Friday, March 27, 2009

Chase Away the Rainy Day Blues

In case you didn't know, I'm a bit of an opera geek. I especially love hearing new talent. That's exactly why I'm so excited for our annual Irma M. Cooper Opera Columbus International Vocal Competition this weekend! Twenty-eight talented singers from across the nation, ranging in age from 22 - 35, will be coming to Columbus to compete for cash, prizes and operatic glory (and they'll probably be fighting to get their picture taken with yours truly).

The competition begins with the free semi-finals on Saturday (March 28) at 10 a.m. and lasts until 1 p.m. then it's time for a lunch break. The competition resumes at 3:30 and goes until 6 p.m. From there the judges have to narrow the field to eight singers all of whom will sing on Sunday beginning at 2 p.m. Sunday's finals cost $10 (and are free to Opera Columbus subscribers) . Tickets are available at the door the day of the finals. We're supposed to have showers all weekend in Columbus so I can think of nothing better to beat the rainy day blues than by listening to some amazing opera singers.

I promise you this year's competition will be one the best yet. We have three amazing judges: Kristin Cowdin (Artist Manager at Guy Barzilay), Diane Kesling (accomplished opera singer and director) and Lenore Rosenberg (Associate Artistic Administrator of the Metropolitan Opera). The very talented Donna Hallen Loewy will be our accompanist for the weekend (her fingers are going to be tired after playing for 28 people on Saturday and eight more on Sunday!).

Best of all, this year's competion is going to be dedicated to our dear friend, Paul Hickfang. Paul has been involved with the competition since it's inception. Paul passed away earlier this year. We miss him dearly and are looking forward to honoring him this weekend.

Special thanks to Johanna, Jeryl, Eric and all our wonderful volunteers for making this weekend possible.

Hope I see you at Weigel Hall (on OSU's campus) this weekend! Seriously, take this cow's word - you don't want to miss it!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Irish Broadway

Let me let you in on a little secret. I love (LOVE) NPR. I mean, I can't get enough. If this makes me a super geek, so be it. I would be lost with out National Public Radio.

This morning I was listening to 89.7 WOSU and I heard the most fascinating story about Naghten Street, the very street on which Opera Columbus sits! My favorite part of the story was learning that the street was once called Irish Broadway. How cool is that?!?! Picture it: lots of green, sparkly costumes, gold tap shoes, top hats... I digress.
So, thanks to our friends at WOSU (and information from the historical marking on the street) here's a wee bit o' Columbus Irish history for you in honor of St. Patrick's Day:

Thousands of Irish immigrants came to Columbus to seek personal and religious freedom. With the "Great Hunger" in Ireland and the completion of the Ohio and Erie Canal and the National Road, immigration to Columbus increased in the mid nineteenth century. They initially settled in the north side of the city in the swamp flats, where inexpensive land was available and work could be had on the railroads. Settlement spread to Franklinton, on Naghten Street, later known as "Irish Broadway"- part of which is now Nationwide Boulevard, and to nearby Flytown. The immigrants became domestic workers, civil servants, entrepreneurs, and served the city in police and fire departments. Others were leaders in government, law, medicine, and education. Their legacy continues today in the Irish-American population of Columbus, Ohio.

These are only a representative few of the Irish individuals and groups who were prominent in the formation of Columbus. IRISH IN COLUMBUS BEFORE OHIO STATEHOOD Lucas Sullivant, Founder of Franklinton in 1797 John Brickell, Early settler IRISH IN COLUMBUS DURING EARLY STATEHOOD Thomas Kirker, Ohio's 2nd governor, acting 1807-08 term John Kerr, 2nd Mayor of Columbus Alfred Kelley, Father of Ohio Canals, Ohio and Erie Canal Developer, and Legislator IRISH IN COLUMBUS AFTER THE GREAT HUNGER (1845) Sisters of the Poor of St. Francis, St. Francis Hospital Dominican Sisters, St. Mary of the Springs, St. Mary of the Springs Academy William "Billy" Naghten, Columbus City Council President Patrick Egan, Franklin County Coroner for ten terms Jeremiah O'Shaughnessy, Superintendent, Division of Water, Columbus, Ohio.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Cast Your Ballot

So, my blog-reading friends, I have a teeny, tiny favor to ask of you.

Columbus Monthly is a top-notch, monthly magazine here in beautiful Columbus. Each year they have a "Best of Columbus" issue where people can vote on everything from the best Columbus Chinese restaurant to TV anchor to performing arts organization (you see where this is going?). Here's where we need your help. Please take a minute and cast your vote for Opera Columbus as your favorite Columbus performing arts organization. Click here to cast your ballot. It only takes a few minutes and you could win a $100 gift certificate from one of the restaurants voted best by the readers of the poll. Plus you will receive my undying love and affection (and I know that's what everyone really wants).

Oh, and it would be pretty awesome if you voted for "Udderly Fabulous" as the best blog. Just throwing that out there (hint, hint).

For my Columbus-based readers, don't forget it's Restaurant Week! More than 40 Dine Original member restaurants, from casual to fine dining, are participating. Each restaurant has prepared a special fixed-priced menu- some restaurants at $15 and some at $30 (excluding gratuity and tax). I've already been to a couple, and take my word for it - the menus are to die for! It's such an amazing deal!

So, first, vote for Opera Columbus (and "Udderly Fabulous") then treat yourself to an amazing dinner at one of Columbus' best restaurants. You deserve it.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Thank You Columbus!

If you missed Turandot (and shame on you if you did), you missed an amazing production! We had an awesome cast, chorus, stage crew, production team and audience. It was our best attended show since moving back to the Ohio Theatre. Over 4,000 people saw our production of Turandot (4,602 to be exact). All I can say is, "WOW!" Thank you so much for your support of Opera Columbus. We literally wouldn't be here without you.

Besides a great production, we also had an amazing party after the show (special thanks to Activities Coordinator, Jeryl). I think this proves how cool opera really is. Now, aren't you sad you weren't there?

And I'm thinking now would be a good time to buy your tickets to our next production, The Mikado. Get on it.

Happy Weekend!

OC Board Member Lori with her husband Bob who
made his Opera Columbus debut playing a great Prince of Persia

Getting some love from ASM, Alicia

Othalie's mom, funny-man Dean Anthony
and the fabulous Othalie Graham

Mark Andrew Baker and I share a slice of yummy pizza

Eric, who played an amazing Madarin and his friend Jay