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Bob Keyes

Bob Keyes has written about the arts in Maine since 2002. He’s never been much an artist himself, other than singing in junior high school chorus and acting in a few musicals. But he’s attended museums, theaters, clubs and concert halls all his life, and cites Bob Dylan as most influential artist of any kind since Picasso. He lives in Berwick.

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Posted: May 9, 2017

Fresh from performing under Placido Domingo, Kate Aldrich comes home for Opera Maine recital

Written by: Bob Keyes
 Kate Aldrich Photo courtesy of Opera Maine

Kate Aldrich
Photo courtesy of Opera Maine

Kate Aldrich had planned to sing for Opera Maine in late March, but had to postpone when Placido Domingo came calling.

Aldrich, who grew up in the midcoast and graduated from Lincoln Academy in 1992, flew to California to perform in the Los Angeles Opera production of “Tales of Hoffman,” which featured Domingo as conductor. Aldrich was called to sing the role of Giulietta, one of the opera’s heroines. The opera star Diana Damrau was battling bronchitis and couldn’t sing all the heroine roles.

Appearing with Domingo, she said, was a thrill.

“I was invited quite at the last minute,” said Aldrich, who bases her busy career from her home in Alna, where she raises her daughter among an extended family. “It was fun, and it was a fun cast. Domingo was conducting, and his wife, Marta, was stage director, so it was all in the family.”

With “Tales of Hoffman” behind her, mezzo-soprano Aldrich will perform the rescheduled Opera Maine recital with pianist Martin Perry at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Hannaford Hall on the University of Southern Maine campus in Portland.

When Aldrich called Opera Maine artistic director Dona D. Vaughn to ask about the conflict with the original Portland date, Vaughn encouraged her to take the L.A. gig. “Dona said, ‘You have to take this job.’ I ended up having this window open, so we were able to reschedule,” Aldrich said.

The Portland program will represent her range of vocal interests and abilities, and will include arias and art songs. She will sing songs by Ernest Chausson, Richard Strauss and Rossini, as well as the sultry “Habanera” from “Carmen.”

Aldrich starred in “Carmen” for Opera Maine in 2005, when the organization was known as PORTopera. “Carmen” has become a signature role for Aldrich. The San Francisco Voice called her “the Carmen of this generation.”

“Some of the pieces are pieces I have done before, but it’s also a lot of new repertoire,” she said. “One would think recitals would be easy for opera singers, but they are very scary. You cannot hide behind a role, you cannot hide behind a character. You have to decide how to interpret it.”

Also on the program are songs by the French Romantic composer Hector Berlioz, and selections from Leonard Bernstein’s “Trouble in Tahiti” and “On the Town.”

Perry has performed across the United States and abroad with the Boston Pops and Moscow Philharmonic, and recorded CDs featuring the work of Elliott Carter, Bartók and Miklós Rózsa. He has an upcoming release from Bridge Records that includes music by Hindemith’s and Hugo Weisgall.

For its mainstage production this year, Opera Maine will present “La Traviata” at Merrill Auditorium July 26 and July 28.

Kate Aldrich recital with Martin Perry

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Hannaford Hall, USM Portland, 88 Bedford St.
TICKETS: $63 general admission; $108 for premier seating; $10 for students with valid ID at the door; available at or in person starting one hour before the concert

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