Opera Quad Cities returns after two-year break with Jan. 9 Schubert song cycle

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Davenport native Nicholas Fahrenkrug, baritone, and Greek pianist Eleonora Apostolidi will perform a Schubert song cycle in a free concert Jan. 9 in Davenport.

Opera Quad Cities will celebrate its return from a two-year-plus break with a Jan. 9 recital featuring Davenport native Nicholas Fahrenkrug, baritone, and Greek pianist Eleonora Apostolidi.

The event, which begins at 7 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 9 in the Great Hall at Davenport’s Trinity Episcopal Cathedral (121 W. 12th Street), is sponsored by Opera Quad Cities and features Fahrenkrug and Apostolidi, members of the Apollo Duo, performing the complete song cycle “Die Schöne Müllerin” by Franz Schubert.

Composed in 1823, the set of 20 songs is based on the poetry of Wilhelm Müller, says an Opera Quad Cities release. The main character is a young wanderer who falls in love with the beautiful daughter of the local miller. Throughout the song cycle, he keeps all his thoughts to himself. There is no interaction between characters other than the conversations that the wanderer has with the brook.

Eventually, the wanderer realizes the miller’s daughter might be in love with a hunter, and not him. In his despair, the song cycle concludes with a dramatic and tragic final aria.

Baritone Nicholas Fahrenkrug has recently been awarded an Acknowledgement for Artistic Achievement for his art film “Dichterliebe: Within and Without” from The American Prize. He is a second-year Master’s student in Vocal Performance at the LSU School of Music, Baton Rouge, La., where he studies with baritone Dennis Jesse.

While at Louisiana State, he has performed multiple roles with the Turner-Fischer Center for Opera,
including Guglielmo (“Così fan tutte”), Giulio Cesare (“Giulio Cesare”), Marco (“Gianni Schicchi”), and Marquis de la Force (“Dialogues des Carmélites”).

Originally from Davenport, Nicholas graduated from Lawrence University Conservatory of Music in 2020 (in Appleton, Wis.), and from Davenport Central High School in 2016.

Eleonora Apostolidi

Greek pianist Eleonora Apostolidi is a prize winner in many national and international competitions. She is an active solo and collaborative performer who has appeared in prestigious venues such as Merkin Hall, Carnegie Hall and Wiener Saal.

She is a doctoral candidate in Piano Performance with a minor in Collaborative Piano at the LSU School of Music, where she is a graduate teaching assistant. She previously earned her Master of Music degree at LSU, following her undergraduate degree from SUNY-Purchase.

Apostolidi is also an experienced piano teacher and has been on the faculty at Grace Notes School of Music in Baton Rouge since 2018, where her students have been awarded multiple prizes.

Opera Quad Cities was formed in 2001, to broaden the appreciation of artistic singing in the Quad-City community. “The goal of Opera Quad Cities is threefold: to demystify the stereotype that opera is
‘stuffy’; to support local artistic singers who have little opportunity to showcase their talent and training; and finally to showcase singers in such a way that it encourages them to remain in our community to perform,” said Ron May, president of the group.

Opera Quad Cities has presented a variety of productions from children’s operas like “The Three Little Pigs-a la Mozart” to high drama such as Bizet’s “Carmen,” performed at the Adler Theatre. Past productions have included “The Magic Flute” (Mozart), “La Boheme” (Puccini), “Cosi fan tutte” (Mozart), “Rigoletto” (Verdi), “The Marriage of Figaro” (Mozart), and – most recently, in 2019 – “The Pirates of Penzance” (Gilbert & Sullivan).

Opera Quad Cities staged “The Pirates of Penzance” in June 2019 at St. Ambrose University’s Galvin Fine Arts Center.

“Our Young Artist Competition hopes to return in the near future,” May said in the release. The competition recognizes singers from high school age to maturing artists with monetary awards to further their efforts.

“Recent performers have continued their singing careers throughout the United States and Opera Quad Cities feels fortunate to have provided an extra ‘stepping-stone’ to their success,” he said. “As the COVID-19 era progresses, Opera Quad Cities is committed to return to in-person performances that are invigorating, safe for performers and audiences, and continuing in excellence at the highest level.”

The next major performance will be an Opera Showcase June 17 and 19, 2022, at Moline’s Bartlett Performing Arts Center, where a variety of solos, duets, and choruses will be presented in a concert
setting with full orchestra to celebrate the best of opera.

The Jan. 9 concert is free to attend, but donations will be accepted. All guests are required to wear masks per COVID-19 protocol.

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