Departing Bamberger names Jane Mueller key player
All of northeastern Ohio opera lovers and aspiring opera singers from near and far owe more than they know to David Bamberger. But recently, when he was being honored and thanked by the Westlake-Westshore Arts Council, he quickly pointed out the immeasurable contribution made by Jane Mueller, longtime Westlake resident and WWAC member.
In 1991, when Mueller was fairly new to the WWAC, she suggested a program that would preview upcoming Cleveland Opera productions, which would provide information to those who might attend or just be interested in learning more about opera. Mueller said she recalled that in past years when the Metropolitan Opera toured and performed in Cleveland for a week each spring, Lakewood Library had a similar program.
The idea was approved and Mueller called Cleveland Opera, which Bamberger began in 1976. Mueller said she received full cooperation and people willingly talked with her and Jean Povinelli, another WWAC member, to structure the program. Speakers were obtained for two or three programs a year and, Mueller said, “Even the honorarium for the speakers was provided.”
But FYI: Opera also attracted other sources. For about five years, until the retirement of the contributing professor, programs on upcoming productions by Oberlin College School of Music were also presented.
In 2004, following his departure from Cleveland Opera, Bamberger joined the faculty at Cleveland Institute of Music. Bamberger, whose programs were always a draw, then offered FYI: Opera not only his expertise, but also talented voices to showcase opera highlights.
For the past 27 years, through all the program’s changes and life’s surprises, Mueller has unfailingly arranged each program, procured needed publicity, funds, refreshments, and when Porter Library’s new building was under construction, Mueller found a temporary home for FYI: Opera.
Mueller’s unfailing commitment to the program forged a bond between these two sincere music lovers who work to share this appreciation with others. Prior to the public announcement that Bamberger and his wife, Carola, will be relocating to California, he called Mueller to tell her, so that she would hear it personally from him.
At the recent April 3 FYI: Opera program, a special farewell reception was also held for the Bambergers and many loyal FYI: Opera fans were feeling the loss. Many accolades will, and should, be given to this man who Crain’s Cleveland Business dubbed “Cleveland’s ‘Mr. Opera’.”
This writer adds her fond farewell with tons of thanks to the Bambergers.
And for opera lovers who would like one more taste of Bamberger’s work, “Spring Scenes” will be performed April 20, 21 and 22 at CIM’s Kulas Hall in University Circle. For information go to cim.edu/events/tickets.php or call 216-795-3211.
Publicist for Westlake-Westshore Arts Council