“Musically and dramatically, just about the perfect opera.”
FRANCESCA ZAMBELLO, artistic director,
Washington National Opera
Before "Pretty Woman" there was "The Fallen Woman"
Power in our society means money and freedom, and as a high-class escort, Violetta (“The Fallen Woman”) has plenty of both. She lives for sheer pleasure and decadence—never getting too close. Until Alfredo. Now she must choose.
But she knows that if she embraces love, she will have to pay for it. She also knows that she is a ticking time bomb—tuberculosis sharpening its scythe.
Her agonizing conflict is breathtakingly expressed in one of the most famous, and virtuosic, arias of all time, Sempre Libera: “Love is the heartbeat of the whole universe,” and “I must always be free.”
In Italian with English supertitles.
February 28, 2020
Musical Arts Center 7:30 PM
February 29, 2020
Musical Arts Center 7:30 PM
March 6, 2020
Musical Arts Center 7:30 PM
March 7, 2020
Musical Arts Center 7:30 PM
Violetta Valéry, the renowned courtesan, is suffering from the final stages of consumption. As she languishes in a sanatorium, she relives moments from her brief, tumultuous life.
When Alfredo Germont arrives at a party at her home, she is surprised by his devotion and concern. Alfredo leads a toast to love; Violetta responds with a toast to pleasure. Feeling faint, she excuses herself to rest. Alfredo follows, begging her to allow him to love and care for her. She tells him she is not interested in commitment but invites him to return the next day. Alone, she wonders if she is capable of real love but dismisses the idea as nonsense.
Three months later, Violetta and Alfredo are living together outside Paris. After learning that she plans to sell her belongings to maintain their country retreat, Alfredo goes to Paris to pay their debts. While he is away, Giorgio Germont visits and begs Violetta to leave Alfredo, his son, arguing that her association with the family will ruin his daughter’s prospects. Violetta, moved and heartbroken, writes to Alfredo and tells him she no longer loves him. When Alfredo receives the letter, he is devastated; his father’s attempts to console him are unsuccessful.
Violetta attends a party with her new protector, Baron Douphol. Violetta pulls Alfredo aside and begs him to leave; he refuses and threatens to duel with the Baron. To avoid breaking her promise to the elder Germont, Violetta insists that she loves the Baron. Furious and hurt, Alfredo calls the guests together and publicly insults Violetta.
Violetta, returning to the present, rereads a letter from Giorgio Germont. According to the letter, Alfredo went abroad after dueling with the Baron; his father wrote to him to explain Violetta’s sacrifice.
Alfredo arrives, asking forgiveness and pledging eternal love. Violetta expresses hope for their future together, but she is very weak. Alfredo sends Annina for the Doctor. He arrives with Giorgio Germont, who reproaches himself for his earlier behavior toward Violetta. He asks forgiveness and pledges to accept her as a daughter, but he is too late.
by Kelley Rourke
Librettist, translator, and resident dramaturg for
The Glimmerglass Festival and Washington National Opera
“Too Great a Heart”
I am neither rich enough to love you nor poor enough to be loved as you would like. So let us both forget—you, a name which must mean hardly anything to you—me a happiness which has become impossible to bear. There is no point in telling you how sad I am—for you already know how much I love you. So farewell—you have too great a heart not to understand the reason for my letter and too good a nature not to forgive me for it.
So wrote Alexandre Dumas fils to Marie Duplessis, the young woman who had climbed out of a childhood clouded by violence, poverty, and drunkenness to become one of the most celebrated Parisian courtesans of her day, renowned not only for her beauty but for her grace and wit. Composer Franz Liszt is said to have been among the many lovers she took in her short life.
In 1848, Dumas created a sensation with La Dame aux Camélias, inspired by his brief affair with Duplessis. In the novel, Dumas tells the story of a woman whose beauty is matched only by her nobility and generosity—a woman beyond reproach, but for her reliance on lovemaking as a livelihood.
Duplessis died of tuberculosis at the tender age of 23, which possibly served to enhance her legendary status. “Consumption seemed to capture the popular notion of Romanticism,” writes Richard Barnett in The Sick Rose. “An excess of passion, burning away inside the body, purified the creative soul with suffering.” The disease has been blamed for the deaths of John Keats, Anton Chekhov, Henry David Thoreau, Frédéric Chopin, and the Bronté sisters, among many other artists. Barrett observes that, compared with more fast-acting diseases, consumption could set the stage for a “good death,” in which patients experienced a gradual decline that allowed ample time to settle their affairs. And certain physical symptoms—pale skin, glittering eyes, and emaciated figure—were even seen as fashionable.
Giuseppe Verdi chose La Dame aux Camélias as the subject for his next opera in late 1852, while he was still at work on Il Trovatore. The new opera’s subject was a drastic departure from not only that of his work in progress, but from everything that had come before. Like his contemporaries, Verdi tended to rely on historical and fantastical plots and characters.
Working with librettist Francesco Maria Piave, Verdi completed La Traviata in record time. Dumas had also adapted his story for the stage, and Verdi and Piave used the play as a starting point for their intimate drama, which met with trouble from the start. In the eyes of the censors, the sympathetic portrayal of a courtesan was made even more scandalous by its contemporaniety. In addition to demanding alterations to the libretto and a completely new title (Amore e Morte, or Love and Death), the authorities insisted the action be moved to the 1700s for the premiere.
The first performance satisfied no one. Verdi called it a fiasco, placing much of the blame on the casting. Despite the backdating, critics found the material shocking and inappropriate. Verdi revised the score for a revival, with a new cast, at Teatro di San Benedetto, where the opera met with success. La Traviata went on to become one of the most beloved operas in the repertory. In less than a decade, it circled the globe, with performances in Madrid, Vienna, Malta, Barcelona, Lisbon, Rio de Janiero, London, Buenos Aires, Warsaw, Moscow, Dublin, Mexico, New York, Paris, Santiago, Montevideo, Hamburg, Budapest, Bucharest, Graz, Zagreb, Corsica, Amsterdam, Melbourne, Berlin, Brussels, Milwaukee, Prague, and Zurich.
Dumas admitted that his Marguerite Gauthier was a somewhat idealized version of Marie Duplessis, and Verdi’s Violetta Valéry is a more noble creation still. “For Verdi, melody was a symptom of affection,” writes Peter Conrad in Verdi and/or Wagner, “And his operas exhibit all the varieties of love, sacred as well as profane, parental as well as connubial.” La Traviata is no exception—we feel the elder Germont’s genuine love as he begs Violetta to lift the cloud of scandal from his family. And we see Violetta’s own affections shift and deepen; not long after she accepts Alfredo’s love, her great heart bows to the pressures of a society that will never accept her, releasing Alfredo and his family to live a “happy life” within convention’s bounds.
– Used by permission
by Kirby Haugland
Ph.D. Musicology Candidate
Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata is perhaps the most popular opera of all time. In the last 15 years alone, it has been performed nearly 700 times—more than any other opera—and more than 50 recordings of the work have appeared since the first one, in 1912. It was already a repertoire staple by the late 1850s, and it has been a vehicle for sopranos from Adelina Patti to Diana Damrau. The story of Violetta and Alfredo’s tragic love never fails to move audiences. It may come as a surprise, therefore, to know how much Verdi struggled with La Traviata’s creation. A compressed composition timeline and a weak cast led to a terrible premiere, and it wasn’t until more than a year later that Traviata finally achieved lasting success.
La Traviata originated with a commission from Venice’s Teatro La Fenice in early 1852. Verdi argued with the theater owners for months over the cast, which eventually included Fanny Salvini-Donatelli as Violetta, Lodovico Graziani as Alfredo, and Felice Varesi as Germont. Although Varesi was an old friend (and his original Rigoletto and Macbeth), Verdi wasn’t pleased with any of the choices, and he struggled to find a subject by the theater’s deadlines. He finally decided upon Alexandre Dumas the younger’s novel La Dame aux Camélias, inspired by Parisian courtesan Marie Duplessis. Verdi and poet Francesco Maria Piave drafted the libretto in only five days, originally titled Love and Death (Amore e morte). In a letter, he praised the story as “a subject of the times. Others would not have done it because of the conventions, the epoch, and for a thousand other stupid scruples.” Yet he worried about the cast and struggled to write. Unlike composers of a generation before, Verdi usually spent months crafting each opera, but he had produced nothing by January 1853, barely two months before the premiere. Neither libretto nor music was finished when rehearsals started in February. To make matters worse, the theater set the story circa 1700, destroying the immediacy that had drawn Verdi to the story. La Fenice’s season had already been rocky, and he was terrified that Traviata would be an utter failure.
Things started off well when La Traviata opened on March 6, 1853. The audience clapped so loudly for the prelude that Verdi had to come out and bow. Salvini-Donatelli sang wonderfully, although she looked nothing like the consumptive Violetta Verdi had pictured. Graziani sang poorly, however, while Varesi considered his part below him and made little effort. Acts II and III, where much of the drama falls to Alfredo and Germont, went so badly that the audience laughed. Verdi was furious, writing to his publisher and his friends about the “immense fiasco.” Although the production lasted nine nights and gradually won over Venetian audiences, to Verdi it was a failure. He vowed, however, that this would not be the “last word.”
A year later, following revisions to the score and with an entirely new cast, La Traviata came to the stage again. This new production, at Venice’s Teatro San Benedetto, was an enormous success. Piave described new prima donna Maria Spezia as “made for this opera,” not only for her voice, but for her entire performance, which made her into the “incarnation” of Violetta. The opera became an immediate and permanent part of the operatic canon and a favorite for star sopranos. In the next two years, it was performed more than 200 times in Europe, the Americas, and the Middle East. When Verdi’s friend Emanuele Muzio visited London in the 1860s, the opera could be heard at three different theaters on the same night.
While Dumas’s story and Piave’s libretto have certainly contributed to the opera’s success, Verdi’s music is what draws audiences into Violetta and Alfredo’s star-crossed love. Even before the opera begins, the prelude tells the story in reverse. High, ethereal strings foreshadow Violetta’s tragic fate before blossoming into the romantic theme to which she sings “Love me, Alfredo, as much as I love you” in Act II. This theme repeats with playful decorations evoking Act I’s flirtatious courtesan before the prelude concludes.
During the rest of the opera, Violetta’s voice follows similar changes in style from act to act, tracing her decline. Her Act I music is filled with rapid, playful, florid lines emblematic of the “paths of pleasure” she swears she follows. In Act II, this ostentation disappears. She instead moves through careful gradations of emotion as Germont’s arrival takes her from noble pride (“I am a lady, sir, and in my own house”) to breathless fear (“Don’t you know the love, lively and immense, that burns in my heart?”) and, eventually, to despairing resignation (“I’ll die . . . I’ll die . . . ”). When we hear “Love me, Alfredo, as much as I love you,” our hearts break, just as they are supposed to. The angelic strings of the prelude return in Act III, haloing a bedridden Violetta, who is reduced from music to speech as she reads Germont’s letter. When she attempts her old vivacity for Alfredo, Verdi restricts her range and gives her tremulous lines that give way to coughs. In her final moments, as she imagines her strength returning, solo strings surround her one last time, but that strength gives out in a final exclamation, leading to a tempestuous orchestral coda.
As Violetta feels that last surge of energy, solo strings play the last recurrence of a melody that appears throughout La Traviata to symbolize her and Alfredo’s love. Alfredo sings it the first time in their Act I duet, declaring he is “In that love which is the pulse of the universe.” Violetta quotes it later in the act as she realizes her own feelings, and Alfredo sings it from offstage as she resists the idea, promising to be “always free.” The melody returns twice in the orchestra during Act III to accompany the dying Violetta, a tenuous thread connecting her to her lost happiness.
The original Traviata may have been a fiasco, but Verdi’s opera has turned out to have indisputable power. After the premiere, the composer had wondered to a friend “Is it my fault or the singers’? Time will tell.” Time has told, and the fiasco has become a phenomenon.
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 prizewinner 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. Fagen has conducted La Traviata for several seasons at the Vienna State Opera, Frankfurt Opera, New York City Opera, New Israeli Opera, and Atlanta Opera. This season, he will be recording with the London Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic, and Philharmonia Orchestra.
Francesca Zambello is an internationally recognized director of opera and theater, as well as general director of The Glimmerglass Festival since 2010 and artistic director of Washington National Opera at the Kennedy Center since 2012. Both organizations have thrived financially and increased their national and international profiles as a result of her artistic vision and leadership. She also served as the artistic advisor to the San Francisco Opera from 2005 to 2011 and as the artistic director of the Skylight Theater from 1987 to 1992. Her U.S. directing debut took place at the Houston Grand Opera with a production of Fidelio. She debuted in Europe at Teatro la Fenice in Venice with Beatrice di Tenda and has since staged new productions at major theaters and opera houses in Europe and the U.S. She has worked at more than 50 international opera houses, including the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Paris Opera, the Bolshoi, Munich State Opera, Covent Garden, and Opera Australia. Zambello’s recent opera projects have included The Ring and Aida for San Francisco Opera and Washington National Opera, Norma at Teatro Municipal de Santiago (Chile), and Porgy and Bess and Show Boat for commercial DVD release. Musical and theater projects have included West Side Story at Lyric Opera of Chicago and Opera Australia at Sydney Harbor, The Little Prince with Oscar-winning composer Rachel Portman, The Little Mermaid for Disney on Broadway, and the musical The Little House on the Prairie for national tour. Film works have included Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors for BBC Television; a new film of The Little Prince for the BBC, Sony, and PBS; and West Side Story for the floating stage in Bregenz. An American who grew up in Europe, Zambello speaks French, Italian, German, and Russian. She attended Moscow University in 1976 and graduated cum laude from Colgate University in 1978. She has served as an adjunct professor at Yale University. Zambello lives in New York with her wife, Faith Gay, a founding partner at Selendy and Gay, and stepson Jackson.
Andrea Beasom received her dance training from San Francisco Ballet and Miami City Ballet, and went on to dance for three years with Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet Studio. She later earned a degree in vocal performance from MANNES School for Music in New York City. She has performed at the Kennedy Center, Off-Broadway with Encores! @ New York City Center, Pasadena Playhouse, in numerous operas at the Washington National Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Dallas Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Hawaii Opera Theater, Royal Opera House of Muscat, and in many commercial industrials for Sony, Puma, Moncler, and Microsoft. She has received awards for both her dancing and choreography, and has assisted and choreographed for many directors, including Francesca Zambello on The Little Match Girl Passion at The Glimmerglass Festival, the world premiere of Jeanine Tesori’s The Lion, The Unicorn & Me at the Kennedy Center, and La Traviata at Washington National Opera, The Atlanta Opera, and The Glimmerglass Festival.
Michael Shell’s “visionary” and “masterful storytelling” (Opera News) is steadily leading him to be one of the most sought-after directors in the United States. His “thoughtful and detailed score study” (Opera Today) is shown in character development and relationships onstage as well as the complete visual world he creates. Shell has directed productions for Atlanta Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Michigan Opera Theater, Opera Omaha, Opera San Jose, Opera Tampa, Opera North, Virginia Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Wexford Festival Opera, and Opera Theatre of St. Louis, and recently made his directorial debut at Houston Grand Opera. He made his international directing debut at the Wexford Festival Opera in 2010 with a production of Winners by American composer Richard Wargo and returned the next fall to direct Double Trouble–Trouble in Tahiti & The Telephone. He has written and directed three cabarets, including All About Love and The Glamorous Life–A group therapy session for Opera Singers, both for Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. Shell earned a B.M. and an M.M. in Music/Vocal Performance from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. He was a Corbett Scholar at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music as well as studying acting and scene study on a school-awarded scholarship at H. B. Studios in New York City. He has been guest faculty at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Florida State University, and Webster University, St. Louis, teaching Opera Workshop and directing Undergraduate Opera Workshop performances. In addition, he has been guest director at the A. J. Fletcher Opera Institute, Oklahoma University, and was a frequent guest director at Indiana University. Shell joined the faculty of the Summer Opera Program at the Israeli Vocal Arts Institute in 2018. Last fall, he joined the faculty at the Jacobs School of Music, teaching classes in acting. Recent engagements include Silent Night for Arizona Opera and a new production of Candide for Des Moines Metro Opera.
Peter Davison’s extensive opera credits include Le Nozze di Figaro (Vienna); Die Gezeichneten, Falstaff, and Die Schweigsame Frau (Zurich); Capriccio (Berlin and Torino); Der Rosenkavalier, Carmen, and Mary Stuart (ENO); Anna Bolena (Bayerische Staatsoper); Katya Kabanova (New Zealand); Mitridate Re Di Ponto (Salzburg); Manon Lescaut (Australia); The Rake’s Progress, Le Nozze di Figaro, and Cyrano de Bergerac (Metropolitan Opera); The Queen of Spades (Royal Opera House); Guillaume Tell (Opera Bastille); Fidelio, Walküre, Porgy and Bess, Salome, Forza Del Destino, Porgy and Bess, and La Traviata (Washington); La Bohème (Royal Albert Hall); La Rondine (La Fenice); Cyrano de Bergerac (La Scala); Porgy and Bess (Chicago and San Francisco); Carmen and Les Contes d’Hoffmann (Beijing); Heart of a Soldier (San Francisco Opera); La Traviata (Bolshoi Theatre); Two Women (San Francisco, Cagliari, and Sardinia); Carmen (Salzburg); Porgy and Bess (Glimmerglass); and Norma (Santiago, Chile). His designs for theater include The White Devil, Don Carlos, and The Duchess of Malfi (RSC); Bed, Le Cid, Copenhagen, Democracy, and Afterlife (National Theatre); Medea, Hamlet, Deuce, Copenhagen, Democracy, Is He Dead, and Blithe Spirit (Broadway); St. Joan Embers (West End London); and Copenhagen (Chichester Festival Theatre). He has also designed for the musicals The Boy from Oz (Sydney); Jesus Christ Superstar (U.K./U.S. tour, Broadway); Showboat (Royal Albert Hall); Rebecca (Vienna, St. Gallen and Stuttgart); Marie Antoinette (Bremen); Spiral (China); Showboat (Lyric Opera Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, Washington National Opera, and Dallas); Der Besuch derAlten Dame (Austria); Butterfly Princess (China); Rebecca, Artus, Don Camillo andPeppone, and Matterhorn (St. Gallen); and West Side Story (Houston, Kansas, and Atlanta). Davison was nominated for a Tony Award, a Drama Desk Award, and an Olivier Award for Medea. He won Best Designer at the 1994 Martini/TMA Awards for Medea and Saint Joan. He was nominated for an Olivier Award for Le Cid and Saint Joan.
Jess Goldstein’s Broadway credits include Jersey Boys, Disney’s Newsies,On the Town, The Rivals (2005 Tony Award), The Merchant of Venice with Al Pacino (Tony nomination), Henry IV with Kevin Kline (Tony nomination), The Apple Tree with Kristin Chenoweth, Proof, Love! Valour! Compassion!, The Most Happy Fella, Tintypes, Buried Child, Take Me Out, How I Learned to Drive and The Mineola Twins (Lortel and Hewes awards). Opera designs include Il Trittico (Metropolitan Opera), La Traviata and Lucia di Lammermoor (Washington National Opera), Two Women and Heart of A Soldier (San Francisco Opera), The End of the Affair (Houston Grand Opera), Dead Man Walking (New York City Opera and Chicago Lyric Opera), and Of Mice and Men, Agrippina, and The Pirates of Penzance (New York City Opera and Glimmerglass). Designs for film and television include A Walk on the Moon and The Substance of Fire as well as Talking With and Far East for PBS’s Great Performances. He is the 2015 recipient of the Irene Sharaff Lifetime Achievement Award and is a graduate and faculty emeritus of the Yale School of Drama.
Mark McCullough designs for opera and theater companies in the United States and abroad. He has lit productions for the Vienna Staatsoper (MacBeth), Bolshoi Theater (La Traviata ), Metropolitan Opera (Le Nozze di Figaro), National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing (The Tales of Hoffmann), La Scala (Cyrano de Bergerac), Madrid’s Teatro Real (Luisa Miller), Strasbourg’s Opéra National du Rhin (The Beggar’s Opera), The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden (The Queen of Spades), and Opera North (Eugene Onegin), as well as numerous productions with Boston Lyric Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Los Angeles Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Washington National Opera, Dallas Opera, Glimmerglass, Canadian Opera Company, New York City Opera, Seattle Opera, and San Francisco Opera, including the full Ring cycle directed by Francesca Zambello. Among his successes in theater have been the Broadway productions of Outside Mullingar, Jesus Christ Superstar (revival), After Ms. Julie, and The American Plan. International theater credits include Whistle Down the Wind (Aldwych Theatre, London), Der Besuch Der Alten Dame (Ronacher Theatre, Vienna), Artus (St. Gallen, Switzerland), Rebecca (St. Gallen, Switzerland, and the Palladium Theatre, Stuttgart), and the U.K. tour of Jesus Christ Superstar. Future engagements include Der Freischütz at Vienna State Opera, Porgy and Bess and Siege of Calais at The Glimmerglass Festival, Aida at San Francisco Opera, and West Side Story with Houston Grand Opera.
David Maria d’Olimpio is a lighting designer based in New York City. He graduated from UC Davis’s Theater and Dance program. His previous work includes lighting supervisor for the 2019 Glimmerglass Festival season, associate lighting designer for The Ghosts of Versailles at le Chateau de Versailles, assistant lighting designer for Pout Pout Fish at the New Victory Theater, and assistant lighting designer for Sweeney Todd at the Manhattan School of Music.
Parker Esse is a multi-award-winning and story-driven director/choreographer. After performing regionally, in national tours, and as a featured performer on Broadway in the Tony Award-winning Fosse, he began collaborating exclusively on multiple regional and Broadway shows as an associate director/choreographer, including Broadway’s Tony-nominated Finian’s Rainbow and A Tale of Two Cities, as well as five Encores! productions (New York City Center). As a choreographer, Esse exploded onto the scene with the groundbreaking, reimagined Oklahoma! (Arena Stage) and Stephen Sondheim and Wynton Marsalis’s A Bed and a Chair directed by John Doyle (New York City Center Encores!). He has directed and choreographed for numerous New York City, regional, and international theaters. He is an eight-time nominee for the Helen Hayes Award for Best Choreography, winning for Arena Stage’s Oklahoma!, The Pajama Game starring Donna McKechnie, and Anything Goes starring Corbin Bleu. Recent director and/or choreographer credits include the highly acclaimed revival of Rags (Goodspeed); La Traviata (Kennedy Center’s WNO); pre-Broadway Toronto engagement of Jukebox Hero, featuring Foreigner’s greatest hits (Ed Mirvish Theatre); pre-Broadway world premiere of Love and Other Fables (Theatre By The Sea); 45 Minutes from Coontown (York Theatre Co.); The Buddy Holly Story (Casa Manana); Lyrics & Lyricists Celebrates Oklahoma! at 75 (92nd St. Y); and, most recently, the record-breaking Newsies (Arena Stage). He earned a B.F.A. from the New York University Tisch School of the Arts and is an alumnus of the Collaborative Arts Project 21 (CAP 21) program.
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, 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, and Parsifal. For four years, Huff has served as choral instructor and conductor for the Jacobs School’s Sacred Music Intensive. He has conducted the Jacobs Summer Music series productions of Arthur Honegger’s King David and Stephen Paulus’s The Three Hermits. This summer, he will return to Ravinia Festival’s Steans Music Institute and has been appointed chorus master for the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis 2020 season.
Daniela Siena brings many years of experience in teaching Italian diction and language to singers. She was introduced to operatic diction by Boris Goldovsky, who was seeking a native speaker without teaching experience to work with singers according to his own pedagogical principles. Siena went on to teach in a number of operatic settings (among them, the Curtis Institute of Music, Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, and Seattle Opera). Over the years, she worked with a number of well-known singers, including Samuel Ramey, Justino Díaz, Carol Vaness, Wolfgang Brendel, June Anderson, Gianna Rolandi, and Jerry Hadley. The conductors, coaches, and stage directors with whom she has worked include Otto Guth, Max Rudolf, Edoardo Müller, David Effron, Arthur Fagen, Anthony Pappano, Anthony Manoli, Terry Lusk, Dino Yannopoulos, Tito Capobianco, Andrei Șerban, John Cox, and John Copley. At New York City Opera, Siena worked closely with Beverly Sills—as her executive assistant, as a diction coach, and as the creator of English supertitles for a dozen operas. More recently, Siena worked for two years as a coach for the Young Artists Program of the Los Angeles Opera and, for the past six years, she has taught in Dolora Zajick’s summer Institute for Young Dramatic Voices. Born in Florence, Italy, to an Italian mother and a Russian émigré father, Siena arrived in the United States at age seven. She earned a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and, in her twenties, worked for two years in Italy as secretary to the president of the Olivetti Company. Many years later, she continued her education, earned a master’s degree, and became licensed as a psychotherapist by the state of California, where she practiced for 15 years. The mother of two grown children, she moved to Bloomington to be near her son, who lives here with his wife and two young daughters.
Soprano Hayley Lipke, a native of Racine, Wisconsin, is pursuing a Performer Diploma and a Doctor of Music degree under the tutelage of Jane Dutton and Gary Arvin at the Jacobs School of Music. At Jacobs, Lipke has performed as Donna Anna (Don Giovanni), Gertrud Mutter (Hansel and Gretel), Rosalba Montealban (Florencia en el Amazonas), Alma Hix (The Music Man), and Gertie Cummins (Oklahoma!). In addition to her studies at the Jacobs School of Music, Lipke is a student of Berlin Opera Academy and the Munich Goethe Institute. With a passion for making opera accessible outside of the opera house, she was showcased in Out of the Box Opera’s first Diva Cage Match, was the soprano soloist in Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem at IU, and enjoyed singing as the soprano soloist in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Louisville Orchestra for its season finale in 2019. Lipke is a recipient of the Bel Canto Foundation’s Bella Voce Award (2015), the Georgina Joshi International Fellowship (2018), and a Graduate Assistantship at Indiana University (2017, 2018). She was a winner of the Indianapolis Matinee Musicale at the graduate level (2017), National Society of Arts and Letters in the Indiana Chapter, Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions for the Indiana District (2017, 2018), and a finalist in the Mildred Miller International Voice Competition (2019). In the fall, she looks forward to joining Indianapolis Opera as its resident soprano, where she will be singing Kate Pinkerton and covering Cio-Cio San in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly.
Brea Renetta Marshall, soprano, is pursuing a Master of Music at Indiana University, where she is a student of Carol Vaness. Roles performed include Miss Jessel in Red River Lyric Opera’s 2017 production of The Turn of the Screw, Fraarte in Handel’s Radamisto at the Miami Music Festival in 2018, and, most recently, Girlfriend No. 2 in the world-premiere opera Blue, by Jeanine Tesori and Tazewell Thompson at The Glimmerglass Festival in 2019. Marshall was named the Third-Place Grand Finalist in the 2017 Classical Singer Vocal Competition in Chicago, Illinois, and is an alumnus of the Houston Grand Opera Young Artists Vocal Academy. Marshall was selected to participate in The Song Continues master class series in 2018 with Marilyn Horne, Renée Fleming, and Graham Johnson at Carnegie Hall. This summer, Marshall looks forward to reprising her role as Girlfriend No. 2 in Blue in her Lincoln Center debut in New York City.
Tenor Joseph McBrayer, from Dallas, Georgia, is in his final semester of M.M. studies at the Jacobs School of Music, under the tutelage of Alice Hopper. Last summer, he made his debut with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis in The Coronation of Poppea and is returning this summer in his second year as a Gerdine Young Artist. Previously, he performed with Capitol City Opera and The Atlanta Opera while earning a B.M. from Kennesaw State University, studying under Oral Moses. Recently, McBrayer has performed as the tenor soloist in Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem, Woz in The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, and Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor, in addition to Tamino in The Magic Flute with the Summer Opera program in Tel Aviv through the Joshi International Fellowship.
Twenty-four-year-old tenor Bradley Bickhardt is a native of Columbia, New Jersey. He completed his undergraduate degree at the Jacobs School of Music in 2018 under the tutelage of Andreas Poulimenos and is currently in the second year of studies for a Master of Music in Voice Performance degree. His previous IU Jacobs Opera Theater credits include Nemorino (The Elixir of Love), Tony (West Side Story), Herrison (L’Étoile), and Goro (Madama Butterfly). He has also appeared in the opera choruses of Le Nozze di Figaro, The R(e)volution of Steve Jobs, Peter Grimes, The Daughter of the Regiment, Carmen, Die Fledermaus, The Magic Flute, and The Italian Girl in Algiers. He sang in the Five Friends master class held by Jacobs alumnus Lawrence Brownlee. In 2016, Bickhardt was an apprentice artist with Charlottesville Opera. In 2018, he was a studio artist with Opera Saratoga, and, in 2019, he was a studio artist with Wolf Trap Opera. This summer, he joins the roster of The Glimmerglass Festival, covering Ein Bote in Wagner’s Die Feen directed by Francesca Zambello. Last January, he was named an Encouragement Award winner in the Central Region of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. He is an associate instructor of voice and a student of Heidi Grant Murphy.
Jeremiah Sanders, baritone, maintains an active schedule as a performer, conductor, and educator. In 2019, he won first place in the Opera Ebony competition and received the Raphael Bundage Young Artist Award as a finalist in the Orpheus National Vocal Competition. Previously, he won first place with the Lima Symphony Orchestra Young Artist Competition, second place with the Indianapolis Matinee Musicale Collegiate Scholarship Competition, and an Encouragement Award from the Metropolitan Opera National Council, Kentucky District. A native Hoosier, Sanders earned a Performer Diploma in Voice from Indiana University (2019), Master of Music in Vocal Performance from Butler University (2017), and Bachelor of Arts from Manchester University (2014). He currently studies with Jane Dutton. His roles include Falstaff and Ford in Falstaff, Father in Hansel and Gretel, the title role in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, and The Duchess of Crackenthorp in The Daughter of the Regiment.
Brazilian baritone Bruno Sandes earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Jacobs School of Music and is currently pursuing a doctorate in voice under the tutelage of Carol Vaness. Sandes earned a degree in interior design at the Federal Institute of Alagoas, Brazil, before relocating to Bloomington. His roles with IU Jacobs Opera and Ballet Theater include Belcore in The Elixir of Love, Don Giovanni in Don Giovanni, Sergeant Sulpice in The Daughter of the Regiment, Ali Hakim in Oklahoma!, Doctor Falke in Die Fledermaus, Emile de Becque in South Pacific, Police Sergeant in The Barber of Seville, Taddeo in The Italian Girl in Algiers, Le Surintendant des Plaisirs in Cendrillon, and Sùng Ông in the world premiere of P. Q. Phan’s The Tale of Lady Thi Kính. He was also a member of many opera choruses. Sandes has received many awards, including a Joshi International Fellowship from the Georgina Joshi Foundation, first place in the XI Maracanto International Voice Competition, a winner of the 2013 Indianapolis Matinee Musicale Competition, semifinalist in the IX Maria Callas International Voice Competition, and selection as one of six singers from around the world in the 42nd International Winter Festival of Campos do Jordão. He was chosen as the grand winner of the 2014 IU Latin American Music Center Recording Competition and was a semifinalist of the 2018 Liszt International Competition. He currently serves as an associate instructor of voice at the Jacobs School and is the assistant director of Carol Vaness’s Graduate Opera Workshop.
Soprano Kayla Eldridge, a native of Bentonville, Arkansas, is pursuing a Master of Music degree at the Jacobs School of Music under the tutelage of Carol Vaness. While at IU, Eldridge has performed as an opera chorus member in La Bohème, Peter Grimes, Lucia di Lammermoor, and The Elixir of Love. Also with IU Jacobs Opera Theater, Eldridge has performed the roles of Sœur Mathilde in Dialogues of the Carmelites and Erster Knappe in Parsifal. This past year, she performed as Cleopatra in Giulio Cesare in Egitto with Chicago Summer Opera and was the recipient of an Encouragement Award from the Metropolitan Opera National Council Arkansas District Auditions. She will be attending the Aspen Music Festival this summer as a studio artist.
Soprano Lindsey Allen is currently completing her Performer Diploma and Master of Music in Voice Performance degree studies at the Jacobs School of Music. Past IU Jacobs Opera Theater credits include Street Singer in Bernstein’s Mass, Mrs. Thompson in Jake Heggie’s It’s aWonderful Life, and Mrs. Paroo in The Music Man. In the summer of 2018, she was awarded the Georgina Joshi International Scholarship to attend Summer Opera Tel Aviv, where she sang Erste Dame in The Magic Flute. Other roles include Adrianna (Adrianna Lecouvreur), Donna Anna (Don Giovanni), Susannah Walcott (The Crucible), Veronique (Doctor Miracle), Lia (L’enfant prodigue), and Dido (Dido and Aeneas). She has also performed with Kansas City Lyric Opera, Piedmont Opera, and A. J. Fletcher Opera. Originally from Mattawan, Michigan, Allen attended the University of North Carolina School of the Arts for her Bachelor of Music degree. She studies under the tutelage of Heidi Grant Murphy.
Bass-baritone Jesse Warren is a first-year master’s degree student studying voice with Peter Volpe. Originally from Fort Worth, Texas, Warren completed his undergraduate studies at Louisiana State University (LSU) in music education, where he sang regularly with the Turner-Fischer Center for Opera at LSU and Opera Louisiane in Baton Rouge. In the 2019-20 season, he joined the chorus for IU Jacobs Opera Theater’s production of Parsifal and is making his IU role debut as Barone Duphol in La Traviata. Warren sings with Jacobs’ NOTUS as well as with the Beecher Singers in Indianapolis, where he recently sang as a bass soloist in Handel’s Messiah with the Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra. Previous roles include Don Magnifico (La Cenerentola), Prince Gremin (Eugene Onegin), Don Alfonso (Così fan tutte), Badger/Parson (Cunning Little Vixen), Leporello (Don Giovanni), Bartolo (Le Nozze di Figaro), Masetto (Don Giovanni), Keeper of the Madhouse (The Rake’s Progress), and Barone Duphol (La Traviata), among others. Warren can be seen this summer at Utah Festival Opera singing the Priest in The Magic Flute. He will also be covering the roles of Judge Turpin in Sweeney Todd and Mr. Maraczek in She Loves Me.
Baritone Andrew Stack is a second-year Master of Voice student studying under Patricia Havranek. Originally from Manhasset, New York, he earned his undergraduate degree in voice performance from Westminster Choir College, where he studied with Lindsey Christiansen and was a member of the Westminster Choir. Since graduating from Westminster, Stack has made his professional debut at the Spoleto USA Festival in Charleston, S.C., as Zaretsky (Eugene Onegin), sung in master classes for Dalton Baldwin at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria, and taken part in SongFest at the Colburn School in Los Angeles, California. He has also collaborated with some of the foremost living composers in the industry, including Libby Larsen and Jake Heggie. Recently, Stack performed the role of the Bishop in IU’s summer production of The Three Hermits by Stephen Paulus, Starveling in the Carol Vaness Opera Workshop’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream this past winter, and in the American premiere of Sven-David’s Sandström’s symphonic work Uppbrott.
Solomon Reynolds, a tenor from Houston, Texas, is pursuing a Master of Music in Voice Performance at the Jacob School of Music, currently studying with Carol Vaness. Recent roles include Tamino in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, Don Ottavio in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Alfred in Strauss’ Die Fledermaus, Rinuccio in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, and Count Almaviva in Rossini’s The Barber of Seville. Upcoming roles include Lukas in Haydn’s The Seasons at IU and Monostatos in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte at the Aspen Music Festival and School. Reynolds is two-time Encouragement Award recipient of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.
Praised as “compelling” and “splendid” by The Herald-Times, tenor Carl Rosenthal has sung a variety of opera, musical theater, and oratorio roles to great acclaim. He is currently completing a Master of Music in Voice Performance degree at the Jacobs School of Music, studying with Gary Arvin and Carol Vaness. Recent roles include Dritter Knappe in Parsifal, the Celebrant in Bernstein’s Mass, Tamino in The Magic Flute, Le Chevalier de la Force in Dialogues of the Carmelites, Bernardo in West Side Story, Gonzalve in L’heure Espagnole, and Mr. Martini in It’s a Wonderful Life. In addition to his work on the operatic stage, Rosenthal has been an active recitalist, premiering new works such as Erik Ransom’s Man and the Sea cantata and Michael Turnblom’s Passion oratorio, as well as several performances as the tenor soloist in Handel’s Messiah in the Washington, D.C., area. Additional roles include Danilo in The Merry Widow, Tybalt in Romeo et Juliette, Don Basilio in Le Nozze di Figaro, and Senator Ahrens in Hailstork’s new opera, Robeson. A 2019 winner of the Singers’ Club of Cleveland vocal competition, he will join Utah Festival Opera & Musical Theatre for its 2020 season, where he will sing First Armored Man (and cover Tamino) in The Magic Flute, and cover Georg in She Loves Me. Originally from Arlington, Virginia, Rosenthal earned a Bachelor of Arts from Columbia University and worked as a mathematics teacher in New York City before pursuing a career in classical music.
Bass-baritone Andrew Forsythe hails from Holly, Michigan. He is currently pursuing a Master of Music in Voice Performance degree under the tutelage of Timothy Noble. He is a graduate of Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. Forsythe most recently appeared as Frank Maurrant in Street Scene, Plunkett in Martha, and Sarastro in The Magic Flute with Oakland University Opera.
Originally from Cedarville, Ohio, Michael Colman is currently pursuing his Performance Diploma in Voice with Peter Volpe and has previous degrees from the University of Kansas and Baylor University. Colman has performed roles from Mozart’s Figaro (Le Nozze di Figaro) and Rossini’s Basilio (The Barber of Seville) to Britten’s Collatinus (The Rape of Lucretia) and Puccini’s Schaunard (La Bohème). After making his professional debut as an apprentice artist with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, he performed leading and supporting roles with Virginia Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Dayton Opera, Toledo Opera, Indianapolis Opera, Opera on the James, Utah Festival Opera, Fayetteville Opera, and Charlottesville Opera. Upcoming engagements include The Commentator (Scalia/Ginsburg) with Opera Carolina, Opera Grand Rapids, and Toledo Opera; Father (Thumbprint) and Angelotti (Tosca) with Chautauqua Opera; and Guglielmo (Così fan tutte) with Opera Grand Rapids
SonJin “John” Kim, a South Korean bass, is currently pursuing a Performer Diploma in Solo Performance at the Jacobs School of Music under the tutelage of Carol Vaness. He is a winner of the Joshi Fellowship, one of the school’s most prestigious awards. He is a graduate of Seoul National University, where he was granted full scholarship under the tutelage of Yonghoon Lee. There, Kim was celebrated for his role as Il Commendatore in Don Giovanni and Sarastro in The Magic Flute, having performed them at both Seoul National University and Seoul Metropolitan Opera House. Last fall, he performed the title role in Le Nozze di Figaro with IU Jacobs School of Music Opera Theater and covered Titürel in Parsifal. He has performed as bass soloist for Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Louisville Orchestra. Kim’s choral experience includes works such as Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, Britten’s War Requiem, and Bernstein’s Mass.
Katherine Holobinko, soprano, from Fort Mill, South Carolina, is currently pursuing a Master of Music in Voice Performance degree under the direction of Carol Vaness. This year at IU, Holobinko was seen as part of the chorus of Parsifal. A graduate of the Johns Hopkins University in French and the Peabody Conservatory, past roles include Prince (The Little Prince) Belinda (Dido and Aeneas,) Nina (Chérubin), Sister Genovieffa (Suor Angelica), L’Eternità/Furia 1 (La Calisto), and choruses for Hansel and Gretel and The Fairy Queen. She looks forward to singing for Central City Opera as a studio artist this summer.
Aruban-American mezzo-soprano Erin Koolman is a third-year doctoral student in the studio of Patricia Stiles. Koolman earned her Bachelor of Science in Music Education and Bachelor of Fine Arts in Voice Performance degrees from Indiana University in 2012, and her Master of Music degree from Kansas State University in 2015. She is from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, and Oranjestad, Aruba. Her past performances include Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Chicago, Trial by Jury, White Christmas, and Hansel and Gretel (Hansel). She has performed scenes from The Magic Flute (Dritte Dame), Lakmé (Malika), I Capuleti e i Montecchi (Romeo), and Norma (Adalgisa). Koolman has had multiple performances abroad, including a choir tour in Northern France with Kansas State University choirs and in the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico with OperaMaya. Since August 2017, she has served as staff singer for St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Indianapolis, where she was recently a featured soloist in J. S. Bach’s St. John Passion. This is her second performance with IU Jacobs Opera Theater; having debuted in fall 2019 as Mère Jeanne in Dialogues of the Carmelites.
Trevor Ross is a first-year Master of Music degree student at the Jacobs School of Music, studying with Brian Horne. In May 2019, Ross earned his Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Drake University. Recently, he performed in the chorus of IU Jacobs Opera Theater’s production of Parsifal. His past roles include Bardolfo in Falstaff, William Wise in Alice Ryley, and Mitch Mahoney in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. He has also been the soloist in Haydn’s Heiligemesse and in Beethoven’s Mass in C Major. Ross has been chosen for master classes with Sutton Foster, Michael Heaston, Sherill Milnes, and Maria Zouves.
A baritone from Munster, Indiana, Robert Wente discovered his passion for performing as a junior in high school, when he played the Pirate King in Munster Theatre Company’s production of The Pirates of Penzance. Currently a sophomore studying with Wolfgang Brendel at the Jacobs School of Music, this role marks Wente’s solo debut on the Musical Arts Center stage, after singing in the chorus for Bernstein’s Mass in the spring of 2019 and in Wagner’s Parsifal this past fall.
Jack Canfield, baritone, was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. He is currently a first-year master’s student in voice performance, studying with bass Peter Volpe. In 2015, Canfield earned a B.M. in Voice Performance from Lawrence University, studying with bass John T. Gates. This past fall, he made his debut with IU Jacobs School of Music Opera and Ballet Theater, singing Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder in the Spring Ballet production Dark Meets Light.