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Opera great Samuel Ramey (Photo provided)


WHEN: Concert at 7 p.m. May 11; concert preview at 5:45 p.m.

WHERE: Elmhurst Christian Reformed Church, 149 Brush Hill Road, Elmhurst

RECEPTION: Post-concert benefit at DoubleTree hotel in Oak Brook

The Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra will unleash vocal fireworks (and brimstone) to conclude its 52nd season at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 11, starring world-renowned American bass Samuel Ramey singing music from one of his most famous roles, Mephistopheles.

Music Director Stephen Alltop will conduct the ESO and Ramey, joined by the Elmhurst Choral Union and the Elmhurst College Choir in music by Boito (prologue and selections from "Mefistofele"), Wagner ("Pilgrim’s Chorus" from "Tannhäuser" and selections from "Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg") and Berlioz ("Rákóczy March" from "La Damnation of Faust" and "Royal Hunt and Storm" from "Les Troyen").

About Ramey
For almost three decades, Ramey has reigned as one of the music world’s foremost interpreters of bass and bass-baritone operatic and concert repertoire. Critics cite his combination of commanding vocalism, exceptional musicianship, elegant stage presence and uncommon theatrical abilities in portraying a wide variety of operatic characters.
Méphistophélès in Gounod’s "Faust" has become his most-performed role. He is equally well-known in opera houses and concert halls throughout the world for his performances of Boito’s "Mefistofele." In 1996, Mr. Ramey presented a sold-out concert at New York’s Avery Fisher Hall titled "A Date with the Devil," in which he sang 14 arias representing the core of this repertoire, and he continues to tour this program throughout the world.
His repertoire includes more than 50 roles, and he holds the distinction of being the most recorded bass in history.

Pre-concert talk
Audience members are invited to learn more about the music at a free concert preview with Ted Hatmaker at 5:45 p.m. in the upper level Gathering Room of the church. Concert doors and the box office open at 6:15 p.m.
Party with the devil
A festive post-concert party, “Speak of the Devil … and he shall appear!” at Double Tree Hotel in Oak Brook will follow the performance. Cost of the reception is $100 per person. Ramey will be in attendance, and pianist Jeffrey Panko will provide music for guests as they enjoy hearty hor d’oeuvres, a sweets table and open bar.

Tickets for a split-the-pot raffle cost $10 each. An auction will feature several items, including a performance at the winning bidder’s home or event by renowned Dutch soprano Josefien Stoppelenberg and Stephen Alltop, ESO music director, conductor and pianist, which will have an opening bid of $500. All proceeds from the evening will benefit the ESO and its programs.

For tickets, contact the ESO at 630-941-0202 or

Concert tickets cost $29 for adults, $27 for seniors and $7 for students. A single concert family ticket for $65 will admit two adults and up to three students. Groups of 10 or more cost $25 per ticket.  Call or email the ESO or visit for tickets.

The concert is underwritten with a generous gift from Liz and Bill Downey. Sponsors for the Wagner and Berlioz works are Keith and Irmgard Olson, Arnold and Dora Schenk, and Raita Vilnins. The concert is made possible, in part, by grants from the city of Elmhurst's Tourism Fund, the Illinois Arts Council and the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation.
 To read an earlier article on the ESO's season, visit