Opera Star Renée Fleming Will Perform in Lakeland

Timothy White Fleming

Opera star Renée Fleming will sing at a New Year’s Eve gala at Branscomb Auditorium to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Lakeland Opera, the executive director of the Imperial Symphony Orchestra announced to a concert audience Tuesday night. (Read on for more on the concert, including video.)

Fleming’s program has not been finalized, but it will include both operatic arias and contemporary song, ISO chief exec Amy Wiggins told LkldNow.

Fleming, a 61-year-old lyric soprano, has won four Grammy awards and received the National Medal of Arts. In addition to opera, she has performed in Broadway productions and recorded songs for major films.

Wiggins made the announcement following the intermission at Tuesday night’s symphony concert, with included Amy Beach’s “Symphony in E Minor,” known as the Gaelic Symphony.

The 1894 piece was performed in honor of the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment and the suffrage movement inspired in part by Beach’s work.

Our video from Tuesday’s concert follows. Technical difficulties ended the video a few minutes into Beach’s symphony. Check the end of this article for the evening’s program.

The concert also included performances by the two 2020 winners of the Beth Mason Young Artists Competition:

  • Milica Samargia, a soprano and junior voice performance major at Florida Southern College.
  • Kayla Sconiers, an 18-year-old mezzo-soprano and Lakeland native who is a senior at Harrison School for the Arts.

Samargia was presented a $1,000 scholarship check for her first-place win, and Sconiers received $500 for second place. Typically, only one student wins the scholarship, but this year the selection committee felt both students were deserving, Wiggins said.

Tuesday night’s ISO concert program included, in order:

  • “Plovtsian Dances” from Alexander Borodin’s “Prince Igor”
  • “Barri, Barri, o bel Masetto” from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Don Giovanni,” Milica Samargia soloist
  • “Lascia ch’io pianga mia cruda sorte” from George Freideric Handel’s “Rinaldo,” Milica Samargia soloist
  • “Vissi d’arte” from Giacomo Puccini’s “Tosca,” Kayla Sconiers soloist
  • “Symphony in E minor, Gaelic” by Amy Marcy Beach.
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