TT gets ‘A Taste of Grand Opera’

Vibrant singing – the kind that makes you sit up and take notice – will be heard from two very enchanting sopranos – one new to Trinidad audiences – Dr Vertrelle Cameron-Mickens, Associate Professor of Music (Vocal) at UTT’s Academy of the Arts; and the other well-known lyric soprano, Natalia Dopwell.

Trinidad’s young baritone, Rory Wallace completes the trio of singers. They will perform some of the world’s most memorable and enchanting music from Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte and Marriage of Figaro and Verdi’s Il Trovatore to Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess.

Dr Vertrelle Cameron-Mickens, a graduate of Fisk University, Peabody Conservatory, Johns Hopkins University, received her Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Kentucky. An IBM Fellow in the Performing Arts, she has performed with orchestras in the United States and Europe.

Hailed by critics as “A Soprano For All Seasons”, Dr Cameron-Mickens has performed with the Akron Symphony, Lexington Philharmonic, and Austin Symphony as soloist in Beethoven’s Symphony No 9, Handel’s Messiah, and the Verdi Requiem and recorded with the East-West Orchestra in Leipzig, Germany.

“The warm timbre of Cameron’s voice, solid vocal technique and wonderfully brilliant singing.” Die Zeitung Leipzig Germany.

She is also known as a singer in such diverse roles as Aida with Tulsa Opera and Monisha in Scott Joplin’s Treemonisha at Reichhold Center in USVI for which she received rave reviews: “Gifted with a voice described as angelic.” The Daily News St Thomas, USVI.

Dr Cameron-Mickens was inducted into the 2007 Marquis Who’s Who in America and has taught on the music faculties of the University of the Virgin Islands, Kentucky State University, Tennessee State University, Eastern Kentucky University, and as Artistic Director and founder of the Repertory Theatre Company, USVI.

Lyric soprano, Natalia Dopwell’s scintillating vocals have won her rave reviews for solo performances at Holder’s Season, Barbados (2006) and A Night at the Opera, as a featured guest of Opera Grenada (2007). A prolific performer, Natalia has been performing since her pre-teen years with the Lorna Myers Chorale, the Love Movement, then Marionettes Chorale.

Natalia has performed alongside world-renowned artistes — British violinists Oliver Lewis, and Chloe Hanslip and pianist Jeremy Filsell, as well as Trinidad’s own “Hands of Lightning” steelpan virtuoso, Liam Teague, and American pianist, Dr Jeff Middleton.

In 2004 Natalia became the youngest performer to win the adjudicator’s award for the coveted title of “Most Outstanding Performer” of the TT Music Festival with a most memorable performance of Offenbach’s “Les Oiseaux dans la Charmille (the Doll’s Song)”, which, after many requests, Natalia will perform again at A Taste of Grand Opera.

Currently at the Manhattan School of Music, she was chosen to perform at a Masterclass with Robin Guarino in February, and recently sang the roles of Antonia (Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffman) and Poppea (Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea) in the Spring Operatic Scenes Concerts. Beyond a rare and wonderfully radiant voice, Natalia’s appeal derives from a commanding stage presence, a warm, ready smile and an engaging authenticity.

Natalia was recently selected as a finalist in two prestigious international vocal competitions, competing against some of the best young professional singers in the USA, and will be returning to New York after the concert to compete in the finals of the Accadia Competition for Operatic Voice at the world famous Carnegie Hall on June 6.

Also performing in A Taste of Grand Opera is Trinidad’s young baritone, 21-year old Rory Wallace, a student of Plattsburg State University, New York where he is pursuing a degree in Music and the Performing Arts. A member of Marionettes Chorale, Rory was one of their leading soloists. In 2007, Rory performed in the Key Academy’s production of Sfumature d’Amore –in which he performed the character of Don Alfonso in Mozart’s Cosi fan Tutte and in the 2008 Biennial Music Festival, he received one of the coveted championship trophies.

Pianist for the evening is Professor Hayward Mickens, a graduate of Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University, Maryland where he received his BM and MM in piano performance. A longstanding student of Musicology at the University of Kentucky, Mickens was on the faculty of Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, Kentucky, before taking up his position as Assistant Professor of Music with the UTT.

Both Professor Mickens and Dr. Cameron-Mickens are professional musicians at the UTT Academy of the Arts.

These outstanding musicians make for a musically lavish production. Music lovers will find much to be enthused about in the generous sampling of repertoire showing off the versatility of this superb cast.

For further information you may call Annette at 632-2548 or Barbara at 746-5654.


"TT gets ‘A Taste of Grand Opera’"

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