) 284-5861. The price per person is $35, with a student rate of $20.

Other members on the committee include Liz Morelli, Mary Jo Rinaldi, Carleen Scurti, Barbara Wilinski, Kathy Antinone, Lil Ferguson and Joe Leonard.

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