Ariadne auf Naxos
Known informally as the “other Richard” or the “other Strauss,” Richard Strauss (1864 - 1949) rose to become the most important composer of German opera in the early 20th century. Strauss advanced melodic and harmonic theories, while at the same time looking over a sentimental shoulder toward the waltz king’s Viennese dramaturgy and stagecraft.
Strauss was Bavarian, born to a wealthy mother and a musical father. Franz Strauss, a noted horn player in the court orchestra, occasionally was called upon as a principal horn for Wagner’s operas at Bayreuth. Although he performed in a number of Wagner premieres, father Strauss considered the much-venerated composer’s music to be cacophonic and “modern,” discouraging his young son from paying it much attention. But Richard would not obey his father’s orders, and as a teen who had been studying music since age four, he was completely consumed by Tristan und Isolde.
Strauss had the good fortune to serve as assistant conductor to Hans von Bülow at Meiningen, which led to various postings in Munich, Bayreuth and Weimar. Eventually he would assume prestigious positions at the Berlin Court Opera and the Vienna State Opera, as well as conduct major orchestras around Europe and the Americas. To the early part of his career belong his famous works for the orchestra – the tone poems. The latter part of his career would be devoted almost exclusively to the voice, either in song or in opera.
To compose opera in Germany at the end of the 19th century was to follow the Wagnerian model, both writing one’s own libretto, then composing music to it. Strauss’ first opera, Guntram, was cast in that mold, complete with characters based on Teutonic history. It was not a huge success, but the opera received courteous acknowledgement from Giuseppe Verdi, to whom Strauss had sent the score. It was also during Guntram that Strauss announced his engagement to soprano Pauline de Ahna, who sang the leading female role at the premiere. Many found Pauline’s temperament to be tempestuous, even shrewish, but somehow, offset by the composer’s gentle manner, the marriage stood the test of time.
Strauss’ next opera, Feuersnot, was based on a bawdy Flemish legend and initiated a trend of indelicate themes that pervade many Strauss operas. The opera that followed, Salome, displayed full-blown sexuality and was his first big succès de scandale.
In 1900, when he first saw Oscar Wilde’s play Salomé, Strauss made an important contact with playwright Hugo von Hofmannsthal. Hofmannsthal’s own adaptation of Sophocles’ Electra later would impress the composer when he saw it in a Max Reinhardt production. Strauss set the play to music, and a fruitful artistic partnership was born. As Strauss elaborated, “Your style has so much in common with mine. We were made for each other, and we are sure to do fine things together if you remain faithful to me.”
Elektra was also a success but not quite to the same degree as Salome. Its relentless dramatic impetus and biting tonality may have been too barbaric for audiences of the day. For their next project, Strauss wanted a comedy in the vein of Mozart. Der Rosenkavalier, complete with basso buffo and en travesti (pants) roles undercut with a persistent Viennese waltz, easily fit the bill. It is perhaps their most popular and enduring work.
For the next collaboration, the librettist envisioned a new adaptation of Molière’s Le bourgeois gentilhomme, supported with incidental music by Strauss and followed by a short opera. The double bill failed to please, with the theater-going audiences being unreceptive to opera and vice versa. The work was revised considerably, jettisoning the Molière play and refashioning Ariadne auf Naxos into an opera-within-an-opera. The new version fared much better.
Hofmannsthal and Strauss’ next collaborations were varied in their themes and forms. Die Frau ohne Schatten is a Gozzi-esque fairy tale about a mythical empress who must procure a shadow in order to save her husband from turning to stone. Die ägyptische Helena concerns Helen of Troy’s post-war marital problems. Arabella was intended as another Viennese comedy, styled to become a second Rosenkavalier. It was to be their last collaboration. While dressing for his son’s funeral, Hofmannsthal died of a stroke, leaving the words for Arabella’s second and third acts in draft form. Strauss set the unfinished text as an homage to his colleague, and the opera premiered in 1933. Apart from Hofmannsthal, Strauss wrote and composed Intermezzo, based on a real-life misunderstanding between him and Pauline that almost led to divorce.
Much has been made about Strauss’ activities following the Nazi’s rise to power. The composer’s appointment by Joseph Gœbbels to the Reichsmusikkammer as its president and his decisions to conduct in place of Arturo Toscanini and Bruno Walter attracted criticism, though he emphatically stated it was for the sake of German music and not due to any political agenda.
Like many Jewish artists, Strauss’ next librettist, Stefan Zweig, suffered religious persecution, and their opera, Die schweigsame Frau (based on a play by Shakespeare contemporary Ben Jonson), encountered some difficulties as a result. Zweig chose to leave Germany but presented Joseph Gregor as a replacement and was still able to influence Strauss’ works from a distance. Together the new team produced Friedenstag, an opera set in 17th-century Austria at the end of the Thirty Years War; Daphne, a subject again steeped in mythology (and Strauss’ tip-of-the-hat to Peri’s Dafne, reportedly the first opera ever written); and Die Liebe der Danae, another mythical tale fusing the Greek legend of Danae with that of King Midas.
Capriccio was Strauss’ last opera, a “conversation with music” based on Giovanni Battista Casti’s 18th-century text for Antonio Salieri’s Prima la musica, e poi le parole. Its premiere occurred before Danae’s, however, as the considerably shorter Capriccio could be played before the nightly air raids commenced. Four years after the war and cleared by the denazification board, Strauss died in his sleep at his Bavarian villa. Pauline died one year later, just nine days before the premiere of Strauss’ monumental Four Last Songs.
Hugo von Hofmannsthal (1874 – 1929) was an Austrian prodigy, a novelist, librettist, poet, dramatist, narrator, and essayist.
Hofmannsthal was born in Landstraße, Vienna, the son of an upper-class Christian Austrian mother, Anna Maria Josefa Fohleutner, and a Christian Austrian–Italian bank manager, Hugo August Peter Hofmann, Edler von Hofmannsthal.
His great-grandfather, Isaak Löw Hofmann, Edler von Hofmannsthal, from whom his family inherited the noble title "Edler von Hofmannsthal", was a Jewish tobacco farmer ennobled by the Austrian emperor.
He began to write poems and plays from an early age. Some of his early works were written under pseudonyms, such as Loris Melikow and Theophil Morren, because he was not allowed to publish as a student. He met the German poet Stefan George at the age of seventeen and had several poems published in George's journal, Blätter für die Kunst. He studied law and later philology in Vienna but decided to devote himself to writing upon graduating in 1901. Along with Peter Altenberg and Arthur Schnitzler, he was a member of the avant garde group Young Vienna (Jung Wien).
In 1900 Hofmannsthal met the composer Richard Strauss for the first time. He later wrote libretti for several of his operas, including Elektra (1909), Der Rosenkavalier (1911) with Harry von Kessler, Ariadne auf Naxos (1912, rev. 1916), Die Frau ohne Schatten (1919), Die ägyptische Helena (1928), and Arabella (1933).
In 1901 he married Gertrud "Gerty" Schlesinger, the daughter of a Viennese banker. Gerty, who was Jewish, converted to Christianity before their marriage. They settled in Rodaun (now part of Liesing), not far from Vienna, and had three children, Christiane, Franz, and Raimund.
In 1911 he adapted the 15th century English morality play Everyman as Jedermann, and Jean Sibelius (amongst others) wrote incidental music for it. The play later became a staple at the Salzburg Festival.
During the First World War Hofmannsthal held a government post. He wrote speeches and articles supporting the war effort, and emphasizing the cultural tradition of Austria-Hungary. The end of the war spelled the end of the old monarchy in Austria; this was a blow from which the patriotic and conservative-minded Hofmannsthal never fully recovered.
Nevertheless, the years after the war were very productive ones for Hofmannsthal; he continued with his earlier literary projects, almost without a break. He wrote several new libretti for Richard Strauss operas. In 1920, Hofmannsthal, along with Max Reinhardt, founded the Salzburg Festival. His later plays revealed a growing interest in religious, particularly Roman Catholic, themes. Among his writings was a screenplay for a film version of Der Rosenkavalier (1925) directed by Robert Wiene.
On 13 July 1929 his son Franz committed suicide. Two days later, shortly after attending Franz's funeral, Hugo himself died of a stroke at Rodaun.
|December 2, 4, & 10|
Lauded by the Seattle Times as a “passionate singing actor with a voice of considerable heft and power” and for her “fearless, thrilling high notes,” Rebecca Nash recently triumphed in her role and company debut as Senta in Der fliegende Holländer with Seattle Opera. In the 2019/20 Season, she joins Teatro Verdi Padua for the title role in Turandot, and sings the title role of Ariadne auf Naxos with both Arizona Opera and Calgary Opera. Last season, she made her Wiener Staatsoper and Theater Kiel debuts as the Färberin in Die Frau ohne Schatten. She also recently made her role debut as Turandot with Cedar Rapids Opera, sang Mendelssohn’s Elijah with the San Antonio Symphony, and joined both the Phoenix Symphony and Orchestra Iowa for Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9.
Nash sang her first performances of the Kaiserin in Die Frau ohne Schatten at the Ópera de Bellas Artes at the Festival del Centro Histórico de México, Amelia in Un ballo in maschera and the title role of Ariadne auf Naxos with West Green House Opera, Judith in Bluebeard’s Castle with the Virginia Symphony, the title role of Káťa Kabanová with Oper Köln and Miss Jessel in The Turn of the Screw in her American debut with Boston Lyric Opera followed by further performances with Central City Opera. She made her debut with the Lyric Opera of Chicago as vierte Magd in Elektra while covering Chysothemis and returned to the title for fünfte Magd in Elektra with Music Director Andris Nelsons conducting in both Boston and at Carnegie Hall. She has sang the Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier with English National Opera, a role she later repeated, along with Cio Cio San in Madama Butterfly with Scottish Opera. She joined the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden as Barena in Jenůfa under Bernard Haitink (available as a commercial recording), fünfte Magd in Elektra under Semyon Bychkov, and for concert performances of Daphne under Stefan Soltesz. She repeated her roles in Jenůfa with Opéra de Lyon and Elektra with Donald Runnicles conducting a concert performance at the BBC Proms. Additionally, she covered Desdemona in Otello and the title role of Jenůfa for the Glyndebourne Festival as well as the title role of Arabella and Magda in La rondine for Opera North and joined the rosters of both the New York Philharmonic and New York City Opera for Erwartung. In her homeland, she made her debut with Opera Australia as the Countess in Le nozze di Figaro at the Sydney Opera House.
A prolific performer of concert repertoire, she has sung Strauss’ Vier Letzte Lieder with the Norrköping Sinfonieorchestra with Daniel Harding conducting and the Orchestra of the Scottish Opera; Una poenitentium in Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 and Stravinsky’s Les Noces at the Virginia Arts Festival; Beethoven’s Symphony No 9 with Gustavo Dudamel conducting the Orquesta Sinfónica Simón Bolívar, Caramoor International Music Festival, Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century, and Ulster Orchestra; Mendelssohn’s Elijah with Kurt Masur conducting the London Philharmonic Orchestra at the BBC Proms, Dvořák’s Mass in D also at the BBC Proms under Sir Andrew Davis; and Fauré’s Requiem with Graeme Jenkins conducting the Orchestre National de Lyon. Other concert performances for the soprano include Rachmaninoff’s The Bells with the Buffalo Philharmonic, Beethoven’s Egmont and Mass in C in addition to a concert of Mozart arias with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Mozart’s Mass in c minor with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Dvořák’s Requiem with the Danish Radio Orchestra, Mozart’s Coronation Mass with the RTVE Madrid, Verdi’s Requiem at Royal Albert Hall and in Guilford Cathedral, Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, Beethoven’s Ah Perfido! with the London Mozart Players, and a program of Mozart Ensembles with Sir Roger Norrington conducting at the BBC Proms. She has also joined the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century for Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 and Egmont on tour in Japan, France, Spain, the Netherlands, and in Hong Kong. She appeared at the Klavier-Festival Ruhr in recital with Graham Johnson and at the Scottish Chamber Orchestra’s Summer Evenings in the East Neuk series with Iain Burnside. She has also presented programs at the Bath Festival, St. John’s Smith Square in London, and for the Temple Square Concert Series in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Nash was the recipient of the Australia’s highest honor in singing, the Inaugural Dame Joan Sutherland Singing Award and won first prize at the Herald Sun Aria and Australia Singing Competitions. She studied at Monash University before receiving her Advanced Postgraduate Diploma in Opera from the Royal College of Music in London.
|December 3 & 11|
Soprano Leah Hawkins is a graduate of the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program at The Metropolitan Opera, and 2021 winner of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s Women in Classical Music Career Advancement Award.
Leah beings the 21/22 season making her debut at the Opéra national de Paris in 7 Deaths of Maria Callas (Desdemona) before returning to the roster of The Metropolitan Opera for Fire Shut Up in My Bones and Porgy & Bess (Strawberry Woman). She makes her Des Moines Metro Opera debut in Porgy & Bess (Serena). Concert engagements include Voices United with Minnesota Opera, Songs of the Harlem Renaissance with New Century Chamber Orchestra, and the title role in Adriana Lecouvreur with Baltimore Concert Opera. Future engagements include a return to The Metropolitan Opera to star in Anthony Davis’ X, The Life and Times of Malcolm X (Louise/Betty) and La Bohème (Musetta) and debut at The Santa Fe Opera.
Last season Leah debuted at the Bayerische Staatsoper in 7 Deaths of Maria Callas (Desdemona). Additional 20/21 engagements include debuts with Portland Opera for Journeys to Justice, Tulsa Opera for Greenwood Overcomes, Song of America: Celebration of Black Music with the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg and Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, and a SummerStage recital in Central Park with The Metropolitan Opera.
While in the Lindemann Program at The Metropolitan Opera she was seen in Porgy & Bess (Strawberry Woman), Pique Dame (Masha), Suor Angelica (Alms Collector), and Aida (High Priestess). She made her Colorado Symphony debut in the Verdi Requiem, gave a recital at the Park Avenue Armory, and returned to the National Symphony Orchestra for a Labor Day Concert. Ms. Hawkins is an alumna of the Cafritz Young Artists of Washington National Opera, where she appeared in the world premiere of Mazzoli’s Proving Up (Mrs. Johannes “Ma” Zegner), Don Carlo (Celestial Voice), Fairouz’s The Dictator’s Wife, Blanchard’s Champion (Cousin Blanche/Sadie Griffith), Glass’ Appomattox (Mrs. Dorsey/Amelia Boynton), and in Justice at the Opera with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, performing scenes from Aida and Un ballo in maschera with the Washington National Opera Orchestra.
On the concert stage she has appeared with Yale Philharmonia in Mahler Symphony No. 2, the New Haven Symphony Orchestra in Beethoven Symphony No. 9, Porgy and Bess (Serena) with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and in A Space Odyssey with The Philadelphia Orchestra. She appeared with The Apollo Orchestra in Strauss’ Vier letzte Lieder, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra in A Celebration of Black History where she performed Knoxville: Summer of 1915, the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra in Holiday Joy, the National Symphony Orchestra in Songfest by Leonard Bernstein, at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow in a concert of vocal works by Beethoven, as a guest artist in concert in Accra, Ghana, and at The White House, singing for the President of France. Leah is a 2018 Sullivan Foundation Award Winner, and the 2018 recipient of The Richard F. Gold Career Grant (The Shoshana Foundation) from Washington National Opera. She has received awards from The Young Patronesses of the Opera/Florida Grand Opera Vocal Competition, The Chautauqua Opera Guild, Yale School of Music, George London Foundation, Marcello Giordani Foundation, Opera Ebony, NANBPWC, Inc., and The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Leah received her Master of Music in Voice from Yale University and Bachelor of Arts in Music from Morgan State University.
|December 2, 4, & 10|
Opera News has praised Corey Bix for his “clear sense of drama and self-possession, exhibiting sturdy, unwavering control, flinty resonance and confident high notes.” Bix is quickly becoming known for his stirring portrayals of dramatic tenor repertoire on both opera and concert stages across the globe. In the 2022/23 Season, Bix joins The Metropolitan Opera for their production of Der Rosenkavalier and brings his celebrated Bacchus to Arizona Opera in Ariadne auf Naxos. The 2021/22 Season saw him at Folks Operetta as Francois in Korngold’s rarely performed Die Kathrin, at Nashville Opera as Loge in Das Rheingold, and at San Francisco as Florestan (cover) in Fidelio.
Bix’s 2019/20 Season featured his role debut as Canio in I Pagliacci with El Paso Opera. In the 2018/19 Season, he made his role debut as Lohengrin with Opera Southwest, sang Judge Danforth in The Crucible with Opera Santa Barbara, the Kronprinz in Silent Night with Arizona Opera, covered the Hauptmann in Wozzeck at The Metropolitan Opera, sang the Hauptmann in Wozzeck and the Governor in Candide with Des Moines Metro Opera, and joined Opéra national de Paris for their production of Les Troyens.
Following Bix’s triumphant role debut as Énée in Les Troyens with San Francisco Opera, he returned to the company for Augustin Moser in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg and for their production of Jenůfa. Bix has sung Bacchus in Ariadne auf Naxos with Washington National Opera, Vienna Volksoper, Fort Worth Opera, Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe, and The Glimmerglass Festival. Other notable engagements for Mr. Bix include Énée and Helenus in Les Troyens with Lyric Opera of Chicago; Max in Der Freischütz with Virginia Opera; his European debut and return to Greek National Opera as the Prince in Rusalka and the title role of Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex; Erik in Der fliegende Holländer with Los Angeles Opera, Virginia Opera, Hungarian National Opera, and Arizona Opera; Kaiser in Die Frau ohne Schatten with Oper Graz; Walther in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg with Theater Kiel; Flotow’s Alessandro Stradella with the Stadttheater Giesen; Heinrich in Tannhäuser. He has sung both Florestan in Fidelio and Lennie in Of Mice and Men with Utah Opera, Austin Opera and Tulsa Opera, Sir Edgar Aubry in Der Vampyr with New Orleans Opera, Aegisth in Elektra with Des Moines Metro Opera, and Alfred in Die Fledermaus with Anchorage Opera. He sang the First Senator and covered Albiano in Die Gezeichneten under the baton of James Conlon at Los Angeles Opera and sang Don Jose in Carmen with the Aspen Opera Theater with Julius Rudel conducting.
On the concert stage, Bix has joined the Centro Nacional de las Artes in Mexico City for Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde, The Cleveland Symphony for their production of Daphne, the American Symphony Orchestra for Szymanowski’s Symphony No. 3, Pharaoh in Dessau’s Hagadah shel Pessach and as Phoebus de Chateuoers in Schmidt’s Notre Dame, the Cathedral Choral Society for Janáček’s Glagolitic Mass at the National Cathedral in Washington D.C., and Palm Beach Symphony for Mozart’s Requiem. He has sung excerpts of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg with Bard Music Festival, excerpts from Die Walküre and Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg with the Wagner Society of Washington D.C., the 4th Jew in Salome with Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Philadelphia Orchestra, and presented recitals for the George London Foundation, the Wagner Society of New York, and at his alma mater, Simpson College.
Corey Bix is the 2008 winner of the Robert Lauch Memorial Grant from the Wagner Society of New York and the 2007 winner of the George London/Kirsten Flagstad Award for a singer with potential for a Wagnerian career, as well as the foundation’s prestigious Vienna Prize. Additionally, he has won awards in the New England and Southeast regions of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. He is a former member of the apprentice programs of the Santa Fe Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, and Des Moines Metro Opera, and earned a Master of Music from New England Conservatory and his Bachelor of Music from Simpson College.
|December 3 & 11|
Praised by the Huffington Post for his “ringing high notes,” Texas-born tenor Bille Bruley has garnered attention for his strength and versatility in operatic repertoire from baroque to contemporary.
Bille’s 21/22 season is highlighted by role/house debuts in Mason Bates and Mark Campbell’s The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs (Steve Wozniak) with Austin Opera, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, and The Atlanta Opera. He will also return to Arizona Opera for Così fan tutte (Ferrando).
Recently he joined the roster of Lyric Opera of Chicago Dead Man Walking to cover Father Grenville and Howard Boucher and returned to Arizona Opera for Shining Brow (Louis Sullivan) and Riders of the Purple Sage (Bern Venters). Highlights from previous seasons include Britten’s War Requiem with the Tulsa Symphony, a program of Mozart arias with the Phoenix Symphony, and a return to The Santa Fe Opera, where he created the role of Benjamin in the world premiere of Poul Ruders’ The Thirteenth Child.
Bille Bruley hails from Montgomery, Texas and is a graduate of Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music and Baylor University.
|December 2, 4, & 10|
Hailed by the New York Times for her “technically accomplished coloratura” as well as, “floating lyricism,” soprano Nicole Haslett makes her Opera Hong Kong debut as Gilda in Rigoletto, and later this season returns to the company for her role debut as Ophélie in Thomas’ Hamlet in the 2019/20 Season. She also returns to the role of Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos with Arizona Opera, makes her role debut as Ännchen in Der Freischütz with Heartbeat Opera, and returns to the Deutsche Oper Berlin as the Shephard in Dinorah. Last season, Haslett created the role of Kristina in the world premiere of Detlev Glanert’s Oceane with Deutsche Oper Berlin, in addition to joining the company for the 4th Blumenmädchen in Parisifal and Hirt in Tannhäuser. She also made her Toronto Symphony debut in performances of Carmina Burana under Maestro Donald Runnicles, and returned to the Metropolitan Opera for their production of Nico Muhly’s Marnie.
A frequent presence at Deutsche Oper Berlin, her recent roles with the company have included Adele in Die Fledermaus under Maestro Donald Runnicles, Berthe in Le prophète, Semele in Die Liebe der Danae, Papagena in Die Zauberflöte, First Niece in Peter Grimes, and Frasquita in Carmen. Other recent performances include her role debut as Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos with the Berkshire Opera Festival, her first performances of Gilda in Rigoletto in her company debut with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Adele in Die Fledermaus with Cincinnati Opera, Chloé in Offenbach’s Daphnis et Chloé with Heartbeat Opera, and Sophie in Picker’s Emmeline and Echo in Smetana’s The Kiss with Opera Theater of Saint Louis. She also joined the roster of the Metropolitan Opera for their production of Iolanta and the Lyric Opera of Chicago for Lucia di Lammermoor. As a young artist, she sang Nannetta in Falstaff with Martina Arroyo’s Prelude to Performance, Sarah and the cover of the title role of The Ballad of Baby Doe with Chautauqua Opera, and Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro with Opera in the Ozarks. She is also a former Resident Artist of Portland Opera. In the summer of 2012, she spent six weeks in Beijing with the I SING BEIJING program and in the following spring, she was presented by the program as a featured singer in a concert of Yan Jinxuan’s ⽩⽑⼥ (The White-Haired Girl) at New York’s Alice Tully Hall. Recent concert performances include Handel’s Messiah with the New Choral Society.
She was a 2014 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions grand finalist and sang excerpts of Zerbinetta from Ariadne of Naxos and Nannetta from Falstaff conducted by Marco Armiliato on the famed company’s stage. She is a 2015 second place winner of the Gerda Lissner International Vocal Competition and Encouragement Award winner of the George London Foundation Competition. In 2012, she was Alan M. and Joan Taub Ades Vocal Competition winner and Career Bridges Grant winner. She holds a Master of Music in vocal performances from the Manhattan School of Music, at which she sang Florestine in Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles as well as Eva in Haydn’s Die Schöpfung conducted by Kent Tritle. Her performance credits at New York University, from which she earned her Bachelor of Music, include Despina in Così fan tutte and Jennie Parsons in Weill’s Down in the Valley in addition to winning the Excellence in Vocal Performance Award.
|December 3 & 11|
French-American soprano Véronique Filloux has been noted for her “expressive, lovingly shaded soprano” and for using her “dazzling coloratura and lithe stage presence to piquant comedic effect” (Opera News). A current Pittsburgh Opera Resident Artist, she sings Papagena (The Magic Flute), The Girl/Luna (The Rose Elf), and Frasquita (Carmen) in her second year. Previously, she sang Despina (Così fan tutte), Chan (Charlie Parker’s Yardbird), and the title role in Semele in the opera’s 2020/21 Season. Having spent summer 2021 with Des Moines Metro Opera as L’Amour/La Folie (cover) in Rameau’s Platée, she returns to the company this summer as Peaseblossom/Tytania (cover) in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Other recent engagements include a recital with Musicians Club of Women and her scheduled debut with Raylynmor Opera as Nannetta (Falstaff; canceled due to COVID-19).
In the 2019/20 Season, Filloux was seen as Shepherdess/Soloist (Venus and Adonis) with Opera Lafayette, with whom she made her Kennedy Center debut as Tigrane (Radamisto) the previous season. She returned to solos in Carmina Burana, Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen, and Messiah with organizations including the Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra and Bach Collegium San Diego, and she rejoined Music of the Baroque as Pales in Bach’s “Hunt Cantata.” Prior to COVID-19, she was scheduled to debut with Salt Marsh Opera as Clorinda (La Cenerentola) and to sing Jeannie in Opera Lafayette’s modern premiere of Philidor’s The Blacksmith. In light of COVID-19, she was a soloist in Des Moines Metro Opera’s Virtual Festival.
Spending two summers with Central City Opera, Filloux sang Papagena (Die Zauberflöte) and the title role in Debussy’s La damoiselle élue, earning the 2019 Opera Guild Artist Sponsorship and winning both the company’s Young Artist Award and Apprentice Artist Award. Other recent highlights include her work with Chicago Opera Theatre, covering Brigitta (Iolanta) and Doodle (The Scarlet Ibis), and solo work in Handel’s Dixit Dominus and baroque opera excerpts with Music of the Baroque. With the Maryland Opera Studio, her roles included Soeur Constance (Dialogues des Carmélites), Servilia (La clemenza di Tito), Mae Jones (Street Scene), Amore (Orfeo ed Euridice), Lucia (The Rape of Lucretia), and Lily (The Young King - world premiere). Other roles include Olympia (Les contes d’Hoffmann), Silberklang (The Impresario), Adele (Die Fledermaus), Annina (La traviata), and Isifile (Il Giasone). On the concert stage, she has also performed solos in Poulenc’s Gloria, Gordon/Lang/Wolfe’s lost objects, Whitacre’s Goodnight Moon, and several Bach cantatas.
Filloux is a Pittsburgh District MONC Winner, Jensen Competition Finalist, 1st Place Winner in the Camille Coloratura Awards, Orpheus Competition Handel Award winner, Annapolis Competition Encouragement Award Winner and Audience Favorite, 2nd Place Winner in the Dorothy Lincoln-Smith Vocal Competition, and Musicians Club of Women Lynne Harvey Foundation/Virginia Cooper Maier Award winner. She earned her B.M. in Voice/Opera Performance and Operatic Languages at Northwestern University and her M.M. in Opera Performance at the University of Maryland Opera Studio, where she was awarded the Pomeroy Prize in 17th and 18th Century Music.
|December 2, 4, & 10|
In 2018, mezzo-soprano Sarah Coit was a Vocal Fellow with Ravinia's Steans Music Institute and made several important role and house debuts. Opera News praised her performance as Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro with Michigan Opera Theatre: “Sarah Coit’s burnished mezzo-soprano gave her Cherubino a seductive tinge. Her pure, lovely “Voi che sapete” confirmed her bright future, made all the more likely by her undeniable aptitude for physical comedy.”
In the 2019-20 season, Coit performed Mercédès in Carmen with Opera Tampa. Covering Daniela Mack as Rosmira in Handel’s Partenope with San Francisco Opera was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, Sarah sang Addison Moore in the world premiere film of Clint Borzoni and John de los Santos’ The Copper Queen with Arizona Opera, Varvara in Katya Kabanova with West Edge Opera, Rosina in The Barber of Seville with Utah Opera, and Handel’s Messiah with Symphoria, Winston-Salem Symphony, American Bach Soloists, and Indianapolis Symphony. In 2022, she makes house and role debuts with Opera Santa Barbara as Juno in Handel’s Semele and San Diego Opera as Stéphano in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette, as well as returning to West Edge Opera as Sesto in Giulio Cesare and American Bach Soloists with Bach’s Missa in A Major and as Daniel in Handel’s Belshazzar.
In the 2018-19 season, Coit performed the role of Adonis in the world premiere of Dan Visconti and Cerise Jacobs' ‘Interactive video game opera’ PermaDeath with White Snake Projects in Boston. She makes her Seattle Opera debut as Mercédès in Carmen, performed at the Ravinia Festival as a soloist in Bernstein’s Songfest, joined West Edge Opera as Jenny Diver in The Threepenny Opera, sang her first Olga in Eugene Onegin with Livermore Valley Opera, sang the Vivaldi Gloria and Bach Magnificat with the Master Chorale of South Florida, and was heard in a special New Year’s Eve concert with American Bach Soloists joined by Hadleigh Adams.
Other roles in her repertoire include Nancy in Albert Herring, Sister Helen Prejean in Dead Man Walking, the title role in Giulio Cesare, and the Waitress in the world premiere of Michael Ching’s Speed Dating Tonight.
In the summer of 2015, Coit was a Gerdine Young Artist with Opera Theatre of St. Louis where she covered Richard in the American premiere of Handel’s Richard the Lionheart. She spent two years as a Resident Artist with Utah Opera, where she sang the Shepherd, White Cat, and Squirrel in L’Enfant et les sortilèges with the Utah Symphony and performed the roles of Mercédès in Carmen and Zerlina in Don Giovanni on the mainstage. As an apprentice artist at the Santa Fe Opera, she covered the roles of Erika in Barber's Vanessa, and Laurene Powell Jobs in the world premiere of Mason Bates' The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs. As Alisa in Lucia di Lammermoor, Classical Review remarked “...mezzo-soprano Sarah Coit distinguished herself as Alisa, especially in the gorgeous sextet."
Coit was a 2017 National Semi-finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and has received prizes from the George London Foundation and the Handel Aria Competition.
A native of Spring Hill, FL, Coit holds degrees in Music Studies and Theatre Performance from the University of South Florida and a Masters degree from the University of Michigan.
|December 3 & 11|
Praised for her captivating stage presence, “full bodied" (Indie Opera) and "nuanced voice” (Boston Musical Intelligencer), mezzo-soprano Lauren Cook is quickly establishing a name for herself in repertoire ranging from Monteverdi to Mazzoli. During the 2021 Season, Cook made her company debuts with Painted Sky Opera performing Hannah After in the Oklahoma Premiere of Laura Kaminsky’s As One, Opera Saratoga performing Antonia in Man of La Mancha, and Virginia Opera performing Wellgunde in Das Rheingold. Cook was most recently seen performing Edwin the Avatar/Eddie in the film version of Frances Pollock’s Earth to Kenzie.
Other notable stage credits include Poppea (L’incoronazione di Poppea), Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Scalia-Ginsburg), Blanche de la Force (Dialogues of the Carmelites), Mélisande (Impressions de Pelléas), and Tisbe (La Cenerentola). Cook has appeared with Opera Philadelphia, Des Moines Metro Opera, Opera Naples, Opera Iowa, Opera Company of Middlebury, Opera Louisiane, Guérilla Opera, Odyssey Opera, Seagle Festival, and the Louisiana Opera Outreach Program, and has performed as a soloist in Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center, and Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. Cook was also a featured soloist in Boston Symphony Hall at a gala hosted by Alan Cumming.
As a contemporary repertoire advocate, Cook premiered Evan Mack's Roscoe, and was most recently seen workshopping the role of LeAnn in Missy Mazzoli's upcoming opera: The Listeners, with Opera Philadelphia. Cook was also featured in a collaborative project with Guerilla Opera, where she premiered excerpts from The Desert, Lazy Citizen, War is a Racket, and Malice in the Palace. Other notable projects include the workshop and premiere recording of The Leopard (Dellaira) as the role of Angelica with American Opera Projects, the premiere recording of The Wake World (Hertzberg) with Opera Philadelphia, a recording of Haroun and the Sea of Stories (Wuorinen) with Boston Modern Orchestra Projects, and a pre-workshop of Permadeath (Visconti) as Aphrodite in association with Friends of Madame White Snake. Prior to the pandemic, Cook was also scheduled to perform Elder #2 in the NY Premiere of Lembit Beecher’s Sky on Swings with Opera Saratoga.
Cook will close out 2021 with the World Premiere of Molly Joyce’s Our Way of Being Small in the World with Fresh Squeezed Opera in NYC, followed by a recording with Opera Philadelphia of Daniel Belquer’s piece Religare Resonare, composed specifically for use with Vibrotextile wearable technology by Music: Not Impossible Labs. Starting the 2022 Season, she will return to Virginia Opera to perform Cherubino in their mainstage production of Le nozze di Figaro.
Kyle Pfortmiller made his Metropolitan Opera debut as the Marquis d’Obigny in a new production of La Traviata directed by Willy Decker during the 2010-2011 season. He was heard later in the season in Capriccio. Kyle has returned to the MET as Marquis d'Obigny in 2012, 2014, and 2015, and has also been heard in Andre Chenier, Faust, La fanciulla del West, The Magic Flute, and as Brian's father in the New York Premiere of Nico Muhly's Two Boys.
Some of his most recent roles include a reprise of the role of Mr. XE in the Pulitzer Prize winning opera, Angel's Bone, by Du Yun and Royce Vavrek with the Beijing Festival and the Hong Kong New Arts Festival, Count di Luna in Il Trovatore with Toledo Opera, his role debut as King Arthur in the musical Camelot with Intermountain Opera, and his role and company debut in the US premiere of Vivaldi’s Farnace as Aquilio with Spoleto Festival USA. His upcoming performances include a company debut with Arizona Opera as the Musikleherer in Ariadne auf Naxos, and a recitals at Molloy University and Tulsa University. Pfortmiller has appeared with opera companies throughout the United States including the Metropolitan Opera, Spoleto Festival USA, New York City Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, Florida Grand Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Opera Carolina, Tulsa Opera, Sarasota Opera, Opera Memphis, Fort Worth Opera, Opera Saratoga, and Prototype Festival among many others.
He has employed his unique talent in opera, operetta and musical theatre from the contemporary to the classic. His repertoire includes the title roles in Don Giovanni, Il barbiere di Siviglia, and Rigoletto, as well as Valentin (Faust), Eisenstein and Falke (Die Fledermaus), Count Almaviva (Le nozze di Figaro), Silvio (Pagliacci), Count Carl Magnus Malcolm (A Little Night Music), Billy Bigelow (Carousel), Pierre/Red Shadow (The Desert Song), Hajj, the Poet (Kismet) and Henry Higgins (My Fair Lady).
Pfortmiller made his European debut with the De Nederlandse Opera as Silvio in Pagliacci to critical acclaim and was heralded as “a voice that could give us a father Germont and other lyric roles in the great American baritone tradition of Robert Merrill.”
As a voice teacher, he maintains a private studio in New York City and holds faculty positions at Bard Molloy University and Lehigh University. Pfortmiller has given masterclasses at his alma mater Illinois Wesleyan University, University of Tulsa, Loyola University, Montana State University, Buckhill Skytop Music Festival, and returns annually to the Bethesda Summer Music Festival. Mr. Pfortmiller holds a Master of Music degree from Manhattan School of Music and a Bachelor of Music degree from Illinois Wesleyan University, where he was honored to be the 2014 Distinguished Alumnus Award. Pfortmiller is a Sullivan Award Winner, a Theodore Presser Scholar, and a proud member of both Pi Kappa Lambda and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. He was born in Elgin, Illinois and currently resides in New York City with his wife and daughter.
Praised for his “healthy and soaring tenor voice” (The Herald Times), Korean American Brad Bickhardt is a vibrant and versatile performer in both the operatic and musical theatre canon. Highlight performances have included Nemorino (L’elisir d’amore), Tony (West Side Story), and Alfredo (La Traviata), as well as originating the role of Colin in We Wear the Sea Like a Coat. Additional 2021-22 appearances have included filming Stone Soup for Tri-Cities Opera, appearing in recital with Chelsea Opera and Maryland Opera, and as a guest artist at Baldwin Wallace Conservatory. Bickhardt has previously appeared with Opera Saratoga in their critically acclaimed production of Man of La Mancha under the baton of Broadway conductor, Laura Bergquist, as well as in Opera Naples’ productions of West Side Story and La Traviata. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, he was on the roster of The Glimmerglass Festival in productions of Wagner’s Die Feen as well as The Sound of Music, and in 2019, was a member of the prestigious Wolf Trap Opera Studio in which he covered and performed principal roles in L’heure espagnole, Lîle de Merlin, Der Kaiser von Atlantis, and Ariadne auf Naxos. On the concert stage, he has appeared as the tenor soloist in Schubert’s Mass in G, Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy, and Mozart’s Miss Brevis in Bb. Bickhardt received his undergraduate and graduate degrees in Vocal Performance from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music where he appeared in 13 productions with IU Opera Theater as well as serving as an Associate Instructor of Voice. His graduate thesis consisted of compiling an anthology of musical theatre repertoire for undergraduate tenors and their pedagogical applications, and he was named an Encouragement Award from the Central Region of the Metropolitan Opera National Council. Bickhardt is a proud alumnus of the rosters of Tri-Cities Opera, The Glimmerglass Festival, Opera Naples, Wolf Trap Opera, Opera Saratoga, and Charlottesville Opera. His primary vocal instruction has been under renowned baritone Andreas Poulimenos and husband and wife team Kevin and Heidi Grant Murphy.
Schyler Vargas, Mexican-American baritone, is establishing himself as a versatile young talent, bringing interdisciplinary performances to the operatic, theatrical, and concert stage. Noted as a “distinguished” (Washington Classical Review) and “powerful baritone,” (Washington Post) his recent work in the new dramatic song cycle UNKNOWN by Shawn Okpebholo and commissioned by UrbanArias has been featured on PBS News Hour and NPR, among other publications.
In 2021, Vargas made his Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and Opera Edwardsville debut as Marco in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi and a baritone soloist, respectively. Previously, he has been seen in main stage roles at The Atlanta Opera, the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, The Glimmerglass Opera Festival, Dayton Opera, and the Château de Versailles Spectacles in France. Schyler’s notable roles include: Count Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro by W. A. Mozart, Gabriel von Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus by Richard Strauss, Maximilian in Candide, and Riff, Diesel, and Chino in West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein with original Jerome Robbins choreography, and Frank Schultz in Show Boat by Jerome Kern, among others. On the concert stage, Vargas has performed as the baritone soloist for Orff’s Carmina Burana, Rossini’s Petite Messe Solenelle, Schubert’s Mass in Ab, and Mark Hayes’ Requiem.
An award winning performer, Vargas has seen success in competitions with notable awards including: 1st place in Tri-Cities Opera’s first Virtual Vocal Competition, Rocky Mountain District Winner in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, 2nd place and Audience Favorite in the Harold Haugh Light Opera Competition, and 2nd place at the Denver Lyric Opera Guild Aria Competition, and District Winner in the Dorothy Lincoln-Smith Voice Competition.
Prioritizing new music in his career, Vargas has worked with Cincinnati Opera’s Opera Fusion, workshopping new operas including Rufus Wainwright’s Hadrian and Tobias Picker’s Awakenings. At The Glimmerglass Festival, he sang the title role of Nicholas Benavides’ Gilberto and while at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, he had the opportunity to take part in the New Works Bold Voices Lab which presented three world premieres.
Vargas received his Master of Music degree from the renowned University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music under the tutelage of William McGraw and his Bachelor of Music with a minor in Business Administration from Colorado State University.
Tenor David Margulis has established himself as a strong lyrical singer and actor on domestic and international opera stages alike. He has been called “radiant voiced,” and been praised for his “clear, pleasing tenor.” Of his portrayal of Tamino in Die Zauberflöte in his mainstage début at Arizona Opera, Opera Today raved: “David Margulis was an energetic Tamino who was only momentarily laid low by Pollard’s iconic monster. He sang with sumptuous lyrical sounds conveyed on a well-honed legato.”
In 2022, Margulis will make his Carnegie Hall debut in a program with the National Opera Chorus. He also features in A Streetcar Named Desire in his house debut with Florida Grand Opera, and returns to Arizona Opera as Brighella in Ariadne auf Naxos. In 2020, he was scheduled to perform as Almaviva with Opera on the James (COVID-19), and was featured as Alfred in Opera Orlando’s innovative production of Die Fledermaus. During the 2019-20 Season, Mr. Margulis covered the role of Timothy Laughlin in Fellow Travelers, reprised his signature role of Almaviva in Il Barbiere di Siviglia with Vero Beach Opera and Opera on the James, and rejoined the Carolina Philharmonic for their annual Gala Concert. In the 2018-19 Season, Margulis made several company and role debuts, portraying Almaviva in Il Barbiere di Siviglia with Cleveland Opera Theater, Kronprinz in Silent Night with Austin Opera, and Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni with Palm Beach Opera. He also appeared twice with the Carolina Philharmonic, joining them as the tenor soloist in Messiah and in their annual Gala Concert.
In the summer of 2018, Margulis debuted with Teatro Nuovo in their inaugural season as Argirio in Tancredi rifatto. Earlier in the season, Margulis also sang in Ballet Tucson’s concert, Bernstein and Ballet, as part of the Tucson Desert Song Festival, performed as the tenor soloist with Buffalo Philharmonic in selections from Cosí fan tutte, Don Giovanni, and Le Nozze di Figaro and returned to Arizona Opera as Almaviva for Il Barbiere di Siviglia. During the 2016-17 season, Mr. Margulis appeared as Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni at the Verbier Festival in Switzerland, Almaviva in Il Barbiere di Siviglia with Opera Grand Rapids, Will in Middlemarch in Spring with Charlottesville Opera, Florville in Il signor Bruschino with Zurich Chamber Orchestra, and Gherardo in Gianni Schicchi and Torquemada in L’heure espagnole in a double-bill for Opéra National de Lorraine in Nancy, France.
During the 2015/16 Season, Margulis joined the prestigious Internationales Opernstudio at Opernhaus Zürich where he demonstrated his refined dramatic sensibilities in a variety of operas including Jonathan Dove’s musical fairy tale The Enchanted Pig, Rossini’s colorful comic opera Le comte Ory, Haydn’s rarely seen “heroic-comic drama” Orlando paladino, Mozart’s hilarious comic singspiel Der Schauspieldirektor, and Tchaikovsky’s Pique Dame. Additional engagements include the role of Borsa in Rigoletto in his main stage debut with Opera Santa Barbara; the inaugural New York Festival Song at North Fork program, led by Steven Blier; and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with Phoenix Symphony. He also was seen at Tuscon Desert Song Festival performing on a program for the Ravinia Steans Music Institute on Tour with Kevin Murphy.
Margulis has earned a reputation as a champion of new works after being a part of numerous workshops including Theodore Morrison’s first opera, Oscar, at The Santa Fe Opera, the workshop performance of The Gospel According to Nana by Liliya Ugay and Lorene Cary with American Lyric Theater, and the workshop première of Bohmler's Riders of the Purple Sage at Arizona Opera. He has also premièred several new works including the tenor solo in Robert Kyr's Pacific Sanctus.
Additionally, Margulis has been engaged by some of the finest training programs in the country, where his assignments have included: Goro in Madama Butterfly and Léon in The Ghosts of Versailles at Wolf Trap Opera; Third Japanese Envoy/Stagehand in Le Rossignol/Der Schauspieldirektor with Santa Fe Opera; Ernesto in Don Pasquale, Alfredo in La traviata, Steuermann in Die fliegende Holländer, Ralph Rackstraw in H.M.S. Pinafore, Basilio/Curzio in Le nozze di Figaro, and Arturo in Lucia di Lammermoor at Arizona Opera; Young Servant in Elektra at Des Moines Metro Opera; Selimo in Maometto II at Santa Fe Opera; Molqi in The Death of Klinghoffer at Opera Theatre St. Louis; and Tybalt in Roméo et Juliette at Seagle Music Colony. While a fellow at the Ravinia Steans Music Institute, he was privileged to work with some of the most respected coaches and conductors in the world, including Kevin Murphy, Malcolm Martineau, and James Conlon.
Margulis holds degrees from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, The University of Washington, and Florida State University. David is a three-time Regional Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and was a finalist in the Giulio Gari 2017 International Vocal Competition.
Praised as a, “Shining and Powerful Bass-Baritone” (Opera Today), Peter Morgan has quickly developed a reputation as an enthralling and dynamic performer, amassing a steadily increasing repertoire performing across the United States and Europe. Signature roles include; Leporello in Don Giovanni, Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro, and Colline in La bohéme. Morgan has also made a name for himself as an interpreter of new music, with several premieres to his name including; Jason and the Argonauts by Gregory Spears with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, The Scorpions’ Sting by Dean Burry also with The Lyric Opera of Chicago, Lunch Encounter 1929 by Patrice Michaels with The Glimmerglass Festival, as well as the recent landmark production of John Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles with L’Opéra Royal de Versailles which is available now available on the Medici TV streaming app.
In the fall of 2020 Morgan had the pleasure of performing Der Tod in Der Kaiser von Atlantis with Rice University in the very first opera filmed using Chromadepth-3D technology. Morgan is thrilled to be making his house debut with Arizona Opera. Following the filming of The Copper Queen, Morgan will be returning to The Glimmerglass Festival where he will be singing Don Pedro Hinyosa in La Perichole, and covering the legendary Eric Owens as Ferrando in Il Trovatore.
Morgan is currently the Brockman Endowed Scholarship in Voice recipient and Artist Diploma in Opera Studies Fellow at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University in Houston, Texas where he studies with Dr. Robin Rice.
Soprano, Tiffany Choe is a Korean American soprano born and raised in Southern California. She has received her Bachelors and Masters degrees in vocal performance from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. She is currently pursuing her Performer’s Diploma at the Jacobs School of Music under the tutelage of Kevin and Heidi Grant Murphy. She is the recipient of the Georgina Joshi Fellowship for the 2021-2022 school year. With the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, she was an Encouragement Award winner in the Western Region earlier this year, winner of the district region in Indianapolis in 2020, and an Encouragement Award winner in the Southeast Region in 2019. Choe attended the Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute as a fellow this past summer and as an apprentice in the summer of 2019. With IU Opera Theater, she has been in 11 productions. Most recently, Choe was seen as Mimì in the IU Opera Theater production of La Bohème. She was also seen as Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro, Constance in Dialogues of the Carmelites, Rosalia in West Side Story, and Laoula in L’Étoile. In the Spring, she will be performing as Magda in Puccini’s La Rondine.
Praised by Opera News for her "polished, Italinate mezzo,” Stephanie Sanchez is quickly creating a name for herself as an exciting mezzo-soprano on the rise. In the fall of 2021, Sanchez joined the roster of the Lyric Opera of Chicago for the Barrie Kosky production of Die Zaüberflote and will return to Lyric Opera in the 2022/23 season for Carmen and the world premiere of Four Portraits. During the summer of 2022, Sanchez returned to Opera Theater of Saint Louis as Third Lady in The Magic Flute and sang the role of the Mother/Other Mother in the American premier of Coraline at West Edge Opera.
She is the recipient of several awards including the "Audience Choice Award" from the 2021 Jensen Foundation, the sole recipient of the prestigious 2018 Igor Gorin Memorial Award, first place in the Young Texas Artist Music Competition, and has received grants from the Hispanic Scholarship Association. Sanchez is an alumna of training programs at Arizona Opera, The Glimmerglass Festival, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Opera San Jose, Teatro Nuovo, and Rice University. Stephanie Sanchez was born and raised in Las Cruces, NM and currently lives in Chicago with her husband and fellow singer, Peter Morgan.
American soprano and Phoenix resident Kaitlyn Sabrowsky (nee Johnson) is at home in operatic repertoire ranging from classical to contemporary. Sabrowsky completed two seasons as a Marion Roose Pullin Arizona Opera Studio Artist from 2018-20, highlighted by back-to-back main stage leading roles as Musetta in La Bohème and Jane Withersteen in Riders of the Purple Sage in the company’s 2020 season. Her Jane garnered praise for her “strong dramatic voice and the kind of acting skills that showed her character’s growth from one scene to the next” (Operawire). Other Arizona Opera role highlights include Miss Lightfoot in Fellow Travelers and Doris Parker in Charlie Parker’s Yardbird. Additional notable engagements include her debut with The Phoenix Symphony and as Frasquita in the Atlanta Opera’s Carmen. Often celebrated on the operatic stage for her "powerful and dramatic soprano," (The Bloomington Herald-Times), Sabrowsky has appeared in such roles as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni and the title role in Catán’s Florencia en el Amazonas. Kaitlyn Sabrowsky is the recipient of awards from the Orpheus Vocal Competition, the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, the Georgina Joshi International Fellowship from Indiana University and the Farb Family Outstanding Graduate Award from Rice University. She is a graduate of Indiana University (MM) and Rice University (BM, cum laude), and is an alumnus of the Institute for Young Dramatic Voices, Aspen Opera Center and Houston Grand Opera’s Young Artist Vocal Academy. Sabrowsky is currently completing her doctoral degree at Arizona State and is an active voice teacher throughout the Valley, teaching students at Grand Canyon University and privately through the Sabrowsky Song Studio.
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. 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.
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, 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”, 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.
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. 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, 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.
Aaron Matthew Smith, is an accomplished musician who has performed widely throughout the valley. Aaron began his musical career as a classical violinist, something he still enjoys to this day. It was in pursuing this passion that he first encountered and fell in love with the operatic style and classical singing. Since embracing classical voice, he has enjoyed performing varied works throughout the southwest. He made his main stage debut with Utah Lyric Opera in 2019 as Remendado in Bizet’s Carmen. He has sung the role Duncan in the concert revival of Mountain Days by Arizona’s own Craig Bohmler and covered Rinuccio in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi. Along with opera, Aaron enjoys performing both concert and recital works. Performing regularly as a recital artist, his most recent performances have included English Chamber Music, German Lied, and American Art Song. Highlights include solo works such as Ralph Vaughan Williams’ On Wenlock Edge, Gerald Finzi’s Farewell to Arms, Franz Liszt’s Wilhem Tell, various works by Josephine Lang, and as a featured soloist for Morten Lauridsen in a discussion and performance of his first song cycle, A Backyard Universe. In the 2021/2022 Season, Aaron is delighted to make his Arizona Opera debut as Mr. Erlanson in Sondheim’s A Little Night Music. He can also be seen as the lead soloist in Joseph Julian Gonzalez’s ground breaking work Misa Azteca and as the 2nd tenor soloist in Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy. Aaron is a native of Arizona and proud alumna of Arizona State University holding degrees in both Vocal Performance and Violin Performance
Greg Guenther, baritone, moved to Tucson in 2008, after earning his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the University of Oregon. While completing his DMA in Vocal Performance, Guenther has sung with various organizations like Arizona Opera, Phoenix Opera, and True Concord. Guenther has won numerous awards combining his warm lyric baritone sound with his strong dramatic intuition. He’s performed roles such as German Soldier 1 in Silent Night, Guglielmo in Cosi fan tutte, Belcore in L’elisir d’amore, Sid in Albert Herring, Count Robinson in Il Matrimonio Segreto, and Piquillo in La Périchole.
Currently, Greg Guenther is on faculty at Pima Community College (since 2011), works as a design team Opera Artist with Opening Minds through the Arts (OMA) at TUSD, and maintains a private voice studio in Tucson. Most recently, he enjoys performing with one of Arizona’s premiere vocal quartets, The 4Gents.
Paul Nicosia, an American tenor, most recently appeared at Opera Theater of Montclair singing the role of Acis in their production of Acis and Galatea. Following that he performed the role of Danny in Arizona Opera’s premiere of Arizona Lady by composer Emmerich Kálmán. Previously at Utah Festival Opera he covered the roles of Rodolfo in Puccini’s La bohème and Enoch Snow in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel. During the 2014/15 season, Nicosia finished his second year as a Resident Artist at Sarasota Opera. While there, he sang the Ufficiale in Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, Villager in Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci, and 1st Boyar in Rimsky-Korsakov’s Zolotoy petushok (The Golden Cockerel). Nicosia has also appeared on the stages of Opera New Jersey as Normanno in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, and at Des Moines Metro Opera where he covered Howard Bucher in Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking.
Nicosia received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Rowan University where he performed the roles of Tamino in Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Count Tassilo in Emmerich Kálmán’s Gräfin Mariza and Mayor Upfold in Britten’s Albert Herring. Nicosia received his Master’s degree from Arizona State University where he performed the roles of Ramiro in Rossini’s Cinderella, Prologue in Britten’s Turn of the Screw and Pirelli in Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd.
Chuck Hudson has directed opera productions at major international companies including Cape Town Opera (South Africa), Cincinnati Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Minnesota Opera, Atlanta Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Austin Lyric Opera, Hawaii Opera Theatre, Seattle Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, Opera Santa Barbara, and San Francisco Opera Center among others. He has directed award winning theatre productions in New York and regionally, including The Pearl Theatre, The Chester Theater, Cape May Stage, The Children’s Theatre Festival of Houston, New City Theatre, and Chicago’s Fox Valley Shakespeare Festival. Chuck’s work as a director was mentioned in the January 2011 Edition of American Theatre Magazine and the October 2018 Edition of Classical Singer Magazine.
In addition to directing, Chuck continues to focus on work with young professional artists. He was a co-creator of Seattle Opera’s Young Artist Program where he directed productions as well as created and instructed specialized classes on Acting and Movement skills for singers. He has directed productions at San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program, Santa Fe Opera’s Apprentice Artist Program, Florida Grand YAP, Yale Opera, AVA Opera Theater, BU Opera Institute, USC-Thornton Opera, Carnegie-Mellon, Manhattan School of Music Opera Theater, Cincinnati Conservatory, Indiana University Opera Theatre, and Music Academy of the West. He was the Artistic Associate of La Lingua della Lirica for two seasons in Italy, a guest artist at S.I.V.A.M. in Mexico City and has been an annual Master Teacher at San Francisco Opera’s Merola and Adler Fellows programs for almost two decades. Chuck has most recently created a Certificate Training Program for Opera Stage Directors at Ithaca College, launching in 2022.
Chuck travels often to Australia to work with singers at The Melba Opera Trust in Melbourne, The Sydney Conservatorium, N.I.D.A., Opera Australia Young Artist Program, the Western Australia Academy of Performing Arts in Perth, and professional singers via the Opera and Arts Support Group. He directed the Australian Premiere of the German Opera by Goetz based on Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew (at WAAPA), was a Guest Director at the Melbourne Conservatory of Music’s Opera Training Program, and presented public Showcases for professional singers at the residence of the American Consul General in Sydney for the Opera and Arts Support Group. The Dame Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation also invited Chuck to work with their singers in New Zealand for several seasons.
Praised by Opera News as a conductor who “squeezes every drop of excitement and pathos from the score,” Steven White is one of North America’s premiere operatic and symphonic conductors. He made his acclaimed Metropolitan Opera debut in 2010, conducting performances of La traviata starring Angela Gheorghiu. Since then he has conducted a number of Metropolitan Opera performances of La traviata, with such stars as Natalie Dessay, Hei-Kyung Hong, Plácido Domingo, Thomas Hampson, Dmitri Hvorostovksy and Matthew Polenzani. In the past several seasons he has returned to the Met to participate in critically fêted productions of Don Carlo, Billy Budd, The Rake’s Progress and Elektra.
With a vibrant repertoire of over sixty-five titles, Maestro White’s extensive operatic engagements have included performances with New York City Opera, L’Opera de Montréal, Vancouver Opera, Opera Colorado, Pittsburgh Opera, Michigan Opera Theater, Baltimore Opera, New Orleans Opera, and many others. In recent seasons he has conducted Rigoletto with San Diego Opera, Otello with Austin Opera, La traviata with Utah Opera, and a world premiere staged production of a brand-new Bärenreiter edition of Gounod’s Faust with Opera Omaha. In the 2021-2022 season, he returns to the Metropolitan Opera for their production of Tosca, which he also conducts for Utah Opera. With Opera Omaha he conducts Eugene Onegin, and he returns to Opera Roanoke for Bluebeard’s Castle in the fall and Verdi’s Requiem in the spring.
In 2020 the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated the cancellation of his eleventh production at Arizona Opera, Ariadne auf Naxos, as well as the company premiere of André Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire at Opera Roanoke. Other projects in the 2020-21 season COVID-impacted season included a reimagined Rigoletto with Tulsa Opera at Tulsa’s ONEOK Field, and Le nozze di Figaro in a return to Opera Omaha (postponed).
Music critics are effusive in their praise of conductor Steven White’s ability to elicit inspired music-making from orchestras. Of his 2016 performances with the Omaha Symphony, the Omaha World-Herald asserts that, “it would be hard to imagine a more complete performance of the Symphonie Fantastique. Highly nuanced, tightly controlled and crisp, Steven White asked everything from orchestra members and they were flawless. He led them out of serene beauty into disturbing dissonance and even to the terrifying point of musical madness without ever losing control. It was insanely good.” Opera News declares, “White is amazing: he consistently demands and gets the absolute best playing from the orchestra.”
Among the many orchestras Maestro White has conducted are the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the Moscow Philharmonic, the Orchestre Métropolitain du Grand Montréal, the Mozarteum und Salzburg KulturvereinigungOrchestra, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the New World Symphony Orchestra, the Spoleto Festival Orchestra, the Colorado Symphony, the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, the Charleston Symphony, the Florida Philharmonic, the Fort Worth Symphony and London’s Philharmonia Orchestra for a CHANDOS recording of arias featuring his wife, soprano Elizabeth Futral. In 2019 he made debuts with the San Diego Symphony, the Utah Symphony Orchestra and the Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra.
Maestro White is a passionate and dedicated educator. He has served multiple artistic residencies and led productions at such institutions as the Peabody Conservatory of Music, Indiana University, the College Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, the University of Miami Frost School of Music Program in Salzburg, Kennesaw State University and Virginia Tech University. In the summer of 2019 he served as an artist in residence at the Shanghai Conservatory in China and in 2020 he led a critically acclaimed production of La clemenza di Tito for the North Carolina School of the Arts Fletcher Opera Institute. He is in constant demand as an adjudicator of the most prestigious music and vocal competitions, including numerous auditions for the Metropolitan Opera National Council and the Jensen Foundation.
Steven White proudly makes his home in Virginia, where he serves as Artistic Director of Opera Roanoke, a company with which he has been associated for two decades. Maestro White has conducted dozens of productions in Roanoke, including performances of Das Lied von der Erde, Der fliegende Holländer, Fidelio, Falstaff, Otello, Macbeth, Aida, Hänsel und Gretel and many others. In recognition of his contributions to the civic, cultural and artistic life of Southwest Virginia, Roanoke College conferred on Maestro White an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts in May 2013.
Jefferson Ridenour is a NYC based artist that designs for opera and theatre blending in-depth dramaturgy with compositions of boldness and poetry. His passion for opera has led to 50+ professional designs for companies across the US with esteemed directors. With director Fenlon Lamb, he is the co-creator of Papermoon Opera Productions. In NYC Off-Broadway theatre, Ridenour designed Party Face (City Center) and the world digital premiere of Lights on the Radio Tower. Ridenour has an MFA in Scenic Design from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and is a Proud Member of Local USA 829.
Eric Watkins is a lighting designer for theatre, opera, and dance based in Chicago. Past opera design work includes Show Boat, Hansel and Gretel, and Falstaff (The Dallas Opera); Don Pasquale (Fort Worth Opera); The Property (A world premiere with Lyric Opera of Chicago's Lyric Unlimited); Cenerentola, Il Re Pastore, The Rake's Progress and The Marriage of Figaro (Merola Opera in San Francisco); Alcina (Boston Conservatory), A Streetcar Named Desire (Opera Santa Barbara and Kentucky Opera), and The Barber of Seville (Lithuanian National Opera).
Mario Pacheco is an emerging Canadian stage director hailing from Hamilton, Ontario. He is a graduate of Sheridan College’s Honours Bachelor of Music Theatre Performance program and is currently pursuing the University of Toronto’s Artist Diploma in Operatic Stage Direction under the mentorship of Michael Albano. Assistant directing credits include This is Prophetic with Against the Grain Theatre/UofT Opera, La bohème with Brott Opera, Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Opera NUOVA, and Le nozze di Figaro with Western University Opera. Most recently, Pacheco directed Il segreto di Susanna, The Bear, and Bon Appétit! for the University of Toronto Opera Division. Future engagements include directing the student composer collective, Disobedience, as well as assisting on Il barbiere di Siviglia and Aaron Copland’s The Tender Land, directed by Tim Albery for The University of Toronto Opera Division.