Jennifer Holbrook, Léïla
Jennifer Holbrook, soprano, has been praised by the Baltimore Sun for her “radiant, silvery voice, gleaming agility and elegant style.” Recent performances include Donna Anna in Don Giovanni with Repertory Opera Theater of Washington, the title role in Massenet’s Manon with Peabody Opera, Juliette in Gounod’s Romeo et Juliette with Bel Cantanti Opera and Echo in Ariadne auf Naxos with Seattle Opera’s Young Artist Program. Other recent operatic roles include Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, Violetta in La Traviata and Konstanze in Die Entführung aus dem Serail.
Ms. Holbrook performed the roles of Violetta in La Traviata, Gunnhild in Satan’s Bride and in numerous Cabaret concerts with the Center City Opera Theater of Philadelphia as part of their 2012-2013 season. In 2012 Ms. Holbrook made her debut at the Model Performing Arts Center at The Lyric Opera House, performing as soprano soloist in Orff’s Carmina Burana with Concert Artists of Baltimore. She has also performed as soprano soloist in the Mozart Requiem with the Sioux City Symphony, as a featured soloist in the 2011 International Music Festival at the State Conservatory in St. Petersburg, Russia, and as a guest artist with the Fuzhou Philharmonic Orchestra in Fuzhou, China.
Ms. Holbrook attended the University of Central Arkansas where she received a Bachelor of Music under the tutelage of Dr. Martha Antolik. She continued her studies at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University where she was a recipient of the Lydia Richard Gillespie Endowed Scholarship and studied with soprano Phyllis Bryn-Julson. Ms. Holbrook completed a Master of Music in Vocal Performance and a Graduate Performance Diploma in Opera. While at Peabody Ms. Holbrook performed the as a soloist in Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass, Mozart’s Mass in C Minor and Mahler’s Fourth Symphony with the Peabody Symphony Orchestra. As a winner of the 2010 Art Song Discovery Series she presented four art song recitals with Vocal Arts DC. Ms. Holbrook was a District winner of the Metropolitan Opera’s National Council Auditions, a winner in the Virginia Opera Bravissimo Society Competition, the Russell C. Wonderlic Voice Competition, the Rhode Island Bel Canto Competition, the Sylvia Green Competition and a two-time winner of the University of Central Arkansas Aria/Concerto Competition. Ms. Holbrook is currently a student of Dr. Stanley Cornett.
Tim Augustin, Nadir
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.
Wes Mason, Zurga
Praised by Opera News as a “gifted and fiercely committed young baritone…whose voice is spacious and reverberant”, Wes Mason continues to be recognized for his vocal distinction and ability to disappear dramatically into his roles.
This season sees several company and role debuts for Wes, including Escamillo in La tragédie de Carmen with Syracuse Opera, Zurga in Les pêcheurs de perles with both Baltimore Concert Opera and Delaware Opera, Achilla in Giulio Cesare with Opera Roanoke, Masetto in Don Giovanni with Opera Philadelphia, and both Curly in Oklahoma! and the Bishop in Les Misérables with Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre.
Wes has been widely acclaimed for creating the role of Cuban dissident and poet Reinaldo Arenas in the 2010 world premiere of Jorge Martín’s Before Night Falls with Fort Worth Opera. William Madison called his performance “a tour de force. Constantly onstage, he sang in a mellow, lustrous baritone while simultaneously acting, running, jumping, and dancing.”
Previous engagements include Marcello in La bohéme with Fort Worth Opera, Masetto in Don Giovanni with Opera Naples, Moralès in Carmen with the Glimmerglass Festival, Mac and Frank Butler in Francesca Zambello’s new production of Annie Get Your Gun, Le Dancaïre in Carmen with Michigan Opera Theatre, Valentin in Faust and both Schaunard and Marcello in La bohème with the Crested Butte Music Festival.
Mr. Mason is a 2013 Career Development Grant recipient from the Sullivan Foundation, a 2012 Opera Index Competition finalist, an Encouragement Award winner in the 2012 Loren L. Zachary Society Competition and a Second Place Regional Winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 2009.
A native of Norfolk, Virginia, he holds a Bachelor of Music from the University of Michigan and is a recent graduate of the esteemed Academy of Vocal Arts.
Joseph Beutel, Nourabad
Acclaimed Bass-Baritone, Joseph Beutel, is an Indiana native. He has often been praised for his richness of vocal color and versatility on stage. Beutel was a winner of the Sullivan Foundation Career Development Award in 2011 and Encouragement from the Gerda Lissner Foundation in 2012. He performed with the recent New York Philharmonic production of Carousel and American Lyric Theater’s workshops of two new operas, La reina and The Turing Project. He has recently been involved with the Santa Fe Opera as a singer apprentice where he sang the role of Lamoral in their new production of Arabella by Strauss. In the summer of 2011 at Santa Fe, he covered the role of Mephistopheles in their production of Faust by Gounod. During the 2011/12 season at Minnesota Opera, he sang such roles as Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor, the Bailiff in Werther, the Bonze in Madama Butterfly and originated the role of the British Major in the world premier and Pulitzer Prize winning Opera Silent Night by composer Kevin Puts (2011). Beutel has also performed the roles of the Impresario/Direttore in the Seattle Opera Young Artist production of Viva La Mamma by Donizetti, Colline in La bohème, Adonis in Venus and Adonis, Sarastro in The Magic Flute, Simone in Gianni Schicchi, Herr Reich in Merry Wives of Windsor, and the Police Sergeant in Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance. He has also made his debut this summer with the Music Festival at Caramoor in Les vêpres siciliennes as the Sire of Béthune.
Recent engagements have included Der Tod in Der Kaiser von Atlantis with Opera Moderne in Vienna. Upcoming engagements include Nourabad in Les pêcheurs de perles with Baltimore Concert Opera and Opera Delaware.
In addition to his operatic endeavors, Beutel has also been seen in many oratorio and cantata works. An accomplish Bach soloist, he has recently performed the Cantatas, Siehe, ich will viel Fischer aussenden (BWV 88) and Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit (BWV106) here in New
York. He has also performed the Saint Matthew Passion as Aria soloist, Christ Lag in Todesbanden (BWV 4), Singet dem Herrn (BWV 190), and solo cantata Ich habe Genug (BWV 82). He has sung Handel’s Messiah with the prestigious ‘Ensemble viii’ in Austin, Texas, and performed in recital in various places across the country. He made his debut with the Santa Fe Symphony this coming November also singing Messiah.
Michael Borowitz, Conductor
American conductor and pianist Michael Borowitz is currently in his fifth year as Music Director of LSU Opera, where this season he conducted performances of Mozart’s Così fan tutte, Weill’s Die sieben Todsünden, Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti, and this Spring will conduct performances of Lehár’s The Merry Widow and Blitzstein’s The Cradle Will Rock.
Now in his third season as Music Director with Opéra Louisiane, he conducted performances of Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen, in a reduced, 2-hour version, performances of Rossini’s La cenerentola, and this Spring will conduct performances of Strauss’ Die Fledermaus.
As guest conductor with AVA Ballet in Nevada he will conduct performances of The Little Mermaid.
His current recordings (all on the Albany label) include Offenbach’s Bluebeard, Kern’s The Cabaret Girl, Herbert’s Mlle. Modiste (also released on DVD by Operetta Archives), and Gilbert and Sullivan’s Ruddigore and Patience.
For nine years he was Artistic Director of Nevada Opera, and for five seasons he was Music Director for Ohio Light Opera. He has been a guest conductor for Des Moines Metro Opera, Baltimore Concert Opera, Pensacola Opera, AVA Ballet, Eastman School of Music, Opera Idaho, Opera Southwest, Rimrock Opera, Opera Columbus, The Reno Philharmonic and the LSU Symphony Orchestra, as well as assistant conductor with The Metropolitan Opera, Indianapolis Opera and Cleveland Opera.
James Harp, Chorus Master and 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.
Lee Zimmerman, silk artist