L'Amour Toujours, a Popera! Concert

LUIS LEDESMA has established himself as an international singer with powerful, yet refined vocal and theatrical gifts.  Born in Mexico City, his career advanced in Europe and in the United States (where he is now a citizen) after a young artist residency at The Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia and after winning several competitions, including the Pavarotti International Voice Competition and Julian Gayarre Competition in Spain. This season, Luis performs the title role of Macbeth with Palm Beach Opera; Scarpia in Tosca with Opera Santa Barbara and Atlanta Opera; Escamillo in Carmen with Finger Lakes Opera; Marcello in La Boheme with Opera de Bellas Artes in Mexico. His career already includes appearances in several International Opera houses around the world, including Teatro alla Scala (Luisa Fernanda), the Liceu in Barcelona (Alphonse in La favorite, Riccardo in I puritani and Marcello in La bohème), Klangbogen Festival in Vienna (Leoncavallo's La bohème), Teatro Municipal de Santiago (Escamillo in Carmen), Semperoper in Dresden (Marcello in La bohème), Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires (Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia), Bellas Artes in Mexico City (Marcello in La bohème), Macau Festival (Sharpless in Madama Butterfly),  Graz Oper (Escamillo in Carmen), Marcello in La Boheme in Lisbon, Portugal (Teatro Nacional de Sao Carlos), and the Savonlinna Opera Festival (Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor and Escamillo in Carmen). Recent North American engagements include the title role in Gianni Schicchi with Sacramento Opera; Scarpia in Tosca with Anchorage Opera; Escamillo in Carmen and Germont in La Traviata at Bellas Artes in Mexico City; Tonio in Pagliacci for Opera Lyra Ottawa; and a return to Michigan Opera Theatre for Tonio and Silvio in Pagliacci. Other performances in North America included Carmen as Escamillo (Arizona Opera, Manitoba Opera, and The Orlando Philharmonic); Gerard in Andrea Chenier for Nashville Opera; Valentin in Faust for Hawaii Opera and Fresno Grand Opera; the title role of Rigoletto for Florentine Opera; Jack Rance in La fanciulla del west with L’opera de Montreal; Germont in La traviata with Florida Grand Opera and Michigan Opera Theatre; and Scarpia in Tosca for Arizona Opera and Nashville Opera. As a concert artist, Mr. Ledesma has performed a variety of orchestral repertoire including Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, Mozart's Coronation Mass, Faure Requiem and Orff's Carmina Burana. Most recently, he sang Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony in Oviedo, Spain; made his Carnegie Hall debut in the Faure Requiem followed by a return engagement for The Philadelphia Orchestra in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony; sang the baritone solo in Carmina Burana with the Louisville Orchestra; and performed in a series of Christmas concerts in Hannover with the NDR Radiophilharmonie in addition to a Verdi gala concert held in Die Alte Oper Frankfurt. Mr. Ledesma also sang two tours with Andrea Bocelli, performing in famous venues such as Madison Square Garden, Hollywood Bowl, Hard Rock Café in Hollywood, Florida, and the Auditorio Nacional Mexico City.  Mr. Ledesma frequently portrays the heroes and villains of Puccini and Verdi in addition to performing the important bel canto roles of Bellini, Donizetti, and Rossini. His growing repertoire includes many roles in the French repertoire and has extended to the verismo composers such as Leoncavallo and Giordano.

EDUARDO VILLA (tenor) is one of the world’s most sought-after and versatile tenors with an usually broad repertoire that ranges from Nemorino to Otello in leading opera houses throughout Europe and North America. He is a regular guest of the Metropolitan Opera and has appeared on their stage in the title roles in Don Carlo and Ernani, Radames in Aida, Rodolpho in Luisa Miller, Don Jose in Carmen, Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly, Turiddu in Cavalleria Rusticana and Canio in I Pagliacci. In North America, he has performed as Don Jose with the Houston Grand Opera, the title role in Otello, Riccardo in Un Ballo in Maschera, and Don Jose for Michigan Opera. In Europe, he was a regular guest of the Bavarian State Opera in Munich (Radames, Don Jose in Carmen, Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly, Fenton in Falstaff, the title role in Les Contes d'Hoffman, Rodolfo in La Bohéme, Paris Opera (Don Carlo, Mylio in Le Roi D'ys, and Alfred) and Deutsche Oper Berlin as Pinkerton. A native of California,Villa is a winner of the 1982 Metropolitan Opera and  began his musical training as a violinist. While studying at Santa Barbara City College he concentrated on musical comedy. He later attended the University of Southern California where he switched to operatic training.
OLA RAFALO (mezzo-soprano) has a voice that the Palm Beach Arts Paper has called “attractive, dusky, and powerful”. Her rich voice and dramatic sensibility lend themselves perfectly to the sumptuous roles of Carmen, Eboli in Don Carlo, Amneris in Aida, and Dalila in Samson et Dalila. This season, she performs the title role in Peter Brook’s La Tragedie de Carmen with Syracuse Opera. Recent engagements include Leonora in La Favorita with The Opera Atelier; as well as Dalila in Samson et Dalila, Fricka in Die Walküre, Suzuki in Madama Butterfly, and the title role in Carmen with the Lyric Orchestra. Rafalo has also appeared with Opera Tampa, Sarasota Opera, DuPage Opera Theatre and Palm Beach Opera, where she was a member of their Young Artist Program. In 2008, she was awarded Grand Prize of the Elgin Opera competition and First Prize of the Sherrill Milnes Opera Idol competition. She was also an apprentice artist at Sarasota Opera, receiving the Leo M. Rogers award, as well as an apprentice at Opera Tampa.
ELIZABETH DE TREJO (soprano) “…has it all – a shimmering coloratura of great agility and intriguing color as well as superb acting ability” (The Toledo Blade). Upcoming operatic engagements include Fiordiligi in Cosi fan Tutte with North Carolina Opera and the title role in Bellini’s masterpiece, Norma. With Opera Tampa she performed with much acclaim the roles of Lucia in Lucia di Lammermoor, Violetta in La Traviata, and the role of Rosina in Anton Coppola’s epic opera, Sacco and Vanzetti. She has toured with the Florida Orchestra as guest soloist, and concerts of zarzuela in Mexico City and Lincoln Center. De Trejo has worked with the Metropolitan Opera in Lulu, and in recent seasons, made her Carnegie Hall debut as a soloist under the baton of composer John Rutter. She has also received numerous awards from prominent vocal competitions, including the Gerda Lissner Opera Competition in New York, the MacAllister Opera Competition, the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in the Connecticut and Gulf Coast Regions and the Jenny Lind Soprano Competition. Ms. de Trejo received her Bachelor of Music from Loyola University, New Orleans and her Master of Music from Yale University.

DANIEL LIPTON is widely regarded as one of today’s most exciting and creative conductors, whose superb performances of opera and the concert repertoire have gained him international acclaim. He was appointed music director and chief conductor of the Anhaltische Philharmonie and general music director of the opera company in Dessau, Germany. He became artistic director of Opera Ontario, Canada, and presented the Canadian premieres of Giordano’s Andrea Chénier, Verdi’s I Due Foscari and Massenet’s Portrait de Manon, along with other major operas. Under Lipton’s direction, Opera Ontario has enjoyed not only the highest artistic accolades, but also notable financial success, while greatly expanding the audiences in the process. He has been primarily responsible for the growth of Opera Ontario, making it one of Canada’s most important and artistically innovative companies. His annual POPERA™ galas have met with widespread popularity and acclaim. Before his time in Ontario, Lipton was appointed music director and principal conductor of the Orquesta Sinfonica de Colombia in Bogotà and conducted 33 programs a year with them. In Colombia he rebuilt the symphony orchestra and created a national opera company. He was appointed artistic director of the Opera de Colombia and produced 30 operas. Both organizations were raised to the highest international standard of performance because of his unwavering commitment to excellence. Previous posts include music director with Houston Grand Opera and artistic director of the San Antonio Festival. He has also held positions with the Zürich Opera, the Teatro Comunale in Bologna and Florence, American Ballet Theatre and the Denver Symphony Orchestra. In 2001, he was appointed artistic director of the EurOrchester for the European Classic Festival, (Triennale) for which he has conducted during the past 11 years.