THIS PERFORMANCE HAS BEEN POSTPONED FROM JULY 3 TO JULY 5 DUE TO WEATHER
“Till We Reach That Day” is a mesmerizing performance featuring songs from the Broadway musical Ragtime. You will be delighted by the gorgeous voice of soprano Lisa Williamson, a versatile singer who has forged a diverse career in opera, musical theater, and concert that has taken her around the world. And, equally enthralled by Montreal-born baritone Nigel Smith, who has spent most of his professional life in France; he has a vast repertoire, across genres from the baroque to contemporary music. Rounding out the trio is Jill Brunelle, a repertoire pianist, who collaborates on all facets of Yale University’s spectacular performing arts programs. Ms. Brunelle has performed internationally at numerous festivals as well as at Carnegie Hall and Jordan Hall. It will be an evening to remember!
6 pm Gates open
6:30 pm Performance begins
In-person tickets | $25 per person
Tickets must be purchased in advance. No tickets will be sold at the gate. Purchase a ticket
Nigel Smith was born in Montreal and has spent most of his professional life in France. After graduating from the Curtis Institute of Music, Nigel spent three years as an apprentice artist with the Centre de Formation Lyrique, at the Paris National Opera, where he performed on both the stages of the Bastille, and Palais Garnier. After completing his apprenticeship, Nigel represented Canada at the 2001 Cardiff Singer of the World and continued working in many theatres in France, and in Europe. Performing principally on the operatic stage, Nigel has a wide repertoire, having performed extensively from the baroque to contemporary music. He has been heard with Jean-Claude Malgoire, and the Atelier Lyrique de Tourcoing, in works such as Rameau’s Les Indes galantes, Händel’s Agrippina, and Rinaldo, as well as in Salieri’s Falstaff.
On the contemporary side of things, Nigel has created the roles of Lead, for James Rolfe’s Beatrice Chancy, which was produced both live, and for television; the role of Der auskunftgeber, for Philippe Manoury’s setting of Franz Kafka’s Der Prozess, entitled K…, at the Opéra National de Paris (Bastille), an encounter which inspired Manoury to write the role of un jeune fugitive, in his chamber opera La frontière for Nigel, which he created with Manoury, and famed actor and director Yoshi Oida, at Paris’ Les bouffes du nord. Nigel also premiered the oratorio Athanor, of Guillaume Connesson, at France Musique’s Festival Présences, as baritone soloist, and, most recently, was the baritone soloist for the world premiere of Joseph Barandashvili’s The Passion of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, with the Israel Camerata Jerusalem, under the baton of Avner Biron.
Lisa Williamson has forged a diverse career in opera, musical theater, and concert throughout the world. Her roles include Amalia Balash (She Loves Me), Eliza Doolittle (My Fair Lady), Eileen Sherwood (Wonderful Town), Maud Dunlop (The Music Man), Laurie (The Tender Land), Bessie Coleman (Bessie and Ma world premiere), The Flamingo (The Lion, the Unicorn and Me world premiere), The Rose (The Little Prince), Suor Angelica (Suor Angelica), Cendrillon (Cendrillon), the soprano (The Little Match Girl Passion), Virginia Creeper (The Difficulty of Crossing a Field), Musetta (La Boheme), and Adele (Die Fledermaus) with Washington National Opera, The Glimmerglass Festival, Portland Opera, Opera Theater of Connecticut, Hartford Opera Theater, Hartford Symphony Orchestra, New Haven Symphony Orchestra, and the Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi. She was the soloist with United States Coast Guard Band from 2005-2010. She holds degrees from The Peabody Conservatory, Yale School of Music, and UConn.
Jill Brunelle is a repertoire pianist at Yale University, working with Yale Opera, Yale School of Drama, the Yale Institute of Sacred Music, and Yale College. Her recent music directing credits include The Fantasticks at Ivoryton Playhouse, and The Addams Family and Violet at Southern Connecticut State University. At Yale School of Drama Ms. Brunelle directed Steven Sondheim’s Passion, The Apple Tree, Trouble in Tahiti, and The Medium. As Yale Opera Chorus Master she has prepared ensembles for Eugene Onegin, Hänsel und Gretel, Die Zauberflöte, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Le Nozze Di Figaro and La Bohème. Ms. Brunelle recently celebrated five years as Music Director at the renowned Foote School Summer Theater. Her 2019-2020 season includes Fun Home at the Yale School of Drama, Ragtime at Ivoryton Playhouse, and the world premiere of the new opera Salt. Ms. Brunelle has served as faculty/staff at Boston University, New England Conservatory, Tufts University, Hartt School of Music, Connecticut Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, and Opera Boston. As a collaborative pianist, Ms. Brunelle is highly sought after as a recital partner, performing internationally as well as at Carnegie Hall and Jordan Hall, and has performed world premieres at numerous festivals, including the celebrated Bang on a Can festival in New York City. Ms. Brunelle also collaborates frequently with area companies and ensembles, including Orchestra New England and Long Wharf Theater.
From the Porch, Hill-Stead’s new multicultural performing arts series is a diverse and dynamic showcase featuring music, dance, theater, and more. Building on the success of Hill-Stead’s indoor events and nationally acclaimed Sunken Garden Poetry Festival, the inclusive summer programming will take place on our 152-acre campus. The experiential events will happen several nights per week and be open to audiences of all ages.
Hill-Stead will kick off the inaugural series with a venerable celebration of the Year of the Woman to coincide with the centennial of women’s suffrage. Our signature events will amplify women’s crucial role in history.
Our grateful thanks to the following sponsors who are helping to make the From the Porch series possible
The Richard P. Garmany Fund at The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving
Please consider joining us as a sponsor of this series and be a part of this shared endeavor to bring the arts to the community. You will provide a much-needed boost to Connecticut’s incomparable cultural organizations and art providers. Every sponsor will be recognized all season long on Hill-Stead’s web and email promotion and onsite signage. See the Sponsorship Registration Form for more information.