Orlando Light Opera Debuts with Student Prince

Romberg’s beloved operetta in new Orlando production

(Orlando, FL) July 11, 2016 – The Orlando Light Opera makes its highly anticipated debut with four performances of The Student Prince July 28 – 31 at the Annie Russell Theater at Rollins College, 1000 Holt Ave in Winter Park, 32789.  The popular operetta will be performed on three evenings, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, July 28, 29 and 30 at 7:00 PM, with a 3:00 PM matinee on Sunday, July 31.  Central Florida music lovers of all ages are invited to enjoy The Student Prince, Sigmund Romberg’s beloved operetta of forbidden love and student hi-jinks.  Performed in English, operetta is an entertaining genre, blending light opera and musical theater. Follow Prince Karl Franz as he goes to Heidelberg University in search of adventure and falls in love with Kathie, the barmaid.  The audience won’t soon forget songs like “Drink, Drink, Drink” and “Deep in My Heart Dear,” in the family-friendly musical favorite.  Joining the Orlando Light Opera are musicians from the Space Coast Symphony Orchestra under the direction of conductor, Aaron Collins, recently honored for his cultural leadership.  Soprano Marina Jurica, tenor Samuel Hall, and baritone Gabriel Preisser are joined by a cast of 30, with stage direction by Eric Pinder.  Orlando Light Opera kicks off its inaugural season partnering with Central Florida Vocal Arts, best known for nurturing musical talent throughout Florida.  Tickets start at $25 and are available online at www.centralfloridavocalarts.com.  See the website for groups discounts and special offers.

Orlando Light Opera Artistic Director, Marina Jurica, talks about the special inaugural performance.

“Orlando Light Opera was founded because I saw the need to bring operettas back to life here in Florida,” said Jurica.  “What better operetta to launch our Season than Romberg’s incredible The Student Prince?  In the US, there are only a handful of operetta or light opera companies performing these beautiful shows.  So OLO’s goal is to bring these beautiful operettas back to life in a summer operetta series that will eventually perform three shows during the months of June to August.  We are so grateful to Central Florida Vocal Arts for their support and partnership. We have incredible soloists, an all-star cast, an amazing pit orchestra under the direction of Aaron Collins and beautiful staging by Eric Pinder.”

For more information, call toll free to (844) 426-7372 or visit www.centralfloridavocalarts.com.

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ABOUT MARINA JURICA — Marina Jurica will be performing the lead role of Kathie in The Student Prince.  She is also the weekend morning meteorologist at WFTV Channel 9 and is honored to be the Artistic Director of Orlando Light Opera.  No stranger to the stage, her first role was Young Cossette in the first Canadian Tour of Les Miserables.  She studied both opera performance and meteorology at UCLA, and has been able to pursue both her passions in life.  Favorite roles include Belle in Beauty & the Beast, Nellie in South Pacific, Amalia in She Loves Me, Polly in Crazy for You, and Anna in The King & I.  Locally she has played Nancy in Oliver & Emma in Jekyll & Hyde. Marina has performed as a soloist with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Lexington Philharmonic, and the Huntington Symphony Orchestra.

ABOUT SAMUEL HALL —  A graduate of the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan, tenor Samuel Hall went on to study with John Maloy at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY. Since reaching the semifinals of Cincinnati Opera’s Opera Idol competition in 2011, Sam has performed on the concert stage, in musical theater, operetta, and opera. In 2015 Sam had his Opera Columbus mainstage debut as Don Curzio in The Marriage of Figaro. Sam then went on to work as an Emerging Artist with St. Petersburg Opera, covering the roles of Calàf in Turandot and Don José in Carmen. This year, he worked as an Apprentice Artist with Sarasota Opera, helping to complete the final season of their 28 year Verdi Cycle, and appeared as Benvolio in Opera Grand Rapids’ production of Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette in April. This fall he will return to St. Petersburg Opera to cover the role of Manrico in Il Trovatore.   Other opera credits have included Gherardo (Gianni Schicchi), King Kaspar (Amahl and the Night Visitors), and Nelson Deadly (Too Many Sopranos), as well as covering the role of Canio (Pagliacci), all with Opera Project Columbus.   In addition to his operatic roles, Sam played Monsieur Thénardier in Mansfield Renaissance Theater’s production of Les Misérables, was the tenor soloist in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the New Albany Symphony, and performed excerpts from Madame Butterfly with the Tampa Bay Symphony.

ABOUT GABRIEL PREISSER — A 2016 League of American Orchestras Emerging Artist Gabriel Preisser has been praised by Opera News for his “handsome voice, charismatic energy, and timbral allure” and The New York Times called his performance as Lt Gordon “wonderful.” His resume includes over 40 operatic and musical theater roles including Danilo in The Merry Widow with Utah Festival Opera, Billy Bigelow in Carousel with Minnesota Orchestra, Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia with St Petersburg Opera, Escamillo in Carmen with Lyric Opera of the North, Belcore in L’elisir d’amore with Shreveport Opera, Le Mari in Les Mamelles de Tiresias with Opera Parallele, Albert in Werther with Minnesota Opera, Silvio in Pagliacci with Opera Naples, and Bob Baker in Wonderful Town with Skylark Opera to name a few.  He has been praised for having a “matinee idol’s charm and charisma,” “a beautiful, luscious baritone,” and “a compelling, commanding stage presence.”   Mr. Preisser has made a name for himself as a versatile, cross-over performer and has especially been active in new works. He created the role of Lt. Gordon in Kevin Puts’ Pulitzer Prize-winningSilent Night at Minnesota Opera with subsequent performances at Opera Philadelphia and Cincinnati Opera. His performance as Lt. Gordon with Minnesota Opera was also broadcast nationally on PBS in 2013 and 2014.  He recently took on the role of Farmer Bean in Tobias Picker’s Fantastic Mr. Fox both with Opera San Antonio and Odyssey Opera of Boston.  He can be heard on the first official audio recording of Fantastic Mr. Fox under the baton of Gil Rose with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project.  He has also performed the title role in Aldridge’s Elmer Gantry, Tom Joad in Gordon’s The Grapes of Wrath,  Riolobo in Catan’s Florencia en el Amazonas, Antonio in Hagen’s New York Stories at Kentucky Opera, John Brooke in Adamo’s Little Women at Pensacola Opera, and the Shoe Salesman/Puppet role in Argento’s Postcard from Morocco also at Pensacola Opera.  He is a frequent recitalist throughout the US and a proponent of American composers such as Charles Ives, Carlisle Floyd, Aaron Copland, John Duke, and others.  On the concert stage he is garnering a reputation for his dynamic interpretation of Orff’s Carmina Burana which he has performed with the Winter Park Bach Festival, Atlanta Ballet, Gulf Coast Symphony, and others. He has also been heard as a soloist in William Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast with Jacksonville Symphony, Bach’s Coffee Cantata with Orlando Philharmonic, Bach’s St John’s Passion with the Houston Bach Society,  and Handel’s Messiah with Ars Lyrica and The Messiah Choral Society.   Outside of his performance career, Mr. Preisser serves as executive & artistic director of Opera Orlando and is co-founder and CEO of Angels & Demons Entertainment.  He was a district winner in the 2010 Metropolitan Opera National Council Competition and won the American finals of the International Lirico Concorso Competition in 2011. Mr. Preisser was a resident artist at Minnesota Opera, Kentucky Opera, Pensacola Opera, and an apprentice artist at Des Moines Metro Opera.  He graduated summa cum laude from Florida State University with a double major in Vocal Performance and Commercial Music and completed a Masters in Voice at the University of Houston.

ABOUT CENTRAL FLORIDA VOCAL ARTS —  CFL Vocal Arts is a proud partner of the Orlando Light Opera, bringing operettas back to the stage.  CFL Vocal Arts is a 501c3 company that strives to enrich the Central Florida community by cultivating a more artistic society and through collaborating with other charitable organizations. Their two main foci – to provide paid performance opportunities for professional and pre-professional young artists and to train and nurture the artists of tomorrow. Through our productions and fundraisers, we provide paid performance opportunities to currently performing artists. Many small local theaters are unable to pay their singers; however it is our belief that an artist’s willingness to share his or her gifts is priceless. For that reason, we believe it imperative that main stage singers, actors, directors and instrumentalists be paid for their efforts.  Artists of tomorrow are trained through the Central Florida Vocal Arts’ Summer Institute. CFL Vocal Arts founder, Theresa Smith is a voice teacher by profession as are two other Board of Director members, Nishaa Carson and Holly Sahmel. Each works daily with teen musicians. These ladies also recognized a need for scholarship opportunities for underprivileged but talented singers who could not afford the training they so needed and deserved. For that reason, CFL Vocal Arts offers scholarship opportunities for private voice study (Bel Canto Scholarship), as well as for tuition assistance for our Summer Institute.  More information about Central Florida Vocal Arts is available on their website at http://www.centralfloridavocalarts.com/.

ABOUT THE SPACE COAST SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA— The SCSO is a lively and passionate Central Florida orchestra comprised of professional musicians.  The Orchestra was formed by Conductor and Artistic Director Aaron T. Collins with a two-fold mission: to provide mentoring and performance opportunities for Florida’s finest young musicians as well as to provide professional concerts at genuinely affordable prices.  The ultimate goal of the organization is to help ensure the symphonic tradition for the enjoyment of future generations.    33- year old Aaron T. Collins is garnering recognition for his achievements.  LEAD Brevard named the ambitious Collins one of their “4 under 40” Young Professionals, the youngest-ever recipient of the honor.  Space Coast Businessmagazine listed him as one of Brevard’s “100 Most Admired Businesspeople.” In 2016, Collins won the Richard A. Stark Award for cultural leadership from the Cultural Council of Indian River County.   Through his personal involvement with more than a dozen performing arts groups, pioneering reciprocal ad program and social media cross promotions, Collins has gained a reputation for generosity; championing other arts organizations throughout Central Florida for the cultural enrichment of the community.    The Space Coast Symphony Orchestra performs in several very comfortable venues in Brevard and Indian River counties, with advance general admission tickets priced at just $20.  School-aged children 18 years and under are admitted free of charge, as are college students with a valid ID.  In keeping with their mission, the symphony provides a unique Symphony for Everyone ticketing program, a “pay-what-you-can” option designed to provide substantially discounted admission to any Space Coast Symphony concert.    Relying on a non-traditional orchestra model and a slim budget, the Space Coast Symphony Orchestra is one of only 17 U.S. orchestras to perform year-round. In addition to maintaining the Space Coast Symphony JAZZ Orchestra and Space Coast Symphony Wind Orchestra, the non-profit organization provides numerous separate and free ensemble performances. More information about the Space Coast Symphony Orchestra’s upcoming concerts, ticket sales, venues, directions and sponsorship opportunities is available at www.SpaceCoastSymphony.org by calling toll free (855) 252-7276.