Neill and Lambrinos Sing 'A SCANDALOUS AFFAIR' at Merkin Hall 4/19

By: Apr. 02, 2009
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Hollywood's best-kept secret is revealed with the one-night-only, New York premiere of A Scandalous Affair on Sunday, April 19th at the Merkin Concert Hall at Kaufman Center (129 W. 67th Street) beginning at 8:00 p.m. Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy were the most successful crossover stars from opera to Hollywood.

They had one smash hit after the next, including Naughty Marietta(1935), Rose Marie (1936) and the top grossing film internationally of 1937, Maytime.

However, in one of Hollywood's greatest cover-ups of all time, the pair were lovers off-screen but because of MGM studio boss Louis B. Mayer, never married each other.

In fact, the couple carried on a 30-year affair while supposedly happily married to other people. Ultimately, MacDonald died in 1965 of a heart attack and Eddy, supposedly heartbroken by her passing, soon followed two years later. Their epic love story seemed lost forever. Until 2001, when the book Sweethearts by Sharon Rich was published. She was close friends with MacDonald's older sister Blossom Rock, who played Grandmama Addams on the original television series The Addams Family.

After speaking with Rock, Rich interviewed over 200 friends, family, co-stars and lovers of MacDonald and/or Eddy. She had access to hundreds of private love letters, diary entries and the unpublished memoirs of both Nelson Eddy's mother and Jeanette MacDonald, which she incorporated into the book. "Reading Sweethearts inspired me to create A Scandalous Affair," said Hallie Neill, writer and co-star of A Scandalous Affair. "After reading the book I knew I had to bring this story to the stage where MacDonald and Eddy's passionate love burned brightest."Neill's adaptation captures all the passion, anguish and shocking truths of this tragic story. The entire production is laced with infectious humor, scandalous revelations, juicy Hollywood history and a spectacular mix of music by Cole Porter, Noel Coward, Rodgers and Hart, Romberg, Herbert, Verdi and Giordano.

Since launching in 2006, A Scandalous Affair has played to audiences across the country and received rave reviews for its captivating story and talented cast. 

Playing the famed couple is a pair of accomplished opera singers Hallie Neill appears as Jeanette, while former Metropolitan Opera baritone Theodore Lambrinos plays Nelson. Conductor Raymond Hughes, former Metropolitan Opera Chorus Master, is the pianist.

Tickets for this one-night-only event are priced at $40 and $35, with student and senior tickets available for $20. Tickets can be purchased through the Kaufman Center box office at 212-501-3330 or online at www.kaufman-center.org.

Hallie Neill has an uncommon versatility for opera, operetta and musical theatre. She has created leading roles in two world premieres: Anton Coppola's Sacco and Vanzetti for Opera Tampa and Philip Glass's La Belle et la Bete in performances for the Netherlands Opera, and throughout Italy, Germany and Switzerland. She has appeared in opera concerts at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Brooklyn Academy of Music, on tour with Columbia Community Concerts, and in opera/Broadway concerts throughout the Middle East and Asia. Her operatic repertoire includes the leading soprano roles in Tosca, Falstaff, Traviata, Don Giovanni, Carmen, Le Villi, La Boheme, Die Fledermaus, The Merry Widow, and The Song of Norway and she has appeared with the Cairo Opera, Teatro Lirico d'Europa, Mozart Festival Opera, Opera 2001 of Spain, New York Grand Opera, Anchorage Opera, Metro Lyric Opera of New Jersey, Pensacola, Gold Coast Opera, San Diego and Long Beach Light Opera Companies and the Paper Mill Playhouse.

Theodore Lambrinos' career encompasses 60 major baritone roles that he has performed at the Metropolitan Opera and opera companies throughout the United States and internationally. His powerful voice and compelling stage presence make him one of the finest Verdi baritones appearing before the public today. His appearance at the Metropolitan Opera in the title role of Rigoletto was described by the New Jersey Star Ledger as a "gripping performance that broughtdown the house" and he was hailed as the "Metropolitan Opera's A-Team." In demand throughout the world for his interpretation of Rigoletto, he received ovations for his "compelling and faithful portrayal of the complex character," (China Daily) in Beijing, and he was also honored to present this role in the historical first-ever performance of opera in Hanoi, Vietnam. He created the role of Carlo Tresca in the world premiere of Anton Coppola's Sacco and Vanzetti for Opera Tampa and performed seven of the leading baritone roles for the New York Grand Opera Verdi Festival in Central Park. He has sung nearly 200 performances of Rigoletto, Nabucco, Aida and Tosca with the European touring companies Opera 2001 and Teatro Lirico d'Europa throughout Spain, France, Portugal and Denmark.



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