Giacomo Antonio Domenico Michele Secondo Maria Puccini (December 22nd, 1858 – November 29th, 1924) was an Italian composer whose operas are counted among the important operas played as standards.
Puccini has been called "the greatest composer of Italian opera after Verdi". While his early work was rooted in traditional late-19th-century romantic Italian opera, he successfully developed his work in the realistic verismo style, of which he became one of the leading exponents.
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; Aida, Lucia 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.
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
Recognized for the natural beauty of her voice and her sense of dramatic insight, American soprano Kara Shay Thomson is proving herself a versatile and essential artist on the operatic and concert stages. Opera News wrote, “Kara Shay Thomson gave an elegant performance as Leonore in Fidelio, a welcome foray into Beethoven’s only opera. Thomson, known for her Tosca with Sarasota and other regional companies, was a galvanizing vocal presence right from ‘Komm, Hoffnung,’ spontaneous and powerful in her Act I aria to faithful married love.”
Ms. Thomson’s engagements in the 2016/17 season include her first performance of Agathe in Der Freischütz with Virginia Opera, the title role in Tosca with Intermountain Opera Bozeman, joining Lyric Opera of Chicago for its production of Berlioz’ Les Troyens, and performing in a New Year’s Eve concert with the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra. In the 2015/16 season, she made her Utah Opera debut as Tosca, and returned to Sarasota Opera as Leonore and as guest soloist in an all-Verdi concert.
Ms. Thomson’s recent engagements included returns to Sarasota Opera, Kentucky Opera, and Dayton Opera as Tosca; Kentucky Opera as Leonore; Florida Grand Opera as Magda Sorel in Menotti’s The Consul; and to Cincinnati’s Matinée Musicale in recital. She debuted as Tosca with Atlanta Opera, Florida Grand Opera, and Portland Opera; sang Judith in a concert version of Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle with New Millennium Orchestra of Chicago; Sieglinde in a staged presentation of Act I of Die Walküre with Dayton Opera; Santuzza in Cavalleria rusticana with Opera Delaware; and Judith with Opera Omaha.
Other recent successes included performing The Woman in Schoenberg’s Erwartung in a return to New York City Opera; Santuzza, Tosca, and the title role in Barber’s Vanessa with Sarasota Opera; Santuzza with Kentucky Opera; Tosca with Central City Opera and Santa Fe Opera; Zemfira in Rachmaninoff’s Aleko with Cincinnati May Festival; Donna Anna in Don Giovanni with Opera North; The Marschallin in excerpts from Der Rosenkavalier with Quad City Symphony; Marietta in Die tote Stadt with Washington, DC’s Summer Opera Theatre Company;and Female Chorus in The Rape of Lucretia with Chicago Opera Theater.
Concert engagements have included Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with National Chorale at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall; soloist in Dvořák’s Te Deum and a recital with Cincinnati May Festival; Rachmaninoff’s The Bells at Ravinia Festival under James Conlon; Strauss’ Vier letzte Lieder with Amherst Symphony; and a Wagner Concert with the Wagner Society of Washington, DC.
Marcy Stonikas is a graduate of Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts (CCPA) and Oberlin College Conservatory of Music. A graduate of the Young Artist Program at Seattle Opera, she performed the roles of Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte, and the title role in Ariadne auf Naxos, whilst a member of the program. She was First Prize winner in the Wagner Division of the 2013 Gerda Lissner Foundational Vocal Competition, and was a finalist in Seattle Opera’s 2014 International Wagner Competition.
Ms. Stonikas’ 2016/17 season holds anticipated role and company returns, and company debuts. She begins the season as Gertrude in Seattle Opera’s Hansel and Gretel, then sings the titular Turandot in debuts with Atlanta Opera and Opera Naples. During the summer of 2017, she essays a title role with the Berkshire Opera Festival.
Last season’s performances included a significant company debut with Washington National Opera in their critically praised Ring Cycle, singing Gerhilde in Die Walküre and Third Norn in Götterdämmerung. The 2015-2016 season also included Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the San Antonio Symphony, and Donna Anna in Don Giovanni with Opera Santa Barbara.
Ms. Stonikas’ 2014/15 season, showed performances with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra for Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, conducted by Asher Fisch. She then returns to the Volksoper Vienna, for Leonore in Fidelio, and to Seattle Opera for the title role in Ariadne auf Naxos. She concludes the season with Cincinnati Opera, as the title role in Turandot.
During the 2013/14 season, Ms. Stonikas appeared with Utah Opera in a role debut as Salome; Opera Santa Barbara as Tosca; in a return to Seattle Opera as Magda Sorel in Menotti’s The Consul; and the Vienna Volksoper for Fidelio.
During the 2012/13 season, Ms. Stonikas debuted the title roles in productions of Turandot and Fidelio at Seattle Opera, to great acclaim. Additionally this season, she performed a recital under the auspices of the Wolf Trap Opera Company.
Over two summers, the soprano performed Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, Antonia in The Tales of Hoffmann, and Rosaura in Wolf-Ferrari’s rarely performed Le donne curiose, with Wolf Trap Opera Company. Additionally, Ms. Stonikas had the unique opportunity to perform the roles of Irene and Mary in the American premiere of Jerry Springer – the Opera (Thomas) at the Bailiwick Repertory Theatre in Chicago. On the concert stage, highlights include Blumenmädchen in Parsifal (Wagner) with the Cleveland Orchestra, conducted by Pierre Boulez
Ms. Stonikas is a recipient of the Richard F. Gold Career Grant from the Shoshana Foundation, winner of the 2009 Elgin Opera Vocal Competition, and was a winner of the 2006 International Meistersinger Competition.
Tenor Rafael Davila has quickly risen to be one of the most sought after tenors of his generation. With almost 60 roles already under his belt, in the 2014/15 season he debuted as Des Grieux in Puccini’s Manon Lescaut under Maestro Plácido Domingo’s baton in Valencia, Dick Johnson in La Fanciulla del West and Don Jose in Carmen for Minnesota Opera, and Cavaradossi in Leipzig. 2015/16 engagements included a return to Washington National Opera as Don José in Carmen, Opera de Puerto Rico as Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly opposite soprano Ana María Martínez, his debut with Chicago Lyric Opera in the world premiere of the opera Bel Canto, his return to Valencia for Aida, his debut with the Macerata Festival as Turiddu in Cavalleria Rusticana, and his return to Lyric Opera of Kansas City as Don Jose in Carmen. Future highlights include La Fanciulla del West with Michigan Opera Theatre, Don Jose in Carmen with The Metropolitan Opera (cover), Don Jose with the Florida Grand Opera, a Rosenblatt Recital at Wigmore Hall, the title role in Otello with Teatro de la Opera, and Cavaradossi in Tosca with Opera de Puerto Rico.
The 2014/15 season marked the tenor’s return to the historic Teatro San Carlo in Naples, Italy as Canio in I Pagliacci and as Turiddu in Cavalleria Rusticana after his debut with the company in 2004 in the title role of Verdi’s Gustavo III (Riccardo in Un ballo in Maschera). This past season also marked his debut as Don Alvaro in La Forza del Destino for Washington National Opera as well as his debut with Florida Grand Opera as Cavaradossi in Tosca. Prior to that Mr. Dávila made his debut at the Washington National Opera as Pollione in Norma opposite Angela Meade and Dolora Zajick, as well as his debut as Radames in Aida for Manitoba Opera in Canada. In 2012 he made his debut in the title role of Verdi’s Otello for Sarasota Opera and as Manrico in Il Trovatore for Opera New Jersey and Kansas City Opera. That same year Rafael also made his debut in Spain in Nabucco with Opera de Bilbao and reprised the role of Calaf in Turandot for Opera de Puerto Rico.
Abroad he made his debut as Rodolfo in Puccini’s La bohème for the Netherlands Reisopera, and for the New Zealand Opera as Don Jose in Carmen and Alfredo in La Traviata. He made his debut as Calaf in Puccini’s Turandot for Connecticut Grand Opera, a role he also sang for the National Lyric Opera of New York, and the premiere of the opera Time and Again Barelas with the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra. His repertory also includes the leading tenor roles in the operas; Werther, Gianni Schicchi, Lucia di Lamermoor, Rigoletto, Attila, Giovanna D’Arco and I Lombardi. Rafael has also appeared in the leading tenor roles of the operettas Die Fledermaus and The Merry Widow, as well as in the Spanish zarzuelas, Luisa Fernanda, El Huesped del Sevillano, Venezuelan zarzuela Alma Llanera, and the Cuban zarzuelas María La O and Cecilia Valdés.
His concert experience includes Verdi’s Requiem, Rossini’s Stabat Mater, Bach’s Magnificat, Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony (for the prestigious Casals’ Festival), Mozart’s Coronation Mass with soprano June Anderson and Estevez’ Cantata Criolla which he performed with The Seattle Symphony Orchestra under Maestro Gerard Schwarz. His recordings of Ariel Ramírez’ Misa Criolla as well as another recording of the operetta Cofresí by Rafael Hernández were both nominated for a Grammy Award.
Rafael began his musical training at the Puerto Rico Conservatory of Music, completing later a Master’s degree in Opera Performance at the University of Texas at Austin under the guidance of Metropolitan Opera tenor William Lewis. Mr. Davila has also appeared with L’Opéra du Montréal, Palm Beach Opera, Los Angeles Opera, San Antonio Opera, Opera Tampa, Austin Lyric Opera, Teatro de la Opera and Fort Worth Opera, among others having the opportunity to work with stage directors like; Anne Bogart, John Caird, Ron Daniels, Pippo Delbono, Anthony Laciura, John Pascoe, Ira Siff, Bernard Uzan and Francesca Zambello. He has also worked with some of the most renowned conductors including; Nello Santi, Teo Alcantara, Sarah Caldwell, Anton Coppola, Eugene Kohn, Renato Palumbo, Massimo Zanetti and Xian Shang, among others.
Marco Cammarota, tenor, is currently a resident artist at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia under the tutelage of William Schuman. Recent roles of note include Nemorino in Elixir of Love at Opera Santa Barbara, Avito in Italo Montemezzi's rarely performed gem: L'amore dei tre Re with the Academy of Vocal Arts, and Alfredo in La Traviata with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. Cammarota is experienced in english and American repertoire, having sung: Peter Quint in The Turn of the Screw, and Carlson in Floyd's Of Mice and Men to mention a few. He has had particular success in the Italian and French repertoire singing Macduff and Malcolm respectively in the Glimmerglass Festival's production of Verdi's Macbeth, as well as B.F. Pinkerton and Rodolfo in the Puccini classics: Madama Butterfly and La bohème. Most recently, Cammarota had the privilege of making his Kennedy Center debut in a one hour special performance of Bizet's Carmen designed for children.
Beginning his career singing the bel canto roles of Italian opera, Gordon Hawkins drew early praise from critics like Lon Tuck of The Washington Post, who pronounced him to be “one of the most promising young singers of the decade.”
Since then, Gordon Hawkins has been critically acclaimed throughout the world for his in-depth interpretations and luxuriant baritone voice. A winner of The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and the George London Grant recipient, he has been praised for his rich lyricism as well as his dramatic instinct. He is a winner of the Luciano Pavarotti Competition and in 2006 was honored as the Washington National Opera “Artist of the Year.”
Gordon Hawkins has shared the operatic and concert stage with such distinguished artists as Placido Domingo, Mirella Freni and Luciano Pavarotti. Today, throughout the world, he is associated with a broad range of dramatic roles and characters of the German, Italian and American operatic repertoire, from Wagner to Verdi and Gershwin.
In the current season and beyond, engagements include Alberich in Der Ring des Nibelungen with the Deutsche Oper Berlin; Alberich in Siegfried at Teatro de la Maestranza in Seville; Telramund in Lohengrin at Deutsche Oper Berlin; Renato in Un Ballo in Maschera at the New Orleans Opera; Crown in Porgy and Bess at Cincinnati Opera; and Amonasro in Aida at Lyric Opera of Chicago.
Considered the leading Alberich in the world, Gordon Hawkins has appeared with the Washington National Opera, the BBC Orchestra at Royal Albert Hall in London, Deutsche Oper Berlin and Teatro Maestranza in Seville.
Most recently Gordon Hawkins made a triumphant company debut with the San Francisco Opera in Francesca Zambello’s highly acclaimed and groundbreaking American Ring: “As the malign dwarf, Gordon Hawkins was a most impressive Alberich, singing with robust power and making the villain’s dark emotions – longing, pain, greed, shame, and unadulterated hatred – chillingly manifest.” (Classical Review).
Over the past two seasons, noted engagements have included Thoas in Iphigénie en Tauride at The Metropolitan Opera; Caspar in Der Freischütz at Teatro de la Maestranza in Seville; the title role in Rigoletto and Alfio in Cavalleria Rusticana with the Washington National Opera; Tonio in I Pagliacci and Count di Luna in Il Trovatore with the Seattle Opera; Porgy in Porgy and Bess with Lyric Opera of Chicago, Dallas Opera, Seattle Opera and San Francisco Symphony; Renato in Un Ballo in Maschera with L’Opera de Montreal; and Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with the Atlanta Symphony.
Recent engagements include Amonasro in Aida with Houston Grand Opera and Cincinnati Opera; a gala concert for the Supreme Court Justices in Washington, D.C.; the title role in Macbeth with Seattle Opera; Tonio in I Pagliacci with Atlanta Opera; Porgy in Porgy and Bess with Washington National Opera and Michigan Opera Theatre; High Priest in Samson et Dalila with Opera Ontario; Villains in The Tales of Hoffman in Tokyo, and Tonio/Alfio in Manitoba Opera’s double bill of I Pagliacci/Cavalleria Rusticana.
Gordon Hawkins’ orchestral engagements include Vaughan Williams’ A Sea Symphony with The Washington Chorus at the Kennedy Center; the world premiere of Jake Heggie’s A Great Hope Fell with the EOS Orchestra of New York; Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with the St. Louis Symphony; concert selections from American musicals with Deutsche Welle WDR 4 in Cologne, Germany, and additional engagements with the Chicago Symphony, National Symphony, the Baltimore Symphony, The Cincinnati Orchestra, the National Theatre Orchestra of Prague, and the Vienna Symphony.
Gordon Hawkins has been heard on the Live BBC Radio broadcast as Alberich in Götterdämmerung with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall, and Live from The Metropolitan Opera broadcasts earlier in his career as Marcello in La bohème with Placido Domingo and Mirella Freni, and Silvano in Un Ballo in Maschera with Luciano Pavarotti and Aprile Millo.
He can be heard as George Milton on the first recording of Carlisle Floyd’s Of Mice and Men with the Houston Grand Opera on Albany Records, and on the New Zealand International Festival of the Arts recording of Simon Boccanegra in the title role.
Russian-American baritone Aleksey Bogdanov "commands a handsome dark quality wedded to a solid baritone" (Opera Today) that "rumbles rivetingly from top to bottom" (Opera News). Recent highlights include Sharpless in Madama Butterfly at The Glimmerglass Festival, Escamillo in Carmen with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and The Atlanta Opera, Eugene Onegin with Edmonton Opera, and Bass Soloist in Handel's Messiah at Carnegie Hall.
Engagements for the 2016/17 season include Escamillo in La tragédie de Carmen with Colorado Music Festival, Nourabad in Les pêcheurs de perles with Tulsa Opera, Jack Rance in La fanciulla del West with Opera Carolina, Scarpia in Tosca with Opera North, Vitellius in Hérodiade with Washington Concert Opera, Rubinstein's Demon with Commonwealth Lyric Theater, and Captain Kirk in a filmed workshop of Menagerie: The Trial of Spock.
In the 2015/16 season, he appeared with Washington National Opera as Escamillo in Carmen, Peter in Hansel and Gretel, created Governor George Wallace in the revised version of Appomattox, and covered Donner and Gunther in Francesca Zambello's Ring Cycle. His many appearances over six seasons at the Kennedy Center include Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni, and Guglielmo, Belcore in L'elisir d'amore, Sharpless in Madama Butterfly, Silvano in Un ballo in maschera, and the Jailer in Dialogues of the Carmelites.
Praised as "pitch-perfect" by The Washington Post, his diverse credits include Marcello in La bohème, Alfio in Cavalleria rusticana, Rabbi David in L'amico Fritz, and the Four Villains in The Tales of Hoffmann. He made his debut as Escamillo in Carmen at The Glimmerglass Festival, where he also created Bernard De Voto in the world premiere of A Blizzard on Marblehead Neck by Jeanine Tesori. He appeared in the American premiere of Tarik O'Regan's Heart of Darkness with Opera Parallèle. He has been featured as a soloist in Stravinsky's Les Noces, Bach's Kaffekantate, Handel's Messiah and Jeptha Dvořák's Te Deum, Janáček’s Glagolitic Mass, Poulenc's Le bal masqué, and the Requiems of Mozart, Fauré, Duruflé, and Verdi.
International concert appearances include Teatro alla Scala (A Hand of Bridge), Teatro Baretti di Torino (Romancero Gitano), Place des Arts (Mozart Requiem), Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia (Obras de Mozart), and Seoul Arts Center. He has performed at the United States Supreme Court and CIA Headquarters, and has sung the national anthem for the San Francisco Giants and Washington Nationals. Radio appearances include A Prairie Home Companion, Classical Conversations, and NPR broadcasts of Tobias Picker's An American Tragedy at The Glimmerglass Festival and Carmen with Columbus Symphony Orchestra.
Born in 1983 in Odessa, Ukraine, Aleksey immigrated to San Francisco in 1992. He made his professional debut in 2008 with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis in William Walton's Troilus and Cressida. He is an alumnus of Washington National Opera's Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program, Indiana University, and University of California Santa Cruz. He is a grand prize winner of the Florida Grand Opera Competition, a two-time winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council District Awards, and a Career Grant recipient from The Sullivan Foundation, The Shoshana Foundation, Pasadena Opera Guild, and San Francisco Opera Merola Program.
Born and raised in Illinois, American bass-baritone Zachary Owen is quickly emerging as one of the most exciting young artists of his generation. He has performed with such companies as Cincinnati Opera, Kentucky Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Central City Opera, Opera North, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, and Opera Santa Barbara.
He has performed the roles of Ashby in La fanciulla del West, Don Fernando in Fidelio, Matouš in Smetana’s The Kiss, Figaro in The Marriage of Figaro, Haly in L’italiana in Algeri, Nick Shadow in The Rake’s Progress, Frank Maurrant in Street Scene, the Commendatore in Don Giovanni, der Sprecher in The Magic Flute, Spencer Coyle in Owen Wingrave, and the title role in Don Pasquale.
A strong advocate for new music, he has participated in a composer’s workshop at Cincinnati Opera in which he worked alongside Jake Heggie, Jack O’Brien, and Terrence McNally to develop two characters for Heggie’s new Opera, Great Scott. In the 2016 season, Mr. Owen will be returning to Opera Santa Barbara for his debut in a leading role as Dulcamara in Elixer of Love as well as singing Francis Nurse in The Crucible at the Glimmerglass Festival, and performing as a member of the Marion Roose Pullin Opera Studio at Arizona Opera.
Mr. Owen is the recipient of numerous awards including the Grace Keagy Award at the Lotte Lenya Competition, the Brudos Family Prize for Opera Performance and was a national semifinalist at the 2015 Metropolitan Opera National Council Competition. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Luther College in Decorah Iowa and a master’s degree from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.
With a “resonant” bass sound Puerto Rican bass Ricardo Lugo is a versatile international artist in demand on the operatic and concert scene. Having made his Metropolitan Opera debut as Un Barnabotto in La Gioconda, Ricardo has since been involved in multiple productions with the company including Shostakovich’s The Nose, Ariadne auf Naxos, Khovanshchina, Billy Budd, La fanciulla del West, Adriana Lecouvreur, Macbeth, The Gambler, and Salome. In recent seasons, Mr. Lugo has joined Michigan Opera Theater as Timur in Turandot, Alfieri in Bolcom’s A View from the Bridge, and Don Fernando in Fidelio and has sung Dulcamara in Elixir of Love with Opera Memphis, Mr. Page in The Merry Wives of Windsor with Boston Midsummer Opera, the Sacristan in Tosca and Bartolo in The Marriage of Figaro with Sarasota Opera, and Bartolo in The Marriage of Figaro with the Princeton Festival.
Last season saw Mr. Lugo’s return to The Metropolitan Opera for productions of Otello, Tannhäuser, Tosca, Turandot, Manon Lescaut, and Madama Butterfly. In the 2016/17 season, he will debut with the America Symphony Orchestra as Wachtmeister/Der Holsteiner in Richard Strauss’ Friedenstag, return to Michigan Opera Theater as the French General in Silent Night, debut with Virginia Opera as Timur in Turandot, and return to The Metropolitan Opera for Salome.
Tenor Anthony Ciaramitaro, a Florida native, is currently pursuing his Master’s degree at Florida State University under David Okerlund, and has recently performed the role of Don Ramiro in Rossini’s La Cenerentola with Florida State Opera.
Mr. Ciaramitaro had the privilege to perform as a Studio Artist with Wolf Trap Opera during their 2015 season as Basilio from Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro, The Messenger from Verdi's Aida, and among the ensemble of Corigliano's The Ghosts of Versailles.
In previous seasons, Mr. Ciaramitaro made his professional debut with Florida Opera Theater as Ferrando in Mozart's Così fan tutte, the 2nd trio member in Leonard Bernstein's Trouble in Tahiti, Piquillo from Jacques Offenbach's La Perichole with the Franco-American Vocal Academy in Perigueux, France, and scenes from Verdi's La forza del destino, La Traviata and Mozart's Don Giovanni in Oberaudorf, Germany with Music Theater Bavaria.
Mr. Ciaramitaro graduated in 2014 with his Bachelor's in music from Rollins College, where he studied under Richard Owens, who has been a great inspiration to the advancement of his career. Mr. Ciaramitaro has been a concert soloist for The Bach Festival Society of Winter Park, The Messiah Choral Society, and The Villages Philharmonic.
Mr. Ciaramitaro has an avid love of the stage and is eager to one day have an illustrious career as a singer of opera, oratorio, and concert repertoire.
Katrina Galka, lyric coloratura soprano, joins Arizona Opera this season as a member of the Marion Roose Pullin Opera Studio. She will be singing First Sprite in Rusalka and Clorinda in La Cenerentola, and covering the role of Bess in the world premiere of Craig Bohmler’s Riders of the Purple Sage.
In the fall of 2014, Ms. Galka joined Portland Opera as a resident artist for two seasons. While there she debuted the roles of Adina (Elixir of Love), Johanna (Sweeney Todd), Elvira (L'italiana in Algeri), as well as Ida (Die Fledermaus), Frasquita (Carmen), and Adult Kim (Show Boat) while also covering Adele (Die Fledermaus) and Anne Trulove (The Rake's Progress). With Portland Opera, she also revisited the role of Papagena after performing it in 2014 with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis in a production of The Magic Flute designed and directed by Isaac Mizrahi. While spending two summers at OTSL as a Gerdine Young Artist, Katrina also covered the role of Sister Constance in Dialogues of the Carmelites, and performed the role of Isabel in The Pirates of Penzance while also covering Mabel.
Ms. Galka spent a year with the Boston University Opera Institute as a soprano-in-residence where she sang the roles of Diana in Jonathan Dove's Siren Song and Rosalba in Daniel Catán's Florencia en el Amazons. Additional stage roles include Marie (The Daughter of the Regiment), Eurydice (Orpheus in the Underworld), Servilia (La clemenza di Tito), Pamina (The Magic Flute), Mrs. Julian (Owen Wingrave), Aurore (Le portrait de Manon), Carolina (Il matrimonio segreto), Elisa (Il Re Pastore), and Serpina (La serva padrona).
In concert, Ms. Galka has performed with the Oregon Symphony, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, the Rhode Island Civic Chorale and Orchestra, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, and the Metropolitan Youth Symphony (Portland, OR). Ms. Galka performed and recorded the role of "the Cat" from Gunther Schuller's The Fisherman and His Wife with BMOP under the baton of Gil Rose.
Ms. Galka’s competition experience includes prizes from The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions (Eastern, New England, & Northwest regions), Jensen Foundation, Mario Lanza Scholarship Competition (1st place), Marcello Giordani International Vocal Competition, Heida Hermanns International Voice Competition, Dallas Opera Guild Competition, and National Opera Association Vocal Competition.