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Mezzo Soprano Julie Rumbold in Francis Poulenc's "La voix humaine (The Human Voice)"


Mezzo Julie Rumbold, Pianist Corbin Beisner, Director Rachel Hanauer, Violinist Emma Piazza (left to right)

PITTSFIELD, MA Committed to their tradition of presenting opera, the Whitney Center for the Arts opens their season of theater performances Friday, June 28th through June 30th with a weekend of performances of a fully staged production of Francis Poulenc's "La voix humaine (The Human Voice)," with mezzo-soprano Julie Rumbold, directed by Rachel Hanauer. Corbin Beisner will be piano accompanist. Violinist Emma Piazza will open the evening with a solo performance. Composed in 1958 from a 1936 play by Jean Cocteau, Poulenc's 45-minute solo piece is a devastating and sensual piece about an elegant woman and her final telephone conversation with a lover who is about to leave her. The opera will be sung in English.


A native of Connecticut, Mezzo Soprano Julie Rumbold has sung throughout the New England area and beyond. She has worked with Berkshire Opera Festival, Lollipop Opera, Contemporary Theater Company, CT Lyric Opera, Simsbury Light Opera Company, and CT Gilbert and Sullivan Society. Julie has studied and performed with New England opera Intensive program in Boston and at the International music festival in Vols am Schlern, Italy. In 2016 she was a finalist for American Opera Idol with Opera Connecticut. Julie was also the proud organizer and key soloist for a benefit concert for Cystic Fibrosis in 2017. Notable roles include Dorabella (Cosi fan tutte), Eboli (Don Carlo), Cornelia (Giulio Cesare), Sally (Hand of Bridge), Hansel (Hansel and Gretel), Prince Orlofsky (Die Fledermaus) Princess Ida (Princess Ida), Phoebe (Yeoman of the Guard), Plaintiff (Trial by Jury), Iolanthe (Iolanthe).


Concert pianist Corbin Beisner, performs regularly throughout the United States and Europe. Notable performances have included recitals at the Conservatoire Liceu in Barcelona and Basel, Switzerland with the 12 Transcendental Etudes by Liszt, the Liszt Saal at the Accademia d’Ungheria in Rome, performances for the American Liszt Society in Kansas City, for the Chopin Societies of Connecticut, and the Chopin Foundation in Florida, USA. He has also performed with symphony orchestras in Connecticut, Nevada, and Indiana in the USA and in Basel, Switzerland. He is a graduate of the Hartt School of Music in Connecticut, USA and of the Franz Liszt Academy of Music (Liszt Ferenc Zeneművészeti Egyetem) in Budapest, Hungary.  In 2018, he received rave reviews in the German and Swiss newspapers “Die Neue Fricktaler Zeitung” and “Badische Zeitung” for his recitals, notably his performances of the music of Beethoven, Debussy, and Liszt and won 1st Prize in the 2018 London Liszt Society Competition.  He also frequently collaborates with chamber musicians and opera singers and is currently sponsored by the Schweizerische Franz Liszt Gesellschaft in Switzerland.


Stage Director Rachel Hanauer is a performer, soprano, director and music educator. In the past couple years she directed The Diary of Anne Frankand Alice in Wonderland at The Arctic Playhouse. She also created an award-nominated cabaret show called I Love..What’s His Name? In the past 10 years she has performed all over New England and in Italy, Latvia, Estonia & Finland & with the First Coast Opera and Jacksonville Symphony in Florida. This past Fall, she directed the Providence College Opera Workshop. She is a voice professor at the Community College of Rhode Island, where she recently directed the Opera Workshop performance of Brundibar, a Holocaust Memorial performance. She also teaches voice at Roger Williams University & St. George’s School.


Violinist Emma Piazza has years of experience in performing across the spectrum of musical worlds, including classical, Celtic, Americana, jazz, and even rock. A graduate of Bennington College, Emma has a degree in violin performance and composition. She performs regularly in throughout Vermont, Upstate NY and the Berkshires. She performs at Hubbard Hall Opera Theatre and has been a member of the symphony for Mahlerfest XXXI in Boulder, CO in 2018 and The Mediterranean Opera Studio and Festival in Sicily in 2016.


Three performances are scheduled for 8 p.m. June 28 and 29, and 2 p.m. June 30. Tickets are available at www.thewhit.org. Those who are unable to buy tickets online may call 413-443-0289 to make reservations. Located at 42 Wendell Avenue in Downtown Pittsfield, the Whitney Center for the Arts, a presenting and producing arts center, has two world-class art galleries and presents Comedies, Dramas, Musicals, Concerts, Opera Nights, Cabarets plus events for teens and children in an intimate performance venue.

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