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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Musical variety in store

Travis Rivers Correspondent

How do you have fun on a hot August night?

Spokane-Coeur d’Alene Opera sees a good solution involving a wide expanse of green grass, a picnic basket full of refreshing things to eat and drink, and a dip in a pool of vocal music, all accompanied by a cooling breeze.

It’s hoping for – not promising – the cooling breeze.

And you’ll have to provide the contents of the picnic basket yourself.

But the opera company will supply the music, sung by a group of performers that includes young singers who already have established international careers and others who are making strides in that direction.

“This year we’re having two performances of our ‘Hot August Night’ program,” says Bill Graham, executive director of the Spokane-Coeur d’Alene Opera.

“We started this last year with a performance at Mirabeau Meadows, and this year we’re pleased to add a performance in Browne’s Addition in partnership with the MAC (Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture).”

Concerts will be Wednesday at Mirabeau, and Aug. 4 at the museum, both beginning at 7:30 p.m.

Performers include soprano Heather Parker and baritone Derrick Parker, along with sopranos Heather Holzapfel and Silvia Lazo, tenor Patrick Anderson, and baritones Joe Jolley and Scott McConnel.

There also are dance selections by members of Ballet Spokane. Both the vocal and dance performances will be accompanied by pianist Greg Presley.

The program includes a wide range of music, from opera arias to Broadway musicals to Disney film scores.

Concertgoers should bring chairs or blankets. Graham says there is plenty of parking for concertgoers in the lots at Mirabeau Meadows and in the MAC’s garage. The museum will be open by donation from 5 to 8 p.m. that day as part of the First Friday art walk.

To reach the Mirabeau Meadows stage, take the Pines Road exit off Interstate 90, go north, turn right on Mirabeau Parkway and drive east past the business park to Mirabeau Meadows.

Heather Parker, who grew up in Spokane, holds a bachelor’s degree in music from Whitworth College and a master’s degree and performer’s certificate from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y.

She was selected for Seattle Opera’s Young Artist Program and has sung in that company’s mainstage productions of “Carmen” and “The Tales of Hoffmann” as well as in opera productions by Lyric Opera of Kansas City, the Jacksonville (Fla.) Symphony and New Hampshire’s Granite State Opera.

A three-time recipient of the Sergio Franchi Award, she was a winner in the Licia Albanese-Puccini International Competition, which sponsored her New York City debut in Tully Hall.

Derrick Parker, her husband, holds a bachelor’s degree in voice from Florida State University and, like his wife, a master’s degree from Eastman. He has won numerous awards, including a Richard Gold Career Grant and a Sullivan Foundation Award.

He was a member of the Houston Grand Opera Studio and has sung with New York’s Glimmerglass Opera, Fort Worth Opera, Dallas Opera and other companies in the United States. This fall, Parker will join a touring production of “Porgy and Bess,” singing the role of Crown, in cities that include Capetown, South Africa, and Stockholm, Sweden.

Holzapfel earned her master’s degree from California State University at Sacramento. The Spokane resident is familiar to local audiences from her performances with Spokane-Coeur d’Alene Opera in “La Boheme” and “La Traviata” and in the company’s educational outreach programs.

Lazo, who was born in Brazil and moved to the United States in 1993, holds a bachelor’s degree in theater from Whitworth College. She has performed internationally as a vocalist with Latin American ensembles, and locally is a member of the Olinda Duo with guitarist Paul Grove and host of the weekly radio show “The Latin Lounge” on KYRS-FM.

Anderson graduated with a bachelor’s degree in voice from Albertson College in Caldwell, Idaho, and will begin a master’s degree program at Ohio State University this fall. He is tenor soloist at Westminster Congregational Church and has sung in Spokane-Coeur d’Alene Opera’s “La Boheme” and “La Traviata” and in the company’s educational outreach programs.

Jolley, a junior voice major at Whitworth College, is a Young Artist Intern with Spokane-Coeur d’Alene Opera and has sung in the company’s productions for the past two seasons.

McConnel will be a senior this fall at Gonzaga University, where he is a major in music with an emphasis in voice. He performed in the chorus for “La Traviata.”

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