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International opera star Ray Chenez will perform a recital Nov. 2 at St. Bonaventure University as the capstone to his two-week engagement as a Lenna Visiting Professor.
A native of Lockport and a graduate of SUNY-Fredonia, Dr. Chenez will be at St. Bonaventure and visiting the Olean campus of Jamestown Community College from Oct. 22 through Nov. 2.
Free and open to the public, the recital is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 2, in the Rigas Theater of the Quick Center for the Arts. Laura Peterson, St. Bonaventure University music lecturer and pianist, will accompany Chenez.
The Lenna Endowed Visiting Professorship, established in 1990, is funded through gifts from the late Betty S. Lenna Fairbank and Reginald A. Lenna of Jamestown. It is designed to bring scholars of stature in their field to St. Bonaventure University and Jamestown Community College for public lectures.
Chenez, who received his master’s and doctoral degrees from Florida State, is an opera countertenor currently performing in Europe. He just completed a prestigious engagement in the new production of the opera “Three Sisters” by Peter Őtvos (based on Chekhov’s play) for the opening of the season at the Frankfurt, Germany, opera house. His performance was acclaimed by the press and the public alike.
“St. Bonaventure is fortunate to be able to present an opera star of this international caliber who accomplished so many achievements in his relatively young career,” said Ludwig Brunner, executive director of the Quick Center. “It will be highly interesting to hear his insights in what it takes to succeed in today’s world of opera.”
Chenez will also be giving a lecture at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 23, in the Quick Center on the countertenor and his journey to a career in European opera.
Throughout the two weeks, Chenez will be meeting with music, theater and business classes at St. Bonaventure, as well as visiting with students at JCC. He will also be giving individual lessons to advanced music students on campus.
Chenez served as a vocal professor at the University of Alabama from 2011 to 2013 before pursuing his performance career full time.
Proclaimed by Opera News as a rising opera star, “Chenez’s countertenor is bold and assertive but also warm-toned and luxurious. He has a naturally electric presence, and his diction is precise no matter how high he sings.”
Winner of the 2014 George London Award, he is in demand worldwide and has been called “luxury casting” by the New York Times, having “excellent connection to text, superb vocal control and spotless diction” by Opera News, and having a “dramatic soprano voice which oozes potential” by Opera Britannia.
Chenez was the subject last month of a Mike Randall feature on Buffalo’s WKBW-TV.
About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, we believe in the goodness of every person and in the ability of every person to do extraordinary things. St. Bonaventure University cultivates graduates who are confident and creative communicators, collaborative leaders and team members, and innovative problem solvers who are respectful of themselves, others, and the diverse world around them. Named the #1 regional university value in New York and #2 in the North by U.S. News and World Report, we are establishing pathways to internships, graduate schools and careers in the context of our renowned liberal arts tradition.
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