Thursday, September 3, 2015

Toledo Opera Guild Plans Exciting Year

The Toledo Opera Guild hopes that you had an enjoyable summer! The 2015-2016 general board met recently, and the season's calendar was announced with a full slate of fun events and exciting opportunities to support the Toledo Opera.


Sept. 2: Executive Committee Meeting, 9:30 a.m. at Epworth United Methodist Church in Toledo; General Board Meeting, 10:30 a.m. at Epworth

Sept. 9: Madama Butterfly Luncheon, at Toledo Zoo in Toledo


Oct. 2 and 4: "Madama Butterfly" opera at Valentine Theatre in downtown Toledo

Oct. 7: Executive Committee Meeting, 9:30 a.m. at Epworth ; General Board Meeting, 10:30 a.m. at Epworth


Nov. 4: Executive Committee Meeting, 9:30 a.m. at Epworth ; General Board Meeting, 10:30 a.m. at Epworth

Nov. 14: Sapphire Speakeasy fundraising event, 7 p.m. at Toledo Club in downtown Toledo


Dec. 1: Delights of December potluck brunch, at home of guild member Jane Wurth

Dec. 2: Executive Committee Meeting, 9:30 a.m. at Epworth ; General Board Meeting, 10:30 a.m. at Epworth


Jan. 6: Executive Committee Meeting, 9:30 a.m. at Epworth ; General Board Meeting, 10:30 a.m. at Epworth

Jan. 25: Celebrity Wait Night fundraising event, at La Scola Italian Grill restaurant in Toledo


Feb. 3: Executive Committee Meeting, 9:30 a.m. at Epworth ; General Board Meeting, 10:30 a.m. at Epworth

Feb. 10: Porgy and Bess Luncheon, at Mancy's Steakhouse in Toledo

Feb. 12 and 14: "Porgy and Bess" opera, at Valentine Theatre

MARCH 2016

March 2: Executive Committee Meeting, 9:30 a.m. at Epworth ; General Board Meeting, 10:30 a.m. at Epworth

March 30: Romeo et Juliette Luncheon, at Toledo Museum of Art

APRIL 2016

April 6: Executive Committee Meeting, 9:30 a.m. at Epworth ; General Board Meeting, 10:30 a.m. at Epworth

April 8 and 10: "Romeo et Juliette" opera, at Valentine Theatre

April 27: Phashion of the Opera fundraising event, at Toledo Club

MAY 2016

May 4: Executive Committee Meeting, 9:30 a.m. at Epworth; General Board Meeting, 10:30 a.m. at Epworth

May 4: Diva/Divo Luncheon, at noon at Toledo Club, hosted by Shelli Jacobs

JUNE 2016

June 1: Closing Luncheon and Installation of Officers, at Nazareth Hall in Grand Rapids

Other events will include Brunhilde Parties throughout the year, so make sure to check this blog, our Facebook page, and our website as we continue to schedule events and update the calendar.

It's going to be another great year!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Letter from the President

A letter from Toledo Opera Guild President Shelli Jacobs:

It is my pleasure to invite you to join me in creating another successful Toledo Opera Guild year.

My board and I hope you will share in pinnacle events, warm friendships and joy-filled memories. Established in 1962, the Toledo Opera Guild has maintained the standard of excellence that we celebrate today. This success would not have been possible without your ongoing support and contributions.

The Calendar of Events for the year is exciting and encompasses the passion of opera coupled with fresh venues, opera education, fun, and inspiring entertainment.

Our opening luncheon at the Toledo Zoo, celebrating Puccini's MADAMA BUTTERFLY, begins our pre-opera luncheon season. Gershwin's PORGY and BESS and Gounod's ROMEO & JULIET provide plenty of creative themes and venue choices for the heart of our luncheon calendar. The closing luncheon at historic Nazareth Hall ends our spectacular year.

Our sell-out events begin with SAPPHIRE SPEAKEASY, continue to CELEBRITY WAIT NIGHT and end with PHASHION OF THE OPERA. For spice, the very successful BRUNHILDA PARTIES are scattered throughout the year. By popular demand, we are reprising our BAKELESS BAKE SALE in its original form which was spearheaded by Elizabeth Zepf and enjoyed many successful years.

I am grateful to all of you who have worked diligently for many years and contributed to the growth of this organization. I appreciate your continued assistance as we take the Guild to the next level. During this year, I also look forward to continuing friendships and making new friends as we have fun fulfilling our mission: To promote opera awareness, education, company service and financial support for the Toledo Opera.

Please visit TOG's website at and our Facebook page at for our 2015-16 calendar year of events, photos, updates and reminders.

Shelli Jacobs,
President, Toledo Opera Guild

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Guild Heralds Summer at Soiree

Another successful Brunhilde Party is on the books for the Toledo Opera Guild!

Guild member Susan Conda, left, and Toledo Opera executive
director Suzanne Rorick chat at the Summer Soiree at the
Paula Brown Shop. (Photo courtesy Girl in the Glass City)
Members and guests gathered recently for the Summer Soiree at Paula Brown Shop and Gallery in downtown Toledo for fun and food, spirited conversation and conversational spirits, an art show, and shopping that directly benefited our fundraising efforts for the Toledo Opera.

Organized by Brunhilde Party chair Laura Draheim, the event raised more than $1,400.

"It was a beautiful evening and the turnout was wonderful," said Shelli Jacobs, the guild's newly installed president, in an email to members. "It was lovely to see so many of our guild members and exciting to see so many new faces as well!"

Brunhilde Parties are smaller events intended to promote guild membership and its mission, as well as raise the crucial funds on which the opera depends. Hosts underwrite expenses and volunteer their time. Parties have ranged from painting and flower arranging workshops to yoga classes to teas and dinners.

At the Summer Soiree, attendees paid a small cover charge to gather at Paula Brown after hours. Some dined outdoors on delicious meals prepared by the Displaced Chef food truck, while others sipped wine, beer and cocktails at the bar inside. For those who bought merchandise during the event, 10 percent of the sale was donated to the guild.

Guest Baher Hanna enjoys the art exhibit.
A lovely element of the event was the four-generation art show in the gallery. The show includes photography spanning three centuries, illustrating the creative connections between four generations of photographer Penny Gentieu's family. Penny was influenced not only by her mother, pastel portrait artist Audrey Gentieu, but also by Pierre Gentieu, her photographer ancestor. Penny’s daughter, Anna Friemoth, has followed in their footsteps by becoming a photographer.

The show runs through July 11. It features Pierre Gentieu's artwork and photography of the Civil War, Audrey Gentieu's pastel portraits, Penny Gentieu's photography (including an amazing 12-shot series of the implosion of the former Jeep administration building in Toledo), and Anna Friemoth's fashion photography.

Draheim is looking to organize more Brunhilde Parties for the Toledo Opera Guild's upcoming 2015-2016 season, and perhaps some throughout the summer. Contact her at at 419-475-1720 or

For more photos of the Summer Soiree, view the Girl in the Glass City's online album.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Soprano Goode Cooper Selected for Resident Ensemble

Jennifer Goode Cooper, who starred as the title role in "Susannah" for the Toledo Opera last season, has been selected as one of six singers who will comprise the Resident Ensemble for American Opera Projects' Composers & the Voice training program.

The singers will spend a year working collaboratively with composers and librettists who have received fellowships to develop skills for writing for the voice and contemporary opera stage, according to an AOP press release.

The Resident Ensemble was selected by Composers & the Voice Artistic Director Steven Osgood based on their superior technical and musical skills, as well as their commitment to developing and performing new works.

The Resident Ensemble will be joined by returning Music Directors Mila Henry, Kelly Horsted, and Charity Wicks to collaborate on creating new material by the composer and librettist fellows. Singers will each explain how their particular voice works throughout its range, addressing issues of tessitura, negotiating the passagio, demands for vowel modification, and how these affect their performance of text.

Toledo Opera Guild wishes Goode Cooper all the best!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Guild, Guests Strike Warrior Pose at Brunhilde Party

From a standing position, exhale and step your feet apart wide, raising your arms out to the sides, palms down. Turn your right foot at 90-degree angle, creating an alignment from your right heel that intersects the heel of your left foot, and turn your right thigh outward so that your your right knee cap is aligned with the center of your right ankle.

Keep your torso straight and facing forward and turn your head to look over your right fingers. Slowly bend your right knee, exhaling as you bring your right shin perpendicular to the floor, keeping your arms outstretched. Anchor your left foot into the floor.

You are now in the yoga position of Warrior 2 -- one of the several confident and strong and centering poses that Toledo Opera Guild members and guests stretched into for a recent Brunhilde Party fundraiser. The event raised $1,000 toward the guild's mission of supporting the Toledo Opera.

More than two dozen women gathered in the Hanna family home for an opera-inspired yoga class led by guild member Shirley Joseph, who also prepared an amazing brunch with the help of fellow guild members Barbara Brown and Wafaa Hanna.

Baher Hanna greeted guests at the door as they scurried in from a burst of spring rain. "Wafaa's husband, Baher, worked so hard to guarantee that our event would be lovely," Joseph said. "I told him we should make him an honorary Guild member!"

The Toledo Opera Guild did in fact gain two new members at the event, one which was gifted by a drawing. They both hail from the University of Toledo's medical college: Dr. Thea Sawicki, vice provost for health science affairs and university accreditation; and Dr. Amira Gohara, pathology professor and dean emerita.

The brunch menu was presented in acts like an opera:


Mimi’s Mimosas: orange juice and champagne cocktails topped with fresh raspberries as a nod to Puccini's "La Bohème" character Mimi.

Valkyries Vidalia Onion/Swiss Cheese Bake and other assorted cheeses: Brunhilde, a Valkyrie in Wagner's "Der Ring des Nibelungen," is the namesake of the guild's fundraising series; according to Norse mythology, the Valkyries were female warriors who choose who may die in battle or live.

Melba Toast: inspired by the Australian soprano Dame Nellie Melba and created in her honor by famous chef and fan Auguste Escoffier in 1897.

Assorted Vegetables with a Hummus Dip.


Tosca Salad and Figaro Dressing: tossed organic field greens with cranberries and toasted walnuts with fig-infused balsamic vinegar and organic Adriatic fig spread dressing


Chicken Tetrazzini: a delicious blend of chicken breasts and pasta in a harmonious sherry wine cream sauce with a special blend of herbs and a Parmesan cheese topping. This dish was created by Luisa Tetrazzini from Tuscany when she tasted turkey for the first time in America and added it to her pasta.

Red Cabbage with Granny Smith Apples and Tart Montmorency Cherries: a German recipe in honor of composer Richard Wagner

Phyllo Dough Roll-Ups with Beef Rolls and Butter


Opera Cake: the Classic Opera Cake created for the Paris Opera House. Almond cake with coffee-flavored buttercream, chocolate ganache and chocolate glaze, adorned with the word OPERA.

Butterfly Cookies: in honor of Cio-Cio-San in Puccini’s famous opera "Madama Butterfly," which the Toledo Opera will present in October.


Opera Prima, a Spanish Moscato, will caress the palate as an aperitif or with dessert -- or both! -- in honor of the prima dona in Bizet’s "Carmen."

Attendees first worked up their appetites and centered themselves for relaxing company on yoga mats in the large open basement. With lights dim and the instructor's gentle voice encouraging awareness of one's body and mental presence, guests filled their bodies with cleansing oxygen and aligned themselves with peace and clarity, working out stresses and worries as well as tight muscles and sore joints.

"I try to teach yoga as a way of life so that people can reach their full potential," Joseph said.

Such could be said of the guild's mission to spread passion for opera, enriching lives and helping our amazing local opera reach its full potential. It is a way of life.

Joseph shared this message: "Learning to stand strong creates confidence; and confidence empowers you to face whatever challenge comes your way. ... Remember to call on your 'inner warrior' as you face the battles in life. Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming challenges is what makes life meaningful and fulfilling."

Our next Brunhilde Party is scheduled for June 16 at the Paula Brown Shop in downtown Toledo. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased in advance from guild members, at Hafner Florist and at Paula Brown, as well as at the door on the day of the event. Keep checking this blog and the guild's Facebook page for details!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Men In Black gala 'poetic affair of food'

The Blade newspaper offered a delectable preview of the meal being planned for Men In Black: Opera Gala 2015.

"The palate is being pleased along with the senses of sound and sight — you have good-looking men, who are impeccably dressed in black tie attire (as well as the guests) — explained Suzanne Rorick, Toledo Opera executive director, and gala co-chairman Susan Allan Block."

Read the story here: Toledo Opera's Men In Black gala an ‘homage to the men’

The gala, set for 7 p.m. May 9 at the Toledo Club downtown, will feature four fantastic men: Michael Chioldi, bass-baritone; Kristopher Irmiter, bass; Jamie Offenbach, bass-baritone; Mark Rucker, baritone; and Hyung Yun, baritone. Kevin Bylsma will accompany.

Tickets for the black-tie fundraising affair are $250 per guest. Visit to download the invitation and RSVP.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Put Some Flowers in Your Helmet

Designer Keith Brooks arranges flowers for the 2014 Crosby
Arts Festival preview party. (Photo courtesy Facebook)
Some characters have really good stories to tell.

When that character is a master designer and has been in the Toledo area for decades, those stories are going to be great.

Spend an evening with Keith Brooks as part of the Toledo Opera Guild's Brunhilde Parties Fundraising Series and hear some of these colorful tales firsthand.

Guests will gather in two locations Tuesday, April 14: first, at 5:30 p.m., dinner at Memphis Pearl restaurant, 5147 Main St., Sylvania; then at Hafner Florist next door, 5139 Main St., where Brooks will demonstrate flower arranging.

One lucky guest will get to keep the stunning creation he will make, but all will leave with a little gift from Hafner Florist.

Cost for the entire evening is $35 per person. Dinner is included; a cash bar will be available at the restaurant.

Proceeds will directly benefit the opera guild, thanks to event organizer and underwriter Laura Draheim.

To RSVP, contact Draheim at 419-475-1720 or

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Guild Party Paints Masterpieces

Brittany McMahon Craig paints swirls of pink and orange.

As part of the Brunhilde Party Fundraising Series, Cindy Niggemyer recently hosted guild members and other guests at CBK Studio for a painting workshop and gourmet luncheon.

Canvas masterpieces were created while attendees sipped wine and listened to the music of Bolero on March 11 at the studio at 2620 Centennial Road in Toledo.

For more photos, check out the album on our Facebook page.

The event was sold out and raised $280 to support the Toledo Opera Guild and its mission to raise awareness of and financial support for opera in Toledo and northwest Ohio.

Upcoming Brunhilde events that are open to the public include: an evening with Keith Brooks at Memphis Pearl restaurant and Hafner Florist, hosted by Laura Draheim; and opera-inspired yoga and lunch at the home of Wafaa Hanna, hosted by Shirley Joseph and Barbara Brown.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Phashion of the Opera Will Be Phantastic

We've switched our clocks an hour ahead, the sun is bravely trying to melt the snow, and the official first day of spring is just around the corner. Our toes are desperate to be free of our boots and our arms would like to feel something besides wool -- soon, please!

It's the perfect time to be preparing for Phashion of the Opera, the Toledo Opera Guild's spring fashion show. This is the premier runway event in northwest Ohio, and it is guaranteed to satisfy your yearning for fresh fashion.

Event chairmen Joyce Stenberg and Pam Bettinger, along with a super committee of guild members, are presenting two opportunities to enjoy this signature event.

The show is slated for April 29 at the Toledo Club, with fellowship and vendor shopping beginning at 9:30 a.m., runway at 11 a.m., and lunch in the club's Main Dining Room immediately following. A "Peek Behind the Curtain" dress rehearsal and hors d'oeurvres reception will be held the prior evening, at 5:30 p.m. April 28 at the Toledo Club.

Tickets for the Phashion of the Opera runway show are $50 for general admission and $75 for diva level with front-row seating. Tickets for the Peek Behind the Curtain event are $50. Proceeds directly benefit the Toledo Opera. Order online at

Exciting elements for this year's Phashion of the Opera include celebrity models joining the professional models of Studio K Coaching, and guests will have the chance at buying and popping balloons to win gift items such as dining certificates, jewelry, and other complimentary offerings from local businesses and opera supporters.

To learn more about celebrity modeling, for a $500 donation to the guild, email the event committee at

Guild members who would like to help prepare mailings for the event are encouraged to contact Joyce. Envelope stuffing will take place at 10 a.m. March 18 at Charlies Taverna Greek restaurant, off of Dussell Drive in Maumee.

Mark your calendars now for these amazing events. It's going to be just Phabulous!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Toledo Opera Thanks Guild for 'Susannah' Sponsorship

Cindy Niggemyer, president of the Toledo Opera Guild, shared a letter from Toledo Opera executive director Suzanne Rorick at Wednesday's board meeting:

Dear Cindy,

Thank you for your gift of $20,000.00 in sponsorship* of Susannah to Toledo Opera. We are extremely appreciative that you recognize the importance of live opera in the cultural life of the region and in your own life, and that you demonstrate this through your support.

The funds you have provided will help us continue the 57-year tradition of opera performance of the highest quality. Thank you for caring and believing in the work we are doing.

Very sincerely yours,

Suzanne G. Rorick, CFRE
Executive Director

* A small portion of the gift will be used to support Opera On Wheels.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

'Susannah' Conductor Encourages Support of 'Brave, Exciting' Toledo Opera

Bob Mirakian (center) conducts the Toledo Symphony Orchestra on stage
as character Olin Blitch preaches to the congregation in Toledo Opera's
February 2015 production of 'Susannah.' (Photo courtesy of Toledo Opera)

Bob Mirakian, following his exquisite direction of Toledo Opera's lauded production of "Susannah," recently issued the following missive to opera supporters in northwest Ohio.

Mirakian expresses pride in the people on stage and behind the curtain, remarks on this moment in his career, and encourages us to support that which has garnered such praise and offers back to the community in such amazing ways.

Sent Feb. 17, 2015:

[Mirakian includes an excerpt from The Blade's review, which you can read online here:]

"Performed before a full and supportive house in the Valentine Theatre, [Susannah] exemplified the best this company can deliver. ... [It] served as proof positive that the opera's strategic planning, artistic development, and pursuit of ever higher standards is really paying off."

Dear Friend of the Opera,

It was my honor to conduct Toledo Opera's production of Carlisle Floyd's Susannah this past weekend. Our production team, the Toledo Opera Chorus, the Toledo Symphony Orchestra, and our cast came together to create a compelling, innovative, and polished production that we were all personally proud of and thrilled to see so well received by audiences.

I have worked as a professional orchestra and opera conductor for more than a decade but this production was my first time working with the full resources of a professional opera company, representing a major milestone in my career and development. It was also an important production for our brilliant stage director Sean Cooper and our wonderful Susannah, Jennifer Goode Cooper, both artists of significant experience and ability who were given a new opportunity to share their talents.

If opera is to thrive, a commitment on the part of companies to identify and foster emerging talent, as Toledo Opera did with Susannah, is absolutely vital. It will not only ensure that the next generation of opera artists has a place to learn its craft and test its abilities but also that fresh ideas and perspectives will continue to invigorate opera as an art form.

Toledo Opera has made itself an important part of opera's future by continually seeking out the best ways of servings its community in the most financially responsible manner possible: dramatically improving its finances, developing excellent educational programs that serve more that 20,000 students each year, and expanding its season to three beautifully produced operas. It is currently one of the best regional companies in the country, and a cultural institution that Toledo rightly takes increasing pride in.

Opera, like all significant human endeavors, requires the support of a community that recognizes its value and nurtures its existence. Thank you for being a vital part of Toledo Opera's current and future success as part of that community. I hope you will continue your involvement through a gift of support for the brave, exciting, and successful company.

Robert E. Mirakian
Conductor, Susannah

To make a donation to Toledo Opera online, visit its online form here.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

'Susannah' Offered as Fully Staged Concert Opera

Suzanne Rorick, center, executive director of the Toledo Opera, tells the
Toledo Opera Guild that a survey will be conducted with 'Susannah.'

One of the factors that is enabling the Toledo Opera to present three full operas this season is that "Susannah" is being done in a concert fashion with digitally projected scenery.

Conductor Bob Mirakian promises it will be an amazing experience, in part because of the intimacy of the staging.

"Everything is happening within 15 feet of the audience," he said at a recent Toledo Opera Guild luncheon.

Mirakian will be on stage as well, in front of the Toledo Symphony Orchestra and behind the actors. Toledo Opera executive director Suzanne Rorick said that to be able to conduct both the musicians and the singers this way, he knows the score so well that it is in his very being.

"It's not a small thing," she said.

The conductor shared the credit with stage director Sean Cooper for pulling real emotions out of the actors.

"We have a wonderful cast," Mirakian said, noting that Cooper and his wife, Jennifer Goode Cooper who plays Susannah, are local stars and opera scholars.

Carlisle Floyd's "Susannah," often referenced as the best American opera yet, will be presented in full length with all of the scenes acted out, and the pacing will be "very tight dramatically" because there are no large set changes, Mirakian said. The running time is about 110 minutes.

Rorick said this type of "fully staged concert opera" is not only an enjoyable experience but an economical one as well. She said it is still twice as expensive to produce as a gala performance might be but that it is only a third of the cost of a traditionally fully staged opera.

The Toledo Opera will be conducting a survey after "Susannah" to gain feedback on the concert staging and other efforts by the organization.

"We want to know what the audience thinks," Rorick said.

Tickets are going fast for "Susannah," which will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 13 and 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 15. Purchase tickets online or call the Toledo Opera box office at 419-255-7464.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Delavan to Replace Ramey in 'Susannah'

Toledo Opera-goers will be disappointed to miss Samuel Ramey, the bass-baritone who essentially made the role of Olin Blitch but had to pull out of next week's local production of Carlisle Floyd's "Susannah."

But the audience will be excited as well, since baritone Mark Delavan has been secured as a replacement. Delavan is squeezing in the preacher role before performing as Scarpia in the Lyric Opera of Chicago's upcoming production of "Tosca."

There was a momentary panic over losing Ramey, Toledo Opera executive director Suzanne Rorick admitted at an opera guild luncheon Wednesday, but this was not an unfamiliar scenario.

"It happens all the time," Rorick said, noting that about a third of productions encounter the need to replace singers in lead roles.

"Susannah," an American opera set in mid-20th-century rural Tennessee, will be offered at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 13 and 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 15 at the Valentine Theatre in downtown Toledo. Visit the Toledo Opera website at to learn more about the production and to purchase tickets.

A free public lecture, part of the Opera Extras series, is slated for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 10 at Registry Bistro, 114 N. Superior St., in the Secor Building in downtown Toledo. Kevin Bylsma will share his perspective on coaching performers for "Susannah."

Monday, January 12, 2015

See Met's 'Merry Widow' Live at Local Movie Theaters

Grab some popcorn and a box of candy -- although you may want to skip a big drink for a running time of 2 hours and 45 minutes -- and watch a live high-definition telecast of the Metropolitan Opera's new production of "The Merry Widow" at Cinemark theaters.

Renée Fleming and Nathan Gunn in the MET’s “Merry Widow.”
(Photo: Brigitte Lacombe/Metropolitan Opera)
The Live in HD series offering will begin at 12:55 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 17 at the Franklin Park and Fallen Timbers shopping center theaters.

From the Met's website:

"The great Renée Fleming stars as the beguiling femme fatale who captivates all Paris in Lehár’s enchanting operetta, seen in a new staging by Broadway virtuoso director and choreographer Susan Stroman ("The Producers," "Oklahoma!," "Contact"). Stroman and her design team of Julian Crouch ("Satyagraha," "The Enchanted Island") and costume designer William Ivey Long ("Cinderella," "Grey Gardens," "Hairspray") have created an art-nouveau setting that climaxes with singing and dancing grisettes at the legendary Maxim’s. Nathan Gunn co-stars as Danilo and Kelli O’Hara is Valencienne. Mezzo-soprano diva Susan Graham takes on the title role later in the run. Sir Andrew Davis and Fabio Luisi conduct."

Tickets for the live telecast are $22-$24 at the theaters' box offices.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Opera Ain't No Drag Event Set for Feb. 7

Think operas are stuffy and boring? Think again!

That's the advice from the Pride of Toledo Foundation, a local non-profit group that supports the LGBT community, family and friends in our area. The foundation had so much fun hosting an opera event last year that it is planning another one for 2015, in conjunction with the Toledo Opera.

Opera Ain't No Drag will be held Saturday, Feb. 7 at the Collingwood Arts Center, 2413 Collingwood Blvd., Toledo. Festivities begin at 7 p.m. and will include performances by Toledo Opera artists and the area's reigning queens and kings of drag.

All are welcome! From Pride of Toledo Foundation:

"New to opera? Don't worry! You'll recognize familiar tunes and see some of the best singers that Toledo has to offer. Never seen a drag show? You don't know what you're missing! Over-the-top costumes, wigs, makeup and performances ... maybe the two worlds aren't that different after all!"

Tickets are $15 each or two for $25 and may be purchased at the door or online at

Beer, wine, soda and limited concessions will be available for purchase. For more information, visit Toledo Pride's Facebook page.

The Toledo Opera Guild is hoping for a good showing from its membership. If you've ever wanted a night to be totally over the top, this is it!