FARMINGTON — August 17, 1911 was the day when Farmington native and operatic diva, Lillian Nordica, performed for a huge audience of fellow townspeople. Since then that day has been celebrated as Nordica Day.
A big part of that celebration has been a concert in Nordica Auditorium, the hall where Madame Nordica performed. For the past 25 years, that concert has been performed by the winner of the annual Nordica scholarship, awarded to an outstanding student of singing in Maine.
Given this year marks the 100th anniversary of Nordica's last performance in her hometown, the Nordica Memorial Association will feature the original and three-time winner of the Nordica award, Joseph Wiggett.
Dr. Wiggett is professor of voice at California State University Stanislas and artistic director of the Townsend Opera. His accompanist will be Ludlow Hallman, his former teacher from the University of Maine.
The other half of the program will be shared by this year's Nordica scholarship winers: Shannon Connell, soprano, and Jesse Wakeman, tenor.
Connell is a recent graduate of the University of Southern Maine’s vocal performance program. She recently performed the role of Josephine in USM’s production of "HMS Pinafore." She made her professional debut this summer in the ensemble of PortOpera’s production of "La Fille du Regiment."
Wakeman is pursuing a degree in music education at USM. He was recently seen in Farmington as the poet in PortOpera’s production of "Cafe Vienna." He also appeared in USM's production of "HMS Pinafore."
Connell and Wakeman will be accompanied by Elizabeth Hasbrouck. They will be joined by Dr. Wiggett in the rousing trio from The Barber of Seville, “Ah qual colpo inaspettato.” The remainder of the concert will be a mix of operatic arias, art songs and ballads.
Also at the concert will be a display of Coca-Cola memorabilia from the collection of the late Paul Trask currently housed at the Farmington Bottling Plant. Lillian Nordica was one of the earliest models in Coca-Cola’s advertising.
The concert will begin at 7:30. A reception will follow in Nordica Hall. Donations will be accepted. For more information, call 778-2042.