CANDIDE

by Leonard Bernstein

Friday, February 23, 2018 at 7:30 PM
Saturday, February 24, 2018 at 7:30 PM
Sunday, February 25, 2018 at 2:00 PM

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Executive Producer: The Cornelia T. Bailey Foundation,
in loving memory of Cornelia Bailey.
For a full list of Co-Producers, please visit our Co-Producer page.

The young and naïve firmly subscribe to the doctrine that everything occurs for the best, in their seemingly perfect existence. With constant challenges of this doctrine through a round-the-world romp, this cautionary and wacky tale is drenched in satire and wit. Featuring an extraordinary score by the unparalleled Bernstein, Candide is a treat for all the senses. Celebrate 100 years of Bernstein with this Palm Beach Opera production.

Sung in English with English supertitles projected above the stage.

  • David Stern
    David Stern
    Chief Conductor
  • Jay Lesenger
    Jay Lesenger
    Stage Director
  • Mara Newbery Greer
    Mara Newbery Greer
    Choreographer
  • Jerome Sirlin*
    Jerome Sirlin*
    Projection Designer
  • Michael Baumgarten
    Michael Baumgarten
    Lighting Designer
  • Hallie Dufresne
    Hallie Dufresne
    Costume Designer
  • Miles Mykkanen*
    Miles Mykkanen*
    Candide
  • Alisa Jordheim*
    Alisa Jordheim*
    Cunégonde
  • Ron Raines*
    Ron Raines*
    Dr. Pangloss/Voltaire
  • Tobias Greenhalgh+
    Tobias Greenhalgh+
    Maximilian
  • Denyce Graves
    Denyce Graves
    The Old Lady
  • Kasia Borowiec^
    Kasia Borowiec^
    Paquette
  • Derrek Stark*^
    Derrek Stark*^
    Governor

*Palm Beach Opera Debut
^Benenson Young Artist
+Former Young Artist

Additional cast information will be listed as it becomes available.
Cast subject to change.

ACT I

In Westphalia, in the castle of Baron Thunder-Ten-Tronck, live four young people: Cunegonde, the Baron’s beautiful daughter; Maximilian, his equally beautiful son; Paquette, a very obliging servant girl; and Candide, an obscure bastard cousin.  Instructed by the philosopher Dr. Pangloss, they are taught that this is “the best of all possible worlds” and that everything that happens in it happens for the best.

The humble Candide and the exalted Cunegonde fall very unsuitably in love.  Once their love discovered, Candide is summarily thrown out of the castle by the Baron.  Forced to fend for himself in the real world on the eve of war with the neighboring Bulgarians, Candide is tricked into enlisting with the enemy army and reluctantly joins in ravaging his homeland.  All the inhabitants of the castle are believed to be killed.

Full of sadness, Candide roams until he washes up in a Portugese fishing village at the height of a tremendous earthquake.  In the ruins he sees only one wretched beggar, which turns out to be none other than Pangloss, who has survived the Westphalian holocaust but has lost several fingers and appears to be wearing a tin nose.  Pangloss, cheerful as ever, explains to Candide that this disfigurement is merely a natural product of God’s greatest gift to mankind – love.  Candide and Pangloss, both good Westphalian Protestants, are arrested as heretics by the Inquisition and dragged to a great gala auto-da-fé, which the Church believes will discourage future earthquakes.  Pangloss is hanged and Candide is flogged.

Again alone, Candide continues his travels and eventually ends up in Paris, where he finds that Cunegonde also survived the attack on Westphalia and has been living in luxury under the patronage of two men who share her favors on different mutually-agreed-upon days of the week, lavishing gifts on her as she ponders whether jewels can make up for her lost innocence.  Her two suitors misfortunately arrive during her reunion with Candide, who inadvertently kills them both.

Candide, Cunegonde, and her companion, the Old Lady, are forced to flee to Cadiz where, having lost their money, the Old Lady tries to repair their fortunes by offering her body to the elderly Dons in the city square.  Her success is minimal, but an imposing Businessman appears and offers Candide the job of leading a military mission to relieve the Jesuits of Buenos Aires.  The three agree to leave their troubles behind in the Old World and enjoy a fresh start in the New.

ACT II

Candide, full of hope, sets sail with Cunegonde and the Old Lady for South America.  Meanwhile, in the slave market of Buenos Aires, Maximilian, disguised through mischance as a female slave, has an unexpected reunion with Paquette, who has also survived the Westphalian armageddon.  Embarrassingly, the lecherous Governor falls in love with Maximilian.  His true gender discovered, Maximilian is sold to the Jesuits.

When Candide, Cunegonde, and the Old Lady also arrive in Buenos Aires, the Governor quickly falls in love with Cunegonde.  Convinced by the Old Lady to accept his financial support, Cunegonde marries the Governor, while Candide leaves Buenos Aires and encounters the Jesuit camp, where to his surprise he meets Maximilian and Paquette.  In a family tiff, Candide unintentionally stabs Maximilian and has to flee into the jungle.  Eventually, he stumbles upon the legendary city of Eldorado, where the streets are paved with gold, eternal harmony reigns, and even the animals are eloquent.  Soon bored with this paradise however, Candide leaves with some of his new treasure.  Unwilling to return to Buenos Aires, he sends money to ransom Cunegonde from the Governor, with the instructions for her to meet him in Venice.

On his voyage across the Atlantic, Candide’s ship sinks, and he is rescued by a galley ship carrying five deposed kings, who are engaged in a debate about the philosophy of life.  Leading the debate from among the slaves rowing the ship is Pangloss, who miraculously survived the auto-da-fé.

The ship arrives in Venice during the Carnival festival, and as the kings play roulette and baccarat, Candide and Pangloss discover Cunegonde and the Old Lady earning an unscrupulous living at the casino.  They also find Paquette working as a prostitute, and Maximilian, who somehow survived the stabbing and has since become Venice’s Prefect of Police.  Reunited at last, the Westphalians realize that their illusions have been shattered, and they come to recognize that life is neither “good” or “bad,” but there to be lived and made the best of.  Reconciled to their new philosophy, Candide resolves to marry Cunegonde, and they all decide to settle down on a simple farm, cultivate the earth, and “make their garden grow.”

CAST
  • David Stern
    David Stern
    Chief Conductor
  • Jay Lesenger
    Jay Lesenger
    Stage Director
  • Mara Newbery Greer
    Mara Newbery Greer
    Choreographer
  • Jerome Sirlin*
    Jerome Sirlin*
    Projection Designer
  • Michael Baumgarten
    Michael Baumgarten
    Lighting Designer
  • Hallie Dufresne
    Hallie Dufresne
    Costume Designer
  • Miles Mykkanen*
    Miles Mykkanen*
    Candide
  • Alisa Jordheim*
    Alisa Jordheim*
    Cunégonde
  • Ron Raines*
    Ron Raines*
    Dr. Pangloss/Voltaire
  • Tobias Greenhalgh+
    Tobias Greenhalgh+
    Maximilian
  • Denyce Graves
    Denyce Graves
    The Old Lady
  • Kasia Borowiec^
    Kasia Borowiec^
    Paquette
  • Derrek Stark*^
    Derrek Stark*^
    Governor

*Palm Beach Opera Debut
^Benenson Young Artist
+Former Young Artist

Additional cast information will be listed as it becomes available.
Cast subject to change.

SYNOPSIS

ACT I

In Westphalia, in the castle of Baron Thunder-Ten-Tronck, live four young people: Cunegonde, the Baron’s beautiful daughter; Maximilian, his equally beautiful son; Paquette, a very obliging servant girl; and Candide, an obscure bastard cousin.  Instructed by the philosopher Dr. Pangloss, they are taught that this is “the best of all possible worlds” and that everything that happens in it happens for the best.

The humble Candide and the exalted Cunegonde fall very unsuitably in love.  Once their love discovered, Candide is summarily thrown out of the castle by the Baron.  Forced to fend for himself in the real world on the eve of war with the neighboring Bulgarians, Candide is tricked into enlisting with the enemy army and reluctantly joins in ravaging his homeland.  All the inhabitants of the castle are believed to be killed.

Full of sadness, Candide roams until he washes up in a Portugese fishing village at the height of a tremendous earthquake.  In the ruins he sees only one wretched beggar, which turns out to be none other than Pangloss, who has survived the Westphalian holocaust but has lost several fingers and appears to be wearing a tin nose.  Pangloss, cheerful as ever, explains to Candide that this disfigurement is merely a natural product of God’s greatest gift to mankind – love.  Candide and Pangloss, both good Westphalian Protestants, are arrested as heretics by the Inquisition and dragged to a great gala auto-da-fé, which the Church believes will discourage future earthquakes.  Pangloss is hanged and Candide is flogged.

Again alone, Candide continues his travels and eventually ends up in Paris, where he finds that Cunegonde also survived the attack on Westphalia and has been living in luxury under the patronage of two men who share her favors on different mutually-agreed-upon days of the week, lavishing gifts on her as she ponders whether jewels can make up for her lost innocence.  Her two suitors misfortunately arrive during her reunion with Candide, who inadvertently kills them both.

Candide, Cunegonde, and her companion, the Old Lady, are forced to flee to Cadiz where, having lost their money, the Old Lady tries to repair their fortunes by offering her body to the elderly Dons in the city square.  Her success is minimal, but an imposing Businessman appears and offers Candide the job of leading a military mission to relieve the Jesuits of Buenos Aires.  The three agree to leave their troubles behind in the Old World and enjoy a fresh start in the New.

ACT II

Candide, full of hope, sets sail with Cunegonde and the Old Lady for South America.  Meanwhile, in the slave market of Buenos Aires, Maximilian, disguised through mischance as a female slave, has an unexpected reunion with Paquette, who has also survived the Westphalian armageddon.  Embarrassingly, the lecherous Governor falls in love with Maximilian.  His true gender discovered, Maximilian is sold to the Jesuits.

When Candide, Cunegonde, and the Old Lady also arrive in Buenos Aires, the Governor quickly falls in love with Cunegonde.  Convinced by the Old Lady to accept his financial support, Cunegonde marries the Governor, while Candide leaves Buenos Aires and encounters the Jesuit camp, where to his surprise he meets Maximilian and Paquette.  In a family tiff, Candide unintentionally stabs Maximilian and has to flee into the jungle.  Eventually, he stumbles upon the legendary city of Eldorado, where the streets are paved with gold, eternal harmony reigns, and even the animals are eloquent.  Soon bored with this paradise however, Candide leaves with some of his new treasure.  Unwilling to return to Buenos Aires, he sends money to ransom Cunegonde from the Governor, with the instructions for her to meet him in Venice.

On his voyage across the Atlantic, Candide’s ship sinks, and he is rescued by a galley ship carrying five deposed kings, who are engaged in a debate about the philosophy of life.  Leading the debate from among the slaves rowing the ship is Pangloss, who miraculously survived the auto-da-fé.

The ship arrives in Venice during the Carnival festival, and as the kings play roulette and baccarat, Candide and Pangloss discover Cunegonde and the Old Lady earning an unscrupulous living at the casino.  They also find Paquette working as a prostitute, and Maximilian, who somehow survived the stabbing and has since become Venice’s Prefect of Police.  Reunited at last, the Westphalians realize that their illusions have been shattered, and they come to recognize that life is neither “good” or “bad,” but there to be lived and made the best of.  Reconciled to their new philosophy, Candide resolves to marry Cunegonde, and they all decide to settle down on a simple farm, cultivate the earth, and “make their garden grow.”

 Header Photo: Cory Weaver

David Stern
Chief Conductor

Sponsored by Mrs. Ari Rifkin

Palm Beach Opera Chief Conductor David Stern’s musical leadership is spread across three continents. He is the founder and director of the Paris-based opera company and period-instrument ensemble, Opera Fuoco, as well as artistic advisor and principal conductor of the Shanghai Baroque Festival and music director of opera at the Crested Butte Music Festival in Colorado.

Stern is known for his extensive range of repertoire. In his time as music director of the Israel and the St. Gallen Opera houses, he championed 18th century opera and eclectic works such as Simone Mayr’s Medea, Berg’s Wozzeck, Britten’s Turn of the Screw and Weill’s Mahagonny. He has premiered four new operas since 2010 – Gil Shohat’s The Child Dreams at the Israel Opera, Nicolas Bacri’s Così fanciulli, commissioned by Opera Fuoco and performed at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, Ben Moore’s Enemies, A Love Story in Palm Beach and Jan Sandström’s The Rococo Machine in Drottningholm, Sweden in June 2016.

Stern has enjoyed collaborations with many international stage directors. Stern is a frequent guest around the globe with symphonic and chamber orchestras. He is regularly invited to the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, the Swedish Chamber Orchestra, the Shanghai and Guangzhou Symphonies, the China Philharmonic, the New Russian Symphony, the National Orchestra of Mexico, and has had recent appearances with the Vienna Symphony and the Hong Kong Philharmonic.

Since launching the Aix Festival Academy in 1998, David Stern has been committed to developing young voices. He created Opera Fuoco in 2003 as a platform to train young French singers in repertoire ranging from Monteverdi to John Cage, combining both an opera studio offering regular master classes and an opera company producing and co-producing larger concertante and staged productions. As artistic advisor of the Shanghai Baroque Festival, he involves singers from the Shanghai Conservatory and the Opera Fuoco Studio, and he works regularly with the Young Artist Programs in Palm Beach and Crested Butte, Colorado.

Stern received his Bachelor of Arts from Yale and his Masters of Music from the Juilliard School. He resides in Paris with his wife and two daughters.

Jay Lesenger
Stage Director

During Jay Lesenger’s almost 40 year career as stage director, administrator and teacher, he has become known for intelligent, honest productions which are dramatically compelling and musically knowledgeable. Mr. Lesenger has produced and directed more than two hundred opera productions for the New York City Opera, Chautauqua Opera Company, Atlanta, Virginia, Milwaukee, San Diego, New Orleans (the world premiere of Thea Musgrave’s “Pontalba“), Hawaii, Opera Carolina, Opera Pacific, Pittsburgh, Palm Beach (Offenbach’s “The Tales of Hoffmann”) and many others.  His European debut was with Opera Nordfjord, Norway, and he has directed for Volkstheater Rostock in Germany. For 21 years, from 1994 to 2015, Jay was the General and Artistic Director of the Chautauqua Opera Company, the longest serving general director in the company’s history. As a nationally recognized teacher of acting for singers, he recently joined the guest faculty of the Washington National Opera’s Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program.  He has also taught on the School of Music opera faculties at the University of Michigan and Northwestern University and has directed productions for Julliard, Mannes/The New School, the Manhattan School of Music, Indiana University and the Academy of Vocal Arts. Jay is a frequent adjudicator for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and other vocal competitions.  He holds a Masters degree from Indiana University and a Bachelors of Music & Theater from Hofstra University.

Mara Newbery Greer
Choreographer

Choreographer Mara Newbery Greer’s recent credits include Thoroughly Modern Millie (Music Theatre Wichita), Shrek, the Musical (North Shore Music Theatre/Tuacahn), The Toxic Avenger (Pittsburgh CLO), A Christmas Story, the Musical (Paper Mill Playhouse/Fulton Theatre), Legally Blonde and 9 to 5 (Sacramento Music Circus), Big Fish (Front Porch Theatricals), Oliver! (Plymouth State University), The Drowsy Chaperone (University of Michigan) and the 2015 Lucille Lortel Awards.  As a performer, Mara has worked on Broadway, National Tours, and regional theatres across the country.  She earned her BFA in Music Theatre from the University of Michigan.  Her upcoming choreography projects include Matilda (Tuacahn), Guys and Dolls (Music Theatre Wichita), and The Music Man (Lexington Theatre Company).

Jerome Sirlin*
Projection Designer

Bridging the gap between theater and film, “Jerome Sirlin’s fluid use of sets and scenic projections annihilates space and time and gives his productions an exhilarating sense of visual freedom and cinematic illusion.” (Time Magazine)

Productions range from avant-garde collaborations with Philip Glass, Allen Ginsberg and Lou Reed to pop concerts for Madonna and Paul Simon; from the classic world of Wagner’s Ring Cycle and Verdi’s Macbeth to contemporary operas such as John Corigliano’s Ghosts of Versailles and Jonathan Dove’s Flight; from big budget musicals like Kiss of the Spider WomanWhatever Happened to Baby Jane and Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame to more intimate theatricals including Piazzolla’s Maria de Buenos Aires and the traveling stage circus Cirque Ingenieux.

In addition to Musical Theater and Opera, designs include multimedia installations and shows for museums, cultural institutions and theme parks. Freedom Rising at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia gives the American Constitution both a historical and contemporary context. Beyond Belief: Theatre Of Contemplation presented a 3-D media meditation experience for the Cathedral Heritage Foundation of Louisville, Kentucky. The video finale for Hershey Park’s Chocolate World Tour Ride, in Pennsylvania, provides a whimsical ride through a landscape of American iconography.

Projects that have combined staging with scenic design include the European premiere of John Corigliano’s opera The Ghosts of Versailles, Toshiro Mayazumi’s Kinkakuji (from Mishima’s novel The Temple of the Golden Pavilion) for New York City Opera, and the world premiere of Marilyn, an opera by Ezra Laderman based on the last days of Marilyn Monroe.

Recent projects include Spooky Action: The Drama of Quantum Mechanics, the opening performance of the 2013 World Science Festival at the New Victory Theater, New York; updated productions of Candide at Portland Opera, 1000 Airplanes on the Roof in Scotland at the Glasgow Concert Hall and Esther at New York City Opera.

Upcoming projects include a media installation for the Ithaca Motion Picture Project and the prototype design for a Scenic Symphony to be presented at Ford hall, Ithaca College, Ithaca, New York.

 

Michael Baumgarten
Lighting Designer

Mr. Baumgarten has designed lighting and video for Palm Beach Opera productions of Così fan tutte and Rigoletto, and has designed lighting, scenery and video for over 400 productions at regional and international opera companies, including New York City Opera, Opera Carolina, Opera Lyra Ottawa, Manitoba Opera, Arizona Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Lyric Opera Kansas City, Toledo Opera, Opera Grand Rapids, Michigan Opera Theater and Opera Columbus during his thirty-plus year design career. A graduate of the Yale School of Drama and member of United Scenic Artists-Local 829, he assisted on Broadway during the 1980’s, working with such designers as Craig Miller, Tom Skelton, Beverly Emmons, Jim Ingalls, and Richard Nelson.  Mr. Baumgarten has been the Director of Production and Resident Lighting/Video Designer for Opera Carolina in Charlotte since 2005, and for Chautauqua Opera since 1999, and served on the professional staff at Amherst College for seventeen years as the Lighting Designer/Production Manager for both the Theater and Dance and the Music Departments.

Hallie Dufresne
Costume Designer

Hallie Dufresne specializes in millinery and textile arts with a BFA in Costume Design and Technology from Florida State University. Her work has been seen on opera stages from Los Angeles to New York and throughout Europe. Highlights of her career include building the masks and headpieces in Achim Freyer’s Ring Cycle at Los Angeles Opera, and creating the hats and textile painting for the Los Angeles Opera 2016 production of The Ghosts of Versailles designed by Lindo Cho.  Now in her second season as Palm Beach Opera’s Costume Director, this production of Candide marks her debut as a designer for the opera stage.

Miles Mykkanen*
Candide

Miles Mykkanen has garnered recognition on the world’s concert and operatic stages for his “focused, full-voiced tenor” (The New York Times).

The 2016-2017 season sees Miles Mykkanen performing the title role in a fully- staged production of Bernstein’s Candide with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and Belmonte in Opera Columbus’ new production of Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail.  He makes his debuts with the St. Thomas Church 5th Avenue Choir of Men and Boys and Concert Royal in performances of Händel’s Messiah and the Sarasota Orchestra and Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir in performances of Mozart’s Requiem under the baton of Anu Tali.

The Sullivan Foundation recently named Miles Mykkanen as a winner of the 2016 Sullivan Foundation Award. Mr. Mykkanen also received prizes from The Gerda Lissner Foundation’s 2016 Song Competition and the Metropolitan Opera National Council District Auditions, where he will advance to the Regional Competition in February 2017.

Mr. Mykkanen’s opera credits include championing new work in addition to leading roles drawn from the classic repertoire. Operatic highlights include performances of Die Zauberflöte, Eugene Onegin, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Ariadne auf Naxos, Les mamelles de Tirésias, La traviata, Le nozze di Figaro, La finta giardiniera, Der Kaiser von Atlantis, The Cunning Little Vixen, Dialogues of the Carmelites, Le donne curiose, A Hand of Bridge, and Down in the Valley.  The tenor has sung with Wolf Trap Opera Company, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Pine Mountain Music Festival, and Juilliard Opera.

Miles Mykkanen celebrated his Carnegie Hall recital debut last year, and has performed with the New World Symphony, New York Festival of Song, National Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Juilliard415, and at the Franz Schubert Institut, Royal Irish Academy of Music, and Interlochen Academy.  His rich and varied concert repertoire includes Bach’s Magnificat, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Brahms’ Liebeslieder Waltzes, Britten’s Canticle II: Abraham and Isaac and Canticle V: The Death of St. Narcissus, Händel’s Messiah, Schubert’s Auf dem Strom, and Stravinsky’s Cantata.

Currently in Juilliard’s esteemed Artist Diploma in Opera Studies program working with Stephen Wadsworth and Brian Zeger, Miles Mykkanen earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from the school under the tutelage of Cynthia Hoffmann.  He was a 2009 youngARTS Gold Winner in Voice and Juilliard has distinguished the tenor as a winner of the 2016 Juilliard Honors Recital, as a Toulmin Foundation Scholar, and with the Joseph W. Polisi Award, named for the institution’s president, for exemplifying the school’s values of the “artist as citizen.”

Alisa Jordheim*
Cunégonde

Soprano Alisa Jordheim is praised for her compelling and vocally assured performances in opera, oratorio, musical theatre, both early and new music, and recital.

A 2013 Merola Opera Program Participant, Miss Jordheim sang the roles of Lucia in The Rape of Lucretia and Barbarina in Le nozze di Figaro, and “Dal tuo gentil sembiante” from Mozart’s Ascanio in Alba in the Merola Grand Finale. Prior to the role of Lulu Baines in Elmer Gantry, she appeared as Miss Wordsworth in Albert Herring, Frasquita in Carmen, and Barbarina in Le nozze di Figaro with Florentine Opera. Other recent roles in addition to Soeur Constance in Dialogues des Carmélites at Caramoor include Satirino in La Calisto, 2nd Knabe in Die Zauberflöte, and the Page in Rigoletto with Cincinnati Opera; Marzelline in Fidelio with Madison Opera; Micaëla in “Carmen in Concert” with the Columbus Symphony/Opera Columbus; Flora in Turn of the Screw, Sirena in Rinaldo, Ellen in Oklahoma!, and Fredrika in A Little Night Music with Central City Opera; The Rose in The Little Prince with Cincinnati Chamber Opera; and Nannetta in Falstaff with Emerald City Opera.

Miss Jordheim is the recipient of a 2016 Sullivan Foundation Award and 2015 Sullivan Foundation Career Development Grant. She won the 2015 Bel Canto Regional Artists Competition, took 2nd place in the 2013 Auditions Plus Classical Singer Vocal Competition – Young Artist Division, and won the Edith Newfield Scholarship in the 2013 Musicians Club of Women Music Scholarship Competition in Chicago. She was the recipient of the 2012 Central City Opera Young Artist Award, winner of the 2012 and 2011 Wisconsin District Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and a finalist in the Kurt Weill Foundation’s 2011 Lotte Lenya International Competition.

A Fulbright Scholar and Fellow of the American Scandinavian Foundation, Miss Jordheim studied and conducted research on singing diction in the Scandinavian languages at the University of Oslo in 2013-2014. She frequently performs recitals of songs by Scandinavian composers, has published an article on Norwegian, Swedish, and Danish singing diction in the NATS Journal of Singing, and has completed English and IPA translations of numerous songs by Scandinavian composers. She is also an advocate of new music for voice, having premiered works composed for her by Lori Laitman, Douglas Pew, Joanne Metcalf, Josh Deutsch, and Rodney Rogers.

A native of Appleton, Wisconsin, Miss Jordheim completed her first two years of undergraduate study at Lawrence University, where she studied with Patrice Michaels. She earned her Bachelor of Music, Master of Music, and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in Voice Performance from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) as a student of William McGraw, and her DMA cognate field is Scandinavian song and diction.

Ron Raines*
Dr. Pangloss/Voltaire

Sponsored by Toni & Martin Sosnoff

A Tony Award nominee for the acclaimed production of Follies, Ron has had an illustrious international career spanning musical theater, opera, concert, and television. Born and raised in Texas, Ron Raines attended Oklahoma City University and The Juilliard School. He was a three-time Emmy and Soap Opera Digest Award nominee for his role as villain Alan Spaulding on CBS’s longest running daytime drama Guiding Light. Ron has appeared on Elementary and Person Of Interest. He starred on Broadway in AnnieNewsiesChicago and Show Boat, and originated the role of Nick Longworth in Teddy and Alice with Len Cariou.  He has delighted audiences around the world with his memorable starring roles in virtually every major American musical and operetta, including A Little Night MusicThe Unsinkable Molly Brown, South PacificAnnieKismetSayonaraKiss Me KateThe King and INaughty Marietta, The Merry Widow, Brigadoon, Rose Marie, Oklahoma!, Carousel, Side by Side by Sondheim, Guys and Dolls, and Man of La Mancha at the Covent Garden Festival.  He has soloed with over 50 major American and international orchestras, including the Boston Pops, the Philly Pops, the BBC Concert Orchestra, the Jerusalem Symphony, and the Israel Philharmonic, and has performed at Carnegie Hall, the 92nd Street Y, Tanglewood, the London Palladium, Rainbow and Stars, and Royal Festival Hall.  He has appeared on four PBS “Great Performances,” and has made two solo recordings on Jay Records and numerous cast albums.  He lives in New York City with his wife and daughter.

Tobias Greenhalgh+
Maximilian

As a member of the Junges Ensemble of the Theater an der Wien these past two seasons, American baritone Tobias Greenhalgh made his European debut singing the title role in Eugene Onegin. Whilst in Vienna, his roles on the mainstage included Ned Keene in Christof Loy’s universally-acclaimed new production of Peter Grimes, and Littore (L’incoronazione di Poppea), alongside Escamillo (Carmen), Argante (Rinaldo) and Ramiro (L’heure Espagnole) amongst others in the Wiener Kammeroper.

This season, Tobias sings multiple roles including the Cold Genius in Purcell’s King Arthur for Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz, sings his first Belcore (L’elisir d’amore) with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, returns to Palm Beach Opera as Samuel (Pirates of Penzance) and creates a leading role in the world premiere of Grapes of Wrath for Opera Theatre of St Louis.

Tobias has given recitals for the Arnold Schoenberg Centre, the Brooklyn Art Song Society (Mörike Lieder) and performed three programmes for the New York Festival of Song. A skilled concert artist, recent highlights include Bach’s St Matthew Passion with Soli Deo Gloria and Vaughan Williams’ Five Mystical Songs with St George’s Choral Society. Tobias was a finalist at the Operalia competition in 2015.

Denyce Graves
The Old Lady

Sponsored by Toni & Martin Sosnoff

Recognized worldwide as one of today’s most exciting vocal stars, Denyce Graves continues to gather unparalleled popular and critical acclaim in performances on four continents.

Her career has taken her to the world’s great opera houses and concert halls. The combination of her expressive, rich vocalism, elegant stage presence, and exciting theatrical abilities allows her to pursue a wide breadth of operatic portrayals and to delight audiences in concert and recital appearances. Denyce Graves has become particularly well-known to operatic audiences for her portrayals of the title roles in Carmen and Samson et Dalila. These signature roles have brought Ms. Graves to the Metropolitan Opera, Vienna Staatsoper, Royal Opera, Covent Garden, San Francisco Opera, Opéra National de Paris, Lyric Opera of Chicago, The Washington Opera, Bayerische Staatsoper, Arena di Verona, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Opernhaus Zürich, Teatro Real in Madrid, Houston Grand Opera, Dallas Opera, Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, Los Angeles Opera, and the Festival Maggio Musicale in Florence.

Ms. Graves appears continually on the stages of leading theaters in North America, Europe, and Asia. Recent appearances include the world premieres of Doubt at Minnesota Opera and Champion at the Opera Theatre of St. Louis as well as the role debuts of Katisha in The Mikado for Lyric Opera of Kansas City and Herodias in Salome for Palm Beach Opera. Ms. Graves has worked with the finest symphony orchestras and conductors in a wide range of repertoire.

Denyce Graves is a native of Washington, D.C., where she attended the Duke Ellington School for the Performing Arts. She continued her education at Oberlin College Conservatory of Music and the New England Conservatory. Ms. Graves is the recipient of many awards, including the Grand Prix du Concours International de Chant de Paris, the Eleanor Steber Music Award in the Opera Columbus Vocal Competition, and a Jacobson Study Grant from the Richard Tucker Music Foundation. In addition she has received honorary doctorates from Oberlin College, the College of Saint Mary, and Centre College. Ms. Graves’s dedication to the singers of the next generation continues to be an important part of her career and recently she joined the voice faculty of the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore.

Kasia Borowiec^
Paquette

Sponsored by Teeda and Salvatore Nuzzo

Soprano Kasia Borowiec returns to the Benenson Young Artist Program at Palm Beach Opera to sing the roles of Paquette (Candide) and Countess (Children’s Performance: The Marriage of Figaro) and to study-cover the title role in Tosca. She will also appear with the Atlantic Classical Orchestra as the Soprano soloist in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.

Last season at Palm Beach, Kasia covered the title role in Madama Butterfly, and made her company debut as the Page in Rigoletto and Isabel in The Pirates of Penzance.  She most recently made her Santa Fe Opera debut singing the title role in Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Golden Cockerel as a second year Apprentice Artist. In 2016, she was also an Artist-in-Residence with Dayton Opera, where she sang the role of Kate Pinkerton (Madama Butterfly) and covered the role of Desdemona (Otello). Kasia made her professional debut singing the Second Apparition in Macbeth at Chautauqua Opera. Her other operatic roles include Tatiana (Eugene Onegin), Marguerite (Faust), Giulietta (I Capuleti e I Montecchi), Female Chorus (The Rape of Lucretia), Miss Jessel (The Turn of the Screw), among others.

Originally from Summit, NJ, Kasia holds degrees from Columbia University (B.A.) and Manhattan School of Music (M.M.). She has received awards from the Metropolitan Opera National Council, Chautauqua Opera, and Columbia University.

Derrek Stark*^
Governor

Sponsored by Teeda and Salvatore Nuzzo

Derrek Stark, tenor, is a native of Bath NY. He holds a B.M. from Mansfield University, PA, and a M.M. from The Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University, IN where he studied with Carol Vaness. In the fall of 2016, Stark joined the roster of the Benenson Young Artists at Palm Beach Opera where he covered Pinkerton (Madama Butterfly), and Duke (Rigoletto). He is enthusiastic to return to PBO as a second-year young artist where he will cover Candide and sing The Governor (Candide). A previous member of the Lyric Opera of Kansas City’s Young Artist Program, Stark made his company debut as the Huntsman (Rusalka) and Remendado (Carmen). As a second year young artist at Santa Fe Opera, he covered Flamand (Capriccio) and sang Harry (Fanciulla del West). Previous performance credits include: Rodolfo (La bohème); Rinuccio (Gianni Schicchi); Peter Quint (The Turn of the Screw); Tamino (Die Zauberflöte); Alfredo (La (Traviata) and Fenton (Falstaff).

David Stern
Chief Conductor

Sponsored by Mrs. Ari Rifkin

Palm Beach Opera Chief Conductor David Stern’s musical leadership is spread across three continents. He is the founder and director of the Paris-based opera company and period-instrument ensemble, Opera Fuoco, as well as artistic advisor and principal conductor of the Shanghai Baroque Festival and music director of opera at the Crested Butte Music Festival in Colorado.

Stern is known for his extensive range of repertoire. In his time as music director of the Israel and the St. Gallen Opera houses, he championed 18th century opera and eclectic works such as Simone Mayr’s Medea, Berg’s Wozzeck, Britten’s Turn of the Screw and Weill’s Mahagonny. He has premiered four new operas since 2010 – Gil Shohat’s The Child Dreams at the Israel Opera, Nicolas Bacri’s Così fanciulli, commissioned by Opera Fuoco and performed at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, Ben Moore’s Enemies, A Love Story in Palm Beach and Jan Sandström’s The Rococo Machine in Drottningholm, Sweden in June 2016.

Stern has enjoyed collaborations with many international stage directors. Stern is a frequent guest around the globe with symphonic and chamber orchestras. He is regularly invited to the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, the Swedish Chamber Orchestra, the Shanghai and Guangzhou Symphonies, the China Philharmonic, the New Russian Symphony, the National Orchestra of Mexico, and has had recent appearances with the Vienna Symphony and the Hong Kong Philharmonic.

Since launching the Aix Festival Academy in 1998, David Stern has been committed to developing young voices. He created Opera Fuoco in 2003 as a platform to train young French singers in repertoire ranging from Monteverdi to John Cage, combining both an opera studio offering regular master classes and an opera company producing and co-producing larger concertante and staged productions. As artistic advisor of the Shanghai Baroque Festival, he involves singers from the Shanghai Conservatory and the Opera Fuoco Studio, and he works regularly with the Young Artist Programs in Palm Beach and Crested Butte, Colorado.

Stern received his Bachelor of Arts from Yale and his Masters of Music from the Juilliard School. He resides in Paris with his wife and two daughters.

Jay Lesenger
Stage Director

During Jay Lesenger’s almost 40 year career as stage director, administrator and teacher, he has become known for intelligent, honest productions which are dramatically compelling and musically knowledgeable. Mr. Lesenger has produced and directed more than two hundred opera productions for the New York City Opera, Chautauqua Opera Company, Atlanta, Virginia, Milwaukee, San Diego, New Orleans (the world premiere of Thea Musgrave’s “Pontalba“), Hawaii, Opera Carolina, Opera Pacific, Pittsburgh, Palm Beach (Offenbach’s “The Tales of Hoffmann”) and many others.  His European debut was with Opera Nordfjord, Norway, and he has directed for Volkstheater Rostock in Germany. For 21 years, from 1994 to 2015, Jay was the General and Artistic Director of the Chautauqua Opera Company, the longest serving general director in the company’s history. As a nationally recognized teacher of acting for singers, he recently joined the guest faculty of the Washington National Opera’s Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program.  He has also taught on the School of Music opera faculties at the University of Michigan and Northwestern University and has directed productions for Julliard, Mannes/The New School, the Manhattan School of Music, Indiana University and the Academy of Vocal Arts. Jay is a frequent adjudicator for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and other vocal competitions.  He holds a Masters degree from Indiana University and a Bachelors of Music & Theater from Hofstra University.

Mara Newbery Greer
Choreographer

Choreographer Mara Newbery Greer’s recent credits include Thoroughly Modern Millie (Music Theatre Wichita), Shrek, the Musical (North Shore Music Theatre/Tuacahn), The Toxic Avenger (Pittsburgh CLO), A Christmas Story, the Musical (Paper Mill Playhouse/Fulton Theatre), Legally Blonde and 9 to 5 (Sacramento Music Circus), Big Fish (Front Porch Theatricals), Oliver! (Plymouth State University), The Drowsy Chaperone (University of Michigan) and the 2015 Lucille Lortel Awards.  As a performer, Mara has worked on Broadway, National Tours, and regional theatres across the country.  She earned her BFA in Music Theatre from the University of Michigan.  Her upcoming choreography projects include Matilda (Tuacahn), Guys and Dolls (Music Theatre Wichita), and The Music Man (Lexington Theatre Company).

Jerome Sirlin*
Projection Designer

Bridging the gap between theater and film, “Jerome Sirlin’s fluid use of sets and scenic projections annihilates space and time and gives his productions an exhilarating sense of visual freedom and cinematic illusion.” (Time Magazine)

Productions range from avant-garde collaborations with Philip Glass, Allen Ginsberg and Lou Reed to pop concerts for Madonna and Paul Simon; from the classic world of Wagner’s Ring Cycle and Verdi’s Macbeth to contemporary operas such as John Corigliano’s Ghosts of Versailles and Jonathan Dove’s Flight; from big budget musicals like Kiss of the Spider WomanWhatever Happened to Baby Jane and Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame to more intimate theatricals including Piazzolla’s Maria de Buenos Aires and the traveling stage circus Cirque Ingenieux.

In addition to Musical Theater and Opera, designs include multimedia installations and shows for museums, cultural institutions and theme parks. Freedom Rising at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia gives the American Constitution both a historical and contemporary context. Beyond Belief: Theatre Of Contemplation presented a 3-D media meditation experience for the Cathedral Heritage Foundation of Louisville, Kentucky. The video finale for Hershey Park’s Chocolate World Tour Ride, in Pennsylvania, provides a whimsical ride through a landscape of American iconography.

Projects that have combined staging with scenic design include the European premiere of John Corigliano’s opera The Ghosts of Versailles, Toshiro Mayazumi’s Kinkakuji (from Mishima’s novel The Temple of the Golden Pavilion) for New York City Opera, and the world premiere of Marilyn, an opera by Ezra Laderman based on the last days of Marilyn Monroe.

Recent projects include Spooky Action: The Drama of Quantum Mechanics, the opening performance of the 2013 World Science Festival at the New Victory Theater, New York; updated productions of Candide at Portland Opera, 1000 Airplanes on the Roof in Scotland at the Glasgow Concert Hall and Esther at New York City Opera.

Upcoming projects include a media installation for the Ithaca Motion Picture Project and the prototype design for a Scenic Symphony to be presented at Ford hall, Ithaca College, Ithaca, New York.

 

Michael Baumgarten
Lighting Designer

Mr. Baumgarten has designed lighting and video for Palm Beach Opera productions of Così fan tutte and Rigoletto, and has designed lighting, scenery and video for over 400 productions at regional and international opera companies, including New York City Opera, Opera Carolina, Opera Lyra Ottawa, Manitoba Opera, Arizona Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Lyric Opera Kansas City, Toledo Opera, Opera Grand Rapids, Michigan Opera Theater and Opera Columbus during his thirty-plus year design career. A graduate of the Yale School of Drama and member of United Scenic Artists-Local 829, he assisted on Broadway during the 1980’s, working with such designers as Craig Miller, Tom Skelton, Beverly Emmons, Jim Ingalls, and Richard Nelson.  Mr. Baumgarten has been the Director of Production and Resident Lighting/Video Designer for Opera Carolina in Charlotte since 2005, and for Chautauqua Opera since 1999, and served on the professional staff at Amherst College for seventeen years as the Lighting Designer/Production Manager for both the Theater and Dance and the Music Departments.

Hallie Dufresne
Costume Designer

Hallie Dufresne specializes in millinery and textile arts with a BFA in Costume Design and Technology from Florida State University. Her work has been seen on opera stages from Los Angeles to New York and throughout Europe. Highlights of her career include building the masks and headpieces in Achim Freyer’s Ring Cycle at Los Angeles Opera, and creating the hats and textile painting for the Los Angeles Opera 2016 production of The Ghosts of Versailles designed by Lindo Cho.  Now in her second season as Palm Beach Opera’s Costume Director, this production of Candide marks her debut as a designer for the opera stage.

Miles Mykkanen*
Candide

Miles Mykkanen has garnered recognition on the world’s concert and operatic stages for his “focused, full-voiced tenor” (The New York Times).

The 2016-2017 season sees Miles Mykkanen performing the title role in a fully- staged production of Bernstein’s Candide with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and Belmonte in Opera Columbus’ new production of Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail.  He makes his debuts with the St. Thomas Church 5th Avenue Choir of Men and Boys and Concert Royal in performances of Händel’s Messiah and the Sarasota Orchestra and Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir in performances of Mozart’s Requiem under the baton of Anu Tali.

The Sullivan Foundation recently named Miles Mykkanen as a winner of the 2016 Sullivan Foundation Award. Mr. Mykkanen also received prizes from The Gerda Lissner Foundation’s 2016 Song Competition and the Metropolitan Opera National Council District Auditions, where he will advance to the Regional Competition in February 2017.

Mr. Mykkanen’s opera credits include championing new work in addition to leading roles drawn from the classic repertoire. Operatic highlights include performances of Die Zauberflöte, Eugene Onegin, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Ariadne auf Naxos, Les mamelles de Tirésias, La traviata, Le nozze di Figaro, La finta giardiniera, Der Kaiser von Atlantis, The Cunning Little Vixen, Dialogues of the Carmelites, Le donne curiose, A Hand of Bridge, and Down in the Valley.  The tenor has sung with Wolf Trap Opera Company, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Pine Mountain Music Festival, and Juilliard Opera.

Miles Mykkanen celebrated his Carnegie Hall recital debut last year, and has performed with the New World Symphony, New York Festival of Song, National Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Juilliard415, and at the Franz Schubert Institut, Royal Irish Academy of Music, and Interlochen Academy.  His rich and varied concert repertoire includes Bach’s Magnificat, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Brahms’ Liebeslieder Waltzes, Britten’s Canticle II: Abraham and Isaac and Canticle V: The Death of St. Narcissus, Händel’s Messiah, Schubert’s Auf dem Strom, and Stravinsky’s Cantata.

Currently in Juilliard’s esteemed Artist Diploma in Opera Studies program working with Stephen Wadsworth and Brian Zeger, Miles Mykkanen earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from the school under the tutelage of Cynthia Hoffmann.  He was a 2009 youngARTS Gold Winner in Voice and Juilliard has distinguished the tenor as a winner of the 2016 Juilliard Honors Recital, as a Toulmin Foundation Scholar, and with the Joseph W. Polisi Award, named for the institution’s president, for exemplifying the school’s values of the “artist as citizen.”

Alisa Jordheim*
Cunégonde

Soprano Alisa Jordheim is praised for her compelling and vocally assured performances in opera, oratorio, musical theatre, both early and new music, and recital.

A 2013 Merola Opera Program Participant, Miss Jordheim sang the roles of Lucia in The Rape of Lucretia and Barbarina in Le nozze di Figaro, and “Dal tuo gentil sembiante” from Mozart’s Ascanio in Alba in the Merola Grand Finale. Prior to the role of Lulu Baines in Elmer Gantry, she appeared as Miss Wordsworth in Albert Herring, Frasquita in Carmen, and Barbarina in Le nozze di Figaro with Florentine Opera. Other recent roles in addition to Soeur Constance in Dialogues des Carmélites at Caramoor include Satirino in La Calisto, 2nd Knabe in Die Zauberflöte, and the Page in Rigoletto with Cincinnati Opera; Marzelline in Fidelio with Madison Opera; Micaëla in “Carmen in Concert” with the Columbus Symphony/Opera Columbus; Flora in Turn of the Screw, Sirena in Rinaldo, Ellen in Oklahoma!, and Fredrika in A Little Night Music with Central City Opera; The Rose in The Little Prince with Cincinnati Chamber Opera; and Nannetta in Falstaff with Emerald City Opera.

Miss Jordheim is the recipient of a 2016 Sullivan Foundation Award and 2015 Sullivan Foundation Career Development Grant. She won the 2015 Bel Canto Regional Artists Competition, took 2nd place in the 2013 Auditions Plus Classical Singer Vocal Competition – Young Artist Division, and won the Edith Newfield Scholarship in the 2013 Musicians Club of Women Music Scholarship Competition in Chicago. She was the recipient of the 2012 Central City Opera Young Artist Award, winner of the 2012 and 2011 Wisconsin District Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and a finalist in the Kurt Weill Foundation’s 2011 Lotte Lenya International Competition.

A Fulbright Scholar and Fellow of the American Scandinavian Foundation, Miss Jordheim studied and conducted research on singing diction in the Scandinavian languages at the University of Oslo in 2013-2014. She frequently performs recitals of songs by Scandinavian composers, has published an article on Norwegian, Swedish, and Danish singing diction in the NATS Journal of Singing, and has completed English and IPA translations of numerous songs by Scandinavian composers. She is also an advocate of new music for voice, having premiered works composed for her by Lori Laitman, Douglas Pew, Joanne Metcalf, Josh Deutsch, and Rodney Rogers.

A native of Appleton, Wisconsin, Miss Jordheim completed her first two years of undergraduate study at Lawrence University, where she studied with Patrice Michaels. She earned her Bachelor of Music, Master of Music, and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in Voice Performance from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) as a student of William McGraw, and her DMA cognate field is Scandinavian song and diction.

Ron Raines*
Dr. Pangloss/Voltaire

Sponsored by Toni & Martin Sosnoff

A Tony Award nominee for the acclaimed production of Follies, Ron has had an illustrious international career spanning musical theater, opera, concert, and television. Born and raised in Texas, Ron Raines attended Oklahoma City University and The Juilliard School. He was a three-time Emmy and Soap Opera Digest Award nominee for his role as villain Alan Spaulding on CBS’s longest running daytime drama Guiding Light. Ron has appeared on Elementary and Person Of Interest. He starred on Broadway in AnnieNewsiesChicago and Show Boat, and originated the role of Nick Longworth in Teddy and Alice with Len Cariou.  He has delighted audiences around the world with his memorable starring roles in virtually every major American musical and operetta, including A Little Night MusicThe Unsinkable Molly Brown, South PacificAnnieKismetSayonaraKiss Me KateThe King and INaughty Marietta, The Merry Widow, Brigadoon, Rose Marie, Oklahoma!, Carousel, Side by Side by Sondheim, Guys and Dolls, and Man of La Mancha at the Covent Garden Festival.  He has soloed with over 50 major American and international orchestras, including the Boston Pops, the Philly Pops, the BBC Concert Orchestra, the Jerusalem Symphony, and the Israel Philharmonic, and has performed at Carnegie Hall, the 92nd Street Y, Tanglewood, the London Palladium, Rainbow and Stars, and Royal Festival Hall.  He has appeared on four PBS “Great Performances,” and has made two solo recordings on Jay Records and numerous cast albums.  He lives in New York City with his wife and daughter.

Tobias Greenhalgh+
Maximilian

As a member of the Junges Ensemble of the Theater an der Wien these past two seasons, American baritone Tobias Greenhalgh made his European debut singing the title role in Eugene Onegin. Whilst in Vienna, his roles on the mainstage included Ned Keene in Christof Loy’s universally-acclaimed new production of Peter Grimes, and Littore (L’incoronazione di Poppea), alongside Escamillo (Carmen), Argante (Rinaldo) and Ramiro (L’heure Espagnole) amongst others in the Wiener Kammeroper.

This season, Tobias sings multiple roles including the Cold Genius in Purcell’s King Arthur for Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz, sings his first Belcore (L’elisir d’amore) with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, returns to Palm Beach Opera as Samuel (Pirates of Penzance) and creates a leading role in the world premiere of Grapes of Wrath for Opera Theatre of St Louis.

Tobias has given recitals for the Arnold Schoenberg Centre, the Brooklyn Art Song Society (Mörike Lieder) and performed three programmes for the New York Festival of Song. A skilled concert artist, recent highlights include Bach’s St Matthew Passion with Soli Deo Gloria and Vaughan Williams’ Five Mystical Songs with St George’s Choral Society. Tobias was a finalist at the Operalia competition in 2015.

Denyce Graves
The Old Lady

Sponsored by Toni & Martin Sosnoff

Recognized worldwide as one of today’s most exciting vocal stars, Denyce Graves continues to gather unparalleled popular and critical acclaim in performances on four continents.

Her career has taken her to the world’s great opera houses and concert halls. The combination of her expressive, rich vocalism, elegant stage presence, and exciting theatrical abilities allows her to pursue a wide breadth of operatic portrayals and to delight audiences in concert and recital appearances. Denyce Graves has become particularly well-known to operatic audiences for her portrayals of the title roles in Carmen and Samson et Dalila. These signature roles have brought Ms. Graves to the Metropolitan Opera, Vienna Staatsoper, Royal Opera, Covent Garden, San Francisco Opera, Opéra National de Paris, Lyric Opera of Chicago, The Washington Opera, Bayerische Staatsoper, Arena di Verona, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Opernhaus Zürich, Teatro Real in Madrid, Houston Grand Opera, Dallas Opera, Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, Los Angeles Opera, and the Festival Maggio Musicale in Florence.

Ms. Graves appears continually on the stages of leading theaters in North America, Europe, and Asia. Recent appearances include the world premieres of Doubt at Minnesota Opera and Champion at the Opera Theatre of St. Louis as well as the role debuts of Katisha in The Mikado for Lyric Opera of Kansas City and Herodias in Salome for Palm Beach Opera. Ms. Graves has worked with the finest symphony orchestras and conductors in a wide range of repertoire.

Denyce Graves is a native of Washington, D.C., where she attended the Duke Ellington School for the Performing Arts. She continued her education at Oberlin College Conservatory of Music and the New England Conservatory. Ms. Graves is the recipient of many awards, including the Grand Prix du Concours International de Chant de Paris, the Eleanor Steber Music Award in the Opera Columbus Vocal Competition, and a Jacobson Study Grant from the Richard Tucker Music Foundation. In addition she has received honorary doctorates from Oberlin College, the College of Saint Mary, and Centre College. Ms. Graves’s dedication to the singers of the next generation continues to be an important part of her career and recently she joined the voice faculty of the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore.

Kasia Borowiec^
Paquette

Sponsored by Teeda and Salvatore Nuzzo

Soprano Kasia Borowiec returns to the Benenson Young Artist Program at Palm Beach Opera to sing the roles of Paquette (Candide) and Countess (Children’s Performance: The Marriage of Figaro) and to study-cover the title role in Tosca. She will also appear with the Atlantic Classical Orchestra as the Soprano soloist in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.

Last season at Palm Beach, Kasia covered the title role in Madama Butterfly, and made her company debut as the Page in Rigoletto and Isabel in The Pirates of Penzance.  She most recently made her Santa Fe Opera debut singing the title role in Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Golden Cockerel as a second year Apprentice Artist. In 2016, she was also an Artist-in-Residence with Dayton Opera, where she sang the role of Kate Pinkerton (Madama Butterfly) and covered the role of Desdemona (Otello). Kasia made her professional debut singing the Second Apparition in Macbeth at Chautauqua Opera. Her other operatic roles include Tatiana (Eugene Onegin), Marguerite (Faust), Giulietta (I Capuleti e I Montecchi), Female Chorus (The Rape of Lucretia), Miss Jessel (The Turn of the Screw), among others.

Originally from Summit, NJ, Kasia holds degrees from Columbia University (B.A.) and Manhattan School of Music (M.M.). She has received awards from the Metropolitan Opera National Council, Chautauqua Opera, and Columbia University.

Derrek Stark*^
Governor

Sponsored by Teeda and Salvatore Nuzzo

Derrek Stark, tenor, is a native of Bath NY. He holds a B.M. from Mansfield University, PA, and a M.M. from The Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University, IN where he studied with Carol Vaness. In the fall of 2016, Stark joined the roster of the Benenson Young Artists at Palm Beach Opera where he covered Pinkerton (Madama Butterfly), and Duke (Rigoletto). He is enthusiastic to return to PBO as a second-year young artist where he will cover Candide and sing The Governor (Candide). A previous member of the Lyric Opera of Kansas City’s Young Artist Program, Stark made his company debut as the Huntsman (Rusalka) and Remendado (Carmen). As a second year young artist at Santa Fe Opera, he covered Flamand (Capriccio) and sang Harry (Fanciulla del West). Previous performance credits include: Rodolfo (La bohème); Rinuccio (Gianni Schicchi); Peter Quint (The Turn of the Screw); Tamino (Die Zauberflöte); Alfredo (La (Traviata) and Fenton (Falstaff).

David Stern
Chief Conductor

Sponsored by Mrs. Ari Rifkin

Palm Beach Opera Chief Conductor David Stern’s musical leadership is spread across three continents. He is the founder and director of the Paris-based opera company and period-instrument ensemble, Opera Fuoco, as well as artistic advisor and principal conductor of the Shanghai Baroque Festival and music director of opera at the Crested Butte Music Festival in Colorado.

Stern is known for his extensive range of repertoire. In his time as music director of the Israel and the St. Gallen Opera houses, he championed 18th century opera and eclectic works such as Simone Mayr’s Medea, Berg’s Wozzeck, Britten’s Turn of the Screw and Weill’s Mahagonny. He has premiered four new operas since 2010 – Gil Shohat’s The Child Dreams at the Israel Opera, Nicolas Bacri’s Così fanciulli, commissioned by Opera Fuoco and performed at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, Ben Moore’s Enemies, A Love Story in Palm Beach and Jan Sandström’s The Rococo Machine in Drottningholm, Sweden in June 2016.

Stern has enjoyed collaborations with many international stage directors. Stern is a frequent guest around the globe with symphonic and chamber orchestras. He is regularly invited to the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, the Swedish Chamber Orchestra, the Shanghai and Guangzhou Symphonies, the China Philharmonic, the New Russian Symphony, the National Orchestra of Mexico, and has had recent appearances with the Vienna Symphony and the Hong Kong Philharmonic.

Since launching the Aix Festival Academy in 1998, David Stern has been committed to developing young voices. He created Opera Fuoco in 2003 as a platform to train young French singers in repertoire ranging from Monteverdi to John Cage, combining both an opera studio offering regular master classes and an opera company producing and co-producing larger concertante and staged productions. As artistic advisor of the Shanghai Baroque Festival, he involves singers from the Shanghai Conservatory and the Opera Fuoco Studio, and he works regularly with the Young Artist Programs in Palm Beach and Crested Butte, Colorado.

Stern received his Bachelor of Arts from Yale and his Masters of Music from the Juilliard School. He resides in Paris with his wife and two daughters.

Jay Lesenger
Stage Director

During Jay Lesenger’s almost 40 year career as stage director, administrator and teacher, he has become known for intelligent, honest productions which are dramatically compelling and musically knowledgeable. Mr. Lesenger has produced and directed more than two hundred opera productions for the New York City Opera, Chautauqua Opera Company, Atlanta, Virginia, Milwaukee, San Diego, New Orleans (the world premiere of Thea Musgrave’s “Pontalba“), Hawaii, Opera Carolina, Opera Pacific, Pittsburgh, Palm Beach (Offenbach’s “The Tales of Hoffmann”) and many others.  His European debut was with Opera Nordfjord, Norway, and he has directed for Volkstheater Rostock in Germany. For 21 years, from 1994 to 2015, Jay was the General and Artistic Director of the Chautauqua Opera Company, the longest serving general director in the company’s history. As a nationally recognized teacher of acting for singers, he recently joined the guest faculty of the Washington National Opera’s Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program.  He has also taught on the School of Music opera faculties at the University of Michigan and Northwestern University and has directed productions for Julliard, Mannes/The New School, the Manhattan School of Music, Indiana University and the Academy of Vocal Arts. Jay is a frequent adjudicator for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and other vocal competitions.  He holds a Masters degree from Indiana University and a Bachelors of Music & Theater from Hofstra University.

Mara Newbery Greer
Choreographer

Choreographer Mara Newbery Greer’s recent credits include Thoroughly Modern Millie (Music Theatre Wichita), Shrek, the Musical (North Shore Music Theatre/Tuacahn), The Toxic Avenger (Pittsburgh CLO), A Christmas Story, the Musical (Paper Mill Playhouse/Fulton Theatre), Legally Blonde and 9 to 5 (Sacramento Music Circus), Big Fish (Front Porch Theatricals), Oliver! (Plymouth State University), The Drowsy Chaperone (University of Michigan) and the 2015 Lucille Lortel Awards.  As a performer, Mara has worked on Broadway, National Tours, and regional theatres across the country.  She earned her BFA in Music Theatre from the University of Michigan.  Her upcoming choreography projects include Matilda (Tuacahn), Guys and Dolls (Music Theatre Wichita), and The Music Man (Lexington Theatre Company).

Jerome Sirlin*
Projection Designer

Bridging the gap between theater and film, “Jerome Sirlin’s fluid use of sets and scenic projections annihilates space and time and gives his productions an exhilarating sense of visual freedom and cinematic illusion.” (Time Magazine)

Productions range from avant-garde collaborations with Philip Glass, Allen Ginsberg and Lou Reed to pop concerts for Madonna and Paul Simon; from the classic world of Wagner’s Ring Cycle and Verdi’s Macbeth to contemporary operas such as John Corigliano’s Ghosts of Versailles and Jonathan Dove’s Flight; from big budget musicals like Kiss of the Spider WomanWhatever Happened to Baby Jane and Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame to more intimate theatricals including Piazzolla’s Maria de Buenos Aires and the traveling stage circus Cirque Ingenieux.

In addition to Musical Theater and Opera, designs include multimedia installations and shows for museums, cultural institutions and theme parks. Freedom Rising at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia gives the American Constitution both a historical and contemporary context. Beyond Belief: Theatre Of Contemplation presented a 3-D media meditation experience for the Cathedral Heritage Foundation of Louisville, Kentucky. The video finale for Hershey Park’s Chocolate World Tour Ride, in Pennsylvania, provides a whimsical ride through a landscape of American iconography.

Projects that have combined staging with scenic design include the European premiere of John Corigliano’s opera The Ghosts of Versailles, Toshiro Mayazumi’s Kinkakuji (from Mishima’s novel The Temple of the Golden Pavilion) for New York City Opera, and the world premiere of Marilyn, an opera by Ezra Laderman based on the last days of Marilyn Monroe.

Recent projects include Spooky Action: The Drama of Quantum Mechanics, the opening performance of the 2013 World Science Festival at the New Victory Theater, New York; updated productions of Candide at Portland Opera, 1000 Airplanes on the Roof in Scotland at the Glasgow Concert Hall and Esther at New York City Opera.

Upcoming projects include a media installation for the Ithaca Motion Picture Project and the prototype design for a Scenic Symphony to be presented at Ford hall, Ithaca College, Ithaca, New York.

 

Michael Baumgarten
Lighting Designer

Mr. Baumgarten has designed lighting and video for Palm Beach Opera productions of Così fan tutte and Rigoletto, and has designed lighting, scenery and video for over 400 productions at regional and international opera companies, including New York City Opera, Opera Carolina, Opera Lyra Ottawa, Manitoba Opera, Arizona Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Lyric Opera Kansas City, Toledo Opera, Opera Grand Rapids, Michigan Opera Theater and Opera Columbus during his thirty-plus year design career. A graduate of the Yale School of Drama and member of United Scenic Artists-Local 829, he assisted on Broadway during the 1980’s, working with such designers as Craig Miller, Tom Skelton, Beverly Emmons, Jim Ingalls, and Richard Nelson.  Mr. Baumgarten has been the Director of Production and Resident Lighting/Video Designer for Opera Carolina in Charlotte since 2005, and for Chautauqua Opera since 1999, and served on the professional staff at Amherst College for seventeen years as the Lighting Designer/Production Manager for both the Theater and Dance and the Music Departments.

Hallie Dufresne
Costume Designer

Hallie Dufresne specializes in millinery and textile arts with a BFA in Costume Design and Technology from Florida State University. Her work has been seen on opera stages from Los Angeles to New York and throughout Europe. Highlights of her career include building the masks and headpieces in Achim Freyer’s Ring Cycle at Los Angeles Opera, and creating the hats and textile painting for the Los Angeles Opera 2016 production of The Ghosts of Versailles designed by Lindo Cho.  Now in her second season as Palm Beach Opera’s Costume Director, this production of Candide marks her debut as a designer for the opera stage.

Miles Mykkanen*
Candide

Miles Mykkanen has garnered recognition on the world’s concert and operatic stages for his “focused, full-voiced tenor” (The New York Times).

The 2016-2017 season sees Miles Mykkanen performing the title role in a fully- staged production of Bernstein’s Candide with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and Belmonte in Opera Columbus’ new production of Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail.  He makes his debuts with the St. Thomas Church 5th Avenue Choir of Men and Boys and Concert Royal in performances of Händel’s Messiah and the Sarasota Orchestra and Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir in performances of Mozart’s Requiem under the baton of Anu Tali.

The Sullivan Foundation recently named Miles Mykkanen as a winner of the 2016 Sullivan Foundation Award. Mr. Mykkanen also received prizes from The Gerda Lissner Foundation’s 2016 Song Competition and the Metropolitan Opera National Council District Auditions, where he will advance to the Regional Competition in February 2017.

Mr. Mykkanen’s opera credits include championing new work in addition to leading roles drawn from the classic repertoire. Operatic highlights include performances of Die Zauberflöte, Eugene Onegin, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Ariadne auf Naxos, Les mamelles de Tirésias, La traviata, Le nozze di Figaro, La finta giardiniera, Der Kaiser von Atlantis, The Cunning Little Vixen, Dialogues of the Carmelites, Le donne curiose, A Hand of Bridge, and Down in the Valley.  The tenor has sung with Wolf Trap Opera Company, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Pine Mountain Music Festival, and Juilliard Opera.

Miles Mykkanen celebrated his Carnegie Hall recital debut last year, and has performed with the New World Symphony, New York Festival of Song, National Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Juilliard415, and at the Franz Schubert Institut, Royal Irish Academy of Music, and Interlochen Academy.  His rich and varied concert repertoire includes Bach’s Magnificat, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Brahms’ Liebeslieder Waltzes, Britten’s Canticle II: Abraham and Isaac and Canticle V: The Death of St. Narcissus, Händel’s Messiah, Schubert’s Auf dem Strom, and Stravinsky’s Cantata.

Currently in Juilliard’s esteemed Artist Diploma in Opera Studies program working with Stephen Wadsworth and Brian Zeger, Miles Mykkanen earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from the school under the tutelage of Cynthia Hoffmann.  He was a 2009 youngARTS Gold Winner in Voice and Juilliard has distinguished the tenor as a winner of the 2016 Juilliard Honors Recital, as a Toulmin Foundation Scholar, and with the Joseph W. Polisi Award, named for the institution’s president, for exemplifying the school’s values of the “artist as citizen.”

Alisa Jordheim*
Cunégonde

Soprano Alisa Jordheim is praised for her compelling and vocally assured performances in opera, oratorio, musical theatre, both early and new music, and recital.

A 2013 Merola Opera Program Participant, Miss Jordheim sang the roles of Lucia in The Rape of Lucretia and Barbarina in Le nozze di Figaro, and “Dal tuo gentil sembiante” from Mozart’s Ascanio in Alba in the Merola Grand Finale. Prior to the role of Lulu Baines in Elmer Gantry, she appeared as Miss Wordsworth in Albert Herring, Frasquita in Carmen, and Barbarina in Le nozze di Figaro with Florentine Opera. Other recent roles in addition to Soeur Constance in Dialogues des Carmélites at Caramoor include Satirino in La Calisto, 2nd Knabe in Die Zauberflöte, and the Page in Rigoletto with Cincinnati Opera; Marzelline in Fidelio with Madison Opera; Micaëla in “Carmen in Concert” with the Columbus Symphony/Opera Columbus; Flora in Turn of the Screw, Sirena in Rinaldo, Ellen in Oklahoma!, and Fredrika in A Little Night Music with Central City Opera; The Rose in The Little Prince with Cincinnati Chamber Opera; and Nannetta in Falstaff with Emerald City Opera.

Miss Jordheim is the recipient of a 2016 Sullivan Foundation Award and 2015 Sullivan Foundation Career Development Grant. She won the 2015 Bel Canto Regional Artists Competition, took 2nd place in the 2013 Auditions Plus Classical Singer Vocal Competition – Young Artist Division, and won the Edith Newfield Scholarship in the 2013 Musicians Club of Women Music Scholarship Competition in Chicago. She was the recipient of the 2012 Central City Opera Young Artist Award, winner of the 2012 and 2011 Wisconsin District Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and a finalist in the Kurt Weill Foundation’s 2011 Lotte Lenya International Competition.

A Fulbright Scholar and Fellow of the American Scandinavian Foundation, Miss Jordheim studied and conducted research on singing diction in the Scandinavian languages at the University of Oslo in 2013-2014. She frequently performs recitals of songs by Scandinavian composers, has published an article on Norwegian, Swedish, and Danish singing diction in the NATS Journal of Singing, and has completed English and IPA translations of numerous songs by Scandinavian composers. She is also an advocate of new music for voice, having premiered works composed for her by Lori Laitman, Douglas Pew, Joanne Metcalf, Josh Deutsch, and Rodney Rogers.

A native of Appleton, Wisconsin, Miss Jordheim completed her first two years of undergraduate study at Lawrence University, where she studied with Patrice Michaels. She earned her Bachelor of Music, Master of Music, and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in Voice Performance from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) as a student of William McGraw, and her DMA cognate field is Scandinavian song and diction.

Ron Raines*
Dr. Pangloss/Voltaire

Sponsored by Toni & Martin Sosnoff

A Tony Award nominee for the acclaimed production of Follies, Ron has had an illustrious international career spanning musical theater, opera, concert, and television. Born and raised in Texas, Ron Raines attended Oklahoma City University and The Juilliard School. He was a three-time Emmy and Soap Opera Digest Award nominee for his role as villain Alan Spaulding on CBS’s longest running daytime drama Guiding Light. Ron has appeared on Elementary and Person Of Interest. He starred on Broadway in AnnieNewsiesChicago and Show Boat, and originated the role of Nick Longworth in Teddy and Alice with Len Cariou.  He has delighted audiences around the world with his memorable starring roles in virtually every major American musical and operetta, including A Little Night MusicThe Unsinkable Molly Brown, South PacificAnnieKismetSayonaraKiss Me KateThe King and INaughty Marietta, The Merry Widow, Brigadoon, Rose Marie, Oklahoma!, Carousel, Side by Side by Sondheim, Guys and Dolls, and Man of La Mancha at the Covent Garden Festival.  He has soloed with over 50 major American and international orchestras, including the Boston Pops, the Philly Pops, the BBC Concert Orchestra, the Jerusalem Symphony, and the Israel Philharmonic, and has performed at Carnegie Hall, the 92nd Street Y, Tanglewood, the London Palladium, Rainbow and Stars, and Royal Festival Hall.  He has appeared on four PBS “Great Performances,” and has made two solo recordings on Jay Records and numerous cast albums.  He lives in New York City with his wife and daughter.

Tobias Greenhalgh+
Maximilian

As a member of the Junges Ensemble of the Theater an der Wien these past two seasons, American baritone Tobias Greenhalgh made his European debut singing the title role in Eugene Onegin. Whilst in Vienna, his roles on the mainstage included Ned Keene in Christof Loy’s universally-acclaimed new production of Peter Grimes, and Littore (L’incoronazione di Poppea), alongside Escamillo (Carmen), Argante (Rinaldo) and Ramiro (L’heure Espagnole) amongst others in the Wiener Kammeroper.

This season, Tobias sings multiple roles including the Cold Genius in Purcell’s King Arthur for Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz, sings his first Belcore (L’elisir d’amore) with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, returns to Palm Beach Opera as Samuel (Pirates of Penzance) and creates a leading role in the world premiere of Grapes of Wrath for Opera Theatre of St Louis.

Tobias has given recitals for the Arnold Schoenberg Centre, the Brooklyn Art Song Society (Mörike Lieder) and performed three programmes for the New York Festival of Song. A skilled concert artist, recent highlights include Bach’s St Matthew Passion with Soli Deo Gloria and Vaughan Williams’ Five Mystical Songs with St George’s Choral Society. Tobias was a finalist at the Operalia competition in 2015.

Denyce Graves
The Old Lady

Sponsored by Toni & Martin Sosnoff

Recognized worldwide as one of today’s most exciting vocal stars, Denyce Graves continues to gather unparalleled popular and critical acclaim in performances on four continents.

Her career has taken her to the world’s great opera houses and concert halls. The combination of her expressive, rich vocalism, elegant stage presence, and exciting theatrical abilities allows her to pursue a wide breadth of operatic portrayals and to delight audiences in concert and recital appearances. Denyce Graves has become particularly well-known to operatic audiences for her portrayals of the title roles in Carmen and Samson et Dalila. These signature roles have brought Ms. Graves to the Metropolitan Opera, Vienna Staatsoper, Royal Opera, Covent Garden, San Francisco Opera, Opéra National de Paris, Lyric Opera of Chicago, The Washington Opera, Bayerische Staatsoper, Arena di Verona, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Opernhaus Zürich, Teatro Real in Madrid, Houston Grand Opera, Dallas Opera, Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, Los Angeles Opera, and the Festival Maggio Musicale in Florence.

Ms. Graves appears continually on the stages of leading theaters in North America, Europe, and Asia. Recent appearances include the world premieres of Doubt at Minnesota Opera and Champion at the Opera Theatre of St. Louis as well as the role debuts of Katisha in The Mikado for Lyric Opera of Kansas City and Herodias in Salome for Palm Beach Opera. Ms. Graves has worked with the finest symphony orchestras and conductors in a wide range of repertoire.

Denyce Graves is a native of Washington, D.C., where she attended the Duke Ellington School for the Performing Arts. She continued her education at Oberlin College Conservatory of Music and the New England Conservatory. Ms. Graves is the recipient of many awards, including the Grand Prix du Concours International de Chant de Paris, the Eleanor Steber Music Award in the Opera Columbus Vocal Competition, and a Jacobson Study Grant from the Richard Tucker Music Foundation. In addition she has received honorary doctorates from Oberlin College, the College of Saint Mary, and Centre College. Ms. Graves’s dedication to the singers of the next generation continues to be an important part of her career and recently she joined the voice faculty of the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore.

Kasia Borowiec^
Paquette

Sponsored by Teeda and Salvatore Nuzzo

Soprano Kasia Borowiec returns to the Benenson Young Artist Program at Palm Beach Opera to sing the roles of Paquette (Candide) and Countess (Children’s Performance: The Marriage of Figaro) and to study-cover the title role in Tosca. She will also appear with the Atlantic Classical Orchestra as the Soprano soloist in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.

Last season at Palm Beach, Kasia covered the title role in Madama Butterfly, and made her company debut as the Page in Rigoletto and Isabel in The Pirates of Penzance.  She most recently made her Santa Fe Opera debut singing the title role in Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Golden Cockerel as a second year Apprentice Artist. In 2016, she was also an Artist-in-Residence with Dayton Opera, where she sang the role of Kate Pinkerton (Madama Butterfly) and covered the role of Desdemona (Otello). Kasia made her professional debut singing the Second Apparition in Macbeth at Chautauqua Opera. Her other operatic roles include Tatiana (Eugene Onegin), Marguerite (Faust), Giulietta (I Capuleti e I Montecchi), Female Chorus (The Rape of Lucretia), Miss Jessel (The Turn of the Screw), among others.

Originally from Summit, NJ, Kasia holds degrees from Columbia University (B.A.) and Manhattan School of Music (M.M.). She has received awards from the Metropolitan Opera National Council, Chautauqua Opera, and Columbia University.

Derrek Stark*^
Governor

Sponsored by Teeda and Salvatore Nuzzo

Derrek Stark, tenor, is a native of Bath NY. He holds a B.M. from Mansfield University, PA, and a M.M. from The Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University, IN where he studied with Carol Vaness. In the fall of 2016, Stark joined the roster of the Benenson Young Artists at Palm Beach Opera where he covered Pinkerton (Madama Butterfly), and Duke (Rigoletto). He is enthusiastic to return to PBO as a second-year young artist where he will cover Candide and sing The Governor (Candide). A previous member of the Lyric Opera of Kansas City’s Young Artist Program, Stark made his company debut as the Huntsman (Rusalka) and Remendado (Carmen). As a second year young artist at Santa Fe Opera, he covered Flamand (Capriccio) and sang Harry (Fanciulla del West). Previous performance credits include: Rodolfo (La bohème); Rinuccio (Gianni Schicchi); Peter Quint (The Turn of the Screw); Tamino (Die Zauberflöte); Alfredo (La (Traviata) and Fenton (Falstaff).

David Stern
Chief Conductor

Sponsored by Mrs. Ari Rifkin

Palm Beach Opera Chief Conductor David Stern’s musical leadership is spread across three continents. He is the founder and director of the Paris-based opera company and period-instrument ensemble, Opera Fuoco, as well as artistic advisor and principal conductor of the Shanghai Baroque Festival and music director of opera at the Crested Butte Music Festival in Colorado.

Stern is known for his extensive range of repertoire. In his time as music director of the Israel and the St. Gallen Opera houses, he championed 18th century opera and eclectic works such as Simone Mayr’s Medea, Berg’s Wozzeck, Britten’s Turn of the Screw and Weill’s Mahagonny. He has premiered four new operas since 2010 – Gil Shohat’s The Child Dreams at the Israel Opera, Nicolas Bacri’s Così fanciulli, commissioned by Opera Fuoco and performed at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, Ben Moore’s Enemies, A Love Story in Palm Beach and Jan Sandström’s The Rococo Machine in Drottningholm, Sweden in June 2016.

Stern has enjoyed collaborations with many international stage directors. Stern is a frequent guest around the globe with symphonic and chamber orchestras. He is regularly invited to the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, the Swedish Chamber Orchestra, the Shanghai and Guangzhou Symphonies, the China Philharmonic, the New Russian Symphony, the National Orchestra of Mexico, and has had recent appearances with the Vienna Symphony and the Hong Kong Philharmonic.

Since launching the Aix Festival Academy in 1998, David Stern has been committed to developing young voices. He created Opera Fuoco in 2003 as a platform to train young French singers in repertoire ranging from Monteverdi to John Cage, combining both an opera studio offering regular master classes and an opera company producing and co-producing larger concertante and staged productions. As artistic advisor of the Shanghai Baroque Festival, he involves singers from the Shanghai Conservatory and the Opera Fuoco Studio, and he works regularly with the Young Artist Programs in Palm Beach and Crested Butte, Colorado.

Stern received his Bachelor of Arts from Yale and his Masters of Music from the Juilliard School. He resides in Paris with his wife and two daughters.

Jay Lesenger
Stage Director

During Jay Lesenger’s almost 40 year career as stage director, administrator and teacher, he has become known for intelligent, honest productions which are dramatically compelling and musically knowledgeable. Mr. Lesenger has produced and directed more than two hundred opera productions for the New York City Opera, Chautauqua Opera Company, Atlanta, Virginia, Milwaukee, San Diego, New Orleans (the world premiere of Thea Musgrave’s “Pontalba“), Hawaii, Opera Carolina, Opera Pacific, Pittsburgh, Palm Beach (Offenbach’s “The Tales of Hoffmann”) and many others.  His European debut was with Opera Nordfjord, Norway, and he has directed for Volkstheater Rostock in Germany. For 21 years, from 1994 to 2015, Jay was the General and Artistic Director of the Chautauqua Opera Company, the longest serving general director in the company’s history. As a nationally recognized teacher of acting for singers, he recently joined the guest faculty of the Washington National Opera’s Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program.  He has also taught on the School of Music opera faculties at the University of Michigan and Northwestern University and has directed productions for Julliard, Mannes/The New School, the Manhattan School of Music, Indiana University and the Academy of Vocal Arts. Jay is a frequent adjudicator for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and other vocal competitions.  He holds a Masters degree from Indiana University and a Bachelors of Music & Theater from Hofstra University.

Mara Newbery Greer
Choreographer

Choreographer Mara Newbery Greer’s recent credits include Thoroughly Modern Millie (Music Theatre Wichita), Shrek, the Musical (North Shore Music Theatre/Tuacahn), The Toxic Avenger (Pittsburgh CLO), A Christmas Story, the Musical (Paper Mill Playhouse/Fulton Theatre), Legally Blonde and 9 to 5 (Sacramento Music Circus), Big Fish (Front Porch Theatricals), Oliver! (Plymouth State University), The Drowsy Chaperone (University of Michigan) and the 2015 Lucille Lortel Awards.  As a performer, Mara has worked on Broadway, National Tours, and regional theatres across the country.  She earned her BFA in Music Theatre from the University of Michigan.  Her upcoming choreography projects include Matilda (Tuacahn), Guys and Dolls (Music Theatre Wichita), and The Music Man (Lexington Theatre Company).

Jerome Sirlin*
Projection Designer

Bridging the gap between theater and film, “Jerome Sirlin’s fluid use of sets and scenic projections annihilates space and time and gives his productions an exhilarating sense of visual freedom and cinematic illusion.” (Time Magazine)

Productions range from avant-garde collaborations with Philip Glass, Allen Ginsberg and Lou Reed to pop concerts for Madonna and Paul Simon; from the classic world of Wagner’s Ring Cycle and Verdi’s Macbeth to contemporary operas such as John Corigliano’s Ghosts of Versailles and Jonathan Dove’s Flight; from big budget musicals like Kiss of the Spider WomanWhatever Happened to Baby Jane and Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame to more intimate theatricals including Piazzolla’s Maria de Buenos Aires and the traveling stage circus Cirque Ingenieux.

In addition to Musical Theater and Opera, designs include multimedia installations and shows for museums, cultural institutions and theme parks. Freedom Rising at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia gives the American Constitution both a historical and contemporary context. Beyond Belief: Theatre Of Contemplation presented a 3-D media meditation experience for the Cathedral Heritage Foundation of Louisville, Kentucky. The video finale for Hershey Park’s Chocolate World Tour Ride, in Pennsylvania, provides a whimsical ride through a landscape of American iconography.

Projects that have combined staging with scenic design include the European premiere of John Corigliano’s opera The Ghosts of Versailles, Toshiro Mayazumi’s Kinkakuji (from Mishima’s novel The Temple of the Golden Pavilion) for New York City Opera, and the world premiere of Marilyn, an opera by Ezra Laderman based on the last days of Marilyn Monroe.

Recent projects include Spooky Action: The Drama of Quantum Mechanics, the opening performance of the 2013 World Science Festival at the New Victory Theater, New York; updated productions of Candide at Portland Opera, 1000 Airplanes on the Roof in Scotland at the Glasgow Concert Hall and Esther at New York City Opera.

Upcoming projects include a media installation for the Ithaca Motion Picture Project and the prototype design for a Scenic Symphony to be presented at Ford hall, Ithaca College, Ithaca, New York.

 

Michael Baumgarten
Lighting Designer

Mr. Baumgarten has designed lighting and video for Palm Beach Opera productions of Così fan tutte and Rigoletto, and has designed lighting, scenery and video for over 400 productions at regional and international opera companies, including New York City Opera, Opera Carolina, Opera Lyra Ottawa, Manitoba Opera, Arizona Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Lyric Opera Kansas City, Toledo Opera, Opera Grand Rapids, Michigan Opera Theater and Opera Columbus during his thirty-plus year design career. A graduate of the Yale School of Drama and member of United Scenic Artists-Local 829, he assisted on Broadway during the 1980’s, working with such designers as Craig Miller, Tom Skelton, Beverly Emmons, Jim Ingalls, and Richard Nelson.  Mr. Baumgarten has been the Director of Production and Resident Lighting/Video Designer for Opera Carolina in Charlotte since 2005, and for Chautauqua Opera since 1999, and served on the professional staff at Amherst College for seventeen years as the Lighting Designer/Production Manager for both the Theater and Dance and the Music Departments.

Hallie Dufresne
Costume Designer

Hallie Dufresne specializes in millinery and textile arts with a BFA in Costume Design and Technology from Florida State University. Her work has been seen on opera stages from Los Angeles to New York and throughout Europe. Highlights of her career include building the masks and headpieces in Achim Freyer’s Ring Cycle at Los Angeles Opera, and creating the hats and textile painting for the Los Angeles Opera 2016 production of The Ghosts of Versailles designed by Lindo Cho.  Now in her second season as Palm Beach Opera’s Costume Director, this production of Candide marks her debut as a designer for the opera stage.

Miles Mykkanen*
Candide

Miles Mykkanen has garnered recognition on the world’s concert and operatic stages for his “focused, full-voiced tenor” (The New York Times).

The 2016-2017 season sees Miles Mykkanen performing the title role in a fully- staged production of Bernstein’s Candide with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and Belmonte in Opera Columbus’ new production of Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail.  He makes his debuts with the St. Thomas Church 5th Avenue Choir of Men and Boys and Concert Royal in performances of Händel’s Messiah and the Sarasota Orchestra and Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir in performances of Mozart’s Requiem under the baton of Anu Tali.

The Sullivan Foundation recently named Miles Mykkanen as a winner of the 2016 Sullivan Foundation Award. Mr. Mykkanen also received prizes from The Gerda Lissner Foundation’s 2016 Song Competition and the Metropolitan Opera National Council District Auditions, where he will advance to the Regional Competition in February 2017.

Mr. Mykkanen’s opera credits include championing new work in addition to leading roles drawn from the classic repertoire. Operatic highlights include performances of Die Zauberflöte, Eugene Onegin, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Ariadne auf Naxos, Les mamelles de Tirésias, La traviata, Le nozze di Figaro, La finta giardiniera, Der Kaiser von Atlantis, The Cunning Little Vixen, Dialogues of the Carmelites, Le donne curiose, A Hand of Bridge, and Down in the Valley.  The tenor has sung with Wolf Trap Opera Company, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Pine Mountain Music Festival, and Juilliard Opera.

Miles Mykkanen celebrated his Carnegie Hall recital debut last year, and has performed with the New World Symphony, New York Festival of Song, National Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Juilliard415, and at the Franz Schubert Institut, Royal Irish Academy of Music, and Interlochen Academy.  His rich and varied concert repertoire includes Bach’s Magnificat, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Brahms’ Liebeslieder Waltzes, Britten’s Canticle II: Abraham and Isaac and Canticle V: The Death of St. Narcissus, Händel’s Messiah, Schubert’s Auf dem Strom, and Stravinsky’s Cantata.

Currently in Juilliard’s esteemed Artist Diploma in Opera Studies program working with Stephen Wadsworth and Brian Zeger, Miles Mykkanen earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from the school under the tutelage of Cynthia Hoffmann.  He was a 2009 youngARTS Gold Winner in Voice and Juilliard has distinguished the tenor as a winner of the 2016 Juilliard Honors Recital, as a Toulmin Foundation Scholar, and with the Joseph W. Polisi Award, named for the institution’s president, for exemplifying the school’s values of the “artist as citizen.”

Alisa Jordheim*
Cunégonde

Soprano Alisa Jordheim is praised for her compelling and vocally assured performances in opera, oratorio, musical theatre, both early and new music, and recital.

A 2013 Merola Opera Program Participant, Miss Jordheim sang the roles of Lucia in The Rape of Lucretia and Barbarina in Le nozze di Figaro, and “Dal tuo gentil sembiante” from Mozart’s Ascanio in Alba in the Merola Grand Finale. Prior to the role of Lulu Baines in Elmer Gantry, she appeared as Miss Wordsworth in Albert Herring, Frasquita in Carmen, and Barbarina in Le nozze di Figaro with Florentine Opera. Other recent roles in addition to Soeur Constance in Dialogues des Carmélites at Caramoor include Satirino in La Calisto, 2nd Knabe in Die Zauberflöte, and the Page in Rigoletto with Cincinnati Opera; Marzelline in Fidelio with Madison Opera; Micaëla in “Carmen in Concert” with the Columbus Symphony/Opera Columbus; Flora in Turn of the Screw, Sirena in Rinaldo, Ellen in Oklahoma!, and Fredrika in A Little Night Music with Central City Opera; The Rose in The Little Prince with Cincinnati Chamber Opera; and Nannetta in Falstaff with Emerald City Opera.

Miss Jordheim is the recipient of a 2016 Sullivan Foundation Award and 2015 Sullivan Foundation Career Development Grant. She won the 2015 Bel Canto Regional Artists Competition, took 2nd place in the 2013 Auditions Plus Classical Singer Vocal Competition – Young Artist Division, and won the Edith Newfield Scholarship in the 2013 Musicians Club of Women Music Scholarship Competition in Chicago. She was the recipient of the 2012 Central City Opera Young Artist Award, winner of the 2012 and 2011 Wisconsin District Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and a finalist in the Kurt Weill Foundation’s 2011 Lotte Lenya International Competition.

A Fulbright Scholar and Fellow of the American Scandinavian Foundation, Miss Jordheim studied and conducted research on singing diction in the Scandinavian languages at the University of Oslo in 2013-2014. She frequently performs recitals of songs by Scandinavian composers, has published an article on Norwegian, Swedish, and Danish singing diction in the NATS Journal of Singing, and has completed English and IPA translations of numerous songs by Scandinavian composers. She is also an advocate of new music for voice, having premiered works composed for her by Lori Laitman, Douglas Pew, Joanne Metcalf, Josh Deutsch, and Rodney Rogers.

A native of Appleton, Wisconsin, Miss Jordheim completed her first two years of undergraduate study at Lawrence University, where she studied with Patrice Michaels. She earned her Bachelor of Music, Master of Music, and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in Voice Performance from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) as a student of William McGraw, and her DMA cognate field is Scandinavian song and diction.

Ron Raines*
Dr. Pangloss/Voltaire

Sponsored by Toni & Martin Sosnoff

A Tony Award nominee for the acclaimed production of Follies, Ron has had an illustrious international career spanning musical theater, opera, concert, and television. Born and raised in Texas, Ron Raines attended Oklahoma City University and The Juilliard School. He was a three-time Emmy and Soap Opera Digest Award nominee for his role as villain Alan Spaulding on CBS’s longest running daytime drama Guiding Light. Ron has appeared on Elementary and Person Of Interest. He starred on Broadway in AnnieNewsiesChicago and Show Boat, and originated the role of Nick Longworth in Teddy and Alice with Len Cariou.  He has delighted audiences around the world with his memorable starring roles in virtually every major American musical and operetta, including A Little Night MusicThe Unsinkable Molly Brown, South PacificAnnieKismetSayonaraKiss Me KateThe King and INaughty Marietta, The Merry Widow, Brigadoon, Rose Marie, Oklahoma!, Carousel, Side by Side by Sondheim, Guys and Dolls, and Man of La Mancha at the Covent Garden Festival.  He has soloed with over 50 major American and international orchestras, including the Boston Pops, the Philly Pops, the BBC Concert Orchestra, the Jerusalem Symphony, and the Israel Philharmonic, and has performed at Carnegie Hall, the 92nd Street Y, Tanglewood, the London Palladium, Rainbow and Stars, and Royal Festival Hall.  He has appeared on four PBS “Great Performances,” and has made two solo recordings on Jay Records and numerous cast albums.  He lives in New York City with his wife and daughter.

Tobias Greenhalgh+
Maximilian

As a member of the Junges Ensemble of the Theater an der Wien these past two seasons, American baritone Tobias Greenhalgh made his European debut singing the title role in Eugene Onegin. Whilst in Vienna, his roles on the mainstage included Ned Keene in Christof Loy’s universally-acclaimed new production of Peter Grimes, and Littore (L’incoronazione di Poppea), alongside Escamillo (Carmen), Argante (Rinaldo) and Ramiro (L’heure Espagnole) amongst others in the Wiener Kammeroper.

This season, Tobias sings multiple roles including the Cold Genius in Purcell’s King Arthur for Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz, sings his first Belcore (L’elisir d’amore) with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, returns to Palm Beach Opera as Samuel (Pirates of Penzance) and creates a leading role in the world premiere of Grapes of Wrath for Opera Theatre of St Louis.

Tobias has given recitals for the Arnold Schoenberg Centre, the Brooklyn Art Song Society (Mörike Lieder) and performed three programmes for the New York Festival of Song. A skilled concert artist, recent highlights include Bach’s St Matthew Passion with Soli Deo Gloria and Vaughan Williams’ Five Mystical Songs with St George’s Choral Society. Tobias was a finalist at the Operalia competition in 2015.

Denyce Graves
The Old Lady

Sponsored by Toni & Martin Sosnoff

Recognized worldwide as one of today’s most exciting vocal stars, Denyce Graves continues to gather unparalleled popular and critical acclaim in performances on four continents.

Her career has taken her to the world’s great opera houses and concert halls. The combination of her expressive, rich vocalism, elegant stage presence, and exciting theatrical abilities allows her to pursue a wide breadth of operatic portrayals and to delight audiences in concert and recital appearances. Denyce Graves has become particularly well-known to operatic audiences for her portrayals of the title roles in Carmen and Samson et Dalila. These signature roles have brought Ms. Graves to the Metropolitan Opera, Vienna Staatsoper, Royal Opera, Covent Garden, San Francisco Opera, Opéra National de Paris, Lyric Opera of Chicago, The Washington Opera, Bayerische Staatsoper, Arena di Verona, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Opernhaus Zürich, Teatro Real in Madrid, Houston Grand Opera, Dallas Opera, Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, Los Angeles Opera, and the Festival Maggio Musicale in Florence.

Ms. Graves appears continually on the stages of leading theaters in North America, Europe, and Asia. Recent appearances include the world premieres of Doubt at Minnesota Opera and Champion at the Opera Theatre of St. Louis as well as the role debuts of Katisha in The Mikado for Lyric Opera of Kansas City and Herodias in Salome for Palm Beach Opera. Ms. Graves has worked with the finest symphony orchestras and conductors in a wide range of repertoire.

Denyce Graves is a native of Washington, D.C., where she attended the Duke Ellington School for the Performing Arts. She continued her education at Oberlin College Conservatory of Music and the New England Conservatory. Ms. Graves is the recipient of many awards, including the Grand Prix du Concours International de Chant de Paris, the Eleanor Steber Music Award in the Opera Columbus Vocal Competition, and a Jacobson Study Grant from the Richard Tucker Music Foundation. In addition she has received honorary doctorates from Oberlin College, the College of Saint Mary, and Centre College. Ms. Graves’s dedication to the singers of the next generation continues to be an important part of her career and recently she joined the voice faculty of the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore.

Kasia Borowiec^
Paquette

Sponsored by Teeda and Salvatore Nuzzo

Soprano Kasia Borowiec returns to the Benenson Young Artist Program at Palm Beach Opera to sing the roles of Paquette (Candide) and Countess (Children’s Performance: The Marriage of Figaro) and to study-cover the title role in Tosca. She will also appear with the Atlantic Classical Orchestra as the Soprano soloist in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.

Last season at Palm Beach, Kasia covered the title role in Madama Butterfly, and made her company debut as the Page in Rigoletto and Isabel in The Pirates of Penzance.  She most recently made her Santa Fe Opera debut singing the title role in Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Golden Cockerel as a second year Apprentice Artist. In 2016, she was also an Artist-in-Residence with Dayton Opera, where she sang the role of Kate Pinkerton (Madama Butterfly) and covered the role of Desdemona (Otello). Kasia made her professional debut singing the Second Apparition in Macbeth at Chautauqua Opera. Her other operatic roles include Tatiana (Eugene Onegin), Marguerite (Faust), Giulietta (I Capuleti e I Montecchi), Female Chorus (The Rape of Lucretia), Miss Jessel (The Turn of the Screw), among others.

Originally from Summit, NJ, Kasia holds degrees from Columbia University (B.A.) and Manhattan School of Music (M.M.). She has received awards from the Metropolitan Opera National Council, Chautauqua Opera, and Columbia University.

Derrek Stark*^
Governor

Sponsored by Teeda and Salvatore Nuzzo

Derrek Stark, tenor, is a native of Bath NY. He holds a B.M. from Mansfield University, PA, and a M.M. from The Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University, IN where he studied with Carol Vaness. In the fall of 2016, Stark joined the roster of the Benenson Young Artists at Palm Beach Opera where he covered Pinkerton (Madama Butterfly), and Duke (Rigoletto). He is enthusiastic to return to PBO as a second-year young artist where he will cover Candide and sing The Governor (Candide). A previous member of the Lyric Opera of Kansas City’s Young Artist Program, Stark made his company debut as the Huntsman (Rusalka) and Remendado (Carmen). As a second year young artist at Santa Fe Opera, he covered Flamand (Capriccio) and sang Harry (Fanciulla del West). Previous performance credits include: Rodolfo (La bohème); Rinuccio (Gianni Schicchi); Peter Quint (The Turn of the Screw); Tamino (Die Zauberflöte); Alfredo (La (Traviata) and Fenton (Falstaff).

David Stern
Chief Conductor

Sponsored by Mrs. Ari Rifkin

Palm Beach Opera Chief Conductor David Stern’s musical leadership is spread across three continents. He is the founder and director of the Paris-based opera company and period-instrument ensemble, Opera Fuoco, as well as artistic advisor and principal conductor of the Shanghai Baroque Festival and music director of opera at the Crested Butte Music Festival in Colorado.

Stern is known for his extensive range of repertoire. In his time as music director of the Israel and the St. Gallen Opera houses, he championed 18th century opera and eclectic works such as Simone Mayr’s Medea, Berg’s Wozzeck, Britten’s Turn of the Screw and Weill’s Mahagonny. He has premiered four new operas since 2010 – Gil Shohat’s The Child Dreams at the Israel Opera, Nicolas Bacri’s Così fanciulli, commissioned by Opera Fuoco and performed at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, Ben Moore’s Enemies, A Love Story in Palm Beach and Jan Sandström’s The Rococo Machine in Drottningholm, Sweden in June 2016.

Stern has enjoyed collaborations with many international stage directors. Stern is a frequent guest around the globe with symphonic and chamber orchestras. He is regularly invited to the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, the Swedish Chamber Orchestra, the Shanghai and Guangzhou Symphonies, the China Philharmonic, the New Russian Symphony, the National Orchestra of Mexico, and has had recent appearances with the Vienna Symphony and the Hong Kong Philharmonic.

Since launching the Aix Festival Academy in 1998, David Stern has been committed to developing young voices. He created Opera Fuoco in 2003 as a platform to train young French singers in repertoire ranging from Monteverdi to John Cage, combining both an opera studio offering regular master classes and an opera company producing and co-producing larger concertante and staged productions. As artistic advisor of the Shanghai Baroque Festival, he involves singers from the Shanghai Conservatory and the Opera Fuoco Studio, and he works regularly with the Young Artist Programs in Palm Beach and Crested Butte, Colorado.

Stern received his Bachelor of Arts from Yale and his Masters of Music from the Juilliard School. He resides in Paris with his wife and two daughters.

Jay Lesenger
Stage Director

During Jay Lesenger’s almost 40 year career as stage director, administrator and teacher, he has become known for intelligent, honest productions which are dramatically compelling and musically knowledgeable. Mr. Lesenger has produced and directed more than two hundred opera productions for the New York City Opera, Chautauqua Opera Company, Atlanta, Virginia, Milwaukee, San Diego, New Orleans (the world premiere of Thea Musgrave’s “Pontalba“), Hawaii, Opera Carolina, Opera Pacific, Pittsburgh, Palm Beach (Offenbach’s “The Tales of Hoffmann”) and many others.  His European debut was with Opera Nordfjord, Norway, and he has directed for Volkstheater Rostock in Germany. For 21 years, from 1994 to 2015, Jay was the General and Artistic Director of the Chautauqua Opera Company, the longest serving general director in the company’s history. As a nationally recognized teacher of acting for singers, he recently joined the guest faculty of the Washington National Opera’s Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program.  He has also taught on the School of Music opera faculties at the University of Michigan and Northwestern University and has directed productions for Julliard, Mannes/The New School, the Manhattan School of Music, Indiana University and the Academy of Vocal Arts. Jay is a frequent adjudicator for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and other vocal competitions.  He holds a Masters degree from Indiana University and a Bachelors of Music & Theater from Hofstra University.

Mara Newbery Greer
Choreographer

Choreographer Mara Newbery Greer’s recent credits include Thoroughly Modern Millie (Music Theatre Wichita), Shrek, the Musical (North Shore Music Theatre/Tuacahn), The Toxic Avenger (Pittsburgh CLO), A Christmas Story, the Musical (Paper Mill Playhouse/Fulton Theatre), Legally Blonde and 9 to 5 (Sacramento Music Circus), Big Fish (Front Porch Theatricals), Oliver! (Plymouth State University), The Drowsy Chaperone (University of Michigan) and the 2015 Lucille Lortel Awards.  As a performer, Mara has worked on Broadway, National Tours, and regional theatres across the country.  She earned her BFA in Music Theatre from the University of Michigan.  Her upcoming choreography projects include Matilda (Tuacahn), Guys and Dolls (Music Theatre Wichita), and The Music Man (Lexington Theatre Company).

Jerome Sirlin*
Projection Designer

Bridging the gap between theater and film, “Jerome Sirlin’s fluid use of sets and scenic projections annihilates space and time and gives his productions an exhilarating sense of visual freedom and cinematic illusion.” (Time Magazine)

Productions range from avant-garde collaborations with Philip Glass, Allen Ginsberg and Lou Reed to pop concerts for Madonna and Paul Simon; from the classic world of Wagner’s Ring Cycle and Verdi’s Macbeth to contemporary operas such as John Corigliano’s Ghosts of Versailles and Jonathan Dove’s Flight; from big budget musicals like Kiss of the Spider WomanWhatever Happened to Baby Jane and Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame to more intimate theatricals including Piazzolla’s Maria de Buenos Aires and the traveling stage circus Cirque Ingenieux.

In addition to Musical Theater and Opera, designs include multimedia installations and shows for museums, cultural institutions and theme parks. Freedom Rising at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia gives the American Constitution both a historical and contemporary context. Beyond Belief: Theatre Of Contemplation presented a 3-D media meditation experience for the Cathedral Heritage Foundation of Louisville, Kentucky. The video finale for Hershey Park’s Chocolate World Tour Ride, in Pennsylvania, provides a whimsical ride through a landscape of American iconography.

Projects that have combined staging with scenic design include the European premiere of John Corigliano’s opera The Ghosts of Versailles, Toshiro Mayazumi’s Kinkakuji (from Mishima’s novel The Temple of the Golden Pavilion) for New York City Opera, and the world premiere of Marilyn, an opera by Ezra Laderman based on the last days of Marilyn Monroe.

Recent projects include Spooky Action: The Drama of Quantum Mechanics, the opening performance of the 2013 World Science Festival at the New Victory Theater, New York; updated productions of Candide at Portland Opera, 1000 Airplanes on the Roof in Scotland at the Glasgow Concert Hall and Esther at New York City Opera.

Upcoming projects include a media installation for the Ithaca Motion Picture Project and the prototype design for a Scenic Symphony to be presented at Ford hall, Ithaca College, Ithaca, New York.

 

Michael Baumgarten
Lighting Designer

Mr. Baumgarten has designed lighting and video for Palm Beach Opera productions of Così fan tutte and Rigoletto, and has designed lighting, scenery and video for over 400 productions at regional and international opera companies, including New York City Opera, Opera Carolina, Opera Lyra Ottawa, Manitoba Opera, Arizona Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Lyric Opera Kansas City, Toledo Opera, Opera Grand Rapids, Michigan Opera Theater and Opera Columbus during his thirty-plus year design career. A graduate of the Yale School of Drama and member of United Scenic Artists-Local 829, he assisted on Broadway during the 1980’s, working with such designers as Craig Miller, Tom Skelton, Beverly Emmons, Jim Ingalls, and Richard Nelson.  Mr. Baumgarten has been the Director of Production and Resident Lighting/Video Designer for Opera Carolina in Charlotte since 2005, and for Chautauqua Opera since 1999, and served on the professional staff at Amherst College for seventeen years as the Lighting Designer/Production Manager for both the Theater and Dance and the Music Departments.

Hallie Dufresne
Costume Designer

Hallie Dufresne specializes in millinery and textile arts with a BFA in Costume Design and Technology from Florida State University. Her work has been seen on opera stages from Los Angeles to New York and throughout Europe. Highlights of her career include building the masks and headpieces in Achim Freyer’s Ring Cycle at Los Angeles Opera, and creating the hats and textile painting for the Los Angeles Opera 2016 production of The Ghosts of Versailles designed by Lindo Cho.  Now in her second season as Palm Beach Opera’s Costume Director, this production of Candide marks her debut as a designer for the opera stage.

Miles Mykkanen*
Candide

Miles Mykkanen has garnered recognition on the world’s concert and operatic stages for his “focused, full-voiced tenor” (The New York Times).

The 2016-2017 season sees Miles Mykkanen performing the title role in a fully- staged production of Bernstein’s Candide with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and Belmonte in Opera Columbus’ new production of Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail.  He makes his debuts with the St. Thomas Church 5th Avenue Choir of Men and Boys and Concert Royal in performances of Händel’s Messiah and the Sarasota Orchestra and Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir in performances of Mozart’s Requiem under the baton of Anu Tali.

The Sullivan Foundation recently named Miles Mykkanen as a winner of the 2016 Sullivan Foundation Award. Mr. Mykkanen also received prizes from The Gerda Lissner Foundation’s 2016 Song Competition and the Metropolitan Opera National Council District Auditions, where he will advance to the Regional Competition in February 2017.

Mr. Mykkanen’s opera credits include championing new work in addition to leading roles drawn from the classic repertoire. Operatic highlights include performances of Die Zauberflöte, Eugene Onegin, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Ariadne auf Naxos, Les mamelles de Tirésias, La traviata, Le nozze di Figaro, La finta giardiniera, Der Kaiser von Atlantis, The Cunning Little Vixen, Dialogues of the Carmelites, Le donne curiose, A Hand of Bridge, and Down in the Valley.  The tenor has sung with Wolf Trap Opera Company, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Pine Mountain Music Festival, and Juilliard Opera.

Miles Mykkanen celebrated his Carnegie Hall recital debut last year, and has performed with the New World Symphony, New York Festival of Song, National Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Juilliard415, and at the Franz Schubert Institut, Royal Irish Academy of Music, and Interlochen Academy.  His rich and varied concert repertoire includes Bach’s Magnificat, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Brahms’ Liebeslieder Waltzes, Britten’s Canticle II: Abraham and Isaac and Canticle V: The Death of St. Narcissus, Händel’s Messiah, Schubert’s Auf dem Strom, and Stravinsky’s Cantata.

Currently in Juilliard’s esteemed Artist Diploma in Opera Studies program working with Stephen Wadsworth and Brian Zeger, Miles Mykkanen earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from the school under the tutelage of Cynthia Hoffmann.  He was a 2009 youngARTS Gold Winner in Voice and Juilliard has distinguished the tenor as a winner of the 2016 Juilliard Honors Recital, as a Toulmin Foundation Scholar, and with the Joseph W. Polisi Award, named for the institution’s president, for exemplifying the school’s values of the “artist as citizen.”

Alisa Jordheim*
Cunégonde

Soprano Alisa Jordheim is praised for her compelling and vocally assured performances in opera, oratorio, musical theatre, both early and new music, and recital.

A 2013 Merola Opera Program Participant, Miss Jordheim sang the roles of Lucia in The Rape of Lucretia and Barbarina in Le nozze di Figaro, and “Dal tuo gentil sembiante” from Mozart’s Ascanio in Alba in the Merola Grand Finale. Prior to the role of Lulu Baines in Elmer Gantry, she appeared as Miss Wordsworth in Albert Herring, Frasquita in Carmen, and Barbarina in Le nozze di Figaro with Florentine Opera. Other recent roles in addition to Soeur Constance in Dialogues des Carmélites at Caramoor include Satirino in La Calisto, 2nd Knabe in Die Zauberflöte, and the Page in Rigoletto with Cincinnati Opera; Marzelline in Fidelio with Madison Opera; Micaëla in “Carmen in Concert” with the Columbus Symphony/Opera Columbus; Flora in Turn of the Screw, Sirena in Rinaldo, Ellen in Oklahoma!, and Fredrika in A Little Night Music with Central City Opera; The Rose in The Little Prince with Cincinnati Chamber Opera; and Nannetta in Falstaff with Emerald City Opera.

Miss Jordheim is the recipient of a 2016 Sullivan Foundation Award and 2015 Sullivan Foundation Career Development Grant. She won the 2015 Bel Canto Regional Artists Competition, took 2nd place in the 2013 Auditions Plus Classical Singer Vocal Competition – Young Artist Division, and won the Edith Newfield Scholarship in the 2013 Musicians Club of Women Music Scholarship Competition in Chicago. She was the recipient of the 2012 Central City Opera Young Artist Award, winner of the 2012 and 2011 Wisconsin District Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and a finalist in the Kurt Weill Foundation’s 2011 Lotte Lenya International Competition.

A Fulbright Scholar and Fellow of the American Scandinavian Foundation, Miss Jordheim studied and conducted research on singing diction in the Scandinavian languages at the University of Oslo in 2013-2014. She frequently performs recitals of songs by Scandinavian composers, has published an article on Norwegian, Swedish, and Danish singing diction in the NATS Journal of Singing, and has completed English and IPA translations of numerous songs by Scandinavian composers. She is also an advocate of new music for voice, having premiered works composed for her by Lori Laitman, Douglas Pew, Joanne Metcalf, Josh Deutsch, and Rodney Rogers.

A native of Appleton, Wisconsin, Miss Jordheim completed her first two years of undergraduate study at Lawrence University, where she studied with Patrice Michaels. She earned her Bachelor of Music, Master of Music, and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in Voice Performance from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) as a student of William McGraw, and her DMA cognate field is Scandinavian song and diction.

Ron Raines*
Dr. Pangloss/Voltaire

Sponsored by Toni & Martin Sosnoff

A Tony Award nominee for the acclaimed production of Follies, Ron has had an illustrious international career spanning musical theater, opera, concert, and television. Born and raised in Texas, Ron Raines attended Oklahoma City University and The Juilliard School. He was a three-time Emmy and Soap Opera Digest Award nominee for his role as villain Alan Spaulding on CBS’s longest running daytime drama Guiding Light. Ron has appeared on Elementary and Person Of Interest. He starred on Broadway in AnnieNewsiesChicago and Show Boat, and originated the role of Nick Longworth in Teddy and Alice with Len Cariou.  He has delighted audiences around the world with his memorable starring roles in virtually every major American musical and operetta, including A Little Night MusicThe Unsinkable Molly Brown, South PacificAnnieKismetSayonaraKiss Me KateThe King and INaughty Marietta, The Merry Widow, Brigadoon, Rose Marie, Oklahoma!, Carousel, Side by Side by Sondheim, Guys and Dolls, and Man of La Mancha at the Covent Garden Festival.  He has soloed with over 50 major American and international orchestras, including the Boston Pops, the Philly Pops, the BBC Concert Orchestra, the Jerusalem Symphony, and the Israel Philharmonic, and has performed at Carnegie Hall, the 92nd Street Y, Tanglewood, the London Palladium, Rainbow and Stars, and Royal Festival Hall.  He has appeared on four PBS “Great Performances,” and has made two solo recordings on Jay Records and numerous cast albums.  He lives in New York City with his wife and daughter.

Tobias Greenhalgh+
Maximilian

As a member of the Junges Ensemble of the Theater an der Wien these past two seasons, American baritone Tobias Greenhalgh made his European debut singing the title role in Eugene Onegin. Whilst in Vienna, his roles on the mainstage included Ned Keene in Christof Loy’s universally-acclaimed new production of Peter Grimes, and Littore (L’incoronazione di Poppea), alongside Escamillo (Carmen), Argante (Rinaldo) and Ramiro (L’heure Espagnole) amongst others in the Wiener Kammeroper.

This season, Tobias sings multiple roles including the Cold Genius in Purcell’s King Arthur for Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz, sings his first Belcore (L’elisir d’amore) with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, returns to Palm Beach Opera as Samuel (Pirates of Penzance) and creates a leading role in the world premiere of Grapes of Wrath for Opera Theatre of St Louis.

Tobias has given recitals for the Arnold Schoenberg Centre, the Brooklyn Art Song Society (Mörike Lieder) and performed three programmes for the New York Festival of Song. A skilled concert artist, recent highlights include Bach’s St Matthew Passion with Soli Deo Gloria and Vaughan Williams’ Five Mystical Songs with St George’s Choral Society. Tobias was a finalist at the Operalia competition in 2015.

Denyce Graves
The Old Lady

Sponsored by Toni & Martin Sosnoff

Recognized worldwide as one of today’s most exciting vocal stars, Denyce Graves continues to gather unparalleled popular and critical acclaim in performances on four continents.

Her career has taken her to the world’s great opera houses and concert halls. The combination of her expressive, rich vocalism, elegant stage presence, and exciting theatrical abilities allows her to pursue a wide breadth of operatic portrayals and to delight audiences in concert and recital appearances. Denyce Graves has become particularly well-known to operatic audiences for her portrayals of the title roles in Carmen and Samson et Dalila. These signature roles have brought Ms. Graves to the Metropolitan Opera, Vienna Staatsoper, Royal Opera, Covent Garden, San Francisco Opera, Opéra National de Paris, Lyric Opera of Chicago, The Washington Opera, Bayerische Staatsoper, Arena di Verona, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Opernhaus Zürich, Teatro Real in Madrid, Houston Grand Opera, Dallas Opera, Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, Los Angeles Opera, and the Festival Maggio Musicale in Florence.

Ms. Graves appears continually on the stages of leading theaters in North America, Europe, and Asia. Recent appearances include the world premieres of Doubt at Minnesota Opera and Champion at the Opera Theatre of St. Louis as well as the role debuts of Katisha in The Mikado for Lyric Opera of Kansas City and Herodias in Salome for Palm Beach Opera. Ms. Graves has worked with the finest symphony orchestras and conductors in a wide range of repertoire.

Denyce Graves is a native of Washington, D.C., where she attended the Duke Ellington School for the Performing Arts. She continued her education at Oberlin College Conservatory of Music and the New England Conservatory. Ms. Graves is the recipient of many awards, including the Grand Prix du Concours International de Chant de Paris, the Eleanor Steber Music Award in the Opera Columbus Vocal Competition, and a Jacobson Study Grant from the Richard Tucker Music Foundation. In addition she has received honorary doctorates from Oberlin College, the College of Saint Mary, and Centre College. Ms. Graves’s dedication to the singers of the next generation continues to be an important part of her career and recently she joined the voice faculty of the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore.

Kasia Borowiec^
Paquette

Sponsored by Teeda and Salvatore Nuzzo

Soprano Kasia Borowiec returns to the Benenson Young Artist Program at Palm Beach Opera to sing the roles of Paquette (Candide) and Countess (Children’s Performance: The Marriage of Figaro) and to study-cover the title role in Tosca. She will also appear with the Atlantic Classical Orchestra as the Soprano soloist in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.

Last season at Palm Beach, Kasia covered the title role in Madama Butterfly, and made her company debut as the Page in Rigoletto and Isabel in The Pirates of Penzance.  She most recently made her Santa Fe Opera debut singing the title role in Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Golden Cockerel as a second year Apprentice Artist. In 2016, she was also an Artist-in-Residence with Dayton Opera, where she sang the role of Kate Pinkerton (Madama Butterfly) and covered the role of Desdemona (Otello). Kasia made her professional debut singing the Second Apparition in Macbeth at Chautauqua Opera. Her other operatic roles include Tatiana (Eugene Onegin), Marguerite (Faust), Giulietta (I Capuleti e I Montecchi), Female Chorus (The Rape of Lucretia), Miss Jessel (The Turn of the Screw), among others.

Originally from Summit, NJ, Kasia holds degrees from Columbia University (B.A.) and Manhattan School of Music (M.M.). She has received awards from the Metropolitan Opera National Council, Chautauqua Opera, and Columbia University.

Derrek Stark*^
Governor

Sponsored by Teeda and Salvatore Nuzzo

Derrek Stark, tenor, is a native of Bath NY. He holds a B.M. from Mansfield University, PA, and a M.M. from The Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University, IN where he studied with Carol Vaness. In the fall of 2016, Stark joined the roster of the Benenson Young Artists at Palm Beach Opera where he covered Pinkerton (Madama Butterfly), and Duke (Rigoletto). He is enthusiastic to return to PBO as a second-year young artist where he will cover Candide and sing The Governor (Candide). A previous member of the Lyric Opera of Kansas City’s Young Artist Program, Stark made his company debut as the Huntsman (Rusalka) and Remendado (Carmen). As a second year young artist at Santa Fe Opera, he covered Flamand (Capriccio) and sang Harry (Fanciulla del West). Previous performance credits include: Rodolfo (La bohème); Rinuccio (Gianni Schicchi); Peter Quint (The Turn of the Screw); Tamino (Die Zauberflöte); Alfredo (La (Traviata) and Fenton (Falstaff).

David Stern
Chief Conductor

Sponsored by Mrs. Ari Rifkin

Palm Beach Opera Chief Conductor David Stern’s musical leadership is spread across three continents. He is the founder and director of the Paris-based opera company and period-instrument ensemble, Opera Fuoco, as well as artistic advisor and principal conductor of the Shanghai Baroque Festival and music director of opera at the Crested Butte Music Festival in Colorado.

Stern is known for his extensive range of repertoire. In his time as music director of the Israel and the St. Gallen Opera houses, he championed 18th century opera and eclectic works such as Simone Mayr’s Medea, Berg’s Wozzeck, Britten’s Turn of the Screw and Weill’s Mahagonny. He has premiered four new operas since 2010 – Gil Shohat’s The Child Dreams at the Israel Opera, Nicolas Bacri’s Così fanciulli, commissioned by Opera Fuoco and performed at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, Ben Moore’s Enemies, A Love Story in Palm Beach and Jan Sandström’s The Rococo Machine in Drottningholm, Sweden in June 2016.

Stern has enjoyed collaborations with many international stage directors. Stern is a frequent guest around the globe with symphonic and chamber orchestras. He is regularly invited to the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, the Swedish Chamber Orchestra, the Shanghai and Guangzhou Symphonies, the China Philharmonic, the New Russian Symphony, the National Orchestra of Mexico, and has had recent appearances with the Vienna Symphony and the Hong Kong Philharmonic.

Since launching the Aix Festival Academy in 1998, David Stern has been committed to developing young voices. He created Opera Fuoco in 2003 as a platform to train young French singers in repertoire ranging from Monteverdi to John Cage, combining both an opera studio offering regular master classes and an opera company producing and co-producing larger concertante and staged productions. As artistic advisor of the Shanghai Baroque Festival, he involves singers from the Shanghai Conservatory and the Opera Fuoco Studio, and he works regularly with the Young Artist Programs in Palm Beach and Crested Butte, Colorado.

Stern received his Bachelor of Arts from Yale and his Masters of Music from the Juilliard School. He resides in Paris with his wife and two daughters.

Jay Lesenger
Stage Director

During Jay Lesenger’s almost 40 year career as stage director, administrator and teacher, he has become known for intelligent, honest productions which are dramatically compelling and musically knowledgeable. Mr. Lesenger has produced and directed more than two hundred opera productions for the New York City Opera, Chautauqua Opera Company, Atlanta, Virginia, Milwaukee, San Diego, New Orleans (the world premiere of Thea Musgrave’s “Pontalba“), Hawaii, Opera Carolina, Opera Pacific, Pittsburgh, Palm Beach (Offenbach’s “The Tales of Hoffmann”) and many others.  His European debut was with Opera Nordfjord, Norway, and he has directed for Volkstheater Rostock in Germany. For 21 years, from 1994 to 2015, Jay was the General and Artistic Director of the Chautauqua Opera Company, the longest serving general director in the company’s history. As a nationally recognized teacher of acting for singers, he recently joined the guest faculty of the Washington National Opera’s Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program.  He has also taught on the School of Music opera faculties at the University of Michigan and Northwestern University and has directed productions for Julliard, Mannes/The New School, the Manhattan School of Music, Indiana University and the Academy of Vocal Arts. Jay is a frequent adjudicator for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and other vocal competitions.  He holds a Masters degree from Indiana University and a Bachelors of Music & Theater from Hofstra University.

Mara Newbery Greer
Choreographer

Choreographer Mara Newbery Greer’s recent credits include Thoroughly Modern Millie (Music Theatre Wichita), Shrek, the Musical (North Shore Music Theatre/Tuacahn), The Toxic Avenger (Pittsburgh CLO), A Christmas Story, the Musical (Paper Mill Playhouse/Fulton Theatre), Legally Blonde and 9 to 5 (Sacramento Music Circus), Big Fish (Front Porch Theatricals), Oliver! (Plymouth State University), The Drowsy Chaperone (University of Michigan) and the 2015 Lucille Lortel Awards.  As a performer, Mara has worked on Broadway, National Tours, and regional theatres across the country.  She earned her BFA in Music Theatre from the University of Michigan.  Her upcoming choreography projects include Matilda (Tuacahn), Guys and Dolls (Music Theatre Wichita), and The Music Man (Lexington Theatre Company).

Jerome Sirlin*
Projection Designer

Bridging the gap between theater and film, “Jerome Sirlin’s fluid use of sets and scenic projections annihilates space and time and gives his productions an exhilarating sense of visual freedom and cinematic illusion.” (Time Magazine)

Productions range from avant-garde collaborations with Philip Glass, Allen Ginsberg and Lou Reed to pop concerts for Madonna and Paul Simon; from the classic world of Wagner’s Ring Cycle and Verdi’s Macbeth to contemporary operas such as John Corigliano’s Ghosts of Versailles and Jonathan Dove’s Flight; from big budget musicals like Kiss of the Spider WomanWhatever Happened to Baby Jane and Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame to more intimate theatricals including Piazzolla’s Maria de Buenos Aires and the traveling stage circus Cirque Ingenieux.

In addition to Musical Theater and Opera, designs include multimedia installations and shows for museums, cultural institutions and theme parks. Freedom Rising at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia gives the American Constitution both a historical and contemporary context. Beyond Belief: Theatre Of Contemplation presented a 3-D media meditation experience for the Cathedral Heritage Foundation of Louisville, Kentucky. The video finale for Hershey Park’s Chocolate World Tour Ride, in Pennsylvania, provides a whimsical ride through a landscape of American iconography.

Projects that have combined staging with scenic design include the European premiere of John Corigliano’s opera The Ghosts of Versailles, Toshiro Mayazumi’s Kinkakuji (from Mishima’s novel The Temple of the Golden Pavilion) for New York City Opera, and the world premiere of Marilyn, an opera by Ezra Laderman based on the last days of Marilyn Monroe.

Recent projects include Spooky Action: The Drama of Quantum Mechanics, the opening performance of the 2013 World Science Festival at the New Victory Theater, New York; updated productions of Candide at Portland Opera, 1000 Airplanes on the Roof in Scotland at the Glasgow Concert Hall and Esther at New York City Opera.

Upcoming projects include a media installation for the Ithaca Motion Picture Project and the prototype design for a Scenic Symphony to be presented at Ford hall, Ithaca College, Ithaca, New York.

 

Michael Baumgarten
Lighting Designer

Mr. Baumgarten has designed lighting and video for Palm Beach Opera productions of Così fan tutte and Rigoletto, and has designed lighting, scenery and video for over 400 productions at regional and international opera companies, including New York City Opera, Opera Carolina, Opera Lyra Ottawa, Manitoba Opera, Arizona Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Lyric Opera Kansas City, Toledo Opera, Opera Grand Rapids, Michigan Opera Theater and Opera Columbus during his thirty-plus year design career. A graduate of the Yale School of Drama and member of United Scenic Artists-Local 829, he assisted on Broadway during the 1980’s, working with such designers as Craig Miller, Tom Skelton, Beverly Emmons, Jim Ingalls, and Richard Nelson.  Mr. Baumgarten has been the Director of Production and Resident Lighting/Video Designer for Opera Carolina in Charlotte since 2005, and for Chautauqua Opera since 1999, and served on the professional staff at Amherst College for seventeen years as the Lighting Designer/Production Manager for both the Theater and Dance and the Music Departments.

Hallie Dufresne
Costume Designer

Hallie Dufresne specializes in millinery and textile arts with a BFA in Costume Design and Technology from Florida State University. Her work has been seen on opera stages from Los Angeles to New York and throughout Europe. Highlights of her career include building the masks and headpieces in Achim Freyer’s Ring Cycle at Los Angeles Opera, and creating the hats and textile painting for the Los Angeles Opera 2016 production of The Ghosts of Versailles designed by Lindo Cho.  Now in her second season as Palm Beach Opera’s Costume Director, this production of Candide marks her debut as a designer for the opera stage.

Miles Mykkanen*
Candide

Miles Mykkanen has garnered recognition on the world’s concert and operatic stages for his “focused, full-voiced tenor” (The New York Times).

The 2016-2017 season sees Miles Mykkanen performing the title role in a fully- staged production of Bernstein’s Candide with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and Belmonte in Opera Columbus’ new production of Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail.  He makes his debuts with the St. Thomas Church 5th Avenue Choir of Men and Boys and Concert Royal in performances of Händel’s Messiah and the Sarasota Orchestra and Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir in performances of Mozart’s Requiem under the baton of Anu Tali.

The Sullivan Foundation recently named Miles Mykkanen as a winner of the 2016 Sullivan Foundation Award. Mr. Mykkanen also received prizes from The Gerda Lissner Foundation’s 2016 Song Competition and the Metropolitan Opera National Council District Auditions, where he will advance to the Regional Competition in February 2017.

Mr. Mykkanen’s opera credits include championing new work in addition to leading roles drawn from the classic repertoire. Operatic highlights include performances of Die Zauberflöte, Eugene Onegin, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Ariadne auf Naxos, Les mamelles de Tirésias, La traviata, Le nozze di Figaro, La finta giardiniera, Der Kaiser von Atlantis, The Cunning Little Vixen, Dialogues of the Carmelites, Le donne curiose, A Hand of Bridge, and Down in the Valley.  The tenor has sung with Wolf Trap Opera Company, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Pine Mountain Music Festival, and Juilliard Opera.

Miles Mykkanen celebrated his Carnegie Hall recital debut last year, and has performed with the New World Symphony, New York Festival of Song, National Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Juilliard415, and at the Franz Schubert Institut, Royal Irish Academy of Music, and Interlochen Academy.  His rich and varied concert repertoire includes Bach’s Magnificat, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Brahms’ Liebeslieder Waltzes, Britten’s Canticle II: Abraham and Isaac and Canticle V: The Death of St. Narcissus, Händel’s Messiah, Schubert’s Auf dem Strom, and Stravinsky’s Cantata.

Currently in Juilliard’s esteemed Artist Diploma in Opera Studies program working with Stephen Wadsworth and Brian Zeger, Miles Mykkanen earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from the school under the tutelage of Cynthia Hoffmann.  He was a 2009 youngARTS Gold Winner in Voice and Juilliard has distinguished the tenor as a winner of the 2016 Juilliard Honors Recital, as a Toulmin Foundation Scholar, and with the Joseph W. Polisi Award, named for the institution’s president, for exemplifying the school’s values of the “artist as citizen.”

Alisa Jordheim*
Cunégonde

Soprano Alisa Jordheim is praised for her compelling and vocally assured performances in opera, oratorio, musical theatre, both early and new music, and recital.

A 2013 Merola Opera Program Participant, Miss Jordheim sang the roles of Lucia in The Rape of Lucretia and Barbarina in Le nozze di Figaro, and “Dal tuo gentil sembiante” from Mozart’s Ascanio in Alba in the Merola Grand Finale. Prior to the role of Lulu Baines in Elmer Gantry, she appeared as Miss Wordsworth in Albert Herring, Frasquita in Carmen, and Barbarina in Le nozze di Figaro with Florentine Opera. Other recent roles in addition to Soeur Constance in Dialogues des Carmélites at Caramoor include Satirino in La Calisto, 2nd Knabe in Die Zauberflöte, and the Page in Rigoletto with Cincinnati Opera; Marzelline in Fidelio with Madison Opera; Micaëla in “Carmen in Concert” with the Columbus Symphony/Opera Columbus; Flora in Turn of the Screw, Sirena in Rinaldo, Ellen in Oklahoma!, and Fredrika in A Little Night Music with Central City Opera; The Rose in The Little Prince with Cincinnati Chamber Opera; and Nannetta in Falstaff with Emerald City Opera.

Miss Jordheim is the recipient of a 2016 Sullivan Foundation Award and 2015 Sullivan Foundation Career Development Grant. She won the 2015 Bel Canto Regional Artists Competition, took 2nd place in the 2013 Auditions Plus Classical Singer Vocal Competition – Young Artist Division, and won the Edith Newfield Scholarship in the 2013 Musicians Club of Women Music Scholarship Competition in Chicago. She was the recipient of the 2012 Central City Opera Young Artist Award, winner of the 2012 and 2011 Wisconsin District Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and a finalist in the Kurt Weill Foundation’s 2011 Lotte Lenya International Competition.

A Fulbright Scholar and Fellow of the American Scandinavian Foundation, Miss Jordheim studied and conducted research on singing diction in the Scandinavian languages at the University of Oslo in 2013-2014. She frequently performs recitals of songs by Scandinavian composers, has published an article on Norwegian, Swedish, and Danish singing diction in the NATS Journal of Singing, and has completed English and IPA translations of numerous songs by Scandinavian composers. She is also an advocate of new music for voice, having premiered works composed for her by Lori Laitman, Douglas Pew, Joanne Metcalf, Josh Deutsch, and Rodney Rogers.

A native of Appleton, Wisconsin, Miss Jordheim completed her first two years of undergraduate study at Lawrence University, where she studied with Patrice Michaels. She earned her Bachelor of Music, Master of Music, and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in Voice Performance from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) as a student of William McGraw, and her DMA cognate field is Scandinavian song and diction.

Ron Raines*
Dr. Pangloss/Voltaire

Sponsored by Toni & Martin Sosnoff

A Tony Award nominee for the acclaimed production of Follies, Ron has had an illustrious international career spanning musical theater, opera, concert, and television. Born and raised in Texas, Ron Raines attended Oklahoma City University and The Juilliard School. He was a three-time Emmy and Soap Opera Digest Award nominee for his role as villain Alan Spaulding on CBS’s longest running daytime drama Guiding Light. Ron has appeared on Elementary and Person Of Interest. He starred on Broadway in AnnieNewsiesChicago and Show Boat, and originated the role of Nick Longworth in Teddy and Alice with Len Cariou.  He has delighted audiences around the world with his memorable starring roles in virtually every major American musical and operetta, including A Little Night MusicThe Unsinkable Molly Brown, South PacificAnnieKismetSayonaraKiss Me KateThe King and INaughty Marietta, The Merry Widow, Brigadoon, Rose Marie, Oklahoma!, Carousel, Side by Side by Sondheim, Guys and Dolls, and Man of La Mancha at the Covent Garden Festival.  He has soloed with over 50 major American and international orchestras, including the Boston Pops, the Philly Pops, the BBC Concert Orchestra, the Jerusalem Symphony, and the Israel Philharmonic, and has performed at Carnegie Hall, the 92nd Street Y, Tanglewood, the London Palladium, Rainbow and Stars, and Royal Festival Hall.  He has appeared on four PBS “Great Performances,” and has made two solo recordings on Jay Records and numerous cast albums.  He lives in New York City with his wife and daughter.

Tobias Greenhalgh+
Maximilian

As a member of the Junges Ensemble of the Theater an der Wien these past two seasons, American baritone Tobias Greenhalgh made his European debut singing the title role in Eugene Onegin. Whilst in Vienna, his roles on the mainstage included Ned Keene in Christof Loy’s universally-acclaimed new production of Peter Grimes, and Littore (L’incoronazione di Poppea), alongside Escamillo (Carmen), Argante (Rinaldo) and Ramiro (L’heure Espagnole) amongst others in the Wiener Kammeroper.

This season, Tobias sings multiple roles including the Cold Genius in Purcell’s King Arthur for Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz, sings his first Belcore (L’elisir d’amore) with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, returns to Palm Beach Opera as Samuel (Pirates of Penzance) and creates a leading role in the world premiere of Grapes of Wrath for Opera Theatre of St Louis.

Tobias has given recitals for the Arnold Schoenberg Centre, the Brooklyn Art Song Society (Mörike Lieder) and performed three programmes for the New York Festival of Song. A skilled concert artist, recent highlights include Bach’s St Matthew Passion with Soli Deo Gloria and Vaughan Williams’ Five Mystical Songs with St George’s Choral Society. Tobias was a finalist at the Operalia competition in 2015.

Denyce Graves
The Old Lady

Sponsored by Toni & Martin Sosnoff

Recognized worldwide as one of today’s most exciting vocal stars, Denyce Graves continues to gather unparalleled popular and critical acclaim in performances on four continents.

Her career has taken her to the world’s great opera houses and concert halls. The combination of her expressive, rich vocalism, elegant stage presence, and exciting theatrical abilities allows her to pursue a wide breadth of operatic portrayals and to delight audiences in concert and recital appearances. Denyce Graves has become particularly well-known to operatic audiences for her portrayals of the title roles in Carmen and Samson et Dalila. These signature roles have brought Ms. Graves to the Metropolitan Opera, Vienna Staatsoper, Royal Opera, Covent Garden, San Francisco Opera, Opéra National de Paris, Lyric Opera of Chicago, The Washington Opera, Bayerische Staatsoper, Arena di Verona, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Opernhaus Zürich, Teatro Real in Madrid, Houston Grand Opera, Dallas Opera, Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, Los Angeles Opera, and the Festival Maggio Musicale in Florence.

Ms. Graves appears continually on the stages of leading theaters in North America, Europe, and Asia. Recent appearances include the world premieres of Doubt at Minnesota Opera and Champion at the Opera Theatre of St. Louis as well as the role debuts of Katisha in The Mikado for Lyric Opera of Kansas City and Herodias in Salome for Palm Beach Opera. Ms. Graves has worked with the finest symphony orchestras and conductors in a wide range of repertoire.

Denyce Graves is a native of Washington, D.C., where she attended the Duke Ellington School for the Performing Arts. She continued her education at Oberlin College Conservatory of Music and the New England Conservatory. Ms. Graves is the recipient of many awards, including the Grand Prix du Concours International de Chant de Paris, the Eleanor Steber Music Award in the Opera Columbus Vocal Competition, and a Jacobson Study Grant from the Richard Tucker Music Foundation. In addition she has received honorary doctorates from Oberlin College, the College of Saint Mary, and Centre College. Ms. Graves’s dedication to the singers of the next generation continues to be an important part of her career and recently she joined the voice faculty of the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore.

Kasia Borowiec^
Paquette

Sponsored by Teeda and Salvatore Nuzzo

Soprano Kasia Borowiec returns to the Benenson Young Artist Program at Palm Beach Opera to sing the roles of Paquette (Candide) and Countess (Children’s Performance: The Marriage of Figaro) and to study-cover the title role in Tosca. She will also appear with the Atlantic Classical Orchestra as the Soprano soloist in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.

Last season at Palm Beach, Kasia covered the title role in Madama Butterfly, and made her company debut as the Page in Rigoletto and Isabel in The Pirates of Penzance.  She most recently made her Santa Fe Opera debut singing the title role in Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Golden Cockerel as a second year Apprentice Artist. In 2016, she was also an Artist-in-Residence with Dayton Opera, where she sang the role of Kate Pinkerton (Madama Butterfly) and covered the role of Desdemona (Otello). Kasia made her professional debut singing the Second Apparition in Macbeth at Chautauqua Opera. Her other operatic roles include Tatiana (Eugene Onegin), Marguerite (Faust), Giulietta (I Capuleti e I Montecchi), Female Chorus (The Rape of Lucretia), Miss Jessel (The Turn of the Screw), among others.

Originally from Summit, NJ, Kasia holds degrees from Columbia University (B.A.) and Manhattan School of Music (M.M.). She has received awards from the Metropolitan Opera National Council, Chautauqua Opera, and Columbia University.

Derrek Stark*^
Governor

Sponsored by Teeda and Salvatore Nuzzo

Derrek Stark, tenor, is a native of Bath NY. He holds a B.M. from Mansfield University, PA, and a M.M. from The Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University, IN where he studied with Carol Vaness. In the fall of 2016, Stark joined the roster of the Benenson Young Artists at Palm Beach Opera where he covered Pinkerton (Madama Butterfly), and Duke (Rigoletto). He is enthusiastic to return to PBO as a second-year young artist where he will cover Candide and sing The Governor (Candide). A previous member of the Lyric Opera of Kansas City’s Young Artist Program, Stark made his company debut as the Huntsman (Rusalka) and Remendado (Carmen). As a second year young artist at Santa Fe Opera, he covered Flamand (Capriccio) and sang Harry (Fanciulla del West). Previous performance credits include: Rodolfo (La bohème); Rinuccio (Gianni Schicchi); Peter Quint (The Turn of the Screw); Tamino (Die Zauberflöte); Alfredo (La (Traviata) and Fenton (Falstaff).

David Stern
Chief Conductor

Sponsored by Mrs. Ari Rifkin

Palm Beach Opera Chief Conductor David Stern’s musical leadership is spread across three continents. He is the founder and director of the Paris-based opera company and period-instrument ensemble, Opera Fuoco, as well as artistic advisor and principal conductor of the Shanghai Baroque Festival and music director of opera at the Crested Butte Music Festival in Colorado.

Stern is known for his extensive range of repertoire. In his time as music director of the Israel and the St. Gallen Opera houses, he championed 18th century opera and eclectic works such as Simone Mayr’s Medea, Berg’s Wozzeck, Britten’s Turn of the Screw and Weill’s Mahagonny. He has premiered four new operas since 2010 – Gil Shohat’s The Child Dreams at the Israel Opera, Nicolas Bacri’s Così fanciulli, commissioned by Opera Fuoco and performed at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, Ben Moore’s Enemies, A Love Story in Palm Beach and Jan Sandström’s The Rococo Machine in Drottningholm, Sweden in June 2016.

Stern has enjoyed collaborations with many international stage directors. Stern is a frequent guest around the globe with symphonic and chamber orchestras. He is regularly invited to the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, the Swedish Chamber Orchestra, the Shanghai and Guangzhou Symphonies, the China Philharmonic, the New Russian Symphony, the National Orchestra of Mexico, and has had recent appearances with the Vienna Symphony and the Hong Kong Philharmonic.

Since launching the Aix Festival Academy in 1998, David Stern has been committed to developing young voices. He created Opera Fuoco in 2003 as a platform to train young French singers in repertoire ranging from Monteverdi to John Cage, combining both an opera studio offering regular master classes and an opera company producing and co-producing larger concertante and staged productions. As artistic advisor of the Shanghai Baroque Festival, he involves singers from the Shanghai Conservatory and the Opera Fuoco Studio, and he works regularly with the Young Artist Programs in Palm Beach and Crested Butte, Colorado.

Stern received his Bachelor of Arts from Yale and his Masters of Music from the Juilliard School. He resides in Paris with his wife and two daughters.

Jay Lesenger
Stage Director

During Jay Lesenger’s almost 40 year career as stage director, administrator and teacher, he has become known for intelligent, honest productions which are dramatically compelling and musically knowledgeable. Mr. Lesenger has produced and directed more than two hundred opera productions for the New York City Opera, Chautauqua Opera Company, Atlanta, Virginia, Milwaukee, San Diego, New Orleans (the world premiere of Thea Musgrave’s “Pontalba“), Hawaii, Opera Carolina, Opera Pacific, Pittsburgh, Palm Beach (Offenbach’s “The Tales of Hoffmann”) and many others.  His European debut was with Opera Nordfjord, Norway, and he has directed for Volkstheater Rostock in Germany. For 21 years, from 1994 to 2015, Jay was the General and Artistic Director of the Chautauqua Opera Company, the longest serving general director in the company’s history. As a nationally recognized teacher of acting for singers, he recently joined the guest faculty of the Washington National Opera’s Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program.  He has also taught on the School of Music opera faculties at the University of Michigan and Northwestern University and has directed productions for Julliard, Mannes/The New School, the Manhattan School of Music, Indiana University and the Academy of Vocal Arts. Jay is a frequent adjudicator for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and other vocal competitions.  He holds a Masters degree from Indiana University and a Bachelors of Music & Theater from Hofstra University.

Mara Newbery Greer
Choreographer

Choreographer Mara Newbery Greer’s recent credits include Thoroughly Modern Millie (Music Theatre Wichita), Shrek, the Musical (North Shore Music Theatre/Tuacahn), The Toxic Avenger (Pittsburgh CLO), A Christmas Story, the Musical (Paper Mill Playhouse/Fulton Theatre), Legally Blonde and 9 to 5 (Sacramento Music Circus), Big Fish (Front Porch Theatricals), Oliver! (Plymouth State University), The Drowsy Chaperone (University of Michigan) and the 2015 Lucille Lortel Awards.  As a performer, Mara has worked on Broadway, National Tours, and regional theatres across the country.  She earned her BFA in Music Theatre from the University of Michigan.  Her upcoming choreography projects include Matilda (Tuacahn), Guys and Dolls (Music Theatre Wichita), and The Music Man (Lexington Theatre Company).

Jerome Sirlin*
Projection Designer

Bridging the gap between theater and film, “Jerome Sirlin’s fluid use of sets and scenic projections annihilates space and time and gives his productions an exhilarating sense of visual freedom and cinematic illusion.” (Time Magazine)

Productions range from avant-garde collaborations with Philip Glass, Allen Ginsberg and Lou Reed to pop concerts for Madonna and Paul Simon; from the classic world of Wagner’s Ring Cycle and Verdi’s Macbeth to contemporary operas such as John Corigliano’s Ghosts of Versailles and Jonathan Dove’s Flight; from big budget musicals like Kiss of the Spider WomanWhatever Happened to Baby Jane and Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame to more intimate theatricals including Piazzolla’s Maria de Buenos Aires and the traveling stage circus Cirque Ingenieux.

In addition to Musical Theater and Opera, designs include multimedia installations and shows for museums, cultural institutions and theme parks. Freedom Rising at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia gives the American Constitution both a historical and contemporary context. Beyond Belief: Theatre Of Contemplation presented a 3-D media meditation experience for the Cathedral Heritage Foundation of Louisville, Kentucky. The video finale for Hershey Park’s Chocolate World Tour Ride, in Pennsylvania, provides a whimsical ride through a landscape of American iconography.

Projects that have combined staging with scenic design include the European premiere of John Corigliano’s opera The Ghosts of Versailles, Toshiro Mayazumi’s Kinkakuji (from Mishima’s novel The Temple of the Golden Pavilion) for New York City Opera, and the world premiere of Marilyn, an opera by Ezra Laderman based on the last days of Marilyn Monroe.

Recent projects include Spooky Action: The Drama of Quantum Mechanics, the opening performance of the 2013 World Science Festival at the New Victory Theater, New York; updated productions of Candide at Portland Opera, 1000 Airplanes on the Roof in Scotland at the Glasgow Concert Hall and Esther at New York City Opera.

Upcoming projects include a media installation for the Ithaca Motion Picture Project and the prototype design for a Scenic Symphony to be presented at Ford hall, Ithaca College, Ithaca, New York.

 

Michael Baumgarten
Lighting Designer

Mr. Baumgarten has designed lighting and video for Palm Beach Opera productions of Così fan tutte and Rigoletto, and has designed lighting, scenery and video for over 400 productions at regional and international opera companies, including New York City Opera, Opera Carolina, Opera Lyra Ottawa, Manitoba Opera, Arizona Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Lyric Opera Kansas City, Toledo Opera, Opera Grand Rapids, Michigan Opera Theater and Opera Columbus during his thirty-plus year design career. A graduate of the Yale School of Drama and member of United Scenic Artists-Local 829, he assisted on Broadway during the 1980’s, working with such designers as Craig Miller, Tom Skelton, Beverly Emmons, Jim Ingalls, and Richard Nelson.  Mr. Baumgarten has been the Director of Production and Resident Lighting/Video Designer for Opera Carolina in Charlotte since 2005, and for Chautauqua Opera since 1999, and served on the professional staff at Amherst College for seventeen years as the Lighting Designer/Production Manager for both the Theater and Dance and the Music Departments.

Hallie Dufresne
Costume Designer

Hallie Dufresne specializes in millinery and textile arts with a BFA in Costume Design and Technology from Florida State University. Her work has been seen on opera stages from Los Angeles to New York and throughout Europe. Highlights of her career include building the masks and headpieces in Achim Freyer’s Ring Cycle at Los Angeles Opera, and creating the hats and textile painting for the Los Angeles Opera 2016 production of The Ghosts of Versailles designed by Lindo Cho.  Now in her second season as Palm Beach Opera’s Costume Director, this production of Candide marks her debut as a designer for the opera stage.

Miles Mykkanen*
Candide

Miles Mykkanen has garnered recognition on the world’s concert and operatic stages for his “focused, full-voiced tenor” (The New York Times).

The 2016-2017 season sees Miles Mykkanen performing the title role in a fully- staged production of Bernstein’s Candide with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and Belmonte in Opera Columbus’ new production of Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail.  He makes his debuts with the St. Thomas Church 5th Avenue Choir of Men and Boys and Concert Royal in performances of Händel’s Messiah and the Sarasota Orchestra and Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir in performances of Mozart’s Requiem under the baton of Anu Tali.

The Sullivan Foundation recently named Miles Mykkanen as a winner of the 2016 Sullivan Foundation Award. Mr. Mykkanen also received prizes from The Gerda Lissner Foundation’s 2016 Song Competition and the Metropolitan Opera National Council District Auditions, where he will advance to the Regional Competition in February 2017.

Mr. Mykkanen’s opera credits include championing new work in addition to leading roles drawn from the classic repertoire. Operatic highlights include performances of Die Zauberflöte, Eugene Onegin, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Ariadne auf Naxos, Les mamelles de Tirésias, La traviata, Le nozze di Figaro, La finta giardiniera, Der Kaiser von Atlantis, The Cunning Little Vixen, Dialogues of the Carmelites, Le donne curiose, A Hand of Bridge, and Down in the Valley.  The tenor has sung with Wolf Trap Opera Company, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Pine Mountain Music Festival, and Juilliard Opera.

Miles Mykkanen celebrated his Carnegie Hall recital debut last year, and has performed with the New World Symphony, New York Festival of Song, National Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Juilliard415, and at the Franz Schubert Institut, Royal Irish Academy of Music, and Interlochen Academy.  His rich and varied concert repertoire includes Bach’s Magnificat, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Brahms’ Liebeslieder Waltzes, Britten’s Canticle II: Abraham and Isaac and Canticle V: The Death of St. Narcissus, Händel’s Messiah, Schubert’s Auf dem Strom, and Stravinsky’s Cantata.

Currently in Juilliard’s esteemed Artist Diploma in Opera Studies program working with Stephen Wadsworth and Brian Zeger, Miles Mykkanen earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from the school under the tutelage of Cynthia Hoffmann.  He was a 2009 youngARTS Gold Winner in Voice and Juilliard has distinguished the tenor as a winner of the 2016 Juilliard Honors Recital, as a Toulmin Foundation Scholar, and with the Joseph W. Polisi Award, named for the institution’s president, for exemplifying the school’s values of the “artist as citizen.”

Alisa Jordheim*
Cunégonde

Soprano Alisa Jordheim is praised for her compelling and vocally assured performances in opera, oratorio, musical theatre, both early and new music, and recital.

A 2013 Merola Opera Program Participant, Miss Jordheim sang the roles of Lucia in The Rape of Lucretia and Barbarina in Le nozze di Figaro, and “Dal tuo gentil sembiante” from Mozart’s Ascanio in Alba in the Merola Grand Finale. Prior to the role of Lulu Baines in Elmer Gantry, she appeared as Miss Wordsworth in Albert Herring, Frasquita in Carmen, and Barbarina in Le nozze di Figaro with Florentine Opera. Other recent roles in addition to Soeur Constance in Dialogues des Carmélites at Caramoor include Satirino in La Calisto, 2nd Knabe in Die Zauberflöte, and the Page in Rigoletto with Cincinnati Opera; Marzelline in Fidelio with Madison Opera; Micaëla in “Carmen in Concert” with the Columbus Symphony/Opera Columbus; Flora in Turn of the Screw, Sirena in Rinaldo, Ellen in Oklahoma!, and Fredrika in A Little Night Music with Central City Opera; The Rose in The Little Prince with Cincinnati Chamber Opera; and Nannetta in Falstaff with Emerald City Opera.

Miss Jordheim is the recipient of a 2016 Sullivan Foundation Award and 2015 Sullivan Foundation Career Development Grant. She won the 2015 Bel Canto Regional Artists Competition, took 2nd place in the 2013 Auditions Plus Classical Singer Vocal Competition – Young Artist Division, and won the Edith Newfield Scholarship in the 2013 Musicians Club of Women Music Scholarship Competition in Chicago. She was the recipient of the 2012 Central City Opera Young Artist Award, winner of the 2012 and 2011 Wisconsin District Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and a finalist in the Kurt Weill Foundation’s 2011 Lotte Lenya International Competition.

A Fulbright Scholar and Fellow of the American Scandinavian Foundation, Miss Jordheim studied and conducted research on singing diction in the Scandinavian languages at the University of Oslo in 2013-2014. She frequently performs recitals of songs by Scandinavian composers, has published an article on Norwegian, Swedish, and Danish singing diction in the NATS Journal of Singing, and has completed English and IPA translations of numerous songs by Scandinavian composers. She is also an advocate of new music for voice, having premiered works composed for her by Lori Laitman, Douglas Pew, Joanne Metcalf, Josh Deutsch, and Rodney Rogers.

A native of Appleton, Wisconsin, Miss Jordheim completed her first two years of undergraduate study at Lawrence University, where she studied with Patrice Michaels. She earned her Bachelor of Music, Master of Music, and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in Voice Performance from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) as a student of William McGraw, and her DMA cognate field is Scandinavian song and diction.

Ron Raines*
Dr. Pangloss/Voltaire

Sponsored by Toni & Martin Sosnoff

A Tony Award nominee for the acclaimed production of Follies, Ron has had an illustrious international career spanning musical theater, opera, concert, and television. Born and raised in Texas, Ron Raines attended Oklahoma City University and The Juilliard School. He was a three-time Emmy and Soap Opera Digest Award nominee for his role as villain Alan Spaulding on CBS’s longest running daytime drama Guiding Light. Ron has appeared on Elementary and Person Of Interest. He starred on Broadway in AnnieNewsiesChicago and Show Boat, and originated the role of Nick Longworth in Teddy and Alice with Len Cariou.  He has delighted audiences around the world with his memorable starring roles in virtually every major American musical and operetta, including A Little Night MusicThe Unsinkable Molly Brown, South PacificAnnieKismetSayonaraKiss Me KateThe King and INaughty Marietta, The Merry Widow, Brigadoon, Rose Marie, Oklahoma!, Carousel, Side by Side by Sondheim, Guys and Dolls, and Man of La Mancha at the Covent Garden Festival.  He has soloed with over 50 major American and international orchestras, including the Boston Pops, the Philly Pops, the BBC Concert Orchestra, the Jerusalem Symphony, and the Israel Philharmonic, and has performed at Carnegie Hall, the 92nd Street Y, Tanglewood, the London Palladium, Rainbow and Stars, and Royal Festival Hall.  He has appeared on four PBS “Great Performances,” and has made two solo recordings on Jay Records and numerous cast albums.  He lives in New York City with his wife and daughter.

Tobias Greenhalgh+
Maximilian

As a member of the Junges Ensemble of the Theater an der Wien these past two seasons, American baritone Tobias Greenhalgh made his European debut singing the title role in Eugene Onegin. Whilst in Vienna, his roles on the mainstage included Ned Keene in Christof Loy’s universally-acclaimed new production of Peter Grimes, and Littore (L’incoronazione di Poppea), alongside Escamillo (Carmen), Argante (Rinaldo) and Ramiro (L’heure Espagnole) amongst others in the Wiener Kammeroper.

This season, Tobias sings multiple roles including the Cold Genius in Purcell’s King Arthur for Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz, sings his first Belcore (L’elisir d’amore) with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, returns to Palm Beach Opera as Samuel (Pirates of Penzance) and creates a leading role in the world premiere of Grapes of Wrath for Opera Theatre of St Louis.

Tobias has given recitals for the Arnold Schoenberg Centre, the Brooklyn Art Song Society (Mörike Lieder) and performed three programmes for the New York Festival of Song. A skilled concert artist, recent highlights include Bach’s St Matthew Passion with Soli Deo Gloria and Vaughan Williams’ Five Mystical Songs with St George’s Choral Society. Tobias was a finalist at the Operalia competition in 2015.

Denyce Graves
The Old Lady

Sponsored by Toni & Martin Sosnoff

Recognized worldwide as one of today’s most exciting vocal stars, Denyce Graves continues to gather unparalleled popular and critical acclaim in performances on four continents.

Her career has taken her to the world’s great opera houses and concert halls. The combination of her expressive, rich vocalism, elegant stage presence, and exciting theatrical abilities allows her to pursue a wide breadth of operatic portrayals and to delight audiences in concert and recital appearances. Denyce Graves has become particularly well-known to operatic audiences for her portrayals of the title roles in Carmen and Samson et Dalila. These signature roles have brought Ms. Graves to the Metropolitan Opera, Vienna Staatsoper, Royal Opera, Covent Garden, San Francisco Opera, Opéra National de Paris, Lyric Opera of Chicago, The Washington Opera, Bayerische Staatsoper, Arena di Verona, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Opernhaus Zürich, Teatro Real in Madrid, Houston Grand Opera, Dallas Opera, Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, Los Angeles Opera, and the Festival Maggio Musicale in Florence.

Ms. Graves appears continually on the stages of leading theaters in North America, Europe, and Asia. Recent appearances include the world premieres of Doubt at Minnesota Opera and Champion at the Opera Theatre of St. Louis as well as the role debuts of Katisha in The Mikado for Lyric Opera of Kansas City and Herodias in Salome for Palm Beach Opera. Ms. Graves has worked with the finest symphony orchestras and conductors in a wide range of repertoire.

Denyce Graves is a native of Washington, D.C., where she attended the Duke Ellington School for the Performing Arts. She continued her education at Oberlin College Conservatory of Music and the New England Conservatory. Ms. Graves is the recipient of many awards, including the Grand Prix du Concours International de Chant de Paris, the Eleanor Steber Music Award in the Opera Columbus Vocal Competition, and a Jacobson Study Grant from the Richard Tucker Music Foundation. In addition she has received honorary doctorates from Oberlin College, the College of Saint Mary, and Centre College. Ms. Graves’s dedication to the singers of the next generation continues to be an important part of her career and recently she joined the voice faculty of the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore.

Kasia Borowiec^
Paquette

Sponsored by Teeda and Salvatore Nuzzo

Soprano Kasia Borowiec returns to the Benenson Young Artist Program at Palm Beach Opera to sing the roles of Paquette (Candide) and Countess (Children’s Performance: The Marriage of Figaro) and to study-cover the title role in Tosca. She will also appear with the Atlantic Classical Orchestra as the Soprano soloist in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.

Last season at Palm Beach, Kasia covered the title role in Madama Butterfly, and made her company debut as the Page in Rigoletto and Isabel in The Pirates of Penzance.  She most recently made her Santa Fe Opera debut singing the title role in Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Golden Cockerel as a second year Apprentice Artist. In 2016, she was also an Artist-in-Residence with Dayton Opera, where she sang the role of Kate Pinkerton (Madama Butterfly) and covered the role of Desdemona (Otello). Kasia made her professional debut singing the Second Apparition in Macbeth at Chautauqua Opera. Her other operatic roles include Tatiana (Eugene Onegin), Marguerite (Faust), Giulietta (I Capuleti e I Montecchi), Female Chorus (The Rape of Lucretia), Miss Jessel (The Turn of the Screw), among others.

Originally from Summit, NJ, Kasia holds degrees from Columbia University (B.A.) and Manhattan School of Music (M.M.). She has received awards from the Metropolitan Opera National Council, Chautauqua Opera, and Columbia University.

Derrek Stark*^
Governor

Sponsored by Teeda and Salvatore Nuzzo

Derrek Stark, tenor, is a native of Bath NY. He holds a B.M. from Mansfield University, PA, and a M.M. from The Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University, IN where he studied with Carol Vaness. In the fall of 2016, Stark joined the roster of the Benenson Young Artists at Palm Beach Opera where he covered Pinkerton (Madama Butterfly), and Duke (Rigoletto). He is enthusiastic to return to PBO as a second-year young artist where he will cover Candide and sing The Governor (Candide). A previous member of the Lyric Opera of Kansas City’s Young Artist Program, Stark made his company debut as the Huntsman (Rusalka) and Remendado (Carmen). As a second year young artist at Santa Fe Opera, he covered Flamand (Capriccio) and sang Harry (Fanciulla del West). Previous performance credits include: Rodolfo (La bohème); Rinuccio (Gianni Schicchi); Peter Quint (The Turn of the Screw); Tamino (Die Zauberflöte); Alfredo (La (Traviata) and Fenton (Falstaff).

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