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Sun, Sept. 22

Baritone Taylor to sing

Prescott's own Charles Edwin Taylor may just be the "Baritone of the Century."

That's what friends and family are saying, (they joke that he is bigger than Elvis or Pavarotti – after all Chuck is 6-foot five-inches tall and weighs more than 300 pounds), but now so are opera aficionados not so close to him.

In April, Taylor, 32, competed in Metropolitan Opera National Council's Grand Finals Concert in New York City and snagged one of the top 10 spots.

Reviewer Charlie Handelman of Compuserve Opera forum who heard Taylor at the event, wrote, "I felt that the only truly magnificent voice on the stage was baritone Charles Edwin Taylor…. This gorgeous 'organ-like' voice…had me cheering. Watch for him everywhere."

Taylor is returning to Prescott to give a benefit concert at 7 p.m. Saturday at Mile High Middle School.

Liz Story, solo pianist, composer, Windham Hill artist and Prescott resident, will open the performance.

Glen Dennis will accompany Taylor who will perform excerpts from Puccini, Wagner, Leoncavallo, Verdi, "Man of La Mancha," "South Pacific," "Oklahoma" and "Les Miserables."

Taylor started singing when he was four years old at a church where his grandmother played the organ. He performed in his high school choir and theater department but then didn't sing much until he was 28 years old and majoring in music at Colorado State University.

"I wanted to get music back into my life. I had no aspirations to make it a career, I just wanted to do a little singing," Taylor said.

So, while living in Fort Collins, he auditioned for an opera company (Opera Fort Collins.)

They said, 'oh my gosh,' and I got the lead in the show," he said.

Taylor played Scarpia in the opera "Tosca" for his professional debut, at the age of 30.

Since then, which was only last August, Taylor has performed in numerous operas, playing Mandarin in "Turandot" by Puccini, "Lakai" in Ariadne by Strauss, Don Giovani in John Davies' "Three Little Pigs," and Carcello in Amadeo Vive's "Bohemios."

He has also sung Handel's "Messiah" with the Larimer Chorale, Orff's "Carmina Burana" with the Fort Collins Symphony and Bach's Cantata No. 65 with the Fort Collins Bach Festival.

"Opera kind of discovered me," Taylor explained. "But I listen to rock and roll, blues and jazz when I want to relax."

He is currently performing in three different shows with the Utah Festival Opera.

Taylor received four new jobs for the upcoming year, two of which are with the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.

He will be covering don Carlo in December and January and return for March and April to cover Soldier in "Sly," starring Placido Domingo.

He will also perform in "Oklahoma" with the Augusta Opera in Georgia and do Angelotti in "Tusca" with the Natchez (Mississippi) Opera.

Taylor is looking forward to his upcoming performance in Prescott.

"This will be my professional debut in Prescott. I am excited because I went to Prescott Middle School and did my first acting, outside of church, on that stage. It's definitely a homecoming," he said, adding that, "to have Liz Story open for me is very humbling.

It's going to be a great show. I trust (Glenn Dennis, my accompanist) implicitly, we make a good partnership."

Tickets are $50 and can be purchased at three locations: the Prescott College Advancement Office on 306 Grove Ave.; Ebarb Accounting, 325 S. Montezuma St.; and Taylor, Padgett and Palmer Financial Planners, 600 E. Gurley St., or by calling 778-2090 ext. 4500.

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