~ Stephanie Blythe and Susanna Phillips paid tribute to the silver anniversary performances of the recipients’ Met debuts ~
More than 500 opera aficionados — including world renowned performers Rosalind Elias, Susanna Mälkki, Sherrill Milnes, Eric Owens, Renata Scotto, Teresa Stratas — attended the 82nd Annual Metropolitan Opera Guild Luncheon at the Waldorf Astoria on Thursday, December 8th. This year’s honorees – Susan Graham, Ben Heppner, and Deborah Voigt – were acknowledged for the 25th anniversary of their Met debuts. Mesmerizing spoken and musical tributes were delivered by Stephanie Blythe and Susanna Phillips in celebration of this silver anniversary.
“The Guild is delighted to honor these three great artists in celebration of the 25th anniversary of their Met debuts,” said Richard J. Miller, Jr., President of the Metropolitan Opera Guild. “Not only is this an opportunity to raise funds for our diverse educational programs, which last year enriched the lives of over 12,000 students, but also a way to celebrate three beloved Metropolitan Opera stars and reunite them with their Met colleagues.”
Miller then explained how the Met Opera Guild programs touch so many lives: “Through the Guild’s Access Opera program, thousands of students have the unforgettable experience of attending a final dress rehearsal at the Met, after being thoroughly prepared with background materials for the opera they’re going to see . . . But the Guild doesn’t just bring students into the opera house . . . In one program, Students Compose Opera, more than 800 students every year work with the Guild teaching artists to write, create and perform their own music dramas, based on material from their classroom curriculum. In the Urban Voices program, more than 4,000 students in 23 schools in New York and Boston participate in a year-long choral music program, learning about literature, history and languages through the music of different cultures and eras. The Guild also offers a year-long professional development program for teachers – Teaching Through Opera – where educators in all subject areas learn how to use the elements of opera to enhance their classroom instruction. Altogether, last year these Guild programs not only served more than 12,000 students but 1,000 teachers. Recently, the U.S. Department of Education funded a four-year study of the Guild’s programs. The results showed that the students involved in our programs had higher Math and English scores. The great majority of teachers reported a positive impact on overall classroom culture when their students were involved with opera-based learning.”
Among the other illustrious attendees: Christian Alfonsi, Daniel Biaggi, Judith-Ann Corrente, F. Paul Driscoll, Carole Bailey French, Jeremy Geffen, Robert R. Glauber, Neal Goren, Christopher Hahn, Ashton Hawkins, Elaine Hochberg, Herbert Kasper, Stephen C. Koval, Thomas Martin, Louis S. Miano, Carol and Richard J. Miller, Jr., Christopher S. Moore, Susan Morris, Alexander Neef, Win and Mary Rutherfurd, Christopher Serbagi, Sarah Billinghurst and Howard Solomon, Annaliese Soros, and Marc S. Solomon.
The luncheon raised more than $600,000 to benefit the numerous educational programs of The Metropolitan Opera Guild, which as noted by Ms. Arroyo are designed to enrich student’s lives through an awareness and deeper appreciation of opera. The event was made possible through the support of President’s Circle Sponsor The Lloyd E. Rigler–Lawrence E. Deutsch Foundation and Corporate Sponsor BNY Mellon Wealth Management. Representatives from both organizations were also present to honor this year’s award winners.
About The Metropolitan Opera Guild:
The Metropolitan Opera Guild is the world’s premier arts education organization dedicated to enriching people’s lives through the magic and artistry of opera. The Guild fosters personal expression, confidence, literacy and collaboration in children with customized education programs integrated into the curriculum of their schools, and builds a deeper appreciation of opera in adults through workshops and community programs, and by publishing OPERA NEWS, the world’s leading opera magazine. Through its unique relationship with the Metropolitan Opera, the Guild offers all audiences unique access to the artists, performances and majesty of one of the world’s most renowned performing arts companies. For more information about The Metropolitan Opera Guild and its programs, visit metguild.org.
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