2015 OPERA


Brava! Opera Theater and James M. Collier Opera Program presents a comical combination of two charming chamber operas in English on March 6, 7 and 8, 2015 at Camelot Theatre. Written by two of the world’s great composers, The Impresario by Mozart and The Breasts of Tirésias by Poulenc will lift the spirits and warm the heart. In Mozart’s The Impresario, a beleaguered Impresario is trapped between the immense egos and testy temperaments of two divas who demand to know who is to be prima donna in his new opera. The Breasts of Tirésias by Poulenc, called the first surrealistic opera, encourages us to make babies instead of war, whimsically manages to confuse the genders, and have 40,049 babies born in a day to a very perplexed husband. The charming fully staged operas will feature a richly talented national cast of professional opera singers and two pianists.


This new edition of Breasts of Tirésias unites Benjamin Britten’s historic two-piano arrangement and the Pears-Cranko-Graham English libretto. Inspired by a recording of Breasts of Tirésias, Poulenc’s friend, Benjamin Britten, collaborated with Peter Pears and Poulenc himself, to create an English language two-piano adaptation for his own music festival in Aldeburgh, England in 1956. The fruit of this historic pairing was lost before being painstakingly reassembled and edited from Britten’s own handwritten notes in his score by American soprano, Emily Hindrichs. It premiered in October 2012 at the Aldeburgh Festival and in April 2013 at Vespertine Opera in Seattle.

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. 

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 MusicCarousel, 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 WindsorThe 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.

The Impresario

LINDSAY OHSE, SOPRANO, MADEMOISELLE WARBLEWELL 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/



JOSÉ RUBIO, BARITONE, MR. CASH Internationally acclaimed Baritone José Rubio has quickly established himself as an important young artist, performing at major and regional venues across the country.  Equally comfortable in the concert hall as on the operatic stage, Mr. Rubio recently made his Carnegie Hall Recital Debut which was met with great acclaim.  The Opera Insider proclaimed that the "...recital was nothing short of stellar."


Mr. Rubio's recent engagements have included an international tour in China with the ISING! International Festival, Tarquinius in The Rape of Lucretia with Vespertine Opera, the title role in Il Barbiere di Siviglia with Tacoma Opera, and as the Baritone Soloist in Carmina Burana in Seattle with the Spectrum Dance Theater.  Recently he was seen with Cincinnati Opera in Galileo Galilei, Guglielmo in Così fan Tutte for Tacoma Opera, Bob and Ben in The Old Maid and the Thief, and The Telephone with Brava! Opera Theater, Marcello in La Bohème and Le Mari in the US premiere of the Benjamin Britten adaptation of Poulenc's Les Mamelles de Tiresias with Vespertine Opera, and Portland Opera for the West Coast Premiere of Galileo Galilei, by Philip Glass. He also made his New York City operatic debut to great acclaim in Angel of the Amazon by Evan Mack,  a world premiere production with Encompass Opera. 


In the summer of 2011, he performed the title role of Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia with the Music Academy of the West.  The LA Times heralded him as a “…Figaro with an impressively booming baritone.”  While in Santa Barbara, he was personally selected by legendary mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne to perform for William and Catherine Windsor, the newlywed Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, at a high profile charity event at the Santa Barbara Polo Club. Mr. Rubio is excited and very proud to have been involved in contemporary operas that have produced original recordings.  He is featured in two of Philip Glass's operas that were recorded on the Orange Mountain Music label: Orpheé and Galileo Galilei. He can also be heard on Albany Records' world premiere recording of Evan Mack's American Opera, Angel of the Amazon.



CAITLIN CISLER, SOPRANO, MADAME HEARTMELT Caitlin Cisler (soprano), from Appleton, WI made her professional debut in 2009, headlining as Cunegonde in Candide with Four Seasons Theatre in Madison, Wisconsin. Praised for her “breathtaking range of voice”, Ms. Cisler has appeared as Marie in La fille du régiment, Oscar in Un ballo in maschera, Pamina and Papagena in Die Zauberflöte, Gretel in Hansel and Gretel, Josephine in H.M.S. Pinafore, Lola Markham in Gallantry, Norina in Don Pasquale, Morgana in Alcina, Valencienne in Die Lustige Witwe, Susanna and Barbarina in Le nozze di Figaro, Mélisande in Pelléas et Mélisande, and Lucy in The Telephone.


A well decorated competitor, Ms. Cisler is the proud recipient of a 2012 Career Bridges Grant. Also in 2012, she was an honored finalist of the Fritz and Lavina Jensen Foundation Competition in New York City. Other notable awards include: Audience Choice at the Harold Haugh Light Opera Competition (2011); Winner of Fresco Opera’s “Dueling Divas” (2011); semi-finalist for the 2010 NATS Artist Awards Competition; Winner of the UW Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition (2008); Winner of the Schubert Club Competition in St. Paul (2008).


In concert, Ms. Cisler has performed as a featured soloist with Madison Opera in their annual “Opera in the Park”, as well as with the Dayton Philharmonic for their New Year’s Eve Celebration in 2012 and the Messiah in 2013. Notable concert works include: Bach’s Magnificat, Strauss‘ Brentano Lieder, Mozart’s Requiem and Vespers solennes de confessore, the Faure Requiem, Vivaldi’s Gloria and Magnificat, Britten’s Ceremony of Carols and Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem and Liebeslieder op. 52.


Ms. Cisler holds a Masters in Opera Performance from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, and Bachelor degrees in vocal performance and biology from Lawrence University. She is a published researcher in vocal health and the effects of singing on the immune system. Currently, Ms. Cisler studies with Julia Faulkner.



ZOÉ LA TERREUR, SOPRANO, ENSEMBLE Praised for her warm, rich timbre and flowing coloratura, Canadian coloratura soprano Ms. La Terreur ignites the stage with vocal fireworks and an electric personality. With roles ranging from the Queen of the Night (Die Zauberflöte) to Eurydice (Offenbach's Orphée aux enfers), Woglinde (Das Rheingold) and Eurydice (Orfeo ed Eurydice) Zoé has appeared for audiences in Germany, Canada, and the United States. She recently appeared in Vancouver, BC as The Witch, in ViVace's performance of Hansel and Gretel. She participated in two Brava! Opera Theater's Opera Workshops and Concerts singing selections from Candide, Un ballo in Maschera and Die Zauberflöte.

MANDEE LIGHT, SOPRANO, ENSEMBLE graduated Magna Cum Laude from Southern Oregon University with a BA in Vocal Performance in 2013. Amanda is a frequent soloist throughout the valley and Oregon, having been featured in the Southern Oregon University Concert and Chamber Choirs, the Southern Oregon Repertory Singers and the Orca Singers. Ms. Light is the section leader and Canter for the St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Medford. In 2011, she won the American Protégé International Music Talent Competition with mezzo-soprano, Beatriz Abella and they also received a best performance award. She has studied music in Vienna, Austria and voice with Ellie Holt-Murray, Laurie Anne Hunter, Maria Droulou, Barbara Bonney and Marcie Stapp. She participated in four Brava! Opera Theater's Opera Workshops and Concerts singing selections from ManonL'incoronazione di Poppea, Cenerentola, Les mamelles de Tirésias and Vanessa.

MICHAEL KAVENEY, BARITONE, LACOUF, JOURNALIST AND ENSEMBLE graduated from Southern Oregon University in 2013 with a B.S. in Music. He is a classically trained violist in addition to being a singer, and won the Youth Symphony of Southern Oregon’s (YSSO) Annual Concerto Competition in 2012. As a violist, Michael was principal violist for three years for the YSSO and is currently a member of the Rogue Valley Symphony. Michael performed in Rogue Opera’s productions of Le Nozze di Figaro and La Traviata. He is a member of the Southern Oregon Repertory Singers and the Southern Oregon University Chamber Choir. He has participated in Brava! Opera Theater's Opera Workshop with Concerts singing selections from Le Nozze di Figaro and Candide.

EOGHAN MCDOWELL, TENOR, SON AND ENSEMBLE is a fourth year student at Southern Oregon University studying music with an emphasis in vocal performance. His most recent credits include Fabrizio Naccarelli in Adam Guettel's Light in the Piazza and scholarship recipient from Southern Oregon Repertory Singers under the direction of Dr. Paul French. He has participated in two Brava! Opera Theater's Opera Workshops with Concerts singing selections from Pirates of Penzance, Le Roi d’Ys, Dialogue of the Carmelites, Les mamelles de Tirésias and Albert Herring.


MICHELLE CIPOLLONE, MEZZO-SOPRANO, DAME AND ENSEMBLE is pleased make her Brava! Opera debut this season. She earned her Bachelor’s in Music Education from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington. At PLU, Michelle was a member of the Choir of the West touring the United States and Europe.  With PLU Opera, she performed the roles of La Ciesca (Gianni Schicchi) and Ino (Semele), as well as performing in scenes for the PLU Opera Workshops in 2011 and 2012. Ms. Cipollone is the interim director for the Rogue Valley Discovery Chorus and serves as the Music Director for Medford First Christian Church. She has sung with the Siskiyou Singers and the Rogue Valley Chorale locally. She participated in Brava! Opera Theater's Opera Workshop and Concert singing a selection from Faust.

JENNIFER MATSUURA, SOPRANO, NEWSPAPER WOMAN AND ENSEMBLE is a graduate of SOU with degrees in Psychology, Music, and a Master’s in Mental Health Counseling and a post-bachelor’s degree in Music Therapy at Arizona State University. Jennifer studied voice under Dr. Paul French, and in 2007, received the AAUW’s Outstanding Woman Graduate in Music Performance award. She appeared in Rogue Opera productions of Die Zauberflöte as the First Spirit, The Merry Wives of Windsor as a chorus member, and performed two seasons of Rogue Opera’s Opera in the Schools program. Jennifer sang in several Rogue Opera Opera Workshops under the direction of Willene Gunn, and has performed in master classes for Marcie Stapp, Julianne Baird, Ann Baltz, and Sanford Sylvan. She is currently employed as the soprano section leader at Trinity Episcopal Church in Ashland, and appears as a frequent soloist with the Southern Oregon Repertory Singers. She can also be seen performing with her contemporary Hawaiian band, Ha’ena, here in the Rogue Valley. She participated in two Brava! Opera Theater's Opera Workshops and Concerts singing selections from Daughter of the Regiment, Candide and La Traviata.

DAN GIBBS, BARITONE, PRESTO AND ENSEMBLE is now entering his eighth year as a vocal artist in the Rogue Valley.  Under the guidance of Dr. Paul French, Dan studied music, with an emphasis in Vocal Performance, at Southern Oregon University.  He also studied with Ellie Holt-Murray and Laurie Ann Hunter and acclaimed Baritone Rod Gilfry at USC. He has participated in numerous Rogue Opera Opera Workshops under the guidance of Willene Gunn. Career highlight include four roles with Rogue Opera, participating in five Opera Workshops, organizing and performing in the Rogue Opera's "Opera in the Streets!" program, and singing/featured in the SOU Chamber and Concert Choirs, the Southern Oregon Repertory Singers, Raiders of the Lost Art, the Rogue Valley Chorale, the St. Mark's Episcopal Church Chancel Choir, and the Rogue Community College Choir.  Dan has been a featured soloist in Carl Neilsen's Third Symphony (Britt Festival Symphony Orchestra), Norman Della Joio's Songs of Abelard (SOU Symphonic Band), W.A. Mozart's Coronation Mass in C Major (Siskiyou Singers), J.S. Bach's Gotteszeit ist die alle beste Zeit, Ralph Vaughn Williams' Five Mystical Songs (Southern Oregon Repertory Singers), and Aaron Copeland's Old American Folk Songs and Charles Ives' Charlie Rutlage (Symphony of the Vines).


Dan currently teaches private voice instruction in Medford and Ashland, serves as Cantor and Bass Section Leader at St. Mark's Episcopal Church of Medford,  and acts as Assistant Director and Rehearsal Assistant for the RCC Choir, Medford. He participated in two Brava! Opera Theater's Opera Workshops singing selections from Daughter of the Regiment, The Crucible, Les mamelles de Tirésias and The Ballad of Baby Doe.

RYAN THORN, BARITONE, GENDARME AND THE DIRECTOR Critically acclaimed baritone Ryan Thorn is one of Southern California’s up-and-coming classical singers. His most notable roles include the title characters in Don GiovanniLe Nozze di FigaroSweeney Todd, Giove (La Calisto) Angelotti and Scarpia (cover) in Tosca and Marcello in La Boheme with Pacific Opera Project, Morales and El Dancaïre (Carmen) with Madison Opera, and the baritone solo in Carmina Burana with the Pasadena Master Chorale. Other performances in and around Los Angeles include the baritone solo in Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with the Dana Point Symphony, and the bass solo in Händel's Messiah with the LA Dream Orchestra. 


Barnaby Hughes of the blog “Stage and Cinema” wrote of Thorn’s performance as Giove in La Calisto, “His versatile voice is almost equally at home in the falsetto he adopts for his Diana disguise as for the commanding baritone he wields so effortlessly...Thorn is the musical and dramatic anchor of the production.” In the Chamber Opera Players of Los Angeles’s production of Alec Wilder’s A Sunday Excursion, “Thorn’s comedic abilities and booming voice brought to life the less-than-two-minute monologue he has each time he arrives, hawking apples (later, candy, and later still, magazines) to all the passengers.  Thorn is so jovial and home-grown in his delivery, that one really wishes we could interrupt the opera and buy an apple from him" (Yilin Hsu Wentlandt of the blog Singerpreneur).


Thorn joined the Madison WI-based outreach company Opera for the Young for over 50 performances of the Sea King (Vodník) in its 2010 tour of English version of Rusalka: A Mermaid’s Tale. He created the role of Clement Greenberg in University of Wisconsin Opera’s production of Maura Bosch’s Art and Desire, a story loosely based on the life of Jackson Pollock. He sang the baritone solo in Robert Cohen’s Alzheimer’s Stories with the Angeles Chorale. He is also creating the role of Arthur Dimmesdale in Mark Carlson and Bruce Olstad’s forthcoming opera, The Scarlet Letter.


He attended the Franz-Schubert-Institut in Baden-bei-Wien and holds a Master’s degree from UCLA, where he studied with internationally renowned baritone Vladimir Chernov and worked with director Peter Kazaras.  His Bachelor’s degree is from the University of Wisconsin - Madison. He will be a Vocal Fellow at the Music Academy of the West in the summer of 2015 and a Resident Artist at Portland Opera in 2016.







The Breasts of Tirésias

COLIN CAMPBELL, TENOR, ENSEMBLE recently graduated from Southern Oregon University with a B.S. in Mathematics and a B.A. in Music Education. He studies voice with Dr. Paul French and sings with SOU’s Chamber Choir and Southern Oregon Repertory Singers. With Rogue Opera, he sang the role of the Registrar in Madame Butterfly and in the chorus of The Marriage of Figaro. He has sung in master classes with Julianne Baird, Christopher Cock, and Brian Thorsett. Colin participated in three Brava! Opera Theater's Opera Workshops with Concerts singing selections from Manon, Daughter of the Regiment, Don Giovanni, Les mamelles de Tirésias, Candide and Don Pasquale. He would like to give a special thanks to Paul French for all of his support and to his family and friends for helping him get this far.