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Conversations with creators and organizers of the arts scene in West Michigan, hosted by Cara Lieurance

For tenor Ben Gulley, storytelling is the essence of good music-making

Tenor Ben Gulley
Courtesy photo
Tenor Ben Gulley

At 3 pm on Sunday, Nov 5 in the Dalton Center Recital Hall at Western Michigan University, Fontana will continue its season with a concert by tenor Ben Gulley and pianist Peter Dugan. It is a new collaboration between old friends, Gulley tells Cara Lieurance. He and Fontana director Brad Wong talk about the preparations for the ambitious concert.

It begins with a series of roof-raising arias by Donizetti, Verdi, Cilea and Puccini that showcase Gulley’s professional career in opera. He recently performed one of his favorite roles in Verdi’s Il Trovatore. Next comes a series of songs in Italian, English and German by Tosti and Schubert. Pianist Peter Dugan, host of NPR’s From The Top, will also be featured playing a Chopin nocturne and his own transcription of Grieg’s “In the Hall of the Mountain King.”

There are surprises in the second half of the program, in which Gulley will showcase his equal talent for Broadway, including a song from a musical adaptation of The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Dennis DeYoung of Styx fame. “It’s the same 12 notes,” Gulley says when explaining his universal taste in music.

Tickets and more information are available at the Fontana website.

Cara Lieurance is the local host of NPR's All Things Considered on 1021 WMUK and covers local arts & culture on Let's Hear It on 89.9 Classical WMUK weekday mornings at 10 - 11 am.
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