OPERA SARATOGA ANNOUNCES
COMPLETE CASTING AND PROGRAMS
FOR 2018 SUMMER FESTIVAL
DAVID ALAN MILLER CONDUCTS A 'WINNING DOUBLE BILL' FEATURING THE AMERICAN PREMIERE OF ROCKING HORSE WINNER AND
THE WORLD PREMIERE OF A NEW EDITION OF
VINKENSPORT, OR THE FINCH OPERA
NEW PRODUCTIONS OF THE MERRY WIDOW AND THE CONSUL
CONCERTS AND SPECIAL EVENTS IN SARATOGA SPRINGS, DIAMOND POINT, BOLTON LANDING, AND ALBANY
FEATURED GUEST ARTISTS INCLUDE
CECILIA VIOLETTA LÓPEZ, MEGHAN KASANDERS, DEBORAH NANSTEEL, JENNIFER PANARA, SCOTT QUINN, TYLER NELSON, AND ANDY PAPAS
Saratoga Springs, NY - Opera Saratoga's Artistic and General Director Lawrence Edelson announced the complete casting and programming for the company's 2018 Summer Festival, which will feature new productions of four operas at The Spa Little Theater in Spa State Park, along with a wide variety of free and ticketed concert events from May 26th through July 15th at venues throughout the region. Single tickets, as well as subscription packages, are on sale now at www.operasaratoga.org.
One of the most popular operettas across the globe, THE MERRY WIDOW returns to Opera Saratoga for the first time in thirty years. Hanna Glawari, the Merry Widow, is beautiful and rich... and she's captivated every man in the country. But Hanna is looking for true love. Will she be able to find a suitor that is not only after her wealth? Will the nation of Pontevedro slip into economic collapse if she marries a foreigner? Will all those dancing girls prove too distracting for the audience?! Franz Lehár's magical score features the famous "Vilja" song, the "Merry Widow Waltz," and many more beloved melodies. The Merry Widow, which was composed in 1905, ushered in a new era of operettas in which the waltz was used for romantic plot purposes, and was danced as much as sung. Opera Saratoga's new production continues the company's Opera-in-Motion initiative, in which dance is prominently integrated into one production each summer. The Merry Widow will be directed and choreographed by John de los Santos, and conducted by Anthony Barrese, both making their company debuts. Soprano Cecilia Violetta López (Beatrice in Il Postino, 2016) returns to star in the title role, alongside the company debuts of baritone Jonathan Beyer as Danilo, tenor Scott Quinn as Camille, and the return of baritone Andy Papas as Baron Zeta.
The second production of the season will be a double bill of contemporary operas that revolve around themes of obsession, desire, competition and the need to win as seen through the lens of two very different sports - Thoroughbred Horse Racing, and Finch Sitting! David Alan Miller, the Grammy Award winning Music Director of the Albany Symphony, joins the company to lead this special production.
The first half of the double bill will be the World Premiere of a new chamber version of VINKENSPORT, or THE FINCH OPERA. Originally commissioned by Dawn Upshaw for the Graduate Vocal Arts Program at the Bard Conservatory, where it premiered in February of 2010, this opera was one of the earliest collaborations between David T. Little and Royce Vavrek, whose critically acclaimed works also include JFK and Dog Days. Vinkensport is a bittersweet comedy in one act that explores the nature of competition and the need to win through the frame of an obscure Flemish folk sport, Finch-Sitting. We see a motley assortment of contestants battle to see who has the most melodious bird. As they compete, the joys, sorrows, delusions and all-too-stark realities of their trainers are revealed. The second half of the double bill will feature the American Premiere of ROCKING HORSE WINNER. This critically acclaimed chamber opera by Gareth Williams and Anna Chatterton received its world premiere last season at Tapestry Opera in Toronto. A modern adaptation of D.H. Lawrence's short story, Rocking Horse Winner explores the relationship between Paul and his emotionally distant mother. Paul becomes dangerously obsessed with solving the "bad luck" of his family in order to win his mother's love. His pursuit awakens a strange magic that connects him not only to luck, but also to powerful voices only he can hear - voices that tell him which horses will win at the track. Rocking Horse Winner is an intimate, psychological look at love, "luck", and greed. Internationally acclaimed tenors Scott Quinn and Tyler Nelson are featured in this double-bill, alongside members of Opera Saratoga's nationally acclaimed Young Artist Program - the second oldest mentorship program for emerging opera singers in the country, under the leadership of Laurie Rogers. The production will prominently feature these gifted singers as part of Opera Saratoga's commitment to providing emerging professional artists important performing opportunities to advance their careers. The production will be directed by Michael Hidetoshi Mori in his company debut.
Winner of both the New York Drama Critic Circle award as the Best Musical Play and the Pulitzer Prize in Music in 1950, THE CONSUL is an American masterpiece that ran on Broadway for eight months before premiering at La Scala, followed by productions at opera houses around the globe. Olin Downes hailed the Broadway premiere in The New York Times as "a smash hit" and "an opera of eloquence, momentousness, and intensity of expression...written from the heart, with a blazing sincerity and a passion of human understanding... It is torn out of the life of the present-day world, and poses an issue which mercilessly confronts humanity today. And this is done with a new wedding of the English language with music in a way which is singable, intensely dramatic and poetic by turns, and always of beauty."Almost 70 years later, Gian Carlo Menotti's riveting opera still delivers a punch as powerful and timely as its subject matter - the struggle for freedom against oppression, and the maddening nature of unrelenting bureaucracy. Set in an unnamed European city, political dissident John Sorel is on the run from the secret police. After he escapes the country, his devoted wife Magda clashes with the bureaucracy at the Consulate while trying to obtain an exit visa for her family. The emotional high point of the opera comes when Magda, thwarted in her quest for a visa, addresses the Consul's secretary in "To this we've come," a stirring lament over the world's indifference to inhumanity and suffering. The suspenseful narrative surprises with several magical touches and is buoyed by a melodic score in which love, hope, and redemption all play their part. Last seen at Opera Saratoga (as Lake George Opera) in 1984, The Consul remains as timely as when it was written, taking on renewed relevance for contemporary audiences. Artistic and General Director Lawrence Edelson directs this new production, conducted by Andrew Bisantz (Le nozze di Figaro, 2016). The production will feature two distinguished alumni of Opera Saratoga's Young Artist Program who have become fast-rising stars: soprano Meghan Kasanders, and mezzo soprano Jennifer Panara. Critically acclaimed artists making their debuts with Opera Saratoga in this production include mezzo soprano Deborah Nansteel, tenor Tyler Nelson, and baritone Wes Mason.
In addition to the opera productions, Opera Saratoga will present a variety of free and ticketed concerts and master classes from May 26th through July 15th at venues throughout the region. These events will include two concerts directly connected to the summer operas: Vienna, City of My Dreams - a concert featuring scenes from operettas by Johann Strauss, Franz Lehár, Emmerich Kálmán, Franz von Suppé, Leo Fall and more; and Refugee Voices, a concert of vocal music by refugee composers - artists who had to flee from their home countries due to religious or political persecution.
The complete performance schedule for the 2018 Summer Festival is available online. Subscription Packages and Single Tickets are now on sale. For more information, please visit www.operasaratoga.org
ALL OPERA PERFORMANCES TAKE PLACE AT: THE SPA LITTLE THEATER, SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY
Opera Tickets: $95 / $72.50 / $50
Subscriptions: Discount Packages Available
THE MERRY WIDOW (1905)
Music by Franz Lehár; Libretto by Victor Léon & Leo Stein
Performance Dates: Friday,June 29 @ 7:30pm; Sunday, July 1 @ 2:00pm; Sunday, July 8 @ 2:00pm;
Friday, July 13 @ 7:30pm
Conductor: Anthony Barrese
Director and Choreographer: John de los Santos
Scenic Designer: Cameron Anderson
Costume Designer: Glenn Avery Breed
Lighting Designer: Brandon Stirling Baker
Featuring: Cecilia Violetta López, Jonathan Beyer, Scott Quinn, Megan Pachecano, Quinn Bernegger, John Tibbetts, Bradley Bickhardt, Laura Zahn, Rachel Mikol, Nate Mattingly, and Garrett Obrycki
A WINNING DOUBLE BILL
ROCKING HORSE WINNER (2016)
Music by Gareth Williams; Libretto by Anna Chatterton
Based on the short story "The Rocking-Horse Winner" by D.H. Lawrence
Commissioned by Tapestry Opera and Scottish Opera
American Premiere Production
VINKENSPORT, or THE FINCH OPERA (2010/2018)
Music by David T. Little; Libretto by Royce Vavrek
Commissioned by Dawn Upshaw for the Graduate Vocal Arts Program at Bard Conservatory
New performing edition commissioned by Opera Saratoga, World Premiere Production
Performance Dates: Saturday, June 30 @ 7:30pm; Friday July 6 @ 2:00pm; Satruday July 14 @ 2:00pm
Conductor: David Alan Miller
Director: Michael Hidetoshi Mori
Scenic Designer: Cameron Anderson
Costume Designer: Valérie Thérèse Bart
Lighting Designer: Brandon Stirling Baker
Featuring: Tyler Nelson, Scott Quinn, Christine Suits, Kelly Glyptis, Megan Pachecano, Sean Galligan, Quinn Bernegger, John Tibbetts, and Garrett Obrycki
THE CONSUL (1950)
Music and Libretto by Gian Carlo Menotti
Performance Dates: Saturday, July 7 @ 7:30pm; Monday July 9 @ 2:00pm; Sunday July 15 @ 2:00pm
Conductor: Andrew Bisantz
Director: Lawrence Edelson
Scenic Designer: Cameron Anderson
Costume Designer: Glenn Avery Breed
Lighting Designer: Brandon Stirling Baker
Featuring: Meghan Kasanders, Deborah Nansteel, Wes Mason, Jennifer Panara, Tyler Nelson, Nate Mattingly, Garrett Obrycki, Kelly Glyptis, Ellen Leslie, Paulina Villareal, and Nicholas Yaquinto
OPERA ON THE LAKE - THE 2018 OPERA GALA
Honorary Chairs: David Thomas & Theresa Treadway Lloyd
Special Honoree: Patty Finnerty
Gala Chair: Steve Rosenblum
Location: The Lake George Club, Diamond Point, NY
Date: Sunday, June 3 @ 4:30pm
Opera Saratoga returns to the shores of Lake George, where the company was founded almost sixty years ago, for the 2018 Opera Gala, Opera on the Lake. Cocktails and dinner overlooking the lake, a live auction of exclusive experiences, a raffle featuring several unique items, and a special program of opera and song will highlight this very special evening, which is our most important fundraising event of the year. Net proceeds from Opera on the Lake will benefit Opera Saratoga's extensive community and educational programs, and the 2018 Summer Festival.
A BERNSTEIN BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION
Sunday, June 10, 2pm and 7:30pm
The Carriage House at The Mansion Inn , 801 Route 29, Rock City Falls, NY
(10 minutes from downtown Saratoga Springs)
Tickets: $60; Subscribers: $54
Join Opera Saratoga for a birthday party you won't soon forget - a centennial tribute to Leonard Bernstein! Members of Opera Saratoga's Young Artist Program celebrate the legacy of one of America's most beloved composers, who brought us masterpieces including West Side Story, Candide, and Wonderful Town. Seating is cabaret style tables, general admission, and is strictly limited for these two concerts. Tapas and drinks - inspired by Leonard Bernstein's theatrical works and specially concocted by The Mansion Inn's Cordon Bleu trained Executive Chef Rick Bieber - will be available for purchase. Presented in partnership with The Mansion Inn.
2018 SEASON PREVIEW
Tuesday, June 19, 7:30pm
The Sembrich Museum, 4800 Lake Shore Drive Bolton Landing, NY
(please note, tickets for this event must be purchased directly through The Sembrich at www.thesembrich.org)
We return to the shores of Lake George to present a preview of the 2018 Summer Festival in the former teaching studio of Metropolitan Opera Diva Marcella Sembrich!Members of Opera Saratoga's Young Artist Program - selected from across the country - will be featured in scenes from The Merry Widow, The Consul, Rocking Horse Winner, and Vinkensport, or The Finch Opera.
VIENNA, CITY OF MY DREAMS
Thursday, July 12, 7:30pm
The Spa Little Theater, 21 Roosevelt Drive, Saratoga Springs, NY
Tickets: $80/$60/$40; Subscribers: $72/$54/$36
Members of Opera Saratoga's acclaimed Young Artist Program will be featured in this evening of Viennese operetta favorites, including arias and ensembles by Oscar Strauss, Franz Lehár, Emmerich Kálmán, Franz von Suppé, Leo Fall and more - a perfect complement to our new production of The Merry Widow!
STARS OF TOMORROW
Saturday, May 26, 7:30pm
Filene Recital Hall at Skidmore College, 815 North Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY
Start the season with our fourth annual Stars of Tomorrow concert - featuring 25 singers from around the country who have been selected from almost 1,000 applicants to be members of Opera Saratoga's prestigious Young Artist Program. Presented in partnership with Skidmore College.
Sunday, June 17, 7:00pm
Picotte Recital Hall, Massry Center for the Arts at The College of St. Rose, 432 Western Avenue, Albany, NY
Building on themes explored in this summer's production of The Consul, Opera Saratoga presents a special concert featuring music by refugee composers - artists who had to flee from their home countries due to religious or political persecution. Opera and song by Gaetano Donizetti, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Darius Milhaud, Paul Hindemith, Erich Korngold, Irving Berlin, Belá Bartók, and Kurt Weill will be highlighted during this free event. Presented in partnership with the Department of Music and the Massry Center for the Arts at the College of St. Rose.
FEATURED GUEST ARTISTS
ANTHONY BARRESE (Conductor, The Merry Widow): Anthony Barrese has earned accolades as both a composer and a conductor. He is the recipient of the 2007 Georg Solti Foundation U.S. award for young conductors. His original works have won numerous awards, and he is regularly engaged by opera companies in North America and Italy. Currently Mr. Barrese works as a freelance composer and conductor. He has led several productions with Sarasota Opera (Lakmé, Le nozze di Figaro, Hansel and Gretel), and with Opera Southwest (Le nozze di Figaro, Die Fledermaus, La cenerentola) where he is Artistic Director and Principal Conductor. He was the Assistant Conductor of the Dallas Opera in 2006-2007 and returned there as Guest Conductor for a production of Tosca in 2008, and in 2015 for La Wally. In 2008 Mr. Barrese conducted a new production of Turandot in Ascoli Piceno's historic Teatro Ventidio Basso, with a cast that included Nicola Martinucci as Calaf. He also made his French debut conducting Turandot at the Opéra de Massy. In recent seasons Mr. Barrese made debuts with Florida Grand Opera (Les pêcheurs de perles) Opera Theatre of St. Louis (The Kiss), Opera North (L'elisir d'amore), and Boston Lyric Opera (Don Giovanni). Mr. Barrese is the recipient of numerous composition awards including a N.E.C. Contemporary Ensemble Composition Competition Award for his Madrigale a 3 voci femminili, and two B.M.I. Student Composers Awards. As a musicologist, Mr. Barrese rediscovered, prepared, and edited the critical edition of Franco Faccio's opera Amleto, in conjunction with Casa Ricordi. He made his operatic conducting debut in Milan with La bohème and recorded Roberto Andreoni's quattro luci sul lago with "I Solisti della Scala" (a chamber group made up of the first chair musicians of the La Scala Philharmonic) for broadcast on Italian National Radio (RAI 3). As Artistic Director of Opera Southwest he has performed Rossini's Otello with the American staged premiere of the finale lieto, and in 2014 he lead the new World Premiere of Amleto, not heard anywhere since 1871. In the 2015-16 season Mr. Barrese led a "Return of Rossini" festival at OSW, as well as a production of Norma at Florida Grand Opera. Recent and upcoming engagements include Kurt Weill's operetta Johnny Johnson with Chicago Folks Operetta, Orfeo ed Euridice in a return to Florida Grand Opera, Il tabarro and Suor Angelica at Opera Delaware, and The Merry Widow in his debut at Opera Saratoga.
JONATHAN BEYER (Danilo, The Merry Widow): Baritone Jonathan Beyer has quickly established himself as a versatile performer in repertoire ranging from Count Almaviva in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro to the title role in John Adams' Nixon in China. Recently he performed Rossini's Figaro with Pittsburgh Opera, Opera Company of Philadelphia and Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Marcello in La bohème with Boston Lyric Opera and in Frankfurt, Danilo in The Merry Widow with Lyric Opera of Chicago (cover), Dr. Falke in Die Fledermaus with Florentine Opera, Malatesta in Don Pasquale in Naples, Guglielmo in Così fan tutte with Florida Grand Opera, Marcello with the Dallas Opera, Ping in Turandot with the Cincinnati Opera, and Carmina Burana with the New Jersey Symphony. Other notable performances have included engagements with the Munich Philharmonic, and the Royal Opera in Oman as Schaunard in La bohème with Maestro Lorin Maazel, the Count in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro for Austin Lyric Opera, Ping in Puccini's Turandot for the Dallas Opera, Mendelssohn's Elijah with the Ft. Worth Symphony, Le Comte de Vaudemont in Verdi's Les vêpres siciliennes for Frankfurt Opera, and Ping in Turandot with l'Opéra de Montréal, the Count in Le nozze di Figaro with the Ft. Worth Opera, Escamillo in Carmen with the Opera Company of Philadelphia, Schaunard in La bohème with Hong Kong Opera and the Castleton Festival with Lorin Maazel, l'Heure Espagnole for Opera Frankfurt, Lescaut in Manon for Knoxville Opera, Jonathan Dove's Flight with Austin Lyric Opera, and Captain Gardiner in the World Premiere of Moby Dick for the Dallas Opera.Mr. Beyer made his Metropolitan Opera debut as Wagner in a new production of Faust in 2011, and his Italian debut in Bari as Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia in 2012. Mr. Beyer's concert appearances include his American Symphony Orchestra debut in Stravinsky's Canticum Sacrum at Carnegie Hall, Faure's Requiem with the Colorado Symphony, Copland's Old American Songs with the Ft. Worth Symphony, Mahler's Knaben Wunderhorn, Symphony in C and Vier Ernste Gesänge with the Philadelphia Brahms Festival, Carmina Burana with the National Chorale at Lincoln Center, and Tosca with the Ravinia Festival under the baton of Maestro James Conlon. An avid recitalist, Mr. Beyer has performed in recital with Craig Rutenberg, Mikael Eliasen, Kristin Okerlund, Martin Katz and Brian Zeger. He has given recitals through the Vocal Arts Society, Marilyn Horne Foundation, Chicago Cultural Center, Judith Raskin Foundation, Bertlesmann Foundation, Huntsville Chamber Music Guild, Pittsburgh Concert Society, Over the Rainbow Foundation, Astral Artists, and the Marian Anderson Foundation. Mr. Beyer was a National Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Awards, a Grand Prize winner at the 2011 George London Foundation, and was the 1st Place Winner at the Marian Anderson Prize for Emerging Classical Artists. He is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music and the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University.
ANDREW BISANTZ (Conductor, The Consul): A versatile musician acknowledged for his passionate and commanding leadership from the podium, the exciting American conductor Andrew Bisantz is building an impressive roster of credits at leading national orchestras and opera companies throughout the country. As the Artistic Director at Eugene Opera, Mr. Bisantz has been responsible for the emergence of the company as one of the most noted and important performing arts organizations in the Pacific Northwest. In Eugene, he has conducted Don Giovanni, Le nozze di Figaro, Faust, La bohème, The Mikado, Carmen, Nixon in China, Pirates of Penzance, Dead Man Walking, Offenbach's Orphée aux Enfers, La fanciulla del West, L'elisir d'amore, Lucia di Lammermoor, Eugene Onegin, La traviata, and Il barbiere di Siviglia. He recently conducted La fanciulla del West in a return to Virginia Opera, and a concert titled "Mozart's Operatic Favorites" with Buffalo Philharmonic Opera. In 2016, Mo. Bisantz made his debut at Opera Saratoga conducting Le nozze di Figaro,and led Little Women at the Astoria Music Festival, a New Year's Eve concert with Eugene Opera, and an operatic adaptation of a theatrical retelling of Oedipus Rex, Greek with Boston Lyric Opera. Notable engagements from the past few seasons include returns to Florida Grand Opera for Rigoletto, Menotti's The Consul, and Die Zauberflöte; A Midsummer Night's Dream at McGill University; Rigoletto at Opera Coeur d'Alene and Tri-Cities Opera; Verdi's La traviata for Virginia Opera; Le nozze di Figaro at Opera San José; La fanciulla del West at Opera Omaha; and Don Giovanni at Savannah Voice Festival and in his debut with Wolf Trap Opera. He also conducted Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 with the Boston Landmarks Orchestra under the famed Hatch Shell and sold-out performances of Rhapsody in Blue with Buffalo Philharmonic. He made his European debut conducting concerts with the Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto in Porto, Portugal and returned conducting a concert of Bomtempo's Requiem with the OSP and the Coro Casa da Música. He also recently débuted at the Brevard Music Center, conducting Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore for the Janiec Opera Company.
LAWRENCE EDELSON (Director, The Consul; Artist and General Director): The 2018 Summer Festival at Opera Saratoga will mark the fourth season under Lawrence Edelson's leadership as Artistic and General Director. As a stage director, Lawrence's diverse productions have included the American premiere of Telemann's Orpheus for Wolf Trap Opera, Philip Glass's Hydrogen Jukebox for Fort Worth Opera, La traviatafor The Minnesota Opera, Il Postino, La cenerentola and H.M.S. Pinafore for Opera Saratoga, Little Women for Michigan Opera Theatre, Il barbiere di Siviglia for Hawaii Opera Theater, Carmen for Toledo Opera, the world premiere of Buried Alive(Myers/Long) for Fargo-Moorhead Opera, Cosí fan tutte for Boston University's Opera Institute, and the New York premiere of Fauré's rarely produced Pénélope for Manhattan School of Music. Most recently, Lawrence directed and choreographed the 80th Anniversary production of Marc Blitzstein's The Cradle Will Rock at Opera Saratoga in collaboration with Maestro John Mauceri, which was recorded for commercial release. He was a guest member on the directing staff of New York City Opera, where he restaged Little Women twice: for the work's Lincoln Center premiere and for the company's tour to Japan. From 2008 to 2012, Lawrence was also a faculty member at the International Vocal Arts Institute in Tel Aviv, where he led seminars on American opera, and directed original productions of Little Women, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Werther, Ariadne auf Naxos, and Eugene Onegin. Before focusing on directing and arts administration, Lawrence enjoyed a performing career in both ballet and opera. He studied voice and musicology at The University of Ottawa and dance at The Joffrey Ballet School in New York City. As a dancer, he performed with Boston Ballet, Ballet West, and BalletMet Columbus. He has choreographed for ballet and opera companies around the country. As a singer, he appeared in opera, oratorio and musical theater internationally. Lawrence completed his master's degree in performing arts administration at New York University. In the opera field, Lawrence is perhaps best known as the founder of American Lyric Theater (ALT). As Producing Artistic Director at ALT, a position he continues to hold concurrent with his position at Opera Saratoga, he coordinates the company's diverse artistic programs including The Composer Librettist Development Program, commissioning of new works, and co-production relationships. Recent projects at ALT include the development of The Long Walk (Beck/Fleischmann), which premiered at Opera Saratoga in 2015; JFK(Little/Vavrek), which premiered at Fort Worth Opera in 2016; and Monkey and Francine in the City of Tigers (Sankaram/Johnston), which premiered at Houston Grand Opera/HGOCo in 2018.
MEGHAN KASANDERS (Magda Sorel, The Consul): American soprano Meghan Kasanders is quickly gaining recognition as a promising young dramatic voice. An alumna of Opera Saratoga's Young Artist Program, she recently appeared with the company as Sadie Polock in the newly recorded production of Marc Blitzstein's The Cradle Will Rock, conducted by world renowned conductor John Mauceri, and covering the role of Alice Ford in Falstaff. This season, Ms. Kasanders also sings Mutter in Humperdinck's Hänsel und Gretel with Union Avenue Opera in St. Louis. In the summer of 2016, Meghan was a Gerdine Young Artist with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, where she covered the Lady in Waiting in Verdi's Macbeth, study covered Primadonna/Ariadne in Ariadne on Naxos,and sang a scene from Carlisle Floyd's Susannah with the St. Louis Symphony under the baton of Stephen Lord. Following her time in St. Louis, Meghan worked with famous dramatic mezzo soprano Dolora Zajick at the Institute for Young Dramatic Voices in Reno, Nevada. She has also worked as an Apprentice Artist with Des Moines Metro Opera during the summer festival seasons of 2014 and 2015. There she was granted with the honorary title as the Maria DiPalma Artist both years. She covered the role of Kitty Hart in their 2014 Iowa premiere production of Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking and the Mother in their Second Stage Series production of Amahl and the Night Visitors. Other performed roles include Fiordiligi (Così fan tutte), the title role in Suor Angelica, Anna Maurrant (Street Scene), Berta (Il barbiere di Siviglia), and Fortuna (Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria). Ms. Kasanders has also sung in numerous scenes programs and concerts, including selections from Die Meistersinger, Norma, Ariadne auf Naxos, Pique Dame, Vanessa, Die Walküre, Regina, Der Rosenkavalier, Iphigénie en Tauride, Le nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni, and Idomeneo. Born in Chicagoland, Ms. Kasanders is now a resident of Manhattan. She holds a bachelor's degree from Simpson College and a master's degree from the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University in 2016 under the direction of Richard Bado. This past fall, Meghan joined the Juilliard School to complete her Artist Diploma in Opera Studies (ADOS). Her important teachers include Edith Wiens, Barbara Clark, and Kimberly Roberts.
CECILIA VIOLETTA LÓPEZ (Hanna Glawari, The Merry Widow): Soprano Cecilia Violetta López, named one of opera's "25 Rising Stars" by Opera News, praised for her "alluring voice and incredible range," (Washington Times) and her "voice: plush and supple, exquisitely colored," (San José Mercury) has been applauded for her signature role of Violetta in La traviata, which she has performed countless times throughout North America. Ms. López recently made her European debut as Norina in Don Pasquale with Zomeropera in Belgium, for which Klassiek Centraal exclaimed: "She turns out to be the revelation of the show and wins over the audience with her funny rendition, irresistible charm and natural in the different vocals. This season's engagements include multiple role debuts as Adina in L'elisir d'amore, Mimì in La bohème, Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia, the Countess in Le nozze di Figaro, and Rosalba in Florencia en el Amazonas. In addition, she reprises the roles of Micaëla in Carmen with Madison Opera, Hanna in The Merry Widow with Opera Saratoga, sings a Gala concert for the Boise Philharmonic, sings a concert with Bard Music Festival titled Virtuosity!, and has a role début as Lucy in Fellow Travelers as part of the Prototype Festival in New York.Last season, Ms. López returned to Bard SummerScape for concert performances, including Puccini: The Man and the Reputation, Opera After Verdi, and The Turandot Project, which juxtaposes the third act of Puccini's posthumously finished opera as adapted by Luciano Berrio and that of Ferruccio Busoni, who adapted the Turandot story seven years before Puccini. She also performed the role of Beatrice Russo in Il Postino in her debut with Opera Saratoga; Desdemona in Rossini's Otello with LoftOpera; Micaëla in Carmen in her house début with Michigan Opera Theatre; Blanche in Dialogues des Carmélites and Rosalind in Die Fledermaus as a part of Eugene Opera's New Year's Eve Opera Trio concert; and took part in Madison Opera's Opera Gala concert "Opera in the Park." Additionally, she performed the soprano solo in Händel's Messiah with Boise Philharmonic, and appeared in the Olga Forrai Foundation gala, the Florida Benefit Concert in Orlando, the Zion Bank Annual Gala, the Los Angeles Annual Education Conference Gala, and received an award from the State of Idaho. She also recently performed a Spanish song recital with Bard SummerScape's Song Cycle Series and made her debut with The Metropolitan Opera's production of The Merry Widow.
WES MASON (John Sorel, The Consul): Hailed by Opera News as "a gifted and fiercely committed baritone whose voice is spacious and reverberant," Wes Mason has established himself as a strong, dramatic singer on stages throughout the country. Mason recently performed the roles Dax/Larry in the world première of Robert Patterson's opera Three Way, which he reprised at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. He also reprises the role of Billy Bigelow in Carousel with Union Avenue Opera; sings Robert Paterson's Crossing the Hudson with American Modern Ensemble at Carnegie Hall; and performs Silvio in I Pagliacci with LoftOpera, John Sorel in The Consul with Opera Saratoga, and Amos King in a NYC reading of All Dressed Up and Nowhere to Go, composed by Jimmy Roberts, which is being directed by Hannah Ryan, the Resident Director of Hamilton. Recently, Mason has performed a variety of roles in the opera and musical theatre repertoire at esteemed houses around the world. Highlights include Marcello in La bohème with Hawaii Opera Theatre, Fort Worth Opera, and Norwalk Symphony; Father Flynn in Doubt with Union Avenue Opera; Morales in Carmen with the Glimmerglass Festival; Zurga in Les pêcheurs de perles with Opera Delaware; the title role in Guillaume Tell with Southern Illinois Music Festival; Belcore in L'elisir d'amore with Gulfshore Opera; the baritone soloist in Broadway Extravaganza with Opera Hong Kong; and the cover of Wendell in Great Scott with San Diego Opera and Dallas Opera, where he also performed Sciarrone in Tosca. An established "cross-over" artist, Mason has played numerous musical theatre roles in his career including Billy Bigelow in Carousel with Utah Opera Festival, Curly in Oklahoma! with Maryland Live Arts and Utah Opera Festival, and the cover for the role of Frank Butler in Annie Get Your Gun with the Glimmerglass Festival. Additional career highlights include the title role of Hamlet and the world première of Jorge Martín's Before Night Falls as Reinaldo Arenas with Fort Worth Opera, Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire with Kentucky Opera, Ping in Turandot with Nashville Opera, Jonathan in Siren Song with Hawaii Opera Theatre, Masetto in Don Giovanni with Opera Philadelphia, Achilla in Giulio Cesare with Opera Roanoke, Escamillo in La Tragédie de Carmen with Syracuse Opera, and Schaunard in La bohème with Crested Butte Music Festival. Mason has been featured on the recording of Three Way with Naxos and of Before Night Falls with Albany Records. He has also been awarded by the Sullivan Foundation, Loren L Zachary Society, and The Metropolitan Opera National Council.Wes graduated from the Academy of Vocal Arts and the University of Michigan, where he was presented the Earl V. Moore Award for outstanding contribution to the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance. He also studied at the William Esper Studio under Suzanne Esper for their summer acting intensive. He is currently based in Brooklyn, New York.
DAVID ALAN MILLER (Conductor, Rocking Horse Winner and Vinkensport ):Grammy Award-winning conductor David Alan Miller has established a reputation as one of the leading American conductors of his generation. Music Director of the Albany Symphony since 1992, Mr. Miller has proven himself a creative and compelling orchestra builder. Through exploration of unusual repertoire, educational programming, community outreach and recording initiatives, he has reaffirmed the Albany Symphony's reputation as the nation's leading champion of American symphonic music and one of its most innovative orchestras. He and the orchestra have twice appeared at "Spring For Music," an annual festival of America's most creative orchestras at New York City's Carnegie Hall. Other accolades include Columbia University's 2003 Ditson Conductor's Award, the oldest award honoring conductors for their commitment to American music, the 2001 ASCAP Morton Gould Award for Innovative Programming and, in 1999, ASCAP's first-ever Leonard Bernstein Award for Outstanding Educational Programming. Frequently in demand as a guest conductor, Mr. Miller has worked with most of America's major orchestras, including the orchestras of Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and San Francisco, as well as the New World Symphony, the Boston Pops and the New York City Ballet. In addition, he has appeared frequently throughout Europe, Australia and the Far East as guest conductor. He made his first guest appearance with the BBC Scottish Symphony in March, 2014. Mr. Miller received his Grammy Award in January, 2014 for his Naxos recording of John Corigliano's "Conjurer," with the Albany Symphony and Dame Evelyn Glennie. His extensive discography also includes recordings of the works of Todd Levin with the London Symphony Orchestra for Deutsche Grammophon, as well as music by Michael Daugherty, Kamran Ince, and Michael Torke for London/Decca, and of Luis Tinoco for Naxos. His recordings with the Albany Symphony include discs devoted to the music of John Harbison, Roy Harris, Morton Gould, Don Gillis, Peter Mennin, and Vincent Persichetti on the Albany Records label. A native of Los Angeles, David Alan Miller holds a bachelor's degree from the University of California, Berkeley and a master's degree in orchestral conducting from The Juilliard School. Prior to his appointment in Albany, Mr. Miller was Associate Conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. From 1982 to 1988, he was Music Director of the New York Youth Symphony, earning considerable acclaim for his work with that ensemble. Mr. Miller lives with his wife and three children in Slingerlands, New York.
MICHAEL HIDETOSHI MORI (Director, Rocking Horse Winner and Vinkensport): Michael Hidetoshi Mori is an award-winning stage director and the Artistic Director of Tapestry Opera in Toronto, Canada. In 2016, the CBC named Tapestry Opera and Michael as one of ten artists changing the artistic landscape of Canada. Recently, for the world premiere production of Rocking Horse Winner (2016), Michael won the Dora Mavor Moore award for outstanding direction and helped the production garner a total of 5 awards at Toronto's prestigious theatre awards, including Best Production. As a performer and music director, Michael has been nominated for a Juno Award and was awarded the West Coast Music Award for Classical Music with the Vancouver-based ensemble musica intima. Michael is a versatile stage director, working in both urban site-specific settings as well as conventional opera houses. His most recent major directorial projects include the world premiere of Brian Finley and Agnes Herzberg's The Pencil Salesman at the Westben Festival, the world premiere of Gareth Williams and Anna Chatterton's Rocking Horse Winner for Tapestry Opera, Jake Heggie's
Dead Man Walking for Fresno Grand Opera and Townsend Opera, and a new production of The Marriage of Figaro for Opera Columbus. A highlight among Michael's most innovative projects is Tapestry Explorations (Tap:Ex), an annual staged concert experience that collides opera with other artistic forms. The series has experimented with fully choreographed art-music (Revolutions), synthesizing cut-film, track, turn-table, live soprano and percussion (Tables-Turned), and an opera-Persian music-hip hop mash up entitled Forbidden, dealing with politics and religion dictating restrictions. Past credits as a stage director or assistant director have included productions in Toronto, Vancouver, St. John's, Columbus and Dallas. As an artist-activist with a passion for grassroots collaborations and innovations, Michael founded Indie Opera T.O, an association of twelve small-to-medium Toronto companies working together to forge a vibrant underground opera scene. He additionally sits on the board of Canada's association of professional opera companies, as Vice-Chair.
DEBORAH NANSTEEL (Mother, The Consul): "A formidable display of vocal power and dramatic assurance," mezzo-soprano Deborah Nansteel recently made a number of outstanding debuts at esteemed venues throughout the country, including Lyric Opera of Chicago as Gertrude in Roméo et Juliette and the cover for Fenena in Nabucco, Carnegie Hall for Mozart's Coronation Mass,and with the New York Philharmonic alongside Eric Owens in In Their Footsteps: Great African American Singers and Their Legacy. This season, Ms. Nansteel takes part in Mainly Mozart Festival's production of Jake Heggie's The Work at Hand; reprises the role of Lucinda in Cold Mountain, which she originated with Santa Fe Opera,with North Carolina Opera; performs Siegrune in Die Walküre with Lyric Opera of Chicago and Grace in The Summer King with Michigan Opera Theatre; and makes her house debut with The Metropolitan Opera as Alisa in Lucia di Lammermoor.Last season's engagements include a reprisal of Gertrude in Roméo et Juliette with Santa Fe Opera, Flosshilde in Das Rheingold with North Carolina Opera, Suzuki in Madama Butterfly with Arizona Opera, La Duegne in Cyrano with Michigan Opera Theatre, and Sister Helen Prejean in Dead Man Walking with Opera on the Avalon. Recently, she created the role of Lucinda in the world première of the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Jennifer Higdon's adaptation of Charles Frazier's thrilling novel Cold Mountain at Santa Fe Opera. Other notable recent engagements include Nettie Fowler in Carousel and Elvira Griffiths in An American Tragedy with Glimmerglass Opera Festival andBerta in Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia with San Francisco Opera's Merola Opera Program. Other roles in her repertoire include Adalgisa in Norma, Santuzza in Cavalleria Rusticana, Eboli in Don Carlo,Amneris in Aïda, and Brangäne in Tristan und Isolde. Nansteel has performed numerous times with Washington National Opera, most recently as Marquise of Birkenfield in La fille du régiment, in their production of
Champion, and as part of a world-premiere performance of Douglas Pew and Dara Weinberg's new opera Penny with Washington National Opera's American Opera Initiative. She completed the Washington National Opera Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program, where she performed many roles including Tisbe in La Cenerentola, Third Lady in Die Zauberflöte, Curra (cover Preziosilla) in La forza del destino, Paula (cover) in Florencia en el Amazonas, as well as The Cat in Tony Award winning composer Jeanine Tesori's The Lion, the Unicorn, and Me.
TYLER NELSON (Paul, Rocking Horse Winner; The Magician, The Consul): Tyler Nelson is one of America's most exciting young tenors. Already enjoying success in a wide variety of concert repertoire, recent engagements have included debuts with the Utah Symphony & Opera as Le théière/ Le petit vieillard in L'enfant et les sortileges, Opera Naples as Alfred in Die Fledermaus, Opera Omaha as Trin in La fanciulla del West, Wide Open Opera in Ireland as Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia, and in Handel's Messiah with Augustana College as well his return to Le Festival Lyrique International de Belle-Île en Mer as Ferrando in Così fan tutte and as the tenor soloist in Beethoven's Mass in C and Mozart's Vesperae solennes de confessore. The 2016-2017 season saw debuts with New Orleans Opera as Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni, Dayton Opera as Belmonte in Die Entführung aus dem Serail, and his return to Le Festival Lyrique International de Belle-Île en Mer as Nemorino in L'elisir d'amore and the tenor soloist in Mozart's Requiem. The 2017-2018 season includes Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni with Opera on the James, Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Opera Tampa, and Handel's Messiah with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. A frequent performer at the Castleton Festival, Mr. Nelson has performed Gonzalve in L'heure espagnole, and under the baton of Maestro Lorin Maazel: Male Chorus in Rape of Lucretia, Gherardo and Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi, the Mayor in Albert Herring, Maese Pedro in El retablo del Maese Pedro, Father in 7 Deadly Sins, La Rainette in L'enfant et les sortilèges, Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni, and Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia, which he performed at the Castleton Festival and with the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing, China. Additional highlights include the Britten Serenade with the Utah Valley Symphony, Beethoven's 9th Symphony with the Saginaw Bay Symphony, Mozart's Requiem and Bach's St. John Passion with Salt Lake City Choral Artists, and Orff's Carmina Burana with the California and Reno Symphonies.
ANDY PAPAS (Baron Zeta, The Merry Widow): Highly praised for his "rich voice and comic timing" (St. Louis Post Dispatch), Andy Papas has been lauded in performances across the country. Born and raised in Boston, he makes principal debuts with both Boston Lyric Opera and Opera Saratoga in 2018. Andy performs Walt Dreary in The Threepenny Opera with BLO in March, and Baron Zeta in The Merry Widow in Saratoga this summer. For Salt Marsh Opera this Spring, he performs as The Jokester in a newly commissioned piece, Jack and Jill and the Happenin' Hill. Earlier this winter Andy was Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof for Music on Norway Pond, and Lillas Pastia in Carmen for the BYSO. Andy was a featured Young Artist with Opera Saratoga in their critically acclaimed production of Marc Blitzstein's The Cradle Will Rock in the roles of Bugs and Gent. While in Saratoga, he also covered the title role in Falstaff, performing excerpts from the show in several 2017 Season Concerts. Favorite roles include Don Magnifico in La cenerentola (Skylight Music Theatre, Skagit Opera Seattle), Ko-Ko in The Mikado (Union Avenue Opera), the hilariously flamboyant French gourmand Chef Louis in The Little Mermaid (Fiddlehead Theater), Jack Point in Yeoman of the Guard (Winter Opera St. Louis), Peter Simple in Vaughn-Williams' Sir John in Love (Odyssey Opera), Haly in L'Italiana in Algeri (Opera Company of Middlebury), and The Major General in The Pirates of Penzance and Ko-Ko in The Mikado (both for Opera Providence). Andy completed his Master of Music degree in Voice Performance at the University of Houston. While at UH, Andy was seen as Uncle John in the Houston premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon's The Grapes of Wrath, Le Mari in Les Mamelles de Tirésias, Jupiter in Orpheus in the Underworld and Snooks Brenner (Father of the Bride) in William Bolcom's A Wedding, all under the direction of Buck Ross. In Houston, he was also seen as the title role in Gianni Schicchi, as soloist with the Houston Ballet II, and in outreach performances of The Refuge with Houston Grand Opera. In addition, Andy collaborated with celebrated musicologist Howard Pollack, singing Junior Mister in Marc Blitzstein's The Cradle will Rock. Andy received his Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance from the University of Michigan, performing in both Musical Theater and Opera. Musical Theater role credits at UM include Charlemagne (Pippin), Old Man Strong (Urinetown), and Smokey (Damn Yankees). He studied with Freda Herseth, and coached with acclaimed composer & performer duo William Bolcom and Joan Morris.
SCOTT QUINN (Camille, The Merry Widow; Oscar, Rocking Horse Winner): Acclaimed by the Twin Cities Pioneer Press for his " brilliantly clear, emotion-laden tenor voice," Scott Quinn returns to the role of Rodolfo in La bohème in his Utah Opera debut in the 2017-18. He also returns to the Lyric Opera of Kansas City for Duca in Rigoletto and sings Alfredo in La traviata with Austin Opera. Last season, he sang his first performances of Boris in Kát'a Kabanová with Seattle Opera and Lenski in Eugene Onegin with the Northern Lights Music Festival. He also joined Minnesota Opera for Rodolfo in La bohème and Palm Beach Opera for Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly. Mr. Quinn recently made role and company debuts with San Francisco Opera as Steva Buryja in Jenufa, Den Jyske Opera as Fritz in L'amico Fritz, and Arizona Opera as Don José in Carmen. He recently sang his first performances of Alfredo in La traviata with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City and Duca in Rigoletto with Atlanta Opera, and Narraboth in Salome. He maintains a close association with Houston Grand Opera and recently returned to create the role of Villiers, Duke of Buckingham in the world premiere of Floyd's Prince of Players. With the same company, he also sang Pirelli in Sweeney Todd and Tamino in outdoor performances Die Zauberflöte. He is an alumnus of the prestigious Houston Grand Opera Studio. During his tenure, his performances included Rodolfo in La bohème, Alfred in Die Fledermaus, Mr. Erlanson in A Little Night Music, the Sailor in Tristan und Isolde, Ruiz in Il trovatore, and the Royal Herald in Don Carlos. His other recent performances include Ferrando in Così fan tutte with Fort Worth Opera and Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly with Chautauqua Opera. He is also a former Artist in Residence of Dallas Opera where his performances included Tybalt in Roméo et Juliette, Roderigo in Otello, Lord Cecil in Roberto Devereaux, and Normanno in Lucia di Lammermoor. On the concert stage, the tenor has sung Rossini's Petite Messe Solennelle with the Arts District Chorale in Dallas, Texas; Handel's Messiah at his alma mater, Stephen F. Austin State University, University Baptist Church (Clearlake, Texas), and Christ Episcopal Church (Tyler, Texas); Schubert's Mass in G at Emmanuel Lutheran (Seguin, Texas); and Vaughan Williams' Hodie in a return to University Baptist Church. Mr. Quinn is a former participant in San Francisco Opera's prestigious Merola Opera Program in which he sang excerpts of the title role of Don Carlosin the Schwabacher Summer Concert, as well as Nadir in the duet from Les pêcheurs de perles. He has won first place in the Shreveport Opera Singer of the Year Competition, second place in the Dallas Opera Guild Competition and has also placed in the competitions of both Florida Grand Opera and Palm Beach Opera. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Stephen F. Austin State University.
JOHN DE LOS SANTOS (Director & Choreographer, The Merry Widow):Director/choreographer and librettist John de los Santos has staged a range of productions that include opera, musicals, plays, ballet, concerts, and workshop readings. NYC productions include the world premiere of The Astronaut Love Show at the Kraine Theater, and The Rose and the Knife and Otello for LoftOpera. His production of Le Comte Ory for LoftOpera was hailed as "a perfect union of New York's most raucous and delightful opera company with one of the most raucous and delightful works in the repertory" by The New York Times. Other productions include the world premiere of Pure Country for Lyric Stage, La Cage Aux Folles for Skylight Music Theatre, La Fille du Régiment for Arizona Opera, Carousel for Ashlawn Opera, and Orpheus & Euridice/Green Sneakers for Opera Birmingham. He choreographed the world premiere of Jake Heggie and Terrence McNally's Great Scott, directed by Jack O'Brien, for the Dallas Opera. His choreography has also been seen at the Washington National, Florida Grand, Philadelphia, Dallas, San Diego, Des Moines Metro, Utah Festival, and Austin Lyric Opera Companies. John's first libretto with composer Clint Borzoni, When Adonis Calls, was selected by Fort Worth Opera's Frontiers showcase, then performed in concert by Opera America in NYC. John's second collaboration with Borzoni, The Copper Queen, won Arizona Opera's commission program, Arizona SPARK. He was commissioned in 2015 by Washington National Opera's American Opera Initiative to create a new original work with composer Christopher Weiss. The resulting piece, Service Provider, premiered at The Kennedy Center, and was produced by Urban Arias at The Signature Theatre in Washington D.C. While serving as resident choreographer for the Fort Worth Opera, he choreographed Rigoletto, Salome, La traviata, Amahl and the Night Visitors, and the world premieres of Frau Margot and Before Night Falls. John made his directing debut with FWO in 2009 with Carmen, followed by The Mikado, and The Pearl Fishers. John has served on the directing faculty of the Seagle Music Colony in Schroon Lake, NY, where his productions have included Anything Goes, Crazy for You, The Medium, La Bohème, Guys & Dolls, Brigadoon and l'Italiana in Algeri. For the Dallas-based theatre company Uptown Players, he choreographed the American premiere of the Pet Shop Boys musical Closer to Heaven, the regional premiere of Altar Boyz (for which John was awarded the DFW Critics Forum Award for Best Choreography), and directed and choreographed the regional premiere of Hello Again and the American premiere of Soho Cinders. John is originally from San Antonio, Texas, where he performed as a principal member of the Alamo City Dance Company. He received a BFA in Theatre Performance & Direction from Texas Christian University.
ABOUT OPERA SARATOGA
Opera Saratoga, formerly known as Lake George Opera, began with a production of Die Fledermaus at the Diamond Point Theatre on July 5, 1962, playing to an audience of 230. The Company now calls Saratoga Springs home and performs for more than 25,000 people annually. Opera Saratoga serves the communities of Saratoga Springs, the Lower Adirondack and New York State Capital areas by providing access to world-class opera through the production of an annual Summer Festival, as well as year-round activities including extensive educational programs, mentorship of emerging operatic artists, and unique opportunities for the public to experience opera in both our home theater and non-traditional venues that leverage and embrace the unique cultural, historic, and natural resources of the area. To date, the Company has performed over 90 different fully-staged works by over 50 different composers, including thirty-five works by American composers and eight world-premiere productions. Throughout its history, the Company's success has been shaped by visionary leaders, talented artists, and critically acclaimed productions. In July 2014, Lawrence Edelson became Opera Saratoga's Artistic and General Director. Edelson's leadership marked a new chapter in the company's history, with increased emphasis on community partnerships throughout the year, diversification of the company's repertoire, and a reaffirmed commitment to both the presentation of American opera and the mentorship of emerging artists as core activities in the company's programs each season. The 2018 Summer Festival will be the fourth season under his leadership. For more information, visit www.operasaratoga.org