OF ART SONGS, ARIAS & DUETS
Vermont Rising Opera Stars Return for Gala Concert
Vermont natives Christopher Colmenero (tenor) and Geoffrey Penar (baritone) will appear in concert on Sunday, October 19th at 4:00 pm at the College Street Congregational Church in Burlington. Presented by Bill Reed Voice Studio as part of The Singer’s Art Concert Series, with concert pianist Paul Orgel accompanying, the recital will include art songs, arias and duets by Mozart, Schumann, Brahms, Ravel, Strauss, Weber, Bizet, Puccini, Gounod and Tosti. Mr. Colmenero and Mr. Penar began their vocal studies as students of Bill Reed, completed their Masters degrees in vocal performance, and have successfully launched their professional singing careers.
Sunday, October 19, 2014, 4:00pm
College Street Congregational Church
265 College Street, Burlington, VT
Tickets: $20 at the door or online through Bill Reed Voice Studio (use PayPal button below) or www.flynntix.org
Christopher Colmenero is a tenor from Charlotte, Vermont. He currently resides in New York City and recently made his debut with the Chautauqua Opera Company as a 2014 Young Artist. His educational achievements include a Professional Studies Certificate for voice and opera from the Mannes College of Music and B.A. and M.M degrees from the Purchase College Conservatory of Music in Vocal/Opera Performance. While studying at Purchase he performed the roles of Rinuccio in Puccini’s “Gianni Schicchi”, Tamino in Mozart’s “Die Zauberflöte”, Don José in Bizet’s “Carmen” and Prince Charmant in Jules Massenets “Cendrillon” with Purchase Opera. While at Mannes College he has performed the roles of Mavra in Igor Stravinsky’s “Mavra”, Male Chorus in Benjamin Britten’s “Rape of Lucretia” and Pablo Neruda in Daniel Cátan’s “Il Postino” with Mannes Opera. Christopher is a recipient of the 2014 Richard F Gold Career Grant and received encouragement awards from the Giulio Gari Foundation and the Chautauqua Opera Company. Christopher is a student of Bonnie Hamilton.
“The pagan-era tale has been given two characters, serving as male and female ‘choruses’, who interpret the events in light of later Christian theology, an interpolation that many have viewed as heavy-handed. But it is easier to accept those choruses when they are performed by artists as firm-voiced and thoughtful as the tenor Christopher Colmenero and the soprano Felicia Moore. All the Mannes singers, directed by Laura Alley, were talented and dramatically committed, particularly the men.” ~ NYTimes (2013 Mannes College, The Rape of Lucretia); To view full review, click here.
“Christopher Colmenero was a deliciously virile maidservant and sang with bright vigor.” ~ NYTimes (2012 Mannes College, Mavra); To view full review, click here.
Geoffrey Penar is a young and versatile classical voice artist with a rich and mature vocal quality. He is equally comfortable in a recital setting or performing onstage in a Grand Opera production. Adept with comedic and dramatic roles, his vocal talents are enhanced by a phenomenal stage presence.
He recently completed the Masters and Graduate Artist Diploma programs in Opera Performance at the McGill University Schulich School of Music, in the studio of Sanford Sylvan. In the Opera McGill 2012 production of Don Giovanni, he played one of his favorite roles, the conflicted often comedic “Leporello.” He also performed the roles of “Voltore” in Musto’s Volpone, “Papageno” in The Magic Flute, and “Bottom” in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
A Vermont native, Geoffrey is a 2011 Honors graduate of the Eastman School of Music Vocal Performance program, where he studied with Dr. Robert McIver, and was recognized with the Ornest Award for excellence in academic and musical study. At Eastman, he sang Lescaut in Manon, was a finalist in the Kneisel German Lieder Competition, took first place at the 2009 Syracuse Civic Morning opera and art song competition, and earned jury awards in 2008 and 2009.
Geoffrey Penar has appeared in productions ranging from musical theater, to operetta, and grand opera. In the summer of 2014, Geoffrey was a young artist for the second time with the Green Mountain Opera Festival, previously playing “Alcindoro” and “Benoit” in their 2012 La Boheme, this time singing the role of “Tarquinius” in Britten’s dark chamber opera The Rape of Lucretia. Later in the summer he sang the role of the “Count Almaviva” in Hubbard Hall Opera Theater’s Le Nozze di Figaro. He performed in the Eastman Opera Theater productions of The Secret Garden (“Ben the Gardener”), The Impressario (“Buff”), Roman Fever (waiter), and Manon as “Lescaut.” In 2009 and 2010 Geoffrey performed with the Janiec Opera Company at the Brevard Music Festival in several roles, including “Prison Warden Frank” in Die Fledermaus, “Barnaby” in Hello Dolly, and “Dr. Bartolo” in Le Nozze di Figaro. In summer 2011 he appeared in 60 performances in 7 productions with the Ohio Light Opera Company, with major roles as “Lancelot” in Camelot and “General Bogdanowitsch” in The Merry Widow.
Geoffrey has performed on NPR’s radio show From The Top, and at Eastman he was chosen to perform for baritones Håkan Hagegård and Harry van der Kamp, as well as the pianist, coach and art song scholar Graham Johnson. He was the baritone soloist in the Eastman Philharmonic Orchestra’s concert of the Bruckner Mass No. 1 in D, and in 2011 appeared as the baritone soloist for a staged Messiah production at Bryn Mawr Church in Philadelphia.
Although Geoffrey Penar is primarily a vocal artist, he has worked as assistant stage manager and as production assistant with Green Mountain Opera Company, as well as directed music for a children’s theater in Vermont.
“Geoffrey Penar applied a fresh baritone and natural sense of comedic timing to the central role of Papageno.” ~ Montreal Gazette
“Geoffrey Penar’s hilariously oily and strongly sung Voltore… gave much pleasure.” ~ Opera Canada
“Papageno (Geoffrey Penar) steals the show with his refreshingly comical performance, all the while executing a challenging score.” ~ McGill Tribune
Born in New York City, Paul Orgel has concertized throughout the United States, China and Eastern Europe as a recitalist, soloist with orchestra, and chamber musician. He has given notable concerts in such venues as New York´s Merkin Hall, the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., Jordan Hall, and the Gardner Museum in Boston, the Ordway Theater in St. Paul, and the San Francisco Conservatory. Critics have praised his playing for its “subtlety and attention to nuance” (Philadelphia Inquirer), “rare pathos” (New York Times), and “brilliant technique, sense of humor and fantasy” (Bridgeport Post).
A versatile musician with wide-ranging interests and an extremely varied repertoire, Orgel can be heard on recordings of music by Louis Moyse (Works for Flute and Piano) on the CRI (now New World) label, a 2003 Grammy nominee, and on Capstone (Keyboard Fantasies by Curt Cacioppo). His solo recording, Music of the Holocaust featuring music by Karel Berman, Pavel Haas, Gideon Klein, and Viktor Ullmann, was released on the Phoenix USA label in 2005.
Orgel has specialized in Czech music, performing programs of the complete piano music of Janáček and music from Terezin; and, as a scholar of classical performance practice, he has given recitals of Haydn and Beethoven on the Viennese fortepiano.
As a chamber musician, Paul Orgel has been associated with the Yellow Barn Festival, was a founding member of the Interlochen Trio, a long-time member of Music at Eden’s Edge, an ensemble based in Boston´s North Shore, and has collaborated with such artists as Jaime Laredo, Soovin Kim, the Chicago String Quartet, and the Quartetto di Venezia. He is currently on the faculty of the Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival.
Orgel was educated at Oberlin, the New England Conservatory, and Boston University. He holds a doctorate in piano performance from Temple University. Among his piano teachers were Russell Sherman, Lillian and Irwin Freundlich, and Harvey Wedeen. He is the director of the Humanities Program Concert Series at Saint Michael´s College, a member of the music faculty at the University of Vermont, a reviewer for Fanfare Magazine.
“…Orgel well understands Janáček´s austere impressionism and made each composition an epic in miniature. …the Schubert adagio sang with rare pathos.” ~ New York Times
“…Orgel was wonderfully alert to nuance, shade, and articulations throughout the program. His alternation between the moments of bite and savor that inform Beethoven made that partnership a particularly seamless one.” ~ Philadelphia Inquirer
“…Haunting and powerful…In the Ostinato-Fantasia by Curt Cacioppo (dedicated to Orgel), Orgel presents a driving, soulful breakdown of the titular hymn followed by a swirling morass from which the tune slowly rematerializes.” ~ Time Out New York
Bill Reed earned his doctorate at Columbia University and has been training singers for the Broadway and concert stages for over 40 years.