$25 and up | Limited View $20
Run time: 2 hours with intermission
Meet & greet: after show casual in lobby, not ticketed
Please join The Opera Club of The Villages in their 26th annual fundraiser to fund The Harold S. Schwartz Music Scholarship Foundation for young budding musicians in our community. Program to come.
ABOUT THE OPERA CLUB
The Opera Club of the Villages was established in 1997 to present live performances to Villagers and establish a music scholarship program to honor the founder of the Villages, Harold Schwartz. Since its inception over $550,000 in scholarship money has been awarded to local students in Marion, Lake and Sumter counties who aspire to pursue a career in Music.
More information is available on The Opera Club of The Villages website www.operaclubofthevillages.com
The performers include Fernando Varela, Devin Eatmon, Aprile Millo, John McVeigh, and Bill Doherty.
The story behind Fernando Varela begins and ends with a voice. A voice tells the tale of a breathtaking tenor whose spirit and determination has defied the odds. Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Fernando moved to Florida at the age of eight, and while he always loved music it was not until he was seventeen that he discovered the impressive talent he had within him. Fernando trained with some of opera's renowned classical icons and tours worldwide with Grammy Award-Winning producer David Foster. Varela can also be seen featured on David Foster's recently released all-new PBS Special. He has also performed amongst some legendary superstars including Lionel Richie, Sarah Brightman, Babyface, Gladys Knight, Peter Cetera, Neil Diamond, Benny Andersson, Seal, Jewel, The Beach Boys, Steven Tyler, Josh Groban, and Chaka Kahn. This year saw Fernando as a special guest performer at The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song honoring Gloria and Emilio Estefan, as well as celebrating Julio Iglesias on The Grammy Salute to Legends. Varela is signed with Universal Music Group and released his debut album "Vivere," March 2017, accompanied by his debut PBS Special, "Coming Home." Fernando is currently in the studio with producer Emilio Estefan working on his follow-up album. Fernando Varela sets the standard for what true musicianship is all about, combining a unique voice and an engaging passion which lights up the stage.
Praised for his "mature and heroic sound," 27 year old tenor Devin M. Eatmon is a graduate of the Florida State University where he earned a Master's and Bachelor’s degree in voice performance.
Some roles that Mr. Eatmon performed during his Bachelor's degree included, Lorenzo in William Bolcom's one act opera Lucrezia, 2016 and George Villiers, in the scholastic premiere of Carlisle Floyd's The Prince of Players, 2017. It was during this production that Devin coached with Maestro Floyd and was complimented upon singing "two thrilling B flats!"
With a graduate teaching assistantship offer, Devin found himself once more at the Florida State University studying with his incredible voice teacher, David Okerlund. He was then cast to play the roles of, Rodolfo in Giacomo Puccini’s La bohème, 2018, Curley in Carlisle Floyd's American classic, Of Mice and Men, 2019 and, Edgar Aubrey in Heinrich Marschner's German romantic opera, Der Vampyr, 2019.
In a rare and unexpected turn of events, Ashley discovered her operatic talents while meeting with Maestro Mario Laurenti (1921-2022).
A native of Supino, Italy, Maestro Laurenti trained with Riccardo Stracciari, performed for many years with Martha Graham and produced operas with Robert Merrill, Roberta Peters, Anna Moffo et al. Maestro Laurenti went on to become Ashley's musical mentor and life long friend.
This chance encounter sparked the once professional female football all-star into a whirlwind of musical experiences. Ashley has had the opportunity to sing overseas and in the US. You may have seen her perform locally with: The Anna Maria Concert Chorus and Orchestra, Richey Community Orchestra, Dunedin Concert Band, Central Florida Lyric Opera, or The St. Petersburg Opera. Not to mention the multitude of opera roles, holiday events, festivals and ceremonies throughout central Florida. This spring she will debut the role of Mimi from La bohème, with the Central Florida Lyric Opera.
Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Ashley now resides in historic Ybor City. You can frequently hear her saying, "There are people all over the world, but there are a lot of great ones here in Florida! Why not share my talent here?". Among her greatest accomplishments she became a mom in 2022. She looks forward to continuing a love of the arts and classical music with her daughter, Grace.
Acclaimed for his "fresh-toned and touching portrayal" by Opera News and lauded by the New Orleans Times-Picayune for his "rich lyrical tenor, fabulous top notes, and striking good looks," John McVeigh continues to garner attention for his countless world-class performances at the most revered houses throughout the United States and worldwide.
Last season, McVeigh returned to the Metropolitan Opera for both Le nozze di Figaro and Turandot. Previously, he performed Pang in Turandot with Palm Beach Opera, Don Basilio in The Marriage of Figaro with Opera Theater St. Louis, as a soloist in Handel's Messiah with Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra and DCINY, and as a soloist in Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with DCINY.
An accomplished "cross-over" artist, McVeigh shares his talents both in operatic and theatrical settings.
Maestro Bill Doherty has been performing as a concert pianist since the age of four and continues to delight audiences all over the world with his virtuosity at the keyboard. His musical studies included intensive training in piano, conducting, musical composition and voice, studying with such well-known teachers as Albert Bowen (Tanglewood), Barbara Marchesani, Pasquale Caputo (Mohawk Valley Opera), Solomon Mikowski and Sonia Vargas (Manhattan School of Music), Abraham Kaplan (Juilliard School of Music), Carmen Savoca and Peyton Hibbitt (Tri-Cities Opera, NY), and Rita Shane (Metropolitan Opera, Vienna StaatsOper). As an operatic tenor, he sang with the Mohawk Valley Opera and the Tri-Cities Opera, and was later mentored by the legendary soprano Licia Albanese (Metropolitan Opera, La Scala).