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Members of Minnesota Opera on campus for concert, master class Nov. 9

RELEASED: Nov. 5, 2010

EAU CLAIRE — The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire music and theatre arts department will host Mary Dibbern, an internationally-acclaimed pianist and head of music for the Minnesota Opera, Nov. 9.

Guest artists who will lecture and perform with Dibbern include soprano Angela Mortellaro and bass-baritone Rodolfo Nieto, resident artists with the Minnesota Opera, as well as UW-Eau Claire graduate Jamie Andrews, the opera's music education director. The group will conduct a master class featuring UW-Eau Claire students and will perform at the Haas Fine Arts Center.

The events planned for Nov. 9, which are free and open to the public, are as follows:

  • 4-5:30 p.m. — Master class in Gantner Concert Hall, Haas Fine Arts Center
  • 5:30-7 p.m. — Dinner with guest artists off campus (buy your own).
  • 7:30 p.m. — Recital in Phillips Recital Hall, Haas Fine Arts Center.

According to Andrews, a 1998 music education graduate who now coordinates outreach activities for audiences of all ages, the mission of the Minnesota Opera is to work with not only performers but consumers of opera.

"We have a very strong drive to break down the myths of what people perceive to be a difficult art form," said Andrews, who was a percussionist as a student and considered opera a "hobby" at the time.

"The music program at UW-Eau Claire is very strong and the students have such a good work ethic," Andrews said. "One of the highlights of my school career was when Nobu (Yasuda, University Symphony Orchestra director) brought the music director of the Minnesota Orchestra in to work with us. We were always encouraged to connect with the arts organizations in the Twin Cities, so it will be very enjoyable for me to go back and work with students."

Dibbern travels the world as a master teacher and opera coach, and Mortellaro's career is just taking off, which provides students the opportunity to learn from an accomplished opera professional and someone not so different from themselves, Andrews said, noting that Mortellaro is a graduate of UW-Whitewater.

"Angela will have a very practical connection to these students who will possibly be doing what she is doing very shortly. I expect they will have a lot of questions for her about what she is experiencing."

The visit is sponsored by the UW-Eau Claire department of music and theatre arts and the Opera Workshop Ensemble. For more information, visit the department of music and theatre arts website or call 715-836-3711.

-30-

RD/DW

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