Music by Benjamin Britten Libretto by Montagu Slater
Peter Grimes—the abused and abusive fisherman, a tortured soul living in a tightknit coastal community where he’ll always be an outsider, and where contentment is always out of reach.
Did he murder his two young apprentices who helped him in his dangerous work? The truth is irrelevant because the village gossips will have their way, insidiously driving him to a dark place of madness that offers only one way out. Electrifying drama blends seamlessly with the endlessly evocative score—one that vibrates with the tensions of a claustrophobic society and captures the essence of the sea in all its magnificence and fearsome power. With its massive choral forces, Peter Grimes is an overwhelming emotional experience for audiences and one of the great music dramas of all time.
In English with English supertitles
Feb. 24, 25, Mar. 3, 4 Musical Arts Center Bloomington 7:30 PM
Explore our IU Jacobs School of Music Opera and Ballet Theater archive.
The action takes place at the end of the nineteenth century in the Borough (based on George Crabbe and Benjamin Britten’s hometown of Aldeburgh), a small fishing village in Suffolk, on England’s eastern coast. Each Sea Interlude (between scenes) is intended to be psychologically descriptive as well as meteorological and serves as a musical introduction to the following scene.
During an inquest at the Moot Hall, the lawyer Swallow questions the fisherman Peter Grimes about the death of his apprentice during a storm at sea. Swallow accepts Grimes’ explanation of events and rules the boy’s death was accidental, to the hostility of the villagers. Ellen Orford, the schoolmistress, offers her support to Grimes.
Interlude 1: Dawn
A few days later by the sea, the villagers sing of their relationships with the sea and the seasons. The women repair nets as a group of fishermen head for the Boar, a tavern kept by Auntie. Present is the Methodist fisherman Bob Boles, the gossipy widow Mrs. Sedley, the retired sea captain Balstrode, and the apothecary and quack Ned Keene. Keene tells Grimes he has found him a new apprentice at the workhouse, but the carrier Hobson refuses to fetch the boy. When Ellen offers to assist Hobson, she is met with hostility from the villagers and accused of hypocrisy. As the storm begins to rage, Balstrode tries to persuade Grimes to marry Ellen and leave the village. The fisherman’s pride, however, forbids him until he has made enough money to support her.
Interlude 2: The storm
As the storm continues, the villagers gather at Auntie’s tavern. Boles has become drunk and lewd, frightens Auntie’s “nieces,” and gets into a fight with Balstrode. As Grimes enters, a hush falls over the crowd as he begins to talk to himself. His startling appearance unites the Borough residents in their fear and mistrust. Boles tries to attack Grimes, and Ned Keene attempts to reinstate a cheerful atmosphere by starting a sea shanty. When Hobson and Ellen arrive with Grimes’s new apprentice, John, Grimes immediately takes the boy back into the storm.
Interlude 3: Sunday morning
Some weeks later, during church, Ellen speaks with Grimes’s new apprentice. She is horrified to find a bruise on his neck and mistakenly accuses Grimes of mistreating him. Grimes strikes Ellen and drags John away. Keene, Auntie, and Boles witness the incident and tell the congregation as they begin to leave church. Despite Ellen’s protests, an angry mob develops, and Boles leads the men to Grimes’s hut. As they leave, Ellen, Auntie, and the nieces sing of the immaturity of men.
In his hut, Grimes arrives with his apprentice and orders the boy to prepare for work. Grimes has spotted a large shoal they are to fish, but the shock of Ellen’s betrayal brings up the disturbing memories of his first apprentice’s death. When Grimes hears the mob outside, he rushes John outside. The boy slips and falls down the cliff to his death.As Grimes escapes, the mob finds his hut empty, and disperses.
Interlude 4: Moonlight
A few nights later a dance is in full swing in the Moot Hall. Outside, Mrs. Sedley tries to convince Keene that Grimes has murdered his new apprentice. She hides as Balstrode arrives with Ellen and tells her of Grimes’ disappearance and his discovery of the apprentice’s jersey washed ashore. Ellen recognizes it as the one she knitted for John. Mrs. Sedley overhears and instigates another mob to hunt for Grimes.
Grimes has been driven mad and is alone. He is raving and listens to the angry shouting of his name in the distance as Ellen and Balstrode find him. Ellen attempts to comfort him, but Balstrode tell Grimes to sail out to sea and sink his ship. The next day, the Borough returns to its daily work as if nothing has happened.
by Matthew Leone Musicology Ph.D. Candidate
Nearly 20 years after the 1945 premiere of Peter Grimes, composer Benjamin Britten recounted how he and his collaborators conceptualized the story and the title character: “A central feeling for us was that of the individual against the crowd, with ironic overtones for our own situation. As conscientious objectors we were out of it ...naturally we experienced tremendous tension.” No doubt Britten’s pacifism made him an outsider while England was still engaged in World War II, and many commentators have speculated that Britten’s conception of Peter Grimes reflected his own “outsider” status as both a pacifist and a homosexual. Autobiographical or not, however, there is no question that Peter Grimes stands apart from many other operas because its title character is one of opera’s most unconventional and complex protagonists. Portrayed through Montagu Slater’s libretto and Britten’s music, Peter Grimes is simultaneously brutish yet caring, stubborn yet aspiring, and his actions invite our contempt as well as our sympathy. What emerges is a story of a flawed individual against a flawed crowd, and a tale that challenges notions of guilt and justice without offering easy answers.
Britten and his lifelong partner, tenor Peter Pears, conceived the scenario for Peter Grimes when they encountered George Crabbe’s 1810 poem “The Borough” while visiting California in 1941. For Crabbe, the character of Peter Grimes was unequivocally a villain: a criminal as well as a fisherman, he would actively employ children as his apprentices, only to mercilessly abuse and dominate them. After three children die in his care, the villagers of the Borough rightly condemn him and thereafter view him with a mixture of scorn and pity. But even while drafting the initial scenario, and before librettist Montagu Slater joined the project, Britten and Pears sought to reinvent both Grimes and his relationship to the village. As they developed the character, they kept the gruff harshness and violence of Crabbe’s original, but they also added considerable depth—in the opera, Grimes dreams of financial success, marriage with the schoolmistress Ellen Orford, and becoming an upstanding member of the community. Moreover, despite his cruelty towards his apprentices, he shows genuine care for them as well and feels deep remorse over their deaths throughout the opera.
In addition to expanding on Grimes’s character, Britten, Pears, and Slater also transformed the villagers themselves. For Crabbe, the townsfolk were culpable for not intervening when Grimes abused his apprentices but ultimately justified in punishing him for his deeds. In the opera, however, the villagers become a single-minded mob, diametrically opposed to Grimes and condemning him based on rumor and hearsay. As with many of Britten’s operas, gossip becomes a central theme in Peter Grimes, and characters such as Mrs.Sedley and Bob Boles are convinced Grimes is a murderer, despite a lack of hard evidence. Yet there is a notable paradox in the villagers’ condemnation of Grimes as an evil criminal: for all their self-righteousness, the villagers of Britten’s opera are perhaps no better than Grimes himself. Boles drinks frequently and is prone to fighting; the apothecary Ned Keene peddles laudanum, an opiate, to anyone willing to pay; and the lawyer Swallow flirts with the local tavern girls. Instead of a righteous town bringing a criminal to justice, the opera depicts a crowd of flawed individuals ostracizing a man who is no more flawed than they, merely different. One may even argue that the crowd bears partial responsibility for the death of Grimes’s second apprentice—when the villagers raid Peter’s home in Act II, Peter and the boy hastily try to escape their wrath, only for the apprentice to accidentally slip and fall to his death in the chaos.
As clear as the opposition of individual and crowd is in the story itself, Britten’s music emphasizes the conflict and Grimes’s isolation from the rest of the town even more sharply. The ensemble music for the villagers signifies normality and steadiness; it is rhythmically marked and dancelike, tuneful, and clear in its phrase structure. By contrast, much of Grimes’s music, and especially solo numbers like “Now the Great Bear and Pleaides” in Act I or his “Mad Scene” in Act III, is declamatory, non-metrical, and with asymmetrical phrasing. Musically, then, Peter Grimes stands apart from his community: he is nebulous and ambiguous while the other residents of the Borough are steady and certain. Even when Grimes attempts to take part in the villagers’ music, he remains an outsider. In Act I, for instance, he attempts to join them as they sing their round “Old Joe has gone fishing,” but his singing is both in the wrong key and in a different rhythm from the crowd.
The complex and contradictory nature of both the title character and the villagers in Peter Grimes, and the conflict between them, has elicited a wide range of responses from critics and listeners over the decades. Many have rightly noted that Grimes is not blameless; he has been called everything from “not a hero nor an operatic villain” to “not a character with whom we can admit to identifying ourselves.” Nevertheless, to identify instead with the mob of villagers that wrongfully accuses Grimes of murder is to share in the folly of attacking and destroying those “outsiders” who are different, perhaps even flawed, but not as evil as we suppose. In driving Grimes to suicide, the Borough regains a sense of normalcy as everyday life resumes, but the villagers, in their comfort, remain oblivious to their own complicity in Grimes’s death. Ultimately, the opera closes with an especially painful act from the crowd against the ostracized individual—when Swallow reports Peter’s boat has been seen sinking out at sea, it is dismissed as simply “one of these rumors.” For a town so driven by gossip, it is a tragic irony that the villagers ignore the one rumor that might save a man’s life—and the only rumor in the entire opera that turns out to be definitively true.
Arthur Fagen has been professor of orchestral conducting at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music since 2008, where he is currently chair of the Orchestral Conducting Department.Additionally, he has been music director of the Atlanta Opera since 2010.
Fagen was born in New York, where he began his conducting studies with Laszlo Halasz. Further studies continued at the Curtis Institute, under the guidance of Max Rudolf, at the Salzburg Mozarteum, and with Hans Swarowsky. A former assistant of both Christoph von Dohnányi (Frankfurt Opera) and James Levine (Metropolitan Opera), Fagen’s career has been marked by a string of notable appearances. He has conducted opera productions at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Metropolitan Opera, Munich State Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Staatsoper Berlin, New York City Opera, Théâtre du Capitole de Toulouse, Bordeaux Opera, Frankfurt Opera, Staatstheater Stuttgart, New Israeli Opera, Baltimore Opera, Edmonton Opera, Spoleto Festival, Teatro Colón Buenos Aires, Teatro Lirico di Cagliari, and Stadttheater Bozen. From 1998 to 2001, he was a regular guest conductor at the Vienna State Opera. On the concert podium, Fagen has appeared with internationally known orchestras including the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Orchèstre de la Suisse Romande, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie, Czech Philharmonic, Munich Radio Orchestra, Tokyo Philharmonic, RAI Orchestras (Torino, Naples, Milano, Rome), Bergen Philharmonic, Prague Spring Festival, Dutch Radio Orchestra, and Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, among others.
Fagen has an opera repertory of more than 75 works. He has served as principal conductor in Kassel and Brunswick, as chief conductor of the Flanders Opera of Antwerp and Ghent, as music director of the Queens Symphony Orchestra, and as a member of the conducting staff of the Chicago Lyric Opera.
From 2002 to 2007, he was music director of the Dortmund Philharmonic Orchestra and the Dortmund Opera. Following his successful concerts with the Dortmund Philharmonic at the Grosse Festspielhaus in Salzburg, Fagen and the Dortmund Philharmonic were invited to the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Palais de Beaux Arts in Brussels, and to Salzburg, Beijing, and Shanghai. He conducted in that period, among others, new opera productions of Siegfried, Götterdämmerung, and two Ring Cycles.
Fagen conducted a new production of Turandot at the Atlanta Opera in 2007, opening the season with enormous success and inaugurating the new opera house, the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center.Soon afterward in Atlanta, he conducted the contemporary opera Cold Sassy Tree by Carlisle Floyd.
He was first-prize winner of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Conductors Competition, as well as a prize winner of the Gino Marinuzzi International Conductors’ Competition in Italy.
Fagen has recorded for BMG, Bayerischer Rundfunk, SFB, and WDR Cologne. He records regularly for Naxos, for which he has completed the six symphonies of Bohuslav Martinů. The Naxos recording of Martinů’s piano concertos was awarded an Editor’s Choice award in the March 2010 issue of Gramophone magazine.
Director Chris Alexander staged Les Contes d’Hoffmann for IU Opera Theater in 2008, as well as Le Nozze di Figaro in 2013. Born in Utah, but based in Germany, he made his U.S. directing debut at the Seattle Opera in 2000 directing Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov. He has returned there for many productions, including Verdi’s Falstaff, Beethoven’s Fidelio, and Richard Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos, a production that earned him the company’s 2003-04 Artist of the Year award. In addition, Alexander has also directed Puccini’s Turandot and Tchaikovsky’s Maid of Orleans for the San Francisco Opera, Ariadne auf Naxos and Werther for Washington National Opera and Die Meistersinger and Der Rosenkavalier for Cincinnati Opera. His many European productions include Rossini’s Il Viaggio a Reims, Wagner’s Tannhäuser, and Verdi’s Otello in Mannheim; Rossini’s La Cenerentola in Munich; Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia and the German premiere of Battistelli’s Prova d’orchestra in Dusseldorf; Bizet’s Carmen and Tchaikovsky’s Queen of Spades in Bern; Wagner’s Die Fliegende Holländer in Linz; and Puccini’s La Bohème in Hanover. Founder of the Bremen Shakespeare Company, he has directed more than 60 plays in Germany and Switzerland, and has translated many of Shakespeare’s works.
Robert O’Hearn earned his bachelor’s degree from Indiana University in 1943. 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 presented lectures and taught 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, Gianni Schicchi, Alcina, South Pacific, Dead Man Walking, Così fan tutte, Carmen, Oklahoma!, La Fille du Regiment, Madama Butterfly, and Rodelinda. 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.
Christian Claessens was born in Brussels, Belgium, and began his ballet training with the renowned Dolores Laga and the legendary pedagogue Nora Kiss at the Conservatoire de Danse de la Monnaie. When he was 11, his family moved to Cannes, France, where he continued studies under Rosella Hightower and José Ferrán. In 1978, Claessens came to New York as a scholarship student at The School of American Ballet and the American Ballet Theatre School, studying with Stanley Williams, Andrei Kramarevsky, and Richard Rapp. After graduating, he performed with the Kansas City Ballet under the direction of Todd Bolender and with the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater under Patricia Wilde. Returning to Europe in 1984, he began his association with The Dutch National Ballet. There he had the great opportunity to expand his classical repertoire in works by Fokine, Petipa, Ashton, Tudor, Nijinska, Nureyev, and Balanchine, while working closely with contemporary choreographers such as Rudy Van Danzig, Hans Van Manen, Rudolf Nureyev, Maguy Marin, William Forsythe, Frederick Ashton, Carolyn Carlson, and Ohad Naharan, and was soon established as soloist.
Claessens toured internationally in ballet troupes such as Stars of the American Ballet, Stars of the New York City Ballet, Stars of the Hong Kong Ballet, and Kozlov and friends, among others. He has appeared on television and in film and has taught at major ballet schools throughout the United States and Canada. In 1991, he co-founded the Scarsdale Ballet Studio with Diana White of New York City Ballet (NYCB). During his 15-year run as director and master teacher, he trained dancers of all levels. In 1999, he founded the International Ballet Project with Valentina Kozlova of NYCB. In 1998, he was asked to take over the directorship of the Purchase Youth Ballet, a division of the Conservatory of Dance at The State University of New York under the directorship of Carol Walker, dean of dance.In 2011, Claessens joined the faculty at Ballet Tech, official public school for dance in New York City, under the direction of Eliot Feld. An important and critical interest of Claessens’ has been the development of programs which have been therapeutic for special needs and challenged young people. He designed and taught curriculums for this at New Rochelle High School, Steffi Nossen School of Dance, and Scarsdale Ballet Studio.
His students trained from childhood to professional status are now prominent in major companies, such as New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Boston Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, and others.
Currently, Claessens teaches at the IU Jacobs School of Music as an adjunct faculty member as well as principal teacher and curriculum advisor for the Pre-College Ballet Program and Summer Intensive. He has choreographed for both IU Opera Theater and IU Ballet Theater. He is also on the faculty of the IU Department of Theatre, Drama, and Contemporary Dance under the direction of Elizabeth Shea, teaching courses on the somatic approach to classical ballet.
Walter Huff is associate professor of choral conducting and faculty director of opera choruses at the IU Jacobs School of Music. He served as chorus master for the Atlanta Opera for more than two decades, leading the renowned ensemble in more than 125 productions, with critical acclaim in the United States and abroad. Huff earned 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 Takács, 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.
He was one of four Atlanta artists chosen for the first Loridans Arts Awards, given to Atlanta artists who have made exceptional contributions to the arts 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 IU Opera Theater productions of Don Giovanni, The Merry Widow, Akhnaten, Le Nozze di Figaro, Lady Thi Kính, H.M.S. Pinafore, La Traviata, The Italian Girl in Algiers, La Bohème, The Last Savage, South Pacific, Die Zauberflöte, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Dead Man Walking, Die Fledermaus, Carmen, Oklahoma!, La Fille du Regiment, Florencia en el Amazonas, and Madama Butterfly. In the summers of 2014 and 2015, Huff served as choral instructor and conductor for IU’s 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. This past summer, he conducted Arthur Honegger’s King David for the Jacobs Summer Music series with the Summer Chorus and Orchestra.
Matt Herndon is an advanced actor combatant with The Society of American Fight Directors (SAFD), a founding member of the SAFD’s Diversity Committee, Bloomington native, and IU Theatre alumnus.Last season with IU Opera and Ballet Theater, he choreographed the violence for Dead Man Walking, Oklahoma!, Così fan tutte, and Carmen. Other favorite credits of his include She Kills Monsters, Billy Witch, and Mad Gravity for the Bloomington Playwrights Project; Oleanna, king oedipus, The Rimers of Eldritch, and Macbeth for Ivy Tech Theatre; The Lieutenant of Inishmore for University Players; The Crucible for Bloomington High School North; Sonia Flew for Jewish Theatre of Bloomington; and IU independent productions of Sunday on the Rocks, Hamlet, and Closer.
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, the Curtis Institute of Music, Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, and Seattle Opera). Over the years, she worked with a number of well-known singers, including Samuel Ramey, Justino Díaz, 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 Müller, David Effron, Arthur Fagen, Anthony Pappano, Anthony Manoli, Terry Lusk, Dino Yannopoulos, Tito Capobianco, Andrei Șerban, 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.
Tenor Bille Bruley is a third-year graduate student in the Jacobs School of Music studying with Carol Vaness. A Montgomery, Texas, native, he completed his studies at Baylor University, where he studied with Robert Best, in 2014. He recently was a young artist at The Glimmerglass Festival, where he performed the roles of Giles Corey in Francesca Zambello’s production of The Crucible and Beadle Bamford in Sweeney Todd.After being an apprentice artist, Bruley is thrilled to return to Central City Opera this summer to make his principal artist debut as King Nebuchadnezzar in Britten’s The Burning Fiery Furnace. He has been accepted into many young artist training programs, including Opera Saratoga, Central City Opera, The Glimmerglass Festival, Santa Fe Opera, and Lyric Opera of Kansas City. He has been a winner and finalist in The Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition, Lois Alba Aria Competition, and MTNA National Competition, and has been a district and a regional winner in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.Roles with IU Opera Theater include The Orthodox (The Last Savage), Eisenstein (Die Fledermaus), and Ferrando (Così fan tutte). Last year, he represented Jacobs in a recital at the Kennedy Center Conservatory Project Recital Series. Bruley will be a Herndon Foundation Emerging Artist with Virginia Opera next season, singing roles in Samson et Dalila, La Fanciulla del West, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Lucia di Lammermoor.
A 25-year-old tenor hailing from Clarkesville, Ga., Richard Smagur is pursuing a master’s degree in voice performance with Carlos Montané at the Jacobs School of Music, where he was awarded the 2015-16 Georgina Joshi Graduate Fellowship. Smagur will travel to New York to sing in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions as a semi-finalist on March 9. He has performed numerous times at IU, including lead roles in the mainstage productions of Madama Butterfly (Pinkerton), Carmen (Don José), Die Zauberflöte (Tamino), and H.M.S. Pinafore (Ralph Rackstraw). In January 2017, Smagur sang Elijah with the Tucson Desert Song Festival. Last summer he covered Des Grieux in Massenet’s Manon at Des Moines Metro Opera as an apprentice artist and participated in the Ravinia Steans Music Institute as a fellow in the voice program. Smagur has performed the role of Tamino in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte at the OK Mozart Festival and will be an apprentice artist at Santa Fe Opera this summer singing the role of Prince Gvidon in Rimsky Korsakov’s The Golden Cockerel.
Soprano Lesley Anne Friend has been honored as a Metropolitan Opera National Council Awards Semi-Finalist and by the Opera Birmingham Vocal Competition, Marguerite McCammon Vocal Competition, Connecticut Concert Opera, Orpheus Competition, and International Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition. Her roles include Giorgetta in Il Tabarro, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte, Alma in Hoiby’s Summer & Smoke, Masha in Wargo’s The Music Shop, Erste Dame in Die Zauberflöte (IU Opera Theater debut), Desdemona in Otello, Miss Jessel in The Turn of the Screw, Helmwige in Die Walküre, Female Chorus in The Rape of Lucretia, Elisabetta in Maria Stuarda, the title role in Ariadne auf Naxos, the title role in Suor Angelica, and Magda Sorel in The Consul. She has been a young artist with the Seagle Music Colony and Sugar Creek Opera, an apprentice artist with Sarasota Opera, and an artist-in-residence with Opera Memphis. Friend has performed in regional and world premieres of works by numerous composers, including American composers Zachery Redler and Stephen Schwartz. Her orchestral work includes Varèse’s Offrandes, music of Harry Partch, and Ginastera’s Cantata para América Mágica for IU’s Latin American Music Center in celebration of the composer’s one-hundredth birthday. She also performed Samuel Barber’s Knoxville: Summer 1915 with the Jacobs School’s University Orchestra. Friend earned her B.M. in Vocal Performance cum laude from Montclair State University and her M.M. in Opera from The Boston Conservatory. Currently, she is a doctoral student at the Jacobs School of Music, studying with Carol Vaness.
Soprano Christina Nicastro is a native of Dunellen, N.J., making her debut with IU Opera Theater.She is a second-year master’s student with Carol Vaness. Nicastro holds a bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from William Paterson University in Wayne, N.J., where she sang the role of Pamina in Die Zauberflöte. At Indiana University, she has appeared in the opera choruses of Dead Man Walking, Carmen, and Madama Butterfly. She has been featured in IU opera workshops as Mimì in La Bohème and Elisabetta in Don Carlo. Nicastro has also appeared as a soloist in Honegger’s King David with the IU Summer Chorus under the direction of Walter Huff. Her performancecredits include Vivaldi’s Gloria and Mozart’s Coronation Mass with the Choral Art Society of New Jersey, as well as selections from Bizet’s Carmen and Villa-Lobos’s Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 as the Hershey Symphony Orchestra’s guest soloist in Hershey, Pa.
Mezzo-soprano Gretchen Krupp, a native of Manassas, Va., most recently was a finalist in the Houston Grand Opera Eleanor McCollum Competition. She is a two-time Regional Finalist and Encouragement Award Recipient from the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, first in the Southeast Region and, most recently, in the Central Region.Other awards include second place at the Orpheus Vocal Competition and 2016 recipient of the Jacobi-Drews Merit Award from the Bloomington Chapter of NSAL. In September, she was seen as Marquise in IU’s production of La fille du régiment.Additional roles include Mother (Amahl and the Night Visitors), Marcellina (Le Nozze di Figaro), Mrs.Herring (Albert Herring), Witch (Hansel and Gretel), Ms. Newkirk (Help, Help, the Globolinks!), and Sister Lillianne (Dead Man Walking). She is an alumna of Dolora Zajick’s Institute for Young Dramatic Voices, Houston Grand Opera’s Young Artists Vocal Academy, and the Voice Institute at The Chautauqua Music Festival. Last summer, Krupp was an apprentice artist at Des Moines Metro Opera, where she covered Mistress Quickly and performed the Innkeeper in its production of Falstaff. This summer, she will be a studio artist with Wolf Trap Opera and cover Clarice in Rossini’s La pietra del paragone. She is currently a second-year master’s student at the Jacobs School of Music, where she studies with soprano Jane Dutton.She earned her B.M.in Vocal Performance from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
African American mezzo-soprano Gedeane Graham is a native of Bay Springs, Miss. She recently earned her master’s degree at Michigan State University as a Clare S. Mackey scholar.Currently, she is completing a Performer Diploma at the Jacobs School under the tutelage of Jane Dutton. Her accomplishments include studying in Todi, Italy, and Beijing, China, and performing as alto soloist in Handel’s Messiah with Michigan Steinar Chorale.Graham is a past festival artist at Utah Festival of Opera and Musical Theatre in Logan, Utah. She covered and performed the roles of Strawberry Woman, Maria, and Annie from Porgy and Bess, a featured Midinette from Tabarro, and Mistress of Novices and Lay Sister II from Suor Angelica. This is Graham’s IU debut.
Jennie Moser, soprano, recently earned her Bachelor of Music at Northwestern University, where roles included Amy March (Little Women), Barbarina (Le Nozze di Figaro), Mme. Silberklang (The Impresario), and Mrs.Hayes (Susannah). Moser previously attended the Aspen Music Festival and School as a member of the Aspen Opera Center and spent this past summer season with the Janiec Opera Company at the Brevard Music Center, where she sang First Lady and The Queen of the Night (cover) in Die Zauberflöte. Moser also appeared on the concert stage as the soprano soloist in Morton Feldman’s Rothko Chapel with the Bienen Contemporary/Early Vocal Ensemble at Northwestern. She is a student of Costanza Cuccaro.
Soprano Rebekah Howell’s recent stage credits include Abigail Williams in The Crucible, Ado Annie in Oklahoma!, Adele in Die Fledermaus, Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflöte, Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Blondchen in Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Flora in The Turn of the Screw, Sister Constance de St. Denis in Dialogues of the Carmelites, and Belinda in Dido & Aeneas. This spring, she will be performing the role of Antonia in Les Contes d’Hoffmann in Carol Vaness’s Opera Workshop. Also, this summer she will join Chautauqua Opera as a studio artist, covering the role of Norina in Don Pasquale. She was the winner of the 2016 Mid-Texas Symphony’s Young Artist Competition and will be making her symphonic debut in May 2017. Also in 2016, she was awarded second place at the Orpheus National Vocal Competition and second place at the National Opera Association Vocal Competition. In 2015, she was the national winner of the Music Teacher’s National Association Young Artists Vocal Competition. In 2016, Howell was also awarded a Georgina Joshi International Fellowship, one of the Jacobs School of Music’s highest honors, funding her studies abroad in Berlin, Salzburg, and Prague. She performed as a young artist at SongFest in Los Angeles, where she was a recipient of the Ruth Williams Scholarship, in 2015. Howell is completing her master’s degree at Indiana University, where she serves as an associate instructor of voice and studies with Carol Vaness. A native of Houston, Texas, she completed her undergraduate studies at Baylor University, where she studied with Robert Best.
Soprano Rachel Mikol is currently pursuing graduate studies in voice at Indiana University under the tutelage of Mary Ann Hart. Last season, she was seen as Dorabella in IU Opera Theater’s Così fan tutte, as a soprano soloist in Handel’s Messiah with the Joshi Handel Project, and as Elizabeth in the world premiere of The Forest of Dreams with New Voices Opera. She recently performed with IU’s New Music Ensemble as the soprano soloist and will be seen as Ophélie in Thomas’s Hamlet with Carol Vaness’s Opera Workshop. In the summer of 2016, Mikol performed as an apprentice artist in South Pacific with Ash Lawn Opera in Charlottesville, Va. An advocate of contemporary music, she frequently collaborates with IU composers and regularly performs with NOTUS and New Voices Opera. Other operatic roles and scenes include First Lay Sister and Sister Genevieve (Suor Angelica), Zerlina (Don Giovanni), Adina (The Elixir of Love), Beth (Little Women), and Pamina (Die Zauberflöte), Susanna (Le Nozze di Figaro), Armida (Rinaldo), and Johanna (Sweeney Todd). In 2014, Mikol was a young artist at the International Performing Arts Institute in Kiefersfelden, Germany, where she was a winner of the aria competition. A native of Buffalo, N.Y., she earned a bachelor’s degree in vocal performance and music education from Ithaca College.
Making her IU Opera Theater debut, Therese Pirçon is pursuing a Performer Diploma in Voice Performance under the instruction of Jane Dutton. Pirçon has been celebrated for her striking warmth of tone, dramatic versatility, and exceptional artistry. The Midwestern-born soprano has performed in a variety of venues both nationally and internationally. Her most recent engagement was as apprentice artist for the Miami Music Festival, where she performed the role of Nella from Gianni Schicchi. She has collaborated with directors, coaches, and conductors hailing from the WashingtonNational Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Metropolitan Opera, and several other prestigious opera houses. Her most recent roles include the Marschallin (Der Rosenkavalier), Beauty (Beauty and the Beast), Mrs. Gobineau (The Medium), and Ciesca (Gianni Schicchi).
Baritone Zachary Coates earned his master’s degree from Indiana University and is currently in his third year of doctoral studies here. He has appeared with IU Opera Theater as the Count in Le Nozze di Figaro, the title role in Don Giovanni, Sid in Albert Herring, and as both Guglielmo and, more recently, Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte and Sergeant Sulpice in Daughter of the Regiment. He was a young artist with Michigan Opera Theater for its 2014-15 season, singing roles in Elektra, Madama Butterfly, Frida, The Merry Widow, and Faust. As a concert soloist, he has performed Handel’s Messiah with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Haydn’s Mass in Time of War with the American Classical Orchestra, and multiple works with ensembles at the Jacobs School of Music. This past summer, Coates narrated the IU Summer Chorus and Orchestra’s performance of Arthur Honegger’s King David.He is a student of Andreas Poulimenos.
From New York City’s Lincoln Center to the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Daniel Narducci has appeared in performances across the globe on the opera, concert, and musical theater stages. As an operatic performer, his roles include Sharpless in Madama Butterfly, Escamillo in Carmen, Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro, Marcello in La Bohème, Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Belcore in The Elixir of Love, and Silvio in I Pagliacci. He has been heard in these roles with Washington National Opera, New Orleans Opera, Central City Opera, Palm Beach Opera, Kentucky Opera, Nashville Opera, Indianapolis Opera, and Opera Santa Barbara. Since his professional debut with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra under the direction of Erich Kunzel, Narducci has appeared as a soloist with many of the world’s most prestigious orchestras, including the Cleveland Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Boston Pops, Naples Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic, Baltimore Symphony, Toronto Symphony, Houston Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, and Detroit Symphony. Narducci played the role of Lancelot during two national tours of Camelot, most notably opposite Robert Goulet’s King Arthur. He co-starred with Frederica von Stade and the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra in a program broadcast internationally by PBS, Pops at the Phil: A Century of Broadway.He earned his B.M. and M.M. degrees from the Jacobs School of Music and is pursuing a D.M. in Voice Performance as a student of Wolfgang Brendel. Narducci is in his third year teaching applied voice as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Indianapolis.
Liz Culpepper, mezzo-soprano, is a second-year master’s student in voice performance at the Jacobs School, studying with Patricia Havranek. Culpepper graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Music and a minor in Religious Studies. While there, she performed with the Butler Opera Center and the University of Texas Chamber Singers and was a featured soloist for two years with the University of Texas Bach Cantata Project. In spring 2015, she performed the role of the Waitress in Speed Dating Tonight!, a one-act opera by Michael Ching. She started her master’s degree at Indiana University in fall 2015. At IU, Culpepper has sung with NOTUS, Conductors’ Chorus, and Opera Chorus. She has appeared as a soloist with the New Music Ensemble, NOTUS, and Bloomington Chamber Singers. This past summer, she attended Le Chiavi–Institute of Bel Canto Studies in Houston, Texas. In fall 2016, she made her role debut with IU Opera Theater, singing Suzuki in Madama Butterfly.
Originally from Cape Breton, mezzo-soprano Mairi Irene McCormack is completing a Performer Diploma at the IU Jacobs School of Music studying with Timothy Noble. Previous roles include Miss Todd in The Old Maid and the Thief, Ottavia in L’incoronazione di Poppea, and 3rd Wood Nymph in Rusalka, as well as Charlotte (Werther) and Mrs.Grose (The Turn of the Screw) in scene performances. McCormack frequently performs with the Reimagining Opera for Kids outreach program and has previously attended the Franz Schubert Institut, Center for Opera Studies in Italy, and Opera NUOVA. She earned a Bachelor of Music degree at the University of Alberta Augustana Faculty and has received grants and awards from the Anne Burrows Music Foundation, Winspear Fund, Alberta Foundation for the Arts, and the Edmonton Arts Council. This is her debut with IU Opera Theater.
Connor Lidell, 24, is a second-year master’s student at the Jacobs School of Music studying with Andreas Poulimenos.From Arlington, Texas, he has been seen in multiple shows on the IU Opera and Ballet Theater stage—most recently as Jud Fry in Oklahoma! In spring 2015, he performed in IU composer Kim Osberg’s opera Thump. He has been involved with many student organizations focusing on the production of new opera. He premiered the role of Charlie in Chappell Kingsland’s Intoxication: America’s Love Affair With Oil, produced by New Voices Opera. He also premiered a one-man concert opera by IU composer Patricia Walling called Swallow the Stars.Most recently, he performed Dominick DiOrio’s song cycle A Ghost Through the Winding Years. He is preparing for a second performance with the IU Chamber Orchestra, where he will be singing Jenifer Higdon’s Dooryard Bloom. He has worked with Gary Arvin, Sylvia McNair, Ed Bak, Roger Vignoles, Chris Crans, and others. He has sung under the batons of Arthur Fagan, Z. Randall Stroope, David Effron, Constantine Kitsopoulos, and Marzio Conti, among others, and has been directed by Candace Evans, Chris Alexander, James Marvel, Michael Shell, and others during the past six years.
Peruvian bass-baritone Jeremy Gussin is a doctoral student studying under Andreas Poulimenos. He earned his bachelor’s in music education from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire (UWEC) and his master’s degree from Indiana University. While at UWEC, Gussin sang with the DownBeat Award–winning Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Bob Baca and composed for and student-conducted the Singing Statesmen. A strong proponent of contemporary popular music, Gussin was a panelist in a discussion on contemporary a cappella at the national American Choral Directors Association convention in 2013 and arranges for school ensembles around the Midwest. While at IU, he has performed as a soloist for the Singing Hoosiers and the Vocal Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Ly Wilder, Duane Davis, and the late Steve Zegree. Gussin has appeared in Falstaff (Pistola), Le Nozze di Figaro (Antonio), The Tale of Lady Thi Kính (Ly Troung), The Last Savage (Maharajah), Dead Man Walking (Warden), Carmen (Zuniga), and Florencia en el Amazonas (Capitán) for IU Opera. He sings professionally for clients such as Hal Leonard, Alfred Music, and Lorenz through Aire Born Studios in Zionsville, Ind., and currently serves as an associate instructor of voice.
Ian Murrell is a 23-year-old baritone from Vandalia, Ill., making his IU Opera Theater debut. He is a first-year graduate voice student at the Jacobs School of Music studying with Timothy Noble. Previous engagements include Anselmo in Man of la Mancha with Asheville Lyric Opera under the baton of Keith Chambers, Yamadori in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly with a staged production by the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra, Count Gil in Il segreto di Susanna by Ermano Wolf-Ferrari with University of Evansville’s Schmidt Opera Series, Papageno in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, Bartolo in Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, and Bob in Menotti’s The Old Maid and the Thief. Prior to attending IU, Murrell graduated from the University of Evansville. He is an alumnus of the Aspen Music Festival and School 2015, where he was a part of the world premiere of The Cows of Apollo (or the Invention of Music) by Christopher Theofanidis. Murrell is also an alumnus of the Asheville Lyric Opera Young Artist Program, where he played Stewpot in its production of South Pacific while covering the role of Emile de Becque.
Justin Brunette’s repertoire encompasses opera, operetta, and musical theater, with recent roles including Marcello (La Bohème), Figaro (The Barber of Seville), General Novokovich (The Merry Widow), and Bernardo (West Side Story with the Atlanta Symphony). In 2015, he was the winner of the Redlands Bowl Young Artist Competition as well as the Concerto Competition at the University of Redlands, where he earned a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance. Past milestones include featured solo performances with the Atlanta Men’s Chorus and the Capital City Men’s Chorus of Austin, and studies at the Harrower Opera Program in Atlanta, Ga. In 2018, Brunette will complete a Master of Music in Voice Performance at the Jacobs School of Music under the tutelage of Brian Horne.
Canadian tenor Edward Atkinson is an interpreter of a wide variety of song styles. His most recent roles include Father Grenville in Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking, Rodolfo in Puccini’s La Bohème, Ruggero in Puccini’s La Rondine, Prince Kodanda in Menotti’s The Last Savage, L’amante in Menotti’s Amelia al ballo, and Tamino in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte. This is his third mainstage role for IU Opera Theater. In the orchestral arena, Atkinson was most recently heard with the Carmel Symphony Orchestra as the tenor soloist for Verdi’s Requiem, alongside Jacobs faculty Jane Dutton and Timothy Noble. In the past year, he performed as the soloist for a wide variety of concert works, including Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle, Mozart’s Requiem Mass, and Charles Ives’ The Celestial Country. In 2016, he was awarded first place and grand prize from the Indianapolis Matinee Musicale Competition and won the Donald Felton Memorial Award from the National Society of Arts and Letters. He was awarded a fellowship to the American Institute of Musical Studies (AIMS) for summer 2016 and was heard as a frequently featured soloist with the AIMS Festival Orchestra throughout southern Austria. Atkinson serves as director of sacred music at Annunciation Church and St. Paul the Apostle Church, and as music director of the Saint Ambrose Schola Cantorum. He earned a Performer Diploma in Voice from Jacobs in 2015 and was awarded IU’s Artistic Excellence Award. He will complete a Master of Music in Voice Performance in May 2017, under the direction of Patricia Havranek.
Tenor Vincent Festa is establishing himself on concert and opera stages alike in repertoire spanning baroque, classical, bel canto and contemporary. This is his mainstage role debut with IU Opera Theater.Recent performances at IU include Nicolas in Britten’s cantata Saint Nicolas and in Brahms’ Liebeslieder-Walzer in Auer Hall. The 2015-16 season took him to the Chautauqua Opera Company, where he was a studio artist covering the role of Nanki-Poo in The Mikado and singing Count Almaviva in The Barber of Seville during its studio scenes presentation. Festa also sang Colin in L’amant Anonyme by Saint-Georges with the Little Opera Theater of New York in collaboration with New Vintage Baroque. Additional roles include Nika Magadoff in Menotti’s The Consul in Boston’s historic Jordan Hall and Peter Quint in Britten’s The Turn of the Screw under the direction of Nic Muni while at Bard College. Festa was a 2014 vocal fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center, where he made his Boston Symphony Orchestra debut in Bernstein’s Candide as Charles Edward and Inquisitor I. Additional concert work includes the aria soloist in Bach’s St. John Passion and tenor soloist in Beethoven’s Mass in C as well as Mozart’s Requiem and Coronation Mass. He earned a bachelor’s degree from The Juilliard School and a master’s degree from the Graduate Vocal Arts Program at Bard College Conservatory under the direction of soprano Dawn Upshaw. He is currently pursuing his Performance Diploma at Indiana University under the tutelage of Timothy Noble.
Sylvester Makobi hails from Nairobi, Kenya.With IU Opera Theater, he previously sang the role of Second Priest in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte and in the ensembles for Die Zauberflöte, The Last Savage, and The Barber of Seville. An active performer before his acceptance to the IU Jacobs School of Music, he has served as a soloist and a conductor with the Kenyan Boys Choir and as the co-founder of the men’s a cappella group Taifa Mziki. His performances with these and other organizations have taken him to cities in East Africa and other countries, including the U.S., France, China, and the U.S. As a member of the Ravenna Festival Chorus in Nairobi, he performed with Ricardo Muti. He also appeared as a featured artist with Nairobi Voices of The Hospice, “Music for Peace and Togetherness” with the Tunaweza Kimuziki project, and the celebration of the conclusion of the Cyprus Presidency of the Council of the European Union. His concert experiences include tenor soloist in Mozart’s Mass in C Minor, Requiem Mass, and Coronation Mass, Haydn’s Creation, and Handel’s Messiah. His operatic roles include Don Basilio and Don Curzio in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, Ferrando in Mozart’s Cosìfan tutte, and Elder in Ondieki the Fisherman by F. Chandler. Makobi has a commitment to community engagement and is an active volunteer with the Reimagining Opera for Kids outreach program. He recently earned his Performer Diploma at the Jacobs School of Music as a student of Marietta Simpson. He has also studied with Thomas King.
English tenor Thomas Drew recently began his second year of study in the U.S.at the Jacobs School of Music, where he is pursuing a master’s degree in voice performance under the tutelage of Brian Horne. He previously studied at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in Greenwich with John Wakefield and was mentored by Matthew Rose and Gary Coward. Recent operatic roles include Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni) with Moon-Little Theatre and Lensky (Eugene Onegin) with Brent Opera. Other roles include Roderigo (Otello) and Malcolm (Macbeth) with Blackheath Community Opera. With Puzzle Piece Opera he has performed Nemorino (The Elixir of Love), Don José (Carmen), Alfredo (La Traviata), and Ferrando (Così fan tutte). In scenes, he has played Lysander (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Sam (Susannah), and Elvino (La sonnambula). Oratorio performances have included Handel’s Messiah and Mozart’s Requiem at St Martin-in-the-Fields, Bach’s St. John Passion, Bach Cantata 147, Haydn’s The Creation, and the semi-chorus in Mendelssohn’s Elijah conducted by Edward Gardner.In the U.S., Drew has sung with the Bloomington Chamber Singers as a soloist in Mozart’s Requiem and various Bach cantatas. He previously studied violin and piano in the junior department of the Royal Academy of Music. He has performed both violin and piano concertos with the Lincoln Symphony Orchestra and the Grimsby Symphony Orchestra. He holds a DipABRSM in piano.
Bass-baritone Marcus Simmons, a native of Philadelphia, Pa., is pursuing a Doctor of Music in Voice Performance at Indiana University. He earned his B.A. in Music Performance and Music Education at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and his M.M. from Miami University. He has performed the roles of Usher in Trial by Jury and Pirate King in The Pirates of Penzance by Gilbert and Sullivan, Tom/John in Mollicone’s The Face on the Barroom Floor, Dulcamara in Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love, Bob in Menotti’s The Old Maid and the Thief, Don Alfonso in Mozart’s Così fan tutte, and Il Commendatore in Don Giovanni. In concert, Simmons has performed as Porgy from Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, Ping from Puccini’s Turandot, Talbot from Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda, Achilla from Handel’s Giulio Cesare, and Father Palmer from Puts’ Silent Night. Simmons has sung for such dignitaries as Mayor John Street, Mayor Sheila Dixon, Mayor Michael Nutter, Lord Mayor Peter Nattrass, Governor Edward G.Rendell, U.S. Ambassadors to China, Vietnam, Japan, and South Africa, First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama, and presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. At IU, he debuted with IU Opera Theater as Colline in La Bohème, performed the title role in Gianni Schicchi under the direction of Carol Vaness, and performed as Don Giovanni and Zurga under the direction of Heidi Grant Murphy. Simmons has studied with Carol Vaness and Wolfgang Brendel at Jacobs.
Bass-baritone Julian Morris, originally from Arlington, Va., has previously appeared on the IU Opera Theater as Alvaro in Florencia en el Amazonas, Pistola in Falstaff, Pritschitsch in The Merry Widow, and Spinelloccio in Gianni Schicchi, as well as in productions of Vincent and Die Zauberflöte. This summer, he appeared as Don Magnifico in La Cenerentola at the Bay View Music Festival. He has appeared as a soloist with NOTUS, the Bloomington Bach Cantata Project, and New Music Ensemble.Morris has been the recipient of several awards at IU, including the Giorgio Tozzi Award, Bruce Hubbard Memorial Award, and two Artistic Excellence Fellowships. He earned his B.M. and M.M. degrees at the Jacobs School of Music as a student of Patricia Stiles and currently studies with Wolfgang Brendel.