Guitar Gala is an elegant evening that will feature wine tasting, delicious dining from Dupre Catering, comedy and superb performances by such popular musicians as Ukrainian-born guitarist, Marina Alexandra, Charleston based guitarist, Chris Teves, Tony Lee (drums), nationally recognized soprano, Janet Hopkins, and award winning actress Martha Hearn Kelly from Trustus theater.
Renowned dramatic mezzo-soprano Janet Hopkins, a 16 year veteran of the New York Metropolitan Opera, continues to thrill audiences on her concert tour of symphonic stages across America. Recent performances include The Defiant Requiem (Verdi Requiem) at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, El Amor Brujo (South Carolina Philharmonic), Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony (Bowling Green Symphony Orchestra, Kentucky) and Alexander Nevsky (West Shore Symphony Orchestra, MI).
Known for her innovative style and approach to bringing classical music to broader audiences, Miss Hopkins won critical acclaim from the New York Times and USA Today for the limited edition ARIA. A first-of-its-kind music and fine wine project, ARIA is the marriage of a world class wine personally blended by Miss Hopkins with Tulip Hill Winery and her recording of well known classical Italian love songs at historic Capitol Records in Hollywood. The boxed set was an immediate mainstream hit.
Miss Hopkins made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera during the 1991 – 1992 seasons. Since then, opera lovers have appreciated her diverse repertoire on the world’s greatest stage.
She debuted at The Met in The Ghost of Versailles, and has since returned many times over the years, pleasing audiences in Die Walküre, Die Frau ohne Schatten, Der Rosenkavalier, Katya Kabanova, Elektra, Jenufa, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, War and Peace, Les Mamelles de Tiresias, L’Enfant et les Sortileges, Khovanschina, Doktor Faustus,The Makropulos Case, Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, The Bartered Bride, and Parsifal. Miss Hopkins has toured Japan three times with The Met in Der Rosenkavalier, Die Walküre, and Rigoletto. While in Japan the mezzo-soprano sang a series of solo recitals in Tokyo, garnering much critical acclaim.
Away from touring and performing, Miss Hopkins enjoys her position as a member of the voice faculty at the University of South Carolina in Columbia.
Marina Alexandra has established herself as a dynamic performer with a powerful stage presence. Finger Style Guitar Magazine described her as an “amazing player that commands the guitar with world-class technique and musicianship that is uncommon.” Marina Alexandra was listed by the Aaron Shearer Foundation as one of the most influential female classical guitarist in America.
She has received awards in several guitar competitions including the Music Teachers National Association State and Regional Competitions and semifinalist in the 6th annual Edwin H. and Leigh W. Schadt National String Competition for classical guitar. Marina has a concert career spanning the last fifteen years, taking her to Piccolo Spoleto Festival, National Public Radio, Allentown Radio, and hundreds of venues including colleges, guitar festivals and museums throughout USA. She has released three albums including; Timeless Enchantment (Baroque, Classical, Modern, and Latin-American music) , A Moment of Magic (modern music by Russian composer, Nikita Koshkin) and Americas from North to South (flute and guitar music). Her albums received high praises from such prestigious music magazines as Soundboard, Classical Guitar (UK) and American Record Guide.
Marina Alexandra was born in the Ukraine, where she began her guitar studies at the age of six. In 1996 she immigrated with her family to the United States, and in 1998 she was awarded an assistantship to earn her Master of Music degree at the University of South Carolina. She has served on the faculties of Furman University, University of South Carolina- Aiken, SC, Wingate University, and Columbia College. Her students have been awarded scholarships to attend music schools such as the Eastman School of Music, Peabody Conservatory, and University of Southern California. Under Marina’s direction, many students have also received top prizes in national guitar competitions.
Marina performs regularly on stages throughout the southeast United States. In addition to her concert solo career, Marina Alexandra participates in the group Duo de Vista (with flutist Teri Forscher-Milter).
Marina is a major contributor to the guitar community on both the local and national levels. Mrs. Alexandra is the founding president of the Guitar Muse Society, which hosts yearly concert and educational events in Columbia, SC. Mrs. Alexandra is also the artistic and executive director of the Southern Guitar Festival and Competition, which attracts participants from all over the US and abroad. Mrs. Alexandra plays a major role in advocating for the arts, she was invited to be on the planning committee for Midlands Art Conservatory (SC) as well as grant approval committee for the South Arts non-profit organization, that represents nine Southeastern states.