Casting Announced for Opera Saratoga's 2017 Summer Festival Season, Featuring BEAUTY AND THE BEAST and More

By: Jun. 09, 2017
Get Access To Every Broadway Story

Unlock access to every one of the hundreds of articles published daily on BroadwayWorld by logging in with one click.

Existing user? Just click login.

Opera Saratoga's Artistic and General Director Lawrence Edelson announced today complete casting for the three exciting new productions that will comprise the company's 2017 Summer Festival, which will build on the company's commitment to producing masterpieces from the operatic cannon, importaNT American works, and works in which dance plays an integral role. In addition, a wide variety of free and ticketed concert events will be presented from May 28th through July 16th at venues throughout the region.

At the center of the 2017 Summer Festival will be a new production of Marc Blitzstein's The Cradle Will Rock, directed and choreographed by Edelson, and conducted by noted Maestro John Mauceri (company debut), who has been responsible for many significant operatic restorations, including Blitzstein's Regina. The Cradle Will Rock has been almost exclusively produced with piano since its infamous opening night, which was shut down by the Federal Government in 1937. Both an attack on the abuse of political power by the wealthy and a paean to labor and poor people struggling to get by, "Cradle" is as timely now as it was when it premiered in 1937. Opera Saratoga celebrates the 80th Anniversary of Blitzstein's revolutionary American labor opera in a new production that will be performed with Blitzstein's original orchestrations - the first such performances since the 1960 production at New York City Opera. Featured artists include mezzo soprano Ginger Costa-Jackson (company debut) as Moll; bass Matt Boehler (company debut) as Mr. Mister; mezzo soprano Audrey Babcock as Mrs. Mister; tenor Keith Jameson (company debut) as Harry Druggist; baritone Christopher Burchettas Larry Foreman; and bass baritone Justin Hopkins as Reverend Salvation.

The first opera production of the season will open on July 1st with Verdi's comic masterpiece, Falstaff, which has not been seen at Opera Saratoga in 26 years. The production will be directed by Chuck Hudson, and will be conducted by Craig Kier (company debut). Featured singers will include bass baritone Craig Colclough (company debut), one of the country's leading interpreters of Falstaff; soprano Caroline Worra in her role debut as Alice Ford; soprano Emily Tweedy (company debut) as Nannetta; mezzo soprano Vera Savage as Meg Page; contralto Lindsay Ammann (company debut) as Dame Quickly; Dominick Corbacio as Fenton; and baritone Michael Chioldi(company debut) as Ford.

Rounding out the season will be André Grétry's Zémire et Azor (Beauty and the Beast), directed by James Ortiz (company debut), whose recent critically acclaimed production of The Woodsman was a sensation off-Broadway. Grétry's 1771 opera-ballet - a favorite of Mozart - will incorporate both dance and Ortiz's signature use of puppetry in his opera-directing debut. The production will be conducted by Lidiya Yankovskaya (company debut), and choreographed by Jill Echo (company debut). The cast will feature soprano Maureen McKay (company debut) and tenor Andrew Bidlack (company debut) in the title roles; with soprano Lisa Rogali (company debut) as Fatmé; mezzo soprano Katherine Maysek (company debut) as Lisbé; tenor Keith Jameson as Ali and baritone Christopher Burchett as Sander.

In making the announcement today, Edelson reflected on the power of opera to tell vivid and compelling stories through music in very different ways. "The Cradle Will Rock is an incredibly powerful work that I feel has been unjustly neglected by opera companies. It's edgy combination of social commentary and popular culture of the time has influenced writers and works from Leonard Bernstein's On the Town to Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton. While 'Cradle' has understandably become a favorite of theater companies due to the ability to perform it with just piano, Blitzstein's original orchestration is exhilarating and deserves to be heard. We have put together a cast of some of the country's most exciting singers to provide a fresh look at this American masterpiece that takes on particular resonance in light of the political climate in which we are living in today.

"Alongside 'Cradle' we will be presenting Grétry's enchanting version of Beauty and the Beast, which builds on our commitment to present works that incorporate dance each season;and one of the greatest works in the operatic repertoire, Verdi's Falstaff. In addition to our three opera productions, Opera Saratoga will present a wide variety of free and ticketed concerts throughout the season, including a celebration of the music of Marc Blitzstein; a Gilbert & Sullivan Cabaret; a concert featuring scenes from the final operas by beloved composers from throughout history; and a retrospective of Broadway music from the 1930s. It is season that will showcase incredible music, phenomenal singing, and riveting theater - performed by preeminent artists from the world's great opera houses alongside some of the most exciting emerging artists in the country - providing local audiences and visitors to Saratoga Springs alike with extraordinary experiences in our intimate theater in Saratoga Spa State Park."

Subscriptions for the 2017 Summer Festival are on sale now at Single tickets for the 2017 Summer Festival will go on sale February 15th, 2017.



Music by Giuseppe Verdi; Libretto by Arrigo Boito

Sung in Italian with English Supertitles


JULY 1 / 6 / 10 / 15

7:30pm 7:30pm 2:00pm 2:00pm

A man of many appetites, the lecherous Falstaff can't resist his favorite vices: food, wine, and women - and not necessarily in that order! Suddenly finding himself broke, he hatches a plot to cure his woes - he sends identical love letters to two married women to get his hands on their wealthy husbands' money. But Falstaff doesn't bank on getting caught, and with the help of some 'merry wives', husbands and supernatural creatures, he gets his due and finds out the joke is on him. Bass-baritone Craig Colclough makes his Opera Saratoga debut with his interpretation of Falstaff, "creating a multi-faceted musical and comical character with an overwhelming sense of fun." - Washington Post

Conductor: Craig Kier

Director: Chuck Hudson

Scenic Designer: Martin T. Lopez

Costume Designer: CeCe Sickler

Lighting Designer: Brandon Stirling Baker

Sir John Falstaff: Craig Colclough

Alice Ford: Caroline Worra

Ford: Michael Chioldi

Nanetta: Emily Tweedy*

Fenton: Dominick Corbacio+

Dame Quickly: Lindsay Ammann

Meg Page: Vera Savage+

Dr. Caius: Max Jacob Zander*

Bardolfo: Michael Anderson*

Pistola: Jorgeandrés Camargo*

* Members of Opera Saratoga's Young Artist Program

+ Alumni of Opera Saratoga's Young Artist Program


Music by André Grétry; Libretto by Libretto by Jean François Marmontel

Sung in French with English Supertitles


JULY 2 / 8 / 14

7:30pm 2:00pm 2:00pm

Once Upon a time, the merchant Sander and his servant Ali are shipwrecked in a storm and find themselves outside an enchanted palace. When Sander plucks a rose from the palace garden to give to his daughter Zémire, the beast-like Azor appears, demanding that Sander pay with his life for stealing the rose, unless he can persuade one of his daughters to take his place. When she hears what has happened, Zémire agrees to sacrifice her life for her father and Ali brings her to the palace, where she almost faints at the sight of Azor. But Azor proves to be a kind host, and Zémire begins to see beyond his terrifying exterior. One of the earliest operatic adaptations of the classic story of Beauty and the Beast, Zémire et Azor combines beautiful melodies with enchanting dance music in a fairy-tale for audiences of all ages. Opera Saratoga's new production will be directed by James Ortiz, whose innovative use of elaborate puppetry has been compared to the legendary Jim Henson.

Conductor: Lidiya Yankovskaya

Director: James Ortiz

Choreographer: Jill Echo

Scenic and Puppet Designer: James Ortiz

Costume Designer: Shima Orans

Lighting Designer: Brandon Stirling Baker

A Co-Production with Skylight Music Theatre, Milwaukee, WI

Zémire: Maureen McKay

Azor: Andrew Bidlack

Sander: Christopher Burchett

Ali: Keith Jameson

Fatmé: Lisa Rogali*

Lisbé: Katherine Maysek*

* Members of Opera Saratoga's Young Artist Program


Music, Book and Lyrics by Marc Blitzstein

Performed in English


JULY 9 / 11 / 13 / 16

7:30pm 2:00pm 7:30pm 2:00pm

In Steeltown, USA, everything and everyone can be bought - at least that's what Mr. Mister thinks. The greedy businessman uses his wallet to control anyone he wants, including the local newspaper editor, preacher, university president, doctor... even the artists! But Larry Foreman's efforts to unionize local workers threatens to rock the cradle and shift the balance of power out of Mr. Mister's control. An allegory on corruption and corporate greed both timely and timeless, The Cradle Will Rock's biting humor and brazenness is as impactful now as it was when it premiered in 1937. Blitzstein's eclectic, jazzy score is a propulsive mix of classical parody, popular melodies, and dramatic ensemble numbers, with a smoky flavor redolent of Kurt Weill - but all-American in its raw energy and urgency.

Conductor: John Mauceri

Director and Choreographer: Lawrence Edelson

Scenic Designer: Martin T. Lopez

Costume Designer: Anya Klepikov

Lighting Designer: Brandon Stirling Baker

Moll: Ginger Costa Jackson

Mr. Mister: Matt Boehler

Mrs. Mister: Audrey Babcock

Larry Foreman: Christopher Burchett

Harry Druggist: Keith Jameson

Junior Mister: Spencer Viator*

Sister Mister: Heather Jones*

Reverend Salvation: Justin Hopkins

Editor Daily: Brian Wallin*

Yasha: John Tibbetts*

Dauber: Scott Purcell*

Doctor Specialist: Jorgeandrés Camargo*

President Prexy: Eric McConnell*

Professor Mamie: Adam Bradley*

Professor Scoot / Steve: Miles Herr*

Professor Trixie/Gus Pollock: Michael Anderson*

Sadie Pollock: Meghan Kasanders*

Ella Hammer: Nina Spinner*

Gent/Bugs: Andy Papas*

Dick: Efraín Solís

Cop: Dylan Elza*

* Members of Opera Saratoga's Young Artist Program



Saturday, May 27, 7:30pm

Free Concert

Filene Recital Hall at Skidmore College

815 North Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY

The season begins with Opera Saratoga's third annual Stars of Tomorrow Concert - featuring 24 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.


Saturday, June 3, 2:00pm

Free Concert

The Dee Sarno Theater at Saratoga Arts

320 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY

What do Mozart's Die Zauberflöte, Rossini's Guillaume Tell, Puccini's Turandot. and Bizet's Carmen have in common with Verdi's Falstaff? They were the final operas - the swan songs - of some of the world's most beloved composers. This free concert will feature arias and ensembles from the final operas by composers from Monteverdi to Richard Strauss! Presented in partnership with Saratoga Arts.

Marc Blitzstein - A LIFE IN SONG

Friday, June 16, 7:30pm

Free Concert

GE Theatre at Proctors

432 State Street, Schenectady, NY

Born in Philadelphia in 1905, Marc Blitzstein achieved nearly overnight notoriety with his 1937 agitprop musical theater work, The Cradle Will Rock. At the time of his unexpected and tragic death in 1964, much of his work was left unfinished and unpublished, leaving behind a legacy that has been largely overlooked in the ensuing decades. On the evening of the 80th Anniversary of the legendary world-premiere of The Cradle Will Rock, Opera Saratoga presents an evening of song by Marc Blitzstein, curated and hosted by bass-baritone Justin Hopkins. The program will include excerpts from Blitzstein's theatrical and operatic works - including The Cradle Will Rock, I've Got the Tune, Juno, No for an Answer, and Regina - as well as lesser known songs that chronicle the life of one of America's most influential composers. Presented in partnership with Proctors.



Sunday, June 11, 2pm and 7:30pm

Ticketed Event (Tickets: $60; Subscribers: $54)

The Carriage House at The Mansion Inn

801 Route 29, Rock City Falls, NY

(10 minutes from downtown Saratoga Springs)

The Victorian era partnership of W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan brought the world fourteen of the most beloved operettas of all time. Join Opera Saratoga's "wand'ring minstrels' for a topsy-turvy cabaret where fairies rub elbows with British lords, flirting is a capital offense, gondoliers ascend to the monarchy, and pirates emerge as noblemen who have gone astray. Seating is general admission, at cabaret style tables, and is strictly limited for these two concerts. G&S inspired tapas and drinks - 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.


Friday, July 14, 7:30pm

Ticketed Event (Tickets: $80/$60/$40; Subscribers: $72/$54/$36)

The Spa Little Theater

21 Roosevelt Drive, Saratoga Springs, NY

The '30s were extraordinary years on Broadway, where jazz, classical and popular music intertwined to create some of the most memorable and beloved shows of the 20th century - as well as some fascinating musicals that have been lost to time, but deserve to be better known. Gershwin's Girl Crazy, Of Thee I Sing, and Porgy and Bess; Cole Porter's Gay Divorce, Nymph Errant, Anything Goes and Red, Hot and Blue; Rodgers's Jumbo, On Your Toes, Babes in Arms, and The Boys from Syracuse, Weill's Johnny Johnson and Knickerbocker Holiday; and of course, Blitzstein's The Cradle Will Rock, were all products of this incredible decade on the Great White Way. Members of Opera Saratoga's acclaimed Young Artist Program will be featured in this evening of music that defined a decade and forever changed the course of American musical theater and opera.



Emerging American Conductor Craig Kier has already received high praise for his "Tesla-like intensity" and "impeccable orchestral support" while leading performances throughout the United States and on international stages. In the 2014-2015 season, Maestro Kier become the Director of the Maryland Opera Studio at The University of Maryland School of Music. Productions since the beginning of his tenure have included Mozart's Don Giovanni and Così fan tutte, Ravel's L'enfant et les sortilèges, Blitzstein's Regina and Rossini's L'occasione fa il ladro. In the 2015 - 2016 season, guest engagements for Maestro Kier included his debut with Wolf Trap Opera leading Britten's Rape of Lucretia, and a return to Opera Birmingham for La traviata. He also continued his longstanding relationship with Houston Ballet, leading performances of The Nutcraker, which he has done since 2011. Engagements in the upcoming 2016-2017 season include Madama Butterfly in his debut at Arizona Opera, his debut with Opera Saratoga leading Verdi's Falstaff, and performances of The Nutcracker with Houston Ballet. As Director of the Maryland Opera Studio, he will lead productions of The Rape of Lucretia, Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice, and Offenbach's Orpheus in the Underworld. From 2010 - 2013, Maestro Kier was Associate Conductor under Patrick Summers at Houston Grand Opera. During his time with the company he led dozens of performances including Madama Butterfly, IL Barbiere di Siviglia, Die Fledermaus, Trial by Jury and the world premiere of Huang Ruo's Bound. He also assisted on productions of Otello, Rigoletto, Il trovatore, Don Carlos, La traviata, Le nozze di Figaro and Lucia di Lammermoor. Guest engagements for Maestro Kier include La bohème with Lyric Opera of Kansas City, IL Barbiere di Siviglia with Atlanta Opera, Kurt Weill's Lost in the Stars at Glimmerglass Festival, Thomas' Hamlet with Opera Birmingham, L'italiani in Algeri with Opera Santa Barbara and The Music Man at Royal Opera House Muscat, Oman. In the summer of 2013 he served as Assistant Conductor on The Santa Fe Opera's production of La donna del lago starring Joyce DiDonato and Lawrence Brownlee. Maestro Kier began his career as part of Seattle Opera's music staff, serving in a variety of roles including Assistant Conductor, Coach/Accompanist, and Chorus Master. He has since served on the music staffs of The Santa Fe Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Atlanta Opera, Opera Colorado and Des Moines Metro Opera.

John Mauceri, world-renowned conductor, educator and writer, has appeared with the world's greatest opera companies and symphony orchestras, on the musical stages of Broadway and Hollywood as well as at the most prestigious halls of academia. Mr. Mauceri served as music director (direttore stabile) of the Teatro Regio in Turin, Italy for three years after completing seven years (22 productions and three recordings) as music director of Scottish Opera, and is the first American ever to have held the post of music director of an opera house in either Great Britain or Italy. He was music director of the Washington Opera (The Kennedy Center) as well as Pittsburgh Opera, and was the first music director of American Symphony Orchestra in Carnegie Hall after its legendary founding director, Leopold Stokowski, with whom he studied. For fifteen years he served on the faculty of his alma mater, Yale University and returned in 2001 to teach and conduct the official concert celebrating the university's 300th anniversary. In 2016, he celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Yale Symphony, which he helped to found, with concerts in New Haven and at Carnegie Hall. For 18 years, Mr. Mauceri worked closely with Leonard Bernstein and conducted many of the composer's premieres at Bernstein's request. He is the Founding Director of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, which was created for him in 1991 by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association. Breaking all records at the Bowl, he conducted over 300 concerts at the 18,000-seat amphitheater with a total audience of four million people. For seven years (2006-2013) he served as chancellor of the University of North Carolina's School of the Arts, America's first public arts conservatory-university. He has conducted at New York's Metropolitan Opera, London's Royal Opera House (Covent Garden), Milan's Teatro alla Scala, Berlin's Deutsche Oper, the New York Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, all the major London orchestras, as well as l'Orchestre Nationale de France and the Tokyo Philharmonic. On Broadway, he was co-producer of On Your Toes and served as musical supervisor for Hal Prince's production of Candide, as well as Andrew Lloyd Webber's Song and Dance with Bernadette Peters. He also conducted the orchestra for the film version of Evita. Deeply committed to preserving two American art forms, the Broadway musical, and Hollywood film scores, he has edited and performed a vast catalogue of restorations and first performances, including a full restoration of the original 1943 production of Rodgers & Hammerstein's Oklahoma!, performing editions of Gershwin's Porgy & Bess, Girl Crazy and Strike up the Band, Bernstein's Candide and A Quiet Place, Blitzstein's Regina, and film scores by Miklos Rozsa, Franz Waxman, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Max Steiner, Elmer Bernstein, Jerry Goldsmith, Danny Elfman and Howard Shore. As one of two conductors in Decca Records' award-winning series "Entartete Musik," Mauceri made a number of historic first recordings of music banned by the Nazis. The intersection of the "degenerate composers" of Europe and the refugee composers of Hollywood is the subject of much of his research and his writings. In addition, Mr. Mauceri has conducted significant premieres of works by Verdi, Debussy, Hindemith, Ives, Stockhausen, Blitzstein, and Weill. In articles, speeches, radio and television appearances, John Mauceri has taken his passion for music and the importance of the arts to audiences throughout the world. These include Harvard University, Yale University, the Smithsonian Institution, the NEA, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Gramophone Magazine, NPR, BBC, PBS, The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Huffington Post where he regularly writes a blog. Mr. Mauceri is one of the world's most accomplished recording artists, having released over 75 audio CDs and is the recipient of Grammy, Tony, Olivier, Drama Desk, Edison Klassiek, 3 Emmy Awards, 2 Diapasons d'Or, Cannes Classique, ECHO Klassik, Billboard, and four Deutsche Schallplatten awards. In 1999, Mr. Mauceri was chosen as a "Standard-bearer of the Twentieth Century" for WQXR, the America's most-listened-to classical radio station. According to WQXR, "These are a select number of musical artists who have already established themselves as forces to be reckoned with and who will be the Standard Bearers of the 21st Century's music scene." The recipients were chosen for "their visionary talent and technical virtuosity." In addition, CNN and CNN International chose Mr. Mauceri as a "Voice of the Millennium." Mr. Mauceri was recently awarded the Ditson Conductor's Award for his five decades of commitment to performing and editing American music. He is currently writing a book on the art and alchemy of conducting for Alfred A. Knopf.

Russian-born conductor Lidiya Yankovskaya currently serves as Artistic Director with Juventas New Music Ensemble and as a conductor with Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra. Additional engagements this season include Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra, Beth Morrison Projects, American Lyric Theater, Brookline Symphony, Cabrillo Festival, the Center for Contemporary Opera in NYC, and serving as the Chorus Master for several upcoming programs with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Boston Pops. Lidiya is also a part of Marin Alsop's Taki Concordia Fellowship and Dallas Opera's Inaugural Institute for Women Conductors. Prior engagements include serving as Music Director of Harvard's Lowell House Opera and Commonwealth Lyric Theater, and as Assistant Conductor & Chorus Master with Opera Boston. Lidiya was also a Conducting Fellow under Lorin Maazel at his Castleton Festival, where she assisted Maestro Maazel and regularly filled in for him in rehearsal and performance.

Hailed by Pulitzer Prize winner for criticism Lloyd Schwartz as a "skillful and incisive musician," Lidiya's symphonic and operatic work has received critical acclaim and numerous awards. Recent projects include San Francisco productions of Boris Godunov and Iolanta with New Opera NYC; performances with National Sawdust's Composer in Residence program; Tchaikovsky's Queen of Spades and Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream (first place, The American Prize) with Lowell House Opera; Juventas New Music's NEA-funded puppetry collaboration entitled Music in Motion; the world premiere performances and recording of the ballet HackPolitik; Rachmaninoff's Alekowith Commonwealth Lyric Theater (winner of National Opera Association Award for Best Production in the Professional Category), Rimsky-Korsakov's Snegurochka (the first fully-staged, Russian-language production of the opera in the U.S. and the work's New England premiere); and the world premiere of Isaac Schankler's Light and Power with Juventas (winner of The National Opera Association Award and The American Prize for best professional production).


The 2017 Summer Festival at Opera Saratoga will mark the third season under Lawrence Edelson's leadership as Artistic and General Director. As a stage director Lawrence's work has been praised for the ability to fuse vivid story telling with deeply expressive imagery. He has been praised by Opera Now magazine as doing a "splendid job of making [opera] relevant and understandable" and his productions have been called "ingenious" and "imaginative" by Opera News, "starkly vivid" by The New York Times, and "stunningly touching and entertaining" by the Washington Post. These 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 Traviata for The Minnesota Opera, IL Barbiere di Siviglia for Hawaii Opera Theater, Carmen for Toledo Opera, the world premiere of Buried Alive(Myers/Long) for Fargo Moorhead Opera, and The New York premiere of Fauré's rarely produced Pénélope for Manhattan School of Music. 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; and JFK (Little/Vavrek), which premiered at Fort Worth Opera in 2016. A tireless advocate for emerging artists and the diversification of audiences for opera, Edelson has served on the Strategy Committee for OPERA America, and continues to forge collaborations with opera companies across the country.

Chuck Hudson has directed opera productions at major international companies including Cape Town Opera (South Africa), Cincinnati Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Minnesota Opera, Sacramento Opera, Austin Lyric Opera, Opera Cleveland, Seattle Opera, San Francisco Opera Center, Wolf Trap Opera, and Opera Santa Barbara, among others. He has directed award winning theatre productions in New York and regionally, including The Pearl Theatre, The Chester Theater, Cape May Stage, The Children's Theatre Festival of Houston, New City Theatre, and Chicago's Fox Valley Shakespeare Festival. Chuck's work as a director was mentioned in the January 2011 Edition of American Theatre Magazine. In the 2016-2017 season, Chuck will lead productions for Hawaii Opera Theatre (La bohème), Atlanta Opera (Don Pasquale) and Opera Saratoga (Falstaff). In addition to directing professional artists, Chuck continues to focus on his work with artists in training. He was a co-creator of Seattle Opera's Young Artist Program where he directed productions as well as created and instructed specialized classes on Acting and Movement for singers. Chuck has directed productions at San Francisco Opera's Merola Program, Santa Fe Opera's Apprentice Artist Program, Florida Grand Opera's Resident Artist Program, IU Opera Theatre, CCM Opera Theatre, AVA Opera Theater, BU Opera Institute, USC-Thornton Opera, Music Academy of the West, Western Australia Academy of Performing Arts, Carnegie-Mellon Opera Theatre, and Manhattan School of Music Opera Theater. He was guest professor of Advanced Acting at Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, professor at the University of Houston School of Theatre, at Cornish College of the Arts, and was an annual Adjunct Faculty Artist at North Carolina School of the Arts Theatre Department and Fletcher Opera Institute, at Westminster Choir College and, was a Schmidbauer Guest Artist-Stage Director at Stephen F Austin University's Theater Department. Chuck also uses his enormous experience as a performer, director, and coach in his many Master Classes and private coachings at various Professional Artist Training Programs for singers and actors. He is also in great demand as a private audition coach in New York City, coaching both opera and musical theater performers. For 7 years Chuck was Artistic Director of The Immediate Theatre in Seattle: a physically based company committed to the creation of visually exciting dramatic works. Chuck's specialty in movement comes from a background in gymnastics as well as being one of three Americans to have received a diploma from the Marcel Marceau International School of Mimedrama in Paris. He is the only American to be appointed to teach at Marceau's School, and he performed with Marceau on his 1991 European Tour and in Klaus Kinski's film "Paganini". Chuck also studied at the Paris School for Theatrical Fencing and was awarded an Honorary Diploma from the French Academy of Arms. Acting roles include Orsino in Twelfth Night, Brutus in Julius Caesar, and Petruchio in Taming of the Shrew with the Seattle Shakespeare Festival, and Caliban in The Tempest with his own Immediate Theatre.

Based in New York City, James Ortiz is an established director, actor, writer, designer, and puppeteer. Most recently, James was the recipient of the 2016 OBIE Award for Puppet Design for his critically acclaimed Off-Broadway show, The Woodsman, which was hailed by The New York Times as 'Abundantly Beautiful" "Evocative and Haunting" by Time Out New York, and "Clever, Pure Theatre" by The Huffington Post. Regionally, On, and Off-Broadway James has designed for: Theatre for a New Audience and The Public Theatre (King Lear), Shakespeare Theatre of DC (The Tempest), The New Group (Mercury Fur), Studio42 (Miss Lilly Gets Boned, My Base and Scurvy Heart), Naked Angels (Sea Wife), Stable Cable Theatre Company (Nibbler), and Making Books Sing (Wringer). As a director, James's work has been seen at New World Stages, Ars Nova and 59e59 (The Woodsman), Glass Bandit Company (The Little Mermaid), New Place Players (A Midsummer's Night's Dream), Collin Theatre Center (All's Well That Ends Well, The Glass Menagerie). As an Actor, credits include The Woodsman (New World Stages), El Gato Con Botas(Tectonic Theatre Co.), On the Head of a Pin (Strangemen), Rhinoceros(UglyRhino Theatre Co.), Wanda's Monster (Making Books Sing). AWARDS: Recipient of the 2014 Jim Henson foundation Grant, 2015 resident artist at The New Victory Theatre. James is also the Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director of the devised theatre group, Strangemen & Co.


With a voice "capable of sinister low chest tones and robust high notes" (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) and a stage presence that has been called "a force" (Opera News), dramatic mezzo-soprano Lindsay Ammann is rapidly rising as a radiant star in the opera world. In the 2016-2017 season, Lindsay Ammann makes her Lyric Opera of Chicago debut as Flosshilde in David Pountney's new production of Das Rheingold conducted by Andrew Davis. She will also return to the Canadian Opera Company as the 1st Norn in Götterdämmerung conducted by Johannes Debus. Recently, Lindsay Amman debuted at the Washington National Opera in Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen directed by Francesca Zambello and conducted by Philippe Augin to great critical acclaim. She was heard as Erda in both Das Rheingold and Siegfried, as well as the First Norn in Götterdämmerung and Schwertleite in Die Walküre. She also debuted at Grand Théâtre de Genève as Dritte Dame in Die Zauberflöte and North Carolina Opera as Suzuki in Madama Butterfly. Ms Ammann debuted at Aalto-Musiktheater Essen as Jezibaba in a new production of Rusalka and also debuted at the Canadian Opera Company as Schwertleite in Die Walküre. In concert, she sang Verdi's Messa da requiem with the South Dakota Symphony, Martha in John Adams' The Gospel According to the Other Marywith the Netherlands Radio Orchestra and her Casals Festival debut in Puerto Rico as Brangäne in a concert version of Tristan und Isolde. Ms. Ammann made her Metropolitan Opera debut in Robert Lepage's Der Ring des Nibelungen as Rossweisse in Die Walküre under the baton of James Levine. She was recently a member of the ensemble at Staatsoper Stuttgart where she sang Dame Quickly in Falstaff, Olga in Eugene Onegin, and the world premiere of Peter Pan. Other recent performances include alto soloist in a fully staged production of Handel's Messiah with the Pittsburgh Symphony, Beatrice in Le donne curiose with the Wolf Trap Opera company and the Beggar Woman in Sweeney Todd with the National Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Ammann finished her Resident Artist program with Pittsburgh Opera singing the roles of Alisa in Lucia di Lammermoor and Goffredo in Rinaldo. Also during her residency at Pittsburgh Opera, she sang the roles of Olga in Eugene Onegin, Dame Quickly in Falstaff, Lucretia in The Rape of Lucretia, and covered the title role of Carmen. A former Gerdine Young Artist at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, she has been seen there as Olga in Eugene Onegin, Kate Pinkerton in Madame Butterfly, Page of Herodias in Salome, and covered Samira in The Ghosts of Versailles and Antonia's Mother in The Tales of Hoffman. Ms. Ammann equally enjoys the concert stage, having sung the Verdi's Messa da Requiem, Handel's Messiah, Mendelssohn's Elijah, Mahler's Symphony No. 2 and Rossini's Petite messe solennelle with orchestras such as the Pittsburgh Symphony, Erie Philharmonic, Sioux County Oratorio and Symphony, and the orchestra at Indiana University. Ms. Ammann can be seen on the Die Walküre DVD from the Metropolitan Opera's Ring Cycle and the documentary Wagner's Dream, as well as heard on the Grammy Award-winning Götterdämmerung CD, all commercially available on Deutsche Grammophon.

Identified by Opera News as one of their "25 Rising Stars" (October 2015 issue), tenor Andrew Bidlack's 2015-16 season included his return to Opera Omaha, where he sang Count Almaviva in IL Barbiere di Siviglia, a role in which he previously appeared at Florida Grand Opera. He also appeared with Arizona Opera as Arcadio in Florencia en el Amazonas, and made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera as Beppe in I pagliacci, where he also sang the role of the Lamplighter in Manon Lescaut while covering Edmondo. In spring 2016, Andrew traveled to the UK to create the principal role of Private John Ball in In Parenthesis, Welsh National Opera's new commission by composer Iain Bell, a production that included a residency at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Mr. Bidlack is a frequent interpreter of contemporary music; last season saw him create both the principal tenor role of Rob Hall in Joby Talbot's Everest at Dallas Opera and the role of Irving Tashman in Ricky Ian Gordon's Morning Star at Cincinnati Opera. He also sang Ishmael in the workshop production of Jake Heggie's Moby-Dick at San Francisco Opera while he was an Adler Fellow, and later workshopped the role of Tancredi in John Musto's new opera The Inspector at Wolf Trap. As a Merola Opera Program participant, he created the role of CharLes Carter in the world premiere of Thomas Pasatieri's The Hotel Casablanca. He appeared at Carnegie Hall for his debut with Lyric Opera of Chicago as The Young Collector in their production of A Streetcar Named Desire with Renée Fleming, a role he also sang in Chicago, and in the role of Sandy in The Lighthouse at Dallas Opera for the inception of their Chamber Opera Series. A graduate of San Francisco Opera's prestigious Adler Fellowship, Mr. Bidlack made his house debut there in The Little Prince and went on to appear as Odoardo in Ariodante, Arturo in Lucia di Lammermoor, Count Albert in Die tote Stadt, the Simpleton in Boris Godunov, and Pedrillo in Die Entführung aus dem Seraglio. Other career highlights include his New York City Opera debut as Baron Lummer in Intermezzo, Tamino in Die Zauberflöte and Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni at Florida Grand Opera, and Rodrigo in Rossini's Otello at Opera Southwest. International engagements had included his South American debut as Oronte in Alcina at Teatro Municipal de Santiago in Chile, Damon in Acis and Galatea at the Macau International Music Festival, and his appearance as A Guest in The Saint of Bleecker Street at the Spoleto Festival in Italy, which was recorded and released under the Chandos label. Concert performances have included the tenor soloists in Handel's Messiah, Mendelssohn's Elijah, Haydn's Creation, and Mozart's Requiem. He made his Carnegie Hall debut singing the Evangelist in Bach's Weihnachts Oratorium, and he joined the South Dakota Symphony and the Milwaukee Symphony for Carmina Burana.

Hailed by The New York Times as "a bass with an attitude and the goods to back it up," Matt Boehler has been critically acclaimed both for his dramatic skill and his vocal ability. Last season, Mr. Boehler debuted with Dallas Opera as the Donkey in Becoming Santa, joined Musica Sacra for Handel's Messiah, the Sacramento Chorale for Haydn's Harmoniemesse, Bard Summerscape as Il Cieco in Mascagni's Iris, and made his role debut as Baron Ochs in Der Rosenkavalier with Victory Hall Opera. The 2016-2017 season and beyond includes Rautavaara's Vigilia at St. John of the Divine in New York, his much anticipated return to Canadian Opera Company as Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte, and Mr. Mister in Marc Blitzstein's The Cradle Will Rock at Opera Saratoga. Future seasons include his debut with Opera Philadelphia as well as performances with Minnesota Opera, the Prototype Festival, Madison Opera, and the National Cathedral in Washington, DC. The 2014-2015 season included returns to the Metropolitan Opera as Bertrand in Iolanta and Madison Opera as Rocco in Fidelio, and debuts with Théâtre Royal de La Monnaie in Daphne, Michigan Opera Theater as Méphistophélès in Faust, and Des Moines Metro Opera as Osmin in Die Enführung aus dem Serail. The 2013-2014 season brought Mr. Boehler's return to the Metropolitan Opera for The Nose, his debut with Canadian Opera Company as Sir Walter Raleigh in Roberto Devereux and his cover of the title role in Don Quichotte, and a reprise of his Messiah with the Jacksonville Symphony. Additionally, he returned to Theater St. Gallen for his role debut as Daland in Der fliegende Holländer, Leporello in Don Giovanni, Pfarrer/Dachs in The Cunning Little Vixen, and Sparafucile in Rigoletto. He also joined the St. Galler Festspiele as Baldassare in La favorita for their 2014 festival season. The season of 2012-13 found Mr. Boehler making several house and role debuts. He joined the ensemble of Theater St. Gallen in Switzerland as Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte, Count Horn in Un ballo in maschera, Pedone in La Wally, Marchese di Calatrava in La forza del destino, Leone in Attila and as Sparafucile in Rigoletto, a role he debuted recently with the Minnesota Orchestra. He made his Madison Opera debut as Leporello in Don Giovanni, and a highly acclaimed New York City Opera debut as the Hotel Manager in Thomas Ades' Powder Her Face, a role he reprised with the Festival Opéra de Quèbec. He also returned to Carnegie Hall for performances of Messiah with Musica Sacra. In the 2011-2012 season, he sang Drebednev in Moscow, Cheryomushki with Chicago Opera Theater, Nourabad in Les pêcheurs de perles for Hawaii Opera Theater, and two operas by Philip Glass: In the Penal Colony with American Opera Projects and Kepler with Spoleto Festival USA. Mr. Boehler is also a frequent collaborator within the world of contemporary music. In addition to the work of recent seasons, he has been seen in two world premieres of John Musto's work: The Inspectorwith Wolf Trap Opera and Bastianello, along with William Bolcom's Lucrezia, with New York Festival of Song. He premiered Michael Dellaira's The Secret Agent with Center for Contemporary Opera, and he has been seen in Argento's Casanova's Homecoming and Poul Ruders' The Handmaid's Tale, both with Minnesota Opera. His discography includes recordings of Bastianello and Lucrezia with NYFOS and a disc of songs by Stefan Wolpe with pianist Ursula Oppens; he can also be heard on recordings of Bernstein's Mass with Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and of Schumann's Scenes from Goethe's Faust with American Symphony Orchestra as well. He is a graduate of the Juilliard Opera Center and he held a three-year tenure as a resident artist with Minnesota Opera. At Viterbo University, his first alma mater, he graduated with a degree in Theatre Arts.

Christopher Burchett's rich, no-holds-barred baritone voice and committed stagecraft have earned him a place on the stages of opera companies throughout the United States including New York City Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Palm Beach Opera, Opera Orchestra of New York, Virginia Opera, Opera Omaha, Eugene Opera, Glimmerglass Opera and Opera Theatre of St. Louis. Current engagements include a return to Boston Lyric Opera as Dad/Cafe Manager/Police Chief in Turnage's Greek; and Ming in Gilgamesh (part of the world premiere of the Ouraboros Trilogy) with Beth Morrison Projects. Recent engagements have included a return to Forth Worth Opera for Buried Alive/Embedded; Captain Corcoran in H.M.S. Pinafore, and Harlekin in Ariadne auf Naxos, both with Virginia Opera; Sweeney Todd with Eugene Opera; Don Giovanni with Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre; Father Palmer in Silent Night with Fort Worth Opera; a reprise of Soldier Songs at the Atlas Theater in Washington, DC; and Buried Alive/Embedded with Fargo-Moorhead Opera. He was heard in New York with the one man opera Soldier Songs by David T. Little as part of the PROTOTYPE New Music Festival produced by Beth Morrison Projects and HERE; and as Captain Corcoran in H.M.S Pinafore with Opera Saratoga. He was Blazes in Boston Lyric Opera's production of The Lighthouse; Chou En-Lai in Nixon in China with Eugene Opera; and Dr. Falke in Die Fledermaus with Virginia Opera. A champion of new music, Christopher has been a part of several world premieres, creating the roles of Orsen in Edwin Penhorwood's opera Too Many Sopranos with Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre, M. Carré-Lamadon in Stephen Hartke's The Greater Good with Glimmerglass Opera and Justin in Anthony Davis' opera Wakonda's Dream and Baritone Soloist in Paul Moravec's Blizzard Voices, both with Opera Omaha. He has also participated in the revival of several 21st century works: the oratorio Restless Mourning by Anthony Davis and the roles of Braxton and Sherrin in Sir Richard Rodney Bennett's opera The Mines of Sulphur. Christopher can be heard on both the Naxos record label in the world premiere recording of The Greater Good; as well as part of the "OPERA America Songbook", a recorded collection of 47 songs commissioned by OPERA America to celebrate the opening of the National Opera Center.

American baritone Michael Chioldi has quickly gained the reputation as one of the most sought-after dramatic baritones of his generation. Praised for his "warm, rich tone" (Opera News) and "deeply communicative phrasing" (The Baltimore Sun), he has received unanimous acclaim from critics and audiences around the world for his portrayals of the dramatic baritone roles of Verdi, Puccini, and Strauss. His recent role debuts include the title roles in Verdi's Rigoletto with the Orquesta Filarmónica de Jalisco, Macbeth with Palm Beach Opera, and Nabucco with Lyric Opera Baltimore; as Conte di Luna in Il Trovatore with Utah Opera; and as Rodrigo in Don Carlo with Austin Lyric Opera. Chioldi's 2016-17 season began in September with his return to Virginia Opera for his role debut as Tonio in Pagliacci. He returned to New Orleans Opera in November in the title role of Verdi's Macbeth, as well as to the Orquesta Filarmónica de Jalisco debuting the role of Iago in Otello. Chioldi then returns to the Palm Beach Opera to reprise his portrayal of the title role in Rigoletto in March. Chioldi has performed at nearly every major American opera house, including The Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Washington National Opera and Los Angeles Opera. Signature roles include Scarpia in Tosca with Hawaii Opera Theater, Ft. Worth Opera, New York City Opera, Toledo Opera, and Spain's Opera de Oviedo; Jochanaan in Salome with Utah Opera, Virginia Opera, and the Saito Kinen Festival in Japan; the title role of Macbeth with Michigan Opera Theatre and Palm Beach Opera, Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor with Washington National Opera, Utah Opera, and New Orleans Opera; and Sharpless in Madama Butterfly with Washington National Opera and in a nationwide broadcast on the PBS television series Live from Lincoln Center, which received an Emmy award in 2008. Additional recent performances include the title role in Hamlet with Washington National Opera; the title role in Der Fliegende Holländer with Pforzheim Opera; Marcello in La bohéme at London's Royal Albert Hall; Ford in Falstaff with Utah Opera, Chautauqua Opera, and the Ft. Worth Opera Festival; Giorgio Germont in La Traviata with Palm Beach Opera; Count Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro with Hawaii Opera Theater, Chautauqua Opera, and the Macau International Music Festival; and Giacomo in Verdi's Giovanna d'Arco with Chicago Opera Theater. He made his debut at New York's Metropolitan Opera as Fléville in Andrea Chénier with Luciano Pavarotti and Aprile Millo under the baton of James Levine, and traveled extensively in Japan with Maestro Seiji Ozawa. Chioldi has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including The Metropolitan Opera National Council Competition (Winner 1995); The MacAllister Competition; The Licia Albanese-Puccini Competition; and The Sullivan Foundation. He received his Bachelors' degree from West Virginia University, and his Masters' degree from Yale University. His recordings appear on the Sony Classical, BMG, Accord and Newport Classics labels.

Bass Baritone Craig Colclough began his career at the Los Angeles Opera. After two seasons appearing with the company in various roles, Mr. Colclough joined Florida Grand Opera's Young Artist Studio, and in 2012, became a Filene Young Artist at the Wolf Trap Opera Company. The autumn of 2016 finds Craig's return to London for Scarpia in Tosca with English National Opera, a role that serves as his debut at Canadian Opera Company later in the season. He also joins the Minnesota Opera for Doristo in L'arbore di Diana, and makes his debut with Opera Saratoga singing the title role in Verdi's Falstaff. Mr. Colclough's 2015-2016 season included performances with Arizona Opera as the title role in Falstaff and Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, for Timur in Turandot, conducted by Gustavo Dudamel. Additionally, he returned to English National Opera for his role debut of Kurwenal in Tristan und Isolde, Florida Grand Opera for Oroveso in Norma, and Los Angeles Opera for Simone in Gianni Schicchi. On the concert stage, he makes his debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic as Dottore Grenvil in La traviata. In the 2014-2015 season, Craig made his European debut with English National Opera as Jack Rance in La Fanciulla del West, returned to Los Angeles Opera for concert performances of Hercules v. Vampires (roles of God of Evil and Procrustes), and also debuted with Atlanta Opera as Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro, as well as Lyric Opera of Kansas City as Lieutenant Gordon in Silent Night. During the 2013-2014 season, the bass-baritone essayed the title role in Don Pasquale at the Arizona Opera, covered the title role in Falstaff for both San Francisco Opera and Los Angeles Opera, and appeared as Bosun in Billy Budd at the Los Angeles Opera. In concert, Mr. Colcough appeared with the Orange County Philharmonic Society for Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. Past leading roles include Falstaff in Verdi's Falstaff, Don Giovanni, Leporello and Il Commendatore in Mozart's Don Giovanni, Nick Shadow in Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress, Collatinus in Britten's The Rape of Lucretia, Oroveso in Bellini's Norma, Rambaldo in Puccini's La Rondine, Raimondo in Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor, Friar Laurence in Gounod's Romeo and Juliet and Elijah in Mendelssohn's Elijah. Additional credits include the Israeli Symphony Orchestra, California Philharmonic, Capitol Records, Abbey Road Studios and the soundtrack of the film Rolled.

Mezzo Soprano Ginger Costa-Jackson is a graduate of the Metropolitan Opera's Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, and a Samling Scholar. This season she performed the role of Rosina in IL Barbiere di Sivigliawith the Metropolitan Opera, and the title role in Bizet's Carmen with the San Francisco Opera. Future engagements include Carmen with Michigan Opera Theatre, her debut at Opera de Paris as Despina in a new production of Cosi fan tutte, conducted by Philippe Jordan, Dorabella in Cosi fan tutte with the Seattle Opera, the role of Rosina with the Santa Cruz Symphony and Carmen with Nashville Opera. In the 2014-15 season she debuted at Vancouver Opera and Opera Grand Rapids in the title role of Carmen, and returned to the Metropolitan Opera as Lola in Cavalleria Rusticana and Mercedes in Carmen.This past summer she sang concerts presented by Met in the Parks. In 2012 Ginger debuted the role of Carmen with the Glimmerglass Festival, and made her European debut as Lola in Cavalleria Rusticana with the Gran Teatre del Liceu. In 2012-13 season she returned to the Metropolitan Opera as Smaragdi in Francesca da Rimini and Mercedes in Carmen, and was featured as the Marchesa del Poggio in Verdi's Un Giorno di Regno with Glimmerglass Opera. In 2013-14 she returned to the Metropolitan Opera for Cosi fan tutte and Falstaff, and debuted at Virginia Opera as Carmen. Recently she performed Rosette in the Metropolitan Opera's new production of Massenet's Manon, made her San Francisco Opera debut in Nixon in China, sang Marie in Rossini's Moise et Pharaon with the Collegiate Chorale at Carnegie Hall, and the role of Puss in the 2010 US premier of Montsalvatge's El gato con botaswith the Gotham Chamber Opera. Ms Costa-Jackson's former Met roles include Nancy T'sang, First Secretary in Nixon in China; Wowkle in La fanciulla del West; Eine Theatergarderobiere/Der Gymnasiast/Ein Groom in Berg's Lulu; cover for Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro; Lola in Cavalleria Rusticana; and Myrtale in Thaïs. In 2009 she debuted with the San Francisco Symphony as Celia in Gilbert and Sullivan's Iolanthe. Ms. Costa-Jackson has won many prestigious awards, including recognition in The Lotte Lenya Competition, the Gerda Lissner International Vocal Competition, and the Opera Index Vocal Competiton.