Dessert foodie fans know that fabulous French pastries, cakes, and petit fours rival the best in tasty Italian dolce, chocolates, and Tiramisu.
OperaArts, a non-profit organization dedicated to presenting quality Opera and operetta performances to Coachella Valley residents, is mixing up a dessert recipe of its own with this year’s free Festival of Opera & Art repertoire, Just Desserts…The sweetest sounds of 19th Century French and Italian Opera.
The sixth annual Festival of Opera & Art will commence March 22 from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Palm Desert Civic Center Park and Amphitheater.
Festival of Opera & Art takes place at the Palm Desert Civic Center Park and Amphitheater.
OperaArts was founded six years ago to showcase musical masters of opera and give the public, including children and seniors especially, the opportunity to share in the beauty of experiencing opera performed by professional singers accompanied by a live orchestra. According to president and founder of OperaArts, Arlene Rosenthal, “Opera is transcendent. Its beauty lifts your spirit and takes you away as if in a daydream.”
Instead of presenting an eclectic mix of arias and ensemble choices, OperaArts “dream team” curates a carefully constructed repertoire for a well-crafted concert experience. Rosenthal is joined by Resident Conductor Gualtiero Negrini, Musical Director Victoria Kirsch and a committed board of directors to create programs designed to enchant.
This year, Just Desserts will feature a strong field of world-class artists including Nathan Stark, Daniela Nuzzoli, Raul Hernandez, Zachary Gordin, and Lucia Kazarian singing what is known as Verismo Opera. The Verismo style (meaning realism or true) is known for its powerful vocals portraying, often, tragic subjects.
“Opera singers are quirky and strange and make incredible sounds with their bodies," says Musical Director Victoria Kirsch.
“Verismo is the heavy metal of opera, Negrini says. “There will be a lot of fireworks. The first part of the program will present liquid, elegant French singing in a lyrical fluid style. The second half is composed of Italian Verismo and the music will rev it up expressing vivid emotion.”
For those being introduced to opera for the first time, or for those who recognize a melody but don’t know its context, Kirsch will provide a brief commentary to illuminate the story.
“This is an opportunity to bring some of my favorite people together,” Kirsch says. “Opera singers are quirky and strange and make incredible sounds with their bodies. They’ve been given a gift and I can give them the gift of the opportunity to perform together. There is a magical community that is created every year. OperaArts family, singers, conductors, orchestra, board, patrons is a community that is passionate about opera. And in this crazy world, a collective collaboration brought together to share opera with a greater audience is special.”
A variety of activities including artwork displays and face painting will be available for all ages to enjoy. Food and beverages will also be for sale. Guests are encouraged to bring blankets, chairs, and umbrellas to experience an old-fashioned day in the park.
Festival of Opera & Art, 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. March 22, Palm Desert Civic Center Park and Amphitheater, Fred Waring Drive and San Pascual Avenue, 760-323-8353; www.operaartspalmsprings.org