The power of destiny, of love, of grief. The big orchestral sound matching the big operatic voices and the big emotions. All of this and more can be heard at the Vermont Philharmonic’s annual Opera Gala conducted by Lou Kosma at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20 at the Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center in Stowe, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 21, at the Barre Opera House.

Audiences love Italian opera masterpieces and arias in the bel canto style — lyrical, languishing, ironic and enchanting. The concert features three talented young singers, winners of the prestigious performance awards from the 2018 Bel Canto Institute in Florence, Italy.

Sofie Lund-Tonnesen, soprano, is a native of Denmark and a graduate of the Royal Danish Conservatory in Copenhagen. She will sing arias from Donizetti’s “L’Elisir d’amore” and “Don Pasquale.”

Johanna Nylund, soprano, is from Finland, and has studied in Helsinki, Trieste and Copenhagen. She will sing arias from Donizetti’s “La figlia del Regimento” and Verdi’s “La Traviata.”

Danielle Alexis Smith, mezzo-soprano, is a graduate of Stanford University. She will perform songs by Stefano Donaudy and Paolo Tosti, an aria from Bellini’s “Norma,” and a Donizetti duet with Lund-Tonnesen.

In addition to accompanying the soloists, the orchestra will perform the intense Intermezzo from Leoncavallo’s “Pagliacci,” and the Overture to Wagner’s “Rienzi.”

Kosma has been the music director of the Vermont Philharmonic since 1999. As a member of the Metropolitan Opera orchestra for many years, he knows his way around the world of grand opera. The Philharmonic has been making music in central Vermont since 1959. Vermont’s oldest community orchestra is celebrating its 60th anniversary season.

Stowe tickets are $25, $20 in advance; go online to Barre tickets are $20, $15 for seniors, $5 students and $35 per family at the door. For information, go online to

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