March 18, 2016 at 7:30 PM
March 19, 2016 at 7:30 PM
March 20, 2016 at 2:00 PM
Enter the unexpected.
Sometimes when two worlds collide, something unexpected and amazing happens. In Ariadne auf Naxos, Richard Strauss brilliantly combines a tragic opera with a romantic farce, to fashion a merry jaunt in lavish 18th century Vienna.
When the wealthiest man in Vienna throws an opulent party to dazzle his guests, proverbial fireworks erupt when a traditional opera group and a slapstick comedy troupe are forced to perform at the same time, in order to keep the real fireworks on schedule.
Strauss’ beautiful and lush melodies soar throughout this sumptuous opera-within-an-opera, uniting two dramatically different stories into one surprisingly touching and delightful evening.
Sung in German with English translations projected above the stage.
Palm Beach Opera would like to thank the following sponsors for helping to make this performance possible:
Sunday Matinee Sponsor: Mrs. Ronnie Isenberg, in loving memory of Gene Isenberg
Title Role Sponsor: Mrs. Karen Tell
Performance Co-Sponsor: Dr. & Mrs. David I. Kosowsky
Anthony Laciura Appearance Sponsor: Mr. & Mrs. Theodore Berenson
Supertitles Sponsor: Palm Beach Opera Guild
More about Ariadne auf Naxos
Rarely performed, Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos is comprised of two parts, and an intermission.
The “prologue” is an entertaining and comical glimpse of what happens behind the scenes at the party, between the earnest opera company and the farcical comedy troupe; essentially two dramatically different artistic personalities, as they try to work together. Following intermission, in the “opera”, the audience will be transported to the island of Naxos and witness a charming interplay of Greek tragedy and light-hearted comedy. For this reason Ariadne auf Naxos is often referred to as the ‘opera-within-an- opera’.
It is in the ‘prologue’ when we learn why the opera is so named. It’s because the wealthy host has commissioned an opera to be performed at his party and it’s to be called Ariadne auf Naxos. Translated it means Ariadne on the island of Naxos.
It is in the ‘opera’ within the opera where the two worlds as art forms collide, with madcap results. Burlesque clowns cavort with gods, nymphs and sorceresses, challenging conventions by merging “high” and “low” art forms into one. Ariadne auf Naxos is just as jarringly humorous and blithe as it is tragic.
Strauss’ characters are flamboyant and numerous; here is a glance at the principals:
- The Composer, from whom the wealthy man from Vienna commissions an opera.
- Zerbinetta, the leader of the comedy troupe.
- Major Domo, the Head Butler a speaking only role.
- The Tenor, who sings Bacchus.
- The Prima Donna, who plays Ariadne.
- The ever practical, Dance Master.
Conductor: Andreas Delfs*
Stage Director: Daniel Witzke*
Ariadne: Wendy Bryn Harmer (3/18 & 3/20) / Amber Wagner (3/19)
Bacchus: Brian Jagde* (3/18 & 3/20) / Jeffrey Hartman* (3/19)
Composer: Irene Roberts
Zerbinetta: Kathleen Kim* (3/18 & 3/20) / Bridgette Gan (3/19)
Tanzmeister (Dancing Master): John Easterlin*
Music Teacher: Mark Schnaible*
Major Domo: Anthony Laciura
Harlekin: Kenneth Stavert
Brighella: Robert Watson+
Truffaldin/Lackey: Andrew Bogard+
Najade: Jessica Fishenfeld+
Dryad: Fleur Barron+
Echo: Liana Guberman+
Scaramuccio: Spencer Viator+
Wig Maker: Jason Duika+
*Palm Beach Opera Debut
+Benenson Young Artist
Lighting Designer: SeifAllah Cristobal
Additional cast information will be listed as it becomes available.
Cast subject to change.
ANDREAS DELFS – CONDUCTOR
Andreas Delfs currently holds the position of Conductor Laureate of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra where, during twelve seasons as Music Director, he was instrumental in the orchestra’s rise to national prominence. He has held chief artistic posts with several orchestras both in North America and Europe. He led the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra as Music Director (2001-2004) and Artistic Consultant (2004 -2006). He served as General Music Director of Hannover, Germany (1995-2000), conducting the symphony orchestra and opera company. Prior to his time in Hannover, Andreas Delfs was Music Director of the Bern Opera, resident conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony (during the tenure of Lorin Maazel) and Music Director, at an early age, of the Orchestre Suisse des Jeunes. Born in Flensburg, Germany, Delfs began studying piano and music theory at age 5. He studied with Christoph von Dohnányi and Aldo Ceccato at the Hamburg Conservatory. At 20 Delfs became the youngest ever Music Director of the Hamburg University Orchestra and Musical Assistant at the Hamburg State Opera. Enrolling at The Juilliard School, Delfs studied with Jorge Mester and Sixten Ehrling and won the Bruno Walter Memorial Scholarship. Andreas Delfs keeps an active guest conducting schedule. Recent highlights have included appearances with the Tonkünstler-Orchester Vienna, RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra, Copenhagen Philharmonic, NCPA Orchestra China, NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo, Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, Singapore Symphony, Staatsorchester Rheinische Philharmonie, Calgary Philharmonic, the Phoenix and Alabama Symphonies and National Symphony Orchestra Washington. Among Andreas Delfs’ most notable operatic achievements have been his highly praised debut with the New York City Opera conducting performances of Carmen, a production of the uncut version of Hans Werner Henze’s monumental König Hirsch for the Württemberg State Theatre in Stuttgart and a highly acclaimed production of Ariadne auf Naxos with Washington National Opera. He led four productions at the Aspen Music Festival and gave the Swiss premiere of György Ligeti’s Le Grand Macabre.
DANIEL WITZKE – STAGE DIRECTOR
Internationally acclaimed German stage director Daniel J Witzke works extensively in both opera and musical theatre in Europe and the United States. He was originally trained as a professional singer and actor in Vienna, Berlin and Hamburg, pursuing a career onstage. As Staff Director at the Wiener Staatsoper (Vienna State Opera) he was responsible for directing, reviving and assisting on more than twenty productions including Nabucco, Tristan und Isolde, Tosca, Aida and Roméo et Juliette working closely with some of the world’s most prestigious singers and conductors. Daniel was appointed Artistic Director for the original German production of Elton John`s BroadwayHit Musical Aida in 2003. He has worked as an audition, acting and career coach for nearly 20 years and has directed, conceived and written charity galas, fundraiser, cruise ship shows and major special events for stage and television in the US, Europe and North Africa. Daniel was a member of Seattle Opera’s directing staff in the 2012/13 season. In the 2013/14 season Daniel collaborated with renowned Scottish stage director Paul Curran on Baden Baden 1927 for Gotham Chamber Opera in NYC and directed new productions of Don Giovanni for Opera San Jose, The Magic Flute for West Bay Opera and Lee Hoiby’s Bon Appétit for the Buck Hill Skytop Music Festival in Pennsylvania. Productions in 2014/15 did include Verdi’s Aida for Opera San Luis Obispo, Cole Porter’s Something For the Boys with 42nd Street Moon, Mozart’s The Abduction from the Seraglio for Queen City Chamber Opera, The Magic Flute for Opera Colorado and Lerner & Loewe’s My Fair Lady with Ash Lawn Opera. He is the Founding Artistic Director of The Opera Workshop in San Francisco and Managing Director for Witzke Artists International (WAI). Daniel is a member of AGMA (American Guild of Musical Artists) and is currently residing in Los Angeles, CA.
WENDY BRYN HARMER – SOPRANO
This season, soprano Wendy Bryn Harmer returns to Palm Beach Opera in the title role of Ariadne auf Naxos and to the Seattle Opera for her role debut as Senta in Der Fliegende Holländer. A graduate of the Met’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, Ms. Harmer has appeared in their productions of Le Nozze di Figaro, War and Peace, Khovanshchina, Parsifal, Das Rheingold, Die Walküre, Die Agyptische Helena, and Jenufa. She also appeared in the Met’s HD broadcasts of the Ring Cycle and The Magic Flute, which have subsequently been released on DVD (Deutsche Gramophone). Other recent opera engagements include roles at the San Francisco Opera, Seattle Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Bard Music Festival, Opera Omaha, Glimmerglass Festival, Opera Boston, and Utah Opera Festival. In concert, Ms. Harmer has appeared with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, as a soloist at the Schubert Festival with The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and in Lincoln Center’s Tribute to Renata Tebaldi. Ms. Harmer is a graduate of The Boston Conservatory, attended the Music of Academy of the West, and was a member of the Merola Opera Program at San Francisco Opera.
AMBER WAGNER – SOPRANO
American soprano Amber Wagner is a winner of the 2007 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Grand Finals and was featured in the documentary film “The Audition” which opened to audiences nationwide in 2009. The Chicago Tribune said of her triumph in Ariadne auf Naxos, “Amber Wagner’s opulent Ariadne was one of the central attractions of the hugely enjoyable revival of the Cox production Lyric presented.” Highlights of the 15/16 season include a return to Oper Frankfurt for Senta and Sieglinde in Wagner’s Der fliegende Holländer and Die Walküre, respectively, and a debut at Minnesota Opera as the title role in Ariadne auf Naxos. Symphonic engagements include Senta in concert at the Ravinia Festival, conducted by James Conlon, the Verdi Requiem with the Los Angeles Chamber Chorale and Filarmonica de Jalisco in Guadalajara, Mexico, and a concert of select Wagner works with the Minnesota Orchestra, conducted by Asher Fisch.
BRIAN JAGDE – TENOR
This season, American tenor Brian Jagde makes house debuts at the Teatro San Carlo as Don José in Carmen, led by Zubin Mehta, Houston Grand Opera as the Prince in Rusalka, and Palm Beach Opera as Bacchus in Ariadne auf Naxos. He sings Don José in return engagements at the Deutsche Oper Berlin and San Francisco Opera. He also returns to Minnesota Opera in his role debut as Bacchus. Brian Jagde’s recent engagements include debuts at The Metropolitan Opera as Count Elemer in Arabella, Royal Opera House Covent Garden as Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly, Don José in Carmen at Opéra de Limoges, Cavaradossi in Tosca at Lyric Opera of Chicago, Santa Fe Opera, and Deutsche Oper Berlin, Rodolfo in La Bohéme with the Ópera de Bellas Artes, Ismaele in Nabucco at the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia, and the Prince in Rusalka and Narraboth in Salome at Opera San Antonio. He was also seen as Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly at San Francisco Opera, Matteo in Arabella with Minnesota Opera, Rodolfo in La Bohéme with the Münchner Philharmoniker and at the Castleton Festival, and Narraboth at Santa Fe Opera. Jagde made his European debut in the title role of Werther and Macduff in Macbeth at the Teatr Wielki Opera Poznan in Poland. Mr. Jagde was awarded second prize and the Birgit Nilsson prize in Placido Domingo’s 2012 Operalia Competition. He is a graduate of San Francisco Opera’s Adler and Merola Programs.
IRENE ROBERTS – MEZZO SOPRANO
American mezzo-soprano Irene Roberts brings her “plush, opulent voice” (San Jose Mercury News) to top opera houses across the globe in a busy 2015-16 season that includes five role debuts and her first performances in Europe. Roberts joined the ensemble of the Deutsche Oper Berlin this season, where she can be seen as Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro, and as the title role in Carmen – a role she also performs in her return to San Francisco Opera. Roberts also returns to Palm Beach Opera for her role debut as the Composer in Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos, while on the concert stage she makes her debut at London’s Wigmore Hall in recital with tenor Bryan Hymel and pianist Julius Drake. Past seasons have seen Roberts at the Metropolitan Opera (Le Nozze di Figaro, Parsifal), San Francisco Opera (Les Contes d’Hoffmann), Palm Beach Opera (Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Don Giovanni, Madama Butterfly). Lyric Opera of Kansas City (L’Italiana in Algeri), and Atlanta Opera (Il Barbiere di Siviglia).
JEFFREY HARTMAN – TENOR
Jeffrey Hartman joined the roster of the Lyric Opera of Chicago this season, where he covered the role of Cavaradossi in Tosca. Following Chicago, he made his house and role debut as Bacchus in Ariadne auf Naxos for Seattle Opera. He also recently made his international debut with Musica Viva Hong Kong in the roles of Canio in I Pagliacci and Turiddu in Cavalleria Rusticana; he then made his Central American debut in Costa Rica with Compania Lirica in the same dual roles of Canio and Turiddu. He returned to Hong Kong to sing the role of Il Duca di Mantova in Rigoletto to positive reviews; and he debuted with Boston Lyric Opera as Cavaradossi in Tosca. Concert highlights include Opera in the Park with the Long Island Opera Company; Tribute to the Verdi Requiem with the Muncie Symphony; Elijah, The Creation, and Carmina Burana with the Masterworks Chorale; and featured guest artist in Home for the Holidays with the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus at Carnegie Hall.
KATHLEEN KIM – SOPRANO
Since a Metropolitan Opera debut in 2007, Kathleen Kim’s international profile has continued to rise with consistent critical acclaim reflecting the excitement she generates at many of the world’s premiere opera houses and concert halls. In addition to regular returns to the Metropolitan Opera stage in such productions as Ariadne auf Naxos, Les Contes d’Hoffmann and Un ballo in Maschera, Kathleen Kim’s recent seasons have included several role debuts including the title role in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor at Sarasota Opera and La Fée in Massenet’s Cendrillon at Opéra de Lille. A new collaboration with Laurent Pelly brought the roles of Fire, Princess and the Nightingale in his highly acclaimed new productions of Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges at the Glyndebourne Festival and Les contes d’Hoffmann at the Gran Teatre del Liceu under Stéphane Denève. A European debut as Marie (La Fille du Regiment) for the Asociación Bilbaína de Amigos de la Ópera, was followed by Olympia in the acclaimed Richard Jones’ staging for the Bayerische Staatsoper and a thrilling introduction to the BBC Proms as Madame Mao in John Adams’ Nixon in China, conducted by the composer himself and prompting the Guardian to write “ ..she brought the house down with her second-act aria – a career-making interpretation, one suspects, of a scene-stealing role.” The current season brings two company debuts, at La Monnaie as Oscar in Alex Ollé’s production of Un Ballo in Maschera under Carlo Rizzi and at Oper Frankfurt as Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos under Patrick Lange as well as a return to San Diego Opera as Madame Mao under Joseph Mechavich.
BRIDGETTE GAN – SOPRANO
Soprano Bridgette Gan, who has been praised as “outstanding” (Baltimore Examiner) and hailed by the Washington Post for her “gorgeous singing,” is quickly establishing herself as an exciting and upcoming lyric coloratura soprano. Ms. Gan made a last minute acclaimed debut as Marie in Palm Beach Opera’s 2015 production of La Fille du Régiment where critics called her performance “a tour de-force…vocally beautiful and consistent with a rich tone and sparkling high notes.” Shortly after, Bridgette debuted with the Center for Contemporary Opera and also made her Santa Fe Opera mainstage debut creating the role of Lila in their acclaimed world premiere of Cold Mountain. Highlights of the 2015-2016 upcoming season include her solo debut with the Toledo Symphony in their “Rodgers and Hammerstein Celebration” concert, a return to Florida as a guest artist in Palm Beach Opera’s “Opera @ the Waterfront” concert, a debut with the South Florida Symphony as a soloist in their “And the Tony Goes to…” concert tour, her role debut as Zerbinetta in Palm Beach Opera’s spring 2016 production of Ariadne auf Naxos and her debut with Orlando Opera as Madame Silberklang in The Impresario.
JOHN EASTERLIN – TENOR
Tenor John Easterlin has rapidly established himself as one of International opera’s most compelling performers, with recent debuts at the Wiener Staatsoper as Herod in Salome, Prince Nilsky in The Gambler at Covet Garden, and a debut with Teatro Real Madrid and ENO in the role of Andy Warhol in the world premiere of The Perfect American, as well as Wozzeck, Boris Godunov, and Jack O’Brien in The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny at Teatro Real Madrid. Prior to that he performed Squeak in Billy Budd at the Opéra National de Paris and the Magician in The Consul with Glimmerglass Opera. In 2011-12 he returned to the Metropolitan Opera as the Scribe in Khovanshina, debuted with the Philadelphia Orchestra as Aegistheus in Elektra, and Madrid’s Teatro Real in Lady Macbeth of Mtentsk and Mahagonny. Engagements last season included Monostatos at the Metropolitan Opera, a debut with the Washington National Opera as Monostatos, Larry King in Anna Nicole at the New York City Opera, the role of Herod in Salome with the Merida Festival in Spain, and his return to Covent Garden as Andres in Wozzeck. In 2010-11 he made his debut with the Canadian Opera Company as Monostatos in Die Zauberflöte and the Tanzmeister in Ariadne auf Naxos, and sang the role of Alfred in Die Fledermaus with Lake George Opera. This season he debuts the role of Pirelli in Sweeney Todd with San Francisco Opera and Hawaii Opera Theatre, and debuts Houston Grand Opera in the role of Goro in Madame Butterfly. Future engagements also include season his debut with Seattle Opera as the Witch in Hansel and Gretel, and Tanzmeister in Ariadne auf Naxos with Palm Beach Opera.
MARK SCHNAIBLE – BASS-BARITONE
Mark Schnaible makes his Palm Beach Opera debut as the Musiklehrer in Ariadne auf Naxos and returns to Oper Leipzig for Méphistophélès in Faust and the Metropolitan Opera roster for Lulu this season. His recent performances include Der Wanderer in Siegfried and Four Villains in Les Contes d’Hoffmann (Den Nye Opera); Nick Shadow in The Rake’s Progress, Pizarro in Fidelio, and Ferrando in Il Trovatore (Utah Opera); Friedrich in Das Liebesverbot and Méphistophélès in Faust (Oper Leipzig); Jochanaan in Salome (Edmonton Opera); Scarpia in Tosca (Portland Opera); Orest in Elektra (Polish National Opera); Escamillo in Carmen (New Orleans Opera, Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra); Friedrich in Das Liebesverbot and the Count in Le Nozze di Figaro (Glimmerglass Opera); and Der Fliegende Holländer and Dr Schön in Lulu (Theater Lübeck). On the concert stage, recent performances include Bizet’s Clovis et Clotilde (Orchestre National de Lille), Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem (North Carolina Symphony), Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle and Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem (Utah Symphony), Beethoven’s Mass in C and Symphony No.9 (Hong Kong Philharmonic), Haydn’s Creation (Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra), and Verdi’s Requiem (Orchestre National d’Île de France).
ANTHONY LACIURA – TENOR
Anthony Laciura is known internationally for his work as an operatic tenor, having appeared with the Metropolitan Opera Company in more than 800 performances and debuting roles internationally with other opera companies in Geneva, Amsterdam, Montreal, Mexico City and Tokyo. Born and educated in New Orleans, Laciura got his start at age 12 in the cameo role of the newsboy in a staging of Charpentier’s Louise. After retiring as a comprimario in 2007, Laciura transitioned into directing, having staged productions of Verdi’s Otello with the Vero Beach Opera, Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, Puccini’s La Boheme, Tosca, Madama Butterfly for Phoenix Opera, Verdi’s Rigoletto for Dicapo Opera in New York, Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West at Knoxville Opera, and Il Barbiere di Siviglia at Hunter College’s Kaye Playhouse in New York City. Anthony also continues to run a private studio in Teaneck, New Jersey grooming aspiring opera singers. Mr. Laciura’s talent as a unique character actor has taken him to the big screen, television, and on various stages throughout the world. He has co-starred in the Academy qualifying, multi-award winning independent short film Crackers, as ‘Frank the Barber’, directed by Gregory Principato and in the short Mateo’s Room as Mr. Thomas, by Maximilian Williamson. Anthony is the recipient of two SAG Actor awards for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series for his role as Eddie Kessler on Boardwalk Empire. Besides his various roles on stage at the Met, his off-Broadway stage credits include Uncle Bob in The House of Connelly by Paul Green, and as Irwin in Honor Bound by Al Repicci. Anthony can also be seen on the AOL web series Park Bench by Steve Buscemi and recently made his Broadway debut as Reb Pinchas and Moisheleh in the musical, Soul Doctor, at the Actor’s Temple Theatre in Manhattan.
KENNETH STAVERT – BARITONE
Praised for his strong “sense of theatricality,” Baritone Kenneth Stavert has performed on operatic, concert and recital stages throughout the United States and Europe. Some of his credits include Papageno in Die Zauberflöte, Prince Afron in Le Coq d’Or, Guglielmo in Così fan Tutte, Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Yamadori in Madama Butterfly, Schaunard in La ohème, and Gregorio in Roméo et Juliette. He has performed under the batons of conductors such as John DeMain, Neal Gittleman, David Neely, Victor DeRenzi and Kostis Protopapas and has worked with stage directors such as Nic Muni, Gary Briggle, Ken Cazan and Robin Guarino. Kenneth’s Orchestral credits include Fauré’s Requiem, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Handel’s Messiah, Berlioz’s Lélio and Mozart’s Vesperae solennes de confessore. He has also been a featured recitalist throughout the United States specializing in less performed English art song. Kenneth has won the 2nd place award in the Southeastern Region of the Metropolitan Opera Competition as well as being a regional finalist in the Central region. He has twice been a winner of the Palm Beach Opera Competition. In 2010 he was a semi-finalist for the Houston Grand Opera Eleanor McCollum Competition for Young Singers, and took first place in the Opera Birmingham competition. In 2011 he was the Grand Prize winner of the Young Patronesses of the Opera / Florida Grand Opera competition. Kenneth Holds a Bachelor of Music in voice performance from the Bob Cole Conservatory of music in Long Beach, California, and a Master of Music degree from the College Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati, Ohio.
ROBERT WATSON – TENOR
Tenor Robert Watson, a native of Kansas City, MO, made his professional debut as a Noble in Wagner’s Lohengrin with San Francisco Opera. He returned to SFO to create the role of Henry Cox in the world premiere of Picker’s Dolores Claiborne. As a Filene Young Artist at Wolf Trap Opera, Watson portrayed Lieutenant B.F. Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly with the National Symphony Orchestra; Bergearss in Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles; the titular character in Milhaud’s Le pauvre matelot; and Remendado in Carmen. He has appeared as the tenor soloist in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Philadelphia Orchestra and in recital at the Phillips Collection. He is an alumnus of Merola Opera Program and the Opera Santa Barbara Studio. Roles performed include The Male Chorus in The Rape of Lucretia, and Nika Magadoff in Menotti’s The Consul. Watson placed second in the 2014 Irene Dalis Award. He is a recipient of a Richard F. Gold Career Grant from the Shoshana Foundation and a Catherine Filene Shouse Education Career Grant. He is a two-time Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions regional finalist. He attended the San Francisco Conservatory, and is a graduate of Oklahoma City University. He is a second-year Young Artist with Palm Beach Opera.
ANDREW BOGARD – BASS-BARITONE
Bass-baritone Andrew Bogard hails from central Ohio and recently graduated with a Master of Music degree from the Curtis Institute of Music, and holds a Bachelor of Music degree from The Juilliard School. Operatic highlights include Nick Shadow in The Rake’s Progress, Alidoro in Rossini’s La Cenerentola, Dulcamara in L’Elisir d’Amore, Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte, Mephistopheles in Gounod’s Faust, Leporello in Don Giovanni, Simone in Gianni Schicchi, and Colline in La Bohème. Andrew has sung numerous roles with Opera Philadelphia, Curtis Institute of Music, Ballet Opera Pantomime (Montreal), and Chautauqua Music Festival and School. Oratorio performances include Jesus/bass soloist in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, bass soloist in Handel’s Messiah, and Raphael/Adam in Haydn’s The Creation. Andrew won first place in the 2014 Mario Lanza Scholarship Competition, and was a Mid-Atlantic regional finalist and encouragement award recipient in the 2015 MET Competition.
JESSICA FISHENFELD – SOPRANO
American Soprano Jessica Fishenfeld joins Palm Beach Opera’s Young Artist Program this season, singing the roles of Frasquita (Carmen), Najade (Ariadne auf Naxos), and covering/singing the family performance of Norina in Don Pasquale. Recent credits include Lakmé in Lakmé and Zerlina in Don Giovanni at Manhattan School of Music; Zerlina in Dona Vaughn’s masterclass “Don Giovanni: Love is a Battlefield” at the Metropolitan Opera Guild; Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro, receiving accolades for her “crystalline and pure” voice and “spot on comedic timing” at Miami Summer Music Festival; Tytania (A Midsummer Night’s Dream) and Annina (La Traviata) with Highlands Opera Studio; Musetta cover (La Bohème) at North Shore Music Festival; Adele (Die Fledermaus), and Clara (The Light in the Piazza) at NYU Steinhardt; Dew Fairy/Gretel cover (Hansel and Gretel) with Hubbard Hall Opera Theatre. She was a finalist in the 2015 Alan M. and Joan Taub Ades Vocal Competition.
FLEUR BARRON – MEZZO SOPRANO
Mezzo soprano Fleur Barron was the 1st Prize Winner of the 2013 Liederkranz Competition (Art Song division) and she made her Carnegie Hall debut in the Winner’s Concert. In 2015, Fleur joined the young artist program at Glyndebourne Festival Opera, performing in Carmen,Donizetti’s Poliuto, Handel’s Saul and Ravel’sL’Enfant et les Sortileges. Also in 2015, she sang the title role in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneaswith baroque orchestra, for which Opera News singled her out as a “promising singer…a slender, striking-looking young woman with an intriguingly dark and complex mezzo-soprano.” Fleur was also invited by Brigitte Fassbaender to participate in a week of public masterclasses at the Liederhalle, Stuttgart; reviewing the final concert, Der Neue Merker noted that Fleur sang with “a distinctive mezzo of rich maturity and voluminous expression.” Upcoming performances include a recital at the prestigious Oxford Lieder Festival (U.K.) and joining the Palm Beach Opera young artist program, where she will sing Mercedes and cover the title role in Carmen, and sing Dryad in Ariadne auf Naxos and Pepa in Goyescas(Granados). Fleur has also participated in the young artist programs of the Caramoor Festival (2012), Lyric Opera Virginia (2011-2012) and the Martina Arroyo Foundation (2010). Fleur holds a Master’s degree from Manhattan School of Music and a B.A. in Comparative Literature with highest honors from Columbia University. She studies with Dr. Stephen King and Cynthia Hoffmann.
LIANA GUBERMAN – SOPRANO
Soprano Liana Guberman, from New York, NY, is a second-year Young Artist with Palm Beach Opera for the 2015-2016 season, where she will sing Echo in Ariadne auf Naxos and cover Micaëla in Carmen. During the 2014-2015 Palm Beach Opera season, Liana covered Mimì in La Bohème and covered Masha and sang Hannah in the world premiere of Ben Moore’s Enemies, A Love Story. In 2015, Liana sang Lia in Debussy’s L’enfant prodigue directed by Anthony Laciura and conducted by Sesto Quatrini with new opera company, Bare Opera in NYC. In 2014, Liana was a Fellow at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, CA where she covered Micaëla in Carmen and sang the soprano solo in Mahler’s 4th Symphony with the MAW faculty orchestra and conductor James Gaffigan. Other recent roles include: Mimì (La Bohème) and Countess (Le Nozze di Figaro) with Loft Opera, and Parasha (Mavra) and Donna Anna (Don Giovanni) with Mannes Opera. Liana recently won the St. Louis district of the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions and advanced to the Midwest regional auditions in February 2015. She is also a 2015 grant winner of the Gerda Lissner Foundation Competition.
SPENCER VIATOR – TENOR
Spencer Viator is a native of Cincinnati, Ohio. He attended the College Conservatory of Music (CCM) in Cincinnati for both his undergraduate and graduate degrees. During his time at CCM he had the pleasure to of performing a multitude of roles including Don Ramiro in La Cenerentola, Monostatos in The Magic Flute, Daniel Buchanan in Street Scene and King Ouf in L’Etoile. Spencer was a prestigious Gerdine Young Artist with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis for the past two seasons. There he sang both Streznik in The Kiss and 1st Priest in The Magic Flute. He also covered Beppe in I Pagliacci and L’Aumonier in The Dialogues of the Carmelites. Just recently out of his master degree Spencer also made his New York City debut as Liverotto in Donizetti’s Lucrezia Borgia with LOFTOpera. A promoter of new works and new music Spencer has worked closely with composers like Ricky Ian Gordon, the composer of Morning Star in which Spencer sang Soldier Hymie in the World Premiere with Cincinnati Opera.
JASON DUIKA – BARITONE
Baritone Jason Duika is quickly making a name for himself in the classical music world. Being praised by Oregon music news for having a, “big, warm voice” and, “spot-on comic timing”. Last year at Palm Beach Opera, he covered Schaunard in Puccini’s La Bohème, and made his company debut as The Corporal in Donizetti’s La Fille Du Régiment. This year at Palm Beach Opera, he will be singing the roles of Dancairo inCarmen and Dr. Malatesta in the family performance of Donizetti’s Don Pasquale, and covering Escamillo, the Toreador in Carmen, and Harlequin in Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos. He is delighted to be returning to Palm Beach Opera and thrilled to be a part of such a wonderful season.
The servants of the richest man in Vienna are busy preparing the stage for a performance in their master’s palace. Behind the scenes the two troupes hired for the occasion are making their preparations: the one troupe is to present its rendition of the first work by a young composer, the opera Ariadne auf Naxos, the other a dance masquerade in Italian buffo style. The mutual jealousy between the members of the two troupes causes emotions to run high. Much more so the unexpected and incomprehensible programme change that the host, represented by his Majordomo, announces: at his wish, the two performances will not take place consecutively, but are to be presented simultaneously to the invited guests. Deeply distressed, the Composer, who is concerned about the accurate realization of his artistic vision, wants to withdraw his creation and abandon the first public performance. But the pragmatic Music Master and above all Zerbinetta, who is adept in all the skills of seduction and in no time has the inexperienced young Composer in her sway, persuade him to change his mind. With an emphatic hymn to music, the Composer bows to reality and the instructions of his patron. The opera Ariadne auf Naxos is accordingly performed in the desired manner, with interludes by a troupe of Italian comedians.
In front of a cave on the beaches of the island of Naxos, Ariadne awaits her death, as she has been deserted by Theseus, her rescuer and lover. And so she does not hear or pay attention to anything around her: not the three nymphs, not the comedians who try to cheer her up, not even Zerbinetta, who based on her rich experience in a breakneck aria advises the grieving Ariadne not to shed a tear over her vanished lover and to be open to a new love. A radiant youth approaches from afar: Bacchus, the god of eternal renewal. He has just fled from the arms of the enchantress Circe, where he was unable to find what he was looking for. Ariadne, taking him for a messenger of death, goes to meet him and immediately, without realizing it, becomes inflamed with an ecstatic passion that is reciprocated by the god. Each transformed by the other and as if newborn, Ariadne and Bacchus conclude the opera as a well-nigh mystically united couple.
Photo: Karin Cooper for Washington National Opera