Artists of the 2015 premiere:
Soprano Sara Duchovnay, who portrays the beautiful and idealistic heroine Dorothea Brooke, is quickly making a name for herself as an exciting young performer locally and nationally. Widely acclaimed for the technical brilliance and fluidity of her vocal artistry in operas ranging from Mozart to Philip Glass, she was recently lauded for her work in West Edge Opera’s triumphant 2014 production of Philip Glass’s Hydrogen Jukebox. Sara has embodied such fascinating and delightful characters as Poppea in Handel’s Agrippina, the title role in Handel’s Alcina, Zerlina in Don Giovanni, and Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro. A native of Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, Sara holds a Bachelor of Music in vocal performance from the Hartt School of Music and graduated with departmental honors for outstanding achievement in voice with her master of music in vocal performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. She is a student of mezzo-soprano Catherine Cook and lives in Berkeley.
Tenor Daniel Curran plays Will Ladislaw, the tempestuous young radical who vies for Dorothea’s love. A leading young tenor of great versatility in appearances throughout the U.S., his roles range from Orphée in Gotham Chamber Opera’s production of Charpentier’s The Descent of Orpheus into Hell to performances in Verdi’s Aida and Otello (Cassio) at the Pittsburgh Opera. At the Aspen Music Festival Daniel performed the role of Jay Gatsby in Harbison’s The Great Gatsby, and he was Peter Quint in the acclaimed West Edge Opera production of Britten’s The Turn of the Screw. Chosen for the Merola Opera Program in San Francisco, where he was Count Almaviva in Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, Daniel was in residence at the Glimmerglass Festival in 2014, appearing in Tobias Picker’s An American Tragedy and in Carousel, which he also performed with the New York Philharmonic in a Live from Lincoln Center broadcast. Daniel received his Master of Music from Juilliard and lives in New York City. danieltcurran.com
Bass-baritone Philip Skinner plays Edward Casaubon, Dorothea’s unfortunate choice of a first husband. Phil has sung leading roles in both North American and European opera houses. A veteran performer at San Francisco Opera, renowned for the resonance of his voice and intensity of his characterizations, he made his debut there in 1985 and has gone on to sing over 35 roles with the company. In 2007, Skinner created the role of Edgar Ray Killen when San Francisco Opera staged the world premiere of the Philip Glass opera, Appomatox. More recently Phil has sung major roles in nearly every regional opera company in the Bay Area, including Iago in Otello (Festival Opera), Scarpia in Tosca (West Bay Opera), and Henry Miles in West Edge Opera’s 2014 production of Heggie’s The End of the Affair. He is a graduate of Northwestern University.
Tonia d’Amelio, soprano, takes the role of Dorothea’s younger sister Celia. As a frequent singer of Baroque music, Tonia brings great agility and purity of tone to the role. She has established a reputation as one of the most sought-after solo and ensemble singers in the Bay Area, appearing recently in the comic role of Drusilla in the West Edge Opera production of L’Incoronazione di Poppea, with the Los Angeles Baroque Players and at the William Byrd Festival in Portland, Oregon. A native of New York City, Tonia holds an undergraduate degree from Harvard in musicology and a master of music in vocal performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
Baritone Eugene Brancoveanu plays Sir James Chettam, a wealthy landowner fond of hunting. Eugene’s virile voice and superior stagecraft have earned him critical acclaim in both North America and Europe. Following recent performances of San Francisco Opera’s The Little Prince,the San Francisco Chronicle lauds the superb cast as being “led by extravagantly gifted baritone Eugene Brancoveanu as the Pilot. With his unforced charisma, vocal clarity, and total heft, Brancoveanu managed the tricky feat of doing most of the show’s heavy lifting.” His 2013-14 season engagements included Leporello in Don Giovanni with Opera San José, and Ned Keene in Britten’s Peter Grimes with San Francisco Symphony, under Michael Tilson Thomas. barrettvantage.com
Tenor Michael Mendelsohn plays Dorothea’s and Celia’s uncle, Mr. Brooke, who is fond of comparing the world to a beehive. Michael performs widely ranging roles at many Bay Area companies. His recent roles include Monostatos in The Magic Flute and Peter Quint in The Turn of the Screw (both at West Bay Opera), The Devil in The Soldiers’ Tale, Spalanzani in Tales of Hoffmann, and Don Basilio in The Marriage of Figaro (with Livermore Valley Opera). He has also performed the title roles in Bernstein’sCandide and Offenbach’s Bluebeard. Michael embodied the wildly comical school teacher in the 2010 Shearer/Stevens chamber opera, A Very Large Mole in Berkeley and San Francisco. https://sites.google.com/site/mpmtenor/home
COMPOSER AND LIBRETTIST
A close collaboration of composer Allen Shearer and librettist Claudia Stevens has produced the first-ever operatic rendering of the novel Middlemarch.
OUR STERLING ORCHESTRA:
Jon Keigwin, bass