Music by George Frideric Handel Libretto by Nicola Francesco Haym
There’s trouble in the kingdom.
Queen Rodelinda is faced with an impossible choice: will she marry the Duke, who just usurped her husband’s throne and left him for dead—or refuse the villain and see him murder her only son?
Political maneuverings, romantic intrigues, and ever-shifting alliances power the plot in what is considered one of Handel’s finest and most moving dramas. And Baroque fans will rejoice because the music is dazzling, combining vocal pyrotechnics and melodies that brilliantly reveal every emotion. Handel created many memorable heroines but none more so than Rodelinda. Outrage, grief, cunning, and love—you’ll hear and see them all in this multifaceted leading role embraced by legendary sopranos, including Dame Joan Sutherland and Renée Fleming.
In Italian with English supertitles
Feb. 3, 4, 10, 11 Musical Arts Center Bloomington 7:30 PM
Setting: The royal palace and surroundings in the Dark Ages of the Longobards
From abroad, Bertarido, the usurped king of Lombardy, has sent word of his own death, intending to return in disguise, rescue his wife and son, and escape to an anonymous life far from the vagaries of politics and the burden of government. The news of his death has devastated both Rodelinda, his wife, and Eduige, his sister. Duke Grimoaldo, intent on gaining the throne, weighs his options, counseled by two advisers—Garibaldo, his closest aide, and Unulfo, a member of Bertarido’s cabinet who maintains intimate ties with the royal family and is the only person who knows that Bertarido still lives.
Scene 1: Rodelinda’s Apartments
Scene 2: At Bertarido’s Memorial
The opera opens with Rodelinda’s lament for Bertarido, the husband she believes to be dead. “Ho perduto il caro sposo,” she sings, voicing the tragedy that is the central fact of her life as she sits alone and weeping in the palace. Though Rodelinda will pass through grief, misery, and fury, her fidelity to Bertarido’s memory is inflexible and defines her every action.
She is disturbed by the arrival of Grimoaldo, the usurper of her husband’s throne, who declares both his love and his desire to marry her. Garibaldo, Grimoaldo’s henchman, also arrives, and suggests that his patron free himself of the woman he once promised to marry, Eduige, who complicates the plot by also being Bertarido’s sister. But Garibaldo—falsely, since he is a villain—protests his love to Eduige, believing she will help him attain the throne, to which she has a claim so long as Rodelinda’s son, Flavio, is still a minor.
A disguised Bertarido appears at his own tomb and reads the inscription. He reflects upon the hollow splendor of man’s ambitions in a long accompanied recitative, “Pompe vane.” Longing for Rodelinda, he sings the meltingly beautiful aria “Dove sei,” declaring that only in her presence can he find consolation for his sorrow.
Unulfo appears but is unable to comfort his friend, the devastated Bertarido. They hide when they hear Rodelinda approach the tomb and give voice to her misery in the aria “Ombre, piante,” then are forced to listen to Garibaldo threaten her: either she marries Grimoaldo or Flavio will die. She agrees to the union but vows that her first request as queen will be the head of Garibaldo, the Iago-like counsellor of Grimoaldo. Her sober mournfulness now turns to something more passionate: “Morrai, sì” is a surprisingly sprightly hymn to future vengeance.
But it is not enough to persuade Bertarido of her fidelity when, from a hidden place, he hears her agree to marry his enemy Grimoaldo.Unulfo attempts to calm his fears, but Bertarido is unmovable. Certain of her infidelity, he launches into the bitter “Confusa si miri.” He vows to appear to her when she is married.
Scene 1: The Throne Room
Scene 2: Bertarido’s Mountain Hideaway
Scene 3: Rodelinda’s Apartments
Garibaldo tries to elicit Eduige’s pity and marry him, claiming it will save him from infamy. She hesitates, and he accuses her of still loving her betrayer, Grimoaldo. Meanwhile, Rodelinda turns on Grimoaldo with a test of his own monstrosity and declares that she will marry him only if he will murder her son in front of her eyes (thus proving his absolute villainy). Unulfo urges him to refuse; Garibaldo urges him to accept. The distressed Grimoaldo hastens from the scene, leaving Garibaldo to plot his master’s downfall.
Bertarido stands in “a pleasant landscape” and gives himself over to the pathetic fallacy: nature’s sounds and sights mirror his own anguish.Eduige is reunited with her brother, astonished to find Bertarido alive and elated to hear that his sole aim is to save his wife and son (and not to reclaim the kingdom). Unulfo appears and assures Bertarido that his wife is in fact faithful to him, and both his heart and his aria turn joyful in “Scacciata dal suo nido.”
Unulfo then goes to Rodelinda and assures her that her husband still lives and soon will return to her: “Ritorna, o caro” gives voice to her rhapsodic joy and longing. Bertarido seeks her out in the palace and kneels to beg her forgiveness for having doubted her constancy. They are no sooner united than discovered, as Grimoaldo arrives.
To save Rodelinda’s reputation, Bertarido reveals that he is her husband, but, in order to protect him, she denies this. Grimoaldo, uninterested in the man’s identity, condemns him to prison and certain death. Before the guards take him away, the couple tenderly expresses that being torn asunder is more than death itself in “Io t’abbraccio.”
Scene 1: Corridors of the Palace
Scene 2: A Dungeon in the Palace
Scene 3: The Palace Gardens
Eduige gives Unulfo a key to rescue the imprisoned Bertarido while Garibaldo, bad to the very end, urges Grimoaldo to kill him. In a dungeon, Bertarido reflects upon his fate in “Chi di voi,” the music as restless as his spirit. His lament is interrupted by both a sword dropped down to him by Eduige and the arrival of Unulfo with the key: mistaking his friend for the executioner, Bertarido stabs and wounds him. No sooner has he realized his mistake than distant voices force them to flee. They leave behind a bloody cloak, which the arriving Rodelinda takes to be that of her husband.Certain that he is dead, she lapses into redoubled grief in “Se ‘l mio duol,” begging God to strike a dagger through her heart.
Grimoaldo takes an honest look at the beast he has become, longs for a shepherd’s simple life and seeks escape in sleep. Garibaldo, discovering him, tries to kill him but is prevented by Bertarido: too noble to allow his enemy Grimoaldo to fall victim to treachery, Bertarido drives Garibaldo off and kills him.
The waking Grimoaldo is confronted by his enemy’s declaration (in one of Handel’s greatest stand-and-deliver arias, “Vivi, tiranno”), witnessed by the entering Rodelinda, that Bertarido has spared him and saved his life. Proof of such clemency moves Grimoaldo to repentance: he gives Bertarido his wife, his son, and his throne, and the royal lovers are reunited to general rejoicing.
It is with great pleasure that I return to the Jacobs School of Music to direct my third Handel opera, all in collaboration with the extraordinary Maestro Gary Thor Wedow.
Rodelinda is literally the original Game of Thrones.The external conflict of the story (I call it the suspense-thriller aspect) is ultimately “Who will capture the throne, and what must they do or endure to get it?” The world of this opera is a dark and brutal one where treachery, treason, and betrayal run rampant as the “norm.”
The internal conflict is another matter. I was inspired by the deposed King Bertarido’s signature aria in the bowels of the prison in Act 3, when his life has collapsed, and all his hopes are seemingly dashed.He says:
Which of you was more unfaithful,
Blind love or cruel fate?
Which of you deceived me more?
I was driven by pitiless fate, first from my throne.
It led me to the cruel chains of love.
There were so many other references to “love” and “fate” in the text that I decided to anthropomorphize these deities as dancers into my production. Working with the brilliant designer Philip Witcomb further inspired me as he discovered these “forces” firmly embedded in the real historic cultural world story. In Norse mythology, love is the goddess Freyja, and fate is Urd, whom we chose from a trio of Norns who rule destiny.
In Rodelinda, we find ourselves in a wintery world of darkness. The ultimate question? ...
Will spring ever arrive?
by Hannah McGinty Musicology M.A. Student
Rodelinda, regina de’ Longobardi, HWV 19, was completed on January 20, 1725, and produced at the King’s Theatre in the Haymarket, London, on February 13 the same year. Immediately successful, the opera was performed 14 times that season, with revivals on December 18, 1725, for eight performances, and May 4, 1731, for another eight. Written in a particularly creatively fertile period for Handel, Rodelinda came on the heels of two other highly lauded operas, Giulio Cesare and Tamerlano. After the eighteenth century, the opera was not performed again until June 26, 1920, at Göttingen, albeit with heavy alterations. Rodelinda was performed in the United States for the first time in 1931 at Smith College. It has since been performed semi-regularly in many opera houses as interest in historically informed performance and early music has increased.
The libretto was adapted by Nicola Franceso Haym, a frequent collaborator with Handel and a composer in his own right. The original source of the story was the history of Perctarit, king of the Longobards in the seventh century, as chronicled in the Historia Longobradrorum, written by Paul the Deacon in the late eighth century. This text, alongside the Historiae Insubricae sive Barbaricae ab Origine Gentis Ad Magnum Othonem of Erycius Puteanus, inspired the playwright Pierre Corneille, to pen his own version in 1652, Pertharite, Roi des Lombards. Unfortunately, audiences were not pleased with the Corneille play, so when the first opera was to be composed on the topic in 1710, by Antonio Salvi, the librettist Giacomo Antonio Perti made a number of changes to make the story more coherent. It was this libretto, by Salvi, that became the basis for the majority of operas composed on the same story, including that of Handel.
Haym and Handel did not make significant changes to the text Salvi had written, but there were some adjustments made that shifted the distribution of arias among characters. Many scenes were shortened or omitted.Haym’s cuts to the recitatives alone totaled 650 lines of verse. The arias were also cut, from 34 to 28. Not simply an effort to please the singers, as was sometimes the case, Handel and Haym re-allocated the quantity of arias per character to strengthen the plot and discard those too ambiguous or neutral in emotional character.
Although Handel’s artistic prowess has been generally accepted, it would be a mistake to attribute the entirety of the opera’s music-dramatic choices solely to his genius. Like all composers of opera seria, Handel was strongly bound by convention. The operatic product was not a direct reflection of the composer’s wishes, but rather a carefully negotiated dance, the composer’s contributions constantly being mediated by demands placed by impresarios, trends, singers’ wishes, and funding limitations. Composers wrote their arias for the singers at hand, shaping them for the talents and special vocal and characterological qualities of whomever had been hired, rather than simply composing at will or with an idealized voice in mind. In the original production, many of the singers employed were some of the most well known of the period, including Francesca Cuzzoni (Rodelinda), Francesco Bernardi, “Senesino,” (Bertarido), Francesco Borosini (Grimoaldo), and Giuseppe Maria Boschi (Garibaldo).
Cuzzoni was considered a first-class artist at her peak, able to perform both slow and fast arias with equal beauty and expressive power. She was the singer for whom Handel wrote some of his most well-known roles, including Cleopatra in Giulio Cesare.Despite her talents, she was also the butt of a particularly critical comment from Horace Walpole, based upon his viewing of her as Rodelinda: “She was short and squat, with a doughy cross face, but fine complexion; she was not a good actress, dressed ill, and was silly and fantastical.” The implication of this observation, that Cuzzoni was ugly and a poor actress, does not seem to have detracted from other contemporaneous accounts of the beauty of her singing. Given the wide range of emotional states that Rodelinda exhibits in the course of the opera, it is worth considering how Handel’s writing for Cuzzoni may have been influenced by the need to communicate the character’s emotions primarily through the music, rather than counting on her acting skills.
Like many operas of the era, the surface of the plot seems perhaps overly complex, but at its core is the depth of the relationship between Rodelinda and Bertarido, a couple whose love survives innumerable challenges. Rodelinda is a profoundly loyal, self-sacrificing heroine who remains strong through the assaults launched against her by both Garibaldo and Grimoaldo. Her radical move, to force Grimoaldo to kill her son if he wants her, is extraordinarily bold. There is much faith in this action; that she could withstand the consequences of her threat if necessary, but more importantly, that she is able to prove that Grimoaldo does not have the stomach to go through with it, ensuring the safety of herself and her son. Although not every character manages to make it through the opera unscathed by violence, Rodelinda and Bertarido are eventually reunited permanently, their fidelity rewarded. Rodelinda’s music reflects the enormous changes of mood she undergoes. Her eight arias contain three laments, three denunciations, and two love songs, in which her misery and anger is reflected quite clearly. From the fragmented phrases and numerous expressive appoggiaturas in the opening aria, Hò perduto, to the unrestrained joy expressed after so much suffering in her final aria, Mio caro bene, Handel takes the listener on a dark journey, but fortunately it is one with a cathartic ending for most.
Gary Thor Wedow has established an enviable reputation for dramatically exciting and historically informed performances with orchestras, opera companies, and festivals throughout North America. The LaPorte, Ind., native led the New York Philharmonic’s performances of Messiah on two recent occasions as well as shepherding Handel’s oratorio with the Portland Baroque Orchestra, Saint Thomas Church, Santa Fe Symphony, and many other organizations.
Wedow’s 2016-17 season includes his debut with San Diego Opera, conducting Rossini’s La Cenerentola, Lucia di Lammermoor for Utah Opera (with director Tom Diamond), The Magic Flute for Madison Opera, and a special collaboration between The Juilliard School and the Westminster Choir College for a Mozart concert at Alice Tully Hall on Valentine’s Day. Recent performances include the Dvořák Requiem with Berkshire Choral International, Gluck’s Orphée with Des Moines Metro Opera, and Madison Opera’s Concert in the Park.
Wedow has been a frequent guest of Seattle Opera, where his repertoire has included Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride, Poulenc’s La voix humaine, Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro and Don Giovanni, and, most recently, Handel’s Semele. He was for many years associated with New York City Opera, leading the New York premiere of Telemann’s Orpheus, and the groundbreaking Christopher Alden productions of Don Giovanni and Stephen Wadsworth’s Xerxes. He has prepared several performing editions of Baroque works in collaboration with gambist Lawrence Lipnik. Wedow’s many collaborations with director Tom Diamond have included Cavalli’s La Calisto and Giasone and Sartorio’s Giulio Cesare for the Canadian Opera Company, and Handel’s Giulio Cesare and Xerxes for the Jacobs School of Music.
Currently a member of The Juilliard School faculty, Wedow frequently leads performances there, most recently the St. Matthew Passion on tour with the Juilliard 415 Historical Performance Ensemble that culminated at Alice Tully Hall “in a performance that caught fire and magic” (The New York Times). His wide-ranging repertoire includes performances of Monteverdi’s masterpieces Il ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria at Wolf Trap Opera with Jacobs alumna Jamie Barton, to world premieres and new works including the upcoming War Stories by Lembit Beecher for Opera Philadelphia. Formerly associate conductor of Boston’s Handel and Haydn Society under artistic director Thomas Dunn, Wedow studied with piano virtuoso Jorge Bolet at the Jacobs School of Music and earned his Master of Music degree from Boston’s New England Conservatory of Music.
Canadian director Tom Diamond returns to direct his third opera by George Frideric Handel with IU Opera Theater. He previously staged Julius Caesar (2009) and Xerxes (2013).
His award-winning productions have made him a regular at many companies throughout North America, including six operas for Pacific Opera Victoria (most recently Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream) and 10 for the Canadian Opera Company, where he is the principal acting coach for its ensemble studio. Diamond is one of the most renowned and sought-after operatic acting coaches on the continent, having worked with young artists from coast to coast.
His forays into the theater have taken him both off and on Broadway (Squonk, which won the American Theatre Wing’s Hewes Award) and as far away as India (TAJ, a play with dance created in conjunction with Toronto’s Luminato Festival). Recent operatic productions include Beethoven’s Fidelio (Sarasota Opera, Opera Carolina), Puccini’s Turandot (Manitoba Opera, Opera Carolina), and Bizet’s Lakme (Calgary Opera). Following Rodelinda, he will continue his collaboration with Gary Wedow with Lucia di Lammermoor for Utah Opera.
Diamond is known for his work in both standard repertoire and new works.He was the resident director/dramaturg at Tapestry New Opera, Canada’s leading company for the development of new opera, for a decade. This May, he will stage the much-anticipated world premiere of The Enslavement and Liberation of Oksana G, an opera about human trafficking, for Tapestry.
Philip Witcomb is a British set and costume designer based in New York City. After studying theatre design at Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design and The Slade School of Fine Art, he started his design career at the acclaimed Citizens Theatre in Glasgow, Scotland. His long connection to this dynamic building, steeped in a tradition of ground-breaking design, has had a truly profound impact on both his career and his design sensibility.
His designs for Elijah Moshinsky’s seminal and celebrated London production of Benjamin Britten’s opera The Turn of the Screw at Wiltons Music Hall were described in The Independent as “Designs that dwell well on one brilliant coup, delivering events toyour eyeball,” and The Guardian commented that “This is without question the definitive Turn of the Screw for our times.” Witcomb’s designs for Cinderella directed by James Brining for Dundee Repertory Theatre were hailed in The Scotsman as “Boasting one of the most staggeringly beautiful pieces of design ever seen on the Scottish stage” and earned him nominations for Best Design and Best Production for Children and Young People at the Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland (CATS).
His other award nominations include Best Designer, for Love in a Maze directed by Timothy Sheader at The Watermill Theatre (TMA Theatre Awards); Best Production, for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? directed by James Brining for Dundee Repertory Theatre (CATS); Best Off-West End Production, for The White Devil directed by Jonathan Munby for The Menier Chocolate Factory, London (WhatsOnStage Theatregoers’ Choice Awards); Best Production for Children and Young People, for Beauty and the Beast directed by Guy Hollands for the Citizens Theatre, Glasgow (CATS); and Best Scenic Design, for Amadeus directed by Michael Gieleta for The Maltz Jupiter Theatre, Florida (37th Annual Carbonell Awards).
Now with over 20 years’ experience, Witcomb has designed productions on both sides of the Atlantic, spanning every scale from intimate studio shows to main house stages and from commercial multi-venue tours to large open-air productions. He was one of 12 finalists selected for the Linbury Prize, the United Kingdom’s most prestigious award for stage design, culminating in an exhibition of his work at the Royal National Theatre in London.
He holds a full and unrestricted United States O-1 visa for individuals with “extraordinary ability or achievement.” He is a U.S.A.829 United Scenic Artists Union member.
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, and Alcina. 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.
Michael Vernon started dancing at the Nesta Brooking School of Ballet in London before going on to study at the Royal Ballet School in London with such legendary teachers as Dame Ninette de Valois and Leonide Massine. He performed with the Royal Ballet, Royal Opera Ballet, and London Festival Ballet before coming to New York in 1976 to join the Eglevsky Ballet as ballet master and resident choreographer. He became artistic director of the Long Island-based company in 1989 and remained in that position until 1996.
Vernon choreographed numerous ballets for the Eglevsky Ballet, in addition to ballets for many other professional companies in the United States and worldwide, such as BalletMet of Columbus, Ohio, and North Carolina Dance Theatre. Mikhail Baryshnikov commissioned him to choreograph the successful pas de deux In a Country Garden for American Ballet Theatre (ABT). His solo S’Wonderful was danced by ABT principal Cynthia Harvey in the presence of President and Mrs.Reagan and shown nationwide on CBS television. He served as assistant choreographer on Ken Russell’s movie Valentino, starring Rudolph Nureyev and Leslie Caron.
Vernon taught at Steps on Broadway in New York City for many years, working with dancers from New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, and many other high-profile companies. He is an integral part of the Manhattan Dance Project, which brings New York-style master classes to all regions of the United States. He has been involved with the Ballet Program of the Chautauqua Institution since 1996 and is the artistic advisor for the Ballet School of Stamford. He is permanent guest teacher at the Manhattan Youth Ballet and has a long association with Ballet Hawaii.
Vernon has been a company teacher for American Ballet Theatre, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Metropolitan Opera Ballet, and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. He has guest taught in companies all over the world, including West Australian Ballet, National Ballet of China, Hong Kong Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Berlin Ballet, Royal Swedish Ballet, and the Norwegian National Ballet. He has been a guest teacher for The Juilliard School and taught for many years at The Ailey School. He has served on the panel of judges for the Youth of America Grand Prix regional semifinals.For Indiana University, Vernon has choreographed Endless Night, Jeux, Spectre de la Rose, and Cathedral, and has staged and provided additional choreography for the full-length classics Swan Lake and The Sleeping Beauty. He has choreographed for many IU Opera Theater productions, such as Faust and the world premiere of Vincent. His production of The Nutcracker has become one of the best attended events at the Jacobs School of Music.
Eiddwen Harrhy’s singing career has taken her to many of the world’s leading opera houses and concert halls. Now her teaching is following a similar path, with master classes and one-to-one teaching around the world, including Prague, Vilnius, Stockholm, Berlin, Helsinki, Utrecht, Vienna, Bloomington, Cologne, and Singapore. Harrhy has been teaching at the Royal College of Music for over 10 years, with her studio including eminent singers and students in the U.K.as well as in Europe.
She has sung with major orchestras and opera companies around the world as well as in more than 20 Handel operas, from Amadigi to Tamerlano, and is regarded as one of the greatest Handel specialists of her generation. Her notable roles include Pamina, Michaela, Countess, Alcina, Poppea, Iphigenie, Fiordiligi, Donna Elvira, Octavian, Composer, Katya Kabanova, Madame Butterfly, and Marie (Wozzeck).Harrhy has worked with many of the great conductors, including Davis, Goodall, Solti, Haitink, Gardiner, Elder, Herreweghe, Norrington, Hickox, Jansons, Minkowski, Mackerras, Willcocks, Pritchard, Hogwood, and Marriner. Directors she has worked with include Peter Hall, Philip Prowse, Jonathan Miller, Richard Jones, Graham Vick, John Copley, John Cox, Nikolaus Lehnhoff, Götz Friedrich, Anthony Besch, and Frank Corsar.
She has performed with the leading accompanists of her generation, including Geoffrey Parsons, Graham Johnson, Pascal Roge, Roger Vignoles, and Michael Pollock, appearing in Amsterdam, Athens, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Milan, Barcelona, Paris, Rome, St.Petersburg, Sydney, and Vienna.Festivals include Glyndebourne, Batignano, Edinburgh, Halle, Aldeburgh, Geneva, Bruges, Lucerne, and Hong Kong. She has made many notable appearances in the BBC Proms and many other broadcast concert performances in the U.K., United States, and Europe for both television and radio. Harrhy has recorded for EMI, Erato, Deutsche Grammophon, Harmonia Mundi, Nimbus, Opera Rara, and Virgin Classics, among others. She is a fellow of the Royal College of Music and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, and has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Music by the University of Swansea, Wales.
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.
Polish soprano Anna Koźlakiewicz started learning piano and voice at the Mlawa Conservatory of Music at age six. She began her higher education at the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in Warsaw, where she earned her Master of Music in Voice Performance. After polishing her vocal skills under Małgorzata Marczewska, she performed several roles in Warsaw, including at the National Opera, Warsaw Chamber Opera, Collegium Nobilium, Amphitheater Bemowo, and Our Savior Jesus Christ Church.She performed the roles of Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro, Gianetta in The Elixir of Love, Peaceblossom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Virtu in Coronation of Poppea, Zerlina in Don Giovanni, and the soprano solo in Coronation Mass and Mass of Children by John Rutter. She continued her artistic development at Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University in Warsaw, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in art history. She has studied with Carol Vaness at the Jacobs School of Music since 2015. While at IU, she has performed the roles of Gilda and Manon in IU Opera Workshop productions, in addition to the role of Lauretta in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi at the La Musica Lirica summer festival in Italy. This summer, she will be singing the role of Vittelia in Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito with Chicago Summer Opera.
A passionate performer of early music, soprano Ashley Valentine recently performed in the American premiere of Handel’s Parnasso in festa, with the American Bach Soloists Academy. This past season, she sang with Philharmonia Baroque as a soloist in Mendelssohn’s Lobgesang and also performed in Purcell’s The Fairy Queen with the San Francisco Conservatory of Music’s Baroque Ensemble. She has appeared in two concerts with the Bloomington Bach Cantata Project and has also performed with Indiana University’s Concentus ensemble in concerts of Schütz’s Weihnachtshistorie. A native Minnesotan, Valentine holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where she studied under mezzo-soprano Catherine Cook.Valentine is currently pursuing a Master of Music in Early Music at the Jacobs School of Music, where she studies with countertenor Steven Rickards. This April, she will give a recital in Ford Hall performing works by women composers of the Baroque era.
Mezzo-soprano Courtney Jameson hails from the small town of Frankfort, Ind. She earned a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Taylor University in 2014 and a Master of Music in Voice Performance from the Jacobs School of Music last spring. In November, she was named a winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Kentucky District. While at IU, she has been seen as Paula (Florencia en el Amazonas), Dorabella (Così fan tutte), and Jade Boucher (Dead Man Walking). Last summer, she was seen as Angelina/Cenerentola in Rossini’s La Cenerentola at Bay View Music Festival in Petoskey, Mich. As a concert soloist, Jameson has been featured as the mezzo soloist for Fern Hill (Corigliano) and Serenade to Music (Vaughan Williams), and as the alto soloist for Messiah (Handel). This summer, she will be a Gerdine Young Artist at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, where she will cover the role of Kate Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly. A doctoral student at the Jacobs School, she studies with Mary Ann Hart.In addition, she teaches voice lessons as an associate instructor of voice.
San Diego native Elise Renée Anderson is a first-year doctoral student at Indiana University. She earned her master’s degree in vocal performance at Brigham Young University under the tutelage of Darrell Babidge. There she performed Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro, Prince Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus, Ruth in Pirates of Penzance, and Frau Lange in the world premiere of The Lost Children of Hamelin. Fluent in Russian, Anderson studied at the Moscow Conservatory in Russia with Galina Pisarenko and takes an avid interest in Russian vocal literature.She is an associate instructor at IU and a current student of Costanza Cuccaro.
Tenor Paul Han, a native of South Korea, is pursuing a Doctor of Music degree at the Jacobs School of Music. Previous roles with IU Opera Theater include Ferrando in Così fan tutte, and he sang as a soloist in Handel’s Messiah in 2016. His most recent professional engagement was his debut at Stern Auditorium in Carnegie Hall, singing the role of Hyo-Je in the Korean opera Seonbi. This summer, he will join the Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Program. This past summer, he sang the role of Bénédict in Béatrice et Bénédict by Berlioz at Aspen Music Festival, where he also sang Ferrando in Così fan tutte in 2015. He has been an active participant as a young artist in many programs, such as Aspen Music Festival, Prelude to Performance at the Martina Arroyo Foundation, Bel Canto at the Caramoor Young Artist Program, and Opera North.Han has sung numerous operatic roles, including Alfredo in La Traviata, Gérald in Lakmé, Acis in Acis and Galatea, Fenton in Falstaff, Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi, and Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni. He has also sung the musical theater role Lun Tha in The King and I. Han was a winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Eastern Region in 2013. Most recently, he was one of the winners in NSAL competition in Indiana in 2016. His other competition awards include second prize at the Gerda Lissner Foundation competition and fifth prize at the Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation competition. He earned a bachelor’s degree from The Juilliard School and a master’s degree and Professional Studies Diploma from Mannes College. Han is student a of Costanza Cuccaro.
Edward Graves, a native of Oxon Hill, Md., is a Performer Diploma student studying with Patricia Havranek. He earned a Bachelor of Music degree from Towson University, where he studied with Aaron Sheehan, and a Master of Music degree from the Jacobs School of Music.Last year, he transitioned from baritone to tenor. Previous appearances with IU Opera Theater include Haly in Rossini’s The Italian Girl in Algiers, Dr. Falke in Die Fledermaus, and Prince Yamadori in Madama Butterfly. This summer, he will be a young artist at the Glimmerglass Festival, where he will sing the role of Peter and cover the role of Robbins in Porgy and Bess as well as sing the role Fred in Oklahoma!
Mezzo-soprano Rebecca Rogers is a native of Jackson, Tenn., and is currently pursuing a Master of Music in Voice Performance at the Jacobs School of Music, where she studies with Jane Dutton. In 2016, Rogers earned her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Belmont University. She has been a featured concert soloist, most recently in a performance of Bach’s Magnificat, and has participated in the AIMS in Graz summer program in Graz, Austria. Rodelinda is her IU Opera Theater debut. Her other performed roles include Dido (Dido and Aeneas) and Madame de la Haltière (Cendrillon).
Yujia Chen is a mezzo-soprano from Shanghai, People’s Republic of China, currently pursuing her Master of Music degree at the Jacobs School of Music under the tutelage of Carol Vaness. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Shanghai Conservatory of Music, studying with baritone Zheng Zhou. Chen has represented the Shanghai Conservatory in attending the China Music Festival in Hamburg: The Lieder Project at the Hochschule fur Musik und Theater in Hamburg in 2014. The same year, she won first place in the women’s group at the National Art Song Competition.Chen was one of the lead singers in the fourth movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony at the Shanghai Students’ New Year Concert in 2015.
Mezzo-soprano Melissa Krueger, a native of Houston, Texas, is currently in the second year of her master’s degree at the Jacobs School of Music and studies with Patricia Stiles. Krueger holds a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas. With Spotlight on Opera in Austin, she performed the roles of Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro and Maddalena in Rigoletto, in addition to covering the role of Elizabeth Proctor in Ward’s The Crucible.During her time at Southwestern University, she sang the roles of Jo in Adamo’s Little Women, Dorabella in Così fan tutte, Polly in The Beggar’s Opera, and Counsel in Gilbert & Sullivan’s Trial by Jury. In 2015, she participated in Opera Viva! in Verona, Italy, where she studied with Katherine Ciesinksi and sang the role of Romeo in scenes from Bellini’s I Capuletti e i Montecchi. Krueger most recently sang the role of Kate Pinkerton in IU Opera Theater’s Madama Butterfly.
Mezzo-soprano Gabriela Fagen is a senior pursuing a Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance. This is her debut role with IU Opera Theater, with previous role credits including Third Spirit in Die Zauberflöte at Savannah Voice Festival and Dame Hannah in Ruddigore with the University Gilbert and Sullivan Society. Fagen has also performed in numerous IU Opera choruses, including Madama Butterfly, Die Fledermaus, and Oklahoma! In addition to her stage work, she has appeared as a concert soloist in the IU Summer Chorus performance of King David by Arthur Honneger.She is a recipient of the Viola Wheeler Arts Award and the William and Emma Horn Scholarship. Fagen is a student of Costanza Cuccaro.
Jeremy Weiss is pursuing a Performer Diploma in Voice Performance at the Jacobs School of Music, where he studies with Brian Gill. Previously at IU, Weiss performed as Romeo in Don Freund’s Romeo and Juliet and in the chorus of The Daughter of the Regiment. Past credits include Di Goldene Kale (Berke) with the National Yiddish Theater Off-Broadway, Cavalli’s Xerxes (Elviro) and Erismena (Erimante) with the Yale Baroque Opera Project, Oklahoma! (Curly), The Music Man (Oliver), Fortuna Fantasia (Ringmaster) at the New York International Fringe Festival, My Fair Lady (Freddy), Into the Woods (Wolf/Prince), and A Little Night Music (Frederick). Weiss graduated from Yale University in 2015 with a double major in humanities and theater studies and a certificate in energy studies.
Baritone Jianan Huang, originally from Fuzhou, in the Fujian province of China, started training as a pianist at age 5 and began to sing at age 20. He is currently in his last semester in the master’s voice program at the Jacobs School of Music. At Jacobs, Huang has sung baritone solo for the University Chorale and made his IU Opera Theater debut as Speaker in The Magic Flute. The following year, he sang Escamillo in IU Opera’s Carmen. He recently made his Italian debut as Count in Le Nozze di Figaro at Terni opera theater in Rome. During his six years of voice studies, he has also performed Belcore in The Elixir of Love, Guglielmo in Così fan tutte, and the title role in Gianni Schicchi. Huang was one of the winners in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Kentucky District and was a winner of the NATS competition in 2016.He is currently studying with Andreas Poulimenos.