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Oct. 5 program previews one of opera's 'top 10'


by Louise Seeholzer


David Bamberger, director of CIM Opera Theater, will present a preview of "The Marriage of Figaro" at Porter Library on Monday Oct. 5.


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s "The Marriage of Figaro" was a hit when it premiered in 1786 and over 225 years later it is on a “top 10” list. Mozart’s captivating comedy is listed among the top 10 most-performed operas worldwide on Operabase, the online database.


David Bamberger, artistic director of the Cleveland Institute of Music Opera Theater, spotlights Mozart’s “Figaro,” considered a masterpiece of Italian comic opera, at the FYI: Opera program on Monday, Oct. 5, at 7 p.m., at Westlake Porter Public Library, 27333 Center Ridge Road.


Several CIM voice students, who will perform arias from "Figaro," will accompany Bamberger at this FYI: Opera program, which is sponsored by the Westlake-Westshore Arts Council. John Simmons, CIM music director, will provide piano accompaniment for the singers.


Presenting a program of story and background on composer and composition, Bamberger combines his expansive knowledge of opera with his gift of timing and humor to present an entertaining, informative and colorful back-drop for the talented young singers.


And the history of this opera provides interesting avenues for exploration. Mozart’s "The Marriage of Figaro" libretto was based on the second of a trilogy of plays written by a French dramatist, before the French Revolution. Figaro was the central character in the plays, which mocked royalty. It wasn’t until 1816 that the first play in the trilogy was set to music as "The Barber of Seville."


The Oct. 5 program is part of the FYI: Opera series which the WWAC has sponsored for 25 years, offering the programs free to the public.  The FYI program offers an inviting sample of CIM’s fully costumed production of "The Marriage of Figaro," which will be performed Nov. 4-7 at CIM’s Kulas Hall in University Circle. Information and tickets for CIM’s production are available at or call 216-795-3211.


Louise Seeholzer

Publicist for Westlake-Westshore Arts Council


Article Courtesy of the Westlake - Bay Village Observer

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The first-place Duck Tape fascinator by Westlake High sophomore Autumn Custer. Photo by Denny Wendell

WHS students create fascinating headpieces for

Ohio's Rose of Tralee


Approximately 20 Westlake High School students in Beth Noren’s honors American history course participated in an extra credit project to create a “fascinator,” a classy millinery hat, for the 2014 Ohio Rose of Tralee. Denise McConville, originally from Tralee, Ireland, and currently a Westlake resident, whose father was instrumental in the establishment of the first Rose of Tralee competition, initiated the fascinator competition. In addition, Ms. McConville contacted ShurTech Brands who enthusiastically contributed the main material for the project – rolls and rolls of Duck Tape.

Duck Tape then became a major requirement in the design of the fascinator. In addition to that Ohio product, the first-place winner, sophomore Autumn Custer, incorporated 17 jewels to represent Ohio as the 17th state to join the Union. The scarlet carnation (Ohio’s state flower), the ladybug (our state insect), and the color red from the state bird (the cardinal) were other major elements from Autumn’s research on Ohio that added to the relevance of the winning design, which will accompany Ohio’s Rose of Tralee, Grainne Mangan of West Park, to Portlaoise, Ireland, for the Rose of Tralee regional competition.

Westlake Schools International Baccalaureate Coordinator, Colleen Mudore, facilitated the project among all involved. A jury for the competition was composed of Denise McConville, Westlake World Partners board member; Amanda Pasenow of ShurTech Brands; Linda Shubeck, International Rose of Tralee 1971; and myself, a retired art educator and past President of Westlake-Westshore Arts Council. Originality, uniqueness, creativity, craftsmanship, functionality and relevance to the state of Ohio were among the criteria for judging.

Autumn Custer received a $50 Amazon gift card from ShurTech Brands and Westlake-Westshore Arts Council recognized Autumn’s creativity and excellent craftsmanship with a $75 award. Second-place winners Emily Simon and Amanda Davies shared a $25 Shurtech Brands Amazon card and a $25 W-WAC award. A Newbridge Silver Small Tower Clock was presented to Autumn by Westlake World Partners, a non-profit formed to support Westlake's sister cities program.

Making the jury process a memorable classroom experience was the presence of Westlake Mayor Dennis Clough, City Council President Michael Killeen, Council member Lynda Appel, and Brett Luengo from WWP.  All emphasized the importance and relevance of exchange between Westlake and Tralee in today’s global environment. So far, student art and teacher exchanges have occurred. Mayor Clough said he looks forward to and encourages future collaborations that may also include an exchange of students.

The mayor and council president also warmly invited students to attend city council meetings to observe city management with opportunity to make their voices heard.


Marge Widmar

Westlake Resident; member Westlake-Westshore Arts Council; Retired Bay Village School District Art Educator


Article Courtesy of the Westlake-Bay Village Observer.

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