Jacksonville Opera Theatre has arranged for Anniston to receive a visit from internationally-acclaimed opera singer Michael Chioldi tomorrow night.
The 43-year-old baritone will be performing at First Presbyterian Church in downtown Anniston at 7:30 p.m.
“This is probably the most decorated singer we’ve ever had,” said director of operatic activities Dr. Nathan Wight in an interview. “To have someone coming who’s won an Emmy, that’s really impressive.”
Chioldi is a guest of Dr. Wight, whom he knows personally: the two men met back in 1992, when they both worked as apprentices for the Santa Fe Opera Company.
“I’ve watched his career since then and just asked him if he would come and do me a favor,” said Dr. Wight.
Jacksonville Opera Theatre has hosted performances by visiting opera singers for students of JSU before—Metropolitan Opera baritone Aubrey Allicock performed most recently in January 2011.
Soprano Amber Wagner, who also sings with the Metropolitan Opera, came to Jacksonville back in 2008.
Neither artist can match the fame of Chioldi, who has lit up the stages of America’s most popular opera houses, including the Metropolitan Opera, Houston Grand Opera, and the Washington National Opera.
“It’s a unique opportunity for students that they may never get at this university again. It’s never happened before,” said Wight.
Chioldi currently lives in New York City, but frequently travels outside the country for performances in countries like Brazil, France and Japan.
He most recently appeared as Giorgio Germont in the Palm Beach Opera’s production of “La Traviata.”
When asked why Chioldi’s performance would take place in Anniston rather than on campus, Dr. Wight explained that the University just doesn’t have anywhere suitable to host the singer.
“There is no real concert venue at this university, which is kind of ridiculous for a school of this size and a music department of this caliber,” he said.
While the music department does have a performance center located in Mason Hall, Dr. Wight says that it’s far from adequate; he described it as a “shell of a room with paint on the walls.”
“We essentially slapped lipstick on a pig,” he said.
Any and all interested are welcome at the concert—admission is free, though donations to help cover the cost of the artist’s performance will be collected.