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Juilliard Opera to Open 2017-18 Season with Mozart's LA FINTA GIARDINIERA


Juilliard Opera to Open 2017-18 Season with Mozart's LA FINTA GIARDINIERA

Juilliard Opera's season opens with W.A. Mozart's romantic comedy La finta giardiniera on November 15, 17, and 19, 2017, led by distinguished Metropolitan Opera conductor Joseph Colaneri, who makes his Juilliard Orchestra debut, and directed by faculty member Mary Birnbaum.

The opera features singers from Juilliard's Marcus Institute for Vocal Arts with the Juilliard Orchestra. La finta giardiniera ('the disguised gardener'), a three-act opera buffa, was first performed in Munich in 1775, two weeks before Mozart's 19th birthday.

Performances take place on Wednesday, November 15, 2017 and Friday, November 17, 2017, at 7:30pm and Sunday, November 19, 2017, at 2pm in Juilliard's Peter Jay Sharp Theater.

Tickets for Juilliard Opera productions are $30 and available at or at the Juilliard Box Office. Free tickets are available for Juilliard students; non-Juilliard full-time students with valid ID may purchase tickets for $15, only at the Juilliard Box Office.

The cast of La finta giardiniera, in order of vocal appearance, includes Olivia McMillan (Siena, Housemaid), Joan Hofmeyr (Vera, Housemaid), Christine Taylor Price (Serpetta), Tamara Banjesevic (Sandrina), Marie Engle (Ramiro), Joshua Blue (Il Podestà), Jacob Scharfman(Nardo), Kathryn Henry (Arminda), Charles Sy (Conte Belfiore), and William Guanbo Su (Giuseppe, Arminda's Servant).

Scenic design is by Grace Laubacher; costume design is by Amanda Seymour; and lighting design is by Anshuman Bhatia. The movement director is Blake Habermann.

This production is partially sponsored by Sarah Billinghurst Solomon and Howard Solomon.

This performance is part of Juilliard Opera, a program dedicated to the education and training of future generations of singers at Juilliard. Juilliard Opera is supported by the vision and generous lead funding of the International Foundation for Arts and Culture and its chairman, Dr. Haruhisa Handa.


Joseph Colaneri (Conductor)

An international conductor equally adept with operatic, oratorio, and symphonic repertoire, Joseph Colaneri continues to expand his relationships with orchestras and opera companies both nationally and abroad. Music director of the Glimmerglass Festival since 2013, Mr. Colaneri is a native of New Jersey and has served as a member of the Metropolitan Opera's conducting roster since 1998. Dedicated to the next generation of opera singers, he concurrently serves as artistic director of opera at Mannes School of Music at The New School. Most recently he led the new production of Donizetti's The Siege of Calais at the Glimmerglass Festival. In the 2017-18 season he returns to the Met Opera for a new production of Norma and to the Mannes for its fully staged productions of Le nozze di Figaro and The Rake's Progress. He also takes the podium at Arizona Opera for Candideand Utah Opera for a double bill of Gianni Schicchi and Pagliacci.

Mary Birnbaum (Director)

Mary Birnbaum has staged operas in New York, across the U.S., and abroad from Latin America to Taiwan. A graduate with honors of Harvard College, she studied movement at École Jacques Lecoq in Paris and was the inaugural Marcus Directing Fellow at Juilliard before joining the Juilliard Vocal Arts faculty, where she teaches acting to singers and serves as the associate director of the Artist Diploma in Opera Studies program, assisting its director Stephen Wadsworth. Ms. Birnbaum is a past nominee for Best Newcomer at the International Opera Awards sponsored by Opera magazine. Her New York credits include Die Zauberflöte (Juilliard), The Classical Style (Carnegie Hall, world premiere, Stucky/Denk), The Rape of Lucretia, Eugene Onegin (Juilliard) and several concerts with New York Festival of Song. Selected credits include Kept (VA Arts Festival, world premiere, Kuster/Levad), Halka (Bard Music Festival), and Giulio Cesare (Boston Baroque); and collaborations with the New World Symphony, Ojai Festival, and Santa Fe Opera. International work includes productions at National Symphony Orchestra in Taipei, Compañía Lírica in Costa Rica, and Melbourne Opera Studio. Ms. Birnbaum has worked with playwrights in the Soho Rep W/D Lab, at Ars Nova, and as a New Georges Affiliated Artist.

Tamara Banjesevic (Sandrina)

Soprano Tamara Banjesevic, from Belgrade, Serbia, is an Artist Diploma in Opera Studies student at Juilliard, where she studies with Edith Wiens. Ms. Banjesevic has performed at the National Theatre in Mannheim, Germany, as Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro), Amenaide (Tancredi), Nannetta (Falstaff), Giulia (La scala di seta), and the title role in Zaide. She has also appeared at the Baden-Baden Festival in Der Rosenkavalier with Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic; at the Aix en Provence Festival, Opera La Monnaie with Alain Altinoglu, and Alice Tully Hall with William Christie. Ms. Banjesevic is the winner of the second Manhattan International Music Competition and a finalist of the Viñas International Singing Competition. This season, she makes her debut at Carnegie Hall and at the Opera Bastille as the Flower Maiden in Parsifal. She holds the Dr. Lee MacCormiCK Edwards Scholarship, Alice Tully Scholarship, and is supported by the Hardesty and Beverley Peck Johnson Fund.

Joshua Blue (Il Podestà)

British-American tenor, Joshua Blue, who's from Aurora, Ill., is a second-year master's student at Juilliard studying with Robert C. White Jr. He was recently a Gaddes Festival Artist with the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, performing in the American premiere of Philip Glass' The Trial and Nemorino in L'Elisir d'Amore as a vocal fellow with Music Academy of the West. He received the Ellen Lopin Blair award for winning first place at the 2017 Oratorio Society of New York solo competition. This season Mr. Blue makes his Carnegie Hall debut in Handel's Messiah, a Merkin Concert Hall debut with NYFOS, and an Austin Lyric Opera debut as Scaramuccio in Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos. He earned his bachelor's degree from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. Mr. Blue is a Toulmin Scholar.

Marie Engle (Ramiro)

Mezzo-soprano Marie Engle is from Wauseon, Ohio, and is a master of music student at Juilliard, where she studies with Marlena Malas. Prior to moving to New York, she lived in Vienna where she performed with the Arnold Schönberg Chor at Lincoln Center and in Barcelona, Austria, and Hong Kong. She has also performed at the Theater an der Wien with tenor Plácido Domingo and mezzo-soprano Rosalind Plowright, and under the baton of conductors including Bertrand de Billy, Marc Minkowski, and René Jacobs. Ms. Engle participated in the 2016 season of the Franz Schubert Institute in Baden bei Wien. Recently, she has sung in numerous recitals in the U.S. and in Canada. Ms. Engle holds a Juilliard Scholarship and is a Toulmin Scholar.

William Guanbo Su (Giuseppe, Arminda's Servant)

Bass William Guanbo Su, from Beijing, China, is a first-year master's student at Juilliard studying under the guidance of Cynthia Hoffmann. At 14 years old, he began his studies at The Walnut Hill School of the Arts then completed his bachelor degree at Manhattan School of Music. Mr. Su has performed in solo recitals around Europe, Asia, and the United States and was the winner of NPR's "From the Top" competition. Mr. Su pursued the integration of music and poetry in German Lieder, while he trained at the Franz Schubert Institute in Vienna, Austria with Master Singers and coaches such as Elly Ameling, Olaf Bar, Helmut Deutsch, Wolfgang Dosch, Julius Drake, and Robert Holl. He recently won first prize at the Gerda Lissner Foundation Competition. He holds a Juilliard Scholarship.

Kathryn Henry (Arminda)

Soprano Kathryn Henry, who's from Wisconsin, is pursuing her master of music degree at Juilliard as a student of Marlena Malas. Her opera credits include the Governess in The Turn of the Screw, the First Lady in Die Zauberflöte, the title role in Suor Angelica, Gretel in Hansel and Gretel, and L'écureuil in L'enfant et les sortilèges. Ms. Henry has appeared as a guest soloist with the Milwaukee and Chautauqua symphony orchestras. In recital she has performed with pianists Brian Zeger, Craig Rutenberg, and Mikael Eliasen. In 2015, she was selected as a National Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Ms. Henry is a Toulmin Scholar.

Joan Hofmeyr (Vera, a Housemaid)

Soprano Joan Hofmeyr is from Johannesburg and is a third-year bachelor of music student at Juilliard where she studies with Marlena Malas. She has sung in the chorus of Cape Town Opera's La traviata, and appeared in the Met+Juilliard co-production of La sonnambula conducted by Speranza Scappucci, Katya Kabanova conducted by Anne Manson, and in Vocal Art's Cabaret. Ms. Hofmeyr participates in Juilliard's Gluck Fellowship program, in which students in bring interactive performances to New York City audiences in healthcare facilities and other nontraditional venues. Ms. Hofmeyr holds the Dora L. Foster Scholarship, the Alice Tully Scholarship, and Hans J. Heinz and Tatiana Troyanos Memorial Scholarship, and is supported by the Anna Schoen René Fund.

Olivia McMillan (Siena, Housemaid)

Soprano Olivia McMillan is from Centerville, Ga., and is a third year undergraduate at Juilliard, where she studies with Edith Bers. Last season she was the featured soloist in the Mercer University Choir and Orchestra's performance of the John Rutter Requiem at Carnegie Hall. Ms. McMillan performed in the Juilliard+Met production of La sonnambula, conducted by Speranza Scappucci, and has been featured in various recitals and showcases at Juilliard. She was featured in Seventeen and Teen Vogue, which named her one of the top 10 teens who changed the world in 2015. Ms. McMillan is the proud recipient of a Kovner Fellowship.

Christine Taylor Price (Serpetta)

Soprano Christine Taylor Price earned her master's degree and is in her second year of the Artist Diploma in Opera Studies program at Juilliard, where she studies with Edith Wiens. In 2017 she joined the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis as a Gerdine Young Artist, sang the Governess in Britten's The Turn of the Screw at Opera Columbus, and Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro at Opera in Williamsburg. At Juilliard she has appeared as the soloist in Mahler's Symphony No. 4, Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, Lucia in The Rape of Lucretia, and a soloist in Mendelssohn's A Midsummer Night's Dream. In 2016 Ms. Price made her Carnegie Hall debut in Beethoven's Missa Solemnisand in 2015 she sang Lucien in Corigliano's The Ghosts of Versailles and covered Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro at Wolf Trap Opera. Ms. Price holds the Alice Tully Scholarship, the Dr. Gary Portadin Scholarship, and is supported by the Hardesty and Beverley Peck Johnson Fund.

Jacob Scharfman (Nardo)

Baritone Jacob Scharfman is a second-year master of music student studying with Robert C. White Jr. A native of Boston, he spent last summer in Colorado as a studio artist with Central City Opera. During the 2016-17 season at Juilliard Mr. Scharfman made his Alice Tully Hall debut as Pallante in Handel's Agrippina and covered the Steward in Jonathan Dove's Flight. He has sung master classes with Yannick Nézet-Séguin and Pablo Heras-Casado (the latter is available on Recent operatic engagements include Charlie in Jake Heggie's Three Decembers with Opera Fayetteville, Rugby in Vaughan Williams' Sir John in Love with Odyssey Opera, Mr. Webb in Rorem's Our Town with Boston Opera Collaborative, and Prince Yeletsky in Tchaikovsky's Queen of Spades with Harvard's Lowell House. Mr. Scharfman holds the Ben Holt Memorial Scholarship and the Risë Stevens Scholarship. (

Charles Sy (Conte Belfiore)

Tenor Charles Sy, from Toronto, is in the Artist Diploma in Opera Studies program at Juilliard, where he studies with Marlena Malas. He is a recent graduate of the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio and completed his BM and MM at the University of Toronto. He is an alumnus of several training programs including Music Academy of the West, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, the Opera as Theatre program at the Banff Centre, and the Britten-Pears Young Artist Program. Mr. Sy received first prize and the audience choice award in the Canadian Opera Company's 2014 Centre Stage Competition. He is also the recipient of the 2013 Hnatyshyn Foundation Developing Artist Grant for Classical Voice after being nominated to represent the University of Toronto and competing at the national level. Mr. Sy holds the Juilliard Scholarship and is supported by the Hardesty and Beverley Peck Johnson Fund.

Anshuman Bhatia (Lighting Designer)

Anshuman Bhatia's designs for opera, theater, and dance have been seen at Beijing's National Center for the Performing Arts, Canada's Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Soho Rep, The Public Theater, Atlantic Theater Company, Washington's Arena Stage, Dublin's Civic Theater, HERE Arts Center, LoftOpera, Ma-Yi Theater Company, Pacific Symphony, Park Avenue Armory, Bard Music Festival, Puerto Rican Traveling Theater, Virginia Arts Festival, Rattlestick Theater, Troy's EMPAC, Infinity Theater Company, and The New School for Drama. Upcoming work can be seen at Madison Opera and Classic Stage Company. He holds an MFA from New York University. (

Blake Habermann (Movement Director)

Blake Habermann has performed on streets and stages around the globe. Highlights include: creating the original mime/butoh piece The Infinite Bliss of the Hungry Ghost Realm in residency at DanceBox, in Kobe, Japan; performing on Cirque du Soleil's float in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade; developing clown material for a new production of Pagliacci at the Metropolitan Opera; See Reverse, an original work created by Broken Box Mime Theater and part of ARTNY's debut season; and solo clown performance on the streets of the Edinburgh Fringe festival. He is currently teaching physical theater at The Neighborhood Playhouse and developing a new piece, Solitary, staging the psychosocial effects of solitary confinement. He holds a BFA from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts and completed a two year professional program at L'École Jacques Lecoq in Paris. (

Grace Laubacher (Scenic Designer)

Grace Laubacher is returning to Juilliard after last designing Die Zauberflöte in 2016. She is a New York City-based set designer whose work has recently been seen at Bard Music Festival (Halka), Pacific Symphony (Aida), and Boston Baroque (Giulio Cesare). In the past year she has also collaborated with the Peabody-Essex Museum in Salem, Mass., Walt Disney Creative Entertainment, and as an associate designer on Broadway (Marvin's Room, Roundabout); regionally (Merrily We Roll Along, Huntington Theater Company); and internationally (Hans Zimmer Live European tour). Ms. Laubacher was named a young designer to watch by Live Design Magazine in 2015 and was a winner in Opera America's 2015 Robert L.B. Tobin Director Designer Showcase. She holds a master's degree from Central Saint Martins in London and a BA from Harvard. (

Amanda Seymour (Costume Designer)

Recent credits for designer Amanda Seymour include Giulio Cesare for Boston Baroque Opera, Candide for Orlando Philharmonic, Ariadne auf Naxos and The Barber of Seville for Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Diner: the Musical forDelaware Theatre Company, Macbeth for The Public Theater's Mobile Shakespeare Unit, Ping Pong for The Public Theater, Le pauvre matelot and Les mamelles de Tirésias for Wolf Trap Opera, Rusalka for Opera San Antonio; Oliver! for the Paper Mill Playhouse, Exile and Lawnpeople for Cherry Lane Theatre, Don Pasquale for Juilliard, and Lydia for Yale Repertory Theatre. Associate designer credits include Disney's Frozen on Broadway, Hedwig and the Angry Inch national tour; andMadonna's Rebel Heart world tour.

About the Ellen and James S. Marcus Institute for Vocal Arts at Juilliard
Brian Zeger, Artistic Director

One of America's most prestigious programs for educating singers, Juilliard's Ellen and James S. Marcus Institute for Vocal Arts offers young artists programs tailored to their talents and needs. From bachelor and master of music degrees to an advanced Artist Diploma in Opera Studies program, Juilliard provides frequent performance opportunities, featuring singers in its own recital halls, on Lincoln Center's stages, and around New York City. Juilliard Opera has presented numerous premieres of new operas as well as works from the standard repertoire.

Juilliard graduates may be heard in opera houses and concert halls throughout the world; diverse alumni artists include well-known performers such as Simon Estes, Renée Fleming, Leontyne Price, Risë Stevens, Tatiana Troyanos, and Shirley Verrett. Recent alumni include Paul Appleby, Sasha Cooke, Isabel Leonard, Erin Morley, and Susanna Phillips.

Recognized as one of today's leading collaborative pianists, Brian Zeger has performed with many of the world's greatest singers in an extensive concert career that has taken him to the premiere concert halls throughout the United States and abroad. Recent recordings include Preludios - Spanish songs with Isabel Leonard, a recording of Strauss and Wagner lieder with Adrianne Pieczonka, Dear Theo: 3 Song Cycles by Ben Moore (Delos) with Paul Appleby, Susanna Phillips, and Brett Polegato, and All Who Wander, a recital disc with mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton. (


Wednesday, November 15, 2017, at 7:30pm

Friday, November 17, 2017, at 7:30pm

Sunday, November 19, 2017, at 2pm

Juilliard's Peter Jay Sharp Theater

La finta giardiniera, K. 196

Composer: W.A. Mozart

Librettist unknown

Conductor: Joseph Colaneri

Director: Mary Birnbaum

Scenic Designer: Grace Laubacher

Costume Designer: Amanda Seymour

Lighting Designer: Anshuman Bhatia

Movement Director: Blake Habermann

The Cast (in order of vocal appearance)

Siena, a Housemaid: Olivia McMillan (soprano)

Vera, a Housemaid: Joan Hofmeyr (soprano)

Serpetta: Christine Taylor Price (soprano)

Sandrina: Tamara Banjesevic (soprano)

Ramiro: Marie Engle (mezzo-soprano)

Il Podestà: Joshua Blue (tenor)

Nardo: Jacob Scharfman (baritone)
Arminda: Kathryn Henry (soprano)

Conte Belfiore: Charles Sy (tenor)

Giuseppe, Arminda's Servant: William Guanbo Su (bass)

Pictured: Conductor Joseph Colaneri. Photo by Kristin Hoebermann.

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