“The audience let out a whoop as soon as the music ended, and the curtain calls were downright raucous.” - The Washington Post
Tech visionary. Business mogul. A charismatic genius who changed the way the world communicated. Yet, by most accounts, Steve Jobs was also an egocentric control freak who estranged almost everyone close to him.
Turn off your phones, and take your seat for the opera that’s had the music world talking since last year’s world premiere in Santa Fe. A coproducer, the Jacobs School of Music presents this mesmerizing portrait of a man who was truly a legend in his own time.
In English with English supertitles.
New production. A Jacobs School of Music coproduction with the Santa Fe Opera, Seattle Opera, and San Francisco Opera.
Steve retires to his office. Laurene, his wife, scolds him for not taking better care of himself and entreats him to return home and reconnect with their family.
2007, later that afternoon: The hills around Cupertino
Steve is joined by Kōbun Chino Otogawa, his former spiritual advisor in Sōtō Zen Buddhism, on a meditative walk. As the sun sets, Kōbun prompts Steve to confront his mortality.
1973: Reed College, Oregon
The significance of the ensō, a circle drawn in Japanese calligraphy, is discussed by a teacher, inspiring Steve by its aesthetic concepts of elegance and simplicity.
1973: The Jobs family garage
Steve Wozniak (“Woz”), Steve’s best friend, has created a “blue box” that enables the user to make free calls. Steve and “Woz” celebrate the ease with which this device will topple corporate giants.
1974: An apple orchard near Los Altos
After taking LSD, Steve and his girlfriend, Chrisann, lie together and imagine their environment coming alive as an orchestra plays Bach. Kōbun interrupts the two as they begin to make love.
1975: Los Altos Zen Center
Steve is informed by Kōbun that he cannot live at the Zen Center, claiming that his destiny may lie elsewhere.
1989: Lecture Hall, Stanford University
Steve and Laurene Powell meet for the first time.
1976: Jobs family garage
Woz introduces a new computer interface to Steve. Chrisann arrives and informs Steve that she is pregnant. Steve demands that she terminate the pregnancy, and she leaves in tears. As Steve and Woz dream about the future of their invention, Steve recalls the orchard and the orchestra playing Bach.
1989: Steve Jobs’ home, Palo Alto
Laurene is shown Steve’s exiguously furnished house. A brief discourse about artistic inspiration is prompted by the photographs by Ansel Adams in Steve’s home. Steve and Laurene go to bed for the first time.
1980: Corporate offices, Cupertino
Chrisann severs ties with Steve, who angers Woz by denying a fellow employee his pension. Chrisann and Woz mourn the loss of the man they once knew.
1981-1986: Corporate offices, Cupertino
Steve denies palimony to Chrisann for their daughter, Lisa, offends Woz, and is demoted by the board of directors. He angrily leaves the company.
2007: The hills around Cupertino
Kōbun reminds Steve that it was crucial for him to learn from his mistakes. He presents Steve with a brief replay of his life before it fell apart, revisiting his first meeting with Laurene and the evening when they fell in love.
2007, later that night: Steve Jobs’ home
After his walk, Steve returns home to find Laurene waiting for him. She confronts him and forces him to face his illness and mortality. Steve is reminded of his wedding day by Kōbun.
1991: Yosemite National Park
Steve and Laurene are married by Kōbun in a Buddhist ceremony. Steve expresses his gratitude to Laurene for teaching him about the importance of human connections. The 1992 death of Kōbun is revealed. This prompts a meditation on mortality.
2011: Stanford University Chapel
Kōbun explains to Steve that he is witnessing his own memorial service. A number of the production elements of the service are protested by Steve; Kōbun tells him to be still, to simplify. Laurene and Woz reminisce about Steve. When Laurene is left alone, she muses that while Steve will be both canonized and demonized, no one can deny his influence on the future of humankind.
Epilogue, 1965: Jobs family garage
Laurene looks on as Paul Jobs presents Steve with a workbench on his birthday.
By Matthew Van Vleet
Ph.D. Musicology Student
In Zen Buddhism, ensō is a circular figure drawn in one or two unbroken brushstrokes as part of one’s spiritual practice. The ensō symbolizes many things, including the universe, enlightenment, and simplicity. The ritual of drawing one each day is a means of unifying the mind and body in an act of creation.
Veteran librettist Mark Campbell and first-time opera composer Mason Bates find inspiration forThe (R)evolution of Steve Jobsin the ensō and Zen in general. Joining the growing list of depictions of the complex and often controversial tech giant (the most recent being Lisa Brennan-Jobs’ memoir,Small Fry, released earlier this month),(R)evolutionpremiered at the Santa Fe Opera in July 2017. Where Campbell and Bates “think different” from other narratives, true or fictionalized, is in their framing of Jobs’ life not as a corporate success story or family drama, but as a spiritual journey.
(R)evolutionelevates Steve Jobs’ engagement with Zen Buddhism to the driving force of his character. This choice contrasts with the familiar image of Jobs as the ultimate Silicon Valley salesman. While(R)evolutionshares similar beats to Hollywood biopicsJobs(2013) andSteve Jobs(2015)—Jobs’ refusal to acknowledge his daughter Lisa and his 1985 ouster from Apple chief among them—it is less concerned with Jobs’ professional life. His dramatic return to Apple in 1997 serves as the finale in these two films and is (rightly) considered a defining moment in his life in other media, but it is absent in(R)evolution. Zen mentor Kōbun Chino Otogawa, an “important yet overlooked figure” in Jobs’ life according to Bates, is given a greatly expanded role in Campbell’s libretto. Kōbun’s presence in the story drives Jobs’ operatic introspection and plays a significant part in(R)evolution’s Zen aesthetic.
In(R)evolution, Steve Jobs first encounters Zen teachings in a calligraphy class at Reed College, where he is immediately drawn to the minimalist simplicity of the ensō. While Zen, minimalism, and typography did truly influence Jobs as a young man, the ensō as a particular obsession is an invention of the opera. The ensō is a versatile figure on stage, serving as a replacement for the Apple logo, iPhone app icons, and other copyrighted design elements. Beyond simulating Jobs’ design principles, the ensō is used throughout the opera to symbolize Jobs’ long walks around Cupertino, Chrisann Brennan’s pregnancy with Lisa, and Jobs’ marriage to Laurene Powell.
Zen philosophies of time and space also guide(R)evolution’s setting of Jobs’ story. Like the ensō (and unlike most Western narrative structures), the opera is nonlinear. Scenes are not ordered in time but in how they relate thematically. Campbell’s stage directions borrow from the JapaneseNohtheater tradition, with actors remaining seated on an onstage bench (jiutai-za) even when they are not performing. This staging evokes the process of memory, with characters entering and exiting the scene as they are needed while always remaining on stage. Fluid shifts in time, sometimes spanning several decades, occur with the aid of extensive visual projections. In the manner of a Zen devotee drawing the ensō every day, Jobs is confronted with the same dramatic situations repeatedly. This narrative structure reflects the Zen principle that enlightenment is not something we reach in a single climactic moment but something we practice throughout our lives.
Bates’ score contributes to the Zen aesthetic by embracing contradiction. Each character is portrayed by a particular soundscape, like an expanded vision of Wagnerian leitmotif. Jobs is characterized by computerized clicks and chirps juxtaposed with acoustic guitar. These seemingly contradictory instruments, both of which are out of place in a typical opera orchestra, combine to create a frenetic, pulsating sound for the constantly working-away Jobs. Kōbun is characterized by prayer bowls and Japanese flutes processed electronically, quirky Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak by saxophones, Chrisann by bird-like flutes, and Laurene by sweeping strings. As characters interact with each other, their soundscapes collide and blend together. True to Steve Jobs’ conviction that art and technology should be integrated, Bates incorporates electronics into the orchestra. He layers sampled sounds and synthesized effects like a bass sweep on top of the orchestra, creating a slick, modern score.
Near the end of(R)evolution, Jobs and Kōbun witness Jobs’ memorial service from the beyond. Jobs once again finds details to nitpick and criticize, and Kōbun once again reminds him to simplify. This scene serves as a final lesson in Zen philosophy—that we are never done learning, and we can always improve. It is with this sentiment that the(R)evolutiontitle becomes clear. It is the “evolution” of Steve Jobs because he does change throughout the narrative, at first for the worse, obsessing over control and shutting out his closest connections, and then for the better, learning to acknowledge his mortality and accept the love of his family. It is also the “revolution” of Steve Jobs because in the end, he arrives back where he started, an idealistic creator. The opera concludes with the same scene it opens with, Steve Jobs’ father gifting him his first workbench, “a fine place to start.” But the story in between changes its meaning. Like the ensō, it arrives in the same place it started, and at the same time, it doesn’t.
Recently named the most-performed composer of his generation and the 2018 Composer of the Year byMusical America, Mason Bates serves as the first composer-in-residence of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Championed by legendary conductors such as Riccardo Muti, Michael Tilson Thomas, and Leonard Slatkin, Bates’ symphonic music is the first to receive widespread acceptance for its unique integration of electronic sounds, and his opera,The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, was hailed as one of the best-selling productions in the history of Santa Fe Opera. As both a DJ and a curator, he has become a visible advocate for bringing new music to new spaces, whether through institutional partnerships such as his former residency with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, or through his club/classical project Mercury Soul, which transforms commercial clubs into exciting hybrid musical events. He has also composed for films, including Gus Van Sant’sThe Sea of Trees, starring Matthew McConaughey and Naomi Watts.
This season’s variety of appearances at the Kennedy Center begins with the National Symphony Orchestra’s performance ofAuditorium, a baroque thriller. Premiered by the San Francisco Symphony, the piece haunts the modern orchestra with original neo-baroque music composed for period instruments. This spring, Bates returns to his hometown of Richmond, Virginia, with a new work celebrating the Richmond Symphony’s sixtieth anniversary. His first work for chorus and orchestra,Children of Adamis an exuberant setting of American poems about creation, with a special focus on secular poets exploring sacred themes. The work also includes creation texts from Native Americans of the Virginia area, as well as completely novel celebrations of the creative power of the Industrial Age from Carl Sandburg.
Elsewhere, the legendary Joffrey Ballet premieres a new ballet onThe B-Sidesby Nicholas Blanc, who first choreographed Bates’ modern classicMothershipfor New York City Ballet, and the English National Ballet reprises Bates’Anthology of Fantastic Zoologywith choreography by Aszure Barton. The superstar chorus Chanticleer tours the newly composedDrum-Tapsaround the country on a program responding to armed conflict.
Bringing classical music to new audiences is a central part of Bates’ activities as a curator, whether as a composer or a DJ. With composer Anna Clyne, he transformed the Chicago Symphony’s MusicNOW series into an imaginative concert experience drawing huge crowds, with cinematic program notes and immersive stagecraft. Now serving as the first composer-in-residence at the Kennedy Center, Bates works with the center’s broad range of artistic constituents, from performances with the National Symphony Orchestra to appearances with Jason Moran on Kennedy Center Jazz, often integrating DJs into the center’s unique spaces. Bates’ KC Jukebox series presents new music in new formats, featuring immersive production and ambient information to educate the audience, as well as post-parties with DJs to allow people to debrief in a casual setting. This season includes appearances by famed German electronica duo Mouse on Mars and the spoken word artist Saul Williams. The Jukebox series includes two shows on the inaugural Direct Current festival and closes with a tribute to JFK featuring music in response to civil rights challenges.
Working in clubs under the name DJ Masonic, Bates has developed a post-classical rave that has integrated classical music and electronica to packed crowds in collaborations with clubs and orchestras around the country. Mercury Soul embeds sets of classical music into a fluid evening of DJing and immersive stagecraft. Sold-out performances from San Francisco’s famed Mezzanine club to Miami’s New World Symphony have brought a new vision of the listening experience to widespread audiences, and the project has been invited by the Chicago Symphony and Pittsburgh Symphony for events at local clubs. In addition to a show this season on the Kennedy Center’s Direct Current festival, Mercury Soul presents three shows at San Francisco’s DNA Lounge. Elsewhere around San Francisco, Bates DJs on this year’s LoveBoat party after a performance by Moby. A diverse artist exploring the ways classical music integrates into contemporary cultures, Bates was awarded the Heinz Medal by Teresa Heinz, who wrote “his music has moved the orchestra into the digital age and dissolved the boundaries of classical music.”
Mark Campbell’s work as a librettist is at the forefront of the current contemporary opera scene in the United States. The 15-plus librettos he has written—and the five new operas he premiered in 2017—demonstrate a versatility in subject matter, style, and tone, an adeptness at creating successful work for both large and intimate venues. The composers with whom he collaborates represent a roster of the most eminent composers in classical music and include three Pulitzer Prize winners.
Campbell’s most known work isSilent Night, which received the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in Music and is one of the most frequently performed operas in recent history. After its premiere at Minnesota Opera, the work was broadcast on PBS’sGreat Performancesand continues to be produced by many opera companies around the country. His other successful operas includeAs One,Later the Same Evening,Volpone,Bastianello/ Lucrezia,The Manchurian Candidate,The Inspector,Approaching Ali,A Letter to East 11th Street, and most recently,The Shining.
He has received many other prestigious prizes for his work, including a Grammy nomination for Best Classical Recording, the first Kleban Foundation Award for Lyricist, two Richard Rodgers Awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, three Drama Desk nominations, a Jonathan Larson Foundation Award, a New York Foundation for the Arts Playwriting Fellowship, the first Dominic J. Pelliciotti Award, and a grant from the New York State Council of the Arts.
As a musical theater lyricist, Campbell penned all of the lyrics forSongs from an Unmade Bed, a theatrical song cycle with music by 18 composers that premiered at New York Theatre Workshop and has since been produced in many venues around the world. Other successful musicals includeSplendora,The Audience, andChang & Eng.
He is also an advocate for contemporary American opera and mentors future generations of writers through such organizations as American Opera Projects, American Lyric Theatre, University of Colorado’s New Opera Workshop, Washington National Opera’s American Opera Initiative, and Opera Philadelphia’s Composer-in-Residence Program.
Premieres in 2017 includedElizabeth Creefor Opera Philadelphia (Kevin Puts, composer),Dinner at Eightfor Minnesota Opera (William Bolcom, composer),Some Light Emergesfor Houston Grand Opera (Laura Kaminsky, composer; Kimberly Reed, co-librettist),The Nefarious, Immoral but Highly Profitable Enterpriseof Mr. Burke & Mr. Harefor Boston Lyric Opera (Julian Grant, composer), andThe (R)evolution of Steve Jobsfor Santa Fe Opera (Mason Bates, composer).
Michael Christie is a thoughtfully innovative conductor, equally at home in the symphonic and operatic worlds, who is focused on making the audience experience at his performances entertaining, enlightening, and enriching. Christie, who was featured in Opera News in 2012 as one of 25 people believed to “break out and become major forces in the field in the coming decade,” began his tenure as the first-ever music director of the Minnesota Opera, with the 2012-13 season. Highlights for his 2017-18 season included the world premiere of An American Soldier by Huang Ruo (Opera Theatre of Saint Louis) and engagements with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Rhode Island Philharmonic, and Santa Rosa Symphony. At the Minnesota Opera, he led productions of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking, and Verdi’s Rigoletto. He has championed commissions by leading and emerging composers. In 2017, he led the world-premiere performances of The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs by Mason Bates (Santa Fe Opera). Christie has also commissioned works by Mark Adamo, Michael Daugherty, Osvaldo Golijov, Stephen Paulus, Kevin Puts, and more. Christie’s nearly 20-year symphonic conducting career has included serving as music director of the Phoenix Symphony (2005-13) and Brooklyn Philharmonic (2005-10), and as chief conductor of the Queensland Orchestra (2001-04). His guest appearances include leading the Los Angeles Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra, Civic Orchestra of Chicago, and St. Louis and Atlanta Symphonies, among others. Outside the United States, he has led the Rotterdam Philharmonic, DSO Berlin, Czech Philharmonic, Sydney Symphony, and Opera Queensland, among many others. He was awarded a special prize for “Outstanding Potential” at the First International Sibelius Conductors’ Competition in Helsinki, in 1995. He then served as apprentice conductor with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Daniel Barenboim as well as at the Berlin State Opera. Christie earned a bachelor’s degree in trumpet performance from the Oberlin College Conservatory. He lives in the Twin Cities with his wife, Alexis, and their two children.
Kevin Newbury is a theater, opera, film, and event director based in New York City who has directed more than 70 original productions. His work has been presented by many opera companies, festivals, theaters, and orchestras, including Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Houston Grand Opera, among many others. Newbury has directed more than two dozen world-premiere operas and plays, many of which were subsequently published or recorded. Recent highlights include Spears/Pierce’s Fellow Travelers (Cincinnati Opera, Prototype Festival/NYC, Lyric Opera of Chicago), Bates/Campbell’s The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs(Santa Fe Opera, Seattle Opera, San Francisco Opera), and Puts/Campbell’s The Manchurian Candidate(Minnesota Opera). Newbury’s work has received widespread accolades and won numerous awards. Fellow Travelers was named “One of the Best Classical Music Events of 2016” by The New York Times. His production of Virginia for the Wexford Opera Festival won the 2010 Irish TimesTheatre Award for Best New Opera Production, while his productions of Oscar, Bel Canto, and The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs were all nominated for Best World Premiere at the International Opera Awards. His work has also been nominated for a Grammy Award (Bernstein’s Mass with Marin Alsop), Drama Desk Award (Best Actor: Vince Gatton, Candy & Dorothy), and GLAAD Media Award (Winner: Candy & Dorothy, Nominated: Kiss and Cry). Newbury’s first two short films, Monsura Is Waiting and Stag, have screened at a total of 40 film festivals and have each won several festival awards. He has collaborated with many top artists in multiple mediums, including (in addition to the writers listed above) Roland Orzabal, Courtney Love, Ricky Ian Gordon, Patti Lupone, Joyce Di Donato, Sondra Radvanovsky, John Adams, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Kimbra, The Young Professionals, and Tracy K. Smith, among others. Newbury was raised in Maine, graduated from Bowdoin College, and spent a year at Oxford University.
Victoria “Vita” Tzykun has designed sets, costumes, and projections for such notable companies as the Bolshoi Theatre, Santa Fe Opera, LA Opera, Atlanta Opera, and Wolf Trap Opera, among many others. Recent projects include set design for the critically acclaimed world premiere of The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs at Santa Fe Opera, set and costume design for Faust at Lyric Opera of Chicago, costume design for the world premiere of Dinner at Eight at Minnesota Opera, and costume design for the Russian premiere of The Passenger at the Yekaterinburg State Academical Opera and Ballet Theatre and at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. Her numerous film and television credits include art direction for Lady Gaga’s A Very Gaga Thanksgiving on ABC, production design for several award-winning feature films and shorts, and commercials for PBS, DirectTV, Axe, Bulova, and Qualcomm. Tzykun is a founding member of GLMMR, an interdisciplinary art collective that fuses the worlds of fine art, audiovisual technology, and live performance. GLMMR’s projects include critically acclaimed productions of The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat at Indianapolis Opera, Soldier Songs at Atlanta Opera and San Diego Opera, and Winterreise at Portland Opera, Atlanta Opera, Anchorage Opera, and NYC’s National Sawdust, which recently presented the premiere of David T. Little’s The Book of Dreams: Chapter Sand. Her work has been showcased in exhibitions at the National Opera America Center and the Entertainment Industry Expo (New York City), Habima National Theater (Tel-Aviv), and the World Stage Design Exhibition (Toronto), as well as in Entertainment Design and Lightingand Sound America magazines. Tzykun served on the opera panel of the National Endowment for the Arts and taught as a guest lecturer at the Weill Music Institute at Carnegie Hall. In 2016, the International Opera Awards nominated her for Best Design. She earned an M.F.A. from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and a B.F.A. (magna cum laude) from Tel-Aviv University. She lives in New York City.
Paul Carey has created costumes for theater, opera, film, and commercial media. Recent operatic work includes Bernstein’s Mass (Ravinia Festival, Philadelphia Orchestra), Fellow Travelers (Lyric Opera of Chicago, PROTOTYPE Festival, Cincinnati Opera), The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs (Santa Fe Opera, world premiere), and West Side Story (Philadelphia Orchestra). Further opera credits include Doubt (Minnesota Opera, world premiere) and productions with San Francisco Symphony, Virginia Opera, Palm Beach Opera, Central City Opera, The Juilliard School, Wolf Trap, UrbanArias, Caramoor, and Greenwich Music Festival. Carey was a member of the original creative team for Public Works, the major initiative of The Public Theater, including costume design for the acclaimed world premieres of The Odyssey, The Winter’s Tale, and The Tempest, all at the Delacorte in Central Park. Additional credits in theater include the world premiere of Kansas City Choir Boy, starring Courtney Love (PROTOTYPE Festival, U.S. Tour), and productions at the Park Avenue Armory, Long Wharf, A.R.T, Center Theatre Group, The Old Globe, Yale Rep, Playwright’s Realm, Clubbed Thumb, New York Musical Festival, New York Live Arts, One Year Lease, and New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. His upcoming schedule includes engagements with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Seattle Opera, and San Francisco Opera.
Japhy Weideman is a New York City-based lighting designer for theater and opera. His designs for opera include The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, Life is a Dream, and Don Giovanni at Santa Fe Opera, Doubtand The Manchurian Candidate at Minnesota Opera, I Capuleti e Montecchi at Kansas City Opera, Bluebeard’s Castle/Il Prigioniero at La Scala and Nederlandse Opera, and Don Giovanni and Eugene Onegin at Opera de Lyon. On Broadway, his designs for Dear Evan Hansen, The Visit, The Nance, Of Mice and Men, and Airline Highwayeach received Tony nominations for Best Lighting Design. Other productions on Broadway include Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Significant Other, The Snow Geese, Macbeth, and Cyrano de Bergerac. He has lit numerous theater productions in New York City for Lincoln Center Theatre, Playwrights Horizons, Roundabout Theatre Company, The Public Theater, Second Stage, and LAByrinth Theatre Company. International work includes London’s West End, Royal Shakespeare Co-Stratford, Edinburgh International Festival, National Theater of Greece, and National Theater of Korea.
Lighting designer, Benjamin Pearcy has lit or designed projections for theater, opera, and architectural projects around the world. Broadway credits include Oslo (Outer Critics Circle Award Nomination), An American in Paris (Tony Award, Drama Desk Nomination), Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Big Fish, and Whoopi!. Opera credits include The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs (Santa Fe Opera), The Pearl Fishers (ENO, Metropolitan Opera, LA Opera) The Shining(world premiere), Francesca Zambello’s production of Carmen (Beijing Opera) and Little Women (world premiere). Dance credits include lighting and projection designs for Christopher Wheeldon’s After the Rain and Within the Golden Hour for the Royal Ballet, and projection designs for The Nutcracker for the Joffrey Ballet. Pearcy has also designed lighting and/or projections for the U.S. national and international tours of Riverdance, U.S. national tours of 9 to 5, Beauty and the Beast, My Fair Lady, and many other productions for companies including the Alley Theatre, Baltimore Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Houston Grand Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Opera Cleveland, Opera Omaha, and Williamstown Theatre Festival. He has been a frequent collaborator with the renowned artist James Turrell, including designing the lighting for the James Turrell Museum in Colomé, Argentina. Pearcy joined 59 Productions in 2011 with the Broadway production of War Horse, and has been the creative lead on numerous productions for the company. He works from 59 Productions’ U.S. studios in New York City.
New York-based engineer and producer Rick Jacobsohn has established a multifaceted career in recording studio and live performance venues. Since 2007, he has been the producer and engineer for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s broadcast and archival recordings. As of the 2016 season, he has also produced and engineered a portion of the Philadelphia Orchestra’s weekly broadcasts on WRTI. Other recording projects have found him working with notable classical and jazz artists and ensembles. He is the original sound designer for Osvaldo Golijov’s Ainadamar and Mason Bates’ The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs. Additionally, Jacobsohn has mixed live sound on numerous productions for orchestras, including the Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Atlanta symphonies as well as Opera Philadelphia and the Santa Fe Opera. He earned a bachelor’s degree in music from Ithaca College and a master’s degree in sound recording from McGill University.
Chloe Treat is a New York-based director and choreographer. Born and raised in Texas, she directs and choreographs musicals, plays, operas, outdoor dance rituals, and feminist westerns. Treat was the associate choreographer of Broadway’s Natasha Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 and Heisenberg. She recently directed productions of Cabaret, James Joyce’s The Dead and new musical The Wave at Indiana University. She is currently directing Spring Awakening at Manhattan School of Music and new play Eco-Village in New York. She is an associate artist for Heartbeat Opera, where she choreographed Carmen, Lucia di Lammermoor, Daphnis and Chloe, and Don Giovanni. Treat also choreographed The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs at Santa Fe Opera, The Good Swimmer and Thomas Paine in Violence at HERE arts, and the American premiere of Philip Glass opera The Perfect American. Treat has developed a storytelling workshop with collaborator Hannah Ezzell that aims to bridge the gender gap in our collective myths by empowering women as storytellers in order to create a more democratic storytelling world.
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 IU Jacobs School of Music Opera and Ballet Theater productions of The Merry Widow, Akhnaten, Le Nozze di Figaro,Lady Thi Kính,H.M.S. Pinafore, La Traviata,The Italian Girl in Algiers, La Bohème, The Last Savage,South Pacific,Die Zauberflöte, The Barber of Seville, Dead Man Walking,Die Fledermaus, Carmen, Oklahoma!,The Daughter of the Regiment, Florencia en el Amazonas,Madama Butterfly,Peter Grimes, The Music Man, Don Giovanni, L’Étoile, It’s a Wonderful Life, Lucia di Lammermoor, and West Side Story. For four years, Huff has served as choral instructor and conductor for the Jacobs School’s Sacred Music Intensive. In addition, he maintains a busy vocal coaching studio in Atlanta. In the summer of 2016, he conducted Arthur Honegger’s King David for the Jacobs Summer Music series with the Summer Chorus and Orchestra. In the summer of 2018, Huff served on the faculty at Ravinia Festival’s Steans Music Institute (Vocal Division).
Daniela Siena brings many years of experience in teaching Italian diction and language to singers. She was introduced to operatic diction by Boris Goldovsky, who was seeking a native speaker without teaching experience to work with singers according to his own pedagogical principles. Siena went on to teach in a number of operatic settings (among them, the Curtis Institute of Music, Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, and Seattle Opera). Over the years, she worked with a number of well-known singers, including Samuel Ramey, Justino Díaz, Carol Vaness, Wolfgang Brendel, June Anderson, Gianna Rolandi, and Jerry Hadley. The conductors, coaches, and stage directors with whom she has worked include Otto Guth, Max Rudolf, Edoardo Müller, David Effron, Arthur Fagen, Anthony Pappano, Anthony Manoli, Terry Lusk, Dino Yannopoulos, Tito Capobianco, Andrei Șerban, John Cox, and John Copley. At New York City Opera, Siena worked closely with Beverly Sills—as her executive assistant, as a diction coach, and as the creator of English supertitles for a dozen operas. More recently, she worked for two years as a coach for the Young Artists Program of the Los Angeles Opera and, for the past six years, she has taught in Dolora Zajick’s summer Institute for Young Dramatic Voices. Born in Florence, Italy, to an Italian mother and a Russian émigré father, Siena arrived in the United States at age seven. She received a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and, in her twenties, worked for two years in Italy as secretary to the president of the Olivetti Company. Many years later, she continued her education, earned a master’s degree, and became licensed as a psychotherapist by the state of California, where she practiced for 15 years. The mother of two grown children, she moved to Bloomington to be near her son, who lives here with his wife and two young daughters.
Baritone Edward Cleary, from Brockton, Massachusetts, is a first-year Performer Diploma candidate studying with Heidi Grant Murphy. He has earned degrees from Boston University and Mannes College of Music. Roles performed while at Mannes include the title role in Gianni Schicchi, Minksman in the New York premiere of Jonathan Dove’s Flight, Dulcamara in The Elixir of Love, Don Prudenzio in Il Viaggio a Reims, and Gideon March/Dashwood in Little Women. At Boston University, he was seen as Gregorio in Romeo et Juliette and received the Ellalou Dimmock Award, the university’s top award for undergraduate singers. Cleary was also a 2016 grant winner of the Gerda Lissner International Vocal Competition. Other performance highlights include his work as an emerging artist with Virginia Opera, the opening concert of the Opus Arts Festival with the Israeli Camerata, the role of Count Malcolm in A Little Night Music in Oslo, Norway, and the role of Papageno in Die Zauberflöte with Summer Opera Tel Aviv.
Jeremy Weiss is currently pursuing a Master of Music in Voice Performance at the Jacobs School of Music, studying with Brian Gill. Recent credits at IU include West Side Story (Action), L’Étoile (Tapioca), Rodelinda (Garibaldo), Romeo and Juliet (Romeo) with the IU New Music Ensemble, and Fanfare(Majordomo) with IU Ballet Theater. Past credits include Belli’s Orfeo Dolente (Orfeo), Di Goldene Kale (Berke) with the National Yiddish Theater Off-Broadway, Cavalli’s Xerxes(Elviro) and Erismena (Erimante) with the Yale Baroque Opera Project, Oklahoma! (Curly), The Music Man (Oliver), Fortuna Fantasia (Ringmaster) at the New York International Fringe Festival, My Fair Lady (Freddy), Into the Woods (Wolf/Prince), and A Little Night Music (Frederick). This past summer, Weiss studied at the Aspen Music Festival. He graduated from Yale University with a double major in humanities and theater studies, and a certificate in energy studies. He is also pursuing a master’s degree in public affairs from the IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs.
Mezzo-soprano Courtney Jameson is completing her last year of doctoral coursework at the Jacobs School of Music. She earned her Bachelor of Music from Taylor University in 2014 and her Master of Music from Indiana University in 2016. She is from Frankfort, Indiana. For the past two summers, she has been a Gerdine Young Artist at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, where she participated in six operas, master classes, and the annual scenes concert under the baton of Stephen Lord. This past year, Jameson won first place in the Artist Division in the National Opera Association’s Carolyn Bailey and Dominick Argento Vocal Competition. She received an Encouragement Award at the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in the Saint Louis District and second place in the National Society of Arts and Letters Competition in Bloomington. Her other IU opera credits include Lazuli (L’Étoile), Bertarido (Rodelinda), Paula (Florencia en el Amazonas), Dorabella (Così fan tutte), and Jade Boucher (Dead Man Walking). In 2016, she won first place in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in the Kentucky District. She also participated in Bay View Music Festival and performed as Angelina in Rossini’s La Cenerentola. As a concert soloist, Jameson has sung with many ensembles at IU, including NOTUS, New Music Ensemble, and Conductors’ Chorus. She has also been a featured soloist in pieces such as Fern Hill (Corigliano), Serenade to Music(Vaughan Williams), Messiah and Alexander’s Feast (Handel), and Folk Songs(Bernard Rands). She is a current student of Mary Ann Hart and teaches private voice lessons as an associate instructor of voice.
Canadian mezzo-soprano Amanda Perera is a Performer Diploma candidate at the Jacobs School of Music under the tutelage of Heidi Grant Murphy. In the 2017-18 season, Perera made her Capitol City Opera debut as Alisa in Lucia di Lammermoor and has since appeared in numerous roles with the company, including Mercédès in highlights from Carmen and Flora in its production of La Traviata. A member of The Atlanta Opera Chorus, she was a soloist in Bizet’s Carmen under the baton of Arthur Fagen this spring. Previous performance credits include Maddalena in Rigoletto (IU Opera Workshop), Maman and La Chatte in L’enfant et les sortilèges (UWOpera), Mercédès in Carmen (Opera Nuova), Tisbe in La Cenerentola (UWOpera), and Countess Charlotte in A Little Night Music (Halifax Summer Opera Festival). Perera made her IU Opera Theater debut as Prince Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus.
Joseph McBrayer is a tenor from Dallas, Georgia, currently pursuing his M.M. with Alice Hopper. While living near Atlanta, he performed with such companies as Capitol City Opera and The Atlanta Opera, and earned his B.M. from Kennesaw State University studying under Oral Moses. Most recently, McBrayer was featured on the MAC stage singing the role of Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoorand in the chorus ofL’Étoile.He spent last summer working with the Summer Opera program in Tel Aviv performing the role of Tamino in Die Zauberflöte, among other performances.
From Sandy Lake, Pennsylvania, tenor Gregory McClelland is currently a Performer Diploma student under the tutelage of Jane Dutton and Gary Arvin. He was last seen on the MAC stage as Howard Boucher in Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking. While at IU, he has performed with the University Singers, NOTUS, Conductors’ Chorus, Opera Chorus, and Oratorio Chorus. Other notable roles are Count Tasillo (Countess Maritza), Camille de Rosillon (The Merry Widow), and Prince Kaspar (Amahl and the Night Visitors). McClelland has performed scenes from La Bohème (Rodolfo), Werther (Werther), Die Fledermaus(Eisenstein), and Don Giovanni (Don Ottavio). He earned a bachelor’s degree in music education from Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania.
Bass-baritone David D. Lee’s passion for music started in church at a young age. As part of the church choir, he sang a wide range of sacred music, including oratorios and mass. He furthered his interest in classical singing at Temple University’s voice and opera program. After earning his bachelor’s degree, he continued his studies at the New England Conservatory. Lee has sung in many operas, including Le Nozze di Figaro, Don Pasquale, Gianni Schicchi, La Gazzetta, L’amico Fritz, Der Kaiser von Atlantis, L’incoronazione di Poppea, and Die Fledermaus. He is currently a student of Peter Volpe.
Originally from Arlington, Virginia, bass-baritone Julian Michael Morris recently debuted with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, as The Speaker in Die Zauberflöte.He also traveled to Tel Aviv, Israel, where he performed the role of Pandolfe in Cendrillonwith Summer Opera Tel Aviv. Morris was recently seen on the MAC stage as Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoorand the bass soloist in Penderecki’s St. Luke Passionwith the IU Oratorio Chorus and Philharmonic Orchestra. Previous seasons have seen him in several roles with IU Opera, including Alvaro in Florencia en el Amazonas, Hobson in Peter Grimes, and Pistola in Falstaff, and as Don Magnifico in La Cenerentolawith the Bay View Music Festival. Concert appearances from previous seasons include a performance as the bass soloist in J. S. Bach’s Sehet, welch eine Liebewith the Bloomington Bach Cantata Project, and as the bass soloist in Haydn’s Missa Sancti Nicolai with Trinity Church in Bloomington, Indiana.Morris has been the recipient of awards including a Joshi International Fellowship from the Georgina Joshi Foundation, and the Giorgio Tozzi Award, Bruce Hubbard Memorial Award, and two Artistic Excellence Fellowships, all from the Jacobs School of Music. He currently serves as associate instructor of voice at Jacobs, where he teaches privately and is associate director of the undergraduate opera workshop. Morris has previously studied with Patricia Stiles and currently studies with Wolfgang Brendel, while coaching with Gary Arvin and Kevin Murphy.
Soprano Michelle Lerch is pursuing a Performer Diploma in Voice at the Jacob School of Music, where she studies with Katherine Jolly. Lerch has been a recipient of awards including IU’s graduate Musicianship Award and the Bel Canto Vocal Scholarship. Most recently, she performed the role of Adele in Johann Strauss’s Die Fledermaus with Opera Wilmington. In the summer of 2017, she appeared as Abigail in Robert Ward’s The Crucible with the Chicago Summer Opera Program. Lerch has also been heard in IU’s New Voices Opera program, where she premiered the role of Diane in Kyle Peter Rotolo’s Marilyn’s Room in 2017. As an undergraduate voice major at East Carolina University, she sang multiple roles, most notably, Elisetta in Cimarosa’s Il Matrimonio Segreto. In addition, Lerch has also studied at the Oberlin in Italy opera festival, where she made her debut as Nymphe in Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo.
Soprano Nicola Santoro, a native of Mountain View, California, is currently pursuing a Master of Music in Voice Performance under the tutelage of Carol Vaness. She graduated from Westminster Choir College with a Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance. Previous IU credits include Francisca in West Side Story and performances in the ensemble for It’s A Wonderful Life.She has performed in IU opera workshops as Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro and Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi.Previous credits include covering the role of Anne Egerman in A Little Night Music with The Princeton Festival, Sandman (Hansel and Gretel), Maguelonne (Cendrillon), Rosa Bud (The Mystery of Edwin Drood), and Mrs. Gobineau (The Medium). Santoro has also appeared in scenes from Der Rosenkavalier, Louise, andThe Rake’s Progress. This past summer, she was a young artist at SongFest, where she participated in master classes presented by Alan Smith, Jake Heggie, and Libby Larsen.
Zachary Smith, a native of Santa Fe, Texas, is currently pursuing his D.M. under the tutelage of Brian Gill. Previously on the MAC stage, he has performed Riff inWest Side Story, Tommy inThe Music Man, and been part of the choruses forFlorencia en el AmazonasandL’Étoile. At IU, he has also performed the roles of Ramiro inL’heure Espagnoland Betto inGianni Schicchiunder the direction of Carol Vaness. Through New Voices Opera and the New Music Ensemble he premiered two roles: Dr. Anselo (In Memoriam) and Tybalt (Romeo and Juliet), respectively.
A Cincinnati native, baritone Nick Farmer is a doctoral student in voice at the Jacobs School of Music, where he studies with Jane Dutton. Paul Jobs marks his second role at IU Opera Theater; last year, he played the role of Ernie in Jake Heggie’s It’s a Wonderful Life. Other favorite roles include the title role in Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Mr. Gedge in Britten’s Albert Herring. Farmer earned his Master of Music degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music and his Bachelor of Music degree from DePauw University. This past summer, he sang on the historic Teatro Angela Peralta stage in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. His musical and academic interests include performing contemporary classical music, as well as the psychology of music and emotion. His is married to soprano Alejandra Martinez, with whom he often performs in concert.
Emily Warren, mezzo-soprano, is a graduate student studying with Patricia Stiles. This is her third production with IU Opera Theater, having performed last year as Dryade in Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos and as Koukouli/Ensemble in Chabrier’s L’Étoile. Recently, Warren performed the role of Dritte Dame in a production of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Krzysztof Urbanski. During her time at Indiana University, she has performed as Angela in the IU Gilbert & Sullivan Society’s production of Patience and has premiered the role of Joan in Kyle Peter Rotolo’s one-act opera, Marilyn’s Room, with New Voices Opera. Warren earned her B.M. in Vocal Performance from Baldwin Wallace University, during which time she performed the roles of Ramiro in Mozart’s La finta giardiniera and L’enfant in Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges.
Jake Sater is a Bloomington native currently in eighth grade at Tri-North Middle School. In his spare time, he enjoys video games, cats, and playing trombone. During his seven years in the IU Children’s Choir, Sater sang in IU Opera’s productions of La Bohème, Dead Man Walking, and Carmen.