Dirk Hillyer Festival Orchestra with soloists Yeghishe Manucharyan and Rebecca Robbins

Dick HillyerThe Hillyer Festival Orchestra is committed to offering the highest quality opera classics and “pops” musical standards in a professional symphony concert format to audiences of all ages. Orchestra and vocal music from the best of opera, Broadway, film, and Big-Band literature presented in a fun, Boston Pops-like atmosphere, including sing-a-longs, educational comments, funny anecdotes and superlative entertainment. Effort is given to pleasing the audience with familiar favorites bringing to light special new compositions by American composers.

Dirk Hillyer had been putting musical groups together since he was 12 years old (his whole family would gather around the piano and entertain guests on a variety of instruments). His various configurations consisted of folk singing groups, rock groups, children’s theatre accompaniment and a very popular “Tijuana Brass” style band for proms and debutante balls. He also joined a local classical orchestra when he was 13 years old which began a life’s interest in serious music along with pop. So when former Mayor, Peter Torigian asked Hillyer in 1998 if he could organize his own orchestra, the response was “sure…it will be fun! We’ll make a ‘pops’ orchestra with a little light classical and lots of american standards, movie music, Big Band greats and lets include the kids!”

Since 1998, the Hillyer Festival Orchestra has entertained thousands of people at Salem’s July 4th celebration! They are becoming a hit on Boston’s Esplanade Hatch Shell Series and they love their faithful Peabody crowd. Dirk Hillyer has performed for Keith Lockhart, Carol Channing, Luciano Pavorotti, Anthony Newley, Bobby Vinton, among others and has performed in Europe on several tours. Don’t miss this excellent and entertaining pops director and his fabulous orchestra!

ManucharyanTenor Yeghishe Manucharyan is known all over the world having performed at the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center, Opera Boston, Boston Concert Opera, Minnesota Opera, San Diego Opera, Tulsa Opera, Toledo Opera, Baltimore Opera, Knoxville Opera, Tanglewood Festival, Teatro San Carlo of Naples, Italy, Wexford Festival in Ireland, Armenian National Opera as well as the New York Choral Society, Opera Orchestra of New York, Masterworks Chorale, Caramoor International Music Festival, the Dallas Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Boston Modern Orchestra Project and Orquesta Sinfonica del Estado de Mejico.

In opera he has appeared in such roles as Alfredo in La Traviata, Rodolfo in La Boheme, Cavaradossi in Tosca Lykov in Rimsky-Korsakov’s Tsar’s Bride, Shostakovich’s The Nose, Argirio in Tancredi, Armida, Gerald in Lakme, Leidcester in Mara Stuarda, Pylade in Gluck’s Iphigenie en Tauride, Don Ruiz in Maria Padilla, Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni, Rodrigo in  La Donna del Lago, Ricardo in Maria di Rohan, Nadir in The Pearl Fishers, Lensky in Eugene Onegin, the Duke in  Rigoletto, Tamino in Die Zauberfloete,  Leicester in Maria Sturada, Arturo in I Puritani, Belmonte in Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Cassio in Otello, Count Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Don Ramiro in La Cenerentola, Tito in La clemenza di Tito, Potosi in Donizetti’s Elizabeth, Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi and Saro in Tigranian’s Anoush. On the concert Stage he has performed the Berlioz Requiem. Verdi Requiem, Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis and 9th Symphony, Dvorak Stabat Mater, Brucknr’s Te Deumand and Lukas Foss’ Griffelkin.

Rebecca RobbinsColoratura soprano Rebecca Robbins is a singer, actress and most important, a cancer survivor. Four months after making her Broadway debut, Rebecca was diagnosed with stage II Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. She underwent months of treatment, which included surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. She is currently cancer free and enjoying every second of her life, on stage and off.

This past spring, Rebecca had the honor of opening the 2017 Philadelphia Phillies baseball season singing “God Bless America” during the 7th inning stretch. Prior to that, she toured North America for almost two years with Cameron Mackintosh’s new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of The Opera where, along with playing her roles as Madame Firmin and The Confidante.

She also played opera diva Carlotta Guidicelli at select theatres across the country, including The Kennedy Center, San Francisco’s Orpheum Theatre and Toronto’s Princess of Wales Theatre. Before joining the tour, Rebecca was a member of the Broadway company of The Phantom of The Opera, playing the Majestic Theatre for almost 3 years. She made her Broadway debut in the fall of 2008 in Jill Santoriello’s new musical, A Tale of Two Cities, at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre.

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