Mark Rustman

Mark Rustman

Mark Rustman has been the library’s musical specialist for 25 years.  He has a PhD. in Music History and plays principal oboe with the Topeka Symphony.  He also taught adjunct courses on music appreciation, early music, Broadway musicals, and movie music at KU & Washburn University. Recently, Mark presented 3 programs for Tosca, Topeka opera’s club.  He’s an avid tennis fan and used to play a little too.  Mark can’t decide what’s more important to him—opera or tennis!

Homage to Beverly Sills: An Opera Star Made in America

The “Brooklyn-born soprano with the charming smile and the clean, silvery coloratura” was a marvelous performer, businesswoman, and ambassador of opera. Join the library’s music specialist, Mark Rustman, for a multimedia presentation celebrating the life and accomplishments of this great lady.

Maria Callas: The Divine One

This fiery soprano was not only the twentieth century’s most famous diva, but also one of the most infamous personalities of that era. Her controversial affair with Aristotle Onassis made her a household name. However, Callas will be remembered not for such mundane intrigues. Instead, her incomparable artistry, musicianship, and fascinating voice will remain forever part of legend in the world of opera. Join Mark Rustman, the library’s music specialist, for a multimedia presentation, featuring the magnificent Maria Callas who Italians worshiped as “La Divina”.

Voices that Challenged a Nation: Marian Anderson & Paul Robeson

Discover two of America’s greatest singers who overcame racial prejudice and became legends in the worlds of music and black history.  Marian Anderson overcame segregation and prejudice, offering one of the great moments in civil rights and music history: an Easter 1939 concert at the Lincoln Memorial before more than 75,000 spectators.  She also was the first black person to sing at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York.  Paul Robeson sang and acted onstage, in films, and in the concert hall.  Famous for his portrayal of Othello, Joe in “Showboat”, and renditions of spirituals, he also became a vociferous critic of social injustice toward blacks and the working man.  Robeson’s belief in socialism and his controversial criticism of the Cold War spoiled his career and reputation, but before he died his important contribution to Civil Rights was recognized and appreciated.