Story last updated at 4:57 p.m. Thursday, October 24, 2002

Bunnell hits high note with fund-raiser
by Chris Bernard
Staff Writer

photo: entertainment

  Photo provided
Members of Anchorage Opera's Studio Theatre perform Puccini's La Boheme recently. They will be singing Italian arias and duets Staruday at the Bunnell Street Gallery's "Evening in Italy"  
Watch your back, Homer. The sopranos are coming to town.

No, not those Sopranos. But Homer will get a taste of Italy this weekend when Anchorage Opera's Studio Theatre brings two sopranos, a baritone and a mezzo-soprano to the Bunnell Street Gallery for a one-night performance.

They will take the stage Saturday accompanied by a pianist for the gallery's "Evening in Italy."

The audience will also feast on a catered Italian dinner provided by the Homestead, Two Sisters Bakery, the Grog Shop, Renda Horn, Smoky Bay Natural Foods, Tsunami CafE and Fresh Sourdough Express.

In the days following the performance, the opera company will travel to McNeil Canyon Elementary, Chapman, and Homer High schools, said Asia Freeman, director of the Bunnell Street Gallery.

"The idea of the 'Evening in Italy' is that, with the entertainment and the food, when it's over you feel as if you've just traveled to an exotic location," Freeman said.

The program is a fund-raiser for the gallery's outreach program, which provides hands-on experiences for Homer's schoolchildren.

"We're increasing their exposure to the arts at no cost to kids in schools," Freeman said. "The fund raising is pretty much to cover artists' costs."

Sopranos Nicole Ameduri and Silvia Daumichen, mezzo-soprano Jessi Baden and baritone Eric Vollen will perform arias and duets Saturday night and will work with Homer schoolchildren to produce a small performance of "Hansel and Gretel."

The company is comprised of trained artists all in the early stages of their careers. They are residents in the Anchorage Opera program from September through December.

As part of the residency, they work full-time in the community, primarily in Anchorage area schools, and travel to communities around the state for short-term residencies featuring performance, hands-on school workshops and cultural exchange and collaboration with Alaska performance artists.

Two of the company's members are Alaska residents. Four are visiting this year.

Ameduri is originally from Brockton, Mass., and is currently living in New York City. Baden, a native of Washington, D.C., has performed throughout the U.S. and Canada. Vollen is from Minnesota.

Daumichen, born and raised in Berlin, Germany, has performed around the world. Last year, she moved to Fairbanks.

Kris Sanchak is musical director for the troupe.

The Studio Theatre is an outreach and education program for young artists, developed with funding from the William Randolph Hearst Foundations and the National Endowment for the Arts.

During its 2001-2002 inaugural season, Studio Theatre reached an audience of nearly 9,000 students in elementary and secondary schools.

The performance starts at 7 p.m. at the Bunnell Street Gallery. Tickets cost $50 per person.

Chris Bernard can be reached at