Willene Gunn ‘was a ball of energy’ – Medford News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News

Artistic Director of Ashland-based Brava! Opera is dead this week

Willene Gunn after a Brava! Opera Workshop in Ashland in 2015. [Brava! Opera photo]

Willene Gunn after a Brava! Opera Workshop in Ashland in 2015. [Brava! Opera photo]

Friends said goodbye this week to Willene Gunn, artistic director of Brava! Opera, who died on August 10 of complications following open heart surgery.

“We are devastated, she was a one-of-a-kind legendary opera singer,” said Lorrie Hall, CEO of Brava! opera “She was my dear friend.”

Hall remembered Gunn for his talent as an artist and the power of his personality.

“She was Irish. Irish eyes always smiling. We called her spitfire, spark plug; she bounced when she laughed; she was a ball of energy,” Hall said.

Gunn was on the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music for 30 years as director of the Conservatory’s Opera Program, where she trained thousands of students, Hall said, many of whom have gone on to become world famous of opera, some singing at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

Gunn conducted operas and sang as a mezzo-soprano, according to a news announcement sent by Brava! opera Gunn performed in the theater and co-wrote an opera textbook. He taught voice at the University of California-Berkeley and staged operas at Berkeley and the University of Nevada.

When Gunn retired to southern Oregon, she became artistic director of Rogue Opera in 2006, where she and Hall met, Hall said, and the two founded Brava! Opera in 2010.

Gunn remained as artistic director of Brava! Opera until the week before your operation. His final job was to judge the Brava! Opera James M. Collier Vocal Competition, with hundreds of singers and attending a board meeting, Hall said.

Gunn’s death was unexpected, Hall said.

“I’m in Olympia, Washington, and there was a big storm right before I checked my email and found out, and I said, ‘We heard you, Willene.’ It was a beautiful accompaniment for you to leave this earth plane,’” Hall said.

Gunn’s memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 18, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Medford, with burial to follow at Eagle Point National Cemetery, according to the notice.

Donations in his memory may be made to the Children’s Research Hospital of St. Jude or Doctors Without Borders, according to the notice.

Contact Mail Tribune reporter Morgan Rothborne at mrothborne@rosebudmedia.com or 541-776-4487. Follow her on Twitter @MRothborne.

Source link

You May Also Like