Ames chapter of Des Moines Metro Opera Guild hosts concert Sunday
Four professional vocalists in the OPERA Iowa troupe will perform in Ames on Sunday, and audience members will have a chance to meet the performers during a reception after the concert.
The event is sponsored by the Ames chapter of the Des Moines Metro Opera Guild. It will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday at First United Methodist Church, 516 Kellogg Ave.
“Students will be admitted for free – and that’s all the way through college,” said Connie Ringlee, publicity chair for the Ames chapter. “They don’t even need tickets. They can just come and show their IDs. Little kids, obviously, don’t need to show an ID.”
Admission is $20 for adults, which can be paid at the door. Advance tickets are available at Chocolaterie Stam and Everts Flowers, both in downtown Ames.
The OPERA Iowa troupe hasn’t performed in Ames for the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The troupe consists of four professional vocalists, who will sing familiar arias, in solos and ensembles. It also includes a pianist and two technicians.
The vocalists were chosen during nationwide auditions held in New York City, Houston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Atlanta and Des Moines. More than 1,000 applications were received, resulting in about 450 live auditions.
Four singers were selected to join the OPERA Iowa Educational Touring Troupe. They are soprano Alyssa Barnes, of Houston, Texas; soprano Gabrielle Clutter, of Indianola; tenor Robert Gerold, of Portland, Maine; and mezzo-soprano Ariana Warren, of Long Island, New York.
David Mamedov, of Cincinnati, Ohio, is the music director and pianist. Nicholas Mayhugh, of Des Moines, is the technical director. Nate Stone, of Ankeny, is the technical assistant.
“The musicians each usually sing an individual aria or two, then sometimes they do a duet or a trio,” Ringlee said. “Then at the end, they sing Broadway songs.
“They tend to sing arias where there’s a lot of animation. Since they’re not singing in English, by their body language, you can tell what they’re singing about. They’re just fabulous singers.”
The purpose of the troupe is education as well as performance. During the Des Moines Metro Opera’s season, the troupe members play minor roles in some of the productions this summer.
The Des Moines Metro Opera’s 2022 Summer Festival will be held July 1 through July 24 at the Blank Performing Arts Center in Indianola. That lineup includes “Porgy and Bess,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “A Thousand Acres” and “American Apollo.”
“’A Thousand Acres’ is a new opera which was written specifically for the 50th anniversary of the Des Moines Metro Opera,” Ringlee said. “It’s based on Jane Smiley’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel.”
The purpose of Sunday’s concert is to raise money to help support the Des Moines Metro Opera as well as the Ames chapter.
“Some of the money goes to help support our local activities, which include scholarships for one ISU opera student every year, to help them with the expenses of auditioning for graduate school,” Ringlee said.
The Ames chapter also sponsors a local performance by Drake opera singers, she said.
“We try to support education at the collegiate level for people who are interested in being opera singers,” Ringlee added.
She said the chance to visit with the performers after the concert on Sunday is a special opportunity.
“The reception is quite lavish with lots of nice refreshments,” Ringlee said. “And it’s a wonderful opportunity to meet the singers.”