Tenor René Barbera to kick off San Diego Opera’s 2015-2016 seasonEntertainment News, Online Only, Section 4A, Top Highlights Wednesday, August 19th, 2015
SAN DIEGO – San Diego Opera has announced that tenor René Barbera, who made his San Diego Opera debut this past April in the Company’s 50th Anniversary Celebration Concerts, will be returning for a recital Saturday, Sept. 19 at 7 p.m. at the Balboa Theatre as part of the Company’s 2015-2016 season. This recital marks his American recital debut.
Mr. Barbera is also the first winner of the Polly Puterbaugh Emerging Artist Award, which has been created to support and encourage emerging young singers at the exciting launch of their careers. This new award program will underwrite a concert or mainstage appearance by a young artist of exceptional skill and promise in future seasons at San Diego Opera. The award has been created by local philanthropist Polly Puterbaugh to support young American talent in the vocal arts. Mrs. Puterbaugh is best known in the community for lobbying for a new theatre in Old Town San Diego that resulted in the state appropriation of $700,000 and creation of the Cygnet Theatre. She campaigned to save the Lyceum Theatre, and was a member of the steering committee to rebuild The Old Globe Theatre when it burned in the 1980s. She has served on the Board of the San Diego Performing Arts League (SDPAL) from 1993-1999 and is currently a member of the SDPAL Civic Advisory Council. She has served for the Balboa Theatre Arts and Education Fund, Coronado Playhouse, Hahn Cosmopolitan Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, Lyceum Theatre, Old Globe Theatre, and Old Town Opera House, among others.
“It is such a great opportunity for our vital San Diego Opera to create new space for this critical endeavor,” shares Mrs. Puterbaugh. “Developing new talent is the lifeblood of art in all its forms and to be at the forefront of this treasure couldn’t be more timely. After hearing about René Barbera, I knew who I wanted to be the inaugural recipient of the first Polly Puterbaugh Emerging Artist Award.”
“People spoke, then asked, and finally begged us to bring René back after his debut in April,” shares David Bennett, San Diego Opera’s General Director. “And while our mainstage season has commitments until 2017, and René is in demand at all the world’s leading opera houses, we decided a recital would be a wonderful showpiece for this fast rising tenor’s skill and virtuosity. René is also the perfect inaugural recipient of this new and exciting award. A recital enables René to perform opera standards, show tunes and zarzuelas in the intimate setting of the Balboa Theatre. We look forward to fostering a relationship with this exciting young tenor for many years to come.”
Immediately following his performances here in April, Mr. Barbera was awarded the Mabel Dorn Reeder Foundation Prize, an award giving every other year by the Opera Theatre of St. Louis to up-and-coming young singers. He will spend the summer singing Iopas in Les Troyens at San Francisco Opera and then head off to the Rossini Festival is Pesaro, Italy, where he will sing Gianetto in La Gazza Ladra and will appear as a soloist in Stabat Mater before returning to San Diego. He’ll finish the season in San Francisco as Count Almaviva in The Barber of Seville.
“I’m very pleased to be returning to San Diego Opera,” shares Mr. Barbera. “Earlier this season, I was honored to be part of their 50th Anniversary concert and fell in love with the city, the audience and the Company. I look forward to developing a long term relationship with San Diego Opera and I am incredibly honored to be the first recipient of the Polly Puterbaugh Emerging Artist Award. I look forward to sharing my first American recital with all of you.”
A Texas native, Mr. Barbera is a graduate of the Lyric Opera of Chicago Ryan Opera Center. He was awarded first prize at Placido Domingo’s Operalia 2011 competition for opera, zarzuela and won the audience prize, making him the first artist to be the sole recipient of all three awards since the competition began. For this recital he will be accompanied by Cheryl Cellon Lindquist in piano.
Tickets to René Barbera in Recital range from $20 to $75. A post-concert reception at the Westin San Diego Gaslamp Quarter hotel is also available for $50 per person. Subscriptions are also on sale and range from $105 for a three-opera series to $1,305 for a full season package (Orchestra level subscription on Saturdays to the three mainstage operas, premiere tickets to René Barbera in Recital, premiere tickets to Patricia Racette’s “Diva on Detour” plus reception, premiere tickets Ferruccio Furlanetto in Concert). Subscriptions and single tickets can be purchased by calling (619) 533-7000 or online at www.sdopera.com.
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