DAVID CONTE’S GIFT OF THE MAGI – Receives West Coast Premiere

Local composer’s work on double bill
with Amahl And The Night Visitors

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By Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Fine Arts Critic
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

O. Henry’s beloved short story The Gift of the Magi – has been re-wrapped into an opera by San Francisco’s renowned composer, David Conte. With libretto by Nicholas Giardini, Conte’s THE GIFT OF THE MAGI will make its West Coast premiere this coming Saturday through Monday. Produced by TRINITY LYRIC OPERA, the opera will be double-billed with Giancarlo Menotti’s perennial favorite, AMAHL AND THE NIGHT VISITORS. On Saturday and Sunday the works will be presented at Castro Valley’s CENTER FOR THE ARTS. Monday evening the performances will be repeated in the Concert Hall of the SAN FRANCISCO CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC. Conte’s Gift of the Magi has been produced by the Asheville Lyric Opera, Winnipeg Opera, Muddy River Opera Company, Greenburg American Opera, and Opera South. Mr. Conte has also composed songs for Barbara Bonney, Thomas Hampson and Phyllis Bryn-Julson. His work is represented on many commercial CD recordings. A Fulbright Scholar in Paris with Nadia Boulanger, a Ralph Vaughan Williams Fellow and an Aspen Music Festival Conducting Fellow, the handsome composer is also one of the nicest men about town. Click the date to order your tickets on-line:
DECEMBER 20th and 21stCENTER FOR THE ARTS, Castro Valley
MONDAY, December 22nd, 8:00 pmConcert Hall, SF CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC

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GIFT OF THE MAGI – O. Henry and David Conte

A special lecture will be given free of charge one hour prior to curtain time at every performance by TLO Music Director, John Kendall Bailey. A special “Meet and Greet,” a visit with cast members is scheduled for Sunday, December 21st immediately following the performance. The cast for Amahl and the Night Visitors includes the acclaimed international basso profundo, Gregory Stapp, as “Balthazar”. Young singing sensation David Kerns is “Amahl”, and Lisa van der Ploeg will portray “The Mother”. Brian Thorsett appears as “Kaspar” and Martin Bell sings the role of “Melchior”.

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AMAHL AND THE NIGHT VISITORS – Music and libretto by Giancarlo Menotti

The Gift of the Magi is a tale of Christmas Eve. Lucky in love, Jim and Della both want find the perfect gift for the other. But, in a timely dilemma, neither one has any extra cash. Marnie Breckenridge returns to TLO as “Della” and will be paired with Andrew Garland as “Jim”. Torlef Borsting, also returning to TLO, will sing the role of “Henry”, Jim’s friend. Making her debut with TLO, Lisa van der Ploeg will sing “Maggie”, Della’s faithful friend.

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CDs featuring music by David Conte – THE GIFT OF THE MAGI and BALLETS RUSSES

Add the music of David Conte and Giancarlo Menotti to your Classical Library. Click on title to order on-line:

CD – GIFT OF THE MAGI – Music by David Conte, libretto by Nicholas Giardini. Nicole Paiement conducts the San Francisco Conservatory New Music Ensemble. Featuring Aimée Puentes (Della), Tim Krol (Jim), Elena Bocharova (Maggie), Chad Runyon (Henry), and Brandon Smith, Aaron DiPiazza, Gary Sorenson (Magi).

CD – BALLETS RUSSES – Music by Todd Boekelheide and David Conte. The original soundtrack from the documentary film directed by Dayna Goldfine and Dan Geller.

CD – MENOTTI: Amahl and the Night Visitors – Thomas Schippers conducts; featuring Rosemary Kuhlmann, Chet Allen, David Aiken, Leon Lishner, Andrew McKinley.

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See Related: FINE ARTS CRITIC SEAN MARTINFIELD

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Seán Martinfield is a native San Franciscan. He is a Theatre Arts Graduate from San Francisco State University, a professional singer, and well-known private vocal coach to Bay Area actors and singers of all ages and persuasions. His clients have appeared in Broadway National Tours including Wicked, Aïda, Miss Saigon, Rent, Bye Bye Birdie, in theatres and cabarets throughout the Bay Area, and are regularly featured in major City events including Diva Fest, Gay Pride, and Halloween In The Castro. As an Internet consultant in vocal development and audition preparation he has published thousands of responses to those seeking his advice concerning singing techniques, professional and academic auditions, and careers in the Performing Arts. Mr. Martinfield’s Broadway clients have all profited from his vocal methodology, “The Belter’s Method”, which is being prepared for publication. If you want answers about your vocal technique, post him a question on AllExperts.com. If you would like to build up your vocal performance chops and participate in the Bay Area’s rich theatrical scene, e-mail him at: sean.martinfield@comcast.net.

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