Heather Johnson as Carmen
Mezzo soprano Heather Johnson, hailed by Opera News as “a dramatic singer in the truest sense”, has received critical acclaim for her work on both the opera and concert stage.
After making her Metropolitan Opera company debut in the 2011 Summer Recital Series, Ms. Johnson returns to the Met in the 2012-13 season making her house debut as a Flower Maiden in the new production of Parsifal. She began the season singing the role of Dinah in Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti with the Moab Music Festival then appeared in concert with Virginia Opera and the Virginia Symphony. Other highlights of the 2012-13 season include Maddalena in Rigoletto with Sarasota Opera, the title role in Carmen with Baltimore Concert Opera, Sainte-Marie in Berlioz’s L’enfance du Christ with New York Choral Society at Carnegie Hall, mezzo soloist in Thomas Beveridge’s Yizkor Requiem with the New Dominion Chorale and Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Mill City Summer Opera. In the 2013-14 season Ms. Johnson will return to the Metropolitan Opera as well as sing the title role in Boston Lyric Opera’s new production of Beeson’s Lizzie Borden and sing Carmen with Virginia Opera. 2014 also brings her Dallas Opera debut in Salome.
Ms. Johnson began the 2011-12 season singing Rosina in Opera Southwest’s production of Il barbiere di Siviglia. She returned to the Metropolitan for their production of The Enchanted Island. Other engagements included the title character in Gustav Holst’s Savitri with Little Opera Theatre of New York that the New York Times critically acclaimed “Heather Johnson sang with penetrating power and natural phrasing… her eyes were haunted and her performance was both grand and intimate, in the best Wagnerian tradition.” She also also sang Mahler’s Symphony no. 2 with the St. Olaf Choir and Orchestra, Suzuki in Madama Butterfly with PORT Opera and a concert with Boston Lyric Opera.
Ms. Johnson enjoyed a triumphant opening of the 2010-11 season with a highly praised portrayal of the title character La Cenerentola with Sarasota Opera. In the winter she returned to Sarasota appearing as Elizabeth Practor in The Crucible. Also that season she sang Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Boston Lyric Opera, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, Bernstein’s Symphony no. 1 “Jeremiah” with the New Hampshire Music Festival and Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Opera New Jersey.
In the 2009-2010 season Ms. Johnson sang Vivaldi’s Gloria and Haydn’s Harmoniemesse with the New York Choral Society at Carnegie Hall. She made her role debut as Hansel in Hansel and Gretel with Sarasota Opera, a role she also sang with PORT Opera. Ms. Johnson also made her Kennedy Center debut singing Mozart’s Requiem with The Washington Chorus.
Ms. Johnson began the 2008-09 season making her Italian debut in Rome singing Rossini’s Stabat Mater with Maestro Paolo Olmi, which was broadcast on RAI 1. She made her role debut as Carmen with the Volkstheater in Rostock, Germany and performed Mozart’s Requiem with the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, under the baton of Pinchas Zukerman. Other performances included Zerlina in Don Giovanni with Boston Lyric Opera, Suzuki in Madama Butterfly with Madison Opera, Beppe in L’Amico Fritzwith Sarasota Opera, and Dido in Dido and Aeneaswith The Yard Arts Festival.
In the summer of 2008 Ms. Johnson’s performance at the Stillwater Music Festival of a world premiere arrangement of Grieg’s song cycle Haugtussa with the renowned string quartet Brooklyn Rider was featured on NPR’s “Performance Today”. She also performed Meg Page in Falstaff with New York City Opera. Her numerous roles with that company include Flora in La Traviata, Mercedes in Carmen and Soraya in the world premiere of Charles Wuorinen’s Haroun and the Sea of Stories. Ms. Johnson is the 2006 recipient of New York City Opera’s prestigious Stanley Tausend Award, presented to a deserving young artist in the season following their debut with the company.
Other notable recent operatic engagements include Hedwige in Rossini’s Guillaume Tell and Mallika inLakmé with Opera Orchestra of New York at Carnegie Hall, Zerlina in Don Giovanni and Lola inCavalleria Rusticana with Glimmerglass Opera, Lisetta in Il mondo della luna with Opera Layfayette, Rosina inIl barbiere di Siviglia with Portland Opera Repertory Theater, and Dinah in Trouble in Tahiti with Nashville Opera. On the concert stage she has performed Mozart’s Mass in C minor with New York Choral Society, selections from Il barbiere di Siviglia with Boston Pops Orchestra, Mozart’s Requiem, Coronation Mass and Beethoven’s Symphony no. 9 with the New Hampshire Music Festival, and Coronation Mass with Syracuse Symphony.
A 2002 Metropolitan Opera National Council Semi-Finalist, Ms. Johnson received her Masters degree from Manhattan School of Music and Bachelors of Music degree from St. Olaf College. She is a native Minnesotan, currently residing in New York.
Benjamin Warschawski as Don Jose
Benjamin Warschawski is recognized worldwide for his extraordinary talents in both operatic and cantorial realms. His ability to bring polished, classical style to his cantorial singing and rich, soulful emotion to the operatic stage has prompted many to dub him “this generation’s Richard Tucker.”
The tenor has thrilled audiences worldwide in over twenty leading tenor roles including Alfredo in La Traviata, the Duke of Mantua in Rigoletto, Don José in Carmen, Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly, Mario Cavaradossi in Tosca, Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor, Manrico in Il Trovatore, Calaf in Turandot, and the title roles in Werther, Edgar and L’amico Fritz. He has graced such esteemed stages as New York City Opera, Sarasota Opera, Michigan Opera, Nashville Opera, Opera Delaware and Austin Lyric Opera. Mr. Warschawski has performed with such legendary opera singers as Sherrill Milnes, James Morris, Jerome Hines, Aprile Millo, Dominic Cossa, Sharon Sweet, Pamela Armstrong, Mark Delavan, and William Warfield, and he is a past winner of the Metropolitan Opera Regional Auditions.
Mr. Warschawski’s recent engagements have included: Carmen with Opera Southwest and Washington Summer Opera, Il tabarro with Los Angeles Opera, L’amico Fritz with Sarasota Opera, Candide with Toledo Opera and Il Trovatore with Chautauqua Opera as well as Thomas Beveridge’s Symphony of Peace with the Alexandria Chorale, and Leonard Bernstein’s Mass with the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra. Over the past two seasons the tenor has also performed operatic and cantorial concerts in New York, Miami, Washington, DC, Chicago, Los Angeles and Israel.
Tim Mix as Escamillo
Recipient of a 2008 Richard Tucker Foundation Career Grant, Timothy Mix is recognized for the beauty of his voice and his compelling stage presence. He received critical acclaim for his pivotal role as Edward Gaines in the New York premiere of Richard Danielpour and Toni Morrison’s Margaret Garner, in a new production by Tazewell Thompson, for which the American baritone received New York City Opera’s 2008 Christopher Keene Award.
The 2008/09 season features a pair of notable house debuts: at Dallas Opera as the Duke of Nottingham in the Stephen Lawless production of Donizetti’s Roberto Devereaux, conducted by Graeme Jenkins, and at Michigan Opera Theatre as Edward Gaines in Kenny Leon’s production of Margaret Garner. Mr. Mix also takes on the role of Marcello in La Bohème at both Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and Palm Beach Opera. His concert calendar includes Fauré’s Requiem with the Buffalo Philharmonic, and Beethoven’s Mass in C and Dvorák’s Te Deum with Voices of Ascension.
During the 2007/08 season, Timothy Mix made his debut at the Boston Lyric Opera as Marcello in La Bohème, and sang Ford in New York City Opera’s Falstaff. He also performed principal roles in two recent American operas: the aforementioned Margaret Garner, and Clayton McAllister in the Atlanta Opera production of Carlisle Floyd’s Cold Sassy Tree.
Colleen Daly as Micaela
Soprano Colleen Daly is rapidly emerging as a “dramatically powerful” (The Washington Post) singer in today’s operatic arena. Miss Daly’s most recent performances include Musetta in Des Moines Metro Opera’s production of La bohème, Violetta in Opera Delaware’s production of La traviata, and the Countess in Annapolis Opera’s production of Le nozze di Figaro. Next up, Colleen performs Musetta in La bohème with Lyric Opera Baltimore, sings the role of Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte with Intermountain Opera, and performs Micaela in Carmen with Baltimore Concert Opera.
Other recent performances include Violetta (cover) in La traviata with New York City Opera; the title role of Thaïs at Opera Company Middlebury; the title role in Opera Vivente’s production of Alcina; Brahms Requiem with the Handel Society of Dartmouth College; Micaëla in La Tragédie de Carmen with Olney Theatre Center for the Arts; Madame Herz in Der Schauspieldirektor at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center; and Cunegonde in Candide at the Merle Reskin Theatre in Chicago. And with the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia, Colleen performed and the title roles of Lucia di Lammermoor, La traviata, Kát’a Kabanová, and Manon.
Ms. Daly is noted for her vast range of repertoire which also includes roles such as the title role in Donizetti’s Anna Bolena, the title role in Rusalka, Marguerite in Faust, Juliette in Roméo et Juliette, Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte, Konstanze in Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, Antonia in Les Contes d’Hoffman, Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus, and Tatyana in Eugene Onegin.
Ms. Daly recently made her foray into new works to much acclaim with performances as Young Alyce in Tom Cipullo’s opera Glory Denied. Her work as a concert and recital soloist has been widely recognized in performing such works as the Mozart, Brahms, Fauré, and Rutter Requiem Masses, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Händel’s Messiah, Haydn’s Creation and Missa Solemnis, and Stravinsky’s Les Noces. Colleen has appeared with several orchestral institutions such as the Master Chorale of Washington in her Kennedy Center debut, Washington Concert Opera, the Washington Chorus, the Cathedral Choral Society in her National Cathedral debut, the Post-Classical Ensemble, the New Dominion Chorale, the Maryland Philharmonic Orchestra, Opera Lafayette, Concert Operetta Theater of Philadelphia, Ovation Artists, the Washington Arts Club, and the In Series.
Colleen Daly received a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance at DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois, a Master of Music degree in Opera Performance at the University of Maryland in College Park, and an Artist Diploma from the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She has participated in the Lyric Opera Studio of Weimar in Germany, the Opera Company of Philadelphia’s program in Treviso, Italy, been a Festival Artist for Opera New Jersey, a Young Artist at the Oberlin in Italy Scenes Program in Urbania, and a New Horizon Fellow at the Aspen Music Festival and School.
Emily Ezzie as Frasquita
Recognized for her vocal beauty and compelling vulnerability on stage, Soprano Emily Ezzie has been steadily distinguishing herself as an artist to watch. Adding a return to Baltimore Concert Opera as Frasquita in Carmen, Emily’s recent performances include Aida with Annapolis Opera and the Maryland Symphony Orchestra’s Celebration of 300 Years of British Music. Under the baton of Christopher Larkin at the Natchez Music Festival she appeared as Mimì in La Bohème, a role that she has made her own through numerous performances with companies such as Opera North and Washington DC’s Bel Cantanti where she was hailed as “the acknowledged star of the evening”. She was singled out for her portrayal of Barbarina in Pittsburgh Opera’s production of Le Nozze di Figaro, working with acclaimed director Christopher Alden. Other performances include a debut as Frasquita with Opera Southwest, Gianetta in L’elisir d’amore with the Toledo Opera, and the title role in Bel Cantanti’s production of Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta. She was seen as Second Woman in Dido and Aeneas with the Greenwich Music Festival and has appeared with the Baltimore Opera, Opera Boston, Sarasota Opera, and the Music and Theatre Festival of Lucca, Italy. Emily has been the Grand Prize Winner of the Long Leaf Opera Vocal Competition and a finalist in the National Opera Association Vocal Competition. With the Sarasota Opera she received the Stuart R. Silver Scholarship and at the Natchez Music Festival she added the Blackburn/Killelea Award to her list of accolades. She is also a recipient of Boston University’s Ellalou Dimmock Award and will mark a return to the stage of Opera Southwest in 2013 amongst her future engagements.
Melissa Kornacki as Mercedes
Melissa Kornacki, American Mezzo-Soprano, is a native of the Washington DC area and has performed widely across the United States and abroad. Highlights include Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony both at Avery Fischer Hall, New York and the Grand Auditorium in Ocean Grove, New Jersey; Live recording by AMP of Handel’s Messiah; 2007 international debut in the United Arab Emirates performing the role of Dinah in Trouble in Tahiti; and participation in two world premieres covering the role of Orfeo in a new adaptation by Five Words in a Line entitled, Orfeo, Eurydice and The Serpent in New York City, and performing the role of Sage2/Dr.Greene in composer Kyle Gullings’s new opera, Oblivion. Opera credits include Gertrude (Romeo et Juliet), Third Lady (Die Zauberflöte), Mrs. Page (Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor), Maddalena (Rigoletto), Hansel (Hansel und Gretel), Dorabella (Cosi Fan Tutte), Augusta (The Ballad of Baby Doe), Charlotte (Werther), Dido (Dido and Aeneas), Dinah (Trouble in Tahiti), Anita (West Side Story), La Ciesca (Gianni Schichi), and the title roles in Giulio Cesare and Carmen. Ms. Kornacki currently performs with the Lyric Opera of Baltimore chorus, was a featured artist for the 2011-2012 season with the Concert Artists of Baltimore, and in June will begin the Victoria J. Mastrobuono Emerging Artist Program for Opera New Jersey covering the role of Buttercup in H.M.S. Pinafore.
David B. Morris as Zuniga
Bass David B. Morris is delighted to make his BCO debut. He first became known to Baltimore audiences through his work at Opera Vivente, where he performed Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte, Arkel in Pelléas et Mélisande, and Antinous in Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria. A veteran performer at the Washington National Opera for the past seventeen seasons, Mr. Morris recently appeared as the Sergeant of Archers alongside Patricia Racette in Manon Lescaut. Other performances with the WNO include Astolfo in Lucrezia Borgia with Renée Fleming, Ambrogio in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, the Master of Ceremonies in Sly during the company’s tour in Japan in 2002, as well as roles in Don Quichotte, La Bohème, Billy Budd, Macbeth, Elektra, and Salome. Mr. Morris studied with Frank Guarrera and Mary Curtis-Verna at the University of Washington in Seattle. When he is not singing, Mr. Morris is the principal curator of German and Italian collections at the Library of Congress.
Greg Hoyt as Moralès
Emerging artist Greg Hoyt is enjoying performance opportunities on the east coast and surrounding areas. He recently joined the cast of Hansel and Gretel with New York Lyric Opera in the role of Peter, and sang the roles of Roderick and Sam in Hindemith’s The Long Christmas Dinner with enCanta Collective. He’ll next be appearing as Morales in Carmen with Baltimore Concert Opera. Greg sang Masetto in Don Giovanni with Repertory Opera Theater of Washington, and reprised the role when The Figaro Project premiered the engaging whodunit “Who Killed Don Giovanni” to glowing reviews in Baltimore. Appearances with Opera Camerata of Washington have included the Uffiziale in Il Barbiere di Siviglia where he covered the role of Figaro, and Frank the prison governor in Die Fledermaus. He also performed as Belcore with New York Lyric Opera and covered the role with The Martha Cardona Theater.
Greg has appeared in summer young artist programs with the Sugar Creek Symphony & Song Festival, the Emerald City Opera Artist Institute, and the Atlantic Coast Opera Festival. Roles performed included Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro, Belcore in L’elisir d’amore, and Bob in The Old Maid & the Thief. Greg also sang in the mainstage chorus of the Sugar Creek Festival’s Il barbiere di Siviglia and covered the mainstage role of Belcore with Emerald City Opera.
Greg has performed with the Maryland Conservatory Chorale as soloist in the Bach Magnificat with conductor Tom Hall, and as the baritone soloist in Rutter’s Mass of the Children for the Deer Creek Chorale’s benefit concert conducted by composer Z. Randall Stroope. He also served as baritone apprentice with the Berkshire Choral Festival in Canterbury, England under the direction of Brian Kay of BBC and King’s Singers fame.
Jason Widney as Dancaïro
Jason Widney holds a Bachelors of Science in Music Education and a Bachelors of Arts in Music from Lebanon Valley College. During his time at LVC, Jason sang at Pine Street Presbyterian Church where he was soloist in Brahm’s Ein Deutches Requiem, and the Faure Requiem. In 2005, he attained a Master’s of Music degree from the Peabody Conservatory where he studied with renowned British bass-baritone, John Shirley-Quirk. While at Peabody, Jason performed as a soloist in Carmina Burana, the Ballad Singer in Kurt Weil’s The Threepenny Opera, M. Chourfleuri in Offenbach’s opera of the same name, and as Sir Bertie Bland in the world premier of The Alien Corn by Thomas Benjamin. Since his graduation from Peabody Jason has been an active performer in the Baltimore area performing with the Baltimore Opera Company in the chorus and education programs as well as Don Inigo in L’heure Espagnole. He has performed with Opera Vivente, Opera AACC and sings regularly with the Handel Choir of Baltimore both in the chorus and as a soloist.
David Sadlier as Remendado
David Sadlier, tenor, has been praised for both his vocal and dramatic abilities. David’s opera credits include appearances with Chicago Opera Theater, Glimmerglass Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, New Orleans Opera, Opera Circle of Cleveland, and Opera North. Fortunate to be involved in many new works, David has performed several world premieres including Loss of Eden (Opera Theater of St. Louis), the title role in Thamos: King of Egypt (Opera Circle of Cleveland), and Our Town and the collegiate debut of A View From the Bridge (Indiana University). Most recently, David returned to Opera Circle of Cleveland as Edrisi in Szymanowski’s Krol Roger where he also performed Tebaldo in I Capuletti e i Montecchi, and the role of Fritz Kobus in L’Amico Fritz. In addition, the tenor covered the role of Siegmund in Virginia Opera’s 2011 production of Die Walküre. Concert appearances include Britten’s Serenade under the baton of Richard Hughey, Handel’s Messiah with the Southern Mississippi Chamber Orchestra, Mozart’s Requiem with the Battle Creek Symphony, Britten’s Saint Nicolas with the Kokomo Symphony Orchestra, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass and Brahms’ Liebeslieder Walzes with the Lafayette Bach Chorale, and Vaughan Williams’ Serenade to Music with the Indianapolis Symphony. Equally at home on the recital stage, David has performed many major works including Die schöne Müllerin, Dichterliebe, An die ferne Geliebte, On Wenlock Edge, and Finzi’s Oh fair to see. Upcoming engagements include performances with the Baltimore Concert Opera, and recitals at The Church of St. Martin in the Fields (London) and the Jacqueline du Pre Music Room (Oxford).
David currently serves as Assistant Professor of Voice at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, VA where his duties include Studio Voice, Foreign Language Diction, OperaCNU and the CNU Men’s Chorus. During the 2011-12 year David served as both the stage director and conductor for OperaCNU’s Die Fledermaus. Before his work at CNU, David was an Assistant Professor of Voice at Baylor University where he taught Studio Voice, Operatic Role Preparation, and served as the Interim Director of Baylor Opera Theater. David’s students have distinguished themselves as winners of regional competitions, and through admittance to nationally and internationally recognized summer training programs and leading graduate programs such as the Manhattan School of Music and the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. Previous to his work at Baylor, David served as a Visiting Professor of Music at Taylor University where he taught studio voice and language diction. While at Taylor he served as the Director of Taylor Opera Theater making his directing and conducting debuts with Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte. David continues to serve as a guest clinician and recitalist at universities and institutes throughout the country; most recently at the Interlochen School for the Arts, Montana State University, Western Illinois University, Albion College, and the Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory.
In the summer of 2011, David founded The Cornish American Song Institute (CASI) based in Falmouth, Cornwall, UK. The Institute is a two-week study of art-song for singers, pianists, composers, and, beginning in 2012, string players and woodwinds. The Institute provides applied music lessons, musical coachings, English Music Classes, several tours of Cornwall, and several concerts. In addition, CASI offers a four-day residency in Oxford and the opportunity to engage in lectures and master classes with Oxford faculty.
David earned the Doctor of Music degree from the The Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University where he studied with Andreas Poulimenos and Giorgio Tozzi. While at IU he served as an Associate Instructor of Voice for four years. David also holds a Masters degree in vocal performance from Indiana University as well as a Bachelor of Music from Loyola University in New Orleans.
David is married to fellow CNU faculty member, and pianist, Lelia Molthrop Sadlier, with whom he regularly appears in recital. The couple has two daughters, Ada Morgan and Bronwyn McFarlane.
Ronald Gretz Conductor
Ronald J. Gretz, a graduate of the Peabody Conservatory, is in his 28th. season as Artistic Director and conductor of the Annapolis Opera. Previous opera experience includes being chorus master and assistant conductor with the Baltimore Opera and Chautauqua Summer Opera in New York, conductor for Baltimore Opera’s Summer Opera, and Artistic Director and conductor for the Chesapeake and Harford Opera companies. In addition Mr. Gretz has been on the faculty of Peabody Conservatory as an opera coach and has conducted Broadway musicals both nationally and internationally, performing in Japan and Shanghai, China.
His choral conducting experience includes being director of the Handel Choir of Baltimore and the St. Charles Chorale in addition to over 45 years experience as organist and choir director at various churches in Baltimore.
For over 15 years he has conducted a wide variety of orchestral repertoire with the Gettysburg Symphony Orchestra and the Maryland Philharmonic Orchestra, which he founded in 2004.
Mr. Gretz is a full-time professor of music theory at CCBC, Essex campus, where he has taught for the past 39 years. His textbook Music Language and Fundamentals, now in its second edition, is published by Mc Graw Hill and is being used throughout the United States and Canada.
Tim Ribchester Pianist
Tim Ribchester is active in Philadelphia as conductor, pianist, coach, broadcaster and lecturer, currently serving on the faculties of the Academy of Vocal Arts (Il tabarro, Des contes d’Hoffmann, Don Giovanni, L’elisir d’amore, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Don Quichotte, Eugene Onegin, Un ballo in maschera), Russian Opera Workshop at AVA (The Queen of Spades, Francesca da Rimini), the Bryn Mawr Conservatory, and as a Music Director for Delaware Valley Opera Company (La Cenerentola, Don Giovanni, Hansel and Gretel, Le nozze di Figaro). Guest music director engagements include Don Giovanni for Opera Libera and Apple Blossoms for Concert Operetta Theater. A music historian and specialist in the Nuevo Tango music of Astor Piazzolla, he is known for his support of Philadelphia composers and has given many premieres in the area as conductor and pianist, including the award-winning commercial release recording and New York premiere of Melissa Dunphy’s song cycle Tesla’s Pigeon. Trained in Oxford, London, Paris and Buenos Aires, Tim has appeared in duo with members of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Opera Philadelphia principal singers, and with New York’s foremost tango musicians at the Bryant Park Fall Festival, Five Boroughs Music Festival, and Usdan Center. He participated in the 2012 Cleveland Art Song Festival, and assisted with music preparation for Opera Philadelphia (Romeo et Juliette), Center City Opera Theater (Dido and Aeneas, L’elisir d’amore), and Opera at Florham, NJ (L’elisir d’amore), as well as debuting with Baltimore Concert Opera as pianist for Carmen this season. He has served as a panel judge for the New Jersey State Opera, Philadelphia Lieder Society, and the American Composers Forum, Philadelphia chapter, is the assistant video director for the Philadelphia Orchestra, and was the founding music director of the Eakins Vocal Consort, a select chamber choir, from 2006-2009.