Lyric Opera of KC to Continue Season with Vinson Cole & Friends in January

Lyric Opera of KC to Continue Season with Vinson Cole & Friends in January

Lyric Opera of Kansas City continues its 57th season with a very special event, Vinson Cole & Friends, on Sunday, January 11, 2015 at 4pm at the historic Folly Theatre. This benefit for Lyric Opera will include Christine Brewer and Daniel Belcher for an evening of opera classics. All have strong Missouri ties: Daniel Belcher called Kansas City home for several years and performed with Lyric Opera of Kansas City several times. Christine Brewer began her career with the St. Louis Symphony Chorus and performed several times with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. Vinson Cole, a beloved Kansas City treasure, received his training at University of Missouri-Kansas City and is currently a member of the faculty of their Conservatory of Music and Dance.

This concert, co-chaired by Mr. J. Michael Sigler and Dr. Maria Kunstadter, will honor Vinson Cole for his illustrious career and recognize his contributions to music in Kansas City and around the world. A reception will follow with cocktails and hors d'oeuvres at the Folly. Tickets range from $20 - $75 and can be purchased at 816.471.7344 or online at kcopera.org. High resolution headshots can be found here .

"Kansas City has many boasting rights," said Deborah Sandler, General Director and CEO of Lyric Opera of Kansas City. "Among them is counting some of opera's most distinguished musical and operatic talents as its citizens. Vinson Cole, having grown up in KC, is foremost among international leading operatic tenors. He is he held in universally high esteem by his colleagues and we at Lyric Opera of Kansas City want to celebrate his achievements. Helping to honor him are two other operatic stars, Christine Brewer and Daniel Belcher."

Born in 1950, tenor Vinson Cole studied at the University of Missouri, Kansas City before attending the Philadelphia Musical Academy and the Curtis Institute of Music. In 1977, Cole won the Metropolitan Opera Auditions, the WGN Competition, and was awarded both the Rockefeller Foundation and the National Opera Institute grants. Cole's career took off from there as he went on to perform principal roles with the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Opèra National de Paris, Paris Opera-Bastille, Teatro alla Scala, and many more. Cole became well known for his interpretation of French repertoire after singing in the Manon centennial performances with Paris's Opera Comique in 1984. Since then, he has performed singular interpretations in such roles as Lakmè, Carmen, Don Carlos, and Faust.

As a teacher, Cole has taught at the University Washington School of Music, the New England Conservatory of Music, the Aspen Music Festival and School, and the Santa Fe Opera. He has conducted master classes for San Francisco Opera's Merola Program and the Canadian Opera Company. Currently, Cole is a faculty member at the Conservatory of Music and Dance at the University of Missouri, Kansas City and the Cleveland Institute of Music.

Grammy Award-winning American soprano Christine Brewer is known for her unique timbre, at once warm and brilliant, combined with a vibrant personality and emotional honesty reminiscent of the great sopranos of the past. She was named one of the top 20 sopranos of all time by BBC Music. Highlights of her career include performances with the Boston, Atlanta, San Francisco, Toronto, and Chicago Symphonies. In 2011 she debuted in the iconic title role of Puccini's Turandot in a concert performance at the Hollywood Bowl with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Brewer has performed at such prestigious venues as Carnegie's Zankel Hall, London's Wigmore Hall, Oberlin Conservatory, the Friends of Chamber Music, Washington, D.C.'s Vocal Arts Society, and many others. On the opera stage, Brewer is highly acclaimed for her portrayal of the title role in Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos, which she has performed with the Metropolitan Opera, Opèra de Lyon, Thèatre du Chatelet, Santa Fe Opera, English National Opera, and Opera Theater of St. Louis.

Grammy Award-winning American baritone Daniel Belcher has a 50-role repertoire that has taken him to many of the world's music capitals including Paris, London, New York, San Francisco, Berlin, Stuttgart, and many more. In 2004, Belcher received international attention for creating the role of Prior Walter in Peter Eötvös' Angels in America for the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris. Belcher is a graduate of the Houston Grand Opera Studio and has returned there to perform numerous roles such as Billy Budd in Billy Budd, Papageno in The Magic Flute, Schaunard in La bohème and Mercutio in Roméo and Juliette. Belcher is one of the premiere interpreters of Rossini performing today, and is well known for the roles of Dandini in La Cenerentola, Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, and Taddeo in L'Italiana in Algeri. Belcher is a recipient of the International Circle of Friends and Patrons of Théâtre du Châelet Award for his performance in Angels in America. He has performed Dandini in Le Cenerentola, Figaro in Le Nozze di Figaro, Papageno in The Magic Flute, and Captain Corcoran in HMS Pinafore for the Lyric Opera of Kansas City.