We tell stories worth singing
by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Don Giovanni

Steven White

Conductor

Praised by Opera News as a conductor who “squeezes every drop of excitement and pathos from the score,” Steven White is one of North America’s premiere conductors of both symphonic and operatic repertoire. Among the many orchestras Maestro White has conducted are The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the Moscow Philharmonic, the Orchestre Métropolitain du Grand Montréal, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the New World Symphony Orchestra, the Spoleto Festival Orchestra, the Colorado Symphony, the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, the Syracuse Symphony, the Charleston Symphony, the Florida Philharmonic, the Fort Worth Symphony, the North Carolina Symphony, the Madison Symphony Orchestra and London’s Philharmonia Orchestra for a CHANDOS recording of arias featuring his wife, soprano Elizabeth Futral. This season he will lead the Omaha Symphony Orchestra in Berlioz’ Symphonie fantastique and the Liszt E-flat Piano Concerto, featuring internationally hailed pianist Markus Groh. 

Maestro White made his acclaimed Metropolitan Opera debut in 2010, conducting performances of La traviata starring Angela Gheorghiu. Since then he has conducted a number of Metropolitan Opera performances of La traviata, with such stars as Natalie Dessay, Hei-Kyung Hong, Placido Domingo, Thomas Hampson, Dmitri Hvorostovksy and Matthew Polenzani. In the past two seasons he has returned to the Met to participate in critically fêted productions of The Rake’s Progress and Elektra.

Operatic Engagements for the 2016/17 season include returns to several companies, including Arizona Opera for Rusalka, Opera Omaha for Così fan tutte, the Peabody Conservatory for The Marriage of Figaro and Opera Roanoke for Susannah. Last season included performances of Don Giovanni at Arizona Opera, The Barber of Seville at Opera Omaha and Street Scene with the Peabody Conservatory.

Maestro White’s 2014/15 season included Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra and Das Lied von der Erde at Kennesaw State University. He returned to the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Lyric Opera Baltimore for Madama Butterfly, Arizona Opera for Eugene Onegin, and the Alabama Symphony Orchestra and Opera Birmingham for La bohème. He debuted with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra and Opera Columbus with La voix humaine and Pagliacci. With Opera Omaha he conducted Rigoletto.

In December 2013 Maestro White conducted the tribute to Martina Arroyo as part of the Kennedy Center Honors concert, broadcast nationally on CBS. Other highlights of that season include Tosca with Lyric Opera Baltimore and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Dialogues of the Carmelites with Peabody Conservatory, La traviata with Arizona Opera, Rigoletto with Opera Birmingham, Aida at Bob Jones University and Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 at Virginia Tech University. At Opera Roanoke he conducted a new production of Die Zauberflöte. He also led the Slovak State Philharmonic in concerts of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Russian Easter Festival Overture. With that same orchestra he collaborated with acclaimed trumpeter Paul Neebe in a recording of 21st- century concertos.

In 2013 he made his debut with the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra in a tour-de-force gala concert at Tchaikovsky Hall with soprano Sarah Coburn. Other recent symphonic engagements include performances of the Strauss Four Last Songs with Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and the Naples Philharmonic, internationally televised concerts with Rolando Villazon and the Greek National Radio Symphony Orchestra at the United Nations and Alice Tully Hall, an all-Wagner concert with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra and Opera Birmingham, the Festival Finale Concert at Spoleto Festival USA, a concert with Angela Gheorghiu and the Canadian Opera Company orchestra at Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto, and numerous concert performances with the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra and Opera Roanoke.

In addition to his work with the Metropolitan Opera, Maestro White’s extensive operatic engagements have included La traviata, Don Giovanni, Carmen and La bohème at New York City Opera; Lucia di Lammermoor at L’Opera de Montréal; Lucia di Lammermoor, The Daughter of the Regiment and I puritani with Vancouver Opera; La traviata at Opera Colorado; The Elixir of Love with Pittsburgh Opera; The Abduction from the Seraglio at Michigan Opera Theater; La traviata, Roméo et Juliette, I puritani, La sonnambula and L’assedio di Corinto with Baltimore Opera; Lucia di Lammermoor with New Orleans Opera; AidaLucia di Lammermoor, The Merry Widow, Tosca and Don Pasquale at Arizona Opera; and La bohème, Carmen, Rigoletto, Tosca and The Marriage of Figaro with the Naples Philharmonic.

Other performances include Hänsel und Gretel at Kentucky Opera, Pagliacci and Tosca at Nashville Opera, Lucia di Lammermoor with Fort Worth Opera, Don Giovanni, The Tales of Hoffmann, Macbeth and Lucia di Lammermoor at Syracuse Opera, Werther at Sarasota Opera, Lucia di Lammermoor with Wichita Grand Opera, Madama Butterfly with North Carolina Opera, The Elixir of Love at Wolf Trap Opera, outdoor Gala Concerts with Madison Opera, and La traviata at Indiana University Opera Theater.

As former Artistic Director of Opera Roanoke, Maestro White conducted nearly all of that company’s productions from 1999 through 2010, including performances of Das Lied von der Erde, The Flying Dutchman, Fidelio, Falstaff, Otello, Macbeth, Aida, Hänsel and Gretel and many others. He has also served as Principal Conductor for Opera Birmingham and as Associate Conductor and Chorus Master for Florida Grand Opera.

In May 2013 Maestro White received an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from Roanoke College.

Tara Faircloth

Stage Director

Stage director Tara Faircloth’s work has been seen in opera houses around the nation. Critics hailed her “incisive, tightly meshed direction” (Opera News) for The Rake's Progress at Wolf Trap Opera, calling it “a simple and elegant production” (The Washington Post). She directed two world premieres with the Houston Grand Opera's East+West series (The Bricklayer and Her Name Means The Sea) and has a thriving career in regional houses such as Wolf Trap Opera, Utah Opera, Arizona Opera, Tulsa Opera and Atlanta Opera (Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Rigoletto, Die Zauberflöte, Hänsel & Gretel, etc.). The baroque repertoire is of special interest to Ms. Faircloth, who made her directorial debut with Ars Lyrica Houston’s production of Cain: Il primo omicidio in 2003, and has since designed and directed a number of shows for the company, including Charpentier's  Actéon and La Descente d’Orphée aux Enfers. She has created productions of Dido & Aeneas for Ars Lyrica at the Festival di Musica Barroca in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, and for Mercury Baroque in collaboration with the Dominic Walsh Dance Theater. 

This season, Ms. Faircloth is working on several new productions:  Madama Butterfly with Wolf Trap Opera, L’enfant et les sortileges with Utah Opera & Symphony, Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Boston University, and a reconfiguration of her 2014 Wolf Trap Carmen for Arizona Opera. Following last year’s season, which included new productions of Il Ritorno d’Ulisse, Eugene Onegin and Britten’s Midsummer,  Ms. Faircloth is clearly in demand as an interpreter both for familiar works and those that are more obscure. 

Ms. Faircloth has worked extensively on directing staff with such companies as Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, Central City Opera, and Dallas Opera, and as such, has worked on some of the most complicated operas in the repertoire, assisting international directors and preparing cover casts of some of the best performers in our industry.  She is increasingly sought out for her skills as an adapter and has created such pieces as the “Mini” Grapes of Wrath, and the “Mini” Magic Flute, commissions of Opera in the Ozarks and Utah Symphony & Opera. She has a private coaching studio in Houston, Texas, and regularly works with the talented singers in the Houston Grand Opera Studio and Rice University

Joshua Borths

Joshua Borths

Assistant Director

Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, director/writer Joshua Borths is known for his innovative and thought-provoking productions.

Borths is currently on the staff of Arizona Opera where he stage directs, serves as house dramaturg, and runs the department of education and community engagement.

This year, Borths directed acclaimed, new productions of Florencia en el Amazonas for Arizona Opera and Hansel and Gretel for Opera Memphis, and The Barber of Seville for Seagle Music Colony. Borths will return to Opera Memphis in the spring of 2016 to direct a new production of The Tragedy of Carmen.

Additionally, as a member of the directing staff for three seasons at the Crested Butte Music Festival, Borths has directed productions of Der Kaiser von Atlantis by Viktor Ullmann,  Brundibár by Hans Krása, and The Pirates of Penzance by Gilbert and Sullivan.  

At Florida State University, Borths directed the regional premieres of David T. Little's Soldier Songs at Florida State University and La Hija de Rappaccini. While at FSU, Borths also wrote and directed a children's version of Dvořák's Rusalka, which subsequently toured twice across Northern Florida in 2013.

At the University of Michigan, where he completed his undergraduate degrees, Borths wrote the libretto and directed the premiere of Placebo: A New MusicalPlacebo has subsequently been performed across the country. Borths also directed acclaimed productions of The GondoliersThe Mikado,and an original pastiche entitled The Utopian Vote. Borths' work on G&S in Michigan was hailed as "Fresh, funny and surreal."

As an assistant director, Borths has worked with several important opera companies including Wolf Trap Opera, Michigan Opera Theater, and the Festival della Valle d'Itria.

Borths holds bachelor degrees in musicology and vocal performance from the University of Michigan, and graduate degree in opera directing from Florida State University.

joshua-borths.squarespace.com

Morgan Smith

Morgan Smith

Don Giovanni 2/26, 2/28, 3/5 & 3/6

I am from White Plains, New York, the son of a Presbyterian boy from Nashville and a Jewish girl from Manhattan. I am the third of four children, and was fortunate to have had a cello thrust in my hands at age 5. My family represented my first band, my first audience, my first collaborators.

Because my mother loved opera, on my 7th birthday I saw Hänsel and Gretel at the Metropolitan Opera. I remember two things in particular: the chocolate bar at intermission, and singing "tra-la-la-la" all the way home.

My first time on a stage was acting the roles of The Wolf & Cinderella’s Prince in Into the Woods as a Sophomore in High School. I had joined the cast for the best of reasons: a girl named Hallie. The passion for the girl dwindled, but passion for the theater remained. And, most importantly, a vocal coach named John Brooks identified in me some potential. He became my teacher, and through full scholarship gave me access to his expertise and wisdom in ways which might otherwise have eluded me due to personal circumstances. We should each have such a teacher.

I went to Columbia in Manhattan to play soccer and study music, and then went on to the Mannes College of Music at the New School on the Upper West Side. During those years I was flat broke, struggling to weather the storms of family drama, and most days wondered if I would ever be happy. I wondered what happiness would even look like, and I think being exposed to fundamental operatic themes—struggle and loss, love and redemption, courage and heroism—served to see me through in ways that I am only just beginning to understand.

I sang first because someone told me I could.

I kept singing because a few critics characterized me as talented or memorable or authentic.

I continued to sing because I kept getting jobs.

But today I sing because I have something to say.

I sing because that is the space where I feel most acquainted with myself; where my heart and my mind and my body and my soul all converge. I sing because I leave the theater feeling like I have a few thousand new friends.

I am grateful to sing. I am thankful to be entrusted with sacred and enduring art, again and again. And I am continually transformed and renewed through the act of participation in it.

These days, life off of the stage is more sweet than I could ever have imagined trudging through the gritty New York streets as a young man. My dear friend Richard Troxell (tenor) introduced me to his friend, Amy. I fell hard and fast for this brilliant, witty, and deeply compassionate woman. She is relentless in her pursuit of a gentler world, and anyone fortunate enough to cross her path benefits from her generous spirit. Because she works in child advocacy and policy, a dinner conversation may start with thoughts on Jake Heggie’s latest opera and end with debate around juvenile justice reform. Raising our kids together is a joy and an adventure. As Amy has said, “It’s rather operatic, really.”

       

Upcoming Engagements for Morgan

Handel's Messiah with the St. Louis Symphony and two role debuts; Joseph DeRocher in Dead Man Walking with Kentucky Opera, and the title role in Eugene Onegin with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City. 

Joseph Lattanzi

Joseph Lattanzi

Don Giovanni 2/27

Baritone Joseph Lattanzi is gaining notice for his “robust vocalism,” “unmistakable charisma,” and “undeniable star potential.” This summer, Mr. Lattanzi will lead the world premiere cast of Gregory Spears’ Fellow Travelers at Cincinnati Opera after appearing with Jake Heggie in Opera America’s Creators in Concert series, previewing Fellow Travelers at Brooklyn’s National Sawdust, and soloing in Carmina Burana with the Reno Philharmonic and at the Christ (Crystal) Cathedral.

During the 2015/16 season he joined Arizona Opera for performances as Riolobo in Florencia en el Amazonas, Moralès and Dancaïre in Carmen, and Don Giovanni in Don Giovanni. Lattanzi’s 2014/15 season began with a return home to debut with The Atlanta Opera as Yamadori in Madama Butterfly and included workshopping Jake Heggie’s new opera Great Scott, revisiting Fellow Travelers at the Opera America National Opera Center, soloing in Carmina Burana with the Chicago Sinfonietta, and performing Guglielmo in Così fan tutte. The 2013/14 season included his return to Seattle Opera in The Consul, a debut season with Cincinnati Opera in three roles, and an exciting international debut in Benjamin Britten's War Requiem with the Orchestra e Coro Sinfonica di Milano "Giuseppe Verdi". Recently, Lattanzi garnered acclaim for his performances of Il Conte in Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro led by Xian Zhang at San Francisco Opera's Merola Opera Program.

Equally at home in standard and new repertoire, Lattanzi has created roles in workshops of operas by Gregory Spears (Fellow Travelers), Jake Heggie (Great Scott), Daniel Catán (Meet John Doe), and Clint Borzoni (The Copper Queen). In the 2011/12 season, Mr. Lattanzi was recognized by Opera News Magazine for his "fresh, bright baritone voice" as Moralès in Bizet’s Carmen with Seattle Opera. As a member of Seattle Opera's Young Artist Program, he also performed the roles of Dr. Malatesta in Donizetti’s Don Pasquale and Albert in Massenet’s Werther.

Other stage credits include the title role in Mozart's Don Giovanni, Papageno (The Magic Flute), Guglielmo (Così fan tutte), and Man With a Shoe Sample Kit (Postcard from Morocco). The Mableton, GA native has studied at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM). In addition to two summers at the Merola Opera Program, he has participated in programs at the Brevard Music Center and the Chautauqua Institute Voice Program.

Melinda Whittington

Donna Anna 2/26, 2/28 & 3/5

The Philadelphia Inquirer hails Melinda Whittington as "especially marvelous in handling the rapturous jail scene music” in recent performances of Marguerite in Faust. In the 2016/17 season, she returns to Arizona Opera for the title role in Rusalka in addition to joining Utah Opera as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, Greensboro Opera as Micaëla in Carmen, and the Lyric Opera of Chicago for its production of Eugene Onegin.

Last season, she made debuts with Arizona Opera as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, Ash Lawn Opera as Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte, and Kentucky Opera as the Contessa in The Marriage of Figaro. She also joined the Charlotte Symphony for excerpts of Roméo et Juliette, was presented by Opera Birmingham in a solo recital, and joined the Ocean City Pops in concert.

Ms. Whittington is a former Resident Artist of the Academy of Vocal Arts, at which she sang Marguerite in Faust and Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte. She sang Marie Antoinette in Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles and Micaëla in Carmen during her two summers at Wolf Trap Opera. Also while a Filene Young Artist at Wolf Trap Opera, she presented a recital in collaboration with the Phillips Collection, pairing art songs and popular songs with art from the museum. Her other previous performances include Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni with the Green Mountain Opera Festival and Third Lady in The Magic Flute and Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi with Opera Carolina. Her operatic repertoire also includes Violetta in La traviata, the title role in Alcina, Mimì in La bohème, Pamina in The Magic Flute, Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus, and Marie in The Bartered Bride. She recently joined Opera Philadelphia for an exciting evening of new opera with Opera Philadelphia and their composers in residence, Lembit Beecher and Missy Mazzoli. On the concert stage, she has sung Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Philadelphia Sinfonia and Orff’s Carmina Burana with the Back Bay Chorale.

She is the 2016 third place winner in Fort Worth Opera’s McCammon Voice Competition, 2015 first place winner of the Opera Birmingham competition, a 2013 semi-finalist of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, winner of the Charlotte Opera Guild Competition, and an encouragement award winner in the Gerda Lissner International Vocal Competition. She is a former participant in the prestigious Merola Opera Program in association with San Francisco Opera at which she performed scenes as the title role in Donizetti’s Anna Bolena, Barber’s Vanessa, and Bizet’s The Fair Maid of Perth. She holds a Master of Music degree from the University of North Carolina Greensboro and a Bachelor of Music from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Andrea Shokery

Andrea Shokery

Donna Anna 2/27 & 3/6

Andrea Shokery is a dynamic young performer quickly garnering attention for her “magnetic stage presence” and “tangy soprano… [that is] simply delicious” (The Arts Louisville, The Arizona Republic). In the 2015-2016 season, Ms. Shokery makes her role and company debut as Violetta (La traviata) with Opera Columbus, returns to Arizona Opera for a debut as Donna Anna (Don Giovanni), and performs as the
Soprano Soloist in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Phoenix Symphony. In the 2014-2015 season, she returned to Phoenix for her last year of residency in the Marion Roose Pullin Arizona Opera Studio. She made exciting debuts as Gilda (Rigoletto), First Lady (Die Zauberflöte), and Marie (La fille du régiment). She also returned as the Featured Soloist on the Phoenix Symphony’s New Year’s Eve Celebration Concert. Beginning her tenure with the Studio in 2013, she made company debuts that season as Musetta (La bohème) and Norina (Don Pasquale). She also sang the role of Bess in Craig Bohmler’s Rider’s of the Purple Sage in workshop performances and made her debut with the Phoenix Symphony. Ms. Shokery completed two seasons as an Apprentice Artist with Des Moines Metro Opera in 2011 and 2012. Her scene concert performances included Konstanze (Die Entführung aus dem Serail), Semiramide (Semiramide), Alma Winemiller (Summer and Smoke), La Comtesse Adèle (Le comte Ory), Rosalinde (Die Fledermaus), Adina (L'elisir d'amore), and Lucia (Lucia di Lammermoor).

In the 2010-2011 season, she was a member of the Studio at Kentucky Opera, covering Adina in L'elisir d'amore and making her mainstage debut as Giannetta. While in Louisville, Ms. Shokery performed in a Composer Workshop with Daron Hagen, singing Pamela in Broken Pieces, one of three one-act operas entitled New York Stories. She then made a return to Wolf Trap, creating the role of Bobachina in the World Premiere of Musto's The Inspector with the Wolf Trap Foundation.

The 2008-2009 season saw Ms. Shokery in the title role of Pasatieri’s La Divina with the Wolf Trap Opera Studio and making her European debut as Musetta in La bohème with The Opera Theatre and Music Festival of Lucca, Italy. Ms. Shokery has received prizes from multiple competitions, including the Opera Birmingham Competition, Palm Beach Opera Vocal Competition, Tri-State Vocal Competition, Irma Cooper/Opera Columbus Vocal Competition. She is also a threetime District Winner in The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Originally from Gahanna, Ohio, she received both her Master's and Bachelor's Degrees from The University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music.

Jennifer Johnson Cano

Donna Elvira 2/26, 2/28 & 3/5

A naturally gifted singer noted for her profound musicianship, meticulous work ethic and warm personality, Jennifer Johnson Cano is a 2012 Richard Tucker Career Grant and George London Winner who joined The Lindemann Young Artist Development Program at The Metropolitan Opera in 2008 and made her Met debut in 2009-2010. As First Prize winner of the 2009 Young Concert Artist International Auditions, she has given stunning recital debuts with her on- and off-stage partner Christopher Cano in New York at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, in Washington, DC at the Kennedy Center, in Boston at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and in Philadelphia at the Kimmel Center. 

Over the last two seasons, Ms. Cano has bowed at The Metropolitan Opera as Mercedes, Emilia, Wellgunde and Waltraute and debuted as Meg Page in Falstaff and Bersi in Andrea Chenier.  Other operatic debuts include Marguerite in Berlioz’s La Damnation de Faust in collaboration with the Tucson Symphony, The Sharp Eared Fox in Janacek’s Cunning Little Vixen with the Cleveland Orchestra and Franz Welser-Möst and Diana in La Calisto with Cincinnati Opera.  Summer Festival appearances take place in Bridgehampton and La Jolla with world premiere performances of a chamber music work by Howard Shore and a concert with Duo Assad.  Further 2014-2015 season plans include Hansel, Nicklausse and Mercedes with The Metropolitan Opera, Donna Elvira with Boston Lyric Opera, Mahler II with the Utah Symphony, Beethoven Symphony No. 9 with Manfred Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony, and a return to the Baltimore Symphony with Marin Alsop for Leonard Bernstein’s Jeremiah Symphony, which will also be recorded live for Naxos. 

In addition to her continued relationship with The Metropolitan Opera, Ms. Cano has appeared with such esteemed orchestras as the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics, San Francisco Symphony and Orchestra of St. Luke’s. She toured with Musicians from Marlboro singing Respighi's Il Tramonto and Cuckson's Der gayst funem shture, which was recorded live and released by the Marlboro Recording Society.   A live recording of Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde was also released featuring conductor George Manahan, tenor Paul Groves and St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble.   At the request of Mrs. Carol Armstrong, Jennifer Johnson Cano was particularly honored to have been invited to sing the Anderson/Weill September Song at the private funeral for American icon and astronaut Neil Armstrong.   

Ms. Cano is a native of St. Louis, Missouri and earned her bachelor's degree in Music from Webster University and her master's degree from Rice University. 

jenniferjohnsoncano.net

Sarah Larsen

Donna Elvira 2/27 & 3/6

Praised as “sizzling,” “riveting” and possessing a “plummy, ripe mezzo,” mezzo-soprano Sarah Larsen’s 2015/2016 season begins with a return to Wolf Trap Opera where she performs Susanna in The Ghosts of Versailles and in Steven Blier’s The Rodgers Family – A Century of Musicals. She makes her house and role debut with Arizona Opera as Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, and continues her relationship with Orchestra Seattle with Bach’s St. John Passion and Handel’s Messiah. Sarah also debuts with the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra as Tisbe in La Cenerentola and with the Fresno Master Chorale for Mozart’s Great Mass in C Minor. Future engagements include a debut in the inaugural season of the Berkshire Opera Festival and a return to Seattle Opera.

 

In 2015 Sarah joined The Metropolitan Opera roster as La Muse/Nicklausse (cover) for The Tales of Hoffmann, made her debut with the Pacific Symphony as Mercédès in Carmen, and returned to Seattle Opera as the Komponist in Ariadne in Naxos. An alumna of the Seattle Opera Young Artist Program, Sarah has been featured as Maddalena in Rigoletto, the Secretary in The Consul, La Muse/Nicklausse (cover) in The Tales of Hoffmann, Mercédès in Carmen, Suzuki in Madama Butterfly and Tisbe in La Cenerentola on the mainstage, as well as Charlotte in Werther with the Young Artist Program.

 

March 2013 marked her debut with the New York Festival of Song with Song of the Midnight Sun, a concert celebrating Scandinavian art song. Sarah, along with Caitlyn Lynch and Morgan Smith, created a new song cycle entitled Farewell, Auschwitz, by Jake Heggie and Gene Sheer in May 2013 with Music of Remembrance, recording released by Naxos. Other recent engagements include Sarah’s debut with The Santa Fe Opera as Mercédès in Carmen, Stéphano in Roméo et Juliette with Des Moines Metro Opera and Neris in Medea with The Glimmerglass Festival. She also created the role of Sarelda in John Musto & Mark Campbell's comic opera The Inspector with the Wolf Trap Foundation, with a recording released in 2012.

 

Sarah Larsen is from Roseville, MN and attended Simpson College (B.M. Vocal Performance) and Rice University (M.M. Vocal Performance.) She continued her training with residencies at the Aspen Opera Theater Center, Sarasota Opera, Virginia Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, The Glimmerglass Festival, The Santa Fe Opera and Seattle Opera.

Andrew Stenson

Andrew Stenson

Don Ottavio 2/26, 2/28 & 3/5

Andrew Stenson is quickly building a reputation as one of the United States’ most exciting young tenors, with a brilliant tone, artistic intellect, and superb portrayals of a variety of roles. He is the first prize winner in both the 2015 Giulio Gari International Vocal Competition and 2016 Gerda Lissner Foundation Competition. He is also the recipient of a 2011 Sara Tucker Study Grant from the Richard Tucker Foundation.

Mr. Stenson’s 2016-2017 season includes appearances with the Glyndebourne Festival as Ernesto in Don Pasquale, as Tamino in The Magic Flute with Seattle Opera, Frederic in Pirates of Penzance with Palm Beach Opera, the title role of Candide with Théâtre du Capitole, Toulouse and Opéra National de Bordeaux, and Count Almaviva in The Barber of Seville with the Santa Cruz Symphony. He also appears in concert with the Kansas City Symphony for the Mozart Requiem.

During the 2015/16 season, Andrew Stenson made his Lyric Opera of Chicago debut, singing Gen in the world premiere of Bel Canto. He also debuted with Arizona Opera as Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni, and with Fort Worth Operaas Count Almaviva in The Barber of Seville. In concert, he sang the Messiah with the Cincinnati Symphony and Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings with the Rochester Philharmonic.

In the 2014/15 season, the tenor finished as a member of The Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. Amongst his assignments, he performed Beppe in Pagliacci, in a new production conducted by Fabio Luisi. In the summer he returned to the Glimmerglass Festival, as the title role in Candide.

Andrew Stenson was a 2nd year member of the Lindemann Program during the 2013/14 season. He performed Demetrius in The Enchanted Island at the Metropolitan Opera, and also made a return to Seattle Opera as Tonio in La fille du régiment, and his role debut as Belmonte in The Abduction from the Seraglio with Utah Opera. Additionally, Mr. Stenson appeared on the concert stage with the Seattle Symphony and Nashville Symphony, for Handel’s Messiah, and sang Mozart’s Requiem with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra. In June 2014, he made his Washington National Opera debut as Danny Chen in Huang Ruo’s An American Soldier.

The summer of 2012 found him with San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program for Argento’s Postcard from Morocco. During the 2012/13 season, Mr. Stenson joined the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. His assignments at the Metropolitan Opera that season included Esquire #3 in the company’s new production of Parsifal. The season also found his debuts with the San Francisco Symphony, for Handel’s Messiah, and with the Glyndebourne Festival Opera, as Brighella in a new production of Ariadne auf Naxos.

Mr. Stenson began the 2011/12 season with the Seattle Opera as Le Remendado in the mainstage production of Carmen. Continuing the season, he performed Orphée in Orphée et Euridice, replacing an indisposed colleague on short nice, and performed both the title role in Werther and Ernesto in Don Pasquale in the company’s Young Artist Productions. Also in 2011/12, Mr. Stenson made his Metropolitan Opera as a Rameau Quartet Member in The Enchanted Island, and made his role debut as Cassio in Knoxville Opera’s production of Otello. The summer of 2012 found him with San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program for Argento’s Postcard from Morocco.

The tenor joined the Seattle Opera as a member of its Young Artist Program for the 2010-2011 season, where his roles included Arturo in Lucia di Lammermoor on the mainstage, and Don Ottavio in the Young Artist production of Don Giovanni. In the summer of 2011, he returned to the Glimmerglass Festival, performing Jimmy O’Keefe in John Musto’s Later the Same Evening.

In previous seasons, the tenor appeared as Martin in The Tender Land with Glimmerglass Opera. Mr. Stenson was a Young Artist with the Santa Fe Opera in 2009, where he covered Head Man in The Letter and received the D. Gramm Memorial Award. He was a Regional Finalist in the 2010 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.

Mr. Stenson is the 2015 recipient of the Richard F. Gold Career Grant from the Shoshana Foundation (Lindemann Program), a Major Award Winner from Opera Index (2015), Second Prize winner from the Queen Sonja International Vocal Competition (2013), and Second Prize winner from the Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation (2015).

Andrew Stenson completed his Master’s Degree in Music at Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM). He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Music from Luther College.

Arizona Opera Studio's Andrew Penning

Andrew Penning

Don Ottavio 2/27 & 3/6

Andrew Penning, originally from St. Paul, MN, is a tenor in the Arizona Opera Studio. During the 2015-16 season he will return to the Arizona Opera Studio to make leading role debuts as Arcadio (Florencia en el Amazonas) and Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni). He will also sing the supporting roles of Remendado (Carmen), Chester Kingsbury (Arizona Lady), and Bardolfo (Falstaff). Assignments from the 2014-15 season with Arizona Opera included Triquet (Eugene Onegin), Borsa (Rigoletto), and 1st Armored Man/Second Priest (Die Zauberflöte).

Mr. Penning has been a Young Artist with some of the most prestigious companies and festivals in the United States. In the summer of 2015 he will cover the role of Belmonte (Die Entführung aus dem Serail) at Des Moines Metro Opera. At the Glimmerglass Festival he performed the roles of Delmonte (King for a Day) and Scaramuccio (Ariadne auf Naxos). With Utah Opera as The Ballad Singer in Of Mice and Men, Opera News said, “cast standouts included … Andrew Penning as the Ballad Singer, whose sweet lyric tenor conveyed the workers’ conscience.” As a Fellow at the 2011 Tanglewood Music Festival, he sang the Second Tenor in performances of Stravinsky’s Renardwith the Mark Morris Dance Group and gave recital performances featuring works by Richard Strauss, Alberto Ginastera and Ralph Vaughn Williams’ chamber song cycle On Wenlock Edge. At CCM Spoleto in the summer of 2010, he performed the role of the Male Chorus (The Rape of Lucretia). As a young artist at Seagle Music Colony in upstate New York, he performed the roles of The Governor and Vanderdendur (Candide).

In addition to his work in opera, Mr. Penning is also an active concert soloist. In performances of Handel’s Messiah with the Tucson Symphony of 2014, the Arizona Daily Star said “Penning…was ashow-stealer, singing at times with richly nuanced vibrato and at other times with such ringing clarity that you just couldn’t take your eyes off him.” Other concert repertoire includes: Arvo Pärt’s Passio, Monteverdi’s Vespers, Saint-Saëns’ Christmas Oratorio, J.S. Bach’s Magnificat, J.S. Bach’s

Cantata 12, Haydn’s Grosse Orgelmesse in E Flat, and Bruckner’s Te Deum.

Mr. Penning completed his Master of Music in Vocal Performance at the University of Cincinnati:College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) and his Bachelor of Music at Lawrence University.

www.andrewpenning.com

Joseph Barron

Leporello 2/26, 2/28 & 3/5

Hailed by Anthony Tommasini of the New York Times as “vocally robust” and “lyrically malevolent”, American Bass-Baritone Joseph Barron was a winner of the 2011 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and the 2013 Sullivan Foundation Awards. In the 2013-2014 season, Mr. Barron will debut with The Metropolitan Opera in Shostakovich’s The Nose, and will return to Opera Philadelphia as Leporello in Don Giovanni and Pittsburgh Opera as the Speaker in The Magic Flute and the Prophet/Larry King in Dark Sisters. Recently, Mr. Barron debuted at the San Francisco Opera in Mark Adamo’s world premiere of The Gospel of Mary Magdalene.

In the 2012-13 season, Mr. Barron appeared as Monterone in Rigoletto, Masetto in Don Giovanni, Geronimo in Il matrimonio segreto, The Bonze in Madama Butterfly, and Alidoro in La cenerentola with the Pittsburgh Opera. Other recent appearances include Ramfis in Aida at Glimmerglass Festival, Polyphemus in Acis and Galatea with the Aix-en-Provence Festival and La Fenice, Montano in Otello with Opera Company of Philadelphia, and Grandpa Moss in The Tender Land and Antonio in Le nozze di Figaro with Glimmerglass Opera.

Other roles Mr. Barron has performed recently include Count Rodolfo in La sonnambula, Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Seneca in L’incoronazione di Poppea, Commendatore in Don Giovanni, Enobarbus in Antony and Cleopatra, Wilhelm Reischmann in Elegy for Young Lovers, Friedrich Bhaer in Little Women, Erste Handwerksbursche in Wozzeck, Bartolo in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Dulcamara in L’elisir d’amore, Gaudenzio in Il signor Bruschino, and Don Prudenzio in Il viaggio a Reims.

Mr. Barron has also garnered top prizes from the Sullivan Foundation Awards, Opera Index Vocal Competition, Lucia Albanese-Puccini Foundation Competition, Gerda Lissner International Vocal Competition, and the Irma M. Cooper Opera Columbus Vocal Competition. He received his Master of Music at the Curtis Institute of Music and his Bachelor of Music from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.

Matthew Burns

Leporello 2/27 & 3/6

Matthew Burns is a dynamic performer known for his unique portrayals of opera’s most acclaimed bass-baritone roles spanning the repertoire from dramatic roles to buffo roles, and everything in between.   Career highlights include Paolo in Schreker’s Die Gezeichneten with Los Angeles Opera; Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Florida Grand Opera; Leporello in Don Giovanni with Boston Lyric Opera, Opera Cleveland, and Opera Omaha; Pish-Tush in The Mikado, Lord Gualtiero Valton in I puritani, and Titta in Martín y Soler’s Una cosa rara with Opera Theatre St. Louis; and a number of leading roles with Wolf Trap Opera and Bard SummerScape Festival.

mattburns.com

Sarah Tucker - a stand-out young soprano

Sarah Tucker

Zerlina 2/26, 2/28 & 3/5

Noted for her intelligent musicality and warm vocal color, Sarah Tucker is gaining momentum as a stand-out young soprano.

As a first year Studio Artist with Arizona Opera, Ms. Tucker will sing Pamina in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte. She will also perform Countess Ceprano/Paggio in Rigoletto and cover Tatiana in Eugene Onegin.

This year, Ms. Tucker competed in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Semifinals on the Met stage in New York City.  Ms. Tucker was a finalist in the 2014Fritz and Lavinia Jensen Foundation Voice Competition. She debuted with Gotham Chamber Opera singing the role of Memory I in the well-received world premiere of Lembit Beecher’s I Have No Stories To Tell You andjoined Crested Butte Music Festival as a Marcello Giordani Young Artist, singing Countess Ceprano in Verdi’s Rigoletto and Suor Dolcina in Puccini’s Suor Angelica. 

Ms. Tucker was a Finalist and Encouragement Award winner in the 2013 Licia Albanese Puccini competition as well as a Semifinalist in the 2013 Loren L. Zachary Competition.  She is a recent graduate of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM).

Arizona Spark »

young standout singer Alyssa Martin

Alyssa Martin

Zerlina 2/27 & 3/6

Lauded for her vocal agility and dynamic stage presence, Alyssa Martin is quickly garnering attention as a standout young singer.

Ms. Martin is currently a first-year Marion Roose Pullin Studio Artist at Arizona Opera. This season she will perform Mercédès in Carmen, Meg Page in Falstaff, and Zerlina in Don Giovanni. She will also appear as the mezzo soloist in Handel’s Messiah with the Santa Fe Symphony.

Upcoming engagements include a return to The Santa Fe Opera as an Apprentice Artist, where she will perform the role of Stéphano in Roméo et Juliette and a return to Arizona Opera in the 2016/17 season singing Kitchen Boy in Rusalka, Kate Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly, and Angelinain La Cenerentola.

Ms. Martin’s 2014/15 season included her tenure as an Apprentice Artist at the Santa Fe Opera where she covered Don Ramiro in Mozart’s La finta giardiniera. While at Santa Fe, Ms. Martin also performed scenes as Dorabella in Così fan tutte, and Desdemona in Rossini’s Otello.  Other recent engagements include covering Flora and Annina in La traviata and The Page in Salome as an Emerging Artist at Virginia Opera. Ms. Martin was also an Apprentice Artist with Des Moines Metro Opera, where she covered Isolier in Rossini’s Le Comte Ory.

This season, Ms. Martin was named a winner in the Arizona District Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, where she went on to place 3rd in the Western Region Finals. In the 2014/15 season, she was awarded a Career Grant from the Seattle Opera Guild, an Encouragement Grant from the Career Bridges Grant Foundation, and also 2nd prize at the Young Patronesses of the Opera Competition at Florida Grand Opera. She has been the recipient of numerous awards from organizations such as the Orpheus Vocal Competition, Young Patronesses of the Opera, Opera Guild of Dayton, Indianapolis Matinee Musicale, and Utah Festival Opera.

Ms. Martin completed her studies at the prestigious Indiana University Jacobs School of Music where she obtained both a bachelor’s and master’s degree under the instruction of Patricia Stiles and world-renowned soprano, Carol Vaness. On the IU stage she performed roles such as Cherubino in The Marriage of Figaro, Cendrillon in Cendrillon,  Dorabella in Così fan tutte,  and Prinz Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus.  Ms. Martin is a native of Greensboro, NC.

Ryan Kuster

Masetto

Bass-Baritone Ryan Kuster gained vast attention on the west coast for his accolades in San Francisco, where he recently completed a two-year residency and over 80 performances with the prestigious Adler Fellowship at San Francisco Opera. His performance as Escamillo in their production of Carmen was called “pure bravado.” The Classical Voice said of his performance as Masetto in Don Giovanni, “Handsome Ryan Kuster sang beautifully, and acted so convincingly that it was hard to believe he’s an Adler Fellow.”

This season, North State Symphony will feature Mr. Kuster in a concert with orchestra of his signature repertoire. He will then sing the title role in Don Giovanni at Opera Memphis, Escamillo in Carmen at Opera Grand Rapids and Knoxville Opera, Angelotti in Toscawith Orlando Philharmonic, Alidoro in La Cenerentola at Opera Saratoga, and makes a triumphant return to Dallas Opera in late 2015.

In recent seasons, Kuster made his symphonic début with the Los Angeles Philharmonic singing the role of Masetto in their highly acclaimed production of Don Giovanni, directed by Christopher Alden, with costumes by Rodarte, and led by Mo. Dudamel.  He then returned to Wolf Trap Opera to début the title role of Don Giovanni and made his National Symphony début performing Beethoven’sNinth Symphony. Additionally, Ryan sang Alidoro in Nashville Opera’s production of La Cenerentola; sang Masetto in Don Giovanniwith Cincinnati Opera; appeared in Dallas Opera’s production of Turandot; performed Angelotti in Tosca with Madison Opera and Pacific Symphony; Colline in La bohème with Arizona Opera; Escamillo in Carmen with both Opera Colorado (company début) and Virginia Opera; and two roles at Bard SummerScape Opera: Lysiart in Weber’s seldom performed Euryanthe and Brutamonte in Schubert’s hidden gem Fierrabras.

Previous engagements also include Rambaldo in La rondine with Oberlin in Italy; Pantalone in Le donne curiose with Wolf Trap Opera Company; Samin Trouble in Tahiti with Opera Santa Barbara; covering Samuel Ramey in the title role of Bluebeard’s Castle at the Chicago Opera Theater; The Parson, Badger and Woodpecker in The Cunning Little Vixen, Doctor Grenvil in La traviata and Carl Olsen in Street Scene with Chautauqua Opera; Count Ceprano in Rigoletto and Betto in both Gianni Schicchi and Ching’s Buoso’s Ghost with Opera New Jersey; and Ferrando in Il trovatore, Snug in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Frère Laurent in Roméo et Juliette at Opera North.

On the concert stage, Mr. Kuster performed the bass solos in the Fauré Requiem with the Bucks County Symphony, the MozartRequiem with the Neumann College Choirthe bass solos in the Messiah with the Tindley Temple Choirthe title role of Händel’s oratorio Saul with the Marsh Chapel Choir and Collegium, andAdam in Haydn’s The Creation with the Boston University Symphonic Chorus. He also appeared as a featured soloist with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, Ocean City Pops, New Jersey Master Chorale, and Concert Operetta Theater of Philadelphia.

Mr. Kuster recently sang on the Metropolitan Opera stage as a National Council Semi-Finalist.  He received a 3rd place prize in the Gerda Lissner International Vocal Competition and received a Grant from the Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation Competition. He also was given the Encouragement Award in the Philadelphia region of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and the Harmon Award from Chautauqua Opera.

His strong relationship with San Francisco Opera began when he joined the Merola Program, where he appeared as Garibaldo inRodelinda, Don Bartolo in Il barbiere di Siviglia, and Dr. Cajus in Die Lustigen Weiber von Windsor in the Schwabacher Scenes Program.  Mr. Kuster earned an Artist Diploma at the Academy of Vocal Arts where he performed the roles of the Governor in the world première of Margaret Garwood’s The Scarlet Letter, Schaunard in La bohème, Enrico in Anna Bolena, Oroveso in Norma, the title role in Don Pasquale, Doctor Grenvil in La traviata, Dikoj in Kát’a Kabanová, and Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte.

Mr. Kuster also holds a Master of Music degree from Boston University where he performed the roles of A Man with a Cornet Case in Argento’s Postcard from Morocco, Benoit in La bohème, Garrido in Massenet’s La Navarraise, and Amantio DiNicolao in Gianni Schicchi. Mr. Kuster earned a Bachelor of Music degree from Westminster Choir College.

 

Peter Volpe

Commendatore

Recent highlights of Mr. Volpe’s career include three broadcasts for the Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD series: Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi(with Il tabarro and Suor Angelica), Rossini’s Armida, and Verdi’s La Traviata, the Verdi Requiem at the Chichester Festival in Chichester, England, and the popular French grand opera Les Huguenots in the role of Marcel at the Bard Festival; the first time the opera was staged in America since the Metropolitan Opera’s production 95 years earlier

In 2007, Mr. Volpe created the role of Antoine Deguiche in the world premiere of David DiChiera and Bernard Uzan’s Cyrano for Michigan Opera Theatre. Recordings of the French Grand Opera’s Les Huguenots and Michigan Opera Theatre’s Cyrano, as well as a DVD of the MET’s Armida, were subsequently released and well-received.

In 2013, Mr. Volpe retained a full calendar. Performances for the bass include Ferrando in Il Trovatore at Arizona Opera, Ramfis in Aida at Michigan Opera Theatre, Daland in Der Fliegende Holländer at Glimmerglass Opera, La Forza del Destino at Washington National Opera, Philip II in Don Carlo at Austin Lyric Opera, and Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor at Portland Opera.

Additionally this season, Mr. Volpe will continue his concert roles with the music of Richard Wagner at North Carolina Opera, the Verdi Requiem at Chattanooga Symphony, New Jersey Symphony, and Carnegie Hall, and Die Walküre - Act I, singing the role of Hunding at the American Symphony Orchestra at Bard.

While consistently in demand, Mr. Volpe remains a focused performer, concert soloist, interpreter of song, and talented educator. He was recently invited to teach masters classes and sing concerts as an Opera Week guest artist at Omaha Opera.

Mr. Volpe attributes his technique and knowledge of the bass repertoire to his studies with accomplished Italian basso Nicola Rossi-Lemeni. Over the years, he has honed his repertoire under the batons of notable conductors including Jame Levine, Seiji Ozawa, Valery Gergiev, Sir John Pritchard, Maurizio Arena, Marcello Viotti, Semyon Bychkov, Joe Rescigno, Vincent La Selva, Richard Buckley and Richard Hickox.

Domestically, he has performed at the Metropolitan Opera, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, New York City Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Central City Opera, Florentine Opera, Austin Lyric Opera, Arizona Opera, Atlanta Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Opera Philadelphia, Kentucky Opera, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Santa Fe Opera, Hawaii Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Spoleto Festival USA, Natchez Festival of Music, Palm Beach Opera, Portland Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, Opera Saratoga, Mobile Opera, New Orleans Opera, Washington National Opera and the Bard Festival.

Internationally, he has been acclaimed at the opera houses of Vancouver, Manitoba, Montreal, Ottawa, Edmonton, Tokyo, Kyoto, Shanghai, Beijing, Prague, Colmar, Mulhouse, Imola, Riccione, Strasbourg, Stuttgart, Karlsruhe, Bremen, Dusseldorf, and Saarbrucken.

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