Athens, Ga. — UGA Presents is bringing the Bel Canto Trio to Athens Feb. 14 for a 7:30 p.m. performance in Hodgson Concert Hall. The trio of rising opera stars will pay tribute to the original Bel Canto Trio of the 1940s with a program showcasing opera’s most popular arias, duets and trios.
Over a 10-month period from July 1947 to May 1948, Mario Lanza, George London and Frances Yeend toured the United States, Canada and Mexico as the Bel Canto Trio. The trio’s demanding repertoire proved extremely popular with audiences and critics alike, and it was at this time that Lanza’s career was launched into stardom.
The new Bel Canto Trio features soprano Julie Adams, tenor Joshua Guerrero and bass-baritone Nicholas Brownlee with music director Christopher Allen. The trio will perform the original program from the 1947-48 North American tour with selections from Rigoletto, Faust, La traviata, Manon Lescaut, La bohème, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Die Zauberflöte, Tosca and more.
Soprano Julie Adams is a winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, the George London Award and the Elizabeth Connell Prize for aspiring dramatic sopranos. A former Adler Fellow with San Francisco Opera, she most recently returned to San Francisco Opera for Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen, singing Freia in Das Rheingold and Gerhilde in Die Walküre, conducted by Donald Runnicles. A native of Burbank, CA, Adams holds both bachelor of music and master of music degrees from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
Tenor Joshua Guerrero is a Grammy Award winner for his recording of John Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles with Los Angeles Opera. In recent seasons he has appeared with Washington National Opera as Alfredo in a new production of La Traviata, with Houston Grand Opera as Arcadio in Florencia en el Amazonas and with the Canadian Opera Company as Rodolfo in La bohème and the Duke in Rigoletto. Guerrero was a prize winner at Plácido Domingo’s Operalia Competition in 2014 and his singing voice is featured in the Academy Award-winning animated film, Coco.
Bass-baritone Nicholas Brownlee is a first prize winner of the Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition, winner of the Zarzuela Prize at Operalia and a Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions grand prize winner. In the 2016-17 season he made his Metropolitan Opera debut in Salome, conducted by Johannes Debus. Brownlee received his master of music degree from Rice University, and he was part of the inaugural Young Artist Vocal Academy with Houston Grand Opera and an apprentice artist with the Wolf Trap Opera Company.
Conductor and pianist Christopher Allen is the 2017 Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award recipient and has been praised by Opera News magazine as “one of the fastest-rising podium stars in North America.” His conducting career was launched by the Bruno Walter Conducting Award and has been fostered by Plácido Domingo and James Conlon, who brought him to Los Angeles Opera as an associate conductor. Allen is also an award-winning pianist who has played at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. He is currently working on a film project that explores the importance of the arts in modern American society.
Tickets for the Bel Canto Trio start at $35 and can be purchased at the Performing Arts Center box office, online at pac.uga.edu or by calling 706-542-4400. A limited number of discounted tickets are available to current UGA students for $10 with a valid UGA ID (limit one ticket per student).
A pre-performance talk will be given by Theresa Chafin, a graduate of the Hugh Hodgson School of Music. The talk begins at 6:45 p.m. in Ramsey Concert Hall and is open to the public.
The concert is supported by Dr. Maxine and John Rofrano.
Hodgson Concert Hall and Ramsey Concert Hall are located in the UGA Performing Arts Center at 230 River Road in Athens.