2016-17 Artists

The Cast of The Pirates of Penzance


Peter Johnson, baritone (Pirate King)

Peter Johnson has been described as “a performer who possesses not only an incredibly rich voice, but also brilliant comic instincts”.  Mr. Johnson recently made his company debut with the Nashville Opera in their new production of La Boheme, and it was noted that he “provides nice support as both the landlord Benoit and the bumbling Alcindoro”.  He will return this Fall to sing the bass role in Phillip Glass’ opera Hydrogen Jukebox. Mr. Johnson is capable and well suited to both comedic and serious roles.  As a graduate of the Knoxville Opera Studio, he appeared in many productions with Knoxville Opera, including Puccini’s La fanciulla del West (Sid), Offenbach’s Les contes des Hoffman (Hermann), Gilbert and Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore (Boatswain) and Bizet’s Carmen (Zuniga).  

Mr Johnson has participated in a number of well-known apprenticeships and training programs. In the summer of 2014 he completed the Apprentice Artist Program at the Des Moines Metro Opera in Indianola, Iowa, where he covered the role of The Tutor in Rossini’s Le comte d’Ory.In the summers of 2012 and 2013 he was a member of the Janiec Opera Company at the Brevard Music Center, where he created the roles of Campaign Consultant and Triathlon Dan in Michael Ching’s new operaSpeed Dating Tonight!, and also appeared as Escamillo in Peter Brook’s Le tragedie de Carmen.


Mr. Johnson earned his master’s degree from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where he studied with Andrew Wentzel. He completed his undergraduate training from Concordia College in Moorhead, MN where he studied with David Hamilton and toured both nationally and internationally with The Concordia Choir under the direction of Dr. Rene Clausen.  


Mariane Lemieux-Wottrich, soprano (Mabel)  

Praised for her warm and silvery voice, French Canadian lyric coloratura Mariane Lemieux-Wottrich has performed in Canada, America and Europe in roles such as Marie in Donizetti's Le fille du regiment, Juliette in Gounod's Romeo & Juliette, Musetta in Puccini's La Boheme, Galatea in Handel's Acis & Galatea, Despina in Mozart's Cosi fan tutte and Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro as well as Eritea in the New York premiere of Cavalli's Eliogabalo.  She has appeared with the CAMMAC Orchestra and Metropolitan Orchestra in Montreal, New York Lyric Opera and Stonybrook Opera in New York, New Opera Festival in Italy, Crescendo Summer Festival in Hungary, and at the house of the Canadian Ambassador in Sweden, among others.


Specializing in French repertoire, Lemieux-Wottrich has presented recitals, masterclasses, and workshops across the nation and abroad.  She recently joined North Dakota State University as adjunct instructor of voice, and she has worked at Belle Arti Center for the Arts in New York, Domaine Forget Music Academy in Quebec, Yellow Barn Chamber Music Festival in Vermont, and the Collegiate Chorale in New York City.  She obtained her DMA from Stony Brook University, her MM in Voice from Manhattan School of Music in New York City, and BM from Conservatoire de musique de Montreal.  


Joshua Kohl, tenor (Frederick)

American tenor Joshua Kohl was called a "tenor to watch" by The Boston Herald and was recently singled out for his "glorious, relaxed performance" by Opera News.  This past season, Mr. Kohl was heard as Rodolfo in La Boheme with New Jersey Festival Orchestra, Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi with Fargo-Moorhead Opera, the title role in Puccini's Edgar with Baltimore Concert Opera and  the title role in the recently unearthed  Amleto  with Opera Delaware.   Future seasons have him returning to Seattle Opera and Knoxville Opera.  Mr. Kohl has also performed as Alfred in  Die Fledermaus  with Sarasota Opera, Fenton in  Falstaff  with Opera Santa Barbara, and Greenhorn in scenes from Jake Heggie's  Moby Dick  with Fargo-Moorhead Opera.  In addition, he joined Hawaii Opera Theatre as Nanki-Poo in  The Mikado , where he critics said "he has a wonderfully full, clear tenor that was a joy to listen to in whatever he sang."  (Honolulu Star-Advertiser).  He was also "the vocal standout of the evening" as Nemorino in  L'elisir d'amore  with Knoxville Opera, where "the clarity of his voice throughout his range was impressive and satisfying, as was his power at moments of lovelorn anguish" (MetroPulse).  Of his performance in  Macbeth  with Utah Opera, The Salt Lake Tribune said that he "nearly steals the show with his impassioned portrayal of Macduff.  The young tenor brings a jolt of urgency to every scene he's in".  Other companies Mr. Kohl has performed with include Pittsburgh Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Virginia Opera, Sarasota Opera, Opera North, Lake George Opera, Minnesota Opera, and Commonwealth Opera.


Concert performances include appearances with the Hartford Symphony, the Lexington Philharmonic, the New Jersey Symphony, and the New Haven Symphony.  He has offered recitals under the auspices of the Upper Ohio Valley Opera Guild and for the Albright College Concert Series.  He also appears as the title character in Albany Records' recently released album The Birdseller. 


Mr. Kohl was a National Semi-Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 2007, having won both the Minnesota District and Upper Midwest Region.  He earned a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Cincinnati and a Master of Music degree from Boston University.


Melissa Park, mezzo-soprano (Ruth

Praised for her "lush-voiced mezzo-soprano" by The New York Times and as "a fine singing actress" with "spot-on comedic timing" by Opera News, Melissa Parks has firmly established herself as one of her generations most sought-after singing actresses.  


Noteworthy performances include her Italian debut in 2009-10 as Mrs. Lovett in Bologna, Modena, Lugo, and Piacenza in the Italian premiere of Sweeney Todd as well as her performance as Mescalina in Ligeti's Le Grande Macabre with the New York Philharmonic, conducted by Maestro Alan Gilbert.  Of her performance, the New York Times proclaimed that "as Mescalina, Melissa Parks combined a firm mezzo-soprano with the high-camp mugging one would expect in the role."  Other performances include Forester's Wife/Owl in The Cunning Little Vixen with New York Philharmonic, Baba in The Medium with Michigan Opera Theatre, Dame Quickly in Falstaff with Utah Opera, Cleveland Opera, and Boston Youth Symphony, Third Maid in Elektra with Seattle Opera, Mrs. Peachum in The Beggar's Opera with Lorin Maazel and his Castleton Festival, Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro with Pittsburgh, Michigan, and Madison Operas, and both La Fille du Regiment and Aufstieg und fall der Stadt Mahagonny with The Metropolitan Opera.


Well-known for her Gilbert and Sullivan roles, Ms. Parks has performed well over 150- performances each of Katisha in   The Mikado , Ruth in   Pirates of Penzance , and Little Buttercup in   H.M.S. Pinafore   appearing with Opera Omaha, Nashville Opera, Utah Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Utah Festival Opera, Cleveland Opera, and Pittsburgh Public Theatre as well as touring the United States with the New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players. 


As winner of the Fifth Luciano Pavarotti International Voice Competition, she had the distinct honor of performing the roles of Mistress Quickly in Falstaff and Alisa in Lucia di Lammermoor on a Gala Concert with the acclaimed tenor.


Peter Halverson, baritone 

( Major-General Stanley )

Baritone Peter Halverson has performed throughout the United States, distinguishing himself on the dramatic stage and in concert.  A versatile performer, he has more than fifty roles to his credit including the title roles in   Pelleas et Melisande ,   Eugene Onegin ,   Don Giovanni, The Barber of Seville, Gianni Schicchi, The Man of La Mancha  and  Phantom .  He has been a frequent guest artist with the Minnesota Opera, Minnesota Orchestra, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, North Star Opera, and has appeared at the Kennedy Center Mozart Festival, Oregon Bach Festival and San Luis Osbispo Mozart Festival.  In addition, he has sung with the Florentine Opera, Berkshire Opera, Madison Opera, Tacoma Opera, Chattanooga Opera, National Symphony, Dallas Symphony, San Antonio Symphony and New Mexico Symphony.


Highly regard for his work in the roles of Mozart and Rossini, he has also received acclaim for work in contemporary opera including the title role in Einohuhani Rautavaara's   Aleksis Kivi , Thomas Jefferson in Glenn Paxton's   Monticello , Luther Dane in Chester Biscardi's   Tightrope , the Emperor in Robert Moran's   From the Towers of the Moon , Damis in Kirke Mechem's   Tartuffe , Charles Lindbergh in Carey Franklin's   Loss of Eden , and Leonard Bernstein's   Mass .  He has also been feature in numerous operettas including   The Desert Song, The Vagabond King, The Chocolate Soldier, The New Moon, The Great Waltz, The Song of Norway, The Merry Widow, Die Fledermaus, Bittersweet, The Red Mill, Kismet  and  Naughty Marietta.


In concert he has been the baritone soloist in   Carmina Burana , Britten's   War Requiem , Brahms'   Ein deutsches Requiem , Mahler's   Lieder einese fahrenden Gesellen   and   Des Knaben Wunderhorn , J.S. Bach's   St Matthew Passion   and Vaughan Williams'   Sea Symphony .  Mr. Halverson is a professor of voice at Concordia College in Moorhead, MN, and has been heard often with the Fargo-Moorhead Opera and the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony.


The Cast of Magic Flute


 Kyle Tomlin, tenor (Tamino)

 Kyle Tomlin's 2015-2016 engagements include Mercury in Orpheus in t  the Underworld, Rodolfo cover in La Boheme, and Tybalt in Romeo et  Juliette as an Emerging Artist with Virginia Opera as well as mainstage  debuts with Toledo Opera (Tybalt) and St. Petersburg Opera (Rodolfo).  He has also made appearances with Fargo-Moorhead Opera, the  Tallahassee Symphony, National Cathedral Choral Society, Handel  Choir of Baltimore, and the Washington Bach Consort, performing a  wide range of repertoire from cantatas by Bach and Mozart's Requiem to  Beethoven's 9th Symphony.

 While he regularly performs the standard repertoire, Mr. Tomlin is no  stranger to new music as well.  As a Gate City Bank Young Artists with  Fargo-Moorhead Opera, he covered roles in the world premieres  of Buried Alive and Embedded, two operas commissioned by the American Lyric Theatre for the Poe Project.  He also originated the role of John in the premiere of Rockland, commissioned by the Pine Mountain Music Festival, where he has performed as a Resident Artist for three years.  His other notable roles include Nemorino (L'Elisir D'Amore), Fenton (The Merry Wives of Windsor), Almaviva (Il Barbiere di Siviglia), Eisenstein (Die Fledermaus), and the title role in Albert Herring.  

Mr. Tomlin holds a Bachelor of Arts from Penn State University where he studied with Jennifer Trost and a Master of Music degree from the University of Michigan where he worked with George Shirley.


Anne Jennifer Nash, soprano (Pamina)  

Anne Jennifer Nash has been heralded as an exceptional light-lyric soprano with an "uncommon beauty of expression and musicianship." - Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times. Recent engagements include Pamina in Die Zauberflote, soprano soloist for Beethoven's Mass in C Major, the world premiere of composer Allen McCullough's award winning song cycle The Blue Symphony commissioned by the Lotte Lehman Foundation, and The Coming of Wisdom with Time, a cabaret evening arranged and conceived by pianist Jerry DePuit, with colleagues Holly Janz and Lucy Thrasher.  Other previous engagements include Laurie in The Tender Land with the Interlochen Arts Festival and Mistress Ford in The Merry Wives of Windsor with Fargo-Moorhead Opera.  She has appeared with Opera Philadelphia, Florentine Opera, Opera New Jersey, Opera Saratoga, Pine Mountain Festival, and Lancaster Opera.  Her previous fellowships include SongFest, AIMS, Centro Studi Italiani, Chautauqua Opera, and a three-summer fellowship with the Aspen Music Festival Opera Theatre.  In 2011 Dr. Nash premiered Donal Oge at Pepperdine University, composed by Libby Larson and commissioned for Ms. Nash by SongFest and the Sorel Foundation.

Dr. Nash holds a DMA in Voice Performance from the University of Michigan.  In 2012, she joined the voice faculty of Concordia College in Moorhead, MN as Assistant Professor where she teaches studio voice, diction, and opera scenes.  Prior to Concordia, Dr. Nash taught at Eastern Michigan University and the University of Pennsylvania.  She holds MM and GPD degrees from Peabody Conservatory and BA degrees in French and Literature from Dickinson College.  


 Jonathan Lasch, baritone (Papageno)


  Jonathan Lasch has been described by critics as    possessing a voice of “arresting color and heft” that is   “thrillingly resonant and firm-lined”, “handsome”,   “robust”, “resolutely strong” and “penetrating.”

  

 Recently, Lasch performed with Fargo-Moorhead Opera    as Sharpless in Madama Butterfly, as Papageno in Die   Zauberflote as part of the Master Players Series at the   University of Delaware and made his Carnegie Hall   Debut as the baritone soloist in Mozart's Requiem in the   Manhattan Concerts series.  Mr. Lasch has also appeared   in the roles of Leporello in Don Giovanni and Marco     in  A View from the Bridge with Michigan Opera Theater,  Captain Corcoran in H.M.S. Pinafore with Piedmont Opera, Scarpia in Tosca  for Opera Saratoga’s Pasta and Puccini Night, Marcello in La bohème with Arbor Opera Theatre and Bar Harbor Music Festival, Masetto in Don Giovanni with Green Mountain Opera Festival, joined  Lyric Opera Baltimore for their productions of Madama Butterfly sang Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro for Princeton Festival, and joined the Aspen Opera Theater Center to perform the role of Ford in Falstaff .  


Jonathan was a Glimmerglass Opera Young American Artist where he performed roles including A Jailer and covered Scarpia in Tosca, Achilla in Giulio Cesare and covered Friedrich in Wagner’s comic opera Das Liebesverbot. Mr. Lasch was fortunate to learn from some of the best training programs in the United States, having participated in the Young Artist Programs at Glimmerglass Opera, Seattle Opera, Portland Opera, Chautauqua Opera, and Connecticut Opera. Mr. Lasch holds Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from The Hartt School at University of Hartford, an Artist Diploma from The University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and most recently became a Doctor of Musical Arts at The University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre, and Dance.  Mr. Lasch recently finished his first year teaching on faculty at Concordia College in the Voice Department.


Holly Flack, soprano (Queen of the Night)  

 Holly Flack is a coloratura soprano with a range that extends beyond an octave about high C.  Originally from Portland, OR, she holds a Bachelors degree in Vocal Performance from St. Olaf College, and a Masters degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Kentucky, where she studied with Cynthia Lawrence.


  Ms. Flack's roles include Serpetta in La Finta Giardiniera, Frasquita in Carmen, Despina in Cosi fan Tutte , cover for Adele and Ida in Die Fledermaus, Peep-Bo in The Mikado, and Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute.   She has also appeared with the Bel Canto Opera Festival, Astoria Opera Festival, and Operafestival di Roma.   She debuted at the Trentino Music Festival in Mezzano, Italy singing the role of the Vixen in Leos Janacek’s The Cunning Little Vixen.


  Holly most recently covered the role of Marie in Donizetti’s Daughter of the Regiment  as a Gate City Bank Young Artist with Fargo-Moorhead Opera.   She also performed Maggie Anderson in Brigadoon , Gabrielle in Can-Can , Mae in Oh Kay! and Babette in Friederike as a young artists with Ohio Light Opera.


In the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, she was a 2010 winner in the Kentucky District, after receiving the 2009 Encouragement Award, a 2012 winner in the Wisconsin District, and a 2014 Encouragement Award recipient in the Iowa District.


Aaron Sorensen, bass (Sarastro)  

Aaron Sorensen is a rare young bass known not only for his powerful and rich sound, but also his commanding stage presence. Last season Sorensen returned to Gotham Chamber Opera for productions of Comedy on the Bridge and Alexandre bis; débuted with Huntsville Symphony as Judge Barnett/Officer Jimmy in the world première of Gregory Vajda’s Georgia Bottoms: A Comic Opera of the Modern South; sang Osmin in  Die Entführung aus dem Serail at Peabody Opera Theatre and with Houston Symphony Orchestra; and débuted with Nashville Opera as the  Sergeant of Police in Pirates of Penzance . This season he will appear at Huntsville Symphony Orchestra as Osmin in Die Entführung aus dem Serail and Neptune/Antinoo in Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria with West Edge Opera.

 

Recently, Mr. Sorensen débuted with Fort Worth Opera as Benoit/Alcindoro in La bohème and returned as the French General in Kevin Puts’ Silent Night; made a début with Gotham Chamber Opera for their productions of Die Prinzessin auf der Erbse, Weill’s Mahagonny SongspielHindemith’s Hin und Zurück, and Milhaud’s L’enlèvementd’Europeperformed the role of Angelotti in Tosca with Austin Lyric Opera; sang in the National Symphony’s concert performance of Der Rosenkavalier under Christoph Eschenbach; and appeared as Colline in La bohème at Bar Harbor Music Festival and Opera Theatre of Connecticut.

 

In prior seasons, Mr. Sorensen appeared with Wolf Trap Opera, where he sang the roles of Masetto in Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Father Trulove in Stravinky’s The Rake’s Progress, and subsequently returned as Don Prudenzio in Rossini’s Il viaggio a Reims and Pistola in Falstaff.  He also performed in multiple seasons with The Glimmerglass Opera Festival where he portrayed such roles as Zuniga in Carmen and Angelotti in Tosca. Also a favorite with Des Moines Metro Opera, he joined the company in recent seasons for their productions of A Midsummer Night’s DreamDie ZauberflöteTosca, and The Rake’s Progress.


Additional Cast:

Keely Borland, soprano (First Lady)

Jenny DuFault, soprano (Second Lady)

Elsa Quéron , mezzo-soprano (Third Lady)

David Hamilton, tenor (Monostatos)

Jennifer Olson, soprano (Papagena)

Peter Halverson, baritone (Speaker)



The Cast of Amahl and the Night Visitors


Holly Janz, mezzo-soprano (Mother)

Lyric mezzo-soprano Holly Janz is a versatile singing actress with a voice that is evenly blended with clarity, richness and warmth. She has performed with opera companies across the country including Skylark Opera, Fargo-Moorhead Opera, Wichita Grand Opera, and Union Avenue Opera Theatre (St. Louis). Past credits comprise a variety of characters from the trouser roles of Cherubino, Hansel and Prince Orlofsky, to the ingénue roles of Nancy (Albert Herring) and Valencienne (The Merry Widow), to the more dramatic roles of Carmen and The Secretary (The Consul). 

In addition to her operatic stage credits, Ms. Janz is a compelling concert artist in both oratorio and recital. Orchestral credits include the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, the Indianapolis Philharmonic Orchestra, the Greater Grand Forks Symphony, the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony as well as the Central Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra. Twice a national finalist in the National Association of Teachers of Singing Artist Award competition, she is the recipient of the Irma Cooper Award.

Performances for the 2015-16 season included the role of La Suora Zelatrice in Puccini’s Suor Angelica, alto soloist in Beethoven’s Mass in C Major and a recital of the music of John Musto with the composer at the piano for SongFest in Los Angeles, CA.

Ms. Janz, a native of Marshfield, WI, is an alumna of the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point (BM). She has also received degrees from the University of Colorado (MM) and the University of Kansas (DMA, with honors), and is an associate professor of voice at Concordia College in Moorhead, MN.

David Hamilton, tenor (Kaspar

David Hamilton is currently the General Director of Fargo-Moorhead Opera, where he has successfully directed various productions as well as performed in them in a variety of roles. He is also Professor of Voice and Italian at Concordia College.  


His  distinctive, elegant lyric tenor voice has been heard at many opera companies including the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, San Diego Opera, Washington Opera, Vancouver Opera, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Opéra de Nice, Teatro Bellini in Catania, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. His broad repertoire as an orchestral soloist has led to engagements with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra and the symphony orchestras of Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Indianapolis.


Operatic engagements include the title role in Faust with Austin Lyric Opera and Central City Opera, Tamino in Die Zauberflöte with Vancouver Opera and Opéra de Nice, Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni for Tulsa and in Catania, the Male Chorus in The Rape of Lucretia and Peter Quint in The Turn of the Screw for Edmonton Opera, Lensky inEugene Onegin with Scottish Opera and Manitoba Opera, Roméo et Juliette for Edmonton, Der Kavalier in Hindemith’s Cardillaac at Stadttheater GieBen, Belmonte in Entführung aus dem Serail for Des Moines, and Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus for Opera Southwest and Tacoma Opera.


As a soloist, television and radio appearances include Live from the Met – Dialogues of the Carmelites and The Barber of Seville, Minnesota Public Radio Recital Broadcasts, Pacific Symphony Live Broadcasts, Dublin Promenade Concerts, Pittsburgh Symphony Radio Broadcast, Performance Today, National Public Radio, and Metropolitan Opera Saturday Afternoon Radio Broadcasts.


Among the awards he has received are First Prize and Opera Prize in the Paris International Voice Competition, First Place in the Eleanor Steber Competition, and grants from the Sullivan Foundation, the Astral Foundation and the Puccini Foundation. In 2001, he received the North Dakota Governor’s Award for the Arts.


Additional Cast:

Jonathan Lasch, baritone (Melchior) - see Magic Flute for bio 

Peter Halverson , baritone ( Balthazar ) - see Pirates of Penzance for bio

Amahl - Martan Gregoire (12/9) and Aidan Sears (12/11)



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Board of Directors

General Director
David Hamilton

President
Sheri Gronhovd-Schrock

Vice President
Mariane Lemieux-Wottrich

Treasurer
Shirley Montgomery

Secretary
Odile Streed

Guild Representative
Diane Wolter

Directors
Julie Blehm, MD
Edd Goerger
George O'Neill
Katie Perleberg
John Stibbe
Deborah Wald
Weyburn Wasson

Advisory Board Members
Sue Oatey

Opera America

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