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Paris Extraordinaire inspires Opera Las Vegas' extravagant Parisian-themed celebration, featuring an evening of spectacular performances, exquisite formal dinner, hand crafted French libations, legendary silent auction and unforgettable camaraderie.
Opera Las Vegas' poster for their annual 2023 Gala, "Paris Extraordinaire." A crowd of 19th century Parisians gather for a formal ball in a luxurious ballroom with the Eiffel Tower lit in the background. Illustration by Gregory Storkan and Maria Savko.
Join us on February 25th, 2023 in the stunning Milan Ballroom of the M Resort & Casino! Individual seats and full tables available for booking at this not-to-be-missed event.
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  • APPROX. RUN TIME: 3 Hours
  • PARKING: Free self-parking on the premises.
  • DRESS CODE: Cocktail Attire
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24th Season Announcement

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Joplin, painting by Don Locke

Opera Legends in Black

Free Admission

Location

Windmill Library, outside

Windmill Library Theatre

7060 W Windmill Ln. ∙ Las Vegas ∙ 89113

Run Time

60 minutes

Intermission

No intermission

Language

Italian, French, German, English

Premiered

Program Premiere: February 2017

Refreshments

No refreshment services are available

Dress Code

Come As You Are

Celebrate a rich African-American legacy with a tribute concert to honor mega accomplishments of beloved singers and composers who triumphed in spite of challenging routes to inclusion. Some of the Southwest’s most accomplished singers will regale audiences with selections recalling many of Operadom’s stellar Black operatic practitioners.

ART BY DON LOCKE

Opera Las Vegas cordially invites you to celebrate Black History Month with this memorable and melodious homage. Free admission.

Opera Legends in Black

Deseree Whitt, Host • Christina Mancheni, Soprano • Kourtney Holmes, Soprano • Travis Leon, Tenor • Katie Leung, Piano

Honoring the Accomplishments and Artistry of:

  • Leontyne Price: "Vissi d’arte" (Christina)
  • Jessye Norman: "My Man’s Gone Now" (Kourtney)
  • Scott Joplin, from Treemonisha:
    • "The Sacred Tree" (Christina)
    • "Wrong Is Never Right" (Travis)
    • "Aunt Dinah Blowed De Horn" (Kourtney)
    • "A Real Slow Drag" (Travis, Christina and Kourtney)
  • Leona Mitchell: "Signore ascolta" (Kourtney)
  • Martina Arroyo: "Ernani involami" (Christina)
  • George Shirley: "Ah! lève-toi, soleil!" (Travis)
  • Grace Bumbry, Shirley Verrett, Denyce Graves: Habanera (Kourtney)
  • Roland Hayes: "Good News" (Travis)
  • Marion Anderson: "America" (Christina)
  • Reri Grist: "Somewhere" (Travis, Christina, Kourtney)

Cast

  • Christina Mancheni, Soprano, smiling in a formal gown outside.

    Christina Mancheni

    Soprano

  • Christina Mancheni, Soprano, smiling in a formal gown outside.

    Christina Mancheni

    Soprano

    Christina Mancheni, soprano, is a current doctoral student at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. Christina was recently a featured artist in the 34th St.Bart’s Music Festival, under the direction of Maestro Steven Mercurio. Recent roles include Fanchette (The Sea Cadet), Adele (Die Fledermaus), Salomea (Frederica) and Nichette (Madeleine) all with the Concert Operetta Theater. She also was featured as the soprano soloist in the Brahms' Requiem, with the Richmond Symphony Orchestra. During her studies at Miami University, she performed the roles of Sister Genovieffa (Suor Angelica), Nella (Gianni Schicchi) and The Fairy God Mother (Cendrillon). Christina also performed the title role in Alcina, as well as Despina (Così Fan Tutte) and Papagena (The Magic Flute) with the UNLV Opera Theater. Christina won first place in the prestigious New Jersey State Opera Alfredo Silipigni Vocal Competition. She has also won awards from the Gerda Lissner Foundation as well as from The National Association of Teachers Singing.

  • Kourtney Holmes, Soprano

    Kourtney Holmes

    Soprano

  • Kourtney Holmes, Soprano

    Kourtney Holmes

    Soprano

    A native of New Orleans, LA, soprano, Kourtney Holmes is an emerging artist of opera, concert, and recital repertoire. Recently performed roles include Gertrude (Hänsel und Gretel) at the Vienna Summer Music Festival and Annie (Royal Flush) at UNLV Opera. Kourtney has performed roles at the Turner-Fischer Center for Opera at Louisiana State University which included Madame Larina (Eugene Onegin), Edka (Two Remain), Rosette (Manon), and Zita (Gianni Schicchi). Kourtney has also performed at regional opera houses and for community outreach events. She gained international experience in Italy, where she sang Mother (Madama Butterfly), La Badessa (Suor Angelica), Marcellina (Le nozze di Figaro), and Flora (La Traviata). Kourtney holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Mississippi State University, a Masters of Music degree from Louisiana State University and is currently a Doctoral candidate at The University of Nevada, Las Vegas where she studies with Dr. Alfonse Anderson. She is also a passionate, licensed music educator who works as a certified EMT in her spare time.

  • Travis Leon, tenor, smiling in a light pink shirt in an outdoor setting.

    Travis Leon

    Tenor

  • Travis Leon, tenor, smiling in a light pink shirt in an outdoor setting.

    Travis Leon

    Tenor

    Travis is thrilled to be making his Opera Las Vegas debut this season. “Opera Legends in Black is a wonderful program to honor the many artists that paved the way for singers of color today.” A native of Lansing, Michigan, Travis holds degrees from Lansing Community College, Western Michigan University, and will be finishing his master’s degree in vocal performance at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, this spring. He currently studies under the guidance of Dr. Alfonse Anderson. He would like to thank his teachers, friends, and family for their undying love and support. Travis will be seen later this season when he makes his professional role debut as Spoletta in Opera Las Vegas’s production of Tosca.

  • Deseree Whitt, in a blue turtleneck, smiling against a light background.

    Deseree Whitt

    Actor

    Narrator

  • Deseree Whitt, in a blue turtleneck, smiling against a light background.

    Deseree Whitt

    Actor


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    Deseree Whitt is currently an MFA acting Candidate at UNLV. She was recently seen in Little Shop of Horrors, Ring Round the Moon, and The Beaux Stratagem at the Nevada Conservatory Theatre. She has been involved in acting since she was 12 years old. Deseree studied at California State University, Fresno. There she earned her B.A in Theater Arts and graduated with Cum Laude honors in 2014. While studying theater in her undergrad, she began teaching theater to elementary aged students. This led her to direct musicals and plays for young children. She began to develop a greater love for education after teaching abroad in Tokyo for a year and a half. After returning stateside, Deseree began teaching first grade where she excelled and became lead first grade teacher during her third year.

  • Katie Leung, pianist, smiling in black formal clothing against a light background.

    Katie Leung

    Pianist

  • Katie Leung, pianist, smiling in black formal clothing against a light background.

    Katie Leung

    Pianist


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    Pianist Katie Leung is a dedicated collaborative artist and chamber musician. A two-time winner of the Lillian Fuchs Chamber Music Competition, she joined the faculty of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, in 2015. Previously, she held positions at numerous renowned music and dance institutions in New York City, including Lucy Moses School, Ballet Academy East, Rutgers University, and Manhattan School of Music.

    Leung has worked with such artists as flutists Amy Porter, Demarre McGill, and Jasmine Choi, and cellist Raphael Wallfisch, as well as current and past members of major orchestras such as the New York Philharmonic, Atlanta Symphony, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, and Detroit Symphony. She has been a collaborative pianist at The Banff Centre in Canada, the Castleman Quartet Program, and the Bowdoin International Music Festival.

    Leung attended the University of Michigan and Manhattan School of Music. She holds degrees in Piano Performance, Flute Performance, and Collaborative Piano.

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