A miraculous love potion proves to be a recipe for mayhem and merriment.
Dr. “D” (who’s got a Ph.D. in quackery) has a potion he “guarantees” will make you absolutely irresistible!
How perfect for the town’s lovesick Lothario, who can’t seem to convince his dream girl to give him the time of day, especially since she’s also being pursued by a pompous but good-looking military man.
Mayhem and merriment ensue when the miraculous love potion turns out to be nothing more than a 90-proof concoction of dubious distinction.
Opera greats including Luciano Pavarotti, Joan Sutherland, and Enrico Caruso loved singing this opera that’s guaranteed to banish the winter blues with humor, humanity, and heart.
In Italian with English supertitles.
Approximate Runtime: 2 hours and 10 minutes plus one 15-minute intermission.
Feb. 22, 23, Mar. 1, 2 Musical Arts Center 7:30 PM
Images from The Elixir of Love dress rehearsals in the Musical Arts Center.Indiana University
Synopsis and Program Notes
Giannetta, one of the young village girls, and the farm workers are taking a break from their labors. Adina, a wealthy landowner is reading a book. She is admired from afar by the young peasant Nemorino, who is hopelessly in love with her. She bursts out laughing, and she explains to all that she is reading about how Tristan won the heart of Isolde by giving her a magic potion that made him irresistible! Nemorino yearns to have such a potion so that he may win Adina’s heart.
A platoon of soldiers headed by Sergeant Belcore arrives in the village. He gives Adina a bouquet of flowers and proposes marriage. Left alone with her, Nemorino repeats his declaration of love. Adina rejects his advances, saying that she is capricious and not the sort of woman for him.
Doctor Dulcamara, a traveling quack, arrives in the village. The doctor claims to have a cure for everything. Nemorino asks if he has any of Queen Isolde’s Potion. Dulcamara sells Nemorino a bottle of cheap Bordeaux, which will supposedly take effect within 24 hours—time enough for him to leave town! Nemorino drinks some of the supposed “potion” and becomes happily drunk.
Adina is confused by the change in his behavior. She is also astounded by his apparent indifference to her. Belcore returns and woos her. To annoy Nemorino, Adina promises to marry Belcore in a week. News arrives that Belcore and his detachment are to leave next day. To further annoy Nemorino, Adina agrees to advance the wedding to later that day. Nemorino begs her to wait 24 hours. Adina refuses and invites everyone to come to her wedding. Nemorino calls desperately for Dulcamara’s help.
The wedding celebrations are in progress. Adina wants to delay signing the marriage contract until Nemorino is present, then her revenge will be complete. Nemorino arrives in despair. He reasons that another dose of the “elixir” should help, but he needs money to buy it. Belcore suggests that he enlist in the army for cash. Nemorino signs the agreement and, with money in his pocket, goes in search of Dulcamara.
Meanwhile, Giannetta has found out that Nemorino’s rich uncle has died, leaving him a fortune. She and the village girls shower him with attention. Nemorino attributes this to the success of the potion. Adina tries to tell Nemorino that he has made a mistake by enlisting, but the girls drag him off to dance. Dulcamara tells Adina about his “elixir” and offers her some as well, as he sees that she loves Nemorino. Adina refuses the offer, saying that a tender glance will do the trick.
Adina tells Nemorino that she has bought him out of his army contract, and he can stay in the village. Finally, she admits she loves him. Nemorino is told of his sudden inheritance; Belcore accepts losing Adina; and Dulcamara tells the world that his elixir not only cures the lovesick, it also makes them rich!
“Donizetti’s Love Letter to Humanity”
At first glance, Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore appears to be a frothy confection filled with delicious melodies and comic turns. Perky peasants rejoice, boy gets girl, and a traveling quack gets rich through a magical potion. Yet underlying this sweetness, Donizetti explores the foibles of human behavior that resonate with today’s culture more than 185 years later.
A shy and illiterate peasant, Nemorino is hardly central casting for a romantic hero. Rather, he resembles the gawky post-adolescent who fears asking his crush to the prom. All he can see about himself is what he lacks in looks, education, and money. Although the elixir gives him false courage, Nemorino learns that it is his devotion, gentleness, and innate goodness that ultimately win the girl.
Proud, wealthy, and headstrong, Adina believes she can find fulfillment through outward appearances. Although she is attracted to Nemorino, she looks for a knight in shining armor who appears to be more her class equal—like the dashing Sergeant Belcore. The opinion of others and her own stubbornness lead her to accept Belcore’s marriage proposal even though the signs are there that he’s not the right man. Only when Adina allows herself to be totally vulnerable does she realize that what she seeks lies within her own heart.
Sergeant Belcore initially seems like a rock star to Adina and the villagers. However, his gallantry and military prowess mask his true character as a womanizer and bully. Armed with a sword and backed by regiment of soldiers, Belcore picks on Nemorino, the “weakling” of the village, both out of frustration and to show off. Although bullying has served him well in the past, Belcore loses his prized Adina to Nemorino’s gentleness and purity of intention.
Of all Donizetti’s characters in Elisir, Dr. Dulcamara perhaps speaks to us most directly today. He is the original snake oil salesman who makes outrageous promises he knows he cannot keep, selling an “elixir” that supposedly cures illness, restores youth, creates romance, destroys vermin, and brings prosperity. Dulcamara goes through life enriching his own coffers with no regard to the consequences of his actions on the lives of others. Yet the simple struggle of two young people to find love forces him to finally care. In the end, he, too, is transformed by a simple act of kindness.
We invite you to enter Donizetti’s pastoral world of L’Elisir d’Amore and enjoy how each character discovers their inner truth. Perhaps you will see someone you know in Adina and Nemorino’s struggle—or yourself. Although all may be simple folk from a distant time, they remind us that the most powerful elixir of all is love.
by Kirby Haugland Ph.D. Musicology Candidate
Much like today, opera in the nineteenth century was a thoroughly international business. Composers and performers traveled to meet commissions and play the major theaters. Operas could be based on legends, books, plays, and even other operas; librettists reached across time and space for whatever seemed new and interesting. When L’Elisir d’Amore premiered at Milan’s Teatro Cannobbio in May 1832, its instant success helped launch Donizetti into this international arena. The year before, his serious opera Anna Bolena had established the 34-year-old composer as an heir to Rossini’s operatic crown. With Elisir, however, Donizetti’s music entered the perennial repertoire, joining Rossini’s The Barber of Seville in an emerging canon of works that would never go out of fashion. Donizetti and his librettist Felice Romani achieved this success by elevating what could have been a simple farce, blending humor with pathos, and setting both to irresistible melodies.
Romani based his libretto on Augustin Eugène Scribe’s text to Daniel Auber’s 1831 opera Le Phîltre (The Love Potion). Auber’s opera was quite popular and was performed at the Paris Opéra more than 240 times over the next three decades. It was a new type of French theater, a petit opéra, inspired by Italian styles and meant to pair with ballet on nights that the Opéra was not performing its enormous grand opéras. Scribe’s libretto was long thought to be based on an 1830 short story by the famed French author Stendhal (Marie-Henri Beyle), who had also written a biography of Rossini a few years before. Stendhal’s story appeared in the literary journal Revue de Paris, described as “Le Phîltre, imitation of the Italian of Silvia Valaperta,” although this Italian author never existed. In truth, Stendhal’s story itself bears little resemblance to Scribe’s libretto, despite their shared title and chronological proximity. Both authors did, however, draw on earlier stories and tropes, such as the Italian theatrical tradition of commedia dell’arte, with its stock characters of lovers, soldiers, and doctors.
This made the French libretto a perfect resource for Romani and Donizetti, who distilled the material into their own potent elixir. They developed Scribe’s characters, making the farm boy Nemorino and the landowner Adina into more than a stereotypical simpleton and coquette. They did so by removing some of the cruel humor of Auber’s opera (such as a chorus of women ridiculing Nemorino when he asks for love or pity) and adding several new numbers that emphasize the characters’ humanity and sentiment.
Nemorino’s lilting cavatina “Quanto é bella” establishes his pastoral naïveté, while his tragic “Adina credimi,” begging for Adina to delay her marriage to the sergeant Belcore, proves that he cares not only for his own happiness, but for hers; he cannot bear to imagine her suffering the effects of the love potion after she has married another man. Donizetti reinforces the power of this entreaty by setting Adina’s response in the subsequent ensemble to Nemorino’s tune. Their relationship is further developed in their duet “Chiedi all’aura lusinghiera,” describing the natures that impel them, and in Adina’s cantabile “Prendi, per me sei libero,” in which she praises Nemorino’s honesty and affection, announcing that she has bought back his enlistment papers so that he can remain home and be happy.
None of these have much if any precedent in Scribe and Auber’s Phîltre. Nor does Nemorino’s quietly triumphant romanza “Una furtiva lagrima,” which he sings before the opera’s denouement, so moved by Adina’s stray tear that he is prepared to die happy. Romani’s widow claimed that the piece was inserted at Donizetti’s request, much to the librettist’s chagrin, who complained, “A romanza in this place chills the action! What is this simpleton peasant doing, coming here with a pathetic whimper, when everything must be festive and gay?” Romani capitulated, and all for the better, as the aria has become one of Donizetti’s most enduring. Its plaintive minor melody pivots to major as Nemorino declares, “She loves me!” That melody, first introduced by a solo bassoon over a quiet harp, epitomizes the “beautiful song” of bel canto opera and has made the aria a favorite for tenors from Caruso to Villazón.
For all the sentiment that its creators imbued it with, Elisir is still a comedy, and its buffo characters, the sergeant Belcore and the charlatan Dulcamara, bring plenty of laughs. Donizetti musically identifies the archetypal arrogant officer with blustering marches and patter song. Both features appear in the duet “Ai perigli della guerra,” where Belcore counters Nemorino’s melodramatic lyricism with his worldly perspective on a soldier’s love life. Belcore returns to this view in the opera’s conclusion, when he defiantly declares that he “will catch thousands and thousands” of women.
Dulcamara accomplishes his deception with both words and music. After the trumpet and chorus announce his first appearance, Dulcamara unleashes a torrent of claims about his product in the aria “Udite, udite, o rustici.” His words twist both in sound and meaning, his rhymes, alliteration, and assonance captivating the audience onstage and off. His comic duo with Adina, the so-called barcarola “Io son ricco e tu sei bella,” is in a square 2/4 meter, as opposed to the proper 6/8 time its genre calls for. Yet despite his utter fraudulence, Dulcamara is never chastened for his lies. His elixir does work in the end, even if only as a placebo giving Nemorino the courage to act. The barcarola’s melody returns in the opera’s finale, as the lovers and the town praise the Doctor’s magical elixir.
L’Elisir d’Amore inaugurated Donizetti’s most successful decade as a composer, during which he composed more international hits and traveled to Paris and Vienna. Even after his health declined, and he passed away in 1848, it endured as a comic classic of the operatic repertoire. It has remained so ever since.
Conductor David Neely maintains a busy career in concert and opera alongside an active teaching schedule. Music director and principal conductor of Des Moines Metro Opera since 2012, he has elevated the 46-year-old company’s musical profile with acclaimed performances of a broad range of repertoire, including Turandot, Falstaff, Elektra, Peter Grimes, Jenůfa, Don Giovanni, Dialogues of the Carmelites, La Fanciulla del West, and Flight. He has garnered critical acclaim for his work in such publications as the Chicago Tribune, Opera News, and Opera Today. His televised Manon and Billy Budd for Iowa Public Television both received Emmy Awards. On the international scene, Neely has appeared with the Bochumer Symphoniker, Dortmunder Philharmoniker, and Symphonieorchester Vorarlberg, and has performed in numerous European opera houses, including Bonn, Dortmund, Halle, and St. Gallen. He has been a frequent guest conductor for concerts and operas at the Jacobs School of Music. Past appearances at Jacobs include Dead Man Walking, Florencia en el Amazonas, It’s a Wonderful Life, and West Side Story. Since fall 2018, he has held the post of visiting associate professor in orchestral conducting at the school. He recently conducted Francesca Zambello’s West Side Story with Atlanta Opera and D’Albert’s Tielfand with Sarasota Opera. Upcoming appearances include subscription concerts with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, as well as Wozzeck and Candide in Des Moines. Neely headed orchestral activities at the University of Kansas for nine years, where he brought distinction and visibility to the program. In 2016, he was named artist-educator of the year by the Kansas Federation of Music Clubs. Neely earned degrees in piano performance and orchestral conducting from Indiana University, where his teachers included Leonard Hokanson and Thomas Baldner. He received post-graduate instruction in orchestral conducting at the University of Cincinnati’s College–Conservatory of Music under Gerhard Samuel.
Linda Brovsky directs both nationally and internationally with innovative productions for Seattle Opera, San Francisco Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Los Angeles Opera, San Diego Opera, Opera Theater of Saint Louis, Glimmerglass Opera, Palm Beach Opera, Austin Lyric Opera, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Atlanta Opera, Teatro Petrarca (Arezzo, Italy), and IVAI-Tel Aviv, among many others. She recently made her debut with the Canadian Opera Company, directing her critically acclaimed Seattle production of Don Quichotte, starring Ferruccio Furlanetto, Anita Rachvelishvili, and Quinn Kelsey. Other recent credits include new productions of The Barber of Seville and Madama Butterfly (Pittsburgh Opera), a remount of her Fascist Italy-era Rigoletto (Seattle Opera), La Traviata (Cincinnati Opera), Der Zigeunerbaron (Manhattan School of Music), and The Wizard of Oz (Milwaukee Skylight Theatre). Up next is a new production of Kalman’s Countess Maritza, for Pacific Opera Victoria in British Columbia. Brovsky has nurtured several world premieres, including David Carlson’s The Midnight Angel (Opera Theatre of Saint Louis/Glimmerglass Opera), Scott Eyerly’s The House of the Seven Gables (Manhattan School of Music), and Claude White’s children’s opera, Love, Death and High Notes. U.S. premieres include Lowell Liebermann’s The Picture of Dorian Gray (Florentine Opera), Siegfried Matthus’s The Loves and Death of Cornet Christoph Rilke (Manhattan School of Music), and the revised edition of Conrad Susa’s Black River (Opera Theatre of Saint Louis). She has also served as jurist for the Douglas Moore Foundation for New Composers. Passionate about arts education, Brovsky has created productions for the Academy of Vocal Arts, San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program, Yale University, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Michigan, Mannes School of Music, and the Brevard Music Festival as well as scenes for the Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Program. In demand as an arts writer and guest lecturer, she is a contributor to Biography Magazine as well as a guest speaker for the National Arts Club–PEN International, Guggenheim Museum’s “Works in Progress” series, and the American Opera Project’s “New Works” series.
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 has given lectures and classes at Carnegie Mellon, Brandeis, and Penn State University. In 2005, he received the Robert L. B. Tobin Award for Lifetime Achievement in Theatrical Design.
Dana Tzvetkov designs and constructs costumes for opera, ballet, and theater. Her work has recently been featured in Central City Opera’s Tosca (2016) and Carmen (2017), and the National Opera Association’s Hagar (2016). Her designs have appeared on Indiana University’s Musical Arts Center stage in Saudade, Carmen, and Peter Grimes. She has designed rentals for Ball State Opera Theater, Mississippi Opera, DePauw University, and Butler University. She worked alongside Linda Pisano for Opera San Antonio to build costumes for a cast including Patricia Racette and Michelle DeYoung. She has been commissioned to create concert gowns for DeYoung and Sylvia McNair. Tzvetkov served as the costume shop supervisor for IU Opera and Ballet Theater from 2013 until recently, when she was promoted to shop manager. She returned to Central City Opera in summer 2018 to coordinate its production of Il Trovatore.
Thomas C. Hase’s body of work includes many of the regional opera companies in the United States, including the Santa Fe Opera, Washington National Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Seattle Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, San Diego Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Philadelphia Opera, Minnesota Opera, and Dallas Opera. His work has been seen at regional theaters throughout the United States, including Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Cincinnati Playhouse, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, and Indiana Repertory Theatre. In New York, his work has been seen both on Broadway (Company, Tony Award Best Revival) and Off Broadway, and with Ping Chong & Company as well as New York City Opera, and BAM Next Wave Festival. Hase has designed throughout Europe, Asia, and South America, including at the Vienna Staatsoper, Bayerische Staatsoper, Staatstheater Kassel, Deutsche Oper am Rhein, Theater Erfurt, Stadttheater Giessen, Barbican and Sadler’s Wells in London, Opera North in the U.K., Abbey Theater and Riverdreams in Dublin, Gran Teatre de Liceu opera in Barcelona, Malmö Opera in Sweden, the Dutch, Finnish and Columbian national operas, Stageholdings and Nationale Reisopera in Holland, Opéra de Marseille, Canadian Opera Company, Luminato Festival in Toronto, Singapore Arts Festival, and Tokyo Metro Arts Center. Hase has been the head of lighting and lighting design for Cincinnati Opera Association for 21 years.
Walter Huff is associate professor of choral conducting and faculty director of opera choruses at the 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. He earned a Bachelor of Music degree from the Oberlin Conservatory and a 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). 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 has served as chorus master for IU Opera Theater productions of 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, Peter Grimes, The Music Man, Don Giovanni, L’Étoile, It’s a Wonderful Life, Lucia di Lammermoor, West Side Story, The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, and Dialogues of the Carmelites. In the summers of 2014, 2015, and 2017, Huff served as choral instructor and conductor for IU’s Sacred Music Intensive. In addition, he maintains a busy vocal coaching studio in Atlanta. In the summer of 2016, he conducted Arthur Honegger’s King David for the Jacobs Summer Music series with the Summer Chorus and Orchestra.
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.
Twenty-three-year-old tenor Bradley Bickhardt is a native of Columbia, New Jersey. Last May, he completed his undergraduate degree at the Jacobs School of Music and is currently in the first year of studies for a Master of Voice Performance degree. His previous Jacobs School of Music Opera Theater credits include Tony (West Side Story), Herrison (L’Étoile), and Goro (Madama Butterfly). He has also appeared in the opera choruses of The R(e)volution of Steve Jobs, Peter Grimes, The Daughter of the Regiment, Carmen, Die Fledermaus, Die Zauberflöte, and The Italian Girl in Algiers. He has also sung in the Five Friends master class held by Jacobs alumnus Lawrence Brownlee. In 2016, Bickhardt was an apprentice artist with Charlottesville Opera, and, in 2018, he was a studio artist with Opera Saratoga. This summer, he will join the roster of Wolf Trap Opera, singing the roles of the Officer (Ariadne auf Naxos) and Hanif (Merlin’s Island), and covering the role of Gonzalve (L’heure espagnole). Last October, he was named a winner in the Indiana District of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. He is an associate instructor of voice and a student of Gary Arvin and Andreas Poulimenos.
Spencer Lawrence Boyd, 25-year-old tenor from Canal Fulton, Ohio, is a first-year Doctor of Music student at the Jacobs School of Music, studying with Carol Vaness. Upcoming engagements include tenor soloist in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Louisville Orchestra this May, Henrik Egerman (A Little Night Music) with Aspen Opera Center this summer, and Ruggero in scenes from La Rondine in the Vaness Graduate Opera Workshop at Jacobs in April. In 2016, Boyd played four new roles: Vincent (Gounod’s Mireille) in Périgeuex, France, Tamino (Die Zauberflöte) and Arlecchino (Pagliacci) with Kent State Opera (Ohio), and Gherardo (Gianni Schicchi) with Opera Chapman (California). In 2017, he sang Don Curzio (Le Nozze di Figaro) with Cleveland Opera Theater, Phinneus (Blitztein’s Harpies) with Kent State Opera, and Nika Magadoff (The Consul) with Nightingale Opera Theater (Ohio). Last year, Boyd sang Eisenstein (Die Fledermaus) with Kent State Opera and was excited to be a part of the Aspen Opera Center Studio (Colorado). He has recently performed scenes from roles including Faust, Hoffmann, Il Duca di Mantua, Lindoro, Belfiore, Fenton, and Roméo, to name a few. He earned a Master of Music degree from Kent State University and a Bachelor of Music degree from Chapman University. Boyd has taught voice at two public school districts in addition to a number of private music organizations across the country and continues to teach privately.
Soprano Avery Boettcher is currently pursuing her master’s degree, studying with Carol Vaness. A graduate of Viterbo University and a native of Appleton, Wisconsin, Boettcher has performed a wide array of roles both in the United States and abroad, from Susanna in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro with La Musica Lirica in Novafeltria, Italy, to the lighter operetta and musical theater roles of Yum-Yum in The Mikado with Viterbo University and Sieglinde Lessing in Jerome Kern’s Music in the Air with the Music by the Lake Festival. Last season, she performed Donna Elvira in Jacobs School of Music Opera Theater’s production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni. Performances from this season include Fredrik Sixten’s Requiem and Tarik O’Regan’s Triptych with the Bel Canto Chorus of Milwaukee as well as Zweite Dame in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. Last summer, Boettcher attended the Aspen Music Festival, where she performed John Harbison’s Mirabai Songs and Mahler’s Symphony No. 4. Additionally, she performed Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 by Villa-Lobos with the IU Guitar Ensemble and made her Egypt debut performing Handel’s Messiah with the Cairo Festival Orchestra. Most recently, Avery was named third-place winner in the Central Region of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and first-place winner of the National Society of Arts and Letters Voice Competition. Upcoming performances include Mozart’s Requiem with the Carmel Symphony and Countess Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro with the Aspen Music Festival. In the fall, Boettcher will join Michigan Opera Theatre as the company’s resident soprano.
Alyssa Dessoye is currently pursuing a Performer Diploma in Voice at the Jacobs School of Music. She earned her Master of Music in Voice Performance from the Jacobs School and was most recently seen in its Opera Theater productions of Don Giovanni, as Zerlina, and Madama Butterfly, as Kate Pinkterton. She was also featured as a soprano soloist in Honegger’s King David and in Handel’s Messiah. Dessoye was the 2017-18 recipient of the Wilfred C. Bain Opera Fellowship at the Jacobs School of Music and will continue her studies with a graduate assistantship. Last summer, she joined the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra as Erste Dame in its fully staged production of Die Zauberflöte and made her role debut with the Aspen Music Festival, as Giulietta in Les contes d’Hoffmann. She is a student of Carol Vaness.
Brazilian baritone Bruno Sandes earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Jacobs School of Music and is currently pursuing his doctorate under the tutelage of Carol Vaness. He earned a degree in interior design at the Federal Institute of Alagoas, Brazil, before relocating to Bloomington. His roles with Jacobs School of Music Opera Theater include the title role in Don Giovanni, Sergeant Sulpice in The Daughter of the Regiment, Ali Hakim in Oklahoma!, Doctor Falke in Die Fledermaus, Emile de Becque in South Pacific, Police Sergeant in The Barber of Seville, Taddeo in The Italian Girl in Algiers, Le Surintendant des Plaisirs in Cendrillon, and Sùng Ông in the world premiere of P. Q. Phan’s The Tale of Lady Thi Kinh. He was also a member of 12 Opera Theater choruses. Sandes has received many awards, including a Joshi International Fellowship from the Georgina Joshi Foundation, first place in the XI Maracanto International Voice Competition, a winner of the 2013 Indianapolis Matinee Musicale Competition, semifinalist in the IX Maria Callas International Voice Competition, and one of six singers selected from around the world in the 42nd International Winter Festival of Campos do Jordão. He was chosen as the grand winner of the 2014 IU Latin American Music Center Recording Competition and was a semifinalist of the 2018 Liszt International Competition. Last summer, Sandes was a young artist at the Aspen Music Festival and School, and, in the previous summer, he did a concert tour in Portugal and Austria with pianist Marta Menezes, sponsored by the Georgina Joshi Foundation. He currently serves as an associate instructor of voice at Jacobs and is the assistant director of Carol Vaness’s Graduate Opera Workshop.
Baritone Ian Murrell is a native of Vandalia, Illinois. He is a first-year doctoral student with Timothy Noble. Murrell has been seen as several leading and supporting roles in Jacobs School of Music Opera Theater productions, including the Marquis de la Force in Francis Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites, Enrico in Gaetano Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, Harry Bailey in Jake Heggie’s It’s A Wonderful Life, and Ned Keene in Benjamin Britten’s Peter Grimes. Murrell has also recently made appearances with the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra in its concert version of Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story, as Riff. He is an alumnus of the Chautauqua Opera Company, where he performed as a Judge and the Prefect in Bernstein’s Candide, while covering the role of Maximilian. While at Chautauqua, he also covered the role of Hannah Before in As One, a chamber opera by Laura Kaminsky. He is a graduate of the University of Evansville and an alumnus of the Aspen Music Festival and School as well as the Asheville Lyric Opera young artist program.
Considered one of the emerging talents from the Americas, Mexican bass Ricardo Ceballos has been featured in performances as Dulcamara (L’Elisir d’Amore), Simone (Gianni Schicchi), Friar Laurence (Romeo and Juliet), Bartolo (Le Nozze di Figaro), Melisso (Alcina), Zuniga (Carmen), and Il Commendatore (Don Giovanni). He also sang in two performances of “Donizetti and Co.” at the Dallas Opera, where he was part of the outreach program. He was a studio artist at Chautuaqua Opera Company, where he sang the role of Caron in L’Orfeo by Monteverdi. Currently pursuing a Performer Diploma with bass Peter Volpe at the Jacobs School of Music, Ceballos is as an associate instructor. He has also studied with conductor Enrique Patron and Barbara Hill-Moore. Ceballos was born in Colima, Mexico, and received training at the Instituto Universitario de Bellas Artes (Mexico), Centro Morelense de las Artes (Mexico), and Southern Methodist University (United States). He was part of the young artist program at the International Society of Mexican Artistic Values in Mexico, where he studied with Teresa Rodriguez, Vlad Iftinca, John Fisher, Joan Dornemann, Denise Massé, and Ruth Falcon. Upcoming performances include the bass soloist in Mozart’s Requiem with Carmel Symphony and Colline from Puccini’s La Bohème at Beckman Opera Studio in Mexico.
Bass-baritone Cameron Jackson, of Albemarle, North Carolina, is a recent graduate of the A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, where he was a student of Marilyn Taylor. During his tenure as a Fletcher Fellow, Jackson portrayed the roles of Don Magnifico in Rossini’s La Cenerentola, Goloud in Peter Brooks’s adaptation of Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande, Der Musiklehrer in Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos, and Alvaro in Catan’s Florencia en el Amazonas. He has also participated in various master classes, with Warren Jones, Gayletha Nichols, and Thomas Bagwell. Jackson’s 2017-18 season included debuts with Piedmont Opera (Haly, The Italian Girl in Algiers) and the Princeton Festival Opera (Don Fernando, Fidelio), as well as winning the North Carolina District Encouragement Award in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Described as possessing a “rich and powerful voice” (Classical Voice of North Carolina), he has also performed with Opera Wilmington, the Wilmington Symphony Orchestra, and Magnolia Baroque. He is currently pursuing a Performer Diploma in Solo Performance at the Jacobs School of Music as a student of Timothy Noble.
Elise Hurwitz, from Cincinnati, Ohio, is a senior pursuing a Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance under the tutelage of Alice Hopper. L’Elisir d’Amore marks her sixth and final production with Jacobs School of Music Opera Theater as an undergraduate. She was most recently featured as a chorus member in The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs and in the role of Naiad in last year’s production of Ariadne auf Naxos. Hurwitz is also a member of NOTUS: IU Contemporary Vocal Ensemble and will perform her senior recital in April. After graduation, she plans to pursue a Master of Music in Voice Performance.
Soprano Savanna Webber is in the fourth year of pursuing a Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance at the Jacobs School of Music. A student of Brian Horne, she has performed with IU Opera Theater as Echo in Ariadne auf Naxos and was a chorus member in productions of Madama Butterfly, The Music Man, and It’s a Wonderful Life, West Side Story, and Dialogues of the Carmelites. This past summer, she participated in Bay View Music Association’s Scenes program, singing Despina (Così fan tutte), Soeur Constance (Dialogues of the Carmelites), and Anne Eggerman (A Little Night Music). In summer 2017, she sang Zweite Dame in Die Zauberflöte with the Berlin Opera Academy, and in summer 2016, she sang Ida in Die Fledermaus.