The Magic Flute
by W.A. Mozart
EL PORTAL THEATER
Performed with orchestra and chorus
Directed/Designed by Josh Shaw
Conducted by Edward Benyas
Assistant Director: Carson Gilmore
Costume Designer: Maggie Green
Lighting Designer: Bo Tindell
Saturday March 2 7:30 PM
Sunday March 3 3:00 PMFriday March 8 8:00 PM
Saturday March 9 7:30 PM
Sunday March 10 3:00 PM
WATCH THE PERFORMANCE!
POP returns to the comfortable 350 seat El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood with another crazy spin on a Mozart classic. Unlike any Magic Flute you've ever seen, this one is going to be “super”. Papageno, Tamino, and the gang are transported to the land of 90s video games with a new English libretto by Josh Shaw and Scott Levin. With two Sunday matinees and a kid friendly setting, this a perfect opera to bring the entire family to see.
Chorus Tenors: Jonathan Lacayo (Tamino cover), Joshua Johnson, William Lyons (Monostatos cover), Colin Gibson.
Chorus Basses: Andrew Walker (Papageno cover), Stephen Oey, Brandon Mautz, Kyril Kasimoff
Edward Benyas (Conductor) Edward Benyas is Professor of Oboe and Conducting at SIU Carbondale, Music Director of the Southern Illinois Symphony, the New Chicago Chamber Orchestra—with which he made his European conducting debut—and founder and Artistic Director of the Southern Illinois Music Festival, which presents three-dozen concerts annually each June. The Illinois Council of Orchestras named him “Conductor of the Year” in 2005, the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce presented him the inaugural “Keeping the Arts in Business” Award in 2007, the Southern Business Journal named him a “Leader Among Us” in 2012, he received the Legacy Award from Carbondale Community Arts in 2015, the Carbondale Lions Club gave him the David Kenney Award in 2017, and he was named the Southern Illinois University College of Liberal Arts Outstanding Scholar in 2018.
Under his leadership, the Southern Illinois Symphony was named Community Volunteer Orchestra of the Year. A student of Ray Still, Robert Morgan, Victor Yampolsky, and the late Charles Bruck and Georg Tintner, Mr. Benyas holds graduate degrees in Orchestral Conducting and Oboe Performance from Northwestern University, as well as Bachelor and Juris Doctor degrees from the University of Michigan. He has conducted orchestras and opera companies throughout North America and in Europe and China. Of one appearance, a California reviewer wrote: “Maestro Benyas simply swept the audience away with a beautiful presentation of this piece.” His conducted repertoire includes nearly 400 works, including a dozen world premieres and several dozen complete operas and ballets. Mr. Benyas also enjoys an active career as an oboe and English horn player, having performed with the Chicago Symphony under Daniel Barenboim, the Lyric Opera under Zubin Mehta, the Milwaukee and Grant Park Symphonies, the Ravinia Festival Orchestra, at the Spoleto and Banff summer music festivals, as Principal Oboe of the Des Moines Metro Opera for six seasons and for Andrea Bocelli’s National Tour. He is a member of the state bar of Illinois and has been elected to the Jackson County Board and the Carbondale Elementary School District Board of Education.
Arnold Livingston Geis (Tamino) A native of Chehalis, Washington, tenor Arnold Livingston Geis just completed a productive 2018 with an engagement as Nikolaus Sprink in Puts’ Silent Night at Glimmerglass Festival. In the summer of 2017, he made his Chautauqua Opera debut performing the roles of Ernesto in Don Pasquale and Apollo in L'Orfeo. In the 2017–2018 season with WNO, he sang Oronte in Alcina (Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Performance), Snake and Vain Man in The Little Prince, Miles in the world premiere of Proving Up, and Count Almaviva in The Barber of Seville (Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Performance). In the 2016–2017 season, he made his mainstage debut with LA Opera under the baton of Plácido Domingo and closed its season singing Parpignol in La bohème with conductor Gustavo Dudamel. In 2016, he made his company debut at New York City Opera as Corpsman Harris in the East Coast premiere of Fallujah. He also debuted as a guest soloist for Beethoven's Missa Solemnis with the LA Master Chorale in January and Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with Pasadena Symphony in April. Winner of the 2016 LA District of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, he graduated with a Master of Music in Vocal arts from the University of Southern California in May 2014.
Alexandra Schoeny (Pamina) In repertoire spanning from Monteverdi to Gregory Spears, Alexandra Schoeny is known for her versatility and engaging stage presence. With a voice hailed as "hauntingly beautiful" by Opera News, she is equally praised for her convincing character portrayals as she "embodies melodrama with flair," (Broadway World). In 2019, Alexandra appears with the Reno Philharmonic for Mozart’s eternal Requiem. She then appears with Cincinnati Opera as Najade in Richard Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos. She can be heard in recital in Cincinnati with acclaimed pianist Marie-France Lefevbre. In 2018, Alexandra debuted with the Philadelphia Orchestra in their program "Bernstein and Beyond." She appeared as Stone and Mrs. Morris in the world premiere of experimental rock opera The Bradbury Tattoos with concert.nova. Her Cunegonde (Candide) in a co-production with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Alliance Theatre was deemed "show-stopping" by the Atlanta press. She also returned to the role of Miss Lightfoot in Gregory Spears' Fellow Travelers (Prototype Festival, NYC) and appeared as the soprano soloist in Carmina Burana with Cincinnati Symphony and Ballet. An active educator as well as performer, Alexandra is a founder of Crossover Camp, a program for performers who wish to successfully straddle the divide between musical theatre and opera. A native of Cincinnati, Alexandra attended the College-Conservatory of Music (DMA), the Royal Conservatoire of the Hague (M. Opera), the Royal Academy of Music (M.Mus, DipRAM), and Northwestern University (B.M).
E. Scott Levin (Papageno) Bass-Baritone, E. Scott Levin, described as having a “smooth, buttery voice,” “incredibly sharp timing,” and “a gifted comic actor,” has been making audiences laugh for the past fourteen years. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Washington University in St. Louis and Graduate Certificate in Vocal Performance from the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music. Since 2002, Scott has sung in over twenty productions with Union Avenue Opera in Saint Louis. He has also sung with many companies in the Los Angeles area including Long Beach Opera, Opera Santa Barbara, Redlands Opera Theater, Center Stage Opera, OperaWorks, Definiens Project, Orange County Opera, and Celestial Opera. Last season he made his debut at Townsend/Fresno Opera as the Sacristan in Tosca and his Los Angeles Opera mainstage debut as Dr. Spinelloccio in Gianni Schicchi, starring Placido Domingo, now available on DVD. Scott is always thrilled to perform with POP, previously appearing as Schaunard in La bohème, Don Pomponio in La gazzetta, Leporello in Don Giovanni, Judge Turpin in Sweeney Todd, Pane in La calisto, Bartolo in Le nozze di Figaro, the Sacristan in Tosca, KoKo in The Mikado, Maestro Biscroma Strappaviscere in Viva la Mamma!, and Baron Zeta in The Merry Widow (Widder).
Michelle Drever (Queen of the Night) Soprano Michelle Drever possesses an unusual combination of rich, powerful sound, vibrant color, flexible coloratura, and petite stature. She attended the Manhattan School of Music in New York before returning to her native California to earn her Bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing and Music at CSU Sacramento. A fiercely committed singer-actor, she is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Performance at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music under the direction of Peter Kazaras, where she will graduate in June. While at Opera UCLA, she portrayed Susan B. Anthony in The Mother of Us All (for which the Los Angeles Times praised her as a "stunningly imperious yet affectionate Susan B."), and later this spring, she will sing leading roles in productions of Juana and Lost Childhood. Last season at Pacific Opera Project, Michelle was thrilled to cover the role of Violetta in La traviata, but it is The Magic Flute that officially marks her debut with this wonderful company. She maintains a busy performing life outside of UCLA, where she has sung roles such as Violetta in La traviata, Donna Elvira in Don Giovnanni, Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus, and Nella in Gianni Schicchi. Michelle is an alumna of the Renata Scotto Opera Academy under the direction of Renata Scotto. She lives in Los Angeles.
Andrew Potter (Sarastro) A bass vocalist of increasing demand who towers at an imposing and athletic 6’10”, Andrew Potter is a true Basso who has been welcomed by audiences and critics across the country for a larger-than-life Mr. Potter's mellifluous sonority lends itself beautifully to profundo roles like Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte and Osmin in Die Entführung, while he has demonstrated the range and physicality to perform buffo roles like Dottor Bartolo in Il barbiere di Siviglia and Uberto in La Serva Padrona; as well as the flexibility and agility to sing challenging Handelian roles including Zoroastro in Orlando, Ariodate in Serse, and Argante in Rinaldo. Having also shown a powerful upper extension of his basso, Mr. Potter has been lauded by critics in Bass-Baritone roles such as Escamillo in Bizet’s Carmen; and Scarpia in Puccini's Tosca. Mr Potter has graced the stages of some of America’s most exciting regional companies, like Indianapolis Opera, Winter Opera St. Louis, Des Moines Metro Opera, Pacific Opera Project, Tulsa Opera, Opera Steamboat, Connecticut Lyric Opera, Mid Ohio Opera, and many more.
This season, Mr. Potter has role debuts of Vodnik in Rusalka, Prince Gremin in Eugene Onegin, Ferrando in Il Trovatore, and Hunding in Die Walküre; along with many reprisals of some of his favorite roles across the country.
Robert Norman (Monastatos) Having been praised for his comedic skillset with “impeccable timing to match an equally admirable tenor,” Mr. Norman is making a name for himself as a character tenor on the rise. In 2016, he placed fifth in the Loren L. Zachary National Vocal Competition, making him the first character tenor to make the finals since 2009. Mr. Norman is an L.A. District Winner for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and winner of Center Stage Opera’s David W. Scott Memorial Vocal Competition. He received his Master’s degree from CSU Northridge in 2010, and is an alumnus of the Opera Santa Barbara Studio Artist Program. He created the role of Mr. Pedrillo in Josh Shaw’s Star-Trek adapted version of Abduction of the Seraglio. He has performed nationally as Goro in Madama Butterfly (Opera San Jose, Dayton Opera, Salt Marsh Opera); Caius in Falstaff (Opera San Jose); Beppe in I pagliacci (Dayton Opera, Festival Opera); Spoletta in Tosca (Opera Las Vegas, Pacific Opera Project); Remendado in Carmen (Opera San Luis Obispo, Southern Illinois Music Festival). He also has a strong history of performance in modern and American Opera. He performed in the U.S. Premiere of Gavin Bryars’ Marilyn Forever with Long Beach Opera as one of the two Tritones, and his performance of Toby in Sweeney Todd with Fresno Grand Opera and Townsend Opera was hailed as having taken the audience to “emotional places that I don’t think a non-opera-singer could match."
Laura Broscow (Papagena) Soprano Laura Broscow, a native of Southern California, graduated with her Master’s degree in Vocal Performance from Michigan State University in 2018. Laura completed her undergraduate music studies at University of Arizona. Her performance career highlights include Gretel in Hansel and Gretel and Rose Maurrant in Street Scene, as well as roles in Gluck’s L’ivrogne corrige, Floyd’s Susannah, and Michigan State University’s first-ever Outreach Opera. Ms. Broscow has attended several prestigious summer training programs, most notably Opera in the Ozarks, Le Chiavi di Bel Canto at the Texas Music Festival, and CoOPERAtive. She has been awarded in the Marguerite Ough Vocal Competition, the Amelia Rieman Opera Competition, and Arizona Opera Guild’s “Quest for the Best” Competition. Last season, she made her professional debut as First Bridesmaid in Le nozze di Figaro with Opera Grand Rapids. This season, she appeared as First Boy in productions of The Magic Flute with Toledo Opera and Opera Grand Rapids, and she is thrilled to join Pacific Opera Project as Papagena. Laura currently resides in Houston, TX.
Tara Wheeker (First Lady) With spirit and vibrancy, soprano Tara Wheeker brings a versatile voice to the stage. She has been featured soloist in various concert work including Handel’s Messiah and Haydn’s Creation. On the operatic stage, Tara has performed multiple roles. Her favorites include Valencienne (The Merry Widow), Saint Marguerite (Joan of Arc at the Stake), and Jessie (Mahagonny Songspeil). She was a national semi-finalist for the New York Lyric Opera Theater competition and a finalist and winner of the runner-up scholarship for the prestigious Palm Springs Opera Guild 2018 Vocal Competition. Tara holds a Master of Music in Voice Performance from the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), as well a Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance and Music Education from CCM. Other training programs include OperaWorkds Advanced Artist Program, Songfest at Colburn (Schubert fellow), AIMS in Graz, and CCM Spoleto Music Festival. She has worked with companies such as NANOworks Opera, Indianapolis Opera, Cincinnati Opera, and Cedar Rapids Opera Theater. Currently based in Los Angeles, CA, Tara performs as a guest artist with Long Beach Opera Outreach and is a teaching artist with L.A. Opera.
Ariel Pisturino (Second Lady) Hailed as “simply exquisite,” (Fanfare Magazine), soprano Ariel Pisturino is an alumna of the University of Southern California, Northern Arizona University, OperaWorks and the Russian Opera Workshop. She made her professional debut in 2010 with Long Beach Opera as Nancy T’ang in Adam’s Nixon in China . Ms. Pisturino collaborates regularly with composers in Southern California and sings with new music ensembles including the unSUNg Concert Series, Chamber Opera Players of LA, Canvas Concert Series, the Sound and Fury Series, and the Spacious Visions Concert Series. Pisturino created the role of Laurie on Delos Records’ recording of “Home is a Harbor,” a new opera by Mark Abel, released in 2016. Also with Delos Records, she recorded a song cycle on the album “Terrain of the Heart.” She performed in The Industry’s critically-acclaimed production of HOPSCOTCH , deemed a “mobile opera” by the Los Angeles and New York Times. She has performed with Los Angeles Opera, Pacific Opera Project, Long Beach Opera, The Industry, Redlands Opera Theater and the Southern Illinois Music Festival, www.arielpisturino.com.
Megan Potter (Third Lady) Mezzo-soprano Megan Potter has been hailed for her “dark colorings,” “emotional vulnerability” and “effortless athleticism.” Her rich vocal quality and powerful stage presence have earned her roles including Dorabella (Così fan tutte), Romeo (I Capuleti e i Montecchi), Hänsel (Hänsel und Gretel), and the title role in L’enfant et les sortilèges; while her vocal precision and agility have allowed her the ability to perform such roles as Rosina (Il barbiere di Siviglia) and Nerone (L’incoronazione di Poppea). Mrs. Potter received her Bachelors of Music Education from Northern State University and her Masters of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Colorado – Boulder. In recent seasons, she has performed at regional companies across the United States including Central City Opera, Emerald City Opera, and Mid-Ohio Opera. Her concert repertoire has boasted a wide array of musical tastes such as the mezzo-soprano solo in Rossini’s Messa di Gloria, the soloist in Berio’s Folk Songs, and as Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni). Upcoming engagements this season for Mrs. Potter include Carmen (Carmen), Dorabella (Così fan tutte), and Augusta (The Ballad of Baby Doe).
Jonathan Matthews (Priest/Armored Man) Jonathan Matthews is happy to be joining Pacific Opera Project in The Magic Flute. After finished his qualifying exams and recitals for his Doctorate of Music in Vocal Performance at Indiana University, he and his wife Jamie moved to Thousand Oaks in June 2016. Jonathan has performed lead roles in productions of Carmen, The Magic Flute, Romeo and Juliet, and Faust to name a few. On the concert stage, he has sung many concerts including Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, Mozart's Requiem, and Verdi's Requiem. Living so close to Hollywood, Jonathan has also been branching out into film and television, appearing on such shows as: Grey’s Anatomy, Black-ish, Lethal Weapon, and This is Us, to name a few. Jonathan also has begun to make a name for himself in the realm of studio singing, having sung for a number of musical previews, commercials, and a recently rediscovered operetta from Slovenia, sung in Slovenian. He also works in voice over and has narrated over a dozen audiobooks in both English and Spanish in addition to commercials, cartoons, and video games.
Joshua Alarcon (Priest/Armored Man) Joshua Alarcon is a recent graduate of the Biola University Conservatory of Music where he received his Bachelor's in Music. During his time there, he performed various roles (Gideon March in Little Women, Guglielmo in Così fan tutte, Arthur in Camelot, Simone in Gianni Schicchi, Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte, Frank Maurrant in Street Scene) and received their Outstanding Musician Award (Vocalist 2016-2017). He also served as a featured soloist with the Biola Chorale for the 2016 Western ACDA Conference in Pasadena. This is Joshua's second show with Pacific Opera Project, and he couldn't be happier to continue working with the company.
Emily Rosenberg (First Spirit, Pamina cover) Soprano Emily Rosenberg has been recognized as a “spirited actress” with a “rounded and lyrical voice, well under her control” by Platea Magazine, and “could be part of the program at any established international theater.” This past season, she appeared in the title role of The Cunning Little Vixen with Opera Steamboat and in the role of the Narrator in the world premiere of For Those in Peril, a new opera by Francis L. Lynch. With POP, she covered the role of Zerlina (Don Giovanni) and performed Annina (La traviata). Recently, Emily captivated audiences in multiple portrayals of Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro, with performances in Los Angeles, Prague, and at the Mozarteum in Salzburg. Additional roles include Laetitia (The Old Maid and the Thief), Mabel (The Pirates of Penzance), Amore (Orfeo ed Euridice), Barbarina (Le nozze di Figaro), Papagena (Die Zauberflöte), Suor Genovieffa (Suor Angelica), and covering Lauretta (Gianni Schicchi). Emily made her Boston Symphony Hall debut in 2015 as soloist in the Distant Worlds: music from FINAL FANTASY world tour, and this season was a Loren L. Zachary Competition semifinalist and recipient of the Encouragement Award from the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Arizona District. She holds degrees in Vocal Performance and Professional Music with a focus in Songwriting from Berklee College of Music.
Amanda Benjamin (Second Spirit) Lauded for her “rich, clear tone”, “incredible range”, and “stellar pipes”, Amanda Benjamin is a sought-after soprano. She earned her degree in Vocal Performance from the University of California at Davis and has been pursuing her passion for performing ever since. Amanda has appeared in opera, musical theater, and concert productions. Notable roles include Lady Psyche in Princess Ida, Christine Daae in Phantom of the Opera (in private concert), Barbarina in Le nozze di Figaro, Mary Jane Wilkes in Big River, and Little Red in Into the Woods. She has been a frequent soloist with the Channel Islands Chamber Orchestra, under the baton of Dr. KuanFen Liu. Most recently she appeared as the soprano soloist in Mozart’s Requiem. Amanda has also had the pleasure of performing in Europe; she especially enjoyed singing in churches and castles throughout Italy and working with internationally renowned coaches and directors.
Christine Marie Li (Third Spirit) Christine Marie Li, Zwischenfach, has sung operatic and choral works in the US and throughout Europe in both soprano and mezzo repertoire. Ms. Li has performed a variety of roles, including Gertrude in Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel, Dorabella in Così fan tutte (Vineyard Touring Opera) and Prince Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus (The coOPERAtive), as well as covering Micaëla in Bizet’s Carmen (Celestial Opera) and Mimì from Puccini’s La bohème (Opera Nova). Previous seasons have seen her as the soloist for Mozart's Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, and performing Britten’s War Requiem under the baton of James Conlon at the Segerstrom Center and Walt Disney Concert Hall. She has also had the pleasure of performing solos, duets, and choral settings throughout Austria, Germany, France and Italy, including singing “Alleluia” from Mozart’s Exultate Jubilate at the Vatican in 2017. Her first experience with POP was in the Fall of 2018, singing chorus for their Ford Amphitheater performance of Carmen, and she is thrilled to be making her mainstage debut with the company in such a fanciful and creative production! Christine is a graduate of the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at California State University, Long Beach.