Oklahoma Baptist University

Evans to Bring Puccini to Life at OBU Oct. 2

Joseph Evans will present a one-man show displaying the life and works of Giacomo Puccini in his "Letters to Puccini" at 7 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 2, in Oklahoma Baptist University’s Yarborough Auditorium. Admission is free.

Accompanied by Keith Chambers, Evans will portray Puccini as he makes a personal appearance in an informal setting after the premiere of his opera La Faniculla del West at New York’s Metropolitan Opera in 1910.

In a monologue underscored with the music from his great operas, the celebrated composed, Giacomo Puccini, speaks about his background and education, his triumphs and failures, and the people who were influential in his life. The play is based on the letters and personal papers of Maestro Puccini.

Following the intermission, Evans will perform music from the operas of Puccini.

Evans has appeared as leading tenor at La Scala, Ireland's Wexford Festival, the English National Opera, and the Welsh National Opera, in addition to his performances in France at the Opera de Nantes, Orleans, Toulouse, and Nancy, at La Fenice in Venice, and the Grand Theatre de Genève in Switzerland. In the United States, he has sung leading tenor roles during eight seasons with the New York City Opera, as well as guest appearances with major American Opera companies including the Houston Grand Opera, San Diego, Seattle, Pittsburgh, Palm Beach, Boston, and Cleveland. His concert appearances include performances with the New York Philharmonic, the Tokyo Philharmonic, Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, Atlanta, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, the Orchestre L'Ile de France in Paris and the Radio-Symphonie of Berlin.

During recent seasons, Mr. Evans sang the role of Camp Williams in Houston Grand Opera’s world premiere of Carlisle Floyd’s Cold Sassy Tree as well as Captain Vere in the HGO production of Britten’s Billy Budd, Herod in Austin Lyric’s Salome,Pollione in Pittsburgh Opera’s Norma, Danilo in the Palm Beach Opera production of The Merry Widow, the role of Captain Vere in two French productions of Billy Budd, Tamino in the Pittsburgh Opera's Die Zauberflöte, and the title role in the Tokyo, Japan production of Peter Grimes. Describing his performances as Pollione, the critics said, "His luxuriant voice poured forth with a richness that raised the opera’s emotional stakes." "He’s a real pro who can pop out a high C on demand and create a believable character."

His recent portrayal of Aschenbach in the French Production of Britten's Death in Venice was hailed in the French news media as "an interpretation of unequaled perfection. The American tenor is a magnificent artist, sensitive, expressive, intelligent, graced with a voice of great beauty, and one of the finest actors of this generation." Of his Don Ottavio in Venezuela, El Nacional praised the beauty of his singing and subtlety of his portrayal, adding that, "...his arias were the musical highlights of the evening."

During the past season, he has performed the role of Captain Vere in productions of Billy Budd in Tel Aviv and in Seattle, and Curly in Of Mice and Men with Bregenz, Austria, as well as the Washington Opera. The latter production will be presented this coming season with the Houston Grand Opera.

Mr. Evans has been recorded on the Sony Classics label, CBS Masterworks, Cybellia, and his most recent releases, The Unholy Sonnets of John Donne by Samuel Adler on the Gasparo Label as well as his performance of two roles, Cecil and Mr. Eager in A Room with a View, on An American Voice, a CD of works by American Composer, Robert Nelson. He is currently participating in a two-year recording project sponsored by the Milken Foundation of the major operatic and oratorio works of American composers. The Mystic Flame by Michael Horvit and Fern Hill, a work for tenor and cello by John van der Slice, are both in post production