Music by Gioachino Rossini Libretto by Angelo Anelli
The music sparkles and so does the comedy in Rossini’s story of Isabella, the Italian girl, and her adventures in the long-ago court of Mustafa, a governor in Algeria. Captured by pirates after she’s shipwrecked, Isabella is delivered to Mustafa as a prospective wife—but he already has a wife! And not only that—he has a slave who happens to be Isabella’s fiancé! But Mustafa is not the brightest bulb in the box, and he’s no match for the wily Isabella. Enjoy as she outmaneuvers him at every turn, planning and executing a brilliant mass escape worthy of a four-star general.
Elvira is complaining that her husband, Mustafa no longer loves her. Mustafa enters, silences Elvira and sends everyone but Haly away. Mustafa tells him that he is bored with his wife and plans to marry her off to Lindoro, his Italian slave. He also orders Haly to find him an Italian girl. Lindoro dreams of his true love, Isabella, when Mustafa enters and explains his plan, assuring Lindoro that Elvira will be a perfect match.
Haly and his men take some shipwreck victims prisoners: Isabella who is looking for her lost love, Lindoro, and her companion Taddeo. Isabella vows that she will overcome her troubles. To save Taddeo, she announces that he is her uncle. Haly, on the other hand, is delighted when he finds out that Isabella is Italian--exactly what Mustafa had asked for! When they are left alone, Isabella becomes annoyed by Taddeo’s jealousy but, rather than quarrel, they resolve to join forces in order to survive.
Back in the palace, Mustafa offers to send Lindoro back to Italy as long as he takes Elvira with him. Haly enters announcing that he has found an Italian beauty. Mustafa is overjoyed and receives Isabella. He is beguiled by her. Just at that moment, Lindoro, Elvira, and Zulma arrive to say goodbye. Lindoro and Isabella are astonished to see each other again, much to the amazement of everyone else. Isabella then demands that Elvira remain with her husband and that the Italian slave be made hers. Mustafa tries to oppose this but, as the act ends, Isabella shows him who is really in charge.
Everyone in the palace is commenting on the recent events. Mustafa sends his wife to tell Isabella he’s going to come and visit her. When Isabella and Lindoro are finally alone, Lindoro reassures her that he is faithful and has no intention of marrying Elvira. They plot together to fool Mustafa and then escape. In the meantime, Mustafa, trying to impress Isabella, appoints Taddeo his Kaimakan, or lieutenant.
Isabella criticizes Elvira for being too submissive and promises to show her what sort of treatment a man like Mustafa deserves. She tells Elvira to hide and watch what happens. Mustafa arrives with Taddeo, having arranged that Taddeo should leave when Mustafa sneezes. Taddeo, however, pretends to be deaf. Isabella calls for coffee and, to Mustafa’s surprise, invites Elvira to join them. Mustafa leaves in fury. Haly, who has noticed what is going on, comments on the prowess of Italian women.
Taddeo reveals to Lindoro that he is not Isabella’s uncle but her lover. Mustafa arrives, accusing Isabella of tricking him, but Lindoro calms him down: Isabella will name him a pappataci, an honor awarded to only the most ardent of lovers. Lindoro explains that as a pappataci, Mustafa’s only duty will be to eat, drink, and sleep.
Isabella tells the Italian slaves that she is planning to lead them to freedom. Mustafa arrives and the ceremony begins. Isabella explains that as a pappataci, he must swear an oath of eating, drinking, and keeping silent, no matter what happens. The ceremony is completed and Mustafa is immediately put to the test as Lindoro and Isabella sing to each other. Taddeo realizes who Lindoro is and what is happening. He tries to get Mustafa to intervene. But, remembering the oath of the pappataci, Mustafa remains deaf and dumb. When Mustafa finally sees that the Italians are escaping, he calls his troops, but they are all drunk. The Italians bid farewell as Mustafa begs Elvira to forgive him.
by Julia Pevzner
When listening to Rossini operas and thinking that he wrote them in so few days, I am always in awe ...What a great genius, what a master, and what a sense of humor! And L’Italiana in Algeri (The Italian Girl in Algiers) is a great example: a wonderful dramma giocoso that makes fun of opera seria and does it in a most charming way, presenting great entertainment.
What is L’Italiana about? Is it the clash of two very different cultures or a heart-breaking personal story of a family crisis?
I think it’s really both issues. Clearly, the contrast between two cultures interested Rossini very much. In Il Turco in Italia, he sends a Turkish prince to pursue an Italian lady and thus creates an encounter of familiar European mentality with exotic culture, depicting a great range of characters. In L’Italiana, Isabella leaves Italy to confront the world of the Orient (or at least what Rossini thought of it) in order to save her love and manages to teach Mustafa and Elvira a lesson in matrimonial relationship.
The plot of the opera is very simple, as usual: a man goes through his middle-age crisis and looks for a dream girl; his loving wife obeys his wish to get rid of her. The mysterious dream girl happens to be smart and assertive and serves as a marriage counselor to the couple in distress. Her own fiancé, trapped in slavery, has a chance to see his wife-to-be in action while she plans their escape, and her unfortunate suitor learns a lesson in understanding one’s limitations.
The wonderful music of Rossini turns the story into real fun: it’s full of humor and inspiration. Opera seria (Lindoro and Elvira) and opera buffa (Mustafa, Haly, Zulma, and Taddeo) co-exist in peace thanks to Isabella, who brings the two worlds together. She feels free in both worlds and thus can manipulate both to get what she wants.
I really feel for Elvira, Mustafa’s wife, who loves her husband with all her heart but gets rejected so cruelly after years of marriage. Her husband’s whim to get a better girl hurts her tremendously, but she still obeys without fighting. Her unawareness of a different mentality, where a woman actually has a say in marital relationship, causes her to be a hopeless victim. She is lucky to have someone like Isabella on her side, and hopefully next time her husband has a new whim, she’ll know how to deal with that.
Back to the cultural difference issue: in today’s political climate, we decided to stay out of politics and concentrate on a humorous approach to all weaknesses of human nature.
by Aaron Riedford
Gioachino Rossini’s fame today comes largely from a few massively popular pieces, particularly his overtures from William Tell and The Barber of Seville (the latter thanks partially to Bugs Bunny’s Rabbit of Seville cartoon). This renown, however, pales in comparison to the fame the composer enjoyed during his own lifetime. And his fame was well deserved. He began lessons in composition and singing at 10 years old, and by age 12, Rossini had already composed pieces on commission and sang publicly at the Teatro Comunale in Imola. After several more years of compositional study, Rossini received his first opera commission, for a one-act farce from one of Venice’s smaller theaters. Two years later, his La pietra del paragone premiered at the illustrious La Scala opera house in Milan; this paved the way for even greater success the next year with Tancredi, a fully fledged opera seria and a testament to Rossini’s maturing compositional style. Tancredi rocketed Rossini to superstardom throughout Europe, and the 21-year-old composer showed no sign of slowing down.
Two months after Tancredi’s premiere, Rossini received the commission for what would become his first mature two-act opera buffa (comic opera): The Italian Girl in Algiers. The Teatro San Benedetto in Venice, desperate to fill the gap left by another composer’s failure to finish an opera, commissioned the work on very short notice. As a result, Rossini received substantially more money than he had for previous operas and completed the work extremely quickly, probably in 27 days (although the composer claimed he managed it in 16). Luigi Mosca had composed a version of Italian Girl only a few years earlier, and Rossini adapted that opera’s libretto—a kind of nineteenth-century equivalent of Hollywood re-booting its popular film franchises today. While critics wrote Rossini’s Italian Girl off simply as a knockoff of Mosca, the brilliance of Rossini’s music ultimately spoke far louder than the words of a few naysayers. The world quickly forgot Mosca’s opera.
And The Italian Girl in Algiers is indeed brilliant. Never a devoted student of complex counterpoint, Rossini delights in repeated, tuneful motifs, combining and re-combining instruments to create colorful orchestrations, and sudden changes in mood, timbre, and volume. In setting the poetic text of the libretto, Rossini’s love of contrast creates highly effective musical drama. When we first meet Isabella, our eponymous Italian girl, we behold a shipwrecked traveler in a foreign land, surrounded by strange, leering men. Her aria “Cruda sorte!” presents an impression we might expect from a nineteenth-century “lover” character: she bewails her cruel fate in a slow, expressive number that sounds more like opera seria than buffa. But this “heroic” style opening gives way to a lighter, more catlike music, full of quick turns and mischievous-sounding accidentals. It shows us another side of Isabella: more than just a helpless lover, this is an Italian girl who knows how to handle herself. This second section was not in the original libretto; it was added at the behest of Rossini, allowing him to set up and then cleverly subvert the audience’s expectations of his lead female character.
The quirks of Rossini’s style not only make for engaging musical drama—they can also be wickedly funny. In Act I, Bey Mustafa attempts to get rid of his tiresome wife by setting her up with Lindoro, his Italian slave, while Lindoro tries to come up with excuses to avoid the arrangement. This is a funny situation in and of itself, but Rossini sets the text (the duet “Se inclinassi prender moglie”) as a series of punchy repeated phrases and motives, a perfect musical representation of Mustafa and Lindoro’s frantic attempts to avoid a direct confrontation. In the finale of the first act, Rossini very nearly dispenses with words altogether, letting the characters express the lunacy of their situation with rapid note runs, back-and-forth exchanges, and delightfully bizarre onomatopoetic exclamations. But not all of Italian Girl’s comedy comes from snappy exchanges. In Act II, Isabella plays on the patriotism of her fellow captive Italians by urging them to think of their homeland in the grand “Pensa alla patria.” If we fail to find the humor in this seria-style aria alone, we are bound to see it when the aria is juxtaposed with a trio in which Lindoro and Taddeo explain to Mustafa the honor found in eating, drinking, and sleeping.
The Italian Girl in Algiers debuted in 1813 and, the few naysayers aside, it was extremely well received. It has remained more or less consistently in the repertory ever since. Rossini deserves every bit of the recognition he receives today from his overtures, but we undoubtedly miss out on a great deal if we never witness the musical dramas that follow them. The Italian Girl in Algiers is indeed a masterpiece of comic opera, and our repertory is all the richer for it.
Marzio Conti has been the titular musical director of Oviedo Filarmonia since 2011. He began his career as a flautist, debuting at the Salzburg Festival with the I Solisti Veneti chamber orchestra at the age of 20. He has been considered one of the leading flautists of his generation, playing, recording, and teaching for major institutions internationally.
Conti decided in the mid-90s to devote himself to conducting. As a pupil of Piero Bellugi, he held the positions of chief conductor in various Italian and foreign orchestras, his activity frequently directing orchestras and theaters around the world, ranging from opera to symphonic repertoire. In addition, he frequently collaborates with leading ballet companies and international artists.
Conti has appeared on worldwide television and radio broadcasts, promoting contemporary music in addition to traditional symphonic and opera repertoire. He has been a jury member for numerous international competitions. He has numerous recordings on several major international labels. His CD including the monograph on Saint Saens Symphony No. 3 for Organ will soon be published on Warner International.
Julia Pevzner’s recent work includes Rimsky-Korsakov’s Tsar’s Bride at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mzensk at the Israeli Opera, Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov at Lyric Opera of Chicago, Donizetti’s Maria Padilla at Boston Opera, Così fan tutte with the Jerusalem Camerata, Il Barbiere di Siviglia and Rigoletto with the Haifa Symphony Orchestra, and others.
Her international operatic debut took place at the Dallas Opera with a production of The Queen of Spades in 2003. She debuted in Europe at the Mariinsky Theater in St.Petersburg with Der Rhinegold and Die Walküre later in 2003, and at the Israeli Opera with Painter and the Moon in 2004.
Pevzner has staged a number of Israeli new operas as well as plays and musicals. She was one of the Opera Aviv founders and serves as its artistic director. In 2010, she was an artistic director of the Upper Galilee Voice of Music Festival for Children. In 2011-13, she was an artistic director of the Jerusalem Opera, and since 2013, she’s been the artistic advisor of the Red Sea Classical Festival.
Born in Russia, Pevzner emigrated to Israel in 1991 and speaks Hebrew, English, French, Italian, and Russian. She is a graduate of the Rimsky-Korsakov College of Music in St. Petersburg (piano and musicology) and holds a B.A. degree from Tel Aviv University (linguistics and French literature) as well as an Art Management Diploma. She began her career as a house producer at the Israeli Opera and then as assistant director to Francesca Zambello. Pevzner revived Zambello’s productions at the Opera Bastille, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, English National Opera, and Bolshoi Theatre, among other prestigious venues.
Robert O’Hearn earned his bachelor’s degree from Indiana University in 1943. Now retired, as principal designer for IU Opera and Ballet Theater, O’Hearn designed sets and costumes for more than 40 productions and taught in the Opera Studies program for many years. Prior to coming to IU, he designed sets and costumes for the Metropolitan Opera, Vienna Staatsoper, Vienna Volksoper, Hamburg Staatsoper, New York City Opera, Greater Miami Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Santa Fe Opera, American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, and Ballet West. O’Hearn served as professor for the Studio and Forum of Stage Design in New York from 1968 to 1988. He has given lectures and classes at Carnegie Mellon, Brandeis, and Penn State University. In 2005, he received the Robert L.B. Tobin Award for Lifetime Achievement in Theatrical Design
Patrick Mero is the head of lighting for IU Opera and Ballet Theater. He has designed the lighting for La Traviata, H.M.S. Pinafore, Le Nozze di Figaro, Werther, Falstaff, Xerxes, Don Giovanni, Albert Herring, La Bohème, Tosca, L’Italiana in Algeri, West Side Story, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Suor Angelica, and Gianni Schicchi. He has also done extensive design work for the Jacobs School of Music Ballet Department, the IU African American Art Institute’s Dance Ensemble, and Cardinal Stage Company. In addition to his work in Bloomington, he has worked at Spoleto Festival USA. Mero originally hails from Charleston, S.C., but calls Bloomington home.
Along with his responsibilities as professor of choral conducting and faculty director of opera choruses at the Jacobs School of Music, Walter Huff continues his duties as Atlanta Opera chorus master. He has been chorus master for The Atlanta Opera since 1988, preparing the chorus in more than 100 productions, receiving critical acclaim in the United States and abroad. Huff received his Bachelor of Music degree from the Oberlin Conservatory and his Master of Music degree from Peabody Conservatory (Johns Hopkins). He studied piano with Sarah Martin, Peter Takacs, and Lillian Freundlich, and voice with Flore Wend. After serving as a fellow at Tanglewood Music Center, he received Tanglewood’s C.D.Jackson Master Award for Excellence.
Huff served as coach with the Peabody Opera Theatre and Washington Opera, and has been musical director for The Atlanta Opera Studio, Georgia State University Opera, and Actor’s Express (Atlanta, Ga.). He also has worked as chorus master with San Diego Opera. He served on the faculty at Georgia State University for four years as assistant professor, guest lecturer, and conductor for the Georgia State University Choral Society.Recently, he was one of four Atlanta artists chosen for the first Loridans Arts Awards, given to Atlanta artists who have made exceptional contributions to thearts life of Atlanta over a long period of time. While serving as chorus master for The Atlanta Opera, Huff has been the music director for The Atlanta Opera High School Opera Institute, a nine-month training program for talented, classically trained high school singers. He has served as chorus master for the IU Opera Theater productions of Don Giovanni, The Merry Widow, Akhnaten, Le Nozze di Figaro, Lady Thi Kính, H.M.S. Pinafore, and La Traviata. This past June, Huff served as choral instructor and conductor for the Sacred Music Intensive, a workshop inaugurated by the Organ and Choral departments at the Jacobs School. In addition, he maintains a busy vocal coaching studio in Atlanta.
Daniela Siena brings many years of experience in teaching Italian diction and language to singers. She was introduced to operatic diction by Boris Goldovsky, who was seeking a native speaker without teaching experience to work with singers according to his own pedagogical principles. Siena went on to teach in a number of operatic settings (among them, Curtis Institute of Music, Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, Seattle Opera). Over the years, she worked with a number of well-known singers, including Samuel Ramey, Justino Diaz, Carol Vaness, Wolfgang Brendel, June Anderson, Gianna Rolandi, and Jerry Hadley. The conductors, coaches, and stage directors with whom she has worked include Otto Guth, Max Rudolf, Edoardo Mueller, David Effron, Arthur Fagen, Anthony Pappano, Anthony Manoli, Terry Lusk, Dino Yannopoulos, Tito Capobianco, Andre Serban, John Cox, and John Copley. At New York City Opera, Siena worked closely with Beverly Sills—as her executive assistant, as a diction coach, and as the creator of English supertitles for a dozen operas. More recently, she worked for two years as a coach for the Young Artists Program of the Los Angeles Opera and, for the past six years, she has taught in Dolora Zajick‘s summer Institute for Young Dramatic Voices. Born in Florence, Italy, to an Italian mother and a Russian émigré father, Siena arrived in the United States at age seven. She received a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and, in her twenties, worked for two years in Italy as secretary to the president of the Olivetti Company. Many years later, she continued her education, earned a master’s degree, and became licensed as a psychotherapist by the state of California, where she practiced for 15 years. The mother of two grown children, she moved to Bloomington to be near her son, who lives here with his wife and two young daughters.
Stage director Vincent Liotta has been both a professional stage director and a dedicated educator for more than 40 years. He is currently chair of the Opera Studies Department in the Jacobs School of Music, where he teaches stage directing, acting, and operatic literature. As a stage director, he has been involved in creating many world premiere productions. Most recently, he conceived and directed the much-acclaimed premiere of Vincent by composer Bernard Rands and librettist J.D. McClatchy for IU Opera Theater. Among other notable premieres in which he has taken a creative lead are Coyote Tales by Henry Mollicone and Too Many Sopranos by Jacobs composer Edwin Penhorwood. His professional projects have been seen on four continents—including Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Puccini’s La Bohème in Seoul, Korea; the eastern-European premiere of Bernstein’s Candide for the Romanian National Opera in Cluj-Napoca; Puccini’s Madama Butterfly for Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires and La fanciulla del West at the Canadian National Opera Cin Toronto. Liotta’s operatic repertory covers the entire history of opera, from Cavalli to John Corigliano. In 1993, he co-founded the Utah Festival Opera. In addition to directing, he has authored and translated works for the musical theater, including a new libretto for Victor Herbert’s operetta, Naughty Marietta, and Viva Verdi, an original biographical evening about the life and work of Giuseppe Verdi. He has done new English translations for The Merry Wives of Windsor and Orlando Paladino in addition to a new libretto for The Merry Widow. For many years, Liotta has collaborated with Harold Prince on productions of Turandot and Don Giovanni, as well as on the world premiere of Willie Stark.
Stefano de Peppo was born in Italy and began his career as a boy soprano in the Children’s Chorus of La Scala in Milan. After graduating from Civica Scuola di Musica in Milano, he moved to London and studied at the Royal College of Music and with private teachers. He then moved to Mexico City and made his debut as a bass-baritone at Bellas Artes Opera House in 1990. Some of his roles include Mustafa (L’italiana in Algeri), Dulcamara (L’elisir d’amore), Don Pasquale, Geronte (Manon Lescaut), Sulpice (La fille du regiment), Don Alfonso (Così fan tutte), and Sacristan (Tosca) at venues including Minnesota Opera, Palm Beach Opera, Hamilton Opera in Canada, Teatro Villamarta, Opera de Valencia, Teatro Cervantes, Gran Teatro de Cordoba, Gran Teatro de Zaragoza (Spain), Teatro Colon de Bogota (Colombia), New Israeli Opera, and Finnish National Opera, among others. In 2002, de Peppo sang Leporello with Renato Bruson as Don Giovanni in a production in Rome televised by RAI and made into a commercial DVD. After auditioning for Placido Domingo, he was chosen to sing Betto (Gianni Schicchi) at Los Angeles Opera and Washington Opera with Samuel Ramey in the title role in a new production by movie director William Friedkin. Recent roles include Don Magnifico at Opera Monterrey (Mexico) and Intermountain Opera, and Don Pasquale at Miami Lyric Opera. He also recently took part in Francesca Zambello’s production of La Bohème (Schaunard) at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Next year, de Peppo will sing the roles of Mustafa at Opera Santa Barbara, Sulpice at Arizona Opera, and Don Magnifico at Opera Tijuana (Mexico).
Brazilian bass-baritone Rafael Porto recently performed the role of Dulcamara in Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. He made his IU Opera Theater debut as Bartolo in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro last fall and performed the lead male role of Su Cu in the world premiere of The Tale of Lady Thi Kính with IU Opera this past February. A second-year master’s student, Porto studies with Timothy Noble and has previously studied with Thomas Studebaker, François Loup, and Mark Gilgallon in addition to receiving guidance from Mary Anne Spangler Scott. Combining his undergraduate work at Butler University and music festival productions, he has sung 16 different roles in the past five years. With Indianapolis Opera, Porto was seen as Jose Castro and Billy Jackrabbit in The Girl of the Golden West, the Imperial Commissioner in Madame Butterfly, and other comprimario roles. He has worked with artists including conductors Alberto Zedda, Joseph Rescigno, Emanuele Andrizzi, Arthur Fagen, Marzio Conti, and David Effron; stage directors Candace Evans, Chris Alexander, and Carol Vaness; and coaches Mark Phelps, Kim Carballo, Daniela Siena, Ubaldo Fabbri, and Kevin Murphy. Porto is the winner of a Georgina Joshi International Fellowship and is currently the recipient of the William C. Bain Opera Fellowship.
Brooklyn Snow, soprano, is in the second year of her Master of Music in Voice Performance studies. Her performance as Elvira in this year’s production of L’italiana in Algeri marks her second role with IU Opera Theater, having previously appeared in Hansel and Gretel. Snow will be premiering three roles in Chappell Kingsland’s children’s opera The Firebringers, as part of the Reimagining Opera for Kids outreach program. Snow recently attended the Castleton Festival under the direction of Lorin Maazel, performing in orchestrated scenes as Susanna from Le Nozze di Figaro and Musetta from La Bohème. Snow played Tytania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream with IU’s Opera Workshop under the direction of Sylvia McNair and continues to be involved with the IU Opera Chorus. She has appeared as a soprano soloist with the Indiana Opera Chorus and the University of Oregon Chamber Choir. A native of Portland, Ore., she received her Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Oregon School of Music and Dance, receiving the Award of Excellence in Undergraduate Voice. While there, she studied with Milagro Vargas, performed as a soloist in Scarlatti’s Stabat Mater under the direction of Matthew Halls, and performed at the Bach Festival. As a member of the University of Oregon Chamber Choir, Snow received first-place honors at the Tallinn International Choral Festival in Estonia and the Cork International Choral Festival in Ireland. At IU, Snow is studying with Carol Vaness.
Soprano Natalie Weinberg is in the first year of her master’s degree studies at Indiana University, under the tutelage of Patricia Stiles. She received her Bachelor of Music degree at Indiana University with a minor in Italian. Originally from New York, she has called Atlanta home for the past seven years. With IU Opera Theater, Weinberg was recently featured as a Friend of Thi Mau in the world premiere of The Tale of Lady Thi Kính. Other IU Opera Theater productions include La Traviata, Akhnaten, La Bohème, and Der Rosenkavalier. She premiered the role of Mrs. Keeney in Ezra Donner’s Ile with New Voices Opera this past spring. At IU, she has appeared as a soloist in Mozart’s C Minor Mass. This past summer, Weinberg sang in a master class with countertenor David Daniels.
Anna Hashizume, a mezzo-soprano from Minnesota, is in her final year of undergraduate studies at Indiana University. She is a vocal performance major with an outside field in theatre. For IU Opera Theater, she has performed as Friend of Thi Mau in The Tale of Lady Thi Kính, Meg Page in Falstaff, and a grisette in The Merry Widow. She has been seen in the choruses of La Traviata, Le Nozze di Figaro, Xerxes, Don Giovanni, Candide, and La Bohème. Most recently, she performed the role of Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro in Lucca, Italy, with the Academia Europea dell’Opera. Last summer, she participated in Opera on the Avalon in St. John’s, Canada. There she performed Third Lady in Die Zauberflöte and covered the role of Flora Bervoix in La Traviata. Hashizume studies with Carol Vaness.
Marianthi Hatzis, mezzo-soprano, is pursuing her Bachelor of Music degree and is a recipient of the Dean’s Scholarship at the Jacobs School of Music. A twenty-year-old junior, she studies with Patricia Stiles and is making her IU Opera Theater debut as Zulma in The Italian Girl in Algiers. Hatzis has performed the role of Second Woman and was the understudy of Dido in Dido and Aeneas with Lefkas Music in Lefkada, Greece. Other stage credits include Carlotta in The Phantom of the Opera and Maria in The Sound of Music. Additionally, she has appeared in scenes as Poppea in L’incoronazione di Poppea and Giannetta in L’elisir d’amore with IU’s Summer Opera Workshop. She has performed for audiences such as the Metropolitan Iakovos of Chicago and the Greek Archdiocese of Chicago. A native of Greece, Hatzis lives in Chicago.
A native of Washington State, mezzo-soprano Veronica Jensen is an associate instructor of voice pursuing a Master of Music in Voice Performance in the studio of Heidi Grant-Murphy. The role of Thi Kính in the The Tale of Lady Thi Kính marked her IU Opera Theater debut during her first year at IU. Jensen graduated from Western Washington University with a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance, where she performed the roles of Cendrillon in Massenet’s Cendrillon, Zerlina in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, and Edith in The Pirates of Penzance by Gilbert and Sullivan. While at Western Washington University, she won first place in the concerto competition singing Ravel’s Sheherazade and first place in the annual aria competition. She was a featured soloist in Bach’s Magnificat with the Whatcom Symphony in Bellingham, Wash. During the summer of 2012, Jensen performed in Southern France with the Franco American Vocal Academy in three Offenbach operettas—The Tales of Hoffmann (the Mother), Bagatelle, and Le Mariage aux Lanternes. She placed third in the Franco American Vocal Academy’s 2013 Grand Concours de Chant in Austin, Texas.
Mezzo-soprano/contralto Deniz Uzun was raised in Mannheim, Germany, and received her Bachelor of Voice degree from the University of Music in Mannheim as a scholarship holder of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation und Richard Wagner Foundation. Since 2012, she has been coached by Oylun Erdayi (Turkey/Ankara) in addition to master classes with Stephen King, Margreet Honig, Deborah Voigt, and Ressa Koleva. She won the Charlotte-Hamel Prize at the 41st National Singers Contest Berlin 2014. Before and during her studies, she performed at the Nationaltheater Mannheim and in two productions of the Young Artists Program of the Baden-Baden Easter Festival 2013—as Armelinde in Viardot’s Cendrillon and as Third Lady in Mozart’s The Magic Flute with the Berliner Philharmoniker. In the same year, she was invited to the Liedacademy of the Spring Festival Heidelberg to work as a scholar with Thomas Hampson and Thomas Quasthoff. Since fall 2013, Uzun has been studying with Andreas Poulimenos at the Jacobs School of Music as an artistic diploma student and has received an Artistic Excellence Award and a Travel Grant Award. She received the Georgina Joshi Scholarship in fall 2014. Future engagements include the Baden-Baden Easter Festival 2015, where she is going to sing the role of Annina in La Traviata with Olga Peretyatko as Violetta, conducted by Pablo Heras-Casado and directed by Rollando Villazon.
Ecuadorian tenor Francisco Ortega Huerta is a third-year undergraduate student at the Jacobs School of Music. He is a student of Robert Harrison and also works with Gary Arvin. In his hometown of Guayaquil, Ortega took voice lessons with soprano Beatriz Parra (2007-11) and Lissandro Loor (2011). During those years, he played comic roles in full stage productions of the zarzuelas La del Soto del Parral, as Damian (Reveriano Soutullo and Juan Vert) and La del Manojo de Rosas, as Capo (Pablo Sorozabal). In 2011, he won first prize in the FROM-A Young Talents International Competition in Ecuador and was a semifinalist in the Concurso Ciudad de Trujillo in Peru. In 2014, he won first prize in the undergraduate category of the Indianapolis Matinee Musicale Competition. At IU, he took part in Patricia Stiles’ summer opera workshop, played Don Curzio in IU Opera Theater’s Le Nozze di Figaro, was part of Pro Arte Singers’ production of Esther, sang tenor soloist in Haydn’s Missa Sancti Niccolai, and was one of the soloists in the summer 2014 Mozart Requiem. In 2013, he performed with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra in Bach Cantata BWV 140, and last summer, he performed in concert with the Coral Gables Opera. Also last summer, he was selected to take part in Francisco Araiza’s master class under the Wiener Meisterkurse program. Future engagements include a new season with Kim Carballo’s Reimagining Opera for Kids community program and performing in the Latin American Music Center Christmas Concert as soloist in Ariel Ramirez’s Nuestra Navidad and as a guest in the 5th Indiana International Guitar Festival and Competition.
A native of Poseyville, Ind., tenor Lucas Wassmer has just begun pursuing his Master of Music in Voice Performance with Brian Horne. He received his bachelor’s degree from DePauw University, where he studied with Caroline Smith. In 2013, he won DePauw University’s Concerto Competition and was a finalist in both the Franco American Vocal Academy’s Grand Concours de Chant and the Tri-State College Vocal Competition. He has worked with Intimate Opera of Indianapolis, The College Light Opera Company, La Musica Lirica, and Opera in the Ozarks. His recent stage credits include Count Belfiore (La finta giardiniera), Lord Tolloller (Iolanthe), Alfred (Die Fledermaus), and the title role in Albert Herring.
Connor Lidell, senior, is a Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance major with minors in composition and conducting. He has been active in the IU Opera program as well as in student performance groups. He has performed on numerous student composition recitals as ensemble member and soloist. His recent roles include Dick Deadeye (H.M.S. Pinafore) and Bartolo (Le Nozze di Figaro) on the MAC stage, and he created the role of Captain Keeney (Ezra Donner’s Ile) with the New Voices Opera fall scenes exhibition. Lidell has been working on various musical projects both vocally and compositionally, including organizing a men’s choir (TTBB, a four-part men’s chorus) at IU. He is also working on two one-act operas that can run as a set or independently.
Brazilian baritone Bruno Sandes is pursuing a Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance as a student of Robert Harrison. He is a recipient of the Jacobs School of Music Scholarship. He earned a degree in interior design at the Federal Institute of Alagoas, Brazil, before relocating to Bloomington, Ind. The baritone has performed in many opera scenes, including Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte (Papageno) and Le Nozze di Figaro (Count Almaviva and Bartolo) and Gounod’s Faust (Valentin). His roles with IU Opera Theater include Le Suritendant des Plaisirs in Massenet’s Cendrillon and Sùng Ông in the world premiere of P.Q. Phan’s The Tale of Lady Thi Kính. Sandes also performed the roles of Steward in Ezra Donner’s Ile, Don Alfonso in Mozart’s Così fan tutte, and Joly in Schönberg’s Les Miserables. The baritone sang on tour through Austria, Italy, and Germany. He won first place in the XI Maracanto International Voice Competition, was one of the winners of the 2013 Indianapolis Matinee Musicale Competition, was selected as a semifinalist in the IX Maria Callas International Voice Competition, was one of six singers from around the world in the 42nd International Winter Festival of Campos do Jordão (largest classical music festival in Latin America), and was chosen in 2010 as the best classical singer of the Northeast of Brazil by the Art and Culture Critics Association.Sandes recently recorded a CD of Brazilian chamber songs based on folk and love themes, Minha Terra (My Land) with pianist Shelley Hanmo as grand winners of the 2014 IU Latin American Music Center Recording Competition, to be released by IU in October.
Baritone Heeseung Chae received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Seoul National University and is in his first year of performance studies at the Jacobs School of Music. He has performed in La Bohème (2012), Rigoletto (2008), and Falstaff (2011, at a Verdi gala concert). He is a student of Andreas Poulimenos.
Edward E. Graves, baritone, is a native of Oxon Hill, Md. He made his IU Opera Theater debut in the 2013-14 season as Brühlmann in Werther. Recent performances have included singing baritone solos in the world premiere of Gonçolo Lourenço’s oratorio From the Ashes, Raymond Wise’s Afro-American Suite: A Song of Freedom, H. Leslie Adams’ Hymn to Freedom, and the title role of Gianni Schicchi in Carol Vaness’s Opera Workshop. He is pursuing his Master of Music in Voice Performance degree at the Jacobs School of Music, where he is a recipient of an Artistic Excellence Fellowship. Graves received his Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance degree from Towson University, where he studied with Aaron Sheehan. While at Towson, he performed the roles of Calandrino in Mozart’s The Goose of Cairo, Cinderella’s Father in Into the Woods, Dudley in John Davies’ children’s opera Little Red’s Most Unusual Day, and Gabriel von Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus. He participated in the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival in 2011 and in the Princeton Festival in summer 2014, singing in the ensemble of Porgy and Bess. He is a student of Patricia Havranek.