Symphony Orchestra Augusta welcomes opera singer for Passion's Voice



Music lovers can enjoy a night at the symphony and opera with the Georgia Health Sciences Symphony Series’ upcoming concert.

Symphony Orchestra Augusta will present its second concert of the season, Passion’s Voice, on Nov. 3 at First Baptist Church of Augusta.

Tickets range from $10 to $45 from (706) 826-4705 or

Internationally acclaimed bass-baritone Jeffrey Wells will lend his voice to three arias, Floyd’s Hear me, O Lord from Susannah, Verdi’s Ella giammai m’amó from Don Carlo and Berlioz’s Voici les roses from Damnation of Faust.

“It’s going to be a wide variety of music. I’m probably singing three of the hardest bass arias that you could possibly sing. It’s not necessarily their length, but just difficulty of vocal,” Wells said during a telephone interview.

Ella giammai m’amó is an Italian piece, and Voici les roses is a French opera. Hear me, O Lord takes place during the Depression era in the Tennessee hills and is based on the story of Susannah and the elders from the biblical Apocrypha, Wells said. He plays the role of the preacher, Olin Blitch.

“It’s a really powerful piece. Basically, it’s asking God to forgive me for taking the virginity away from Susannah because I fell into temptation,” Wells said.

Wells is a principal artist with The Metropolitan Opera in New York, where he has performed for 24 years and continues to sing several months each year. He has been singing professionally for 32 years and serves as the artistic director of the Oconee Performing Arts Society in Greensboro, Ga.

Shizuo Z. Kuwahara, the music director and conductor for Symphony Orchestra Augusta, said he is excited to work with Wells for Passion’s Voice, which will also be performed Nov. 2 in Greensboro, Ga.

“We wanted him to be featured because he’s just got a great voice. A very deep, wonderful, strong voice,” Kuwahara said.

Symphony Orchestra Augusta will also perform Bartók’s Romanian Folk Dances and Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique, which explores the artist’s emotional upheaval and reflects the entire season’s theme.

Kuwahara said the audience can learn about the musical selections by reviewing the concert notes online at

“I think one would be able to enjoy the concert when they know the stories and the melodies,” he said. “This particular concert is something that you want to be part of. Have an open mind. There are a lot of fun parts of the musical stories that we will encounter.”


WHAT: Passion’s Voice with guest artist Jeffrey Wells and Symphony Orchestra Augusta
7:30 p.m. Nov. 3
First Baptist Church of Augusta
$10, $15, $20 and $45; (706) 826-4705,

DON’T ARRIVE EMPTY HANDED: Symphony Orchestra Augusta will be collecting food donations for Golden Harvest Food Bank at the Four Tops concert and at future Pops! at the Bell performances. Symphony patrons donated 901 pounds of food last season. The symphony hopes to reach the goal of 2,000 pounds this year.