At an elegant reception at Newport’s Clarke Cooke House Skybar, supporters of the reconstruction of the Newport Opera House on Washington Square gathered in honor of Ronald Lee Fleming, who donated a half million dollars to the effort for a spectacular rooftop garden.
New York City Ballet and Broadway star Robbie Fairchild and ballerina Tiler Peck spoke about the importance of a performing arts center, and told the guests they hope to see them next time “from the stage.” Mr.Fairchild, who played the lead in Broadway’s “An American in Paris” and his wife Tiler Peck are on their way to London, where he will reprise the role. Extraordinary violin soloist Gil Morgenstern was introduced by Opera House Board member Susan Sipperelle, and played a Bach Partita, and a remarkable modern work by Lithuanian composer Vytautas Barkauskas that incorporated elements of both tango and rhumba. He was rewarded with wild applause. Rhode island Governor Gina Raimondo issued a proclamation for the Opera House, which was read to guests.
It was a preview of what we can expect of future Newport Opera House performances.
Introduced by Alison Vareika, Chairman of the Board and long time supporter of the restoration, the program was heightened by an impressive biography of Mr. Fleming’s accomplishments delivered by Liz Drayton, Opera House public relations. Mr. Fleming thanked the Opera House for the honor. Executive Director Brenda Nienhouse toasted Mr. Fleming, joined by all participants. It was an artistic night to remember.