March 9 at 7:30 p.m., the Symphony will present ‘Celebrating Verdi and Wagner’ at the Historic California Theater of the Performing Arts, 562 W. 4th Street, San Bernardino. The performance will include selections from Wagner’s Der Fliegende Hollander (The Flying Dutchman), Lohengrin, Tannhawser, Tristan and Isolde, and Die Walkure (The Ride of the Valkyries)and Verdi’s La Traviata, Aida, Il Trovatore, and Un Ballo In Maschera.
The Symphony will be joined by two gifted vocalists, soprano Erin Wood and Baritone Ralph Cato.
“We are extremely excited to have these two dynamic artists performing with the Symphony,” said Maestro Frank Fetta. “This additional layer of lyric interpretation will enhance the depth of the orchestral offerings thus elevating what is sure to be a highly enjoyable evening.”
Wood’s recent portrayals of Verdi and Wagner heroines have received praise for her “soaring soprano”, “immense voice full of grit at the bottom and transcendent radiance at the top”, and “volcanic outpouring of sound that was thrilling to behold.”
Woods recently made her San Francisco Opera debut as Amelia in Un Ballo in Maschera With Lyric Opera of Chicago, and she has been seen as Lisa in The Queen of Spades, Gutrune and the Third Norn in Götterdämmerung, Sieglinde and Ortlinde in Die Walküre, and supporting roles in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Street Scene, Susannah and Macbeth. She was also a featured artist in Lyric’s first-ever free concert at Grant Park, where she sang Mascagni’s “Easter Hymn” for an audience of 20,000 people.
An alumna of the prestigious Lyric Opera Center for American Artists and University of California, Los Angeles, Wood has been featured with the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, Opera Colorado, Opera Pacific, Anchorage Opera, Opera Grand Rapids, Toledo Opera, Music Academy of the West, the Angeles Chorale, the Los Angeles Verdi Chorus, the Grant Park and Ravinia Music Festivals, as well as the Milwaukee, Pacific, Bakersfield and Lake Forest Symphonies.
Wood has been seen in recital in Chicago for the Dame Myra Hess Foundation and in New York for the Marilyn Horne Foundation. She proudly joined the roster of the Metropolitan Opera in 2004. Recent engagements include Verdi Requiem with the London Symphony Chorus, Un Ballo in Maschera for Opera Colorado, Mahler’s 4th Symphony in Santa Monica, Los Angeles Ring Festival concerts with the L.A. Verdi Chorus and a series of concerts in Anchorage. Last year, she represented the US as one of two Americans chosen to participate in the Lauritz Melchior International Singing Competition for Wagnerian Singers in Aalborg, Denmark.
Her long list of awards include the George London Foundation’s Kirsten Flagstad Award, Met National Council Central and Western Regional prizes, and Schaenen and Liberace Foundation scholarships.
Baritone Ralph Cato has performed masterworks from opera, oratorio, and musical theatre to critical acclaim around the world. He has been featured with the Philharmonic in Cologne, Germany (Kölner Philharmonie), and the Estonia National Symphony in Tallinn, Estonia. In the United States, his collaborations have included the Chicago Sinfonietta, Pacific Symphony and Chorale, Long Beach Symphony, Stockton Symphony, San Bernardino Symphony, Santa Monica Symphony, Los Angeles Pops Orchestra, Los Angeles Baroque Orchestra, California Philharmonic, Angeles Chorale and United States Marine Band.
Cato’s operatic repertoire includes a wide range of lyric and dramatic baritone roles, from Amonasro (Aida) and Scarpia (Tosca) to Tonio (Pagliacci) Germont (La Traviata,) and Figaro (The Barber of Seville.) As an oratorio singer, he has performed the bass solos for Orff’s Carmina Burana, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, as well as works by Bruckner, Fauré, Handel, Mozart, Vaughan Williams, Hoiby and Michael Tippett.
A former member of the LA Jazz Choir, and the Al McNeil Jubilee Singers, Cato has performed at Jazz Festivals in Montreux, Switzerland, The Hague, Holland, Germany, and Los Angeles. He has also served as Music Director and conductor for three churches in the Los Angeles area and is currently director of the Heritage Choir at Bel-Vue Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles.
Tickets for ‘Celebrating Verdi and Wagner’ start at $20 and may be purchased at www.sanbernardinosymphony.org or by calling (909) 381-5388. Student tickets with ID ($11) may be purchased by calling the Symphony office.