A Valentine's Luncheon

February 18th at 1pm

Don't miss "Music and Words of Love" - Opera Orlando's 6th annual Valentine's program at the home of John & Audrey Ruggieri, February 18th, 2018 with lunch at 1pm and musical program at 2pm (desserts to follow).  This year's concert features New York based Soprano Suzanne Kantorski and internationally renowned violinist Ayako Yonetani. Featured on the program will be the Finale of Suor Angelica, the Opera Orlando Chorus and Opera Orlando's own Gabriel Preisser and Robin Jensen.

Tickets are $150 a piece and include lunch and dessert

$125 for Ambassadors

Valet parking provided

Location: 5083 Isleworth Country Club Dr., Windermere, FL


Suzanne Kantorski - Soprano

Suzanne Headshot.jpg

Suzanne Kantorski is one of today’s most versatile performing artists. As a classical singer, she has appeared in leading operatic roles, as a concert soloist, and in New Music projects with notable companies worldwide. At age 17, Ms. Kantorski made her professional operatic debut creating the role of Dory in Pablo’s Circus by Ernest Stires with the Vermont Philharmonic. She would then go on to add many other roles to her repertoire such as: Mimì and Musetta in Puccini’s La Bohème, Liu in Turandot, as well as all three leading soprano roles of Il Trittico.  Ms. Kantorski has captivated New York audiences with her portrayal of characters like Pamina in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, Blanche in Previn’s Street Car Named Desire, or the villainous Lucy Lockitt in Britten’s The Beggar’s Opera, where the New York Times hailed her work as “…lively and engaging!” Other operas she has recently sung include: Leïla, in Bizet’s Les Pêcheurs des Perles, and Micaëla in Carmen, Fiordiligi in Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte, Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus by Strauss, Marguerite in Faust by Gounod, Helena in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Tatiana (In Russian) of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin.

In 2016, Ms. Kantorski sang Euridice in the inaugural performance of The Vermont Opera Project’s Orpheus and Euridice by Ricky Ian Gordon, conducted by Robert Wood, and directed by Keturah Stickann. The production then moved to the Washington National Gallery of Art for a featured presentation.

In concert, Ms. Kantorski sings numerous recitals to benefit charities and organizations of all sizes and scales each year. She has appeared as a soloist for masterworks such as Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, and Beethoven’s 9th with the Burlington Ensemble, Mozart’s Requiem, and Vespers at the Cathédral D’Artistes in Paris, the Fauré and Verdi Requiem, with the Vermont Chamber Ensemble, the Brahm’s Requiem at the McCarter Theatre in Princeton, New Jersey, Händel’s Messiah, Mozart’s Exultate Jubilate, Barber’s Knoxville Summer of 1915, Villa-Lobos’ Bachianas Brasileiras No.5 with the Manhattan Piano Trio, Schubert’s Mass in G, and Orff’s Carmina Burana with the Vermont Philharmonic.

Ms. Kantorski has earned a solid reputation as an interpreter of “New Music,” Contemporary Classical, rare concert works, and Jazz. Composers have chosen her voice for their concert premieres and recordings where she can be heard on the Albany, Bridgestar, and divinearts record labels. Highlighting a range of compositions, in recent years she has sung: new works by ambient composer Tim Hecker at EMPAC, Tierstien’s A Blessing on the Moon, which debuted with the Grammy Nominated Warsaw Village Band at both Le Poisson Rouge in New York City, as well as the Chutzpuh! Festival in Vancouver, BC, Jerusalem’s Los Maitines de Nuestra Señora de la Concepción, Lisoy’s Tenderness, Meyer’s A Death in the Family, Lorentz’s Sin Palabras, and Weiss’ Bridge to Glory.

In 2014, Ms. Kantorski recorded the Operatic Tableaux Oh My Son by Spanish Composer Marcos Galvany. Also on this recording are the members of the Washington National Opera Orchestra, and their Chorus. Ms. Kantorski is the principle female artist on this work, and in June 2015, it made its second major appearance in the U.S. in Los Angeles at The Walt Disney Hall. In 2017, Oh My Son is slated for it’s third tour in Spain.
Kantorski was also a founding musician of the all female jazz ensemble AZULES that toured regularly on the U.S. east coast. Her work in Jazz and has frequently caught the attention of Fanfare Magazine, who described her performances on the Jazz album “Borderlands” with the Jonathan Lorentz Trio as: “remind(ing) one strongly of the pioneer work that Ursula Dudziak... the propulsion and mosaic-like quality one associates with Ornette Coleman… (and the) way shades of Loulie Jean Norman! …Exquisite, and often striking vocals.” In 2016, a new quartet, will be re-launched, and touring as an acoustic ensemble highlighting works by living composers.

An award winning singer, Kantorski is the recipient of many of the opera world’s highest achievements including: the David G. Whitcomb Foundation Grant Winner and Young Artist of 2009, The Licia Albanese Puccini Foundation Competition Award Winner in 2008 and Finalist in 2007, The Loren Zachary International Vocal Competition Finalist in 2008, The Gerda Lissner International Vocal Competition Grant/Award Winner in 2002 and 2001, The Bagby Foundation for the Arts Grant Recipient in New York 2001-2003, Jaqua Foundation Grant Recipient 2001, and a Metropolitan Opera National Council Competition Eastern Regional Semi-Finalist in 2000.  Ms. Kantorski holds degrees in Vocal Performance, and Music Research from The Manhattan School of Music in New York City, and from the Schulich School of Music at McGill University in Montreal, where in both faculties she was a full-scholarship student.

n film, Kantorski’s work on the Independent Short, Il Destino directed by Ricardo Correa Berriozabal, has been seen at festivals internationally, and in 2016, the feature film adaptation based on Puccini’s La Boheme, where she stars as Mimi, directed by Jose Luis Cortes is scheduled for release, and will enter all major film festival venues.

In addition to her work as a performer, Ms. Kantorski is also an educator, music researcher, lecturer and writer. She has served as adjunct faculty at Castleton University in Vermont since 2004, and has been featured in discussions and performances about opera, and New Music on nationally syndicated radio programs such as NPR’s “Sound Check” with John Schaefer, WQXR with Brian Wise, and VPR’s “Saturday Afternoon at the Opera.”  Ms. Kantorski maintains a private voice studio for emerging artists, and established professionals who are pursuing goals in the field of music.


Gabriel Preisser - Baritone

Critically acclaimed by the NY Times and Opera News, Gabriel Preisser originally hails from Apopka, FL.  He has over 30 leading roles under his belt from Harold Hill to Don Giovanni with companies such as Opera San Antonio, Opera Naples, and the Colorado Symphony.  He is known for having created the role of Lt Gordon, a role he has performed with Minnesota Opera, Opera Philadelphia and Cincinnati Opera, in the Pulitzer Prize winning Silent Night which he has performed with Opera Philadelphia, Cincinnati Opera, and Minnesota Opera - the latter was broadcast nationally on PBS in 2013.  Upcoming he debuts with Opera Tampa and Michigan Opera Theatre and returns to the roles of Figaro and Billy Bigelow elsewhere.  He currently lives in Winter Garden, FL with his loving wife and son.


Robin Jensen - Piano

Robin Jensen is the founding director of The Florida Opera Theatre Youth Programs. During her four year tenure, the Youth choruses have performed with the Orlando Philharmonic’s productions of “Home For The Holidays”, “Midsummer Night’s Dream”, “Barber of Seville”,“Mahler Symphony #3” and “Tosca”.  Robin also serves as the Instructor of Collaborative Piano/Vocal Arts and the Music Director for the opera workshop program at the University of Central Florida. She is Co-Director of the UCF/FOT Summer Opera Institute and has over 30 years experience as a conductor, music director, stage director and teacher with such companies as Minnesota Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, and Orlando Opera. 


Ayako Yonetani - Violin

Violinist Ayako Yonetani was born in Kobe, Japan and received her Bachelors, Masters, and Doctoral degrees from the Juilliard School where she studied with Hyo Kang and the late Dorothy DeLay. Currently she is a full professor of violin and viola at the University of Central Florida and is also a member of Japan’s premier chamber ensemble, Kioi Hall Chamber Orchestra. Yonetani is scheduled to play a concerto with the UCF Symphony Orchestra, the Slovak Philharmonic of Kosice in Kosice, Slovakia and the Uzhhorod Symphony in Ukraine this 2016-2017 season. This past September, Yonetani donated her services as the featured instrumental soloist and concertmaster for “One Voice Orlando: A Celebration in Song,” the benefit concert in response to the Pulse Nightclub Tragedy.