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Opera House plans first live event this Saturday

Ekstasis Duo

The 1891 Fredonia Opera House Performing Arts Center presents its first in-theatre live performance event on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. with the incredible Ekstasis Duo presenting a new program of the music of underrepresented composers.

Opera House Executive Director Rick Davis notes that “due to the increase in COVID cases in Chautauqua County and the change in designation of its Level of Community Transmission to HIGH, we are requiring all patrons to wear masks before, during and after Opera House events.” He adds that the Opera House Board and staff are grateful for everyone’s cooperation in this hopefully temporary requirement.

Cellist Natasha Farny and Pianist Eliran Avni met as students years ago at Juilliard. As Ekstasis Duo, they are committed to creating juxtapositions and similarities through daring programming. They thrive on contrast, intensity and passion that electrifies audiences and ignites emotions.

Recently, the two decided to embark on a new mission: to celebrate the masterpieces and jewels of lesser-known works and underrepresented composers. From the Shadows… is a major step in that mission with a varied program that includes works by composers Alexander Zemlinsky, Alma Mahler, Lili Boulanger, and George Walker, among others, and the songs of Nina Simone.

Acclaimed as a “terrific cello soloist” and as having a “big, generous tone,” Farny made her concerto debut at age 17 with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and performs frequently as a soloist and chamber musician. Recent performances have included concertos with the Buffalo Philharmonic, Abilene Philharmonic and the Greeley Symphony Orchestra, as well as with the Longwood (Boston) Symphony, Orchard Park Symphony, National Music Festival Orchestra, Pennsylvania Sinfonia, Erie Chamber Orchestra and the Western New York Chamber Orchestra.

Farny studied at the Curtis Institute of Music and Yale College during her undergraduate years. After completing her master’s and doctoral degrees at the Eastman School of Music and at the Juilliard School, she received a fellowship for study in Leipzig, Germany. Dr. Farny is the cello professor at the School of Music at the State University of New York at Fredonia.

Praised as possessing both “ironclad technique” and “ample suppleness” by the New York Times, Avni is considered an emerging force in the contemporary classical music scene. Hailed by Ma’ariv as “the new hope of Israeli music,” he made his debut with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Zubin Mehta at age 17. Since then, he has appeared as soloist and chamber music collaborator throughout Europe, North and South America, as well as in his native Israel, and has played for the Israeli and German broadcasting systems.

As a soloist, Avni is known as a pre-eminent interpreter of the music of Avner Dorman. Solo performance highlights include Dorman’s Azerbaijani Dance with the Israel Philharmonic and Zubin Mehta at Carnegie Hall, Rachmaninoff’s 3rd Piano Concerto with the Alabama Symphony and the Grieg Concerto with the Oakland East Bay Symphony. He also has collaborated with numerous artists including Yehonatan Berick, Daniel Muller-Schott, Sharon Kam, Terrence Wilson, Jennifer Aylmer, and William Sharp, as well as actors Sigourney Weaver and Richard Chamberlain.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $13 for Opera House members and $10 for students, and may be purchased in person at the Opera House Box Office or by phone at 716-679-1891, Tuesday-Friday, 1-5 p.m. Tickets may be purchased online at www.fredopera.org anytime.

The 1891 Fredonia Opera House Performing Arts Center is a member-supported not-for-profit performing arts center with a mission to “present the performing arts for the benefit of our community and region … providing access to artistic diversity … and high quality programming at an affordable price.” It is located in Village Hall in downtown Fredonia. For a complete schedule of events, visit www.fredopera.org.

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