OperaDelaware Announces Collaboration with Hospital for Special Performance, 1/16

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A new collaboration between OperaDelaware and the Nemours Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children will bring three of opera's brightest stars to the atrium of the health care facility for performances on Jan. 16, 30, and Mar. 20, it was announced today.

The newly constructed atrium, located at 1600 Rockland Rd., Wilmington, will serve as host to baritone Grant Youngblood, soprano Sharin Apostolou, and bass/baritone Ben Wager as part of an innovative new series designed to demonstrate the transformative, healing power of music in health care. The performances begin at noon, and are open to patients, staff, friends, family, and to the public.

The OperaDelaware artists will provide a preview of selections from the company's new recital series, Sunday Artist Spotlight, which will be performed on Jan. 18, Feb. 1, and Mar. 22. These shows begin at 2 p.m. at the OperaDelaware Studios, 4 S. Poplar St. on the Wilmington Riverfront.

"We are delighted to be part of this new recital program, and we're honored to have a role in raising the spirits of Nemours patients and their families during the recovery process," said Brendan Cooke, general director of OperaDelaware. "Our artists are big believers in the healing power of music, and they can't wait to share their vocal talent in a unique and exciting way. OperaDelaware looks forward to seeing the growth of this program."

The effort to bring the artists' performance to the hospital was conceived by Dr. Paul Rosen, Nemours' clinical director of service and operational excellence. Rosen and Cooke met at the TEDxTalks in Wilmington earlier this year. Rosen's discussion of empathy in health care and Cooke's talk comparing Opera to Baseball seemed like they had little to do with one another, but the two executives immediately became excited about a possible collaboration.

"We know that music can alleviate suffering and promote healing." Said Dr. Rosen. "We at Nemours are so fortunate to have a partner in OperaDelaware. We are now going to have world class performers contribute to the healing process of the children and their families in the hospital."

Grant Youngblood is a Wilmington resident who has performed at the Metropolitan Opera in New York as well as many others, nationally and internationally. Locally, Youngblood dazzled audiences in the title role of Macbeth.

Sharin Apostolou charmed OperaDelaware audiences in the role of Adina in L'elisir d' Amore in 2013. Apostolou has also appeared on the national stage in the Seattle Opera and Glimmerglass Opera, among others.

Ben Wager, an international opera performer who started his singing career in the OperaDelaware chorus, most recently performed locally in the role of Banquo in Macbeth, and regionally with the Academy of Vocal Arts and Opera Philadelphia.

OperaDelaware, the nation's 11th oldest professional opera company, celebrates its 70th season in 2014-2015. Our mission is to enrich the cultural life of people in the Mid-Atlantic region by producing opera and opera education programs at the highest artistic level. The company presents new and traditional operas using a unique blend of established and emerging professional talent.

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