-For more than 50 years, Roberta Peters' beautiful coloratura
soprano voice has remained constant and true. At 71, she has
conquered every stage she as walked upon and every role she
has played. From her rave 1950 debut, on the Metropolitan
Opera stage no less, to her 50th anniversary recital in 2000
at the Alice Tully Hall, she has enthralled her audiences
and has been an inspiration to aspiring singers worldwide.
of Southern Mississippi Symphony Orchestra's 82nd season of
"Traditions and Treasures" brings the opera legend
to Hattiesburg Feb. 13 with an exceptional but familiar program
planned for the evening.
conductor of the symphony, sings high praises of his own for
the special guest artist, but his ultimate goal this season
was to introduceor reintroduce, as the case may beaudiences
to the world of classical music.
are calling our season Traditions and Treasures' as
we are doing more traditional literature on our programs,"
Dean said. "We wanted to perform great classical music
that will be more appealing and enjoyable to audiences from
all walks of life, and give our patrons the opportunity to
hear some of the greatest masterpieces ever written.
Peters is recognized all over the United States and the world
as one of the greatest voices that American opera has ever
produced. As the leading figure in opera and vocal performance,
every opera aficionado knows of her career."
half of the evening's program will treat patrons to opera
selections by classical masters Mozart and Donizettioperas
that are Peters' favorites. The orchestra will open with Mozart's
Overture to "Don Giovanni," followed by "Batti,
batti." Peters will then make her first appearance of
the evening by joining the orchestra for Mozart's "Alleluja"
from the Motet "Exsultate Jubilate."
will then perform Donizetti's Overture to "Don Pasquale,"
followed by Peters' performance of the Cavatina "Quel
guardo il cavalieri."
intermission, Peters takes the stage for the remainder of
the concert, singing a tribute to composers Jerome Kern and
Irving Berlin. She will perform "Show Boat Medley,"
"All the Things You Are," Play a Simple Melody,"
"Smoke Gets in Your Eyes," "The Song is You,"
credit to Peters' staying power as a performer, she graced
the cover of Classical Singer in December 2002, with an article
written by Christopher Purdy, the executive producer of the
WOSU Classics Network. Purdy dedicated his article to "all
singers who want a long career." Peters is the perfect
credits her daily routine of morning tennis and her diligent
pursuit of physical training for keeping her on stage for
more than 50 years. These days she gives master classes and
sings occasionally"not because she has to, but
because she can," Purdy said.
at Southern Miss, Peters will give a master class on Feb.
14 as part of the Southern Vocal Arts Conference, a venture
designed for singers, directors, voice teachers, vocal coaches
or anyone interested in a career in musical theater or opera.
Kyle, assistant professor of opera and musical theater in
the School of Music, and Robin Aronson, assistant professor
of voice/acting in the Department of Theatre and Dance, collaborated
to develop a workshop for students of the genre to learn trade
secrets from the masters.
career began as a Cinderella-like story when she was called
upon at the last moment to replace Nadine Conner as Zerlina
in "Don Giovanni" at the Metropolitan Opera in November
artists survive being thrown onto the stage of the Met with
no warning," wrote Sir Rudolph Bing, Peters' boss for
over 20 years. "But Miss Peters became a star."
Eleanor Steber later said of that debut, "this little
girl walked onto the stage like she owned the place. And three
hours later, she did."
many career credits include 600 performances with the Metropolitan
Opera and more than 2,000 recitals, performing in every state
in the United States as well as most countries in Europe and
Asia. She turned down Broadway roles as a teenager, but, later
in her career, took on roles in revivals of "The King
and I" and "The Sound of Music."
opera star has appeared more on television than Peters. Notably,
Peters made nearly 70 appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show
and holds title to being his most popular TV guest.
triumphs include the Vienna State Opera, the Salzburg Festival,
tours of the Soviet Union, and recitals and master classes
in the People's Republic of China.
recently, President George W. Bush nominated Peters to serve
on the board of the National Endowment for the Arts and was
confirmed by the United States Senate.
tickets for the 7:30 p.m. concert in Bennett Auditorium are
$45, $35, and $25 and are available through the Southern Miss
Ticket Office at (601) 266-5418 or 800-844-8425. Tickets may
be ordered on-line at www.tickets.usm.edu.
information about the Southern Vocal Arts Conference, call
the symphony office at (601) 266-4001 or Dr. Maryann Kyle