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!