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On the Road with Joanne Robinson: Show #213 Burlington, VT

Flynn Center for the Performing Arts. Photo by Jim Westphalen.

Hi all! This weekend we taped Show 213 in Burlington, Vermont at the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts, a beautifully restored vaudeville house right in the center of town.

I was so excited for the taping because one of my favorite performers was invited back as a 10th Anniversary guest – soprano Nadine Sierra, who was originally on our show six years ago when she was 15. Back then I remember being astonished by how rich and beautiful her voice was, and I was really looking forward to hearing her sing again.

Nadine Sierra. Photo by: New York Times.

This time around the now 21-year-old Nadine sang a gorgeous aria from Charles Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet. Surveying the audience from my perch onstage, I could tell that they were as thrilled by her performance as I was. She also spoke about her surprise at winning the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions last year (that’s kind of like the American Idol of the classical world). It’s the kind of competition that launches major careers, so I can’t wait to see what’s in store for Nadine in the future!

As usual, the taping also featured a diverse array of outstanding kid musicians – and this show featured a whole flock of them. There was Leland Ko, a precocious 11-year-old who wowed everyone with his cello skills; JeeHae Ahn, 18, who gorgeously played Liszt on piano; and a quartet of teenage bassoonists who performed a new piece of music written by 17-year-old Timothy Woos (who has been honored by ASCAP as a composer).

The show closed with the 93-member Vermont Youth Orchestra playing a movement from Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra by Joseph Schwantner. The piece featured a cadenza section improvised by teenage percussionist Nick Bonaccio. You couldn’t see him too well from the audience as he was placed in the back of the orchestra, so I snuck in with my handy flip cam during dress rehearsal to give you a peek at his mad skills. Check out the video below – and don’t forget to tune in when this show airs the week of May 10th!