FGO to celebrate the ‘Season of Love’ with two February concerts

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FGO to celebrate the ‘Season of Love’ with two February concerts
Pictured are Mezzo-soprano María Antúnez and tenor Martín Nusspaumer.

Florida Grand Opera sends musical Valentines to South Florida with two concerts hot enough to stave off any iguana-freezing weather that February has up its sleeve.

Miami-based husband and wife, tenor Martín Nusspaumer and mezzo-soprano María Antúnez, star in FGO’s popular Viva Zarzuela! concert. The headliners will be accompanied by Studio Artists Erin Alford, Page Michels, Ashley Shalna, Charles Calotta, Matthew Cossack, Phillip Lopez, and Joseph McBrayer.

In this annual concert favorite, the Spanish opera form Zarzuela pairs with other European opera excerpts for an exciting evening. Included are favorite Zarzuela selections from Luisa Fernanda, El barberillo de lavapiés, El guitarrico, La marchenera, La gran vía, and more.

The opera side features beloved tunes from Carmen, The Magic Flute, La traviata, and The Elixir of Love, to name a few.

Zarzuela’s roots trace back to 17th Century Madrid. It is popular in Cuba, Mexico, and other Spanish-speaking countries, each of which puts its own unique twist on the genre. Both song and speech are employed to carry forward plots which range in topic from Greco-Roman mythology, to the lives of the common people, to romance and adventure. It remains especially popular in South Florida and other communities of the Spanish-speaking diaspora.

Uruguayan tenor Martín Nusspaumer, a former FGO Studio Artist, is known for his portrayals of Puccini, Mozart, and Verdi heroes. Frequently appearing with the opera companies of South Florida, he has also performed with the Miami Symphony, the Charleston Symphony, Ankara’s Presidential Symphony Orchestra, Odessa Philharmonic, Orchestra Firenze, Philharmonic of Montevideo, and Istanbul Symphony Orchestra.

Uruguayan mezzo-soprano María Antúnez, a graduate of Washington National Opera’s Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program, has appeared on such important stages as the Kennedy Center, Los Angeles Opera, the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing, Charleston Ópera, Teatro Nacional in Santo Domingo, Teatro Solis in Montevideo and the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. She is known for her diverse repertoire, including the title role of Carmen, Mimi in La bohème, and Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni.

“We are pleased to bring South Florida our third annual Viva Zarzuela! concert,” said Susan T. Danis, FGO general director and CEO. “We’re especially excited that this year’s concert features South Florida’s own Martín Nusspaumer and María Antúnez singing some of your favorite Zarzuela and opera in our new venue at the historic Cuban Hebrew Congregation on Miami Beach. I’d like to thank the Congregation for this partnership. We look forward to future concerts and events.”

The concert takes place on Sunday, Feb. 5, at 3 p.m., in partnership with the historic Cuban Hebrew Congregation of Miami. It will take place at Temple Beth Shmuel at 1700 Michigan Ave., Miami Beach FL 33139. Tickets are $25 general admission at fgo.org, or call the Box Office at 800-741-1010.

In Hearts and Arrows: Opera’s Great Love Songs, FGO’s exclusive Studio Artists embrace the romance of opera with a boxful of sweet musical treats. Favorite arias, duets, and ensembles from The Merry Widow, The Student Prince, Rigoletto, The Magic Flute, Don Giovanni, La bohème and more are on the menu, with Broadway delights like If I Loved You from Carousel and Maria from West Side Story thrown in for good measure.

The Florida Grand Opera Studio is the face of opera in Miami. Studio Artists spend the full season performing principal and comprimario roles alongside FGO’s roster of acclaimed directors, conductors, and musicians, and in concerts and events throughout Miami-Dade and Broward counties. In the 2022-23 season, fans have already enjoyed Studio Artists Page Michels, Ashley Shalna, Erin Alford, Joseph McBrayer, and Phillip Lopez in FGO’s mainstage production, El matrimonio secreto. In late January and early February, these artists will be joined by their colleagues Charles Calotta and Matthew Cossack for the double bill, Gianni Schicchi and Buoso’s Ghost.

“We’re excited to partner with First Miami Presbyterian Church for the first time,” said artistic administration associate Lauren Frick. “The Hearts and Arrows Concert is a wonderful opportunity for residents of Downtown and beyond to experience the superb vocal talents of our artists in this beautiful space.”

Scheduled Thursday, Feb. 16, 7:30 p.m., at the First Miami Presbyterian Church, 600 Brickell Ave., Hearts and Arrows offers approximately 80 minutes of romance (including a 15-minute intermission) for the perfect casual date night. A variety of food trucks are available in the parking lot behind the church. General admission tickets are $25 at fgo.org, or call the Box Office at 800-741-1010.



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