October 16, 2020
Rochester native and internationally renown soprano Elena O’Connor is joined by pianist Chiao-Wen Cheng for a recital jointly presented by Finger Lakes Opera and the Joseph Avenue Arts and Culture Alliance. Elena will sing works by Puccini, Verdi, John Wesley Work III and more.
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Streaming / Online – YouTube & Facebook through 11/29/2020
Soprano Elena O'Connor made her European opera debut in 2017 in Wiesbaden in the title role of Tosca. The following month she was called as a last-minute cover for Sondra Radvanovsky as the title role in Aida at the Chorégies D'Orange Festival, which she sang alongside Marcelo Alvarez and Anita Rachvelishvili on the stage of Orange's 7,300-seat ancient Roman theater. She reprised the role at Oper Dortmund, opening the company’s 2018-2019 season, followed by a debut with Romanian National Opera in Cluj-Napoca as Leonora in Il Trovatore. In the spring of 2020, she returned to Wiesbaden to sing Tosca while touring in the role of Aida with the Landestheater Detmold. In the summer of 2018 she sang the role of Rosalinda in Finger Lakes Opera’s production of Die Fledermaus. She is a frequent guest of the Philharmonic Orchestra and Oratorio Society in her hometown of Rochester, NY.
As a young singer, O’Connor received honors and awards from numerous competitions, including the Palm Beach Opera International Vocal Competition where she was a prize-winner in two consecutive years. Additionally, she was a winner of the Aspen Music Festival’s Vocal Concerto Competition. As a fellow in Aspen, she was featured as Musetta in La bohème and Micaela in Carmen under the baton of Julius Rudel and the direction of Ed Berkeley. An art song enthusiast, Connor was a participant of the Ravinia Festival’s Steans Institute Program for Singers under the auspices of James Conlon and Margo Garrett. Also at the invitation of Maestro Conlon, Connor was the youngest ever featured soloist in the long history of the Cincinnati May Festival, where she performed the soprano role in Bach’s Cantata No. 21, Cincinnati’s Enquirer calling her “a young star to watch.”
Taiwanese pianist Chiao-Wen Cheng has performed as soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician throughout the United States and Asia. Cheng holds a doctoral degree from the Eastman School of Music, where she was a student and teaching assistant of Barry Snyder. Cheng is an Assistant Professor of Accompanying at the Eastman School of Music and a Piano Instructor at Eastman Community Music School.
Cheng’s solo engagements include the Fort Worth Symphony, Greece Symphony, and Taiwan Shin-Min Orchestra. A vibrant and dedicated chamber musician, Cheng has become a sought-after collaborative partner. She has won numerous piano competitions and awards, including first prizes at the Schubert Club Competition, the Piano Texas International Academy and Festival Concerto Competition, the Clara Ascherfeld Award in Excellence in Accompanying at Peabody Institute and more.