Orpheus and Eurydice

Meet The Cast

Natalie Anston (Blessed Spirit) is very happy to be making her Brooklyn Repertory Opera debut.

Barrett Cobb (Visual Artist for Projections) has had three one-woman shows of her paintings in Manhattan. In addition she has participated in three group shows at the Broom Street Gallery in Soho. She has twice been an award winner at the Church of the Covenant's annual watercolor exhibition. She has studied privately with Wade Schumann, Jack Stewart, and Alice Meyer-Wallace.

Danielle Fisk (Amore) was recently seen in I Puritani and Amahl and the Night Visitors with the Opera Company of Brooklyn. In 2008, she performed a lead role in an original opera for young audiences and in Pagliacci with Opera Management Corporation at the Bellayre Music Festival, NY. She was also seen in Jacksonville Lyric Opera˘s debut production of The Merry Widow, and in Dom Sebastien, with Opera Orchestra of New York, Carnegie Hall. She has performed the roles of Zerlina (Don Giovanni), Lauretta (Gianni Schicchi), and Micaela (Carmen). Danielle is the Associate Artistic Administrator for the Opera Company of Brooklyn, and is the registrar at the Alexander Gallery, a prominent art and antiques gallery on Madison Avenue, NYC. Ms. Fisk is a graduate of Vassar College.

Melissa Gerstein (Orpheus) is quickly gaining notice in the New York City music scene. Recent New York appearances include Meg Page in Falstaff and Dorabella in Cosi fan tutte, both with the famed Amato Opera, for which The New York Sun stated: "Melissa Gerstein was a versatile Dorabella, putting her all into "Smanie implacabili," an aria just a little too tragic for us not to hear the cackle of Mozart in the background. A finalist in the New Amsterdam Symphony Orchestra Competition, her background includes training and performance at the American Singers' Opera Project in New York City, Acad??mie Internationale d'Et?? de Nice in France, University of Miami's Summer in Salzburg and the Spoleto Vocal Arts Symposium in Italy Ms Gerstein has also performed with such Opera Ensembles as the Dell'arte Opera Ensemble, the Little Opera Company of New York, Chelsea Opera, and One World Symphony Orchestra. Other operatic roles include, Zerlina, Prince Orlofsky, Octavian, Siebel, Cherubino, Annio, H??nsel and Florence. Ms. Gerstein resides in New York.

Joyce-Elaine Greene (Eurydice) has performed as principal and soloist in many varied roles in opera, musicals, oratorios and straight plays. Favorites include The Medium, The Merry Widow, The King and I, Dialogues of the Carmelites, Fidelio, Johnny Johnson, Mame, King Lear and An Unexpected Guest.

She has worked with companies such as The Odyssey Theatre Ensemble (LA), West Side Opera (LA and NYC), Sun Valley Opera, Sun Valley Repertory Company (SV Idaho), Mannes Conservatory Theatre (NYC), Viandante Opera (NY), The Globe Playhouse (LA) and The Lee Strasberg Playhouse (LA).

Laetitia Havers (Blessed Spirit) recently achieved an Integrated Masters Postgraduate Diploma in Vocal Performance from The Royal College of Music, London. Other diplomas and degrees include a Distinction in a Postgraduate Diploma in Vocal Performance and an Advanced Postgraduate Diploma from Trinity College of Music, London and a Bachelor of Music Degree from Edinburgh University.

Laetitia's operatic roles include "First bridesmaid" and "Barbarina" (cover) in Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro (Benjamin Britten Opera School) Mother in Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel (Runaway Opera Company). Laetitia has also performed roles in various opera scenes from Britten's A Midsummer's Nights Dream (Helena), Beethoven's Fidelio (Marzelina), Donizetti's L'Elisir d'Amore (Gianetta), Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro (Susanna), Monteverdi's L'Incoronazione de Poppea (Nerone), Lortzing's Der Wildschutz (Gretchen).

Now studying with Alissa Grimaldi, this will be Laetitia's first performance in America, having moved to New York at the end of 2008. Future performances include recitals at Chipping Campden Music Festival, England, and Calvary Church, New York.

Kathleen Keske (Artistic Director) A native of Chicago, Ms. Keske has sung with opera companies and symphony orchestras over wide areas of the United States and abroad. Her operatic appearances have included such leading roles as Bruennhhilde in Siegfried and Goetterdaemerung, Ariadne, Leonore (Fidelio), Sieglinde, Desdemona, Contessa in Le Nozze di Figaro, Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus, and a wide range of other roles in five languages. Kathleen sang Senza Bliss with BRO in their previous production of AFRAID. Ms. Keske now resides in New York City and was a semi-finalist in The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and a finalist in the Liederkranz Foundation Competition. Kathleen is very happy to have worked with such a fine and dedicated cast in this production.

Harry Saltzman (Conductor) is one of the rare New Yorkers who has spent his entire creative life in the city of his birth. He was born in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn (across the street from Major Abe Beame), went to P.S 99 (one year behind Woody Allen), Midwood High School (with Love Story author Eric Segal.) He entered Brooklyn College as an engineering major, but switched to music in his sophomore year. After three years on the mainland of United States earning a MA in musicology at the University of California at Berkeley, he returned to Brooklyn College and remained on the faculty until 1999 as a Professor of Music. At different times during his tenure at Brooklyn College, he conducted the College Chorus and Chamber Chorus, the Collegium Musicum, and, from 1988 to 1999, the Conservatory Orchestra.

In 1969 he founded the Sine Nomine Singers, a chamber chorus whose critically acclaimed New York concert series was for twenty-three years an important part of the city's early music movement. With the Sine Nomine Singers and Baroque Orchestra, Professor Saltzman conducted the first period instrument performances in the United States of six Handel oratorios (Jephtha, Theodora, Hercules, The Choice of Hercules, Israel in Egypt, and Alexander's Feast.) The Sine Nomine Singers can be heard on Turnabout and Newport Classic Records. In 1987 they were invited to sing at the Handel Festival in Halle, Germany. They also performed the National Anthem before five NY Mets games at Shea Stadium.

He and his wife, mezzo-soprano Barrett Cobb (who has sung three roles with the BRO,) share an East Village town house with their two cats, Cassandra and Odysseus, who have both made friends with most of the members of the Orpheus and Euridice cast.

Courtenay Schowalter (Eurydice) is delighted to return to Brooklyn Repertory Opera for her third season tonight. This month, she will also be presenting a group benefit concert for Voices of Women in New York City with Melissa Gerstein (Orfeo). Ms. Schowalter has performed with Bacchanalia Baroque Ensemble, Opera Boston, the Hillyer Festival Orchestra, and has given numerous recitals in New York City, Boston and Rome. Recent seasons include performing with the Hilllyer Festival Orchestra at Boston's Hatch Shell on the Esplanade, a recital at the French Ambassador's home in Washington D.C., and the role of Marzelline in *Fidelio* with Brooklyn Repertory Opera. Ms. Schowalter received a Bachelors of Music at the University of Michigan and a Masters of Music in Vocal Performance at New England Conservatory, both with high honor. She studies with Gregory Lamar and coaches with Christopher Fecteau in New York City.

Mary Silverstein (Dance Mistress) started dancing at the age of 5 at the Washington School of Ballet. She joined the Washington Ballet company in 1997 and danced for 4 years as a company member performing such roles as, Little Mouse, Big Mouse, Soldier and Candy Cane in productions of "The Nutcracker". She continued her dance education at Virginia Commonwealth University Majoring in Vocal Performance and minoring in Dance and Choreography. In 2004 Mary participated in the Opera festival Di Roma in Rome, Italy, and danced the role of the flame dancer in the production of Mozart's "The Magic Flute". After graduation Mary was hired by Virginia Commonwealth University as the choreographer for the opera department, choreographing numerous dance scenes for many opera productions. As well as choreographing, Mary has enjoyed teaching ballet and ballroom dance in Virginia as well as NYC at such schools as, The Rigby's Jig Studio and Virginia Commonwealth University.

ILYA SPERANZA (Amore) 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 of "Ondine" 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' 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 "Liu" (Turandot) and "Frasquita", both with the Cincinnati Opera, "Elisetta" (Il Matrimonio Segreto) with Berkshire Opera and "Naiade" (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 new American Opera, "A.F.R.A.I.D." at the New York Fringe Festival.

"attractive intensity...resilient technique"

Bernard Holland, New York Times

Nicholas Tamagna, countertenor, (Orpheus) is a New York-based classical singer. Tamagna's rare full-lyric countertenor voice is "expressively dynamic and musically versatile." Nicholas Tamagna has performed in the US, Italy, Austria, and the Czech Republic. He has had the pleasure of singing with the Center City Opera of Philadelphia, Philadelphia Fringe Festival, Brooklyn Repertory Opera, Greensboro Opera Company, New York Opera Project, Amor Artis, New York City Opera Vox, 46 Barrow Street Recital Series, and the highly acclaimed Oratory Church Choir of St. Boniface in Brooklyn, New York. He will next be performing a concert of original works by Bettina Sheppard with Bridges Vocal Esemble at City Center. His Bachelor's and Master's of Arts in Music were earned accumulatively from the prestigious Manhattan School of Music, University of North Carolina at Greensboro and City University of New York at Hunter College. For future engagements and more information on Mr. Tamagna, please visit his website at: www.nicholastamagna.com

Nicholas Tamagna is a student of Alissa Grimaldi, and is indebted to her expert vocal guidance. Mr. Tamagna would also like to give a special thanks to Gloria Parker, who helped him prepare this role dramatically.

Brett Wynkoop (Executive Director) - Before starting on the path of computer consulting with Wynn Data Limited, www.wynn.com, he was part of the the New York Renaissance Festival in the early 1980's, ran lights and video at Chippendales & took a turn at screen acting in "The Squeeze", 1987 (Michael Keaton). He was Technical Director for the world premier of A.F.R.A.I.D, where he made his musical debut by playing the first note of the opera on computer generated bells. He is pleased to be working with such a wonderful group of artists.

Diana Yourke (Blessed Spirit) was born and raised in Brooklyn and has been immersed in music ever since her conception. She recently graduated with a degree in vocal performance from Ithaca College where she performed the roles of Damon in Handel's "Acis and Galatea" and Sandrina in Mozart's "La Finta Giardiniera". As a dancer, she had the privilege of being a part of Dancewave Kids Company here in Brooklyn and worked with choreographers such as Mark Morris, Twyla Tharp and Bill T. Jones. She is honored to be a part of this production and it's quirky cast.

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