A Word from our Founder, Cheryl Warfield
When I sing Tosca, the story of a passionate and resolute diva who has dedicated her life to art and love, my desire is to rouse my listeners to live purposefully in pursuit of their dreams. When I fell in love with opera as a teenager, my life was changed for the better. The experiences of performing and seeing live opera are often limited to the lucky few who are introduced to the art form at a young age or can afford to spend hundreds of dollars on a ticket to attend a major production.
I am writing to you today to ask for your support in helping to introduce new audiences to live opera. I founded ADVANCE/MORE Opera to provide performing opportunities for myself and my colleagues to share their artistry with diverse audiences in their communities. As an African American performer, I am determined to contribute to the musical education of young people, showcase black themes, and highlight the diversity of what is often inaccurately considered as an “elitist” or European art form. As a producer of color, I strive to showcase outstanding professional talent from all backgrounds who otherwise may be overlooked or ostracized. For over 15 years in New York City, ADVANCE/MORE Opera has mounted dozens of public performances and conducted educational workshops and community choral training to hundreds of young people and adults.
In the Spring of 2014, the legendary opera conductor Anton Coppola will conduct performances of Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca for MORE Opera. I am honored to be starring in the title role of Tosca at Maestro Coppola’s request. The role of Scarpia will be performed by the amazing Metropolitan Opera baritone Richard Hobson.
The community nature of our work is especially important to all of MORE Opera’s productions and we are delighted to once again be working with our community chorus and partnering with one or more schools to train students for Tosca’s children’s chorus. ADVANCE/MORE Opera began training NYC community residents, seniors, and K-12 school students to participate in its musical performances in the late 1990’s. Led by recognized arts educators and experts in opera, participants learn about vocal technique, repertoire and style, musicianship, and performance practice, and experience professional level rehearsals and productions. Chorus rehearsals for Tosca will be conducted by Richard Hobson and musical director Ming Kwong. I will lead sectional rehearsals and provide individual coaching to participants who are new to opera or do not read music.
A venue in Harlem and the exact dates for Tosca will be confirmed by the end of 2013. Ticket prices will be kept affordable in general, and subsidized tickets will be available to insure that audiences from all economic backgrounds will be able to attend.
As an opera lover and someone who understands the value of community participation in the arts, I’m sure you recognize that this is a tremendous opportunity for all involved and also an undertaking that will require significant resources to realize. I would be grateful for your consideration of a 100% tax-deductible donation. Your support would make a huge difference in helping our organization realize its ambitious dreams for this production. Donations at this time will help pay for an orchestra, secure rehearsal space, and provide materials and training for our new chorus members. Click here to make your tax-deductible donation now.
I would be delighted to provide any additional information you would like to receive about ADVANCE/MORE Opera. Please feel free to contact me directly at or at 212-595-7084.
Your support would be greatly appreciated by the many artists and community participants that we serve. Thank you very much for your consideration.
With my warmest holiday wishes,
Executive Director and Producer