The fully staged professional baroque opera Orpheus and Eurydice by Gluck will be performed in English and feature a richly talented national cast of professional opera singers and instrumentalists (chamber ensemble). The timeless love story of the opera Orpheus and Eurydice is based on the classic Greek myth of Orpheus, the hero who descends into Hades to rescue his beloved Eurydice from the fate of death. This acclaimed opera is the perfect gift for all opera enthusiasts and hopeless romantics alike and conveys a timeless message of love’s power to triumph over all.
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, MARTIN MAJKUT Conducting in North America and Europe, dividing his time between symphonic music and opera and possessing doctorates from institutions in Europe and the United States, Martin Majkut’s career has been defined by dualities.
Music Director of the Rogue Valley Symphony Orchestra (RVSO) in Ashland, Oregon since 2010, Martin Majkut was born in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia (now Slovakia). He graduated from the State Conservatory in orchestral conducting and piano performance and served as Assistant Conductor of the Slovak Philharmonic while earning his Ph.D. in conducting at the Academy of Performing Arts. Majkut’s relationship with the Slovak Philharmonic opened doors for him to additional Slovak orchestras – the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra, Slovak State Philharmonic and the Slovak Sinfonietta, among others.
Under the leadership of Dr. Majkut, the RVSO has experienced a remarkable renewal. Majkut has attracted new talent to leadership positions and the ensemble has grown to over eighty musicians. The orchestra is enjoying an unprecedented level of support and enthusiasm in the community, which has enabled the RVSO to inaugurate a summer series of open-air concerts in 2013. The symphony’s educational offerings have significantly expanded and currently include four different programs. Through the efforts of Dr. Majkut and the Board, the RVSO budget has remained balanced while growing over fifty per cent since 2010.
Majkut came to the University of Arizona as a Fulbright scholar in 2003. He earned a D.M.A., his second doctorate in conducting, in 2008, along with the Distinguished Graduate Student Award. While in Tucson, he served as the Resident Conductor of the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra and the Arizona Opera Studio Artist in Conducting. Dr. Majkut studied with Gianluigi Gelmetti at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena, Italy and Salvador Mas Conde at the Wiener Meisterkurse in Vienna, Austria.
Recent guest-conducting engagements include Sondheim’s Into the Woods at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 2014 as well as the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts (Beverly Hills, CA) the same year. The 2015/16 season includes Majkut’s return to the Slovak Sinfonietta and Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice with Brava! Opera Theater.
Majkut’s recording credits include the 2001 recording of Slovak orchestral music with the Slovak Sinfonietta and the 2007 recording of Bach’s Magnificat and Charpentier’s Te Deum with the early music orchestra Solamente Naturali. He has also recorded Medieval and Renaissance music with his early music choir Voci Festose.
ORPHEUS, ZACH FINKELSTEIN, TENOR American-Canadian Zach Finkelstein has quickly established himself as a leading tenor soloist in North America and abroad, from Seattle’s Benaroya Hall to New York’s Lincoln Center to London’s Sadler’s Wells to the National Arts Center in Beijing, China.
In the concert world, Zach is known for his “refined” and “elegant” (Vancouver Observer) interpretation of the works of Bach, Mozart and Handel, among others. In the past season, Zach has performed with the Seattle Symphony as the tenor soloist in the Mozart Requiem under Ludovic Morlot; a five-performance tour of Bach’s Weihnachtsoratorium (his Evangelist “first among equals”, Vancouver Sun) conducted by Grammy-winner Stephen Stubbs with Early Music Vancouver, Victoria's Pacific Baroque Orchestra, Portland Baroque and Seattle's Pacific Music Works; Handel’s Messiah with Ben Rous’ Virginia Symphony; Bach’s Johannespassion with the Portland Baroque Orchestra; Handel’s Dettingen Te Deum and Haydn’s Missa in tempore belli with Jane Glover and the Music of the Baroque in Chicago; Handel’s Israel and Egypt with Orchestra Seattle; and Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle with the Bach Elgar Choir in Hamilton, Canada. This next season, Zach’s concert work include premieres at the Elora Festival in Ontario singing Handel's Solomon and the Bach Mass in B Minor; Bach Cantatas 106 and 182 at the Whidbey Island Music Festival; Bach Mass in B Minor with Pacific Musicworks and Seattle Pro Musica; nine performances of the Messiah with the Portland Baroque Orchestra, Symphony Nova Scotia and Rogue Valley Symphony, respectively, as well as performances of the Weihnachtsoratorium with the Victoria Symphony and Haydn’s Creation with the Toronto Mendelsohn Choir.
Recently hailed by Anthony Tommasini of the New York Times as a “compelling tenor,” he made his New York City Opera debut in April 2013 as Mambre in Rossini’s Mosè in Egitto, a production dubbed by Tommasini as one of the Top 10 classical events of 2013. Last season, Zach sang the role of Damon "with sensitivity and grace" (Boston Classical Review) in Acis and Galatea, performances conducted by Nicholas McGegan leading Philharmonia Baroque in Berkeley, CA as well as with the Handel and Haydn Society in Boston, MA.
Mr. Finkelstein is also an evangelist for new and contemporary classical works, an oeuvre he discovered as a two-time Vocal Fellow at the Tanglewood Music Festival. Most recently in New York City, Zach premiered a new work Threshold for tenor and orchestra with the Argento Ensemble, a piece created specifically for Zach by Prix-de-Rome-winning composer Jesse Jones. The New York Times’ James Oestrich commended this “excellent” performance: “Zach Finkelstein negotiated Mr. Jones’s high tenor flights with aplomb”. Satie’s Socrate, a thirty-minute political monodrama for tenor and piano (“beautifully sung”, UK Daily Telegraph), has also become a signature piece for Mr. Finkelstein, toured regularly with the Mark Morris Dance Group across the United States as well as London, UK and a recent debut in Shenzhen and Beijing, China.
In the media, Zach has performed opera excerpts on CBC's Saturday Afternoon at the Opera as well as Toronto's Classical 96.3 FM and Seattle’s KING FM. Both Musical Toronto and Opera Canada Magazine have profiled Mr. Finkelstein as a singer to watch. A professional recording of Jones’ Threshold with the Argento Ensemble will be released in summer 2015 on the Innova Recordings label.
Mr. Finkelstein is currently with Dean Artists Management and holds an Artist Diploma (Voice) from the Royal Conservatory of Music’s Glenn Gould School in Toronto and a Bachelor of Arts (Honors) in Political Science from McGill University, in Montreal. As a young artist, Zach participated in the Tanglewood Music Festival, Banff Opera as Theatre, the International Vocal Arts Institute and the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme.
EURYDICE, CAITLIN CISLER, SOPRANO is from Appleton, Wisconsin and made her professional debut 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, Armida in Rinaldo, Madame Herz in The Impresario, Gretel in Hansel and Gretel, Josephine in H.M.S. Pinafore, Norina in Don Pasquale, Morgana in Alcina, Valencienne in Die Lustige Witwe, Susanna and Barbarina in Le nozze di Figaro, and Mélisande in Pelléas et Mélisande.
A well decorated competitor, in 2015 Ms. Cisler won the Coeur d’Alene Symphony Young Artists Competition, and placed second at the National Federation of Music Clubs Young Artists Competition. Other notable awards include: Career Bridges Grant Recipient (2012); Fritz and Lavina Jensen Foundation Competition Finalist (2012); Audience Choice and Second Place Winner at the Harold Haugh Light Opera Competition (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.
AMORE, ROSE SAWVEL, SOPRANO Few upcoming artists are as celebrated for their artistry and stage presence as soprano Rose Sawvel, who brings a glittering, silvery tone with outstanding agility and brilliance, along with the skills of an adept actress to each role she portrays. She recently made her debut with San Francisco Opera’s Merola Opera Program as Serpetta in La finta giardiniera, covering the role of Lady with a Hand Mirror in Postcard from Morocco and performing scenes at the Merola Grand Finale concert from Orphée aux enfers, The Rape of Lucretia, L’Elisir d’amore, Semele and La Rondine.
Rose opens her 2015-16 season as Elizabeth "Baby" Doe in The Ballad of Baby Doe with Amarillo Opera, followed by performances as The Prince The Little Prince with Cincinnati Chamber Opera, Marie in Daughter of the Regiment with Opera Fort Collins, and makes her debut with Brava! Opera Theater as Amore in Orpheus and Eurydice. Concert performances include headlining the Holiday Pops concert with the Midland-Odessa Symphony and Chorale, along with two performances with the Greeley Philharmonic Orchestra: soloist at a New Year's Even Gala and soprano soloist in Beethoven's Symphony No. 9.
Engagements for the 2014-15 season included Lucia in Lucia di Lammermoor with Opera Fort Collins, The Prince in The Little Prince with Opera Fayetteville, soprano soloist in Mendelssohn’s Elijah, soprano soloist in Bernstein on Broadway, an all-Bernstein concert narrated by Jamie Bernstein, and soprano soloist in Mozart’s Regina coeli K. 127 with the Greeley Philharmonic Orchestra.
Other recent roles include La Fée in Cendrillon, Adina in Elixir of Love, Blondie in The Abduction of Figaro, Despina in Cosí fan tutte, Amy March in Little Women, Dew Fairy and Sandman in Hansel and Gretel, Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance, the title role in Patience, Kate Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly, Anne Page in The Merry Wives of Windsor, Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro, and excerpts as Cunégonde in Candide and Gretel in Hänsel und Gretel.
Her concert performances include Handel’s Messiah, Mozart’s Requiem, Mozart’s Regina coeli K. 108 and K. 127, Mahler’s Symphony No. 4, Saariaho’s Lohn, Villa-Lobos’ Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5, Ticheli’s Angels in the Architecture, Rogers’ Three Japanese Dances, A. Scarlatti’s Christmas cantata and Berio’s Sinfonia.
Rose was a finalist in the Eastern Region Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, was a semi-finalist in the Sullivan Foundation competition, semi-finalist in the Brava! Opera Theatre competition, semi-finalist in the Irma M. Cooper Opera Columbus International Vocal Competition, twice Regional Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Denver Lyric Opera Guild competition finalist and won the Rocky Mountain Competition. She is also the recipient of a Bel Canto Institute Performance Award and New York Opera Project Performance Award.
SOPRANO IN SOLO QUARTET, JOCELYN CLAIRE THOMAS, a versatile soprano praised for her haunting sound and musical intelligence, is a frequent performer in opera, concert, and recital. Roles performed by Ms. Thomas include Marzelline in Fidelio, Pamina and First Lady in Die Zauberflöte, Morgana in Alcina, Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro, Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Gretel in Hansel and Gretel, and Adele in Die Fledermaus.
Ms. Thomas has appeared with Opera Bend, Bravo! Vancouver, Cascadia Concert Opera, the Napa Music Festival, The Astoria Music Festival, and Portland Summerfest. Other concert appearances include Soprano Soloist in Mendelssohn's Elijah, Bach's Magnificat, Mozart's Coronation Mass, Saint-Saëns' Christmas Oratorio, Faure's Requiem, Vivaldi's Gloria, and Handel's Messiah.
Ms. Thomas has twice won the district level of the Classical Singer Competition, and also recently won the National Association of Teachers of Singing Advanced Artist Competition district level. She is a two time recipient of the George Woodhead Prize in Voice (2009/2011) for excellence in Oratorio and sacred music. Ms. Thomas holds a Bachelors of Music in Voice from the Oberlin Conservatory, a Master’s Degree in Voice from the Peabody Conservatory, and a Graduate Performance Diploma also from the Peabody Conservatory.
Upcoming engagements include Soprano Soloist in Haydn's Messa Sancti Nicolai, Marzelline in Fidelio and Erste Dame (Die Zauberflöte) with the Astoria Music Festival, Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro with FAVA Salzburg, Despina in Cosi fan tutte with Ping and Woof Opera, and Adele (Die Fledermaus) with Opera Bend.
Jocelyn currently resides in Portland, Oregon where she teaches voice, piano, flute, and yoga. She studies with Ruth Dobson.
MEZZO-SOPRANO IN SOLO QUARTET, JULIA AKS is quickly becoming known as one of the Los Angeles' most versatile singer/actresses, with work spanning Shakespeare, opera, musical theater, plays, and film. Operatically, she will be singing in The Industry's Hopscotch: A Mobile Opera in the fall of 2015. She is beginning her third season with the LA Opera Chorus, and recently sang the role of Rosina in Figaro’s American Adventure with LA Opera Education & Community Outreach. Other favorite roles sung include Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro, Nicklausse in Les Contes D’Hoffman, Mercedes in Carmen, Pitti-Sing in The Mikado, and Dorabella in Cosi fan Tutte. Regional musical theater roles include Cinderella in Into the Woods, Ulla in The Producers, and Mary Moore in the new musical Red Barn.
Julia is a proud member of the Independent Shakespeare Company, and has performed the roles of Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Fabian in Twelfth Night, and Pimple in She Stoops to Conquer at the Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival. She is also a member of the Ovation Award-winning Fugitive Kind Theater Company, devoted to new works and re-imagined classics. Regional theater credits include Leta in the world premiere of The Pliant Girls (Fugitive Kind) and Lady Mia Wallace/Fabienne in the award-winning Pulp Shakespeare (Theatre Asylum). On screen, Julia can be seen as Kelsey Peterson in the horror comedy feature film Clinger (Theatrical release in Fall 2015, Official Selection: Slamdance Film Festival 2015) and as the Artist in the feature The Watermelon. She is also leading lady Scarlet Ruby Müller in the transmedia romance series The Elements Club.
In 2012, Ms. Aks graduated from CSUN with a Special Bachelor's Degree in Contemporary Opera Performance.
TENOR IN SOLO QUARTET, JON LEE KEENAN is a native of Las Vegas, Nevada, currently living in Los Angeles where he enjoys an active career in opera, oratorio, conducting and jazz (bass).
Praised as "a tenor to watch" by Mark Swed of the LA Times (for his solo performance in Los Angeles Master Chorale’s Mozart re-orchestration of Handel's Messiah), Mr. Keenan has appeared as Tanzmeister in Ariadne auf Naxos, Don Basilio/Don Curzio in Le Nozze di Figaro and Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni with Pacific Opera Project; Beppe in Pagliacci with Celestial Opera; Lysander in A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Independent Opera; L’Allegro in L’Allegro, il Penseroso, ed il Moderato with UCLA Opera Theatre; Samuel in Three Sisters Who Are Not Sisters with Chamber Opera Players Los Angeles; Normanno in Lucia di Lammermoor with Opera Saratoga; Lechmere in Owen Wingrave, Il Podesta in La Finta Giardiniera, Monastotos in Die Zauberflöte, Antonio in Wagner's Das Liebesverbot, Roger Doremus in Summer and Smoke with USC Thornton Opera; Odoardo in Ariodante with American Bach Soloists; and Monastotos in Die Zauberflöte with Aspen Opera Theatre Center. He recently performed in A Sunbeam’s Architecture, an orchestral song cycle by Elliot Carter and E.E. Cummings with Southwest Chamber Music at RedCat.
In his eighth season with the Los Angeles Master Chorale, he has been a featured soloist in Haydn's Maria Theresa Mass, Handel's Messiah, the Evangelist in Distler’s Weinachtsgeschichte, Bach’s Mass in B Minor and the west coast premiere of Magnus Lindberg's Graffiti with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, singing under the batons of Grant Gershon, Esa-Pekka Solonen and Gustavo Dudamel. Other recent engagements include tenor soloist in Bach’s Easter Oratorio, King Ahasuerus in Handel’s Esther and tenor soloist in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with the American Bach Soloists in San Francisco; tenor soloist in Coffee Cantata & Ascension Oratorio with the Whittier Bach Festival; the Evangelist in St. Matthew Passion with Musica Angelica Baroque; and the Evangelist in Bach’s St. John’s Passion with Long Beach Bach Festival.
Mr. Keenan has participated in several Young Artist Programs including Opera Saratoga Apprentice Program, Aspen Opera Theatre, OperaWorks for Advanced Artists and The Professional Advantage in Italy. He earned his Masters and Doctoral Degrees in Vocal Arts and Opera from the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California, a Masters in Choral Conducting from California State University Los Angeles and three Bachelor degrees from University of Nevada, Las Vegas in Vocal Performance, Vocal Music Education, and Jazz Studies.
BARITONE IN SOLO QUARTET AND ORPHEUS COVER, ADRIAN ROSALES Adrian Rosales is a lyric baritone and actor from Portland, Oregon. He received his Master’s Degree in Vocal Arts/Opera from the University of Southern California; having studied with acclaimed baritone and two-time Grammy nominee, Rod Gilfry.
Adrian Rosales ended the 2014 season covering Taddeo in Rossini's L'Italiana in Algeri with Opera San Jose and sang three roles: Lambastida, Napoleon III, and Juarez in the world premiere of Paul Davies' opera Carlota at the Mexican Heritage Plaza Theatre in San Jose, CA. He also sang the role of the baritone Tritone in the US Premiere of Marilyn Forever with Long Beach Opera. 2015-2016 engagements include the role of Masetto in Mozart's Don Giovanni with Tacoma Opera. He was also named the winner of the Ben DeBolt Memorial Scholarship Award in the 45th Annual Henry and Maria Holt Memorial Scholarship Audition in March.
Recently, Rosales performed with the Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre for a second season. He played Paco, the muleteer, and the Cantaor in Man of La Mancha, created the role of Bud Treon in world premiere workshop of Randall Shinn's Rose in Flames, and covered Schaunard in La Boheme and Billy Bigelow in Carousel. Rosales was named a finalist in the both the 6th and 7th Annual International Opera Competition, hosted by the Utah Festival Opera & Musical Theatre.
In 2014, Rosales sang the role of Mercurio in Cavalli's La Calisto with Pacific Opera Project. In March, Adrian Rosales received the Nate & Nora Schoenfeld Memorial Scholarship Award for competing in the 44th Annual Henry and Maria Holt Memorial Scholarship Competition. In 2013, he played Tarquinius in Britten's The Rape of Lucretia with Opera Brittenica, garnering praise from both the Boston Classical Review and the Boston Musical Intelligencer for his "...vibrant voice and keen acting..." while striking "...an appropriately arrogant and threatening presence..." as the menacing prince. In 2013, he also appeared as Voltaire and Dr. Pangloss in the Aspen Music Festival's production of Bernstein's Candide.
Rosales is represented by Michael Cruz at CCA Classical Artist Management.