America's Got Talent's FORTE OPERA TRIO to Perform at 2014 FWOpera Festival's Opening, 4/20

America's Got Talent's FORTE OPERA TRIO to Perform at 2014 FWOpera Festival's Opening, 4/20

Fort Worth Opera (FWOpera) is excited to announce today the details of a one-night concert performance by the stars of NBC's America's Got Talent, crossover opera trio Forte. Just back from their holiday engagement at the Tropicana in Las Vegas and the National Christmas Tree Lighting, the three tenors of Forte, featuring FWOpera star Sean Panikkar, will bring their powerful voices and unique blend of part-pop, part-opera to Bass Hall in downtown Fort Worth on Sunday, April 20, 2014 at 7:30 pm. This exclusive performance will feature a limited number of 100 VIP experience seats for $100 each. These VIP experience tickets include premium orchestra seating and a pre-show VIP champagne reception. The VIP reception will be hosted from 6-7 pm before the show's 7:30 pm start time.

FWOpera General Director Darren K. Woods remarked, "We are excited to be bringing FORTE to Bass Performance Hall as part of our 2014 season. Concerts like this are vital to opera as they provide a connection to an entirely different population, introducing them to the world of classical music." Bridging the gap between classical music and popular audiences, Forte will perform in Fort Worth to kick off FWOpera's 2014 Festival, in which Panikkar returns to the Texas stage. Apart from television fame, North Texas audiences will recognize Panikkar's stunning vocals from last season's powerful performance in La Bohe?me. Panikkar's commanding presence returns to FWOpera this year to perform the role of Nadir in the sultry and arresting drama The Pearl Fishers.

The up-and-coming group garnered national attention from their fourth place win in the finals of NBC's hit reality show America's Got Talent, where they were often noted the judges' favorite. Recently the group recorded a top-selling album, and in the few short months since their win, they have enjoyed a busy schedule of performances across the country.

Single tickets for Forte start at $30 and will go on sale to the public beginning Feb. 10.
The Pearl Fishers will be performed on Sat. Apr. 19 at 7:30 pm, Sun. Apr. 27 at 2:00 pm, and

Fri. May 2 at 7:30 pm.

The members of Forte will be available for media interviews and appearances. To schedule a press meeting or for more information, please contact Holland Sanders, Director of Marketing and Communications, at 817-288-1228 or

Event Details:

Forte Opera Trio Concert
Bass Hall (downtown Fort Worth)

  • ? 6:00 pm VIP reception

  • ? 7:30 pm Concert

  • ? Post-concert meet-and-greet photo and CD signing. Open to the public.

    ABOUT FORTE: It's hard to imagine the members of Forte were complete strangers a few months ago. Having met just days before their first audition for America's Got Talent, the trio mesmerized millions on the eighth season of the reality competition series. Solo artists in their own right, Josh Page, Sean Panikkar and Fernando Varela combine their individual talents to create one incredible, multicultural vocal force. Josh Page answered his musical calling in 2011, after randomly being pulled on stage by Josh Groban to duet with the superstar at New York City's Madison Square Garden. He has since been invited to fill in for Andrea Bocelli at rehearsals and joined former America's Got Talent contestant Jackie Evancho on tour as a guest. Sean Panikkar, whose parents are from Sri Lanka, never dreamed of a career in opera. In fact, he enrolled in the engineering program at the University of Michigan. Opera gradually became a bigger part of Panikkar's life, and after college, the singer performed with several prestigious institutions, including the Metropolitan Opera and San Francisco Opera. Raised in Puerto Rico, Fernando Varela was discovered on YouTube by hitmaker David Foster and ultimately won Foster's "Born To Sing" contest. Varela's global performances span some 31 countries, including a performance in Monte Carlo, Monaco with Maestro Giancarlo Chiaramello (conductor for the late Luciano Pavarotti), the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra in Canada and the National Symphony at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC. Since September, Forte as a trio has toured throughout the country, performing in venues such as Radio City Music Hall, Carnegie Hall, and their own Las Vegas holiday show, and recently released their self-titled debut album, .

    ABOUT FORT WORTH OPERA: Founded in 1946, Fort Worth Opera is the oldest continually performing opera company in Texas, and one of the 14 oldest opera companies in the United States. Under the leadership of General Director Darren K. Woods since 2001, the organization has gained national attention from critics and audiences alike for its artistic quality and willingness to take risks. Known throughout the operatic world as a champion of new and rarely-performed works, the company has taken a leadership role in producing contemporary operas. In 2007, when the company changed its fall/winter schedule to a condensed one-month long Festival in the spring, FWOpera staged its first world premiere, Frau Margot, and followed up the next season with Angels in America (which resulted in More Life: the Art and Science of AIDS, a community-wide collaboration amongst organizations in the performing and visual arts, children's education, medicine, and social services), Dead Man Walking in 2009, the world premiere of Before Night Falls in 2010, and Hydrogen Jukebox in 2011. The 2012 Festival staged the regional

premieres of Mark Adamo's Lysistrata and Jake Heggie's Three Decembers, the first time the two composers' works have been co-programmed, and the 2013 season featured the regional premiere of Tom Cipullo's Glory Denied, as well as the inaugural season of its new works showcase, Frontiers, featuring works by eight composers from the Americas. Fort Worth Opera's CD recordings of Frau Margot, Before Night Falls, and Glory Denied are available on the Albany label.

The company's upcoming 2014 season, part of Phase One of its recently announced ten-year artistic vision Opera of the Americas - funded in part by support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation - includes two premieres: the professional world premiere of Daniel Crozier and Peter M. Krask's With Blood, With Ink; and the regional premiere and national co-production of Kevin Puts and Mark Campbell's Pulitzer Prize award-winning Silent Night. Reinforcing its leadership role in contemporary opera, the 2014 Festival includes the second season of its annual new works program, Frontiers, showcasing new works by composers from the Americas. The company will also feature fresh productions of two popular works: the company's second staging of Bizet's The Pearl Fishers, last performed in 1983; and Mozart's Cosi? fan tutte, last staged in 1995.

Established in 2002, the Fort Worth Opera Studio is a year-round training program for emerging young artists who are cast from annual national auditions. In addition to receiving professional training while in Fort Worth, the singers also perform in the Children's Opera Theatre, the company's educational program that tours fully costumed, portable operas to elementary schools. COT performances span the whole state of Texas and reach as many as 50,000 children a year, many of whom have no other access to arts education. Since 2007, attendance of Festival performances by out-of-town audiences has grown almost 5%. The local economy has also benefitted, with over 1,900 hotel rooms booked for the 2012 Festival alone. The company has balanced its budget for the eighth consecutive year.

Fort Worth Opera is sponsored in part by awards from The Arts Council of Fort Worth & Tarrant County, The City of Fort Worth, The National Endowment for the Arts, and the Texas Commission on the Arts. Additional Fort Worth Opera sponsors include: American Airlines; Art & Seek; Crystelle Waggoner Charitable Trust, Bank of America, Trustee; The Pangburn Foundation, J.P. Morgan Chase, Trustee; Star-Telegram; WFAA Channel 8; and WRR 101.1 FM.