Maria Elena Altany
Maria Elena Altany is an emerging young soprano gaining notice in Los Angeles for her versatile instrument and magnetic stage presence. Upon her 2015 debut with LA Opera as Susana in Figaro 90210, LA Weekly wrote, "The cast all have great comic timing, especially a wide-eyed, flexibly limbed Altany." The International Review of Music called her "as adorable as any soubrette has a right to be." She recently appeared in concert with LA Opera at the Getty Museum following a lecture by Maestro James Conlon.
The American Chronicle declared that her “lovely operatic voice captivates the audience” as Rose Maybud in Gilbert & Sullivan’s Ruddigore with the Sierra Madre Playhouse. In May of 2012 StageandCinema.com praised Maria Elena’s “silvery soprano” for her featured role in the celebrated premiere of Crescent City – the inaugural production of the ground-breaking company The Industry, LA, directed by Yuval Sharon and composed by Anne LeBaron. Since then, she has performed in every one of The Industry’s productions, including as a soloist for a record-breaking rendition of Terry Riley’s “In C,” and in the sold-out LA run of Christopher Cerrone’s 2013 Pulitzer-finalist, Invisible Cities, an opera for headphones. She made her professional debut in 2011 as Kate in Opera San Luis Obispo’s production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Yeoman of the Guard.
Maria Elena Altany has been heard as Rapunzel in Sondheim's Into The Woods, Baby Doe in The Ballad of Baby Doe, Gasparina in Haydn’s La Canterina, and Mrs. Hildebrand in Kurt Weil’s Street Scene, Adina in The Elixir of Loveand Cupidon in Orpheus in the Underworld. She made her company debut with Long Beach Opera in 2014 in John Adams’ The Death of Klinghoffer.
In 2013 Maria Elena sang the title role in Ellen Reid’s Winter’s Child and Sophia in Alex Vassos’ The House is Openas part of First Take, a concert workshop of new operas at Los Angeles’ Hammer Museum. Other concert work has included singing the soprano solos in Dubois’ Seven Last Words of Christ, Mozart’s Requiem, Fauré’s Requiem and Rutter’s Gloria. Upcoming performances include a concert reading of a new opera at the Wallis-Annenberg Center in Los Angeles, and as Najade in Ariadne auf Naxos with Pacific Opera Project.
In 2010 Maria Elena was the subject of Mandi Gosling’s mixed-media short documentary, Colors of a Soprano. She is featured in KCET’s ArtBound documentary Invisible Cities, as well as on the live recording of Crescent City by Innova Records, and on the new commercial recording of Invisible Cities, released in November of 2014, by The Industry Records. A student of flamenco dance for over 10 years, she has performed with the acclaimed flamenco company Yaelisa y Caminos Flamencos.
Kelci Hahn is thrilled to be returning to Pacific Opera Project this season as Echo in Ariadne auf Naxos. Kelci is a graduate of UCLA where she obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education, specializing in voice under the guidance of Professor Michael Dean and coaches Mona Lands and Judith Hansen. During her time at UCLA, she performed in Le nozze di Figaro, Dido and Aeneas, Dialogues des Carmelites, and Il Giasone. She also completed her Single Subject Teaching Credential from UCLA and is the Director of Choral Music at Hamilton High School, in the Academy of Music. Her students have an upcoming performance with the Los Angeles Master Chorale in the High School Festival at Walt Disney Concert Hall and have also performed with Carly Simon, Natasha Bedingfield and Pharrell Williams, with performances on The Ellen Show and The Academy Awards. Kelci has also been a Soprano Section leader at Lutheran Church of the Master for 6 years. She is so thankful to be a part of this innovative and wonderful production company and hopes to continue working with all these amazing people in the future!
Sarah Beaty, mezzo-soprano, has been hailed as “the model of bel canto clarity and brilliance” by Cleveland Classical. Since moving to Los Angeles in January 2013, she has quickly established herself on the west coast opera and theater scene. Last year she debuted with Pacific Opera Project as Diana in La Calisto. Specializing in contemporary music, Sarah premiered excerpts from Clara, a new opera by Victoria Bond about the life and loves of Clara Schumann, on the Cutting Edge Concerts New Music Festival in NYC’s Symphony Space. She sang in the world premiere production of Chris Cerrone’s Pulitzer Prize finalist opera, Invisible Cities, with LA’s leading avant garde opera company, The Industry, and also premiered Prometheus Bound with the Center for New Performance at the Getty Villa Amphitheater.
Sarah was “vivacious and full of mischief” as Maddalena in Rigoletto with the Vineyard Touring Opera Company. Additional roles include Mozart’s Serpetta, Dorabella, Second Lady and Cherubino, Alisa in Lucia di Lammermoor, Agnese in Beatrice di Tenda, Flora in La Traviata, Clarina in La cambiale di matrimonio, among others. Sarah has been a soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra, CityMusic Cleveland Orchestra, de Angelis Vocal Ensemble, Camerata of LA, as well as with the National Chorale at Avery Fisher Hall. In 2012, she spent 6 months in Macao, China, as a featured opera singer at The Venetian. Sarah is a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music and is also an accomplished violinist and flutist.
by Martha Benedict
Table for 4 $120
Table for 2 $65
General Admission $20
Tables come with a bottle of wine and platter of appetizers
Additional food and wine available for a small donation
The historic Ebell Club of Highland Park was built in 1913 and became LA Landmark #284 in 1984. This will be POP's sixth production in the space. Come join us for a step back in time as we go to a fictionalized grand opening night in 1913.
131 S. Avenue 57
Los Angeles, CA 90042
Near the corner of Figueroa and Ave. 57
Between Figueroa and the 110 Freeway
Tables have sold out for EVERY production we have ever had at the Ebell Club. Don't wait to get yours.
PLEASE NOTE THE 1 TICKET=1 TABLE
All performances at 8pm
Tables sold out on May 15, 16, and 23.
Picture from the actual opening in 1913
There are two public lots immediately adjacent to the Ebell Club. Some spaces are free for two hours, some are free after a certain time, all are VERY cheap and won't cost more that $2.50 for an entire day.
Several more public lots are located with in two blocks in either direction on Figueroa. Street parking is also free.
For a complete synopsis of the original setting of Ariadne auf Naxos, please click HERE to read a concise version from our friends and colleagues at the Met.
For POP's setting read below.
Setting: Opening night of the Ebell Club of Highland Park in 1913, minutes before the Gala Event is to begin. Below are the events leading up to the moment our story starts:
After years of fund raising, endless debate on where exactly to build, multiple attempted coups, board resignations and hundreds of votes on the smallest minutia and detail, the Ebell Club of Highland Park had finally been completed and was ready to open with much pomp and circumstance. All the major players in Los Angeles society would be attending the opening night performance and expecting the finest in entertainment. The debate between Club members as to what would be a perfect opening night show had waged for months. The two final contenders for the entertainment were a newly commissioned opera by an up-and-coming composer (and a woman no less) and the very popular, though reportedly tawdry vaudeville The Naughty Vixen Zerbinetta. Of course each production had ties to members of the Club. The feud between the two sides of the argument got so ugly that it nearly caused a schism in the Club. (You may remember this from the very brief existence of the Ebell Club of Garvanza). In the middle of the fifth and final special meeting called by the Entertainment and Special Events Committee to decide which performance would get the nod, Mr. H.H. Meyer, the husband of one of the most prominent and outspoken ladies of the Club rather meekly and completely unprovoked said, "Why don't we just have them both?".
This had never occurred to anyone else in the room and someone immediately motioned for a vote. It passed in seconds, nearly unanimously. There was one notable objection, coming from the President of the Club, Mrs. H.H. Meyer. In disgust, appalled at how quickly the matter was settled, and without much thought Mrs. H.H. Meyer muttered, "Fine. It you like him and his idea so much, HE can be your President." Once again a motion was presented and passed. First to oust Mrs. H.H. Meyer and then to elect her husband. Mr. H.H. Meyer, who had no ambitions of being a president of anything, reluctantly accepted, unable to resist the chance of finally upstaging his wife. For the first time, possibly in history, nearly everyone left the meeting in high spirits and of one accord. All except Mr. and Mrs. H.H. Meyer. They just left, and in separate cabs.
As one might might expect, it did not take long for things to get back to normal. In fact Mr. H.H. Meyer was visited twice the very next morning at his office before his morning tea. First Ms. Alice Crandall, the leading champion of the commissioned opera and a three-time president of the Opera Lovers of Pasadena called on him in person to stress how important it was for the opera to happen first in the evening. She had valid points on the prominence of the young composer, the money already spent on the composition of the piece, and the general tastes of the Club's mostly older members. Mr. H.H. Meyer tended to agree with her and she left the meeting feeling assured she had won the day.
No sooner had she left then Ms. Mildred Tripp knocked at the door. Ms. Mildred Tripp was and had always been the loudest voice for Zerbinetta and her band of Merry Men. It should be mentioned that two of her nephews were in the group. "The two more upstanding and proper ones, true actors of the stage", as she was fond of saying. She insisted the troupe should go first to get the evening off to a lively start. Mr. H.H. Meyer agreed that she made a valid point. And he assured her that he would give it much thought and would come to a decision before the night of the performance. He did labor over the decision giving it a few days thought and finally decided that it would be better to start the evening on a more stately note and then conclude with the lively and possibly (indeed, "hopefully" in his mind) more risqué performance. His logic was sound and simple. By 9:30 most of the attendees would have fallen into two groups: the ones too drunk to stay awake and the ones too drunk to care about a few off-putting jokes.
He made his Board of Directors aware of his decision a full day before the event, somehow managing to avoid a vote on the subject in a way that proved Mr. H.H. Meyer may just have had the stuff that good presidents are made of. All seemed to be well and good. That is until the afternoon of the production.
The evening's festivities were slated to begin at 8pm with cocktails and light refreshements. The opera, short as far as operas go (particularly German operas), would begin at 8:30 and conclude no later than 9:45 and then The Naughty Vixen Zerbinetta would begin immediately after the customary silent auction and obligatory Presentation of Merit by the mayor. The indoor entertainment would conclude by 10:30, at which time there would be general rejoicings and a display of fireworks. Now this was Mr. H.H. Meyer's passion-- fireworks. There was no bigger or well known aficionado on fireworks in all of Los Angeles County, possibly all of California. His Fourth of July celebrations were the thing of legend and for years had attracted hundreds of people to his relatively modest house on Marmion Way. Each year hundreds of dollars would go up in smoke over the Arroyo to the delight of Angelenos, but most of all to the delight of Mr. H.H. Meyer, and to the disdain of Mrs. H.H. Meyer. She could never understand why a man so quiet in everyday life had chosen to make something so loud a part of it. She was not amused. The grand finale of the evening was a cacophony and conflagration intended to be the pinnacle of his explosionary achievements. An event to be noted in annals of Los Angeles history. He had been planning and collecting rockets, shells, and firecrackers for over a year. In an unbelievably shocking decision, he had even foregone his annual July spectacular in order to stockpile for this event. It was quite simply, the most important night of his life.
By 5:15pm Mr. H.H. Meyer and a small army of volunteers and service professionals were at the Ebell Club setting up for the greatest event in the history of the Club. Mrs. H.H. Meyer was no where to be seen, but this seemed to bother no one. At 6:45pm she made her entrance, and it was a grand one. She had with her a police officer in full uniform, Mrs. Busybody (a lawyer who lived immediately behind the Ebell Club and had already in its short existence filed four noise complaints during construction), and a wrinkled but official looking piece of paper.
"No fireworks!," was the first thing out of her mouth. Directly in her husband's face she coldly and deliberately said, "I have been to the courthouse and found this ordinance, City Ordinance No. 1564, which clearly states, 'There will be no fireworks, drumming, or otherwise loud noises within the city limits after 10:00pm...'" "But I always have fire works at 10:30 on The Fourth of...'" Mr. H.H. Meyer injected. "If you'll let her finish," Mrs. Busybody chimed in. "With the exception of major holidays such as Christmas, New Year's Eve, and The Fourth of July. So no fireworks tonight!," Mrs. H.H. Meyers smugly added. Mr. H.H. Meyers looked at the officer for help. The officer said, "If one person files a complaint, we'll have to come shut you down and fine you." "So if no one complains we're fine then?," asked Mr. H.H. Meyers. The officer nodded. "Well surely you wouldn't stoop so low as to call the cops on your own Club? On your own husband?," he asked. "Of course I would not. What kind of person do you think I am?," replied his wife. "But she will," she added pointing to Mrs. Busybody. Mrs. Busybody nodded in a most snooty and vindictive manner.
A general panic and hubbub broke out in the hall as some board members began pleading with Mrs. H.H. Meyers and Mrs. Busybody, some tried to bribe the police officer, and most just began drinking and/or arguing with each other over the best course of action. This continued for several minutes as Mr. H.H. Meyer stood perfectly still, thinking about his next move. After two minutes he walked out of the room, unnoticed, and returned seconds later with something in his left hand and a bag in his right. Ten seconds later, "BOOM!" A rather large and very loud firework went off in the hall and reverberated deafening all who were inside. After an initial shriek silence fell, as did Mrs. H.H. Meyer who had fainted from the excitement. "We will do both the opera and The Naughty Vixen Zerbinetta between the hours of 8:30 and 10:00 and will have the fireworks, in all their glory between 10:00 and 10:30. They will simply both have to happen at the same time. And that is how it will be. Thank you." As Mr. H.H. Meyer stood there, now with a lit match in his left hand, a very large bag of fireworks in his right, and his wife lying on the ground, no one objected.
And this is where we begin our tale tonight.
All performances at 8pm
Thank you to all who donated to the orchestra fund.
Through your generosity, Ariadne auf Naxos will now be presented with an 11 piece orchestra!
Heather Lipson Bell.
Cast click name to see bios, headshots, and performance dates
May 14, 15, 16, 22, 23
Tracy Cox, a Dallas native, has been pegged by the Washington Post as an “impressive” soprano, and Arts in LA described her voice as, “opulent, dramatic, and expressive, with a golden sheen that is nothing short of breathtaking”. An alumna of Los Angeles Opera’s Domingo-Thornton Young Artist Program, she made her professional debut with the company in the role of Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro, under the baton of Plácido Domingo. While in residence she also sang the roles of Female Chorus in Benjamin Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia, Pisana in Verdi’s I Due Foscari, and Second Lady in Krenek’s Das geheime Königreich.
2014 brought Ms. Cox’s debuts in the title role of Verdi’s Aida with Opera San Louis Obispo, and as the soprano soloist in Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with the Philadelphia Orchestra. She sang as the Soprano II soloist in Mahler’s 8th “Symphony of A Thousand” with the Cincinnati Symphony, and was seen in the featured role of “Sa Femme” in Milhaud’s Le Pauvre Matelot with Wolf Trap Opera.
In June 2012, she made her International concert debut at the Vishnevskaya Opera Center in Moscow, and has since performed throughout Hungary with both the Philharmonic Orchestra of Györ as well as Budapest’s famed MÁV Symphony Orchestra.
Tracy was awarded the George London-Kirsten Flagstad Prize in 2014, and the Birgit Nilsson Prize at the 2013 Operalia Competition in Verona. She recently placed 2nd in Fort Worth Opera’s McCammon Competition, and was a National Finalist in the 2013 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Ms. Cox was also named a 2013 recipient of the prestigious Sara Tucker Study Grant from the Richard Tucker Foundation, and received an Emerging Artist Award from the 2013 Opera Index Competition.
Ms.Cox won the 2012 Marilyn Horne Song Competition, and was presented in recital by the Broad Stage in Santa Monica, California, and the National Opera Center in New York City.
The artist received her master’s degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, and studies with Dr. Stephen King of Rice University.
Praised in the San Francisco Chronicle for her “knockout combination of vocal power and expressive eloquence”, soprano Marina Harris is exciting critics and audiences alike. As an Adler Fellow with the San Francisco Opera, she sang in three world premieres with the company; as Susan Sowerby in Nolan Gasser’s The Secret Garden, Tamar in Mark Adamo’s The Gospel of Mary Magdalene, and a Maid in Tobias Picker’s Dolores Claiborne. Recently, Ms. Harris garnered national attention as a last minute replacement for Patricia Racette in the role of Elena in Boito’s Mefistofele, the season opener for the San Francisco Opera. A graduate of the prestigious Merola Opera Program and the Music Academy of the West, Marina’s recent stage experience includes diverse repertoire such as Geraldine in Samuel Barber’s A Hand of Bridge, Berta in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Arminda in Mozart’s La finta giardiniera, Miss Jessel in Britten’s The Turn of the Screw, and Arabella in scenes from Richard Strauss’ Arabella. About the latter performance, the San Francisco Chronicle declared, “Sopranos who can sing Strauss’ music this well are rare, and to be treasured”.
Other stage experience includes Cio-cio San in Madama Butterfly, Cupid/Samantha in the world premiere of Jack Perla’s Love/Hate, Elsa in Lohengrin and Elisabeth in scenes from Tannhäuser. In 2014, Ms. Harris won the George London Leonie Rysanek Award at the George London Vocal Competition Finals in New York City. Upcoming engagements include Tatiana in Eugene Onegin with Opera Idaho, as well as performances with the Sacramento Choral Society and Orchestra and the Festival der Jungen Stimmen in Switzerland. She is also the recipient of the 2015-2016 George London Foundation Vienna Prize.
No stranger to the concert stage, Ms. Harris has been featured as the soprano soloist in Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, Brahms’ Ein Deutches Requiem, Bach’s Messe in h moll, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, and Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 2, as well as the West Coast Premiere of Charles Stanford’s Stabat Mater. In 2015, she will sing both Mozart’s Great Mass in C minor as well as Cecelia MacDowell’s Magnificat. Marina has won first place in the Brava! Opera James M. Collier Young Artist Vocal Competition, the Henry and Maria Holt Memorial Vocal Scholarship Competition, the Long Beach Mozart Festival Vocal Competition, and has advanced to the final rounds of the Loren L. Zachary Vocal Competition and the Hans Gabor Belvedere International Vocal Competition.
May 14, 15, 16, 22, 23
Praised by OPERA NEWS for the “agility with which she negotiated her beautiful upper register”, Sara Duchovnay is quickly making a name for herself as an exciting young performer. Sara made her Pacific Opera Project debut as Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro in 2013, and is thrilled to return to POP for her role debut as Zerbinetta.
The upcoming 2015-2016 season brings many exciting projects for Ms. Duchovnay. Passionate about new works, Sara is pleased to be originating the role of Dorothea in Allen Shearer’s opera Middlemarch in Spring, which will be premiering in San Francisco in March of 2015. The opera, adapted from George Eliot’s novel Middlemarch, is already drawing attention from both the opera and literary communities. In July of 2015 Sara will be singing the role of Najade and covering Zerbinetta in Festival Opera's production of Ariadne of Naxos.
This past season, Sara made her Opera San Jose debut in the role of Nannetta to critical acclaim. Later in the season she revisited the delightful production, created and directed by Jose Maria Condemi, as the Nannetta cover while she was a studio artist with Opera Santa Barbara. In the summer of 2014, Sara sang the role of Blonde in Abduction from the Seraglio and covered the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor with the Southern Illinois Music Festival, and sang the role of Soprano 1 in West Edge Opera’s triumphant production of Philip Glass and Allen Ginsberg’s opera Hydrogen Jukebox. The production, directed by Elkhanah Pulitzer, was hailed as “transfixing, especially as delivered by a superb cast” by The San Francisco Chronicle, who also commended Ms. Duchovnay for her “sweet toned and vigorous contributions”. Of the moving final scene, San Francisco Classical Voice wrote “Duchovnay, who was impressive throughout, here topped the ensemble like a macabre Maraschino”.
Sara made her professional operatic debut as Musetta with Hidden Valley Opera in 2012, under the baton of Maestro Stewart Robertson. She was lauded by the Monterey Herald for her “magnificent performance” in the role, and Peninsula Reviews proclaimed, “she stole the show during the ‘Musetta’s Waltz’ scene by her musical pyrotechnics and inspired acting ability”.
Sara possesses a great passion for the operas of Mozart and Handel and has embodied many of their most fascinating and delightful characters, including Poppea in Handel’s Agrippina, the title role in Handel’s Alcina, Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro, Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Mme. Herz in Der Schauspieldirektor. Other roles include The Fire and the Princess in L'enfant et les sortilèges, Euridice in Orpheus in the Underworld, and Valencienne in The Merry Widow.
A native of Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, Sara holds a Bachelor of Music from the Hartt School of Music and a Master of Music from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Sara is a student of mezzo-soprano Catherine Cook and resides in Berkeley, California.
Originally from New York, Brooke deRosa has performed both opera and musical theater nationally and internationally. She currently resides in Los Angeles, where she has performed locally with LA Opera, Long Beach Opera, Center Stage Opera, The Pacific Symphony and San Bernardino Symphony. Ms. deRosa is a winner of the Fe Bland Scholarship Foundation and Bach Festival Society awards.
In 2011 she began collaboration with composer Adrian Younge, performing as an opera vocalist on his albums “Something About April”, “Twelve Reasons To Die” (With Ghostface Killah), and “There is Only Now” (With Souls of Mischief and Snoop Dogg). She has traveled to South by Southwest music festival in Austin Texas every year since where she is featured in the live shows accompanying the band. Perhaps the most notable performance to come from this collaboration was when Brooke appeared live on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon to perform with Ghostface Killah, Adrian Younge, and was accompanied by The Roots. The album “Something About April” has most recently been sampled by Jay-Z on his album “Magna Carta Holy Grail”.
In 2012 she met and had the rare opportunity to sing for the late writer Gore Vidal, and was subsequently hired to sing for private salon parties in his home in Los Angeles.
She can be seen every year performing the National Anthem and opera selections with Jimmy Kimmel and Adam Carolla as part of the San Gennaro Feast of Los Angeles.
Brooke has become best known for her dynamic and thoughtful portrayals onstage; notable roles include: Olympia in Tales of Hoffmann, Musetta in La Boheme, both Papagena and The Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflote, Giannetta in L’Elisir d’Amore, and Suor Genovieffa in Suor Angelica. Operetta and musical theater credits include: Cunegonde in Candide, Yum Yum in The Mikado, Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance, Valencienne in The Merry Widow, Maria in West Side Story, Antonio and Aldonza in Man of La Mancha, Mrs. Molloy in Hello, Dolly! and Magnolia in Showboat.
Brooke is also an accomplished composer, having scored more than fifteen films, including a full-length western, Gunfight at Yuma; a horror feature, Needlestick, featuring Lance Henriksen of Aliens fame; and River Guard, a courtroom drama featuring JD Evermore (Twelve Years a Slave) and Brett Cullen (Apollo 13). She is also a co-composer on the British Sci-Fi film The Search for Simon, directed by BAFTA winner Martin Gooch, which garnered her a Best Score award nomination from the Monaco International Film Festival and a Best Feature Score win from the Portsmouth International Film Festival.
In addition to composing for film, she composes for voice and has recently finished a one-act children's opera based on the Red Riding Hood fairy tale. She is currently finishing a short opera based on the horror short story "The Monkey's Paw", and is working on an opera based on Oscar Wilde's "The Picture of Dorian Gray". More information can be found on her website at www.brookederosa.com.
May 14, 15, 16, 22, 23
Claire Shackleton makes her Pacific Opera Project debut as the Composer in Ariadne auf Naxos. Claire recently returned to her hometown to sing Mercédès in Carmen with New Orleans Opera and sang the role of Annio in La clemenza di Tito with Opera in the Heights. This season she has also performed with Pacific Symphony Orchestra, Wyoming Symphony Orchestra, South Dakota Symphony and Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. Claire spent the 2013 and 2014 summers with Central City Opera singing the roles of Marcellina in Le nozze di Figaro, Dinah in Trouble in Tahiti, Jade Boucher in Dead Man Walking, and Mrs. Soames in Our Town. Other roles include Prince Charming- Cendrillon- Kentucky Opera, Cherubino- Le nozze di Figaro- Kentucky Opera, Siébel-Faust-Austin Lyric Opera, Dorabella- Così fan tutte- Pine Mountain Music Festival, and Jenny-Three Penny Opera- Amarillo Opera. Claire has participated in the young artists training programs of Glimmerglass Opera, Central City Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, and Kentucky Opera and earned her degrees from CCM and Loyola University New Orleans. In 2016 Claire looks forward to singing Hermia in Hawaii Opera Theatre's A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Led by her sense of adventure, mezzo-soprano Aumna Iqbal has performed in operas and concerts in Southern California, Oxford, the Bay Area, Siena, Southern California, Florence, Edinburgh, Paris, New York, and in Graz as part of the 2011 AIMS Lieder program.
Aumna will make her Pacific Symphony debut in 2015 with Cinderella for Kids! as cover for La Cenerentola and in their May Class Act Youth Concerts featuring the music of Leonard Bernstein. Aumna is also a new Resident Artist with Redlands Opera Theatre, and made her Southland Symphony Orchestra debut in January. She will debut with Independent Opera Company as Pepa in Goyescas in February. 2015 will also see Aumna reprise the role of Zerlina with Redlands Opera Theater.
In 2014, Aumna was a Liebowitz Centennial Fellow at Middlebury College for the internationally renowned German for Singers program, and spent the summer of 2014 working, learning, living, and performing the role of Dorabella in German. She also performed the role of Suzuki in Madama Butterfly opposite former Adler Fellow Marina Harris with Center Stage Opera, Dorabella in Italian with Repertory Opera Company, and covered Carmen in her debut with Pacific Opera Project. She made her Repertory Opera Company debut as Mrs. Herring in Albert Herring as part of the LA Opera Britten 100 Festival in 2013, and also sang her first Zerlina with New York Lyric Opera Theatre opposite Met Lindemann alum Benjamin Bloomfield as the titular Don Giovanni.
Aumna is also a keen actor and director, having performed in several Shakespeare plays and directed a number of operas, including assistant directing Le Nozze di Figaro in the historic Sheldonian Theater in Oxford under rising star opera director Max Hoehn. She also co-founded Bouncy Castle Productions, and directed their 2010 Edinburgh Fringe Festival production of Phillip Ridley's Sparkleshark, and has trained with faculty, directors, and actors from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London, the Royal Shakespeare Company, The Globe Theatre, and South Coast Repertory.
Aumna won First prize in the POSA Follman-Young Young Artist Competition, the Anna Haxworth Music Prize, 2nd prize in the NATS-LA chapter Young Artist Auditions, 3rd in the Professional Category of the David W. Scott Memorial Competition, and was a finalist for the iCadenza SymphoNet Young Artist Competition and twice a finalist for The American Prize in Opera. She also is a Young Musicians Foundation scholarship recipient, and participated in Songfest 2012 as a Songfest Fellow at The Colburn School in Los Angeles. Aumna also got a taste of being a pop singer, performing onstage with Mika in Los Angeles as part of his 2012-2013 Origins of Love tour.
Aumna completed a Master of Studies in Musicology from the University of Oxford, graduating September 2011. She also has a BA (Distinction and Honors) in Music from Stanford University, Class of 2009.
Brendan Sliger, tenor, has been hailed by the Washington Post-Express as having a “hefty, operatic voice that is impressive enough,” and by the Cumberland Times-News saying that he “played with real energy and enthusiasm that is so convincing,” and “carries the role.”
In 2014, Brendan made his European debut as Siegmund and Siegfried in Oper Leipzig’s production of Der Ring für Kinder, a co-production with the Bayreuth Festival, in a condensed version of Wagner’s Ring Cycle. He then became a member of the American Wagner Project, a program formed to develop the American voices with a propensity for German romantic opera. Recently a member of the IVC’s Wagner Academy in the Netherlands, Brendan Sliger performed in Amsterdam and at the Theatre aan de Parade in s’Hertogenbosch and participated in masterclasses with famed heldentenor Siegfried Jerusalem. Brendan made his international debut in Seoul, South Korea singing at Ewha Womans University.
Brendan has performed with opera organizations and orchestras across the United States and abroad. Brendan has been an apprentice artist with Sarasota Opera and Des Moines Metro Opera and participated in Dolora Zajick’s Institute for Young Dramatic Voices. In 2015, Brendan will sing Jean Valjean in Les Miserables with the Symphonic Orchestra of Northern Virginia.
His career can be followed online at brendansliger.com
Jon Lee Keenan
Critically acclaimed baritone Ryan Thorn is one of Southern California’s major up-and-coming classical singers. A POP veteran, you may have seen him perform the title characters in Don Giovanni, Le nozze di Figaro, and Sweeney Todd as well as Marcello (La bohème), Giove (La Calisto), Fiorello (Il barbiere di Siviglia), and Angelotti (Tosca). Other noteworthy performances in and around Los Angeles include the baritone solo in Carmina Burana (Pasadena Master Chorale), the baritone solo in Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 (Dana Point Symphony), the baritone solo in Robert Cohen’s Alzheimer’s Stories (Angeles Chorale), and the bass solo in Händel's Messiah (LA Dream Orchestra). Thorn holds vocal performance degrees from UCLA and UW-Madison. He was selected to attend the Music Academy of the West this summer, and he will be a resident artist with Portland Opera in 2016.
Jon Lee Keenan, tenor, is a native of Las Vegas, Nevada, where he grew up being exposed to a wide variety of musical genres. Finding himself interested in a variety of music ranging from rock to bluegrass to classical, Jon began studying piano at age eight and was playing guitar by age twelve. While attending the Las Vegas Academy of Performing Arts Jon played guitar in Jazz Band, led an all-original 8-piece Rock/Ska band, and began his vocal studies, serving as section leader of the Nevada All-State honor choir and receiving top scores in the Nevada State Solo and Ensemble vocal competition. Having been asked to join the top local collegiate chamber vocal ensemble while still in High School, Jon chose to continue his musical studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, eventually earning a triple major in Vocal Performance, Vocal Music Education, and Jazz Studies as a double bassist.
In 2005, after graduating from college, Jon moved to Los Angeles to pursue advanced study of Choral Conducting and Vocal Pedagogy in the Three Summer Masters Program at Cal State University of Los Angeles. Jon then went on to attend the University of Southern California, earning Masters and Doctoral Degrees in Vocal Arts. In 2007, Jon joined the Los Angeles Master Chorale where he has been a featured soloist in Handel's Messiah, Haydn's Maria Theresa Mass, and the west coast premiere of Magnus Lindberg's Graffiti with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, singing under the batons of Grant Gershon and Esa-Pekka Solonen.
Jon’s recent engagements include singing Bach’s rarely performed Easter Oratorio with the San Francisco based American Bach Soloists in May of 2012 and singing the role of Monostatos in Die Zauberflöte with the Aspen Opera Theatre Center. Jon currently resides in South Pasadena and remains active as a jazz bassist.
Having been praised for comedic skills with "impeccable timing to match an equally admirable tenor," Mr. Norman is making a name for himself as a character tenor on the rise. He has performed nationally with L.A. Opera, Opera San José, Opera Santa Barbara, Opera Las Vegas, and Rimrock Opera. He received both his Bachelor's and Master's degrees from CSU Northridge, and is an alumnus of the Opera Santa Barbara Young Artist Program. Robert is an L.A. District winner for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and winner of David W. Scott Memorial Competition.
In the 2013-14 season, he appeared at Opera San José as Goro in Madama Butterfly and Dr. Caius in Falstaff, and at Opera San Luis Obispo as Remendado in Carmen. He also made role debuts as Steve Hubbell in A Streetcar Named Desirewith Union Avenue Opera in St. Louis, Pedrillo in The Abduction from the Seraglioand Normanno in Lucia di Lammermoor at the Southern Illinois Music Festival. He is a frequent performer with L.A. Opera's outreach programs, and has thrilled audiences as a monster hot dog, a game show host, and Mr. Mozart himself.
Performances for 2014-15 include Steve Hubbell in A Streetcar Named Desire first in a joint production with Townsend Opera and Fresno Grand Opera, followed by Opera Santa Barbara where Mr. Norman will additionally cover the role of Harold Mitchell (Mitch). Mr. Norman will also perform with Pacific Opera Project as Pedrillo in The Abduction from the Seraglio, and Brighella and Officer in Ariadne auf Naxos. For more information visit www.RobertNormanTenor.com.
Baritone Nicholas LaGesse returns for his second production with Pacific Opera Project as Harlequin in Ariadne auf Naxos. His previous operatic roles include Demetrius in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Zuniga in Bizet’s Carmen, Ottone in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea, Claudio in Handel’s Agrippina, Jupiter in Jacques Offenbach’s Orpheus and the Underworld and Marquis de la Force in Poulenc’s Des dialogues des carmélites.
He has been honored as a finalist in the Palm Springs Opera Guild Competition, the winner of the Chicago National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Competition, and was a Bella Voce award recipient in the Bel Canto Foundation Competition. In addition to his operatic endeavors, Nicholas currently trains with Omambo Dance Project; the 2014 World Latin Dance Competition salsa team champions. He holds a Bachelor of Music from Northwestern University, a Master of Music from the University of California Los Angeles and has also trained at Marlena Malas’ summer voice institute at the Chautauqua Institution.
Bass-baritone Keith Colclough made his Pacific Opera Project debut as Colline in the revival of La Boheme. He returned this season to Opera Santa Barbara as Count Ceprano in Rigoletto while covering Sparafucile. Keith is a former studio artist and member of Opera Santa Barbara's Opera Lab, improvising operas at elementary schools throughout Santa Barbara and Ventura County. He made his LA Philharmonic debut at the Hollywood Bowl as the Usciere in Rigoletto, under the baton of Maestro Dudamel. In 2013, He sang Der Sprecher in Die Zauberflöte and the bass solo in Stravinsky's Pulcinella as a vocal fellow at the Music Academy of the West. Keith attended Songfest in Malibu as a Marc and Eva Stern Fellow and the Aspen Music School and Festival, performing Bartolo in Le Nozze di Figaro and Peter Quince in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Other roles include Don Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Seneca in L'Incoronazion di Poppea, and Grandpa Moss in The Tender Land.
Keith has been featured as a soloist with the Santa Barbara Choral Society, UCSB Orchestra, and Lompoc Master Chorale, as well as the Music Affiliates Hour on KDB 93.7 fm. He recorded scenes in the development of the opera El Canguro by Cynthia Ferrell and Peter Mike von der Nahmer, both in the US and Germany.
Keith is currently on the faculty at Pepperdine University while completing a Doctor of Musical Arts in vocal performance at UC Santa Barbara with a Chancellor’s Fellowship. He was also a Student Fulbright Scholar to Germany.
Tim is thrilled to perform with POP once again, having previously featured as Anthony in Sweeney Todd, Antonio in Le nozze di Figaro, and (Antonius) PooBah in The Mikado. Recent credits include Courfeyrac in Les Miserables with Fresno Grand Opera, and George Washington/The President in a workshop of Close Encounter: The Martian Musical. He was also featured on the concept album of said musical, and is the voice of the Joe Dillard series on audiobook, as well as 80 other titles available on Audible.com. He would like to thank Phil Meyer for letting him do this role.