Performances at the Columbus Theatre
270 Broadway, Providence, RI
10/26: Nancy Verde Barr
10/28: Fred Plotkin
Composer: Lee Hoiby
Librettist: Mark Shulgasser
Hoiby’s Bon Appétit! is transcribed from a classic Julia Child television broadcast. In this “episode” the master chef teaches the makings of a classic French chocolate cake as only she can. Hoiby’s lively score illuminates child’s words & witticisms and takes listeners on a musical journey to match the culinary adventure unfolding before their eyes. Spectators who rarely find their way to an opera house will be delighted by a hilarious, feverishly whisking chef who creates a masterpiece with flour flying and egg-beaters racing. Just as in a cooking show on TV, the cake is prepared from real ingredients as the piece is sung.
Vanessa Schukis, who will be portraying Julia Child, was the recipient of the Gold Award and People’s Choice Award in the 2002 Vera Scammon International Vocal Competition. Ms. Schukis has sung a wide variety of operatic, oratorio and broadway repertoire to great critical acclaim. Her recent credits include; Santuzza in Cavalleria Rusticana and Flora in La Traviata with the Fine Arts Chorale in Weymouth; Marcellina in Le nozze di Figaro, Mrs. Paroo in The Music Man, Ms. Dolly Tate, Annie Get Your Gun, Wicked Witch of the West in the Wizard of Oz, Fruma-Sarah in Fiddler on the Roof, Clementina in The Desert Song, Sr. Margaretta in The Sound of Music, Mrs. McLean in Susannah and Dinah in South Pacific with the Utah Festival Opera Company; Clotilde Lombaste, The New Moon, New England Light Opera; Sr. Sophia, The Sound of Music, Wheelock Family Theater; Liebeslieder in A Little Night Music at the Lyric Stage Company in Boston; Reggie Kassan in NOMTI’s The Woman Upstairs; Woman 1 in the Boston Premiere of The New Normal, a spiritual tribute to 9/11; Euphemia Ivanova Bochkova and the Woman’s Warder in Resurrection, Marquise in The Daughter of the Regiment with the Boston Lyric Opera/Opera New England; Zita in Gianni Schicchi, Flora in La Traviata, Mistress Page in The Merry Wives of Windsor, Mrs. Ott in Susannah, and Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus with the Longwood Opera Company; Mama Maddelena in Nine, Liebeslieder in A Little Night Music, Dame Carruthers in Yeomen of the Guard with the Boston Publick Theater; Sister Mary Amnesia, Sister Robert Anne, and Sister Mary Leo in the Boston National Company of Nunsense with Pat Carroll and Alice Ghostley. Ms. Schukis currently is a soloist for Old North Church and St. Paul in Wellesley continues to perform in theater, opera and concert engagements and has performed in Austria.
The Italian Lesson
Hoiby’s "The Italian Lesson" turns one of the most popular of Ruth Draper's character sketches into a one woman operatic monologue and feat of vocal and theatrical brilliance. It offers a brief window into the hectic life of a New York society matron. Written in 1925, when Draper was 40 and at the height of her creative abilities, the monologue was originally referred to in letters as "The Busy Mother." "Busy" is something of an understatement. While studying The Inferno, the matron, among much else and with the assistance of a long line of servants, plans a dinner menu, gossips with friends, quells disturbances by her passel of troublesome children, arranges for riding lessons, dentist's appointments, dancing classes and gymnasium visits for said troublesome children, greets a new puppy, sends her husband's golf clubs and clothes to meet him at the train station, arranges a care package for the injured son of the night watchman, reviews appointment schedules with her secretary, finds guests for a box at the opera, instructs a painter in changes to a child's portrait, gives away concert tickets, tells a schoolteacher to drop mathematics from her son's curriculum, flirts with her lover, orders a new lampshade cover and has a manicure. The matron notes that Dante, like Shakespeare, "seemed to know the things that always would be true." So did Draper, and like the work of those writers, her monologues are "filled with quotations and great general truths."
Valerie Nicolosi, who will be portraying The Busy Mother/Ruth Draper, began her music and acting studies at the Walnut Hill School for the Arts in Natick, MA. She received her Bachelor’s in Vocal Performance from the Eastman School of Music, and her Masters in Vocal Performance from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, TN. Mezzo Soprano Valerie Nicolosi has enjoyed a dynamic operatic career around the country and the globe. She has received critical acclaim for leading operatic roles with a variety of regional opera companies around the country including Lake George Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Shreveport Opera, Ashlawn Opera, St. Petersburg Opera, Raylynmore Opera, Commonwealth Opera, Augusta Opera, Cape Cod Opera and Opera Theater of Connecticut. In September 2002, Miss Nicolosi debuted in the title role of Rossini’s La Cenerentola with Opera Providence. A favorite for pants roles, she has sung the role of Cherubino in Le Nozze Di Figaro with Abilene Opera, Knoxville Opera, and Dayton Opera. She continues to sing leading and supporting roles with various opera companies around the United States. Roles include Dorabella in Cosi Fan Tutte, Rosina in Barber of Seville, Angelina in La Cenerentola, Hermia and Oberon in Midsummer Night’s Dream, Hansel in Hansel and Gretel, Olga in Eugene Onegin, Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Suzuki in Madame Butterfly, Stephano in Roméo et Juliette, La Ciesca and Zita in Gianni Schicchi, and Cupid in Orpheus and the Underworld. This past Fall Miss Nicolosi sang the title role in Gustav Holst’s Savitri with Lexington Symphony. Miss Nicolosi is a Liederkranz Competition finalist and prize winner, and was awarded the Richard F. Gold Career Grant for Young Singers. She has appeared as a soloist with the Indian Hill Symphony, Knoxville Symphony, Chattanooga Symphony, Rhode Island Civic Chorale and Orchestra, Hartford Festival Orchestra, St. Alban's Symphonia, and the Boston Ballet. She is also well-known for her inventive song recital programs which make the classical song repertoire more accessible to contemporary audiences and are popular on a wide variety of venues around the United States.
83 Park Street, Providence, RI 02903
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