Louis Roney: Opera Orlando - New kid on the block

Gabriel Preisser comes to my house to tell me what's going on in opera around Orlando.

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  • | 8:07 a.m. January 21, 2016
  • Winter Park - Maitland Observer
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• Gabriel Preisser comes to my house to tell me what’s going on in opera around Orlando. Baritone Gabriel is the newly appointed executive and artistic director of the newly minted Opera Orlando.

Preisser has far-seeing interesting plans for the new organization formerly known as Florida Opera Theater. Especially good news for Central Florida is that once again Orlando will now have its very own opera company, not a spin-off of the Orlando Philharmonic. Preisser, a working opera and theater singer, is joined by new general director Vince Connor; production head Rita Wilkes; artistic advisor Kathy Miller; and marketing consultant David Sckolnik, all of whom are all on board to assure a promising season. Opera Orlando enjoys the support of a United Arts grant, and one can well expect that very good ticket sales will ensure financial security from excited Central Florida opera-loving patrons.

Opera Orlando “Where Opera Comes First,” is scheduled to perform a double bill of Mozart’s “The Impresario” and Poulenc’s “Les Mamelles de Tiresias,” at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. The performances are at 7:30 p.m. on April 22 and 23, and at 2 p.m. on April 24. Conductor and coach Michael Sakir, who was recently seen with the Santa Fe and Florida Grand Operas has been engaged for the performances along with 16 players of the Orlando Philharmonic and the Opera Orlando Children’s Chorus. Leading singers include local favorite Julia Foster from Rollins College, Julliard grad Alex Mansoori, up-and-coming soprano Bridgette Gan from New Jersey, and Gabriel Preisser himself! Plans are for Opera Orlando to present two operas a year; one in the fall, and one in the spring, and a touring production for schools, churches, and other possible venues. Gabriel mentioned to me that right now Opera Orlando is looking for a grant writer.

On Saturday, March 19, a fundraising opera gala will be held at the Grand Bohemian in Orlando. For those of you who might wish to partner in the community, and are as excited as I am about the future plans of our new opera company, please visit operaorlando.org “where the city goes for opera!”

•Noah Webster said, “Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. Thus the supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that be, on any pretense, raised in the United States.” Are we sure?

• Thomas Sowell wrote, “The most fundamental fact about the ideas of the political left is that they do not work. Therefore we should not be surprised to find the left concentrated in institutions where ideas do not have to work in order to survive.” That couldn’t possibly be truer about education! Conservatives instinctively resist national control of education and their instincts are correct — school science programs are more like an environmentalist rally than science. Science must be held free from emotional prejudice or it is not pure science.

• My folks let me be one of the kids who believed in Santa Claus. The denouement came soon enough. When I was about 6, my mother took me downtown in Atlanta to Davison-Paxon’s where I sat on the knee of a jolly Santa and told him what I wanted for Christmas. We should have gone home immediately after that. Instead we went to Rich’s Department Store where the impossible occurred: the Santa at Davison-Paxon’s had miraculously taken himself the few blocks to Rich’s and asked me to sit on his knee.

Oops! Could there be two Santa’s? The transformation from childhood innocence to grown-up fact is not kind perhaps, but it must take place, somewhere, somehow, or we’d all remain kids our whole lives — Would that be so bad?

• The release of the American hostages in Iran is both welcome, and also a stern reminder of what rank-amateur bargainers we Americans are.

Others should fear us with reason — they don’t, and won’t — as long as we have gutless weaklings negotiating for us. How about the hostages we left behind, Secretary Kerry and President Obama?