Who is who
SUSAN STODERL (composer/librettist), a native of Southwestern Kansas, has worn many musical hats in her evolution from singer to composer. From 1997-2001, she was the Executive and Music Director of what The New Yorker referred to as “. . . that spunky little downtown opera company, Opera Nova.” She first began composing at the age of fifty. Her first compositions premiered in 2002 at the Pulse Ensemble Theater in a program entitled Under Construction, featuring works-in-progress by women composers. As part of an all-American music concert, Ms. Stoderl’s song
cycle, Songs from a Jade Garden, was performed at Lake Placid Center for the Arts in 2004. In 2005, her opera A.F.R.A.I.D. was selected to premiere as one of two operatic offerings in The New York International Fringe Festival. Glenda Franks wrote for New York Theater Wire (2005): “Susan Stoderl possesses . . . considerable talent for the operatic and beautiful counterpoint choral pieces.” A.F.R.A.I.D. was then expanded into two acts and continued in a ten-month run at Brooklyn Repertory Opera.
SARAH OLSON (art installation) was born in Riverfalls, Wisconsin, and is currently a visual artist residing in New York City. Ms. Olson received her Bachelors of Fine Arts in painting from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Further study was done at Studio Art Centers International, Florence, Italy, and the Lacoste School of Fine Arts in France. She earned her Masters of Fine Arts in painting from the New York Academy of Art, New York, NY. In 2004, Ms. Olson received a fellowship for the creation of and participation in The Divine Body: God, Gender, and the Diversity of
Early Christianity from Columbia University, Union Theological Seminary, The Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Other awards include a portrait commission and residency to research the setting of The Veil of Forgetfulness in Shaftesbury Abbey by The Stanley-Ware Family Foundation. Ms. Olson has been a guest lecturer on Women in Biblical Tradition, McMaster University, Toronto; a guest lecturer at St. John University, New York; and panelist in Scope Art Fair, Religion and Art, Ethan Cohen Fine Art, New York.
ABBESS MARIE, First Keeper of the Veil: Illegitimate half-sister to King Henry II, Author, Abbess of Shaftesbury, Marie de France
A native of Chicago, Kathleen Keske has sung with opera companies and symphony orchestras throughout the United States and abroad. Her operatic appearances include such leading roles as Bruennhilde in Siegfried and Goetterdamerung, Sieglinde in Die Walkure, Elsa in Lohengrin, Freia in Das Rheingold, Desdemona in Otello, Reizia in Oberon, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, Fiordiligi in Cosí fan tutte, and Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus. In the realm of oratorio, Ms. Keske has been the soprano soloist in Handel’s Messiah, Bach’s B Minor Mass and Magnificat in D;
Faure’s Requiem; Haydn’s Creation and Lord Nelson Mass; Mendelssohn’s Elijah; Mozart’s Mass in C Minor and Requiem; and Vivaldi’s Gloria. Ms. Keske’s previous appearances with BRO include Senza Bliss in A.F.R.A.I.D., Leonore in Fidelio, Santuzza in Cavalleria Rusticana, Gertrude in Hansel and Gretel, the Countess in Figaro, and Amelia in The Masked Ball. Ms. Keske was a semifinalist in The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and a finalist in the Liederkranz Foundation Competition.
Lorene Phillips has performed with Syracuse Opera, Mohawk Valley Opera, Opera Nova, Opera New York, Brooklyn Repertory Opera, and the Syracuse Civic Symphony. She has performed roles including Suor Angelica, Fiordiligi, Antonia, Lily in The Secret Garden, and Dr. Charlotte in Falsettos, to name a few. Ms. Phillips has combined her experience as a choral director and singer into preparing singers for auditions, performances, and tours. Her students are professionals and pre-professionals, many of whom are members of SAG, AEA, and AFTRA, and perform
both regionally and in New York City. As a conductor, Lorene made her professional conducting debut with the Hendrick’s Chapel Choir and members of the Syracuse Symphony in the Schubert Mass in G. She has conducted and arranged music for the Marble Collegiate Church Children of the World Choir, and performed at Town Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, and Carnegie Hall with the choir. Her early opera-conducting experience with Opera Nova includes the world premiere of Scarlatti’s Eraclea, as well as Lucia di Lammermoor. Most recently she was the assistant conductor in Brooklyn Repertory Opera’s production of Susan Stoderl’s A.F.R.A.I.D.
REGINA: Former Mistress of King Henry II, Head of Novices
Tracy Bidleman has delighted audiences with her portrayals of such diverse characters as Fiordiligi in Cosí fan tutte, the Mother in Hansel and Gretel, the Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors, Alice Ford in Falstaff, and Micaela in Carmen. Ms. Bidleman has performed with the symphony orchestras of Seattle, Phoenix, Colorado, Colorado Springs, Wyoming, and Harrisburg, as well as the Boulder Philharmonic, the Martinu Philharmonic, the Pacific Northwest Chamber Orchestra, and the Women’s Philharmonic in San Francisco. Since her arrival in New York, she has sung as a
soloist in Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, and Alice Tully Hall. She has worked with such esteemed conductors as Janos Acs, Jacques Delacote, Julius Rudel, Emerson Buckley, Anton Guadagno, Nan Washburn, JoAnn Faletta, Stuart Malina, David Lockington, and Jack Herriman. She has been a regional winner in the Metropolitan Opera competition and a finalist in the San Francisco Opera competition. She received a Master of Music from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and a Bachelor of Music from Central Washington University. Of the many reviews she has had over the years, this is one of her favorites: “…soprano Tracy Bidleman was so stunningly cast as Phyllis that she nearly eclipsed all that shared the stage with her…” Wayne Johnson, Seattle Times.
Soprano Tamara Cashour is delighted to be singing her third role with Brooklyn Repertory Opera, where she previously sang the parts of the Witch in Hansel and Gretel and Fanny Fern in Susan Stoderl's opera A.F.R.A.I.D. Other New York area roles include Abigaille in Nabucco with Operesque Classical Concerts; First Lady in The Magic Flute with Opera Company of Brooklyn; Second Witch in Opera Amici’s Macbeth; Lady Macbeth (arias only) in concert for Riverside Opera; Ortrud in Lohengrin in concert with Operesque; Ortlinda in Die Walkűre with Opera
Drammatica; female leads in Ariadne auf Naxos and Suor Angelica with both Genesis Repertory Ensemble and Naomi Music Productions; Elle in Poulenc’s La Voix Humaine with Amour Productions at NYC's Wings Theatre; and the dual roles of Princess Berthe and The Siren in the world premiere of Seymour Barab’s Ondine, produced by The Center For Contemporary Opera. New York Stringer wrote of her “fine, strong, operatic voice.” Ms. Cashour has been a consistent guest soprano soloist with the Hawthorne Symphony Orchestra under Maestro John Minkoff, and has also been a soloist with the Columbia University Orchestra, Barnard-Columbia Philharmonic, and l’orchestra sinfonica irpina in Lauro, Italy. Her numerous awards for voice include: San Francisco International Concerto Competition, Aria Division; NY Vocal Artists Vocal Competition; Gerda Lissner Vocal Foundation Awards; and the Jan Peerce Vocal Competition.
AZENORA, Second Keeper of the Veil: Illuminator, Confidant of Abbess Marie
Barrett Cobb has performed as soloist with the National Chorale, the Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra, the Sine Nomine Singers and Baroque Orchestra, the Orchester des Landesteater Dessau, and the AIMS Orchestra. She has performed the roles of Azucena in Il Trovatore, Suzuki in Madama Butterfly, Enrichetta in I Puritani, Gertrude in Romeo et Juliette, and Mrs. Trapes in The Beggar’s Opera. She is the alto soloist on the Sine Nomine Singers’ recording of Handel’s Israel in Egypt on the Newport Classic label. She holds a Bachelor of Music from Oberlin
Conservatory and a Master of Musical Arts from Yale University. Originally from Nashville, Ms. Cobb began her musical career as a flutist. She has performed concerti with orchestras in New York; New Jersey; Tennessee; North Carolina; Hanover, Germany; and Bogota, Colombia.
Mezzo-soprano Suzannah Ancellr is a native of St. Louis, where she earned first place in the St. Louis area N.A.T.S. competition. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Theater and Education from the College of William & Mary, and a Master of Music in vocal performance from the Manhattan School of Music. She has performed opera and musical theater works regionally at The Remarkable Theatre Brigade, Shawnee Playhouse, Sinfonicron Light Opera Company, the Lincoln Ampitheatre, and the Lamb’s Theatre in New York. Some of her favorite musical theater roles include
Laurey in Oklahoma!, Sarah Brown in Guys and Dolls, Mother Abbess in The Sound of Music, and Julie in Show Boat. Operatic credits include Amy in House, Second Lady/Second Spirit in Die Zauberflöte, Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro, Narrator in Sweet Betsy from Pike, Aphrodite in Paris and Oenone, Lady Ella in Patience, Cora in The Game of Love, Clärchen in Beethoven’s Egmont, scenes from La Bohème (Mimi), and the title role of Manon Lescaut. Upcoming performances include Annio in La Clemenza di Tito and Mercédès in Carmen.
DYMPHA, Third Keeper of the Veil: Seer, Healer, Mentally Unstable
Pamela Scanlon is originally from California, and has sung on both coasts in productions with the Trinity Church concert series, West Side Opera, Singing Actor’s Atelier, the Pacific West Coast Opera, the Caecilian Chamber Ensemble, and Brooklyn Repertory Opera. Roles performed include Adele in Die Fledermaus, the title role in Mozart’s Zaide, both Silberklang and Goldentrill in Impresario, Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro, Despina in Cosí fan tutte, and the Forest Bird in Siegfried. With
the Educational Opera Association in Los Angeles, Pamela has sung over two hundred performances of opera and musical theater excerpts. She has also performed several of the Gilbert and Sullivan heroines, and has done backup for films. Most recently Pamela performed Oscar in A Masked Ball with Brooklyn Repertory Opera, where she also sang Belle in Susan Stoderl’s A.F.R.A.I.D., Marzelline in Fidelio, and Gretel in Hansel and Gretel.
Ilya Speranza is a graduate of The New England Conservatory and The Juilliard School. At home in both opera and concert, she appeared in the world premiere of Robert Kapilow’s New Moon with the New Jersey State Opera, in which she sang the role of the Royal Mathematician; and Barbara de la Guerra in Victor Herbert’s only opera, Natoma, at the White Barn Theater in Westport, CT. Ms. Speranza created the title role in Seymour Barab’s new opera Ondine for the Center for Contemporary Opera, and sang Marenka in Smetana’s Bartered Bride with The
State Repertory Opera of New Jersey. She sang in the world premiere of Anthony Davis’s Tania with the American Music Theater Festival in Philadelphia, and toured with the New York City Opera National Company as Frasquita in Bizet’s Carmen. Other regional appearances include Liù inTurandot, and Frasquita, both with the Cincinnati Opera; Elisetta in Il Matrimonio Segreto with Berkshire Opera; and Naiade in Ariadne auf Naxos with Long Beach Opera. She has appeared as a featured soloist with the Lake Charles and Alexandria Symphony Orchestras, the Summit Symphony, the Bronx Arts Ensemble, Bucks County Symphony and Brookhaven Choral Society. Her most recent performances include a recital of American and German music at the Baroque Concert Hall in Vienna’s Altes Rauthaus, and the world premiere of A.F.R.A.I.D. at The New York International Fringe Festival.
MARGARETTE, Fourth Keeper of the Veil: Nursing Sister
Mezzo-soprano Marcella Caprario was most recently seen as Berta in Il barbiere di Siviglia, for which she was praised by the critics as “a comic gem” and her aria was described as “beautifully sung . . . at once funny and humanly moving.” Her other opera roles include Hansel, Dorabella, Second Lady, Flora, Prince Orlofsky, Mercédès, and Mother Marie in Dialogues of the Carmelites. In concert, Ms. Caprario has appeared as soloist with the Grammy-nominated Kansas City Chorale, and performed in venues such as Philadelphia’s Academy of Music and Kimmel Center with the Bucks County
Choral Society, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center with the Lauda Chamber Singers, and Avery Fisher Hall and Carnegie Hall, as well as with the prestigious Spoleto Festival dei Due Mondi in Italy. She has also performed in numerous contemporary music concerts and has been featured in recital at the Ash Lawn Opera Festival of Virginia, and throughout Philadelphia, New Jersey, and Kansas City. Ms. Caprario holds a Bachelor of Music in Voice from Westminster Choir College and a Master of Music in Voice from University of Missouri–Kansas City. She currently resides in New York City where she is researching the music of the Jewish communities of Italy and hopes to continue this research in Italy next year.
Christine Reimer has brought her versatile mezzo-soprano voice to a wide variety of venues. She made her international debut in Ireland as Madame Dufresne in the Wexford Opera Company’s production of Leoncavallo’s Zaza. She has also appeared as a featured soloist in Graz, Austria, with the Graz Festival Orchestra, and spent three months performing in Interlaken, Switzerland, as a soloist in a Broadway review. In the United States, she has performed with The Buffalo Philharmonic, Marin Opera, Oakland Opera, Opera Northeast, Liederkranz Opera,
Regina Opera, and the New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players, singing Hansel in Hansel and Gretel, Dorabella in Cosí fan tutte, Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro, Prince Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus, Maddalena in Rigoletto, Siebel in Faust, Melissa in Princess Ida, and the title role in Carmen. Her most recent project was performing the role of Luna Sylum in Brooklyn Repertory Opera’s production of A.F.R.A.I.D. Having earned a Bachelor of Music in piano performance from San Francisco State University, Ms. Reimer continues to work as a coach/accompanist and a voice teacher. She is currently on the faculty at New York University, The Steinhardt School, as a private voice teacher and a coach.
BRIGID, Fifth Keeper of the Veil: Copyist/Scribe; Based loosely upon the lais “Chaitivel”
Soprano Evan Crawford’s extensive repertoire comprises both traditional operatic roles, including Mary in The Ballad of Baby Doe, Frantik in The Cunning Little Vixen, and the Mother (cover) in Amahl and the Night Visitors, as well as groundbreaking new music. Recent contemporary roles include Albert D.J. Cashier in the world premiere performance of Marie Incontrera’s No Shirts, No Skirts, No Service and Betty in Christian McLeer’s House, both with the Remarkable Theater Brigade; and
Sappho in Marie Incontrera’s Sappho in the Mix at Galapagos Art Space. As a chorister, Evan sings with the professional chamber choir Choral Chameleon. Previous choral engagements include a tour of Beijing and Shanghai with the 2008 Beijing Olympics Festival Chorus, Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms with the Brooklyn College Chorale as soprano soloist, and the world premiere of Christian McLeer’s Requiem with Remarkable Theater Brigade. A graduate student at Brooklyn College, Ms. Crawford currently studies with Monica Harte.
is noted for her “strong, clear, sparkling, and enchanting”
and her “vivacious, charming, comically enchanting, and
wonderfully acted” characterizations (Classical New Jersey
Society). Ms. Lattimer debuted the role of Miss Belle Hunter
Fortune in Susan Stoderl’s opera A.F.R.A.I.D,
featured in the NYC Fringe Festival. Some notable New York
engagements for the native Oregonian include Zerlina in Don
with Chelsea Opera, Adele in Die
with Regina Opera, Despina in Cosí
and Frasquita in Carmen
for Ardamore Chamber Opera, Elsie in Village Light Opera’s The Yeomen of the Guard, and a Weill Recital Hall debut singing the role of Sophie in excerpts from Der Rosenkavalier with Pacific Opera. Recent regional work includes Blöndchen in Die Entführung aus dem Serail with Opera in the Heights in Houston, Texas; Silberklang in Der Schauspieldirektor with Garden State Opera; and Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance with Wichita Grand Opera. Upcoming engagements include Adele in Die Fledermaus with One World Symphony, and a concert reading of Lucia in Lucia di Lammermoor.
DEBORAH, Sixth Keeper of the Veil; Jew given asylum after the Massacre of York, Cook
Dramatic soprano Erin Carr is no stranger to recital performances, having sung throughout the United States and Germany. Ms. Carr feels at home in the music of Wagner, Strauss, and Verdi. Some of her favorite roles include Ariadne from Ariadne auf Naxos and Leonore from Il Trovatore. She has performed with many companies including Tulsa Opera, Intermezzo Opera, West Side Opera, and most recently the RESONANZ music festival in Albany in 2009.
Gretchen Mundinger covered the roles of Deborah and Regina in the initial readings of The Veil of Forgetfulness, and the role of Bridget O’Malley in the world premiere of A.F.R.A.I.D. She created the role of Old Alyce in Glory Denied at Brooklyn College, for which she received a positive New York Times review. She was the single original cast member composer Tom Cipullo chose for its professional premiere, conducted by former Metropolitan Opera conductor Steven Crawford. Ms. Mundinger premiered the piece entitled Summoning, written for her by George
Brunner, in New York City, and again in the International Electro Acoustic Music Festival’s staged production of The Tempest Project, based on the two-CD set to be released by POGUS Productions, and broadcast on CUNY television. She has been featured in Remarkable Theater Brigade’s outreach tours and on their Sunday Concert Series. Operatic roles include Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, The Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro, Mimi in La Bohème, The Mother in Amahl and The Night Visitors, Amor in L’Incoronazione di Poppea, The First Lady in The Magic Flute, Frasquita in Carmen, and Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus. In addition, Ms. Mundinger has sung the Soprano solo in Ein Deutsches Requiem by Brahms. Upcoming engagements include singing Donna Elvira with Satori Opera and The Countess on the Bechstein Vocal Arts Series. She will be a featured guest artist for the Musikanten Montana 2010 Chorale Week. Ms. Mundinger is a co-founder of the company Musical Offerings, whose mission is to produce fundraiser concerts to benefit non-for-profit organizations. The students of Ms. Mundinger’s private vocal studio have performed off-Broadway, in the Fringe Festival, and on the cabaret circuit. She is currently on the faculty at Brooklyn College Conservatory of Music.
JOAN, Seventh Keeper of the Veil: Daughter of King Henry and Eleanor, Niece of Marie, Wife of Raymond VI of Toulouse
The Russian-born soprano Nika Leoni has appeared on theater and concert stages both national and international. This season she made her off-Broadway debut in the musical play, Pushkin’s Little Tragedies, which premiered at the Baryshnikov Arts Center in New York. Last year, she sang the role of Pamina in Classical Presentations’ new production of Kinder-Zauberflöte in Innsbruck, Austria. Other European engagements include Handel’s Alcina in Austria, Micaëla and Gilda in Germany, and Zerlina and Oscar in the Czech Republic. In the United States, Ms.
Leoni appeared in the roles of Mary Lee in Susan Stoderl’s A.F.R.A.I.D., as well as Mimi, Antonia in Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Manon, Thaïs, Governess in The Turn of the Screw, Pamina, Giulietta in I Capuleti ed i Montecchi, Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro, Zerlina, Donna Elvira, Norina, Despina, Adina, Amor in Orfeo ed Euridice, and Handel’s Dalinda and Angelica, performing with such companies as Lake George Opera Festival; Pocket Opera, San Francisco; Brooklyn Repertory Opera; Opera Domani; Opera Company of Brooklyn; Salon Opera; and Classical Presentations. A first-prize winner and finalist in several prestigious singing competitions, Ms. Leoni also performed in concerts with orchestra at the Gasteig Philharmonie, Munich; Berlin Philharmonie; City Theater, Usti nad Labem, Czech Republic; Richmond Youth Chamber Collegium, Virginia; and the Filharmonia Sudecka, Wałbrzych, Poland. Earlier this year, Ms. Leoni’s first recorded album of Russian Romances and Traditional Songs titled Dark Eyes was released on Larion RecordsTM.
Soprano Ruth Ann Cunningham sings contemporary works with a voice spanning from Bach to Wagner. Engagements include Bach’s Mass in B Minor with the Choral Symphony Society, and Ortlinde in Wagner’s Die Walküre with the Wagner Festival Orchestra in New York. Ms. Cunningham was outstanding as Violetta in Verdi’s La Traviata, according to Philadelphia’s Opera List. Her other roles include Vitellia in La Clemenza di Tito, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, Cio-Cio San in Madama Butterfly, Mimì in La Bohème, Liù in Turandot, and the title role in Suor Angelica. Ms.
Cunningham collaborated with composer Brian Kerns as Judith in the world premiere and original cast recording of Imajica I, based on the novel by Clive Barker. In 2009, she performed Zhong in Zoe Vandermeer’s fairy tale opera, Upon a Time. Other contemporary roles include Carlisle Floyd’s Susannah and Samuel Barber’s Vanessa (title roles). Concert appearances for Ms. Cunningham include works with orchestra in Europe as well as the United States including Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, Handel’s Messiah and Semele, and Mozart’s C Minor Mass. Representative repertoire also includes Britten’s War Requiem and Verdi’s Requiem. Ms. Cunningham studied at The Juilliard School, and now studies voice with Barbara Conrad.