Last night, I made my way to the Whitney Center for the Arts(http://www.galleryw.org/), where they were hosting an evening of opera arias, set in a lovely informal atmosphere, such as would be found in the olden days of Mozart. The event is known as ‘Opera Notte at the Whit’, and plans to be a regular affair, bringing in top level, classically trained musicians to entertain the guests. The setting was perfect, with small, intimate tables, dressed in red, and set casually throughout what was probably an original ballroom to the building. The way the room filled so quickly, the event already seemed to be a giant success. I made my way to my table, and settled in. The night’s tapas and drinks were offered by Dottie’s Lounge(http://dottiescoffeelounge.com/), and we were provided a menu full of wonderful delights, as soon as we were seated. Tasty appetizers, such as spiced chickpeas, or a ploughman’s platter of cheese and meats, along with a nice selection of wine, champagne and other drinks, were offered. Soon after, the director of the arts center welcomed the crowd, and there was also a wonderful announcer, who kept the crowd entertained with his witty nature. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that one of my childhood idols, Ron Ramsay, was the musical director for the event, and by the end of the night, felt like I had been given an extra gift, in being able to listen to his expert piano playing, amazing voice and great sense of humor.
The first performer of the night was the lovely Amber Naramore, who sang an aria from one of Mozart’s works. Ms. Naramore has a delicately beautiful voice, that also has surprising strength. The next performance was another of Mozart’s pieces, and was dramatic and very aptly delivered by Joseph Sicotte. Carmen, came next, all showy and stirring up emotions, sung by the demure Kara Demler. Her husband, John Demler, entertained the audience next, and sounded superb. Puccini was represented, with duets by Kara Demler and Amber Naramore, and Musetta’s Waltz, from La Boheme, performed by Monica Bliss. There were comical arias and very dramatic arias, each taking center stage with their brilliance. The last one of the night, The Prayer, was more modern, and has been sung by entertainers such as Josh Groban. Monica Bliss and Joseph Sicotte wowed the crowd with their rendition.
As an added delight to the night, the evening progressed with a variety of modern songs, many from ‘The Great American Songbook’, such as ‘Summertime’ from Porgy and Bess, and ‘Songbird’ by the late, great Eva Cassidy. When the night finally ended, I almost felt like I should be in another setting, such as New York City or some European town, rather than the city of Pittsfield. I am so impressed with the variety of arts that The Whitney Center for the Arts is bringing to our county, and I look forward to seeing this new place flourish. The next event for ‘Opera Notte at The Whit’, will take place on March 2nd, at 5pm. If you are looking for a way to spend a spectacular night in the city, I highly recommend this to everyone, even those inclined to think that they are not big opera fans. I have to admit to being one of them, that is until the other night.
Tags: arias, arts, berkshire, berkshire county, berkshiregirl, berkshires, cultural, local, music, opera, opera notte, whitney center for the arts