Barton College/Wilson Symphony’s “Downtown” Concert on Oct. 9

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Melinda WhittingtonWILSON, N.C. — The Barton College/Wilson Symphony Orchestra will present their first concert of the 2014-2015 season on Thursday, Oct. 9, at 7:30 p.m. This annual free concert will be held at the Edna Boykin Cultural Center at 108 Nash Street in Wilson. The program will feature noted soprano and former Wilson resident Melinda Whittington, resident artist at the prestigious Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia.

The program will include classic, familiar arias from some of the greatest operas by Mozart, Verdi, Puccini, Gounod, and others. The orchestra will also perform the overture to Verdi’s “La Forza del Destino,” the intense “Danse Bacchanale” from “Samson et Dalila” by Saint-Saëns, and the ever popular “Triumphal March” from Verdi’s “Aida.”

“Barry Page from the Wilson Arts Council first introduced me to the talent of Melinda Whittington, and I am so glad he did,” said Barton College music director Mark Peterson. “This young lady is a truly remarkable talent with a world class voice. I am certain her hometown will be thrilled to experience such a magnificent voice during the upcoming ‘Downtown’ concert.”

Whittington’s voice has been described as “the very embodiment of singing refinement and power,” by “Classical Voice of North Carolina” (CVNC online arts journal). And, Bachtrack.com gave her a rave review, saying “As Fiordiligi [in “Cosi fan tutte”], Melinda Whittington was an utter treat, whether dressed up like Jackie Kennedy or down like a flower child. She could sing the appliqués off anyone’s faded jeans and wowed the audience time and time again. Fiordiligi is given abundant vocal opportunities to shine in both acts, and she capitalized on every one. Her voice had beauty, power, range, and never faltered.”

In 2013, Whittington sang on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera as a national semi-finalist in the National Council competition, after winning both the South Carolina district and Southeast Regional competitions. She was also a finalist in the Gerda Lissner Vocal Competition, receiving an Encouragement Award, and the winner of the Charlotte Opera Guild Competition.

In January, she made her professional mainstage debut with Opera Carolina, as the Second Lady in “The Magic Flute.”  “Vermont Today” shared that Whittington sang a “positively fierce” Donna Elvira at the Green Mountain Opera Festival in June. And, as the soprano soloist in “Carmina Burana” with the Back Bay Chorale in April, she was described by the “Boston Classical Review” as having an “elegant presence and pearly tone.”

Whittington’s other recent roles include Violetta in “La Traviata” at the Brevard Music Center, the title role in “Alcina” at Brevard, Mimì in “La Bohème” in the Opera Experience Southeast, Pamina in “The Magic Flute” at the Central Piedmont Opera Theater, Rosalinde in “Die Fledermaus” at Brevard, Micaëla in “Carmen” in the New York Lyric Opera, and Marie in “The Bartered Bride” at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Admission to this concert is free and open to the public. For additional information, please contact Sheila Wilson at 252-399-6309 or email: spwilson@barton.edu.

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