“One of the greatest musical dramatists of all time.”
Depicting human emotions in realistic settings, Monteverdi is considered the father of modern opera.
And this is the first opera to derive its plot from a historical subject—the Roman emperor Nero and his mistress Poppea, who had a penchant for power. Think Lucrezia Borgia, Lady Macbeth, Claire Underwood.
Greed, lust, and murder will get you everywhere—until history catches up with you.
In Italian with English supertitles. New production in Auer Hall.
*Please note that according to specially approved protocols, principal singers and certain instrumentalists may remove their masks in order to perform.
Oct. 15, 16 Auer Hall 7:30 PM
Tickets to these performances are sold out. Please join us via the livestream.
The skies open to reveal the heavenly beings Fortune, Virtue, and Cupid. They argue with each other over whose power is greater among the earthly and heavenly realms. Cupid is declared the victor. He promises to show the power of Love in the plot that follows.
Cupid wakes his puppet, the emperor’s head guard, Ottone. He is returning to the home of his lover, Poppea. As Ottone looks for a glimpse of his love, he sees two guards. He realizes they are standing guard while the emperor, Nerone, is inside. Ottone hides while the guards ward off their weariness. As dawn breaks, Nerone bids Poppea farewell to avoid being caught in infidelity. He promises to find a way to divorce his wife, Ottavia, and raise Poppea to the throne.
Meanwhile, Ottavia sings of her despair from a despised and loveless marriage. Her cries are overheard by the philosopher Seneca and the accompanying Page. Seneca tries to console her with his philosophy of stoic acceptance in fortitude, but such acquiescence is not the solution Ottavia seeks.
Now alone, Seneca ruminates on the nature of kings and the power that corrupts them. Nerone interrupts his soliloquy by announcing his plan to remove Ottavia from her position. Seneca cautions the emperor to exercise reason and careful consideration. Nerone is not to be convinced, however, and their argument drives him into a fit of rage.
After driving out the pompous philosopher, Nerone is left alone with Poppea. In the course of her sensual charms, he promises her again to raise her up as empress. She speaks slander against Seneca, causing Nerone to call a messenger to order Seneca’s death that very day.
Ottone, who was listening unnoticed, confronts Poppea. His attempts to dominate her are met with unflinching resilience. Poppea tells him in no uncertain terms that she will marry Nerone. In his devastation, Ottone retreats to his former love, Drusilla, who wants him to turn his affections back to her. He agrees to give himself over but still feels his heart yearn for Poppea.
Seneca reflects on the peaceful happiness of solitude. His thoughts are interrupted by the arrival of Nerone’s messenger. Seneca receives the news of his ordered death calmly and assures himself that his fate is to join the righteous gods in heaven. His friends and followers beg him not to die, but he bids them farewell.
Meanwhile, a plot begins to unfold. The empress Ottavia confronts Ottone with the demand that he kill Poppea. She orders him to put on women’s clothing so as to infiltrate Poppea’s inner circle. Ottone, fearful for his life and dreading the task, reluctantly agrees. He tells Drusilla of the harrowing task he must face and promises her his heart’s affection. She agrees to offer her clothes and bids him leave with caution.
In her garden, Poppea rejoices in the death of Seneca and the now clear path for her ascension. She feels sleep encroaching and bids her attendants leave. As she rests, Ottone slips into the garden disguised in Drusilla’s clothing. He raises the knife to stab her, but Cupid suddenly appears to freeze his hand. Poppea awakes, guards rush in as Ottone flees, and Cupid celebrates his grand victory.
Drusilla eagerly awaits news of Poppea’s death. She is suddenly confronted by Nerone’s guards, who seize her for murder. Nerone furiously questions her motive to commit betrayal. Eventually, Drusilla decides to confess in order to protect Ottone from the emperor’s wrath. As she is about to be taken away, Ottone reveals himself and confesses the crime he committed by order of the empress. Nerone, seeing that his plan is working out favorably, agrees to spare Ottone’s life but banishes him and Ottavia from Rome. He offers clemency and praise to Drusilla for her noble defense, but she chooses to be exiled with her love.
The deposed Ottavia grieves bitterly as she departs her homeland forever. Meanwhile, Poppea’s nursemaid, Arnalta, celebrates her impending elevation of status.
With no more barriers to overcome, Nerone declares the ascension of Poppea to the consuls and tribunes. This chorus of the people and the senate confirms the coronation of Poppea to all of Rome and the world. As they depart with their respects paid, Nerone and Poppea sing a final duet of Love.
by Candace Evans
Monteverdi, an innovator in the world of opera, was in his later years when he wrote The Coronation of Poppea in 1643. Having witnessed years of plague and challenge, he wove a story of life, death, passion, and history, all spun through a web of royal power and intrigue. Life circumstances intertwine and change with each note of the harpsichord.
In considering my approach to this production, I reflected on the many times that I have directed in Italy. It is a country of ancient cathedrals, resplendent with frescoes and marble statuary, adjacent to piazzas filled with espresso bars, where the designer-clad sip their breakfast, and trendy teens zip by on Vespas. It is a world merged into perfect layers of humanity, where classic truths endure, and history lives visibly on, regardless of each modern innovation.
This is the world that we invite you into tonight. Let the ancient Gods and Goddesses of Love, Virtue, and Fate show you a story that is as new as it is old. Welcome to 1643 in 2021.
Pianist Kevin Murphy is professor of music in collaborative piano and director of coaching and music administration for IU Jacobs School of Music Opera Theater. A leading figure in the world of classical vocal music, he has served as Jacobs faculty since 2011. He recently joined Professor Anne Epperson at the Jacobs School in creating a new collaborative piano program. In 2011, he was appointed director of the program for singers at Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute, and 2013-14 marked his first season as artistic consultant for the Tucson Desert Song Festival. Previously, he was director of music administration and casting advisor at New York City Opera (2008-12) and director of musical studies at the Opéra National de Paris (2006-08). Murphy was the first pianist and vocal coach invited by Maestro James Levine to join the prestigious Lindemann Young Artist Program at the Metropolitan Opera, and from 1993 to 2006, Murphy was an assistant conductor at the Met. In addition to his on- and off-stage partnership with his wife, soprano Heidi Grant Murphy, Murphy has collaborated in concert and recital with numerous world-renowned artists. He is sought after and respected for his work as a private vocal coach and teacher and has guest taught at San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program, the International Vocal Arts Institute in Israel and Italy, Glimmerglass Opera, Tanglewood, Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, and The Juilliard School. In addition to playing and teaching, Murphy has added conducting to his musical activities and is a frequent adjudicator for competitions, including the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, where he has also served as official accompanist on stage at the Met. A native of Syracuse, New York, Murphy earned a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance degree from Indiana University and a Master of Music in Piano Accompanying degree from the Curtis Institute of Music. He resides in Bloomington, Indiana, with his wife, Heidi, and their four children.
Pianist Tatiana Lokhina was born into a musical family in Moscow, Russia, where she earned degrees in piano performance from the Ippolitov-Ivanov Music Institute and in German pedagogy from the Moscow State Linguistic University. Lokhina is a winner of numerous Russian and international prizes. She has performed at the Moscow Conservatory, Paul Dukas Conservatory in Paris, and Musikhochschule Hamburg, and has appeared in concerts in Italy, Austria, Germany, and the U.S. She earned her master’s degree in collaborative piano from Lynn University and is ABD with her D.M. in collaborative piano at the IU Jacobs School of Music. Her principal teachers include Lisa Leonard, Anne Epperson, and Kevin Murphy. Lokhina has worked with Joshua Bell, Lynn Harrell, Martin Katz, Elmar Oliveira, Mauricio Fuks, Carol Vaness, and many others. She recorded the unpublished works for violin and piano by Beethoven for NAXOS, made an album of songs by women composers with soprano Chloe Boelter, and was featured as the harpsichordist in the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra DeHaan Virtual Baroque series. Lokhina has appeared at Summer Opera Tel Aviv, SongFest, Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar, and the International Society of Bassists convention. She is involved in an ongoing performance project of the complete violin sonatas of Johannes Brahms with violinist Grigory Kalinovsky.
Candace Evans is pleased to return to IU Jacobs School of Music Opera Theater, where her new production of Florencia en el Amazonas went on to San Diego Opera to be acclaimed as “best illustrating the composer’s intent.” Akhnaten, which she also directed at IU Jacobs Opera, was honored to be named “definitive” by the Philip Glass organization. At the legendary Teatro Colón, her La Viuda Alegre was named in the top three operas of the entire Argentinian season. Internationally praised for “a flawless sense of timing” (Opera News), whose work is “genuine gripping drama” (Opera Now), Evans is known for the kind of incisive storytelling she created when she wrote the libretto for Wisdom of Stone, which she also directed, for OperaVision Europe during the pandemic. Her own performance career included international acting tours, dancing with the Wisconsin Ballet Company, singing with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and national voice-over credits. This combination of talent illustrates why her directorial style includes the integration of musical intent, dramatic truth, and the physical life of performers. Committed to working with young artists at least once annually, she has collaborated with Yale, Carnegie Mellon, Taos Opera Institute, Oberlin, Seagle Festival, La Musica Lirica, and Shenandoah University. Past professional engagements include Dallas Opera, Santa Fe, Arizona, North Carolina, Palm Beach, Madison, and Fort Worth, as well as international tours with the Montefeltro Festival.
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.
Dana Tzvetkov designs and constructs costumes for opera, ballet, and theater. Her work has recently been featured in Central City Opera’s Tosca (2016) and Carmen (2017), and the National Opera Association’s Hagar (2016). Her designs have appeared on Indiana University’s Musical Arts Center stage in Saudade, Carmen, Peter Grimes, Le Nozze di Figaro, and La Bohème. She has designed rentals for Ball State Opera Theater, Mississippi Opera, DePauw University, and Butler University. Tzvetkov worked alongside Linda Pisano for Opera San Antonio to build costumes for a cast including Patricia Racette and Michelle DeYoung. She has been commissioned to create concert gowns for DeYoung and Sylvia McNair. Tzvetkov served as the costume shop supervisor for IU Jacobs School of Music Opera and Ballet Theater from 2013 until recently, when she was promoted to shop manager. She returned to Central City Opera in summer 2018 to coordinate its production of Il Trovatore.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Elise Miller was most recently seen this past summer at the Vienna Summer Music Festival in St. Petersburg, Florida, performing Virginia Woolf in a staged premiere of The Loathly Lady and participating in an improvisational opera version of Carnival of the Animals. Other performance credits include Beth March in Little Women (IU Jacobs School of Music Opera Theater), La Ciesca in Gianni Schicchi (Music On Site, Inc.), Silly Girl and Enchanted Object in Beauty and the Beast (Woodlawn Theatre), Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro, and Kate Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly(Mediterranean Opera Festival). Miller also premiered the role of Jean in a contemporary opera called The War Bride by composer Nathan Felix at Luminaria: San Antonio Arts Festival in 2018. She was a resident artist with OPERA San Antonio from 2016 to 2020, regularly sang for its educational outreach program, and performed in the choruses of Tosca, Faust, La Traviata, and Carmen.
Savanna Webber started her M.M. in Voice Performance studies in fall 2019 under the tutelage of Heidi Grant Murphy. A native of Stuart, Florida, Webber has performed on the Musical Arts Center stage as Suor Genovieffa in Puccini’s Suor Angelica (2020), Giannetta in Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love (2019), Echo in Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos (2018), and in several opera choruses, including Parsifal (2019), Dialogue of the Carmelites (2019), West Side Story (2018), It’s a Wonderful Life (2017), The Music Man (2017), and Madama Butterfly (2016). She earned her B.M. in Voice Performance from Jacobs in 2019 under Brian Horne.
Mezzo-soprano Deepa Johnny is originally from Muscat, Oman. She is a second-year master’s student in the voice performance program at the IU Jacobs School of Music, currently studying with Carlos Montané. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music at Burman University in Alberta, Canada, under the tutelage of Wendolin Pazitka Munroe. Most recently, Johnny was a winner in the Western Canada District of the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions. In the 2020-21 season, she sang the role of Rosina in the IU Jacobs School of Music Opera Theater production of The Barber of Seville, Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi, and Xerxes in Xerxes. She currently serves as an associate instructor of voice at the Jacobs School.
Born and raised in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, soprano Chase Sanders is pursuing a Master of Music in Voice Performance under the instruction of Heidi Grant Murphy. Chase was most recently seen in the IU Jacobs School of Music Opera Theater production of The Turn of the Screw (Governess). She earned her Bachelor of Music degree at West Chester University (WCU), where she performed the role of Mother in WCU Opera Theatre and Uptown Theatre Alliance’s production of Amahl and the Night Visitors. She also performed the role of Mrs. Jenks/Splinters in WCU’s production of The Tender Land. Other appearances include the role of Brigitta (cover) in the Russian Opera Workshop’s production of Iolanta and soloist in the WCU Symphony Orchestra’s Concerto Competition Winner’s Concert.
Tenor Nathan Krishnaswami is a Massachusetts native at the IU Jacobs School of Music in his final year of the Master of Music in Voice Performance program, studying with Jane Dutton. With IU Jacobs School of Music Opera Theater, he has performed as King Ouf in L’Étoile and Snowboy in West Side Story. Most recently, he appeared as a chorus member in the IU Jacobs Opera productions of Parsifal,Bernstein’s Mass, The Music Man, and Florencia en el Amazonas. He has also sung Krzysztof Penderecki’s oratorio St. Luke Passion at Jacobs, and he was the tenor soloist in Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass conducted by Betsy Burleigh.
A native of Brooklyn, New York, tenor Tislam Swift has performed on a wide array of concert stages as well as in theaters and opera houses. He discovered his love for opera while he was a member of the 2013-14 season of the Atlanta Opera Chorus under the direction of Walter Huff. In 2014, Swift participated in the Princeton Opera Festival production of Porgy and Bess. He has made IU Jacobs School of Music Opera Theater appearances in La Bohème, South Pacific, The Barber of Seville, Carmen, Parsifal, as Dr. Blind in Die Fledermaus, as Marcellus Washburn in The Music Man, as Scaramuccio in Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos, and, most recently, as a Street Singer in Bernstein’s Mass. As a young artist, Swift has spent a summer at the Utah Festival Opera Musical Theater performing in productions of Ragtime, Porgy and Bess, and Peter Pan. He has been a World-Premiere Artist with the Negro Spiritual Scholarship Foundation. Passionate about bringing music to the community, he was recently a featured artist in the City of Bloomington’s People’s Park Concert Series, highlighting art songs and spirituals by Black composers. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music degree from Morehouse College and a Master of Music from the IU Jacobs School of Music, where he is a doctoral student under the tutelage of Russell Thomas. Swift is an associate instructor for the IU African American Choral Ensemble under the direction of Raymond Wise.
Baritone Andrew Durham, from Paducah, Kentucky, is a second-year master’s student at the IU Jacobs School of Music under the tutelage of Timothy Noble. In the 2020-21 season, Durham made his IU Jacobs School of Music Opera Theater debut as John Brook in Little Women. He earned a bachelor’s degree in vocal performance at the University of Louisville (UofL), studying with Chad Sloan. At UofL, Durham performed as Brack Weaver in Down in the Valley and Aeneas in Dido and Aeneas. In addition, he appeared as a soloist in the Bach Magnificat with the UofL Sinfonietta at the National Theater of Costa Rica and performed with the UofL Symphony Orchestra as winner of the 2019 Aria Competition. He participated as a studio artist at the SongFest summer program of 2018 and appeared as Antonio in Le Nozze di Figaro at the Cincinnati Conservatory Opera Bootcamp while performing in its concert of Mozart scenes and arias.
Alexander Kapp, originally from Louisville, Kentucky, is pursuing a Doctor of Music degree at the Jacobs School of Music, studying under Timothy Noble. Kapp earned a Master of Music degree from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) under the instruction of Thomas Baresel. While at CCM, Kapp appeared as Masetto and Zurga in its fall and spring scene galas and as Ford in the workshop production of Verdi’s Falstaff. He was recently a vocal institute fellow with the Music Academy of the West, where he performed in its scenes concert as well as the role of Thomas in its west-coast premiere production of Jennifer Higdon’s Cold Mountain. Other roles include Dottore Malatesta from Donizetti’s Don Pasquale with CCM’s Summer Opera Program and Top in Copland’s The Tender Land with the University of Louisville Opera Theater. He was a finalist in the 2020 Opera Grand Rapids Vocal Competition and an Encouragement Award winner in the 2020 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Middle/East Tennessee District.
Anna Donnelly is a soprano from Cincinnati, Ohio. She made her IU Jacobs School of Music Opera Theater debut in 2018 as Sister Constance in Dialogues of the Carmelites. She has also appeared in several IU Jacobs Opera choruses, including La Bohème, Parsifal, The Three Hermits, and The Elixir of Love. Other credits include Zweiter Knabe in The Magic Flute with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and the titular role in Patience with the University Gilbert & Sullivan Society. With Bloomington Chamber Opera, she has performed in Liebestrennung: Love’s Separation, The Magic Flute, and most recently as Giannetta in The Elixir of Love. At the Jacobs School, she has been a member of the University Singers and has also performed as a featured soloist with NOTUS Contemporary Vocal Ensemble. Donnelly was the first-prize winner in the undergraduate voice division of the Indianapolis Matinee Musicale Scholarship Competition in February 2019. She is pursuing a Master of Music degree at Jacobs under the tutelage of Heidi Grant Murphy.
Coloratura soprano Elizabeth Queen is known for her dynamic singing and her commanding stage presence. In her appearance as Königin der Nacht in Prague Summer Nights Festival’s production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute, OperaWire’s review praised her “tremendous presence” on stage, describing her coloratura singing as “sharp as the dagger she forced into Pamina’s hands.” In addition to multiple performances as Königin der Nacht, she has held the roles of Le Feu (L’enfant et les sortilèges), Frasquita (Carmen), and Gianetta (The Elixir of Love) with Berlin Opera Academy, Hawaii Performing Arts Festival, and Numi Opera Theatre, respectively. She was the winner of the California Women’s Chorus’s Vocal Competition in 2017 and is a recipient of the Emerging Artist Award from the Long Beach Camerata Singers. A student of Carol Vaness, Queen is pursuing a Master of Music in Voice Performance at the IU Jacobs School of Music.
Gabriel Hernandez is an operatic bass from Harlingen, Texas. Having spent most of his life studying piano, he decided to pursue a degree in piano performance at Texas Tech University. After taking voice lessons for two years there under the tutelage of Gerald Dolter, he decided to change majors to vocal performance. Since then, Hernandez has performed in the chorus of The Mikado, Dido and Aeneas, and Orfeo ed Euridice. He has also performed the roles of Betto in Gianni Schicchi, Sarastro in The Magic Flute, Commendatore in Don Giovanni, Frank Maurrant in Street Scene, and, most recently, Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte.
Bass-baritone Marcus Peterson, from West Bloomfield, Michigan, is pursuing master’s degrees in voice and choral conducting at the IU Jacobs School of Music, currently studying with Timothy Noble. Peterson earned a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance with a Teaching Certification from the University of Michigan. He is director of music at First Christian Church in Martinsville, Indiana, and has performed throughout the United States, Europe, Canada, and South Africa in various choirs, operas, and musical theater productions. His recent roles include Bartolo in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, Pirate King in Gilbert and Sullivan’s ThePirates of Penzance, Balthazar in Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors, and Alidoro in Rossini’s La Cenerentola.
Soprano Elleka Okerstrom-Drew is a first-year doctoral student who has recently moved to Bloomington after spending the last two years performing and teaching in the Kansas City area. She has performed with the chorus of the Lyric Opera of Kansas City in its productions of Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor and in Moravec’s The Shining. Recent roles include Papagena in Mozart’s The Magic Flute and Morgana in Handel’s Alcina. She earned a Master of Music in Voice Performance degree from the IU Jacobs School of Music, where she performed in several productions, including Peter Grimes, Florencia en el Amazonas, Oklahoma!, and Dead Man Walking. In addition to operatic performances, she has sung with several professional choral ensembles, including the Dallas Chamber Choir and the Highland Park Chorale.
Frances van Vuuren, soprano, is a native of Cape Town, South Africa, pursuing a Master of Music in Voice Performance degree under the tutelage of Alice Hopper. In fall 2018, van Vuuren made her IU Jacobs School of Music Opera Theater debut performing the role of Sandman in Hansel and Gretel and has been in the Jacobs productions of L’Étoile, Le Nozze di Figaro, and La Traviata. In summer 2019, she performed the role of Bianca in La Rondine and partial roles in Falstaff and Der Schauspieldirektor with Chicago Summer Opera. Last spring, she premiered the role Ona Lukoszaite-Rudis in John William Griffith’s operatic adaptation of Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle. She was recently seen as the First Spirit in Bloomington Chamber Opera’s production of The Magic Flute, and she participated in Utah Vocal Arts Academy’s summer season, where she covered Eurydice in Orpheus in the Underworld and performed scenes from ThePirates of Penzance and The Elixir of Love.
Noted for clarity and warmness of voice, soprano Jimin Jeong is a second-semester master’s student studying with Carol Vaness at the IU Jacobs School of Music. Jeong earned a B.M. cum laude from Seoul National University. She is an honors graduate from the music oriented Sunhwa Arts middle and high schools. In 2019, she sang in a blessing concert, and in 2018, she won the grand prize at the City Philharmonic Orchestra Competition. From 2013 to 2014, Jeong won first prize at the nineteenth Classical Music magazine and the twenty-sixth Korean Voice competitions.
Claire Ryterski is a 24-year-old graduate student at the IU Jacobs School of Music studying voice performance in the studio of Patricia Stiles. This is her debut operatic role at Jacobs. She was most recently seen in the opera chorus for Little Women (October 2020), presenting a master’s recital in April 2021, and performing several opera scenes with the studios of Patricia Stiles and Brian Horne in June 2021.
Mezzo-soprano Ashlyn Brown is pursuing a Performer Diploma in Voice Performance in the studio of Carol Vaness. Born in Palm Springs, California, she has had roles with IU Jacobs School of Music Opera Theater as Amastre in Xerxes, Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro, Hansel in Hansel and Gretel, Berta in The Barber of Seville, and Aloès in L’Étoile. She has also appeared in six IU Jacobs Opera choruses, most recently in La Traviata. She has performed as Third Lady in the Chicago Summer Opera’s production of The Magic Flute and as Mad Margaret in the University Gilbert and Sullivan Society’s Ruddigore. This year, she was a finalist in the Pasadena Vocal Competition and the first-prize winner in the National Society of Arts and Letters Voice Competition (Bloomington Chapter). In 2020, she received the Bonnie Bell Encouragement award from the James Toland Vocal Arts Competition. In 2019, she was recognized with an Encouragement Award from the Illinois District in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Competition. Oratorio performances include alto soloist in the Carmel Symphony’s Mozart Requiem at the Palladium in Carmel, Indiana. In spring 2021, Brown recorded the role of Marija Berczynskas in The Jungle, a new opera based on the book by Upton Sinclair, with the New Voices Opera, which will make its film debut in fall 2021.
Mezzo-soprano Shir Ordo, born and raised in Israel, is in her second year at the IU Jacobs School of Music working toward a Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance under the tutelage of Heidi Grant Murphy. Ordo was last seen as Arsamene in the IU Jacobs School of Music Opera Theater production of Xerxes. Prior to Jacobs, she 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, and a duet with countertenor Andreas Scholl. She was a finalist in the Ben Haim Competition, an Israeli competition for outstanding young 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, she released an original pop album in Israel. As a violinist, Ordo 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. In her first year at Jacobs, she sang in the opera choruses for IU Jacobs School of Music Opera Theater’s Little Women and La Bohème.
Soprano Raelee Gold is a third-year doctoral student studying with Brian Horne. Last fall, she made her IU Jacobs School of Music Opera Theater debut singing the role of Amy in Little Women. She was the recipient of the Wilfred C. Bain Scholarship in Opera for the 2020-21 academic year. A native of Dallas, Texas, Gold earned a master’s degree with dual emphasis in voice performance and pedagogy from Westminster Choir College, where she appeared in L’enfant et les sortilèges(La Princesse and Le Feu) andThe Bartered Bride (Ludmila). While at Westminster, she also appeared with CoOPERAtive Opera in La Traviata (Annina). She earned a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance degree from Texas Tech University, where she appeared as Suor Genovieffa in Puccini’s Suor Angelica and Damigella, Virtú, and Pallade in Monteverdi’s The Coronation of Poppea. In concert, she has sung the soprano solos in Handel’s Messiah, Faure’s Requiem, Poulenc’s Gloria, Mozart’s Requiem, and Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass. She was a soloist with Tri-Cities Opera’s interdisciplinary recital project Installation | Music in 2018 and was featured in Westminster Choir College’s Art Song Festival in 2016 and 2017.
Soprano Beatrice Kim is the recipient of the Marilyn Horne Performance award. Kim has won top prizes at numerous competitions, including the Music Teachers National Association Young Artist state division competition, Naftzger Young Artist Audition, National Association of Teachers of Singing Oklahoma District competition, and Texoma District competition. She was featured as the winner of the University of Oklahoma (OU) Concerto Competition and performed with the OU Symphony Orchestra. In addition, she has received numerous scholarship awards, including the OU Opera Guild Undergraduate Scholarship Award, Laurelwood Endowed Scholarship Award, and the Mary L. Finley Memorial Vocal Scholarship. She has sung such roles as Susanna in the Eastman School of Music’s production of scenes from Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro (2021), Laura in Polly Pen’s Goblin Market(2020), L’Enfant in OU’s production of Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges (2018), Hansel in Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel (2017), La Conversa and La Cercatrice in Puccini’s Suor Angelica, and Ella in Cimarron Opera’s production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Patience (2016). Kim’s upcoming international itinerary includes the role of Susanna in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro at the Prague Summer Nights Young Artists Music Festival in Prague in 2022. She is currently working toward her Performer Diploma in Voice Performance at the IU Jacobs School of Music under the tutelage of Carol Vaness. Before coming to Jacobs, Kim studied with Robert Swensen at Eastman (M.M. in Vocal Performance and Literature) and Kim Josephson at the University of Oklahoma (B.M. in Vocal Performance).
Tenor Benjamin Bird is originally from Palmdale, California. A doctoral student studying with Peter Volpe, Bird earned a master’s degree in voice from Brigham Young University, where he appeared in The Barber of Seville (Almaviva), Manon(des Grieux), The Elixir of Love (Nemorino), Die Fledermaus (Alfred), and ThePirates of Penzance (Frederick). He has also performed with Utah Vocal Arts Academy in its productions of Don Giovanni (Don Ottavio) and Le Nozze di Figaro (Don Basilio/Don Curzio). He was a featured soloist with Brevitas Choir on its 2016 album, Nowell Sing We. In summer 2019, Bird sang one of the title roles in The Three Hermits with the IU Summer Chorus. He has previously appeared in IU Jacobs School of Music Opera Theater productions of Ariadne auf Naxos (Tanzmeister/Brighella), Dialogues of the Carmelites (L’Aumonier), Giulio Cesare(Nireno), and Le Nozze di Figaro (Don Basilio).
Tenor Zhihui Pang is a first-year master’s student of voice at the IU Jacobs School of Music studying with Carlos Montané. Born in China, Pang studied journalism and communication at Renmin University of China for his undergraduate program. This past September, he sang in the chorus of IU Jacobs School of Music’s The Magic Flute. This is his debut as a principal singer.
David Le is a baritone who graduated from Boise State University in 2020 with a B.A. in Music. He sings in Critical Mass Vocal Artists and at First Presbyterian Church and St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church as a choral scholar. Le also is a member of the Opera Idaho resident company, having sung in productions such as Tosca, The Great American Songbook operatini, art song recitals, Don Giovanni, Aida, and Manon. When he is not singing opera, he croons with his jazz quartet as well as various groups around Boise. Le is pursuing a master’s degree in voice performance at the IU Jacobs School of Music studying with Timothy Noble.
Tenor Elijah Bowen is a fourth-year undergraduate student at the IU Jacobs School of Music studying with Brian Horne. Bowen has also studied with Steven Rickards. A native of Logansport, Indiana, Bowen is pursuing a double major in vocal performance and choral music education. Two years ago, he debuted with IU Jacobs School of Music Opera Theater as Don Curzio in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro. He has also played Luiz in the University Gilbert & Sullivan Society’s production of The Gondoliers and Corebo in Cavalli’s La Didone with the Haymarket Opera Company of Chicago. A first-place winner in the Indiana National Association of Teachers of Singing competition, Bowen has been featured with the IU Contemporary Vocal Ensemble: NOTUS (winner of The American Prize in Choral Performance) and the Grammy-nominated Singing Hoosiers. Along with his frequent recital and small ensemble work, he currently sings tenor for the Choir of Men and Choristers at historic Christ Church Cathedral in Indianapolis.
Jonathan Elmore is a tenor and collaborative pianist based in Bloomington, Indiana. He has performed the roles of Tamino (The Magic Flute) and Ferrando (Così fan tutte). Partial roles include Pelléas (Pelléas et Mélisande), Rodolfo (La Bohème), Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni), and Roméo (Roméo et Juliette). Elmore graduated from Virginia Tech in 2020 and is currently pursuing an M.M. in Voice Performance at the IU Jacobs School of Music, where he is a student of Heidi Grant Murphy and Kevin Murphy.