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Sopranos Sara Michael Jacobi (above) and Ava Pine (below) bring opera and musical theater back to their hometown this weekend.

ava pine

San Antonio Opera and The Hill Country Opera League have planned Fredericksburg Opera Fest for July 23 and 24.

Saturday, July 23, 9:30 A.M. 
Stagecoach Theater Presents Les Miserables. Pie and ice cream social following. Free admission.

Saturday, July 23, at Fredericksburg Theater Company's Steve W. Shepherd Theater 7:30 P.M.
Ava Pine and tenor David Gaschen of Phantom of The Opera fame, and baritone Christopher Dickerson of New York. $40 per person.

After Party at the InSight Gallery with guest opera performances, heavy hors d'oeuvres, wine, and martini bar. $20 per person. 

Sunday, July 24 Brunch at August E's Restaurant 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM
Opera singers singing favorite arias including local talent Sara Michael Jacobi. $35 plus tax and gratuity, for reservations call 830.997.1585.

Sunday Matinee at Fredericksburg Theater Company  2:00 PM
Ava Pine, David Gaschen, and Christopher Dickerson performing Opera arias, duets, Broadway Musical Theatre, and Larry Landusky on keyboard. $40 per person.

Details and tickets: www.fredericksburgtheater.org or call 888-669-7114


webmaster: phil@fullhouseproductions.net

Opera: Music that moves you

by Phil Houseal
July 20, 2011


A new festival is coming to Fredericksburg this weekend, featuring... opera!

Wait, wait! Before you turn to the Letters section, know that the Fredericksburg Opera Fest has a local connection. Two, in fact.

[Link to article about Ava Pine in INDULGE]

Ava Pine and Sara Michael Jacobi - each an acclaimed soprano - both call Fredericksburg home.

Nothing separates royalty from the rabble like their reaction to opera. I’m not sure why. But Fredericksburg native daughter Ava Pine doesn’t think that should be so.

“Opera is not just people on stage making beautiful sounds,” Pine said. “It is people moving around on stage, making beautiful sounds, making people feel deep emotions and taking them on this incredible journey.”

Pine should know. She grew up singing with youth choirs and acting in local theater productions. She even harmonized once in awhile with her dad - “Doc” Mason - who had a country band. “I used to joke that going into opera was an act of rebellion against my parents,” she said. “I would sing with him, but I loved classical music. It is so beautiful, there are moments that make me catch my breath. I also love being on stage. So opera was the perfect synthesis of the two.”

Sara Michael Jacobi also has forged links to Fredericksburg. Her parents moved to the Hill Country in 1998, and Jacobi spent time here after earning degrees in music and voice from Texas State and St. Mary’s University.

“Fredericksburg is my favorite city in the Hill Country,” Jacobi said. “I think the draw is there for the opera festival. Opera is a beautiful art form, and trying to reach new audiences all the time.”

Jacobi understands some people’s aversion to the 400-year-old art form. She used to feel the same way.

“Actually, when I was going to St. Mary’s University, I was hoping to go into musical theater. I didn’t like opera at all - I found it boring, and I didn’t understand it.”

But after a summer in Europe she discovered something inspiring in Mozart.

“Opera is an all-encompassing art form,” Jacobi said. “It is drama, poetry, music, dance, costumes... something touched a nerve in me, and I have liked it ever since.”

So what is the secret to appreciating - even enjoying - opera?

“You have to have an open mind and experience it on so many levels,” Jacobi said. “It’s an appreciation of beauty that doesn’t ever go away. To know that love exists and that we can express it on so many levels for so many generations. There is something there for everyone.”

Ava Pine’s advice?

“Let yourself be moved by the music,” she said. “Very rarely do people sing an aria saying ‘we need to take out the garbage.’ No, there is so much emotion in what we are singing, so much so that we have to sing it - moments of such exquisite beauty that it transcends language.”

For novitiate and connoisseur, there’s no mystery that this will be a memorable weekend.

“It’s going to be a fun event, full of variety, with all sorts of different genres - opera, musical theater, and even pop thrown in,” Pine said. “You are going to see wonderful singing actors. I am excited to come sing in my hometown!”

There. Don’t you feel more cultured already?