Baritone Rene de la Garza, voice faculty member and director of the Opera program at the University of Rhode Island, will present a University Artist Series concert “Movies and Musicals” on Sunday, March 7, at 3 p.m. in the URI Fine Arts Center Concert Hall, 105 Upper College Road, Kingston. De la Garza will be joined by special guests soprano Diana McVey, mezzo-soprano Georgette Hutchins, pianist Patrice Newman and the singers from the URI Opera Theatre, with choreography provided by Denise Lachowski. Admission is $8.00 general public, $2.00 students, with tickets available at the box office on a first-come basis starting 45 minutes before the concert.
The concert will feature a medley of cinema melodies from Dr. Zhivago, The Wizard of Oz, The Bandwagon, The Seven Hills of Rome, and also songs from popular Broadway musicals that were made into blockbuster movies including: South Pacific, Kismet, The Producers, and Something Happened on the Way to The Forum.
The URI Opera Theatre students will perform chorus numbers “There is Nothing Like a Dame”, That’s Entertainment”, “Standin’ on the Corner”, and “The Boogey Woogey Bugle Boy”. The concert will begin with 3 Shakespeare songs from three-time Oscar winner composer Erich Wolff Korngold. Diana McVey will sing the hilarious song from Candide “Glitter and Be Gay” which is laden with coloratura pyrotechnics. Also on the program are three selections from Frank Loesser’s The Most Happy Fella.
Rene de la Garza’s singing has been praised for its rich color and strong dramatic delivery. He has sung with the Albany Symphony, the New Haven Symphony, The Brooklyn Philharmonic under Lukas Foss, and the Rhode Island Philharmonic. Representative roles he has sung include Rossini’s Figaro, Germont in La Traviata, Ford in Falstaff, Marcello in La Boheme, the title role in Rigoletto and Baron Scarpia in Tosca. He has performed with the Opera Company of Boston, Boston Academy of Music, Opera New England, New Jersey Lyric Opera, Opera Providence, the Hartford Concert Opera and at Trinity Repertory Theatre in Richard Cumming’s opera Picnic, directed by Oskar Eustis. In New York he has appeared with Repertorio Espanol as Vidal in Moreno Torroba’s Luisa Fernanda.
Frequently in demand as a solo recitalist, he has appeared at The Newport Music Festival, The Kennedy Center and on concert series throughout New England. As a soloist in orchestral and choral music, he has performed a wide variety works with such groups as the Chatham Chorale, the Chorus of Westerly, The Rhode Island Civic Chorale, The Providence Singers, Albany Chorus Pro Musica, Capitol Hill Choral Society and the Waterbury Chorale. Recent performances include a solo vocal recital in Barcelona, Spain in a multi-media presentation Pictures in Sound. He appeared in the premier of John Sumerlin’s opera Air at Rhode Island College. He also sang in a concert performance of Kurt Weill’s Johnny Johnson on the Bank of America Concert Series in Boston, and recorded in that work on the New World Records label with the Boston Camerata.
Soprano Diana McVey’s skills as both singer and actress have made her highly visible in opera, oratorio and as a soloist with symphony orchestras. She has sung leading roles with numerous opera companies around the U.S., including Opera Columbus, Opera Naples, Light Opera Oklahoma, and locally with Ocean State Lyric Opera, the Salt Marsh Opera Company, and Opera Providence among others. She was an apprentice artist with both the Sarasota Opera Company and the Lake George Opera Festival. In 2003, she was a finalist in the New England Regional Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and was heard on WGBH, Boston. She made her Carnegie Hall debut in 2006 singing Mozart’s Requiem and Coronation Mass, and traveled to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, for a production of Carmen.
Ms. McVey has appeared as soloist with the Florida West Coast Symphony, the Pioneer Valley Symphony, the Longwood Symphony, the Rhode Island Philharmonic, the Albany Symphony, and the Rhode Island Civic Chorale and Orchestra, among others. Recent engagements include Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass at Carnegie Hall, productions of La Traviata, Pirates of Penzance, and Turandot, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Carmina Burana, Bachianas Brasileiras No.5, and numerous opera galas. Upcoming engagements include a production of La Rondine with Opera Tampa, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass with the Rhode Island Civic Chorale & Orchestra, Mozart’s Coronation Mass at Carnegie Hall, and Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 in Sydney, Australia. She attended RI College and has been a long time student of internationally-recognized soprano Maria Spacagna.
Mezzo-soprano Georgette Hutchins, a native of Boston, has been a favorite of audiences throughout the east coast and as far west as Oregon. She has sung leading roles with Bronx Opera Company, Manhattan Chamber Orchestra, Connecticut Grand Opera, Rhode Island Civic Chorale, and the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra, among others. She has been a member of the Metropolitan Opera Chorus as an extra Chorister for the past eleven years under the direction of Maestro James Levine. Additional venues around New York City include; The Gregg Smith Singers, New York City Opera, St. Vincent Ferrer Church, and Trinity Church Wall Street.
Ms. Hutchins attended the Phyllis Curtin Seminar at Tanglewood and was a Fellow at the Bach Aria Festival at Stony Brook in NY. She is currently a cantor at the Cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul in Providence, RI and a soloist with the Gregorian Concert Choir. During the summer, she sings at the Watch Hill Chapel in Westerly, RI. As an adjunct faculty member at both Walnut Hill School for the Arts and Rhode Island College, she takes time to teach the next generation of singers while she continues to pursue her singing career with guidance from her longtime friend and mentor, Maria Spacagna. She holds both a Bachelor and Master of Music Degree from the University of Rhode Island and is pleased to return as a guest for this concert.
The URI Concert Hall is handicap-accessible, and parking is available in the lot behind the Fine Arts Center, off Bills Road.
For more information, please contact the URI Department of Music, 874-2431, or check the website: www.uri.edu/artsci/mus.