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An Afternoon of FSU Opera: Celebrating the career of Douglas Fisher

On Sunday, February 6, 2022, spectacular performances of opera arias and overtures were performed in honor of retiring opera director, Douglas Fisher. The University Symphony Orchestra and more than a dozen College of Music alumni guest artists from around the globe came together in Ruby Diamond Concert Hall to celebrate Fisher’s retirement after 30 years at Florida State University. 

To begin the concert, Fisher conducted an Italian set of compositions that included the Finale of the Guillaume Tell Overture and arias from L’elisir d’amoreTurnadot, and Tosca, performed by Albert Lee (DM 2012), Cristina Bakhoum Sanchez (MM 2010), Mark Walters (DM 2000), and current FSU faculty member Marcy Stonikas

Christopher Ocasek (MM 2009) conducted “Meditation” from Thais with the USO, featuring student soloist Megumi Terry, violin. Valerie Nelson (MM 2009) performed a stunning “Habanera” from Carmen, followed by “Nobles seigneurs, salut!” from Les Huguenots sung by Raphaella Medina (BM 2015) and the beautiful duet, “Au fond du temple saint” from Les pêcheurs de perles featuring Albert Lee and Mark Walters. 

The second half of the concert featured the Polonaise from Eugene Onegin, conducted by DM candidate Nathan Haines, and “Uzh ponoch blizitsya” from Pique Dame sung by alumna Nicole Woodward (BM 2011). Audiences were also treated to Bernstein’s Candide Overture and three arias from Carlisle Floyd, widely considered the father of 21st century American opera and a former FSU faculty member. “Hear me, o Lord” from Susannah, “It was somethin’ I could stroke” from Of Mice and Men and “I’ve known I loved you” from Cold Sassy Tree were stunningly performed by Timothy Paul Wilt (MM 2016), Luke Selker (MM 2019) and Alan Higgs (MM 2014). 

The final portion of the concert was a showcase of German repertoire starting with the Prelude to Act III from Lohengrin, conducted by Nathan Haines. A special appearance of Ryan Speedo Green (MM 2010), courtesy of the Metropolitan Opera, mesmerized listeners as he presented “Wie oft in Meeres tiefsten Schlund” from Die fliegende Hölländer. Green’s premiere performance of this work ended with a clamorous cheer from the audience, requiring two separate bows. The finale of the showcase was the trio “Hab mir’s gelobt” from Der Rosenkavalier with Fisher conducting and alumnae Nicole Woodward, Raphaella Medina, and current College of Music student YeJi Lee lending their voices to the work. 

The concert was a wonderful tribute to the FSU Opera department and the hard work and legacy that Douglas Fisher created. Bravo, Professor Fisher!

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