We tell stories worth singing
By Leonard Bernstein


Leonard Bernstein was born on August 25, 1918, in Lawrence, Massachusetts. His birth name was Louis, the name his grandmother adored, but his family always called him Leonard or Lenny, which he officially renamed himself when he was 16.

His father, Sam Bernstein, was a Russian immigrant who in his native Ukraine was destined to become a rabbi. Once he arrived and settled on New York City’s Lower East Side, the elder Bernstein took up working as a fish cleaner. He eventually got a job sweeping floors in his Uncle Henry’s barbershop and then landed a position stocking wigs for a dealer. He eventually built a rather profitable business distributing beauty products. Leonard grew up understanding that business and success were paramount, and “occupations” in the field of music and art were simply off-limits.

It was at the age of 10 that Leonard first played piano. His Aunt Clara was going through a divorce and needed a place to store her massive upright piano. Lenny loved everything about the instrument, but his father refused to pay for lessons. Determined, the boy raised his own small pot of money to pay for a few sessions. He was a natural from the start, and by the time his bar mitzvah rolled around, his father was impressed enough to buy him a baby grand piano. The young Bernstein found inspiration everywhere and played with a voracity and spontaneity that impressed anyone who listened.

He attended Boston Latin School, where he met his first real teacher and his lifelong mentor, Helen Coates. After graduating, Lenny entered Harvard University, where he studied music theory with Arthur Tillman Merritt and counterpoint with Walter Piston. In 1937, he attended a Boston Symphony concert conducted by Dmitri Mitropoulos. Bernstein’s heart sang when he saw the bald Greek man gesture with his bare hands, exuding a rare kind of enthusiasm for every score. At a reception the next day, Mitropoulos heard Bernstein play a sonata, and he was so moved by the young man’s abilities that he invited him to attend his rehearsals. Leonard spent a week with him. After the experience, Bernstein was determined to make music the center of his life.

To strengthen his technical skills, he spent a year of intensive training at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. He studied conducting with Fritz Reiner, a man who believed in mastering every detail of every piece. Bernstein benefited from the discipline, but he believed in more than the mechanics. In 1940, when he was 22, the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood invited Bernstein to join some 300 other talented students and professional musicians for a summer of musical exploration and performance. Leonard was one of only five students accepted in the master class in conducting that was taught by the fame Serge Koussevitzky. The man became a father figure to Lenny, encouraging his belief in the power and importance of music.

Musician, Composer and Conductor

Despite Bernstein’s passion and brilliance, he found himself out of work after the summer at Tanglewood. For a while he took odd jobs transcribing music, but then, out of pure luck, he was offered the position of assistant conductor of the New York Philharmonic. Due to the war draft, very few able musicians remained stateside. The conductor Artur Rodzinski was given the rather unconventional recommendation of an American-born assistant—the asthma-stricken Bernstein. On November 14, 1943, Bernstein was called at 9 am. The symphony’s guest conductor, the very prestigious Bruno Walter, had fallen ill. Rodzinski—able but generous—ordered Bernstein to step up and conduct that afternoon’s concert. Step up he did. The young conductor amazed his crowd and his players. Ecstatic applause implored The New York Times to publish a front-page article about his performance. Overnight, Bernstein became a respected conductor, one who would lead the Philharmonic 11 times by the end of the season.

From 1945 to 1947, he conducted the New York City Center orchestra and appeared as a guest conductor across the United States, Europe, and Israel. Despite his great talents, rumors about his sexuality became rampant. His mentor Mitropoulos advised him to marry, believing that doing so would quash the speculations and secure his career. In 1951, Bernstein married the Chilean actress Felicia Cohn Montealegre. Although friends and colleagues always said Bernstein loved his wife, with whom he had three children, he continued to engage in extramarital liaisons with young men. In that same year, he wrote the musical Trouble in Tahiti (1951), a 45-minute two-character chamber piece about a bored, upper-middle-class couple.

Leonard’s musical life continued to blossom, taking him on several international tours during the 1950s. In 1952, he founded the Creative Arts Festival at Brandeis University. He also found a love for teaching. The television shows "Omnibus" and “Young People's Concerts” allowed him to speak to a whole new audience of music lovers. Always a fan of both classical and pop music, Bernstein wrote his first operetta, Candide in 1956. His second work for the stage was a collaboration with Jerome Robbins, Arthur Laurents and Stephen Sondheim, the beloved musical West Side Story. When it opened, the show garnered unanimous rave reviews, matched only by its movie version released in 1961.

After battling emphysema, he died at the age of 72 in 1990.

Joseph Colaneri


Conductor of opera, oratorio and symphonic works, and educator, Joseph Colaneri’s achievements are outstanding in each of the areas in his multi-faceted career.  After fifteen seasons as a member of the conducting roster of the Metropolitan Opera, Maestro Colaneri is the newly appointed Artistic Director of the West Australian Opera in Perth and concurrently serves as Artistic Director of  Opera at Mannes College The New School for Music in New York.

Joseph Colaneri made his conducting debut at the Metropolitan Opera with a performance of La bohème in fall 2000.  In the 2009-2010 season he replaced James Levine for the run of the Metropolitan’s Luc Bondy production of Tosca, and led performances of Don Pasquale in the 2010-2011 season.  In most recent  seasons Maestro Colaneri had led the Robert Carsen production of La fanciulla del west at Den Norske Opera in Oslo, returned to the Chautauqua Opera for Norma Luisa Miller and Lucia di Lammermoor, and returned to the West Australian Opera in Perth for Tosca.

Maestro Colaneri opens the 2012-2013 season in Perth with Madama Butterfly, followed by Tosca for the Portland Opera, Un giorno di regno at Glimmerglass, and continues his leadership in Perth with La traviata in April of 2013.

From the time of his Metropolitan Opera debut he has conducted Luisa Miller in season 2001-2002 and conducted all of the popular Met in the Parks performances of Turandot with Andrea Gruber in season 2002-2003, L’Italiana in Algeri with Olga Borodina in season 2003-2004, Nabucco featuring Maria Guleghina in spring 2005 at Lincoln Center, as well as Rigoletto in the Metropolitan Opera Parks performances.   In 2005-2006 he conducted Falstaff at the Metropolitan with Bryn Terfel in the title role. Continuing with the Italian repertoire, he conducted Il trittico in season 2006-2007.  In the 2007-2008 Metropolitan Opera season, Maestro Colaneri conducted two of Donizetti’s masterpieces: La Fille du Régiment with Natalie Dessay and Juan Diego Flórez and Mary Zimmerman’s new production of Lucia di Lammermoor with Miss Dessay in the title role.

Maestro Colaneri is also in demand as an opera conductor abroad. He made his debut conducting Madama Butterfly for the West Australian Opera and has returned to that company for productions of La bohème and Il barbiere di Siviglia.  He made his Glimmerglass conducting debut in the Kevin Newbury production of La Cenerentola in 2009 and has conducted Mozart’s three Da Ponte operas, Così fan tutteDon Giovanni, and Le nozze di Figaro, at Chautauqua Opera, where he has also conducted productions of Don PasqualeMacbethWerther, Carlisle Floyd’s Susannah, as well as all-Verdi and all-Puccini concerts with the Chautauqua Symphony.  Maestro Colaneri made his conducting debut at the Portland Opera in Oregon with performances of Frank Corsaro’s production of Madama Butterfly returning in subsequent seasons for Norma and Carmen. In the spring of 2009 he conducted double bill of Suor Angelica and Cavalleria rusticana for the Orlando Opera.

Equally at home on the concert podium, Maestro Colaneri has conducted the Tokyo Philharmonic in a concert program of opera arias and musical theater selections starring Renée Fleming, which was telecast throughout Asia by the NHK. Building on their collaboration at the Met, he conducted Jianyi Zhang and Richard Zeller in an opera highlights program with the National Symphony Orchestra of Taiwan in Taipei, and bass Samuel Ramey in an ‘All-Devils concert’ in Orlando, Florida. He also conducted the prestigious 2004 Richard Tucker Gala at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s in a celebrated Gay Men’s Health Crisis benefit at Avery Fisher Hall.   A regular guest of the Berkshire Choral Festival since 1995, Maestro Colaneri lead a performance of the Verdi’s Messa da requiem, which marked the Festival’s 20th anniversary. He made his Canadian conducting debut was with the National Arts Centre Orchestra in performances of Handel’s Messiah.

Prior to joining the Metropolitan Opera, Joseph Colaneri was associated with the New York City Opera at Lincoln Center for fifteen years culminating in his appointment, in 1995, as Acting Music Director.  He was honored with the company’s Julius Rudel Award during the 1994 season.  Beginning with his New York City Opera debut conducting South Pacific, he has since led over 60 performances of  The Barber of SevilleLa bohèmeCarmenRigolettoToscaLa traviataThe New Moon and The Merry Widow.  Highlights of his New York City Opera career include the highly acclaimed 1993 world premiere of Hugo Weisgall’s Esther, the 1995 American Premiere of the Toshiro Mayuzumi opera Kinkakuji: The Temple of the Golden Pavilion, and Britten’s parable Curlew River with performances incorporating Noh theatre elements.

Early in his career Maestro Colaneri served as Music Director of the New York City Opera National Company.  In his final season, he cast and led the touring company’s production of La bohème in performances throughout the United States.  Writing of his performance, The Plain Dealer reported  “the excellence began in the pit, where music director Joseph Colaneri led an account of Puccini’s score that had poetry, thrust and a sense of textural wonderment.  Colaneri obviously has lived with the piece and explored its every nook and cranny.”  With the National Company he produced and conducted national touring productions of La fille du RégimentToscaCarmenMadama ButterflyThe Barber of Seville, and La traviata.  Continuing his work with young artists and audience outreach, Mr. Colaneri frequently conducted productions for the Western Opera Theater, among them La traviataRigolettoDie FledermausGianni Schicchi and Suor Angelica

With uncommon dedication for an active conductor, Joseph Colaneri continues to thrive in preparing and guiding young vocalists in the early years of their professional careers.  This commitment led to his appointment as Director of the Opera Program at Mannes College of Music in New York.  Mr. Colaneri enjoys his work with his faculty colleagues as they mold a program best suited to help these emerging artists prepare for the demands of professional careers.  He frequently gives master classes with apprentices at companies such as Opera North and Chautauqua Opera and is a regular guest conductor in Graz for concerts at the American Institute for Musical Studies.  Building on the success of the annual opera scenes program at the Sylvia and Danny Kaye Playhouse in New York, in 2004 he initiated fully-staged productions which he conducts.  The students of Mannes College of Music received outstanding praise from Anne Midgette in The New York Times. “People in the opera world often ask: Where are all the good, healthy young voices? Here's an answer: at the Mannes College of Music... Credit goes to Joseph Colaneri, the evening's conductor, who has been the director of the Mannes Opera since 1998. If this is the kind of work he does here, the program should be getting even more attention.”

The recipient of the 1994 Distinguished Alumni Award from Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey, Joseph Colaneri entered the professional field as an organist and choral conductor.  Having held a number of sacred music posts, he made his opera debut as Chorus Master of the New Jersey State Opera, and continued his choral-conducting career as Chorus Master of the New York City.  Joseph Colaneri is a graduate of New York University and holds the Master of Music degree from Westminster Choir College.

Previous to his appointment as Portland Opera’s general director, Mr. Mattaliano was the Artistic Director of the Pine Mountain Music Festival, in addition to his very successful career as a stage director.

He brings to the company an intense artistic vision honed from his extensive stage directing experience.  Prior to taking the helm at Portland Opera, Mr. Mattaliano directed five acclaimed Portland Opera productions — Manon (1991), Eugene Onegin (1992), Pagliacci/Carmina Burana (1997), Candide (2002), and Il Trovatore (2002). In 2004, his direction of Rossini’s The Journey to Reims opened his first artistic season in Portland to both popular and critical acclaim.  Since then he has directed The Rape of Lucretia (2005), Verdi’s Macbeth (2006), The Magic Flute (2007), Cinderella (2007), Albert Herring (2008), Rigoletto (2009), The Barber of Seville (2010), Pagliacci / Carmina Burana (2010), L’Heure Espagnole L’Enfant et les Sortilèges (2011), Candide (2012) and Falstaff (2013).

Mr. Mattaliano has directed for The Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, San Francisco Opera, Washington Opera, the Canadian Opera Company, L’Opera de Montreal, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Minnesota Opera, Dallas Opera, and Central City Opera, among many others.  His work has also been enjoyed internationally at L’Opera de Nice and the Norwegian National Opera.

He has directed world premieres of Hugo Weisgall’s Esther for the New York City Opera, jazz composer Fred Ho’s Journey Beyond the West for the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Peter Westergaard’s The Tempest for the Opera Festival of New Jersey, and the American premiere of Veniamin Fleishman’s Rothschild’s Violin at the Juilliard Opera Center.

His passion for stage direction has extended to teaching at the Juilliard School, The Metropolitan Opera Young Artist Development Program, Manhattan School of Music, Yale University, Princeton University, Mannes College of Music, and the New National Theater of Japan.  In 1996 his essay on auditioning (“The Dreaded Audition”) was published by Opera America.

Mr. Mattaliano received his BA in Theater Arts from Montclair State University with additional training at the Trent Park School of Performing Arts in London, England.  In 1998 he received the L. Howard Fox Visiting Alumni Award from his alma mater, as well as a National Opera Institute Stage Direction Grant.

Since joining the company, he has been in considerable demand on the national level, leading the keynote panel at the 2004 OPERA America conference and being named to the National Endowment for the Arts’ opera review panel.  Mr. Mattaliano served on Opera America’s Board of Directors from 2005-2011.

Curt Olds

Pangloss / Voltaire / Cacambo / Martin

With an active career in both opera and musical theatre, baritone Curt Olds has been seen in productions ranging from Don Pasquale and The Magic Flute to musicals such as Sondheim’s A Little Night MusicThe Threepenny Opera, Broadway’s Riverdance and CATS. Hailed by Opera News as “A wonderful singing actor, as adept in pointing dialogue as in phrasing song,” Curt is best known for his portrayal of the Pirate King in The Pirates of Penzance and his signature role as Ko-Ko in The Mikado, for which he has some 22 productions to his credit. This season, Olds sings Papageno in The Magic Flute at Hawaii Opera Theatre, Njegus in The Merry Widow for Utah Opera, Major General Stanley in Pirates of Penzance at Atlanta Opera, and Ko-Ko in The Mikado for Anchorage Opera.

Living up to his singing actor pedigree, Mr. Olds has experience on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and in regional and international houses. He played Monsieur Baurel in the workshop of An American in Paris directed by Tony Award winner Christopher Wheeldon; Gus in the Original German Company of CATS; Walt in Threepenny Opera starring Bea Arthur at NYC’s Lortel Theatre; Cecil in A Room With a View at NYC’s York Theatre; Mr. Lindquist in A Little Night Music at Boston’s North Shore Theatre; Bob Wallace in Irving Berlin’s White Christmas at Theatre on the Square, and spent two years in the Broadway company of Riverdance. Other favorite theatre engagements include Pete Bartel in Pete ‘N’ Keely, Frank Butler in Annie Get Your Gun, Fred Graham in Kiss Me, Kate; Franklin Hart, Jr. in 9 to 5, The Musical; and The Baker in Into the Woods.

A consummate “cross-over” artist, Olds has performed some theatre repertoire favorites on opera stages throughout the country including Anthony Hope in Sweeney Todd at Opera Omaha;  Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady at Ash Lawn Opera; Will Parker in Oklahoma and Frank Schultz in Show Boat at Central City Opera; Herman in The Most Happy Fella with Tulsa Opera; Max in The Sound of Music with Anchorage Opera; Luther Billis in South Pacific with Hawaii Opera Theatre; Petrucchio/Fred in Kiss Me, Kate; and Bob Wallace in Irving Berlin’s White Christmas.

Olds is also in demand and has garnered international acclaim for his creative portrayals of an array of characters in the operetta repertoire. Career highlights include such performances as: Captain Corcoran in H.M.S. Pinafore with Arizona Opera and Central City Opera; Ko-Ko in The Mikado with Hawaii Opera Theatre, Central City Opera, Opera New Jersey, and Arizona Opera; The Pirate King in Pirates of Penzance with Edmonton Opera, Lake George Opera, Hawaii Opera Theatre, and Arizona Opera; Falke in Die Fledermaus at Lake George Opera; Dick McGann in Street Scene at Central City Opera; and Major General Stanley in The Pirates of Penzance with Nashville Opera, Atlanta Opera, among others; Guys & Dolls at Carnegie Hall with Nathan Lane and Megan Mullally.

On the concert stage, Olds performed Carmina Burana with Boston Symphony Pro Musica, Händel’s Chandos Anthem No. 5 at the Omaha Symphony, and is seen regularly on Pops stages throughout the U.S. including Ridgefield Symphony, Brazos Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony, Colorado Symphony, New Haven Symphony, Omaha Symphony, and New Jersey Symphony. He made his New York recital début at the Metropolitan Museum of Art with Gerald Steichen at the piano.

Gaining momentum as a recording and voice-over artist, Olds recorded commercials and promotional materials with clients including Planet Hollywood Casinos, Books Beyond Pages, Ethan Allen Furniture, and the syndicated PBS feature Northwest Explorer. Curt is also featured on the soundtrack of the Disney animated film A Christmas Carol starring Kate Winslet and Nicholas Cage.

As a director, Mr. Olds has directed productions of My Fair Lady, The Mikado, Spamalot!, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Cats, Carmen, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Pirates of Penzance, and more at regional theatres and in educational institutions. He has also given a variety of masterclasses at young artist programs and universities, demonstrating an investment in emerging talents in the performing arts.

Curt holds a Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance from The New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, and was a regional finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. He was also a winner in Portland Opera’s Lieber Awards and was named McGlone Artist of the Year at Central City Opera.

Curt is a proud native of Montana and currently resides in New York City.

AZO Cast Member Miles Mykkanen

Miles Mykkanen


Miles Mykkanen has garnered recognition on the world’s concert and operatic stages for his “focused, full-voiced tenor” (The New York Times).  Of his performances in Eugene Onegin at the Juilliard School, Opera News wrote, “Mykkanen was a knockout as Lensky. The lyric intensity of his singing made each moment count, and the duel- scene aria was a stretch of sheer vocal gold.”

The 2016-17 opera season sees Mr. Mykkanen as Belmonte in Die Entführung aus den Serail at Opera Columbus, Tichon in Juilliard's Katya Kabanova, and the title role in a fully-staged production of Candide with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra. His concert work brought debuts with St. Thomas Church Choir of Men and Boys, Sarasota Orchestra, and saw his return with Steven Blier and the New York Festival of Song. Mr. Mykkanen received prizes from The Gerda Lissner Foundation, Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and was named a 2016 Sullivan Foundation award recipient. 

Mr. Mykkanen’s opera credits include championing new work in addition to leading roles drawn from the classic repertoire. He gave the world premiere of Matthew Aucoin’s Crossing at the American Repertory Theatre directed by Diane Paulus and Opera News wrote, “Miles Mykkanen’s work was especially distinctive: his burnished high tenor seemed like the organizing principle around which the other voices cohered.” He was involved in the world premieres of Ricky Ian Gordon’s Twenty-Seven and Jack Perla’s Shalimar the Clown. Other operatic highlights include performances of Die Zauberflöte, Eugene Onegin, The Barber of Seville, Ariadne auf Naxos, Les mamelles de Tirésias, La traviata, The Marriage of Figaro, La finta giardiniera, Der Kaiser von Atlantis, The Cunning Little Vixen, Dialogues of the Carmelites, Le donne curiose, A Hand of Bridge, and Down in the Valley. The tenor has sung with Wolf Trap Opera Company, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Pine Mountain Music Festival, and Juilliard Opera.

Miles Mykkanen celebrated his Carnegie Hall recital debut last year, and has performed with the New World Symphony, New York Festival of Song, National Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Caramoor Center for Music, Juilliard415, and at the Franz Schubert Institut, Royal Irish Academy of Music, and Interlochen Academy. His rich and varied concert repertoire includes Bach’s Magnificat, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Brahms’ Liebeslieder Waltzes, Britten’s Canticle II: Abraham and Isaac and Canticle V: The Death of St. Narcissus, Händel’s Messiah, Mozart's Requiem, Schubert’s Auf dem Strom, and Stravinsky’s Cantata.

PBS Great Performances produced a documentary of Renée Fleming’s American Voices Festival in 2015, featuring Miles Mykkanen in a master class with Tony Award-winner Sutton Foster. He also was seen on Medici.tv in Juilliard’s live-stream master classes with Renée Fleming, Emmanuel Villaume, and Fabio Luisi, respectively.

Currently in Juilliard’s esteemed Artist Diploma in Opera Studies program working with Stephen Wadsworth and Brian Zeger, Miles Mykkanen earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from the school under the tutelage of Cynthia Hoffmann. He was a 2009 youngARTS Gold Winner in Voice and Juilliard has distinguished the tenor as a winner of the 2016 Juilliard Honors Recital, as a Toulmin Foundation Scholar, and with the Joseph W. Polisi Award, named for the institution’s president, for exemplifying the school’s values of the “artist as citizen.”

Katrina Galka

Katrina Galka


Katrina Galka is a second year Marion Roose Pullin Studio Artist and will appear in Candide as Cunegonde, The Barber of Seville as Rosina, Das Rheingold as Woglinde, Hercules vs Vampires as Medea, Zarathusa, Chained Woman, & Helena, and in Tosca as The Shepherd Boy. Last season Katrina was seen on the Arizona Opera stage singing Clorinda in Cinderella and First Wood Sprite in Rusalka. Katrina has also participated in studio programs with the Glimmerglass Festival singing the role of Atalanta in Xerxes, and Portland Opera where she performed Adina in The Elixir of Love, Johanna in Sweeney Todd, Elvira in L'italiana in Algeri, Papagena in The Magic Flute, and Frasquita in Carmen, as well as spending two seasons with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis where she also sang Papagena. Katrina has also appeared as a principal artist with The Atlanta Opera, The Dallas Opera, and Odyssey Opera. 

Ms. Galka spent a year with the Boston University Opera Institute as a soprano-in-residence where she sang the roles of Diana in Jonathan Dove's Siren Song and Rosalba in Daniel Catán's Florencia en el Amazons. Additional stage roles include Marie (The Daughter of the Regiment), Eurydice (Orpheus in the Underworld), Servilia (La clemenza di Tito), Pamina (The Magic Flute), Mrs. Julian (Owen Wingrave), Aurore (Le portrait de Manon), Carolina (Il matrimonio segreto), Elisa (Il Re Pastore), and Serpina (La serva padrona). 

In concert, Ms. Galka has performed with the Oregon Symphony, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, the Rhode Island Civic Chorale and Orchestra, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, and the Metropolitan Youth Symphony (Portland, OR). Ms. Galka performed and recorded the role of "the Cat" from Gunther Schuller's The Fisherman and His Wife with BMOP under the baton of Gil Rose.

Ms. Galka’s competition experience includes prizes from The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions (Eastern, New England, & Northwest regions), Jensen Foundation, Mario Lanza Scholarship Competition (1st place), Marcello Giordani International Vocal Competition, Heida Hermanns International Voice Competition, Dallas Opera Guild Competition, and National Opera Association Vocal Competition.

Catherine Cook

Catherine Cook

The Old Lady

American mezzo-soprano Catherine Cook has excelled in a wide range of roles with leading companies throughout the United States. Opera Today wrote that “to say that Ms. Cook was a revelation is an understatement, since she stamped the part as her own, and experienced a triumph for her sensational performance.... Ms. Cook is possessed of a round mezzo tone of great beauty, admirable control and potent power in all ranges and at any volume."  

In the 2016/17 season, Catherine Cook performs Countess de Coigny in Andrea Chénier with San Francisco Opera; the Witch in Humpderdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel with San Francisco Symphony; Older Woman in Dove’s Flight with Opera Parallèle; and returns to Seattle’s Music of Remembrance in recital. In the summer of 2016, she sang Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd with Mill City Summer Opera, and was soloist in David Gockley’s Farewell Opera Gala Concert with San Francisco Opera. Her engagements in the 2015/16 season included Berta in The Barber of Seville with San Francisco Opera; Marcellina in The Marriage of Figaro with Houston Grand Opera; Zosha in Heggie’s Out of Darkness with Music of Remembrance; and Gertrude Stein in Cipullo’s After Life with Urban Arias. Ms. Cook can be heard as Gertrude in the world premiere recording with Music of Remembrance, recently released by Naxos.  

Ms. Cook is known as “San Francisco Opera’s go-to choice” for a wide range of roles (San Francisco Chronicle), with recent highlights as the title role in Tobias Picker’s Dolores Claiborne; La Frugola in Il tabarro; Mrs. McLean in Floyd’s Susannah and Marcellina. Past highlights with the company include Arlene Kamen and Wang Tai Tai in the world premiere of Wallace’s The Bonesetter’s Daughter; Jade Boucher in the world premiere of Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking which was recorded and released by ERATO; Annina in Der Rosenkavalier; and Mother Goose in The Rake’s Progress.  

Recent performances include Marthe in Faust with the Metropolitan Opera; Mrs. De Rocher in Dead Man Walking with Opera Parallèle; Berta with Houston Grand Opera; and Ježibaba in Rusalka with Opera Colorado. She made her debut with The Metropolitan Opera in Kát’a Kabanová; was Marcellina with Santa Fe Opera and Hawaii Opera Theatre; Auntie in Peter Grimes and the Innkeeper in Boris Godunov with Lyric Opera of Chicago; Tisbe in Cinderella with Houston Grand Opera; and soloist in Stravinsky’s Le chant du rossignol with the San Francisco Symphony. Catherine Cook has also appeared with the Toledo Symphony Orchestra, Pasadena Symphony, and Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra. She can be heard as soloist in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with Cincinnati Philharmonia Orchestra, released by Centaur Records.  

Ms. Cook was a participant of San Francisco Opera’s prestigious Adler Fellowship and Merola Opera Program where she sang the title role in Ariodante and presented a Schwabacher Debut Recital. She is a winner of the Metropolitan National Council Auditions as well as the Merola Chicago Regional Auditions Yoder Award. Ms. Cook holds a Master of Music from Wichita State University and an Artist Diploma from the University of Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music, where she won the Normal Treigle Award. Catherine Cook is a Professor of Voice at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music where she holds the Frederica von Stade Distinguished Chair in Voice.


Praised for her “full, rich sound,” Stephanie Sanchez is quickly creating a name for herself as a rising young mezzo soprano.  Though in the early stages of her career, Ms. Sanchez has already gained a variety of experiences through her education and work in many prestigious settings.  Her repertoire ranges from Handel to Strauss, Spanish art song to German orchestral lieder, and premiers of contemporary American works.

Stephanie Sanchez is a 1st year Marion Roose Pullin Studio Artist, and will appear in Hercules vs Vampires as Persephone, Candide as Paquette, Barber of Seville as Berta, and Das Rheingold as Flosshilde. Stephanie has also participated in the studio program at Sarasota Opera and in the festival and young artist programs at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. Mostly recently, Ms Sanchez was a young artist at the Glimmerglass Festival where she sang the role of Yesi in the world premiere Stomping Grounds and covered the role of Amastre in Xerxes

Ms. Sanchez is currently completing her artist diploma at the prestigious Shepherd School of Music at Rice University under the direction of Julie Simson.  Her roles at the Shepherd School include 'Rosina' in The Barber of Seville the mezzo soloist in Mahler’s Lieder eines fahrenden gesellen, and selections from Norma, Ariadne auf Naxos, and Dialogues of the Carmelites.

Some of Stephanie’s other roles and engagements include 'Zita' in Gianni Schicchi at PORTopera, 'Abuela' in En mis palabras at Atlanta Opera, and performances of the title role in Carmen at both Emerald City Opera in Steamboat Springs, CO and Opera Breve in New York City.  Stephanie also recently won first place in the 2016 Young Texas Artist Music Competition in Houston, TX and second place in Opera Connecticut’s 2016 Opera Idol Competition.

Ms. Sanchez was born and raised in Las Cruces, New Mexico and earned her masters degree in vocal performance from New Mexico State University in 2012 under the direction of Jerry Ann Alt and Martha Rowe.  Immediately following her time at NMSU, Stephanie studied with Yvonne Marmolejo at the El Paso Conservatory of Music. 

She currently resides in Houston, TX.

Jarrett Porter

Maximilian / Captain

Jarrett Porter is a first year Marion Roose Pullin Studio Artist, and will appear as the title role in Hercules vs Vampires, as Maximilian in Candide, as Sciarrone in Tosca, and as Fiorello in The Barber of Seville. Jarrett has recently appeared as a Young Artist with The Glimmerglass Festival as Sam in Oklahoma!, and covering The English Spy in Francesca Zambello's new production of The Siege of Calais.

Recipient of the Pankonin Art Song Award for a commission he premiered in 2017 and First Prize winner of the 2017 Pacific Music Society Competition, he was seen as Joses in Mark Adamo’s 2013 World Premiere of The Gospel of Mary Magdalene at the San Francisco Opera, and in 2016 at Opera Saratoga as The Ogre in the American Premiere of Philip Glass’s The Witches of Venice, where Opera News lauded him for his “imposing baritone.” Also in 2016, Porter sang in the workshop premiere of Mason Bates’s The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs for Santa Fe Opera. In the same year he went on to make his American Lyric Theatre debut in fall of 2016 as the lead in Theo Popov and Tony Asaro’s concert premiere of The Halloween Tree at Merkin Hall in New York City.  In April 2017, he was heard in performance with Jake Heggie at the German Consulate of San Francisco in a program of Heggie’s newest endeavors, including selections from his chamber opera, Out of Darkness.

In January of 2017, Jarrett was a fellow at SongFest at the Hidden Valley Music Festival under the mentorship of Sir Thomas Allen and Graham Johnson. As a fellow, he made his National Public Radio debut with selections from Schubert’s Die schöne Müllerin and Winterreise.

Other role engagements have included the title roles in Don Giovanni and Eugene Onegin, Le Chevalier des Grieux in Massenet’s Le Portrait de Manon, Sid in Albert Herring, Harry Easter in Street Scene, and Morales in Carmen. Porter is an Alumn of Houston Grand Opera’s Young Artist Vocal Academy (2014), and holds a BM from the Eastman School of Music 15’, and an MM from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music 2017. He is a student of César Ulloa.

Anthony Ciaramitaro

Anthony Ciaramitaro

Governor / Vanderdendur / Ragotski

Tenor Anthony Ciaramitaro, a Florida native, is currently pursuing his Master’s degree at Florida State University under David Okerlund, and has recently performed the role of Don Ramiro in Rossini’s La Cenerentola with Florida State Opera.

Mr. Ciaramitaro had the privilege to perform as a Studio Artist with Wolf Trap Opera during their 2015 season as Basilio from Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro, The Messenger from Verdi's Aida, and among the ensemble of Corigliano's The Ghosts of Versailles.

In previous seasons, Mr. Ciaramitaro made his professional debut with Florida Opera Theater as Ferrando in Mozart's Così fan tutte, the 2nd trio member in Leonard Bernstein's Trouble in Tahiti, Piquillo from Jacques Offenbach's La Perichole with the Franco-American Vocal Academy in Perigueux, France, and scenes from Verdi's La forza del destino, La Traviata and Mozart's Don Giovanni in Oberaudorf, Germany with Music Theater Bavaria.

Mr. Ciaramitaro graduated in 2014 with his Bachelor's in music from Rollins College, where he studied under Richard Owens, who has been a great inspiration to the advancement of his career. Mr. Ciaramitaro has been a concert soloist for The Bach Festival Society of Winter Park, The Messiah Choral Society, and The Villages Philharmonic.

Mr. Ciaramitaro has an avid love of the stage and is eager to one day have an illustrious career as a singer of opera, oratorio, and concert repertoire.

Dale Dreyfoos

Baron / Bulgar King / Lisbon Man / Grand Inquisitor / Don Issachar / Waiter / Aide / Wise Man

Dale Dreyfoos (Professor of Opera/Music Theater at Arizona State University and Resident Stage Director for Lyric Opera Theatre) has had a multi-faceted career as a Stage Director, Character Tenor, Actor, Educator, and Arts Administrator.  Mr. Dreyfoos made his Arizona Opera debut in 2000 in Rossini’s The Barber of Seville in the role of Ambrogio and has returned to perform the roles of the Duchess of Krackenthorp in La Fille du Regiment (Donizetti), Njegus in The Merry Widow (Lehar) and Pelligreen in Arizona Lady (Kalman). Mr. Dreyfoos has also been an active participant in Arizona Opera’s Education and Outreach Program, having served as the Stage Director for the first Arizona Opera Outreach production of Rossini’s Cinderella. The company’s Opera Dell’Arte Series was created for his unique blend of talents as an actor, singer, and writer, for which he presented previews of operas from the perspective of a character in the opera. His preview for Hansel and Gretel, as told from the perspective of the Witch, was one of his most memorable.

Mr. Dreyfoos began his performing career at the age of 10 as the Boy Soprano soloist with the Atlanta Boy Choir, during which time he appeared as a soloist in Mozart’s Vesperae Solennes de Confessore with Robert Shaw & the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, as well as appearing in the French, Spanish, and Moroccan premieres of Benjamin Britten’s chamber opera The Golden Vanity. For his performance in Paris, he received special accolades from the musical icon, Mlle. Nadia Boulanger (the protégé of Faure and teacher of Bernstein and Copland) and Mme. Khachaturian (the wife of the famous composer).

Since that time, Mr. Dreyfoos has made a specialty of appearing in a wide variety of character roles including Vespone in La Serva Padrona, Ambrogio in The Barber of Seville, Goro in Madama Butterfly, Frosch & Dr. Blind in Die Fledermaus, The Old Prisoner in La Perichole, Senex in A Funny Thing That Happened On The Way To The Forum, Henry in The Fantasticks, Herr Schultz in Cabaret, King Sextimus in Once Upon A Matress, Moonface Martin in Anything Goes, Voltaire/Dr. Pangloss/Governor/Host and Sage in Candide, Frisellino in Le Pescatrice, Njegus in The Merry Widow, Mozart in A Visit with Amadeus, Ben in The Telephone, the Duchess of Krackenthorp in The Daughter of the Regiment, Edna in Bye,Bye, Birdie and Queen Elizabeth II in Hms Pinafore with such companies as the Piccolo Spoleto Festival, Arizona Opera, Opera Carolina, Haydn Festival in Eisenstadt, Austria, Birmingham Civic Opera, Mississippi Opera, Newberry Opera, Charleston Opera Company, Shakespeare Sedona, and ASU’s Lyric Opera Theatre. He has also appeared as the “Bargain Countertenor soloist” in P.D.Q. Bach’s The Seasonings with the Alabama Symphony under the direction of Peter Schickele. He has also made special guest appearances for television and public radio stations in Charleston, SC, Charlotte, NC, Phoenix, AZ, and Atlanta, GA, and is a featured performer on two educational compact discs, Bible Times I & III, and a cd-rom Opera-Ha Ha, produced by Arizona Opera. A specialist in “character voices”, Mr. Dreyfoos’s voice can be heard on several historical audio tours including the State of Georgia’s commemorative audio tours for the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, the Edgar Allan Poe House in Richmond, Virginia and on a Civil War Tour of Lexington, Kentucky.

Mr. Dreyfoos is also the author of two highly acclaimed educational music dramas, A Visit With Amadeus and A Visit With Mr. & Mrs. Bach, which have received over 2,000 performances throughout the eastern United States. He has also recently served as a the author of two narration scripts for the 50th Anniversary of the Santa Fe Opera and an Opera Gala for Arizona Opera, which were narrated by Frederica Von Stade and Hugh Downs, respectively. Mr. Dreyfoos has been on the faculty of Arizona State University since 1994, where he received the “Distinguished Professor Award” for the College of Fine Arts in 1996.

As a Stage Director, Mr. Dreyfoos has directed productions ofThe Marriage of Figaro, Die Zauberflote, Cosi Fan Tutte, Elixir of Love, Oklahoma, Giulio Cesare, Xerxes, Ariadne auf Naxos, Hms Pinafore, La Perichole, The Secret Garden, the Turn of the Screw, Dido and Aeneas, Amahl and the night visitors, the Coronation of Poppea, Gianni Schicchi, Suor Angelica, Nunsense, Susannah, La Serva Padrona, Hansel and Gretel, Don Pasquale, The Impresario, The Bartered bride, Riders to the Sea, The Barber of Seville, The Daughter of the Regiment, Albert Herring, Gallantry, Die Fledermaus, La Cenerentola and the world premiere of the Ransom of Red Chief for such companies as Opera Carolina, Piccolo Spoleto festival, Charleston Opera Company, Birmingham Civic Opera, Arizona Opera Education Tour, Milton Center Series, and Arizona State University’s Lyric Opera Theater. He has also served as an assistant director for productions of La Cenerentola, The Mikado, Lucia di Lammermoor, La Boheme, and Don Pasquale with the Lyric Opera of Chicago Center for American Artists, Opera Carolina, Des Moines Metro Opera, Birmingham Civic Opera and the Mississippi Opera. Since 1996, he has served as a Stage Artistry Instructor for the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria.

Zachary Owen

Zachary Owen

Max Attendant / 1st Officer / James / Informer #1 / Archbishop / Waitress #2 / Father Bernard / Native / Sailor

Born and raised in Illinois, American bass-baritone Zachary Owen has performed with such companies as the Glimmerglass Festival, Arizona Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Kentucky Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Central City Opera, Opera North, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, and Opera Santa Barbara. He has performed the roles of Dulcamara in Elixir of Love, Alidoro in La Cenerentola, Ashby in La fanciulla del West, Don Fernando in Fidelio, Matouš in Smetana’s The Kiss, Figaro in The Marriage of Figaro, Haly in L’italiana in Algeri, Nick Shadow in The Rake’s Progress, Frank Maurrant in Street Scene, the Commendatore in Don Giovanni, der Sprecher in The Magic Flute, Spencer Coyle in Owen Wingrave, and the title role in Don Pasquale. A strong advocate for new music, he has participated in a composer’s workshop at Cincinnati Opera in which he worked alongside Jake Heggie, Jack O’Brien, and Terrence McNally to develop two characters for Heggie’s new Opera, Great Scott. In the 2017/18 season, Mr. Owen will be returning to the Marion Roose Pullin Studio at Arizona Opera and performing several roles including Don Basilio in The Barber of Seville, Angelotti in Tosca, and Lycos in Hercules vs Vampires.


Mr. Owen is the recipient of numerous awards including the Grace Keagy Award at the Lotte Lenya Competition, the Brudos Family Prize for Opera Performance and was a national semifinalist at the 2015 Metropolitan Opera National Council Competition. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Luther College in Decorah Iowa and a master’s degree from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

AZO cast member Thomas Strawser

Thomas Strawser

Painter / 2nd Officer / Sailor / Informer #2 / Waiter / Slave Driver / Native / Crook

Thomas Strawser, a native of Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania, enjoys an extensive and diverse career as a performing artist. Thomas was a former resident artist for Brevard Music Center in North Carolina, College Light Opera Company in Massachusetts, and Fulton Theatre in Lancaster, PA. His professional choral experience consist of the Philadelphia Singers during the organization’s tenure with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Manhattan Chorale, Solis Camerata, a choral residency at St. Alban's Cathedral, the Grammy-nominated True Concord Voices and Orchestra, and the Grammy-award winning Phoenix Chorale including their album Rachmaninoff: All-Night Vigil which received the 58th Grammy’s “Best Choral Performance” award. Thomas currently resides in Phoenix, Arizona where he is in his fifth season at Childsplay as part of their acting company, the Assistant Music Director at Paradise Valley United Methodist Church, and is a founding member and the Director of Business Operations at A/C Theatre Company, a resident theatre company at Phoenix Theatre, specializing in alternative/commercial musical productions. He has also been involved in other Valley productions with Phoenix Theatre, Arizona Broadway Theatre, Nearly Naked Theatre, and ASU’s Lyric Opera Theatre and School of Theatre and Film. Thomas holds a Master of Music in Opera/Musical Theatre Performance from Arizona State University and a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from West Chester University of Pennsylvania.

Kathleen Berger

Baroness / Lisbon Woman / Waitress #1 / Slave / Guest

Recently, Kathleen Berger has performed as a soprano soloist in Beethoven’s Mass in C (Helios Ensemble); Robert Kapilow’s What Makes it Great: Gershwin (Musical Instrument Museum); Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Narrator/Fountain Hills Theatre); Love is Here to Stay: A Gershwin Cabaret (Theater Works); Beggar Woman (Sweeney Todd/Mesa Encore Theatre –Best Supporting Actress Award); Nettie Fowler (Carousel/Arizona Broadway Theatre); Yvonne/Naomi Eisen (Sunday in the Park With George/Fountain Hills Theatre); The Queen (SpellBound!/Southwest Shakespeare, world premiere); Solange (Follies/Theater Works, AZ premiere); Velma (Hairspray/Desert Foothills Theater); Miss Jones (How to Succeed in Business.../Theater Works, AriZoni nomination for Best Supporting Actress); I Get a Kick Out of Cole (Theater Works); Rose (The Secret Garden/Arizona Broadway Theatre).

Nationally/Internationally: Violetta (La traviata); Musetta (La bohème); Lucia (Lucia di Lammermoor); Countess Almaviva (The Marriage of Figaro); Adina (The Elixir of Love); the Witch (Into the Woods), and many more. She is the founder of Berger Artist Management, representing opera singers across the country and the world. Kathleen is the only American singer to ever appear with the zarzuela company Compañía Lírica Dolores Marco in Spain, which makes her sound way more important than she is. She could not do this without coffee, wine, her amazing husband, and the twin tiny Alba-Bergers who arrived in June 2017!

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