Roméo & Juliette
Charles Gounod (June 17, 1818 - October 18, 1893) was a French composer noted particularly for his operas, of which the most famous is Faust.
Gounod’s father was a painter and his mother was a capable pianist who gave Gounod his early training in music. Gounod was educated at the Lycée Saint-Louis, where he remained until 1835. After taking his degree in philosophy, Gounod began to study music with the Bohemian composer Anton Reicha. On Reicha’s death Gounod entered the Paris Conservatoire, where he studied under Fromental Halévy and Jean-François Lesueur. Three years later Gounod's cantata Fernand won him the Prix de Rome for music, an award that entailed a three-year stay in Rome at the Villa Medici.
In Italy Gounod devoted a considerable amount of his attention to the works of Giovanni da Palestrina, an Italian Renaissance composer. From Rome Gounod proceeded to Vienna, where a mass and requiem, composed in Italy, were performed in 1842 and 1843. Returning to Paris, he passed through Prague, Dresden, and Berlin and met Felix Mendelssohn in Leipzig.
In Paris, Gounod became organist and choirmaster at the Church of the Missions Étrangères, and for two years he mainly studied theology. In 1846 Gounod entered the seminary of Saint-Sulpice but in 1847 decided against taking holy orders. A requiem and a Te Deum that he had started writing the previous year remained unfinished, and he turned to composing for the operatic stage.
The reception of his earliest operas, Sapho (1851) and La Nonne sanglante (1854), was not very enthusiastic despite favorable reviews by the composer Hector Berlioz. In his Messe de Sainte-Cécile (1855) Gounod attempted to blend the sacred with a more secular style of composition. An excursion into comic opera followed with Le Médecin malgré lui (1858), based on Molière’s comedy. From 1852 Gounod worked on Faust, using a libretto by M. Carré and J. Barbier based on J.W. von Goethe’s tragedy. The production of Faust on March 19, 1859, marked a new phase in the development of French opera. This work has continued to overshadow all of Gounod’s subsequent stage works, including Philémon et Baucis (1860), La Colombe (1860), the fairly successful Mireille (1864) based on a Provençal poem by Frédéric Mistral, and Roméo and Juliette (1867).
In 1852 Gounod had become conductor of the Orphéon Choral Society in Paris, for which he wrote a number of choral works, including two masses. From 1870 he spent five years in London, formed a choir to which he gave his name (and which later became the Royal Choral Society), and devoted himself almost entirely to the writing of oratorios. Gallia, a lamentation for solo soprano, chorus, and orchestra, inspired by the French military defeat of 1870, was first performed in 1871 and was followed by the oratorios La Rédemption and Mors et Vita in 1882 and 1885. He was made a grand officier of the Legion of Honour in 1888.
Gounod’s melodic vein is unmistakably original, though often oversentimental. Gounod knew how to write for the voice and was also a skillful orchestrator; but in his operas his sense of musical characterization, though rarely devoid of charm, is often excessively facile, and the religiosity displayed in his sacred music is too often superficial. Gounod's Meditation (Ave Maria) superimposed on Johann Sebastian Bach’s Prelude in C Major (from The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I) illustrates both his inventiveness and ease as a melodist and his naïveté in matters of style. The operas Faust, Mireille, and Le Médecin malgré lui show his melodic talents at their best.
Jules Barbier, one of the most important librettists of the 19th century, began his career with the production of his intermède, L'Ombre de Molière, at the Comédie-Française (1847). In the years that followed, Barbier worked with Labiche, Decourcelle and Battu but, between 1849 and 1872, his main collaborator was Michel Carré, with whom he produced plays, comedies, vaudevilles, and opera librettos. The prolific Barbier-Carré duo was responsible for many of the most famous works on the French opera stage. For Gounod, they wrote the librettos for the Médecin malgré lui (1858), Faust (1859), Philémon et Baucis (1860), La Reine de Saba (1862), and Roméo and Juliette (1867); for Meyerbeer, Le Pardon de Ploërmel (1859); and for Ambroise Thomas, Psyché (1857), Mignon (1866), Hamlet (1868), and Françoise de Rimini (1882).
After Carré’s death, Barbier worked with Léo Delibes (the ballet Sylvia, 1876) and with Offenbach (The Tales of Hoffmann, 1881). Barbier translated lieder by Schumann and wrote several librettos in collaboration with his son Pierre, including Daphnis et Chloé for Henri Maréchal (1899) and Le Tasse for Eugène d’Harcourt (1903). Barbier’s librettos adapted various world-famous literary masterpieces (Corneille, Shakespeare, Goethe) for the opera stage. Although these models were, by necessity, simplified, they were not changed beyond recognition and lived up to the expectations of composers and audiences alike in the French Second Empire and the early years of the Third Republic. After the fire at the second Salle Favart, Barbier was appointed acting director of the Opéra-Comique (May-December 1887).
From Bru Zane Mediabase
Born in Besançon, Michel Carré moved to Paris in 1840 to take painting lessons with Paul Delaroche, but soon turned to writing. After the publication of his first work of literature, Les Folles Rimes et Poëmes (1842), Carré began a career as a playwright with the one-act play La Jeunesse de Luther (1843, Odéon). In line with widespread practice at the time, Carré worked in collaboration with Jules Verne, Adolphe de Leuven or Eugène Cormon, the co-author of the libretto for Bizet’s Pêcheurs de perles. However, Carré's main collaborator was Jules Barbier, with whom he produced plays, comedies, vaudevilles, and opera librettos.
Carré and Barbier were Gounod’s librettists of choice, and for him they wrote Le Médecin malgré lui (1858), Faust (1859), Philémon et Baucis (1860), La Reine de Saba (1862) and Roméo and Juliette (1867). They also collaborated with Meyerbeer on Le Pardon de Ploërmel (1859) and with Ambroise Thomas on Mignon (1866), and Hamlet (1868). Extremely prolific, Carré and Barbier adapted various world-famous masterpieces of literature for the opera stage, favoring works by Dante, Shakespeare, or Goethe. This led them to be judged somewhat over-harshly by some because, although they simplified their models and focused on their sentimental dimension, they did remain faithful to their spirit.
From Bru Zane Mediabase
|March 2, 9, & 10
American tenor Terrence Chin-Loy, whom Opera News described as having a "beautiful lyric tenor voice” pairs passionate performance with a full, sweet sound. In the 2022/23 Season, Chin-Loy will perform Tamino in The Magic Flute with the National Taichung Theater in Taiwan as well as at Arizona Opera, Don José in Carmen with MasterVoices at Lincoln Center, Old Head 2 and Charlie in the world premiere of Factotum with Lyric Opera of Chicago, Acis in Acis and Galatea with Eugene Opera, and join the roster of The Metropolitan Opera to cover the role of Arbace in Idomeneo. In concert, Chin-Loy joins the North Carolina Symphony for Mozart’s Requiem, and the Boise Philharmonic for a performance of Hailstork’s I Will Life Mine Eyes as well as a residency with the College of Idaho.
Chin-Loy opened the 2021/22 Season in his solo debut at The Metropolitan Opera in Terence Blanchard's Fire Shut Up In My Bones. Chin-Loy returned to Arizona Opera for his second and final season as a Marion Roose Pullin Resident Artist where he performed Henrik Egerman in A Little Night Music and Ferrando in Così fan tutte and Benny Paret Jr. in Boston Lyric Opera’s production of Champion. In concert, Chin-Loy performed and recorded Taneyev’s At the Reading of a Psalm with the American Symphony Orchestra and Leon Botstein at Carnegie Hall.
In the 2020/21 Season, Chin-Loy sang a series of concerts with Arizona Opera as a member of the Studio, and joined the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival in Twin Stars, a piece by Daniel Bernard Roumain about the shooting of Philando Castile. Chin-Loy also appeared in William Grant Still's Highway 1 as a Gerdine Young Artist at Opera Theatre Saint Louis. In the 2019/20 Season, Chin-Loy joined the roster of The Metropolitan Opera as Mingo (Cover) in Porgy and Bess and the New York Festival of Song as a part of the Vocal Rising Stars series at Caramoor.
Chin-Loy 's favorite roles include Idomeneo in Idomeneo: afterWARds (Pittsburgh Opera), director David Paul's retelling of Mozart's masterpiece with the composer's original music, Edgardo in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor (Indiana University), and Younger Thompson in Tom Cipullo's Glory Denied (Pittsburgh Opera, Penn Square Music Festival). Chin-Loy was happy to make his Carnegie Hall debut in Handel's Messiah in the 2018/19 Season.
Chin-Loy is a graduate of Indiana University, where he received a Performer Diploma, and holds degrees from Mannes College and Yale University. At Mannes, Chin-Loy performed the roles of Laurie in Mark Adamo's Little Women and Bill in the New York premiere of Jonathan Dove's Flight with Mannes Opera, and received the Michael Sisca Opera Award, the school's top prize for an opera singer. Chin-Loy holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Yale University, where his studies concentrated on Music Theory and Musicology. While at Yale, Chin-Loy was also a frequent performer with the Yale Baroque Opera Project, with which he performed major roles in La Calisto, Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in patria, and Scipione affricano. Chin-Loy is a 2018 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions National Semifinalist.
|March 2, 9, & 10
Lyric soprano Jacqueline Echols has been praised for her “dynamic range and vocal acrobatics” (Classical Voice) in theaters across the United States. In the summer of 2022, Echols reprised her acclaimed portrayal of Clara in Porgy and Bess in her debut with Des Moines Metro Opera, in addition to her debut with the Cleveland Orchestra for their annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Concert and her return to Cincinnati Opera for a special performance alongside Morris Robinson in Morris and Friends.
In the 2022/23 Season, Echols returned to LA Opera as Julie in Rhiannon Giddens and Michael Abels’ Omar, debuted the role of Juliette in Roméo and Juliette with Opera San Antonio, and made her long-awaited return to the Kennedy Center reprising the role of Musetta in La Bohème with Washington National Opera.
In the 2021/22 Season, Echols was featured at The Metropolitan Opera both as Clara in Porgy and Bess and as Noemie in the Met’s family adaptation of Massenet’s Cendrillon. Additional performances at The Metropolitan Opera include Pousette in Manon and Musetta in La Bohème. Echols has been seen at the Kennedy Center under the auspices of Washington National Opera in the title role of La Traviata, the role of Sister Helen in Heggie’s Dead Man Walking, Micaela in Carmen, as well as Woglinde/Forest Bird in Der Ring des Nibelungen.
Additional performances include Clara in Porgy and Bess with the Atlanta Opera as well as the title role in La Traviata with Palm Beach Opera. A frequent performer of both standard and contemporary repertoire, Echols debuted the role of Helen in the world premiere performances of The Summer King at the Pittsburgh Opera in 2017 and reprised the role in her hometown of Detroit with Michigan Opera Theater in 2018. Echols has performed the role of Pip in Heggie’s Moby Dick with the Los Angeles, Dallas and Pittsburgh Operas. On the concert stage, Echols has performed with the Ann Arbor Symphony for their 2017 Season opening gala concert, and returned to the symphony for her first performances of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. Echols made her debut with the Memphis Symphony in performances of Handel’s Messiah.
Recent seasons have seen Echols with North Carolina Opera as Gilda in Rigoletto, the title role in La Traviata, and Musetta in La Bohème, as well as with The Glimmerglass Festival as Pamina in The Magic Flute, Giulietta in King for a Day, and Echo in Ariadne auf Naxos. Echols reprised the role of Musetta in 2017 in concert with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Music Director Ward Stare. A graduate of Washington National Opera’s Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program, Echols was seen in previous seasons at the Kennedy Center as Micaëla in Carmen, the Unicorn in the world premiere of Jeanine Tesori’s The Lion, the Unicorn, and Me, Clorinda in La Cenerentola, and Woglinde and Forest Bird in Wagner’s full Ring Cycle conducted by Music Director Philippe Auguin. Echols made her debut with the Tanglewood Festival reprising the role of Woglinde in Das Rheingold conducted by Andris Nelsons.
Additional appearances include Cincinnati Opera as Countess Ceprano in Rigoletto, First Lady in The Magic Flute, and Clara in Porgy and Bess; Micaela in Carmen with Eugene Opera; and New York Harlem Productions as both Clara and Bess in Porgy and Bess, for which Echols was featured in the documentary Porgy and Me which premiered in Germany in January 2010.
Echols is a 2012 second prize winner at the Gerda Lissner International Vocal Competition. Echols completed her master’s degree and artist diploma at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), where she appeared as the Female Chorus in The Rape of Lucretia, the Countess in The Marriage of Figaro, Anne Truelove in The Rake’s Progress, and Pamina in The Magic Flute.
Noted by The New York Times as a "dashing lyric tenor," Indiana native Ganson Salmon has gained recognition for his "powerful and nuanced" performances in New York City and abroad (Opera News). Most recently, he appeared as Rodolfo in La Bohème with First Coast Opera in St. Augustine, Florida, and as Prince Karl Franz in Romberg’s The Student Prince with Regina Opera.
In 2022, Ganson returned to Tel Aviv, Israel to sing Don José in Carmen with Tel Aviv Summer Opera, where he also jumped in as Rodolfo in La Bohéme. He returned to Ball State University as a guest artist to perform as Ernesto in Don Pasquale. In summer 2021, he was a fellow at Ravinia's Steans Music Institute and a Gerdine Young Artist with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. In his hometown in 2020, Ganson debuted as Pinkerton in Madame Butterfly with Indianapolis Opera.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ganson spent two seasons with Sarasota Opera, where he jumped in to make his role debut as Roméo in Roméo & Juliette, covered the Duke in Rigoletto, and performed Pong in Turandot, and First Armored Man/Second Priest in The Magic Flute.
In the 2018/19 Season, he performed Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi with the Tel Aviv Summer Opera, and Rodolfo in La Bohème with both Pittsburgh Festival Opera and the Algonquin Arts Theatre in New Jersey. He also returned to Indiana for performances of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with the Ball State Symphony Orchestra.
Ganson received his Master’s in Music from Mannes School of Music, where he performed as Tom Rakewell in The Rake's Progress, Roderick Usher in Philip Glass' The Fall of the House of Usher, and Anatol in Vanessa. While at Mannes, he also performed Schumann's Dichterliebe at the Consulate of Germany in New York City.
Praised for her "full, focused soprano," Caitlin Gotimer, originally from Malverne, NY, recently completed her second year with the Marion Roose Pullin Arizona Opera Studio. During the 2021/22 Season, Gotimer was seen as Micaëla in Bizet's Carmen, Mrs. Anderssen in Sondheim's A Little Night Music, and Fiordiligi in Mozart's Così fan tutte.
Gotimer performed a variety of scenes and arias during Arizona Opera's Reimagined 2020/21 Season, including highlights from Madame Butterfly, La Rondine, and Pagliacci. In the summer of 2020, Gotimer participated in The Glimmerglass Festival's virtual Young Artist Program, having been scheduled to sing Armida in Handel's Rinaldo prior to COVID-19.
Gotimer was a part of the Resident Artist program at Pittsburgh Opera from 2018/20. There Gotimer appeared as the title role in Handel's Alcina, Tink Enraught in Hilliard and Boresi's The Last American Hammer, Older Alyce in Cipullo's Glory Denied, Elettra in AfterWARds (Mozart's Idomeneo Reimagined), and Sandman/Dew Fairy in Hansel and Gretel. Gotimer also covered Mimì in the company's production of Puccini's La Bohème. In the 2017/18 Season, Gotimer was a part of the Artist Diploma in Opera program at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, where she received a Masters of Music in Voice in 2017. During Gotimer's time at CCM, Gotimer sang Suor Angelica in Suor Angelica, Dalinda in Ariodante, and Anne Sexton in Conrad Sousa's Transformations. During the summer of 2017, Gotimer returned to the Crested Butte Opera Studio to sing Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi. Gotimer debuted at the company in the summer of 2016, singing Musetta in another Puccini favorite, La Bohème.
Gotimer has been the recipient of several awards and honors. In 2020, Gotimer was a semi-finalist in the Houston Grand Opera Eleanor McCollum Competition, and a finalist in Pittsburgh Festival Opera's Mildred Miller Competition. In 2019, Gotimer won third prize in The Metropolitan Opera National Council Great Lakes Regionals, after receiving the Marianne Cornetti Award in the Pittsburgh District. In 2017, Gotimer was the recipient of one the top prizes in CCM's annual Corbett Competition, the Italo Tajo Award. Weeks later, Gotimer won the Audience Favorite Award and Second Prize in the Opera Guild of Dayton Competition. Gotimer was an Encouragement Award winner of the Cincinnati Metropolitan Opera National Councils in 2016. In 2015, Gotimer won first place in the National Biennial Collegiate Voice Competition run by NFMC. That summer, Gotimer was selected to be a Binghamton University Summer Scholar and Artist before attending the first of two summers at the Chautauqua Institute School of Music. At Binghamton University, Gotimer was the recipient of the Provost Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research, and the Stevenson Barrett Memorial Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Vocal Performance.
Having received her Bachelors of Music in Voice from Binghamton University, Gotimer performed roles with both the Binghamton University Opera Studio and the partnered TriCities Opera. During her undergraduate studies, Gotimer developed a passion for opera outreach, performing the role of the Mother in Hansel and Gretel in schools around the area with the Binghamton University Opera Studio. In 2017, she sang Pamina in a special children’s adaptation of The Magic Flute with ROKCincy.
On the concert stage, Gotimer has been a soloist in the Mozart Requiem in D minor at the Song d’été in Quebec, and in the Bach Missa Brevis in F with Binghamton University. In 2014, Gotimer was the first undergraduate vocalist to win Binghamton University's Concerto Competition.
Yazid Gray has been described as "a vocal chameleon" (Seen and Heard International) with "a baritone voice of fine quality and warmth" (onStage Pittsburgh). In 2022/23, Gray debuted with Intermountain Opera Bozeman as Homecoming Soldier in The Falling and the Rising, Madison Opera as Sam in Trouble in Tahiti, and the New Mexico Philharmonic in Beethoven's Symphony No. 9. In summer of 2023, Gray joined the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis singing the role of Luddud, covering Zodzetrick, Simon, and Parson Alltalk in Treemonisha, and covering Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte. He then joined Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra as a soloist singing Letters from Lincoln by Michael Daugherty. In the 2023/24 Season, Gray returns to Madison Opera as Ophémon in Joseph Bologne's The Anonymous Lover. He then makes his Arizona Opera debut at Mercutio in Roméo & Juliette.
Gray recently finished a summer with The Glimmerglass Festival as a young artist where he sang Le Dancaire in Carmen, Baloo in the World Premiere of The Jungle Book (Sankaram/Rourke), and covered the role of Cedric/Matteo in the World Premiere of Tenor Overboard (Rossini/Ludwig). He is a former Resident Artist with Pittsburgh Opera where he performed The Woodcutter/The Outlaw in the World Premiere of In a Grove (Cerrone/Fleischmann), Le Dancaire in Carmen, Policeman #3 in Blue, and Second Priest in The Magic Flute in the 2021/22 Season.
In the summer of 2021, Gray performed with Chautauqua Opera as an apprentice artist where he appeared as the baritone soloist in As the Così Crumbles: A Company Developed Piece. In Pittsburgh Opera's 2020/21 Season he performed in all four main stage productions which included Guglielmo in Così fan tutte, Soldier in David T. Little’s Soldier Songs, Dizzy Gillespie in Charlie Parker’s Yardbird, and Athamas in Semele. During the summer of 2020, Gray participated as a featured young artist in Chautauqua Opera's digital season and in 2019, he made his debut with the company singing Fiorello in The Barber of Seville.
In the 2018/19 Season, Gray sang the role of Bello in La fanciulla del West with Maryland Lyric Opera. He then went on to join Opera Santa Barbara as a member of their Chrisman Studio Artist program, where he performed the roles of Schaunard in La Bohème, Zaretski in Eugene Onegin, Le Podestat in Le docteur Miracle, and Thomas Putnam in The Crucible.
Gray made his professional debut in the summer of 2018 as Charlie in Jake Heggie’s Three Decembers with Opera Maine. Also comfortable on the musical theater stage, Gray has performed roles such as Coalhouse Walker Jr. in Ragtime, Jim Conley in Parade, Hunter Bell in [title of show], and Al in The Most Happy Fella.
Yazid received his Bachelor of Music in Voice from DePauw University in Greencastle, IN and is a graduate of University of Michigan - School of Music where he received his Master of Music in Voice. His academic credits include Oliver Jordan in the Michigan premiere of Dinner at Eight (Bolcolm/Campbell), Mercutio in Roméo & Juliette, and Demetrius in A Midsummer’s Night Dream.
Bass Matthew Anchel, called "a voice to watch" by The Wall Street Journal, has performed with many of the world’s leading companies and orchestras. During the 2022/23 season, Anchel made his Lyric Opera of Chicago debut covering the Grand Inquisitor in Don Carlos, returned to The Metropolitan Opera to cover Loreck in Fedora and 2nd Commissioner in Dialogues des Carmélites, sang Bartolo in The Marriage of Figaro at Opera San Jose, and made his Arizona Opera debut as Sarastro in The Magic Flute, a role he also sang with Norwalk Symphony Orchestra. In the summer of 2023, he sang Escamillo in Hogfish Festival’s production of Carmen. In 2023/24, Anchel sings Melisso in Alcina with St. Petersburg Opera Company, returns to The Metropolitan Opera to cover Reinmar in Tannhäuser and sing 2nd Armed Man in The Magic Flute, returns to Arizona Opera singing Frère Laurent in Roméo & Juliette, makes his Nashville Opera debut as Sarastro in The Magic Flute, and returns to Carnegie Hall with the Cecelia Chorus of NY to sing Petrus in Christ on the Mount of Olives.
Peter Barber is an American bass-baritone and Resident Artist at the Academy of Vocal Arts. In October of 2021, Barber made his professional role and company debut with Salt Marsh Opera, performing Escamillo in Carmen. In February of 2022, Barber made with role debut with AVA as Prince Gremin in Eugene Onegin, followed just a few months later by Schaunard in La Bohème, under the baton of Maestro Christofer Macatsoris. Last summer, Barber joined The Santa Fe Opera as an Apprentice Singer, covering Fiorello in The Barber of Seville, and performing Truffaldin in Ariadne auf Naxos during the Apprentice Scenes program. In the Fall, Barber performed the role of Barone Douphol in La Traviata, and is currently preparing the title role in Mozart’s Don Giovanni to be performed in April/May 2023 with AVA. Next summer, Barber will be returning to Music Academy of the West (’19) to perform Colline in La Bohème with Daniela Candillari conducting.
Throughout the virtual 2020/21 Season, Barber performed in three recitals with the Academy of Vocal Arts, earning reviews like, "...command over the full range of his voice from top to bottom was unshakeable" for his presentation of Schubert's Der Wanderer. In January of 2020, Barber made his professional debut with Pacific Opera Project, performing Amantio in POP's double-bill production of Gianni Schicchi and L'enfant et les Sortilèges. Also with POP, Barber was to perform his first professional lead role as Guglielmo in Così fan tutte, but the shows were cancelled due to COVID-19. Some of his other role highlights include: Bottom in Midsummer Night's Dream, Figaro in The Marriage of Figaro, Stobrod/Blindman in Cold Mountain, Sarastro in The Magic Flute, and Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte. Barber is currently in the voice studio of Bill Schuman.
Outside of the opera world, Barber has grown a substantial audience on YouTube, surpassing 80,000 subscribers via videos with in-depth musical analysis of contemporary music, as well as creating non-operatic musical covers. He is also one of the founding members of a musical group called The Bass Gang (Bobby Bass, Peter Barber, Tomi P, and Marwan Ayman), which was formed during the pandemic, and consists of four bass singers that collaborate virtually from all over the world. The Bass Gang released their first EP in May of 2021 (May the Bass Be With You, Vol. 1), and released their second EP in May of 2022 (May the Bass Be With You, Vol. 2), collaborating with some of the most exciting singers in the virtual landscape (MALINDA, Jonathan Young, Colm McGuinness, and Elliott Robinson). Just recently, The Bass Gang collaborated with Tim Foust, the bass singer for world-famous acapella group, Home Free. So far, The Bass Gang has amassed over 2 million views/streams between YouTube and Spotify alone.
Praised for his “healthy and soaring tenor voice” (The Herald Times), Korean American Brad Bickhardt is a vibrant and versatile performer in both the operatic and musical theatre canon. Highlight performances have included Nemorino (The Elixir of Love), Tony (West Side Story), and Alfredo (La Traviata), as well as originating the role of Colin in We Wear the Sea Like a Coat. Additional 2021/22 appearances have included filming Stone Soup for Tri-Cities Opera, appearing in recital with Chelsea Opera and Maryland Opera, and as a guest artist at Baldwin Wallace Conservatory. Bickhardt has previously appeared with Opera Saratoga in their critically acclaimed production of Man of La Mancha under the baton of Broadway conductor, Laura Bergquist, as well as in Opera Naples’ productions of West Side Story and La Traviata.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Bickhardt was on the roster of The Glimmerglass Festival in productions of Wagner’s Die Feen as well as The Sound of Music, and in 2019, was a member of the prestigious Wolf Trap Opera Studio in which he covered and performed principal roles in L’heure espagnole, Lîle de Merlin, Der Kaiser von Atlantis, and Ariadne auf Naxos. On the concert stage, he has appeared as the tenor soloist in Schubert’s Mass in G, Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy, and Mozart’s Miss Brevis in Bb.
Bickhardt received his undergraduate and graduate degrees in Vocal Performance from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music where he appeared in 13 productions with IU Opera Theater as well as serving as an Associate Instructor of Voice. Bickhardt's graduate thesis consisted of compiling an anthology of musical theatre repertoire for undergraduate tenors and their pedagogical applications, and he was named an Encouragement Award from the Central Region of the Metropolitan Opera National Council. Bickhardt is a proud alumnus of the rosters of Tri-Cities Opera, The Glimmerglass Festival, Opera Naples, Wolf Trap Opera, Opera Saratoga, and Charlottesville Opera. Bickhardt's primary vocal instruction has been under renowned baritone Andreas Poulimenos and husband and wife team Kevin and Heidi Grant Murphy.
A rich, buttery voice. A wide emotional scope and actor’s grace. A stage presence that captivates the hearts of audiences. These accolades and more have followed baritone Andrew Stuckey, whose opera and concert performances are widely acclaimed for their visceral power and rich beauty. His exploration of the character’s complex persona, reviewers noted, was displayed winningly in arias whose vocal agility ranged from pensive whispers to despairing outbursts. Stuckey’s interpretation of Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor with the Syracuse Opera and the Connecticut Grand Opera brought praise for his “unusual sensitivity.”
Stuckey’s many and varied roles speak to his accomplished voice and broad appeal. He sang the title role of Rigoletto with Opera on the James. He had the honor of working with the late maestro Lorin Maazel as Michele in Il tabarro, Sonora in La fanciulla del West and Iago in Otello. As the black-hearted Iago in Opera Roanoke’s stellar production, the Roanoke Times deemed Stuckey’s portrayal “not to be missed.” With the Festival Lyrique-en-mer in France he debuted, with great success, the title role in the comic opera Falstaff, following up with Germont in La Traviata, a role he has perfected with several opera companies, including Santa Fe Opera, Opera Delaware and Opera New Jersey.
Stuckey has put his unique stamp on many varied roles including Tonio in I Pagliacci, and Sharpless in Madama Butterfly, Don Pizarro in Fidelio, the title role in Gianni Schicchi, and the High Priest in Samson et Dalila. He has interpreted these and other leading roles for opera houses throughout the United States, including the Washington National Opera, San Francisco Opera, and the opera houses of Santa Fe, Baltimore, Palm Beach, Portland, Augusta, Tulsa, Kansas City, St. Louis and Sarasota.
In addition to his prodigious talent as a singer, Stuckey is a consummate professional who has proven himself well able to meet the rigors of the stage. As an understudy in a Lyric Opera Company of Chicago production of Madama Butterfly, he once stepped in to take the role of Sharpless with just four hours’ notice. Also, last minute, he was recruited to sing Acts 3 and 4 of Mephistopheles in the opening night of Gounod’s Faust with the Kansas City Lyric Opera.
No stranger to concert work, Stuckey has had the privilege of performing Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Dvorak’s Te Deum, Britten’s War Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, Verdi’s Requiem, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, and Mozart’s Requiem, among other beloved classics of the concert repertoire.
He was chosen by the Lyric Opera of Chicago for its two-year apprentice program, out of a field of more than 1,200 performers to audition. Prior to that, he was a resident artist for the Portland Opera and apprenticed twice with the Santa Fe Opera. Over the years, he has received many prestigious prizes, awards and grants, including the Sara Tucker study grant, the William Matheus Sullivan Foundation grant and The Union League grant. He won first prize in both the Florida Grand Opera’s Young Patronesses of the Opera competition and the Palm Beach Opera competition. He was also a National Semi-Finalist for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.
In the pursuit of excellence, Stuckey credits the enormous influence of renowned singers, teachers, directors, conductors, and coaches who have guided his career. He has had the pleasure of working professionally with many respected opera singers, including Bryn Terfel, Renee Fleming, Renata Scotto, Mirella Freni, Susan Graham, Frank Lopardo, Marcello Alvarez and Dmitri Hvorostovsky. He credits much of his success to his vocal coaches and voice teachers Daniel Beckwith, Eric Weimer, Craig Rutenberg, Richard Boldin, Donna Brunsma, Phil Morehead, Jerry Langenkamp, John Stephens and Marlena Malas.
Praised for her captivating stage presence, “full bodied" (Indie Opera) and "nuanced voice” (Boston Musical Intelligencer), mezzo-soprano Lauren Cook is quickly establishing a name for herself in repertoire ranging from Monteverdi to Mazzoli. During the 2021 Season, Cook made her company debuts with Painted Sky Opera performing Hannah After in the Oklahoma Premiere of Laura Kaminsky’s As One, Opera Saratoga performing Antonia in Man of La Mancha, and Virginia Opera performing Wellgunde in Das Rheingold. Cook was most recently seen performing Edwin the Avatar/Eddie in the film version of Frances Pollock’s Earth to Kenzie.
Other notable stage credits include Poppea (L’incoronazione di Poppea), Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Scalia-Ginsburg), Blanche de la Force (Dialogues of the Carmelites), Mélisande (Impressions de Pelléas), and Tisbe (La Cenerentola). Cook has appeared with Opera Philadelphia, Des Moines Metro Opera, Opera Naples, Opera Iowa, Opera Company of Middlebury, Opera Louisiane, Guérilla Opera, Odyssey Opera, Seagle Festival, and the Louisiana Opera Outreach Program, and has performed as a soloist in Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center, and Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. Cook was also a featured soloist in Boston Symphony Hall at a gala hosted by Alan Cumming.
As a contemporary repertoire advocate, Cook premiered Evan Mack's Roscoe, and was most recently seen workshopping the role of LeAnn in Missy Mazzoli's upcoming opera: The Listeners, with Opera Philadelphia. Cook was also featured in a collaborative project with Guerilla Opera, where she premiered excerpts from The Desert, Lazy Citizen, War is a Racket, and Malice in the Palace. Other notable projects include the workshop and premiere recording of The Leopard (Dellaira) as the role of Angelica with American Opera Projects, the premiere recording of The Wake World (Hertzberg) with Opera Philadelphia, a recording of Haroun and the Sea of Stories (Wuorinen) with Boston Modern Orchestra Projects, and a pre-workshop of Permadeath (Visconti) as Aphrodite in association with Friends of Madame White Snake. Prior to the pandemic, Cook was also scheduled to perform Elder #2 in the New York Premiere of Lembit Beecher’s Sky on Swings with Opera Saratoga.
Cook will close out 2021 with the World Premiere of Molly Joyce’s Our Way of Being Small in the World with Fresh Squeezed Opera in NYC, followed by a recording with Opera Philadelphia of Daniel Belquer’s piece Religare Resonare, composed specifically for use with Vibrotextile wearable technology by Music: Not Impossible Labs. In the 2022 Season, Cook returned to Virginia Opera to perform Cherubino in their mainstage production of The Marriage of Figaro.
Dramatic Mezzo-Soprano, Danielle Corella, is a 7th generation Arizona native. Most recently she performed in the Arizona Opera Arlyn M. Brewster OperaTunity Program production of Beauty and the Beast as Belle. She regularly performed in the Southern California area. Corella debuted with Opera Santa Barbara as Madame Larina in Eugene Onegin. As an Education Artist at Long Beach Opera, she performed in Monkey See, Monkey Do and The Playground King. In 2018, she performed in the west coast premiere of Le Vin herbé with Long Beach Opera. Corella joined the Arizona Opera Chorus in 2022. In the 2023/24 Season, she will be performing the role of Gertrude in Charles Gounod’s Roméo & Juliette. Corella has studied voice at DePaul University, has her Master of Music from University of Southern California, and Bachelor of Music from Westminster Choir College. She lives in Prescott with her husband and one year-old daughter.
William Nathan Vallandigham is thrilled to be making his Arizona Opera debut as Gregorio in Roméo & Juliette, as well as joining the chorus for The Barber of Seville and Don Giovanni. As a member of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Chorus, he has sung under the batons of Riccardo Muti and Marin Alsop. Performance credits include the roles of Francis Nurse (The Crucible), Guglielmo (Così fan tutte), Eugene Onegin (Eugene Onegin), Yeletsky (Queen of Spades), Pish-Tush (The Mikado), and Maximillian/Cacambo (Candide). Vallandigham earned his Master of Music from Westminster Choir College. He lives in Prescott with his wife and daughter.
A native of Puerto Rico, tenor Carlos Feliciano has sung with Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Diego Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Théâtre Municipale Castres in France, Oslo Symphony, St. Petersburg Opera, and Western Plains Opera, to name a few. Opera credits include the title role in Gounod’s Faust, Pluto in Orphée aux Enfers, Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor, Il Duca di Mantova in Rigoletto, Male Chorus in The Rape of Lucretia, Tamino in The Magic Flute, Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni, Ferrando in Cosí fan tutte, Fenton in Fallstaff, and Chevalier de la Force in Dialogues of the Carmelites.
Mauricio Perusquia, baritone, holds an Masters of Music in Opera Performance from Arizona State University and a Bachelors of Music in Voice Performance from the University of Texas at El Paso. Perusquia has engaged in many new Opera works such as Arizona Opera’s Silent Night and the New Works reading of the jazz interactive opera, Marie Begins, as well as concert works such as Cipher. With Arizona State University’s Music Theatre and Opera, Perusquia performed the roles of Frank in Street Scene and Simone in Gianni Schicchi, as well as participating in many productions including Trouble in Tahiti and Bernstein’s Mass. Perusquia has also performed many roles with Gilbert and Sullivan Company of El Paso for which he is on the board of directors, and is a past Joan Quarm Scholarship winner. Perusquia is a proud alumnus of the music fraternity Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, a former member of First Presbyterian Church of El Paso’s scholarship singer program, and a current Valley Singer at Valley Presbyterian Church.
Stephanie Rhodes Russell is an alum of the Dallas Opera’s Institute for Women Conductors, the Houston Grand Opera Studio and San Francisco’s Merola Opera Program. Rhodes Russell was a Conducting Fellow with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra from 2019-2021, where she appeared regularly with the ensemble leading education, family, and community concerts while serving as cover conductor for the symphonic subscription series. Rhodes Russell is also the recipient of a 2019 Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award, designed to aid outstanding young conductors in developing their talents and careers.
Rhodes Russell’s 2022/23 Season includes company debuts with Austin Opera (The Barber of Seville) and Utah Opera (La fille du régiment), as well as a return to Madison Opera (The Marriage of Figaro). During the summer of 2023, Rhodes Russell makes her Cincinnati Opera debut, conducting performances of The Knock. The previous season included Rhodes Russell return to Wolf Trap Opera, leading performances of Carlisle Floyd’s Susannah, her debut with Opera Orlando conducting Verdi’s La Traviata, and a collaboration with Lyric Opera of Chicago, leading a workshop of Git Here (Daniel Bernard Roumain/Anna Deavere Smith) and Four Portraits (Caroline Shaw/Jocelyn Clark). Rhodes Russell initially planned to serve as Music Director for Opera Philadelphia’s production of Henze’s El Cimarrón during the season, but it was unfortunately cancelled due to the effects of COVID-19.
Stephanie Rhodes Russell’s 2020/21 Season included scheduled returns to the Dallas Opera to conduct Bizet’s Dr. Miracle, a concert of opera excerpts at the NorthPark Center, and the highly anticipated “Lawrence Brownlee: Songs for Dallas” concert in the AT&T Performing Arts Center. Additionally, Rhodes Russell conducted a filmed production of Britten’s Turn of the Screw with the Temple University Opera Program, and in the summer of 2021 she joined Madison Opera for their annual Opera in the Park program.
Rhodes Russell frequently draws on her Russian specialty, and during the summer of 2020, conducted excerpts of Tchaikovksy’s Eugene Onegin for Wolf Trap Opera, a change from the scheduled full production due to COVID-19. A Fulbright award recipient in Russia, Rhodes Russell lived in Moscow specializing in Russian repertoire and pronunciation for non-native singers while working as a guest coach at the Bolshoi Theatre of Russia. Rhodes Russell was thereafter commissioned by The Dallas Opera to transliterate Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta and has taught workshops on Russian diction for singers at young artist programs and universities across the United States. Immediately following her 2020 performances with Wolf Trap Opera, Rhodes Russell returned to Fort Worth to lead the Symphony Orchestra in the Concerts in the Garden 4th of July performances.
Following her work on the San Francisco Opera Ring Cycle, Rhodes Russell was appointed the 2019 Associate Conductor of the Grand Teton Music Festival, where she served as assistant to Music Director Donald Runnicles and led the GTMF orchestra in the Hartley Family Concert. Additionally, Rhodes Russell performed as a pianist in the festival’s renowned Chamber Music Concert Series.
Other recent engagements include concerts with the American Festival Chorus and Orchestra, performances of Handel’s Alcina at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, an engagement with Washington National Opera’s forum for new works, the American Opera Initiative, and The Magic Flute and Dido and Aeneas with the Miami Music Festival. Highlights as an Assistant Conductor include work on two Wagner Ring Cycles with conductors Philippe Auguin and Donald Runnicles and productions of Iolanta, Eugene Onegin, and Queen of Spades with Emmanuel Villaume and Carlo Rizzi. Rhodes Russell has served on the music staff of the Bolshoi Theatre of Russia, The Dallas Opera, Houston Grand Opera, LA Opera, San Francisco Opera, and Washington National Opera, amongst others, and her extensive operatic experience in the roles of assistant conductor, prompter, chorusmaster, rehearsal pianist, and diction coach, brings a comprehensive understanding to her work.
Beginning in autumn 2022, Stephanie Rhodes Russell will be Associate Professor and Music Director of Opera at the University of North Texas. This position intersects with Rhodes Russell’s strong interest in educating the next generation of artists, which also led her to found the non-profit Women’s Artistic Leadership Initiative (Women’s ALI). The organization’s aim is to educate and empower young female artists, training them to become future community leaders by equipping them with both leadership skills and business acumen. Rhodes Russell holds degrees in Collaborative Piano and Piano Performance from the University of Michigan and Utah State University, respectively, and completed a doctorate in Orchestral Conducting at the University of Utah.
Soprano Patricia Racette has appeared in the most acclaimed opera houses of the world including The Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Canadian Opera Company, Royal Opera House, La Scala, Paris Opera, Theater an der Wien, Gran Teatro del Liceu, and the Bayerische Staatsoper. Established as a great interpreter of Janáček and Puccini, Racette has gained particular acclaim for her portrayals of the title roles of Madame Butterfly, Tosca, Jenufa, Kátya Kabanová, and all three lead soprano roles in Il Trittico. Racette's repertory now expands to include triumphant portrayals of Strauss’s Salome, Minnie in La Fancuilla del West, Katerina in Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, Magda in Menotti’s The Consul, Anna Maurrant in Street Scene, Kostelnička in Jenufa, and Elle in La voix humaine. In the fall of 2019, Racette added to this list Sister Helen in Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking which she performed at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Racette has been a favorite on The Met: Live in HD series as both leading lady in Madame Butterfly, Tosca, and Peter Grimes, as well as the celebrated host for multiple other productions.
A champion of new works, Racette has created roles in a number of world premieres, including Leslie Crosbie in Paul Moravec’s The Letter at The Santa Fe Opera, Roberta Alden in Tobias Picker’s An American Tragedy at The Metropolitan Opera, the title role in Tobias Picker’s Emmeline at the Santa Fe Opera (broadcast on PBS/Albany Records audio), Love Simpson in Carlisle Floyd’s Cold Sassy Tree at the Houston Grand Opera, and most recently, the title role in Tobias Picker's Dolores Claiborne at the San Francisco Opera.
Racette made her directorial debut with a new production of La Traviata at the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis in the summer of 2018. Plans to direct Susannah at the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and a production of La voix humaine starring herself at the Dallas Opera in the spring of 2020 were unfortunately cancelled due to the ongoing pandemic.
Racette was recently named the Artistic Director of Opera Theatre of Saint Louis’ Gerdine Young Artist and Richard Gaddes Festival Artist programs. Racette also continues to be sought after for master classes and workshops to foster artistry in the next generation of classical singer. In January 2017, Racette presented the pilot program of her intensive seminar, Integrative Artistry, at the San Francisco Conservatory, and has since presented it at The Juilliard School and the Washington National Opera.
Born and raised in New Hampshire, Racette studied jazz and music education at North Texas State University. Among Racette's recognitions are an Opera News Award, the prestigious Richard Tucker Award, and the Marian Anderson Award. Racette also received the 2017 Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording for her performance in the Los Angeles Opera’s production of The Ghosts of Versailles.
Barry Steele has created designs for opera, dance, and music productions in 56 countries for three decades. Notable engagements include San Francisco Opera Center, Lucinda Childs Dance Company, Ballet Stars of Moscow, Carnegie Hall and New York City Opera. New operas such as Vincent, and The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat as well as rarities like The Fall of the House of Usher, and La Voix Humaine complement Steele’s considerable list of standard opera repertory gained from designing over one hundred productions as Resident Lighting Designer for Sarasota Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, and New Jersey Opera.
Connie Furr has designed over 300 productions. A sample of work includes: Theatre: Playwrights Horizon, The Christians, Mark Taper: The Christians, BAM: Glory to the World, Actors Theatre of Louisville The Christians, Brownsville Story, Gnit, Maple and Vine, Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them, Vanishing Point, After Ashley, How We Got On, Eat your Heart Out, Macbeth, Greater Tuna, Arizona Theatre Company: Women in Jeopardy, Charlotte Children’s Theatre: Beauty and the Beast, Seussical, Alice in Wonderland, The Secret Garden, Pinocchio, Charlotte’s Web, Georgia Shakespeare Company: Othello, Henry the 4th, Palm Springs Follies: seven seasons, Kentucky Shakespeare Company: ten seasons. Locally, Connie often works with Childsplay and Phoenix Theatre. Opera: Syracuse Opera: Pique Dame, Orlando Opera: Hansel and Gretel, Fidelio Television: Her puppet designs were part of the Emmy award winning children’s television series Salsa. Additional Credits: Connie’s designs have been displayed at the 2003 and 2007 International Prague Quadrennial, the 2005 USITT World Stage Design and the 2017 Bakhrushin Museum, Russia. Connie is also an author, her book Liberace, Extravaganza! details the magnificent costumes of Liberace. Connie is a member of the United Scenic Artists Union and a professor at Arizona State University.
Jennifer Seigle is a movement artist whose career has taken her around the country as a director, choreographer, guest artist, movement coach, and master teacher. Jennifer served as Stage Director for Arizona Opera’s 2024 OperaTunity production of Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? Her prior work includes choreography for Amahl and the Night Visitors at Rocky Mountain Center for Musical Arts, a season as company choreographer for the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, and two seasons as Dance Director for the Columbia Gorge School of Theatre. Jennifer is an Associate Member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC) and is currently the Director of Dance at Mesa Community College.
Andrea Robertson began her fight direction career when she picked up a rapier/dagger in college and felt like she was coming home. Since that time, Robertson has fight directed over a hundred productions including many at Arizona Opera where she debuted with a production of Otello. Some of her other favorite operas have been Silent Night, Carmen, and Riders of the Purple Sage. Robertson began her own company - Fight Call, LLC in 2006 to pursue her love of stage combat; and is a Certified Teachers with the Society of American Fight Directors. Currently she is the Director of Theatre at Paradise Valley Community College.
Rachel Finley is dedicated to the advancement of consent forward practices in theatre. To that end, she has trained with Theatrical Intimacy Educators, Intimacy Coordinators of Color, and Intimacy Directors and Coordinators (IDC). Finley currently serves on the Board of Directors of Intimacy Coordinators of Color. Finley has recently served as an Intimacy Director/Coordinator for Southwest Shakespeare Company, Teatro Bravo, Arizona State University Theatre, The Sidney Poitier New American Film School, and many independent projects. She has also developed a specialization in intimate voice work which has afforded her the opportunity to collaborate on projects that involve voicing intimate sounds in live theatre, film, and various voice over applications including video games, animation and audiobooks.