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See opera’s rising stars on Mondavi stage

The Adler Fellows from the San Francisco Opera will open next week's "Rising Stars of Opera" concert at the Mondavi Center. They are a select group of gifted young singers from the San Francisco Opera's long-standing Merola Opera Program. Courtesy photo

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From page A1 | October 13, 2011 |

Check it out

What: “Rising Stars of Opera”

When: 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 21

Where: Jackson Hall, Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, UC Davis

Tickets: Free, but they must be picked up at the Mondavi Center box office or reserved at www.mondaviarts.org or (530) 754-2787 for a nominal processing charge

The Mondavi Center will host another free “Rising Stars of Opera” concert — the event has become a popular annual tradition — on Friday, Oct. 21, at 8 p.m. in Jackson Hall.

This year’s concert will begin with a selection of opera highlights and songs performed by members of this year’s Adler Fellows from the San Francisco Opera, with accompanist Allen Perriello at the piano. Selections will be announced from the stage.

The Adler Fellows are a select group of gifted young singers from the San Francisco Opera’s long-standing Merola Opera Program, who are invited to continue their education for a further year under the guidance of San Francisco Opera General Director David Gockley and Opera Center Director Sheri Greenawald.

Typically, the Adler Fellows appear in San Francisco Opera productions as well as with other major companies, and many of them embark on significant operatic careers.

After intermission, baritone Eugene Brancoveanu and the UC Davis Symphony Orchestra (under the baton of Christian Baldini) will take the stage for the program’s second half.

Eugene Brancoveanu performed as The Pilot in the San Francisco Opera’s 2007-08 production of “The Little Prince.” In April, Brancoveanu appeared with the New York Philharmonic under the baton of the San Francisco Symphony’s Michael Tilson Thomas in the conductor’s semi-theatrical concert piece “The Thomashefskys,” and the New York Times praised Brancoveanu as “an opera singer with a warm presence to match his warm baritone.”

Brancoveanu has also performed “The Thomashefskys” with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood, San Francisco Symphony and New World Symphony.

Brancoveanu’s recent Bay Area credits include an April 2011 appearance with the Santa Cruz Symphony as soloist in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, and the title role in Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” with the Berkeley Opera in February 2010.

His 2009-10 season included the role of Gonzalvo in Schreker’s “Die Gezeichneten” with Los Angeles Opera, Yeletzky in Tchaikovsky’s “Pique Dame” with the Israeli Opera and a recital in California’s San Francisco Performances concert series.

With the San Francisco Opera he has performed Christian in Verdi’s “Un ballo in maschera,” Marullo in Verdi’s “Rigoletto,” Moralès in Bizet’s “Carmen,” Frank in J. Strauss II’s “Die Fledermaus,” Fiorello in Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville” and the Innkeeper and the Captain in Puccini’s “Manon Lescaut.”

Brancoveanu also originated the role of Marcello in Baz Luhrmann’s Broadway production of “La bohème.”

Brancoveanu’s half of the “Rising Stars of Opera” program will open with the orchestra performing Giuseppe Verdi’s Overture to “I vespri siciliani.”

Then, backed by the orchestra, Brancoveanu will sing highlights from three different centuries,  including Gioachino Rossini’s “Largo al factotum” from “Il barbiere di Siviglia”; Gustav Mahler’s “Wenn mein Schatz Hochzeit macht” from “Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen” (“Song of a Wayfarer”); Benjamin Britten’s “Within this frail crucible of light” from Act II of “The Rape of Lucretia,” op. 37; and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Hai già vinta la causa” and “Vedrò mentri’io sospiro” from Act III of “Le nozze di Figaro,” K. 492.

The annual “Rising Stars of Opera” program is provided free to the community through the generosity of longtime Davis resident and opera lover Barbara K. Jackson, who is a noted supporter of the Mondavi Center, the San Francisco Opera and the UC Davis Symphony Orchestra.

This year’s “Rising Stars of Opera” concert comes a few weeks after  Jackson’s birthday, which was celebrated in early October.

Tickets are free, but seating is reserved. Tickets may be picked up without a processing charge at the Mondavi Center box office. They also may be reserved online at www.mondaviarts.org or by phone at (530) 754-2787 for a nominal processing charge.

Some tickets were still available at press time, but they’re expected to go fast.

— Reach Jeff Hudson at [email protected] or (530) 747-8055.

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