Book, music, and lyrics by Meredith Willson Story by Meredith Willson and Frank Lacey
One of the most joyous family musicals ever! Professor Harold Hill’s a slick but charming con man who’s got the perfect get-rich-quick scheme.
First, get the folks of Iowa’s River City to invest in a marching band for the kids, complete with instruments and uniforms. Then, take the cash and skip town before anyone figures out that he doesn’t know a note! But figure him out they do—especially lovely Marian the librarian and the hard-nosed mayor. Does tragedy ensue? Of course not, because the flimflam man turns out to have a heart, romance blossoms, and that mythical band turns out to be real after all!
In English with English supertitles
Apr. 7, 8, 14, 15 Musical Arts Center Bloomington 7:30 PM
Apr. 9 Musical Arts Center Bloomington 2 PM
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In July 1912, a fast-talking traveling salesman named Professor Harold Hill comes to River City, Iowa, a town hesitant of letting in strangers. Harold looks to sell band instruments, uniforms, and the idea of starting a boys’ band with the local youth.
He must first create a situation of concern for the citizens in order for them to buy into his idea of starting a band, with himself as the leader, naturally. He convinces them that the arrival of the new pool table in town is big trouble and will only cause corruption of the city’s youth. The way to fight this, of course, is with music.
Families begin to pay money to order their instruments and uniforms, and Harold begins to teach the boys his revolutionary “Think System” in order to learn the music.
Marian Paroo, the local librarian and piano teacher, is not so easily convinced. She tracks down information to incriminate Harold and prove he is a fraud. She is ready to hand over the incriminating evidence to the mayor but has a change of heart after seeing her younger brother come out of his shell by the arrival of his new instrument for the band.
Marian and Harold begin to see more of each other, and their relationship develops. Then, as the city is preparing for its Fourth of July celebration, a rival and vengeful salesman, Charlie Cowell, arrives to expose Harold and convince the townspeople to arrest him. They demand Harold prove his expertise in front of the entire town by conducting the boys. After seeing their children in uniform with shiny new instruments and swelling with pride, they quickly forgive him.
by Vincent Liotta
The Music Man is a classic American musical from the “golden age.” It has been enjoyed by countless audiences for over 60 years. At its heart, it is also a “memory” play. It is a nostalgic look back at the world in which its author, Meredith Willson, grew up. In his own preface to the play, Willson describes the work as a “valentine,” that is, a loving tribute to the people (or, at least, the types of people) that he remembered from his youth in Mason City, Iowa, in 1912.
For those of us who look back from a very great distance at those times, I think the best way to understand and enjoy this musical is to think of it as a postcard. One of the kind that can still be found in antique shops and at rummage sales. Those postcards came in sepia or as beautifully hand-tinted photographs that could be bought or sent as a souvenir of a memorable adventure. They also represented a very sanitized version of life in the place they portrayed. There was no litter, or tenements, or untoward scenes. They represent, as do most memories, the good things we remember and not all of life as it was.
In taking us to the River City of The Music Man, it is the good things that Willson remembered. The enviable Marian the librarian is the local spinster, a bookish and stern woman whose life lacks excitement and adventure. She is also a combination of teachers and relatives whom Willson admired and who helped determine his future. The confidence trickster, Harold Hill, is an expression of the “snake oil” salesmen who all too often preyed on small communities. But he also is a man who is a victim of his own dreams. It is the glory and charm of The Music Man that those dreams (even though he may not admit to them) do come true.
The Music Man is not a complex and emotionally deep story to make us think and reflect, as we might with a more modern musical. It is a tale that is told from the heart in order to warm our hearts. It is the postcard that invites us with the words “Wish you were here.” And, in the case of Harold and Marion and all the residents of River City, we can be—much to our delight.
by Kirby Haugland Musicology Ph.D. Student
“Dear Director: The Music Man was intended to be a Valentine and not a caricature. Please do not let the actors—particularly Zaneeta, Mayor Shinn, and Mrs. Shinn, who takes herself quite seriously—mug or reach for comedy effect. The Del Sarte ladies also should be natural and sincere, never raucous, shrewish, or comic per se. The humor of this piece depends on its technical faithfulness to the real small-town Iowans of 1912, who certainly did not think they were funny at all.” Faithfully, Meredith Willson
This brief proclamation appears in the opening pages of the “Libretto Vocal Book,” from which each cast member learns his or her part to The Music Man. Inspired by Willson’s memoir of his Iowa childhood, friends encouraged him to write a musical comedy capturing the experience of Midwestern America at the turn of the century. Willson found humor in the everyday elements of the past: traveling salesmen and Wells-Fargo deliveries, the gossip and warmth of small towns, and the piano lessons, barbershop quartets, and town bands that suffused people’s lives with music-making. The audience gets to enjoy the foibles of people who are quaintly different, rather than exoticized as part of some mythical “West.” But as Willson reminds the director and the performers, no one considers their own life the stuff of musical comedy. Rather than a series of gags, The Music Man recreates a complete world, populated (mostly) by normal people doing normal things until Harold Hill’s con game turns their lives upside down.
Willson’s show required a long gestation, with six years between the first suggestions from Ernie Martin and Cy Feuer to the premiere on December 19, 1957. Although Willson had played flute with Sousa, in New York’s pit orchestras, and with the Philharmonic, and had spent years in broadcast media, he was a newcomer to writing for the Broadway stage. The earliest versions of Willson’s script were over four hours long, requiring extensive cutting and eventually the help of playwright Franklin Lacey as script doctor. The preparations paid off, and the original production was a hit. It ran for 1,375 performances, making a star of leading man Robert Preston and winning six Tony Awards, including Best Musical over West Side Story.
Much of The Music Man’s success derives from how Willson used music to represent his characters and their environment. For the opening number, “Rock Island,” and Hill’s first move as a con artist, “Ya Got Trouble,” Willson uses a creative variation on the time-honored comic patter song. In a technique he called “speech-song” (not to be confused with Schoenberg’s Sprechstimme), Willson has the performers enunciate rapid, rhythmic, mostly unrhymed lyrics. In the first case, the words of arguing salesmen sonically recreate the chug and hiss of a steam train. The number is almost entirely unaccompanied, pulling the audience in with its rhythmic complexity while introducing them to the world and to the scam that will soon befall the citizens of River City. Hill’s “Trouble” conveys his incredible charisma, winning over the town with warnings of delinquent youth and climaxing with full chorus. While Willson’s speech-song idea goes back to his 1940s radio jingles, and similar moments appeared in 1951’s The King and I and 1956’s My Fair Lady, the intensity he achieved in The Music Man was brand new.
Another musical tool Willson uses is the barbershop quartet, a genre he himself sang, and which he vehemently argued no prior Broadway composer had authentically represented. The style reached its peak popularity in the 1910s, aided by recordings of groups like the Haydn Quartet and musical gatherings like the Chautauqua assembly circuit. Since the 1930s, the genre has been sustained by international clubs and societies, and accumulated a patina of old-timeyness. In The Music Man, the tight chromatic harmonies of barbershop unify the School Board members, whom Hill miraculously teaches with the simple guideline: “Singing is only sustained talking.” Throughout the remainder of the show, the School Board always sings as a unit, whether alone, playing counterpoint to town gossips, or accompanying Marion Paroo as she realizes her love for Harold.
Willson cleverly foreshadows Marian and Harold’s fate by basing their recurring numbers, “Goodnight, My Someone” and “Seventy-Six Trombones,” on the same melody. One is a waltz ballad in which Marian pines for love, the other a raucous march recalling the glory days of American bands, already waning by 1912. The two could not seem more different upon first listen, but in their final double-reprise, Marian and Harold alternate phrases and take up each other’s music, the two songs becoming one. The music lets the audience in on the secret long before the characters find out.
The Music Man is IU Opera’s last production this season, and it forms an interesting contrast with the previous opera, Peter Grimes. Both explore the behavior of small towns, where everyone knows everyone, for better or worse. But where Peter Grimes suggests the destructive potential of the situation, The Music Man offers a happier vision, where music can bring people together (even if it has a dubious origin). The “technical faithfulness” to the Iowa of Willson’s youth invokes both icons of America’s past and some of the prejudices that accompanied them. The Music Man is a piece of Americana, harnessing American language, music, and the peculiarities of turn-of-the-century Midwesterners. Willson’s love letter to his childhood remains just as charming 60 years after Harold Hill first sang about 76 trombones.
Constantine Kitsopoulos has made a name for himself as a conductor whose musical experiences comfortably span the worlds of opera and symphony, where he conducts in such venues as Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, and Royal Albert Hall, and musical theater, where he can be found leading orchestras on Broadway. The 2016-17 season marks his seventh as music director of the Festival of the Arts BOCA, an extraordinary multi-day cultural arts event for South Florida. He was artistic director of the OK Mozart Festival, Oklahoma’s premier music festival, from 2013 to 2015. He recently completed an eight-year tenure as music director of the Queens Symphony Orchestra.
His 2016-17 season includes return engagements with the New Jersey Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Vancouver Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Louisiana Philharmonic, Symphony Silicon Valley, and Calgary Philharmonic. He debuts with the Pacific Symphony and the Fort Worth Symphony. He returns to New York University to conduct three different programs with their orchestras.
In addition to his work as a conductor, Kitsopoulos will make his debut as a composer at Michigan State University, with a workshop of a new musical theater piece, Temple. In recent seasons, he has led annual productions at IU Opera Theater, including Menotti’s The Last Savage (2014-15), Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific (2014-15), Gilbert & Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore (2013-14), Verdi’s Falstaff (2012-13), Bolcom’s A View from the Bridge (2011-12), Strauss’s Die Fledermaus (2010-11), and Loesser’s The Most Happy Fella (2008-09).
Highlights of recent seasons include appearances with the New York Philharmonic; the Baltimore, Colorado, Detroit, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Toledo, San Antonio, and San Francisco symphony orchestras; and the Calgary Philharmonic, National Arts Centre Orchestra, and New York Pops Orchestra at Carnegie Hall. Summer concerts have included Saratoga Performing Arts Center with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Ravinia Festival, Blossom Festival with the Blossom Festival Orchestra, Sun Valley Festival, Atlanta Symphony, and Dallas Symphony. International appearances have seen him conduct China’s Macao Orchestra with Cuban band Tiempo Libre, the Tokyo Philharmonic, and the Russian National Orchestra.
Also much in demand as a theater conductor, both on Broadway and nationwide, Kitsopoulos has been music director and conductor of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella on Broadway and of The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, the Tony-Award winning Broadway musical revival featuring Audra McDonald and Norm Lewis, which ran until September 2012. Prior to that, he was conductor and musical director of the Tony-nominated musical A Catered Affair, the Tony-nominated musical Coram Boy, and the American Conservatory Theatre’s production of Kurt Weill’s Happy End, for which he recorded the cast album at Skywalker Ranch. Other musical theater highlights include serving as music director and principal conductor of Baz Luhrmann’s highly acclaimed production of Puccini’s La Bohème.
Vincent Liotta made his directing debut in 1968 with a production of The Fantasticks. That was followed by musicals and plays and a stint in the U.S. Air Force, during which he continued to direct while on active duty. In 1972, Rigoletto marked his debut as an opera stage director as it toured the state of Alaska, playing in Anchorage and Nome and making it the first opera performance in that city since Jenny Lind appeared there during the Gold Rush! After graduating with highest honors from the Jacobs School of Music in 1975, he continued his freelance career as assistant/resident stage director at Lyric Opera of Chicago in addition to directing productions for many regional American opera companies, including Santa Fe Opera, Western Opera Theatre, and Pennsylvania Opera Theatre. During this time, he was the first director of the young artists program at Des Moines Metro Opera. While at Lyric Opera in 1978, he began his association with Harold Prince, working on opera productions with him that spanned the next 30 years. In 1982, he became Professor Liotta as he began a teaching career at the University of Washington in Seattle while continuing his professional directing commitments. He co-founded the Utah Festival Opera with Michael Ballam in 1992. In 1995, Liotta accepted a full-time teaching position at the Jacobs School of Music, eventually becoming chairman of the Opera Studies Department.
In the course of his career, Liotta has directed over 100 operas, musicals, and plays. He has brought notable world premieres to the stage, including Coyote Tales by Henry Mollicone, Too Many Sopranos by Edwin Penhorwood, Our Town by Ned Rorem, and Bernard Rand’s opera, Vincent, based on the life of Vincent van Gogh. Liotta retired from the Jacobs School in 2015 and is now a professor emeritus of music in active involvement with IU Opera Theater as well as other opera companies. Currently, he resides in Chicago with his husband and continues to pursue personal projects as well as indulging in his two favorite hobbies, traveling and cooking.
Steven C. Kemp is a New York City-based set designer for theater, opera, and events. His previous IU Opera Theater designs include Madama Butterfly, Oklahoma!, and Dead Man Walking. Other designs include The Flying Dutchman, Così fan tutte, Silent Night, Lucia di Lammermoor, Le Nozze di Figaro, Tosca, The Italian Girl in Algiers, Il Trovatore, Faust, Idomeneo, Anna Karenina, Tiefland, Don Giovanni, Rigoletto, and Falstaff (which is now a finalist for the World Stage Design 2017 Exhibition in Taiwan), A Streetcar Named Desire, Suor Angelica, Le Portrait de Manon, The Elixir of Love, Figaro 90210, and A Streetcar Named Desire. His designs have been seen at Opera San Jose, Sarasota Opera, New Orleans Opera, San Francisco Conservatory, Opera Santa Barbara, the Merola Opera program, Kentucky Opera, Tulsa Opera, Hawaii Opera Theater, Opera Grand Rapids, Fresno Opera, Townsend Opera, and The Duke on 42nd St. His numerous designs Off-Broadway in New York include eight productions for Keen Company, including the recent revivals of the musicals Tick, Tick…Boom!, John and Jen, and Marry Me A Little. Other companies include Mint Theater Company, Second Stage, York Theatre Company, The Playwrights Realm, Cherry Lane Theatre, New Worlds Theatre Project, The Shop, Red Dog Squadron, 59E59, and 47th Street Theatre. Regional and international work includes designs for Norwegian Cruise Line, the brand new musical Shout, Sister, Shout! at Pasadena Playhouse, Asolo Repertory Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, Bucks County Playhouse, Antaeus Theatre Company, Royal George Theatre, Gulfshore Playhouse, and The Hungarian Theatre of Cluj. Additionally, he has designed many national tours, including the upcoming PJ Masks Live. As an associate designer, he has worked for The Metropolitan Opera, English National Opera, Sante Fe Opera, Dallas Opera, Minnesota Opera, San Diego Opera, and 10 Broadway productions, including Cabaret, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Memphis, winner of four Tony Awards, including Best Musical.
Linda Pisano designs for theatre, dance, musical theatre, ballet, and opera throughout the United States. Her ballet designs have toured the U.K. and Canada. An award-winning designer, she is the only U.S. costume designer to have her work selected for the summer 2017 World Stage Design Exhibition in Taipei. Her work has been featured in the Quadrennial World Exhibition in Prague, she is a three-time winner of the National Stage Expo for performance design, and she is a four-time recipient of the Peggy Ezekiel Award for Excellence in Design. Her work was selected from top designers in the United States to be featured in a world design exhibition with the Bakhrushin Museumin Moscow (2015) and the China Institute of Stage Design in Beijing (2016). As professor of costume design at Indiana University, she also directs the IU Theatre & Drama study abroad program in London, is the head of the Design & Technology area, and is co-author of the recent book The Art and Practice of Costume Design. Pisano designs professionally with many other companies, including Utah Shakespeare Festival, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Illinois Shakespeare Festival, Opera San Antonio, BalletMet, and Lyric Repertory. Some of her most recent work includes Miranda, Anne Frank, Salome (with Patricia Racette), To Kill a Mockingbird, Romeo and Juliet, Twelfth Night, Sense and Sensibility, Chicago, Madama Butterfly, Deadman Walking, A Little Night Music, Bloody Andrew Jackson, and Akhnaten. Upcoming projects in 2017 include L’Etoile, Urinetown, Dames at Sea, Faust, and Miranda. Pisano serves on the board of directors for the United States Institute for Theatre Technology and is a member of the United Scenic Artists, Local 829.
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, and Peter Grimes. 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.
After graduating from the Jacobs School of Music with an associate’s degree in audio technology, Aaron Beck toured the United States with multiple Broadway National Tours, including Jolson the Musical, The Buddy Holly Story, Mamma Mia, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, and both touring companies of Disney’s The Lion King. After 10 years of touring, Beck moved to Las Vegas, where he has worked on productions of The Beatles Love, Viva Elvis, and Michael Jackson One for Cirque du Soleil. He has also designed systems for various musicals and worship facilities. In addition, he is an audio systems designer for such groups as The Bluecoats Drum and Bugle Corps, Avon High School, and Foothill High School. He lives in Las Vegas with his wife, two children, and their two boxers.
Born in Charleston, S.C., Sarah Hairston began her early ballet training at Charleston Ballet Theatre. At age nine, she continued her training in Columbia, S.C., under the direction of Ann Brodie at the Calvert Brodie School of Dance and later graduated from the North Carolina School of the Arts. She then joined Boston Ballet II, where she danced for a year, and in 2001, she joined Cincinnati Ballet as a corps de ballet member. Hairston was promoted to soloist in 2006 and to principal in 2010 after a successful debut as Princess Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty. Throughout her performance career, shehas held featured roles in the breadth of classical repertoire, including Myrtha and Giselle in Giselle, Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, the Lilac Fairy, Carabosse, and Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, Snow Queen and the Sugarplum Fairy in The Nutcracker, and Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, among others. In addition to the classics, her repertoire includes Balanchine’s the Siren in Prodigal Son, Second Movement in Symphony in C, Emeralds in Jewels, Dark Angel in Serenade, and “The Man I Love” in Who Cares? Hairston has also performed in work by such notable choreographers as Adam Hougland, Luca Vegetti, Jessica Lang, Amy Seiwert, Val Caniparoli, and Yuri Possokhov. She has danced with Cincinnati Opera for many seasons and choreographed its production of Die Fledermaus in 2016. Since 2006, Hairston has been an instructor in Cincinnati Ballet’s Otto M. Budig Academy and was promoted to the role of academy dean in the 2016-17 season.
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, The Barber of Seville, Dead Man Walking, Die Fledermaus, Carmen, Oklahoma!, The Daughter of the Regiment, Florencia en el Amazonas, Madama Butterfly, Rodelinda, and Peter Grimes. 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.
Brent Gault has taught elementary and early childhood music courses in Texas, Wisconsin, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Indiana. He specializes in elementary general music education, early childhood music education, and Kodály-inspired methodology. Gault also has training in both the Orff and Dalcroze approaches to music education. He has presented sessions and research at conferences of the American Orff-Schulwerk Association, Dalcroze Society of America, International Kodály Society, International Society for Music Education, Organization of American Kodály Educators, and MENC: The National Association for Music Education. In addition, he has served as a presenter and guest lecturer for colleges and music education organizations in the United States and China. Articles by Gault have been published in various music education periodicals, including the Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education, Journal of Research in Music Education, Music Educators Journal, General Music Today, Kodály Envoy, Orff Echo, and American Dalcroze Journal. In addition to his duties with the Jacobs School Music Education Department, Gault serves as the program director for the Indiana University Children’s Choir, where he conducts the Allegro Choir. He is a past president of the Organization of American Kodály Educators.
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.
Baritone Benjamin Seiwert earned his bachelor’s degree in voice at Indiana University, under the tutelage of Patricia Stiles, and is currently in his first year of studies for a master’s degree in voice. With IU Opera Theater, he has appeared as Prince Yamadori in Madama Butterfly, Dancairo in Carmen, Motorcycle Cop in Dead Man Walking, and The Painter and English Tailor in The Last Savage as well as singing in 10 opera choruses. Seiwert has been involved in several student-led production companies and has been seen with the University Gilbert & Sullivan Society as Lord Tolloler in Iolanthe, Samuel in The Pirates of Penzance, and Robin Oakapple in Ruddigore. With New Voices Opera, he played the role of Charles in Swan’s Love, written by Maxwell Ramage. With his hometown community theater, Seiwert has performed the roles of Bill Sykes in Oliver, Albert in The Wind in the Willows, Augustus Gloop in Willy Wonka, and Lun Tha in The King and I. He is a student of Timothy Noble.
Bass Luke Robinson, a native of Bellingham, Wash., is currently in his second year of undergraduate studies at IU, under the tutelage of Heidi Grant Murphy. Earlier this year, he sang the role of Old Adam in the University Gilbert & Sullivan Society’s production of Ruddigore. He has participated as a chorus member in the IU Opera Theater productions of Florencia en el Amazonas, Oklahoma!, and Dead Man Walking. Robinson is a former member of IU’s own Another Round (formerly known as Straight No Chaser). Other credits include Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte with the Franco American Vocal Academy in Salzburg, Austria, and Olin Britt in Seattle’s The 5th Avenue Theater’s Rising Star Project production of The Music Man. Harold Hill marks his role debut with IU Opera Theater.
Soprano Cadie Jordan is a native of Baton Rouge, La., currently pursuing a Master of Music in Voice Performance at Indiana University in the studio of Heidi Grant Murphy. Jordan has performed such leading roles as Despina in Mozart’s Così fan tutte, Zerlina in Don Giovanni, and Sylviane in Lehar’s The Merry Widow. She made her international debut performing the role of Lisette in Puccini’s La Rondine as part of the La Musica Lirica training program in Novafeltria, Italy. She toured as a soprano soloist in Finzi’s Lo the full final sacrifice with the C. S. Lewis Choral Institute through Oxford and Cambridge, England. Other concert performances include soprano soloist in Handel’s Messiah with the Georgina Joshi Foundation’s Handel Project, and Britten’s Rejoice in the Lamb. She recently performed in an inaugural concert for IU’s collaborative piano program, with faculty pianist Kevin Murphy, performing selections from Franz Schubert. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Louisiana State University, where she began her musical pursuits under the tutelage of baritone Dennis Jesse. She currently works as an assistant instructor of voice at the Jacobs School of Music. Additional 2017 engagements include a cover of Ann Egerman in Sondheim’s A Little Night Music as an apprentice artist at Des Moines Metro Opera.
Virginia Mims is a 20-year-old sophomore in the Jacobs School of Music pursuing a Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance. She studies with Alice Hopper and is a former student of Marilyn Mims. She has performed with IU Opera Theater in productions of Madama Butterfly and Oklahoma!, and with Palm Beach Opera in productions of La Traviata, The Tales of Hoffmann, Macbeth, and The Daughter of the Regiment. She was a featured performer on the NPR program From the Top with Christopher O’Riley in June 2014. She was one of seven national finalists in the 2014 female classical music category of YoungArts and was honored by YoungArts in 2015 as a semi-finalist in the Presidential Scholar Program. In May 2015, she was won first place in the National Classical Singer Competition in Chicago. In summer 2014, she won second place in the Voice of the Future Competition at the Eisteddfod in Llangollen, Wales, U.K. In summer 2015, she studied voice under the auspices of Fondation Bell’Arte at the Ecole Normale de Musique “Alfred Cortot” in Paris. In summer 2016, she was awarded a full scholarship to study in Salzburg through the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami. While in Salzburg, she sang a recital in Mirabell Platz and performed with the SAOS Orchestra in a Mozart concert.
A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., tenor Tislam Swift has performed on a wide array of concert, theater, and opera house stages. He returns to the MAC stage after singing the role of Dr. Blind in the 2015 IU Opera Theater production of Die Fledermaus. This season includes Swift singing the roles of Ernesto (Don Pasquale) in Heidi Grant Murphy’s Opera Workshop and Poisson (Adriana Lecouvreur) and Frantz (The Tales of Hoffmann) in Carol Vaness’s Opera Workshop. Last summer, he was a festival artist with Utah Festival Opera Musical Theater, where he appeared in productions of Ragtime, Porgy and Bess, and Peter Pan. In summer 2014, he was featured as a young artist with the Princeton Opera Festival in its production of The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess. In the 2013-14 season, he sang as a member of the Atlanta Opera Chorus under the direction of Walter Huff. One of Swift’s favorite collaborations was singing as a background vocalist for Elton John’s 60th Birthday Celebration at Madison Square Garden in 2007. Other appearances with IU Opera Theater include La Bohème, South Pacific, Carmen, and The Barber of Seville. He is currently a student of Brian Horne.
Chad Singer is a graduating senior at IU majoring in theatre and drama. He appeared as Will Parker in IU Opera Theater’s Oklahoma! last spring. Other roles include Antigone (Eteocles/Dancer) for IU Theatre; The King’s Critique (Virgil), Seussical the Musical (Wickersham Brother), Schoolhouse Rock Live! (Tom), and Twelfth Night (Curio) for Indiana Festival Theatre; Toast by Carner and Gregor (Marcus) for Bloomington Playwrights Project; Shrek (Little Piggy) and Junie B. Jones (Herb/Camille) for Cardinal Stage Company; and Legally Blonde the Musical (Sundeep), 35MM (Company), and The Rocky Horror Show (Ensemble) for University Players. Originally from Sylvania, Ohio, Singer plans to move to New York City in the fall to pursue a career in musical theater.
Amber McKoy, mezzo-soprano, is currently completing her doctoral coursework, studying with Patricia Havranek. McKoy previously studied at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater with Brian Leeper, earning a Bachelor of Music-Voice Performance in 2010. She subsequently earned a Master of Music in Voice Performance from IU. She has been involved with multiple operatic productions with the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, Indiana University, and Reimagining Opera for Kids, as La Ciesca (Gianni Schicchi), Cherubino (Le Nozze di Figaro), La Conversa (Suor Angelica), Ruth (The Pirates of Penzance), Dorabella (Così fan tutte), Dorothée (Cendrillon), Prince Orlofsky (Die Fledermaus), and the Unicorn (Mooch the Magnificent, premiere). In 2008, McKoy won an Encouragement Award from the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Wisconsin District.
Hailing from Mattawan, Mich., soprano Lindsey Allen is currently completing her Master of Music degree at Indiana University, under the tutelage of Timothy Noble. In IU Opera Workshops directed by Carol Vaness, Allen was seen as Magda Sorel in The Consul, and, this April, she will perform the title role in Adriana Lecouvreur. In 2015, she sang the role of Lia from L’enfant prodigue with Kansas City’s Opera Sacra. She graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, in Winston-Salem, N.C. There, Allen performed the roles Véronique (Le docteur Miracle), Susannah Walcott (The Crucible), and Velma Von Tussle (Hairspray). She has performed with Kansas City Lyric Opera, Piedmont Opera, and A. J. Fletcher Opera. This June, she will perform The Voice of Antonia’s Mother and cover Guilietta in The Tales of Hoffmann with the Miami Summer Music Festival.
Baritone Glen Hall, a native of Mooresville, Ind., is pursuing a Master of Music in Voice Performance at the Jacobs School of Music, under the tutelage of Wolfgang Brendel. Hall earned his Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance from the University of Indianapolis, where he studied with Kathleen Hacker and Mark Gilgallon. Outside of school, he has performed in Sweeney Todd (Judge Turpin), the world premiere of Maxwell Ramage’s Swann’s Love (Swann) with New Voices Opera, and the world premiere of William David Cooper’s Hagar (Guard 2) with the National Opera Association. With IU Opera Theater, he has been a chorus member in Heggie’s Dead Man Walking, Bizet’s Carmen, and Catán’s Florencia en el Amazonas. At the University of Indianapolis, he performed in Kismet (Wazir) and gave many recitals, concerts, and performances of operatic scenes. Hall worked under the baton of Raymond Leppard as a soloist performing selections from Mozart’s Vesperae Solennes de Confessore and Credo Mass, and as a cover for Haydn’s Nelson Mass. He has also been the soloist for selections from Vaughan Williams’ Five Mystical Songs. Hall was handpicked by William Bolcom to perform in a concert dedicated to Bolcom’s life and music. He been participated in many voice master classes, most notably with Bolcom, Roy Samuelson, Daniel Narducci, Tony Arnold, and David Sadlier. This is Hall’s debut with IU Opera Theater.
Hannah Benson, making her debut in a principal role with IU Opera Theater, is a second-year master’s student studying voice performance with Timothy Noble. She grew up in Nebraska, where she was heavily involved with music, both instrumentally and vocally. Later, she attended the Wheaton College Conservatory (Wheaton, Ill.), where she earned her bachelor’s degree in voice performance in 2015. Previously, she has performed roles such as Ruth in The Pirates of Penzance (Gilbert and Sullivan), Ma in The Tender Land (Aaron Copeland), and Dido in Dido and Aeneas (Purcell). While at IU, Benson has performed in Oklahoma! (Rodgers and Hammerstein), Dead Man Walking (Heggie), University Singers, and Conductors Chorus.
Kate Sorrells is a mezzo-soprano from North Carolina, where she recently earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. She has participated in opera choruses for La Rondine, The Tales of Hoffmann, Die Fledermaus, Madama Butterfly, and The Daughter of the Regiment. As an undergraduate, she sang the role of The Mother in the A. J. Fletcher Opera Institute’s production of The Consul. She has made several professional appearances with Piedmont Opera. Awards include first place at Music Academy of North Carolina’s First Annual Voice Competition and first place in the National Association of Teachers of Singing regional and district competitions. She recently sang the role of The Nurse in the IU New Music Ensemble’s production of Romeo & Juliet, composed by Don Freund. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree under the tutelage of Patricia Havranek.
Jordan River Crossing (JRC) was formed in Bloomington in the fall of 2012 and is a member of the Cardinal District of the Barbershop Harmony Society. The quartet consists of Stephen Chambers, lead; Thomas Tiggleman, tenor; Joe Grimme, baritone; and Daniel Lentz, bass. The quartet’s name derives, in part, from all four members having an Indiana University connection, three of whom have IU Jacobs School of Music degrees and regularly crossed IU’s Jordan River on the way to classes. Also, JRC’s first public performance was at a Trinity Episcopal Church Pops Concert, where the members stood just feet from where the Jordan River flows underground. Finally, the name comes in handy when JRC sings gospel songs and spirituals that reference a very different Jordan River. JRC has performed in concert with the Sounds of Indiana, Bloomington’s own barbershop chorus. The quartet has also performed for county fairs, retirement centers, civic organizations, churches, parties, Oliver Winery, and the Buskirk-Chumley Theater (which named JRC “Bloomington’s premier quartet”). JRC has appeared on the Big Ten Network, singing the national anthem for an IU baseball game. In 2014, the group was awarded the title Cardinal District Novice Quartet Champion.