by W.A. Mozart
Friday, October 23, 2020 | 7:30 PM
Sunday, October 25, 2020 | 2:00 PM
EGRHS Performing Arts Center
In Mozart’s comedy Così fan tutte or The School for Lovers, Ferrando and Guglielmo boast to their friend, the cynical bachelor Don Alfonso, that their fiancées, Dorabella and Fiordiligi, are unreproachable in their steadfastness and virtue. What happens next is a comedic masterpiece of disguises and deception gone wrong as Alfonso and the clever maid Despina take the two couples to the School for Lovers. Read the full synopsis.
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EGRHS Performing Arts Center
Maestro James Meena | Conductor
James Meena consistently earns critical acclaim for his artistic vision and dynamic presence on the podium in concert, opera and ballet. Mo. Meena serves as Artistic Director for Opera Carolina (Charlotte) and Artistic Director for Opera Grand Rapids.
Recent engagements include acclaimed performances of Tosca at the Luglio Festivale Trapani in Sicilia, a double-bill of Rachmaninoff’s rarely-performed Aleko paired with Pagliacci as well as La fanciulla del West,both with the restored New York City Opera; Le nozze di Figaro for Teatro Sociale Rovigo Italy, La fanciulla del West for five prestigious Italian theaters: Teatro del Giglio, Lucca Italy, Teatro Verdi in Pisa, Teatro Alighieri di Ravenna, Teatro Pavarotti di Modena and Teatro Goldoni di Livorno, plus Rigoletto, The Magic Flute, Carmen and Yvgeny Onegin with Opera Carolina, Toledo Opera, and Opera Grand Rapids, plus a Gala concert with Renee Fleming and the Toledo Symphony Orchestra; Porgy & Bess with Margaret Island Open-Air Theatre in Budapest for their Summer Festival, and La bohème with the prestigious Puccini Festival in Torre del Lago, La bohème with Opéra de Montréal, Masterworks Concerts with Memphis Symphony Orchestra, and Il barbiere di Siviglia , La fanciulla del West, and La traviata with Opera Carolina. Next season, Mo. Meena makes his debut with the Shanghai Opera.
A guest conductor, Maestro Meena has lead performances in opera houses throughout North America, including Madama Butterfly , Pagliacci/Gianni Schicchi , Le nozze di Figaro, and La traviata for L’Opera de Montreal; Michigan Opera Theatre for Die Zauberflöte; Edmonton Opera for Falstaff , Otello, Macbeth and Yvgeny Onegin; and Manitoba Opera, where he conducted the première of Transit of Venus by the Canadian team of composer Victor Davies and librettist Maureen Hunter, recorded for national broadcast on the CBC. His Opera Carolina performances of Faust, Eugene Onegin, and Il trovatore are captured on recording for NPR World of Opera.
With extensive experience in opera, ballet, and symphonic music, Maestro Meena held principal and resident conducting posts with the Cleveland Ballet, Toledo Symphony, and Toledo Opera in addition to guest conducting appearances that include a nationally televised Thanksgiving concert for the Korean Broadcasting System Symphony; performances of Stravinsky’s tour de force La Sacre du printemps with the National Symphony Orchestra, Taiwan; concerts with the Cairo Symphony Orchestra in the new Cairo Opera House; and symphony concerts with the orchestra of the Teatro Massimo Bellini in Catania, the Orchestra della Toscana in Italy.
Mo. Meena was has been engaged as guest conductor with orchestras and opera companies in the United States, Italy, Taipei, Korea, Canada and Mexico including the Mexico City Philharmonic, the Washington Opera, Opera Pacific, Portland Opera and the Utah Opera. On opera stages, he has conducted legendary singers including Renée Fleming, Denyce Graves, James McCracken, Mignon Dunn, Marilyn Horne, Jerome Hines, Diana Soviero, Jerry Hadley, Mark Delavan and Marcello Giordani.
From Voix des Arts of Mo. Meena’s most recent performances of Turandot: “Under the baton of James Meena the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra delivered an awe-inspiring performance of the score. Maestro Meena’s conducting was notable for the manner in which, like the great past interpreters of the operas of Richard Strauss, he coaxed sounds from the orchestra that compellingly fulfilled the lush late-Romantic promise of the melodic lines while also always sounding like an opera composed in 1924. The influence of Debussy has almost never been more discernible than in Maestro Meena’s handling of the score. His work in Charlotte has been consistently perceptive, but he found in Turandot—a score by which many conductors have been defeated—an ideal outlet for the controlled ecstasy of which he is a master.”
Since 2001, Mo. Meena has presented six regional premières in Charlotte, including Cold Sassy Tree and Susannah by Carlisle Floyd, the company’s first productions of Der Rosenkavalier, Nabucco, Macbeth, and Les pêcheurs des perles, and the regional premiere of Richard Danielpour’s new American opera, Margaret Garner, starring Denyce Graves in April 2006. Mo. Meena is the lead producer for Douglas Tappin’s new work I Dream, created for the 50th commemoration of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
James Meena is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University and Baldwin Wallace College Conservatory of Music. His principal conducting teachers include Thomas Mihalak (New Jersey Symphony), Robert Page (Cleveland Orchestra), Rudolph Fellner (Pittsburgh Opera), and Boris Halip (Bolshoi Ballet), with whom he also studied violin.
Mr. Meena has served as Assistant Conductor to Andre Previn, Gunther Schuller, Michael Tilson Thomas, Anton Guadagno, and Anton Coppola. For several seasons, he was Associate Conductor of the Pittsburgh Opera, where he made his operatic début conducting Die Zauberflöte. He made his professional début with the Pittsburgh Symphony conducting Haydn’s monumental oratorio The Creation. Mo. Meena was awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award by his undergraduate alma mater in 1997 for his commitment to visionary excellence and growth of cultural institutions.
Eve Summer | Director
Hailed “a rising star of stage directing [whose] approach to directing refreshes hope for the future of opera,” Eve Summer is a director, producer, and choreographer. She has been described as having “a gift for translating classic symbolism into familiar detail with just enough flippancy to bring out the fun of the opera without skewing the emotional equation.”
In the 2018-19 season Ms. Summer directs The Little Prince at Tulsa Opera, The Pearl Fishers at Opera Tampa, The Tales of Hoffmann at Opera Orlando, Aida at Boheme Opera New Jersey, The Magic Flute at Opera in Williamsburg, and serves as Staging Advisor at the Boston Symphony Orchestra for a concert performance of Suor Angelica at Symphony Hall starring Kristine Opolais.
Selected directing credits include Trouble in Tahiti at the Glimmerglass Festival, Così fan tutte at Connecticut Lyric Opera, Lucia di Lammermoor at Boheme Opera New Jersey and Commonwealth Opera, Xerxes at Connecticut Early Music Festival, Carmen at MetroWest Opera, The Magic Flute for University of Hartford, L’elisir d’amore for Opera del West, the world premiere of Larry Bell’s opera Holy Ghosts at the Berklee Performance Center, Suor Angelica for Boston Opera Collaborative, and Le nozze di Figaro for dell’Arte Opera Ensemble and Kaliope Opera.
Ms. Summer’s work has been called “eye-poppingly contemporary,” “a riveting, glorious production from beginning to end,” and “can only be described as brilliant.” Critics raved that her production of Xerxes was “a delight, and a testament to Summer’s gift for banishing stodginess from an art form too often seen as fossilized and elitist”. Her style is naturalistic and modern and rooted in the visceral truthfulness of stage plays where she started her directing career. Her theater productions have included The Merry Wives of Windsor, Extremities, A Midsummer night’s Dream, The Woolgatherer, ‘Art,’ Two Gentlemen of Verona and her own play Neighbors, an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Thomas Berger.
A former professional ballet dancer and choreographer, Ms. Summer’s choreography credits include a commission to choreograph a new ballet, Jeanne’s Fantasy, by composer Mark Warhol for the premiere with Contrapose Dance and Fort Point Theatre Channel, Elektra at Des Moines Metro Opera, Falstaff at Opera Colorado, and Don Giovanni for Boston Opera Collaborative. She recently collaborated with renowned choreographer Karole Armitage on the critically acclaimed American premiere of Philip Glass’ Opera-Ballet The Witches of Venice at Opera Saratoga. Ms. Summer’s notable assisting engagements also include Francesca Zambello on the world premiere of Ben Moore’s Robin Hood at The Glimmerglass Festival, Julia Pevzner on her widely acclaimed production of Shostakovich’s The Nose at Opera Boston, and Tim Albery on Janáček’s Katya Kabaonova at Boston Lyric Opera.
Katherine Whyte | Fiordiligi
Katherine Whyte has performed on opera and concert stages across her native Canada, the United States and Europe. Opera Today has hailed her for her “keen artistic sensibility” while the San Francisco Classical Voice has praised her “her glamorous, vibrato-rich voice”
Last season included Beethoven’s Ninth with the Louisiana Symphony, joining Opera Hong Kong as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, Adina in L’elisir d’amore with Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra, and returning to the Metropolitan Opera for productions of Suor Angelica and Don Giovanni. The 2019-2020 season will see her return to the Metropolitan Opera to cover Despina in Così fan tutte and her debut with Intermountain Opera Bozeman as the Countess in Le nozze di Figaro.
The 2017-2018 season saw Ms. Whyte’s return to the Metropolitan Opera for Parsifal as well as appearing in concert with the Mountain View International Festival of Song and the Orquesta Sinfonica Mineria for Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Additionally, she appeared with both Charlottesville Opera and the Norwalk Symphony as the Countess in Le nozze di Figaro. The 2016-2017 season included her return to the Metropolitan Opera for productions of Jenufa and Rigoletto, a debut with the Edmonton Symphony for Handel’s Messiah, Fauré’s Requiem with Manhattan Concert Productions at Carnegie Hall, and her debut with the Qingdao Symphony Orchestra in China. The 2015-2016 season saw her debut with the Dallas Opera as Pousette in Manon, a return to the Metropolitan Opera Company for their production of Rigoletto, the Countess in Le nozze di Figaro with Opera Saratoga, and concerts with the Kaohsiung Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestra of China’s National Opera at the Meet in Beijing Arts Festival.
Following her Metropolitan Opera debut in 2007 in Strauss’ Die ägyptische Helena, she has returned to the company for productions of Iolanta, Rigoletto, Jenufa, The Gambler, The Enchanted Island, Two Boys, and Parsifal. Her other recent operatic appearances include the title role of Iphigénie en Tauride and Iris in Semele with Canadian Opera Company, the Countess in Le nozze di Figaro with the Princeton Festival, her Vancouver Opera debut as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, Gilda in Rigoletto with English National Opera, the Countess in Le nozze di Figaro with Virginia Opera and Opera Hamilton, Pamina in Die Zauberflöte with Michigan Opera Theatre, Euridice in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice with Atlanta Opera, and Iphis in Handel’s Jephta with Opéra National de Bordeaux.
Ms. Whyte’s appearances on the concert stage include Beethoven’s Mass in C Major, Stravinsky’s Pulcinella, Mozart’s Requiem, and Handel’s Messiah with the Houston Symphony, Neilsen’s Symphony No. 3 with the San Francisco Symphony, Carmina burana and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the National Chorale, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Mozart’s Mass in C-minor with the Vancouver Symphony, Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem with the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Costa Rica, Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with the Colorado Symphony, Handel’s Messiah with the National Symphony Orchestra, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with the Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional, Mozart’s Requiem with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra,
and Handel’s Messiah with the New Choral Society. The winner of the 2007 Alice Tully Recital Competition, Ms. Whyte made her Carnegie Hall debut in Solo recital at Weill Hall in 2008.
Christine Amon | Dorabella
Grand Rapids native Christine Amon is a versatile mezzo-soprano excelling in opera, musical theater, and art song.
In recent seasons she has appeared with Toledo Opera and Opera Grand Rapids for The Magic Flute and made her company debut with Opera Carolina in Carmen. Other recent engagements include Vanessa (Erika) with Toledo Opera, Carousel (Carrie) with Union Avenue Opera, Hansel and Gretel (Hansel) with Opera Memphis and Opera Louisiane, and The Pirates of Penzance (Edith) with Nashville Opera. Ms. Amonalso created the role of Mich in Mich and the Moon in the premiere of The Ghosts of Crosstown at Opera Memphis. In 2018 she was a finalist in the international Lotte Lenya Competition hosted by the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music.
Johnathan White | Ferrando
Tenor, Johnathan Stanford White began his Operatic studies at the College of Charleston in 2004 while working on his BA in Vocal Performance. As a celebrated young artist, Johnathan performed in many leading Operatic roles with the College of Charleston Opera/ Musical Theatre productions and was both a State and Regional Winner in several competitions.
In 2011, he was selected to sing at the Jussi Bjorling Centennial Celebration at Gustavus College at the Jussi Bjorling Concert Hall. Since moving to Charlotte and joining Opera Carolina as a Resident Company Member in 2013, Johnathan has become a staple in the classical music scene. After making his Opera Carolina debut in Turandot as the Emperor in 2015, Johnathan has performed numerous Comprimario roles in productions with Opera Carolina, Toledo Opera, and Opera Grand Rapids: Carmen (2019), I Dream (2018), Le Nozze di Figaro (2018), Rigoletto (2018), Cyrano de Bergerac(2017), Fanciulla del West (2017), Cosi fan Tutte (2016), La Canterina (2016), Fidelio (2015) , Lucia di Lammermoor(2015), and Turandot (2015). Apart from his Operatic pursuits, Johnathan is also an accomplished Symphonic soloist performing: The Messiah (CSO), Saint Saens Christmas Oratorio (CSO), and The Seven Last Words of Christ (CSO). He was selected as the tenor soloist for the Andrew Lloyd Webber Requiem with the Anchorage Symphony Orchestra (2018). He most recently performed the operatic roles of Remendado (Carmen, Toledo/Opera Carolina), Jerry (Nemorino) in The Magic Potion (adapted from The Elixir of Love, Opera Carolina) and as Triquet in Eugine Onegin (Opera Carolina).
He is currently slated to perform as the Chief of Police in Opera Carolina’s I Dream, and Pang in Opera Grand Rapid’s Turandot.
Michael Colman | Guglielmo
Michael Colman, recently hailed by Opera News for “fielding a fine, dark bass-baritone,” has performed with many premier regional opera companies throughout the country.
Michael made his professional debut singing the Imperial Commissioner (Madama Butterfly) as an Apprentice Artist with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City and went on to perform roles including Basilio (Il barbiere di Seviglia) with Chautauqua Opera and Virginia Opera, The Commentator (Scalia/Ginsburg) with Opera Carolina and Opera Grand Rapids, Schaunard (La bohème) with Indianapolis Opera, Sergeant of Police (The Pirates of Penzance) with Dayton Opera, Ceprano (Rigoletto) with Toledo Opera, Dottore Grenvil (La Traviata) with Opera on the James and Indiana University, Leporello (Don Giovanni) with Janiec Opera Company, and Figaro (Le nozze di Figaro) with the University of Kansas. An avid concert singer, Michael has performed as the Bass Soloist (Messiah) with the Dayton Philharmonic, the Bass Soloist (Mozart Requiem) with The Virginia Consort, and recently sang in recital with Warren Jones at the Manchester Music Festival. Upcoming engagements include King of Egypt (Aida) with Toledo Opera, and Guglielmo (Così fan tutte) with Opera Grand Rapids. Michael is currently a student at Indiana University studying with Professor Peter Volpe.
Steven Condy | Don Alfonso
Steven Condy enjoys a career filled with notoriety and acclaim for his creative portrayals of the great “buffo” roles and is admired not only for his robust and nuanced voice, but also for his natural acting ability.
The Washington Times enthused that he has “the comic timing of John Candy and a voice that remains flexible, rich and true through every intricacy,” and Anthony Tomassini of the New York Times offered that he would “vote the prize for the most naturally clear diction of the cast to the hardy baritone Steven Condy.” Most recently, Mr. Condy performed as a soloist in concert with Opera Delaware and MidAtlantic Symphony, performed the role of Ko-Ko in The Mikado with Opera Grand Rapids, as well as the role of Inspector Lestrade in Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Fallen Giant with American Lyric Theater. Upcoming, Mr. Condy joins Opera Grand Rapids for their presentation of Cosi Fan Tutte in the role of Don Alfonso and returns to Opera Delaware to sing Scarpia in Tosca.
In recent seasons, Mr. Condy performed the role of Bartolo in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Boston Lyric Opera and Manitoba Opera and performed as a soloist in concert with Opera Delaware and Mid-Atlantic Symphony. He also returned to the Metropolitan Opera for their production of Gianni Schicchi after his successful appearance there for their production of La bohème.
Renowned for his interpretation of Dr. Bartolo in Il barbiere di Siviglia, the Boston Music Intelligencer raved of his “most delightfully surprising and truly brilliant performance…the agility of his voice, not only in negotiating the vocal roller-coasters, but also in creating comically nuanced coloring, combined with his clumsily agile physicality and an edgy-but-not-threatening delivery of the role as a whole, stole the show. Based on his performance, the opera might well be re-titled Don Bartolo.” He performed the role at Houston Grand Opera, San Francisco Opera, Washington National Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Toledo Opera, Portland Opera, Madison Opera, Opera Memphis, Virginia Opera, Sarasota Opera, Austin Lyric Opera, and Lyric Opera Baltimore among many others. Most recently, he performed the role in his house début at Opera Carolina.
The title role in Verdi’s Falstaff is another signature role in Mr. Condy’s repertoire, which he performed at companies such as Utah Opera, Indianapolis Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Kentucky Opera, Opera San José, and most recently, Opera Delaware. Of his Falstaff, Opera News hailed: “Dominating the proceedings was Steven Condy’s hilariously larger-than-life yet totally believable and sympathetic Sir John. Condy never let his skillful embodiment of the fat knight’s physical and behavioral grotesqueries affect the inherent beauty of his singing; his warm, manly tone, fine legato and ready mezza voce reminded one just how squarely within the bel canto tradition the role of Falstaff lies.” He is also in demand as Don Magnifico in La cenerentola, a role he performed at Madison Opera, Portland Opera, Opera Delaware Utah Opera, Memphis Opera, Florentine Opera, Lyric Opera Kansas City, and Austin Lyric Opera.
Other notable engagements from his extensive career include: Sacristan in a new production of Tosca with the Houston Grand Opera; Betto in Gianni Schicchi in a new production with Los Angeles Opera directed by Woody Allen, followed by his European opera début in the same production with the Spoleto Festival dei Due Mondi; the title role in Don Pasquale with Opera New Jersey, Utah Opera, Calgary Opera, Opera on the James, Opera Naples, and Edmonton Opera; Benoit/Alcindoro in La bohème with Dallas Opera and Opera Company of Philadelphia; Dulcamara in L’elisir d’amore with Chautauqua Opera, Washington National Opera, Arizona Opera, and Lyric Opera of Guatemala among others; Baron Zeta in The Merry Widow with Washington National Opera; Sulpice in La fille du régiment with the San Francisco Opera and Opera Lyra Ottawa; Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte with Arizona Opera and Hawaii Opera Theater; Tevye, the lead role of Fiddler on the Roof with Shreveport Opera; and Major General Stanley in The Pirates of Penzance with Arizona Opera.
As a concert artist, Condy graces stages throughout the country earning critical acclaim. From his recent appearance as a soloist in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Lincoln Symphony, The Lincoln Journal Star wrote: “Baritone Steven Condy… began the poem that inspired the Ninth, his powerful voice booming through the hall.” He later performed the bass solo again with Asheville Symphony. Additional highlights of concert appearances include Handel’s Messiah with the Columbus Pro Musica Chamber Orchestra, Masterworks Chorus at Carnegie Hall, South Dakota Symphony Orchestra, and La Orquesta Sinfónica del Principado de Asturias in Oviedo, Spain; the role of Antonio in Le nozze di Figaro with the Minnesota Orchestra, conducted by Jeffrey Tate; Belshazzar’s Feast and Gordon Getty’s Plump Jack with New Mexico Symphony Orchestra; and gala concerts with the Indianapolis Symphony and the Orquesta Sinfónica Sinaloa de las Artes in Mazatlán, Mexico.
Mr. Condy earned accolades and awards from some of the industry’s most prestigious organizations including: The Luciano Pavarotti International Voice competition, The Sullivan Foundation, The Richard Tucker Music Foundation competition, Pope Foundation competition, MacAllister Award competition, the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions, and the Mario Lanza Institute Scholarship competition. Mr. Condy holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Hartford and a Master of Music degree from Yale University’s School of Music. He is also the Artistic Director of the Cairn University Opera Theater in Langhorne, Pennsylvania.
Corie Auger | Despina
Praised for her bright, expressive voice, up and coming mezzo-soprano Corie Auger delights in bringing a large variety of characters to life on the operatic stage.
Corie has previously appeared with Utah Festival Opera & Musical Theater, Toledo Opera, Opera Grand Rapids, Main Street Opera, Cedar Rapids Opera, and New Moon Opera. Favorite roles include Nicklausse/Muse (Les Contes d’Hoffmann), Cherubino (Le Nozze di Figaro), and Zerlina (Don Giovanni). In addition to her operatic work, Corie appears as a recitalist and concert soloist. She has appeared as a soloist with Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra and Kalamazoo Philharmonic. Corie was also featured on The Living Music Resource’s The BEAT with composer William Bolcom and his wife, mezzo-soprano Joan Morris.
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