OPERA WESTERN RESERVE PRESENTS
Friday, November 17 – 7:30 pm
DeYor performing arts center
Written by Georges Bizet, Carmen is one of the most well-known operas. It follows the title character as she gains the favor of a soldier, Jose, who is already involved with Micaela all while the bullfighter, Escamillo, tries desperately to catch her attention.
Mexican mezzo-soprano Paulina Villarreal is a prominent recitalist, cabaret, operatic, and musical theater singer who frequently performs in the United States and Mexico. A graduate of the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, she has been a soloist and invited artist in important companies and orchestras around the United States like Cincinnati Opera, Opera Saratoga, Opera Fusion: New Works, the Tanglewood Music Center, the Boston Pops Orchestra, the Princeton Symphony Orchestra, Kentucky Symphony Orchestra, Appalachian Symphony Orchestra, and the Decatur Symphony Orchestra. In the entrepreneurship world, Villarreal is the founder and artistic director of the international concert series Cantos para el Mundo devoted to the promotion of classical vocal genres hosted in Torreón, Mexico.
Trained as a classical vocalist, Villarreal is now in demand for her singing versatility in musical theater and commercial styles. She has worked closely with contemporary American composers like William Bolcom, Laura Kaminsky, and Ricky Ian Gordon, and has been recognized by important foundations like the Kurt Weill Foundation and the Comic Opera Guild for performing a wide variety of vocal genres.
Villarreal is currently a professor of voice at the University of Memphis’
Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music and serves as voice faculty at the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival.
Tenor Jonathan Kaufman possesses a voice of entrancing power, beauty, and finesse, which he employs with considerable technique and musicianship. Hailed for his portrayal of Pinkerton in Winter Opera St. Louis’ production of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, “Tenor Jonathan Kaufman, as Pinkerton, has a voice so grand--even heroic--that there are many times when, lost in the glory of that voice, we quite forget what a cad the Lieutenant is. Superb!” Steve Callahan of Broadway World makes it clear why Kaufman is quickly ascending the ranks as one of the greatest tenors of his generation.
This season, Kaufman rejoins Opera Carolina for their productions of Cavalleria rusticana and Madama Butterfly as Turiddu and Pinkerton, respectively. Further lead roles include Don Jose in Opera Western Reserve’s Carmen and Rodolfo in La bohème with Opera Grand Rapids.
Lyric soprano, Marian Vogel made critically acclaimed performances as Violetta (La Traviata), Cio Cio San (Madama Butterfly), Micaela (Carmen), Donna Elivira (Don Giovanni) Tosca (Tosca), Mimi and Musetta (La Boheme), Susanna (Le Nozze di Figaro), Zerlina (Don Giovanni), Pamina (The Magic Flute), Gretel (Hansel and Gretel), Mother (Amahl and the Night Visitors), and Gilbert and Sullivan heroines. She debuted at Carnegie Hall and has appeared with The Cleveland Orchestra at Severance Hall and on their European tour (The Cunning Little Vixen). Marian has toured extensively both in the United States and Europe. Ms. Vogel is a two-time first prize winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council District Auditions and is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music.
Baritone André Chiang has been described as “vocally commanding” (Oregonian), “handsome of voice” (Opera News), and lauded with “let’s hear more from this singer” (Washington Post). Chiang’s recent engagements include Dandini (La cenerentola) with Dayton Opera and Escamillo (Carmen) with Mobile Opera. Previous companies include Portland Opera, Virginia Opera, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, and the Glimmerglass Festival. He made his Carnegie Hall debut in the World Premiere of Martin Palmeri’s Gran Misa as Baritone soloist. Upcoming engagements include Mobile Opera, and Opera Philadelphia. Chiang is an Assistant Professor of Voice at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, an Instructor of Voice at the Interlochen Summer Arts Camp, and runs a private online and in-person voice studio teaching acoustic and amplified styles. www.andrechiangbaritone.com
Soprano Hayley Abramowitz (they/them/theirs) is based in Washington, DC. As a 2022-23 Jan Miller Studio Artist at Pensacola Opera, Hayley performed the role of Carrie Pipperidge (Carousel) and covered Musetta (La Bohème) and Julie Jordan (Carousel). They also appeared in a scenes concert as Manon (Manon), Norina (Don Pasquale), and Sophie (Werther). Other recent roles include First Handmaiden (Turandot, Houston Grand
Opera), Romilda (Serse, IU Opera Theater), and Nella (Gianni Schicchi, IU Opera Theater). Hayley holds degrees from the Indiana University Jacobs
School of Music (MM '20, PD '21) and from the University of Maryland School of Music (BM '18), where they studied with Carol Vaness and Delores Ziegler, respectively.
Lebanese-American mezzo-soprano Melanie Ashkar is known for the “rich texture” of her voice and her “delightfully expressive” stage presence. She has performed across the United States with Utah Opera, New York City Opera, Central City Opera, OperaDelaware, Opera Southwest, and Virginia Opera, among others. On the concert stage, she has appeared with the Utah Symphony, the Oratorio Society of Virginia, and the Chesapeake Chorale. This season, she portrays Gertrude in Roméo et Juliette with New York City Opera, joins Winter Opera St. Louis for Naughty Marietta, and debuts with the Canton Symphony Orchestra in a program of Gustav and Alma Mahler songs. A Washington, DC native, she holds degrees from the University of Virginia, Georgetown University, and Mannes College.
Samuel Jungman, tenor, is a recent graduate of Baldwin Wallace Conservatory of Music, earning a degree in vocal performance with an emphasis in vocal pedagogy. Sam specializes in gender diverse voice teaching, and studied with Dr. JR Fralick and Professor Dan Ihasz.
After performing in two micro operas amidst the pandemic, Sam also caused some chaos as Don Basilio in Le Nozze di Figaro, and joined BWVP's performance debut at Playhouse Square as Liberto and Il Soldato Primo in L'Incoronazione di Poppea. In March 2023, Sam set sail as Frederic in The Pirates of Penzance, and is now elated to join Opera Western Reserve as Le Remendado!
Tenor Alex Lindenmeier studied voice performance at Baldwin Wallace's Conservatory of Music. Alex has a diverse taste when it comes to vocal repertoire. He has performed multiple scenes and roles from multiple baroque operas including Handel’s Alcina (Oronte), Monteverdi’s
L’Incoronazione di Poppea (Liberto) and Iphigénie en Aulide (Achille). Recently he portrayed the role of Samuel in BW's production of Gilbert and Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance. For the 2023 BW Bach Festival, he was given the exceptional opportunity to sing with BWV, Cleveland’s professional Bach Choir led and organized by Dr Dirk Garner in two of JS Bach’s greatest motets, Komm, Jesu, komm BWV 229 and Lobet den Herrn BWV 230 along with Benjamin Britten’s Hymn to St. Cecelia. Alex plans to pursue a masters in voice with an emphasis in early music in the fall of 2024.
Jason Budd has garnered a reputation for being a consummate singer-actor. Having received accolades for his performances across the United States and Europe, Mr. Budd's South American debut as the title role in Verdi's Falstaff in São Paulo, Brazil was a triumph. He has also had much success in vocal competitions over the years, including wins at the Opera Columbus Competition, the Heinz Rehfuss Competition with Orlando Opera, the Mary Jacobs Smith Singer of the Year competition with Shreveport Opera, and the Meistersinger Competition in Graz, Austria, which was broadcast on Austrian television. Recent engagements include performances with the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, SC, Boston Midsummer Opera, Toledo Opera, Fremont Opera in California, Opera Project Columbus, and Cleveland Opera Theater.
BRIAN KEITH JOHNSON
Brian Keith Johnson has performed many roles in opera from Figaro in il barbiere di Siviglia to Ford in Falstaff. As a member of Actors’ Equity Association, he has also performed a variety of musical theatre roles ranging from Jim in Big River to Father/God in Children of Eden. His concert repertoire includes most of the major baritone works such as Carmina Burana, Elijah, The Verdi Requiem, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, The Brahms Requiem and The Faure’ Requiem. He has performed operatic and musical theatre roles across the United States including performances with The Cleveland Orchestra, Akron Symphony Orchestra, Canton Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Opera, Lyric Opera Cleveland, Blossom Festival Orchestra, Opera Theatre of Pittsburgh, Opera Western Reserve, Carolina Master Chorale, Charlotte Symphony Orchestra and Porthouse Theatre. Mr. Johnson received his BM Degree from The University of Akron.
Ballet Western Reserve Dancers
Choreographed by Danielle Perrotta
OWR Orchestra For Carmen
Susan Davenny Wyner, Music Director/Conductor
Kathryn Thomas Umble, Principal
Stephanie Carter Dennis
Kaylyn Shearer, Principal
Alice Wang, Principal
Janice Pylinski, Principal
Rachel Vaduva, Principal
Christopher Krummel, Principal
Nancy Paterson, Principal
Don Yallech, Principal
Mary Price, Concertmaster
Natalie Sahyoun, Orchestra Assistant
Brendan Considine, Principal
Jay Koziorynsky, Principal, Librarian
Jeffrey Singler, Principal
Jeffrey Bremer, Principal
SMARTS Children's Chorus
Megan Keown - Director
Provided by SMARTS
Olivia Anderson - Grade 8
Leah Berg - Grade 7
Joshua Cene - Grade 6
Ciara Dabney - Grade 6
Sophia Duva - Grade 7
Gracie Faunda - Grade 7
Angela Gerhold - Grade 9
Hannah Harnutovsky - Grade 10
Emily Hentzel - Grade 9
Arion James - Grade 6
Braelyn Jensen-Kaglic - Grade 6
Dakota Kasner - Grade 9
Emilee Knisley - Grade 6
Emily Ligouri - Grade 8
Aubrey O'Connor - Grade 7
Aidyn Patterson - Grade 6
Ziva Samora - Grade 8
Giovanni Testa - Grade 6
Emma Thorpe - Grade 10
Charlotte Ward - Grade 9
Aahree Zura - Grade 8
Harper Zura - Grade 6
Dean Buck, Assistant Conductor and Chorus Master
Joseph Spurio, Assistant Chorus Master
Jaelynn Mack, Emerging Artist
Austin Angus, Emerging Artist
Emily Adgate Lewis