Bizet's "The Pearl Fishers" star of Middlebury fest

The Opera Company of Middlebury announces its second annual Festival of Music, May 21-June 13, culminating in four performances of "The Pearl Fishers" by George Bizet.

The festival will begin Friday, May 21, with a performance of the Burlington Chamber Orchestra with music director Michael Hopkins, featuring the music of Handel and Mozart and the winner of their Young Artists Solo Competition.

The popular Meet the Singers reception and recital will once again be held at the Middlebury Inn on Sunday, May 23, 5 p.m. Each of the cast members will be introduced and sing a favorite song or aria.

OCM's seventh production, "The Pearl Fishers", will be directed by Douglas Anderson with members of the Burlington Chamber Orchestra conducted by Dr. Mark Shapiro. Four performances are scheduled for Friday, Sunday (matinee), Tuesday, and Thursday, June 4, 6, 8, and 10 in the Town Hall Theater in Middlebury. The cast will include Suzanne Kantorski (Mimi in the 2008 OCM production of La Boheme), Matt Morgan, and Andrew Cummings.

Before each performance, a talk about the opera, free for all ticket holders, will be given one hour before curtain time at the Memorial Baptist Church opposite the theater on South Pleasant Street.

Opera legend Patrice Munsel will give a master's class Saturday, June 5 at 2 p.m. at the Town Hall Theater. Ms. Munsel, the youngest singer ever to star at the Metropolitan Opera and who eventually performed 225 times in that house, will work with the singers from The Pearl Fishers. Audience members are invited to watch the class.

Concluding the Festival will be a performance of Frederick Handel's 1719 opera seria Orlando directed by Sanford Sylvan with the Emerging Artists of the Green Mountain Opera Festival in Waitsfield and accompanied by a chamber orchestra conducted by Bruce Stasyna at the harpsichord.

Further information and tickets for all events are on sale at www.ocmvermont.org or by calling the Town Hall Theater box office, (802) 382-9222.

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