Valencia Helps Bring Professional Opera Back to Orlando

Valencia College has partnered with Orlando-based Florida Opera Theatre, along with opera companies in St. Augustine and Vero Beach, to bring a professional production of “The Barber of Seville” to Orlando for one performance on Jan. 29.

 The production, which is sponsored by three opera organizations, features a star-studded cast, including renowned tenor Luigi Boccia, currently a resident artist at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia. Boccia, who is playing the role of Count Almaviva, will be joined onstage by David Salsbery Fry, a veteran of the Metropolitan Opera and the New York City Opera. Fry will play Basilio.

Thomas Potter, director of the University of Central Florida opera program, will perform as Bartolo. Rounding out the cast as Figaro and Rosina are Kenneth Mattice, who has performed with the Baltimore Opera and served as resident artist for Opera San Jose, and Candice Hoyes, who  recently performed as Clara in the Akron Symphony Orchestra’s production of “Porgy and Bess.”

Two Valencia students, Paul Layton and Paul Hambidge, auditioned for and were selected for roles in the opera.

“The Barber of Seville,” a comic opera and one of the first Italian operas performed in the United States, will be directed by Florida Opera Theatre artistic director Frank McClain. Robin Stamper serves as the production’s conductor, chorus master and music director. McClain’s opera directing credits include “The Medium” for Florida Opera Theatre; the Orlando Philharmonic production of “La Boheme”; and “The Merry Widow” for Opera Tampa.

The performance will be a 2 p.m. matinee. It will be presented at Valencia’s East Campus Performing Arts Center, 701 N. Econlockhatchee Trail, Orlando. To buy tickets, go to or call Florida Opera Theatre at 407-718-4365. Calls will be returned on weekdays from 5 to 7 p.m.

Florida Opera Theatre is a Central Florida professional opera company dedicated to producing quality opera performances. The organization is comprised of directors, musicians, performers and individuals who have supported opera in communities throughout Florida.