by Gilbert & Sullivan
October 28, 2022 | 7:30 PM
October 30, 2022 | 2:00 PM
EGR Performing Arts Center
With the Grand Rapids Symphony and the Opera Grand Rapids Chorus
We are ready to sing, dance, and swashbuckle through Gilbert and Sullivan’s hilarious topsy turvy operetta The Pirates of Penzance. Candy colored seaside fun, pirates preoccupied with moral dilemmas, a loquacious major general, and of course a charming romance will keep you smiling and tapping your feet through this most delightful and tuneful comedy that promises to be fun for the whole family!
Estimated Run Time 2 hours and 15 minutes with one intermission
Sung in English with projected English titles
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Eve Summer | Stage 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.” This summer Eve is in residence at Opera Saratoga directing The Barber of Seville. Some recent directing credits include The Glimmerglass Festival, Trouble in Tahiti; Opera Columbus, Tosca, Don Giovanni; Curtis Opera Theatre, Così fan tutte, Albert Herring; Opera Grand Rapids, Così fan tutte, The Mikado, Don Giovanni; Tulsa Opera, The Little Prince; Opera Orlando, The Tales of Hoffmann, Lizbeth; Opera Carolina, Don Giovanni; Connecticut Early Music Festival, Xerxes; A.J.Fletcher Opera Institute at UNCSA, Volpone; Opera Tampa & Opera in Williamsburg, The Pearl Fishers; MassOpera, Carmen; Boheme Opera New Jersey, Aida, Lucia di Lammermoor; and the world premiere of Larry Bell’s opera Holy Ghosts at the Berklee Performance Center.
Eve’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.” Critics hailed her recent Albert Herring at Curtis as “exuberant and delightful,” “a drawing room tour de force,” and declared “It is hard to imagine how the performance could have been improved. It was sensational.” Her style is naturalistic, 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, Eve’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 at 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. Eve has served as staff director and choreographer at many opera companies including Boston Lyric Opera, The Glimmerglass Festival, Des Moines Metro Opera, Opera Colorado, Tulsa Opera, Opera Saratoga, and Opera Boston.
Austin McWilliams | Conductor
Austin McWilliams, conductor and countertenor, strives to present compelling, intriguing music that is directly relevant to the communities in which it is performed.
He is the Associate Conductor and Director of Music Education at Opera Grand Rapids, where he acts as both chorus master and head of the contemporary opera series dedicated to marginalized communities. In 2022 he conducted the world premiere of Frances Pollock’s Stinney about George Stinney, a 14-year-old black boy who was wrongfully convicted and executed in 1944. Austin is also an Adjunct Professor of Choral Studies at Western Michigan University, where he conducts the university operas and choral ensembles and teaches several courses. He is the choir director at Fountain Street Church, a non-denominational, non-creedal institution that serves as a venue for radical speakers and ideologies, and is Co-Artistic Director of the Ad Astra Music Festival, a classical music festival in Russell, Kansas, known for its innovative and unique programming. In 2021 at Ad Astra he conducted the world premiere of Anna Pidgorna’s new opera Our Trudy about the life of a local art teacher. He is a faculty member at Missouri Scholars Academy, an annual, month-long governor’s school for gifted high school juniors in his native state. In 2019, Austin earned a Master of Music degree in choral conducting at WMU under Kimberly Dunn Adams. There he designed a recital on HIV/AIDS awareness in collaboration with several community organizations, and he earned the School of Music Graduate Award for Excellence in Teaching. Austin graduated in 2017 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a Bachelor of Science degree in computer engineering.
Jennie Judd Reyes | Mabel
An avid soloist and collaborator, Reyes enjoys a diverse career in performing early works, contemporary music, sacred repertoire, musical theatre, art song, and opera.
Past performances include Cunegonde in Berstein’s Candide, Mabel in the Pirates of Penzance (Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Company of Chicago), Proserpine in Charpentier’s La descente d’Orphée aux enfers, Maria in The Sound of Music (Shadblow Theatre), soloist with the Illinois Valley Symphony Orchestra, ensemble in NOAH and Miracle of Christmas (Sight & Sound Theatres) and is a member of the Holland Bach Society and Vox GR, a professional choral ensemble in Grand Rapids.
Ms. Reyes was a young artist at the Janiec Opera Company where she received the Linda Candler Award for Outstanding Opera Student. She is a proud alumna of The University of Michigan (M.M. in Vocal Performance) and Wheaton College (B.M. in Vocal Performance) where she studied with Carmen Pelton, David Daniels, and Carolyn Hart. She resides in Holland, Michigan with her husband Eric, where she teaches voice lessons to young singers.
Steven Condy | Major General Stanley
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.”
Renowned for his interpretation of Dr. Bartolo in Il barbiere di Siviglia, recently, 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, Portland Opera, Madison Opera, Opera Memphis, Virginia Opera, Sarasota Opera, and Austin Lyric Opera, among many others.
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, and most recently, Opera San Jose. 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.”
As a concert artist, Condy graces stages throughout the country earning critical acclaim. From his recent appearance as a soloist in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony 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.” Highlights of concert appearances include Handel’s Messiah with the Columbus Pro Musica Chamber Orchestra, Masterworks Chorus at Carnegie Hall, and La Orquesta Sinfónica del Principado de Asturias in Oviedo, Spain; 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 Mazatlan, Mexico.
This season, he will perform the role of Scarpia in Tosca with Opera Carolina, as well as Major General Stanley in The Pirates of Penzance with Opera Grand Rapids. He 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 also holds the position of Music Recruitment and Events Coordinator at Cairn University, where he also serves as adjunct faculty and co-director of Opera Theater.
Andrew Potter | The Pirate King
Andrew Potter, bass has garnered increasing demand across the country for his larger-than-life stage presence and voice to match.
Of his recent performance in L’elisir d’amore, Opera Today hailed, “With his huge, all‐encompassing bass voice and precise comic timing he nearly stole the show.”
This past season, Andrew has been one of the lucky ones to be able to continue to perform, in addition to a series of virtual concerts, he joined Opera Santa Barbara as the title role in Don Pasquale, Pacific Opera Project as Sam in Trouble in Tahiti, Southern Illinois Festival for Covid fan Tutte, Mid-Ohio Civic Opera for Mozart Great Mass in C Major, Tulsa Opera for Gianni Schicchi, Indianapolis Opera for Don Giovanni, and Eugene Opera for The Magic Flute.
Next, he will perform René, King of Provence in Iolanta with Pacific Opera Project, Sparafucile in Rigoletto with Opera Orlando, Simone in Gianni Schicchi and Sam in Trouble in Tahiti with Mid-Ohio Civic Opera, and Belcore in L’Elisir d’Amorewith Livermore Valley Opera. He will also make a debut with Seattle Opera in 2023.
Previous engagements have included Prince Gremin in Eugene Onegin with Livermore Valley Opera, Poo-Bah in Mikadowith Opera Grand Rapids, Sulpice in Daughter of the Regiment and Dr. Dulcamara in L’elisir d’amore with Winter Opera St. Louis, Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Fallen Giant with American Lyric Opera, The Bonze in Madama Butterflywith St. Petersburg Opera, Hunding in Die Walküre, Fafner in Das Rheingold and Colline in La bohème with Pittsburgh Festival Opera, Vodnik in Rusalka with Steamboat Opera, Osmin in Die Entführung with Opera Orlando, Colline in La bohème with Anchorage Opera and Indianapolis Opera, his Tulsa Opera début as The King in The Little Prince, Sarastro in The Magic Flute and Il Commendatore in Don Giovanni with Pacific Opera Project, the role of Death in the world premiére of Rick Sowash’s Death and the Everyman, Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte, and Escamillo in Carmen with Mid-Ohio Opera, and Simone in Gianni Schicchi, Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte and Ferrando in Il trovatore with Southern Illinois Music Festival.
Additionally, Andrew has performed across the country proficiently demonstrating the vocal power and sonority to sing such roles as Mephistopheles in Gounod’s Faust and Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte, the range and physicality to perform buffo roles like Don Bartolo in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte, Don Magnifico in Cenerentola; and the flexibility and agility to sing challenging Handelian roles including Zoroastro in Orlando, Ariodate in Serse, and Argante inRinaldo.
With years of studying under renowned teachers such as Rick Christman, Braeden Harris, and Kenneth Shaw; Andrew became a standout in mainstage roles at several of the nation’s most prestigious Young Artist programs such as Des Moines Metro Opera, St. Petersburg Emerging Artist Program, and the Tyler Young Artist Program.
Branden Hood | Samuel
This past summer worked with Michigan Opera Theatre as the Vocal Coach for the Teen Opera Remix and is also a lecturer at Wayne State University. He has worked with The Lyric Opera Studio of Weimar, Germany on scholarship to perform Count Almaviva in The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni in Don Giovanni, and Falstaff in The Merry Wives of Windsor. He has also performed with Detroit’s own OperaModo as Ford in Falstaff, John Sorel in The Consul, and as Barnaba in La Gioconda.
Mr. Hood has performed with MOT: Community Programs in I Too Sing America, and Pizza con Funghi. In 2014, he received The Angel Scholarship from MOT to attend AIMS in Graz, Austria. He was awarded The Encouragement Awarded in 2010 during the Metropolitan Opera National Council Audition: Michigan District and The Mario LanzaFoundation. He has been a young artist at The Pine Music Festival, The Martina Arroyo Foundation, Dayton Opera and Opera Saratoga. And received the Presser Award during his undergrad at The Boston Conservatory and attended The University of Michigan receiving his Masters and Special Degrees.
Drake Dantzler | Frederic
Drake Dantzler is a frequent performer of opera, oratorio and song.
Mr. Dantzler was hailed in Opera News as “a real find: he has a voice of molten silver, immaculate musicianship and an expressive stage persona.” Mr. Dantzler appears across the country as a leading tenor in operatic roles such as Rodolfo, Almaviva, Alfredo, Tamino, Ernesto, Don Ottavio, and Gérard in Lakmé amongst others. He has performed with companies such as Opera Grand Rapids, Toledo Opera, Central City Opera, Des Moines Opera, Union Avenue Opera, Opera Theater of the Rockies, and others. Mr. Dantzler is an active promoter and performer of operetta, and he has extensively appeared across the country. Roles range from standards such as Frederick from The Pirates of Penzance,Nanki-Poo from The Mikado, Camille from The Merry Widow, and Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus, too less frequently seen roles like Verrada from Sousa’s El Capitan, Duke of Dunstable from Patience, and Count René in Lehar’s The Count of Luxembourg.
Concert engagements for Mr. Dantzler include numerous appearances as the tenor soloist in Handel’s Messiah with organizations across the country. His concert repertoire spans The Creation, Carmina Burana, the Britten Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings, the Mozart Requiem, the Evangelist in Bach’s St. Matthew’s Passion, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, and many other concert works. As a cross over artist, Mr. Dantzler appears with orchestras in Rodgers and Hammerstein galas.
Mr. Dantzler has presented recitals and master classes across the United States, with particular emphasis on modern musical programs, and he has presented research on voice science at academic conferences across the United States and Europe. Mr. Dantzler is on faculty at Oakland University where he teaches classical and contemporary voice, voice science, and directs the opera studies program.
Trent Broussard | Sergeant of Police
Baritone Trent Broussard is a native of Arkansas and studied vocal music at Arkansas State University earning his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees.
Trent studied voice with David Niederbrach for six years and for the past fourteen years has studied privately with Nicholas Loren. Trent was a finalist for the Northeast Arkansas Symphony Young Artist Competition in 1991 and for the Nicholas Loren Vocal Competition in 2009 and 2010. Trent has appeared with Opera Grand Rapids as the Mandarin in Turandot, in Stinney: An American Execution, as the Marquis in La Traviata, the Herald in Rigoletto, and as Ruder in The Student Prince. He also has numerous appearances with the OGR Chorus. Trent regularly performs with the West Michigan Opera Project having sung Figaro in The Marriage of Figaro, Olin Blitch in Susannah, and The Bonze in Madama Butterfly. Oratorio work has included Handel’s Messiah with the Delta Symphony, Mozart’s Requiem with the Holland Chorale, and Rossini’s Stabat Mater with the Holland Chorale and Opera Grand Rapids. Trent is both an educator and a church musician. He holds a Doctor of Educational Ministry degree from Southern Seminary and is currently pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in Church Music and Worship from Southwestern Seminary. After a 26-year career in education and church music in Holland, Michigan, Trent recently joined faculty of Williams Baptist University in Walnut Ridge, Arkansas as Director of Choral Activities.
Alexandra Galla | Edith
Alexandra Galla, mezzo-soprano, is thrilled to be singing with Opera Grand Rapids for the 2022-23 season.
A native of Traverse City, Alexandra has been performing with Opera Grand Rapids for three seasons as a chorus member in Turandot (2022), Don Giovanni (2021), La Traviata (2019), and The Magic Flute (2018). In 2019 she made her debut as Pitti-Sing in the company’s production of The Mikado and would go on to perform the role of Female Soloist 6 in their world premiere production of Stinney: An American Execution (2022). In 2018, she was the winner of Opera Grand Rapids’ Collegiate Vocal Competition. Alexandra is a graduate of Western Michigan University’s School of Music (2018), and with the university performed roles in a variety of operatic productions including Le Nozze di Figaro, The Beautiful Bridegroom, and An Embarrassing Position. Alexandra also has solo experience in sacred works including Verdi’s Magnificat and Bach’s St. Matthew Passion and cantatas 4 & 112. Alexandra now works full-time on the Opera Grand Rapids staff as the Box Office and Development Manager.
Lily Belle Czartorski | Kate
Lily Belle is an award winning, highly sought-after musician and performer.
She is known to create unforgettable, outside of the box performances. (You should check out her Carmen on Roller Skates). Czartorski has captivated audiences spanning Opera, Musical Theater, and jazz. In addition to performances with Michigan Opera Theater and The Ad Astra Festival in Russel Kansas, she embarked in several engagements with the Ringwald Theater in Ferndale, Michigan. The All-encompassing musician’s recent engagements include being a featured soloist on a jazz album with the Scott Gwinell Jazz orchestra, as well Detroit Opera’s production ofLa Bohème. Lily Belle’s thrilling performances have landed her great success with vocal competitions. She was a semi-finalist in the 2021 American Pops Orchestra Finding the Voices of Tomorrow National Vocal Competition, placed third and won the audience choice award in the Opera Grand Rapids National Collegiate Vocal Competition (2020), placed second in the Charleston International Competition (2020), winner of the Oakland Symphony Orchestra Concerto and Aria Competition (2019) and winner of the rising stars category of the Opera Modo Detroit Aria Competition (2018).
Lily Belle is thrilled to return to Opera Grand Rapids following her recent role as Barbara Thames in OGR’s world premiere production of Stinney: An American Execution (January 2022) and Elder Constance in Matthew Aucoin’s Second Nature (April 2021).
Lily Belle attended Oakland University in Rochester, MI for degrees in both Vocal Performance and Music Education. There, she appeared in the roles of Mere Marie (Dialogues Des Carmelites), Anna Marrant (Street Scene), Nancy (Martha) and First Lady (Die Zauberflöte).
Her upcoming engagements include Mahler 2nd with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the role of Grandma in Little Red with Detroit Opera.
Avalon Cutts-Jones | Isabel
A Grand Rapids, MI native who comes from two musical families.
Her predecessors made their mark in the gospel music industry through quartet groups such as The Wings of Faith Jrs, The Pilgrim Wonders, and The Pilgrim Angels, and the Wonder Boyz. Under their influence her love for music was birthed. Fueled by that passion she’s had the opportunity to travel the world as a background vocalist for both local and world-renowned artist such as Marvin Sapp, Maurice Griffin, Bill Moss, Robert Hawkins, and Debra Perry and Majestic Praise.
Avalon is known for her vocal versatility performing different genres such as R&B, gospel, neo-soul, and classical. She has appeared on “The Word Network” as well as “The Bobby Jones Gospel” show with Detroit native Jon Plair. She has been a guest soloist at the GrandJazzfest with The Isaac Norris Project. In 2018, her voice could be heard in the role of Rosa Parks in Douglas Tappin’s I Dream with both Toledo Opera and Opera Carolina. She returned in this role in the 2021 production as well. Avalon has had the privilege of touring through Spain and Portugal on the “Oh Happy Day Tour” with the Alabama Gospel Choir as a featured soloist in 2017 and 2019. Receiving her Bachelor’s degree as a vocal performance major at Grand Valley State University, Avalon has had the opportunity to be the special music for the 2019 commencement ceremony at Van Andel Arena as well as the Inauguration of GVSU’s first female President Philomena V. Mantella. She is a regular ‘young artist’ feature with Opera Grand Rapids and had her first role playing Elizabeth in the Matthew Aucoin opera, Second Nature. Most recently Avalon was part part of the cast of Stinney: An American Execution. The Summer of 2021 Avalon wrote and released her first single Clap it Up, an inspirational energetic song about self-confidence and celebration. A second single Lovin’ You is a great R&B groove that is sure to have you bobbing your head. Her latest single Wanna Be Close is making waves and gaining traction as a smooth neo-soul hit. Each can be purchased and downloaded on all digital platforms.
Avalon not only loves different styles of music, she also loves the different aspects of the craft. Whether it’s behind the scene writing and arranging lyrics, creating harmonies, or being comfortable with lead vocals she is right at home. Growing up as a choir director as a teen, she is known to teach and coach in both live and studio performance settings. “Doesn’t matter if it’s church, nightlife, or theater, from the small store front to the large stadium: ‘I just love to sing”.
Avalon Cutts-Jones Music can be found performing throughout the Midwest. Performances, news, and upcoming dates can be found on her website www.avcjmusic.com and all social media outlets. ‘A choir girl with quartet roots who loves jazz harmonies while performing classical with a neo-soul vibe, meet Avalon.’
Diane Schoff | Ruth
Diane Rae Schoff, Mezzo-Soprano, is a regular character on stages around the Midwest.
In 2022, she returns to Opera Grand Rapids as one of her very favorite characters, Ruth, in their production of The Pirates of Penzance. Ms. Schoff returned to the newly named Detroit Opera (formerly Michigan Opera Theater) for their 21/22 season in their revival of the Original production of Frida and in Bliss at the historic Michigan Building Parking Garage, where singers and instrumentalists played and sang the same glorious 3 minutes of music from the end of Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro for 12 hours. In 2020, Ms. Schoff was honored to join Detroit Opera for her role debut of Zita in their production of Gianni Schicci. During her time in Michigan, having found an artistic home at Detroit Opera, Ms. Schoff has performed many roles including, the 2nd maid in Elektra, Natalia Trotsky in Frida, The 2nd Lady in Die Zauberflote and Aunt Cecilia in Little Women. Recent performances in surrounding areas include joining Opera Grand Rapids as Katisha in their production of The Mikado and Toledo Opera as the 3rd Lady in The Magic Flute and the Old Baroness in Vanessa. Ms. Schoff received high praise for her company and role debut with Opera Carolina as Marcellina in their 2017 production of Le Nozze di Figaro. Opera News said, “It would be hard to imagine a better portrayal of Marcellina, both physically and vocally than that of Diane Schoff.” Opera Carolina has hosted Ms. Schoff on many occasions delighting audiences with her “look that could drop a horse at 50 feet” (Toledo Blade) as The Duchess of Crackenthorpe in La Fille du Regiment and as Mme Larina in Eugene Onegin. Ms. Schoff can often be heard and seen in the Opera in the Parks with Detroit Opera’s outreach concerts and at Spirit Plaza. An avid performer of concert, oratorio, and classical works with orchestra, she recently debuted with Orchestra Sono as the alto soloist in Haydn’s Lord Nelson mass and the Schubert mass in G. Diane holds the honor of being a National Semifinalist in the Metropolitan Opera Competition, and is a graduate of the world renowned San Francisco Opera’s Merola apprentice program.
Scenery designed by Robert Little
Set constructed and provided by Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre
Costumes designed by Glenn Avery Breed
Costumes provided by Wardrobe Witchery