Il Barbiere di Siviglia

Il Barbiere di Siviglia

by Gioacchino Rossini

September 24 & 26, 2010

at the Grand Ballroom of The Engineers Club

Although composed years after Mozart’s famous Le Nozze di Figaro, we’ve decided to present these two pieces in chronological order from the dramatic standpoint. Featuring perhaps the most recognizable opera tune ever written (Thanks Looney Tunes!) this Barbiere is a treat for opera fans and novices alike. Our exciting cast features Peabody grad David Krohn as Figaro, Heather Johnson as Rosina and BCO favorite Tim Augustin as Almaviva. Bring your beer into the ballroom, as we begin “Beaumarchais-Book-ends, Bohème and the Bard.”

Tickets: $65, $45, $35, $25

David Krohn as Figaro
Praised by Opera News as “a clear stand-out, possessing a forceful and well-developed voice”, Baritone David Krohn enjoys his career both as opera singer and recitalist, where his calendar takes him across Europe, Canada and the United States.  Recent performances include his New York Philharmonic debut as a soloist at Carnegie Hall with Alan Gilbert conducting Bernstein’s West Side Story Suites, The title role of Rossini’s Barber of Seville with Aspen Opera, Bernstein’s Mass with the Virginia Symphony, Virginia Opera debut as Masetto in Don Giovanni, Tarquinius in The Rape of Lucretia with Aspen Opera, Il Conte in Le Nozze di Figaro, Carl-Magnus Malcom in A Little Night Music, Sid in Albert Herring along with concert performances with the Canadian National Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia and many others.  His symphonic repertoire includes performances of Bach cantatas, Bernstein’s Arias and Barcarolles, Faure Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Szymanowski’s Stabat Mater and William Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast.

Mr. Krohn also maintains a busy schedule as recitalist, performing around the world with repertoire ranging from the Baroque cantatas of Handel through world premieres of many modern composers, most recently Schubert’s Winterreise in Poitiers, France, a Comden and Greene celebration with the New York Festival of Song at Carnegie Hall alongside Tyne Daly and Walter Bobbie, Schubert’s Schwanengesang as part of the renowned Trinity Church in New York’s Concerts at One series, the world premiere of Tom Cipullo’s Insomnia at Pepperdine University and Christopher Berg’s Frank O’Hara Songs at Juilliard and this past month, the Baltimore premiere of Tom Cipullo’s A Visit with Emily as part of the Peabody Conservatory’s Adalman concert series.  Mr. Krohn has performed with many of the preeminent conductors of his generation, including Maestros Julius Rudel, Patrick Summers, Stephen White, John Adams, Jane Glover, Alan Gilbert, Jack Everly and many others.

Upcoming performances include singing the title role of Don Giovanni with the Seattle Opera Young Artist Program, Il Maestro in Donizetti’s rarely heard Viva La Mamma and a featured Holiday Pops concert with Virginia Symphony in December.  Mr. Krohn holds a Masters Degree from The Juilliard School and a Bachelors Degree from The Peabody Conservatory.

Heather Johnson as Rosina

Mezzo soprano Heather Johnson, hailed by Oregon News as “a dramatic singer in the truest sense,” has received critical acclaim for her work on both the opera and concert stage.

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 sings with PORT Opera. Ms. Johnson made her Kennedy Center debut this season singing Mozart’s Requiem with The Washington Chorus. In 2010-2011 she returns to the stage of Sarasota Opera as the title character in La Cenerentola and as Elizabeth Proctor in The Crucible. Ms. Johnson will also sing Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Boston Lyric Opera and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa.

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 Fritz with Sarasota Opera, and Dido in Dido and Aeneas with 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 Guilliume Tell and Mallika in Lakmé with Opera Orchestra of New York at Carnegie Hall, Zerlina in Don Giovanni and Lola in Cavalleria Rusticana with Glimmerglass Opera, Lisetta in Il mondo della luna with Opera Layfayette, Rosina in Il 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, Coronation Mass with Syracuse Symphony, the title role in La Cenerentola with Minnesota Opera (tour) and appearances with the Midcoast 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.

Tim Augustin as Count Almaviva
The Washington Post describes Timothy Augustin as an “outstanding performer” who possesses a “particularly lovely voice.”  Hailed for his artistry, Mr. Augustin has won numerous awards and competitions including The Washington International Competition for Singers.  He is a past national finalist in the Ryan Opera Center for American Artists of the Lyric Opera of Chicago auditions, as well as winning several awards from The Metropolitan Opera’s National Council Auditions among many other honors.   He has performed in such venues as Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall in New York, on all of the stages at The Kennedy Center in Washington, The Mormon Tabernacle, The Ordway Theater in St. Paul and many others.  Tim’s numerous television appearances include, ABC’s Good Morning America, NBC’s Today Show, The CBS Morning Show and ABC’s World News Tonight. His many radio broadcasts include:  Tenor Soloist in the world premiere of Nick White’s Full Freedom at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall which was broadcast on NPR.   A much sought after artist, Tim is a regular performer with many of Washington’s most respected musical organizations including the National Symphony Orchestra, The National Chamber Orchestra, the Master Chorale of Washington, the Cathedral Choral Society, Masterworks Chorus and many others.  A regular with The Washington National Opera, Mr. Augustin’s numerous past productions include more than a twenty roles and more than 250 performances.

Stephen Eisenhard as Dr. Bartolo
Bass-baritone Stephen Eisenhard’s extensive repertoire spanning buffo and dramatic characters highlight his versatility as a singer/actor. In the 2003-2004 season, Mr. Eisenhard performed Bartolo in Le Nozze di Figaro with Florida Grand Opera and Bartolo in Il Barbiere di Siviglia with Connecticut Opera. He also sangLa Bohème‘s two old fools, Benoit and Alcindoro, both with Florida Grand and Knoxville Opera. Highlights of the 2004-2005 season include the Sacristan in Tosca and the Baliff in Werther with Sarasota Opera, Bartolo in Le Nozze di Figaro with Dayton Opera and a return to Connecticut Opera as Dulcamara in Elixir of Love. In the 2005-2006 season Mr. Eisenhard returned to Connecticut Opera for a third time to sing Mustafa in The Italian Girl in Algiers and to Sarasota Opera as Frank in Die Fledermaus.  Also, in 2006 Stephen sang for the “Live at First” concert series in Birmingham, Michigan as a featured recitalist. Highlights of the 2006-2007 season included Don Alfonso in Cosi fan tutte with Piedmont Opera and a return to Connecticut Opera as the title role in Don Pasquale. In 2007-2008, Mr. Eisenhard returned to Sarasota Opera to reprise the role of Don Alfonso in Cosi fan tutte. In the 2008-2009 season, Mr. Eisenhard made his debut with Nevada Opera as Bartolo in Barber of Seville, returned to Sarasota for his 10th season as Dulcamara, and performed Don Magnifico in La Cenerentola with Opera Southwest.

Mr. Eisenhard has performed many of opera’s beloved comic roles, among them Don Pasquale, Don Magnifico, Don Alfonso, Sacristan, and Melitone in La forza del destino. Roles of a more serious nature include, de Bretigny in Manon, the Baron in La Traviata, Metifio in Cilea’s L’Arlesiana, Friar Laurent in Romeo & Juliet, the Commendatore in Don Giovanni, Rambaldo in La rondine and Kakenik in Rimsky-Korsakov’s May Night.

Jeffrey Tarr as Don Basilio
Possessing a rich, warm voice with “rock-solid vocalism and powerful projection” (The Capital), bass Jeffrey Tarr is equally in demand for opera and concert work. He has appeared with the Washington National Opera, Opera Bel Cantanti, Opera Vivente, Cheasapeake Chamber Opera and Maryland Concert Opera. Mr. Tarr’s portrayal of Basilio in Annapolis Opera’s production of Il Barbiere di Siviglia was described by The Washington Post as “fervent [&] robust.” Other operatic credits include Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte, Father Trulove in The Rake’s Progress, Osmin in Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Benoit in La Bohème, Ceprano in Rigoletto, the Parson/Badger in The Cunning Little Vixen, Bartolo in Le Nozze di Figaro, Superintendent Budd in Albert Herring and Collatinus in Rape of Lucretia. Most recently, he portrayed the role of Coroner in Washington National Opera’s production of Porgy and Bess and will be returning in May 2011 to perform the role of Notary in their production of Don Pasquale.

On the concert stage, Mr. Tarr has performed in Handel’s Messiah, Faure’s Requiem, Bach’s St. John’s Passion, Mozart’s Requiem, and Bach’s Magnificat with the Concert Artists of Baltimore, the Handel Choir of Baltimore, the Choral Arts Society of Chattanooga, DC Summer Sings, and the New Dominion Chorale. His performance of Messiah with the New Dominion Chorale was lauded by The Washington Post as “outstanding…a large, resonant voice, filled with both power and clarity.” In December 2010, Mr. Tarr will be performing in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the New Dominion Chorale.

Mr. Tarr received a Masters of Music degree from the Peabody Conservatory of Music of the Johns Hopkins University and is a former prize winner in the Annapolis Opera Competition, the Orpheus Vocal Competition, the Marie Crump Vocal Competition and the Gretchen Hood Vocal Competition. As winner of the Vocal Arts Society’s Art Song Discovery Series, Mr. Tarr presented four recital programs at prestigious venues throughout the DC area including the Kennedy Center and the Odeon Concert Series. He presently serves as on the faculty of the voice department at American University.

Heather Kniotek-DeSimone as Berta
Heather Kniotek DeSimone has sung to critical acclaim, “melting minds and hearts with appropriate power” and “enticing with her luminosity,” according to reviews in the Süddeutsche Zeitung and Münchner Merkur for the Elysium- Between Two Continents Summer Academy and Festival in Bernried, Germany.  A Baltimore transplant, and New York native, Ms. Kniotek DeSimone received her undergraduate degree in Classical Voice from the State University of New York, Purchase College Conservatory of Music, and her Masters of Music from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University.  While at Peabody, Ms. Kniotek DeSimone studied under the tutelage of Phyllis Bryn-Julson, Steven Rainbolt, Thomas Grubb, and John Shirley Quirk and was awarded merit based scholarships and the Charles M. Eaton Memorial Voice Award.

Ms. Kniotek DeSimone is equally at home performing concert, oratorio, and opera repertoire.  Her opera credits include Giovanna in Rigoletto with Baltimore Opera Theatre, Spirit of Antonia’s Mother in Les contes d’Hoffman, with the Peabody Opera Theater under the direction of Garnett Bruce, Mimi in La Bohème with the Peabody Conductors Orchestra Project, and has sung The Witch in Hänsel und Gretel and Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni with Purchase Opera.  Ms. Kniotek DeSimone has a passion for German Lieder and works of the Verismo and Romantic period. She has sung with the chorus of Baltimore Concert Opera in both Faust and Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci, and is delighted to be working with BCO once again.

Jarrod Lee as Fiorello
Bass Baritone Jarrod Lee hails from Sylacauga, Alabama. Jarrod is a graduate of the Maryland Opera Studio and studies voice under Dominic Cossa. Operatic roles include: Joe Louis in the world premier of Shadowboxer , and Dulcamara in L’elisir d’amore with the Maryland Opera Studio, Samuel in Pirates of Penzance with Young Victorian Opera, Custom House Sergeant in La Bohème with Opera Birmingham, Jailer in Tosca with Summer Opera Theatre Company, Giuseppi in Gondoliers, Sergeant in Pirates of Penzance, Falstaff in Merry Wives, Mikado in Mikado with Jacksonville Opera Theatre. His roles for the 2010-11 seasons will include The Duke in Romeo et Juliette with the Chesapeake Chamber Opera and Basilio in Barber of Seville with the Maryland Opera Studio. Jarrod earned a B.A. in Music Education from Jacksonville State University, Alabama and studied voice with Dr. Richard Armstrong.

Gary Casity Conductor
2010-2011 will be Gary Casity’s fourth season as Associate Conductor of Sarasota Opera, working on productions of La Cenerentola, La Bohème, and I Lombardi. In 2009, Mr. Casity conducted eight performances of Hansel and Gretel and six performances of Albert Herring. With dell’Arte Opera in New York City, he conducted Il Tabarro as well as assisted on Suor Angelica. This past summer Mr. Casity joined Opera New Jersey to work on Faust. He has also worked with Opera Southwest and the San Francisco Conservatory Opera. Mr. Casity has recently participated in productions of La Traviata, Cavalleria rusticana, Pagliacci, Tosca, Don Carlos, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Così fan tutte, La rondine, Rigoletto, Manon, Die Fledermaus, Giovanna d’Arco, I due Foscari, Little Women, and Mikado.  He was the 2008 recipient of Sarasota Opera’s Kern Grant for Opera Artists. Equally interested in orchestral repertoire, Mr. Casity has conducted the Hot Springs Music Festival Orchestra, Waco Symphony, Baylor University Symphony, and Florida State University Symphony.

James Harp Pianist
James Harp is well known in the Baltimore area as a pianist, organist, stage director, singer, composer, lecturer, writer and conductor.  He began his musical career at age 7 as a church soloist, and has concertized in Italy, France, Greece, Israel, the Bahamas, and extensively throughout his native Southern United States.  Among his more unusual musical experiences include singing “My Old Kentucky Home” as a soloist on National Television at the 1981 Kentucky Derby, coaching Lily Tomlin in arias from Aida for an Emmy-nominated “Homicide” segment, and nearly drowning after falling backwards into the Sea of Galilee while conducting madrigals.

He is the Artistic Director of Lyric Opera Baltimore, a new grand opera company for Baltimore being supported by the Lyric Opera House, where he oversees opera productions in the theatre as well as directs a significant program of education/outreach programs.  He is also heavily involved in pursuing and nurturing partnerships and collaborations with arts organizations both locally and nationally in order to sustain the art forms of opera and music for perpetuity.

He holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the Peabody Conservatory of Music. He was the Artistic Administrator of the Baltimore Opera Company beginning in 1989 and was the Chorus Master since 1993.  Since 1983 he has served as organist for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and since 1987 has been the Cantor (Organist/Choirmaster) for Baltimore’s historic St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, where he also serves as Artistic Director of the St. Cecilia Society Concert Series.  He formerly served as Music Director of the Baltimore Men’s Chorus from 1989-1995 and was the accompanist for the Baltimore Symphony Chorus from 1982-1999. He is very proud to be the Principal Accompanist and Chorus Master for Baltimore Concert Opera since Spring of 2009.

Knowledgeable in many areas of music, he has lectured extensively on opera in many venues, including the Towson Arts Festival, the Maryland Opera Society, the Biblical Archaeology Society, and the Joy of Opera Series. He is on the faculty of the Johns Hopkins School of Continuing Education.  Successful as a writer of operatic children’s programs, he and his work Puppets & Pagliacci were featured on a PBS documentary.  His reworking and staging of Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, changed from Florence, Italy in 1299 to Florence, Alabama, in 1929 and retitled The Tale of Johnnie S. Kickey, has been well received and performed in several regional opera companies and universities. He has served on several national advisory boards as a consultant and advocate for arts agencies.

As a stage director he has directed many operas for Artscape, Baltimore’s summer festival of the arts, including The Medum, Too Many Sopranos, Slow Dusk, and Beauty and the Beast. He has directed The Sorcerer, HMS Pinafore, The Gondoliers, Iolanthe and The Pirates of Penzance with the Young Victorian Opera Company. He has also staged operas at Anne Arundel Community College, where his version of The Elixer of Love, transplanted to Tennessee during Prohibition, was well received, as well as his productions of The Magic Flute and Die Fledermaus.

Sought after as an orchestral musician and accompanist, he has been featured as soloist with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in works ranging from Saint-Saens Organ Symphony to Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera. He has appeared as continuo (harpsichord/organ) soloist with many local orchestral and choral groups, where his informed and histrionic realizations of baroque figured bass have won acclaim. Accompanist to many local singers, many of whom feature his own compositions, he has also accompanied such artists as Leontyne Price, Marilyn Horne, Sherrill Milnes, Licia Albanese, Anna Moffo, Chris Merritt, Lucine Amara, and Paul Plishka.

An aficionado of gardening, theology, genealogy and all things Victorian, he lives in the Bolton Hill neighborhood of Baltimore with his three gregarious pugs, Vivian, Jewell, and Woodrow.