The Sound of Music
Prolific composer Richard Charles Rodgers was the second son born to physician Dr. William Rodgers and his wife, Mamie, on June 28, 1902, when they were staying at a friend's summer house near Arverne, in Queens, New York. Not long after, the family moved to Upper Manhattan, coincidentally mere blocks away from Richard's future songwriting partners, Lorenz Hart and Oscar Hammerstein II.
Richard Rodgers remembers his family life as fraught and filled with bickering and tension, due in part to his maternal grandmother's forceful personality. He did, however, learn to play the piano as a toddler, because it was a theater-loving household; his parents saw Broadway shows, and his grandparents were partial to opera. Though his mother was more prone to bouts of hypochondria than boundless affection, she would play tunes from the shows they'd seen on the piano when Dr. Rodgers brought home the sheet music to sing. Rodgers inherited all of this and became the darling of the family for his quick adaptability to the music and harmony.
Summer camp provided another respite from family drama and was where Rodgers composed his first melody. By the age of 15, he had chosen musical theater as his profession. The music of composer Jerome Kern had been a revelation. In 1918 Rodgers was thrilled to be accepted to Columbia University, where he would write for the school's famous Varsity Show, an annual production.
Richard Rogers's elder brother, Mortimer, with whom he had rivaled as a child, ended up being the conduit for the famed partnerships of Richard's future career: At an early Varsity Show, Mortimer introduced the young Richard to Oscar Hammerstein II, and in the winter of 1918–19, a friend of Mortimer's introduced him to Lorenz Hart, with whom he developed an instant partnership that would last until Hart's death in 1943.
Lorenz Hart was 7 years older than Richard Rodgers, who was only 16 when they began their musical collaboration, with Rodgers acting as the composer and Hart as the lyricist. "Manhattan" was their 1925 breakthrough hit, and scores of other songs yielded many of today's standards, including "Blue Moon" (1934), "My Funny Valentine" (1937), "Isn't It Romantic?" (1932) and "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered" (1940). Together, Rodgers and Hart wrote the music and lyrics for 26 Broadway musicals.
Rodgers's collaboration with Oscar Hammerstein II began in 1942, when Hart became too ill to write, and would last until Hammerstein's death in 1960.
Rodgers once described how his music changed based on the two lyricists: "Larry [Hart] was ... inclined to be cynical," he said, whereas, "Oscar was more sentimental and so the music had to be more sentimental. It wouldn't have been natural for Larry to write 'Oklahoma!' any more than it would have been natural for Oscar to write 'Pal Joey.'"
In 1943 Rodgers and Hammerstein had a hit right out of the starting gate with Oklahoma!, which gave Rodgers the notion to exercise his business head. Rodgers and Hammerstein also formed a company that allowed them, as well as other writers, to control their own work. This freedom and financial success led them to become producers as well, backing plays, concerts and national tours, in addition to musicals.
Rodgers and Hammerstein were a powerhouse, transforming Broadway and musical theater by basing shows on plays and novels, using original dialogue and creating seamless storytelling, from formats of speech to song. During the 1940s and '50s the duo created some of the most enduring musicals of all time, including Carousel, The King and I, The Sound of Music, and South Pacific, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Additionally, Rodgers and Hammerstein created a special television musical of Cinderella—their only musical written for TV—which starred Julie Andrews and was first broadcast in 1957.
After Hammerstein died in 1960, Rodgers collaborated with Stephen Sondheim and Martin Charnin, among others, and he became the first person to accumulate every major award possible in his field: Tonys, Emmys, Grammys, Oscars and two Pulitzer Prizes, in addition to numerous honorary awards. Rodgers was also among the first honorees of the newly created Kennedy Center Honors in 1978; President Jimmy Carter presented him with the award.
In his later years, Rodgers created numerous awards and scholarships for artists at the Juilliard School of Music, the American Theater Wing and the American Academy of Dramatic Art, among other schools.
Oscar Hammerstein II was born in New York City on July 12, 1895, into a family who worked in theater. His father, William, managed a vaudeville theater, while his grandfather, Oscar Hammerstein I, was a famed opera impresario. Hammerstein's uncle Arthur was a successful producer of Broadway musicals.
While Hammerstein was studying law at Columbia University, he began acting in the school's Varsity Show revues. At Columbia, Hammerstein met lyricist Lorenz Hart and composer Richard Rodgers. As his passion for theater began to eclipse his interest in law, Hammerstein talked his Uncle Arthur into employing him as an assistant stage manager. Two years later, he married his first wife, Myra Finn. The couple had two children, named William and Alice.
In 1919, Arthur promoted his nephew to production stage manager, affording young Hammerstein the opportunity to rewrite scripts in need of improvement.
Also in 1919, Hammerstein wrote his own play, called The Light, which his uncle produced. Despite the play's relative failure, Hammerstein forged ahead with his writing. In 1920, he collaborated with Rodgers and Hart in writing a Varsity show called Fly with Me. Not long after, Hammerstein dropped out of grad school at Columbia to concentrate his efforts entirely on musical theater.
Hammerstein first found success as a librettist with Wildflower, a collaboration with Otto Harbach produced in 1923. He achieved even greater success with 1924's Rose Marie, which he created in collaboration with Harbach as well as Herbert Stothart and Rudolf Friml. While writing Rose Marie, Hammerstein met Jerome Kern. In 1925 the duo teamed up to write Show Boat. The successful musical put Hammerstein on the map as a writer and lyricist.
Hammerstein divorced his first wife, Myra, in 1929 and married Dorothy Blanchard Jacobson. They had one son, named James, and Dorothy had a daughter, Susan, and son, Henry, from a previous marriage.
Hammerstein continued to collaborate with Kern on several musicals including Sweet Adeline (1929), Music in the Air (1932), Three Sisters (1934), and Very Warm for May (1939). In 1943, he wrote the lyrics and book for Carmen Jones, an updated version of George Bizet's Carmen set during World War II and featuring an African American cast. The musical was adapted into a 1954 film, starring Harry Belafonte and Dorothy Dandridge.
For his next theatrical collaboration, Hammerstein partnered exclusively with Rodgers and their first Broadway musical together, Oklahoma! (1943), was a smash hit. Oklahoma! went on to win a Pulitzer Prize Special Award and Citation in 1944.
In 1950, Rodgers and Hammerstein earned a second Pulitzer in the drama category with the musical South Pacific. The duo produced a string of hit musicals during the Golden Age of Broadway including Carousel (1945), The King and I (1951) and The Sound of Music (1959), which was Rodgers and Hammerstein's final collaboration.
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.
Hailing from Dallas, Texas, Jonathan Bryan has been praised for his “beautifully resonant baritone,” and “substantial sound,” and has performed leading roles on stages throughout the United States and abroad. He is an alumnus of The Atlanta Opera Studio, Wolf Trap Opera, and The Glimmerglass Festival, and was a 2019 Georgia District Winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. He joins Washington National Opera for the 2020/21 Season as a Cafritz Young Artist to perform Marcello in La Bohème as well as various virtual and local performances by the studio throughout the COVID-19 season.
His 2019/20 Season brought a return to The Atlanta Opera for his second season as the company’s resident studio baritone during which he performed First Nazerene in Strauss’ Salome and was slated to sing Yamadori and cover Sharpless in their production of Madama Butterfly prior to COVID-19. Other highlights prior to COVID-19 which may be rescheduled to a later date include a role debut as Silvio in the New Jersey Festival Orchestra‘s fully staged I Pagliacci and Luther and Crespel in Opera Louisiane’s Les Contes d’Hoffman. He made his international debut on the stage of the Château de Versailles as Beaumarchais in The Ghosts of Versailles, a role which he debuted with The Glimmerglass Festival in 2019 as well as the role of Baron Dauphol in Francesca Zambello’s production of La Traviata with The Glimmerglass Festival and The Atlanta Opera.
2018/19 highlights include covering the lead roles in Dead Man Walking and Eugene Onegin and performances as Motorcycle Cop/Prison Guard 1 and Zaretsy/Captain, respectively, in his first year as a Studio Artist at The Atlanta Opera. He made his Glimmerglass debut in the summer of 2018 singing Lieutenant Gordon in Tomer Zvulun’s production of Mark Campell’s and Kevin Putz’s Silent Night, and he covered Eric Owens in the role of Forester in The Cunning Little Vixen.
He has frequently appeared as a concert soloist in a number of master works, including Handel’s Messiah, Haydn's Missa in angustiis, Rossini's Petite messe solennelle, and sung with orchestras such as the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and the National Symphony Orchestra.
Other roles include the title role in Don Giovanni, Count Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro, Guglielmo in Così fan tutte, Danilo in Lehar’s The Merry Widow, Sharpless in Madama Butterfly, Owen Hart in Dead Man Walking, and Rambaldo in La Rondine.
He received his Master of Music degree from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where he studied with world-renowned baritone, Wolfgang Brendel, and he holds a Bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from Louisiana State University.
Alexandria Shiner, soprano, continues to garner critical acclaim for her “blazing soprano” (Wall Street Journal) and is a 2020 Grand Finals Winner in The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.
Shiner’s 2021/22 Season begins with a return to Washington National Opera for Come Home: A Celebration of Return followed by her debut with The Metropolitan Opera in Elektra (4th Maid). On the concert stage, she will make debuts with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in Die Walküre (Gerhilde) and Victoria Symphony (Canada) for Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9.
Last season, she returned to The Glimmerglass Festival for Il Trovatore (Leonora), a Wagner concert entitled Gods and Mortals, and a musical theater concert entitled To The World. Recent orchestral engagements include Verdi’s Messa di Requiem with Quad City Symphony Orchestra and Beethoven Symphony No. 9 with the National Symphony Orchestra.
Alexandria Shiner is a recent graduate of the Cafritz Young Artists Program at Washington National Opera where she was seen in The Magic Flute (First Lady), The Consul (Magda), Don Carlo (Celestial Voice), the world premiere of Sankaram’s Taking Up Serpents (Kayla), and the title role in Handel’s Alcina. Additional performances include the North American premiere of Liszt's lost opera Sardanapalo (Mirra), the title role in Ariadne auf Naxos with Wolf Trap Opera, and Il barbiere di Siviglia (Berta) with WNO and The Glimmerglass Festival. Concert appearances included Schmitt’s Psaume XLVII with the Choral Arts Society of Washington.
Shiner is Sara Tucker Study Grant recipient, Encouragement Award recipient in the Middle East Tennessee District Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and she placed second in the Young Artist category of the Orpheus National Music Competition for Vocalists. She also competed as the Mid-South Regional Winner in the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Artist Awards in Chicago.
A native of Waterford, Michigan, Alexandria received her Master of Music from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and her Bachelor of Music from Western Michigan University.
French-American soprano Véronique Filloux has been noted for her “expressive, lovingly shaded soprano” and for using her “dazzling coloratura and lithe stage presence to piquant comedic effect” (Opera News). A current Pittsburgh Opera Resident Artist, she sings Papagena (The Magic Flute), The Girl/Luna (The Rose Elf), and Frasquita (Carmen) in her second year. Previously, she sang Despina (Così fan tutte), Chan (Charlie Parker’s Yardbird), and the title role in Semele in the opera’s 2020/21 Season. Having spent summer 2021 with Des Moines Metro Opera as L’Amour/La Folie (cover) in Rameau’s Platée, she returns to the company this summer as Peaseblossom/Tytania (cover) in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Other recent engagements include a recital with Musicians Club of Women and her scheduled debut with Raylynmor Opera as Nannetta (Falstaff; canceled due to COVID-19).
In the 2019/20 Season, Filloux was seen as Shepherdess/Soloist (Venus and Adonis) with Opera Lafayette, with whom she made her Kennedy Center debut as Tigrane (Radamisto) the previous season. She returned to solos in Carmina Burana, Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen, and Messiah with organizations including the Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra and Bach Collegium San Diego, and she rejoined Music of the Baroque as Pales in Bach’s “Hunt Cantata.” Prior to COVID-19, she was scheduled to debut with Salt Marsh Opera as Clorinda (La Cenerentola) and to sing Jeannie in Opera Lafayette’s modern premiere of Philidor’s The Blacksmith. In light of COVID-19, she was a soloist in Des Moines Metro Opera’s Virtual Festival.
Spending two summers with Central City Opera, Filloux sang Papagena (Die Zauberflöte) and the title role in Debussy’s La damoiselle élue, earning the 2019 Opera Guild Artist Sponsorship and winning both the company’s Young Artist Award and Apprentice Artist Award. Other recent highlights include her work with Chicago Opera Theatre, covering Brigitta (Iolanta) and Doodle (The Scarlet Ibis), and solo work in Handel’s Dixit Dominus and baroque opera excerpts with Music of the Baroque. With the Maryland Opera Studio, her roles included Soeur Constance (Dialogues des Carmélites), Servilia (La clemenza di Tito), Mae Jones (Street Scene), Amore (Orfeo ed Euridice), Lucia (The Rape of Lucretia), and Lily (The Young King - world premiere). Other roles include Olympia (Les contes d’Hoffmann), Silberklang (The Impresario), Adele (Die Fledermaus), Annina (La traviata), and Isifile (Il Giasone). On the concert stage, she has also performed solos in Poulenc’s Gloria, Gordon/Lang/Wolfe’s lost objects, Whitacre’s Goodnight Moon, and several Bach cantatas.
Filloux is a Pittsburgh District MONC Winner, Jensen Competition Finalist, 1st Place Winner in the Camille Coloratura Awards, Orpheus Competition Handel Award winner, Annapolis Competition Encouragement Award Winner and Audience Favorite, 2nd Place Winner in the Dorothy Lincoln-Smith Vocal Competition, and Musicians Club of Women Lynne Harvey Foundation/Virginia Cooper Maier Award winner. She earned her B.M. in Voice/Opera Performance and Operatic Languages at Northwestern University and her M.M. in Opera Performance at the University of Maryland Opera Studio, where she was awarded the Pomeroy Prize in 17th and 18th Century Music.
Praised as a, “Shining and Powerful Bass-Baritone” (Opera Today), Peter Morgan has quickly developed a reputation as an enthralling and dynamic performer, amassing a steadily increasing repertoire performing across the United States and Europe. Signature roles include; Leporello in Don Giovanni, Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro, and Colline in La bohéme. Morgan has also made a name for himself as an interpreter of new music, with several premieres to his name including; Jason and the Argonauts by Gregory Spears with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, The Scorpions’ Sting by Dean Burry also with The Lyric Opera of Chicago, Lunch Encounter 1929 by Patrice Michaels with The Glimmerglass Festival, as well as the recent landmark production of John Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles with L’Opéra Royal de Versailles which is available now available on the Medici TV streaming app.
In the fall of 2020 Morgan had the pleasure of performing Der Tod in Der Kaiser von Atlantis with Rice University in the very first opera filmed using Chromadepth-3D technology. Morgan is thrilled to be making his house debut with Arizona Opera. Following the filming of The Copper Queen, Morgan will be returning to The Glimmerglass Festival where he will be singing Don Pedro Hinyosa in La Perichole, and covering the legendary Eric Owens as Ferrando in Il Trovatore.
Morgan is currently the Brockman Endowed Scholarship in Voice recipient and Artist Diploma in Opera Studies Fellow at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University in Houston, Texas where he studies with Dr. Robin Rice.
Soprano, Tiffany Choe is a Korean American soprano born and raised in Southern California. She has received her Bachelors and Masters degrees in vocal performance from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. She is currently pursuing her Performer’s Diploma at the Jacobs School of Music under the tutelage of Kevin and Heidi Grant Murphy. She is the recipient of the Georgina Joshi Fellowship for the 2021-2022 school year. With the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, she was an Encouragement Award winner in the Western Region earlier this year, winner of the district region in Indianapolis in 2020, and an Encouragement Award winner in the Southeast Region in 2019. Choe attended the Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute as a fellow this past summer and as an apprentice in the summer of 2019. With IU Opera Theater, she has been in 11 productions. Most recently, Choe was seen as Mimì in the IU Opera Theater production of La Bohème. She was also seen as Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro, Constance in Dialogues of the Carmelites, Rosalia in West Side Story, and Laoula in L’Étoile. In the Spring, she will be performing as Magda in Puccini’s La Rondine.
American soprano Alyson Cambridge is one of the most diverse and compelling vocal artists on the scene today. She is praised for her “powerful, clear voice” by The New York Times, hailed by critics for her “radiant, vocally assured, dramatically subtle and artistically imaginative” performances (Washington Post), and celebrated for her “sultry and seductive readings” (Opera News). Combined with a striking stage presence and affecting musical and dramatic interpretation, she has nearly two decades of success on the world’s leading opera and concert stages, including The Metropolitan Opera, Carnegie Hall, Washington National Opera at The Kennedy Center, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Los Angeles Opera, London’s Royal Albert Hall, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Vienna Konzerthaus, and New York's Broadway Theatre, but to name a few. Her operatic repertoire often includes the beloved heroines of Puccini, Verdi, and Mozart (Madama Butterfly, Mimi and Donna Elvira frequently among them), as well as her signature roles of Carmen and Bess in Porgy and Bess. She has also made successful forays into musical theater and jazz repertoire, most notably with award-winning and critically-acclaimed performances as Julie in Show Boat, Vi in Gershwin’s rarely performed jazz-opera Blue Monday, and her Broadway debut in Rocktopia. She will return to Broadway in a new musical fusion show, Rock Me Amadeus, in which she not only stars but is also co-creator and co-producer. She has released three critically acclaimed classical and jazz albums, "From the Diary of Sally Hemings" and "Until Now", respectively. Her most recent album, “Sisters In Song”, along with fellow soprano, Nicole Cabell, is a unique compilation of opera and spiritual duets.
Scheduled performances for Alyson Cambridge in the 2020-2021 included Bess in Porgy and Bess with Washington National Opera, Coretta Scott King in I Dream with Opera Carolina and Charlottesville Opera, Elsa Schrader in The Sound of Music with The Glimmerglass Festival, Mimi in La Bohème with Opera Memphis, a series of holiday concerts with Portland Symphony Orchestra, gala performances with Toledo Opera and Levine Music, and a return to Carnegie Hall for her annual ‘Tis the Season: Songs of the Season concert.
Cambridge’s vast and diverse breadth of experience both on and off stage, and behind the scenes, has also led to her work as a producer. She co-produced New York’s Viennese Opera Ball at the famed former Waldorf Astoria Hotel for four consecutive years, and served as co-host for two. She has produced three concerts at Carnegie Hall, all of which had a philanthropic mission and whose proceeds had a charitable recipient. In November 2018, Cambridge produced the inaugural Tis the Sunday: Songs of the Season, which was met with critical acclaim, and returned in 2019. She is currently the co-creator and co-producer of a new musical show, Rock Me Amadeus, which fuses opera and classical music with classic rock, pop and soul, and features a star-studded ensemble cast.
As a model, fitness enthusiast, with a penchant for fashion, Cambridge has been featured in a wide range of print and television commercial advertising campaigns in the fashion, beauty, health and wellness spaces. She has also been able enjoy collaborations with designers and other lifestyle companies for her concert performances and off-stage appearances. Her comfort both on stage and on camera has also lent itself to numerous acting and hosting engagements.
As part of Alyson Cambridge’s personal mission, and with a strong desire to give back and make an impact beyond the traditional confines of the theater, she lends her time and talent to charities and causes close to her heart, including The Fresh Air Fund, Sing for Hope, Daniel's Music Foundation, The Humane Society, K9s for Warriors, Hope For Hearts Foundation and American Red Cross.
Praised for her captivating stage presence, “full bodied" (Indie Opera) and "nuanced voice” (Boston Musical Intelligencer), mezzo-soprano Lauren Cook is quickly establishing a name for herself in repertoire ranging from Monteverdi to Mazzoli. During the 2021 Season, Cook made her company debuts with Painted Sky Opera performing Hannah After in the Oklahoma Premiere of Laura Kaminsky’s As One, Opera Saratoga performing Antonia in Man of La Mancha, and Virginia Opera performing Wellgunde in Das Rheingold. Cook was most recently seen performing Edwin the Avatar/Eddie in the film version of Frances Pollock’s Earth to Kenzie.
Other notable stage credits include Poppea (L’incoronazione di Poppea), Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Scalia-Ginsburg), Blanche de la Force (Dialogues of the Carmelites), Mélisande (Impressions de Pelléas), and Tisbe (La Cenerentola). Cook has appeared with Opera Philadelphia, Des Moines Metro Opera, Opera Naples, Opera Iowa, Opera Company of Middlebury, Opera Louisiane, Guérilla Opera, Odyssey Opera, Seagle Festival, and the Louisiana Opera Outreach Program, and has performed as a soloist in Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center, and Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. Cook was also a featured soloist in Boston Symphony Hall at a gala hosted by Alan Cumming.
As a contemporary repertoire advocate, Cook premiered Evan Mack's Roscoe, and was most recently seen workshopping the role of LeAnn in Missy Mazzoli's upcoming opera: The Listeners, with Opera Philadelphia. Cook was also featured in a collaborative project with Guerilla Opera, where she premiered excerpts from The Desert, Lazy Citizen, War is a Racket, and Malice in the Palace. Other notable projects include the workshop and premiere recording of The Leopard (Dellaira) as the role of Angelica with American Opera Projects, the premiere recording of The Wake World (Hertzberg) with Opera Philadelphia, a recording of Haroun and the Sea of Stories (Wuorinen) with Boston Modern Orchestra Projects, and a pre-workshop of Permadeath (Visconti) as Aphrodite in association with Friends of Madame White Snake. Prior to the pandemic, Cook was also scheduled to perform Elder #2 in the NY Premiere of Lembit Beecher’s Sky on Swings with Opera Saratoga.
Cook will close out 2021 with the World Premiere of Molly Joyce’s Our Way of Being Small in the World with Fresh Squeezed Opera in NYC, followed by a recording with Opera Philadelphia of Daniel Belquer’s piece Religare Resonare, composed specifically for use with Vibrotextile wearable technology by Music: Not Impossible Labs. Starting the 2022 Season, she will return to Virginia Opera to perform Cherubino in their mainstage production of Le nozze di Figaro.
Schyler Vargas, Mexican-American baritone, is establishing himself as a versatile young talent, bringing interdisciplinary performances to the operatic, theatrical, and concert stage. Noted as a “distinguished” (Washington Classical Review) and “powerful baritone,” (Washington Post) his recent work in the new dramatic song cycle UNKNOWN by Shawn Okpebholo and commissioned by UrbanArias has been featured on PBS News Hour and NPR, among other publications.
In 2021, Vargas made his Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and Opera Edwardsville debut as Marco in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi and a baritone soloist, respectively. Previously, he has been seen in main stage roles at The Atlanta Opera, the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, The Glimmerglass Opera Festival, Dayton Opera, and the Château de Versailles Spectacles in France. Schyler’s notable roles include: Count Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro by W. A. Mozart, Gabriel von Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus by Richard Strauss, Maximilian in Candide, and Riff, Diesel, and Chino in West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein with original Jerome Robbins choreography, and Frank Schultz in Show Boat by Jerome Kern, among others. On the concert stage, Vargas has performed as the baritone soloist for Orff’s Carmina Burana, Rossini’s Petite Messe Solenelle, Schubert’s Mass in Ab, and Mark Hayes’ Requiem.
An award winning performer, Vargas has seen success in competitions with notable awards including: 1st place in Tri-Cities Opera’s first Virtual Vocal Competition, Rocky Mountain District Winner in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, 2nd place and Audience Favorite in the Harold Haugh Light Opera Competition, and 2nd place at the Denver Lyric Opera Guild Aria Competition, and District Winner in the Dorothy Lincoln-Smith Voice Competition.
Prioritizing new music in his career, Vargas has worked with Cincinnati Opera’s Opera Fusion, workshopping new operas including Rufus Wainwright’s Hadrian and Tobias Picker’s Awakenings. At The Glimmerglass Festival, he sang the title role of Nicholas Benavides’ Gilberto and while at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, he had the opportunity to take part in the New Works Bold Voices Lab which presented three world premieres.
Vargas received his Master of Music degree from the renowned University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music under the tutelage of William McGraw and his Bachelor of Music with a minor in Business Administration from Colorado State University.
Francesca Zambello is the Artistic Director of the Washington National Opera at the Kennedy Center and the General Director, ex-officio, of the Glimmerglass Festival. She is also an internationally recognized director of opera and theater, Zambello’s work has been seen at the Metropolitan Opera, Teatro alla Scala, the Bolshoi, Covent Garden, the Munich Staatsoper, Paris Opera, New York City Opera, Washington National Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and English National Opera. She has staged plays and musicals on Broadway, at the Royal National Theatre, BAM, the Guthrie Theater, Vienna’s Raimund Theater, the Bregenz Festival, Sydney Festival, Disneyland, Berlin’s Theater des Westens, and at the Kennedy Center.
Ian Silverman is a stage director for all forms of music theater, from opera to musical theater to operetta, and creates productions that highlight and shift character focus to enhance the story, connect to the audience, and deliver a vivid personal experience. His own performance background as a singing actor, coupled with a practical knowledge of the totality of stagecraft, make his empathy for the performers’ work central to his process.
This fall, Ian will make debuts with Amarillo Opera and Opera Colorado, working on Papermoon Production’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia and Rigoletto, respectively. This winter, Silverman makes his directorial debut with Arizona Opera, remounting Francesca Zambello’s production of The Sound of Music. Further engagements will be announced shortly.
Silverman has worked in all forms of music theater, from rare operettas to golden age musicals to large scale grand opera. In addition to standard repertoire, Ian has extensive experience with new work and has worked on eleven world premiere productions. Ian also has experience working for film as both a director and video editor.
This past summer, Silverman returned to The Opera Theatre of Saint Louis assisting James Robinson on the world premiere of Tobias Picker’s Awakenings. Ian also returned to The Glimmerglass Festival to assist Francesca Zambello and Eric Sean Fogel on The Sound of Music, and Chloe Treat on a Double Bill featuring Kamala Sankaram’s Taking up Serpents and the world premiere of Damien Geter’s Holy Ground. Silverman has served on the directing staffs of Palm Beach Opera, Experiments in Opera, Opera Naples, The Ohio Light Opera, OnSite Opera, Brevard Music Center, and Pittsburgh Festival Opera among others. He has also directed productions at Youngstown State University, The Rochester Fringe Festival, Miami Children’s Chorus, and Eastman Opera Theater.
Silverman graduated from the Eastman School of Music with Master of Music Degree in Stage Directing and a Certificate in Arts Leadership in May 2020. During his time at Eastman he assistant directed opera productions, taught opera theater classes, and created his own productions. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Music from the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami, with degrees in both Classical Vocal Performance and Music Business. Upon graduation, he was awarded the Overall Outstanding Senior Award for the Frost School of Music.
During the COVID-19 Pandemic, Silverman created and developed a new web series, Where the Good Songs Go, that launched in Fall 2020 on YouTube and Facebook. The series featured virtual productions of rare early musical theater works by Jerome Kern, Rodgers and Hart, George Gershwin and Eubie Blake. The works presented had never been recorded before and have rarely been performed in the century since their premiere. Through the series, Ian raised hundreds of dollars to help artists affected by the pandemic.
At Eastman, Silverman was a member of the Arts Leadership Program, where he took classes in Leadership Issues, Digital Marketing, and Grant Writing. At the University of Miami, he was appointed the Artistic Director of BisCaydence a cappella. Under his leadership, the group advanced to the International Competition of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA) semifinals for the first time, recorded their first EP, and worked with local organizations and charities to better the Miami community. Silverman created a culture of excellence that has continued after he left the group, and BisCaydence has evolved into one of the country’s most acclaimed A Cappella group.
Ian Silverman makes community engagement a focus in his work. He is introducing a new generation of theater-goers to opera by blurring the lines between musical theater and opera. He wants to celebrate all kinds of music theater as opposed to being defined by one genre. In May 2019, he directed, The Little Sweep with the award-winning Miami Children’s Chorus, which provides a musical education and performance program to low income children ages 8-18 in Miami-Dade County. Ian has also worked as an Administrative Associate with the Joseph Avenue Arts and Culture Alliance, developing arts events for the community, where one of the nation's most disadvantaged communities is currently experiencing the richness of a grass-roots renaissance and development with the future Center for Performing and Visual Arts at its core. He hopes to inspire curiosity and help communities learn more about themselves through the arts.
The wide-ranging and versatile George Manahan has had an esteemed career embracing everything from opera to the concert stage, the traditional to the contemporary. He is the Music Director of the American Composer’s Orchestra and the Portland Opera (OR), previously served as Music Director of New York City Opera for fourteen seasons, and has appeared as guest conductor with the Opera Companies of Seattle, Santa Fe, San Francisco, Chicago, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Opera National du Paris and Teatro de Communale de Bologna and the National, New Jersey, Atlanta, San Francisco, Milwaukee, and Indianapolis Symphonies, and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. A recipient of Columbia University’s Ditson Conducting Award, he was honored four times by the American Society of Composers and Publishers (ASCAP) for his commitment to 20th-century music during his tenure as Music Director of the Richmond Symphony (VA). Dedicated to the music of our time, he has led premiers of Tobias Picker’s Dolores Claiborne, Charles Wuorinen’s Haroun and the Sea of Stories, David Lang’s Modern Painters, Hans Werner Henze’s The English Cat, Terence Blanchard’s Champion, the New York premiere of Richard Danielpour’s Margaret Garner and Emmy Award-winning composer Laura Karpman’s Grammy Award winning Ask Your Mama, a collaboration with soprano Jessye Norman, The Roots, and the orchestra of St. Luke's.
Recent seasons have included appearances at the Santa Fe Opera, Rose Theater at Lincoln Center in a concert performance of Gluck's Alceste featuring Deborah Voigt, the Music Academy of the West, and the Aspen Music Festival. The Live from Lincoln Center broadcast of his New York City Opera production of Madame Butterfly won an Emmy Award. Manahan's discography includes the Grammy Award nominated recording of Edward Thomas' DESIRE UNDER THE ELMS, with the London Symphony, and Steve Reich's TEHILLIM on the EMI-Warner Brothers label. He is Director of Orchestral Activities at the Manhattan School of Music as well as frequent guest conductor at the Curtis Institute of Music.
Some of Riffle’s most recent shows include The Elixir of Love (Lyric Opera Chicago), West Side Story (Opera San Jose), The Queen of Spades (Des Moines Metro Opera), La Hija de Rappaccini (Chicago Opera Theater), and The Three Queens (Lyric Opera Chicago). Riffle has designed and worked for such companies as Tribeca Performing Arts Center, New York City Opera, and The New York Botanical Garden, Chatauqua Opera, Joffrey Ballet, Urban Arias in DC, BalletMet Columbus, and Opera Orlando. Riffle regularly works for The Lyric Opera Chicago as a staff assistant and all her work can be seen at slriffledesign.com.
A native of Tucson, Alita Lopez began her career with Arizona Opera in 2001 working as a makeup artist. After just a few seasons, she became assistant to the former Wig Master. In this position she learned the art of wig building and developed her skill as a stylist. In 2010, she took on the title of Wig Master and has been overseeing the hair and makeup department at Arizona Opera ever since. In addition to managing her crew, she utilizes her creativity and talent as an artist and designer to aide each director in the realization of their vision.
Joshua Reid is a sound & systems designer based in New York City, with extensive work on Broadway, Off-Broadway, National Tours, International Productions, & Sound Installations. Design selections include A Christmas Carol (Broadway, Geffen Playhouse, LA Drama Critics Circle Award, LA Ovation Award), Ragtime (Calgary Philharmonic), Million Dollar Quartet (Theatre Calgary), How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Tour), Girlfriend (TheatreWorks Hartford, Connecticut Critics Circle Award), A Time Like This (Carnegie Hall). Additional Broadway credit selections include: Flying Over Sunset, The Ferryman, The Iceman Cometh, Falsettos, American Psycho, The Visit, & Act One.