Some of the top opera singers in the area will share their talents at Townsend Opera Players' season-opening gala concert Oct. 3.
The program, set at the Gallo Center for the Arts, features eight singers and a full orchestra. Musical selections will come from such operas as Gluck's "Orfeo & Euridice," Mozart's "The Magic Flute" and "Cosi fan tutte," Puccini's "La Bohème" and "Tosca" and Verdi's "Rigoletto." There will be no sets or costumes.
"It will let people enjoy the highlights of what opera has to offer in a more relaxed setting," said Matthew Buckman, TOP's executive director.
For the first time, TOP Artistic Director Joseph Wiggett, an accomplished baritone and vocal professor at California State University, Stanislaus, will perform. Others appearing include bass Gregory Stapp, a longtime San Francisco Opera veteran; tenor David Lomeli, a San Francisco Adler Fellow given the rare opportunity to perform lead roles in the San Francisco Opera; and mezzo soprano Evgenia Chaverdova, winner of the adult portion of TOP's annual Kristina Townsend vocal competition.
Buckman is excited that countertenor Ryan Belongie will perform in the show. Countertenors are men who can sing in falsetto-like voices and are frequently used in Baroque operas. Rounding out the cast are sopranos Susannah Biller and Lissa Davila and tenor Brian Jagde.
All ticket holders are invited to attend a free pre-concert reception with appetizers and wine at noon at Oak Valley Bank, 1200 I St., Suite 3. The singers also will attend.