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“Songs of Innocence and Wisdom” featuring Amanda Horton, Simone Vigilante and Vance Reese on Sat Jun 25th 2016 at 8pm

$18 in advance

$20 at the door

A well-worn adage asserts that “With age comes wisdom”. Oscar Wilde added, “But sometimes age comes alone”, and it could be argued that innocence possesses a special wisdom of its own. Asheville sopranos Amanda Horton and Simone Vigilante explore the continuum in a semi-staged concert showcase with “Songs of Innocence and Wisdom”

The program mixes time-tested favorites with more recent compositions for a “journey from childhood wonder to adult reckoning with life’s big questions”. The versatile vocalists, along with pianist Vance Reese, will perform
poignant, humorous and cathartic songs spanning Broadway, opera, American art songs and spirituals including compositions by W.A. Mozart, Aaron Copland, Leonard Bernstein, Hall Johnson and Jake Heggie.

Amanda Horton, Simone Vigilante and Vance Reese have been friends and collaborators for over ten years, having appeared together in productions of The Sound of Music, Mozart’sRequiem, and The Marriage of Figaro. They’ve joined forces for Opera Creations concerts and workshops (Simone and Vance are co-founders) and have presented numerous joint performances in the WNC region. Despite their shared history, the trio’s busy schedules often take them in different directions, so the chance to catch them on the same stage is a special treat.

Simone Vigilante began her musical studies on piano at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY at the age of five. Through the guidance and encouragement of her teachers she started seriously studying the voice at age thirteen. Although she took fifteen years of private piano lessons she fell in love with vocal performance. She graduated from North Carolina School of the Arts (BM in Vocal Performance), Indiana University (MM in Vocal Performance), and started her doctorate while at Indiana University.

Simone has performed opera and art song throughout the United States and Western Europe. Locally, you may have seen Simone perform leading roles with Asheville Lyric Opera or as a solo concert artist with The Brevard Chamber Orchestra, ECHO (Early Music Festival), Blue Ridge Community College Concert Series, The UNC Asheville University Singers, and Reuter Singers. Simone’s performance background consists of various vocal genres including: musical theater, spirituals, opera, American Art Song, Italian Art Song, German Lied, and French Mélodie.

While attending IU Simone taught private voice lessons. Teaching was found to be challenging and she realized her own technique became stronger by instructing someone else. She also found the voice fascinating because no two are alike, therefore, her teaching technique must be custom designed for each student. Since leaving IU in 2000 she has been teaching private voice and piano students throughout Western NC. Simone has found teaching so rewarding that in June 2007 she joined NATS (National Association of Teachers of Singing). This organization gives seminars to teachers of singing and offers various résumé building opportunities for their students including: summer programs, competitions and scholarships.

Amanda Horton has been lauded by Classical Voice of North Carolina as a “beautiful, rich soprano” of “great color and vocal expressiveness”, capable of “quiet passion and simplicity” as well as “joy and power” ( Operatic highlights include Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro), Adina (L’elisir d’amore), Pamina (Die Zauberflöte), Gretel (Hansel and Gretel) and Adele (Die Fledermaus). The versatile soprano recently triumphed as Maria in The Sound of Music with Asheville Lyric Opera, in a performance hailed as “magnificent” by In addition to opera and musical theater, Ms. Horton often appears as soprano soloist with various groups across Western North Carolina, including the Asheville Symphony, Asheville Choral Society and the Carolina Concert Choir.

Recent performances include Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 (Long Bay Symphony), Mozart’sRequiem (Asheville Symphony Amadeus Festival), cabaret performances of Live from the USO, A Tribute to the WWII Era (AmiciMusic), Songs of Innocence and Wisdom (self-produced two-soprano cabaret), Handel’s Messiah and Hansel and Gretel (Long Bay Symphony) and songs by Lili Boulanger (Asheville Choral Society & Orchestra).

Regional appearances include An Evening with Rodgers and Hammerstein (Brevard Philharmonic Orchestra), Hansel and Gretel with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, Lord Nelson Mass at Berry College, Poulenc’s Gloria with Southern Appalachian Chamber Singers at Piccolo Spoleto Festival, and guest recitals across the Southeast. Ms. Horton performed as a Young Artist with Opera Santa Barbara and holds opera performance degrees from Furman University and Shenandoah Conservatory. She has been an Artist in Residence with the Brio Chamber Series and performs regularly with AmiciMusic in creative venues across North Carolina, singing diverse programs of classical chamber music, Broadway & cabaret and the American songbook.

Vance Reese has been serving as an organist, accompanist, singer, conductor and teacher in the greater Asheville area since 1996. Currently he works with the Asheville Choral Society (accompanist), the Asheville Symphony Chorus (pianist and assistant director), the Asheville Symphony Orchestra (co-principal double bassist) and Asheville Lyric Opera (coach/accompanist/occasional music director). He is the organist for Christ School in Arden, and for Congregation Beth Ha Tephila, and has served in several area churches.

Dr. Reese has worked in area universities and colleges as a teacher and accompanist. He is also a co-founder of Opera Creations, known among other things for comedic musical events, and Gilbert & Sullivan operettas. This year marks the eighth year of his accompanying flute recitals at Wildacres Flute Retreat (near Little Switzerland). Last fall, he played organ for the silent movie, Phantom of the Opera, in the Riverside Fine Arts Series in Jacksonville, Florida.

He has degrees in the areas of organ, sacred music, and music history from Southern Methodist University, Scarritt College (Nashville), and Indiana University (DM in ’97). He has worked with organ teachers Robert Anderson, Wilma Jensen, Larry Smith and Marilyn Keiser. He lives in Westwood Cohousing Community with his wife, Jean, and son, Jonathan.

Opera Creations is an operatic/entertainment ensemble formed in 2010 by local, professional musicians who collectively bring world class skills to their performances and instruction. In addition to staged opera and operetta, the group also performs recitals and concerts under the moniker, Nuance Lyrique. Members are Karen Svites, Vance Reese, Simone Vigilante and Randy Outland.

As a designated 501C3 organization, our mission is to share and promote musical expertise through entertainment and education, while creating performance opportunities for local singing artists. Our programs are varied each year and include master classes for gifted vocal students, typically university and advanced high school singers, but also adult solo singers interested in improving their technical and interpretive skills; staged scenes or full productions with students performing alongside seasoned professionals; and various recitals and concerts featuring a wide range of musical styles and composers. Each season may include a variety of activities, including musical revues, school collaborations, private performances or fundraisers for local non-profit organizations. Owing to our 501C3 designation, donations to Opera Creations are tax-deductible under the IRS tax rules governing that designation.

The idea of this continued collaboration began seven years ago, with the outstanding success of our own original comedic drama, The Dueling Sopranos. Based on a history of the competitive nature of some
sopranos, Simone and Karen go to great lengths to compete for stardom with hilarious results causing an uproar of uncontrollable laughter from the delighted audience. We promise future performances of this popular production in upcoming seasons.