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Chai-lun Yueh

Baritone, member of National Association of Teachers of Singing, USA
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 Vocalists to join Wallingford Symphony for
'Night at the Opera'


 Tiffany Diorio


WALLINGFORD - Accompanied by three vocalists, the Wallingford Symphony Orchestra is gearing up for one of its most anticipated concerts.


Bringing in sopranos Kerry Holahan and Lilla Heinrich-Szasz, along with baritone Chai-lun Yueh, a Grammy award-nominee, the orchestra is planning an evening featuring opera classics Saturday at 8 in the Paul Mellon Arts Center, at 300 Christian St.


Conductor Phil Ventre, along with the help of the three vocalists, put together the orchestra's annual "Night at the Opera," a group effort that Ventre characterizes as "effortless."


"Everything on this concert's program people have heard, known and loved for centuries," said Ventre, founder and director of Wallingford Symphony Orchestra. "Our anticipation is that because these selections are the heart and soul of opera and we have three very fine singers, it will peak the interest of people."


The evening will open with Mozart's overture from "Le Nozze di Figaro," followed by Holahan's performance of Handel's "Tornami a Vagheggiar." Holahan, a Connecticut resident, is a veteran performer with the WSO. While in high school, the Choate Rose-mary Hall orchestra took her on as a violist, but it was in college that she found her singing voice.


Now, after Holahan has performed in a number of festivals, Ventre describes her as an "emerging star." "There's going to be a dramatic contrast in the songs that she'll be singing Saturday," Ventre said.


Following Holahan's solo performance, Chinese-born Chai-lun Yueh will take to the arts center stage accompanied by the 40-member orchestra to perform Wagner's "O Du Mein Holder Abendstern," from the opera "Tann-hauser."


A veteran performer with the WSO, Yueh met Ventre nearly 10 years ago when he taught vocals at Choate. Now a professor at Trinity College, Hartford, and Wesleyan University, Middletown, Yueh still keeps doing what he loves - singing. The baritone vocalist has performed all over the country.


"I try to dabble in both teaching and singing," he said. "I'm not getting any younger, but I'm thankful to be able to do these two things together because singing is my passion. It's what I love."


Giving the concert a change of pace in the second half of the production, Yueh and Heinrich-Szasz will combine their baritone and soprano voices in a duet performance of Mozart's "La Ci Darem la Mano."


"I think this is going to be fun," Yueh said. "I'm really looking forward to it."


Although he has yet to be acquainted with his duet partner, Yueh has known Holahan since she was his under-graduate student at Wesleyan University close to 10 years ago.


The three will finally get together Friday to rehearse for Saturday's concert.

"Opera is very popular in this area," Ventre said. "Every time we do this people tell us they can't wait for us to do it again."


For ticket information, call (203) 697-2261 or visit