Ralston Tree

“The Three Sopranos” Perform at Notre Dame de Namur University’s Ralston Performers Series

Belmont, CA, November 5, 2007 — Three noted Bay Area singers and teachers appearing as "The Three Sopranos" will delight audiences as they take an irreverant approach to operas greatest hits and musical theatre classics continuing NDNU's Ralston Performers Series, Nov. 11.

Debra Lambert, NDNU’s Chair of the Department of Music and Vocal Arts, will be the evening’s “Messy Soprano,” while Aurora Bardes takes on the role of “Drama Queen,” and Marcelle Dronkers acts as resident “Cackle-atura Soprano” in this fun review of musical theatre favorites at 7 p.m. in Ralston Hall Ballroom located on the NDNU campus at 1500 Ralston Avenue in Belmont.

A wide range of scores from Wagner's "The Rhinemaidens," and Strauss's Rosenkavalier “Trio,” to "Defying Gravity" from Wicked, and "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy," will be featured. NDNU faculty member and well-known composer Henry Mollicone will accompany on piano while paying tribute to Beverly Sills, perhaps the best known American opera singer of all time. Mollicone worked with Sills at New York City Opera, and when she passed away this summer he was so moved that he wrote a piece in her memory, with the sound of her voice in his mind.Dronkers will premiere this song at the Nov. 11 concert, accompanied by Mollicone.

"Opera is a magnificent art form that has dropped out of the mainstream over the last 30 years or so by taking itself far too seriously,” said Lambert. “We are delighting in singing this amazing music, and at the same time having a little fun. Also, what a privilege to premiere a new song by Henry Mollicone, with the composer at the piano!"

Lambert originally hails from New York City. She has been a soloist with the San Francisco Symphony (“New and Unusual Music,” and “Sacred and Profane” series), Pocket Opera (20-plus shows as singer/director), Lake George Opera, Connecticut Opera, West Bay Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, San Francisco Opera Center, Mendocino Music Festivals and the American Musical Theater of San Jose. Most recently, Phyllis in “Follies in Concert” for the Ralston Performers Series, The Cat in “Starbird” and Marla in “Emperor Norton” for Pocket Opera, and Madame Armfeldt in “A Little Night Music.” Debra holds a BFA in Music from Carnegie-Mellon University, and MM in Opera from the Hartt School. She lives in Menlo Park with her husband, Michael, and four cats.

Aurora Bardes is a native of the Napa Valley, and made her operatic debut with Seattle Opera in “The Marriage of Figaro.” She received her Master of Music degree from the San Francisco Conservatory, and has performed throughout the Bay Area and the West Coast. She has won several vocal performance awards, including the Ungara Diva Award. Bardes conducts a voice and piano studio in Contra Costa County.

Marcelle Dronkers (coloratura soprano) is a native of the Bay Area, and has appeared locally in concert with the San Francisco Symphony, the Joffrey Ballet, and Handbell Ensemble SONOS, among others. Dronkers holds degrees from Indiana University and the Royal Conservatory at The Hague. She is on the voice faculty of Notre Dame de Namur University, and maintains a private studio in Kensington.

Henry Mollicone has been called "...one of the most distinctive American opera composers” by the The Washington Post. His one-act operas, “Emperor Norton,” “Starbird,” “The Face on the Barroom Floor,” and “The Mask of Evil,” were commissioned by the Central City Opera, Houston Grand Opera, San Francisco Opera, the Kurt Herbert Adler Award Fund, and The Minnesota Opera, and have been performed extensively. Mollicone has been a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow since 1997, and has served on various panels for The National Endowment for the Arts, and is associate director of the Ernest Bloch Music Festival in Oregon. He has written for orchestra, voice, chorus, and ballet, for film, television, and theater. He is on the faculty of Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont, as music director for the opera program, and teaching conducting, composition, and history. He lives in Saratoga with his wife, Kathy, and two small dogs.

The concert will be held in Ralston Hall Mansion Ballroom located on the University campus at 1500 Ralston Avenue in Belmont. Tickets cost $20/$10 seniors and students. For more information or to make reservations for the Ralston Performers Series, call NDNU’s Music and Vocal Arts Department at (650) 508-3729, or e-mail: concerts@ndnu.edu.