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.
Stage director Tara Faircloth’s work has been seen in opera houses around the nation. Critics hailed her recent directorial debut at Lyric Opera of Chicago: a “wickedly funny, elegantly sung, cleverly directed production of Rossini’s The Barber of Seville.” In recent seasons, she created new productions of The Little Prince (Utah Opera), Ariadne auf Naxos (Wolf Trap Opera), Il re pastore (Merola Opera), Agrippina (Ars Lyrica Houston), and L’incoronazione di Poppea (Boston Baroque).
The 2021-2022 season finds Ms. Faircloth working on several new productions, including Emmeline with Tulsa Opera, La Traviata at Opera Santa Barbara and The Merry Wives of Windsor with The Juilliard School, as well as a program with Ars Lyrica Houston entitled “Eternity and the Underworld” which pairs Jonathan Dove’s The Other Euridice and Bach’s Ich habe genug. In addition, she revisits old favorite The Barber of Seville in a debut at The Dallas Opera.
Faircloth has a thriving career in regional houses such as Utah Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, Arizona Opera, Tulsa Opera and Atlanta Opera (Il barbiere di Siviglia, Rigoletto, Die Zauberflöte, Hänsel & Gretel, etc.). The baroque repertoire is of special interest to Ms. Faircloth, who made her directorial debut with Ars Lyrica Houston’s production of Cain: Il primo omicidio in 2003 and has since designed and directed a number of shows for the company including Charpentier’s Actéon and La descente d’Orphée aux enfers. She created productions of Dido & Aeneas for Ars Lyrica at the Festival di Musica Barroca in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, and for Mercury Baroque in collaboration with the Dominic Walsh Dance Theater.
Recent seasons for Ms. Faircloth have included new productions of Il re pastore with Merola Opera, Agrippina with Ars Lyrica Houston, The Little Prince with Utah Opera, The Coronation of Poppea with Boston Baroque, Eugene Onegin with Arizona Opera, and Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Boston University. Additionally, she has directed new productions of Madama Butterfly with Wolf Trap Opera, L’enfant et les sortileges with Utah Symphony & Opera, Don Giovanni with Arizona Opera, and a reconfiguration of her 2014 Wolf Trap Carmen for Arizona Opera.
Ms. Faircloth has worked extensively on the directing staff of such companies as Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, Central City Opera, and Dallas Opera, and as such, has worked on some of the most complicated operas in the repertoire, assisting international directors and preparing cover casts of some of the best performers in our industry. Passionate about dramatic training for young singers, she is the Drama Instructor for the Houston Grand Opera Studio and HGO's Young Artists’ Vocal Academy and has served as a guest coach at Wolf Trap Opera Studio, Des Moines Metro Opera, University of Michigan, and Rice University. She splits her time between Austin and Houston, Texas, where she enjoys restoring her 1935 Craftsman Bungalow.
Known for his innovative and thoughtful productions, Joshua Borths previously served as the Resident Stage Director and Director of Education and Community Engagement at Arizona Opera where he has directed productions of Il babiere di Siviglia, Florencia en el Amazonas, Rusalka, and the Sapphire Celebration featuring Frederica von Stade. Borths is also on the directing staff of Des Moines Metro Opera where he works with the Apprentice Artist program in addition to the mainstage season. Recently, Borths served as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Music at SUNY-Potsdam, directing Mozart’s The Magic Flute and at the University of Maryland where he directed a production of La clemenza di Tito. Additionally, Borths has directed new productions for Opera Memphis, Seagle Music Colony, and the Crested Butte Music Festival, among others, and has assistant directed productions for Des Moines Metro Opera, Arizona Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, and Wolf Trap Opera Company. Borths is a proud alumnus of the University of Michigan and Florida State University.
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American baritone Morgan Smith is one of the most sought after performers of modern operatic repertoire in the world. Known for his riveting dramatic portrayals and the power and beauty of his voice, Mr. Smith has been entrusted to create 12 roles in world premieres, including Starbuck in Jake Heggie's widely acclaimed Moby-Dick. Mr. Smith has also earned universal praise for performances in traditional repertoire, notably Marcello (La bohème), Escamillo (Carmen), title role of Don Giovanni, Sharpless (Madama Butterfly), Count Alamaviva (The Marriage of Figaro) and Four Villains (The Tales of Hoffmann).
Baritone Morgan Smith begins the 2017-18 season at Lyric Opera of Kansas City in his title role debut of Eugene Onegin, then returns to the role of Joseph De Rocher Dead Man Walking at Kentucky Opera. He returns to Kansas City to collaborate once more with Maestro Matthew Halls for Handel’s Messiah with the Kansas City Symphony. Mr. Smith is excited to debut Scarpia in Tosca with the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra next spring.
Mr. Smith began last season as Sharpless in Madama Butterfly at Kentucky Opera; he traveled to reprise his critically acclaimed Starbuck at Dallas Opera, and then headed overseas to Oper Leipzig to sing the role of Marcello in La bohème. Performances of a Fauré Requiem with San Antonio Symphony followed. A highlight of the season was the world premiere of Craig Bohmler's Riders of the Purple Sage with Arizona Opera last February. Mr. Smith then joined the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra singing Marcello before heading north to Opera on the Avalon to sing Joseph de Rocher in Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking. He then had the great pleasure of reuniting with Maestro Matthew Halls in July 2017 at the Oregon Bach Festival, performing Beethoven's Missa Solemnis.
Recent successes include Don Giovanni with Arizona Opera, Austin Opera, and Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and Sharpless in Madama Butterfly at Opéra de Montréal. He received rave reviews at Los Angeles Opera in 2015 and Dallas in 2016 when he revived his celebrated portrayal of Starbuck in Moby-Dick. Mr. Smith made his debut as the Four Villains in The Tales of Hoffmann at Madison Opera and was praised as bringing "variety and flair" to all four characters.
Other successes include Escamillo in Carmen at Vancouver Opera, Pittsburgh Opera and Fort Worth Opera; Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Seattle Symphony, and Marcello at San Diego Opera. He joined the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus at Davies Hall to revive the role of Manfred in Jake Heggie’s poignant For a Look or a Touch (another role he created). Mr. Smith starred as Aaron in the world premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon’s Morning Star at Cincinnati Opera, for which he won outstanding reviews. He sang Adam Brant in Mourning Becomes Electra at Florida Grand Opera; Tadeusz in The Passenger in the US premiere of David Pountney’s production at both Houston Grand Opera and Lincoln Center Festival; and Fritz in Die tote Stadt at Dallas Opera. Mr. Smith was honored to sing the role of Lieutenant Audebert in Silent Night in Fort Worth Opera’s presentation of Kevin Puts’ Pulitzer Prize winning opera. .
Morgan Smith made his European guest artist debut at the Berliner Staatsoper in 2011, performing Marcello in La bohème. Fully fluent in German, Mr. Smith joined Oper Leipzig in 2009 as a resident artist. Over the following four years he sang Figaro in The Barber of Seville, Billy in The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, Papageno in The Magic Flute, Dr. Falke in Die Fledermaus, Leandre in The Love for Three Oranges, Whitelaw Savory in One Touch of Venus, Marcello in La bohème, and Guglielmo in Così fan tutte.
A graduate of Columbia College and Mannes College of Music in New York City, Morgan became a Seattle Opera young artist (1999-2000) and in 2001 there made his professional debut as Donald in Billy Budd. A great favorite in Seattle, Mr. Smith has performed roles in 12 other productions since that debut -- including Don Giovanni (title role), Silvio in I Pagliacci, Riccardo in I Puritani, and Peter Niles in Mourning Becomes Electra.
Renowned in contemporary repertoire, Morgan Smith created the role of Ted Steinert in Thomas Pasatieri’s Frau Margot in the world premiere at Fort Worth Opera and on the recording (Albany Records); he created the role of Jim Crowley in Jack Perla's American Dream at Seattle Opera, sang the world premiere of Richard Cummings' Aspects of Hippolytus with Hartford Symphony, and created the title role in the Tony Kushner/Maurice Sendak adaptation of Hans Krasa's children's opera, Brundibar (recorded by NAXOS).
Trained as a cellist from a very young age, Mr. Smith brings an instrumentalist's level of musicality and interpretive sensitivity to his performances on the concert stage. Mr. Smith made his Dallas Symphony debut in Bach's St. Matthew Passion, and debuted with the San Antonio Symphony for the North American premiere of Vier Präludien und Ernste Gesänge, Detlef Glanert's orchestral adaptation of the beloved cycle by Brahms. Other concert repertoire includes Beethoven's Ninth Symphony; the Requiems of Brahms, Fauré, Mozart and Duruflé; the Mass in C Minor of Mozart and Mass in G Minor of Vaughan Williams; Bach’s B Minor Mass, numerous Cantatas, and Weihnachts Oratorium; Handel's Messiah and L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato; and Haydn's The Creation and Lord Nelson Mass.
Conductors who have joined him on the podium include Jaap van Zweden, Donald Runnicles, Itzhak Perlman, James Conlon, Ulf Schirmer, Christopher Allen, Robert Spano, Markus Stenz, Jacques LaCombe, Andreas Stöhr, Gerard Schwarz, Matthew Halls, Patrick Summers, Eduardo Mueller, Andrés Orozco-Estrada, Sebastian Lang-Lessing, Joseph Colaneri, George Manahan, Ramón Tebar, Jack Everly, William Lacey, Joseph Mechavich, and Ken Masur.
A 2017 recipient of a top prize from the Sullivan Foundation, Joseph Lattanzi established himself as a singer to watch with his portrayal of Hawkins Fuller in the world premiere of Greg Spears’ Fellow Travelers with Cincinnati Opera, followed by further performances for his debut with Lyric Opera of Chicago. Praise for his performances included The New York Times saying “Joseph Lattanzi was splendid as Hawk, his buttery baritone luxuriant and robust.” and Opera News described him as a “confident, handsome presence, and a resonant baritone suggesting wells of feeling that the character might prefer to leave untapped.” Recent projects include Seattle Opera’s film of Jonathan Dove’s Flight and his role debut as Silvio in Pagliacci with Atlanta Opera. Other recent engagements include Dandini in La Cenerentola for Virginia Opera, the title role in Don Giovanni with Jacksonville Symphony, and Count Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro for Cincinnati Opera. Lattanzi has been a regular at The Metropolitan Opera since the 2018/19 Season including productions of Der Rosenkavalier, Madama Butterfly, Marnie, and Kat'a Kabanova. A regular with Arizona Opera, Lattanzi was a member of the Marion Roose Pullin Studio from 2015 – 2017. Appearances with the company include Hawkins in Fellow Travelers, Lt. Audebert in Silent Night, the title role in Don Giovanni, Dandini, and Riolobo in Florencia en el Amazonas.
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The Philadelphia Inquirer hails Melinda Whittington as "especially marvelous in handling the rapturous jail scene music” in recent performances of Marguerite in Faust. In the 2016/17 season, she returns to Arizona Opera for the title role in Rusalka in addition to joining Utah Opera as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, Greensboro Opera as Micaëla in Carmen, and the Lyric Opera of Chicago for its production of Eugene Onegin.
Last season, she made debuts with Arizona Opera as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, Ash Lawn Opera as Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte, and Kentucky Opera as the Contessa in The Marriage of Figaro. She also joined the Charlotte Symphony for excerpts of Roméo et Juliette, was presented by Opera Birmingham in a solo recital, and joined the Ocean City Pops in concert.
Ms. Whittington is a former Resident Artist of the Academy of Vocal Arts, at which she sang Marguerite in Faust and Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte. She sang Marie Antoinette in Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles and Micaëla in Carmen during her two summers at Wolf Trap Opera. Also while a Filene Young Artist at Wolf Trap Opera, she presented a recital in collaboration with the Phillips Collection, pairing art songs and popular songs with art from the museum. Her other previous performances include Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni with the Green Mountain Opera Festival and Third Lady in The Magic Flute and Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi with Opera Carolina. Her operatic repertoire also includes Violetta in La traviata, the title role in Alcina, Mimì in La bohème, Pamina in The Magic Flute, Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus, and Marie in The Bartered Bride. She recently joined Opera Philadelphia for an exciting evening of new opera with Opera Philadelphia and their composers in residence, Lembit Beecher and Missy Mazzoli. On the concert stage, she has sung Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Philadelphia Sinfonia and Orff’s Carmina Burana with the Back Bay Chorale.
She is the 2016 third place winner in Fort Worth Opera’s McCammon Voice Competition, 2015 first place winner of the Opera Birmingham competition, a 2013 semi-finalist of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, winner of the Charlotte Opera Guild Competition, and an encouragement award winner in the Gerda Lissner International Vocal Competition. She is a former participant in the prestigious Merola Opera Program in association with San Francisco Opera at which she performed scenes as the title role in Donizetti’s Anna Bolena, Barber’s Vanessa, and Bizet’s The Fair Maid of Perth. She holds a Master of Music degree from the University of North Carolina Greensboro and a Bachelor of Music from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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Andrea Shokery is a dynamic young performer quickly garnering attention for her “magnetic stage presence” and “tangy soprano… [that is] simply delicious” (The Arts Louisville, The Arizona Republic). In the 2015-2016 season, Ms. Shokery makes her role and company debut as Violetta (La traviata) with Opera Columbus, returns to Arizona Opera for a debut as Donna Anna (Don Giovanni), and performs as the
Soprano Soloist in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Phoenix Symphony. In the 2014-2015 season, she returned to Phoenix for her last year of residency in the Marion Roose Pullin Arizona Opera Studio. She made exciting debuts as Gilda (Rigoletto), First Lady (Die Zauberflöte), and Marie (La fille du régiment). She also returned as the Featured Soloist on the Phoenix Symphony’s New Year’s Eve Celebration Concert. Beginning her tenure with the Studio in 2013, she made company debuts that season as Musetta (La bohème) and Norina (Don Pasquale). She also sang the role of Bess in Craig Bohmler’s Rider’s of the Purple Sage in workshop performances and made her debut with the Phoenix Symphony. Ms. Shokery completed two seasons as an Apprentice Artist with Des Moines Metro Opera in 2011 and 2012. Her scene concert performances included Konstanze (Die Entführung aus dem Serail), Semiramide (Semiramide), Alma Winemiller (Summer and Smoke), La Comtesse Adèle (Le comte Ory), Rosalinde (Die Fledermaus), Adina (L'elisir d'amore), and Lucia (Lucia di Lammermoor).
In the 2010-2011 season, she was a member of the Studio at Kentucky Opera, covering Adina in L'elisir d'amore and making her mainstage debut as Giannetta. While in Louisville, Ms. Shokery performed in a Composer Workshop with Daron Hagen, singing Pamela in Broken Pieces, one of three one-act operas entitled New York Stories. She then made a return to Wolf Trap, creating the role of Bobachina in the World Premiere of Musto's The Inspector with the Wolf Trap Foundation.
The 2008-2009 season saw Ms. Shokery in the title role of Pasatieri’s La Divina with the Wolf Trap Opera Studio and making her European debut as Musetta in La bohème with The Opera Theatre and Music Festival of Lucca, Italy. Ms. Shokery has received prizes from multiple competitions, including the Opera Birmingham Competition, Palm Beach Opera Vocal Competition, Tri-State Vocal Competition, Irma Cooper/Opera Columbus Vocal Competition. She is also a threetime District Winner in The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Originally from Gahanna, Ohio, she received both her Master's and Bachelor's Degrees from The University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music.
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A naturally gifted singer noted for her commanding stage presence and profound artistry, Jennifer Johnson Cano has garnered critical acclaim for committed performances of both new and standard repertoire. For her performance as Offred in Poul Ruders’s The Handmaid’s Tale she was lauded as a “consummate actress,” by The Wall Street Journal; a “tour de force” by The Boston Globe; and “towering…restless, powerful, profound, she is as formidable as this astonishingly demanding role deserves,” by The New York Times. In recital with Anna Netrebko at Carnegie Hall, Bachtrack called her performance “self-effacing and full of musicality.” With more than 100 performances on the stage at The Metropolitan Opera, her most recent roles have included Nicklausse, Emilia, Hansel and Meg Page.
Following engagements at Bravo! Vail with the New York Philharmonic, Ravinia Festival with Matthew Polenzani, and Cleveland Orchestra’s Blossom Music Festival, Cano ends her summer with the LA Phil for performances of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony at the Hollywood Bowl. She begins her 2019-2020 season with Michael Tilson Thomas at San Francisco Symphony’s Opening Night Gala. Additional orchestral highlights include Berg’s Lulu, singing the role of Countess Geschwitz with the Cleveland Orchestra, Schoenberg’s Gurrelieder with Dudamel and the LA Phil, and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Riccardo Muti and the Chicago Symphony. In recital she appears at Da Camera of Houston for a performance of Argento’s From the Diary of Virginia Woolf and joins pianist Benjamin Hochman and friends for Janáček’s The Diary of One Who Disappeared at New York’s 92nd Street Y. After widespread acclaim last season for her portrayal of Offred in Ruders’s The Handmaid’s Tale with the Boston Lyric Opera, Cano bows this season as Adalgisa in Bellini’s Norma with Pittsburgh Opera, Komponist in Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos with Arizona Opera and as the title role of Bizet’s Carmen with New Orleans Opera.
Cano is a native of St. Louis and earned degrees from Webster University and Rice University and was honored as a distinguished alumna and commencement speaker at Webster University in May 2017. Her debut recital recording with pianist Christopher Cano, Unaffected: Live from the Savannah Voice Festival, was recorded completely live and unedited. Recent recordings include a live performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Manfred Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony, Bernstein’s Symphony No. 1: Jeremiah with Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and a live recording of Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde featuring conductor George Manahan, tenor Paul Groves and St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble. Cano joined The Lindemann Young Artist Development Program at The Metropolitan Opera after winning the Metropolitan Opera National Council Audition, and made her Met debut during the 2009-2010 season. Among her honors are a First Prize winner of the Young concert Artist International Auditions, a Sara Tucker Study Grant, a Richart Tucker Career Grant and George London Award.
“Her voice is radiant and intense, rich in the lower part of her range, bright and precise at the top, with astonishing evenness throughout. For such a commanding singer she also cuts a remarkably approachable persona on stage, and has an uncanny ability to discern and embody the character of each song.” — Boston Globe
“Dramatic intelligence and imagination suffused every note of Ms. Johnson Cano’s performance. Endowed with an attention-grabbing dark mezzo, its depths bracing like strong coffee, she seems to thrive in the role of a storyteller.” — The New York Times
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Praised as “sizzling,” “riveting” and possessing a “plummy, ripe mezzo,” mezzo-soprano Sarah Larsen’s 2015/2016 season begins with a return to Wolf Trap Opera where she performs Susanna in The Ghosts of Versailles and in Steven Blier’s The Rodgers Family – A Century of Musicals. She makes her house and role debut with Arizona Opera as Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, and continues her relationship with Orchestra Seattle with Bach’s St. John Passion and Handel’s Messiah. Sarah also debuts with the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra as Tisbe in La Cenerentola and with the Fresno Master Chorale for Mozart’s Great Mass in C Minor. Future engagements include a debut in the inaugural season of the Berkshire Opera Festival and a return to Seattle Opera.
In 2015 Sarah joined The Metropolitan Opera roster as La Muse/Nicklausse (cover) for The Tales of Hoffmann, made her debut with the Pacific Symphony as Mercédès in Carmen, and returned to Seattle Opera as the Komponist in Ariadne in Naxos. An alumna of the Seattle Opera Young Artist Program, Sarah has been featured as Maddalena in Rigoletto, the Secretary in The Consul, La Muse/Nicklausse (cover) in The Tales of Hoffmann, Mercédès in Carmen, Suzuki in Madama Butterfly and Tisbe in La Cenerentola on the mainstage, as well as Charlotte in Werther with the Young Artist Program.
March 2013 marked her debut with the New York Festival of Song with Song of the Midnight Sun, a concert celebrating Scandinavian art song. Sarah, along with Caitlyn Lynch and Morgan Smith, created a new song cycle entitled Farewell, Auschwitz, by Jake Heggie and Gene Sheer in May 2013 with Music of Remembrance, recording released by Naxos. Other recent engagements include Sarah’s debut with The Santa Fe Opera as Mercédès in Carmen, Stéphano in Roméo et Juliette with Des Moines Metro Opera and Neris in Medea with The Glimmerglass Festival. She also created the role of Sarelda in John Musto & Mark Campbell's comic opera The Inspector with the Wolf Trap Foundation, with a recording released in 2012.
Sarah Larsen is from Roseville, MN and attended Simpson College (B.M. Vocal Performance) and Rice University (M.M. Vocal Performance.) She continued her training with residencies at the Aspen Opera Theater Center, Sarasota Opera, Virginia Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, The Glimmerglass Festival, The Santa Fe Opera and Seattle Opera.
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Andrew Stenson is quickly building a reputation as one of the United States’ most exciting young tenors, with a brilliant tone, artistic intellect, and superb portrayals of a variety of roles. He is the first prize winner in both the 2015 Giulio Gari International Vocal Competition and 2016 Gerda Lissner Foundation Competition. He is also the recipient of a 2011 Sara Tucker Study Grant from the Richard Tucker Foundation.
Mr. Stenson’s 2016-2017 season includes appearances with the Glyndebourne Festival as Ernesto in Don Pasquale, as Tamino in The Magic Flute with Seattle Opera, Frederic in Pirates of Penzance with Palm Beach Opera, the title role of Candide with Théâtre du Capitole, Toulouse and Opéra National de Bordeaux, and Count Almaviva in The Barber of Seville with the Santa Cruz Symphony. He also appears in concert with the Kansas City Symphony for the Mozart Requiem.
During the 2015/16 season, Andrew Stenson made his Lyric Opera of Chicago debut, singing Gen in the world premiere of Bel Canto. He also debuted with Arizona Opera as Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni, and with Fort Worth Operaas Count Almaviva in The Barber of Seville. In concert, he sang the Messiah with the Cincinnati Symphony and Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings with the Rochester Philharmonic.
In the 2014/15 season, the tenor finished as a member of The Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. Amongst his assignments, he performed Beppe in Pagliacci, in a new production conducted by Fabio Luisi. In the summer he returned to the Glimmerglass Festival, as the title role in Candide.
Andrew Stenson was a 2nd year member of the Lindemann Program during the 2013/14 season. He performed Demetrius in The Enchanted Island at the Metropolitan Opera, and also made a return to Seattle Opera as Tonio in La fille du régiment, and his role debut as Belmonte in The Abduction from the Seraglio with Utah Opera. Additionally, Mr. Stenson appeared on the concert stage with the Seattle Symphony and Nashville Symphony, for Handel’s Messiah, and sang Mozart’s Requiem with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra. In June 2014, he made his Washington National Opera debut as Danny Chen in Huang Ruo’s An American Soldier.
The summer of 2012 found him with San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program for Argento’s Postcard from Morocco. During the 2012/13 season, Mr. Stenson joined the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. His assignments at the Metropolitan Opera that season included Esquire #3 in the company’s new production of Parsifal. The season also found his debuts with the San Francisco Symphony, for Handel’s Messiah, and with the Glyndebourne Festival Opera, as Brighella in a new production of Ariadne auf Naxos.
Mr. Stenson began the 2011/12 season with the Seattle Opera as Le Remendado in the mainstage production of Carmen. Continuing the season, he performed Orphée in Orphée et Euridice, replacing an indisposed colleague on short nice, and performed both the title role in Werther and Ernesto in Don Pasquale in the company’s Young Artist Productions. Also in 2011/12, Mr. Stenson made his Metropolitan Opera as a Rameau Quartet Member in The Enchanted Island, and made his role debut as Cassio in Knoxville Opera’s production of Otello. The summer of 2012 found him with San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program for Argento’s Postcard from Morocco.
The tenor joined the Seattle Opera as a member of its Young Artist Program for the 2010-2011 season, where his roles included Arturo in Lucia di Lammermoor on the mainstage, and Don Ottavio in the Young Artist production of Don Giovanni. In the summer of 2011, he returned to the Glimmerglass Festival, performing Jimmy O’Keefe in John Musto’s Later the Same Evening.
In previous seasons, the tenor appeared as Martin in The Tender Land with Glimmerglass Opera. Mr. Stenson was a Young Artist with the Santa Fe Opera in 2009, where he covered Head Man in The Letter and received the D. Gramm Memorial Award. He was a Regional Finalist in the 2010 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.
Mr. Stenson is the 2015 recipient of the Richard F. Gold Career Grant from the Shoshana Foundation (Lindemann Program), a Major Award Winner from Opera Index (2015), Second Prize winner from the Queen Sonja International Vocal Competition (2013), and Second Prize winner from the Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation (2015).
Andrew Stenson completed his Master’s Degree in Music at Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM). He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Music from Luther College.
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Andrew Penning, originally from St. Paul, MN, is a tenor in the Arizona Opera Studio. During the
Mr. Penning has been a Young Artist with some of the most prestigious companies and festivals in the United States. In the summer of 2015 he will cover the role of Belmonte (Die Entführung aus dem Serail) at Des Moines Metro Opera. At the Glimmerglass Festival he performed the roles of Delmonte (King for a Day) and Scaramuccio (Ariadne auf Naxos). With Utah Opera as The Ballad Singer in Of Mice and Men, Opera News said, “cast standouts included … Andrew Penning as the Ballad Singer, whose sweet lyric tenor conveyed the workers’ conscience.” As a Fellow at the 2011 Tanglewood Music Festival, he sang the Second Tenor in performances of Stravinsky’s Renardwith the Mark Morris Dance Group and gave recital performances featuring works by Richard Strauss, Alberto Ginastera and Ralph Vaughn Williams’ chamber song cycle On Wenlock Edge. At CCM Spoleto in the summer of 2010, he performed the role of the Male Chorus (The Rape of Lucretia). As a young artist at Seagle Music Colony in upstate New York, he performed the roles of The Governor and Vanderdendur (Candide).
In addition to his work in opera, Mr. Penning is also an active concert soloist. In performances of Handel’s Messiah with the Tucson Symphony of 2014, the Arizona Daily Star said “Penning…was a
Cantata 12, Haydn’s Grosse Orgelmesse in E Flat, and Bruckner’s Te Deum.
Mr. Penning completed his Master of Music in Vocal Performance at the University of Cincinnati:
|2/26, 2/28 & 3/5|
Hailed by Anthony Tommasini of the New York Times as “vocally robust” and “lyrically malevolent”, American Bass-Baritone Joseph Barron was a winner of the 2011 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and the 2013 Sullivan Foundation Awards. In the 2013-2014 season, Mr. Barron will debut with The Metropolitan Opera in Shostakovich’s The Nose, and will return to Opera Philadelphia as Leporello in Don Giovanni and Pittsburgh Opera as the Speaker in The Magic Flute and the Prophet/Larry King in Dark Sisters. Recently, Mr. Barron debuted at the San Francisco Opera in Mark Adamo’s world premiere of The Gospel of Mary Magdalene.
In the 2012-13 season, Mr. Barron appeared as Monterone in Rigoletto, Masetto in Don Giovanni, Geronimo in Il matrimonio segreto, The Bonze in Madama Butterfly, and Alidoro in La cenerentola with the Pittsburgh Opera. Other recent appearances include Ramfis in Aida at Glimmerglass Festival, Polyphemus in Acis and Galatea with the Aix-en-Provence Festival and La Fenice, Montano in Otello with Opera Company of Philadelphia, and Grandpa Moss in The Tender Land and Antonio in Le nozze di Figaro with Glimmerglass Opera.
Other roles Mr. Barron has performed recently include Count Rodolfo in La sonnambula, Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Seneca in L’incoronazione di Poppea, Commendatore in Don Giovanni, Enobarbus in Antony and Cleopatra, Wilhelm Reischmann in Elegy for Young Lovers, Friedrich Bhaer in Little Women, Erste Handwerksbursche in Wozzeck, Bartolo in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Dulcamara in L’elisir d’amore, Gaudenzio in Il signor Bruschino, and Don Prudenzio in Il viaggio a Reims.
Mr. Barron has also garnered top prizes from the Sullivan Foundation Awards, Opera Index Vocal Competition, Lucia Albanese-Puccini Foundation Competition, Gerda Lissner International Vocal Competition, and the Irma M. Cooper Opera Columbus Vocal Competition. He received his Master of Music at the Curtis Institute of Music and his Bachelor of Music from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.
|2/27 & 3/6|
Matthew Burns is a dynamic performer known for his unique portrayals of opera’s most acclaimed bass-baritone roles spanning the repertoire from dramatic roles to buffo roles, and everything in between. Career highlights include Paolo in Schreker’s Die Gezeichneten with Los Angeles Opera; Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Florida Grand Opera; Leporello in Don Giovanni with Boston Lyric Opera, Opera Cleveland, and Opera Omaha; Pish-Tush in The Mikado, Lord Gualtiero Valton in I puritani, and Titta in Martín y Soler’s Una cosa rara with Opera Theatre St. Louis; and a number of leading roles with Wolf Trap Opera and Bard SummerScape Festival.
|2/26, 2/28 & 3/5|
Praised by Opera Today for “pure, clear tones” and lauded by the Arizona Republic for “purity and vivacious charm,” young soprano Sarah Tucker is demanding attention for her captivating vocal timbre and engaging stage presence. Tucker was a National Semifinalist in the 2014 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and recently completed her second year as a member of the Arizona Opera Studio. She was recently heard as Nelly Nettleton in Arizona Opera’s innovative, multi-lingual production of Arizona Lady, in which she not only sang, but also “danced like a flapper” (Opera Today).
The 2019/20 Season included several company debuts: as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni with Pensacola Opera, Mimi in La bohème with Gulfshore Opera, and Tatyana in Eugene Onegin with Opera in the Heights. This season, she returns to Gulfshore Opera for a reprise of her Mimi in La bohème.
The 2018/19 Season for Tucker included debuts with The Dallas Opera as Frasquita in Carmen, San Diego Opera as Micaëla in Carmen, and Intermountain Opera Bozeman as Tatyana in Eugene Onegin. In the 2017/18 Season, Tucker made her Opera Philadelphia debut where she reprised First Memory in Lembit Beecher’s War Stories, a role which she first premiered with Gotham Chamber Opera in New York City. Additionally, she sang Gilda in Rigoletto with Opera Connecticut and Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi with the Seiji Ozawa Matsumoto Festival. The 2016/17 Season brought her debut with Utah Opera as Micaëla in Carmen, her return to Texas State University as a guest soloist in Stravinsky’s Les Noces, and covering the title role in The Golden Cockerel at Santa Fe Opera. Her 2015/16 Season included several more role debuts with Arizona Opera including Micaëla in Carmen, Rosalba in Florencia en el Amazonas, and Zerlina in Don Giovanni as well as her San Francisco Opera debut as Jano in Jenufa.
Passionate about uncommon works as well as traditional operatic repertoire, Tucker collaborated with conductor Scott Terrell in Lexington Philharmonic’s 2015 Holiday Series, which included the rarely performed “Song of the Angel” by John Tavener. The piece’s haunting duet for soprano and solo violin requires great musical and vocal versatility, which was “stunningly realized by Tucker” (Tedrin Blair Lindsay, Contributing Music Critic, www.kentucky.com). She was also the star of a cutting-edge workshop of composer Clint Borzoni’s The Copper Queen in which she performed the role of Julia Lowell as part of Arizona Opera’s “Arizona Spark” initiative.
Other recent appearances include Norina in Don Pasquale with the Crested Butte Music Festival, and the soprano soloist in Handel’s Messiah with both Lexington Philharmonic and the Christ Cathedral (Crystal Cathedral) in Orange County, CA. Additional past credits include the roles of Contessa Ceprano and Paggio in Rigoletto, and Pamina in Die Zauberflöte at Arizona Opera, for which she received high acclaim. In 2014, Tucker performed Suor Dolcina in Suor Angelica and Contessa Ceprano in Rigoletto with the Crested Butte Music Festival, and the role of Tina in Flight with Opera Fayetteville.
In addition to her success in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Tucker has received numerous awards in several nationwide vocal competitions. She was a finalist in the Fritz & Levinia Jensen Foundation Voice Competition, in the Licia Albanese Puccini Foundation Competition she was a finalist and winner of the Encouragement Award, and she competed in the semifinals of the Dallas Opera Guild and Fort Worth Opera McCammon Vocal Competitions. Tucker is a recent graduate of the University of Cincinnati College‐Conservatory of Music (CCM).
|2/27 & 3/6|
Lauded for her vocal agility and dynamic stage presence, Alyssa Martin is quickly garnering attention as a standout young singer.
Ms. Martin is currently a first-year Marion Roose Pullin Studio Artist at Arizona Opera. This season she will perform Mercédès in Carmen, Meg Page in Falstaff, and Zerlina in Don Giovanni. She will also appear as the mezzo soloist in Handel’s Messiah with the Santa Fe Symphony.
Upcoming engagements include a return to The Santa Fe Opera as an Apprentice Artist, where she will perform the role of Stéphano in Roméo et Juliette and a return to Arizona Opera in the 2016/17 season singing Kitchen Boy in Rusalka, Kate Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly, and Angelinain La Cenerentola.
Ms. Martin’s 2014/15 season included her tenure as an Apprentice Artist at the Santa Fe Opera where she covered Don Ramiro in Mozart’s La finta giardiniera. While at Santa Fe, Ms. Martin also performed scenes as Dorabella in Così fan tutte, and Desdemona in Rossini’s Otello. Other recent engagements include covering Flora and Annina in La traviata and The Page in Salome as an Emerging Artist at Virginia Opera. Ms. Martin was also an Apprentice Artist with Des Moines Metro Opera, where she covered Isolier in Rossini’s Le Comte Ory.
This season, Ms. Martin was named a winner in the Arizona District Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, where she went on to place 3rd in the Western Region Finals. In the 2014/15 season, she was awarded a Career Grant from the Seattle Opera Guild, an Encouragement Grant from the Career Bridges Grant Foundation, and also 2nd prize at the Young Patronesses of the Opera Competition at Florida Grand Opera. She has been the recipient of numerous awards from organizations such as the Orpheus Vocal Competition, Young Patronesses of the Opera, Opera Guild of Dayton, Indianapolis Matinee Musicale, and Utah Festival Opera.
Ms. Martin completed her studies at the prestigious Indiana University Jacobs School of Music where she obtained both a bachelor’s and master’s degree under the instruction of Patricia Stiles and world-renowned soprano, Carol Vaness. On the IU stage she performed roles such as Cherubino in The Marriage of Figaro, Cendrillon in Cendrillon, Dorabella in Così fan tutte, and Prinz Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus. Ms. Martin is a native of Greensboro, NC.
Bass-Baritone Ryan Kuster gained vast attention on the west coast for his accolades in San Francisco, where he recently completed a two-year residency and over 80 performances with the prestigious Adler Fellowship at San Francisco Opera. His performance as Escamillo in their production of Carmen was called “pure bravado.” The Classical Voice said of his performance as Masetto in Don Giovanni, “Handsome Ryan Kuster sang beautifully, and acted so convincingly that it was hard to believe he’s an Adler Fellow.”
This season, North State Symphony will feature Mr. Kuster in a concert with orchestra of his signature repertoire. He will then sing the title role in Don Giovanni at Opera Memphis, Escamillo in Carmen at Opera Grand Rapids and Knoxville Opera, Angelotti in Toscawith Orlando Philharmonic, Alidoro in La Cenerentola at Opera Saratoga, and makes a triumphant return to Dallas Opera in late 2015.
In recent seasons, Kuster made his symphonic début with the Los Angeles Philharmonic singing the role of Masetto in their highly acclaimed production of Don Giovanni, directed by Christopher Alden, with costumes by Rodarte, and led by Mo. Dudamel. He then returned to Wolf Trap Opera to début the title role of Don Giovanni and made his National Symphony début performing Beethoven’sNinth Symphony. Additionally, Ryan sang Alidoro in Nashville Opera’s production of La Cenerentola; sang Masetto in Don Giovanniwith Cincinnati Opera; appeared in Dallas Opera’s production of Turandot; performed Angelotti in Tosca with Madison Opera and Pacific Symphony; Colline in La bohème with Arizona Opera; Escamillo in Carmen with both Opera Colorado (company début) and Virginia Opera; and two roles at Bard SummerScape Opera: Lysiart in Weber’s seldom performed Euryanthe and Brutamonte in Schubert’s hidden gem Fierrabras.
Previous engagements also include Rambaldo in La rondine with Oberlin in Italy; Pantalone in Le donne curiose with Wolf Trap Opera Company; Samin Trouble in Tahiti with Opera Santa Barbara; covering Samuel Ramey in the title role of Bluebeard’s Castle at the Chicago Opera Theater; The Parson, Badger and Woodpecker in The Cunning Little Vixen, Doctor Grenvil in La traviata and Carl Olsen in Street Scene with Chautauqua Opera; Count Ceprano in Rigoletto and Betto in both Gianni Schicchi and Ching’s Buoso’s Ghost with Opera New Jersey; and Ferrando in Il trovatore, Snug in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Frère Laurent in Roméo et Juliette at Opera North.
On the concert stage, Mr. Kuster performed the bass solos in the Fauré Requiem with the Bucks County Symphony, the MozartRequiem with the Neumann College Choir, the bass solos in the Messiah with the Tindley Temple Choir, the title role of Händel’s oratorio Saul with the Marsh Chapel Choir and Collegium, andAdam in Haydn’s The Creation with the Boston University Symphonic Chorus. He also appeared as a featured soloist with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, Ocean City Pops, New Jersey Master Chorale, and Concert Operetta Theater of Philadelphia.
Mr. Kuster recently sang on the Metropolitan Opera stage as a National Council Semi-Finalist. He received a 3rd place prize in the Gerda Lissner International Vocal Competition and received a Grant from the Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation Competition. He also was given the Encouragement Award in the Philadelphia region of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and the Harmon Award from Chautauqua Opera.
His strong relationship with San Francisco Opera began when he joined the Merola Program, where he appeared as Garibaldo inRodelinda, Don Bartolo in Il barbiere di Siviglia, and Dr. Cajus in Die Lustigen Weiber von Windsor in the Schwabacher Scenes Program. Mr. Kuster earned an Artist Diploma at the Academy of Vocal Arts where he performed the roles of the Governor in the world première of Margaret Garwood’s The Scarlet Letter, Schaunard in La bohème, Enrico in Anna Bolena, Oroveso in Norma, the title role in Don Pasquale, Doctor Grenvil in La traviata, Dikoj in Kát’a Kabanová, and Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte.
Mr. Kuster also holds a Master of Music degree from Boston University where he performed the roles of A Man with a Cornet Case in Argento’s Postcard from Morocco, Benoit in La bohème, Garrido in Massenet’s La Navarraise, and Amantio DiNicolao in Gianni Schicchi. Mr. Kuster earned a Bachelor of Music degree from Westminster Choir College.
Recent highlights of Mr. Volpe's career include three broadcasts for the Metropolitan Opera's Live in HD series: Puccini's Gianni Schicchi (with Il tabarro and Suor Angelica), Rossini's Armida, and Verdi's La Traviata, the Verdi Requiem at the Chichester Festival in Chichester, England, and the popular French grand opera Les Huguenots in the role of Marcel at the Bard Festival; the first time the opera was staged in America since the Metropolitan Opera's production 95 years earlier.
In 2007, Mr. Volpe created the role of Antoine Deguiche in the world premiere of David DiChiera and Bernard Uzan's Cyrano for Michigan Opera Theatre. Recordings of the French Grand Opera's Les Huguenots and Michigan Opera Theatre's Cyrano, as well as a DVD of the MET's Armida, were subsequently released and well-received.
In 2013, Mr. Volpe retained a full calendar. Performances for the bass include Ferrando in Il Trovatore at Arizona Opera, Ramfis in Aida at Michigan Opera Theatre, Daland in Der Fliegende Holländer at Glimmerglass Opera, La Forza del Destino at Washington National Opera, Philip II in Don Carlo at Austin Lyric Opera, and Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor at Portland Opera.
Additionally this season, Mr. Volpe will continue his concert roles with the music of Richard Wagner at North Carolina Opera, the Verdi Requiem at Chattanooga Symphony, New Jersey Symphony, and Carnegie Hall, and Die Walküre - Act I, singing the role of Hunding at the American Symphony Orchestra at Bard.
While consistently in demand, Mr. Volpe remains a focused performer, concert soloist, interpreter of song, and talented educator. He was recently invited to teach masters classes and sing concerts as an Opera Week guest artist at Omaha Opera.
Mr. Volpe attributes his technique and knowledge of the bass repertoire to his studies with accomplished Italian basso Nicola Rossi-Lemeni. Over the years, he has honed his repertoire under the batons of notable conductors including Jame Levine, Seiji Ozawa, Valery Gergiev, Sir John Pritchard, Maurizio Arena, Marcello Viotti, Semyon Bychkov, Joe Rescigno, Vincent La Selva, Richard Buckley and Richard Hickox.
Domestically, he has performed at the Metropolitan Opera, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, New York City Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Central City Opera, Florentine Opera, Austin Lyric Opera, Arizona Opera, Atlanta Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Opera Philadelphia, Kentucky Opera, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Santa Fe Opera, Hawaii Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Spoleto Festival USA, Natchez Festival of Music, Palm Beach Opera, Portland Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, Opera Saratoga, Mobile Opera, New Orleans Opera, Washington National Opera and the Bard Festival.
Internationally, he has been acclaimed at the opera houses of Vancouver, Manitoba, Montreal, Ottawa, Edmonton, Tokyo, Kyoto, Shanghai, Beijing, Prague, Colmar, Mulhouse, Imola, Riccione, Strasbourg, Stuttgart, Karlsruhe, Bremen, Dusseldorf, and Saarbrucken.