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New Rochelle Opera Honors Maestro Anton Coppola

Maestro Anton Coppola
Maestro Anton Coppola Photo Credit: Contributed

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. --  New Rochelle Opera will pay tribute to Maestro Anton Coppola at its Annual Spring Gala on Friday, April 21, at the Fountainhead. The event is the opera company's largest fundraiser.

“The Maestro will turn 100 years old on March 21, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to honor him for his life’s work at our gala this year,” said NRO Artistic Director Camille Coppola. “He exemplifies the true meaning of being an artist, having worked in all of the major fields of the performing arts—opera, dance, theater and film.”

Maestro Coppola is the uncle of Academy Award winner Francis Ford Coppola, but is not related to NRO’s artistic director.

The esteemed conductor and composer started his career at the age of 8 with the Metropolitan Opera Children’s Chorus. He served as an army bandmaster during World War II, conductor at Radio City Music Hall and director of both the Symphony and Opera Departments at the Manhattan School of Music.

Among his works are a violin concerto, a symphony, and "Sacco and Vanzetti," an opera in both Italian and English about immigrants Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, who were tried, convicted and executed for murder.

In the 1950s and 1960s, Coppola was the musical director of six Broadway musicals, including "Silk Stockings," "Bravo Giovanni" and "The Boy Friend."

He conducted two film scores, "The Godfather Part III" (also appearing conducting "Cavalleria Rusticana" in the Teatro Massimo of Palermo) and the 1992 film "Dracula."

He debuted with the New York City Opera in 1965, conducting the world premiere of Jack Beeson's "Lizzie Borden," and led performances of "Carmen," La Traviata," "Il Barbiere di Siviglia" and "Madama Butterfly" during the same year. At the Seattle Opera in 1970, Coppola led the world premiere of Carlisle Floyd's "Of Mice and Men."

Additionally, Coppola helped found Opera Tampa in 1996 and served as its founding artistic director. Among his numerous productions with the company was the world premiere of "Sacco and Vanzetti" on March 17, 2001. He retired from the position in 2012.

Coppola was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Puccini Foundation and recognized by the Italian government as Cavaliere, Gran Ufficiale.

Tickets for the event are $150 each ($65 tax deductible), the cost of which includes a cocktail hour, concert, full dinner, dancing and live auction. Tickets can be purchased online at www.nropera.org or by sending a check to New Rochelle Opera, P.O. Box 55, New Rochelle, NY 10804.

All tickets will be held at the door. For more information, call (914) 576-1617 or (914) 576-0365.

The event will begin at 6:30 p.m.

The Fountainhead is at at 55 Quaker Ridge Rd., New Rochelle.

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