Agueda Fernandez Abad
Role: Music for Lady Parts of the Abolition Movement
Throughout her career, Mrs. Fernández-Abad has been recognized for the versatility of her repertoire and performed operas and oratorios with the leading orchestras of Argentina, United States and Europe. Mrs. Fernandez-Abad has been singled out for her unique talents with contemporary music and was chosen to sing in the Homage to Alban Berg at Teatro Colón. In 2001 in Buenos Aires, she received critical acclaim for singing the title role in the world premiere of the opera Camila y la Sombra by the Argentinean composer Rolando Mañanes. Upon her initial arrival in the United States, she sang with Florida Grand Opera.
A frequent recitalist, Mrs. Fernandez Abad has offered diverse recitals in Germany, Italy and Spain, in different venues such as the Palau de la Musica Valenciana, Radio Nacional de España, and the International Festival of Sacred Music, among others. She also performed in several productions in the iconic Spanish style operetta known as zarzuela. Her recital, From Gershwin to Piazzolla, has been included in the catalogue of Chamber Music, which promotes the Culture Delegation of Valencia. Her latest and varied appearances in Europe have included performances in Madrid of works by Salvatore Sciarrino with the saxophone quartet Adolphe Sax; the title role of the opera, The Medium, Suzuki in Madama Butterfly, and Zia Principessa in Suor Angelica with the Chamber Opera Company of Moncloa; Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy and the Christmas Oratorio, Nativity, by the American composer Norman Dello Joio with Orchestra and Chorus of Radio y Televisión Española; and Charpentier’s Te Deum and Mozart’s Coronation Mass with the Orquesta del Mediterráneo in the Auditorium of Castellón. In collaboration with the Emmy Award winner, Claudia Montero, Argentinean composer Juan Solare, and the composer’s platform, Vox Novus, she performed a series of concerts dedicated to the Swiss/Argentinean poetess Alfosina Storni, in Bremen, Germany, Valencia, Spain and New York City. In Barcelona she sang the world premiere of Mexican composer Alejandra Hernández´s electro-acoustic work, Thirty-three Gods' Names, reprised in Mexico City. Upon her return to United States, she has been part of several concerts and opera productions in different venues, such as the Williamsburg Opera Company, Carnegie Hall and Bard College Summerscape. She is a permanent member of the Brick Church Choir, in Manhattan and Cantor at St. Aedan’s Church, in Pearl River, NY.
Kyle Albertson, Bass-Baritone
Role: Soloist/guest artist
Event: 10 Year Gala
Renowned not only for his luxurious voice, confidence, and style, but also for his versatility and ability to bring a character to life on stage, bass-baritone Kyle Albertson is taking the business by storm. In his recent debut as Wotan in Wagner’s epic masterpiece Die Walküre, in Maestro Jaap van Zweden final performance with the Dallas Symphony, Theater Jones exclaimed, “the most impressive aspect of this performance came undoubtedly from Wotan…his voice masterfully brought the character to life…Albertson’s interactions throughout the performance with his most beloved daughter, Brünnhilde were ingenuously convincing. Coupled with Albertson’s commanding, though endearing, baritone, these moments did not seem like an opera concert at all, rather a fully realized engagement of dramatic and musical interpretation.” The Dallas News called his performance “gripping… I can't recall the opera's final parting of father and daughter so emotionally intense…this high-intensity performance will surely rank as a legend in Dallas musical history.” And the Texas Classical Review declared he “delivered a quietly dramatic presence in his monologue relatively early on in Act II which gradually built up to the final scene three hours later in which he allowed his luxuriant tone quality to resonate at full volume before slipping gently into the mournful farewell aria ‘Leb’ wohl’.” This tour-de-force performance left no doubt that the next American Wotan had arrived.
Albertson’s first foray into Wagner’s demanding vocal universe came in his house début at Lyric Opera of Chicago for their production of Das Rheingold, and subsequently performed the role of Donner in Minnesota Opera’s production shortly thereafter. This past season, he covered Wotan in Francesca Zambello’s production of Der Ring des Nibelungen for San Francisco Opera, sang DeGuiche in Cyrano with Opera Carolina, Sharpless in Madama Butterfly with New Jersey Festival Orchestra, Sam in Trouble in Tahiti with Opera Parallel at SFJazz, JP Morgan in the World Première of Tesla with SoBe Arts in Miami, and returned to the Phoenicia Festival as Escamillo in Carmen. Additional roles in his repertoire include Pizarro in Fidelio, Jochanaan in Salome, the title role in Der fliegende Holländer, Scarpia in Tosca, Jack Rance in La fanciulla del West, and Claggart in Billy Budd. Future engagements will include a return to the Lyric Opera of Chicago for their production of Siegfried, a house debut with San Diego Opera to perform the role of Sparafucile in Rigoletto, a reprisal of his performance as Lieutenant Horstmayer in Kevin Puts’ Silent Night with Arizona Opera, and his European house debut. He first joined The Metropolitan Opera roster for Don Giovanni and returned for five consecutive seasons in their productions of Le nozze di Figaro, Die Zauberflöte, Dialogues des carmélites, The Merry Widow, and Manon.
Lawrence Craig, Baritone
Role: Dr. Dulcamara
Event: L'Elisir d'Amore
Internationally acclaimed baritone, Lawrence Craig, is known for his “Fine baritone” (New York Times) and “virtuosic talent” (Zürich Tages-Anzeiger) in opera, concert and recital. A student of the late internationally acclaimed bass-baritone, William Warfield, Mr. Craig is a graduate of the Florida Grand Opera and Chautauqua Opera Young Artist Programs. As winner of the Monastero Bel Canto International Opera Competition, he studied and performed in Italy under the tutelage and direction of Maestro Walter Baracchi, former principal coach and conductor at Teatro alla Scala di Milano. Mr. Craig has appeared in a number of roles, but most notably as Harlequin in Ariadne auf Naxos, Escamillo in Carmen, Guglielmo in Cosi fan tutte, Ford in Falstaff, Dapertutto in Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Sharpless in Madama Butterfly, and Papageno in Die Zauberflöte.
Not only was Mr. Craig triumphant in his directorial debut for the Albanian National Opera’s production of Porgy and Bess, he also appeared in the cast as Sportin’ Life (The premiere of Gershwin’s music in the country of Albania). Recently, Mr. Craig appeared as Slim in Carlisle Floyd’s Of Mice and Men with the Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice, Germont in La Traviata with the Berkshire Theatre Festival at Tanglewood, Dancaïro in Carmen with Opera Tampa, Rev. Zeke in Tawawa House with Townsend Opera, Rev. White in the world premiere motion picture version of Wolfson’s Maya’s Ark with Family Opera Initiative, Tom in Blue Monday in joint production with On Site Opera and Harlem Opera Theater. Other appearances include Sportin’ Life in Porgy and Bess with the Virginia Opera, the Buckhill/Skytop Music Festival and Opera Colorado, Henry Davis in Weill’s Street Scene with L’Opéra de Toulon, Martin Luther King, Sr. in Baur’s The Promise with the U of M (First opera written on the life of MLK), baritone Gläubiger in the American premiere of Weill’s Die Bürgschaft with the Spoleto Festival USA (recorded for EMI Classics), Harlequin in Ariadne auf Naxos with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Papageno in Die Zauberflöte with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, the New Jersey Opera Festival and the New York City Opera (Education Division), Emuke in León’s The Scourge of Hyacinths with the Munich Biennale Opera Festival, and as St. Ignatius in Thomson’s Four Saints in Three Acts with Chicago Opera Theater. Interesting to note, Mr. Craig led the cast as Cristobal in the first opera written for Off-Broadway, Sierra’s Terra Incognita, and made his Broadway debut in Baz Luhrmann’s La Bohème On Broadway.
Most recently with leadoff concert by operatic superstar Placido Domingo, Mr. Craig appeared with the Dame Alice S. Kandell Camerata in an operatic concert tour of Hong Kong, Macau and Beijing, China. Other season highlights include the premiere of his voice over appearance as The King of Day for the Emmy Award winning PBS KIDS television series Peg + Cat, Paul Robeson in Gonshor’s award winning new play When Blood Ran Red, the opportunity to sing as part of the New York concert to honor President Barak Obama’s receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize, Sportin’ Life for the 75th Anniversary Concert to honor Porgy and Bess, bass soloist in Handel’s Messiah with the Philharmonics of Rochester and Syracuse, Mozart's Vesperae solennes de confessore, K 339 at Lincoln Center, Ray's Gospel Mass at Carnegie Hall, Opera and Jazz concerts for the Maputo International Music Festival of Mozambique, The Jimmy & Larry Show for the Buckhill/Skytop Music Festival, Escamillo in Carmen (concert) with the Latvian National Opera, Music Sharing from New York in a tour of Japan, Elijah with the Mansfield Symphony Orchestra, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day tributes with the Louisville Symphony Orchestra and city of Cincinnati, Ohio, Symphonic Orchestra of Chile for Copland’s Old American Songs, the George Enescu Bucharest Philharmonic and the Athens State Orchestra in Carmina Burana, Symphonic Orchestra of Argentina in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Dayton Philharmonic for Dett’s The Ordering of Moses, Romanian Broadcasting Corporation in J. S. Bach’s Die Weihnachts Oratorium, Cincinnati Pops as Walker in Gershwin’s Blue Monday and as Sportin’ Life in excerpts from Porgy and Bess (recorded for Telarc International), Austrian Broadcasting Corporation singing “Old Man River” for the motion picture Musik am Mississippi, Finland’s Savonlinna International Opera Festival for Sarmanto’s Perfect Harmony, the Kainuu International Jazz and Musica Borealis Festivals for Sarmanto’s jazz lieder North Country Suite. Mr. Craig has also enjoyed appearances with the Philharmonics of Athens, Greece; Birmingham, Alabama; Mendoza, Argentina; Santiago and Concepción, Chile; Bogotá, Colombia; Koszalin, Poland; El Paso, Texas; İstanbul, Turkey, Chautauqua, Chicago, Fort Wayne, Houston, Milwaukee, Napa Valley, New Jersey, New World, St. Luke’s, Florida, Phoenix, Santa Rosa and Vancouver.
Joe Damone, Drummer
Loren Daniels and Exchange
Event: Celebrating Talent-Rich Catskills
A drummer whose playing is seasoned with years of real-time bandstand experience in many music genres, Joe Damone brings an unerring sense of groove, a superb sense of time and exceptional musicality to every music project. Based in NY, Joe leads The Rhythm Dogs, a well-known band that has played at many corporate, private and public events throughout the country. Joe also performs regularly in many musical groups both as a leader and as a sideman. Some of the greats Joe has performed with include Stanley Turrentine, Freddie Hubbard, Tom Brown, Phyllis Hyman, Noel Pointer, Chuck Berry, The Eurythmics, Martha Reeves and Joan Rivers. An excellent photographer, Joe’s photos have been on magazine covers and have graced both public and private events.
Loren Daniels, Pianist/Vocalist
Loren Daniels and Exchange
Event: Celebrating Talent-Rich Catskills
Pianist/composer Loren Daniels brings a multiplicity of musical experiences to bear on every project he joins. As a player, he’s performed with many notable jazz practitioners including Milt Jackson, Rufus Reid, Makanda (Ken) McIntyre, Warren Smith, Eliot Zigmund and Jon Faddis. As a bandleader/musical director, Loren has nurtured and developed recording and performance projects for the Pittman/Daniels Quartet, vocalist Macy Chen, bassist August Riska and singer/songwriter Deborah Thurlow. Loren’s compositions have been performed by large and small jazz ensembles, choral ensembles, in collaboration with choreographers, for theatrical pieces and educational musicals and for television soundtracks. As an educator, he taught music for many years in Teaneck, NJ public schools and continues to teach music privately. Loren created Jazz In The Spirit (a jazz worship series) at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Teaneck, NJ and continues as its artist in residence and music coordinator. He studied music at Hofstra University, Berklee College of Music, SUNY at Old Westbury (B.S. in Music/Education) and NYU (M.A. in Music Education). Loren is currently performing with the Reggie Pittman/Loren Daniels Quartet, the Bradford Hayes Quartet, One More Once Big Band, the August Riska Trio and vocalists Macy Chen, Cynthia Soriano and Deborah Thurlow.
Leroy Davis , Baritone
Role: L'Elisir d'Amore (Belcore)
In 2018, baritone Leroy Davis was a resident studio artist with the Florentine Opera where he sang Aeneas in Dido and Aeneas, Adonis in Venus and Adonis and Fiorello in Il Barbiere di Siviglia. He performed the roles of Papageno in Die Zauberflöte and Mandarin/Ping in Turandot at the Shreveport Opera, and Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte as a guest artist with the New England Conservatory. Leroy made his role and company debut as Maximillian in Candide with Chautauqua Opera. 2019 engagements include Leporello in Don Giovanni with Boston Opera Collaborative, Forrester in Cunning Little Vixen, Joe St. George in Dolores Claiborne, and his company debut as a Gerdine Young Artist with Opera Theater of St. Louis in Rigoletto and Fire Shut Up in My Bones.
In 2017, Leroy sang several roles with the Florentine Opera including Imperial Commissioner/Yamadori in Madama Butterfly, Ivan in Die Fledermaus, Maitre D’/Farley in the world premiere and cast recording of Sister Carrie and Masetto in Don Giovanni. He also performed a concert of new American operatic works from the Florentine Opera’s recording anthology at the National Opera Center in New York City. As a young artist in 2016 at Central City Opera his roles included Benny in The Ballad of Baby Doe and Sacristan in Tosca, and was awarded the Iris Henwood Richards Memorial Award. In concert, Leroy was the bass soloist in Bruckner’s Te Deum with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.
Mr. Davis attended the Mannes College of Music as an undergraduate, and earned his Master’s degree at Bard College. He was a regional finalist in the Metropolitan Opera’s National Competition in 2015.
Phyllis Whitehouse Frome, Soprano
Role: Music for Lady Parts of the Abolition Movement
Phyllis Whitehouse, soprano, has sung all over the US and parts of Europe. Equally at home in dive bars or Carnegie Hall, Ms. Whitehouse embraces many singing styles. Highlights include the role of Elise in the world premiere of Thomas de Hartmann’s opera Esther at SUNY Oswego, several fabulous summers of musical theater productions at the Springside Inn in Auburn, NY, directed by Jef Billings, where she performed several roles, including Lady Larkin in Once Upon a Mattress (wearing Bernadette Peters’ costume from the TV special, that Jef had borrowed from Bob Mackie!). Ms. Whitehouse went on to perform many Handel oratorios with the NY Cantata Singers under the direction of David Labovitz; after her portrayal of Susanna, the Village Voice review highlighted her “daredevil coloratura.” Other amazing venues include the lounge at the North Bergen NJ Holiday Inn, the Verbier Festival in Verbier, Switzerland, the world-renowned Bard SummerScape opera chorus, and of course the Brick Church Choir in Manhattan, where she met the three lovelies with whom she is performing at Phoenicia Festival of the Voice.
Paul Green Rock Academy
Event: Jesus Christ Superstar
Presented by arrangement with
The Musical Company, LP.
Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Lyrics by Tim Rice
The Paul Green Rock Academy (PGRA) is an advanced touring ensemble of young musicians between the ages of 10 and 18 who have been selected for their musical prowess, showmanship, love of performing, and ability to share the stage with professional musicians as they tour the world.
Recent and current participants of Paul Green Rock Academy have played alongside such musical luminaries as Jon Anderson (Yes), Scott Ian (Anthrax), John Sebastian (The Lovin’ Spoonful), Donald Fagan (Steely Dan), and Fred Armisen (SNL, Portlandia). Festivals and events that have featured The Paul Green Rock Academy include a headline slot at the 2017 international Frank Zappa Festival, Zappanale, in Bad Doberan, Germany, where the kids played to nearly 10,000 diehard Zappa fans. This headline appearance was a direct result of the previous year’s performance at Zappanale, where PGRA was deemed a crowd favorite and quickly asked to play again, this time in a prime headline spot on Friday evening at the 3-day festival. Additionally, showband has made multiple appearances at Mountain Jam Festival, performing with acts including Sister Sparrow, Con Brio and other guest stars.
PAUL GREEN is the founder of the international music school chain School of Rock, however PGRA is the school of his dreams...a small audition only school for only the most dedicated students, with branches in Philadelphia and Southwestern Connecticut.
Jasmine Habersham, Soprano
Role: L'Elisir d'Amore (Adina)
American soprano Jasmine Habersham is a versatile and dynamic performing artist. She most recently performed the role of Pip in Moby Dick with Utah Opera, Pamina in The Magic Flute with Opera Theatre of St. Louis: Opera on the Go, Papagena in Die Zauberflöte with Cincinnati Opera, Yum-Yum in the The Mikado with Kentucky Opera, Esther in Intimate Apparel with Cincinnati Opera Fusion, and Clara in Porgy and Bess with Utah Festival Opera. She has also performed the roles of Papagena in The Magic Flute and as an Apparition in Macbeth at The Glimmerglass Festival.
Ms. Habersham has performed as a featured soloist in numerous concert productions including Szymanowski’s Stabat Mater, Schubert’s Mass in G, Bach’s B Minor Mass, Handel's Messiah, and Duke Ellington’s Concert of Sacred Music.
Performances for the 2018-2019 season include Pip in Moby Dick with Opera San Jose, Katie Jackson in the world premiere of Joel Puckett’s The Fix with Minnesota Opera, and Clara in Porgy and Bess with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Future seasons include a return to Minnesota Opera and her debut with the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona.
A finalist in the Lotte Lenya Competition, she is well-versed as a crossover artist in opera and musical theater. She has performed the roles Edith in The Pirates of Penzance with Atlanta Opera, Susannah in The Musical: Tintypes with Janiec Opera Company, and Pearl in Morning Star with Cincinnati Opera Fusion. She has won numerous awards including 2nd Place in the 2018 Southeast Regional Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, The Strauss Award in the National Orpheus Competition, the John Alexander Memorial Award from University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and the Young Artist Guild Award from Central City Opera.
Ms. Habersham has participated in several esteemed young artists programs including The Glimmerglass Festival, Central City Opera, Kentucky Opera, and the Brevard Music Center.
As a graduate student at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Habersham performed the roles Despina in Così fan tutte, Norina in Don Pasquale, Mrs. Julian in Owen Wingrave, and covered the role of Zerlina in Don Giovanni. She received her Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance at Shorter College and her Master of Music and Artist Diploma from the University of Cincinnati College- Conservatory of Music.
Carey Harrison, Author and Orator
Event: Music of the African Diaspora
CUNY Professor of English, and author of 12 novels and 200 plays and scripts, Carey Harrison is a former undercover activist, in South Africa, for Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress. He is a recipient of the Oliver Tambo Award for contributions to the end of apartheid.
Justin Kolb, Concert Pianist
Event: Music of the African Diaspora
Justin describes himself as a pianist. However, from Budapest to Santa Barbara his solo recitals, conservatory “power talks” and motivational “kids clinics” all have shaped a successful 20 & 21st century career.
As a pianist he has premiered compositions by: Robert Starer, (Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie-NYC) John Downey,(Lobero Theatre-Santa Barbara, CA) Peter Schickele, (Performing Arts Center- Rhinebeck, NY) Paul Alan Levi, (Merkin Concert Hall-NYC) William Ferris, (Lobero Theatre-Santa Barbara, CA), Giles Malkine, SUNY- New Paltz and Robert Cucinotta, Mohawk Mountain House- New Paltz NY).
Collaborations include solo performances with: Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Northwest Indiana Symphony, Hamburg Philharmonic, Amernet String Quartet, North Shore Concert Band, William Ferris Chorale, Michael Teolis Singers, Woodstock’s Ars Choralis, and Columbia Pro Arte Chorus. Also actors: Carey Harrison, Mikhail Horowitz, Davis Aston Reece, and Jay Braman, Jr. as well as composers Peter Schickele and Joan Tower.
During a 20 year self - imposed sabbatical Kolb served the corporate world and eventually was appointed as CEO and President of a cellular communications company that he co-founded. The company’s stock traded on the NASDAQ exchange. Clavier magazine featured Kolb on its cover with an inside feature about his motivational "kids clinics". The NY Times [Alex Ross] and Chicago Tribune [John von Rhein] laud his American music performances and Albany Records retains Kolb on its artist’s roster. A Co-Founder, Justin serves as Chairman Emeritus of the "Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice". [“…a destination festival”- Opera News 2016] He also serves as Executive Secretary to the American Liszt Society. In 1969 the Army veteran received the military’s Legion of Merit award and he is a recipient of DePaul University’s Distinguished Alumni Award. Justin is self – agented.
Liz McCartney, Actress
Role: Florence Foster Jenkins
Liz was in the Tony award winning revival of My Fair Lady at Lincoln Center and she appeared in the Broadway revival of Sunday In The Park With George starring Jake Gyllenhaal. Other Broadway credits include; Annie, South Pacific, Mamma Mia, The Phantom Of The Opera, Les Miserables, Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Dance Of The Vampires and the Boy George musical TABOO. She has toured the US with Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, Wicked, Les Miserables and The Phantom Of The Opera. Liz won two New York Music Theatre Festival awards for Best actress, a Backstage Bistro award for her cabaret Rosemary and Time: the Life and Music of Rosemary Clooney and received a Jefferson Award Nomination for her Mrs Lovett in Sweeney Todd at the Chicago’s Drury Lane Theatre. Other regional credits include, Into The Woods, PIRATES!, Mary Poppins, Souvenir and most recently the Kennedy Center production of the Music Man starring Norm Lewis and Jesse Meuller. Recently she appeared on the TV shows Bull, Murphy Brown and The Blacklist and has written and produced her own sitcom, What The ?, that debuted on youtube. Liz can be heard on several original cast albums.
Tonna Miller-Vallés, Soprano
Role: Music for Lady Parts of the Abolition Movement
Hailed by the New York Times as “fresh” and “sweet-toned,” and described in Opera News as having a “sugar-tipped soprano,” Tonna Miller is recognized for her “flesh and blood” performances and “natural stage presence.” Equally at home in the major opera houses of America and on Broadway, Ms. Miller has been heard at the Metropolitan Opera as Barbarina in Le nozze di Figaro and as the fiery Carlotta Giudicelli in Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera for her Broadway debut. Ms. Miller has been heard as Fortuna in L’incoronazione di Poppea for her Los Angeles Opera debut; in the title role in Patience with New York City Opera; with Houston Grand Opera as Jano in Jenufa and Papagena in Die Zauberflöte; as Nannetta in Falstaff with Glimmerglass Opera, as Naïade in Ariadne auf Naxoswith Santa Fe Opera; and as Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier with Michigan Opera Theatre. As a frequent artist with New York City Opera, she has been heard as Yum-Yum in The Mikado, Papagena in Die Zauberflöte, Frasquita in Carmen, Helen Niles in Mourning Becomes Electra and as Johanna in Sweeney Todd, where she was recognized as having a “lovely, clear voice” and “connect[ing] with her character’s virginal, conflicted proclivities.” With Opera Theatre of St. Louis, she has performed Wanda in Offenbach’s La Grande-Duchesse de Gerolstein, Polissena in Handel’s Radamisto, and Euridice in Monteverdi’s The Tale of Orpheus. Other notable performances have included Marilyn Monroe in Do Not Go Gentle with Phonicia Festival of the Voice, Aline in The Sorcerer and Offenbach operettas with Bard Summerscape; Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra; Vespina in Haydn’s L’infedeltá delusa with the American Symphony Orchestra; Johanna in Sweeney Todd and Adele in Die Fledermaus with Toledo Opera; Josephine in H.M.S. Pinafore and Yum-Yum with Augusta Opera; both Josephine and Clorinda in La cenerentola for Nashville Opera; Carmina Burana with the Madison Symphony; and Handel’s Messiah with the Handel & Haydn Society and the Pacific Symphony.
Rich Mollin, Bassist
Loren Daniels and Exchange
Event: Celebrating Talent-Rich Catskills
Rich Mollin is a bassist whose impeccable time, extensive experience and prodigious musical chops enhance many varied music projects, gigs and recording sessions in the greater New York region. Based near Oneonta NY, Rich also heads the Davenport Center for the Arts and teaches in the bass studio at SUNY Oneonta. He performs regularly throughout the region both leading his own jazz groups and as a sideman on other projects. Rich also performs classical music regularly as a member of the Catskill Symphony.
Role: “Cosme McMoon” in Souvenir
BOB STILLMAN has had a 30-year career as a singer, actor, songwriter, music director and teacher. He’s been nominated twice for Tony awards—as an actor in Claudia Shear's Dirty Blonde, and as one of the songwriters for Urban Cowboy: The Musical—and for a Drama Desk award for Hello Again at Transport Group. On Broadway, he has played Molina in Kiss of the Spider Woman, Gould in Grey Gardens, Erik in Grand Hotel, and Sam Harris in Act One. Other B’way credits include Living on Love, Souvenir, and standing by for Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick and F. Murray Abraham in the hit comedy It's Only A Play. Off- Broadway, he played both Dukes in John Doyle’s As You Like It at CSC, Abe Lincoln in Paula Vogel's A Civil War Christmas, Lord Amiens in As You Like It in Central Park, Gideon in the cult hit The Last Session, and was an original cast member of Adam Guettel’s Saturn Returns (recorded as Myths and Hymns) at the Public. Bob was nominated for Chicago’s Jef- ferson Award for his performance as Candide at the Goodman. As a singer/ songwriter Bob has performed at Joe's Pub, the Cutting Room, 54 Below, Birdland, The Bitter End and many other New York venues. He has travelled around the country starring in, and music directing, a series of tributes to the great singer/songwriters (James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, John Denver, Dan Fogelberg).He graduated with honors in Music Compo- sition from Princeton University, and is currently on the voice faculty of the Musical Theater Program at the Manhattan School of Music.
Jordan Taylor, Soprano
Role: L'Elisir d'Amore, (Giannetta)
Has performed as a soloist with the Florence Symphony Orchestra, Carolina Master Chorale and many other Regional organizations. She is a Vocal Performance major with an emphasis in American music at Coastal Carolina University where studies voice with Dr. Ann Benson. She is a native of Florence, South Carolina.
David Wroe, Principle Festival Conductor
Events: 10th Anniversary Gala and L'Elisir d'Amore
Mr. Wroe is Music Director of the New Jersey Festival Orchestra, Principal Conductor at Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice, and a regular conductor of L’Orchestre Régional de Normandie.. From 2000-2014 he was a Principal Conductor with New York City Opera, and from 1993-5 Assistant Conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Orchestras conducted include Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, L’Opera de Toulon, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, L’Orchestre National de Lille, L’Ensemble de Paris Opera de Toulon,, Neue Brandenberg, Nova Scotia, Jerusalem, L’Orchestre Lamoureux with cellist Mstislav Rostropovitch, New Jersey, Kansas City, Harrisburg, Huntsville, Delaware and De Moines Symphonies, New York City Ballet, Das Loh-Orchester Sondershausen,and numerous tours of Austria with Vorarlberg Symphony and at the Bregenz Frühlings Festival.
Preferred in Asia, Mr. Wroe conducted the Taiwan National Symphony, Pusan and Daegu Philharmonic, Macau, Shenzhen, Nanjing, Wuhan, Guiyang, Taipei Symphony Orchestra, and the Korean SolAsian Music Festival .
Maestro Wroe has recorded with L’Orchestre National de Lille and broadcast recordings throughout Central Europe with the Austrian Broadcasting Authority (ORF), with the Vorarlberg Symphony.
He served as Resident Conductor at Oper der Stadt Heidelberg, Principal Conductor at Opera Delaware, Music Director of Opera Teatro Gratticielo in NY, and opened for the newly formed Fresno International Grand Opera. With Anna Moffo, he was Judge for the Metropolitan Opera National Council, New Jersey Regional Auditions.
Maestro Wroe’s cross-over genre partnerships include, Kristin Chenoweth, Mannheim Steamrollers, The 3 Irish Tenors, Natalie Merchant, Joan Rivers, Don Rickles, Bob Newhart, Jackie Evancho and Celtic Thunder to name but a few.
Orson Van Gay II, Tenor
Role: L'Elisir d'Amore (Nemorino)
Possesses a unique voice that captivates the audience with his charisma and command of the stage for a singer of his generation. His performances showcase vocal talents that have brought him constant recognition in Southern California and across the United States. In 2018, Orson made his debut in the title role of Bernstein’s Candide at “A Noise Within” Theatre. He joined the Cal Philharmonic Orchestra’s celebration of Leonard Bernstein’s 100th anniversary and Beethoven’s ninth symphony as a tenor soloist at Walt Disney Concert Hall where Orson’s performance was reviewed by George van Wagner as being “beautifully sung and strongly acted…audience members were visibly moved.” He made his debut as tenor soloist with Pacific Symphony at the Segerstrom Concert Hall. He premiered the title role in LA Opera's touring production of Orpheus. He took on the brilliantly crass role of Bernard Curson (Cherubino) in LA Opera’s Figaro 90210! He notably performed the lead role of Ben in Todd Goodman’s Opera, Night of the Living Dead. He has sung the haunting role of Orlando in the nationally acclaimed production of Hopscotch and the dashing role of Dick Johnson in LA Opera’s touring production of The Prospector and reprised the role in 2017. During the same year, Orson made his Pacific Symphony debut as the tenor soloist to a sold out concert at the Segerstrom Concert Hall under the baton of maestro Carl St. Clair to a standing ovation. In 2018, he debuted with Center Stage Opera as the charismatic, Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore. In addition to performing in the romantic and Germanic languages of Opera, Orson has been sought after to perform in Mandarin. Last year he made his debut with SINO U.S. Performing Arts Organization as tenor soloist for their 2018 concert series in Los Angeles and Phoenix, Arizona. “The climax of the show was by Van Gay, whose performance won thunderous applause.” (XinhuaNet)
Orson recently debuted his role as Alfredo in Pacific Opera Project’s production of La Traviata, to a standing ovation. He premiered Golden; a composition based on the life of Polish composer, Igancy Paderewski by Nathan Wang in Los Angeles. In addition to several concert performances over the winter in Los Angeles, Orson voyaged to Alabama as tenor soloist in a 60-year commencement concert of Händel’s Messiah. This January Orson made his Carnegie Hall debut. He is delighted to make his Long Beach Opera debut as Raymond Santana in the world premiere of The Central Park Five – a passionate opera by Anthony Davis that encompasses issues that still rock America today. Orson then takes flight to Kansas City to premiere the role of The Young Man in Joe DiPietro’s, The Last Romance.
Orson remains involved in community projects to showcase Opera at the local community level; some of which include the Italian American of Los Angeles (IAMLA), Jimmy Kimmel’s annual Italian Festival in Hollywood, California and the Voices of Hope Benefit Concert to name a few. Orson has a Bachelor of Science in Vocal Performance from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. He performed the role of Prince in the world premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon’s Morning Star. Orson was also honored as a state and regional winner in the Mid-Atlantic NATS competition for two consecutive years. Orson is not only able to sing classical music but effectively sings other styles as well. This versatility has proven to be a strong commodity with today’s increasing musical demands on Opera singers. A classical arts publication out of Virginia - - Artsongupdate - - described Orson's voice as: "there is a liquid silver tone in his lyric tenor voice and confident clarity of text"... "There is a compelling urgency in his tone that wins the listener's heart."..."Top notes were perfect and the vulnerability and beauty throughout caught us in the thrall of anticipated greatness for this young vocalist as he builds a career."
Orson is also an actor in several nationally recognized television series. He has been featured in major television commercials and starred on a variety of shows for Netflix; including foreign film and television. Orson is a Southern California native. For his latest upcoming engagements, please visit www.orsonvangay.com
Catherine Thorpe, Soprano
Role: Music for Lady Parts of the Abolition Movement
Catherine Thorpe has been praised by The Washington Post as having “a voice of liquid silver” and The Boston Globe described her as “[a]n accurate and committed musician with a voice that can meet any demand, no matter how extreme, with secure and attractive tone.” Ms. Thorpe’s roles and musical stylings are as varied as her vocal range: from leading roles with the New York City Opera National Touring Company to featured solos with The Boston Pops and as the “girl singer” with the Sammy Kaye Orchestra, The Providence Journal, aptly noted that she has “stage presence and range to spare…” She has enchanted audiences throughout the United States, Europe and Asia-Pacific in numerous operatic roles, orchestral concerts and solo recitals.
A versatile musician and vibrant and engaging presence on stage, Catherine Thorpe is equally comfortable performing numerous vocal styles, from opera to early music to big band standards. For many years she was the featured Girl Singer with the famous Swing-n-Sway with Sammy Kay Orchestra on stage and appearing on specials broadcast by PBS stations across the country. She made her professional operatic debut with the Baltimore Opera in Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro with Leon Fleisher conducting. Singing the title role in Donizetti's La Fille du Régiment with the New York City Opera National Company she toured across the United States. Other credits include La Rondine at Caramoor, Gianni Schicchi, Tender Land, and The Mighty Casey with the Juilliard Opera Center and Dido and Aeneas with Mark Morris Dance Company at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. On the orchestral platform Ms. Thorpe was the featured soloist on tour with the Boston Pops Orchestra under the baton of Keith Lockhart. She was the soloist in Karl Orff's Carmina Burana in a special performance for the Imperial Family of Japan at the renowned Bunka Kaikan Theatre in Tokyo. She has also appeared as soloist with the Tokyo Philharmonic, the Boston Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra, Portland Symphony Orchestra, Telemann Chamber Orchestra of Osaka, the Baltimore Early Music Consort, and the Boston Chorus Pro Musica. An acclaimed champion of new music, Ms. Thorpe performed the world and U.S. premieres of Ruth Lomon's Songs from a Requiem, Arvo Paert's Te Deum with the Boston Coro Allegro, Robert Ceely's opera The Automobile Graveyard at Jordan Hall, as well as numerous concerts with the Auros Group for New Music in Boston. She can be heard singing the role of Merry on the Delos recording of William Schuman's opera The Mighty Casey, conducted by Gerard Schwarz. Ms. Thorpe's discography also includes Souls on Fire, and Kings and Fishermen, two new oratorios by Charles Osborne, with Souls on Fire featuring Leonard Nimoy as Narrator, and Hear Our Voices, songs from the ghettos and camps of Theresienstadt, both on the label of HaZamir Recordings.