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Renowned Tenor to Give Free
Concert at von der Mehden
October 11, 1999

One of the country's leading tenors, a former professor at the University, will give a free concert October 31.

Three-time Grammy winner Jerry Hadley will return to UConn with his wife, pianist Cheryll Drake Hadley, at 3 p.m. in von der Mehden Hall. Tickets for the free recital may be reserved by calling (860) 486-2260.

In December, at New York's Metropolitan Opera, Hadley will create the title role in the world premiere of John Harbison's opera The Great Gatsby, playing oppposite Dawn Upshaw.

Early in his career, in 1978-79, Hadley was an adjunct professor of music at UConn, and he performed at von der Mehden many times.

The Hadleys, who live in Wilton, will present a concert featuring both classical and popular music, including Qual mi conturba i sensi... Fuor del mar" from Mozart's Idomeneo; Mascagni's Serenata; Bernstein's Candide's Lament from Candide; Copland's The World Looks Still Tonight from The Tender Land; I Have Dreamed from Richard Rodgers' The King and I; and Irving Berlin's What'll I Do?

Hadley has received international recognition for his interpretation of the great Mozart operatic tenor roles and those of the French romantic and Bel Canto styles, and is becoming increasingly known for his expertise with 20th-century and American operas. In addition to opera, his ease in the realms of Broadway musical theater, operetta and popular song make him one of today's most versatile artists.

Hadley recently performed at the San Francisco Opera in a new production of Charpentier's rarely performed opera, Louise. During the 1999-2000 season, he also will reprise several of his favorite roles, including Werther (Pittsburgh Opera), the title role in La Clemenza Di Tito (Bayerische Staatsoper) and Idomeneo (Salzburg Festival).

The Metropolitan Opera's upcoming The Great Gatsby continues a longstanding tradition in Hadley's career. In 1997, he created the title role in Myron Fink's opera, The Conquistador, based on a true story of the Spanish Inquisition in the New World. He also performed the New York premiere of Ned Rorem's song cycle, The Auden Poems.

Hadley is a regular guest with the world's leading conductors and orchestras, a frequent recitalist in North America, Europe and Asia, and often performs in an ongoing musical partnership with the distinguished American baritone Thomas Hampson.

Hadley also collaborated with Leonard Bernstein on many projects. Bernstein, who died in 1990, selected him to record the title role in his operetta/musical Candide, for which the tenor garnered a Grammy. And Paul McCartney, the former Beatle, tapped him shortly thereafter to create the leading role in his autobiographical Liverpool Oratorio.

Hadley's international career was launched with a European debut at the Vienna State Opera in 1982. He is now a regular artist at the great opera houses, including Milan's La Scala, London's Royal Opera at Covent Garden, the Hamburg State Opera and the Paris Opera Bastille.

He has made dozens of recordings, reflecting a varied repertoire.

The October 31 concert is made possible by philanthropists Charles and Alice Murray Heilig, through the Alice Murray Heilig Fund for the Advancement of Music at the University of Connecticut. The Heiligs, who live in West Hartford, have sponsored annual concerts and residencies through the fund, which makes it possible to invite musicians at the top of their fields to present free concerts, teach master classes or give lectures at the University.

The fund also supports fellowships, and provides for the restoration or purchase of studio and recital pianos. "Alice and I are pleased to contribute to the enrichment of the music program in fine arts through the Alice and Murray Heilig Fund for the Advancement of Music," Heilig says.

Mary Ellen Junda, associate dean of the School of Fine Arts, says the fund takes the music program to new levels. "The fund enhances our program, providing students the opportunity to meet and learn from top-notch practicing musicians," she says. "The new and restored pianos enhance the concerts and give our students the best instruments for practice and performance.

"The Heiligs, particularly Alice Murray Heilig, an amateur pianist, recognized the importance of good instruments for our students and established this fund in 1998," adds Junda.

The Heiligs' first gift to the school is the Steinway concert grand piano on the von der Mehden stage, which was donated in 1988.

The Heiligs also created the Murray Heilig Chapel at the UConn Health Center and the Murray Heilig Chair in Surgery. They received honorary degrees from the University in 1994.

Sherry Fisher