Sorg Opera House Benefit
On Sept. 24, the Butler Philharmonic is proud to take part in an awareness-raising event to benefit Middletown’s historic Sorg Opera House.
Paul John Stanbery leads the BPO with opera stars Jessica Rivera and Thomas Dreeze in music of Ellington, Gershwin, Anderson and more. Sponsored by the Kettering Health Network.
Proceeds benefit the Sorg renovation.
At the event, see the amazing work that’s already been done to renovate this iconic structure and see what you can do to help the Sorg Opera Revitalization Group achieve their goal of restoring the theater to its 19th-century grandeur. Food will be available, too.
- When: 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept, 24
- Where: Sorg Opera House, 56 S. Main St., Middletown
- Tickets: $30-$100, available through cincyticket.com.
- More information: Call 513-895-5151 or email email@example.com for more information.
Meet our guest artists!
JESSICA RIVERA, Soprano
THOMAS DREEZE, Baritone
Possessing a voice praised by the San Francisco Chronicle for its “effortless precision and tonal luster,” Grammy Award-winning soprano Jessica Rivera is one of the most creatively inspired vocal artists before the public today. The intelligence, dimension and spirituality with which she infuses her performances on great international concert and opera stages has garnered Ms. Rivera unique artistic collaborations with many of today’s most celebrated composers, including John Adams, Osvaldo Golijov, Gabriela Lena Frank, Jonathan Leshnoff and Nico Muhly, and has brought her together with such esteemed conductors as Sir Simon Rattle, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Robert Spano, Bernard Haitink and Michael Tilson Thomas.
During the 2017-2018 season, Ms. Rivera travels extensively throughout North and South America to perform a vast range of concert repertoire with leading international orchestras. A proponent of Latin American culture and music, Ms. Rivera’s season begins at the Grant Park Festival with Roberto Sierra’s Missa Latina conducted by Miguel Harth-Bedoya, followed by a performance of Mahler’s Fourth Symphony with Colombia’s Orchestra Filarmónica de Bogotá led by Juan Felipe Molano. A seasoned performer of sacred and secular oratorio, Ms. Rivera performs the Mozart Requiem with the San Diego Symphony under the baton of Markus Stenz and with Roberto Abbado leading the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, as well as the lush Brahms Requiem with the Kansas City Symphony, the Mozart orchestration of Handel’s Messiah with Ottawa’s National Arts Centre Orchestra, Poulenc’s Gloria with the Fresno Philharmonic, Vaughan Williams’ A Sea Symphony with the Butler Philharmonic and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Grand Rapids Symphony. Ms. Rivera has long championed contemporary vocal music, and this season she appears at the Ford Theater in association with LA Opera to reprise her performance of Paola Prestini’s multidisciplinary The Hubble Cantata, which she premiered at the BRIC Festival in Brooklyn in August 2016 with acclaimed baritone Nathan Gunn. She also sings Salonen’s Five Images After Sappho for her debut with the Colorado Symphony. Additionally, she joins in the celebration of Leonard Bernstein’s centennial at the Celebrity Series of Boston with a broadcast of Rob Kapilow’s What Makes It Great radio program, and performs Bernstein’s Wonderful Town with the Seattle Symphony.
In 2017, Ms. Rivera gave the world premiere of Gabriela Lena Frank’s Requiem with baritone Andrew Garland and the Houston Symphony and Chorus, conducted by Andrés Orozco-Estrada. The artist also performed John Harbison’s Requiem with the Nashville Symphony and Chorus under Giancarlo Guerrero, which was recorded for future release on the Naxos label. Ms. Rivera treasures a long-standing collaboration spanning over a decade with Robert Spano and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and was recently featured as soprano soloist in Brahms’s Ein deutsches Requiem and Jonathan Leshnoff’s Zohar with the ASO and Chorus at Carnegie Hall; additionally, she joined Spano on Christopher Theofanidis’s Creation/Creator in Atlanta and at the Kennedy Center’s 2017 SHIFT Festival of American Orchestras, where she also performed Robert Spano’s Hölderlin Lieder, a song cycle written specifically for her and recorded on the ASO Media label. Recent orchestral highlights include Mozart’s Requiem with the Calgary Philharmonic under Roberto Minczuk, Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with Karina Canellakis and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Strauss’s Orchesterlieder with Johannes Stert and the Orquestra Sinfónica Portuguesa in Lisbon, Falla’s Siete Canciones Populares with Nicholas Carter and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Górecki’s Symphony No. 3 with Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Mahler’s Fourth Symphony with Franz Welser-Möst in Ms. Rivera’s debut with the Cleveland Orchestra. During the summer of 2017, Ms. Rivera returned to Cincinnati Opera to perform the role of Musetta in La Bohème, led by Louis Langrée.
Ms. Rivera has worked closely with John Adams throughout her career, and received international praise for the world premiere of Adams’s opera A Flowering Tree, singing the role of Kumudha in a production directed by Peter Sellars as part of the New Crowned Hope Festival in Vienna. Subsequently, she has performed the role in her debut with the Berlin Philharmonic and Sir Simon Rattle, the Teatro Nacional de São Carlos in Lisbon and the Cincinnati Opera led by Joana Carneiro, and under Adams’s baton, she has sung Kumudha with the San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Orchestra of St. Luke’s at Lincoln Center and the London Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican Centre. Ms. Rivera made her European operatic debut as Kitty Oppenheimer in Sellars’s acclaimed production of Adams’s Doctor Atomic with the Netherlands Opera, a role that also served for her debuts at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Finnish National Opera and Teatro de la Maestranza in Seville, Spain. She joined the roster of the Metropolitan Opera for its new production of Doctor Atomic under the direction of Alan Gilbert. Ms. Rivera has also performed Nixon Tapes with the Pittsburgh Symphony under John Adams’s direction, as well as his composition El Niño with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra under David Robertson, San Francisco Symphony under John Adams and at the Edinburgh International Festival with James Conlon and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.
Ms. Rivera made her critically acclaimed Santa Fe Opera debut in the summer of 2005 as Nuria in the world premiere of the revised edition of Osvaldo Golijov’s Ainadamar. She reprised the role for the 2007 Grammy Award-winning Deutsche Grammophon recording of the work with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra under Robert Spano, and bowed in the Peter Sellars staging at Lincoln Center and Opera Boston, as well as in performances at the Barbican Centre, the Adelaide Festival of Arts, Cincinnati Opera, and the Ojai, Ravinia, and New Zealand International Arts Festivals. The artist’s first performances of Margarita Xirgu in Ainadamar, a role created by Dawn Upshaw, occurred in the summer of 2007 at the Colorado Music Festival under the baton of Michael Christie and she reprised the part recently for the Teatro Real in Madrid.
Committed to the art of recital, Ms. Rivera has appeared in concert halls in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Cincinnati, Oklahoma City, Las Vegas and Santa Fe. She was deeply honored to have received a commission from Carnegie Hall for the World Premiere of a song cycle by Nico Muhly entitled The Adulteress, given on the occasion of her Weill Hall recital performance.
For additional information about Ms. Rivera, please visit www.jessicarivera.com
Thomas Dreeze has been praised for his baritone voice of wide range, flexibility, warm-timbre and a sincere musical intelligence. October 2017 marks his debut with the Cincinnati Symphony with music director Louis Langrée in Pelléas et Mélisande, part of the re-opening celebrations of Cincinnati’s Music Hall. He sings frequently with Cincinnati Opera, most recently performing multiple roles in Frida, from a teenage Cachuchas gang member to Frida’s father to Nelson Rockefeller, during the summer 2017 season. This spring Mr. Dreeze sang Brahms’s A German Requiem with John Morris Russell and the Hilton Head Symphony and again in July with Collegium Cincinnati’s SummerSing 2017 led by Christopher Eanes. Upcoming engagements include Vaughan Williams’s Sea Symphony, Handel’s Messiah, and Mozart Great Mass in C minor, all with the Butler Philharmonic conducted by Paul Stanbery; and Haydn’s Creation on the Knox Music Series conducted by Earl Rivers.
Thomas Dreeze has shared the stage with vocal luminaries including Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, Sherrill Milnes, Kiri te Kanawa, Grace Bumbry, Tatiana Troyanos, and Samuel Ramey. Recently he has sung with the current generation of stars including Nicole Cabell, Jessica Rivera, Catalina Cuervo, Sean Pannikar, Rodion Pogossov, Nathan Gunn, Bill Burden, and Roberto di Candia.
Thomas Dreeze made his Cincinnati Opera debut in 2011 in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, and has since appeared in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier, Kevin Puts’s Silent Night, Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance, and Johann Strauss, Jr.’s Die Fledermaus. He has appeared in numerous special performances with Cincinnati Opera including Opera in Washington Park, at the Mercantile Library, Hebrew Union College, and the Cincinnati Women’s Club.
Since 2012 Mr. Dreeze has sung Melchior, Balthazar and the Page in the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra / Xavier University production of Amahl and the Night Visitors. In October 2015 he was vocal soloist in the Cincinnati Ballet production of The Lady of the Camellias. A November 2015 recital tour in the Midwest and Boston preceded his debut with the Atlanta Symphony in December and an appearance at the Bellingham Music Festival in July 2016 with conductor and artistic director Michael Palmer. He has also performed numerous times with Cincinnati’s acclaimed Vocal Arts Ensemble under the direction of Craig Hella Johnson. Mr. Dreeze has also sung with the Minnesota Orchestra, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Grant Park Concerts, and Chicago Opera Theatre.
Since autumn 2013 Mr. Dreeze has been an adjunct instructor of voice at Xavier University in Cincinnati, OH, where he also teaches Opera Workshop. He regularly appears in concert and recital with the Xavier University Chorus and Orchestra most recently in Mozart’s Requiem and Vaughan Williams’s Dona Nobis Pacem. Since 2015 he’s been soloist and section leader at Knox Presbyterian Church in Cincinnati.
Thomas Dreeze has enjoyed a varied career in music, arts administration and events management that has taken him from Toledo, OH, to London, New York, Chicago, Boston, the Twin Cities, the Midwest and the Pacific Northwest. He performs opera, operetta, music theatre, art song, the American songbook, and more.
Mr. Dreeze is a co-founder of Evans Mirageas Consulting which offers artistic and strategic planning for classical music organizations and musicians around the world (www.evansmirageas.com). He was Events Program Manager at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London, and Events Manager at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. A founding member of the Dewey-Cygnet Repertoire Theatre in his hometown of Toledo, OH, Mr. Dreeze received his Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Toledo and Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Voice Performance from the University of Michigan.
Get the latest news on the Sorg Opera Revitalization Group’s efforts through its Facebook page.
Several media outlets have documented the Sorg Opera House revitalization effort.
- Sorg Opera House renovations taking time, money, passion
(Journal-News, August 2016)
- Music Hall’s ‘sister theater’ poised for a rebirth in Middletown
(WCPO.com, August 2016)
- Photo Gallery: Volunteers breathing new life into the Sorg
(WCPO.com, August 2016)
These videos revisit the Sorg’s history, take you inside the theater as it exists, and let you hear the dream of those working to renovate it.
The Sorg Opera House: There and Back Again
Sorg Opera House tour