The Newton Opera Guild of the Des Moines Metro Opera will meet Sunday at Park Centre in Newton. Refreshments will be served at 1:45 p.m., with the program to follow at 2 p.m. All members and friends of the guild are invited to attend.
The program will be a review of the opera, “La Traviata,” which will be presented this summer by DMMO. Dr. Bernard McDonald, director of opera at Simpson College, will be the presenter. McDonald’s will talk about the literary, social and musical background to Verdi’s “La Traviata.”
A conductor and pianist, McDonald garnered wide-ranging experience as a vocal coach, assistant conductor and chorus master with major opera companies in America, Europe and Far East before embarking on a freelance career. In the fall of 2011, he succeeded Robert L. Larsen as director of opera at Simpson College, where he holds the G. Dewey and M. Maine Larsen Chair in Opera.
Professional training at the Merola Program of the San Francisco Opera led directly to an invitation to join the music staff of the New York City Opera. He was subsequently head of music and chorus master at the Florida Grand Opera in Miami. As chorus master of Glyndebourne until 2005, he prepared more than 25 productions to great critical acclaim for a host of internationally renowned conductors: highlights include “Idomeneo” with Sir Simon Rattle, “Die Zauberflöte” with Sir Charles Mackerras and “Otello” with Vladimir Jurowski.
He has also worked with the Aspen Music Festival and School, the New National Theatre Tokyo, the Netherlands Opera and the Netherlands Radio Choir. He has been on the faculty of the RSAMD and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.
A native of Dumbarton, Scotland, his studies include piano at the RSAMD; opera at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London, and CCM; musicology at the University of Glasgow; and conducting at Indiana University.