Celebrating the 100th anniversary of Benjamin Britten’s birth, the chamber opera The Turn of the Screw, will be presented for the first time in southern Oregon on March 6, 7 and 9, 2014 at Camelot Theater. The opera is a haunting operatic masterpiece set in the Victorian era. It is regarded by many as the finest of Britten’s stage works and considered one of the top five operas in English. Based on a Henry James novel, Britten’s last chamber opera tells the tale of a young governess who accepts a job caring for two children on a bucolic country estate. When ghosts of the former governess and manservant begin to appear, their peaceful existence is shattered and turns into a chilling struggle for the lives of the children. The fully staged opera will be performed in English and will feature a richly talented national cast of professional opera singers from across the country and instrumentalists.
ARTISTIC DIRECTOR, WILLENE GUNN served as a member of the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music for 30 years, as Director of the Conservatory Opera Program. Upon her retirement in the spring of 2005 the Conservatory conferred upon her the honorary degree of Doctor of Music. Ms. Gunn taught voice at the University of California at Santa Cruz, and staged operas in workshops at the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Nevada. She directed over 90 major works by Mozart, Verdi, Puccini, Bernstein and other major composers for Nevada, Sacramento, Arizona Operas, Rogue Opera and the San Francisco Opera Center and other companies in the San Francisco Bay Area. A graduate of the San Francisco Opera Merola Program, Ms. Gunn performed extensively on the West Coast as a dramatic mezzo-soprano with the San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Oakland and Nevada Opera companies in Aida, Falstaff, Peter Grimes, The Medium, The Consul and numerous others. Her symphonic repertory included Verdi’s Requiem and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. She performed in operetta, musical comedy and legitimate theater, in roles ranging from most of the mezzo-soprano roles in Gilbert and Sullivan, the alto leads in The Sound of Music, Carousel, and South Pacific, and as Hecuba in The Trojan Women. She produced and directed over 35 productions at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and in 2000 the Conservatory awarded her the Sarlo Award for Excellence in Teaching. While at the Conservatory, she directed over 100 scenes a year in the opera workshops.
In southern Oregon, Ms. Gunn served as Artistic Director of Rogue Opera from 2006-2009 directing the highly-acclaimed Merry Wives of Windsor, The Magic Flute and La Bohème. She co-created Rogue Opera’s Opera in the Schools program OperAntics! and created, directed and produced three Opera Workshop with Voices from the Valley Opera Scenes Concerts during her tenure. Ms. Gunn’s textbook, Teaching Opera, The Role of the Opera Workshop …With Scene Catalogue, written in partnership with Kathryn Cathcart, was published by Leyerle Press in February, 2008.
CONDUCTOR, PIANIST AND VOCAL COACH, LAURIE ANNE HUNTER received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Winnipeg and a Master of Music degree from the Juilliard School in New York. She became the fourth woman ever to conduct the New York City Opera when she made her debut there conducting Marc Blitzstein's Regina, in addition to five seasons there as an Assistant Conductor and Vocal Coach. Guest conducting appearances followed with the New England Lyric Operetta, Skylight Opera Theatre in Milwaukee, and the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony. She was Associate Conductor of Phantom of the Opera in Toronto and Show Boat on Broadway. She has served as Assistant Conductor and Vocal Coach for many Opera Companies throughout the U.S. and Canada including Seattle Opera, OperaTheatre of Saint Louis, Augusta Opera, Mobile Opera, Boston Concert Opera, Banff, Rogue Opera and the Metropolitan Opera Guild. Oregon Shakespeare Festival brought her to Ashland as Musical Director and Pianist for Enter the Guardsman in 2001 and she is currently on the adjunct faculty at Southern Oregon University and has an extensive private studio for piano, vocal coaching and harp.
GOVERNESS, LINDSAY OHSE, SOPRANO Described as “sparkling” by Opera News, coloratura soprano Lindsay Ohse began the 2012 season with the American west coast premiere of Philip Glass’ Galileo Galilei with Portland Opera, singing the leading role of Marie Celeste. She then traveled to northern Germany, participating in a Gala Concert as a soloist with the Eutin Festspiele in Eutin, Germany. Prior to that, she made several house debuts, including Marie in La Fille du Regiment at Wichita Grand Opera and Barbarina in Le Nozze di Figaro at Portland Opera. Previous performances include Constance in Dialogues of the Carmelites at Des Moines Metro Opera, Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflöte at both the Santa Fe Opera and Sarasota Opera, Viclinda in Verdi's rarely performed I Lombardi and Ann Putnam in The Crucible, also at Sarasota Opera.
Winner of the 2012 Metropolitan Opera National Council Oregon District Auditions, Lindsay recently concluded two years as a Resident Artist at Portland Opera with performances including Armida in Handel’s Rinaldo. Other engagements this season include a role debut of Donna Anna in Mozart's Don Giovanni at Opera Southwest in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Lindsay lives in New York and was the 2nd Place Winner of Brava! Opera Theater and James M. Collier Young Artist Program First Annual Vocal Competition. http://www.lindsayohse.com/
PROLOGUE/PETER QUINT, BRIAN THORSETT, TENOR Since taking to the operatic stage in 2001, tenor Brian Thorsett has been seen and heard in over 90 diverse operatic roles, ranging from Monteverdi to Britten, back to Rameau and ahead again to works composed especially for his talents. During the 2013–14 season, he returns to the roles Jupiter and Apollo in Semele and Arnalta in L’Incoronazione di Poppea, Peter Quint in Turn of the Screw, adds the title roles in Rameau’s Pigmalion and both Handel’s Samson and Acis and Galatea, as well as creates Will in Allen Shearer’s Middlemarch, Helios and Daedalus in Rosenthal’s Minotaur and Chesire in Getty’s Canterville Ghost.
As a concert singer Brian fosters a stylistically diversified repertoire of over 200 works, which has taken him to concert halls across the US and Europe. Future engagements include Evangelist and soloist in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, Handel’s Messiah, Rossini’s Stabat Mater, Haydn’s Paukenmesse, Nelsonmesse and Seasons, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and Mass in C, and the Coronation Mass and Requiem of Mozart.
An avid recitalist, Brian will be featured in recitals in San Francisco, Stanford, Berkeley, Santa Clara, San Jose, and Weed, CA and Ashland, OR, presenting various vocal-chamber combinations along with premieres of Ian Venables, David Conte, Shinji Eshima, Michel Bosc, Noah Luna, Laurence Lowe, Brian Holmes and Nicholas Carlozzi. He is a graduate of San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program, Glimmerglass Opera’s Young American Artist program, American Bach Soloists’ Academy, the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme at Aldeburgh, England and spent two summers at the Music Academy of the West.
MISS JESSEL, KRISTA WIGLE, SOPRANO is thrilled to be making her debut with Brava! Opera. Having been described as “a major find” by Opera News, she has performed with such companies as: Opera Parallèle, Festival Opera of Walnut Creek, Cinnabar Opera, Livermore Valley Opera, Sonoma City Opera, The San Francisco Opera Guild, Pocket Opera, Opera Santa Barbara, West Bay Opera, Berkeley Opera, North Bay Opera, and San Francisco Lyric Opera. Roles include: The Soprano in Trouble in Tahiti, Cleo in The Most Happy Fella, Musetta in La Bohème, Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Blonde in The Abduction from the Seraglio, Jenny in The Three Penny Opera, Adele in Die Fledermaus, The First Lady in The Magic Flute, Yum-Yum in The Mikado, Clorinda in La Cenerentola, A Player in the musical review, Tomfoolery, and Carlotta in the Las Vegas and San Francisco productions of The Phantom of the Opera. As a concert artist, Ms. Wigle recently performed three Bach Arias and The Twelve Poems of Emily Dickinson by Aaron Copland at the Chintimini Chamber Music Festival in Corvallis, Oregon. Also, she has performed as Soprano Soloist in Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, Mozart's Requiem, Mendelssohn's Lobgesang, Handel's Messiah and numerous opera concerts with such organizations as: The Santa Rosa Symphony, The U.C. Berkeley Orchestra, Stockton Symphony, The Winchester Orchestra, The Santa Cruz Symphony, Ballet San Jose, and Berkeley's Chora Nova. Ms. Wigle earned her Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance at The San Francisco Conservatory of Music, under the tutelage of Willene Gunn. There, she performed the roles of: Miss Wordsworth in Albert Herring, and Drusilla in L'Incoronazione di Poppea. She has a private vocal studio in San Francisco, and teaches at the American Conservatory Theater and West Valley College. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AsM29pXKrtg
MRS. GROSE, BETH MADSEN BRADFORD, MEZZO-SOPRANO has been praised by critics for her “lovely, vibrant tone” and “gutsy” portrayals of some of opera’s greatest characters. Ms. Madsen Bradford performs regularly throughout the West Coast. Favorite roles include Carmen, Eboli (Don Carlo), The Witch (Hänsel und Gretel), Zita (Gianni Schicchi), Mrs. Peachum (The Beggar’s Opera), Marcellina (Le Nozze di Figaro), The Old Lady (Candide), Tisbe (La Cenerentola), Berta (Il Barbiere di Siviglia), Phoebe (Yeomen of the Guard), Little Buttercup (H.M.S. Pinafore), Ruth (Pirates of Penzance) and Dame Hannah (Ruddigore).
A regular on the concert stage, orchestral credits include Verdi’s Requiem, Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, Haydn’s Mass in Time of War, Mozart's Requiem, Bach’s Magnificat and St. John Passion, Beethoven's Missa Solemnis, and Handel's Messiah. Beth has appeared with Portland Opera, Tacoma Opera, Skagit Opera, Oregon Symphony, Aspen Opera Theater, Juneau Symphony, Portland Chamber Orchestra, Walla Walla Symphony, Opera Theater Oregon, and Des Moines Metro Opera, among others. Originally from Mt. Vernon, Washington, she now resides in Portland with her husband, Tyler, and their son, Nathaniel. She sang the role of "Miss Todd" in Brava! Opera's 2013 Chamber Opera The Old Maid and the Thief. http://northwestartists.org/bmb.html
FLORA, AMANDA GERIG, SOPRANO graduated from Oregon State University in 2008 with a Bachelor of Music degree and an emphasis in Vocal performance. In 2007 and 2008 Amanda was a competition winner of the NATS Cascade Chapter College Female division. Amanda sang with the Seattle Symphony Chorale at Benaroya Hall and now enjoys singing with the Southern Oregon Repertory singers and is featured often as a soloist. With Rogue Opera, Amanda sang the role of the Mother in Madame Butterfly and Gianetta in L’elisir d’amore. She has performed in Brava! Opera's Opera Workshop for two seasons. In addition to performing, Amanda teaches private voice lessons
MILES, WILL RANSOM, BOY SOPRANO is 11 years old in 6th grade and lives in Ashland. He first performed on stage in 2011 as Sean in Tomatoes with Ashland Contemporary Theatre. In 2012 Will performed with Camelot Theatre in their main stage production of Gypsy as Clarinet Boy / News Boy and in Camelot Theatre's Conservatory production of Anything Goes as Ship's Purser. Since early 2012 he has studied voice, tap and contemporary jazz dance and acting from the Camelot Conservatory, Ashland Children's Theater, Ashland Danceworks, Suzanne Seiber, Leslie Kendall and Laurie Anne Hunter. In addition to performing, Will enjoys drawing, being creative, live theater and observing wildlife. His hobbies include baseball, composing digital music and helping others. Will hopes to be able to continue performing on stage and looks forward to developing his singing, acting and dance talents and thanks all of the teachers who have helped him.