Month: July 2017

In the Park with Joseph Mechavich

In the Park with…


Joseph Mechavich
Conductor, Opera in the Park





1.  Where were you born / raised? 

Long Lake, Minnesota (western suburb of Minneapolis).  I currently live in Philadelphia: The City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection.

2.  What is in your ideal picnic basket?
A delicious rosé from Provence.

3.  My most memorable moment performing outside was…
… conducting the Star Wars Suite with the Florida Orchestra for 15,000 souls in Raymond James Stadium/Tampa… especially Darth Vader’s Theme… Jumbotron!!!

4.  My favorite outdoor performance I’ve attended was…
…anything and everything at Tanglewood.

5.  My favorite summertime activity is…
…(see number 2)

6.  My ideal vacation is….
…lying on a deserted beach and drinking (see number 2).


Join Joseph for Opera in the Park on Saturday, July 22 at 8pm in Garner Park.  FREE admission; visit madisonopera.org for more information.

In the Park with with Cecilia Violetta López

In the Park with…


Cecilia Violetta López
Soprano, Opera in the Park







1.  Where were you born / raised? 

I was born and raised in Rupert, Idaho to Mexican parents. I’m a first generation Mexican-American.

2.  What is in your ideal picnic basket?
Mom used to make us tacos de frijoles (kept warm by wrapping them in aluminum foil and leaving them on the dashboard) for lunch when we worked in the beet fields. Though our lunch breaks weren’t/aren’t considered a normal picnic to most folks, my favorite memories were our lunch breaks that mom ended up turning into make-shift picnics. TACOS!

3.  My most memorable moment performing outside was…
…when I was a teenager singing with a mariachi band for a local rodeo in Idaho. It’s my favorite because it was the first time I forgot the words to a song!! One of the mariachi band members was super supportive, encouraging me to repeat the first verse (while we were on stage!) to make it sound like I never forgot the words. That didn’t work. The band kept playing and after awhile, the words eventually came to me. Embarrassing!

4.  My favorite outdoor performance I’ve attended was…
When I was 13 or 14, my parents took me to see one of the last Mexican “charros” perform live at the Plaza de Toros in Morelia, Michoacán. The charro we saw was Antonio Aguilar and his entire family of singers! Mr. Aguilar took his dancing horses to the performance, to boot! I remember being in a constant state of awe — Mr. Aguilar was such a great singer and performer.

5.  My favorite summertime activity is…
…spending my daughter’s birthday with her!

6.  My ideal vacation is….
It hasn’t happened yet, but I’d like it to be Bora Bora or Tahiti — away from everything.

7. Bonus: One question you wish someone would ask you (and the answer). 
Q: Is it true that the members of the First Regular Session of the Sixty-Fourth Idaho Legislature, the Senate, and the House of Representatives passed a resolution honoring and congratulating you for your many achievements in the world of opera?
A: YES! it’s true. “The resolution was written by Opera Idaho board member Yvonne McCoy and introduced by Boise Senator Cherie Buckner-Webb. It honors the life and work of the opera singer from Rupert, Idaho.”


Join Cecilia for Opera in the Park on Saturday, July 22 at 8pm in Garner Park.  FREE admission; visit madisonopera.org for more information.

In the Park with Will Liverman

In the Park with…

Will Liverman
Baritone, Opera in the Park



1.  Where were you born / raised? 
Born in Norfolk, Virginia and raised in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

2.  What is in your ideal picnic basket?
Biscuits and jelly, fried chicken, sweet potatoes, peanut butter and jelly sandwich, catfish, cheese curds from The Old Fashioned, and a grilled cheese with extra bacon.

3.  My most memorable moment performing outside was…
I did a performance for the Grant Park Festival at night and the stage lights attracted every large bug in attendance. Several nearly flew in my mouth every time I sang. I have never been more mortified while singing.

4.  My favorite outdoor performance I’ve attended was…
The first year I attended the Stars at the Lyric concert when I was a freshman in college. 

5.  My favorite summertime activity is…
EATING indoors. 

6.  My ideal vacation is….
Dublin, Ireland!

7. Bonus: One question you wish someone would ask you (and the answer). 
Q: Do I want to get breakfast?
A: YES! 


Join Will for Opera in the Park on Saturday, July 22 at 8pm in Garner Park.  FREE admission; visit madisonopera.org for more information.

In the Park with Adriana Zabala

In the Park with…


Adriana Zabala
Mezzo-Soprano, Opera in the Park





1.  Where were you born / raised? 

I was born in Georgia and raised in Miami, Caracas, and Houston.

2.  What is in your ideal picnic basket?
Champagne, cheese, strawberries, and books. Of course, my honey is sharing it with me!

3.  My most memorable moment performing outside was…
It’s not a performance per se, but it was in a natural setting, and was unforgettable. It was when I was 15 years old, and Leonard Bernstein came to the large barn in the forest at Tanglewood where our chorus was rehearsing. He asked us to stand in a circle, close our eyes, and start Durufle’s Ubi Caritas together by just listening and breathing. We closed our eyes and somehow took a collective breath. On the downbeat it started to rain on the leaves and trees surrounding the open barn doors. We sang the whole piece with our eyes closed, listening to the rain, feeling the breeze. When we finished, with the rain still echoing, we all slowly opened our eyes, and Bernstein had tears in his eyes.

4.  My favorite outdoor performance I’ve attended was…
Kiri Te Kanawa singing Mozart arias with the London Symphony at Hampton Court in the summertime wasn’t a bad way to spend the evening many years ago. Also so many concerts at Tanglewood, like Rostropovich playing the Dvořák Cello Concerto and James Taylor on the 4th of July. Also Pavarotti in Spoleto.

5.  My favorite summertime activity is…
… outdoor concerts, onstage and off! Generally, going to the ocean, traveling, and performing with great friends and colleagues.

6.  My ideal vacation is….
… ocean, books, sun, storms, great food, friends, family, and (in cities) discovering art, architecture, and history.

7. Bonus: One question you wish someone would ask you (and the answer).
Q: Are you having as much fun on stage as you seem to be having?
A: YEEEEEESSS!


Join Adriana for Opera in the Park on Saturday, July 22 at 8pm in Garner Park.  FREE admission; visit madisonopera.org for more information.

In the Park with David Walton

In the Park with…



David Walton
Tenor, Opera in the Park





1.  Where were you born / raised? 

Nashville, Tennessee 

2.  What is in your ideal picnic basket?
Cured meats, dried fruit, grain mustard, crostinis, and light, hoppy beer. 

3.  My most memorable moment performing outside was…
…a talent show at camp covering Green Day songs. 

4.  My favorite outdoor performance I’ve attended was…
…Mendelssohn’s violin concerto with Joshua Bell, Yannick Nézet-Seguin, and the Philidelphia Orchestra at the Bravo Vail Valley Music Festival in Vail, Colorado. 

5.  My favorite summertime activity is…
…walking around the lake with my family. 

6.  My ideal vacation is….
…camping, hiking, or traveling overseas. 

7. Bonus: One question you wish someone would ask you (and the answer).
Q: What is my ideal summer temperature and time of day?
A: 60 degrees at dusk. 

Join David for Opera in the Park on Saturday, July 22 at 8pm in Garner Park.  FREE admission; visit madisonopera.org for more information.