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Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: Sheboygan Symphony sets livestream “Love” with operatic singers

Critic At Large

Amanda Majeski and Sam Handley

Sam Handley and Amanda Majeski.

SHEBOYGAN, Wis. (WFRV) – The Sheboygan Symphony Orchestra will present the program “Love” Feb. 13 as a livestream event from the stage of the Stefanie H. Weill Center for the Performing Arts.

Featured will be local residents, the well-traveled husband-and-wife performing artists Sam Handley and Amanda Majeski, accompanied by Emile Blasczyk on piano.

Amanda Majeski’s credits include the Metropolitan Opera of New York City. Sam Handley’s credits include Lyric Opera of Chicago. Handley is executive director and artistic director of the Green Lake Festival of Music.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, no theater seats will be sold. Patrons will be able to access a link to the 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 13, performance free of charge through the Sheboygan Symphony Orchestra’s website, sheboygansymphony.org.

The valentine-theme program will include classical and popular selections.

According to biographical information:

Soprano Amanda Majeski is a native of Gurnee, Ill. She is a graduate of Northwestern and Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. She further trained in artist-development programs at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and Ravinia Festival.

Majeski started her career at the Chicago Opera Theater, where she performed the role of Vitellia in Mozart’s “La Clemenza di Tito” in 2009. She subsequently performed the same role in Madrid, Spain and Dresden, Germany and with the Lyric Opera of Chicago (2014) and the Paris Opera (2017).

Among her roles, she performed as Countess Almaviva in Mozart’s “Le Nozze de Figaro” at the Metropolitan Opera (2014), the Lyric Opera of Chicago (2015), “Teatro Camporamor (2015) and the Washington National Opera (2016). In 2016, she portrayed The Marschallin in Strauss’ “Der Rosenkavalier” at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

In 2018, she was the soprano soloist in Benjamin Britten’s “War Requiem” with the Colorado Symphony and performed the role of the Composer in Richard Strauss’s “Ariadne auf Naxos” at the Santa Fe Opera.

In 2019, she made her debut at the Royal Opera House in London in the title role of Janacek’s “Kat’a a Kobanova.” Snapshot review from The Guardian of London: “Amanda Majeski makes an unforgettable debut in Richard Jones’s exemplary new production of Janáček’s great late opera.”

Bass-baritone Sam Handley is a native of Memphis, Tennessee. He has performed more than a dozen roles at Lyric Opera of Chicago.

He made his Asian debut as Basilio in Rossini’s “Il barbiere di Siviglia” at the National Centre for Performing Arts (Beijing) under the baton of Lorin Maazel,.

On the symphonic stage, his repertoire includes works of Handel, Haydn, Bach, Beethoven, Stravinsky, Vaughan Williams, Verdi and Mozart.

Further opera credits include Dulcamara in Donizetti’s “L’Elisir d’amore” (winter 2019/20 with Tiroler Festival, Erl, Austria), Don Alfonso in Mozart’s “Così fan tutte,” Lyric Opera of Chicago for Fellow Travelers, NCPA (Bejing) to sing Konrad Nachtigall in “Die Meistersinger,” a role Handley also performed with San Francisco Opera plus Alberich in “The Essential Ring” with the Lexington Symphony and Symphony New Hampshire. He joined the roster of The Metropolitan Opera in 2017 for “Der Rosenkavalier.

Handley was a teaching fellow during both his master and doctoral studies. He has taught at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, Lee College, San Jacinto College, North Park University and Madison Summer Music Clinic. He currently serves on the faculty of DePaul University in Chicago, Musica nelle Marche in Urbino, Italy, and the Vann Vocal Institute in Montgomery, Alabama.

He is co-director of membership on the board of the Chicago Chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing and executive and artistic director of the Green Lake Festival of Music, a multifaceted festival that has enhanced central Wisconsin since 1979.

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