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At Ease With Opera

The Kansas City Lyric Opera Guild is proud to present the award-winning At Ease With Opera lecture series. All programs are FREE to attend. All programs will be conducted online, via Zoom. No in-person programs will be scheduled. 

If you are unable to attend the scheduled At Ease With Opera, please reach out to Bill Everett at everettw@umkc.edu to request a copy of the presentation recording.

February 15, 2021 | 7:00 p.m.

An Evening With Weston Hurt

Baritone Weston Hurt, now a member of the faculty at the UMKC Conservatory of Music, has sung to acclaim on opera stages around the United States and the world. Among his most affecting characters are the title role in Rigoletto, Scarpia in Tosca and the elder Germont in La Traviata. He is also dedicated to training the next generation of opera singers and hosts a weekly web-based talk show, “Under the Hood.” With tenor Bryan Hymel he also co-hosts “The Listening Lab,” where they explore historic opera recordings and talk about famous singers of the past. Join Dr. Bill Everett for a conversation with this fascinating singer.


February 22, 2021 | 7:00 p.m.

Famous Arias From Forgotten Operas

We have all heard the great arias from classic operas we see over and over again onstage. However, did you know that there are lots of lesser-known operas which contain at least an excerpt or two of music just as wonderful as the more popular arias? These pieces, although gorgeous, are rarely heard on today’s opera stages. Join opera aficionados Bob Wise and Don Dagenais for an exploration of some of these lesser-known operas and the beautiful moments they contain. You may not ever see them in Kansas City (or probably anywhere else), but you can enjoy audio and video excerpts of them with this program of lesser known music.


April 5, 2021 | 7:00 p.m.

Going Bonkers: Mad Scenes in Opera

The last opera we saw at the Kauffman Center before the shutdown was Lucia di Lammermoor, which contains one of the most famous “mad scenes” in opera (see photo above). This isn’t the only opera where a character goes mad, however. Join Lyric Opera Guild opera maven Bob Wise as he will explore more of the mad scenes in opera and tell us about the composers, the stories, and the operas where one of the characters goes bonkers. Why do they go mad? How do composers portray this in music? (Spoiler alert: these characters aren’t all women, either.)


April 12, 2021 | 7:00 p.m.

The Man Who Was Figaro: Beaumarchais

Not one but two famous operas, The Barber of Seville and The Marriage of Figaro (and many others besides) are based upon works by the 18th century French playwright Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais. He was more than a playwright, however — he was a watchmaker, diplomat, publisher, inventor, dilettante and much else. He even served time in prison under Louis XV. Learn more about this remarkable character, one of the great figures of his century, whose life could itself be an opera. Your presenter is Guild preview speaker Don Dagenais.


April 19, 2021 | 7:00 p.m.

Handel in London

The remarkable George Frideric Handel was the first truly international composer. He was born in Germany, trained in Italy and spent most of his career in London. Alison DeSimone of the UMKC Conservatory explores Handel’s first months in London leading up to the premiere of Rinaldo, his first opera for the London stage—and a smash hit with audiences. The opera features virtuosic singing and also also highlights the outstanding capabilities of the orchestra. London inspired him to compose some of his most virtuosic and dazzling music, which still holds the opera stage today.


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