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November 16, 2011

Opera Week at Towson U. includes Idol-style contest, one-act works, more

Among the many things happening out there these days is Opera Week at Towson University. Even though we're partway through said week, there's still a lot of activity left:

Wednesday night's diversion is "Opera Idol," an aria contest featuring TU voice students. The audience gets to pick the winners -- and gets a chance at some prizes, too, during an opera quiz.

On Friday, various scenes from works by Mozart, Rossini and Gilbert and Sullivan will be performed by TU's Music for the Stage.

Saturday morning finds the focus shifting to ...

opera for children. "Little Red's Most Unusual Day," a take on the Little Red Riding Hood tale by John Davies incorporating music by Offenbach and Rossini, will be performed by Opera in a Can, directed by Phillip Collister. Additional activities for kids are planned around the performances.

On Saturday night, Music for the Stage presents three comic American one-act operas: "A Game of Chance" and "Not A Spanish Kiss" by Seymour Barab; "Captain Lovelock," by John Duke.

Opera Week wraps up Sunday afternoon with a performances by winners of the first Rosa Ponselle City of Caiazzo Vocal Competition, which was held last summer. Simeone Tartaglione conducts the concert. There will also be a pre-concert lecture about Ponselle's life and legacy by Bette Hankin, a friend of the legendary soprano.



Posted by Tim Smith at 2:13 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Clef Notes, Opera


Miss Bette Hankin was NEITHER a friend
NOR a Protege of Miss Rosa Ponselle !
She was a pupil of Elsa Baklor at thePeabody .
She sang a few supporting roles with the
Baltimore Civic Opera Company , for which she, as did other cast members , coach their respective roles with its then , Artistic Director ,
Rosa Ponselle . Ponselle resigned her
affiliation with the Opera Company in 1979 .
Miss Hankin , who over the years performed in various capacities for the Baltimore Opera Company , HAD a longtime and continuous friendship with Elayne Duke , the LAST LIVING of Ponselle's PERSONAL Friends from early childhood !
On occasion , Miss Hankin was a guest at Villa Pace , in regard to her affiliation with the Opera Company . She
had NOT been characterized by Miss Ponselle Nor ANYONE as a Lifetime or personal Baltimore friend to Ponselle .
When Ponselle died in 1981 , and the
Rosa Ponselle Museum was established , Miss Duke invited Miss Hankin , then a friend , to serve as a docent during the Museum tours which Miss Carole Lynn of the Peabody Conservatory established . She and others were trained by Miss Duke , as docents, who originated and presented The guided , audio/visual tours
through the Museum . On occasion Miss Hankin accompanied Miss Duke to her Audio/viuual presentments at the Juilliard School , Yale University and the University of Indianna in Bloomington .
Since the sale of ' Villa Pace " , Miss
Duke has had no further affiliation with Miss Hankin.
The Ponselle audio/visual Presentment , as developed by Miss Duke at " Villa Pace " , has been viewed under the auspices of the Rosa Ponselle Foundation in Opera Centers , Opera Houses and Musical organizations throughout the United States , Canada , England , Bulgaria, Russia , China and Japan . The presentment includes a filmed Documentary , DVD Still shots , her MGM
Carmen Screen test and CD selections from her more that 350 Commercial and Private releases .
I am personally offended that as a
Graduate and Post Graduate Degree recipient from Towson University , NOT
to have received a RESPECTFUL reply to the Rosa Ponselle Foundation's request to present the
" Life and Art " presentment on the Immortal Ponselle !
Instead you have invited " MY " protege to deliver a program which she
has had NO background in developing .
I am credited by the Authors James Drake and Mary Jane Phillips Matz as having shepherded them through the Ponselle Biographies ; as well as to
have provided All of the Archival Material
to Enrico Aloi for his THREE pictorial
Essays .
Further to ALL of this , I am the ORIGINATOR and Creator of the Caiazzo
Ponselle Competition from which I resigned last November upon the advice of my Professionally established Italian
Colleagues in Milan , Florence and Rome who cautioned me that its protagonists were DISHONORABLE !
I have NOTHING more to say , except
Towson University's Music Department ,
its Dean AND its Chairman are a great
disappointment to the Legacy of the Great Ponselle , and to me ,personally !

Elayne Reynolds Duke
The Rosa Ponselle Foundation

President, The Rosa Ponselle Foundation

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About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
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