FORT MYERS, Fla. (March 10, 2023) – The Southwest Florida Symphony, the only professional orchestra in Lee County and fourth oldest orchestra in the state, is excited to offer A Night at the Opera for its third Masterworks concert of the season on Saturday, April 1 at 7:30 p.m. at Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall in Fort Myers. Narrated by Robert Van Winkle, the evening will be filled with romance, glamor and drama, featuring the orchestra accompanied by four up-and-coming Opera Naples Resident Artists performing famed arias from the world’s most popular operas including “Don Giovanni,” “Barber of Seville,” “Carmen” and more.
As part of the symphony’s signature series, patrons will also have the opportunity to attend an exclusive pre-concert lecture prior to the show led by Paponiu and the Opera Naples Resident Artists, including a Q&A session, to enhance the concert experience and provide insights into the pieces being performed. The lecture begins at 6:30 p.m.
Sara LeMesh is a soprano that has been hailed for her “vocal majesty and expressive translucency,” as a dramatic presence on the opera stage, an avid chamber musician and an advocate of contemporary music. During the summer of 2022, she was a fellow at the Marlboro Music Festival. Most recently, she covered and performed the role of Young Leah/Lisa in the New York Premiere of Lori Laitman’s “Uncovered” with City Lyric Opera. Other operatic roles include Lucy Brown in Weill’s “The Threepenny Opera,” Zerlina in Mozart’s “Don Giovanni,” Bess in Mazzoli’s “Breaking the Waves,” and Norina in Donizetti’s “Don Pasquale.” LeMesh earned a Bachelor of Music from Rice University and a Master of Music from the Bard College-Conservatory of Music.
Grace Skinner is a mezzo-soprano and a recent recipient of the first-place prize in the Seattle Opera Guild Singers’ Development Competition. She made her debut role performing The Composer with Vashon Opera and has worked with The Atlanta Opera covering the role of Giulio Cesare, and Utah Festival Opera covering the role of Carmen. Skinner was a vocal fellow of the prestigious young artist programs at the Music Academy of the West and the Aspen Music Festival.
Steven Ricks is a tenor and has performed as a young artist with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Palm Beach Opera, Opera Saratoga and Idaho Falls Opera. He received the Encouragement Award from the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in both 2018 and 2019, as well as third place in the Classical Singers Magazine Competition.
Jeffrey Goldberg is a baritone with a voice praised as “rousing, full-throated,” and “ringing,” that has performed such roles as Gugliemo from Mozart’s “Così fan tutte,” Dr. Falke and Eisenstein in “Die Fledermaus” by Johann Strauss, Claudio in Berlioz’s “Beatrice et Benedict,” Bartolo and Antonio from Mozart’s “Le nozze di Figaro,” Peter in Humperdink’s “Hansel and Gretel,” Simone in Puccini’s “Gianni Schicchi,” and Howard in the Chicago premiere of “Dog Days” by David T. Little, as well as several partial roles. He has also performed with Pacific Symphony in their Opera for Kids! productions of Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Pirates of Penzance,” and Humperdink’s “Hansel and Gretel.” On the concert stage, he has performed the solo in several beloved masterworks, including Handel’s “Messiah,” Mozart’s “Requiem,” and Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 9.” He is a graduate of Northwestern University, where he obtained a Master’s degree in Voice and Opera, and before that, Chapman University where he obtained a Bachelor’s in Vocal Performance.
The Southwest Florida Symphony will perform an encore presentation of A Night at the Opera during the Opera Naples third annual Festival Under the Stars on April 2 at 7 p.m. at Cambier Park in Naples.
To purchase tickets or learn more, visit swflso.org/tickets/.
The Southwest Florida Symphony made its debut as a community orchestra on April 15, 1961, playing in schools and community centers, with a roster of only 24 volunteer musicians. Today, the symphony boasts a roster of 70 world-class musicians, and is Lee County’s only fully professional orchestra. The Southwest Florida Symphony’s 62nd year continues the orchestra’s tradition of artistic excellence as newly appointed Music Director Maestro Radu Paponiu leads his inaugural season of spectacular performances. Maestro Paponiu, the sixth music director in the organization’s history, also serves as the associate conductor and youth orchestra director for the Naples Philharmonic in addition to guest-conducting with orchestras throughout the United States and Europe.
For more information about the Southwest Florida Symphony, upcoming season performances and subscription and ticketing information, visit swflso.org or call 239-418-1500.