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The Magic Flute Mozart

October 15 & 17, 2021


From the General Director Welcome back! Here we are…together…finally able to enjoy Mozart’s magnificent THE MAGIC FLUTE, after 18 months of postponement. In this production Opera Modesto is trying out several new production ideas, including both front and rear projections, as well as placing the orchestra behind the action, completely out of sight. To make it possible to have the full stage rear projections, we have rented an amazing brand new lens that can create a 40’ image, in proper perspective, with a “throw” (distance) from the projector to screen of only 16’! Inspired by the famous 1960s Metropolitan Opera production that featured the imaginative artwork of Marc Chagall, we sought a locally based artist whose artwork would help bring the busy, complex and often contradictory fantasy story of THE MAGIC FLUTE to life. We found Shirlee Rudel, whose Native American, Nature and Mystic inspired artwork seems to serendipitously reflect so many of the story elements in this opera. Also, in a first, we will open the opera with an extended CGI video animation sequence, in which a flying fire breathing dragon will pursue and attack Prince Tamino, even before he utters a note! This fantastic dragon is the creation of Christopher Flores. Both Shirlee Rudel and Christopher Flores are graduates of Modesto High School (as am I! Go Panthers!). Opera is, by definition, an incredible combination of art forms. We are thrilled to be able to feature two uniquely skilled native Modesto artists in this way.


This past season was a “lost season” for many companies. Not for Opera Modesto. We remained overwhelmingly busy and productive, producing more content than many companies ten times our size. Of greatest joy to us was THE RACE, a world premiere youth ESL/literacy opera movie that has won more than 70 awards in international film festivals, including Best Musical Film and Best Children/ Family Film. It will be representing Opera Modesto nationally and internationally for years to come, with subtitles in English and 19 other languages, a multilingual graphic novel and an incredible storytelling American Sign Language Interpretation. If you are a teacher or administrator, or connected to regional or national literacy groups, and would like to investigate the use of this delightful movie, please be in touch with me. Our FESTIVAL @ HOME, eight months of streaming content, was also a wonderful success, including two original concerts so unique and extraordinary that they brought viewers and significant attention nationally and internationally, including being featured by Opera America as among the most outstanding productions in the nation during the last season. While we are proud of what we accomplished under the extreme circumstances brought by the pandemic, we are even happier to be back in the theater with you today. We hope to see you, in person, for all our concerts and opera productions this year! Roy Stevens Opera Modesto General Director


Director ’s Notes Welcome to our performance of THE MAGIC FLUTE. The evolution of this production saw many changes and has been influenced by many talented individuals. Due to the pandemic, our opera slated for April of 2020 was necessarily postponed. We were determined to bring it to the stage though, and this production feels like good overcoming evil! It would have been a wonderful but different show indeed had it gone on in 2020. We have had many cast changes, set changes, even a different theater (the Foster instead of the Rogers theater). Our artists have overcome much to be with you in this opera. I cannot describe to you the joy and gratitude which has been pervasive in our rehearsals as we are all so happy to be back rehearsing and producing music, theater, and opera. It is appropriate indeed to return from the pandemic and to open our season with Mozart’s THE MAGIC FLUTE. The opera has many facets, including how the power of music is not only a gift of great beauty, but it can make us better people, heal our hearts, and inspire us to do and be our best. Audiences love the playful, magical story which is also filled with high ideals and Enlightenment philosophy. Many people think of THE MAGIC FLUTE as a fairy tale, but in fact it is an allegorical tale. The story is filled with symbols to express truths about the human spirit; good vs. evil, enlightenment vs. ignorance, and the virtues of knowledge, justice, wisdom and truth. The theme of magic runs throughout the opera: not only is the flute a magical instrument which calms both the savage beast and shields the protagonists during the elemental trials of fire and water, the magic bells of Papageno have the power to sooth anger and vengeance from men’s hearts, and bring together two sweethearts who have also been separated by trials and circumstances.


Mozart also provided a tremendous range in the singing of this opera. The ferocious difficulty of the role of the Queen of the Night is contrasted by the folksy, relaxed music of Papageno, which requires very little vocal range, but a lot of acting chops! The Queen is one of the highest roles ever written, and the bass Sarastro is one of the lowest. Our goal in this production is both to honor the work by Mozart and delight the modern audience. You will be awed by the amazing artwork of Shirlee Rudel, who is providing us with a visual feast of her creations. Thanks to digital technology, we are blowing up her art to a huge scale, and the audience will see that Shirlee’s work, just like Mozart’s, is filled enlightenment and symbolism. Her use of color is breathtaking. We are inspired by ancient cultures in our costuming and also with a wink and a smile bring in some modern elements during the opera which you are sure to recognize. The setting and the story are timeless, and therefore the past and the future are our playground in this opera! Thank you for joining us. I hope you will be entertained and inspired. We are so happy to have you along on this adventure into one of the great masterpieces of opera.

Shirlee Rudel at The Mistlin Art Gallery with “Heaven’s Gate” - photo by Roy Stevens


Synopsis: The Magic Flute [Die Zauberflöte] A singspiel in two acts By Hillari DeSchane Composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, librettist Emanuel Schikaneder Premiere: September 30, 1791

Form:

Singspiel—opera with spoken dialogue and varied musical types, including folk and ballads; similar to the modern musical.

Settings: A mythical land somewhere between the sun and the moon.

CHARACTERS: Tamino:

A brave young prince/tenor

Papageno:

Lonely birdcatcher/tenor

Pamina: Princess, daughter of the Queen of the Night/soprano The Queen of the Night:

Powerful and scheming queen/ coloratura soprano

Sarastro:

Chief Priest/bass

The Three Ladies:

The Queen’s henchwomen-warriors/ soprano, two mezzo sopranos

Monostatos: Sarastro’s scheming chief slave/ tenor The Spirits:

Mysterious guides to Tamino and Papageno/youth sopranos and altos

Armed Priests:

Spokesmen of the Temple/bass baritone, tenor

Speaker-Priests:

Wise acolytes of the Temple (speaking roles)

Papagena:

Lovely birdwoman/mezzo-oprano

Additional priests, soldiers, slaves, chorus


ACT ONE In a rough wilderness in the mythical land between the sun and the moon, three of the Queen of the Night’s henchwomenwarriors save Prince Tamino from a serpent. When they leave to tell the queen, the lovelorn birdcatcher Papageno appears (“Der Vogelfänger bin ich ja”) and boasts it was he who killed the creature. The ladies return and give Tamino a portrait of the queen’s daughter, Pamina, who they say is being held by the evil Sarastro. Tamino falls in love with the girl’s picture (“Dies Bildnis ist bezaubernd schön”). The queen arrives and commands Tamino to rescue her daughter (“O zittre nicht, mein lieber Sohn”). The ladies give a magic flute to Tamino and silver bells to Papageno to ensure their safety on their quest, and appoint the Spirits to guide them. Inside Sarastro’s temple, Papageno saves Pamina from the lustful attentions of chief slave Monostatos. Papageno tells Pamina that Tamino loves her and is on his way to save her. They sympathize with each other and sing of the joys and duties of marriage (“Bei Männern welche Liebe fühlen”). Meanwhile Tamino has arrived outside the temple and learns it is the Queen of the Night who is evil, not Sarastro. Tamino charms the wild animals with his magic flute, but rushes off when he hears Papageno’s pipes. Papageno and Pamina, who are searching for Tamino, are now being chased by evil minions. Papageno foils them by playing his magic bells. Sarastro and his retinue arrive and Sarastro banishes Monostatos. Sarastro declares Tamino must undergo trials of wisdom in order to become worthy to be Pamina’s husband. The priests sing of virtue and righteousness and how they will sanctify life and make mortals like gods.


ACT TWO At the pyramids, the priests sing in praise of Isis and Osiris. Before the assembled priests, Sarastro prays for the protection of the young lovers (“O Isis und Osiris”). Tamino and Papageno are led in for the first trial. They are warned to beware of women’s wiles and sworn to silence. The Queen of the Night’s three henchwomen appear and try to frighten Tamino and Papageno into speaking. Papageno cannot resist, but Tamino maintains his silence. Monostatos gazes upon the sleeping Pamina. Just as he is about to kiss her, the Queen of the Night appears and he hides. The Queen places Pamina under an evil spell and giving her a dagger, orders Pamina to kill Sarastro (“Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen”). Monostatos returns and threatens Pamina, but Sarastro drives him off. Pamina begs Sarastro to forgive her mother and Sarastro reassures her that he does not seek revenge (“In diesen heil’gen Hallen”). Still bound to silence, Papageno accepts a cup of water from an old woman and asks if she has a boyfriend. She says she does and that his name is Papageno. When Papageno asks the woman’s name, she disappears. The Spirits bring in food, the magic flute, and the bells, sent from Sarastro. Tamino plays the magic flute which summons Pamina, but bound by his vow of silence, he cannot speak to her. Convinced Tamino no longer loves her, Pamina leaves in despair (“Ach, ich fühl’s, es ist verschwunden”). Lonely Papageno asks the priests for a wife (“Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen”). The old woman reappears and Papageno agrees to marry her, whereupon she is transformed into lovely young Papagena. But when he tries to embrace her, Papagena disappears and the priests tell Papageno he is not yet worthy of her.


Now that Tamino seemingly no longer loves her, Pamina believes the only solution is suicide, using the knife intended by the Queen of the Night for Sarastro. The Spirits dissuade her, break the evil spell and promise to take her to Tamino. They joyfully run off. Heartbroken Papageno is found and saved by the Spirits, who remind him to use his magic bells. Papagena appears and the happy couple sing of their love (“Pa-pa-pa-papagena! Pa-papa-papageno!”). Tamino is led in. Pamina appears and the pair are joyfully reunited. Tamino says he is ready to be tested, and Pamina vows to undergo the remaining trials with him. She hands Tamino his magic flute. With its aid, they survive trials of fire and water. Night has fallen. Outside the temple, Monostatos appears with the Queen of the Night and her henchwomen. The Queen confirms she has promised Pamina to Monostatos. But before the group can destroy the temple, they are cast into eternal night. Sarastro announces the triumph of the sun over the night, the dawn of a new age of wisdom and virtue and blesses Tamino and Pamina. It’s A Mad, Bad, Dangerous Road to Enlightenment: Extremes and Excess in The Magic Flute - A Critical Essay by Hillari DeSchane The Magic Flute is an opera of extremes. It is a frothy, shimmering soap bubble of a show, deliciously daft and tastily tuneful. Or, it’s a dinosaur of 18th century misogyny and racism that sets modern day alarm bells ringing and has birthed its own repertoire of vitriol and apologetics.

Opera Modesto Board Member and author Hillari DeSchane shares five points to help audiences evaluate The Magic Flute with discernment, and still appreciate it as a masterwork of the opera repertoire. Click here to read more.


Cast of Characters in order of vocal appearance: Tamino........................................................................ Michael Desnoyers First Lady.........................................................................Sarah Benzinger Second Lady................................................... Anakira Gabriella-Graça Third Lady................................................................................ Linda Baird Papageno............................................................................ Donn Bradley The Queen of the Night..............................................Shawnette Sulker First Slave........................................................................ Michael Balerite Second Slave...........................................................................Larry Zabel Monostatos............................................................................ Adam Serpa Pamina.....................................................................................Yoo Ri Clark Sarastro...................................................................................... John Ames Speaker - Priest 1..................................................................... Brad Reed Speaker - Priest 2.......................................................... Shawn Soelberg Papagena............................................................................ Holly Banfield Armored Priest 1.....................................................Emmanuel Mercado Armored Priest 2.....................................................................J.T. Williams Spirit 1......................................................... Philomena Iorns, Erika Sosa Spirit 2...................................................... Grace Benham, Isabella Diep Spirit 3.............................................................. Zoey Rae, Amanda Remy


Michael Desnoyers Tamino Sought out for his “rich and resonant” and “sweet, well-projected lyric tenor,” Michael Desnoyers has sung over 50 different roles across San Francisco Bay Area stages, including performances with Opera San Jose, West Bay Opera, West Edge Opera, Festival Opera, Lamplighters Music Theatre, Ars Minerva, Pocket Opera, and the Mendocino Music Festival. Highlights in 2020 include Tamino in DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE, Handel’s Dixit Dominus, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, and Orff’s Carmina Burana. Praised for “a beautifully produced, even voice whose palpable sincerity and flawless legato seemed ideally suited to Mozart,” he has performed most of the major roles in the Mozart tenor repertoire, including Belmonte in DIE ENTFÜHRUNG AUS DEM SERAIL, Tamino in DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE, Ferrando in COSÌ FAN TUTTE, Don Ottavio in DON GIOVANNI, and the title role in LA CLEMENZA DI TITO. Other favorite roles include Albert in ALBERT HERRING, Nemorino in L’ELISIR D’AMORE, Rodolfo in LA BOHÈME, Ramiro in LA CENERENTOLA, and Almaviva in IL BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA. He frequently performs as a concert soloist, having sung Mozart’s Requiem, Bach’s Johannes-Passion and Matthäus-Passion; and Handel’s Messiah. Mr. Desnoyers can be heard on the Lamplighters’ CD recordings, singing the roles of Cyril in PRINCESS IDA, Ernest in THE GRAND DUKE, and of Lord Tolloller in IOLANTHE, where he was praised by Opera News for his “crystal clear timbre.” www.michaeldesnoyers.com


Sarah Benzinger First Lady

Symphony.

Sarah Benzinger, soprano, makes her debut with Opera Modesto singing Erste Dame in DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE. Earlier this season, she was seen at West Bay Opera in the role of Anna (NABUCCO), with MiOpera in the role of Musetta (LA BOHÈME), and covering the role of Jane Bennett in the world premiere recording of Kirke Mechem’s PRIDE AND PREJUDICE with the Redwood

Previous roles include Amore (L’INCORONAZIONE DI POPPEA), Gretel (HÄNSEL UND GRETEL), Zerlina (DON GIOVANNI), Euridice (ORFEO ED EURIDICE), Laetitia (THE OLD MAID AND THE THIEF), Dido (DIDO AND AENEAS), and Monica (THE MEDIUM). She was a Regional Finalist in the NW Metropolitan National Council Auditions, and a Resident Fellow with Chamber Music Silicon Valley 2016 - 2018. Upcoming roles include Christine Kahlo (FRIDA) with Opera Cultura in San Jose, and Nedda (PAGLIACCI) in Eureka, California. sarahbenzinger.wixsite.com/mysite


Anakira Gabriella-Graça Second Lady

Francisco Lyric Opera.

Anakira Gabriella-Graça has performed leading roles in Northern California opera productions including the title role in CARMEN with Golden Gate Opera and Livermore Valley Opera, Maddalena in RIGOLETTO with West Bay Opera, Federica in LUISA MILLER with Berkley Opera, Dorabella in COSI FAN TUTTE with Livermore Valley Opera and various roles with San

Anakira has also performed in opera scenes and concerts with Northern California organizations including The Stockton Chorale, Merced Symphony, San Jose State University and CSU Stanislaus among others. Ms. Gabriella grew up in Modesto, CA and appeared as Mercedes in CARMEN as well as Dorabella in COSI FAN TUTTE in the first years of Townsend Opera Players where she began her opera career. She returned to her roots as Giovanna in Opera Modesto’s RIGOLETTO in Fall 2019 and as Lady Bertram in MANSFIELD PARK in January 2020. She currently studies voice with Dr. Joseph Wiggett and performs with CSU Stanislaus Opera Scenes. Anakira graduated with her Bachelor of Music from CSU Stanislaus and her Master of Arts in Music, Vocal Performance from San Jose State. Anakira currently lives in Modesto teaching for Merced College and works for Pearson Education.


Linda Baird Third Lady

Praised for resonant, flexible singing, Canadian mezzo-soprano Linda Baird’s 2021/2022 season includes her debuts as the mezzosoprano in Verdi’s Messa da Requiem (SCSO), Hannah After in Laura Kaminsky’s AS ONE (New American Music Festival Sac State), and Jane Quig in Kevin Puts’ new opera, ELIZABETH CREE (West Edge Opera). 2019/2020: Zita in Puccini’s GIANNI SCHICCHI (Opera Română Craiova), Carmen in Bizet’s CARMEN (California Opera), and Bartender in Nicolas Lell Benavides’ new opera GILBERTO as part of the new composer series “Snapshot” (West Edge Opera), and Monitor in Puccini’s SUOR ANGELICA (Mission Opera/Opera SLO/ VOPA). 2018/2019: Judith in Bartók’s BLUEBEARD’S CASTLE (California Opera), Third Lady in Mozart’s THE MAGIC FLUTE (Opera San Luis Obispo), The Mother in Menotti’s AHMAL AND THE NIGHT VISITORS (California Opera), Flora and Annina in Verdi’s LA TRAVIATA (California Opera), Abish in Deon Price’s new opera AMMON AND THE KEING (Culvercrest Publications), and Mercedes in CARMEN (Opera Modesto). Other roles include: Nora in LILLIAN ALLING (Vancouver Opera), Dorabella in COSI FAN TUTTE (Vivace Opera, Philadelphia), Romeo in I CAPULETI EI MONTECCHI (Burnaby Lyric Opera, Vancouver BC), Foreign Princess in RUSALKA (Northern Czech Republic Orchestra), Rosina in THE BARBER OF SEVILLE (Bard on the Beach, Vancouver BC), Second Lady in THE MAGIC FLUTE (Prince George Symphony), Charlotte Werther (Burnaby Lyric Opera), Prince Orlofsky in DIE FLEDERMAUS (Vancouver Concert Opera Society), Iolanthe (Dragon Diva Opera, Vancouver BC), and Anna in LES TROYEN (UBC Symphony Orchestra). Linda is a native of North Vancouver, BC, Canada, and a Master of Music in Opera graduate from The University of British Columbia. She resides in Seattle, WA and works as a teaching artist for San Francisco Opera.


Donn Bradley Papageno A former resident of Modesto, Donn studied voice with Dr. Joseph Wiggett at CSU, Stanislaus. Previous roles with Opera Modesto include: Morales and Le Dancaïre in CARMEN, Goro in MADAMA BUTTERFLY, Njegus in THE MERRY WIDOW, Monostatos in THE MAGIC FLUTE, Sir Joseph Porter in H.M.S. PINAFORE, and Ko-Ko in THE MIKADO. He has narrated for the Modesto Symphony, and worked in outreach with Opera San Jose. He performed with San Francisco Opera during the 2013 season as a chorus member in MEFISTOFELE, DER FLIEGENDE HOLLÄNDER, and Verdi Requiem. In addition to performing Opera roles, Donn is a fantasy fiction writer under the pseudonym MaximumCat. You can read his work at www.royalroad.com/fiction/41748/mantid.


Shawnette Sulker Queen of the Night Acclaimed for her “heart-breaking poignancy” and “beautifully tuned soprano” by the San Francisco Chronicle soprano Shawnette Sulker is a sought after artist in the United States and abroad. A consummate performer, her recent operatic roles include Amore (ORFEO ED EURIDICE); Pip (Heggie’s MOBY DICK); Clitennestra (Porta’s IFIGENIA IN AULIDE); The Visitor (Sankaram’s FORMIDABLE); and Carolina (IL MATRIMONIO SEGRETO). Ms. Sulker has sung with the San Francisco Opera, Mark Morris Dance Group, American Bach Soloists, Hawaii Opera Theatre, Opera Memphis, Eugene Symphony, Oakland Symphony, Union Avenue Opera, Opera Naples, Pacific Opera Project, Santa Rosa Symphony, Opera San Jose, West Edge Opera, and the Natchez Opera Festival, to name a few. Roles in her repertoire include Zerbinetta (ARIADNE AUF NAXOS), Cunegonde (CANDIDE), Die Königin der Nacht (DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE), Constanze (ABDUCTION FROM THE SERAGLIO), Musetta (LA BOHÈME), Susanna (LE NOZZE DI FIGARO) and Lauretta (GIANNI SCHICCHI). Some works on Ms. Sulker’s concert repertoire list include Orff’s Carmina Burana, Bach’s Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen, Mozart’s Exsultate, Jubilate, Bach’s Mass in B minor, and Scarlatti’s Su le sponde del Tebro. Upcoming engagements include singing Floralba in Pallavicino’s Messalina with Ars Minerva, the soprano solos in Handel’s Messiah with Winston-Salem Symphony, Sister Rose in Heggie’s DEAD MAN WALKING with Opera Idaho, and Cleopatra in Handel’s GIULIO CESARE with West Edge Opera.


Adam Serpa Monostatos

Adam Serpa is excited to be making his Opera Modesto professional debut, and especially to reprise the role of Monostatos after previously performing the role in the joint production between CSU Stanislaus and Townsend Opera. Other Townsend Opera collaborations include Cascada in THE MERRY WIDOW and Dr. Spinelloccio in GIANNI SCHICCI, all while obtaining his Bachelors of Music in both Vocal Performance and Choral Education from CSUS. Adam spent a summer in Alaska, performing in several operas and starring as Barnaby in HELLO DOLLY with Fairbanks Summer Arts. A proud Modesto resident, he has appeared locally as The Padre in MAN OF LA MANCHA, Ernst in CABARET, Daniel in SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS, and Isaachar in JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT with Modesto Performing Arts, as well as taking to the Gallo stage in past seasons with the Modesto Symphony Chorus. He recently completed his Masters in Music Education from San Jose State University, and loves his job teaching Choir and Piano at Modesto High School. He would like to thank his beautiful wife, Krista, for supporting him and encouraging him to get back on the stage.


Yoo Ri Clark Pamina

“especially marvelous.”

Yoo Ri Clark is a bel canto specialist, praised for her “powerhouse, yet effortless coloratura,” “combining unusual warmth and sparkling high notes with almost instrumental precision.” Having demonstrated her versatility in a wide range of styles, her dynamic vocalism and vulnerable characterizations on stage have critics describing her as “a standout” and her singing

Yoo Ri’s recent operatic roles include Amina (cover) in LA SONNAMBULA with Island City Opera, Gilda in RIGOLETTO with Verismo Opera, and the title role in scenes from LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR and Adina in L’ELISIR D’AMORE at Teatro la Nuove Fenice in Italy. Her past operatic highlights include Valencienne in THE MERRY WIDOW with Livermore Valley Opera and Sylviane in THE MERRY WIDOW with Arizona Opera. Other roles performed include Rosina in IL BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA, Zerlina in DON GIOVANNI, Miss Wordsworth in ALBERT HERRING, La Fée in CENDRILLON, and the Queen of the Night in DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE. In concert, Yoo Ri performed as a guest soloist with the Valley Choral Society featuring Rossini arias and as the soprano soloist in Carmina Burana with Napa Valley College Chorale. She also completed a concert tour in Denmark as the soprano soloist performing Fauré’s Requiem with Fortuna-Koret and was featured in a sold-out recital hosted by the Kunstcentret in Silkeborg. She has appeared as the soprano soloist with the Sacramento Choral Society in Haydn’s Missa Cellensis, Mozart’s Coronation Mass and Vaughan-William’s Serenade to Music. Other works performed include Handel’s Messiah, Poulenc’s Gloria, Schubert’s Mass in G Major and various Bach Cantatas. Yoo Ri has twice been a Regional Finalist and a multiple-prize winner in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. She has also been a Finalist in the International Hans Gabor Belvedere Competition in Vienna, the Loren L. Zachary Competition and a multiple-prize winner of the NATS Competition. She received her training at New Voice Studio ITALIA in Osimo, Italy where she also worked privately with Rossinian expert, the late Maestro Alberto Zedda. www.yooriclark.com


John Ames Sarastro

John Ames created the role of George Benton in the World Premiere of Jake Heggie’s DEAD MAN WALKING with The San Francisco Opera, and made his debut with Opera Modesto in the same role. John was also seen in the world premiere of Dalrymple Macalpin’s musical “Make Believe” as the Giant “Gog”. His career began in Reno, Nevada, under the tutelage of the acclaimed voice teacher, coach, and opera impresario, Ted Puffer. From there he travelled to Indiana University to study with legendary bass, Giorgio Tozzi. Mr. Ames was accepted in the Merola Opera Program at San Francisco Opera where he went on to become an Adler Fellow. Mr. Ames has sung nearly 30 roles with The San Francisco Opera including Colline in LA BOHEME and Count Horn in UN BALLO IN MASCERA, his debut role with the company. Among Mr. Ames’ many concert appearance are Mozart’s Requiem with Music in the Mountains and The Reno Philharmonic Orchestra; Nixon in China, conducted by the composer John Adams with The Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, and Jeptha with the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, conducted by Nicolas McGegan. Overseas, John has performed one of his signature roles, Sarastro in THE MAGIC FLUTE in Tokyo, as well as Wagner’s Ring Cycle and two world premieres in Bangkok. Recently, John performed Judge Turpin in SWEENEY TODD and Zuniga in CARMEN, with Nevada Opera. Other favorite roles include Sparafucile in RIGOLETTO, The Commendatore in DON GIOVANNI, and Ferrando in IL TROVATORE


Brad Reed Speaker - Priest 1 Brad Reed, a choir director at Merced high school for over 30 years, also has an eclectic collection of performance credits. He currently sings with three bands (big band, country and classic rock) and has musically directed for local high schools as well as Playhouse Merced. He has been in over 20 musicals and operas in his time here in the Central Valley. His appearances range from many ensemble roles plus leads in LES MIS (Javert), ANNIE (Daddy Warbucks), SWEENEY TODD (Judge Turpin, boo...), HEART OF THE LION (Sheriff), and BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE (Governor). In 2019 he performed the role of Sir Thomas Bertram in Opera Modesto’s production of MANSFIELD PARK.

Shawn Soelberg Speaker-Priest 2

both hearing and balance.

This is Shawn’s second production with Opera Modesto, having debuted in the chorus for RIGOLETTO in 2019. Born in southern California and raised in Boise, Idaho, he now resides in Modesto. Inspired in part by his lifelong musical interests and influences, Shawn currently works as an audiologist, specializing in the diagnosis of ear-related disorders,

He sang with the Oakland Temple Hill Choir in 2014, and sang the role of the False Witness in their 2015 production of Rob Garner’s oratorio The Lamb of God. Besides singing, Shawn enjoys family time (3 beautiful children), playing the piano, and reading. He would like to especially thank his wife of 11 years for her support.


Holly Banfield Papagena Holly Banfield is currently studying for her DMA in vocal performance at the University of Utah where she recently was cast as Mrs. Lovett for their April 2022 production of SWEENEY TODD. This summer, she performed with the La Musica Lirica program in Baraboo, Wisconsin as the Principessa in SUOR ANGELICA and Tisbe in CENERENTOLA. Earlier in 2021, she was assistant director for the University’s production of RIGOLETTO, in which she also appeared in the role of Maddelena. She has portrayed the Mother in AMAHL AND THE NIGHT VISITORS, the Komponist in ARIADNE AUF NAXOS, Orlofsky in DIE FLEDERMAUS, Zita in GIANNI SCHICCHI, and Juno in SEMELE. She is thrilled to be on stage with Opera Modesto as Papagena for their production of THE MAGIC FLUTE. Holly won 1st Prize in the 2021 Martha Marcks Mack Federation Competition. She was awarded Bronze in the National Russian Competition in December 2020. The University of Utah was awarded the National Opera Association’s 1st place for their production in which she participated as Assistant Director and performed as the Mother for AMAHL AND THE NIGHT VISITORS. Holly is not only a performer but a passionate educator. Holly serves as the Teaching Assistant for Opera Workshop and the president of the Student Opera Guild at the University of Utah. Prior to her studies at the University of Utah, Holly was a choir teacher for 9 years and has had a private voice studio for over 13 years. Throughout her higher educational training, Holly has served as Assistant Teacher for Music Theory, Ear Training, Women’s Choir, University Choir, Private Voice lessons, and Opera Workshop. Holly has studied voice with Robert Breault, Kris Ceisinski, Darrell Babidge, Edna Garabedian, and Jacqueline Kreitzer. She has performed with Maestros Joseph Rescigno Nicolas Giusti, Brian Alhadeff, Jeffrey Price, and Greg Ritchey. She has worked under the stage direction of Robert Breault, Edna Garabedian, Anthony Laciura, and David Ronis.


Emmanuel Mercado Armored Priest 1 Emmanuel began his studies in composition and guitar in his hometown of Morelia, Mexico at the Conservatorio de las Rosas. He traveled to Mexico City to study opera under the instruction of Hector Sosa Monterola at the Autonomous University of Mexico and at the National Institute of Fine Arts, which then enabled him to earn a scholarship to study for a few months in Spain and benefit from the support of the national system of artistic values. He has performed in works such as: Bizet’s CARMEN (Remendado), Mozart’s COSSI FANN TUTTE (Ferrando), Leoncavallo’s PAGLIACCI (Beppe), Verdi’s RIGOLETTO (Borsa), and Jonathan Dove’s MANSFIELD PARK (Henry Crawford). Emmanuel currently performs with Opera Modesto and Opera Cultura and studies with Roy Stevens and Annalisa Winberg.


J.T. Williams Armored Priest 2

Dramatic Helden-Bass Baritone J. T. Williams debuted with Opera Modesto as Marullo after rapidly making a name for themself among Bay Area opera lovers. In just a few years of singing opera, they have burst onto the local opera scene, performing with Opera San Jose, Opera Cocktales, Opera on Tap, Phoenix Opera Company, Berkeley Chamber Opera, Verismo Opera, Island City Opera, and Bayshore Lyric Opera. Their roles to date include Dr. Falke (DIE FLEDERMAUS), Fiorello (BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA), Enrico (LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR), Amonasro (AIDA), Marchese d’Obigny (LA TRAVIATA), L’Oste and Sargente (MANON LESCAUT), Tonio (PAGLIACCI), Guglielmo (COSI FAN TUTTE), Talbot (GIOVANNA D’ARCO), David (L’AMICO FRITZ), Alberich (DAS RHEINGOLD), Scarpia (TOSCA), Alessio and Notario (LA SONNAMBULA), Wurm (LUISA MILLER), Ferrando (IL TROVATORE), Mr. Kofner (THE CONSUL), and Germano (LA SCALA DI SETA). Since COVID shuttered the opera stages last year, J. T. has been singing short opera concerts from the balcony of their house in Bernal Heights, generally a few times a week. These concerts are also streamed live on their Facebook page, which can be found, liked, and followed at Opera from the Balcony. They hope to expand this project into traveling to different areas and singing from other balconies, decks, porches, and the like all over the Bay Area. J. T. holds a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Texas Tech University, where they studied voice with William G. Hartwell III and opera with Gerald Dolter. They currently study voice with Eugene Brancoveanu.


Philomena Iorns Spirit

determined.

Philomena Iorns attended her first opera, MANSFIELD PARK, in January 2020 and instantly fell in love. Her first voice lesson took place the very next week with Annalisa Winberg, who assured her that anyone can develop their voice if they are willing. Philomena is nothing if not

Philomena, 14, is homeschooled and appreciates the extra time to devote to her dreams. In her spare time she loves to sing in her church choir, read Jane Austen novels, sing, study Italian, sing, play the piano, sing, knit, and… sing. She feels blessed to have a role in THE MAGIC FLUTE.

Erika Sosa Spirit Erika Sosa is a freshman at Beyer High School. She is a soprano and participated in the 2021 Summer Opera Institute. Before the spring of 2021, she had never heard an opera, and now she is performing in one! Erika plays four instruments and is a proud member of the BHS Marching Band.

Grace Benham Spirit Grace Benham is in tenth grade at HartRansom Academic Charter School. She is currently working towards an associate degree in biological sciences, along with her high school diploma. Grace has been in six productions with Hickman Honor Choir. She has completed Volume Six of the Excellence in Music theory books and taken the AP Music Theory Exam. In addition to singing, Grace also plays the violin and the piano. She loves music, singing, dancing, and theater, so being a part of THE MAGIC FLUTE has been an exciting and enjoyable experience for her.


Isabella Diep Spirit Isabella was born in Modesto, California. She is 14 years old and the middle child. Her favorite subject in school is English literature. Her hobbies are reading (she claims to be a huge bookworm), singing, and baking. Her favorite author is Ayn Rand, she hopes to be be an English literature professor and author.

Zoey Rae Spirit

Zoey Rae, age 13, is excited for her operatic debut portraying a Spirit in Mozart’s THE MAGIC FLUTE. In 2019 she earned double awards at The Valley Talent Project for Female Vocal Talent and Musical Theatre. She is an established actress, singer and musician who is currently dual enrolled at Modesto Junior College studying Music Theory and Theatre. Her talents include dance, and playing the harp and guitar. She is grateful to her family and friends for their love and support and would like to give a heartfelt thank you to Opera Modesto for this rewarding opportunity.

Amanda Remy Spirit Amanda Remy is a 9th grader at Gregori High School. She has taken voice lessons for three years and participated in the Summer Opera Institute this year with Opera Modesto. She played a fairy in the Yes Company’s performance of “Cinderella.” She plays the piano and ukulele, both self-taught.


Artistic Team

Conductor..............................................................................Ryan Murray Stage Director.............................................................. Annalisa Winberg Assistant Conductor/Chorus Director................................Liisa Dávila Lighting Designer............................................................Matt Robertson Costume Designer......................................... Shannon Carmack-Mize Technical Director...................................................................Larry Zabel Visual Design Coordinator............................................ Vance Whitaker Stage Manager................................................................Chris Colbourn Production Manager.....................................................Kimberly Ogden Props Master............................................................... Chelsea Damante Orchestra Manager........................................................Angelina Mejia Chorus Manager............................................................ Barbara Wesley Rehearsal Pianist........................................................... Margaret Zabel Makeup Design............................................................... Vance Whitaker Makeup Artist................................................................ Christian Alvarez Makeup Artist................................................................... Vance Whitaker Supertitles................................................................................Roy Stevens Supertitles Operator.......................................................... Lars Meridian Photographer.................................................................David Schroeder Videographer................................Benjamin Hoover, Fog Light Media Flying Serpent Animated Sequence......................Christopher Flores Back Drop Projections Artwork........................................ Shirlee Rudel Knaben Chorus Vocal Preparation.................................Tiffany Baxter Kaben Chorus Vocal Preparation............................... Margaret Zabel Chorus Stage Crew............................................................... Abner Arias Chorus Stage Crew..................................................... Emma Darmsted Chorus Stage Crew................................................................ Veda Dean Chorus Stage Crew............................................................. Lola Fletcher Stage Hand...........................................................................Eric Garrison Spot Operator ....................................................................Michael Jones


Annalisa Winberg Stage Director Annalisa Winberg, Soprano & Stage Director, is a Modesto based international opera singer who has performed with many orchestras and opera theatres around the world including the Dallas Opera, Boston Opera Theatre, German National Theatre of Weimar, New Israeli Opera, Kamptal Festpiele, Tirole Festspiele, National Theatre of Guatemala, New York Opera Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra and many others. She was honored to be involved with the Albanian National Richard Wagner Premiere, performing both Elizabeth and Venus, for the opera Tannhaüser. She sang in the production of ARJUNA’S DILEMMA in Nepal, which performed in the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Patan Durbar Square. She starred as Lady Macbeth in Verdi’s powerful version of Shakespeare’s MACBETH with Opera Panama in a fantastic site-specific UNESCO World Heritage Site production in the ruins of Panama Viejo. Annalisa has directed productions of RIGOLETTO, CARMEN and MADAMA BUTTERFLY for Opera Modesto. She now serves as Artistic Director, helping to guide her husband, Roy Stevens, in his role as General Director. They are particularly proud to have brought back the youth training program for Opera Modesto, The Summer Opera Institute For Teens, which enjoyed its fourth iteration in the summer of 2021, despite the pandemic.


Ryan Murray Conductor Ryan Murray is the Music Director of Opera Modesto. He is also the Artistic Director and Conductor of Music in the Mountains and the Associate Conductor for the Modesto Symphony Orchestra. Ryan previously served as Music Director for Fresno Grand Opera’s and as a staff conductor for the Bay Area Summer Opera Theater Institute (BASOTI) and The Opera Academy of California in San Francisco. Ryan is also the director of Orchestra and Opera at CSU, Sacramento and conducts the orchestra at CSU Stanislaus. Ryan was the winner of the 2016/17 American Prize in Opera Conducting for his highly lauded production of A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE. He was a 2016 semi-finalist for the American Prize: Ernst Bacon Memorial Award for the Performance of American Music for his production of Jake Heggie’s DEAD MAN WALKING. Ryan is also a past winner of the Vienna Philharmonic’s prestigious Ansbacher Fellowship for Young Conductors. Ryan attended the 2017 Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music’s Conductors Workshop as a Conducting Associate, and was one of just eight conductors worldwide to be invited to the Time of Music Summer Festival Masterclass in Finland led by Musical America’s 2017 Conductor of the Year & Principal Guest Conductor of the Los Angles Philharmonic, Susanna Mälkki. He also attended a contemporary music symposium led by Alan Gilbert featuring the New York Philharmonic.


Liisa Dávila Assistant Conductor Chorus Director Liisa Dávila has gained recognition for her vocal clarity and dazzling coloratura, combined with a richness and depth allowing her to possess a highly desired level of versatility in her work. Ms. Dávila has performed Rosina in Rossini’s BARBER OF SEVILLE with Townsend Opera and Kitty Hart in Fresno Grand Opera’s critically acclaimed performance of DEAD MAN WALKING. She has also performed as Donna Elvira in DON GIOVANNI, Pamina in DIE ZAUBERFLOTE, Violetta in LA TRAVIATA, Poppea in L’INCORONAZIONE DI POPPEA, the title role in Massenet’s CENDRILLON, Hanna Glawari in THE MERRY WIDOW, and Micaëla in CARMEN with Opera Modesto. Ms. Dávila’s concert work includes Beethoven’s 9th Symphony and Mass in C, Mozart C Minor Mass and Vespers Solemnes, Handel’s Messiah, the Vivaldi Gloria, and the Requiems by Rutter, Duruflé, Mozart, and Fauré. Ms. Dávila performs regularly with local organizations such as Auburn Symphony, Folsom Lake Symphony, Symphony D’Oro, Music in the Mountains Orchestra, Stockton Symphony, Stockton Chorale, and Sacramento Philharmonic and Opera, and ourtreach concerts with Livermore Valley Opera. Ms. Dávila is a member of the Synergy Chamber Players, performing innovative chamber concerts throughout the Central Valley. A winner of multiple competitions, Ms. Dávila was a San Francisco District winner and a Western Regional Finalist for the Metropolitan National Council Auditions, and a winner of the Washington International Competition for Voice. She holds a Bachelor of Music Degree from Sacramento State University and has received training from around the globe including a summer abroad with the Greek Opera Studio. As a vocal educator Ms. Dávila has an active voice studio in the Modesto area, currently holds the position of Chorus Director for Opera Modesto, and serves on the faculty for Opera Modesto’s Summer Opera Institute.


Matt Robertson Lighting & Projection Design Matt Robertson is a seasoned designer with over a decade of technical live performance experience providing lighting, audio and video. He worked for two years with Carnival Cruise Lines doing lighting, pyrotechnics and special effects for their multi-million-dollar stage production shows. He is now the resident lighting designer and technical coordinator at the Grand Theatre Center for the Arts in Tracy, CA. Matt is active in the Modesto community with all types of events and productions through his Audio/Visual Company, Floodjay Productions. He enjoys working with many local schools and worship centers to enhance the experience, for technicians and audiences alike. www.floodjayproductions.com // @floodjaypros.

Shannon Carmack-Mize Costume Designer 10 years ago Shannon could barely sew on a button and hem a pair of pants until her children became involved in musical theater. What began as a mom volunteering at the YES Company costume shop has grown into a side career as the head costume designer for shows such as “Shrek,” “Into the Woods,” “Billy Elliott,” “Oliver,” “Grease,” “Jekyll & Hyde”, “West Side Story” and more. Besides Opera Modesto, she’s had the opportunity to work on over 30 shows with various companies, including YES Company, Gallo Repertory, Turlock Youth Performing Arts, Downey High School, and is the full time costume designer for Modesto Performing Arts.


Larry Zabel Technical Director

Larry first came to the world of theater as a singer and has performed many different roles in musical theater as well as nonmusical theater during the last six decades. Three decades into his theater life, he developed a strong interest in backstage activity. This culminated in working for twenty years as a theater technician at Modesto Junior College. When he retired in 2006, he used the skills gained in a theater to upgrade and then sail a large sailboat to Mexico where he lived and puttered on the boat (as his wife liked to call it) for about five years. Returning to the area around 2015, he has slowly renewed his connection to the Modesto theater world where he has performed several stage roles – singing and non - and built some small productions in the last few years including RIGOLETTO and MANSFIELD PARK for Opera Modesto and Little Women for Gallo Center Repertory Company. He can also be seen onstage in this production in the chorus.

Vance Whitaker Visual Design Coordinator Makeup Design

Vance Whitaker is honored to have been the resident makeup artist, wig master, and occasional special effects artist for Opera Modesto for over 30 years. In his first show for Opera Modesto, then Townsend Opera Players, he created bloodsquirting razor blades for SWEENEY TODD. He has designed makeup for theater companies throughout the valley, including the lizard suits and makeup for “Seascape” at Prospect Theater Project, Disney’s Beast for Yes Company’s production of “Beauty and the Beast”, tattooed dancers for “Cabaret” for Modesto Performing Arts, and many more. His design for Opera Modesto’s MIKADO in 2011 featured anime-style makeup for the three Little Maids as well as Kabuki-style makeup for the Lord High Executioner, Katishaw and the Mikado. Some of his special effects work can be seen in THE MAGIC FLUTE in the Three Ladies swords, the Prince’s melted sword and claw-marked shield, and The Queen of the Night’s headpiece.


Chris Colbourn Stage Manager Chris Colbourn is from Sacramento, California and has worked all over the country as a stage manager and performer including New York City, Seattle, Sacramento, and San Francisco. Some of his stage management credits include MANSFIELD PARK, THE RACE (Opera Modesto), ZABELLE (Egg & Spoon Theatre Collective), STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT (Hunger & Thirst Theatre), INFERNO (Island Shakespeare Festival), NOT MEDEA (B Street Theatre), LES MISÉRABLE: SCHOOL EDITION (Village Theatre KIDSTAGE), and MY FAIR LADY and WEST SIDE STORY (Broadway at Music Circus). He has a B.A. in Theatre Arts from Sonoma State University. Chris is delighted to be working on this production and would like to thank Opera Modesto for this opportunity.

Gallo Production Team Stage Manager................................................................Jeremiah Lewis Stage Manager............................................................... Thomas Garcia Head Audio..............................................................................Josh Reeder Head Electrician..........................................................Dustin Venicombe Head Fly.....................................................................................Brad Hight Head Video..........................................................................Melissa Battle

Volunteers Linda Benham Linda Diep Hillari DeSchane Camille Iorns Lala Freitas Dan Ogden Anthony Delgado


Chorus

Alto............................................................................................. Amy Harris Alto.......................................................................................... Lola Fletcher Alto.................................................................................... Barbara Wesley Alto......................................................................................Margarita Ruiz Alto............................................................................... Merrissa Brambila Soprano.................................................................................Ashley Dahlin Soprano.......................................................................... Emma Darmsted Soprano............................................................................... Sharon Wilson Soprano...................................................................................Shay Russell Soprano......................................................................... Sheri Stambaugh Soprano..................................................................................... Veda Dean Baritone/Bass................................................................ Michael Balerite Baritone/Bass........................................................................ Mark Davila Baritone/Bass..........................................................................Larry Zabel Tenor......................................................................................... Abner Arias Tenor............................................................................. Raymond Leverett

Orchestra

1st Violin................................................. Jolán Friedhoff, Concertmaster 1st Violin.................................................................................. Sydney Scott 1st Violin.......................................................................... Elizabeth Kidwell 1st Violin............................................................................. Brittany Thorne 2nd Violin....................................................... Donald Grishaw, Principal 2nd Violin.......................................................................Deborah Kavasch 2nd Violin................................................................................ Alison Peltier Viola............................................................. Wayland Whitney, Principal Viola............................................................................................ Dora Scott Cello.........................................................................Alex Winter, Principal Cello.................................................................................. Stephanie Chen Bass..................................................................Jim Mazzaferro, Principal Flute & Piccolo.......................................... Tim Koop-Whittley, Principal Oboe..................................................................... Jesse Barrett, Principal Clarinet....................................................... Andrew Friedman, Principal Clarinet.............................................................................. Brennen Milton Bassoon.......................................................................Jay Sutey, Principal French Horn.................................................... Angelina Mejia, Principal French Horn..........................................................................Braydon Ross Trumpet......................................................Colin Matthewson, Principal Trombone..............................................................Kari Estrada, Principal Timpani............................................ Divesh Karamchandani, Principal Celeste........................................................................................Amy Maris


Visual Artists Chris Colbourn

Shirlee Rudel was born and raised in Modesto and graduated from Modesto High School. She is a self-employed artist and a teacher. She has had showings of her art in many galleries in California and beyond.

Christopher Flores

Christopher Flores

is a Modesto native and graduate of Modesto High School. He works in the High-Tech industry in Silicon Valley, with extensive experience in game creation & testing and Virtual Reality. He has worked with a variety of high profile companies. His first love was cooking and before joining the high tech world, he trained as a chef, graduating from the Culinary Arts program of Columbia College and working in area restaurants.


Central West Ballet Artistic Director................................................................... René Daveluy Ballet Mistress & Academny Director......................Leslie Ann Larson Training Assistant.............................................Izabella Duran-Soriano Training Assistant..................................................................... Beth Ward Dancers Fire/Water Fire............................................................................ Morgan Hildebrandt Fire.................................................................................... Roland Carbajal Fire........................................................................................ Hailey Kolding Fire.................................................................................. Lily Amirsheybani Water.....................................................................................Dzifa Ackuayi Water........................................................................................ Jaya Fasani Water..........................................................................................Brigid Frey Water....................................................................................... Elena Lopez Dancers Animals: Black Crow.................................................................................. Bianca Or Leopard................................................................................Miranda Sevo Duck........................................................................................Clare Antone Tiger..................................................................................... Allie Muratore Snake........................................................................................ Jaya Fasani Wolf.............................................................................................Brigid Frey


René Daveluy Central West Ballet Artistic Director

René Daveluy’s career as a dancer was guided by mentors such as Ludmilla Chiriaeff, Frank Augustyn, John Hart, Violette Verdy, Andrée Millaire, Daniel Sellier, Vincent Warren, Laurence Haider, Sonia Vartanian, John Stanzel, Natasha Izbinsky, Stanley Williams, Andrei Kramarevsky, Marie-Rose Chammah and Canadian Painter Christian Thibault. In 2004, Mr. Daveluy became Artistic Director of Central West Ballet. In 2006, he received the California Stanislaus Arts Council Award for Excellence in Dance. As a choreographer, he won a prize from the Du Maurier Arts in Montreal for his One Man Show Daveluy Danse Brel, and for Central West Ballet, has created numerous ballets including Romeo and Juliet, Cinderella, Peter Pan and The Nutcracker. In 2015 he produced the fulllength Legend of Sleepy Hollow, composing the music score and co-choreographing the ballet with Jan Clark Fugit. In 2018, Daveluy composed the music for Dracula, his second full-length score which he also produced and choreographed. Daveluy has choroegraphed numerous creations for Central West Ballet such as Pictures at an Exhibition, L’Arlésienne, Love Duets, A Parisian in New York, Beneath Existence, Summer Rhapsody, Solitary Workers, 1001 Nights, Canvas Emotions, Of Faeries and Elves, Existence, House of Folk and Nature’s Rite. In his dancing career, Mr. Daveluy distinguished himself as the Lead in Brian MacDonald’s Time Out Of Mind and Judith Marcuse’s Tales from the Vaudeville Stage (Banff Festival Ballet), as The Teacher in Flemming Flindt’s The Lesson, Iago in José Limon’s The Moor’s Pavane, and in Balanchine’s Apollo (Ottawa Ballet under Frank Augustyn), as Oberon in Ashton’s The Dream, as Romeo in Michael Smuin’s Romeo & Juliet, as Armand in Val Caniparoli’s The Lady of the Camellias, as the Prince in Ben Stevenson’s Cinderella, as Dr. Falke in Ronald Hynd’s Rosalinda, in Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments (Sanguinic), Leads in Balanchine’s Divertimento #15 and Violin Concerto. He also a performed in Hans van Manen’s Polish Pieces, Solo and Black Cake. He performed Bugle Boy in Paul Taylor’s Company B. Daveluy also performed in William Forsythe’s Artifact II and was a Lead in Val Caniparoli’s Lambarena and Book of Alleged Dances (Ballet West under directors John Hart CBE and Jonas Kåge).


Leslie Ann Larson Ballet Mistress

With a meticulous approach and high standards, Leslie Ann Larson has brought CWB’s performances to high quality levels for the past 17 years. Ms. Larson has set works such as Songs by renowned choreographer Val Caniparoli and also staged many full lengths such as Swan Lake, Romeo & Juliet, The Sleeping Beauty, Peter Pan, Cinderella, The Nutcracker and Coppélia. In 2019, Larson staged Ronn Guidi’s The Secret Garden, also dancing the principal role of Lillias in the ballet. For the last 17 years, Larson has been in charge of René Daveluy’s works for Central West Ballet, most recently staging Daveluy’s full length Dracula. She has also staged Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Jan Clark Fugit and René Daveluy. Larson has also set many single act ballets and creations such as Les Sylphides and other works by René Daveluy such as Pictures at an Exhibition, L’Arlésienne, Love Duets, A Parisian in New York, Beneath Existence, Summer Rhapsody, Solitary Workers, The Existence Project, 1001 Nights, House of Folk, Of Faeries and Elves, A Ballet for Marie (in honor of Marie Gallo), Festive Overture, Canvas Emotions and Nature’s Rite and The Red Shoes. Ms. Larson received excellence in training from Fleming Halby (Royal Danish Ballet), Charles Bennett (American Ballet Theatre), with the great Flamenco Artist Sara De Luis and with Francesca Corkle and Trinette Singleton (The Joffrey Ballet). In her dancing career, Ms. Larson distinguished herself in Leonide Massine’s La Boutique Fantasque, Antony Tudor’s The Lilac Garden, Agnes De Mille’s Fall River Legend, Kurt Joos’ The Green Table and Bronislava Nijinska’s Les Noces and Les Biches (Oakland Ballet under Ronn Guidi), as the Sugar Plum Fairy, the Lead in Antony Tudor’s The Leaves are Fading, The First Sylph in Peter Schaufuss’ La Sylphide, Adele in Ronald Hynd’s Rosalinda, in Balanchine’s Who Cares?, The Four Temperaments and Western Symphony, in Hans Van Manen’s Polish Pieces, Val Caniparoli’s Lambarena and Book of Alleged Dances, Christopher Bruce’s Ghost Dances, and as The Roasted Swan in John Butler’s Carmina Burana (Ballet West under directors John Hart CBE and Jonas Kåge).


Beth Ward

Beth Ward joined Central West Ballet in 2016. She has distinguished herself as Mrs. Medlock in Ronn Guidi’s The Secret Garden, and in The Summer Knows in René Daveluy’s Summer Rhapsody. Beth Ward has also distinguished herself in Daveluy’s Beneath Existence, as one of the Three Sisters in Dracula, the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella, in Interlocht from Daveluy’s Love Duets, as a Friend and Dawn in Coppelia, in House of Folk, in Jan Clark Fugit and René Daveluy’s Legend of Sleepy Hollow, as the Jewel Doll and Spanish Lead from The Nutcracker and in René Daveluy’s L’Arlésienne, 1001 Nights and Purple Tribute.

Izabella Duran-Soriano

Izabella Duran-Soriano joined the Central West Ballet in 2015. She made her mark as Lucy Westenra in René Daveluy’s Dracula. Izabella DuranSoriano has also distinguished herself as the Sugar Plum Fairy, the Snow Queen, the Lead Dewdrop and the Harlequin Doll in The Nutcracker, in the Old Castle Pas de Deux from René Daveluy’s Pictures at an Exhibition, in Interlocht from Daveluy’s Love Duets, in L’Arlésienne, Summer Rhapsody, 1001 Nights, House of Folk as well as in Jan Clark Fugit and René Daveluy’s Legend of Sleepy Hollow.


Morgan Hildebrandt Morgan Hildebrandt, age 15, was born and raised in Modesto. She began dancing at age 4 and is in her second year of CWB’s 2nd Company and her forth year of the Academy. She is looking forward to performing in their upcoming ballet Pirates, Cowboys & Damsels. Loving all aspects of the stage, Morgan was extremely excited to perform the role of Velma in West Side Story with MPA this past summer. She has been an active member of Center Stage Kids for 10 years and is an avid musician, playing trumpet and euphonium with the Johansen Concert and Jazz bands.

Roland Carbajal

Roland Carbajal is a 14 year old from Modesto, California who has been performing in several productions across the valley since he was 6 years old. Most recently he can be seen in Opera Modesto’s international award winning film, “The Race.” He can also be heard as an ensemble singer in the cast of the 2020 D’illusion the Houdini Broadway Musical’s first ever audiobook. Roland has been training with Central West Ballet Academy for four years. He would like to thank them for this opportunity to dance in one of the most famous operas of all time!

Hailey Marie Kolding

Hailey is 14 years old and has been dancing with Central West Ballet for three years. She loves to dance and work with kids in dance classes or just teaching them new and fun activities. She loves performing on stage and learning new choreography.


Lily Amirsheybani

Lily is 16 years old and is a junior at Whitmore Charter High School. She was born and raised in Modesto, and has been a student at Central West Ballet Academy for six years. She has danced in CWB’s Nutcracker every year since she was eight years old. Lily enjoys dancing, acting in plays, and drawing. She is thrilled to perform with Opera Modesto for the first time.

Elena Sherman Lopez

Elena Sherman-Lopez is nineteen years old and has been dancing with Central West Ballet for six years. Elena was born and raised in Modesto, California. She has been in many Central West Ballet productions, such as The Nutcracker, Dracula, and Coppélia. She has also Participated in Modesto Performing Arts productions of West Side Story, Grease, and Billy Elliot.

Jaya Fasani

Jaya is 13 years old and was born in Turlock, California. She grew up in Ripon, where she still lives and goes to school. Jaya has danced with Central West Ballet since 2014. Her favorite role was performing as “Clara”, in the Central West Ballet presentation of “The Nutcracker”. When she’s not rehearsing, you can usually find her reading a novel, spending time with friends and family, or participating in a CrossFit Teens class. She hopes to continue her ballet career and one day dance for a Company.


Dzifa Ackuayi

Miranda Sevo

Bianco Or

Dzifa Ackuayi is a 14-year- old high school sophomore in the International Baccalaureate Program at Modesto High School. Born in Turlock and raised in Ripon, California she has been immersed in the arts from a young age. Dzifa first stepped on the dance floor when she was 3 years old and began dancing with Central West Ballet when she was 8 years old. In addition to dance, Dzifa plays the piano, the flute, and sings opera. Her most recent performances were in West Side Story at the Gallo Center as Margarita and in the Jam n Jive show at MJC.

Miranda Sevo, 12 years old, lives in Modesto with her family. Miranda has been dancing since she started walking. By 4 years old, she was performing on stage for Sturt Performing Arts. At 9 years old she joined Central West Ballet to focus solely on ballet. She has performed in Central West Ballet’s Nutcracker for the last 4 years. This year she will performing the role of “Clara” in the CWB’s Nutcracker. Miranda loves all forms of art. She is a two-time awardwinning poet for Modesto’s Poet’s Society and loves to draw, sketch and paint all while maintaining 4.0 in school.

Bianca was born in Lodi, California. She is 11 years old and has been dancing since she was three and dancing with Central West Ballet for 5 years. She has danced in The Nutcracker for 3-4 years, and is really excited to participate in the MAGIC FLUTE!


Allie Muratore

Brigid Frey

Clare Antone

Allie Muratore has a deep love for dance. She is ten years old and a level five dancer with Central West Ballet. Allie began taking ballet classes at Juline’s School of Dance at the age of three until she moved to Central West Ballet at the age of 8. She was born and raised in Modesto, CA. Allie has performed in the Nutcracker at Central West Ballet for the past three years in various roles, including BonBon, Crystal Pixie and Party girl. She has also performed in Holiday Follies with Juline’s School of Dance as a Marshmallow and Sheep.

Brigid Frey is 14 years old. She was born and raised in Modesto, California, and she has danced in Central West Ballet’s Academy for five years.

Clare Antone Is a 12 year old 7th grader at Great Valley Academy. She has been dancing for 8 years and is excited to perform in her first opera. When not dancing she loves to ride horses!


BOARD OF DIRECTORS Roger Shanks, president Carl Bengston, treasurer Hillari DeSchane, secretary Freda Motto, immediate past president Nancy Brashear Steve Collins Anthony Delgado Dr. Deborah Kavasch John Mangelos Kelly Osterhout John Peltier Amelia Schmidt Wendy Scott Thomas Silvaggio Erika Townsend Barbara Wesley

STAFF Roy Stevens, General Director Annalisa Winberg, Artistic Director Jewel Whitakter, Marketing & Development Manager Kimberly Ogden, Production Manager Myrna Rowland, Office Manager Caroline Fletcher, Social Media Manager

1214 11th Stree, Suite 3 Modesto CA 95354 (209) 523-6426 operamodesto.org