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Artist Reviews

“Joanna Latini was a superstar with her crystal clear diction and ringing bell-like soprano.” — Jack Gardner, Edge Media Network

"Mr. Smagur has an attractive lyric tenor with a vivid presence."-Opera Today

Handel in Love

Saturday, November 23 at 7:30 pm

Zilkha Hall / Hobby Center For The Performing Arts

Amorous duets, arias, and instrumental works mix freely on this tribute to the Baroque ear’s finest musical dramatist. A truly cosmopolitan figure, George Frederic Handel combined a sturdy German musical heritage with sophisticated Italian training, in works that remain emblematic of his adopted English home.

  • Cecilia, vogli un sguardo for soprano, tenor, and strings, HWV 89

  • “As steals the morn” from L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato, HWV 55

  • Oboe Concerto in G Minor, HWV 287


Joanna latini , soprano

Joanna latini, soprano

Kathryn montoya,  baroque oboe

Kathryn montoya, baroque oboe

Richard trey smagur , tenor

Richard trey smagur, tenor



Soprano Joanna Latini, a New Jersey native, is quickly making a name for herself for her informed and passionate performances. Opera News hailed Ms. Latini “a generous performer [with] winning personality and a sound both luscious and supple, exuding charm[.]” Her professional experience ranges from Baroque opera to contemporary new works and musical theatre. The 2018-2019 season and beyond includes her Canadian debut with Calgary Opera, appearances with Lyric Opera of Kansas City and Atlanta Opera as Teresita in Francesca Zambello’s production of West Side Story. She will then join the Benenson Young Artist Program at Palm Beach Opera where she will cover Violetta in La Traviata and Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni and sing Sally in Die Fledermaus. Also in 2018, Ms. Latini was named a National Semi-Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. In the summer of 2019, Ms. Latini will return to the Glimmerglass Festival as Rosina in The Ghosts of Versailles as well as cover Magnolia in Show Boat and Violetta in La Traviata.

Richard Trey Smagur, of Clarkesville, Georgia, has been noted for his "attractive lyric tenor" and "vivid presence" (Opera Today) and was named a winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 2017. He makes several significant debuts this summer, including an appearance with Wolf Trap Opera as Tybalt in Roméo et Juliette and as the tenor soloist in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Filene Center. In August, Mr. Smagur will appear alongside Jamie Barton for Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde (The Song of the Earth) at The Aspen Music Festival & School under the baton of Patrick Summers.  A current member of the Houston Grand Opera studio, Mr. Smagur's role and house debuts included Gastone de Letorières in La traviata, Young Servant in Elektra, and Count Almaviva in select performances of Il barbiere di Siviglia at the Miller Outdoor Theater in Houston during the 2017-2018 season. In the same season, Mr. Smagur made his house debut at The Santa Fe Opera as Tsarevitch Gvidon in The Golden Cockerel. In the 2018-19 season, Mr. Smagur will return to The Santa Fe Opera to make his principal role debut as Števa Buryja in Jenufa, and will appear with Houston Grand Opera as Steuermann (The Flying Dutchman) and Parpignol (La Bohéme). Mr. Smagur will appear with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra for Handel's Messiah in December 2019. He has appeared professionally as Tamino in The Magic Flute with OK Mozart and covered Des Grieux in Manon at Des Moines Metro Opera. In concert, he has performed in Elijah with the Tucson Desert Song Festival and as a tenor soloist with the Cincinnati Boy Choir. Last summer, he was a fellow at the Steans Music Institute at Ravinia Music Festival. He participated in HGO’s Young Artists Vocal Academy in 2012.  Smagur’s roles during his training at Indiana University include the title role in Peter Grimes, B.F. Pinkerton in Madame Butterfly, Don José in Carmen, Tamino in The Magic Flute, and Ralph Rackstraw in H.M.S. Pinafore

Kathryn Montoya teaches historical oboes and recorder at Oberlin Conservatory and the University of North Texas. She appears with a variety of orchestral and chamber music ensembles including the Boston Early Music Festival Orchestra, Tafelmusik, the Wiener Akademie, and Apollo’s Fire among others. Recent projects include performances and recording of Handel's Almira with the Boston Early Music Festival in Germany and concerts with the LA Philharmonic. Kathryn has been broadcast on NPR's Performance Today and can be heard on the Erato, Naxos, CPO, NCA, Analekta, and Dorian Sono Luminus labels. In her free time Kathryn can be found in Hereford, England working on a 18th century barn conversion with her partner, James.