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Linfield to present Opera Theatre Gala

Gwen LeonardRetiring music professor Gwen Leonard will be honored during an Opera Theatre Gala featuring scenes from opera and Broadway musical theatre Saturday, May 21, at 8 p.m. in the Richard and Lucille Ice Auditorium in Melrose Hall at Linfield.

This year’s Opera Theatre Gala will include a tribute to Leonard, Linfield music professor and creator of the Opera Workshop, who will retire at the end of the academic year. Following the performance, the Department of Music will honor Leonard for 27 years of service to students, the music department and the Linfield community. Family, friends and former students are invited to a reception in Jonasson Hall, lower level of Melrose Hall, to recognize Leonard’s achievements and contribution.

For the gala performance, Leonard will be assisted by two professional musicians, Susan McDaniel, pianist and 1997 Linfield graduate, and David Howell, stage director and former opera singer. Excerpts will be performed from “La Traviata,” “Die Fledermaus,” “La Boheme,” “La Cenerentola,” “Madama Butterfly,” “The Magic Flute,” “Der Rosenkavalier,” “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Wicked” and “Treemonisha.” Performers include 18 students, graduates of the music program and a faculty member, chemistry Professor Jim Diamond.

The Linfield College Opera Workshop gives students an opportunity to combine singing and acting ability in the context of studying repertoire from the best of musical theatre. The workshop was established in 1993 when student singers collaborated with the Linfield Chamber Orchestra in a performance of Pergolesi’s “la Serva Padrona.”

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, call the Linfield Music Department at 503-883-2275.