‘Afternoon at the Opera’ set for Sept. 19 at center

By Evelyn Cairns
The Wyandotte Arts Center will be filled with the sound of music when the Downriver Council for the Arts and the Bellini Music Society present “An Afternoon at the Opera” at 4 p.m. Sept. 19 at the center, 81 Chestnut.

Arias from popular operas will be sung by five vocalists, including Lisa Agazzi, mezzo soprano; Eva Evola, soprano; Shawn McDonald, tenor; and Dino Valle, baritone.

Lyric coloratura soprano Lara Semetko of Grosse Ile, a finalist in the Downriver Idol contest, will be a guest performer, and Jacqueline Csurgai-Schmitt will accompany the singers.

Agazzi recently sang the role of Mrs. Anderssen in “A Little Night Music” with the Michigan Opera Theatre. The winner of numerous opera awards, she made her debut with the MOT last spring as Mercedes in “Carmen,” a role she also sang with the San Diego and Utah operas and a music festival in Italy.

Evola, who has performed with the MOT and the La Scala Opera Ensemble, was nominated for the title Artist of the Year and won the Metropolitan Detroit Music Award. She earned a fine arts degree at Columbia University.

A singer and musician, McDonald studied at Eastern Michigan University, the University of Michigan and in Germany. He has worked with organizations including the Friends of the Opera of Michigan and the Verdi Opera Theatre and is pianist and composer in residence at Temple Israel, West Bloomfield.

Valle founded numerous opera organizations and has performed throughout the United States and Europe, where he sang in Vatican City in the presence of Pope John Paul II. Valle is also known for his operatic lectures in Naples, Florida, and the Ave Maria University of Florida and for his classical music program on WCAR.

Semetko has received recognition for winning awards and vocal competitions, among them the Wayne County Young Artist Award, Detroit Hungarian Arts Scholarship and the title Young Vocal Artist at Central Michigan University, all in 2010.

Csurgai-Schmitt, a pianist with the Dearborn Symphony and Verdi Opera, is on the music faculty of Marygrove College. The author of a book on the mechanics of piano technique, she travels throughout the United States conducting workshops and seminars for music teachers.

Tickets for “An Afternoon at the Opera” are $20 per person (seniors and students, $10). For reservations, call the DCA at 734-720-0671 or Bellini Opera, 313-702-9264.

‘Paws in Park’ party planned
Readings by Lorrie the Pet Psychic (seen on Oprah), a dog walk, bake sale and chili cook-off will be among the attractions at the third annual “Paws in the Park,” a party for pet lovers slated for 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 18 at the Young Patriots Park in Riverview.

The event, presented by PAWS of Michigan, will feature activities and contests for pets and children and a flyball demonstration by the Fuzzy Lightning Flyball Team.

In addition, Dr. Kim Cox of Southpointe Veterinary Hospital will be on hand to answer questions, and microchipping ($25), nail trimming ($5) and metal ID tags (starting at $6) will be available. Animal adoptions also will be offered.

The cost for registration of a pet is $30 ($5 per additional pet). The park is on Sibley Road between Fort Street and Allen Road. For additional information, visit www.pawsofmichigan.com.

Coming up . . .
Sept. 16 — Farmers’ Market, noon to 6 p.m. at the corner of Elm and First streets, in Wyandotte; to be held in conjunction with Project Produce; for more information, visit www.WyandotteFarmersMarrket.com.

Sept. 16 — Eastern Market Music Jam; 6 p.m. in the newly renovated Shed No. 3 at Eastern Market, Detroit; music by local street musicians and food by top Detroit restaurants; Downriver residents on the planning committee include Pat Andrews, Sandy Andrews, Katie and Russ Chambers, Debbie Dingell, Lisa Kaiser and Karen Mazo; proceeds will benefit the mission of St. Vincent de Paul; tickets are $75 per person; for more information, or to purchase tickets, call Margo Jones at 313-393-2922