Friday, February 28, 2014

Hot Opera: Recent Events Successful

From Cindy Niggemyer, Opera Guild President:

I sincerely hope that you all are surviving this record-breaking winter! While the temperature is cold, OPERA’S HOT. I think everyone that attended the Gala: Ladies in Red can agree on that. It certainly was a wonderful performance. I know of one non-opera-going couple who bought tickets to "Faust" because of it. So let’s give a loud round of applause to Toledo Opera.

Toledo Opera Guild president Cindy Niggemyer (center)
joins guild members at the Ladies in Red luncheon. 
Our Guild was recognized as a major sponsor of Ladies in Red because of our $20,000 donation from the Mad Hatter event. Thank you to Susan Conda, Karen DeNune and Shirley Joseph  for helping with the candy given out after the gala.

Our Celebrity Wait Night was also a big success with a profit of about $8,000. Thank you to Chairman Shelli Jacobs and Cochairmen Barbara Baker and Barbara Brown. The Bettingers' Packard car set the theme in front of Rosie’s and everyone had a wonderful time.

We finish our events this season with Phashion of the Opera on Thursday, April 3rd. Cochairmen Brian Hazel Bahrs and Traci Schwann are planning another great show along with the help of Diane Rusk, Retail Chairman and Karen DeNune.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

What's in a Name? Musical or Opera

What exactly makes an opera an opera? Is it just the high notes? Is it more or less like a musical?

If you're new to opera, don't be afraid to ask such questions. There are really great answers out there.

The Toledo Opera offers free public lecture series throughout its season, as well as pre-opera talks for ticket holders before each fully staged production. There also is an Opera Camp for youth and young adults, which explores everything from singing to costumes to set production, and an Opera on Wheels program that brings performances to local schools.

The New York Times published an excellent piece in 2011 examining the fine line between the musical and operatic art forms that combine scores, singing and dialogue.

Anthony Tommasini writes: "[T]hese genres are too close for comfort. The differences, though slight, are crucial. So what are they, exactly? To begin with, in no way do I see the matter as a lowbrow-highbrow debate. Opera is not by definition the more elevated form."

He continues in his critic's notebook: "Obviously both genres involve the mixing of words and music. But in the musical, words hold the upper edge. The opposite is true of opera. If you accept that difference, then many further defining aspects of each genre -- singing styles, orchestration, the role of spoken dialogue, the importance of melody, the appropriate degree of musical complexity -- all follow logically."

You may be familiar with the stage musical, perhaps just from your high school's productions or an old movie on TCM. Your opportunities for opera may not be as varied, but you do have the immeasurable luck to have quality experiences right here in Toledo.

One of the best ways to learn more about opera is to just show up! Come to a performance or guild event and ask any person why he or she is there. You may run into some knowledgeable aficionados, but you will find lots of us who are still learning and still growing to love it. We all have more in common than you may think.

Monday, February 24, 2014

I Am the Mask You Wear

Whether an opulent costume for an actor or the perfect LBD for a theatergoer, fashion is a fun part of the opera.

The Toledo Opera Guild invites you to Phashion of the Opera, a fabulous fashion show featuring local talent and retailers, on Thursday, April 3 at the Toledo Club.

This is a really great opportunity to come meet the folks who are passionate about opera in Toledo and work to keep it a vibrant part of the region's impressive artistic offerings. Not to mention a sneak peek at the hottest fashion trends!

Tickets can be ordered online at, or contact the Toledo Opera Guild at 419-469-2756 or for reservations. Visit our Facebook event page for more details on Phashion of the Opera.

Proceeds benefit the Toledo Opera, which is stitching together a production of "Faust" for the spring.

Sunday, February 23, 2014


Welcome to the new blog for the Toledo Opera Guild, "Cast of Characters"!

The Toledo Opera Guild is a non-profit organization that celebrates and promotes opera in our fair Glass City and throughout northwest Ohio. We volunteer our time and talents to expand the passion for opera in our community and to financially support the Toledo Opera.

Learn more about the guild and how to become a member on its website at

The mission of Toledo Opera is to enhance the cultural fabric of the region by creating opera experiences that celebrate, both in the theater and beyond its walls, what is unique to this art form: dramatic, passionate stories expressed through glorious music and the powerful voices of classically trained singers.

Learn more about the Toledo Opera and its performances and programs on its website at

But who exactly are these people? Who are the folks who organize and attend Toledo Opera Guild events like Phashion of the Opera and Mad Hatter? Who goes to Toledo Opera performances such as "Faust" or to Summer Opera Camp? Who even likes opera?

Well, we do! And some of us are real characters indeed. We are all kinds of people, with all kinds of tastes in music and art, from all kinds of backgrounds, with varied ranges of experience with opera.

Here on this blog you will learn more about us, and we hope to learn more about you and how we can best serve our community.

If you have a story about opera that you would like to share, please submit it and we'll post it here on the blog. Like us on Facebook to view and share photos of Toledo Opera Guild events, and follow us on Twitter.

You'll find out just how fun it is to be an opera character too!