Newport Opera House Coming Alive with New Artists, Acts and Diversity

The original opera House photo graced the program.


The Newport Opera House and Performing Arts Center on Washington Square was celebrated on the actual 150th birthday of its very first performance in 1867, (when the opera Lucretia Borgia was the first performance on its stage) with a world class-jazz quartet an astonishing acrobats/contortionists performing. Heavenly harpist Arilyn Mitchell

provided lovely strains.

Morgan Oldham performs

At the Colony House (the Opera House itself is still under renovation), the evening showcased the kind of diverse performances that the completed theater will offer year round.  A performance by the Shenel Johns Jazz Project, late of the Newport Jazz Festival, was heard in the staid courtroom, and the charming Ms. Johns brought the audience to its feet with her songs.  The ensemble of three back up musicians was first class, as well

Joel Herzfeld defies gravity

After the performance, guests walked down the Square to the Stonacre Brasserie for a delicious buffet dinner, and more singing from Ms. Johns.

The Newport Opera House Theater & Performing Arts Center will henceforward stress a wide spectrum of the performing arts, as their recent events have shown. In its last incarnation, the building was a triplex movie venue.  NPAC Board Chair Alison Vareika  who addressed the guests,  stressed the transformation as a “new golden era for historic Washington Square as a year-round cultural mecca — full of life, talent, genius and commerce.”

Liz Drayton spoke on the raising of the $18 million budget, which is ahead of expectations for this time.



At Stoneacre Brasserie, it was announced that Newport philanthropist Ronald Lee Fleming had donated another $1/2 million to the effort, to great applause.

Arilyn Mitchell, harpist


Seen were Alix Flood of the Board, Paul Hammick, Michelle Ahlborg, photographer Caterine Milinaire, Earle Stubbs, Emlen Drayton, NPAC Board members Tom Hockaday, Dominique Alfandre, Richard Crisson and  Kristin McMannis, Pamela Giroux, and Pierre Merle in his holiday sweater.
  —L. P.

For information on the Opera House, go to


Pamela Giroux, Cynthia Sinclair & Mary Jennings


Pierre Merle & Harvey Lee


Ralph Chartier, Drew Estabrook, Michelle Ahlbor & James Bracey



Rod O'Hanley, NHS's Ruth Taylor, Richard Crisson


Kevin Hyman & Mark Tagliabue


Emlen Drayton & Earle Stubbs


Alison Vareika speaks to guests


Shenel Johns adjusts her music stand



A standing ovation for the musicians


Tiffany Peay & Peter Dickison


Alexandra Philippides, Andrew Bevan & Alexander Philippides


John Cratin III, Deirdre Murty & Dave Guertin


Bob Kerr & Jennifer Saia


The Opera House Birthday Cake



John Sawicki, Ellen Barnes, Lilly Dick & John Brooks


Dominique Alfandre & Kristin McMannis


Dinner is served


Mark Muetterties, Lisa Lewis & Bart Dunbar


Ms. Johns Singing at Stonacre Brasserie



The crowd gathers to listen


The Opera House


The original opera House photo graced the program.







































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