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Stockton Opera Gala set March 25

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POSTED March 2, 2012 6:20 p.m.

STOCKTON — Roberto Perlas Gomez, an opera performer who has delighted local audiences with his roles in five Stockton Opera productions (including Figaro in Barber of Seville), returns for an encore in “Melodies of Spring,” the 37th annual Stockton Opera Guild Gala.

A celebration of spring as well as the vocal art epitomized by the rich baritone and engaging style of Gomez, the Gala will take place at the Stockton Golf and Country Club on Sunday, March 25, with wine, hors d’oeuvres and a silent auction at 6 p.m., dinner at 7 p.m. The musical program begins at 8:30 p.m., and will feature opera favorites, Broadway songs and other contemporary music.

Gomez, who recently sang the title role of Vivaldi’s Montezuma in its American premiere with the Long Beach Opera, dates the start of his career, at age 17, to hearing Luciano Pavarotti sing on a television program. Captivated by that legendary voice and the beauty of the music, he became an avid opera listener, a college opera student and a self-confessed “opera fanatic.“

The love affair with opera has led Gomez to a 20-year career and a significant body of operatic work. He has performed over 80 roles in numerous regional companies (including the San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles Operas) and international opera companies.

One of his most memorable performances took place in a 1996 Manila premiere in which he portrayed the last days of Philippine national hero Jose Rizal. But perhaps nothing in his experience has been more truly international than his role as Chou-en-Lai in “Nixon in China.” Performed in Verona, where the work had its Italian premiere, Gomez played a Chinese premier in an opera by American composer John Adams about an American president visiting China.

Gomez calls opera “the most complete of all live art forms,” given its technically sophisticated singing, drama, elaborate sets and costumes, dancing and live orchestra.

“For the casual observer,” he says, “it contains great interest; for the seasoned observer, it contains a lifetime of reflection and internal experience.”

Gala tickets are $85 per person, with proceeds benefitting the Stockton Opera Association and the Kathe Underwood Stockton Opera Guild Scholarship, sustaining the Guild’s 40-year history of live opera performances that have included such masterworks as Don Giovanni, The Barber of Seville, Tosca, La Boheme, Carmen and Madama Butterfly.

In addition to a feast of music, guests will enjoy California wines, a no-host bar, hors d’oeuvres, and seated dinner and dessert.

Call 932-1160 for more information or visit www.stocktonoperaguild.org

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