THE MARTINA ARROYO FOUNDATION ANNUAL GALA
|Tommy Tune With Chita Rivera|
New York, NY - The Martina Arroyo Foundation's 13th Annual Gala, a celebration of Prelude to Performance, Role Class and Outreach Programs, was held on Monday, November 13, 2017 beginning 6:30pm in the Grand Salon of the JW Marriott Essex House,160 Central Park South, NYC.
The gala, hosted by Terrance McKnight, honored James Morris, Metropolitan Opera Bass-Baritone; Ailyn Pérez, Metropolitan Opera Soprano; Chita Rivera, Tony Award Winning Actress; and Tommy Tune, Tony Award Winning Actor.
The evening began with cocktails at 6:30pm and dinner at 7:30pm with award presentations and a live auction, followed by dessert and a special performance by Prelude to Performance Young Artists and Special Guests, with DeAndre Simmons singing "A te l'estremo addio...Il lacerato spirito" from Simon Boccanegra and Jessica Sandidge singing the "A forse lui/Sempre Libera."
The mission of the Martina Arroyo Foundation is to counsel young singers in the interpretation of complete roles for public performances. The Foundation guides each singer in the preparation of an entire operatic role through a formal educational process that includes the background of the drama, the historical perspective, the psychological motivation of each character, and language proficiency.
Gala Chairs: Andrew Martin-Weber and Garry Spector
Benefit Committee: Martina Arroyo, Beatrice M. Disman, The Gerda Lissner Foundation, Nimet Habachy, Suzan Habachy, Kenneth Koen, Donna Sydney Lewis, Robert Lombardo
Andrew Martin-Weber, Richard J. Miller, Jr., Liliane & Hervé Offredo, Ernst Rieser, Murray Rosenthal, Leonard Rubin, Christie Salomon, Susan & Garry Spector, Cecilia & Tian Lih Teng, Elizabeth Tunick, James D. Wolfensohn
Gala Committee:Martina Arroyo, Elizabeth Frayer, Ellen Godfrey, Claudie Harari, Judith M. Hoffman, Erica Linden-Fineberg, Andrew Martin-Weber, Shawn Milnes, Ernst Reiser, Murray Rosenthal, Edward Sadovnik, Garry Spector, Deborah Surdi, Cecilia Teng
Gala Producer: Norena Barbella
An accomplished and versatile actress/singer/dancer, Chita Rivera has won two Tony Awards as Best Leading Actress in a Musical and received eight additional Tony nominations for an exceptional 10 Tony nominations. She recently starred in The Visit, the final John Kander/Fred Ebb/Terrence McNally musical directed by John Doyle and choreographed by Graciela Daniele on Broadway (2015), following the acclaimed production at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in the summer of 2014. She starred in the Broadway revival of The Mystery of Edwin Drood, the Broadway and touring productions of The Dancer's Life, a dazzling new musical celebrating her spectacular career, written by Terrence McNally and directed by Graciela Daniele and the revival of the Broadway musical Nine with Antonio Banderas. She trained as a ballerina (from age 11) before receiving a scholarship to the School of American Ballet from legendary George Balanchine. Chita's first appearance (age 17) was as a principal dancer in Call Me Madam. Her electric performance as Anita in the original Broadway premiere of West Side Story brought her stardom, which she repeated in London. Her career is highlighted by starring roles in Bye Bye Birdie, The Rink (Tony Award), Chicago, Jerry's Girls, Kiss of the Spider Woman (Tony Award), and the original Broadway casts of Guys and Dolls, Can-Can, Seventh Heaven and Mr. Wonderful. On tour: Born Yesterday, The Rose Tattoo, Call Me Madam, Threepenny Opera, Sweet Charity, Kiss Me Kate, Zorba, Can-Can with The Rockettes. Chita was awarded The Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in 2009. She received the coveted Kennedy Center Honor in 2002 and became the first Hispanic woman ever chosen to receive this award. In November, 2016 she headlined at Carnegie Hall and in 2015, Great Performances aired their special Chita Rivera: A Lot of Livin' To Do, a retrospective of her extraordinary life and career nationally on PBS. Her current solo CD is entitled And Now I Swing. Chita is currently on a concert tour with Tommy Tune in Chita & Tune. Her most treasured production is her daughter, singer/dancer/choreographer Lisa Mordente.
Tommy Tune is one of the country's most prolific performer/director/choreographers and is celebrating his golden decade on the great American stage. He has received 10 Tony Awards, which includes the 2015 Tony for Life Achievement in the Theatre and the only person in theatrical history to win in four different categories and to win the same two Tony Awards two years in a row. Tommy has also received The National Medal of Arts, 8 Drama Desk Awards, 2 Obie Awards, 3 Astaire Awards, and multiple Life Time Achievement Awards including the Society of Directors and the Choreographers' George Abbott Award. A native Texan, Mr. Tune began his career as a dancer in the Broadway shows Baker Street, A Joyful Noise and How Now Dow Jones. He has received Tony Awards for The Will Rogers Follies (Direction and Choreography), Grand Hotel (Direction and Choreography), My One and Only (Actor in a Musical and Choreography) Nine (Direction), A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine(Choreography) and Seesaw (Featured Actor in a Musical). Tune received two Tony nominations (Direction and Choreography) for The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas. Tommy has been has been invited to sing and dance for three United States Presidents, the Queen of England and the Royal Family of Monaco. Film credits include Hello Dolly, The Boy Friend, and Mimi Bluette...fiore del mio giardino, and in 1999, he made his Las Vegas debut as the star of EFX at the MGM Grand Hotel. Tune is the recipient of the National Medal Of Arts, the highest honor for artistic achievement given by the President of the United States, and he has been honored with his own star on the legendary Hollywood Walk of Fame and was inducted into The Theater Hall of Fame by Gwen Verdon. In 2009 the New York Landmarks Conservancy designated Mr. Tune as a Living Landmark. In early 2015 Tune received rave reviews for his tap dancing and singing role in the Encores! production of Lady, Be Good! at New York City Center. In addition to touring with Chita Rivera in Chita & Tune, Tommy is also touring the country in his one-man show, Tommy Tune Tonight!
Legendary bass-baritone James Morris is world famous for his performances in opera, concert, recital, and recording. With a repertoire including works by Wagner, Verdi, Puccini, Stravinsky, Mussorgsky, Mozart, Gounod and Britten, Mr. Morris has performed in virtually every international opera house and has appeared with the major orchestras of Europe and the United States.
Considered one of the greatest interpreters of the role of Wotan in Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen, Mr. Morris has appeared in this role at the Metropolitan Opera, Royal Opera Covent Garden, Vienna State Opera, Bavarian State Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera and many others. He is also highly acclaimed for the title role in Wagner's Der fliegende Holländerand Hans Sachs in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, as well as Scarpia in Tosca in the major houses of the United States and Europe.
Mr. Morris' celebrated career at the Metropolitan Opera has included three complete cycles of Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen, and Hans Sachs in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, both recorded for television and available on DVD. He originated the role of John Claggart in the MET premiere of Benjamin Britten's Billy Budd and has repeated the role in each revival. Frequently performed roles at the MET include the title role in Der fliegende Holländer (new production), Scarpia in Tosca, The Four Villains in Les Contes d'Hoffmann, and the title roles in Don Giovanni and Boris Godunov.
Concert appearances have included performances with the world's celebrated orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic, London's BBC Proms, the New York Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl; the Chicago Symphony and several appearances at the Cincinnati May Festival. He has also appeared frequently in recitals in cities including Minneapolis, Baltimore, Washington D.C. and at the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires.
Mr. Morris's extensive discography includes two complete Ring cycles, one for Deutsche Grammophon under James Levine and one for EMI under Bernard Haitink, and other operas of Wagner, Offenbach, Mozart, Massenet, Verdi and Gounod. He has recorded operas by Donizetti, Puccini, Bellini and Thomas with Dame Joan Sutherland, and his orchestral recordings include Haydn's Creation, Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 "Choral" and the Requiems by Mozart and Fauré. James Morris was nominated for the 46th Annual Grammy Awards in the 'Best Opera Recording' category for his performance in Thomas' "Desire Under the Elms" with George Manahan conductor and the London Symphony on Naxos. He also holds a Grammy Award for his recording of Mahler's Symphony No. 8 with Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony. A recording of arias by Verdi and Wagner by Mr. Morris is available on the Angel/EMI label.
Born and educated in Baltimore, Maryland, James Morris studied at the Peabody Conservatory and studied with Rosa Ponselle. He continued his education at the Philadelphia Academy of Vocal Arts where he studied with basso Nicola Moscona.
Hailed by the New York Times as "a beautiful woman who commands the stage" and "a major soprano," Ailyn Pérez is in high demand from the world's leading opera houses and concert halls. She has won both the 2012 Richard Tucker Award, thereby becoming the only Hispanic recipient in the award's 35-year history, and the 15th annual Plácido Domingo Award.
Recently she has performed Violetta in La traviata and Mimì in La bohème at Teatro alla Scala Milan, Mimì and Musetta in La bohème at the Metropolitan Opera, Liù in Turandot and Violetta at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Juliette in Roméo et Juliette at Santa Fe Opera, Tatyana Bakst in Great Scott (world premiere by Jake Heggie) and title role Manon at Dallas Opera, Violetta at San Francisco Opera, Hamburgische Staatsoper and Bayerische Staatsoper.
In the 2017-18 season, Ailyn will return to the Metropolitan Opera as the Countess in Le nozze di Figaro, Thaïs (tite role, role debut) and Juliette in Roméo et Juliette. She will make her role debut as Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte for the Bayerische Staatsoper and returns as Micaëla in Carmen later in the season. She will also make appearances at the Hamburgische Staatsoper, the Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin and the Opernhaus Zürich as Violetta in La traviata.
Ailyn's album-recital debut 'Poème d'un jour', a program of French and Italian songs on the Opus Arte label, was released to rave reviews. The UK's Independent newspaper awarded it a full five stars, while International Record Review confessed: "Every so often, a singer comes along who completely bowls you over."
Ailyn Pérez is a graduate of Philadelphia's Academy of Vocal Arts and Indiana University. Her many accolades include the George London Foundation's Leonie Rysanek Award, Shoshana Foundation Career Grant 2007, 2nd place in the 2006 Plácido Domingo Operalia Competition, and honors from the Loren L. Zachary Foundation, Opera Index, and the Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation.