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Loyola University to recognize Drs. Ranney and Emel Songu Mize for their support of the Opera Theater program with faculty concert

By Loyola University on Thu, 11/16/2023 - 14:10

NEW ORLEANS – Loyola University New Orleans will honor Drs. Ranney and Emel Songu Mize this week with a concert paying tribute to legendary soprano Maria Callas that combines the best of opera and Broadway.

The concert, “Callas and Crossover,” will take place Friday, Nov. 17, at 7:30 p.m. in Nunemaker Auditorium. It will feature the Loyola University Opera Faculty, including all of the school’s classical voice faculty members. The concert is free and open to the public.

The Mizes, longtime scientists and educators at LSU Health Sciences Center who are passionate supporters of the New Orleans Opera and the city’s classical music culture, made a generous gift to Loyola to establish the Ranney and Emel Songu Mize Professorship in Opera. The Louisiana Board of Regents matched the donation with a grant through its Endowed Professorship initiative.

Loyola will use the funds to promote excellence in teaching and scholarship in the field of music. More specifically, this endowed professorship helps to support the position of Director of the Loyola Opera Theatre, which is held by Tyler Smith, chairman of the classical voice faculty.

“We are celebrating a history – an appreciation of the Mizes’ continued contributions to Loyola,” said Kate Duncan, Director of the School of Music and Theatre Professions and the Conrad N. Hilton Chair in Music Industry. “Their patronage will impact current and future students for years to come.”

The concert will include selections from the operatic roles that made Callas famous, including Norma, Lucia, Carmen and Tosca. The evening also will feature musical theater numbers ranging from the Golden Age to the present, including favorites from “Man of La Mancha,” “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Kismet,” “The Light in the Piazza,” “Les Misérables” and “West Side Story.”

Sopranos Irini Kyriakidou-Hymel and Betsy Uschkrat, mezzo-soprano Claire Shackleton, tenor Tyler Smith and bass-baritone Ivan Griffin will perform, as will pianists Dreux Montegut and Carol Rausch, Music Director of Loyola Opera Theatre, and longtime Chorus Master and Music Administrator for the New Orleans Opera Association.

About the Loyola Opera Theatre

One of Loyola’s many music ensembles, the Loyola Opera Theatre performs an annual, fully-staged production with an orchestra. In addition, opera students present a piano-accompanied scenes program, as well as frequent chamber operas. The Opera Theatre maintains a strong partnership with the New Orleans Opera Association (NOOA), providing opportunities for vocal majors to work as choristers for NOOA productions and to be cast in comprimario roles or cover main stage artists. During both the fall and spring semesters, NOOA principal artists offer master classes for all Loyola singers.

About the College of Music and Media

The College of Music and Media is comprised of two schools — the School of Music and Theatre Professions and the School of Communication and Design. Students who choose to study in the college prepare for careers in music, theatre, music industry, design, fine art, filmmaking, strategy, mass media and more.