Opera: It's music from the heart

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CSI Media staff | January 17, 2014

LAKE GENEVA — The Lake Geneva chapter of the Lyric Opera of Chicago invites you to attend its Music From the Heart event at noon on Feb. 9 at Geneva National Golf Club, 1221 Geneva National Ave. South in Lake Geneva. Make your reservations by Jan. 30 as space is limited.

This magical musical performance features soprano Kimberly Jones, mezzo-soprano Julie Ann Miller, tenor Cornelius Johnson and pianist Celeste Rue. Each artist is the recipient of prestigious awards and accolades. They are destined for opera stages worldwide.

Cornelius Johnson's tenor voice is described as “refreshing, sparkling and exciting” as well as “expressive and soaring.”  He has performed in Chicago, Houston, Las Vegas, Racine and internationally in Dublin, Opera Bastille in Paris, La Scala in Milan and Bunkamura Theater in Tokyo.

His roles include Tamino in “The Magic Flute,” Rodolfo in “La Boheme,” Goro in “Madama Butterfly,” Don Basilio in “Le Nozze di Figaro,” Don Jose and El Rememdado in “Carmen,” Elder Hayes in “Susannah,” King Kaspar in “Amahl and the Night Visitors” and several roles in “Porgy and Bess.”

A native of Chicago, Johnson received his master of music degree from Northwestern University, and his bachelor of arts degree from Morehouse College.

Mezzo-soprano Miller is a first-year member of the Ryan Opera Center. A native of Sacramento, Calif., she has appeared as soloist at Carnegie Hall, Ravinia Festival, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Marin Symphony, Sacramento Choral Society and Orchestra, Sugar Creek Festival, Festival Opera and Sacramento Opera.

Miller completed her graduate studies at the Bard College Conservatory of Music and studied at California State University, Sacramento. This season at Lyric Opera of Chicago, Miller appears in “Otello,” “La traviata” and “Die Fledermaus.” 

Soprano Jones is an alumna of Lyric Opera's Ryan Center and has performed at Lyric Opera of Chicago, Symphony Center, Grant Park Music Festival and Ravinia Festival.

She often sings the National Anthem for the Chicago Bulls. She also participates in Lyric's Meet the Neighborhood operas, where an abbreviated opera (“Barber of Seville” or “Cinderella”) is presented at schools in English and full costumes. 

Recently, Jones has been showcased in Lyric's Meet the Artist, where she presents her one-woman show to students, discussing her life as a singer, her start in opera, her travels, plans and dreams.

She has performed in the Houston Grand Opera's international tour of “Porgy and Bess” at La Scala in Milan, Opera Bastille in Paris and Bunkamura Theatre in Tokyo. She currently teaches vocal music at Columbia College in Chicago. 

Celeste Rue is a highly sought after coach/accompanist. She works with the Ryan Opera Center, Grant Park Music Festival and Chorus, Chicago Symphony Chorus, Chicago Opera Theatre, Music of the Baroque, Light Opera Works, Hush Opera, Ars Musica, the Apollo Chorus, the Chicago Children's Choir and Music by the Lake in Williams Bay. Rue is highly appreciated as the music director for the Lake Geneva chapter.

The mission of the Lake Geneva chapter of the Lyric Opera of Chicago is to educate, promote and advance opera in the community as well as support and raise funds for Lyric Opera of Chicago.

The group produces five events annually, four featuring professional opera artists who perform well-known opera arias and show tunes.  Performances are held at local country clubs and at the homes of members. Member contributions provide funding for education outreach programs. 

Over the past three years, the group has sponsored more than 300 seventh-grade students from Fontana, Reek, Sharon and Walworth schools to attend an opera performance at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. These field trips open musical, educational and worldly horizons to the students.

With more than 150 members, the chapter attracts 80 to 140 people to each of these events, including the attendance of voice students from George Williams College/Aurora University with instructor Christine Flasch. The objective is to promote and enjoy exquisite music.

Tickets cover buffet and performance, at $80 for members, $100 for guests. Cash bar is also available. Registration starts at noon, buffet at 12:30 p.m. and performance at 1:30 p.m. RSVP by Jan. 30, as space is limited. For tickets and membership information, contact Marv Herman at (262) 740-1705.

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