West Liberty University will end its 2012-2013 Concert Artist Series with a treat for opera lovers. Baritone Craig Verm, accompanied by pianist Karen Roethlisberger Verm, will offer a special performance at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, March 21 in Elbin Auditorium, College Hall.

The concert is free and open to the public.

“Craig Verm, with his deep, rich, resonant voice, is a rapidly rising star and force to be reckoned with in the realm of opera. His intriguing concert program features a large number of songs inspired by Shakespearian texts. His piano accompanist is wife and master collaborator Karen Roethlisberger Verm. Please don’t miss this very special event, marking the conclusion of the WLU 2012-13 Concert Artist Series,” said Dr. Gerald Lee, WLU Associate Professor of Music.

Craig Verm is rapidly gaining recognition for his “resonant, expressive baritone voice” (Denver Post) and riveting dramatic portrayals. In the 2011-12 season, he sang Escamillo in Carmen at the Teatro Municipal de Santiago and Zurga in Les pêcheur de perles in a return to Pittsburgh Opera. He returns to the role of Ping in Turandot with Austin Lyric Opera and to Orff’s Carmina Burana with Syracuse Opera in addition to singing Sciarrone in Tosca and presenting a recital at the Théâtre du Capitole de Toulouse. His future engagements include returns to the Teatro Municipal de Santiago for the title role of Billy Budd as well as debuts with the Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Opera Company of Philadelphia.
Verm enjoys a strong relationship with Pittsburgh Opera, where he has sung the lead baritone role of Tom Joad in Gordon’s The Grapes of Wrath, Mercutio in Roméo et Juliette, Junius in The Rape of Lucretia, the Novice’s Friend in Billy Budd, Angelotti in Tosca.
He earned his Master of Arts in Music degree from the University of Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music where his performances included title role in Carlisle Floyd’s Markheim. He was a 2006 national semifinalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.
Originally from Beaver, Pa., pianist Karen Roethlisberger Verm has been working as a vocal coach and accompanist in the School of Music at Carnegie Mellon University since 2005. In Pittsburgh, Roethlisberger has performed with the Mendelssohn Choir, Bach Choir of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Youth Symphony, and Pittsburgh Opera, in the Opera Orchestra as well as with their Education Trunk Program. She also has worked as a collaborative artist at Duquesne University, Point Park University, Aspen Music Festival, Cincinnati Opera’s Education Outreach Ensemble, Rocky Ridge Music Center, Rising Star Audition Works, Opera Theater of Lucca (Italy), and participated in the Grandin Festival, Bowdoin Music Festival, and Eastern Music Festival.
Roethlisberger Verm is a recipient of numerous awards including first prize in the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music Chamber Music Competition, Vocal Arts Resource Network Artsong Competition, Tuesday Musical Club of Pittsburgh Scholarship, NY State MTNA competition, and the Pittsburgh Concert Society Auditions with her husband, baritone Craig Verm. He is a graduate of Syracuse University (BM, Piano Performance) and University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music (MM, Piano Performance; MM, Vocal Accompanying; and Artist Diploma, Opera Coaching). Her major teachers include Kenneth Griffiths, Donna Loewy, Sylvia Plyler, Frank Weinstock, and Fred Karpoff.