Giacomo Puccini, in full Giacomo Antonio Domenico Michele Secondo Maria Puccini, (born December 22, 1858, Lucca, Tuscany [Italy]—died November 29, 1924, Brussels, Belgium), Italian composer, one of the greatest exponents of operatic realism, who virtually brought the history of Italian opera to an end. His mature operas included La Bohème (1896), Tosca (1900), Madama Butterfly (1904), and Turandot (left incomplete).
Puccini was the last descendant of a family that for two centuries had provided the musical directors of the Cathedral of San Martino in Lucca. Puccini initially dedicated himself to music, therefore, not as a personal vocation but as a family profession. He was orphaned at the age of five by the death of his father, and the municipality of Lucca supported the family with a small pension and kept the position of cathedral organist open for Giacomo until he came of age. He first studied music with two of his father’s former pupils, and he played the organ in small local churches. A performance of Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida, which he saw in Pisa in 1876, convinced him that his true vocation was opera. In the autumn of 1880 he went to study at the Milan Conservatory, where his principal teachers were Antonio Bazzini, a famous violinist and composer of chamber music, and Amilcare Ponchielli, the composer of the opera La gioconda. On July 16, 1883, he received his diploma and presented as his graduation composition Capriccio sinfonico, an instrumental work that attracted the attention of influential musical circles in Milan. In the same year, he entered Le villi in a competition for one-act operas. The judges did not think Le villi worthy of consideration, but a group of friends, led by the composer-librettist Arrigo Boito, subsidized its production, and its premiere took place with immense success at Milan’s Verme Theatre on May 31, 1884. Le villi was remarkable for its dramatic power, its operatic melody, and, revealing the influence of Richard Wagner’s works, the important role played by the orchestra. The music publisher Giulio Ricordi immediately acquired the copyright, with the stipulation that the opera be expanded to two acts. He also commissioned Puccini to write a new opera for La Scala and gave him a monthly stipend: thus began Puccini’s lifelong association with Giulio Ricordi, who was to become a staunch friend and counselor.
After the death of his mother, Puccini fled from Lucca with a married woman, Elvira Gemignani. Finding in their passion the courage to defy the truly enormous scandal generated by their illegal union, they lived at first in Monza, near Milan, where a son, Antonio, was born. In 1890 they moved to Milan, and in 1891 to Torre del Lago, a fishing village on Lake Massaciuccoli in Tuscany. This home was to become Puccini’s refuge from life, and he remained there until three years before his death, when he moved to Viareggio. But living with Elvira proved difficult. Tempestuous rather than compliant, she was justifiably jealous and was not an ideal companion. The two were finally able to marry in 1904, after the death of Elvira’s husband. Puccini’s second opera, Edgar, based on a verse drama by the French writer Alfred de Musset, had been performed at La Scala in 1889, and it was a failure. Nevertheless, Ricordi continued to have faith in his protégé and sent him to Bayreuth in Germany to hear Wagner’s Die Meistersinger.
Puccini returned from Bayreuth with the plan for Manon Lescaut, based, like the Manon of the French composer Jules Massenet, on the celebrated 18th-century novel by the Abbé Prévost. Beginning with this opera, Puccini carefully selected the subjects for his operas and spent considerable time on the preparation of the librettos. The psychology of the heroine in Manon Lescaut, as in succeeding works, dominates the dramatic nature of Puccini’s operas. Puccini, in sympathy with his public, was writing to move them so as to assure his success. The score of Manon Lescaut, dramatically alive, prefigures the operatic refinements achieved in his mature operas: La Bohème, Tosca, Madama Butterfly, and La fanciulla del west (1910; The Girl of the Golden West). These four mature works also tell a moving love story, one that centres entirely on the feminine protagonist and ends in a tragic resolution. All four speak the same refined and limpid musical language of the orchestra that creates the subtle play of thematic reminiscences. The music always emerges from the words, indissolubly bound to their meaning and to the images they evoke. In Bohème, Tosca, and Butterfly, he collaborated enthusiastically with the writers Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica. The first performance (February 17, 1904) of Madama Butterfly was a fiasco, probably because the audience found the work too much like Puccini’s preceding operas.
In 1908, having spent the summer in Cairo, the Puccinis returned to Torre del Lago, and Giacomo devoted himself to Fanciulla. Elvira unexpectedly became jealous of Doria Manfredi, a young servant from the village who had been employed for several years by the Puccinis. She drove Doria from the house threatening to kill her. Subsequently, the servant girl poisoned herself, and her parents had the body examined by a physician, who declared her a virgin. The Manfredis brought charges against Elvira Puccini for persecution and calumny, creating one of the most famous scandals of the time. Elvira was found guilty, but through the negotiations of the lawyers was not sentenced, and Puccini paid damages to the Manfredis, who withdrew their accusations. Eventually the Puccinis adjusted themselves to a coexistence, but the composer from then on demanded absolute freedom of action.
The premiere of La fanciulla del west took place at the Metropolitan in New York City on December 10, 1910, with Arturo Toscanini conducting. It was a great triumph, and with it Puccini reached the end of his mature period. He admitted “writing an opera is difficult.” For one who had been the typical operatic representative of the turn of the century, he felt the new century advancing ruthlessly with problems no longer his own. He did not understand contemporary events, such as World War I. In 1917 at Monte-Carlo in Monaco, Puccini’s opera La rondine was first performed and then was quickly forgotten.
Always interested in contemporary operatic compositions, Puccini studied the works of Claude Debussy, Richard Strauss, Arnold Schoenberg, and Igor Stravinsky. From this study emerged Il trittico (The Triptych; New York City, 1918), three stylistically individual one-act operas—the melodramatic Il tabarro (The Cloak), the sentimental Suor Angelica, and the comic Gianni Schicchi. His last opera, based on the fable of Turandot as told in the play Turandot by the 18th-century Italian dramatist Carlo Gozzi, is the only Italian opera in the Impressionistic style. Puccini did not complete Turandot, unable to write a final grand duet on the triumphant love between Turandot and Calaf. Suffering from cancer of the throat, he was ordered to Brussels for surgery, and a few days afterward he died with the incomplete score of Turandot in his hands.
Turandot was performed posthumously at La Scala on April 25, 1926, and Arturo Toscanini, who conducted the performance, concluded the opera at the point Puccini had reached before dying. Two final scenes were completed by Franco Alfano from Puccini’s sketches.
Solemn funeral services were held for Puccini at La Scala in Milan, and his body was taken to Torre del Lago, which became the Puccini Pantheon. Shortly afterward, Elvira and Antonio were also buried there. The Puccini house became a museum and an archive.
Luigi Illica (1857 – 1919) was an Italian librettist who wrote for Giacomo Puccini (usually with Giuseppe Giacosa), Pietro Mascagni, Alfredo Catalani, Umberto Giordano, Baron Alberto Franchetti and other important Italian composers. His most famous opera libretti are those for La Bohème, Tosca, Madama Butterfly and Andrea Chénier.
Illica was born at Castell'Arquato. His personal life sometimes imitated his libretti. The reason he is always photographed with his head slightly turned is because he lost his right ear in a duel over a woman. When silent films based on Illica's operas were made, his name appeared in large letters on advertisements because distributors could only guarantee that his stories would be used, and not that they would be accompanied by the music of the appropriate composer.
As a playwright of considerable quality, he is today remembered through one of Italy's oldest awards, the Luigi Illica International Prize founded in 1961, which goes to world famous opera singers, opera conductors, directors and authors. The Award is now awarded every two years and alternates with the Illica Opera Stage International Competition, which offers prizes and debut opportunities to young singers.
Giuseppe Giacosa (1847 – 1906) was an Italian poet, playwright and librettist. He was born in Colleretto Parella, now Colleretto Giacosa, near Turin. His father was a magistrate. Giuseppe went to the University of Turin, studying in the University of Turin, Faculty of Law. Though he gained a degree in law, he did not pursue a legal career.
He gained initial fame for his play Una Partita a Scacchi ("A Game of Chess") in 1871. His main field was playwriting, which he accomplished with both insight and simplicity, using subjects set in Piedmont and themes addressing contemporary bourgeois values. He wrote La signora di Challant (La Dame de Challant, The Lady of Challand), based on a novella by Matteo Bandello, for noted French actress Sarah Bernhardt, produced in New York in 1891.
Giacosa wrote the final polished version of the libretto for Giacomo Puccini's Manon Lescaut, which had been begun by Ruggero Leoncavallo, Marco Praga, Domenico Oliva, and Luigi Illica. He also wrote the librettos used by Puccini for La Bohème, Tosca and Madama Butterfly in conjunction with Luigi Illica. Illica supplied the plot and dialogue, and Giacosa polished the libretto into verses.
Recipient of The 2017 Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award, Christopher Allen is featured in Opera News as “one of the fastest-rising podium stars in North America.” He has led acclaimed performances with the Atlanta Symphony, Los Angeles Opera, Opera Philadelphia, English National Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Washington National Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, Florida Grand Opera, Atlanta Opera, Daegu Opera House in South Korea and China National Opera Orchestra and Chorus. As The John L. Magro Resident Conductor for Cincinnati Opera, Maestro Allen has joined the company for three consecutive seasons, in addition to leading the Cincinnati Symphony in the annual Washington Park Concert each summer. In the 2019/20 Season, Allen returned to Florida Grand Opera and Michigan Opera Theatre to conduct Mozart’s Don Giovanni. He conducted his debut at Arizona Opera in Puccini’s La bohème. In the beginning of the 2020 Season, Christopher toured the United States as music director of the Bel Canto Trio. Shortly thereafter, many debuts and performances at Opera Omaha’s One Festival, Opéra de Montréal, Oper Frankfurt, and Cincinnati Opera were canceled due to COVID-19.
Allen’s career was launched by the Bruno Walter Conducting Award and Memorial Career Grant and has been fostered by Plácido Domingo and James Conlon, who brought him to Los Angeles Opera as Associate Conductor. At LA Opera, Allen led the musical preparation for the acclaimed The Ghosts of Versailles, which won a Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording. In addition to earning recognition as a Musical America Artist of the Month and one of their “25 Stars Still Rising,” Allen is a recipient of a Solti Foundation US Career Assistance Award and an International Opera Awards nominee. He recently received the Young Alumni Award from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.
Allen’s artistic pursuits extend beyond his role as conductor. He demonstrates his commitment to education through his work with young artists at Los Angeles Opera, Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago, New England Conservatory, A.J. Fletcher Institute at University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and Aspen Music Festival and School. Allen has been heard on NPR speaking about the importance of the arts in American society. As an award-winning pianist, he has performed at Carnegie Hall, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and mostly recently on film in La voix humaine, starring Patricia Racette and directed by James Darrah.
When not in rehearsal or onstage, Allen enjoys his work as a multimedia visual artist and playwright. His artistic short film NIOBE, that he wrote and directed during the COVID-19 lockdown, was selected by numerous film festivals. It has gone on to win awards for Best First Time Director, Best Screen Dance Short, and Best Dance Film. Allen is also the Creative Director of Shokat Projects, a production company dedicated to the creation of new, interdisciplinary works.
David Paul is an award-winning director for opera, theater, and film. Born in Germany and based in Brooklyn, his work incorporates material spanning five centuries and all genres, and strives to make performance a medium for direct, human communication, regardless of the platform.
His work has been praised by the New York Times and Washington Post for its energy, humor, and emotional depth, and has been seen across four continents in five languages. As a director for opera, Paul is in high demand across the world. Recent credits include productions for LA Opera (Salome), the Metropolitan Opera / Juilliard (Iphigenie en Aulide), Washington National Opera (An American Soldier, The Marriage of Figaro), North Carolina Opera (Il trovatore, Aida), Wolf Trap Opera (The Marriage of Figaro), Opera Saratoga (The Marriage of Figaro), and Music Academy of the West (The Rake's Progress, The Magic Flute, Cinderella, Carmen, The Bartered Bride). On the theatrical stage, he has directed at Washington's Shakespeare Theatre Company (Julius Caesar, Hamlet), Alaska's Perseverance Theatre (Blood Wedding), Columbia University (The Seagull, Eurydice, The House of Blue Leaves), and served as Assistant Director on the Broadway production of Terrence McNally's Master Class. Driving innovation in the arts, Paul has been involved in several major genre-bending ventures. He developed, wrote, and directed the film Dichterliebe: POETLOVE, a cinematic adaptation of classical songs from the 19th Century by Robert Schumann, winning awards from the Hong Kong Art House Film Festival, Geneva Film Festival, and IndieFest, and screening at festivals around the world.
He also co-curated The Romeo and Juliet Project, a new retelling of the classic story through words, music, and dance, based on the various classic adaptations in different genres, which celebrated its triumphant premiere at the Chautauqua Institution during the 2013 season.
Upcoming ventures include Opera in VR, a set of short films featuring operatic scenes shot in 360-degree virtual reality; AfterWARds, a 90-minute, 4-character reinvention of Mozart's Idomeneo; The Baron, an adaptation of the life story of tennis legend Gottfried von Cramm; as well as various music-video related projects. Equally passionate about training the next generation of singing actors, Paul has rapidly gained recognition as one of his generation's most dynamic directors and acting teachers for young singers.
He is on the faculty at the Juilliard School and the Metropolitan Opera's Young Artist Development Program, with productions at educational institutions including Boston University's Opera Institute The Marriage of Figaro), Juilliard (Il cambiale di Matrimonio, La scala di seta), Berlin Opera Academy (The Marriage of Figaro), the Tel Aviv Summer Opera Festival (The Bear), and Westminster Choir College (Iolanta, The Tales of Hoffmann, Così fan tutte, Il re pastore, Il trionfo del tempo).
He has also given master classes in Japan, China, Israel, and the United States. David Paul studied acting and directing at Columbia University, and apprenticed with directors Robert Falls, Michael Kahn, and Stephen Wadsworth.
Highlights of the 2017/18 season include debuts with Pittsburgh Opera and the Houston Grand Opera's Young Artist Program.
|January 24, 26 and February 1|
Beloved by critics and audiences alike, American soprano Ellie Dehn has shared her exceptional skills with many of the world's finest opera houses and orchestras, including The Metropolitan Opera, Teatro alla Scala, Royal Opera House, Bayerische Staatsoper, San Francisco Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Houston Grand Opera, San Diego Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Santa Cecilia, and the opera houses of Geneva, Rome, and Bologna. Hailed for her versatility, she revels in productions and oratorio work encompassing an exceptionally broad repertoire, and she has emerged as a specialist in works by Mozart.
In the 2018/2019 season, Dehn makes her role debut as the title role in Strauss’ Arabella with the San Francisco Opera, and returns to Opera Colorado in her signature portrayal of the Countess in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro. On the concert stage, she will join the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus as the soprano soloist in Kristopher Jon Anthony’s Requiem, When We No Longer Touch, commemorating the organization’s 40th anniversary, return to the Milwaukee Symphony for Handel’s Messiah, and will join the Boston Youth Symphony as Mimi in Puccini’s La Bohème.
Last season, Dehn made her role debut as the title role in Massenet’s Manon at the San Francisco Opera opposite tenor Michael Fabiano and returned to the Grand Théâtre de Genève as the Countess in Figaro Gets a Divorce; a modern addition to the Figaro trilogy composed by Elena Langer. Concert appearances included Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Dallas Symphony conducted by Jaap Van Zweden to conclude the Music Director’s farewell season with the company, Handel’s Messiah at Saint Thomas Church in New York City, with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, and with the Florida Orchestra, as well as Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Tuscon Symphony.
Dehn’s 2016/2017 season included her company debut at the Teatro di San Carlo as Musetta in La Bohème, and her return to San Francisco Opera in the same role. She also returned to San Diego Opera for her role debut as Alice Ford in Verdi’s Falstaff conducted by Daniele Callegari. Dehn returned to the roster of The Metropolitan Opera and joined the Orchestra of St. Luke’s for Hadyn’s Creation as part of the St. Thomas music series.
|January 25 and February 2|
A winner of the 2014 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, 2015 George London Award, 2015 Elizabeth Connell prize for aspiring dramatic sopranos, and recipient of a 2015 Sara Tucker Study Grant, soprano Julie Adams has been praised by The New York Times for possessing a voice that is “rich, full and slightly earthy in an expressive way.” The 2019/20 Season sees Adams returning to Arizona Opera as Mimì in La bohème after her 2018/19 house debut with Arizona Opera as Anna Sorensen in Silent Night by Kevin Puts. In the 2018/19 Season Adams made her house debut with Des Moines Metro Opera as Mimì in La bohème, and was featured in recital under the auspices of the George London Foundation. Orchestral engagements included Beethoven’s Symphony Number 9 with the Phoenix Symphony conducted by Tito Muñoz, and a concert version of West Side Story with the Oakland Symphony.
The 2017/18 Season saw Adams return to San Francisco Opera as a guest artist in Francesca Zambello’s production of Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen, singing Freia in Das Rheingold and Gerhilde in Die Walküre. Additional engagements included her house and role debut as Countess in The Marriage of Figaro at Michigan Opera Theatre, conducted by Stephen Lord and her house debut at Opera Idaho as Blanche in Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire.
Highlights at San Francisco Opera include Mimì conducted by Carlo Montanaro, First Lady in the Jun Kanako production of The Magic Flute, Kate Pinkerton in Madame Butterfly, Kristina in Makropulos Case, Cesira in the world premiere of Marco Tutino’s La Ciociara, and covering both Eva in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg and the title role in Jenůfa.
Additional operatic highlights include appearances as Mimì in La bohème and Anna Sørensen in Silent Night with Opera San Jose, her role debut as Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire as part of the 2014 Merola Opera Program, Lia in Debussy’s L’Enfant Prodigue at the International Vocal Arts Institute in Tel Aviv, Pamina in The Magic Flute at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, and Magnolia Hawks in Show Boat and Rose in Street Scene with the Oakland East Bay Symphony. Additional roles include Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte, Blanche in The Dialogues of the Carmelites, and Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. On the recital stage Adams was featured as part of the Schwabacher Debut Recital series with John Churchwell, which the San Francisco Chronicle praised her “combination of plush tone and seeming effortless vocal power.”
Orchestral performances include Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with Contra Costa Wind Symphony, and a chamber concert with San Francisco Opera musicians as part of SF Opera Lab’s Chamberworks Concerts, with repertoire including Morgen! by Strauss, Previn’s Vocalise, Eternamente by Ponchielli, and Chausson’s Chanson Perpetuelle. Haydn’s Mass in C Major with Oakland East Bay Symphony, Brahms’ Requiem, and Vivaldi’s Gloria with Ventura College Orchestra, and a set of five Joseph Marx Lieder with the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Orchestra.
A native of Burbank, California, Adams holds both Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music where she was awarded the Phyllis C Wattis Memorial Scholarship.
|January 24, 26 and February 1|
Named “a born bel canto tenor” by The New York Times, Guatemalan tenor Mario Chang’s 2022/23 Season sees his house debut with Hong Kong Opera as Alfredo in La Traviata, as well as house debuts at Ópera de Oviedo as the title role in Ernani and his role debut as Cavaradossi in Tosca with Teatro de la Maestranza. Additional engagements include Verdi’s Requiem with the LA Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl conducted by music director Gustavo Dudamel, and with the South Florida Master Chorale.
The 2021/22 Season saw Chang’s house debut with Palm Beach Opera as Nemorino in The Elixir of Love conducted by music director David Stern, and an appearance as a featured performer on the Bolshoi Theater’s 2022 gala alongside René Pape, Placido Domingo, Angela Gheorghiu, Eva Maria Westbroek, and Marco Armiliato. Orchestral engagements included Verdi’s Messa da Requiem with the Washington National Cathedral, and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with San Francisco Symphony conducted by Daniel Stewart and with San Diego Symphony conducted by music director Rafael Payare.
Operatic highlights include multiple performances at The Metropolitan Opera including as Nemorino in The Elixir of Love, the Italian Tenor in Der Rosenkavalier opposite Renée Fleming, Arturo in Lucia di Lammermoor, and the Fourth Squire in Parsifal. Additional operatic highlights include Rodolfo in La Bohème conducted by Gustavo Dudamel and Ismaele in Nabucco at Los Angeles Opera, Rodolfo in La Bohéme and Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor at Santa Fe Opera, and Alfredo in La Traviata with Washington National Opera, Atlanta Opera, Oper Frankfurt, and North Carolina Opera. Chang made his house and role debuts as the title role in Massenet’s Werther with Opéra Orchestre National Montpellier, his house debut at Norwegian National Opera as the Duke in Rigoletto, and at Arizona Opera as Rodolfo in La Bohème. Highlights at Oper Frankfurt include performances as Lenski in Yevgeny Onegin, the Italian Singer in Capriccio, Cassio in Otello, the Italian Tenor in Der Rosenkavalier, the Duke in Rigoletto, the title role in Roberto Devereux, and Rodolfo in La Bohème.
Orchestral highlights include Chang’s Hollywood Bowl debut as Cassio in Otello with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Gustavo Dudamel, the Italian Tenor in Der Rosenkavalier with the National Symphony Orchestra, Mozart’s Requiem with the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Guatemala, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Orquesta Sinfónica Centroamericana in Nicaragua, a concert in Puerto Rico honoring Giuseppe Verdi with Teatro de la Opera, his debut with the Orchestre Symphonique de Bretagne in Rennes, France, and as a guest soloist with the St. Petersburg State Capella Symphony Orchestra. Chang made his Carnegie Hall debut in a concert with the Musical Olympus Foundation and then returned to appear in recital as part of the Marilyn Horne Song Foundation.
Honors and awards include First Prize, Zarzuela Prize, and audience favorite at the 2014 Operalia Competition, Top Prize in the 2014 Gerda Lissner Foundation competition, a Festival Musique et Vin au Clos Vougeot career grant in 2013, a 2012 Hildegard Behrens Foundation Award grant for promising Young Classical Artists, and the 2011 overall First Prize, Plácido Domingo Prize, and ‘Amigos de Sabadell’ Prize in the Francisco Viñas Competition at the Teatro del Liceu, Barcelona. Chang has also received awards from the Concurso de Canto Lírico de Trujillo, Perú, and the Asociación Artista del Año and Asociación Dante Alighieri in Guatemala.
Chang is founder and director of Querido Arte Opera de Guatemala, the first opera company in Guatemala, a Center for the Development of the Arts (Centro de Perfeccionamiento para las Artes), and a youth orchestra and chorus program, creating a platform for the development and promotion for the arts and supporting hundreds of young musicians and emerging artists to reach their dreams. In recognition of this work, Chang was appointed with the ‘Medalla del Quetzal’ and ‘Cambio de la Rosa de la Paz’ by the Ministry of Culture and Sports of his country, making him ambassador of peace and culture in Guatemala.
Chang was a member of the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program at The Metropolitan Opera and holds an Advanced Diploma in Opera Studies program at the Juilliard School.
|January 25 and February 2|
Yongzhao Yu, who won the Audience Choice Award and the Ana María Martínez Encouragement Award in HGO’s 2015 Eleanor McCollum Competition Concert of Arias, is currently in his third season in the HGO Studio. In the 2016/2017 season he made his HGO stage debut as a Winged Angel in the world premiere of Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s It’s a Wonderful Life. He has performed Flavio in Norma with the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing, Naulz in Visitors on the Icy Mountain with the Shanghai Grand Theater, and Alfredo in La Traviata in the concert hall of the Shanghai Oriental Art Center. He has performed in concert in the Grand Theatre of the Suzhou Culture and Arts Center and in an Eternal Verdi concert in Shanghai in honor of the bicentenary of Verdi’s birth. Further awards include first prize in Opera Concorso.
In summer 2016, he made his role debut as Rodolfo in La Bohème with Wolf Trap Opera. This past summer he sang Alfredo in La Traviata with Sacramento Philharmonic, the Aspen Opera Center, and in mainstage performances at Houston Grand Opera. He will also be heard at HGO as Flavio in Norma, as well as in recital at Houston’s Rienzi Museum. In the 2018/2019 season, Yu returns to HGO as Rodolfo and will join the roster of The Metropolitan Opera for the first time to cover Alfredo in the new production by Michael Mayer. Future engagements include debuts with Seattle Opera and Arizona Opera.
|January 24, 26 and February 1|
South Korean baritone Joo Won Kang continues to establish himself as one of the most talented baritones today, popular both with audience and critics.
As the 2017/18 season commences, Kang returns to San Francisco Opera, as Ping in the company’s opening-night production of Turandot. A member of the 2011 Merola Opera Program, he was later an Adler Fellow and appeared onstage at SFO in various roles, including Captain Gardiner in Jake Heggie’s Moby Dick, which was televised nationally on PBS and released on DVD. Later this season will mark Mr. Kang’s company debuts with Arizona Opera (Figaro in The Barber of Seville) and Opera Theatre of St. Louis (Germont in La Traviata).
Highlights of Kang’s 2016/17 season included his debut at Ireland’s Wexford Festival, where he sang the leading role of Corrado in Donizetti’s Maria de Rudenz, with great success. Opera News called his “the standout voice of this year’s festival.” He performed the role of Chou En-lai in John Adam’s Nixon in China with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, conducted by the composer, and appeared with Opera Maine as Germont.
Kang sang the title role in Eugene Onegin with North Carolina Opera in 2015-2016, a season during which he also performed the Barbiere Figaro with Fort Worth Opera, and made his debut in Les Pêcheurs de Perles with Seattle Opera. In addition, Mr. Kang returned to Wolf Trap Opera to sing Sharpless in Madama Butterfly with the National Symphony Orchestra.
He was the first-prize winner of Fort Worth Opera’s 2014 McCammon Voice Competition, which led to recital appearances both in Fort Worth and New York City. He has also garnered top prizes in such important vocal competitions as the Gerda Lissner International Competition, Opera Index Vocal Competition, Giulio Gari International Competition, Palm Beach International Competition, and the Ades Vocal Competition at Manhattan School of Music, as well as a Semi-Finalist placement in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.
|January 25 and February 2|
Originally from Hermosillo, Mexico, baritone Octavio Moreno received his Bachelor degree in Voice at the Universidad de Sonora and his Master in Music at the University of Houston. Moreno participated in the young artist program at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia with teacher Bill Schuman, followed by the Houston Grand Opera Studio with teacher Stephen King. Moreno won third place in the 2008 Eleanor McCollum Competition for Young Singers and represented Mexico in the 2009 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition and the 2010 Paris International competition, as well as third place in the Carlo Morelli Competition in Mexico City. Moreno Made first place in both 2001 Mariana de Gonitch competition in Cuba and 2004 Premio Ciudad Trujillo in Peru.
Moreno participated with the Chicago Lyric Opera, New York City Opera, Houston Grand Opera, San Diego Opera, Arizona Opera, Bellas Artes Opera in Mexico City, and the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris, France among others. Moreno has premiered the role Xihuitl in the second Mariachi Opera El Pasado Nunca Se Termina, and the Role of Laurentino in the first mariachi opera Cruzar la Cara de la Luna. Ha has also sung Marcello in La Boheme, Tonio in Pagliacci, Zurga in Les Pêcheurs de Perles, Don Alfonso in Mozart’s Cosi fan Tutte, Vronsky in Anna Karenina, John Proctor in The Crucible, Germont in La Traviata followed by Malatesta in Don Pasquale, Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor and the title role of Rigoletto in Verdi’s Rigoletto, Sourin in Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades, Belcore in Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love, and as a Noble in Wagner’s Lohengrin to name just a few. Moreno made his Symphonic debut performing with the San Antonio Symphony in the ‘Estancia’ Ballet, singing the Baritone Solo.
Future engagements include a concert with the Sunriver Festival.
|January 24, 26 and February 1|
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.
|January 25 and February 2|
A former Marion Roose Pullin Arizona Opera Studio Artist, Louisiana-born soprano Cadie J. Bryan has been praised by Opera News as “sparkling” and “pertly pealing”. Recent highlights include a number of house debuts including The Dallas Opera in concert for the Hart Institute for Women Conductors, Opera Las Vegas as Addie Mills in the west coast premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon’s The House Without a Christmas Tree, and The Atlanta Opera as Berta in The Barber of Seville, as well as a return to Arizona Opera to reprise the role of Despina.
In the summer of 2021, she debuted the roles of Clarine in Rameau's Platée under the baton of Gary Thor Wedow, and Prilepa in Queen of Spades as an Ensemble Artist at Des Moines Metro Opera. Prior to the COVID-19 shut down, she was slated to sing the role of Naiade in Ariadne auf Naxos at Arizona Opera where she completed two years as a Marion Roose Pullin Studio Artist (2018-2020). In her final season, she performed four main stage roles including Bess in Craig Bohmler’s Riders of the Purple Sage, Musetta in La Bohème, Lucy in Fellow Travelers, and Maid in the Taliesin West Premier of Daron Hagen’s Shining Brow.
In her 2018-2019 season, she made her main stage debut at Arizona Opera as Chan Parker in Daniel Schnyder's and Bridgette Wimberly’s Charlie Parker’s Yardbird, as well as Annina in La Traviata, and Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro. As an apprentice artist at Des Moines Metro Opera, she made her main stage debut as the Second Wood Sprite in an Emmy Award-winning production of Rusalka (2017).
Bryan is an alumnus of Ravinia’s Steans Institute for singers (2017, 2018) where she studied and performed in a variety of art song and Lieder recitals with world-renowned pianists and coaches. Other career highlights include Clara in Jake Heggie’s and Gene Scheer's It’s A Wonderful Life (2017), Marian in The Music Man (2017), Zerlina in Don Giovanni (2014), and Lisette in La Rondine (2014).
She received a Master of Music and a Performance Diploma from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music under the tutelage of soprano Heidi Grant Murphy and her Bachelor of Music from Louisiana State University with baritone Dennis Jesse.
Brandon Morales, Bass-Baritone and graduate of the Marion Roose Pullin Studio Artist Program, has performed with opera companies all over the US - stretching from the Pacific northwest’s Portland Opera to Virginia Opera on the East coast. Morales has recently completed two years with Virginia Opera’s Heardon Foundation Emerging Artist’s Program with highlights including Bartolo in The Barber of Seville, Peter Quince in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Jose Castro/Billy Jackrabbit in La Fanciulla del West, and the Mother in Weill’s Seven Deadly Sins.
A graduate of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music, he has been highly active in the Ohio area performing with Dayton Opera, NANO Works, Cincinnati Chamber Opera, Queen City Chamber Opera, Cincinnati College-Conservatory, Cincinnati Opera, participated in Toledo Opera’s Resident Artist program, and performed the roles of Friedrich von Telramund in Lohengrin and the Dutchman in Die Fliegende Holländer in concert with the Wagner Society of Cincinnati, where he is a part of their blooming Wagner studio. A native of San Antonio, TX, Morales currently enjoys the vagabond life of performing, but misses his faithful cat, Elsie.
Recognized for his “impressive singing … well-supported tone and supple phrasing,” (Baltimore Sun) baritone Rob McGinness‘ recent venue debuts include Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center Concert Hall. This season Rob joins Arizona Opera as a member of the Marion Roose Pullin Arizona Opera Studio, performing multiple roles including Schaunard in La Bohème, Harlekin in Ariadne auf Naxos and the lead role in Shining Brow, Darren Hagen’s opera about Frank Lloyd Wright. Other highlights this season include Orff’s Carmina Burana with the Maryland Symphony Orchestra.
Often featured portraying opera’s “bad boy,” Rob’s operatic credits include the title roles in Eugene Onegin and Don Giovanni, as well as Marcello in La Bohème. Rob has made a specialty in Russian repertoire, performing leading roles in Rimski-Krosakov’s Tsar’s Bride, Mozart and Salieri, Snow Maiden, Sadko as well as Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta. Other famous roles include Enrico in Lucia, Count Almaviva in The Marriage of Figaro, and Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus, a performance lauded for a “bright baritone and winning jitteriness” by the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
As a featured soloist, Rob performed Mahler’s Songs of a Wayfarer, the Duruflé Requiem with the Peabody Symphony Orchestra, and the Brahms Requiem with Portsmouth Pro Musica. Other concert credits include Carmina Burana with Columbia Pro Cantare and Brahms’s Requiem with The Washington Chorus, where Rob’s performance was lauded by the Washington Post for his “warm baritone.”
Committed to promoting and performing new works, Rob regularly premieres new roles, including Ed Wall in Frances Pollock’s award-winning opera Stinney, and Saul Hodkin/Price in The Ghost Train by Paul Crabtree. Rob’s own compositions include vocal, theatrical and orchestral pieces premiered at IngenuityFest, Andy’s Summer Playhouse, and by the Windham Orchestra in Vermont.
Rob holds degrees from Oberlin Conservatory and the Peabody Institute, and was a young artist with Pittsburgh Festival Opera, Teatro Nuovo, and Bel Canto at Caramoor. His awards include first place in the Sylvia Greene Vocal Competition, second place in the Piccola Opera Competition, and the Patricia A. Edwards Award in the Annapolis Opera Vocal Competition.
Boasting a career of performances with major opera companies and orchestras worldwide, bass-baritone Jake Gardner remains one of the opera world’s most sought-after singing actors.
Having sung a decade as principal baritone with Oper der Stadt Köln under the baton of James Conlon, his long and distinguished career has included performances with such notable companies as Wiener Volksopera, Dresden’s Semper Oper, Glyndebourne Festival, De Nederlandse Opera, Edinburgh Festival as well as Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Washington National Opera, New York City Opera, Florida Grand Opera and a host of excellent American regional companies.
Career highlights include a world tour and film of Peter Brook’s Le Tragédie de Carmen; a landmark production of Così fan Tutte with Trevor Nunn and Simon Rattle at the Glyndebourne Festival, and the world premier of William Bolcom’s A Wedding directed by Robert Altman commemorating Lyric Opera of Chicago’s 50th Anniversary season.
Equally at home in the operetta and musical theater traditions, Gardner has recently appeared in productions of Annie Get Your Gun (Buffalo Bill) and The Music Man (Mayor Shin) with the Glimmerglass Festival, Merry Widow (Baron Zeta) with Los Angeles Opera, A Little Night Music (Frederic) with Hawai’i Opera Theater, Die Fledermaus (Frank) and HMS Pinafore (Sir Joseph Porter) as well as a critically-acclaimed portrayal of Judge Turpin (Sweeney Todd), all with Virginia Opera. He returned to the role of Judge Turpin in recent seasons with Houston Grand Opera, Mill City Summer Opera as well as Eugene Opera where he also made a triumphant debut in the role of Prince Gremin in Eugene Onegin in the 2015/2016 season.
For the 2016/2017 season, Gardner made his Indianapolis Opera debut as Harold Ryan in the highly-anticipated world premiere production of Richard Auldon Clark’s and Kurt Vonnegut’s Happy Birthday Wanda June, celebrated his 100th role performance as the Hermit in Der Freischütz for Virginia Opera, made his debut with Anchorage Opera in the company’s 55th Anniversary Gala Concerts as well as Opera San Antonio in the role of Dr. Bartolo, and sang the role of Scarpia opposite his wife, soprano Jill Gardner’s Tosca, for Piedmont Opera and Opera Coeur d’Alene. During the 2017/2018 season, Gardner sings the role of Ashby in Virginia Opera’s La Fanciulla del West, returns to Eugene Opera for Dr. Bartolo in The Barber of Seville, debuts the role of Sulpice in The Daughter of the Regiment with Hawai’i Opera Theater and returns to Opera San Antonio for performances of Benoit/Alcindoro in Puccini’s La Bohème. For the upcoming 2018/2019, he will return to the Lyric Opera of Chicago for performances of Benoit/Alcindoro in Puccini’s La Bohème and will debut the role of Le Bailli in Werther for Florida Grand Opera. On the concert stage, he returns to the Binghamton Philharmonic for Wagner’s Ring Cycle in One Night, under the baton of Daniel Hege.