The Louisiana Opera presents: Arnold Rawls

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WEST MONROE, La (KNOE) - The Louisiana Opera and the Northeast Louisiana Arts Council are presenting a special event on Sunday, September 9, at 6:00 p.m. at the Assembly Church in West Monroe.

Courtesy: MGN Online

One of the Metropolitan Opera's leading tenors, Arnold Rawls, will be performing a special "Homecoming" event with the ULM Choir and the West Monroe High School Choir of music of all styles, Broadway to Opera and beyond, as Arnold Rawls returns to Monroe. Arnold Rawls grew up in West Monroe, and went to West Monroe High School and ULM. His story is inspirational and uplifting.

Please join us for the concert. The tickets are $10 general admission and $5 students, available online (theassembly.cc/arnoldrawls) and at Fiesta Nutrition in Monroe.

Proceeds will benefit the LA Opera and arts education in the Monroe region.

THE LOUISIANA OPERA presented its first production just few years ago....
Rigoletto was performed, concert version, for one solo performance in 2012, featuring soprano Claire Vangelisti, Bray Wilkins-singing the tenor role of the Duke, and baritone Ron Ulen singing the title role. The cast included basso Louis Nabors, tenor Julian Jones, Lynn Clark: mezzo soprano, and baritone Wei-Shu Tsai. Richard Seiler was the pianist. ULM voice students sang minor roles and were chorus members.

The first production established a high professional standard, gathering together experienced singers from the faculty of ULM and Texas State (Ron Ulen), singers with important national and international credits. Monroe native Bray Wilkins, a very fine tenor who had won honors and awards and had significant professional experience, learned an important operatic role that he will sing during his career, and he has since moved to New York City to pursue more opportunities.

The first presentation of Rigoletto was performed with the assistance of the Friends of the Opera (FOO), a "grass roots" group of lovers of opera and donors, who made possible the gradual development of opera production in Monroe. All of the singers travelled and performed in Monroe without remuneration, but this gesture allowed donations to accumulate for the 2013 production of La Boheme, which was a more fully realized production. The first productions have established a unique and positive niche in the cultural landscape of Monroe: the operas are sung in Italian with projected English translations, and accompanied solely on piano by Richard Seiler, in order for the performances to be focused on singing and acting in the intimate Recital Hall at ULM. Functional furniture, costumes, and props are the tools that the actors use to make the action realistic and honest. The audience is close to the performers, and this feature allows the audience members to feel closer to the power of the singing/actors.