Bellini Opera Theatre will perform concert at center

By Evelyn Cairns
Members of the Bellini Opera Theatre will perform at 5 p.m. Sept. 9 in a concert honoring Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi, one of the most influential composers of the 19th century, at the Wyandotte Arts Center, 81 Chestnut.

The concert, titled “Arias in Autumn,” will be presented by the Downriver Council for the Arts in cooperation with the Bellini Opera Theatre, which was founded by Rosolino Lo Duca of Lincoln Park and Dino Valle of Dearborn.

Bellini, along with his 19th century contemporaries Donizetti and Rossini, developed the bel canto (beautiful singing) style in their operatic compositions, influencing composers including Chopin, Schumann and Liszt.

Concert tickets, $20, include a wine and cheese afterglow with the performers: sopranos Eva Evola and Elena Repnikova, tenor Carlos Seise, Valle, baritone; and pianist Martin Mandelbaum. Reservations are being accepted by the DCA at 734-720-0671.

The concert, to be narrated by Valle, will begin with the Verdi’s famous “Libiamo nei lieti calici” (The Drinking Song) from “La Traviata,” and continue with arias from other operas by Verdi, Puccini, Bellini, Bizet, Gounod, Tchaikovsky and Rossini.

Evola has appeared with the Michigan Opera Theatre and the La Scala Opera Ensemble with Grammy Award-winner basso Michael Pertusi and Valle. She sang recently with world-renowned tenor Joseph Calleja.

Evola and Valle also will sing in the opera “La Serva Padrona” Nov. 24 at the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center in Dearborn.

Russian-born Repnikova performed extensively in Russia before her debut appearance representing the City of Detroit Cultural Affairs exchange program with Palermo, Italy. In 2009, she founded Elena Repnikova & Friends, a non-profit organization that pro-motes local talent and brings musicians to metro Detroit from abroad. She is affiliated with the Verdi Op-era Theatre as well as the Bellini Opera Theatre.

Seise, of Puerto Rico, won first prize in the tenor category of the Metropolitan Opera House Regional auditions and made his singing debut as Rodolfo in “La Boheme,” which became one of his signature roles. He has performed as a concert soloist with leading symphonies in the more than 50 locations around the world.

Valle, who has 45 years operatic experience, has sung in many operas and concerts throughout the United States and Europe, including a performance in Vatican City in the presence of Pope John Paul II.

Valle appeared at the Detroit Opera House with renowned Metropolitan Opera basso and 2006 Grammy Award winner Michele Pertusi, the Parma Opera Ensemble and the La Scala Opera Ensemble.

The baritone also hosts a program on classical radio station 1090 AM.

Mandelbaum has performed throughout the Detroit area with orchestras and chamber-music groups. He frequently accompanies Bellini Opera Theatre singers.

Lo Duca, a native of Cinisi, in Palermo, Sicily, said his passion for the music of Bellini inspired him to co-found the theater with Valle, who also founded the Italian Opera Company, the Verdi Opera Theatre of Michigan, the Statue of Enrico Caruso Society and the Dearborn Opera.

‘Billy Elliot’ to be staged
The multi-award-winning play “Billy Elliot,” based on the international smash-hit movie by the same name and featuring music by Elton John, will be staged Sept. 4 to 16 at the Fisher Theater.

The play revolves around Billy, a boxer who lives in a small town and is surprised to discover he has a talent for ballet. As a result, his life is changed forever with the support of his family and his entire community.

Tickets, ranging in price from $39 to $89, including parking, are available by calling Ticketmaster at 800-982-2787 or going to www.ticketmaster.com or www.broadwayindetroit.com.

For additional information, call 313-872-1000.

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