The University of Iowa
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us

University of Iowa News Release

Nov. 21, 2003

UI Opera Group Will Perform Arias And Duets At Museum Of Art Dec. 4

The Walker Opera Quartet from the University of Iowa School of Music will perform a program that includes arias and duets from popular operas at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 4 at the University of Iowa Museum of Art (UIMA).

The quartet of music students is led by Shari Rhoads, coach/accompanist for the UI Martha-Ellen Tye Opera Theater. The singers are soprano Emily Johnson, mezzo-soprano Melinda Benson, tenor Dennis Willhoit and baritone David Playfair. Their performance will be free and open to the public.

The quartet will perform two Verdi solo scenes, "Libiamo" from "La Traviata" and "Bella Figlia" from "Rigoletto"; duets from Bizet's "The Pearl Fishers" and "Carmen," and Leo Delibes' "Lakme"; and arias by Puccini, Gilbert and Sullivan, and Richard Strauss.

The Walker Opera Quartet is a graduate scholarship quartet endowed at the UI School of Music by Jean Walker. Each scholarship recipient has a one-year commitment to the group, which is currently in its second year.

Rhoads joined the UI School of Music faculty as opera coach and diction teacher in the fall of 2000. Before arriving at the UI she taught music history at the Music conservatory in Lucerne and the Conservatory of Lausanne in Switzerland. Rhoads has also been Kapellmeister at the Lucerne Theater, where she conducted the world premiere of Jacques Demierre's "Lachen der Schafe" and numerous repertory operas. She was conductor and coach at the opera theater in Darmstadt, Germany, and the Gran Teatro del Liceo in Barcelona, Spain.

Her accompanying credentials include recitals with Jose Carreras, Luis Lima and Montserrat Caballe with whom she worked exclusively as coach/accompanist and orchestrator. She has accompanied master classes with a number of renowned artists including singer Gerard Souzay, cellist Lynn Harrell and violist William Primrose.

The UIMA, located on North Riverside Drive in Iowa City, is open noon to 10 p.m. Thursdays. Admission is free. Public metered parking is available in UI parking lots west and north of the museum.

For more information on the Museum of Art visit on the World Wide Web. Information on other UI arts events is available at To receive UI arts news by e-mail, contact

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Peter Alexander, 319-384-0072,; Writer: Amy Fenneman