Page 1





2013_OperaNL_WTOC rev2.indd 1

5/29/13 2:17 PM

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR INSIDE THE ROSTER La traviata Verdi at the Filene Center .........3 Projecting Passion....................4 The Journey to Reims Rossini at The Barns .................5 Our Bel Canto Journey .............6 Falstaff Verdi at The Barns ...................7 Joy, Theatre, and Love..............8 Embracing the Falstaff Within ...9 Concerts & Recitals Carmina Burana and more!......4 Aria Jukebox ..........................10 Wonders To Wander To ..........10 Vocal Colors ..........................11 Lucky Thirteen ........................11 For Young Opera Lovers Instant Opera! ........................17 Opera Learner’s Permit............20 Our Singers WTOC Alumni ........................9 Filene Young Artists.................12 Studio Artists ..........................15 Profiles & Programs Calling the Shots .....................8 Music Staff .............................16 A Soprano Returns..................16 The Gift of Song .....................17 Our Extended Family 15-Year Patrons ......................18 19-Year Housing Hosts ............18 Donor Appreciation ................19

By the time you read this, the WTOC family will be assembling—in the rehearsal hall, at the scene and costume shops, in the offices, at the theatre. For three months a year, we are a crazy quilt of imaginative people with a common goal: creating music and story that add texture to our lives and yours. The summer Roster is your chance to get to know some of the members of our Wolf Trap Opera Company family. The nuances of their stories bring freshness and boldness to our productions and performances, and we are all privileged to travel along with them on this chapter of their professional journey. As always, we created this summer’s repertoire around the Young Artists we found during last fall’s nationwide audition tour. I often speak of how this approach allows us to bring their best work to you and to offer them the best opportunity for growth and success. What I don’t mention as often is the way this approach informs the overall culture of our company. We are not consumed with celebrity, nor are we distracted by having to accommodate large egos and oversized personalities. We are all here for the same reason: to jump-start the careers of these talented people—those onstage and off—and to leave in August in a better place than where we started in May. Along the way, music is made, stories are told, and all of us walk a little taller. Thanks for taking this journey with us and being part of the family—I’ll see you at the opera!

Kim Pensinger Witman Director, Wolf Trap Opera & Classical Programming 2

2013_OperaNL_WTOC rev2.indd 2

5/29/13 2:17 PM

VERDI at the Filene Center Verdi

New Operascape production at the Filene Center at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts In Italian with English supertitles Fri, July 19 at 8:15 pm For tickets, visit or call 1.877.WOLFTRAP Some of this summer’s journeys are literal, and others are more subtle. In Rossini’s Journey to Reims and Verdi’s Falstaff, the people onstage believe that they are headed toward one outcome and are diverted, with generally comic and wry effect. The characters in La traviata, however, have literally everything at stake in their journeys in pursuit of love and happiness; when we are witness to the disruption of their lives, our hearts break. The story is fairly well-known and not at all complicated. Violetta is trapped in a lifestyle that provides physical comfort and security but little true happiness. When faced with the possibility of true, honest, and enduring love, she mistrusts it and barely allows herself to believe that she’s worthy. Alfredo loves her in a way that is unselfish and unswerving, although their journey to happiness is complicated by forces beyond their control. Family honor is important in any society, but in 19th-century Paris, the rules were firm. Alfredo’s father, the upstanding Giorgio Germont, knows that allowing his son to continue in a relationship with a woman of Violetta’s previous reputation would ruin his entire family. Although in a different place and time he might have been compassionate toward this fragile young woman, his present circumstances demand that he protect his own family first and foremost. There are many reasons that La traviata holds a special and prime place in opera lovers’ esteem. One reason is the immediacy and


depth of feeling brought out by the fact that this story was Violetta Valéry .............. Corinne Winters happening all around Verdi Alfredo Germont .............. Benjamin Bliss in his own time and place— Giorgio Germont ........ Nicholas Pallesen Paris of the mid 19th-century. with The libretto was shaped from a popular, thinly veiled Annina ...................... Courtney Johnson autobiographical novel (and Flora Bervoix ............. Alexandra Rodrick subsequent play) by Alexandre Gastone ....................... Miles Mykkanen Dumas the younger, and Verdi Giuseppe ...................... Brandon Russell wrote the opera while living in Baron Douphol ............. Harry Greenleaf Paris with the woman who was Marquis d’Obigny ................... Brian Vu to become his wife, the singer Doctor Grenville.........Nicholas Brownlee Giuseppina Strepponi. This was no calculated treatment of PRODUCTION a historical subject; it was real life. Possibly too real, for the Conductor ...................... Grant Gershon censors felt it was necessary Director ................. Jose Maria Condemi to introduce an element that Projection Designer ............ Aaron Rhyne would create a bit of distance Costume & Scenic Designer .. Anka Lupes from this spot-on portrayal of Lighting Designer ...............Mark Stanley Parisian society and a heroine who embodied both virtue and vice: they forbade the premiere to be performed in modern dress. On July 19, WTOC’S We are fortunate to be back at the Filene Lee Anne Myslewski Center this summer, and we relish the will offer a free opportunity to perform La traviata with pre-performance the National Symphony Orchestra. We’ve discussion at commissioned a new production from a team Wolf Trap National making their Wolf Trap debuts. The NSO will be led by Grant Gershon (resident conductor Park for the of LA Opera), and the production is directed Performing Arts. by José Maria Condemi, whose work was most It will be held on recently seen at San Francisco Opera. Aaron the Old Farmhouse Rhyne [see p. 4] created a new projectionLawn beginning at based scenic design for our custom Operascape 7:15 pm. screen, and Anka Lupes designed the costumes and set elements. Lighting designer Mark Stanley returns for his 12th WTOC production at the Filene Center. Of course, the singers were the real impetus behind this production, and it was the unusually strong showing at last fall’s audition tour that netted us the trio of principals featured in Traviata. Seven Studio Artists step up to fill out the supporting roles, and The Washington Chorus joins the NSO in giving full voice to the lush score.

Special thanks to La traviata Production Underwriters Daniel and Gayle D’Aniello and Performance Sponsors Virginia M. Friend and Andy and Ed Smith. Additional early support was generously provided by Keith and Barbara Severin and Deborah F. and David A. Winston.

2013_OperaNL_WTOC rev2.indd 3

Costume rendering of Violetta by Anka Lupes.


5/29/13 2:17 PM


Aaron Rhyne has designed projections for O’Neill’s Strange Interlude for Shakespeare Theatre Company and a concert version of The Civil War at Ford’s Theatre. His upcoming projects include projections for the new musical A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder and the opera Florencia en al Amazonas.

I always say that I fell into projection design completely backwards, having no idea what I was getting into. Looking back, I wouldn’t have chosen it any other way. I went to college to study directing. After I graduated, I was a bit lost on where and how to get my foot in the door. Then, my former professor called to say she saw an innovative show downtown that she thought was right up my alley. She was sure I should intern for them. I saw the show and was intrigued enough to give it a try. The production was a highly technical performance art piece placed on a large greenscreen set with camera stations that filmed actors in various settings while projecting their live images on screens that hung in front of the green-screen set. We would place computergenerated backgrounds onto the green screen (sort of what you see the weatherman do every night on the news) and essentially create a live movie on stage. I was asked to become a member of the company and travel with them on a tour through Europe for a year, running the video and projections, and I jumped at the chance. The tour didn’t start seamlessly. I blew up a power transformer at our first tour stop in Berlin. And in Rome the crew insisted on hanging the projectors on hemp ropes (“the

Italian way!”), which meant I had to refocus them every few hours as the hemp settled. But as the tour rolled on, I figured out what I was doing. We were in a different venue every week, so I had very hands-on opportunities to learn where to place projectors for optimal brightness, how to make content pop on a screen, and most importantly, how to make video projections work for a theatre production. The tour ended up lasting almost two years. By the time I arrived back in New York, I was completely hooked on the idea of designing video projections in live performance. I think the most common problem with how projections are used today is a lack of theatrical understanding of the art of live performance. We aren’t making video games, and it’s often important to simplify the visuals in the video projections in order to keep the eyes of the audience on the performers and the story being told. Touring that show from country to country, each with different native languages, really gave me a keen sense of how to guide an audience through a story and how to make projections an integral part of the production, but not the dominant one. I’m very excited about the work I’m creating for La traviata and so honored to be designing at Wolf Trap this summer.

CARMINA BURANA and more! Fri, July 12 at 8:15 pm Filene Center at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts National Symphony Orchestra Emil de Cou, conductor

Ying Fang, soprano Juan José de Léon, tenor Steven LaBrie, baritone Choral Arts Society of Washington

The 2013 season marks the 15th anniversary of Wolf Trap Opera Company’s collaboration with the National Symphony Orchestra, and it’s only fitting that this summer should include not only our joint La traviata production, but also the opportunity for three of our singers

to join the NSO and The Choral Arts Society of Washington in Orff’s modern medieval epic Carmina Burana. The date is Friday, July 12, and the subject material is powerful, bawdy, irreverent, and beautiful in turns. “O, Fortuna!” indeed!


2013_OperaNL_WTOC rev2.indd 4

5/29/13 2:17 PM

ROSSINI at The Barns CAST Rossini

The Journey to Reims Il viaggio a Reims New production at The Barns at Wolf Trap In Italian with English supertitles Fri, June 21 at 8 pm Sun, June 23 at 3 pm Sat, June 29 at 7 pm For tickets, visit or call 1.877.WOLFTRAP

The characters in Rossini’s The Journey to Reims have a lot in common with the singers who portray them. Both the fictional and real people have been tossed together in a closed environment. They begin by believing that they know what their journey will be like, and they can name their destination, but there are surprises and disappointments, diversions, and revelations. In the end, Rossini’s characters never get to Reims. If we are successful, our artists end up somewhere that’s even better than their intended destination. Rossini’s intriguing international characters are a colorful family. Let’s meet them: The maternal and paternal figures, Madame Cortese and Dr. Prudenzio, take good care of everyone, fretting all the while. Baron Trombonok and Don Profondo are the benevolent uncles—a little eccentric, but good-hearted. The Baron is the cruise director, making sure that all activities run smoothly, and Profondo is a supremely detail-oriented fellow who is always on top of the itinerary. As at any family gathering, intrigue comes from the daughters, sons, and cousins who show up with their new lovers. The macho Spaniard Don Alvaro is vying with the

Corinna ................. Andrea Carroll Russian Count Libenskof for Madame Cortese ..... Kiri Deonarine the affections of the Polish La Contessa di Folleville... Ying Fang Marchesa Melibea. The La Marchesa repressed Englishman Lord Melibea ............... Maya Lahyani Sidney desires the heart of the Il Conte di Italian poetess Corinna, but Libenskof ......... Juan José de Léon he has significant competition Il Cavaliere Belfiore .... Brenton Ryan from the suave French Don Alvaro................ Steven LaBrie Cavaliere Belfiore, who arrived Dr. Prudenzio ........ Aaron Sorensen coupled with the volatile Lord Sidney ............ Brandon Cedel French Countess di Folleville. Don Profondo .. Ryan Speedo Green Rossini and his librettist Il Barone di Balocchi play freely but Trombonok ......... Norman Garrett affectionately with national stereotypes. It’s an approach with that we might find too broad for our 21st-century sensibility, Delia ................... Anush Avetsiyan but it is born of respect for Maddalena ........ Shannon Jennings differences and the hope for Modestina ........... Grace Newberry reconciliation. What I find Zefirino ................... Benjamin Bliss fascinating is the way that the Luigino..................... Brian Yeakley range of characters in this opera Antonio....................... Ben Edquist allows Rossini to merge what Ensemble .............. Members of the we often hear as two slightly Wolf Trap Opera Studio different styles—the buffo approach to his comic operas, PRODUCTION and the elegant bel canto of his serious works. It all comes Conductor ......... Gary Thor Wedow together in this last opera he Director .................... David Gately wrote in his native language. Scenic Design ......... Evan Adamson In their Wolf Trap debuts, Costume Design ............ Paul Carey David Gately directs, Evan Lighting Design .... Robert H. Grimes Adamson creates the sets, and Paul Carey designs the costumes. Resident designer Come to Kim’s Inside Robert H. Grimes lights this 18th Barns opera, and Wolf Trap favorite Gary Thor Wedow the Opera talk at the returns to conduct. Center for Education The Journey to Reims isn’t often produced, one hour before so I hope you’ll take advantage of this rare curtain and hear opportunity to cross it off your operatic about the detective bucket list. Because of the circumstances of work that unearthed its commission and premiere, Rossini had an this sparkling opera, unprecedented number and quality of musicians which was lost for available, and it takes real depth on the bench to more than 150 years! bring this one off. Fortunately, that’s something that we have, as last fall’s audition tour provided an array of singers who were ready for this exciting challenge!


2013_OperaNL_WTOC rev2.indd 5

5/29/13 2:17 PM


Gary Thor Wedow conducts Rossini’s The Journey to Reims this summer. He made his Wolf Trap Opera debut in 2002 conducting Handel’s Xerxes.

If you are reading this, you are probably as interested in beautiful singing as I am. Singing is mankind’s most primal and personal expression; the Neanderthals sang before they spoke, and we still use music to explore our deepest and most intimate thoughts. The art of bel canto was brought to its apogee through the 18th and 19th centuries, culminating in a golden age of singing exemplified by the operas of Rossini. No one understood bel canto better than Rossini did; his mother was an accomplished singer, and Rossini was groomed for a vocal career as a boy. He was saved from the operation that would have made him a castrato by the firm opposition of his mother, and he switched his focus to composition. Later he married Isabella Colbran, one of the greatest singers of her generation, for whom he composed 18 operas. At the height of Rossini’s fame, he was appointed director of the Théâtre Italien in Paris, and one of his first official duties was to compose an occasional gala composition for the coronation of Charles X, the restored French monarch. No expense was to be spared, and all the resources of the theatre and its staggering ensemble of star singers were at his disposal. It was to be a once-in-alifetime event. Rossini chose the older ‘cantata’ style for the piece; The Journey to Reims is basically a loose collection of scenes created to display the talents of the singers and the scenic extravagances of the theatre. In the delightfully

STUDIO SPOTLIGHT Our Studio Artists are prodigiously talented university and conservatory students who sing chorus and supporting roles in our productions. This group deserves its own time to shine, and we’re pleased to feature them in Studio Spotlight on July 21. This invitationonly performance is directed by Erik Friedman (Lyric Opera of Chicago, Boston Lyric Opera) and conducted by William Lumpkin (Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, LA Opera).

screwball plot, an unlikely collection of voyagers on their way to the coronation in Reims is stranded in a provincial inn due to a carriage accident. Film enthusiasts will immediately channel glamour films like Grand Hotel, The VIPs, or Airport, and reality TV fans will think of Survivor—they all give us an idea of the dramatic complications to be gloriously worked out in song. The premiere cast of 18 superstars reads like a who’s-who list of operatic nobility. It included the sopranos Giuditta Pasta and Laure CintiDamoreau, the tenor Marco Bordogni, and the great bass Nicolas Levasseur. No technical feat was beyond their scope. To me, what is fascinating and so important for our Wolf Trap cast is that all of these great singers became great and prolific teachers. They taught generations of other great singers and teachers, and without a doubt, our cast of terrific young virtuosos can trace their vocal heritage back to the original stars. I love the idea that music is an unbroken stream, with some of the most important information passed on hand-to-hand (or for singers: viva voce) in a well-revered tradition. Wolf Trap is just such a crucible, where the centuries-old art form is given the right environment to inspire and temper current and future generations of vocal super stars. I hope that our cast will feel empowered by their heritage of unbroken bel canto tradition, carrying the brightly shining torch for their allotted time before passing it on to the next generation.

Sun, July 21 at 3 pm The Barns at Wolf Trap By invitation The program will include scenes from Carmen (Bizet), Xerxes (Handel), La rondine (Puccini), The Grapes of Wrath (Gordon), as well as scenes by Mozart, Britten, and Strauss. (Which Strauss? Come and find out!) Invitations will be sent to Wolf Trap Members who designate their contribution to opera. For more information, visit or write to


2013_OperaNL_WTOC rev2.indd 6

5/29/13 2:17 PM

VERDI at The Barns CAST Verdi

New production at The Barns at Wolf Trap In Italian with English supertitles Fri, August 9 at 8 pm Sun, August 11 at 3 pm Wed, August 14 at 8 pm Sat, August 17 at 7 pm For tickets, visit or call 1.877.WOLFTRAP The merry wives of Windsor and the men with whose affections they toy have their own journeys within the story that is Verdi and Boito’s Falstaff. Young Fenton and Nannetta go from furtive lovers to newlyweds. Ford learns that he was wrong to mistrust his faithful wife. And even Sir John himself lets go of his schemes and admits that he who laughs last laughs best. However, the real journey of this opera is that of the composer himself. Giuseppe Verdi, born 200 years ago, shaped Italian opera in the second half of the 19th century. He began writing in the style of Rossini, Donizetti, and Bellini, his bel canto predecessors, and ended with this magnificent opera that defies categorization. The headlines read, “Verdi laughs!” And indeed, since his second opera (Il giorno di regno, written by the 27-year-old composer, and was unjustifiably poorly received), Verdi had shunned comic opera. But anyone who has heard the sparkling party music in La traviata or the keen wit in Un ballo in maschera can testify that this composer always knew how to laugh. He had always said that he was waiting for the right libretto, and his colleague Arrigo Boito proved up to the task. On the heels of their collaboration in Otello, Boito challenged Verdi: “Having sounded the shrieks and groans of the human heart, to finish with a mighty burst of laughter—that would astonish the world!” And Falstaff did, premiering to great acclaim in the composer’s 80th year. The guideposts that led us to produce Falstaff

were, as always, found in the Sir John Falstaff........ Craig Colclough young artists in whose careers Alice Ford ........................ Tracy Cox we wanted to participate Ford ........................Norman Garrett this summer. About halfway Dame Quickly..Margaret Gawrysiak* through the audition tour, Nannetta .................. Mireille Asselin when signs began to point Fenton .......................Matthew Grills in this direction, we were Meg Page ............... Carolyn Sproule hesitant. Not because Dr. Caius .............. Juan José de Léon the casting itself was Pistola......................Aaron Sorensen problematic—surprisingly, Bardolfo.......................Brenton Ryan we found singers for whom Ensemble ..................Members of the these roles are a beautiful Wolf Trap Opera Studio fit. The challenge was the instrumentation, which is far PRODUCTION too large in its original form for our Barns orchestra pit. Conductor .............. Dean Williamson Enter conductor Director .......................Tomer Zvulun Dean Williamson and Scenic Design .................Erhard Rom orchestrator/composer Costume Design .............. Vita Tzykun Jonathan Dove. The latter Lighting Design .......Robert H. Grimes has created an elegant, * guest artist powerful, almost virtuosic orchestral reduction for Falstaff, and Dean had already conducted it in Seattle. Although INSIDE THE OPERA there are bombastic moments in this opera, huge swaths of it sound as if Verdi was writing Come to Kim’s Inside for a chamber orchestra or a wind quintet. the Opera talk at the While it means stepping away from the opera Center for Education as originally written by the composer, I guess one hour before I’m just cheeky enough to believe that Verdi curtain to learn would enthusiastically embrace our singers, reveling in this opera that seems tailor-made more about how this for a resident ensemble like ours. production develops! Our 2012 Don Giovanni artistic team returns for this production, and they are following an approach that is quite different from their Mozart last summer. Director Tomer Zvulun, scenic designer Erhard Rom (in his 20th production for The Barns), costume designer VitaTzykun, and resident lighting designer Robert H. Grimes are preparing an elegant production that pulls elements both from Shakespeare’s Tudor England Preliminary Falstaff and Verdi’s Victorian Europe. costume sketches by Falstaff ends our season in designer Vita Tzykun August, and I hope we’ll see you there.


2013_OperaNL_WTOC rev2.indd 7

5/29/13 2:17 PM

FALSTAFF Behind the Scenes JOY, THEATRE, AND LOVE What speaks to me when I listen to it and read about the creation of Verdi’s Falstaff? I think about the joy, the theatre, and the love.

Director Tomer Zvulun made his Wolf Trap debut last season directing Don Giovanni. He weathered the land hurricane on opening night that caused The Barns to lose power before the Don could meet his fate.

1. The Joy “I started to write Falstaff simply to pass the time,” Verdi wrote to Ricordi. “I have written for my own pleasure, just for myself.” The sense of joy, humor, and pure fun is evident in every phrase in the score. The genius is that it doesn’t stay in the realm of farce, but is interwoven with serious ideas about aging, the challenges of marriage and infidelity, the struggle between generations, and above all, the idea of the fallen knight. The sense of melancholy is evident everywhere, yet in Verdi’s last opera, it is intermingled with this optimistic, joyful sense of love, youth, and future possibilities. 2. The Theatre Verdi was a quintessential man of the theatre who had an obsession with and deep love for another great man of the theatre: Shakespeare. Verdi wrote three operas based on Shakespearean plays (Macbeth, Otello, and Falstaff) and was determined to write an opera based on King Lear, which unfortunately he never completed. Falstaff is a show about the magical world of

theatre. In Act Two, the women set the stage as if they are directing a play (“The chair should go here…let’s open the screen more….put my lute there…”), immediately followed by Falstaff’s grand entrance as he sings a romantic serenade to Alice. The culmination of the selfaware theatricality of Falstaff reaches a peak in the magical third act. In a scene that has hints of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Nannetta and her cohorts slip into magical midsummer-y costumes: fairies, witches, elves, and nymphs. 3. The Love Librettist Boito writes about the love story between the opera’s youngest couple: “The amorous play between Nannetta and Fenton must appear in very frequent spurts. In all the scenes where they are present, they will steal kisses hidden in corners, slyly, boldly. I like their love. It serves to refresh and solidify the entire comedy...I would like, as sugar is sprinkled on a cake, to sprinkle the whole comedy with their merry love.” I have always wanted to direct Falstaff and in this case, I get to share this dream with my favorite team: Vita Tzykun, Erhard Rom, and maestro Dean Williamson. Rediscovering this piece of joy, theatre, and love with these great friends and colleagues makes this production incredibly special for me.


Beth Krynicki has been a Wolf Trap Opera Stage Manager since 1994. She is the Principal Stage Manager for Washington National Opera.

I’ve been an opera fan all my life. No, I don’t know who sang on the ’56 recording, and I didn’t see that traviata in Lisbon, but l love the music and the make-believe. Being a Stage Manager allows me to revel in both, which makes for a pretty good full-time job. As Stage Manager, I am responsible for making sure that everything that is supposed to happen during a performance does so, and at just the right moment. The directors and designers decide the what and the when, then I communicate that to the workshops and to the stagehands. I also keep the rehearsals running smoothly, making sure the artists have what they need as they learn how best to lay bare their emotions to the public—be it a sword to wield, a cape to wear, or a hand to hold.

I’m about to embark on my second Journey to Reims and my 13th summer with Wolf Trap. Every year I look forward to working with young staff and performers who are all eager and optimistic about the arts. I can’t wait to figure out how to choreograph a scene change in the cramped backstage space of The Barns. I live for the thrill of “calling” the light cue at the exact right moment so the lightning flash is timed with its musical depiction. The trials and tribulations of a hoarse Cleopatra or a technical rehearsal all-nighter make for great war stories, and I can still recall with great clarity who sang the Guglielmo in the ’94 Così fan tutte in Vienna, Virginia. The job has its headaches like any other, but I am surrounded by beautiful music all day long. And that never gets old.


2013_OperaNL_WTOC rev2.indd 8

5/29/13 2:17 PM

OPERA STARS Today & Tomorrow TODAY WOLF TRAP, TOMORROW THE WORLD If you happened to be in the audience of our 1994 Magic Flute, you might remember a petite brunette performing the role of the Queen of the Night, a striking young bass in the role of Sarastro, and a handsome young baritone who sang Papageno. If so, you were among the first to see Mary Dunleavy, Eric Owens, and Nathan Gunn perform the roles that would bring them to opera houses around the world. The list of Wolf Trap alumni who have gone on to create remarkable careers is long and storied, and there are quite a few Filene Young Artist alums like Mary, Eric, and Nathan who first learned and performed roles at Wolf Trap that would quickly become cornerstones of their repertoire.

Part of what makes every summer exciting is that there are always many “firsts” to celebrate, and many of the singers are making role debuts. But our stars of tomorrow aren’t just having the experience of learning a new role. They are in the process of putting together the tools to create a career, which means learning roles that are appropriate for them and beginning a relationship with a character that may last a lifetime. As we congratulate this season’s singers on their current achievements, we also anticipate their successes as the Violettas, Alfredos, Falstaffs, and Quicklys of the future. Today Wolf Trap, tomorrow the world!

Left: Eric Owens, photo by Dario Acosta. Right: Eric Owens, WTOC, Magic Flute, 1994.

EMBRACING THE FALSTAFF WITHIN I’ve got a belly. I know we don’t usually discuss our body fat, but Wolf Trap has given me the opportunity, through the art of Shakespeare and Verdi, to look my belly straight in the button and say, “Hi, old friend. I know we’ve had our differences in the past, but it’s finally time for you and I to let bygones be bygones. If you’re ready to forgive, I’m ready to start loving you; for in truth, you complete me.” My belly has been right under my nose for a decade now, but I wasted most of that time pretending that it would (and more importantly, yearning for it to) go away. The biggest obstacle to my denial was my time teaching kindergarten. If you’ve ever worked with four- and five-year-olds you know that they are not yet burdened by self-criticism and social pressures, nor do they compensate for those who are. With sweet innocuous eyes, they would playfully pat my tummy and say, “Mr. Colclough, you have a big belly!” In my students’ assertion was neither malice nor intent, but in those moments I would feel utterly alone, being the only person in the room who had learned the bitter art of self-hate. Yet, do not mourn, for I have

found salvation. The character of Falstaff does not share our common list of inward disappointments. He has somehow rejected every institution that could possibly result in the demotion of his self-esteem. He has maintained his internal child-self, not through naïveté but rather through an intellectual refusal to submit to societal pressures and norms. He is, in a way, enlightened. He is beyond the trappings of our emotional battlefield, yet his freedom as an adult-child makes him a buffoon within our society—and a buffoon for the purpose of our story. While Falstaff may be a buffoon in life, I get to be a buffoon on stage! My “imperfections” become invaluable as an artist when I’m allowed to freely embrace that imperfection wrapped in the most glorious music. It is like the unhindered flight in the dreams of my childhood. Wolf Trap has helped me become the artist I was born to be, belly and all. My belly and I will knock your socks off this summer—come be free and enlightened with us!

Bass-baritone Craig Colclough appeared in 2012 as the Commendatore in Don Giovanni and Nick Shadow in The Rake’s Progress. He and his belly return to Wolf Trap this summer in the title role of Falstaff.


2013_OperaNL_WTOC rev2.indd 9

5/29/13 2:17 PM


Cory Lippiello is the Manager of Community Development for Wolf Trap Opera. In her spare time, you can find her at Uniquities Yarn Shop in Vienna or practicing her ukulele.



Sunday, July 14 at 3 pm The Barns at Wolf Trap Kim Pensinger Witman, pianist with the 2013 Filene Young Artists

Songs & Stories of Faraway Lands Steven Blier, pianist & host Sat, July 6 at 3 pm Sun, July 7 at 3 pm The Barns at Wolf Trap

Who doesn’t love a good jukebox? Some of my favorite jukebox memories feature obscure jazz and Tom Waits on a snowy weekday afternoon at the Corner Bistro in Manhattan and a long ago birthday party when friends and I loaded the bar’s juke with quarters so Ray Charles’s “Night and Day” would play over and over again (much to the chagrin of the other patrons). Even though most jukes nowadays play CDs or MP3s, I still feel the same thrill of anticipation as when the arm of the record player would touch down with that fuzzy, scratchy sound full of possibility and pleasure. My most recent jukebox memory is more unusual, but no less pleasurable. If you attended last year’s Aria Jukebox concert you might remember the audience crowding around pictures of each of the artists, tossing quarters into bins to vote for their favorite arias. What you probably didn’t see was what happened when everyone was seated. It was hushed pandemonium! We counted out quarters as fast as we could while the stage manager wrote down the winning selections and passed notes to Kim at the piano to let her know what was coming up next. The singers hovered over us, poised like runners ready to dash on stage with their assignments. When the whirlwind of counting was over, I slipped into the back of the theatre to listen to the last few artists perform some of the beautiful music chosen by the audience, working together to create the afternoon’s program. One special playlist created for one moment in time. At this year’s Aria Jukebox, we encourage you to come early and vote often, enjoying some wine and cheese while you stack the deck for your favorite selections. We won’t play them more than once, but we do promise the same delectable sense of anticipation before the needle hits the record.

Mireille Asselin, soprano Carolyn Sproule, mezzo-soprano Brenton Ryan, tenor Craig Colclough, bass-baritone

Nowhere is the terrain of journeys both heartful and tearful more explored than in the work of Steven Blier. A valued part of our team each summer, Steve breezes into the Center for Education like a zephyr to coax, cajole, and challenge our singers into taking huge leaps of faith. Song recitals, by their very nature, can touch upon topics both intimate and universal. But a recital in Steve’s hands will often traverse those two points simultaneously, in any number of musical idioms and in endless permutations of emotion and sentiment. To use a travel analogy, when you hop on the train with Steve, you won’t know if you’ll be pulling up at the end of the day at an exotic locale, a fine restaurant, an ex-lover’s office, or your mom’s house circa your 7th birthday. But you will have traveled many pleasurable miles with a master storyteller…and will likely have some meaningful stamps on the passport of your heart. This year, Steve and four of our singers will set out to explore territories both familiar and extraordinary in Wonders To Wander To. As if that weren’t enough, this July, every member of the Barns audience will be no more than a few rows away from the artists. Wonders will be performed in the round, with the piano and the artists on the floor of the theatre and the audience on all four sides. We’re excited about this new intimate format, and we’re sure you’ll enjoy it.


2013_OperaNL_WTOC rev2.indd 10

5/29/13 2:17 PM








VOCAL COLORS Thurs, July 25 at 6:30 pm The Phillips Collection 1600 21st Street NW Washington, D.C.


23 23

Sat. 21


JULY 2013 Sun.






Sat. 6

Tickets available at

WW 11


Maya Lahyani, mezzo-soprano Steven LaBrie, baritone



L 19

T 21



Joseph Li, pianist


AUGUST 2013 Sun.











Pianist Jeremy Frank returns with this summer’s entry in his Fine Tuning series, which began with The Tale(nt)s of Hoffmann in 2011 and continued last summer with The Composer’s Progress. This summer finds Jeremy and a cast of singers marking the music world’s 2013 anniversaries. Birthdays include Verdi and Wagner (b. 1813), as well as Benjamin Britten (b. 1913), but they won’t stop there as they include music composed in 1713, 1813, 1913, 2013…and perhaps even the 1300s!




Brenton Ryan, tenor

Fine Tuning with Jeremy Frank Sat, July 13 (of course) at 3 pm The Center for Education at Wolf Trap Free concert, no tickets required



Andrea Carroll, soprano

For the fifth year, we’re taking our unique synthesis of song and visual art to the Music Room at The Phillips Collection in northwest D.C. Vocal Colors takes shape as the paintings of the Collection intersect with the musical lives of our singers. Past concerts have paired Georgia O’Keeffe with Richard Strauss, Joni Mitchell with Paul Cézanne, and George Frideric Handel with Edgar Degas. Vocal Colors is a chance for our artists to conceive, create, and perform a complete project. It’s pure joy to watch their imaginations take flight.






Rossini • The Journey to Reims June 21, 23(m) & 29 (in Italian) New Production The Barns at Wolf Trap Verdi • La traviata July 19 (NSO@Wolf Trap) (in Italian) New Operascape Production Filene Center Verdi • Falstaff August 9, 11(m), 14 & 17 (in Italian) New Production • The Barns at Wolf Trap

CONCERTS & RECITALS WW Wonders To Wander To A Recital with Steven Blier July 6 & 7 • The Barns at Wolf Trap CB Carmina Burana and more! July 12 (NSO@Wolf Trap) Filene Center AJ Aria Jukebox July 14 • The Barns at Wolf Trap

Sat. 9




VC Vocal Colors


July 25 • The Phillips Collection Lucky 13 July 13 • Center for Education

LEARN MORE O Inside the Opera Preshow Talks

Free! One hour before each Barns opera performance Center for Education IO Instant Opera! Opera by Mad Libs July 11 & 12 Children’s Theatre-in-theWoods OLP Opera Learner’s Permit: The Journey to Reims June 25 • The Barns at Wolf Trap By invitation only

BY INVITATION SS Studio Spotlight July 21 • The Barns at Wolf Trap


2013_OperaNL_WTOC rev2.indd 11

5/29/13 2:17 PM


Mireille Asselin, soprano

Andrea Carroll, soprano*

Craig Colclough, bass-baritone*

HOMETOWN: Ottawa, Canada

HOMETOWN: Bethesda, MD

HOMETOWN: Claremont, CA

TRAINING: Canadian Opera Company, Glimmerglass Festival, Yale University, Royal Conservatory of Music, Britten-Pears Young Artist Program

TRAINING: Houston Grand Opera Studio, Wolf Trap Opera, Manhattan School of Music, Glimmerglass Festival, Seagle Music Colony

RECENT ROLES: Servilia (La clemenza di Tito), Adele (Die Fledermaus), Galatea (Acis and Galatea)

RECENT ROLES: Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro), Musetta (La bohème), Rosalba (Florencia en el Amazonas)

WTOC 2013: Nannetta (Falstaff), Wonders To Wander To I was born and raised in French Canada and attended French school my whole life. I thought that I would enter the field of biochemical research. Opera won out in the end! My other loves are hiking and exploring new areas on long road trips. I dream of walking the length of the Appalachian Trail and of completing the Camino de Santiago de Compostela in Spain.

WTOC 2013: Corinna (The Journey to Reims), Vocal Colors

Benjamin Bliss, tenor HOMETOWN: Prairie Village, KS TRAINING: Chapman University, Los Angeles Opera Domingo-Thornton YAP RECENT ROLES: Aguilar (Dulce Rosa), Male Chorus (The Rape of Lucretia), Barbargio (I due Foscari) WTOC 2013: Alfredo (La traviata) I was a bit too skinny to effectively pursue my first passion, football, so I took an interest in theatre, which turned into a fascination with film. To finance my dream of studying film in Southern California, I applied for a scholarship to sing in Chapman University’s choir. During my sophomore year my voice teacher threatened to flunk me if I didn’t audition for the opera—and here I am.

I was born in Thailand and lived overseas (Nepal, Bolivia) until I was six. I LOVE dancing, and I go to Sunday afternoon salsa at a bar across from my apartment every week. I am also a hot yoga addict and have recently developed a poetry obsession. I am also a Disney enthusiast and have almost every classic on VHS in the big white plastic chunky boxes.

Brandon Cedel, bass-baritone HOMETOWN: Hershey, PA TRAINING: Curtis Institute of Music, Music Academy of the West, Chautauqua School of Music RECENT ROLES: Forester (Cunning Little Vixen), Figaro (Le nozze di Figaro), Colline (La bohème) WTOC 2013: Lord Sidney (The Journey to Reims) I like spending time with friends, roller blading (I know, it’s so ’90s, but it’s fun!), finding new restaurants, and swimming. My main musical focus was on trumpet until I got braces (which did not enhance my trumpet playing), so I started voice lessons. So far, I enjoy the traveling part of my career—I really like hotel living.

TRAINING: Florida Grand Opera, Johnston Center for Integrated Studies RECENT ROLES: Friar Laurent (Roméo et Juliette), Benoit/Alcindoro (La bohème), Nick Shadow (The Rake’s Progress) WTOC 2013: Falstaff (Falstaff), Wonders To Wander To My father would rise at 4 am so he could be home by 3 pm to coach my sports teams. I grew up with a learning disability, and my mother spent each school night training me to write at a level worthy of my true intellect. I met the love of my life at the ripe old age of 16. This year at Wolf Trap we will be celebrating our 11th wedding anniversary!

Tracy Cox, soprano HOMETOWN: Dallas, TX TRAINING: Los Angeles Opera Domingo-Thornton YAP, Music Academy of the West, Wolf Trap Opera, UCLA RECENT ROLES: Female Chorus (The Rape of Lucretia), Pisana (I due Foscari), Suor Angelica (Suor Angelica) WTOC 2013: Delia (The Journey to Reims), Alice Ford (Falstaff) I moved to the Silicon Valley to begin high school and have lived in California ever since. I have many hobbies, most having to do with the visual arts: inkdrawing, painting, and graphic design. I am also trained in millinery and enjoy designing hand-crafted fascinators and outrageous jewelry. I currently live in Los Angeles, in a tree house, with my calico cat, Wednesday.

The 2013 company includes four artists, marked with an asterisk, who are returning for their second and final season.


2013_OperaNL_WTOC rev2.indd 12

5/29/13 2:17 PM

Juan José de León, tenor

Ying Fang, soprano

HOMETOWN: Corpus Christi, TX

HOMETOWN: Ningbo, China

TRAINING: Pittsburgh Opera, I Sing Beijing, Glimmerglass Festival, Southern Methodist University, University of North Texas

TRAINING: The Juilliard School, Shanghai Conservatory

RECENT ROLES: Paolino (Il matrimonio segreto), Tamino (Die Zauberflöte), Nadir (Les pêcheurs de perles)

WTOC 2013: La Contessa di Folleville (The Journey to Reims), Carmina Burana I was born in Ningbo, a coastal city in southern China. It is famous for its seafood and Tangyuan (a traditional dessert made of sticky rice and ground sesame with sugar). This is my third year in the United States. My favorite American dish is buffalo wings! I love travelling and being in nature and am very interested in photography. I’m also obsessed with Shiba Inu dogs!

WTOC 2013: Il Conte di Libenskof (The Journey to Reims), Carmina Burana I’m originally from the small town of Mathis, Texas, but I grew up in Corpus Christi. My major interests include reading, cooking, playing tennis, watching anime, and spending time with my two adorable dogs. From second grade through eighth grade I was a competitive jump roper and placed at both the AAU Junior Olympics and the Jump Rope Nationals, which were held at Disney World.

Kiri Deonarine, soprano HOMETOWN: Fair Lawn, NJ TRAINING: Lyric Opera of Chicago Ryan Opera Center, Houston Grand Opera Studio, Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Program, Indiana University, Baylor University RECENT ROLES: Gilda (Rigoletto), Sophie (Werther), Fiakermilli (Arabella) WTOC 2013: Madama Cortese (The Journey to Reims) I wanted to become an opera singer ever since I can remember. My father is baritone Kim Josephson, so when I started to sing I knew baritone repertoire better than anything else. That wasn’t helpful as a high soprano! I love horses, travelling, languages, yoga, skydiving, scrapbooking, and skiing. I’m married to the most wonderful guy, Christopher Deonarine. My favorite city to live in so far is Chicago.

RECENT ROLES: Pamina (Die Zauberflöte), Zerlina (Don Giovanni), Fanny (La cambiale di matrimonio)

Norman Garrett, baritone HOMETOWN: Lubbock, TX TRAINING: Washington National Opera DomingoCafritz YAP, Glimmerglass Festival, Academy of Vocal Arts, Philadelphia Center City Opera, Kentucky Opera Brown-Forman Artist, Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music RECENT ROLES: Father (Hansel and Gretel), Masetto (Don Giovanni), Amonasro (Aïda) WTOC 2013: Il Barone di Trombonok, (The Journey to Reims), Ford (Falstaff) I began college with dreams of becoming an aerospace engineer, but I started as a music major just for the scholarship. I picked up the random hobby of origami when I was seven years old and have actually created a few of my own origami designs. During my undergraduate years I trained in ballet and performed as the Arabian Prince in the The Nutcracker.

Ryan Speedo Green, bassbaritone HOMETOWN: Suffolk, VA TRAINING: Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, Opera Colorado Young Artist, Florida State University, University of Hartford RECENT ROLES: Basilio (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Second Knight (Parsifal), Mandarin (Turandot) WTOC 2013: Don Profondo (The Journey to Reims) I am an avid lover of all things sci-fi and fantasy. I am a BBQ specialist: since I was a child, I was involved in my dad’s BBQ restaurant. Everyone who knows me calls me Speedo, which is my actual middle name. I was born on April Fool’s Day, so my father, a semi-professional bodybuilder, decided to have some fun and name me after his favorite underwear!

Matthew Grills, tenor HOMETOWN: Sandy Hook, CT TRAINING: Portland Opera Resident Artist Program, Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Program, Eastman School of Music, Seagle Music Colony, Boston Conservatory RECENT ROLES: Jenik (The Bartered Bride), Ferrando (Così fan tutte), Prunier (La rondine) WTOC 2013: Fenton (Falstaff) I was incredibly shy as a child. I’ve been a basketball fan basically since birth. I come from a huge Italian family—my mother is the youngest of eight children, and dad is the oldest of five. I have a sister who is 18 months younger, but we look like twins. I grew up with four dachshunds in the house. AND my name is a complete sentence!


2013_OperaNL_WTOC rev2.indd 13

5/29/13 2:17 PM

FILENE YOUNG ARTISTS Our Singers Steven LaBrie, baritone

Nicholas Pallesen, baritone

Aaron Sorensen, bass*


HOMETOWN: Riverside, CA


TRAINING: Academy of Vocal Arts, Glimmerglass Festival, Crested Butte Music Festival RECENT ROLES: Figaro (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Eugene Onegin (Eugene Onegin), Paris/Mercutio (Roméo et Juliette) WTOC 2013: Don Alvaro (The Journey to Reims), Carmina Burana, Vocal Colors My first language was Spanish. Before I started singing opera, I sang with a mariachi band. I like to watch documentaries about the shocking things that are going on in this world, and I am easily sucked into reality TV. I wanted to be a psychiatrist, but singing found me first, and I was the youngest person to be accepted into The Academy of Vocal Arts.

TRAINING: Juilliard Opera Center, Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Program, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis Gerdine YAP, University of Florida

TRAINING: Yale University, Wolf Trap Opera, Glimmerglass Festival, University of Houston

RECENT ROLES: Rigoletto (Rigoletto), Pluto (Orpheus), Robert Storch (Intermezzo)

RECENT ROLES: Benoit/Alcindoro (La bohème), Banquo (Macbeth), Masetto (Don Giovanni)

WTOC 2013: Germont (La traviata) I’m super excited about being able to spend a summer at home in Virginia with my wife and two pugs. Being able to sing with a phenomenal company and be able to come home to my family every day is a dream come true. I spend most of my free time doing self-improvement work, reading, following Florida Gator sports, and searching for and enjoying good eats.

WTOC 2013: Don Prudenzio (The Journey to Reims), Pistola (Falstaff) There is nothing more thrilling to me than being on stage or in a kitchen. I’m also a bit of a nature freak and love hiking. My current TV obsessions are Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead. I am also easily amused: put a coloring book and crayons or some LEGOs in front of me, and I’ll be entertained for hours.

Maya Lahyani, mezzo-soprano

Brenton Ryan, tenor

Carolyn Sproule, mezzo-soprano

HOMETOWN: HodHaSharon, Israel


HOMETOWN: Montreal, Canada

TRAINING: San Francisco Opera Adler Fellow, San Francisco Opera Merola Program, Seattle Opera YAP, Mannes College of Music

TRAINING: Rice University, DePaul University, Music Academy of the West, Aspen Music Festival

TRAINING: Houston Grand Opera Studio, San Francisco Opera Merola Program, Aspen Music Festival, Rice University, The Juilliard School

RECENT ROLES: Page (Salome), Third Lady (Die Zauberflöte), Carmen (Carmen), Sigrune (Die Walküre)

RECENT ROLES: Mosca (Volpone), Tony (West Side Story), George Gibbs (Our Town)

RECENT ROLES: Zulma (L’Italiana in Algeri), Lady with a Hat Box (Postcard from Morocco), Dorabella (Così fan tutte)

WTOC 2013: La Marchesa Melibea (The Journey to Reims), Vocal Colors

WTOC 2013: Il Cavalier Belfiore (The Journey to Reims), Bardolfo (Falstaff), Wonders To Wander To, Vocal Colors I’m from Sedalia, Missouri, home of the Missouri State Fair—yeehaw! I’ve played golf since age eight and became a scratch golfer throughout high school. I seriously considered going to college for golf, rather than music. (But I’m glad I didn’t make that decision!) I am an American history nerd, I love cooking, and I never give up an opportunity for the perfect pun.

WTOC 2013: Meg Page (Falstaff), Wonders To Wander To When I was an undergraduate at Juilliard, I was also enrolled at Columbia University, where I studied Mandarin Chinese and neuroscience. I also love animals, and I recently became a foster parent for the SPCA. But my favorite thing to do in my spare time is to be outdoors. I love hiking and camping and pretty much anything that involves nature.

I was born and raised in Israel. I went abroad for the first time when I was 11 with a children’s choir. By the time I was 17, I had seen a lot of Europe with that choir. I was in the Israeli army for two years, which means I know how to operate an Uzi and an M16, but mainly, I sang for soldiers. After that, I moved to NYC, where I fell in love with opera.


2013_OperaNL_WTOC rev2.indd 14

5/29/13 2:17 PM

STUDIO ARTISTS Corinne Winters, soprano* HOMETOWN: Frederick, MD TRAINING: Academy of Vocal Arts, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis Gerdine YAP, Peabody Conservatory RECENT ROLES: Violetta (La traviata), Juliette (Roméo et Juliette), Vendulka (The Kiss) WTOC 2013: Violetta Valéry (La traviata) I’m a hometown girl from Frederick, Maryland! I love art, books, cooking, getting lost in cities, sea air, coffee, riding my bike, and red wine. My boyfriend, Zach, is a tenor, and we like to sing all of the romantic operas together. Although I’ve made Philadelphia my home, I’ll always be a crab-loving Marylander at heart.

Anush Avetisyan,

Emily Moses,



University of California Los Angeles (B.M. 2012)

University of Colorado (M.M. 2014)

Vanessa Becerra,



University of North Texas (M.M. 2014)

Chaazi Munyanya,

The Boston Conservatory (M.M. 2014)

Miles Mykkanen, tenor

Nicholas Brownlee, bass Rice University (M.M. 2014)

The Juilliard School (B.M. 2013)

Grace Newberry, mezzo-soprano

Alec Carlson,

STUDIO ARTIST TIPS We asked returning Studio Artists Alexandra Rodrick, Shannon Jennings, Courtney Johnson, and Brian Vu what honest advice they would give to the new Studio Artists this summer… AR: Take a back seat for the first few weeks and LISTEN. You are here because you are amazing, and you don’t need to put so much pressure on yourself to prove that. Be flexible if things don’t turn out the way you expect. Breathe and make sure you get some YOU time. SJ: I would suggest you be very conservative with your voice. You’ll be using it a lot in rehearsals, coachings, and workshops, and you’ll feel like you should go practice for a while too. Take advantage of Wolf Trap’s awesome music library, and listen to various recordings of the rep you’re working on.

tenor Luther College (B.A. 2013)

Oberlin Conservatory of Music (B.M. 2013)

Alexandra Rodrick, mezzo-soprano*

Ben Edquist, baritone Vanderbilt University (B.M. 2013)

California State University, Long Beach (M.M. 2014)

Brandon Russell, Harry Greenleaf,



University of Missouri-Kansas City (B.M. 2013)

Michigan State University (B.M. 2013)

Shannon Jennings,

Brian Vu,



Florida State University (B.M. 2012)

Yale University School of Music (M.M. 2014)

Courtney Johnson,

Brian Yeakley,



Mannes College (B.M. 2013)

University of Houston (M.M. 2014)

CJ: And learn your stuff before you come here! Even if it is “just” chorus music! BV: Bring tank tops, sandals, and sunglasses. It’s going to be hoooooooot.

The 2013 company includes four returning Studio Artists, marked with an asterisk.


2013_OperaNL_WTOC rev2.indd 15

5/29/13 2:17 PM


Pianist Stephanie Rhodes began her association with the WTOC as a Coaching Fellow in 2010. She spent the 2012–2013 season in Moscow, where she joined the Bolshoi Theatre as a principal coach for the Young Artist Program.

When I found myself crawling at breakneck speed (let’s imagine that’s possible) across the back of a stage in near darkness, I was tempted to take a moment’s pause and wonder at my job description. But there wasn’t time. A musical cue had to be given on the opposite side of the stage in about one minute. Crawl on. I’m an opera coach and pinning down that job description is no easy task. In fact, people often can’t even agree on what to call “us.” Vocal coach, assistant conductor, repetiteur, collaborative pianist, rehearsal pianist… we’re all of the above and a little bit more. First, we are pianists. In a typical rehearsal process, the orchestra joins the mix in the final days before the show, but until then, 10 fingers are required to recreate that orchestral experience. This means some serious study time with an orchestral score, as it’s vital that we understand what every instrument is playing. It can also involve rewriting a piano part so that we can create the right character, color, and quality of an orchestra at the keyboard. If we’re effective in doing this, it can minimize problems for both conductor and singers when it comes

time to transition to orchestra. Next, we’re vocal coaches. This includes the subcategories of linguist, teacher, career advisor, therapist, closet singer, friend, and fan club. We strive to help them identify their best possible sound. We nag them to stay true to the notes and rhythms of the composer. High-level communication requires immaculate pronunciation, regardless of language, and we study the operatic languages in order to be an effective resource. We listen to a singer’s voice, but we also listen to them as people. The collaborative dialogue between a singer and coach is truly unique and invaluable! And in the meantime, we’re playing keyboard parts in the orchestra, conducting chorus rehearsals, giving backstage/offstage musical cues, and occasionally stepping away from it all for some post-rehearsal relaxation at Clyde’s. Most importantly? We’re loving every minute of the process! The music and its communication are our motivation and passion, and we’ll do whatever it takes to make a show the best we possibly can. Including speedcrawling backstage.


Soprano Tracy Cox is a former Studio Artist who returns this summer as a Filene Young Artist to sing Alice Ford in Falstaff.

The 2008 Wolf Trap Opera Studio was the best summer of my life. Full disclosure: I have a personal tendency towards hyperbole. But, I happen to not be exaggerating in this instance. That summer with Wolf Trap included many “firsts” for me. My first summer program, my first soprano role study (and the beginnings of my transition from mezzo to soprano), my first toga party (I still have really excellent blackmail pictures from that night). The Wolf Trap Opera Studio was, for me, a truly magical combination of überinspiring artistic surroundings and a bunch of wonderful, rambunctious new friends from all over the country. I worshipped the Filene Young Artists when I was here in the Studio. This was a caliber of singing that I had never heard up close, and the studio provided me great opportunities to observe how they functioned in rehearsal, how they delivered on stage, and how they treated their colleagues. I remember Kim

Witman arranged for a Q&A with the Filene Young Artists and allowed the Studio Artists to bombard them with questions: Which summer programs have you done? What is a young artist program like? When did you get a manager? Do you make enough to live on? Nobody hands you an FAQ with that information when you finish your undergraduate degree; most of it you have to figure out on your own. I found that the WTOS made an effort to educate young singers so that they would walk away with not just another couple of roles under their belts, but with practical strategies on what to do next and how to think with a bigger picture in mind. I find it more than slightly thrilling to be returning as a Filene Young Artist. This must mean, I think to myself, that I am approaching those artists who blew my mind when I was 22. How can that be? All I can hope is to do them proud. And maybe find another toga party.


2013_OperaNL_WTOC rev2.indd 16

5/29/13 2:17 PM

OPERA IN UNEXPECTED PLACES INSTANT OPERA! July 11 & 12 at 10:30 am Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods with the 2013 Studio Artists Tickets at

On Your Marks… Get Set… SING! What does stand-up comedy have to do with opera? Quite a bit—when you’re talking about Instant Opera! We developed this project in 2005 with Jim Doyle, Comic Genius (ComedySportz, Disney), as a way to integrate two divergent traditions: opera and improvisation, and we discovered two wonderful things. The first is that even though most classical singers find improvisation pretty darn terrifying, the singers who have participated in the project say that they feel amazingly confident onstage. After having

improvised their way through a different short opera multiple times, the experience of thinking on their feet gives them tools to get out of any future jam that could happen onstage. The second discovery is that this is a wonderful way to introduce kids of all ages to opera! The interactive nature of the show, in which the audience chooses the story, the music, and the characters, allows them a zany entrée into opera, without the usual intimidation factor. We’re thrilled to welcome Instant Opera! back to Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods on July 11 and 12 at 10:30 am. But, if that’s too early in the day, or you have a middle or high school family member who’s looking for a more traditional experience, we hope you’ll join us the evening of June 25 for Opera Learner’s Permit: Journey to Reims. This educational performance will be a streamlined version of the full production. (See page 20 for more information.)

Instant Opera! 2010

THE GIFT OF SONG Singers are, by and large, generous to a fault. Nowhere is this trait easier to observe than in our annual collaboration with Children’s National Medical Center, Sing Me a Rainbow, Paint Me a Dream. Now in its third year, this project is a favorite among the Studio singers. It’s crafted along the lines of Vocal Colors: CNMC’s art therapy department shares images of patient artwork with us, and the singers use the images as the impetus for their song selections. They choose songs from a number of different genres: art songs, musicals, operas, pop tunes. Any genre is fair game, but due to the sensitive nature of the space and audience, the singers instinctively gravitate towards melodies that are silly, fun, uplifting, and inspiring. After preparing with a pianist, the singers take their show on the road, singing a 45-minute performance in the main atrium of the hospital, near the intake desk. They perform in front of the images, so that the

inspiration for the musical selection is clear. In 2012 we added a new element to our collaboration. The singers arranged a pop song (Katy Perry’s “Firework”) for eight voices and sang it in various places around the hospital, including the ER bay and several wards. During each of these roving performances, a wonderful thing happened: maybe two or three people would be standing by as the ensemble started to sing, but by the close of the piece, there would be 15, or 30, or more people—parents, patients, nurses, and support staff—gathered around the singers to listen, watch, and take a moment away from the pressure and pain of their regular workday. It’s no surprise that the singers feel more connected to the community after a performance like this one, but what is a little surprising is the ferocity with which they talk about the importance of the concert and of giving back. What wonderful, generous people our singers are.

2012 Studio Artists at the Children’s National Medical Center


2013_OperaNL_WTOC rev2.indd 17

5/29/13 2:17 PM


Rick Treviño and Larz Pearson have been attending Wolf Trap Opera productions for 15 years.

We consider ourselves lucky to have been a part of the WTOC audience for more than 15 years. Where else in Northern Virginia can one count on experiencing intrigue, deceit, whimsy, sorrow, and salaciousness all under one roof and sometimes in the span of one evening? That is what we love about this art form called opera. It is opera—through a well-written score, a healthy orchestra, and a collection of beautiful voices— that can transport you to a different world and make you experience a range of emotions just through the music. WTOC has provided that opportunity for us many times. Ever since our first WTOC production of Barber of Seville in 1998, we were hooked. Over the years we’ve been treated to a wide variety of memorable evenings of mostly non-standard repertory offerings: a poetic Idomeneo, a surprisingly fresh Salieri’s Falstaff, and a new discovery (for us) Le donne curiose. But even the more standard offerings like

a world-class Tales of Hoffman, an energetic L’italiana in Algieri, and a touching Rake’s Progress were just as memorable. WTOC has been a great teacher by treating us to those rarely performed musical gems that most of us would never have experienced otherwise. For that, we are eternally grateful. Although we have attended the Washington National Opera, Metropolitan Opera, Washington Concert Opera, Virginia Opera, and the lamented Baltimore Opera, we can’t imagine a summer without opera at The Barns or Filene Center. The interesting offerings, talented singer-actors, and welcoming staff make it all worthwhile. Even the Beltway Express Lane construction couldn’t keep us away! And because we want to be confident there will always be summers of Wolf Trap Opera, we contribute annually and joined the Legacy Circle. Long live the Wolf Trap Opera Company! We’ll see you this summer.


Filene Young Artist Daniel Billings with longtime housing host Stephanie van Reigersberg.

This summer will be the 19th season that we, Fernando and Stephanie van Reigersberg, have been housing hosts for Wolf Trap Opera, and we could write a book about wonderful experiences it has brought into our lives. Our very first guest was a young unknown mezzo, Stephanie Blythe, who would occasionally say, “Excuse me, I need to go warble a bit” and would repair to our old upright to practice. The very first day, we said to each other, “This is a voice for the ages!” We feel so honored to have known Stephanie almost “from the beginning” and to have established a lifelong friendship with her and her family. That was the same summer Michelle DeYoung was a young artist, and the four of us shared unforgettable sushi-laden meals at a wonderful place in Vienna, no longer in existence. The restaurant’s owners kept a

picture of the two “divas” in a place of honor on their wall; we saw it years later when Stephanie was in town for a recital, and we went there together. They still remembered her favorite sushi combination! Since then we have met so many wonderful singers who have become a part of our lives. Scott Hendricks lived with us for two summers and returns when he is in town, most recently doing Scarpia in Tosca for Washington National Opera. Keith Phares also spent two summers with us, and we have seen him in Santa Fe and elsewhere. Most recently, we have enjoyed the sunny presence and gorgeous voice of Marcy Stonikas… and last summer we met her amazingly patient and charming son, Henry! Every year we enjoy moments to treasure with these talented singers and wonderful human beings.


2013_OperaNL_WTOC rev2.indd 18

5/29/13 2:17 PM

WTOC DONORS THANK YOU! The Wolf Trap Opera Company would like to thank the following contributors for supporting the WTOC during 2013 with a gift of $1,250 or more: Anonymous (5) Anonymous Foundation Mrs. Benjamin P. Astley The Theodore H. Barth Foundation, Inc. The Honorable and Mrs. James M. Beggs Bloomingdale’s Fund of the Macy’s Foundation Mark and Nancy Burnette Doris M. Carter Family Foundation Dr. and Mrs. Brian R. Clark Dallas Morse Coors Foundation for the Performing Arts Donald T. Cyr John and Linda Daniel Daniel and Gayle D’Aniello Dimick Foundation Kevin and Maureen Feeney Lincoln and Therese Filene Foundation Virginia McGehee Friend Mr. and Mrs. James N. Glerum Shelly and Jack Hazel Stephen and Glenda Harvey Dave and Tammy Kramer Nancy Peery Marriott Foundation, Inc. Mars Foundation Maud Mater

Ann McPherson McKee, Gift in Remembrance of Burtt & Rebecca Gray McKee and Douglas & Ann McKee Seeley Thomas W. Minnick Barbara and Ward Morris National Endowment for the Arts Jason M. Nicholson Alan and Marsha Paller David Rand Alan J. Savada and Will Stevenson Susan Sawyer David Lawrence Scally Keith and Barbara Severin Joel Atlas Skirble: Equipo Atlas Andy and Ed Smith Mari L. Snyder David and Carol Stern Sharon J. Swan, CAE Theresa Thompson Alton P. and Alice W. Tripp The Honorable Hans N. Tuch and Mrs. Tuch

Ginny Friend, pictured here with WTOC alumna Anne-Carolyn Bird.

Wendell and Karen Van Lare Darcy Lynn Walker Dick and Maiju Wilson Deborah F. and David A. Winston As of May 17, 2013

Support for the WTOC is also provided by the following Endowed Funds: Robert M. Coffelt, Jr. in honor of Annetta J. and Robert M. Coffelt, The Coffelt Fund for Wolf Trap Opera and Education Estate of Carol V. Harford, Carol V. Harford Fund for the Wolf Trap Opera Company in Memory of Catherine Filene Shouse The Paula A. Jameson Fund for the Wolf Trap Opera Company John and Adrienne Mars/Jacqueline Badger Mars/Mars Foundation, Mars Fellowship Fund for the Wolf Trap Opera Company

Fund for Artistic Excellence in Honor of Audrey M. Mars David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Packard Fund Catherine Filene Shouse Foundation, Kay Shouse Great Performance Fund Estate of Arthur Tracy, “The Street Singer,” Arthur Tracy Fund for the Wolf Trap Opera Company

Your donation makes a difference! To learn more about supporting the Wolf Trap Opera Company and its Young Artists, please contact the Development Office at 703.255.1927 or, or visit 19

2013_OperaNL_WTOC rev2.indd 19

5/29/13 2:17 PM

1645 Trap Road • Vienna, VA 22182

Go Green with Wolf Trap! Printed on recycled paper. Wolf Trap Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.


Lee Anne Myslewski is Director of Artistic Administration for the WTOC and is also Director of the Wolf Trap Opera Studio. When she’s not at the office, you can usually find her relaxing on her front porch with Boo (the amazing black Labrador) and Lucky (a very lucky cat).

2013_OperaNL_WTOC rev2.indd 20

Tues, June 25 at 7:30 pm The Barns at Wolf Trap A special performance in collaboration with Wolf Trap Education Register at Getting one’s learner’s permit is an exciting, heady thing. Sitting in the driver’s seat for the first time, being in control of a vast amount of metal and moving parts… it’s equal parts responsibility and freedom, and the experience is an important rite of passage. We took a look at opera—large, foreign, with vast amounts of mettle and moving parts—and thought we might open it up in a specific way to those young people who haven’t had the opportunity or inclination to try our favorite art form on for size. On June 25, in collaboration with Wolf Trap Education, we will introduce Opera Learner’s Permit—an introductory experience at the

opera for middle and high school students and their families. We will feature a lightly abridged version of Rossini’s comic opera The Journey to Reims. It will still be in Italian with English supertitles, with full costumes and sets, and will have refreshments offered at the intermission… but, it will be performed with piano accompaniment. We’ll also have a training manual—an informational guide that will be available via our website that will include insight into the characters and story, as well as opera basics. The best part will be the opportunity for learners of all ages to meet and interact with the performers after the show and to ask as many questions as they want. We hope you and your children, nieces, nephews, and even grandchildren will join us for this very special look at the opera. These tickets aren’t on sale through regular Box Office channels, but rather as class registration through Wolf Trap Education. If you’d like to bring a young person to Opera Learner’s Permit, go to operalearnerspermit to register.

5/29/13 2:17 PM

Wolf Trap Opera Roster Newsletter 2013  
Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you