'Phantom' baritone joins Richey Community Orchestra at Mother's Day concert

Lothar Bergeest will perform with the Richey Community Orchestra for Mother’s Day.
Lothar Bergeest will perform with the Richey Community Orchestra for Mother’s Day.
Published April 29, 2013

The baritone voice that once filled New York's legendary Carnegie Hall is poised to belt out Broadway classics right here in Pasco County.

Lothar Bergeest, who played the Phantom and Raoul in Phantom of the Opera at the legendary venue in the '90s, will perform with Richey Community Orchestra in Broadway Baritones, the orchestra's Mother's Day dinner and show at Spartan Manor in New Port Richey.

The German-born St. Petersburg resident, who is a voice instructor at the Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School, has been singing opera, oratorio, Broadway and pop throughout his 40-year music career. Bergeest will showcase his baritone prowess as he collaborates with the orchestra in a performance dedicated to mothers.

"We wanted to do something that's sort of warm and fuzzy for moms," Bergeest said.

"Certainly it's an opportunity to do something very special for someone you care about, so she doesn't have to cook," said the orchestra's president, executive director and principal clarinet player Denise Isaacson.

The audience can expect Broadway classics, alongside the more widely recognized hits like If Ever I Would Leave You from Camelot, Some Enchanted Evening from South Pacific, and of course, Music of the Night from Phantom of the Opera.

Bergeest has performed with the Richey Community Orchestra several times before. Isaacson describes Bergeest as a "very top-flight professional entertainer."

"He's a fabulous singer," Isaacson said. "(He has) a wonderful, huge baritone voice that sounds just like Robert Goulet or Howard Keel."

The 56-year-old orchestra's shows at Spartan Manor provide the audience with a more intimate ambiance, with tables situated right next to the 40 or 50 musicians, and the singer working the crowd.

The performance offers something for everyone.

"It's not just old hat, there's some new stuff in there as well," Isaacson said. "The orchestra will be playing several things that people will recognize from movies and Broadway shows."

Samantha Fuchs can be reached at or (727) 869-6235.