Midwest Premiere

About The Opera

A suspenseful world premiere thriller, set against the gaslit and bloody backdrop of Victorian London.


Midwest Premiere

Music by Kevin Puts & Libretto by Mark Campbell

Directed by David Schweizer

Based on the book by Peter Ackroyd


On trial for her husband’s murder, Elizabeth weaves the story of her days in an English music hall, the people she meets, and the grisly slayings that begin not long after she joins the troupe. Her trial is complicated by the discovery of her husband’s diary and the shocking details within. Historical luminaries like George Gissing, Den Leno, and Karl Marx all make appearances in this dark and thrilling world premiere.

The Trial of Elizabeth CreeThe opera is based on the novel, The Trial of Elizabeth Cree by Peter Ackroyd, the famed English novelist and biographer of everyone from Charles Dickens to Alfred Hitchcock. A prolific writer, he’s presented BBC documentaries on London and Dickens and is a Commander of the Order of the British Empire. The story, inspired by the killings of Jack the Ripper, was published under the title Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem in 1994. A film version released under the title The Limehouse Golem in 2016, starring Bill Nighy and Olivia Cooke as Elizabeth Cree.

Kevin Puts and Mark Campbell are frequent collaborators. Together, they won a Pulitzer Prize for Silent Night, which had its premiere in 2012 with co-producer Opera Philadelphia. Puts will premiere a brand new opera written for Renee Fleming this Fall, and Cree is one of Campbell’s five new operas premiering in 2017. Performed in English with English supertitles.

Kevin Puts

 

Winner of numerous prestigious awards, including the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for his debut opera Silent Night, Kevin Puts’s works have been commissioned, performed, and recorded by leading ensembles, and soloists throughout the world, including Yo-Yo Ma, Jeffrey Kahane, Dame Evelyn Glennie, the New York Philharmonic, the Tonhalle Orchester (Zurich), the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Miro Quartet, and the symphony orchestras of Baltimore, Cincinnati, Detroit, Atlanta, Colorado, Houston, Fort Worth, St. Louis, and Minnesota. His newest orchestral work, The City, was co-commissioned by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in honor of its 100th anniversary and by Carnegie Hall in honor of its 125th anniversary. His new vocal work Letters From Georgia, written for Soprano Renée Fleming and orchestra and based on the personal letters of Georgia O’Keeffe, had its world premiere in New York in Fall 2016, and his first chamber opera, an adaptation of Peter Ackroyd’s gothic novel The Trial of Elizabeth Cree commissioned by Opera Philadelphia will have its world premiere in 2017, followed by performances with Chicago Opera Theater in February 2018.

Silent Night, commissioned and premiered in November 2011 by Minnesota Opera and co-produced by Opera Philadelphia, has been produced at Fort Worth Opera, Cincinnati Opera, the Wexford Opera Festival, Calgary Opera, Montreal Opera, the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Atlanta Opera, Opera San Jose, and Michigan Opera Theatre. In 2013, his choral works To Touch The Sky and If I Were A Swan were performed and recorded by Conspirare. His second opera, also commissioned by Minnesota Opera, The Manchurian Candidate, based on the novel, had its world premiere in 2015. 

A former Composer-in-Residence of Young Concerts Artists, he is currently a member of the composition department at the Peabody Institute and the Director of the Minnesota Orchestra Composer’s Institute.

 

Mark Campbell

Mark Campbell’s work as a librettist is at the forefront of this country’s current boon in contemporary opera. The fifteen plus librettos he has written—and the five new operas he premieres in 2017—demonstrate a versatility in subject matter, style, and tone, an adeptness at creating successful work for both large and intimate venues. The composers with whom he collaborates represent a roster of the most eminent composers in classical music, and include three Pulitzer Prize winners.

Mark’s most known work is Silent Night, which received the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in Music and is one of the most frequently performed operas in recent history. After its premiere at Minnesota Opera, the work was broadcast on PBS’ Great Performances and continues to be produced by many opera companies around the country. His other successful operas include As OneLater the Same EveningVolponeBastianello/LucreziaManchurian Candidate, The InspectorApproaching AliA Letter to East 11th Street, and most recently, The Shining

Mark has received many other prestigious prizes for his work, including a Grammy® nomination for Best Classical Recording, the first Kleban Foundation Award for Lyricist, two Richard Rodgers Awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, three Drama Desk nominations, a Jonathan Larson Foundation Award, a New York Foundation for the Arts Playwriting Fellowship, the first Dominic J. Pelliciotti Award, and a grant from the New York State Council of the Arts. 

As a musical theatre lyricist, Mark penned all of the lyrics for Songs from an Unmade Bed, a theatrical song cycle with music by eighteen composers that premiered at New York Theatre Workshop and has since been produced in many venues around the world. Other successful musicals include SplendoraThe Audience, and Chang & Eng

Mark is also an advocate for contemporary American opera and mentors future generations of writers through such organizations as American Opera Projects, American Lyric Theatre, the University of Colorado's New Opera Workshop, Washington National Opera’s American Opera Initiative and Opera Philadelphia's Composer-in-Residence Program.

Upcoming premieres in 2017 include: Elizabeth Cree for Opera Philadelphia (Kevin Puts, composer), Dinner at Eight for Minnesota Opera (William Bolcom, composer), Some Light Emerges for Houston Grand Opera (Laura Kaminsky, composer; Kimberly Reed, co-librettist), The Nefarious, Immoral but Highly Profitable Enterprise of Mr. Burke and Mr. Hare for Boston Lyric Opera (Julian Grant, composer) and The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs for Santa Fe Opera (Mason Bates, composer).

Artists

Katherine Pracht

Elizabeth Cree

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In 2016-17, Mezzo-soprano Katherine Pracht made her Kennedy Center debut as soloist in Philip Glass' Symphony No. 5 with the Washington Chorus. She also sang the US premiere of Richard Wernick's"...and a Time for Peace" with Leon Botstein and the American Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, and created several roles in workshops of new operas: Florence Williams in Susan Kander’s The News From Poems, Hester Prynne in Eric Sawyer'sThe Scarlet Professor, and Evein Julian Wachner and Cerise Jacobs’ Rev 23 for the Prototype Festival. Additionally, Ms. Pracht performed Bernstein’s Arias and Barcarolles accompanied by Bright Sheng and Michael Barrett for The Intimacy of Creativity 2017 Festival in Hong Kong. Upcoming engagements include the workshop and main stage cover of the role of Glenda in Opera Philadelphia's world premiere of We Shall Not Be Moved by Daniel Bernard Roumain, a reprisal of Philip Glass' Symphony No. 5 for Trinity Wall Street, Sergey Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky with the York Symphony, the title role in Elizabeth Cree with Chicago Opera Theater, as well as Stravinsky’s Requiem Canticles with The Orchestra NOW at Bard under the baton of Leon Botstein.

In the 2014-15 season, Pracht made role debuts as Sharon Falconer in Elmer Gantry with Florentine Opera; Ariel in the World Premiere of Joseph Summer’s The Tempest for The Shakespeare Concerts in Boston; and Flora Bervoix in Opera Philadelphia’s La Traviata. She covered the role of Baroness “Nica” in Daniel Schnyder’s Charlie Parker’s YARDBIRD commissioned for Opera Philadelphia; and was the Alto Soloist in Verdi's Requiem in Florence, South Carolina; Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde with the York Symphony; and Lieberson’s Neruda Songswith Grand Rapids Symphony. Highlights from previous seasons include Ms. Pracht’s Carnegie Hall debut as Alto Soloist in Verdi's Requiem; Der Trommler in Der Kaiser von Atlantis for Central City Opera with the Colorado Symphony; two concerts with the Georgia Symphony Orchestra and Chorus singing John Corigliano’s Fern Hill and Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky; her international/Radio France debut singing Dorabella in Cosi fan tutte with Lyrique-en-mer Festival in Belle-ile; and her Avery Fisher Hall debut in Schumann’s Scenes from Goethe’s Faust with the American Symphony Orchestra.  Ms. Pracht has been a Metropolitan Opera Competition Regional finalist in San Antonio, Memphis, and twice in Minneapolis, where, in 2006, she won the Outstanding Mezzo Award. 

Kevin Puts

Composer

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Winner of numerous prestigious awards, including the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for his debut opera Silent Night, Kevin Puts’s works have been commissioned, performed, and recorded by leading ensembles, and soloists throughout the world, including Yo-Yo Ma, Jeffrey Kahane, Dame Evelyn Glennie, the New York Philharmonic, the Tonhalle Orchester (Zurich), the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Miro Quartet, and the symphony orchestras of Baltimore, Cincinnati, Detroit, Atlanta, Colorado, Houston, Fort Worth, St. Louis, and Minnesota. His newest orchestral work, The City, was co-commissioned by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in honor of its 100th anniversary and by Carnegie Hall in honor of its 125th anniversary. His new vocal work Letters From Georgia, written for Soprano Renée Fleming and orchestra and based on the personal letters of Georgia O’Keeffe, had its world premiere in New York in Fall 2016, and his first chamber opera, an adaptation of Peter Ackroyd’s gothic novel The Trial of Elizabeth Cree commissioned by Opera Philadelphia will have its world premiere in 2017, followed by performances with Chicago Opera Theater in February 2018.

Silent Night, commissioned and premiered in November 2011 by Minnesota Opera and co-produced by Opera Philadelphia, has been produced at Fort Worth Opera, Cincinnati Opera, the Wexford Opera Festival, Calgary Opera, Montreal Opera, the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Atlanta Opera, Opera San Jose, and Michigan Opera Theatre. In 2013, his choral works To Touch The Sky and If I Were A Swan were performed and recorded by Conspirare. His second opera, also commissioned by Minnesota Opera, The Manchurian Candidate, based on the novel, had its world premiere in 2015. 

A former Composer-in-Residence of Young Concerts Artists, he is currently a member of the composition department at the Peabody Institute and the Director of the Minnesota Orchestra Composer’s Institute.

Mark Campbell

Librettist

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Mark Campbell’s work as a librettist is at the forefront of this country’s current boon in contemporary opera. The fifteen plus librettos he has written—and the five new operas he premieres in 2017—demonstrate a versatility in subject matter, style, and tone, an adeptness at creating successful work for both large and intimate venues. The composers with whom he collaborates represent a roster of the most eminent composers in classical music, and include three Pulitzer Prize winners.

Mark’s most known work is Silent Night, which received the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in Music and is one of the most frequently performed operas in recent history. After its premiere at Minnesota Opera, the work was broadcast on PBS’ Great Performances and continues to be produced by many opera companies around the country. His other successful operas include As OneLater the Same EveningVolponeBastianello/LucreziaManchurian Candidate, The InspectorApproaching AliA Letter to East 11th Street, and most recently, The Shining

Mark has received many other prestigious prizes for his work, including a Grammy® nomination for Best Classical Recording, the first Kleban Foundation Award for Lyricist, two Richard Rodgers Awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, three Drama Desk nominations, a Jonathan Larson Foundation Award, a New York Foundation for the Arts Playwriting Fellowship, the first Dominic J. Pelliciotti Award, and a grant from the New York State Council of the Arts. 

As a musical theatre lyricist, Mark penned all of the lyrics for Songs from an Unmade Bed, a theatrical song cycle with music by eighteen composers that premiered at New York Theatre Workshop and has since been produced in many venues around the world. Other successful musicals include SplendoraThe Audience, and Chang & Eng

Mark is also an advocate for contemporary American opera and mentors future generations of writers through such organizations as American Opera Projects, American Lyric Theatre, the University of Colorado's New Opera Workshop, Washington National Opera’s American Opera Initiative and Opera Philadelphia's Composer-in-Residence Program.

Upcoming premieres in 2017 include: Elizabeth Cree for Opera Philadelphia (Kevin Puts, composer), Dinner at Eight for Minnesota Opera (William Bolcom, composer), Some Light Emerges for Houston Grand Opera (Laura Kaminsky, composer; Kimberly Reed, co-librettist), The Nefarious, Immoral but Highly Profitable Enterprise of Mr. Burke and Mr. Hare for Boston Lyric Opera (Julian Grant, composer) and The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs for Santa Fe Opera (Mason Bates, composer).

David Schweizer

Director

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David Schweizer emerged from Yale Drama School to make his New York debut at the age of twenty-four at Lincoln Center opening the brand new Mitzi Newhouse Theater with his radical version of Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida for producer Joseph Papp. And, some decades later, he returned to Lincoln Center with his acclaimed staging of Richard Rodney Bennett’s opera The Mines Of Sulphur for the New York City Opera. Over the years he has always directed a vastly eclectic mix of theatrically innovative work in a wide range of styles and venues. Early career highlights include world premiere productions by such playwrights as Sam Shepard, Michael Weller, Albert Innaurato, Maria Irene Fornes, Len Jenkin, Ronald Tavel, Austin Pendleton, and many others in New York City. More recent work off-Broadway/ Charles Mee’s Wintertime at Second Stage, William Hamilton’s White Chocolate at Century Playhouse, Mark Campbells Songs From An Unmade Bed at the New York Theater Workshop and his critically-acclaimed collaborations with composer/performer Rinde Eckert, And God Created Great Whales (OBIE Award) and Horizon (Lucille Lortel Award). His extensive work in both new and “old” opera theater includes Benjamin Britten’s Albert Herring (Gotham Opera) Stephen Hartke’s The Greater Good (Glimmerglass Festival) several notable Verdi productions- Macbetto at Boston Lyric Opera and Giovnna D’arco at Chicago Opera Theater. His production of Victory Ullmann’s The Emperor Of Atlantis in Boston was a ten best of the year NY Times pick. His many works for the innovative Long Beach Opera include Thomas Ades Powder Her Face, Michael Nymann’s The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat, Antonio Vivaldi’s Montezuma and many others. He has directed extensively at most prominent regional and international theaters including Arena Stage, Trinity Rep, Yale Rep, The Mark Taper  Forum, Geffen Playhouse,  Children’s Theater Company (Minneapolis), Magic Theater, and Center Stage (Baltimore) where his new production of  Tony Kushner and Jeanine Tesori’s Caroline Or Change and Melanie Marnich’s These Shining Lives (world premiere) are notable among his many shows there. Numerous international residences in Warsaw, Krakow, Lisbon, Hamburg, London (his own adaptation of Platos Symposium at the ICA) Stockholm (a tour of his collaboration with Theatre X, Foucalt’s A HISTORY OF SEXUALITY) and Toga Village, Japan. Schweizer’s work with performance and solo artists includes Ann Magnuson (You Could Be Home Now, Rave Mom in New York and LA) Sandra Tsing Loh (Aliens In America, Sugar Plum Fairy LA and touring) John Fleck, Carmelita Tropicana, Mark Wolf and most recently Marga Gomez (Los Big Names in NYC and Love Birds in San Francisco) and Mike Albo.

Geoffrey McDonald

Conductor

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Geoffrey McDonald commands a broad repertoire with extensive experience in operatic, symphonic, and choral conducting. Hailed by The Philadelphia Inquirer as a “promising and confident” member of the new generation of American conductors, Maestro McDonald is consistently praised for his musicality and versatility on the podium. The New York Times describes him as “an agile conductor…whose pacing is sure in both reflective and restless passages," and the New York Observer praises his "original and flexible musical imagination."

As Music Director of New York City's On Site Opera, Geoffrey’s passion for promoting new or neglected pieces with fresh and innovative presentations was evidenced in the critically-acclaimed, immersive production of Paisiello’s Barbiere di Siviglia in the summer of 2015. Of the production, Opera News wrote “McDonald led with brio and admirable ensemble,” while the New York Times noted “Geoffrey McDonald, drew stylish, nimble playing.” In past seasons, Maestro McDonald led productions of Handel's Orlando and Alcina, partnering with stage director R.B. Schlather to create inventive art-installation-opera. The New York Observer stated “Conductor Geoffrey McDonald repeated the miracle of nuanced coordination between orchestra and singers he recently accomplished with Orlando downtown.”

In the 2016-2017 season, Geoffrey appears as a guest conductor with The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, and will be joined by the renowned International Contemporary Ensemble in On Site Opera's production of Milhaud's La Mere Coupable. He will be conducting workshops and performances with Opera Philadelphia and National Sawdust, and will lead On Site's/Atlanta Opera's co-production of Mozart's La Finta Giardiniera. In Europe, he has been invited to make his German theater debut with Theater und Orchester Neubrandenburg/Neustrelitz for their production of Kálmán's Csardasfürstin, and invited to guest conduct Smetana's Ma Vlast with the West Bohemian Symphony Orchestra in Prague.

Richard Troxell

Dan Leno

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Richard Troxell’s beautiful lyric tenor voice has been thrilling audiences in leading roles in opera houses and on concert stages around the world, among them, The Metropolitan Opera,  Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Los Angeles Opera, Washington Opera, Houston Grand Opera, San Diego Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Opera Australia in Sydney, Teatro Petruzzelli di Bari, L’Opéra Comique Paris, Opéra Monte Carlo, Théâtre du Capitôle de Toulouse, Opéra National de Montpellier, Vancouver Opera, Opéra de Montréal, Teatro de la Maestranza de Sevilla, Teatro del Lago Chile, National Theater for the Performing Arts Beijing, National Theater Taipei, Boston Lyric Opera, Opera Philadelphia , and the Portland Opera. His vocal artistry and powerful stage presence set him apart, and his ability to connect with audiences have made him a favorite. Mr. Troxell’s star turn as Lieutenant B.F. Pinkerton in the award winning Sony film Madame Buttterfly, presented by Martin Scorcese, received high praise following its premiere in Paris and the U.S. in 1996. 

Christopher Burchett

John Cree

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Christopher Burchett’s rich, no-holds-barred voice and committed stagecraft have earned him a place on the stages of opera companies throughout the United States and Europe including New York City Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, the Estates Theatre, The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, BBC Orchestra at the Barbican Centre, Fort Worth Opera, The Holland Festival, Palm Beach Opera, Beth Morrison Projects, Opera Orchestra of New York, Virginia Opera, Prototype Festival, Opera Omaha, Opera Saratoga, Eugene Opera, Indianapolis Opera, Kentucky Opera, Glimmerglass Opera and Opera Theatre of St. Louis. Most recently, Opera News described Christopher as a “fearlessly vulnerable” performer “who gave an unflinchingly, heroically human performance that will linger long in the memory.” This is his debut with Chicago Opera Theater.

Levi Hernandez

Inspector Kildare

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With a velvety tone and a stage presence which exudes confidence and charm, baritone Levi Hernandez is gaining momentum as a sought after artist on the operatic stage. Mark Thomson Ketterson of Opera News declared of his principal debut with Lyric Opera of Chicago as Dandini in La cenerentola,“Young baritone Levi Hernandez’s intelligent Dandini displayed a most impressive knack for subtle text-painting within a pristinely negotiated coloratura line…” Recently, the El Paso native made his Houston Grand Opera debut as Sharpless in Madama Butterfly next to Ana Maria Martinez and Joseph Calleja. He also joined the rosters of San Francisco Opera and the Metropolitan Opera in their productions of Puccini’s Il trittico and Fanciulla del West.  Last season saw his debut with Arizona Opera as Alvaro in Florencia en el Amazonas and returns to Opera Omaha as Sonora in La fanciulla del West, Opera Roanoke as Germont in La traviata, Opera Theatre of St. Louis as the Music Master in Ariadne auf Naxos, Germont in La Traviata with the Shippensburg Festival, and Guglielmo/Remigio Le villi/ La Navarraise at Bard Music Festival. Additionally, he joined the Choral Society of El Paso for Handel’s Messiah

Stacey Tappan

Aveline Mortimer

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Stacey Tappan continues to distinguish herself as a world-class musical artist. In stellar reviews for her "witty and sexy" Adele in Die Fledermaus with the Glyndebourne Festival Opera, she was praised for the production's "most polished singing... her coloratura bright and well-focused." In 2008 she made her French debut with Opéra de Lille as Gilda in Rigoletto, which she reprised with the Opéra de Dijon in 2010. Other recent engagements include Adina in L'elisir d'amore and Despina in Così fan tutte with the Jacksonville Symphony, Woglinde and the Woodbird in the Ring Cycle with Los Angeles Opera, and a return to Lyric Opera of Chicago for multiple roles in Strauss' Die Frau ohne Schatten, covering Cleopatra in Handel's Giulio Cesare and the title role in Lulu, and singing the role of Nannetta in Verdi's Falstaff

Heralded for her "breakthrough performance" as Bella in Lyric Opera of Chicago's production of Sir Michael Tippett's The Midsummer Marriage, Ms. Tappan also has appeared with the Lyric Opera as the Woodbird and Woglinde in Wagner's Ring Cycle, the Charmeuse in Thaïs, First Esquire in Parsifal and Papagena in the student matinees of Die Zauberflöte. While with the Lyric Opera Center for American Artists, she "turned heads throughout operatic America" and "emerged as a real star" as Isis in the world premiere of Michael John LaChiusa's Lovers and Friends: Chautauqua Variations.  

David Govertsen

Uncle

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Chicago native David Govertsen appeared last season at Lyric Opera of Chicago as Sprecher in Die Zauberflöte and King Priam in Les Troyens.  He recently appeared at Santa Fe Opera as Frank in Die Fledermaus, and he created the role of Stoever in Stewart Copeland’s The Invention of Morel for Chicago Opera Theater. As a concert soloist Mr. Govertsen has performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Madison Symphony Orchestra, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Grant Park Symphony, Santa Fe Symphony and Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival among many others.  He made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2011 as the Herald in Otello with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by Riccardo Muti.  He is an alumnus of both the Santa Fe Opera and Central City Opera apprentice programs and holds degrees from Northwestern University, Northern Illinois University and the College of DuPage.  

 

Jasson Ferrante

Little Victor

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Opera News praises tenor Jason Ferrante for “singing up a stylish storm” and for getting “the gold star for trills” and the Berkshire Eagle says he “seems to brighten every stage he mounts” This season, Ferrante debuts with North Carolina Opera as Triquet in Eugene Onegin, returns to the Sarasota Choral Society as the Tenor Soloist in Messiah, joins the Traverse Symphony as the tenor soloist in Haydn's Mass in C and tours to several Young Artists Programs and Universities to give masterclasses and vocal instruction. Future engagements include a return to the stage at Arizona Opera in his most frequently performed role, Goro in Madama Butterfly. Ferrante holds both Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from The Juilliard School where he held the Alice Tully Voice Scholarship and his professional training includes two summers at Wolf Trap where he was a two-time recipient of a Shouse Grant, three summers at the Aspen Music Festival, and two summers at Tanglewood. His primary vocal studies were with legendary vocal pedagogue Beverley Peck Johnson with additional studies with Rita Shane, Phyllis Curtin and Cynthia Hoffmann. The Baltimore native currently resides in Miami, FL.

Bill McMurray

Greatorex, etc.

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With more than thirty operatic roles to his credit, baritone Bill McMurray has been described as, “a baritone with warm, rich tones and superb stage presence” by the Durham Herald Sun. Such roles include “Figaro” in Il baribiere di Sivigila, “Count Almaviva” in Le nozze di Figaro, “Marcello” in La Boheme and “Escamillo” in Carmen. Bill sang the lead role of “Prospero” in Lee Hoiby’s The Tempest with Longleaf Opera in NC, while the composer himself was in attendance and received outstanding reviews for his performance. He has sung with noted companies like Florida Grand Opera, Opera North, Knoxville Opera, The Opera Company of NC, Mobile Opera, Opera Carolina, Central City Opera, Chicago Opera Theater, Opera on the James and Elgin Opera. Mr. McMurray has also performed several times with the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s “Opera in the Neighborhoods. In 2013 Bill sang the lead role in the Chicago premiere of Der Kaisser von Atlantis at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion with the New Millennium Orchestra. As a concert soloist Bill has found success in oratorio works such as The Messiah, which he recently recorded on CD, Elijah and the Mozart Requiem. He recently made debuts with the Chicago Civic Orchestra, where he performed a set of Aaron Copland's Old American Songs, and the Northwest Indiana Symphony in a concert version of Porgy and Bess. Other engagements include Jake in Skylight Opera Theater's Porgy and Bess, the role of Dr. Dulcamara in l'elisir d'amore with Summer Garden Opera in Virginia, solo performances with the Ravinia Festival and Skokie Valley Symphony. Bill also sings regularly with the Grammy award winning Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus where has been a featured soloist. 

Vince Wallace

Mr. Lister, etc.

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A native of St. Louis, Missouri, young American bass-baritone Vince Wallace, is a versatile performer with broad performing experience ranging from skilled ensemble performances to a variety of solo roles and orchestral appearances.  Currently based in Chicago, Mr. Wallace has appeared regularly with the Lyric Opera of Chicago since 2008; as a member of the ensemble, and as the Usher in Rigoletto. For the 2008/2009 season, Vince performed with ebothe the Lyric Opera of Chicago and San Fransisco Opera productions of Porgy & Bess in the ensemble; covering and going on to perform a small role with Lyric. He has performed with the Grammy Award-winning Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in several programs including their recent live rendering of the scores to The Lord of the Rings at the Ravinia Festival. Locally, he also performs the Grant Park Music Festival, William Ferris Chorale, Lakeside Singers, Bella Voce, and numerous churches in the area.

Previous work includes the title role in Le nozze di Figaro as a part of Martina Arroyo’s Prelude to Performance, Superintendent Budd in Benjamin Britten’s Albert Herring, Bartolo in Le nozze di Figaro, Balthazar in Amahl and the Night Visitors, the Jailor in Tosca with the Opera Company of Philadelphia, Benoit and Alcindoro in La boheme, both Leporello and the Commandatore in Don Giovanni with American Chamber Orchestra, The King in The King & I, Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, and Uncle Max in The Sound of Music.  Solo orchestral performances include appearances as Pilatus in the St. John Passion and Judas in St. Mathew Passion.

Jonathan Weyant

Priest, etc.

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Tenor Jonathan Weyant recently made his solo debut with Chicago Opera Theater in their production of Frank Martin’s Le Vin Herbé (The Love Potion) during their 2016/17 season. This season he was also seen in Purcell’s The Fairy Queen, a production performed first in Chicago with COT and later in California with the Long Beach Opera. Last year he was seen in Mozart's Lucio Silla with COT. This spring he sang The Evangelist in Bob Chilcott’s St. John Passion and debuted his first Bach St. John Passion aria soloist.  He just graduated and finished his second year as a member of Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts and Chicago Opera Theater’s Professional Diploma in Opera Program. He made his concert debut with the Chicago Sinfonietta at the Chicago Symphony Center as the dying swan in Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana. He completed his master’s degree at Roosevelt University – CCPA in May 2013 where he performed the roles of Il Tinco (Il Tabarro), Theseus (L’Abandon d’ArianeLa Délivrance de Thésée – Milhaud), Commanding Officer/Government Official in the Chicago premiere of Daron Hagen’s Amelia, 2nd Priest (Die Zauberflöte) and covered Candide (Candide). A native of Scottsdale, Arizona, Mr. Weyant received his Bachelor of Arts from Arizona State University.

Quinn Middleman

Doris, Witness 3

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Quinn Middleman, mezzo-soprano, currently studies with Judith Haddon. Recent engagements include premiering works by Harold Meltzer and Yehudi Wyner as a Fellow at Tanglewood Music Center, in recital with the Musicians Club of Women as the Edith Newfield scholarship recipient, and as the third-place winner in the Ziering-Conlon Recovered Voices competition. Quinn completed her master's degree at Northwestern University, where roles included Dinah (Trouble in Tahiti), Marcellina (Le nozze di Figaro), Ariodante (Handel's Ariodante), and Sister Helen (Heggie's Dead Man Walking, Chicago premiere). Quinn received degrees in both oboe and vocal performance from the University of Southern California, where performed the roles of Nerone (L'incoronazione di Poppea), Mother Marie (Dialogues of the Carmelites), Sesto (Giulio Cesare), and others. Quinn was last seen at Chicago Opera Theater in last season's The Love Potion and The Fairy Queen. 

Emma Ritter

Jane Quig, etc.

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Emma Ritter is a 24 year old Mezzo-soprano, from Greenville, South Carolina. She graduated from Valparaiso University, in Northwest Indiana with a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal performance 2015. At Valpo, Emma was seen in productions such as Dido & Aeneas (Dido), Sweeney Todd (Mrs. Lovett), and Hansel and Gretel (Hansel). She was also a two time winner and performer in the Concerto Competition with the Valparaiso University Orchestra.

Emma graduated with a Master’s degree in Vocal Performance and Literature from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. At Eastman, Emma has taken part in many productions, these include: Cendrillon (Madame de la Haltière), Turn of the Screw (Mrs. Grose), Le Nozze di Figaro (Marcellina), and Suor Angelica (La Zelatrice). While at Eastman, Emma has also been awarded the Honorable Mention Awards in both the Jessie Kneisel Lieder Competition and the Friends of Eastman Opera Aria Competition.

After graduation, Emma will spent eight weeks in sunny Santa Barbara as a Voice Fellow at the prestigious Music Academy of the West. 

Zacharias Niedzwiecki

Marx/Etcher

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Zacharias Niedzwiecki, a Michigan native, attended Michigan State University for his undergraduate degree. He performed in numerous productions with Michigan State University Opera Theater, including the collegiate premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon's The Grapes of Wrath as Connie Rivers, Gilbert and Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance as The Pirate King, Offenbach's Les Contes d'Hoffmann as Schlémiel, Kurt Weill's Mahagonny Songspiel as Jimmy/Cypress Stark, and Puccini's La Bohème as Colline. He performed in two productions with Spiro Productions and The Other Mirror's partnership production of Claude-Michel Schönberg's Les Misérables as Javert, as well as appearing with Opera Grand Rapids in its Emerging Artist Program. Zacharias is in his second year as a member of the Professional Diploma in Opera Program at Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts in conjunction with Chicago Opera Theater. He made his debut last season with Chicago Opera Theater in Frank Martin’s The Love Potion as Duke Hoël, covered the role of Oberon in Purcell’s The Fairy Queen with Chicago Opera Theater and Long Beach Opera, and appeared in the US premiere of Philip Glass’ The Perfect American. He studies with Judith Haddon.

Samuel J. Weiser

Weill/Gerrard


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Samuel J. Weiser, bass, is a current student of Bruce Hall at CCPA at Roosevelt University. Samuel graduated cum laude B.S. Ed in Music Education from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Roles include Colline/La Bohème; Sarastro/Die Zauberflöte; Elder Ott/Susannah;Sicario/Macbeth; Dr. Caius/Falstaff; Dr. Caius/Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor; David/A Hand of Bridge; Il Commendatore/Don Giovanni and Jasper/L’Ivrogne Corrigé. In April of 2016 Samuel was  chosen as a 1st prize winner of the Monastero’s Bel Canto Contest, student division. In November of 2015, Samuel premiered Thunder, Perfect Mind by Chicago composer, Christopher Preissing. Recently, Samuel was chosen as a Gerdine Young Artist and will appear with Opera Theatre of St. Louis in the summer of 2016. In St. Louis Samuel appeared as the Valet in Macbeth, Sergeant in La Bohème, and as Clumsy God in the World Premier of Shalimar the Clown. Samuel also covered Truffaldino in Ariadne auf Naxos and Banquo in Macbeth


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  • Performances

  • Feb. 10
  • Feb. 16
  • Feb. 18
  • Venue

  • The Studebaker Theater
    410 S Michigan Ave
    Chicago, IL 60605
  • Duration & Language

  • Approx. 1 hour and 45 minutes
    Performed in English with English supertitles
  • Sponsors

  • Co-Commissioned by Opera Philadelphia and Hackney Empire

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Andreas Mitisek,
Stefan Edlis & Gael Neeson Artistic Director

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70 E. Lake Street Suite 415 • Chicago, IL 60601 • Box Office: 312.704.8414 • Administrative: 312.704.8420 • E-Mail: [email protected]