Tuesday, 25 June 2024

Pickersgill and friends bring opera to Soper-Reese

LAKEPORT – Lake County's favorite operatic baritone and bass, William "Bill" Pickersgill, returns to his home county of Lake on Sunday, Feb. 24, with a performance at Lakeport's Soper-Reese Community Theater.


The concert, consisting of a program ranging from opera to pop music, will also feature tenor Andrew Truett and soprano Suzanne Lustgarten. All three are veterans of the San Francisco opera scene, as well as many other distinguished music companies. It's a chance for opera lovers to indulge themselves, since the performances of this art form are rare in Lake County.


The concert is the first in the spring series sponsored by Clear Lake Performing Arts (CLPA), the group organized 30 years ago to bring fine music to Lake County.


Pickersgill's mother, Mildred was one of the founding members of CLPA and still plays an active role, serving on its board of directors. Bill, meanwhile, says he's happy to come back as a paid performer to the same theater that charged him 35 cents admission during his childhood.


Andrew Truett's voice has been called "ravishing" by some critics, and his impeccable phrasing and steady stage presence has made him increasingly in demand by west coast impresarios. He was a member of the San Diego Opera Ensemble, and in 2001 made his European debut with Spazio Musica de Orvieto, Italy.


After further performances with the San Francisco Opera Center and two tours of the Western Opera Theater, he spent six months as resident artist with the Cincinnati Opera Ensemble, before returning to the Bay Area as a tenured member of the San Francisco Opera Chorus. He has sung and played scores of roles in dozens of west coast venues.


Suzanne Lustgarten has a master's of music in vocal performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, as well as bachelor's degrees in both Italian and French. Her clear soprano voice and arresting stage presence has made her a regional winner in the MacAllister awards and a district winner in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.


Lustgarten She has performed with the San Diego Opera, the Des Moines Metro Opera, the Berkeley Opera and the San Francisco Opera Guild, among many others. She is the wife of tenor Andrew "Andy" Truett.


"Bill" Pickersgill is well-known to Lake County opera fans, having appeared in many past CLPA-sponsored performances. A graduate of Lakeport's Clear Lake High School, he moved to San Francisco and then New York where he was chosen as a Metropolitan Opera Regional finalist, which led to a grant to Graz, Austria, for further studies.


He then joined the Hagen Opera House in Germany where he performed leading roles for two years. He has been a member of the San Francisco Opera Chorus since the early 1980s, and is proud to be a tenured member of that prestigious organization.


The Feb. 24 concert starts at 3 p.m. and admission is $15 for CLPA members and $20 for the general public, with youths under 18 admitted free.


Tickets may be obtained in advance at the Lake County Arts Council's Main Street Gallery, 325 N. Main Street in downtown Lakeport, or at Catfish Books, 1013 11th St., also in Lakeport. Tickets at the concert will be sold from the Soper-Reese box office.


Those interested in obtaining member discounts may join CLPA by calling CLPA membership chair Ed Bublitz at 277-8172.


The Soper-Reese Community Theater is located at 275 S. Main St., Lakeport.


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