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Soprano Diba Alvi to visit ETSU for residency, performance

Contributed • Jan 24, 2020 at 5:26 PM

She slips with agility from attendant to Greek beauty to Rhinemaiden, from human to wood bird and nightingale, from tragedy to comedy, from Mozart to Britten.

Names, characters, costumes, notes and venues change, but reviewers find soprano Diba Alvi “spectacular,” “alluring” and “impressive” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) and in command of “the stage with stellar vocalism and a sharply dramatic personality” (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review).

In 2007, Alvi gave a private recital in Johnson City, then in 2008, she performed with the Johnson City Symphony Orchestra in a program titled “An Evening with Diba Alvi.” She will return to Northeast Tennessee, once again as herself rather than one of her many characters, on Sunday, Jan. 26, at Munsey Memorial United Methodist Church, 201 E. Market St., at 3 p.m. Tickets for the performance are $20 for general admission, $15 for seniors and $5 for students with ID.

“Thanks to the generosity of James and Sandy Powell, the Mary B. Martin School of the Arts is bringing Dr. Alvi back for not only a concert, but also a week in residence, working with ETSU vocal students,” says Anita DeAngelis, director of the Martin School at East Tennessee State University. “We are thrilled to support ETSU’s thriving opera program, learn from this devoted music educator one-on-one and enjoy her vocal artistry in performance. It will be a great week.”

The program for the Johnson City concert includes pieces by Bellini, Wolf, Debussy and Turina, as well as a variety of languages and time periods.

“All the sets (in the program) appeal to me as they are challenging and beautiful in different ways,” says the critically acclaimed Alvi, whose musical inspirations have included choral directors, voice teachers such as Claudia Pinza and renowned coloraturas Beverly Sills and Anna Moffo.

Tim McReynolds, a colleague and musical collaborator since 2006, will accompany Alvi for the performance.

Alvi’s operatic engagements have included “The Merry Widow” and “Un Ballo in Maschera” with Palm Beach Opera; “La Favorita” and “Les Huguenots” with Opera Orchestra of New York; the American bicoastal premiere of “The Ring Saga” with Long Beach Opera; and “The Magic Flute,” “Orpheus and Euridice,” “Gianni Schicchi,” “Die Fledermaus,” “A View from the Bridge,” “Summer and Smoke” and “Hansel and Gretel” with Opera Theater of Pittsburgh.

She has performed a spectrum of operatic roles at University of Michigan and Oberlin, as well, while her concert appearances span the U.S. and works by composers including Handel, Schumann, Poulenc, Vivaldi, Donizetti, Mahler and Orff.

Alvi also slips seamlessly into the role of professor, as a faculty member at the University of Maryland since 2008 and at the Peabody Conservatory of The Johns Hopkins University since 2009. In 2020, she will join the voice faculty of the Brancaleoni International Music Festival in Italy.

Alvi’s own education began at 7 with piano lessons and has spanned the globe since the 1980s, including certificates from Trinity College of Music in London, and Centro Studi Italiani, Italy; a course at la Sorbonne Université de Paris; bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music; a specialist degree in voice performance from University of Michigan; and a doctor of musical arts from the University of Maryland.

While at ETSU, Alvi will hold vocal master classes and coaching sessions during the weeklong residency.

“I've been asked to lecture about French diction,” Alvi says. “I love languages and really enjoy teaching them. I'll also be working with the students who are in ‘Gianni Schicchi.’ It's an opera I love and have performed at different times in my career.” “Gianni Schicchi” will be presented by the ETSU Opera Theatre March 27-28.

For more information on Diba Alvi, visit dibaalvi.com.

For tickets or more information about the Martin School of the Arts events, visit www.etsu.edu/martin or call 423-439-TKTS (8587).

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