Olympic Feats of Opera
Saturday, September 30, 2023, at 7:30 PM
Sunday, October 1, 2023, at 3:00 PM
Gunter Theater

Gary Malvern, conductor
Bronwen Forbay, soprano
Keith Jameson, tenor
Bruce Schoonmaker, baritone

A smorgasbord of some of the most virtuosic works composed for the human voice, this experience is composed of arias that are quite simply Olympic feats of singing.  Come and wonder at the impossible beauty of these works by Monteverdi, Handel and Mozart, including an aria from his iconic character the Queen of the Night, have a good laugh at Figaro’s expense in Rossini’s Largo from The Barber of Seville, hear operetta and even some selections from the golden age of Broadway.  This is an hour of operatic goodness you won’t want to miss.  And the crazy thing is, they make it look easy!


Gary Malvern, professor of music at Furman University, is a native of Buffalo, New York. He received a bachelor’s degree in performance and music history from Oberlin College Conservatory, and a master’s and doctoral degrees from Yale University. Dr. Malvern has served as principal trumpet of the National Repertory Orchestra and the American Wind Symphony, and he served for 25 years as principal trumpet of the Greenville Symphony Orchestra.  Malvern has been artist in residence at universities in Western Australia, and at conservatories in Northern Italy. Dr. Malvern frequently records for Nuovo Musiche per Tromba (New Music for Trumpet).

Dr. Malvern was the recipient of Furman’s Meritorious Teaching Award in 1999.


Bronwen Forbay
Hailed by Opera Magazine as “At once powerful, radiant, timbrally beautiful, and balanced throughout the range, her soprano is that of a singer at the top of her game,” South African-born Fulbrighter BRONWEN FORBAY’s operatic successes include critically acclaimed performances of Mozart’s Queen of the Night (The Magic Flute) with the Wolf Trap Opera Company, Eugene Opera, and Tulsa Opera. Other celebrated roles include Orasia, Queen of Thrace (US premier of Telemann’s Orpheus), Velmyra (Wading Home) by Mary Alice Rich, Violetta (La Traviata), and the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor with the Cape Town Opera. An Associate Professor of Voice at Furman University, Dr. Forbay holds degrees from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Manhattan School of Music, Southern Methodist University, and at the University of Cincinnati, CCM.


Keith Jameson has enjoyed a 28-year career as a professional opera and concert singer. He has been heard nationally at the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Los Angeles Opera, New York City Opera, The Santa Fe Opera; and internationally with opera companies in Italy, Spain, Belgium, Brazil, England, and Japan. He can be seen in Carmen and Falstaff, on DVD with the Metropolitan Opera, and heard with Boston Baroque in Haydn’s The Creation and Lord Nelson Mass, on CD. He is a graduate of Furman University and the Eastman School of Music. 




Bruce Schoonmaker
A native of Charlotte, N.C., Bruce Schoonmaker has performed in operas, recitals, and with orchestras and choruses in the USA, France, Italy, Australia and Japan. His combination of vocalism and dramatic ability has endeared him to audiences of the Charlotte Symphony, Columbia Lyric Opera, Brevard Music Festival, Opera Carolina, and the Oratorio Singers of Charlotte. Last October he sang the baritone solos in a rousing performance of Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana with the Greenville Chorale and Greenville Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Bing Vick.

While a student at Northwestern University, he won the Bel Canto Competition and studied with Tito Gobbi at the Tito Gobbi Opera Workshop in Florence, Italy.  A few years later, he studied with Carlo Bergonzi and Renata Tebaldi at the Bel Canto Seminar in Verdi’s hometown, Busseto, Italy. He made his New York City debut with the New York City Chamber Orchestra, as soloist in Vaughan Williams’ Five Mystical Songs, at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine. 

Schoonmaker taught voice and directed opera at Furman University until 2018 and now resides, performs, and teaches in Richmond, Virginia.