Ms. JoAnn Kulesza, the current Chair and Music Director of the Opera Department at the Peabody Conservatory, JHU, in Baltimore will be doing an opera pre talk before Otello on Saturday October 17th. If all goes well, she will return in the spring. These will be FREE, will take place in the Stoltz Listening Room, and will start an hour before doors.
JoAnn, will talk about how Otello the opera compares to Otello the play, about Verdi's three style periods, his librettist Boito, play some excerpts, themes that are prominent in the Opera, famous Othello’s, Desdemona’s and Iago’s, the fact that Otello and Falstaff were almost not written, the fact that the Met has decided to do away with 'black face' for the title character, and much more.
Ms. Kulesza is presently Interim Chair and Music Director of the Opera Department at the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore, MD. The Department produces between six and ten performances a year, serving between 85 and 100 singers. With her years of experience in the professional world, she provides an important aspect of the aspiring professionals' training. Well versed in Opera's vast repertoire, she teaches classes in recitative, repertoire and works with collaborative pianists and conductors at the school. She team-teaches a seminar in Opera Conducting with the master teacher Gustav Meier.
A life-long lover of choral music, JoAnn worked with the renowned Margaret Hillis at the Chicago Symphony Chorus and as assistant to Chorus Master Philip Morehead at the Chicago Lyric Opera. She was chorus master for the Wolf Trap Opera Company for many years and prepared the chorus for Washington National Opera's Romeo & Juliet in 2004, under Maestro Bertrand de Billy. She presently conducts the Arundel Vocal Arts Society, a chorus of 35-45 members, in two concerts annually, of a wide variety of repertoire; she is in her eighth year as Music Director of this ensemble.
Since entering the conducting realm, Ms. Kulesza has conducted three world premieres and led as well as played continuo for productions of Mozart, Rossini, and Britten. She has worked with some of the most notable conductors in the field – Loren Maazel, George Manahan, Heinz Fricke, Stephen Lord, Margaret Hillis – and is in demand as a clinician and educator around the country. She made her Opera Omaha debut in February '11, conducting and playing continuo for Mozart's Don Giovanni.