WEST HARTFORD >> The 2014-15 Music Series at Beth El kicks off with “An Evening Of Opera Arias” on Sunday, Dec. 14 at 7 p.m.


International opera stars, Ashley Kerr, soprano; Shirin Eskandari, mezzo soprano; John Bellemer, tenor and Chai Lun Yueh, baritone, will perform arias, duets and ensembles by Mozart, Verdi, Puccini, Bizet, Massenet and Korngold. Joseph Ness, Artistic Director/Conductor conducts the Beth El Orchestra. Tickets are available in advance or at the door and are $20; $15 Seniors and students and free to children 12 and under. Beth El Temple is located at 2626 Albany Ave. Call 860-233-9696 or visit www.bethelwesthartford.org .


The American tenor John Bellemer has gained a reputation for his strong portrayals in a very wide repertoire. Possessed of a voice the New York Times calls “clarion-toned”, he continues to appear in leading roles at opera houses across North America and Europe. He is featured in the Academy Award-nominated film “Lincoln” as Gounod’s Faust. For more information, go to www.barrettvantage.com/artist.php?id=jbellemer&aview =bio


Praised for her “plush and seductive” tone, soprano Ashley Kerr is a rapidly emerging artist who is garnering much attention from opera companies across the country. Her most recent performances include role debuts of Mimi in La boheme and the title role in Carlisle Floyd’s Susannah. For more information, go to www.ashley-kerr.com .


Hailed by Opera Today for her “pleasing and pliant voice” Iranian Canadian mezzo soprano, Shirin Eskandani, recently won first place at the Gerda Lissner Foundation Vocal Competition. This summer she is honoured to announce that she will be a participant in the Merola Opera Program. Making her debut at both Alice Tully Hall and the David H. Koch Theatre, Eskandani has been enjoying a busy 2013-2014 season. She recently made role debuts as Angelina in La Cenerentola and the Mother in Hansel and Gretel.


Award-winning artist Chai-lun Yueh is a dramatic baritone with a rich and powerful voice. He is the first Chinese-born classical musician to have received a nomination for the Grammy Awards. A winner of Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions of the New England Region and a finalist at the Luciano Pavarotti International Vocal Competition, he is also the Grant recipient of New York Women Composers in 2012 and 2014. Yueh will be the soloist at Carnegie Hall for a performance of The Yellow River Cantata in February 2015, and in September 2015, he will be the soloist in Beethoven’s 9th Symphony at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City. He is currently teaching at Wesleyan University and Trinity College; he serves as Chairman of the Concert Committee and Board of Director with CONCORA, Connecticut’s premier professional choir, Music Director of Connecticut Women’s Chorale and Artistic Director of Kang Hua Singers of Greater Hartford. He is also very active with vocal recitals, master classes and vocal workshops throughout the United States and China. For more information, go to www.chailun.com .


from West Hartford News