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Sembrich Museum depicts life of famed opera star

BOLTON LANDING - Tranquil places on Lake George open to the public are becoming more rare by the summer, but The Marcella Sembrich Opera Museum, 4800 Lake Shore Drive, continues to stand the test of time - while serving as a landmark in local history.

Marcella Sembrich was one of the most famous coloratura opera stars of her era, making her debut in 1877 in Athens and performing around the world until her retirement in 1917. The museum is housed in a pink stucco cottage at the edge of Lake George and once served as Madame Sembrich's teaching studio. Next to the museum are paved pathways along the shoreline and sitting area for scenic views.

The museum is open daily from June 15 through Sept. 15. Hours are 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 2 to 5:30 p.m. Admission is by donation.

The next concert event is the acclaimed mezzo-soprano Mary Ann McCormick, who pays tribute to famed contralto Louise Homer at 7:30 p.m. Saturday Aug. 28, at the museum. Like Madame Sembrich, McCormick has performed on opera stages across the United States and Europe. Admission to the concert is $20. McCormick's program will include works by Wagner, Schubert, Tchaikovsky, Brahms, and Bach. She will also sing "Sheep and Lambs" by Sidney Homer, the American composer and nephew of Louise Homer who spent formative summers on Lake George.

In addition to serving as a concert hall throughout the season, the museum also houses Sembrich's personal effects that reflect on her daily life of teaching and her career.

The collection is a utopia of opera memorabilia, antique furniture, plus fine art collected from her travels throughout Europe, photographs depicting the singer in a variety of roles and outfits, and framed letters to Sembrich from legendary composers such as Puccini, Strauss, Rachmaninoff, and Verdi.

The Marcella Sembrich Memorial Association, Inc., a not-for-profit organization founded in 1940, dedicates its existence to honor the life and career of Sembrich, a soprano. The MSMA also carries on the tradition of summer concert series presenting renowned international musicians in concert at the studio.

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