February 29, 2020 | 6:30 PM | Junior League of Little Rock Building
Opera In The Rock is thrilled to bring internationally renowned New York-based soprano Francesca Mondanaro back to Arkansas after her thrilling performance in last year’s landmark production of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly at The Rep. Ms. Mondanaro will be presenting a featured musical program during the upcoming fundraising gala OPERA ON THE ROCKS: GOLDEN AGE OF GLAMOUR. The night includes a delicious buffet-style dinner, flowing wine, a silent auction, live jazz and more themed to the Golden Age of Hollywood.
Why support local opera we asked? Francesca Mondanaro has the answers!
“Opera In The Rock has been called ‘small-but-mighty.’ Francesca, describe your experience performing for OITR and why you feel called to come back to Arkansas of all places to support local opera with your talent?”
The experience I had performing for OITR last season is what every artist hopes for – a supportive, positive environment between all colleagues which made it safe to take artistic risks with sensitive leaders like our conductor Geoffrey Robson who didn’t let us get away with anything but made us feel like we could always reach higher and our stage director David Ward who understood the unique needs of his cast as he himself works as a performer as well as a director. It was very intense due to the short rehearsal period, but I think the visceral excitement we felt from the audience from both sold out performances was proof that people really want and need this art form. I really believe that the future of opera is in regional audiences in the US. I want to see it alive and well, being offered at a high quality, and I am happy to be part of that mission in Arkansas!
“How can the community help to ensure this incredible artform stays alive in our state?”
Support classical music education in your public schools. Support OITR by purchasing tickets and come out to the performances – especially by bringing friends and family who may never have had the experience of seeing and hearing a live opera performance before. I promise you will end up with lifelong converts! If you cannot afford a financial patronage outside of purchasing tickets, volunteer time to the company – it takes a village to get one production off the ground. Let your local congresspeople know that you love the performances in your city and want to see grant support for your opera company. Get the word out in any way possible that this artform is important to you and you want to see it as a permanent fixture in the fabric of your local culture.
“What’s your favorite song you’ll be singing at the gala & why?”
It is impossible to choose, as we are offering a lot of classic chestnuts, but there is a number from the Broadway show “Steel Pier” – it is hilariously funny, not what anyone would expect from a classically trained singer, and I think our gala patrons are going to be in for a great surprise and some huge laughs. Let’s just say I am praying to channel Mae West and Ethel Merman in the hopes of pulling it off!
Admission is $100 benefitting Opera In The Rock’s professional opera performances and outreach programming. Visit oitr.org for more information.
Saturday, February 29th, 6:30 pm – Junior League of Little Rock Ballroom
Reserve seats now at bit.ly/OITRGala