Saturday, September 27, 2014

UT Soprano to Present Solo Recital in Free Concert

Denise Ritter Bernardini (
Soprano Denise Ritter Bernardini, a member of the University of Toledo faculty and director of the UT Opera Ensemble, will present a solo recital at 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 28, at St. Michael's in the Hills Episcopal Church, Ottawa Hills.

The congregation at 4718 Brittany Road is hosting this free concert recital as part of its Common Grounds for the Community series, which offers high quality events and performances to the community with the goal of establishing St. Michael’s as a regional center of spiritual thought and culture.

Ritter Bernardini will perform music by Aaron Copeland, Leonard Bernstein, Amy Beach, George Gershwin and others. Elena Bardi will accompany on piano.

The UT assistant professor of voice is "known for her ability to sing a variety of styles, her brilliant high notes, pure tone, communicative warmth and musical intelligence," according to her biography.

Guild supporter remembered for love, dedication

Lois Sawicki, who supported various arts and education efforts in the area -- including the Toledo Opera Guild -- died recently. She was 82.

The Blade's featured obituary on the former Springfield Township woman can be found on the newspaper's website.

Mrs. Sawicki's children remembered her as instrumental to the success of husband Jerry in his real estate business and jazz saxophonist career, The Blade reported.

"Back then, the wife behind the scenes was doing a lot of the socializing and entertaining and making sure things went smoothly," daughter Lisa Holman said. "That's what she did, and she did it well."

The Sawickis were benefactors of Maumee Valley Country Day School, Central Catholic High School and St. John's Jesuit High School. St. John's music center was built with funds from their donation.

Mrs. Sawicki also supported the Toledo Opera Guild and Toledo Symphony. Her welcoming attitude is a good model for the hospitality committee formed for the Guild's upcoming Diamonds and Denim event.

"I walk up to people with a smile and I tell them my name and ask their name and ask them where they're from," Mrs. Sawicki told The Blade in 1997. "You try to be a little complimentary about their clothes, a scent, anything that would stand out."

Mrs. Sawicki died Sept. 19 at Lakes of Monclova Health Campus in Monclova Township. The cause of death was unknown; she had dementia but no other known health problems, her daughter said.

The family suggests memorial tributes be given to the Alzheimer's Association, Northwest Ohio Chapter.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Diamonds and Denim Nov. 8

Supporting the Toledo Opera is going to be glamorous and easy-going this year!

Diamonds and Denim, a fabulous evening slated for Nov. 8, 2014, at the Toledo Club, kicks off a season of themed events that will juxtapose the brilliant glitz of diamonds with the iconic ruggedness of denim.

Come dressed in your best denim, most glittering gems, or both! The club is suspending its dress code for the evening, but guests are encouraged to be fancily clad even in jeans. Get creative!

The first 100 guests to arrive will receive a complimentary glass of champagne, provided by Soto Loft & Signature Spa, in which a gem might be a real loose diamond donated by Jeffery Mann Fine Jewelers. Guests will have their "rock" examined on site to find out who is the lucky winner.

The club's first floor will be laden with silent auction items and a fully stocked wine sale -- which will pair excellently with an exciting live auction later in the evening. Proceeds from the event, auctions and wine sale directly benefit the Toledo Opera.

Second Wind, a popular local rock 'n' roll cover band, will get those dancing feet moving in the Centennial Room, while Calvin Hughes' jazz band will help guests relax in the Red Room. Artists from Toledo Tattoo Company will offer temporary tattoos, and guests may pose for photos atop a custom Chopper motorcycle provided by Charlie's Automotive.

A grazing buffet, with an ice sculpture recognizing Ice Restaurant and Bar, will tempt your palate with cleverly themed nibbles. Tickets will be on sale to purchase drinks from the club bar.

Tickets for Diamonds and Denim are available online at RSVP by Oct. 29!

General admission is $50 per person. Guests may upgrade to a 1 Carat Level for $100, which includes a Feb. 11 performance of "Susannah," the first in a series of contemporary American operas planned by the Toledo Opera; or a 2 Carat Level for $200, which will include the Feb. 11 opera as well as a VIP after party Nov. 13 at Shape My Jeans.

Don't forget to check the guild's online calendar and make note of our luncheons, celebrity wait night, Phashion of the Opera show and other fun events that will carry our season-long Diamonds and Denim theme.

The Toledo Opera Guild offers deep gratitude for The Blade's continued support and encourages its members to patronize those local companies who make our events so successful.

Friday, September 5, 2014

'Lakmé' Flower Duet Featured at Valentine's Free Plaza pARTy

One of the hallmarks of performing arts in Toledo is the excellent cooperation and collaboration among the various organizations.

They play well together, one could say.

Ten of them will do so Saturday evening at the Valentine Theatre's Plaza pARTy -- including the Toledo Opera, which will present the Flower Duet from the opera "Lakmé."

For a full schedule of jazz, ballet, symphony, theater, cabaret, chorale and film performances, visit the Valentine's event page. Represented will be the Toledo Opera, Toledo Symphony Orchestra, Toledo Jazz Orchestra Quartet, Ballet Theatre of Toledo, Toledo Ballet, Toledo Repertoire Theatre, Valentine cabaret players, Toledo School for the Arts, and Masterworks Chorale.

Performances will be from 5 to 9 p.m. on the Key Bank Outdoor Stage in the Valentine Plaza and inside the theater's Grand Lobby. There is no admission charge for Plaza pARTy. Proceeds will go to a new local Performing Arts Group Fund administered by the Toledo Community Foundation and established by the Valentine to defray costs of renting the theater.

Georgio's and Manhattan's restaurants will sell select menu items, and a full cash bar will be in the lobby with wines from Heidelberg Distributing, which also will offer a beer truck outside at the event.

The Valentine Theatre, at 410 Adams St. in downtown Toledo, raises its gorgeous red curtain on staged performances of the Toledo Opera. The Toledo Opera Guild encourages everyone to support this venue and the excellent sampling of arts it will offer Saturday at the Plaza pARTy.