Acclaimed opera singer gives concert in Greenwich

Laurie Rubin with her now retired guide dog Popeye, who now lives in Greenwich, where she is set to perform this weekend.

Laurie Rubin with her now retired guide dog Popeye, who now lives in Greenwich, where she is set to perform this weekend.

Blindnesss robbed her of her ability to see, but Laurie Rubin’s gift of a transcendent mezzo-soprano operatic singing voice has led to her traveling the world to give performances that continually move audiences.

She will be returning to town on March 17 to perform a concert at Temple Sholom along with her pianist, Jennifer Taira, and the cantor of Temple Sholom, Asa Fradkin. This won’t be Ms. Rubin’s first time in Greenwich; in fact, her return is in large part the celebration of her life and career as a blind opera singer as told in her newly published memoir, Do You Dream In Color? 

The cover of the book features a photograph of Ms. Rubin playing the role of Penelope Monteverdi’s Il Ritorno d’Ulysse in Patria during the Greenwich Music Festival in 2008. This is a role and performance that remains dear to Ms. Rubin’s heart because the music director of the festival at the time, Greenwich native Ted Huffman, gave her an opportunity to take on a leading female role that as a young artist with a disability was nothing short of a gift.

In response to such a gift, Ms. Rubin told the Post this week, she “seized the moment,” giving a memorable performance that led Mr. Huffman to have her return to Greenwich once again to play the role of Elle in the one-woman opera La Voix Humaine.

Ms. Rubin’s memoir tells of her struggles and triumphs as a blind artist. Although there have been obstacles along the way, she has received a master’s degree in music from Yale, and she co-founded and currently serves as artistic director for Ohana Arts, a music school and festival in her adopted home of Hawaii. She has also toured internationally, including performances at Carnegie Hall, the Getty and London’s Wigmore Hall.

Ms. Rubin’s current tour is in support of her memoir and most recent album of the same title. She is returning to communities that she has made deep connections with during her career thus far. Ms. Rubin recalls the first time she performed in Greenwich as part of the music festival, a visit that included staying in town since residents housed the performers for the festival. She looked back fondly on the warmth and hospitality she and her fellow performers felt from Greenwich when speaking with the Post.

Ms. Rubin says these connections have had a pivotal role in her growth and success as an opera singer. One of the reasons Ms. Rubin feels she has made such successful connections is the personal nature of her performances and the sharing of her stories and experiences of living with a disability. She often shares stories in between songs at her concerts, creating numbers that resonate with audience members on a variety of levels.

Ms. Rubin says she’ll often sing You’ll Never Walk Alone and share a story of experience working with a guide dog. These stories create an atmosphere that turns whatever hall she’s performing in into a “living room” where people can feel at home with the music, said Ms. Rubin.

“It will be really fun for Greenwich audience members to read the book,” said Ms. Rubin, as her history with the town is a major focal point. “They’ll recognize Ted and see what an important role he played in my career.”

Ms. Rubin will be performing at 4 p.m. at Temple Sholom at 300 East Putnam Avenue on March 17. Admission is free with a suggested donation of $10. More information is available by calling 203-869-7191.

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