The Rake's Progress by Igor Stravinsky
Saturday Sept 17 at 7pm and Sunday Sept 18 at 3pm
Thorne Hall on the campus of Occidental College
POP brings Stravinsky's neo-classical opera to life this September in collaboration with the Occidental College School of Music in the beautiful Thorne Hall on the campus of Occidental College. At over 600 seats, this is POP's largest venue to date. In addition to the remarkable cast listed below, the production will feature a large chorus and full orchestration for this unique and challenging masterpiece. Written in Los Angeles (reportedly at an IHOP in Hollywood), this opera is the retelling of a common story through out literature, the Faustian tale of a young man who is tricked by the devil into giving up all the good things he has in life to persue his wildest dreams. Written by W. H. Auden and Chester Kallman after a series of etchings entitled A Rake's Progress (1735) by William Hogarth, the story is originally set in 18th Century England. When and where will POP set it? You'll have to be there to find out.
All seating is reserved
or call 323-739-6122
Saturday Sept 17 at 7pm
Sunday Sept 18 at 3pm
1600 Campus Rd, Los Angeles, CA 90041
Brian Cheney as Tom Rakewell
Hailed by KUSC Los Angeles as the “next great tenor”, Brian Cheney has gained international acclaim for his portrayal of characters such as Don José in Carmen, Mario Cavaradossi in Tosca, Rodolfo in La Boheme, the Duke in Rigoletto, Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor, and Canio in I Pagliacci. “It is tenor Brian Cheney as the brave painter Cavaradossi who really blew me away. Cheney has that terrific tenor sound: the power, richness, and vocal color of a high baritone combined with ringing, awe-inspiring high notes." Stage and Cinema
Known as opera’s Captain Kirk, his Belmonte in POP’s hit Abduction from the Seraglio continues to charm audiences and critics nationwide. LA Splash hails Cheney as “a beautiful voice, which he melds happily with his campy and funny portrayal of Captain Kirk” and the Huffington Post declares his Belmonte as “Ham-bone supreme”.
Mr. Cheney has performed numerous times as a soloist at Carnegie Hall with his most recent performance performing a world premiere and US premiere of Hungarian music with the American Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Leon Botstein. In 2011, Mr. Cheney also made his Lincoln Center debut as tenor soloist for the 10th Anniversary of 9/11 at Avery Fisher Hall appearing with acclaimed soprano, Jessye Norman. A now frequent soloist at Lincoln Center, Brian will return this season for the popular New Year’s Concert, Salute to Vienna.
Engagements for the 2016/17 season include Belmonte in Opera Piccola San Antonio, Festival Opera, and Salt Marsh Opera, Rodolfo in La Boheme with the Windsor Symphony and Norwalk Symphony Opera and Tenor Soloist in Salute to Vienna at Lincoln Center, Walt Disney Concert Hall, and the Jacobs Music Center in San Diego.
Rachele Schmiege as Anne Trulove
Rachele Schmiege has been praised for her “incredibly crystalline voice” and “absolutely thrilling” portrayals. This season, she appears as Anne Truelove in Rakes Progress with Pacific Opera Project and Mimi in La femme Boheme with MetroWest Opera. On the concert stage, Ms. Schmiege will be singing Soprano solos in Mendelsohn’s Elijah (Pioneer Valley Symphony and Chorus) and Mozart’s Requiem (Falmouth Chorale). Recent appearances include: Lucette, Cendrillon (Resonance Works); Soprano II, Hydrogen Jukebox (Nashville Opera); Elle, La Voix Humaine and Amy, Little Women (Opera on the James); Violetta, La Traviata (Hubbard Hall Opera Theater); Gilda, Rigoletto (Cape Cod Opera Outreach); Valencienne, The Merry Widow (Opera Providence); Dortchen Wilde, The Brother’s Grimm (Nashville Opera, US premiere). Recent concert appearances include: Soprano soloist, Requiem, Verdi (Cape Cod Symphony, MidCoast Symphony and Pioneer Valley Symphony); Ein Deutsches Requiem, Brahms (Chatham Chorale); Mass in C minor, Mozart (Newburyport Chorale Society); Magnificat, Bach (Akron Symphony Chorus); Requiem and Exultate Jubilate, Mozart (Chatham Chorale); new work in collaboration with composer Mohammad Fairouz. Recently, Rachele placed second in the 2016 Classical Singer National Vocal Competition, Young Artist/Emerging Professional Division. For more information, please visit:
Adrian Rosas as Nick Shadow
Hailed by the New York Times as “a stalwart bass-baritone with a burnished voice” and in Opera News as a “mellifluous bass-baritone [with] theatrical flair”, Adrian Rosas is an emerging young artist with “impressive experience and talent” (The Boston Globe). Mr. Rosas has performed with opera companies such as the Seattle Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Houston’s Opera in the Heights, and the Detroit Opera House. As a
champion of new and modern music, he has had the opportunity to work on a variety of newly written works, including Peter Ash’s The Golden Ticket, Robert Xavier Rodriguez’s Frida, Petr Kotik’s Master-Pieces, Matt Aucoin’s Whitman, newly written operas with the American Lyric Theater in New York, and with the Ostrava Center for New Music in the Czech Republic. Equally versed in concert and oratorio work, he has performed at Carnegie Hall (Stern Auditorium, Weill Recital Hall, and Zankel Hall), Merkin Concert Hall, and Alice Tully Hall. Mr. Rosas holds a Bachelor of Music Degree from Western Michigan University, and a Master of Music Degree from The Juilliard School.
Patrick Blackwell as Father Trulove
Patrick Blackwell studied on scholarship at The Juilliard School of Music. He now calls Los Angeles Home, where he will begin his 4th season at Los Angeles Opera as Zwieter Soldat in Strauss's Salome. Mr. Blackwell will make two Debuts this year. Porgy in the Gershwin's Porgy and Bess at The Semper Opera, Dresden and The Sydney National Opera, Australia. He is delighted to return to POP singing the role of Father Trulove.
Adelaide Sinclair as Baba the Turk
Possessing a voice the Los Angeles Times called “rich, fluent and creamy,” mezzo-soprano Adelaide Sinclair has appeared with New York City Opera, the Metropolitan Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Seattle Opera, Arizona Opera, San Antonio Opera, and the Central City (Colorado) Opera Festival. Abroad, she was soloist for the mainland China premiere performances of Elijah and invited to the Haydn Festival at Eisenstadt, Austria. She has been a featured soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic (at both the Music Center and Hollywood Bowl), New York Choral Ensemble, L.A. Master Chorale, Pacific Chorale, St. Louis Chamber Orchestra, California Philharmonic, and the Long Beach, Pacific, Utah, Seattle, Portland, St. Louis, and Chicago symphonies, singing under the batons of such luminaries as Shaw, Hillis, Abravanel, Leinsdorf, and Leonard Slatkin. Her Carnegie Hall debut was a staged Elijah with Bryn Terfel in the title role and for six seasons she toured the U.S. with Opera a la Carte, a Gilbert & Sullivan repertory company. Garnering critical acclaim across the country in more than 30 operatic roles and 50 concert works, Miss Sinclair has recorded Wagner and Verdi for Telarc, the Witch of Skye for Highlander: A Celtic Opera, as guest soloist on 'Tis the Season with the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles, and in sacred works of Franck, Schubert, and Mozart under the Con Brio label, as well as creating roles in contemporary works of Hundley, Rorem, and Stoddard. Heard frequently at Bach Festivals, she has been on the summer voice faculties of Idyllwild Arts Academy and SongFest, serves as a judge for the Met Auditions and a panelist for CA Symphonies Conferences, has conducted master classes at dozens of campuses, and been featured in Columbia Artists' community concert series. On-air at KUSC, she was recently referred to by Jim Svejda as, "One of the great voices in captivity today!"
Robert Norman as Sellem
Tenor, Robert Norman is thrilled be returning to Pacific Opera Project as Sellem, having previously appeared in eight original productions and two revivals including Pedrillo in Abduction from the Seraglio, Spoletta in Tosca, Brighella in Ariadne auf Naxos, and Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni. He is a finalist for the 2016 Loren L. Zachary Society National Vocal Competition, an L.A. District winner for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and winner of Center Stage Opera’s David W. Scott Memorial Competition. He received both his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from CSU Northridge, and is an alumnus of the Opera Santa Barbara Studio Artist Program.
Recent performances for Mr. Norman include Goro in Madama Butterfly with Opera San José, Dayton Opera, Salt Marsh Opera; Dr. Caius in Falstaff with Opera San José; Tobias Ragg in Sweeney Todd with Townsend Opera, Fresno Grand Opera; Steve Hubbell in A Streetcar Named Desire with Opera Santa Barbara, Union Avenue Opera, Townsend Opera, and Fresno Grand Opera. He is a regular performer with Los Angeles Opera’s community and education programs, and has thrilled audiences as a monster hot dog, an evil game show host, a conspiratorial Babylonian advisor, and Mr. Mozart himself.
Upcoming performances for the 2016-17 season include Pedrillo in Abduction from the Seraglio with Pacific Opera Project, Festival Opera and Salt Marsh Opera, and Howard Boucher in Dead Man Walking with Townsend Opera and Fresno Grand Opera.
Danielle Bond as Mother Goose
Ms. Bond has been hailed by the LA Times with a “Brava!”for her performance as Swiss Grandmother/Austrian Woman/British Dancing Girl in Long Beach Opera’s production of John Adams’ Death of Klinghoffer. As Marilyn Monroe in the US premiere of Marilyn Forever, Opera News says “Bond… sang sumptuously, expressively.” She recently premiered Kenneth Wells’ The Center Cannot Hold as Lady of the Charts, based on the memoir of Elyn Saks. Roles include the title role of Carmen, Dido/ Dido & Aeneas, Hermia/ Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Siebel/ Faust, Olga/ Eugene Onegin, Cornelia/ Handel’s Giulio Cesare, Amahl’s Mother, Flora/ La traviata.
Ms. Bond debuted in Germany as Maddalena in Rigoletto with Opera Classica Europa. She has also performed with Opera Santa Barbara’s opera improv troupe & LA Opera Outreach. She has an extensive oratorio repertoire, garnering her a 2014 American Prize award. She is also a voice actor & sings on film, TV and video game scores.
Joel Balzun as Keeper of the Madhouse
Last seen with POP as Mr. Cassidy (The Merry Widow Widder), baritone and composer Joel David Balzun currently serves on the faculties of Biola University and Fullerton College. He made his Kennedy Center Debut in 2014 as "Ping" (Turandot), and won the 2016 Rio Hondo Symphony Young Artist Competition. Highlights of the 2016-2017 season include “Caoudal” (Sapho, Massenet) with Angel City Opera, in addition to numerous recital and concert performances in Southern California. As a vocal fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center, he recently performed Shostakovich's Symphony No. 14 with the Tanglewood Festival Orchestra alongside Dawn Upshaw and Sanford Sylvan, and selections from the Great American Songbook alongside Stephanie Blythe. Other favourite past performance highlights include the title role in Don Giovanni, the Four Villains (Les contes d'Hoffmann), "Sid" (Albert Herring), “Dr. Malatesta” (Don Pasquale), and “Valentin” (Faust). He has previously appeared with Calgary Concert Opera Company, Cowtown Opera Company, Redlands Opera Theatre, the Rio Hondo Symphony, the Rochester Bach Festival, and the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.
Also a successful composer, Mr. Balzun's "haunting and beautiful" music has garnered awards, commissions and performances in Canada, Costa Rica, the United States, and the United Kingdom. He was a guest composer at the 2013 CBDNA National Conference, and at the 2014 CFAMC National Conference, where he was also a guest performer.
Mr. Balzun studied Music Composition and Vocal Performance at University of Calgary, Biola Unviersity, and the Eastman School of Music, where he earned his Master's degree, studying with Jan Opalach.
Tom Rakewell lives in the countryside with his sweetheart, Anne Truelove. But when asked to find a job, Tom seeks an easier route and is lured to the big city of London by the devilish Nick Shadow. Tom agrees to employ Shadow as his manservant for a year and a day and he ends up in Mother Goose's brothel. Tom is tempted by talk of the high life and of pleasure but when the word love happens to be mentioned, he wants to leave but is taken to bed by Mother Goose. The faithful Anne journeys to London to find out where Tom has disappeared to.
Tom tires of fast women and the profligate lifestyle. Shadow suggests Tom marry Baba the bearded Turkish lady. Anne arrives but Tom tells her to leave him to his fate. Shadow gets Tom to invest his remaining money in a machine that is claimed to turn stones into bread. This crazy money-making scheme causes Tom to become bankrupt.
All of Tom's belongings are auctioned off in order to pay his creditors. In a churchyard one evening Shadow demands immediate payment for his services and when Tom says he cannot pay, Shadow says that Tom must commit suicide at midnight. At the last moment Shadow relents and says Tom and he can play cards, with Tom losing his soul if he loses. Unexpectedly Tom wins and a furious Shadow sends Tom insane instead. The following day Tom is in the mental asylum. He is imaging he is Adonis waiting on Venus to come. All the other inmates ignore him. The faithful Anne comes to pay him one final visit.
The players assemble to sing: "For idle hands and hearts and minds, the Devil finds a work to do".