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'Voices from the Valley'

If you happened to wander by the music building of Southern Oregon University recently, you might have heard the sounds of operatic arias from "The Merry Wives of Windsor" or "Candide."

For nine weeks, Rogue Opera and Southern Oregon University Department of Music have been conducting an opera workshop. And when the workshop is concluded, the participants would like to share some of the music with the public.

The first in a series of two performances of the "Voices From The Valley Opera Scenes Concerts" will take place at 8 p.m. Friday, March 9, at the SOU Music Recital Hall, 1250 Siskiyou Blvd., Ashland. The second will be at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 11, at First Presbyterian Church, 85 South Holly St., Medford.

The concerts will showcase the work of 14 Rogue Valley singers, including Fredna Grimland, Ellie Murray, Lorrie Hall, Shelly Cox, Mark Peterson, Brett Aakre, Sharise Blaylock, Rebecca Campbell, Dan Gibbs, Karli Krueger, Leoni Lanzas, Jennifer Matsuura, Deborah Tingle and Cassandra Tolman.

The singers will present staged scenes from operas by Menotti, Britten, Cimarosa, Berlioz, Gounod, Donizetti, Nicolai, Offenbach, Barber and Bernstein. A variety of scenes from many operas have been selected, with themes that include disguise, love, deception, magic, revenge and, above all, fun.

In addition to "The Merry Wives of Windsor" and "Candide," the operas will include "Beatrice and Benedict," "Coronation of Poppea," "The Consul," "The Old Maid and the Thief," "The Turn of the Screw," "The Secret Marriage," "Romeo and Juliet," "Orpheus and the Underworld," "Vanessa" and "L'elisir d'amore."

Rogue Opera's new artistic director, Willene Gunn, 30-year veteran director of San Francisco Conservatory of Music's opera program, will direct the performances. Jennifer Schloming will accompany on piano.

A "Meet the Artists" reception will follow each concert.

Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for students. Tickets are available at the door and from Rogue Opera. Proceeds will benefit Rogue Opera's Educational Programs and collaborations with SOU. See www.rogueopera.org or call 608-6400.

Karli Krueger is one of 14 singers who will perform during the culmination of an opera workshop. - Rogue Opera