The New York Times hailed American tenor Christian Sebek (Canio) as possessing a "marvelous voice." Having begun his operatic career as a baritone, Mr. Sebek brings a warm, rich quality to his "strong, bright and focused tenor" and is quickly making a name for himself in dramatic roles such as Turiddu, Cavaradossi, Pinkerton and Don Jose. His powerful sound packs "a high-pressure wallop" and "when he hits his high notes the tone is gorgeous." The New York Post noted Christian Sebek "was among the evening's most impressive voices and comedic actors."
He has performed principal tenor roles in world premieres of two operas,The Sandman by Thomas Cabaniss and Patience and Sarah by Paula M. Kimper. "Christian Sebek is absolutely wonderful as Nathanael [in The Sandman]." Christian Sebek recently debuted at Carnegie Hall inMessiah and has soloed in major choral works with orchestras around the metropolitan New York area, including American Chamber Ensemble, West Park Symphony, Long Island Opera and Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra.
A lyric soprano, Dr. Misook Yun (Nedda) is a native of South Korea. As an active recitalist and soloist, Yun has performed in Italy, Austria, South Korea, and the United States of America. Her major solo performances include Canteloube's first series of Chants d'Auvergne, Mendelssohn'sElijah, Hear My Prayer, and A Midsummer Night's Dream, Faure'sRequiem, Villa-Lobos' Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5, Schubert's Mass in G, Mozart's Requiem, Bach's Magnificat, and Handel's Messiah.
An accomplished operatic performer, Yun has appeared in the title roles of Tosca and Madama Butterfly, Violetta from La Traviata, Adina inL'Elisir d'Amore, Suzel in L'Amico Fritz, Serafina in Il Campanello, Dorabella in Cosi fan tutte, Genevieve in Suor Angelica, High Priestess in Aida, and Musetta in La Boheme.
Yun's competition winnings include first prize of the Metropolitan Opera Competition of the Oregon District, the concerto competition at the University of Oregon, and first prize of the Paul & Lillian Petri Scholarship Competition. She was also the semi-finalist of Vera Scammon International Vocal Competition. She has studied and coached with Milagro Vargas, Gregory Mason, Lorenzo Malfatti, Mark Beudert, James Miller, Tae-Hee Cho, and Eun-Kyung Kim as well as participated in masterclasses with Martina Arroyo, Marcia Baldwin, and Norman Shetler. Dr. Yun is an associate professor at Youngstown State University, Ohio.
Brian Keith Johnson (Tonio) has performed many roles in opera as diverse as Figaro in Cleveland Opera On Tour's The Barber of Seville to Ford in The New Opera Festival di Roma's Falstaff. He has also performed a variety of Musical Theatre roles ranging from Jim in Big River to Father in Children of Eden. Other roles include Henry Box Brown and Frederick Douglass in Opera Columbus' World Premier of Leslie Burrs' Vanqui, the Kaiser in Cleveland Public Theatre's production of Viktor Ullmann's Der Kaiser Von Atlantis, Schicchi in Gianni Schicchi, Escamillo in Carmen and Almaviva in The Marriage of Figarowith The Tuesday Musical Club, The Pirate King and The Major General in The Pirates of Penzance with Cleveland Opera On Tour, Bellomy inThe Fantasticks, Dewain in I Was Looking At The Ceiling and Then I Saw The Sky and Belcore in The Elixir of Love with Lyric Opera Cleveland, Figaro in The Barber of Seville with The Duke University Symphony and Escamillo in Carmen with The Warren Philharmonic. His concert performances include excerpts from Die Zauberflote and La Cenerentola with The Cleveland Orchestra, Carmina Burana with both The San Jose-Cleveland Ballet and The Pittsburgh Ballet Theater, I Capuleti e i Montecchi with Cleveland Concert Opera, Porgy in Porgy and Bess, The Five Mystical Songs and Carmina Burana With The Akron Symphony, The Faure Requiem and Carmina Burana with the Youngstown Symphony, Crown in Porgy and Bess and Adam in The Creation with The Canton Symphony, The Brahms Requiem with The Duke Symphony and Beethoven's Ninth Symphony with The Ashland Symphony, The Mozart C Minor Mass with The Dayton Bach Society. Mr. Johnson is represented by Engdahl Artists International.
Marian Vogel (Musetta), soprano, was the winner of the Belle O. Morse Young Artist Award and winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council District Auditions. Ms. Vogel trained at the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music under the tutelage of Ms. Patricia Berlin. She has toured extensively as a soloist, both in the United States and in Europe. Ms. Vogel charmed audiences recently as Zerlina in the Cleveland Opera production of Don Giovanni and as Yum Yum in the Lyric Opera Cleveland production of Mikado to great critical acclaim. She has been active with Cleveland Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Lyric Opera Cleveland, and Akron Lyric Opera Theatre, among others.
Her numerous opera and theatre credits include Mimi in La Boheme, Violetta in La Traviata, the Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors, Yum Yum in Mikado, Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Patience in Patience, Josephine in H.M.S. Pinafore, Serpina in La Serva Padrona, Cinderella in Cinderella, and Nellie in South Pacific. Ms. Vogel makes frequent concert and recital appearances, and is being sought out for recording projects as well. She joined the Oak Ridge Symphony as the soprano soloist in the Mozart Requiem, as well as the massive Verdi Requiem. Other concert engagements include Beethoven's Ninth Symphony,Carmina Burana, the Requiems of Rutter, Faure, and Mozart, and Berlioz' Les Nuits d'Ete.
Todd E. Ranney (Silvio) has performed over 30 roles throughout the Midwest with the Michigan Opera Theater, Des Moines Opera, Iowa, Lyric Opera, Cleveland, Cleveland Opera, and Dayton Opera. Some of his roles include Figaro (Barber), Guglielmo, Papageno, Marcello, Silvio, Sharpless, Paquillo, and Carl Linden. He has been a featured soloist with the Cleveland Orchestra at both the Blossom Music Center and Severance Hall. He has also sung with the Symphony Orchestras of Dayton, Akron, Wooster, University of Akron, Cleveland Institute of Music, and the Cleveland Pops at Severance Hall. He has sung with Robert Page's The Cleveland Singers. He has served on the faculties of Heidelberg College as Opera Director and Instructor of Voice, The College of Wooster, and The University of Akron as a piano accompanist. He performed 11 seasons with Cleveland Opera as an Associate Artist and was featured in productions of Carmen, Die Meistersinger, Romeo and Juliet, Rigoletto, and H.M.S. Pinafore.
Mr. Ranney is currently the Director of Music Ministries and organist at The United Methodist Church of Wooster and is the founding Artistic Director of Akron Lyric Opera Theatre where he directed productions ofMadama Butterfly, Gianni Schicchi, and Cosi fan Tutti and appeared as Pooh Bah in it's 2003 production of Gilbert and Sullivan's Mikado. Also sought after as a stage director, last season Mr. Ranney directed productions of Carmen and La Boheme for Lorain County Community College and The Wooster Symphony respectively and also directedHansel and Gretel in February 2005 for BIOIA University in Los Angeles.
Randall Levin (Colline, a philosopher) hails from Akron Ohio, where he has performed both as a professional and a student in area opera and choral productions. From 2001-2004, Mr. Levin pursued graduate studies at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music where he performed principal and supporting roles in CCM's acclaimed Mainstage Opera Series. His credits at CCM included Don Alfonso in Mozart's Cosi fan tutte and Arkel in Debussy's Pelleas et Melisande. In 2003, Mr. Levin was engaged in by the Opera Theater and Music Festival of Lucca to sing the role of Businello in the Italian premier of Dominic Argento's Casanova's Homecoming.
Mr. Levin was an Aspen Music Festival fellowship recipient in 2002, where he performed the role of Frank Maurrant in Kurt Weillâ€™sStreet Scene under the baton of Julius Rudel. While at Aspen, Mr. Levin also performed as a bass-soloist with the Aspen Chamber Symphony in Weill's Seven Deadly Sins under the baton of Michael Stern. Mr. Levin earned his bachelors degree in 2001 from the University of Akron School of Music where his roles included Bartolo in Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro, Simone in Puccini's Gianni Schicchi, and Balthazaar in Menotti's Amahl and the Night Visitors.
Jason Fair, a graduate of Oil City High School, moved to Youngstown to continue his musical studies at the Youngstown State University Dana School of Music. He has served as musical director for Blackbox Theatre, the Dana Vocal Performance Clinic, Kent State Trumbull Summer Stock, the Oakland Center of the Arts, the Youngstown Playhouse, and local high schools. He has also served as chorus master for Dana Opera Workshop and Opera Circle of Cleveland. As a chorister Jason has performed with the Akron Symphony Orchestra, the Cleveland Philharmonic, the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Warren Philharmonic, and the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra. He has sung operatic roles with Dana Opera Workshop, Greenville Lyric Opera, and now makes his debut with Opera Western Reserve. Jason currently performs in the Wade Raridon Singers, the Dana Early Music Ensemble, and is Director of Music at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Warren, Ohio, where he now resides.
Vincent Basile is a Junior at YSU studying Applied Voice and Performance. Hispast roles include Padre Perez in Man of Lamancha at Brownsville High School in Brownsville, PA, Major General Stanley in YSU's The Pirates of Penzance, and most recently Ceprano in Valley Lyric Opera's Rigoletto.