Place: Paris and Nice, France Time: Turn of the twentieth century
Magda and her lover and protector, Rambaldo, are entertaining guests in their luxurious Paris apartment. Inspired by talk of love being fashionable in Paris, the poet Prunier sits at the piano and sings his latest composition. It tells the story of Doretta, who dreams that a king will love her. After Doretta decides to reject the king’s offer of jewels, Prunier stops and says that the end of the song evades him. He challenges Magda to finish it, which she does to applause from the guests. Rambaldo, uninterested in talk of love, surprises Magda with a necklace. Lisette, Magda’s impudent maid, interjects and annoys Prunier, but Magda defends her, saying she is like a ray of sunshine in her life. Lisette asks Rambaldo if he will consent to see the young man who has been waiting to see him for hours. He is the son of an old friend of Rambaldo’s.
Magda reminisces of the days when she was younger and went to Café Bullier in search of adventure and perhaps love. She still remembers the man she met there, into whose eyes she gazed and whom she has never forgotten. Magda’s friends ask Prunier to write a play based on Magda’s story, but he decides to tell Magda’s future by looking at her palm.
Ruggero, the young man, arrives. Prunier announces that Magda’s fortune is like that of the swallow: she will migrate far away from Paris, perhaps to find love. The conversation turns to where Ruggero shall spend his first night in Paris. Café Bullier is chosen. Everyone says good night.
Lisette reminds Magda that it is her night off. She goes and changes and secretly leaves with Prunier, her lover, dressed in her mistress’s clothes. Magda reappears but is dressed simply as a common woman, on her way out to Bullier.
At Café Bullier, the room is crowded with artists, grisettes, demi-mondaines, and men about town. Ruggero arrives and sits alone at one of the tables, uncertain as to how to behave in the confusion and noise around him. He is quite unresponsive to the various girls who approach him. Magda comes in and is quickly surrounded by many would-be escorts. She fends them off, saying she is meeting the young man sitting alone. Ruggero is delighted, and he invites Magda to dance. She is reminded of her adventure years ago. As they get to know each other, Magda tells him that her name is Paulette.
Prunier and Lisette arrive, and Lisette thinks she recognizes her mistress, but Prunier tries to convince her that she is mistaken. Rambaldo arrives. As he approaches Magda, Prunier gets both Lisette and Ruggero out of the way. Rambaldo brushes Prunier aside and asks Magda why she’s there and whether she is coming home with him. She replies that she has found love and will not leave Ruggero. He hopes that she does not live to regret her decision and departs. Ruggero returns, and Magda tells him that she loves him.
In a resort overlooking the sea near Nice, Magda and Ruggero have been living secure in their love. Ruggero confides in Magda that he has written to his parents asking permission to marry her. He says he is confident that when they know her, they will embrace her as one of their own. Magda worries how she can tell the truth about her past.
Lisette and Prunier arrive. It seems that, despite Prunier’s efforts to try and turn Lisette into a singer, she has failed spectacularly and now wants her old job back working for Magda. Magda accepts. Prunier has also brought back a message from Rambaldo that he will take Magda back if she wants to return to Paris. Magda refuses. Prunier departs as Lisette resumes her former duties, but not before they plan to meet later that night.
Ruggero returns with a letter from his family accepting Magda as their future daughter-in-law. At this point, Magda tells him that she cannot deceive him and confesses to her past as a courtesan. Marriage for them, she says, is not an option. She leaves Ruggero broken-hearted, but for his own good.
by Crystal Manich
The works of Giacomo Puccini are lauded as being some of opera’s finest works, from La Bohème to Turandot. It is his 1917 work La Rondine, however, that often receives very little public recognition. This is mostly due to Puccini’s attempt to create an operetta, with features such as the occasional spoken dialogue or whimsical themes. Instead, what we get is a true opera with a resolution that leaves operatic audiences perplexed as to what they are “supposed” to feel. Therein lies the genius of this work.
The era we are in now is not unlike 1917. Puccini writes the piece as if he can see the new decade approaching and with it, all the modern aspects of female life that begin to open up, such as the granting of women’s suffrage in 1920. Magda is a Parisian courtesan, whose 95% presence onstage is not dissimilar from the heroine of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. Another Parisian courtesan portrayed on the operatic stage is, of course, Verdi’s Violetta from La Traviata of 1853. Unlike Violetta, who fights the clock against death, the healthy Magda chooses a new future for herself—and then chooses once again to return to her courtesan life, even if the custom is dying out. Though Magda is desperate to love and be loved (like Violetta), she seeks it by her own free will, unencumbered by death. La Rondine is the anti-Traviata.
This production for the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music utilizes period-appropriate clothing in an abstract space that allows for a larger punctuation of Magda’s personal journey. After experiencing life in her Paris apartment, we see the excitement of Paris at the famed Bullier, a location that Magda knows from her teenage years, through dance and champagne. The final scene is a glimpse into the idyllic new life Magda has chosen by the sea with the eager Ruggero, but she realizes that “forever” may not be what she wants out of a relationship. What ultimately transpires is tragic for the lovers; but it is Ruggero, not Magda, who weeps.
Just like Puccini’s rendition of a woman who is permitted to choose her destiny, so, too, can the audience decide upon an interpretation of the story. It certainly does much to display that a new era awaits European society, and in it, perhaps we see direct parallels to what our own time, 100 years later, has to offer.
Conductor Louis Lohraseb, whose recent performances of both opera and symphonic work have garnered praise from Opera News, The Wall Street Journal, and The Berkshire Review, made his professional conducting debut in 2019 at Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, leading performances of Carmen. Additional engagements in the 2021-22 season include debuts with the Komische Oper Berlin, conducting La Traviata, and with Semperoper Dresden, leading performances of Carmen. He also returns to LA Opera this season as assistant conductor to music director James Conlon. Highlights of recent seasons include conducting the LA Opera Orchestra in Hitchcock’s Psycho and serving as assistant conductor for Teatro dell’Opera di Roma’s production of Billy Budd and LA Opera’s production of Nabucco. A student of Lorin Maazel and James Conlon, the latter whom he assisted at the 2014 Ravinia Festival in productions of Don Giovanni and Le Nozze di Figaro, Lohraseb was selected as the 2016 Conducting Fellow at the Chautauqua Music Festival. In 2018, he was an assistant conductor at the Glimmerglass Festival for The Barber of Seville and West Side Story, after which he joined the Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program at LA Opera. Currently a doctoral candidate at the Jacobs School of Music, Lohraseb has studied under Arthur Fagen, David Effron, and Kevin Murphy, and served as assistant conductor and opera coach for IU Jacobs School of Music Opera Theater. As the 2013 Conducting Fellow at the Yale School of Music, he studied with Shinik Hahm and served as assistant conductor to the Yale Philharmonia under such musicians as Peter Oudjian, John Adams, and Krzysztof Penderecki. During his time at Yale, Lohraseb founded the Amadeus Orchestra, served as music director of the Cheshire Symphony Orchestra, and was a conducting fellow at the Castleton Festival in Virginia in 2014. Born to Iranian and Italian parents, he earned his master’s degree in conducting from Yale University and graduated summa cum laude from SUNY Geneseo.
Crystal Manich is a versatile Latinx international creative leader whose over 70 works for stage and screen have been seen across the United States, Argentina, and Australia. Her short bilingual film script, Desconocer, was an official selection and finalist of the 2019 Oaxaca FilmFest Global Script Challenge. She won the Audience Award at the 2018 Great Lakes International Shorts Festival for her short film L’Ivresse, which she wrote and directed. Projects in 2021 include directing a feature film for the world premiere opera The Copper Queen with Arizona Opera in collaboration with Manley Films, to be released in fall 2021. She directed a multicam livestream of Daniel Catán’s opera La Hija de Rappaccini for Chicago Opera Theatre at the Field Museum in April. She was cofounding artistic director of Opera Omnia in New York, assistant artistic director with Cirque du Soleil’s Quidam in Brazil, and artistic director of Mill City Summer Opera in Minneapolis. Manich has directed opera productions for Santa Fe Opera, Opera San Antonio, Pittsburgh Opera, Wolftrap Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Carnegie Mellon University, Buenos Aires Lírica (Argentina), Pinchgut Opera (Sydney, Australia), and many other companies. She earned a B.F.A. in drama and a master’s degree in arts management from Carnegie Mellon University. (Photo by Zach Mendez)
Walter Huff is 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. 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 many IU Jacobs School of Music Opera and Ballet Theater productions, most recently, L’Étoile, It’s a Wonderful Life, Lucia di Lammermoor, West Side Story, The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, Dialogues of the Carmelites, The Elixir of Love, Bernstein’s Mass, Le Nozze di Figaro, Parsifal, Suor Angelica, La Traviata, Little Women, The Barber of Seville, Xerxes, and La Bohème. For four years, Huff has served as choral instructor and conductor for the Jacobs School’s Sacred Music Intensive. He conducted the Jacobs Summer Music series productions of Arthur Honegger’s King David and Stephen Paulus’s The Three Hermits. This past summer, Huff returned for his third year as a faculty member at the Ravinia Festival’s Steans Music Institute. He also maintains a busy vocal coaching studio in Atlanta. Huff and Jacobs faculty choral colleague Chris Albanese were invited to present at the American Choral Directors Association National Virtual Convention in March 2021.
A Bloomington-based designer and scenic artist, Mark F. Smith is director of scenic painting and properties for IU Jacobs School of Music Opera and Ballet Theater, where he has worked on more than 100 hundred productions during the past 25 years. Design work for Jacobs School projects includes Florencia en el Amazonas, Don Giovanni, Ariadne auf Naxos, Hansel and Gretel, Bernstein’s Mass, and La Bohème. His design for 2016’s Florencia en el Amazonas was featured in San Diego Opera’s 2017-18 season. In addition to work for Indianapolis Civic Theater, Butler Ballet, and Indianapolis Ballet’s company premiere production of The Firebird, area theatergoers will recognize his designs for more than a dozen Cardinal Stage Company shows, including Les Misérables, A Streetcar Named Desire, My Fair Lady, Big River, and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Smith earned a Master of Fine Arts in Scenic Design from the IU Department of Theatre and Drama and was a student of former Jacobs faculty C. David Higgins and Robert O’Hearn. Upcoming productions include Swan Lake for Indianapolis Ballet.
Linda Pisano designs for theater, dance, musical theater, ballet, and opera throughout the United States; her ballet designs have toured the U.K. and Canada. An award-winning designer, Pisano is the only U.S. costume designer to have her work selected for the World Stage Design Exhibition in Taipei 2017. Her work will be featured representing the United States for the second time at the Quadrennial World Exhibition in Prague in June. She is a four-time winner of the National Stage Expo for performance design and 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 Museum in Moscow and the China Institute of Stage Design in Beijing. Pisano currently serves as chair of the Department of Theatre, Drama, and Contemporary Dance at IU and producer of Indiana University Summer Theatre. As professor of costume design, she also directs the Theatre & Drama study abroad program in London and is a co-author of the recent book The Art and Practice of Costume Design. Some of her work with Jacobs includes Giulio Cesare, West Side Story, L’Étoile, Akhnaten, Madama Butterfly, Vincent, La Traviata, Parsifal, and Bernstein’s Mass. She also designs with Opera San Antonio, BalletMet, Utah Shakespeare Festival, Utah Festival Opera, and San Diego Opera, and is designing Candide at Des Moines Metro Opera in June. You can see her work on the upcoming production of IU’s Parsifal and Indiana Repertory Theatre’s Christmas Carol. She is a member of the United Scenic Artists, Local 829.
Alice Trent is lighting supervisor at the IU Jacobs School of Music. She has designed extensively throughout the Midwest and South, and has worked as an assistant lighting designer at the Cleveland Play House, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, The Drama League, and Town Hall Arts Center of Denver. She received the 2019 Barbizon Lighting Company Jonathan Resnick Lighting Design Award and the 2019 Southeastern Theatre Conference (SETC) Spiegel Theatrical Artist Award. Trent placed first in the 2019 SETC Projection Design Competition for her work on King Charles III and was a 2020 Gilbert Hemsley Internship Program Finalist. She earned an M.F.A. in Lighting and Digital Media Design from the University of Tennessee Knoxville.
Sarah Wroth is chair of the Ballet Department and associate professor of ballet at the IU Jacobs School of Music. She began her training at the Frederick School of Classical Ballet in Frederick, Maryland. In 2003, she earned a Bachelor of Science in Ballet Performance with an Outside Field in Education from the Jacobs School of Music. That same year, she joined Boston Ballet as a member of the corps de ballet. With the company, Wroth performed principal roles in works by William Forsythe, Jiri Kylian, Marius Petipa, Jerome Robbins, Helen Pickett, and Mikko Nissinen, and soloist roles in ballets by Sir Frederick Ashton, George Balanchine, and August Bournonville. She has performed with Boston Ballet internationally in Spain, England, South Korea, and Finland. In 2009, she was awarded the E. Virginia Williams Inspiration Award for her unwavering dedication to ballet and the Boston Ballet Company. Wroth earned a Master of Science in Nonprofit Management from Northeastern University in 2015 and retired from Boston Ballet in May 2017.
Indianapolis- based Andrew Elliot is a makeup artist, stylist, wig designer, and cellist. His design and music work can be seen and heard with IU Jacobs School of Music Opera and Ballet Theater, Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre, Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre, Actors Theatre of Indiana, Phoenix Theatre, Zach & Zack Productions, Summer Stock Stage, and more. As a makeup artist and stylist, his work can be seen locally and nationally in various publications, commercials, billboards, industrials, and editorials. He spent 2020 recreating icons of film, fashion, and theater, which gained national attention, with features in The New York Times, NowThis News, The Indianapolis Star, and Indianapolis Monthly.
Lino Mioni, originally from northern Italy, earned a Ph.D. in Italian Studies in 2020 from Indiana University. Previously, he taught Italian language, literature, and culture at U.S. universities including The Ohio State University and the University of Georgia as well as in Europe. With his background in Romance languages and linguistics, he has designed and led workshops on Italian diction for singers. Among other institutions, he taught Italian and German language courses for singers at the Conservatory of Music of Coimbra, Portugal. He also served as Italian diction coach for the school’s opera productions and performances. He has curated the translations of librettos and prepared the supertitles for operas such as Ranieri de Calzabigi’s libretto for Gluck’s Orfeo e Euridice, Giovanni Targioni-Tozzetti’s and Guido Menasci’s libretto for Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana, Ruggero Leoncavallo’s libretto for Pagliacci, and Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas. At the Jacobs School, he was Italian diction coach for La Bohème.
Pianist and vocal coach Allan Armstrong is assistant professor of music in voice at the IU Jacobs School of Music, where he specializes in art song literature and opera coaching. He is also the official accompanist of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions for both the Colorado/Wyoming District and the Rocky Mountain Region. From 2017 to 2020, he was a postdoctoral scholar and visiting assistant professor in chamber and collaborative music at the Jacobs School. He was previously a member of the applied piano faculty at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, where he codirected the nationally award-winning Bravo Opera Company. Armstrong has been a principal production pianist and coach at Eugene Opera, Opera Colorado, St. Petersburg Opera, Opera on the Avalon, Sugar Creek Opera, Tel Aviv Summer Opera Program, and Opera Tampa. He has taught on the faculty of the Sherrill Milnes Savannah Voice Festival and the International Vocal Arts Institute, in Blacksburg, Virginia. In 2005, he coached and recorded the newly revised version of Béla Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle under the direction of the composer’s son, Peter Bartók. In 2010, Armstrong was a featured solo pianist in a recital of the complete solo piano works of Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Del Tredici at New York University Steinhardt. Armstrong earned a Doctor of Musical Arts in Collaborative Piano degree from the University of Colorado Boulder. He also earned a Master of Music degree in Chamber Music and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of South Florida, where he studied with Svetozar Ivanov and Robert Helps. Armstrong holds professional memberships in the College Music Society and the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS). In 2019, he was chosen to participate in the acclaimed NATS Intern Program at the New England Conservatory.
Charles Prestinari is senior lecturer in chamber music and collaborative piano at the IU Jacobs School of Music. Before joining the Jacobs School, he served as chorus master and music administrator of the San Diego Opera. From 2004 to 2011, he was associated with New York City Opera—first as assistant chorus master and from 2007 as chorus master—working on more than 40 different productions covering the full operatic repertoire, from the baroque period to the twentieth century. Highlights include an Emmy-winning Live from Lincoln Center telecast of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly and the New York stage premiere of Leonard Bernstein’s A Quiet Place. He has also been guest conductor of the National Chorale and guest chorus master at the New York City Ballet, Manhattan School of Music, and Aspen Music Festival. While earning master’s and doctoral degrees in choral conducting from the Jacobs School, he held the positions of chorus master (2001-03) and opera coach (2001-04) with IU Jacobs School of Music Opera Theater. He was also director of the University Chorale and the Motet Choir. From 1998 to 2001, he was assistant director and accompanist with the Singing Hoosiers.
Originally from Kansas City, Missouri, Rebecca Achtenberg is in the second year of her Performer Diploma in Voice Performance studies at the IU Jacobs School of Music, under the tutelage of Heidi Grant Murphy. Last fall, Achtenberg sang Alice in Falstaff, and last spring, she was seen as Mimì in La Bohème and in the chorus of Xerxes with IU Jacobs School of Music Opera Theater. Earlier in 2021, she appeared with Bloomington Chamber Opera as Elle in La voix humaine, and this past summer, she was a member of the inaugural class of vocal fellows with Lakes Area Music Festival. In 2019, she was seen as Older Alyce in Glory Denied with Penn Square Music Festival, Lia in L’enfantprodigue with Garden State Opera, Rosario in Goyescas with Hub City Opera Theater, Annina in La Traviata with New Rochelle Opera, and the High Priestess in Aida with Boheme Opera NJ. Achtenberg is a graduate of Oberlin College and Conservatory of Music, with a double degree in voice and comparative literature, and earned a master’s degree in voice from Westminster Choir College. She recently received the Freund Merit Award in the National Society of Arts and Letters Voice Competition and is a recipient of second prize in the Annapolis Opera Vocal Competition and the Five Towns Music and Arts Foundation Competition. She serves as an associate instructor in voice for the Jacobs School.
Tiffany Choe is a Korean American soprano born and raised in Southern California. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in voice performance from the IU Jacobs School of Music. She is currently pursuing her Performer Diploma under the tutelage of Kevin and Heidi Grant Murphy and is the 2021-22 recipient of the Georgina Joshi Fellowship. With the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, she was an Encouragement Award winner in the Western Region earlier this year, winner of the district region in Indianapolis in 2020, and an Encouragement Award winner in the Southeast Region in 2019. Choe attended Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute as a fellow this past summer and as an apprentice in the summer of 2019. She has performed in 11 productions with IU Jacobs Opera Theater, most recently as Mimi in La Bohème. She was also seen as Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro, Constance in Dialogues of the Carmelites, Rosalia in West Side Story, and Laoula in L’Étoile. She will join Arizona Opera’s Marion Roose Pullin Opera Studio for the 2022-23 season.
A suburban Philadelphian, Olivia Prendergast will finish her master’s degree this May under the tutelage of Heidi Grant Murphy. Prendergast has previously performed with IU Jacobs Opera Theater as Romilda in Xerxes and in the choruses of Little Women and The Magic Flute. From experience with a combination of modern operatic repertoire and historical concert works, she has a deep appreciation for contemporary and early music. She recently performed as the soprano soloist in In allen meinem Taten with the Bloomington Bach Cantata Project and Auditory Scene Analysis by Eric Wubbels with the Jacobs New Music Ensemble. This summer, Prendergast will join the Merola Opera Program as First Spirit and Papagena (cover) in its production of The Magic Flute.
Soprano Adriana N. Torres Díaz is pursuing a Master of Music in Voice Performance degree at the IU Jacobs School of Music under the guidance of Carol Vaness. Hailing from Puerto Rico, Torres Díaz earned undergraduate degrees in voice at the Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico and in biology at the University of Puerto Rico. Before coming to IU, she studied with Zoraida López and Diana Alvarado. Torres Díaz has been part of the cast of Suor Angelica (Cercatrice) under the direction of Antonio Barasorda and Roselín Pabón, and Così fan tutte (Despina) in the Third San Luis Opera Festival under the baton of Linus Lerner. With IU Jacobs School of Music Opera Theater, she has performed in Xerxes (Atalanta) under the direction of Kevin Murphy and Michael Shell, and The Magic Flute (Papagena) under the direction of Arthur Fagen and Shell. She has also participated with WIUX in a project called Song for Skeptics and in master classes with Justino Díaz, Kristin Dauphinais, Joel Prieto, Taylor Stilson, and Marilyn Taylor.
Tenor Yuntong Han, a native of China, is a first-year master’s student and associate instructor of voice at the IU Jacobs School of Music, where he studies with Heidi Grant Murphy. He earned his second bachelor’s degree, in vocal performance, at New England Conservatory of Music (NEC) under the tutelage of MaryAnn McCormick, with an already-in-hand bachelor’s degree in aircraft manufacturing from Northwestern Polytechnical University in China. In 2021-22, Han debuted with IU Jacobs School of Music Opera Theater, in Mozart’s The Magic Flute as Tamino, and appeared in the opera chorus of Verdi’s Falstaff. During his undergraduate studies, he performed in New England Conservatory’s undergraduate spring mainstage productions as Nemorino in Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love(2021), Rodolfo in Puccini’s La Bohème (2020), and Lucano in Monteverdi’s The Coronation of Poppea (2019, marked his opera debut). In addition to his work on the opera stage, he is also active as a concert and oratorio soloist. Highlights include Handel’s Messiah, Haydn’s Die Schöpfung, and the NEC Song and Verse art song series.
Tenor Jaemyeong Lee, a native of South Korea, is in his second semester as an Artist Diploma student in voice at the IU Jacobs School of Music, where he studies with Carol Vaness. He is the recipient of a Wilfred Bain Opera Award at Jacobs. He earned Bachelor of Music and Master of Music in Voice Performance degrees from Seoul National University as a student of Yonghoon Lee. While in Korea, he won the Chun-chu Music Competition and was a finalist at the Joong-Ang, Sung-Jung, Suri, and Gwang-ju vocal music competitions. In Korea, he performed as Nemorino in Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love, Ferrando in Mozart’s Così fan tutte, a minor role in Parsifal at Seoul Arts Center Opera Theatre, and tenor soloist of Handel’s Messiah. He recently performed the role of Don Ottavio from Mozart’s Don Giovanni in Carol Vaness’s Opera Workshop.
Tenor Cody Boling is a second-year Master of Music in Voice Performance candidate studying with Brian Horne. This past fall, Boling appeared as First Armored Man in Jacobs’ production of The Magic Flute. Other IU Jacobs Opera Theater credits include Peter Quint in The Turn of the Screw in spring 2021. Prior to attending the Jacobs School of Music, he was an active performer in his hometown as a frequent chorus member with the Knoxville Opera and performed in various productions at the Clarence Brown Theater with the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra and Tennessee Valley Players. Notable roles include Herr Vanderdendur in Candide, Mr. Thenardier in Les Misérables, and the Major General in The Pirates of Penzance. Boling has also enjoyed professional solo opportunities in oratorios such as Bach’s Magnificat and Handel’s Messiah with the Knoxville Handel Society and the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra. He earned a Bachelor of Music in Music Education and Vocal Performance degree from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.
Tenor ZhihuiPang is a first-year master’s student in voice at the IU Jacobs School of Music studying with Carlos Montané. Born in China, Zhihui studied journalism and communication at Renmin University of China for his undergraduate program. After performing in an opera for the first time during his senior year there, he decided to pursue a career in singing. In 2021, he performed in IU Jacobs Opera Theater’s productions of The Magic Flute and The Coronation of Poppea. This is his debut in a leading operatic role.
Joseph Canter is a second-year master’s student in voice performance at the IU Jacobs School of Music. He hails from Tallahassee, Florida, where he completed his undergraduate studies in vocal performance at Florida State University. Since beginning his studies at Jacobs in fall 2020, he has performed as Schaunard in La Bohème as well as in the ensembles for IU Jacobs Opera Theater’s The Barber of Seville, Xerxes, and The Magic Flute. During the summer of 2021, Canter traveled to Germany to perform the role of Count Almaviva in Lyric Opera Studio Weimar’s production of Le Nozze di Figaro. He studies with Carol Vaness.
Baritone David Le hails from Boise, Idaho, and earned a B.A. in Music from Boise State University. During his undergraduate studies, he was involved with Opera Idaho and vocal jazz, and played violin in the symphony orchestra. With Opera Idaho, Le performed the roles of the Page in Amahl and the Night Visitors and the Innkeeper in Manon, and was a chorus member for Don Giovanni, Aida, and Tosca. He participated in the Sun Valley Music Festival’s summer opera program for three years, where he performed the roles of Papageno, Belcore, Dulcamara, Figaro, and Count Danilo. At the Jacobs School of Music, Le has previously performed the role of Littore in The Coronation of Poppea. He is a first-year student pursuing a Master of Music in Voice Performance under the tutelage of Timothy Noble.
Soprano Kayla Kramer, from Cincinnati, Ohio, is a first-year master’s student studying under Carol Vaness. Kramer completed her undergraduate studies at Miami University in 2020, earning a degree in voice performance. She was last seen in Miami University’s production of Le Nozze di Figaro, as Susanna. She spent a summer at the American Institute of Musical Studies, where she participated in lieder and operetta concerts as well as a master class with Barbara Bonney. La Rondine marks Kramer’s debut with IU Jacobs School of Music Opera Theater.
Chinese soprano Siyi Yan is a first-year master’s student at the IU Jacobs School of Music under the tutelage of Brian Horne. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Music Education in 2021 from China Conservatory of Music, studying under Jingjing Li and Hong Luo. She has graced the stage with both opera and oratorio alike, as both the Königin der Nacht in Mozart’s The Magic Flute and the soprano soloist in Handel’s Messiah. As a solo artist, she has received many awards, including second prize in the Opera International New York Competition, second prize in the Golden Stars International Music Competition of Valencia, and the Youth Division gold award in the Germany Philharmonic International Music Competition. In 2020, she was awarded third prize in the 17th American Classical Singer International Vocal Competition as well as second prize in Bel Canto at the Ordinary Chamber International Vocal Arts Festival. Yan has performed in numerous distinguished venues, including the China Zhongshan Concert Hall, China National Centre for the Performing Arts, Chinese Conservatory of Music, Chengdu City Concert Hall, and Sichuan Conservatory of Music.
Soprano Pulip Han is in the first year of Master of Music in Voice Performance studies at the IU Jacobs School of Music, under the tutelage of Carol Vaness. A native of Seoul, South Korea, Han earned a Bachelor of Music in Voice degree from Hanyang University (HYU), where she graduated summa cum laude and was selected as a recipient of HYU’s 41st Study Abroad Scholarship. La Rondine marks her debut with IU Jacobs School of Music Opera Theater. She has previously performed with Hanyang University Opera Theater as a chorus member in The Elixir of Love and La Traviata.
Soprano Yue Yin, from China, is a doctoral student at the IU Jacobs School of Music, where she studies with Patricia Stiles. Her roles in opera scenes at IU includes Nannetta from Falstaff, Frasquita from Carmen, Susannah from Susannah, and Sophie from Werther. She also sang Eve in the American opera Ex Paradisumwith New Voice Opera in 2017. Outside of IU, her performance highlights include singing First Lady from The Magic Flute with New York Lyric Opera and Gretel from Hansel and Gretel as a cover. In addition, Yin performed Morgana from Alcina at Lee Foundation Theatre in Singapore.
From Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, junior Elizabeth Goodwin is a transfer student from the University of Idaho studying voice performance with Julia Bentley. Goodwin was one of 14 students accepted in the Opera in Concert program in Urbino, Italy, in 2019, created by former Metropolitan Opera singer Edward Crafts. She has sung in the opera choruses for IU Jacobs Opera Theater’s Xerxes and Falstaff. She was a finalist in the undergraduate awards upper division round of the 2021 Schmidt Vocal Arts program.
Chicago suburbs native Olivia Gronenthal, mezzo-soprano, is a first-year Performer Diploma student under the tutelage of Peter Volpe. Previous roles include Hansel in Hansel and Gretel (Lyric Theatre at Illinois and Vancouver Summer Opera Workshop), Bianca in The Rape of Lucretia (Lyric Theatre at Illinois), Third Lady in The Magic Flute (Toronto Summer Opera Workshop), and Third Boy in The Magic Flute (Toronto Summer Opera Workshop). With IU Opera Workshop, she was featured as Baba the Turk (The Rakes Progress), Prince Orlofsky (Die Fledermaus), Third Boy (The Magic Flute), and Bianca (The Rape of Lucretia). Her opera chorus credits include Falstaff and Little Women (IU Jacobs School of Music Opera Theater) and The Coronation ofPoppea (Lyric Theatre at Illinois). An avid fan of new works and musical theater, Gronenthal has performed the role of Electricizer 3 in Elizabeth Gartman and Susan Bywater’s opera New Motive Power(Kohler Performing Arts Center) and covered Franca in The Light in the Piazza(Lyric Theatre at Illinois). She recently earned an M.M. from the Jacobs School of Music and a B.M. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Anthony Josep is a baritone in his junior year at the IU Jacobs School of Music, where he studies with Timothy Noble. With IU Jacobs Opera Theater, Josep debuted last year as Elviro in Xerxes and performed the role of Papageno in this season’s The Magic Flute. He has also performed in the choruses for Jacobs’ productions of La Bohème, The Barber of Seville, La Traviata, and Le Nozze di Figaro. He recently attended such summer programs as the AAMS Summer Music Institute in Tampere, Finland, and the Schmidt Vocal Institute, where he studied with renowned performers Nathan Gunn, Sylvia McNair, and Brian Zeger. Having been described as having a sound “with velvet in it, and with a natural gift for expressiveness,” Josep has been successful in vocal competitions such as the National YoungArts Foundation Competition, where he was named a finalist. Recently, he won first place in the Classical Singer International Competition College Division. He was also given an encouragement award in the Schmidt Vocal Undergraduate Awards Voice Competition. In addition to solo voice, Josep is an active pianist and composer, often collaborating with organizations and singers at the Jacobs School in an effort to push new works into the modern opera repertoire. He was recently appointed artistic director of the New Voices Opera program at IU.
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette hailed Arkansas native Kyle Forehand as “a baritone of stock, a voice you will hear again.” A graduate student at the IU Jacobs School of Music, he is a recent graduate of the University of Arkansas. While studying in New York, he made his Carnegie Hall debut as the baritone soloist in Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem with the Crane Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. Forehand made his international debut in 2017, performing the role of Belcore in Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love with the Brancaleoni International Music Festival of Piobicco, Italy. Other operatic performances include Bob in The Old Maid and the Thief (Menotti), Father in Hansel and Gretel (Humperdinck), and roles in The Magic Flute (Mozart), Noye’s Fludde (Britten), and Le Nozze di Figaro (Mozart), among others. Recently, he made his company debut in the leading role of Jim in Opera in the Rock’s production of the contemporary opera The Gift of the Magi by David Conte. In 2019, Forehand was the bass-baritone soloist in Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. He has been a multi-time finalist in the Kristin Lewis International Singing Competition as well as finalist and winner of numerous National Association of Teachers of Singing competitions, both at state and regional levels. He currently studies under baritone Timothy Noble.
Gwenyth Sell is a first-year master’s student at the IU Jacobs School of Music, where she studies with Jane Dutton. Last semester, Sell appeared in her first opera at IU with Mozart’s The Magic Flute. She recently earned a Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance from Butler University. During her time there, she performed the roles of Laetita (The Old Maid and the Thief), Maestra delle Novizie (Suor Angelica), and Sandman (Too Many Sopranos). Other credits include Nannetta in Mercatello, Italy, for the International Opera Performing Experience’s production of Falstaff and La Zelatrice and Una Conversa in Operafestival di Roma’s production of Suor Angelica. Later this spring, Sell will portray The Defendant in the Gilbert & Sullivan Society’s production of Trial by Jury, as well as presenting her first master’s recital.
Caroline Goodwin is pursuing a Master of Music in Voice Performance under the tutelage of Brian Horne. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Voice with an Outside Field in History from the IU Jacobs School of Music in 2021. She made her IU Jacobs Opera Theater role debut last September as Second Spirit in The Magic Flute and was last seen on the Musical Arts Center stage in the chorus of Falstaff. Goodwin has also sung in the chorus of Jacobs’ productions of Xerxes and Bernstein’s Mass. In addition to mainstage productions, she has performed roles in several children’s operas with Reimagining Opera for Kids and sang in the chorus of New Voices Opera’s recording of The Jungle.
Soprano Elise Miller was most recently seen performing with IU Jacobs School of Music Opera Theater as Nerone in The Coronation ofPoppea. This April, she will make her debut with New Voices Opera as Lowri in the premiere of Rhiannon’s Condemnation by Leigha Amick. Last summer, Miller attended the Vienna Summer Music Festival in St. Petersburg, Florida, performing Virginia Woolf in a staged premiere of The Loathly Lady and sang an improvisational opera version of Carnival of the Animals. Other performance credits include Beth March in Little Women (IU Jacobs Opera Theater), La Ciesca in Gianni Schicchi (Music On Site, Inc.), Silly Girl & Enchanted Object in Beauty & the Beast (Woodlawn Theater), Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro, and Kate Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly (Mediterranean Opera Festival). She also premiered the role of Jean in the contemporary opera The War Bride by Nathan Felix at Luminaria: San Antonio Arts Festival in 2018. Miller was a resident artist with OPERA San Antonio from 2016 to 2020 and was in the chorus of its mainstage productions of Tosca, Faust, La Traviata, and Carmen.