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Javier joins world famous singers for Opera benefit with Opera Orlando

SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 11, 2016 AT 8PM

WALT DISNEY THEATER AT THE DR. PHILLIPS CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS

Opera responds to the Pulse Night Club Tragedy with a benefit concert that supports the vital infrastructure that supports diversity and understanding in our community. Opera Orlando has coordinated a concert featuring some of the art form’s brightest national stars supported by professional musicians from throughout Florida.  Internationally-renowned David Charles Abell will conduct and legendary baritone Sherrill Milnes will be one of the evening’s hosts. Tickets are $25-$125 and go on sale August 19th. Opera Orlando will be joined by the Orlando Ballet and several opera companies from across the state including Opera Tampa, Opera Naples, St. Petersburg Opera, Sarasota Opera, First Coast Opera, and others.  Pulitzer Prize winners Paul Moravec and Mark Campbell will also be presenting a new vocal work at this concert.

Artists include sopranos Ana Maria MartinezSarah Joy Miller, and Cecilia Violetta Lopez, Mezzo-Soprano Jennifer Johnson Cano, tenors Cody Austin and Javier Abreu, and baritones Mark Walters and Davis Gaines, all joined by an over 50 piece orchestra from across greater Central Florida and a 150 voice mass chorus put together by opera companies from across the state.

Javier jumps in with the cast of FGO's The Barber of Seville!

Photo Credit: Brittany Mazzurco Muscato © Florida Grand Opera

Photo Credit: Brittany Mazzurco Muscato © Florida Grand Opera

Due to illness, tenor Andrew Owens cancelled Florida Grand Opera's matinee of The Barber of Seville on November 15th, 2015.  Javier filled in at the last minute to rave reviews!  Check them out!

"Abreu, a Puerto Rican tenor, was a delightful Almaviva, with a very Italianate sound that had muscle in the center of his register and a very attractive head voice. He is a slight, shortish man, which made him ideal physically as a partner for Ginther, and they looked persuasive as a couple. His voice was especially lovely in the “Se il mio nome” serenade to Rosina, one of the prettiest parts of the score; the sheer flexibility of his voice makes him well-suited for Rossini in general, and that FGO was able to land him at the last minute for this was a real stroke of good fortune." - Palm Beach Arts Paper
 
"Abreu steals the opera with his entrance and opening scene in Act Two as Alonso. His solid voice is sufficient but his willingness to stoop to just about anything in order to get his laughs is truly heroic." - ConcertoNet
 
"Two of the cast members proved nothing short of heroic. With Andrew Owens, who was to sing Count Almaviva in all performances, announced as indisposed, Miami-based tenor Javier Abreu was called in on a few days notice and, with just one rehearsal, gave a captivating portrayal of the aristocrat. Abreu’s compact voice was clear and easily filled the house. His ease in coloratura was evident immediately in “Ecco ridente” and his pianissimos in the serenade to Rosina were meltingly beautiful. His characterization was consistently funny as he took full advantage of his disguises as a drunken soldier and stammering music teacher." - South Florida Classical Review
 
"For the Sunday performance, Abreu nearly stole the show from the rest of the cast. With only one previous rehearsal he stepped on to the stage and owned the character.   Of course this was not the first "Barber" for Abreu, who has performed the role with several different opera companies during the course of his career. But even with a strange cast in an unfamiliar house, Abreu proved that he is a true operatic professional by delivering a star quality performance." - Edge Media Network

The Long Walk In OPERA NEWS

Javier Abreu (Castleman), Daniel Belcher (Brian Castner), David Blalock (Ricky), and Justin Hopkins (Jeff). 

Javier Abreu (Castleman), Daniel Belcher (Brian Castner), David Blalock (Ricky), and Justin Hopkins (Jeff). 

Lawrence Edelson, the new general and artistic director of Opera Saratoga, comes to the company from American Lyric Theater, where he has helped to spark and develop contemporary works during his time as producing artistic director. Edelson intends to do new works yearly in Saratoga. This summer included a notably successful world premiere — The Long Walk, by Jeremy Howard Beck, who turns thirty this year — that had been shepherded by ALT. Beck’s apt score, eclectically sourced but individual in timbre, represents one of the more effective integrations of rock elements (including two electric guitars) and prerecorded material I have ever heard. Despite relatively small instrumental forces, Beck managed a wide variety of textures and sustained narrative tension with shrewd rhythmic choices. Stephanie Fleischmann based the smart libretto — its occasional repetitions usually making a point — on Brian Castner’s 2012 memoir of overcoming ordnance-disposal service in Iraq and his resultant brain traumas and alienation from his heroic wife, Jessie, and their three children. The result gripped July 13’s matinée audience at the Spa Little Theater (the premiere had been on the 10th) and should be seen at other companies that have a relatively intimate stage and commitment to operatic work rooted in contemporary issues.

David Schweizer’s direction was consistently strong, deploying a fine cast realistically through a piece in which memories prove a frequent, unwanted reality for the protagonist. Split-focus scenes — upstairs and down, in Buffalo and in Iraq — were aided by Mimi Lien’s excellent two-level set, tucking the orchestra visibly into a glass booth on the lower portion. Steven Osgood’s expert musical direction presented Beck’s fine music strongly; occasionally the sound design gave the singing too generalized a resonance.
Saratoga’s cast could scarcely have been better, though the natural boyishness of Daniel Belcher (a bravura Brian in acting, verbal articulation and subtly applied tone color) sometimes undermined his status as a grizzled warrior. Belcher’s youthful affect was augmented by his usual attire of running shorts — the character begins and ends the opera running in the Buffalo suburbs, away from “WAS” and toward “IS.” 
Heather Johnson, her handsome mezzo rich, her treatment of words full of nuance, generated much sympathy as Jessie. She sang Jessie’s affecting top-of-Act II aria beautifully. Belcher shared many scenes, including a hushed, almost nostalgic quartet of bonding, with the singers embodying his explosive-disposal comrades, all now dead — trenchant tenor David Blalock (Ricky), consistently lyrical high tenor Javier Abreu (Castleman) and powerfully sonorous bass-baritone Justin Hopkins (Jeff). Fleischmann and Schweizer cleverly juxtaposed Brian’s conflicting loyalties to his three buddies and his children, played disarmingly by three fine trebles, Eric Schuett (Martin), Robert Wesley Hill (Virgil) and Henry Wager (Sam). 
Caroline Worra brought star presence and her shining tone and dead-on attacks to three sharply contrasting roles. Another fine soprano, Donita Volkwijn, also aced a trio of portraits. The spiritual-based military funeral scene, in which Volkwijn played with great dignity the widow of a fallen comrade of Brian’s, could be said to represent yet another appropriation of the African–American idiom by a Caucasian composer; yet the scene effectively opened out the hitherto tightly domestic story, introduced salutary formal elements visually and harmonically — and served as a reminder of how relatively high is the proportion of minority enlistment in today’s armed forces. This was a strong, moving show. — David Shengold