McPherson, KS – On Saturday, March 7, two incredible international artists combine to bring the best-loved music in the world, from opera to Broadway and pop, to the McPherson OperaHouse stage. The gala event, titled “What’s Old is What’s New” is a charity event for the benefit of the McPherson Opera House and stars Soprano and US Cultural Ambassador Demetra George and Metropolitan Opera Tenor, Eduardo Villa.
Soprano Demetra George (Mustafoglu), Honorary Ph.D., is one of the most celebrated
musical ambassadors of the United States and recently United States Ambassador to Cyprus. John Koenig declared her a Cultural Ambassador for sharing her vocal talents with the world and spreading American culture. Ms. George has graced opera stages and concert halls around the world, including Carnegie Hall and US Embassies across Europe. A two-time Grammy List nominee for her CD “Demetra George Sings Love Arias,” she has performed for four U.S. Presidents and with over 700 symphony orchestras. She boasts a repertoire of more than 20 opera and operetta roles and 18 in musical theater. Violetta In La Traviata, Mimi in La Boheme, Hannah in The Merry Widow, and Maria in West Side Story are some of her most celebrated roles. She is a frequent guest on stages in the U.S., Turkey, Greece, Cyprus, and Azerbaijan. The former MissOklahoma to Miss America talent winner, and San Francisco Opera winner, met her husband Mike while in Wichita Music Theatre singing as Tuptim in The King & I. Demetra uses her gifts to educate and train, including having trained young children for
14 lead roles on Broadway. She also uses her talents to benefit philanthropic efforts, such as a recent Andrew Lloyd Webber Concert in Istanbul, which raised $5 million for the restoration of the entrance to Topkapi Palace and to aid many major U.S. charities.
Eduardo Villa is one of the world’s most sought-after and versatile tenors with an
unusually broad repertoire that ranges from Nemorino to Otello in leading opera houses
throughout Europe and North America. He is a regular guest of the Metropolitan Opera and has appeared on their stage in the title roles in Don Carlo and Ernani, Radames in Aida, Rodolpho in Luisa Miller, Don Jose in Carmen, Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly, Turiddu in Cavalleria Rusticana, Canio in I Pagliacci. and Enzo in La Gioconda. He has held countless other leading roles with opera companies in New York and on stages throughout the United States. Notable concert appearances in North America include the Verdi Requiem with the Columbus Symphony and Los Angeles Master Chorale, and opera gala concerts with the Dallas Symphony, Pasadena Symphony, and for Opera Hamilton. In Europe, he was a regular guest of the Bavarian State Opera in Munich.
“It’s an incredible opportunity to have these artists perform in the Opera House theatre,” says McPherson Opera House Executive Director, Diane Fallis. “The idea for Ms.George’s performance came to us by Kevin Samuelson, an Opera House board member and
personal friend of Ms. George. Kevin told us about her charity work around the world and offered to explore the possibility of performing for the Opera House. We are thrilled that she, and her friend Eduardo Villa, are willing to come to Kansas and perform for us. This is a rare opportunity – and we’re excited; I hope everyone takes advantage of their being here in McPherson and comes out to hear them.”
About fundraising for the Opera House, Fallis says “I think most people understand that it takes a lot of funding to cover operating expenses for a facility like this. What may not be realized, though, is that all of the wonderful activities that happen here doesn’t mean we’re taking in enough money to cover those expenses. While income from ticket sales and program sponsorship help to cover show expenses, additional sources of funding are needed to cover regular expenses like insurance, utilities, salaries, and maintenance. That’s where donations, grants, membership, and proceeds from fundraising events come in. All are crucial sources to help fund the overall operation.” She further explains, “typical for historic theatres throughout the country is that 40% of its operating budget comes from contributions – and that’s a large, but valuable, pot to fill. The Opera House contributes so much to the quality of life and economy in our community and also provides so much opportunity. It’s great to see community members support it by attending these special activities.”
The March 7 performance starts at 7:00pm. Tickets range from $20-$40, all-inclusive. A
special meet and greet after-show reception in the Grand Ballroom that includes meeting the artists and enjoying hors d’oeuvres and adult beverages is available for an additional $50 with the purchase of a $40 performance ticket. Tickets can be purchased at
http://www.mcphersonoperahouse.org, by calling 620-241-1952, or visiting the box office at 219 S. Main Street, McPherson.