Gulfshore Opera’s signature fundraising gala usually begins with a concert featuring an international star.
The original plan for this year’s annual opera gala originally included Irish tenor Anthony Kearns on Feb. 28, but international travel restrictions shut that plan down. The company then adjusted the plan to an outdoor concert with another international artist, this one with an American passport, but he has been held over in Germany.
By her third try, Gulfshore Opera general director Steffanie Pearce learned her lesson on the third try. She explains, “I called my most trusted New York agents and told them that I have 24 hours to come up with a new gala plan, and I need top level talent that is in Florida, driving distance from us.”
The search revealed mezzo soprano Elise Quigliata, a renowned Carmen residing in Miami, and international tenor Adam Diegel, who has recently performed the role of Don Jose in Carmen with Elise. He will based in Tampa for the month of March.
Tampa based baritone Jean Carlos Rodriguez, who has been performing concerts with Gulfshore Opera this winter, will complete the love triangle.
Gulfshore Opera’s six voice women’s ensemble, the GO Divas will join in as Carmen’s gypsy, cigarette factory working friends. This semi-staged pre-dinner concert will take place outdoors on St. Leo’s lakeside patio.
This year, Gulfshore Opera’s entire fundraising event, including concert and gala dinner, will take place on the campus of St. Leo the Great Catholic Church in Bonita Springs. To ensure a safe and enjoyable dining experience, the church has graciously offered its expansive Parish Life Center and outdoor patios, which creates scope for very generously spaced tables and optional outdoor dining setting. This plan offers the convenience of keeping all gala activities at one location, allows for maximum social distancing with seating arrangements and includes an outdoors dining option.
The evening begins at 5 p.m. with a pre-concert wine reception and first peek at the auction items in the fireside room. The open air concert highlighting the dramatic story of Carmen follows. Patrons will then enjoy the gala dinner, catered by Delicious by Design (whose profits benefit St . Matthew’s House).
Quigliata and Diegel will address the audience at the gala dinner, sharing stories from their careers. A Carmen in Seville photo booth will be set up for patrons’ keepsake photos. During the evening, light entertainment will be provided by the GO Divas, there will be a silent auction featuring local experiences and a cork pull, which will complete the Gulfshore Opera signature fundraising event. Guests may reserve tables set for four and six.
Elise Quagliata, mezzo-soprano, has gained notice over the past decade for the unique beauty of her voice, her musical intelligence, theatrical range and the riveting effect she has had on audiences everywhere. Regularly appearing as Carmen in the past several seasons for New York City Opera’s tours of Carmen in Europe, North America, Asia and the Middle East, the artist reprised the role with Utah Opera and for City Opera’s second summer at New York City’s Bryant Park. In 2019, she performs Carmen with the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera.
Korean American tenor Adam Diegel regularly earns international acclaim for his impassioned dramatic sensibilities, powerful voice, and for his classic leading man looks. Diegel made his Metropolitan Opera début as Froh in Robert Lepage’s landmark production of Das Rheingold conducted by Maestro James Levine. Further appearances at The Met include Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly under Plácido Domingo and Ismaele in Nabucco under Paolo Carignani. He returned to The Metropolitan Opera in Norma and Madama Butterfly in 2019. Diegel has performed the lead tenor role of Don José in Carmen literally around the world.
Dominican born baritone Jean Carlos Rodriguez is known for his colorful resonant voice and charismatic stage presence.
Rodriguez made his professional operatic debut with Opera Tampa in 2017 as Count Paris in Gounod’s Romeo et Juliette; that same year he portrayed the role of “Vidal Hernando” in Torraba’s Luisa Fernanda and the title role in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro with the Savannah Voice Festival as well as “Fiorello” and “Ufficiale” in Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia with Opera Tampa in 2018.
March 23 gala details
Reception and silent auction viewing 5 p.m.
Carmen highlights concert at 5:30 p.m.
Dinner and fundraising activities- 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Tickets: $250 (Includes reception, open air concert, & dinner with complimentary wine pairing, silent auction and cash bar available)
Purchase tickets by visiting www.gulfshoreopera.org or calling 239-529-3925.