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Devilish Characters, Angelic Voices

September 23, 2008

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    September 23, 2008
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    Opera Carolina News

Devilish Characters, Angelic Voices

Charlotte, NC – The tug-of-war between good and evil rages on as Opera Carolina opens its 2008/2009 Season with Charles Gounod’s mesmerizing opera, Faust. Set in Berlin, the desperate Dr. Faust sells his soul to satisfy his lust for youth and beauty. But when his lust turns to love for the gorgeous Marguerite, the devilish Méphistophélès will do whatever it takes to keep justice from prevailing. Does Dr. Faust’s goodness surface too late? Is there more to Méphistophélès than pure evil? The enigma of the human condition manifests itself in the strained relationship between these two characters.

James Valenti (Rigoletto) returns to Opera Carolina as the tragically embittered Faust. Although his character meets an unfortunate end, Mr. Valenti’s opera career is bright and bourgeoning. Singing opposite Mr. Valenti is the highly praised Chester Patton, as the conniving Méphistophélès. Known for his rich bass and sonorous timbre, Mr. Patton’s enchanting voice lends itself to dark and dramatic roles. As Faust and Méphistophélès face off, Valenti and Patton rise together as two of the most heralded upcoming vocalists on the operatic stage.


James Valenti, tenor

After completing his studies at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia, Mr. Valenti made his professional debut in the summer of 2003, at age 25, as Rodolfo in La bohème at Teatro dell’Opera di Roma. Since, he has been praised for all-American good looks and commanding stage presence, as well as what Opera America notes as his “radiant timbre and his perfect delivery." This past summer, he made his debut as Rodolfo in La bohème at Teatro alla Scala in Milan. Mr. Valenti has garnered numerous accolades, including the 2002 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, the George London Foundation Competition, the Caruso International Voice Competition, and the Loren Zachary Competition. In 2005, he performed the title role in David McVicar’s production of Faust in Trieste, alongside his Opera Carolina costar Chester Patton.

Chester Patton, American bass

From 1993 to 1995, Chester Patton was the esteemed Adler Fellow at the San Francisco Opera. Following his success on the West Coast, Mr. Patton traveled the U.S. and Europe, leaving behind the resonance of his magical voice. He performed the title role in the North American premiere of Sir Michael Tippet's King Priam and has performed with some of the top opera companies in the world, including Opera de Paris, Opera de Lyons, Seattle Opera, Vancouver Opera, Opera Pacific, and Boston Lyric Opera. Like Mr. Valenti, Chester Patton has been acknowledged for his many achievements, including accolades like the Loren Zachary Award, the Ellen Faull Gordon Competition, and the National Leontyne Price Vocal Artists' Competition. Alongside James Valenti, Mr. Patton was lauded for his performance as Méphistophélès in David McVicar's production of Faust at the Teatro Giuseppe Verdi in Trieste: "[He] simply inhabited the delightful role of Méphistophélès!"

In celebration of WDAV’s 30th Anniversary, Opening Night of Faust will be broadcast live on WDAV 89.9 FM. Join us on Saturday, October 18 for this momentous occasion in both Opera Carolina and WDAV’s history. Consistently appearing in The Charlotte Observer’s “101 Things to Do in Charlotte,” check Opera Carolina off the list and be a part of the 2008/2009 season!

Faust will be performed in the Belk Theater of the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center October 18 at 8:00 p.m., October 23 at 7:30 p.m. & October 26 at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are available now by calling 704.372.1000 or visit us online at operacarolina.org. Full cast listings and bios are available at OC Artist Bios. To download images of this production please visit OC Media Photos. Current images available include: production photos, artist headshots, and the Opera Carolina logo.

Faust is sung in French with projected English titles. Opera Carolina’s production of Faust is recommended for PG-13 audiences, ages 13 and older. All performances feature the Opera Carolina Chorus and The Charlotte Symphony Orchestra. This production is made possible by presenting sponsors Marjorie and Bob McDorman. Additional support provided by TIAA CREF, Grant Thornton, Wagner Noble, and U.S. Airways. Media support provided by The Charlotte Observer.

Opera Carolina
Founded in 1948 as the Charlotte Opera Association by a small group of volunteers, Opera Carolina today is the largest professional opera company in the Carolinas with an operating budget of over $3.5 million. The mission of Opera Carolina is to inspire the region's diverse community through the presentation of excellent Opera, Operetta, Music Theater, and Education & Outreach programs that elevate the quality of life in the Carolinas. Opera Carolina is a community resource with a commitment to artistic excellence and community service.

Opera Carolina is supported by the Arts & Science Council-Charlotte/Mecklenburg, Inc., The North Carolina Arts Council, an agency funded by the state of North Carolina, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Opera Carolina is a member of OPERA America.