Music by S. Ran, libretto by C. Kondek Dramaturg Cori Ellison
“In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.”
I Still Believe
Eight people hiding in 450 square feet for two years, with one indomitable teenager. Outside—the Holocaust.
Through the pages of her famous diary, Anne chronicled her time in the “Secret Annex” and became a universal symbol of hope and determination. Despite the worst of circumstances, she never lost her exuberance, thirst for life, and belief in humanity.
Based on The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank, this powerful recounting features a haunting contemporary score by Pulitzer Prize-winner Shulamit Ran and a dynamic libretto by Charles Kondek.
In English with English supertitles. World premiere.
Created in cooperation with the Anne Frank Fonds, Actors Fund, New Dramatists, and Dramatists Guild Fund. Commissioned by the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.
Mar. 3, 4, 9, 10 Musical Arts Center 7:30 PM
Join us at 6:30 PM before each performance for the Opera Insights Lecture, located on the mezzanine level of the Musical Arts Center.
Anne Frank Events
Supplemental events leading up to the world premiere of the opera.
Act I Prisoners form lines to report their names, occupations, and residences to a Nazi guard. We hear moaning, shrieking, and sobbing. The prisoners gather and ask why they are there. They demand an answer.
We meet Anne Frank. Like the prisoners, she introduces herself. It’s Anne’s thirteenth birthday celebration—but the prisoners are still in view. Anne receives her diary. After she promises to confide everything to her new diary, the scene shifts to the Frank family’s arrival to the Secret Annex. Mr. and Mrs. Van Daan and their son, Peter, soon join them. To celebrate their safe arrival, the two families, and Miep, the Franks’ friend and helper while in hiding, toast to their futures. Anne and Margot show Peter his room. The prisoners return to the stage in greater numbers, and Anne comments that the Annex has gained another member: Alfred Dussel, a dentist. We soon join Mrs. Van Daan and Edith Frank in the kitchen preparing potatoes.
When Anne goes to sleep that night, she has a vivid nightmare. The Westertoren clock’s ominous chiming accompanies unearthly sights and sounds of German guards and prisoners in Anne’s dream. Anne sees one of her school friends murdered in a concentration camp. She screams out, and her parents rush in to comfort her. Afterwards, Otto sits alone, lamenting that life has come to this. Edith joins him and encourages him to get some rest. They comfort each other, believing their daughters will survive the war. Sometime later, Anne is sitting at her desk, reporting on the latest happenings: news from the BBC, Mr. Van Daan is in a bad mood because of a cigarette shortage. She’s interrupted by her mother. Anne is annoyed. Anne is then left alone by the window. Looking out, she admires the green plants and trees.
Dussel is annoyed because he can’t find his cushion. He talks to Otto, blaming Anne for its disappearance. Edith comes to ask Anne if she is ok; Anne says it’s nothing sunshine can’t cure. She reflects alone about the physical and emotional changes she’s experiencing. We hear a scream from a hysterical Mrs. Van Daan: she’s furious because Mr. Van Daan insists that Miep sell her fur coat for money to buy cigarettes. Anne is at her desk, reflecting on the things she misses about normal life.
The act ends with Hanukkah celebrations in the Secret Annex and concentration camps, interspersed with the singing of drunk German guards. Anne declares that she still believes in the goodness of people. A sudden racket downstairs jolts the members of the Secret Annex: they are terrified that the police have found them. They are silent as the curtain falls.
Act II We return to the Secret Annex members, all frozen in the positions in which we last saw them.
Anne and Peter talk alone in his room. The scene shifts to everyone singing the praises of the BBC as they discuss the Allied forces’ latest victories. But Otto shatters their optimism: what if Germany wins? Everyone exclaims that this can’t happen. Edith can’t find Anne; Anne is writing in her dairy. The relatively peaceful Annex gives way to the concentration camp once again, where we hear moaning and the recitation of names.
The Annex comes back into view. It’s time for Anne and Margot to have Latin lessons with their father. After their lesson, Anne runs off to see Peter. Anne asks Peter if he’s ever been kissed. News then comes over the radio from the BBC that the war is over in Rome. Everyone hopes that this is a sign that the war will soon be over in Holland, too. Anne sits in her quiet place and boldly draws back the curtain to look outside. She sees a wedding party walking down the street and wonders if she or Margot will ever marry. Edith sees her and scolds Anne for looking out the window during the day. She then asks Anne and Margot to help shell beans. Anne walks away, talking to herself; she’s convinced that she wants an extraordinary life, to live forever through her writing. Margot joins Anne, and they share a sisterly moment, talking of boys and the future.
Anne goes back to writing. Otto walks in, accidentally interrupting her thoughts and encourages her to return to her pen and paper. Anne soon hears the entrance to the Annex open. Miep arrives with a special present for Anne: a pair of bright red, sequined pumps. Anne is delighted. As she learns to walk in heels, the other members of the Annex wander in to see what the noise is about. They all share a moment of imaginative play, celebrating Anne as their rising movie star.
Disorder and darkness follow. The rooms are in disarray. The Gestapo has discovered the members of the Secret Annex. Sights and sounds of the concentration camp fill the stage. We see Anne among the prisoners, dirty and fragile. Pages from Anne’s diary fall from overhead, covering the stage. Prisoners aimlessly meander until, one by one, they disappear. Anne, too, is gone. All that remains are the pages of her diary.
by Shulamit Ran
Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl was a book I first read in Hebrew—I think it was a gift I received on my Bat Mitzvah—and I have carried that inauspicious-looking, gray-covered volume with me through the decades that followed. There was nothing inauspicious about the content of the book, however! I was gripped by it, written as it was by a young teenage girl who, at the onset of the diary, was just barely older than me.
Growing up as a child in Israel, the book was by no means my first introduction to the difficult subject of the Holocaust, as it would be for so many of the tens of millions reading the book in its multiple translations to many different languages across the globe; because, as with so many of my generation and of the people I knew, many of my own family—a grandfather, two uncles, a young cousin, and many others, all of whom I never had the chance to know—perished in the Holocaust. But it was The Diary of Anne Frank that allowed me and countless others an intimate look into a life lost in a way I had never imagined before.
Over the years, I have composed several works that in various ways have the Holocaust at their center, starting with O The Chimneys composed in 1969-70, and most recently in Glitter, Doom, Shards, Memory, my third string quartet, composed in 2012-13 for the Pacifica Quartet. But Anne Frank was not a topic I would have thought of in operatic terms. When the idea was first brought up to me (by Dennis Hanthorn, formerly general director of The Atlanta Opera), my first action was to approach librettist Charles Kondek, with whom I had a deeply meaningful prior collaboration on my first opera, Between Two Worlds (The Dybbuk). I knew that with him I could seriously explore how we might turn the diary into something that would be suitable for the operatic stage. We both shared the view that such an opera ought to be about Anne Frank and the unfolding of her story as depicted in her diary, but at the same time, bring into the opera a constant reminder of the outside, the horrific events taking place outside the cramped living quarters—the “Secret Annex”—where Anne and seven more people were hiding for two years before being discovered and sent to their deaths (Otto Frank, Anne’s father, being the sole survivor). We both sought to create an opera that would in some important way have two levels of action, thus placing Anne Frank’s story within its broader context.
From the moment I made the decision that I would indeed create an opera that has the diary of Anne Frank at its center, I felt I had taken on a huge responsibility, and with responsibility comes risk. She, after all, had become such an incredible, larger-than-life, iconic figure for so many of us, her readers throughout the world. For a topic of this magnitude, I decided I would make full use of a large orchestra and a significant chorus in addition to the cast of nine principal singers. In our opera, Charles and I tried to show Anne as a young person of incredible imagination, exuberance, and wit—and a hugely gifted writer, of course—with an uncanny ability to comment on the world, on the people around her, on herself. She also can be seen as a visionary in terms of what she came to view, already at her young age, as her place in the world as a woman and her capacity as a writer. All that, and much, much more. And yet we wanted to show her as the real person that she was, not put her on a pedestal.
My opera has two acts that are structured into a succession of scenes (and I use the term “scene” very loosely here, as we are really talking of “situations,” large and small, or “focal points” that flow into one another) that have a large sweep to them, and some that are very intimate, almost chamber-music-like. It is through the use of the chorus that the larger context of this opera is created, the outside world that at all times is present and encroaching on the events inside the annex. Though closely based on the diary, neither the libretto nor the opera are intended to be a replication of the diary or attempt to follow a precise historical narrative. It is, first and far most, about the Anne Frank spirit and her humanity.
From the first time I read it, three unforgettable words, a “bundle of contradictions,” have remained forever carved in my mind. Pkâ’at shel stirôt (פקעת של סתירות) is how I read it in Hebrew. These words appear on the last two entries of the diary, written by Anne on July 21 and August 1, 1944. In these words, Anne is describing herself with truly extraordinary psychological detail and insight. I remember reading this passage over and over, but also turning to the next page, refusing to believe that a next page was not to be had. Anne, of course, had no idea that this would be the last page of her diary. WE know where all of this was heading; SHE did not! And so it is up to us, the living, to preserve the memory, which I have tried to do in this opera.
Acknowledgments from the Composer Many people and organizations deserve my heartfelt gratitude for enabling this opera to have been created and presented here today.
Of that long list, special thanks must be expressed to Dennis Hanthorn, for lighting the flame in 2008; Maestro Arthur Fagen, who has been the opera’s guardian angel throughout; and Timothy Stebbins, for bringing it all together with grace and dedication.
And finally, my opera could not have been created without the support—every day, at all times—of Avi Lotan, my beloved husband. I dedicate this opera to him.
“Anne Frank and the Promise of Hope” by Crystal Manich
Anne Frank’s story was known to me for decades. At age 12, I read her diary and was immediately moved by her remarkable strength given the circumstances of her life. Several years ago, I visited the annex in Amsterdam where she dwelled for two years, and her presence in my life became more profound. The idea of preserving her memory seemed necessary as a priority. We currently inhabit a world of misguided information, often done on purpose to mobilize factions and divide us, very much in the same way as was done in the Europe of World War II. When the opportunity arose for my taking on a world premiere of a theatrical representation of Anne’s experience, I jumped at what was the opportunity of a lifetime.
The most poignant aspect of my newfound journey with Anne Frank is the newfound profundity of the diary rereading it as an adult. As she writes, she questions whether her life will have any meaning. Little does she know that she is actively writing the most important document of the twentieth century. Her short life coupled with her very advanced writing, in which she pondered humanity as a whole, is an excellent source for us to review 80 years on. Of utmost importance, she questions the presence of hate in the world.
This production of the world premiere of Anne Frank was constructed to easily flow from scene to scene as we journey through the annex. A turntable allows us to experience an emotional passage of time as it revolves, creating a sense of entrapment and monotony. Surrounding the annex is a concentration camp, out of which walls are extracted and moved to create the annex itself. Video projections create a bridge to add psychological connection between the annex and the ever-present camp while also transporting us to various places that are expressed by Anne’s writing, whether implicit or explicit. The greater world outside looms large as the pressure of time builds within the annex.
My profound hope is that this representation of Anne will serve as a mere jumping off point for those who were unaware of her to now be unable to live without her for generations to come. We need Anne in our consciousness to cut through the darkness and provide the promise of hope.
by Sarah McDonie (Musicology Ph.D. Candidate)
Wednesday, 5 April 1944 “I know I can write. . . . I don’t want to live in vain like most people. I want to be useful or bring enjoyment to all people, even those I’ve never met. I want to go on living even after my death!”
Anne Frank’s words are chilling in their foreshadowing yet warm in their affirmation of a fulfilling future. Since its publication in 1947, Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl has been read by millions of people. Anne’s candid wit, humor, and, at times, piercing insight into the human condition continue to resonate with readers regardless of age. Themes of hope, resilience, and growing up connect us to Anne’s story. When we read Anne’s wish for immortality granted through authorship, we feel striking sadness knowing that her wish would be fulfilled—but not how she had hoped. After Anne and her family were arrested by the Nazi police on August 4, 1944, she was sent to the concentration camp Bergen-Belson, where she died of starvation and illness in the winter of 1945. But despite the trying circumstances of living in hiding leading up to her family’s arrest, Anne did not aggrandize or bemoan her situation. Instead, she chose to focus on everyday activities, objects, and feelings, and kept dreaming of her future. The Secret Annex—the upper levels of a pectin and spice factory where Anne and her family hid—may have been cramped, but its capacity for the varieties of human experience was boundless.
All this was told through the eyes of a young girl.
When Margot, Anne’s older sister, received a call to join a Nazi work camp on July 5, 1942, their parents, Otto and Edith Frank, took immediate action. They had been preparing the hidden upper floors and attic of Otto’s business building into a long-term hiding place for over a year. The Frank family went into hiding on July 6, 1942, with the Van Pels family and Fritz Pfeffer joining them shortly after.
Before going into hiding, Anne received a diary for her thirteenth birthday. This is when we meet Anne in the opera. She thought her diary was the most beautiful present in the world. The birthday scene music is bouncy and cheerful. It features some of the most hummable melodies of the opera. Anne’s family and friends sing an enthusiastic “Happy, happy birthday girl!” again and again in celebration. As they tell Anne to fill her pockets with delicious birthday sweets “one after another,” the music hops from singer to singer, evoking the action of repeated candy stashing.
Anne initially used her diary to write about daily life in the annex for her own enjoyment. But in the spring of 1944, she heard Gerrit Bolkestein, a member of the exiled Dutch government, send out a call during a London radio broadcast for personal accounts of life under German occupation. These were to be published after the war. Anne was inspired and quickly set about revising her existing diary entries while continuing to document her life in hiding.
The opera Anne Frank does not follow the diary’s content word-for-word. Instead, librettist Charles Kondek takes Anne’s diary as a starting point and foundation for this dramatic retelling of Anne’s story. Perhaps the most significant departure from the diary is the way the opera ends: in Bergen-Belson. Anne’s last entry is dated August 1, 1944, so we don’t have a firsthand account of her experience as a prisoner in the concentration camps. But this final scene is significant: we are not allowed the luxury of pretending that Anne Frank’s story ends happily.
One of the most striking features of this opera is its frequent layering of places and times. Scenes from the relative safety of the Secret Annex are put up against scenes from the Nazi death camps. An example of this is the Hanukkah celebration at the end of Act I. In a powerful show of resistance, the members of the Secret Annex share the stage with the prisoners, giving thanks in celebration of this important Jewish holiday. Shulamit Ran composed a beautiful new Hanukkah song specifically for this scene. This festive song creates a space of hope and determination for the Jewish people living a nightmare. German guards attempt to darken the scene with their drunken stumbling and boisterous singing, but they cannot overcome the light and love of the Hanukkah celebrants.
The harsh juxtaposition of life in the Secret Annex against life in the Nazi death camps is most apparent in the final two scenes of Act II. In Scene 12, the Franks’ friend Miep Gies visits the Secret Annex to surprise Anne with a sequined pair of red leather pumps. Anne’s delight with her present mirrors the joy she felt when she received her diary. The music becomes playful, mimicking Anne’s teetering steps as she learns to walk in heels. As Anne gains confidence, the music coalesces into a full-blown vaudeville number. The lightness of Anne’s dancing show tune is shattered immediately. Scene 13, the opera’s last, begins in chaos: tone clusters (thick blocks of notes that clash and blur) erupt from the accordion and the piano. Wails and groans from the prisoners fill the stage. The Frank and Van Pels families and Pfeffer are no longer protected by the annex’s walls. They are arrested and sent to a prisoner holding center before being sent off to different concentration camps. For Anne and her family, Shoal, meaning Holocaust, is at hand.
We see Anne one more time. She is ragged, cold, and fading. As the lights dim, Anne’s diary pages float to the floor. Anne is gone. Yet her words stand in testimony to what she and millions of others experienced, speaking to generations of people she would never meet. Yes, Anne is a writer. But more than that, she has become a voice for the voiceless, reminding us of the simultaneous horror and hope of the human condition.
Shulamit Ran’s music has been praised as “gloriously human,” “compelling not only for its white-hot emotional content, but for its intelligence and compositional clarity,” and “written with the same sense of humanity found in Mozart’s most profound opera arias or Mahler’s searching symphonies.” Ran began composing songs to Hebrew poetry at the age of seven in her native Israel. By nine, she was studying composition and piano with some of Israel’s most noted musicians, and within several years, was having her early works performed by professional musicians as well as orchestras. She continued her studies in the U.S., on scholarships from the Mannes College of Music and the America Israel Cultural Foundation. Winner of the 1991 Pulitzer Prize in music for her Symphony, she has been awarded most major honors given to composers in the U.S. Now the Andrew MacLeish Distinguished Service Professor Emerita at the University of Chicago Department of Music, where taught since 1973, she lists her late colleague and friend Ralph Shapey, with whom she also studied in 1977, as an important mentor. Ran’s music has been performed worldwide by leading ensembles, including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, American Composers Orchestra, Mendelssohn, Brentano, Pacifica, Juilliard, and Spektral quartets, Chanticleer, and many others. Maestros Daniel Barenboim, Pierre Boulez, Christoph Von Dohnanyi, Gustavo Dudamel, Zubin Mehta, Yehudi Menhuin, Gary Bertini, David Shalon, and others have conducted her works. She served as composer-in-residence with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra between 1990 and 1997, and with Lyric Opera of Chicago in 1994-97, where her residency culminated in the premiere of her first opera, Between Two Worlds (The Dybbuk). The recipient of five honorary degrees, she is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Among her numerous residencies were those at the American Academy in Rome and in festivals such as the Tanglewood Music Center, Aspen Institute, Marlboro Festival, Yellow Barn, Steans Institute at the Ravinia Festival, Wellesley Composers Conference, and many more.
Charles Kondek’s first venture into musical theater was his one-act opera libretto Evol Spelled Backwards is Love. It premiered in Darmstadt, Germany, along with the small Mozart work Bastien und Bastienne. Kondek also directed, crisscrossing the new and old operas, earning rave reviews for both. Later, the Chicago Tribune in its review of The Fan, commissioned and produced by Lyric Opera of Chicago with a libretto by Kondek, called him “a shrewd man of the theater and this comic opera a blast of fresh air.” Nino Rota, composer for the three Godfather films, also wrote a delightful comic opera, The Italian Straw Hat. The opera’s English translation by Kondek was commissioned and produced by the Santa Fe Opera. The translation was later produced by the Camden Festival, London. He also wrote the libretto for Between Two Worlds, composed by Shulamit Ran, commissioned and produced by Lyric Opera of Chicago. Shortly after, the work was premiered in Bielefeld, Germany. More recently, Kondek is the recipient of the prestigious Marc Blitzstein Memorial Award in Music Theater presented by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Of the four operas with the late Harold Blumenfeld, Seasons in Hell was called by the American Record Guide an “ingenious display of literary virtuosity.” The Cincinnati Enquirer called it “a fascinating coming together of words, music and imagery.” With composer Hugo Weisgall, Kondek wrote the grand historical drama Esther, commissioned and produced by New York City Opera at Lincoln Center and revived 10 years after the premiere. New York magazine called Esther “a work that can now be placed among the finest operas we have.” TIME magazine called Esther “a powerful evening of music-theater.” Noted critic Martin Bernheimer of the Los Angeles Times suggested Esther “may be a masterpiece.”
Arthur Fagen has been professor of orchestral conducting at the Jacobs School of Music since 2008. Additionally, he has been music director of the Atlanta Opera since 2010. He has conducted opera productions at the world’s most prestigious opera houses and music festivals. From 1998 to 2001, he was invited regularly as guest conductor at the Vienna State Opera, in addition to performances at the Metropolitan Opera, Staatsoper Berlin Deutsche Oper Berlin, Munich State Opera, and many more. On the concert podium, he has appeared with numerous internationally known orchestras. Fagen has an opera repertory of more than 75 works. He has served as principal conductor in Kassel and Brunswick, as chief conductor of the Flanders Opera of Antwerp and Ghent, as music director of the Queens Symphony Orchestra, and as a member of the conducting staff of Lyric Opera of Chicago. From 2002 to 2007, he was music director of the Dortmund Philharmonic Orchestra and the Dortmund Opera. He and the Dortmund Philharmonic were invited to the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Palais de Beaux Arts in Brussels, and to Salzburg, Beijing, and Shanghai. Fagen conducted a new production of Turandot at the Atlanta Opera in 2007, opening the season and inaugurating the new opera house, the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center. He was a regular guest conductor of the Munich Radio Orchestra and guest conducted the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie, Schleswig-Holstein Festival, and many others. He was first-prize winner of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Conductors Competition as well as a prize winner of the Gino Marinuzzi International Conductors’ Competition in Italy. Fagen has recorded for BMG, Bayerischer Rundfunk, SFB, and WDR Cologne. He records regularly for Naxos, for which he has completed the six symphonies of Bohuslav Martinů. His Naxos recording of Martinů’s piano concertos was awarded an Editor’s Choice award in the March 2010 issue of Gramophone magazine.
Crystal Manich has been hailed by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and other major publications for “lively” and “imaginative staging.” As a Latinx creative leader and manager in the performing and filmic arts, she is dedicated to making vibrant entertainment and cultural experiences. Over the last two decades, Manich has directed over 75 stage productions of opera, musical theater, and plays with various companies internationally. She is a part of the commission for the new musical play La Llorona through Theater Latté Da in Minneapolis, currently in development. Her film work includes the critically acclaimed world-premiere opera feature film The Copper Queen, for which she won Best First-Time Female Filmmaker from the 2021 Toronto International Women Film Festival. She also received a 2021 regional Chicago Emmy nomination for her direction of the multi-cam livestream of Daniel Catán’s Spanish-language opera La Hija de Rappaccini at the Field Museum for Chicago Opera Theater. Manich served as artistic director of Mill City Summer Opera in Minneapolis, having previously served as founding co-artistic director for Opera Omnia in New York. She was also assistant artistic director for Quidam in Brazil with Cirque du Soleil. She is an alumna of Carnegie Mellon University.
A Bloomington-based designer and scenic artist, Mark Frederic 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 27 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, Indianapolis Ballet, and Chicago’s Greenhouse Theater, 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, Oliver!, 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 Sleeping Beauty for Indianapolis Ballet.
Linda Pisano designs for many theater, dance, musical theater, ballet, and opera companies throughout the United States; her ballet designs have toured the U.K. and Canada. An award-winning designer, she was selected to represent the United States in costume design in the World Stage Design Exhibition in Taipei 2017. Her work has been selected for feature in the Quadrennial World Exhibition in Prague, and she is a three-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 and published in the “Costumes of the Turn of the Century” exhibition with the Bakhrushin Museum in Moscow and the China Institute of Stage Design in Beijing. As professor of costume design at Indiana University, she also directs its Theatre and Drama study abroad program in London, is department chair, and produces IU’s Summer Theatre. She is co-author of the recent book The Art and Practice of Costume Design. Some of her favorite projects include The Daughter of the Regiment, Urinetown, Anne Frank, Salome (with Patricia Racette), To Kill a Mockingbird, Romeo and Juliet, Sense and Sensibility, Chicago, Madama Butterfly, The Tragedy of Doctor Faustus, A Little Night Music, and the opera Akhnaten. She served two terms as an elected member of the board of directors for the United States Institute for Theatre Technology and is a member of United Scenic Artists, Local 829. She is currently designing the 2023 Nutcracker for the Jacobs School of Music.
Allen Hahn’s last design for IU Jacobs School of Music Opera Theater was Hansel and Gretel, in 2022. His international design credits include the operas Kafka’s Trial and Giulio Cesare (Royal Danish Opera), Émilie (Finnish National Opera), Der freischütz, (Opera Bilbao), La Fanciulla del West (Opera Zuid-Netherlands), and John Cage’s Songbooks at the Muziekgebouw in Amsterdam with the music ensemble Alarm Will Sound. In July 2023, Hahn will return to the Santa Fe Opera to design Tosca, with director Keith Warner, with whom he has worked at Opera Theater of Saint Louis, Spoleto Festival USA, and Opera Zuid in the Netherlands. Other lighting design credits for opera in the U.S. include Rinaldo (New York City Opera), Don Giovanni (Glimmerglass), Émilie (Lincoln Center Festival), Lizzie Borden (Boston Lyric Opera), Luisa Miller (Spoleto Festival USA), Die Fledermaus (Portland Opera), Death in Venice and The Coronation of Poppea (Chicago Opera Theater), Pagliacci (Opera Memphis), Bluebeard’s Castle (Opera Omaha), Miss Lonelyhearts (The Juilliard School), Elegy for Young Lovers (Curtis Institute of Music), and numerous credits for New York’s Gotham Chamber Opera. Hahn’s design work for theater and dance includes companies and festivals in Australia, Europe, Asia, and South America, and cities across the U.S., and his work has been included in the Prague Quadrennial Exhibition of Stage Design. His dance for camera work as a director and designer has been seen in the short films Breath Light Stone and Mutable Spirals of Ascension, which have been selected for inclusion in festivals in the U.S. and internationally, with Breath Light Stone garnering awards in multiple categories. Hahn heads IU’s M.F.A. program in lighting design.
Camilla Tassi is a projection/video designer, producer, and musician from Florence, Italy. Design credits include Golijov’s Falling Out of Time (Carnegie Hall), Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo (Apollo’s Fire Tour), Pollock’s Stinney: An American Execution (PROTOTYPE, NYT), Deavere-Smith’s Fires in the Mirror (Baltimore Center Stage & Long Wharf Theater), Mozart’s The Magic Flute (Berlin Opera Academy), Massenet’s Cendrillon (Peabody Opera), and Handel’s Alcina and Stravinsky’s Rossignol (Yale Opera). Tassi enjoys bringing theatrical design to traditionally unstaged compositions, recontextualizing the repertoire with today’s audiences. For video, she has directed and edited for the Washington Chorus, Les Délices Early Music, Princeton Festival, and Chicago Ear Taxi Festival. She has sung with groups including the Yale Schola Cantorum, and Apollo’s Singers with the New York Philharmonic. She is the 2022 recipient of the Burry Fredrik design award and the Robert L. Tobin Director-Designer prize. Tassi holds degrees in computer science, music, and projection design. She earned her M.F.A. in Design at the David Geffen School of Drama at Yale, under Wendall Harrington.
Jacob Bauman is a third-year audio engineering and sound production major from Buffalo Grove, Illinois, with minors in jazz studies and sound for visual media. He has worked on several IU Jacobs School of Music Opera Theater productions, including The Turn Of The Screw (2021) and Falstaff (2021). As a musician, he has played drums and percussion in the orchestra pit of 11 musical productions, most notably, Aida, Carrie, Natasha Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, and Something Rotten! (this spring). Outside of his studies, Bauman is social media and outreach director for the IU Audio Engineering Society, production assistant for the Jacobs Audio Engineering and Sound Production Department, and plays snare drum in the IU Drumline. He also has a wealth of recording studio experience as both an engineer and a musician and aspires to work as a recording/mixing engineer and composer in the film industry.
Sam Epstein began his training at the National Museum of Dance School of the Arts in Saratoga Springs, New York. In 2017, he began his studies at Indiana University as a Wells Scholar. There, his repertoire included principal roles in works by George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, and Michael Vernon, soloist roles in works by Christian Claessens, Mark Morris, Twyla Tharp, Antony Tudor and Christopher Wheeldon, and new works by Sasha Janes, Carla Körbes, and Sarah Wroth. In 2021, Epstein graduated from IU with a Bachelor of Science in Ballet with an Outside Field in Choreography and a Music Composition Minor then joined Cincinnati Ballet’s Second Company. There, his repertoire includes the Nutcracker Prince in Victoria Morgan’s The Nutcracker, the Prince in Pamela Robinson Harris’s Snow White, and new works by Jennifer Archibald, Melissa Gelfin, and David Morse. Epstein is a professional adaptive dance instructor and ballet instructor at Cincinnati Ballet Academy. While a student at IU, he choreographed numerous works on dancers of both the ballet and contemporary dance departments, including his first full-length story ballet in 2021.
Walter Huff is 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 many IU Jacobs School of Music Opera and Ballet Theater productions, including 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, La Bohème, The Magic Flute, The Coronation of Poppea, Falstaff, Highway 1, USA, La Rondine, H.M.S. Pinafore, and Ainadamar. For five 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 fourth year as a faculty member at the Ravinia Festival’s Steans Music Institute. He also maintains a busy vocal coaching studio in Atlanta.
Brent Gault is professor of music education at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. He 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, Canada, China, and Ireland. 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. He is the co-editor (with Carlos Abril) of Teaching General Music (2016, Oxford University Press) and author of Listen Up! Fostering Musicianship Through Active Listening (2016, Oxford University Press). 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.
Andrew Elliot is a makeup artist, wig designer, stylist, and cellist. His design and music work can be seen and heard with IU Jacobs Opera and Ballet Theater, Beef and 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.
Cori Ellison, a leading creative figure in the opera world, has served as staff dramaturg at the Santa Fe Opera, Glyndebourne Festival, and New York City Opera (NYCO). Active in developing contemporary opera, she leads Opera Lab, a unique new practical training program for composers, librettists, and performers at The Juilliard School, where she serves on the Vocal Arts faculty. She is also a founding faculty member of American Lyric Theater’s Composer Librettist Development Program and was the first dramaturg invited to participate in the Yale Institute for Music Theatre. At New York City Opera, she was a curator of the annual VOX American Opera Showcase and cofounded and led City Opera’s Words First program for opera librettists. She has been a sought-after developmental dramaturg to numerous composers, librettists, and commissioners, including Glyndebourne, Canadian Opera, Opera Philadelphia, Chicago Opera Theater, Icelandic Opera, Arizona Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Beth Morrison Projects, Santa Fe Opera, Miller Theater, Opera Birmingham, On-Site Opera, Indiana University, and Crane School of Music. She has served as production dramaturg for projects including The Coronation of Poppea at Cincinnati Opera; Orphic Moments at the Salzburg Landestheater, National Sawdust, and Master Voices; Aci, Galatea, e Polifemo at National Sawdust; Washington National Opera’s Ring cycle, Opera Boston’s The Nose, and Offenbach!!! at Bard Summerscape. She is a faculty member at the Ravinia Steans Music Institute Program for Singers and has taught and lectured for schools, performance venues, and media outlets worldwide. She creates supertitles for opera companies across the English-speaking world and helped launch Met Titles, the Met’s simultaneous translation system. Her English singing translations include Hansel and Gretel (NYCO), La vestale (English National Opera), and Shostakovich’s Cherry Tree Towers (Bard Summerscape). She has often written for The New York Times and has contributed to books including The New Grove Dictionary of Opera and The Compleat Mozart.
His artistry, dazzling technical command, and sensitivity have brought Stanislav “Stas” Venglevski—a native of the Republic of Moldova, part of the former Soviet Union—increasing acclaim as a virtuoso of the bayan. He is a two-time first-prize bayan competition winner in the Republic of Moldova and a graduate of the Russian Academy of Music in Moscow where he earned a master’s degree in Music under the tutelage of famed Russian bayanist Friedrich Lips. In 1992, he immigrated to the United States. Venglevski is an accordionist, composer, conductor, arranger, entertainer, and teacher. His wide-ranged repertoire includes his original compositions and a broad range of classical, contemporary, and ethnic music. He has toured extensively as a soloist throughout the former Soviet Union, Canada, Europe, and the United States, including numerous performances with Doc Severinsen, Steve Allen, and Garrison Keillor on Prairie Home Companion. He has performed with symphony orchestras in Europe and throughout the United States. For the past seven years he has been artistic director of the Houston Accordion Orchestra Retreat and, in 2021, he was named artistic director of A World of Accordions (AWAM) in Superior, Wisconsin. He is a past president of the Accordionists and Teachers Guild and currently serves on its board. Most recently, he has joined the faculty of the Music Department of the University of Wisconsin, Superior. The brilliant artistry and musical virtuosity of his performance affords an expanded dimension in music and an innovative musical adventure to the audience. Beyond his artistry, he is a consummate entertainer, capable of engaging any audience.
From Omaha, Nebraska, soprano Kate Johnson connects wholeheartedly to the stories she shares and strives to serve others through music. Under the tutelage of Heidi Grant Murphy, she is pursuing a Performer Diploma at the Jacobs School of Music, where she also earned her Master of Music in Voice Performance. She was based in Vienna as a 2021-22 Fulbright Austria grantee. Her grant focused on the lieder of Walter Bricht in partnership with the Exilarte Center for Banned Music (University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna), and additionally included recital work. Prior to her Fulbright, Johnson was a 2021 apprentice artist with Des Moines Metro Opera. In past IU Jacobs Opera Theater productions, she performed as Susanna in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro and Atalanta in Handel’s Xerxes. Passionate about opera outreach, Johnson has performed enthusiastically for local school groups with Reimagining Opera for Kids. At the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, she has twice received the Opera Omaha Guild Award and received a 2020 Encouragement Award.
Soprano Anne Slovin is a fourth-year doctoral student in voice. An avid performer of new and contemporary opera, at the Jacobs School of Music, she has performed the role of Clara in the collegiate premiere of Heggie and Scheer’s It’s a Wonderful Life with IU Jacobs Opera Theater and Brigitte in Kyle Rotolo’s Marilyn’s Room with New Voices Opera. In 2015, Slovin created the role of Mica Segal in Wlad Marhulet and Stephanie Fleischmann’s klezmer opera The Property with Lyric Opera Unlimited in Chicago. She has performed the roles of Frasquita in Carmen and Clorinda in La Cenerentola with Pensacola Opera, as well as covering the role of Musetta in La Bohème and performing as Juliet in Don Freund’s Star-Crossed Lovers at Indianapolis Opera. Other notable operatic roles include Mabrouka in Sumeida’s Song (Fairouz), Irena in The Seduction of a Lady (Wargo), Pamina in The Magic Flute and Micäela in La Tragédie de Carmen. Slovin’s performances as Phyllis in Iolanthe, Elsie in The Yeomen of the Guard, and Aline in The Sorcerer have earned her the titles of Best Female Voice and Performer at the International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival in the U.K. She is also a former grant recipient from the Georgina Joshi International Fund, German American Academic Exchange (DAAD), Musicians Club of Women in Chicago, and Frank Huntington Beebe Fund for Musicians. Slovin has taught undergraduate voice pedagogy as an associate instructor at Jacobs, where she has studied with Julia Bentley and Patricia Havranek.
A tenor from Monroe, Michigan, Brad Lieto is in his first year of doctoral studies in voice under the tutelage of Brian Gill. Lieto holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Central Michigan University and a Master of Music in Vocal Performance degree from the University of Toledo. Since earning his master’s degree, Lieto has been very active in sacred music and serves as music minister/director of St. Barnabas Catholic Church in Indianapolis. Favorite roles include Ferrando in Mozart’s Così fan tutte, Ramiro in Rossini’s La Cenerentola, and Orpheus in Offenbach’s Orpheus and the Underworld. This is his debut with IU Jacobs School of Music Opera Theater.
Tenor Sylvester Makobi hails from Nairobi, Kenya, and is a Doctor of Music student under the tutelage of Marietta Simpson. His professional engagements began with the Kenyan Boys Choir as a soloist. Later, he cofounded the a cappella group Taifa Mziki and served as its director. Makobi’s performances have allowed him to traverse four continents. He has performed with the Ravenna Festival Chorus under the baton of Ricardo Muti and as a soloist at the State House Nairobi for two Kenyan presidents and their guests. In 2012, Makobi performed during the celebrations for the Cyprus Presidency of the Council of the European Union. His concert performances include tenor soloist in Mozart’s Mass in C Minor, Requiem Mass, and Coronation Mass, Haydn’s Creation, and Handel’s Messiah. His operatic roles include Don Basilio and Don Curzio in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, Ferrando in Mozart’s Così fan tutte, Second Priest in Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Rev. Horace Adams in Britten’s Peter Grimes, Elder in Ondieki the Fisherman by Francis Chandler, and Nate in Grant Still’s Highway 1, USA. He has been a volunteer with Reimagining Opera for Kids, where he performed all three tenor roles in the world premiere of The Firebringers by Chappell Kingsland. In the fall of 2022, Makobi joined the Mushandirapamwe Singers for the Princeton University Glee Club concert series. He is a recipient of the Carlton Hodge Prize, awarded by IU’s African Studies Program to a doctoral student for their commitment to excellence in African Studies, and community engagement.
From Lexington, Kentucky, mezzo-soprano Catarine Hancock is a second-year master’s student of Jane Dutton. Hancock earned a Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance degree from the University of Kentucky in 2021 and made her IU Jacobs School of Music Opera Theater debut as Third Lady in the 2021 production of The Magic Flute. She is a fierce supporter of new music and has been a member of NOTUS, the contemporary vocal ensemble, for her entire time at Jacobs. She has also participated in New Voices Opera, Song Genesis, and other composition projects, most notably a collaboration with composer and Jacobs student Hunter T. Johnson on a song cycle setting her own poetry, to be premiered later this spring. Outside of Jacobs, she has performed the role of Hansel in Hansel and Gretel at the Trentino Music Festival as well as Rebecca Nurse in The Crucible and Zita in Gianni Schicchi, both with University of Kentucky Opera Theatre. She was the second-place undergraduate winner of the 2017 Alltech Vocal Scholarship Competition and a semifinalist in the 2020, 2021, and 2022 Orpheus Vocal Competition. Alongside singing, Hancock is also a published poet, signed with Central Avenue Publishing. She is the author of four poetry collections: shades of lovers (2020), sometimes i fall asleep thinking about you (2021), sprout: selected poems (2022), and i gave myself the world (2023).
Born and raised in Israel, mezzo-soprano Shir Ordo is a junior pursuing a Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance degree under the tutelage of Heidi Grant Murphy. Ordo was previously seen in IU Jacobs School of Music Opera Theater productions as Ottavia (The Coronation of Poppea, October 2021), Arsamene (Xerxes, March 2021), and Koukouli (L’Étoile, October 2022). She had also been a chorus member in the Jacobs productions of La Rondine, Little Women, La Bohème, and L’Étoile. This past summer, she attended the International Summer Opera Tel-Aviv program and was a young artist at Songfest. Prior to joining the Jacobs School, Ordo served as an Outstanding Musician representing the Israeli Defense Forces, performing as both a vocalist and a violinist. As a classical singer, she has performed solos with Ensemble PHOENIX and the Ludovice Ensemble. She was a finalist in the Ben Haim Competition, for outstanding young Israeli musicians. Her non-classical performances include the leading role in the play Hakuzari at the Temuna Theater in Tel-Aviv and numerous solo appearances before various Israeli dignitaries, including the Israeli president. She has been featured at many international venues, including the Palais des Congrès de Paris (with the Prague National Symphony Orchestra) and the Saban Theatre at the Beverly Hills Temple of the Arts. In 2017, Ordo released an original pop album. As a violinist, she has participated in master classes and played with the Young Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Tel-Aviv Soloists Ensemble, and Galilee Chamber Orchestra, traveling to perform in Germany, Austria, and South Korea.
Chicago suburbs native Olivia Gronenthal, mezzo-soprano, is a second-year Performer Diploma student under the tutelage of Deanne Meek. Previous roles include Suzy in La Rondine (IU Jacobs School of Music Opera Theater), 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 Erika (Vanessa), Baba the Turk (The Rake’s Progress), Prince Orlofsky (Die Fledermaus), Third Boy (The Magic Flute), and Bianca (The Rape of Lucretia). Her opera chorus credits include L’Étoile, Falstaff, Xerxes, and Little Women (IU Jacobs Opera Theater), and The Coronation of Poppea and Don Giovanni (Lyric Theatre at Illinois). Gronenthal’s concert work includes performing as Prince Orlofsky with the AIMS Festival Orchestra and singing as a soloist (Medium Alison, Fun Home) as part of Nathan and Julie Jordan Gunn’s “An Evening on Broadway” concert (Shot in the Dark Productions). 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 under the tutelage of Peter Volpe and a B.M. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Born and raised in Naples, Florida, soprano Alexandra Taylor began her operatic studies with Opera Naples at age 12, singing in the opera choruses of numerous productions. She is a second-year master’s student under the tutelage of Alice Hopper. Taylor completed her undergraduate studies at the Jacobs School of Music in 2021, during which she performed in the IU Jacobs Opera Theater chorus of Puccini’s Suor Angelica and was a Street Singer in Bernstein’s Mass. During her graduate studies, she has performed in the choruses of Verdi’s Falstaff, Puccini’s La Rondine, and Chabrier’s L’Étoile. She also sang in Anton Belov’s Russian master class at Jacobs, during which she sang a piece by Rachmaninoff. In 2021, Taylor sang the (partial) title role of Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor in Heidi Grant Murphy’s Opera Workshop. Taylor was named a finalist in the 2021 American Prize Competition in Opera/Operetta and a semifinalist in the 2022 Premiere Opera Foundation International Vocal Competition. She was a young artist with Utah Vocal Arts Academy in 2020 and Prague Summer Nights in 2019, where she performed the role of Barbarina in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro at the historic Estates Theatre in Prague.
From Cleveland, Tennessee, Aaron Murphy is a doctoral student of Timothy Noble and a graduate of Lee University and McGill University as a student of Tony Deaton and Stefano Algieri, respectively. Murphy has appeared on opera and concert stages across the Eastern U.S., Canada, Ireland, and France. He appeared as Betto in Gianni Schicchi, Don Alhambra in The Gondoliers, and Ben in The Telephone with Lee University Opera Theatre and as Guglielmo in Così fan tutte and the Mayor in Bizet’s Doctor Miracle with Opera Tennessee. With Opéra McGill, he appeared as The Origamist in the Canadian premiere of Michael Ching’s Speed Dating, Tonight!, Frank and Frosch in Die Fledermaus, and Ramiro in L’heure espagnole. While living in Canada, he covered Farář in Cunning Little Vixen and performed the title role in Eugene Onegin with Opera NUOVA. In 2019, he covered the role of Valdeburgo in Bellini’s La straniera with Teatro Nuovo at New York’s Lincoln Center and sang the role of Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro with IU Jacobs School of Music Opera Theater. His concert credits include the bass solos in Handel’s Messiah and Vaughan Williams’ Serenade to Music for the annual Lee University Masterworks Festival, the role of the Narrator in Charpentier’s Le reniement de Saint-Pierre with the Lee University Chorale, Beethoven’s Mass in C Major with the Cantabile Chorale de Ste.-Geneviève in Sainte-Geneviève, Québec, and Bach’s Magnificat at historic St. Michael’s Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
Marcus Timpane is a baritone from Berkeley, California, pursuing a Master of Music in Voice Performance degree under the tutelage of Wolfgang Brendel. His past roles include Marco in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi with the Festival of International Opera: Italia, Le Premier Ministre in Massonet’s Cendrillon, Groom in Avow by Mark Adamo, and Sander in Zémire et Azor by André Ernest Modeste Grétry, the last three with Westminster Choir College, where he studied with Elem Eley and earned a Bachelor of Music in degree in 2020.
Soprano Lillie Judge, from Charlotte, North Carolina, is a first-year M.M. student at the Jacobs School of Music studying with Brian Gill. In May 2022, she earned her B.M. in Voice Performance and Sacred Music from Westminster Choir College. At Westminster, she performed the roles of Gretel (Hansel and Gretel), Ballad Singer 1 (Ballymore), and Laetitia (The Old Maid and The Thief). Anne Frank marks Judge’s role debut with IU Jacobs School of Music Opera Theater. She has participated as a young artist in the Florence Voice Program (2019) and Westminster’s CoOPERAtive Program (2021). In 2020, she won first place in the Westminster Voice Awards, and the following year, she placed second in the same competition.
From Morgantown, West Virginia, soprano Jennifer Kreider is a D.M. student under the tutelage of Jane Dutton. Kreider also earned an Artist Diploma from the Jacobs School of Music. With IU Jacobs School of Music Opera Theater, she has performed the roles of Pamina (The Magic Flute), Miss Jessel (The Turn of the Screw), and Nella (Gianni Schicchi). Elsewhere, she has performed the roles of Musetta (La Bohème), Monica (The Medium), La Fée (Cendrillon), Linfea (La Calisto), Iolanthe (Iolanthe), and Ramiro (La finta giardiniera), among others. In competition, Kreider was a district winner of the Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition (2022), finalist in the National Opera Association Carolyn Bailey and Dominick Argento Vocal Competition (2020), first-place winner of the Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota National Voice Competition (2016), first-place winner of the national NATS competition (2015), and a winner of the Clifton Emerging Young Artist Award (2016). Kreider earned an M.M. from Rice University in Houston, Texas, and a B.M. from Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey.
Soprano Cassie Glaeser, a native of Manitowoc, Wisconsin, is a third-year doctoral student at the Jacobs School of Music, where she studies with Jane Dutton. She debuted with IU Jacobs School of Music Opera Theater as Mrs. Grose in Britten’s The Turn of the Screw. Glaeser was an apprentice artist with Sarasota Opera for two seasons. She was also an apprentice artist with Des Moines Metro Opera for two seasons. While there, she made her professional debut as the Fourth Serving Maid in Strauss’s Elektra and covered the role of Chrysothemis in that same production. She has performed in scenes as Leonora (Il Trovatore), Aida (Aida), La Gioconda (La Gioconda), Elvira (Ernani), Leonora (Fidelio), Norma (Norma), Mina (Aroldo), Elsa (Lohengrin), Amelia (Un ballo in maschera), Elisabetta (Don Carlo), Agathe (Der Freischütz), and the Female Chorus (The Rape of Lucretia). She also received training as a young artist with the Seagle Music Colony, where she performed the roles of Antonia and Giulietta (The Tales of Hoffmann) and at the Sieur du Luth Opera Training Program, where she covered the role of Donna Anna (Don Giovanni). Glaeser earned a Master of Music in Opera Performance degree from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where she performed the roles of Medea (Medea), Suzel (L’amico Fritz), and Donna Anna (Don Giovanni). She earned a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance degree from Lawrence University, where she performed the role of Mařenka (The Bartered Bride).
Hailed for her “great stage presence” and “a soaring soprano voice,” Madeleine Gotschlich is a versatile and dynamic performer with a love for everything from Mozart to Strauss. Originally from Gorham, Maine, she is pursuing a master’s degree as a student of Carol Vaness. At the Jacobs School, she has also performed in a scenes showcase with Opera Workshop, singing a scene from the role of Vanessa (Vanessa). She has also performed scenes from a variety of other roles, including Alice Ford (Falstaff), Girmgerde (Die Walküre), Agathe (Der Freschütz), Norma (Norma), Mother (Hansel and Gretel), and Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni). She made her Detroit debut in 2019 with Opera MODO, as Diana in Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld. In 2018, Gotschlich earned her bachelor’s degree in voice performance from the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre, and Dance, where she studied with Stephen West. During her time in Ann Arbor, she was also a featured soloist in an independent production of Einstein on the Beach, which was recognized by Philip Glass. Recipient of the 2017 Bel Canto Institute Performance Award, she has planned and performed in many recitals, her most recent with a program featuring Strauss’s Vier Letzte Lieder.
Benjamin Czarnota is a D.M. in Voice Performance student from Cleveland, Ohio, studying with Brian Horne. Having returned to Jacobs after 15 years of undergraduate voice teaching, Czarnota recently appeared as Sir Joseph Porter in H.M.S. Pinafore. Former roles with IU Jacobs School of Music Opera Theater include Mr. Webb in the world premiere of Ned Rorem’s Our Town, Guglielmo in Così fan tutte, Schaunard in La Bohème, and Njegus in The Merry Widow. Past regional opera engagements include the role of Stanley Kowalski in Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire, Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro, and Amonasro in Aida with companies such as Wichita Grand Opera, The Cleveland Opera, and Cleveland Opera Theater. During initial study at IU, Czarnota was chosen by baritone Håkan Hagegård to perform the role of Anton Chekov in Dominick Argento’s A Few Words About Chekov in a staged production of the work. He has also appeared as baritone soloist in Fauré’s Requiem, Puccini’s Messa di Gloria, Mozart’s Requiem, and Handel’s Messiah in appearances with the Traverse Symphony Orchestra and the Blue Water Chamber Orchestra. Musical theater roles include the title role in Sweeney Todd, Marcus Lycus in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Father in Children of Eden, and, most recently, Emile de Becque in South Pacific in a full production with the Akron Symphony Orchestra. Czarnota also served for two seasons as the official national anthem singer of the Cleveland Browns, performing at all home games.
A student of Carol Vaness, Skyler Schlenker was raised in the Upper Valley of New Hampshire and Vermont, next to Dartmouth College. He began studying voice in his mid-twenties after playing football in college and studying drama and psychology. Before studying voice, he was a young artist at the Brevard Music Center’s Janiec Opera Company and soon after, began playing and covering supporting and leading roles at the Aspen Music Festival and School as an opera fellow. Schlenker has performed challenging roles including Jesus in Mark Adamo’s The Gospel of Mary Magdalene, title role in Sweeney Todd, Marcello and Ford in the Jacobs Opera Theater productions of La Bohème and Falstaff, and Older Thompson in Cipullo’s Glory Denied with Opera Naples. As a resident artist with Opera Naples, he performed five roles in its season, three of which were leads in mainstage productions. This summer, he has been offered an apprenticeship with Central City Opera to cover Fred/Petruchio in Kiss Me Kate and sing the role of Paris in Romeo and Juliet.
From Kennett Square Pennsylvania, this is tenor Jeremy Do’s role debut with IU Jacobs School of Music Opera Theater. His previous operatic roles include Don Basilio in Le Nozze di Figaro (Harrower Summer Opera Workshop), Petrucci in Lucrezia Borgia (University of Delaware Opera Theatre), and Barigoule in Cendrillon (University of Delaware Opera Theatre). He was featured in his first Jacobs Opera Theater chorus last year in Don Giovanni. Do earned a bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Delaware under the tutelage of Blake Smith. He is in his first year of pursuing a Master of Music degree in the studio of Brian Horne.
Tenor Charles Vega is a second-year master’s student in voice at the Jacobs School of Music. Other IU Jacobs School of Music Opera Theater appearance include the role of Patacha in Chabrier’s L’Étoile and in the ensembles of H.M.S. Pinafore, Falstaff, The Coronation of Poppea, and Highway 1, USA. For the past two summers, Vega has performed in Germany at the Lyric Opera Studio Weimar, featured as Tamino in The Magic Flute and Basilio/Don Curzio in Le Nozze di Figaro. A native of Miami, Florida, he completed his undergraduate studies in voice performance at Florida State University with Jeffrey Springer. Vega began his studies at Jacobs with Carlos Montane and currently studies with Deanne Meek.
Anne Frank cast goes to the Holocaust Museum in Chicago
IU Jacobs School of Music premieres first mainstage opera based on diary of Anne Frank
Indiana University Jacobs School of Music Opera Theater will present the world premiere of the first full-scale production of an opera based on “The Diary of a Young Girl”—also known as “The Diary of Anne Frank”—when “Anne Frank,” by Shulamit Ran on a libretto by Charles Kondek, opens March 3, 2023, at Bloomington’s Musical Arts Center.
The Jacobs School will offer numerous educational events in conjunction with the premiere, including several public-school presentations and “Rediscovering ‘Anne Frank,’” featuring guest speakers and an artist panel on March 2, 2023.
Son of Holocaust survivors to conduct world premiere of ‘Anne Frank’ opera
This spring, Indiana University presents the world premiere of "Anne Frank," an original opera commissioned by the Jacobs School of Music. The opera was conceived, written and composed by a team of renowned Jewish creatives, including Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Shulamit Ran, librettist Charles Kondek and conductor Arthur Fagen, professor of music and chair of the Jacobs School of Music Department of Orchestral Conducting.
For Fagen, the project hit close to home. His parents lived in Krakow, Poland, when the Nazis came to power. Fagen’s mother, Rena, was a prisoner in the Auschwitz concentration camp. Fagen’s parents narrowly escaped death thanks to German industrialist Oskar Schindler, the inspiration behind the title character of Steven Spielberg’s 1994 Academy Award-winning film “Schindler’s List.”
Jacobs School of Music presents the life of Anne Frank to the Project School
On Jan. 17, students at the Project School, located in Bloomington, gathered in a classroom to watch an interactive presentation about the life of Anne Frank. The presentation — the first of a series that will be given to public schools in the community — was given by members of the Jacobs School of Music to raise awareness about the opera and life of Anne Frank.
Anne Slovin, a third-year doctoral student at IU, is playing the role of Anne Frank in one of the two casts and performed select music from the production. Slovin played the role of Anne Frank in the initial 2019 workshop before COVID-19 delayed production until May 2022, and said she felt honored to depict such a historically iconic figure.
“As a son of Holocaust survivors, part of my mission as a musician has been, whenever it was in my power, to create events that reminded us of the Holocaust,” Fagen said in an official press statement issued by the University. “It’s something that I hope to continue to do as long as I’m working. I think of all the events that I’ve been involved with, in some ways, this is the biggest one.”
Q & A: Shulamit Ran, Arthur Fagen & Anne Slovin on Bringing ‘Anne Frank’ to Life in Indiana
On March 3, Indiana University is set to present the world premiere of “Anne Frank” by an all-Jewish team comprising composer Shulamit Ran, librettist Charles Kondek, and conductor Arthur Fagen.
Fagen is a professor of music and chair of the Jacobs School of Music Department of Orchestral Conducting and the son of Holocaust survivors. His mother, Rena, was a prisoner in Auschwitz concentration camp that was saved thanks to German industrialist Oskar Schindler, and the family remained in touch with Schindler after the war. Fagen even credits Schindler with helping kick-start his career as a 21-year-old.
Ran is an Israeli-American composer who won a Pulitzer Prize for Music for her Symphony (1990); she is just the second woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for Music. She also composed the opera “Between Two Worlds (The Dybuk),” as well as several works for chamber ensemble and numerous vocal and choral pieces.
OperaWire spoke with Ran at length as well as Fagen and Anne Dora Slovin, who will perform in the opera.
IU opera performs world premiere 'Anne Frank' at Indiana University's Musical Arts Center
"Anne's insights about humanity, from her diary, show us that people, somehow, can overcome violence," Manich said.
"Anne’s story is definitely one of hope, even though her life ended tragically. Anne always talks about wanting to have a large effect on the world — she didn’t realize that she was doing exactly that as she wrote."
Audiences will feel as though they are part of the Frank family's world as they watch time move. A chorus of concentration camp prisoners remains onstage throughout.
IU to host world premiere, full-scale production of Anne Frank opera
“This [opera] is incredibly important for me. Every story of each and every person who was annihilated in the Holocaust, each one of them had a story to tell,” Ran stated. “Each one of them was special, the way that human beings are. There's a light in every person that can bring light to the world.”
In reading the diary, even years later as an adult, Ran reflects on the impact Anne’s life had.
“When I read ‘The Diary of Anne Frank,’ there was no question that this is somebody who would've made a great mark, great and lasting mark had she lived on,” Ran continued. “She did, of course, make a great lasting mark. But just imagine where she might have gone had she lived.”