Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana
& Puccini’s Il Tabarro

A magnificently rarified pairing of two of the most celebrated one-act operas in the repertoire! Puccini’s II Tabarro is followed by Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana. Susan Bullock, Mark Delavan, Jonathan Burton, Jill Gardner, Yi Li, and more return after their triumphs in La Fanciulla del West last season. Concert performance.

Sung in Italian, with English surtitles

Running time is about 2 hours and 45 minutes, including one intermission

The Music Center at Strathmore

Sep 14, 2019

Saturday,
7:30 PM

The Music Center at Strathmore

Sep 15, 2019

Sunday,
02:00 PM

The Music Center at Strathmore

Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana & Puccini’s Il Tabarro

Cast

Conductor: Louis Salemno
Concertmaster: Jose Miguel Cueto
Chorus Master: Steven Gathman
MDLO Orchestra
Members of MDLO Chorus

Il Tabarro

Michele: Mark Delavan
Giorgetta: Jill Gardner (Sept 14) and Susan Bullock (Sept 15)
Luigi: Yi Li (Sept 14) and Jonathan Burton (Sept 15)
Il Tinca: Joseph Michael Brent
Il Talpa: Jake Gardner
La Frugola: Allegra De Vita

Cavalleria Rusticana

Santuzza: Susan Bullock (Sept 14) and Jill Gardner (Sept 15)
Turiddu: Jonathan Burton (Sept 14) and Yi Li (Sept 15)
Lucia: Allegra De Vita
Alfio: Mark Delavan
Lola: Joowon Chae

Synopsis

Il Tabarro (The Cloak) 

Libretto by Giuseppe Adami, based on Didier Gold’s play La houppelande. Opera in one act.

Paris, at the beginning of the 20th century. A barge on the Seine. It is hard work and a bleak existence with little reward for the day-laborers and stevedores, even for the barge-owner Michele. They find their humble joy in small things: a song, a glass of wine, a dance. Michele and his young wife Giorgetta once believed that happiness was within their grasp – love, marriage, a child. The child has died, however, and his death has alienated them from one another. 

Two of Michele’s stevedores, known as Tinca and Talpa, have different luck in their lives. Talpa’s wife, Frugola, dreams of spending her twilight years with her husband in a small cottage in the country. Tinca drowns his sorrows in alcohol while his wife “plays away”. Giorgetta wishes she could leave the barge for a happier life. She and Luigi consider the beauty of Paris where both of them come from (Duet: “È ben altro il mio sogno”). Michele appears from the cabin and Luigi, who can’t bear to see Giorgetta with her husband, asks to be left in Rouen on the next trip out. Michele dissuades him, arguing that there will be no work there. Giorgetta and Luigi arrange to meet later that evening; she will light a match once Michele has gone to sleep. Luigi goes off and Michele again comes on deck. He tries to evoke Giorgetta’s past love for him by recalling happier days before the death of their infant child a year earlier, but she rejects him. Alone, Michele expresses his suspicions that she is in love with another man (“Nulla! Silenzio!”). He settles down on the deck and lights his pipe. Seeing the lit match from a distance, Luigi, believing it is Giorgetta’s signal, rushes on board. Michele grabs him and forces him to confess his love for Giorgetta, then strangles him and conceals the body under his cloak. Giorgetta, feeling remorseful, reappears on the deck to apologize to Michele. He throws open his cloak, once a place of safety for Giorgetta, exposing Luigi’s dead body.

Cavalleria Rusticana

Italian libretto by Giovanni Targioni-Tozzetti and Guido Menasci, adapted from an 1880 short story of the same name and subsequent play by Giovanni Verga. Opera in one act. 

Turiddu, son of the tavern owner Mamma Lucia, has returned from military service to find his fiancée, Lola, married to a prosperous wagon owner, Alfio. As revenge against Lola’s betrayal, Turiddu has seduced Santuzza, hoping to make Lola jealous. As a result, Lola has taken up with Turiddu again in an adulterous affair, leaving Santuzza heartbroken.

As the curtain rises, Silvio arrives to open the bar. He discovers his lover, the comedienne Nedda, in the company of her fellow actors, putting up posters advertising their circus. Nedda is married to Canio, a once famous clown.

As Silvio prepares the tables for the Easter Sunday customers, Turiddu is heard praising Lola. Santuzza witnesses Lola’s joy upon hearing Turiddu’s song. Villagers arrive in the square, some taking seats at Lucia’s bar for breakfast. Alfio enters, extolling the pleasures of his wandering life as a wagoner and boasting publicly of his love for Lola and of her fidelity.

Santuzza leaves her house to go to Easter Mass, but she is prevented from entering the church. She has been excommunicated for her affair with Turiddu. Santuzza confides in Mamma Lucia, telling her all that has happened. When Turridu arrives, Santuzza accosts him. He tries in vain to deny his affair with Lola, when she purposefully passes in front of them, leading to a caustic exchange between the two women. Santuzza and Turiddu engage in a storm of recriminations, before Santuzza tells him she is going to have his child. Horrified and afraid, Turiddu breaks away and goes into church.

Santuzza reveals to Alfio that his wife has been unfaithful to him, before realizing that Alfio’s fury will doom them all. As worshippers emerge from church, Turiddu publicly toasts Lola’s “loves.” In accordance with established ritual, Alfio and Turiddu agree to a duel. To shield Santuzza from future recrimination, Turiddu tells everyone that he had promised to marry her to restore her honor. Turiddu bids farewell to his mother and leaves. Santuzza delivers the news that Turiddu has been killed. Lola echoes the tragic news in despair.

Meet the Artists

Mark Delavan

Mark Delavan

Bass-baritone

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Mark Delavan, a singer of “incisive vocal power and fierce theatrical acuity,” is sought after throughout the United States and Europe for the most demanding roles in his operatic repertoire. He regularly appears in the title roles of Der fliegende Holländer, Falstaff, and Rigoletto, and as Iago in Otello, Scarpia in Tosca, Jochanaan in Salome, and Amonasro in Aida.  In addition, as a strong character actor on stages throughout the country, he has proved himself a crossover artist of immense skill. Most recently, Delavan starred as Phil Arkin in Milk and Honey with York Theatre Company, to critical acclaim. Of his performance, critics hailed his “rich, resonant voice,” with “impressively clear high notes.”

This season, Mr. Delavan performs the role of Michele/Alfio in Tabbaro/Cavalleria Rusticana with Maryland Lyric Opera, Amfortas in Parsifal with Indiana University Opera Theater, Jocanaan in Salome with the Dallas Symphony, Tonio in I Pagliacci with Michigan Opera Theater, and joins The Metropolitan Opera for their production of Tosca. Last season, Delavan returned to The Metropolitan Opera for their productions of La Fanciulla del West, Aida and Falstaff, performed in a concert performance of La Fanciulla del Westas Jack Rance in the Inaugural Season of Maryland Lyric Opera and reprised the title role of Falstaff with Dallas Opera.  He will return to Dallas Opera in 2020.

At the Metropolitan Opera, Mr. Delavan took his interpretation of Wotan in cycles of Der Ring des Nibelungen under Fabio Luisi to critical acclaim.  He has also performed at the esteemed house, the title roles of Simon Boccanegra and Nabucco, and has appeared as Scarpia in Tosca, Amonasro in Aida, Tomsky in Pique Dame, Alfio in Cavalleria rusticana, Carlo in La forza del destino, Gianciotto in Zandonai’s Francesca da Rimini, and as Gerard in a major revival of Andrea Chénier.

Internationally, Delavan has worked most frequently with the Deutsche Oper Berlin, in performances of Wotan in Der Ring des Nibelungen, as well as in stand-alone performances of Das Rheingold and Die Walküre led by Donald Runnicles, as Scarpia in Tosca, Jupiter in Die Liebe der Danae, Alfio/Tonio in the double-bill of Cavalleria rusticana/Pagliacci, and Iago in Otello.  He débuted as Jochanaan in Salome at Teatro Carlo Felice in Genova under Fabio Luisi and went on to perform the role in productions with Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu and in concert with the Prague State Opera.  He also has sung Jack Rance in La fanciulla del West for Den Jyske Opera and Scarpia in Tosca with the Canadian Opera Company.

With the San Francisco Opera he created the role of Giovanni in the world première of Marco Tutino’s Two Women (La Ciociara) and has appeared there as Scarpia in Tosca and Wotan in Die Walküre.  With the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Delavan was most praised for his creation of the role of Snooks Brenner in the world première of William Bolcom’s A Wedding, directed by Robert Altman and conducted by Dennis Russell Davies.  He has also appeared with the company as Amfortas in Parsifal, Alfio/Tonio in Cavalleria rusticana/I pagliacci, Scarpia in Tosca, Germont in La Traviata, Renato in Un ballo in Maschera, Robert Carsens staging of Gluck’s Iphigenie en Tauride (Louis Langrèe conducting) and David McVicar’s production of Verdi’s Il trovatore (Bruno Bartoletti conducting).

Notable engagements in the US also include, Don Carlo in La forza del destino at Washington National Opera, the title role of Der fliegende Holländer with Arizona Opera, the Four Villains in Les contes d’Hoffmann at Palm Beach Opera, Jack Rance in La faniculla del West for Michigan Opera Theatre, Iago in Otello for Opera Philadelphia, and the title roles in Rigoletto, Nabucco and Falstaff, as well as Scarpia in Tosca for Pittsburgh Opera. He has made several appearances with Santa Fe Opera including Mandryka in a new production of Arabella and Jack Rance in La faniculla del West, performed Amonasro in Aida for Atlanta Opera and at the Ravinia Festival with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under James Conlon, and performed Kurt Weill’s The Road of Promise with the Collegiate Chorale at Carnegie Hall and with the New York Choral Society in Mendelssohn’s St. Paul.

A popular performer with the former New York City Opera, Mr. Delavan has sung in numerous productions with the company, including the title roles in Der fliegende Holländer, Rigoletto, Macbeth, and Falstaff, as well as starring in the title role of Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd to great critical acclaim. Mr. Delavan’s NYCO credits also include the roles of the four villains in Les contes d’Hoffman, Scarpia (telecast live on PBS for ‘Live From Lincoln Center’), Ezio in Attila, Escamillo in Carmen, Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor, the Duke of Nottingham in Roberto Devereux and in new productions of The Ballad of Baby Doe as Horace Tabor, Il trittico as Michele and Gianni Schicchi, and Salome.

Born in Princeton, New Jersey, Mr. Delavan earned a Bachelor of Music degree from Oral Roberts University. He was a national finalist of the Metropolitan Opera auditions and an Adler Fellow with the San Francisco Opera.

Jill Gardner

Jill Gardner

Soprano

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Jill Gardner sits among today’s leading operatic heroines. Gardner is hailed for her portrayals of the leading ladies of verismo repertoire and Puccini heroines alike. Considered one of the great interpreters of the title role of Tosca, she has performed the role with many opera houses, including Opera Carolina, Hawaii Opera Theatre, Arizona Opera, and Boston Lyric Opera in her role début. This season, Ms. Gardner performs in concert with Tabor Opera House, performs the role of Giorgetta/Santuzza in Tabbaro/Cavalleria Rusticana with Maryland Lyric Opera, and the title role of Tosca with Tri-Cities Opera and Eugene Opera. Last season, Ms. Gardner performed the role of Anna Maurrant in Kurt Weill’s Street Scene with Virginia Opera, Minnie in La fanciulla del West with Maryland Lyric Opera, and Cio-Cio-San in Madama Butterfly with Greensboro Opera. She also performed as Minnie in La fanciulla del West with Virginia Opera, the Marquise of Berkenfield in La fille du Regiment with Hawaii Opera Theatre, and Lady Macbeth in Macbeth with Opera Tampa. 

Ms. Gardner has quite a history as a leading lady in opera’s most infamous repertoire. Some highlights from these include the title role of Manon Lescaut with Opera Grand Rapids; Madama Butterfly in her role début with Arizona Opera; Suor Angelica with Opera Carolina; Tatiana in Eugene Onegin with Eugene Opera; Mimì in La bohème with Boston Lyric Opera; Marguerite in Faust with Madison Opera; and Nedda in Pagliacci with Michigan Opera Theatre and her début with Lyric Opera of Chicago.

Susan Bullock

Susan Bullock

Soprano

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Susan Bullock’s unique position as one of the world’s most sought-after British dramatic sopranos was recognised by the award of a CBE in June 2014.

Of her most distinctive roles, Wagner’s Brünnhilde has garnered outstanding praise leading Susan Bullock to become the first ever soprano to sing four consecutive cycles of Der Ring des Nibelungen at the Royal Opera House under Sir Antonio Pappano. Appearances as Richard Strauss’ Elektra have brought her equal international acclaim and collaborations with some of the world’s leading conductors including Fabio Luisi, Semyon Bychkov, Seiji Ozawa, Sir Mark Elder and Edo de Waart. 

In recent seasons, Susan has begun to explore new repertoire with debuts last season as Klytaemnestra (Elektra) at Canadian Opera Company under Johannes Debus, the role of Liz Stride in the world premiere of Iain Bell’s Jack the Ripper for ENO; and she reprised her acclaimed portrayal of Mother in Mark Anthony-Turnage’s Greek at BAM after a successful debut for Edinburgh International Festival and Scottish Opera the previous season. Further debuts in recent seasons include in the role of Kostelnička (Jenůfa) for Grange Park Opera, both Gertrude and The Witch (Hänsel und Gretel) for Opera North and Grange Park Opera; and Mrs Lovett (Sweeney Todd) for Houston Grand Opera. This season includes her debut as Mother in the European premier of Missy Mazzoli’s award winning Breaking the Waves for Scottish Opera at the Edinburgh Festival, a welcome return to the role of Mrs Lovett with Bergen National Opera, and Klytaemnestra in concert with Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra under Kirill Karabits. 

Susan’s vast and diverse concert work has included the Prelude & Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Philharmonia Orchestra and with Zubin Mehta and the orchestra of the Bayerische Staatsoper. Popular appearances have included the Last Night of the Proms in 2012 and a special appearance at the London 2012 Olympics closing ceremony. Last season Susan returned to Wigmore Hall in their Late Night series with pianist Richard Sisson in an eclectic programme — Songs my father taught me — which included Sondheim, Noel Coward and Burt Bacharach. Susan Bullock’s substantial discography includes Der Ring des Nibelungen with Oper Frankfurt under Sebastian Weigle on OehmsClassics (also available on DVD), and the title role in Salome with the Philharmonia Orchestra under Sir Charles Mackerras for Chandos.

Yi Li

Yi Li

Tenor

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Yi Li has proved himself a formidable talent and a rising star to watch in the opera world. This past season, Li débuted the role of Cheng Quing in Meredith Monk’s ATLAS with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and moved into bigger repertoire, debuting the role of Dick Johnson in La fanciulla del West in Maryland Lyric Opera’s inaugural season. He subsequently returned to MDLO as Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor and Turridu/Luigi in Tabarro/Cavalleria Rusticana. He returned to The Metropolitan Opera as the Young Lover in Il tabarro.

Other operatic engagements include the role of Nadir in Les pêcheurs de perles with Toledo Opera; Nicias in Thaïs with China National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing; Cassio in Otello at The National Center Performing Arts in Beijing; and his performance in Huang Ruo’s innovative contemporary opera, Paradise Interrupted. Mr. Li has also joined the esteemed roster of The Metropolitan Opera for productions of Manon Lescaut, Roméo et Juliette, and Der Fliegende Holländer. Concert engagements include Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 with Canterbury Chorale at Carnegie Hall, Indianapolis Opera’s Opera’s Rising Stars Concert and a Chinese New Year Concert with Shenzen Symphony Orchestra at The Kennedy Center.

Mr. Li recently graduated from Washington National Opera’s revered Cafritz Young Artist Program where his assignments included Rodolfo in La bohème and productions of Die Zauberflöte and Dialogues des Carmélites. At San Francisco Opera’s world-renowned Merola Program, assignments included Belfiore in La finta Giardiniera, Smith in Bizet’s La jolie fille de Perth, and Lionel in Martha.

Mr. Li was a Grand Final Winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, a finalist at Operalia, Winner of the Sullivan Musical Foundation Award.

Joseph Michael Brent

Joseph Michael Brent

Tenor

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Joseph Michael Brent has been praised by Opera News for his “penetrating sound andremarkably projected diction.” Recently, he was seen as Tinca (Il Tabarro) with Maryland LyricOpera, Alfred (Die Fledermaus) Lyric Opera Studio Weimar, and as the tenor soloist in Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with the Montgomery Philharmonic. Mr. Brent’s repertoire includesDon Jose (Carmen), Pinkerton (Madame Butterfly), E.T.A. Hoffmann (Les Contes d’Hoffmann), and Tamino (Die Zauberflöte). He was a member of the Michigan Opera Theatre Studio from 2015 - 2017, and has sung at such notable venues as Carnegie Hall (New York City), New YorkState Theatre, Salone Pedrotti, Graz Stefaniensaal, and The White House. Mr. Brent is agraduate of the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, and holds degrees from the Conservatory of Music at Purchase College and the Hugh Hodgson School of Music.

Jake Gardner

Jake Gardner

Bass-baritone

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Boasting a career which includes performances with major opera companies and orchestras worldwide, bass-baritone Jake Gardner remains one of opera’s most sought-after singing actors. Recently making forays into opera’s greatest buffo roles, Gardner has performed, to critical acclaim, roles such as Benoit/Alcindoro in La bohème with Virginia Opera, Baron Zeta in The Merry Widow with Los Angeles Opera, and Bartolo in Il barbiere di Siviglia with San Antonio Opera and Mill City Opera, among others. Of his Benoit/Alcindoro, critics hailed “Bass-baritone Jake Gardner also stands out when he brings his acting chops to bear on creating distinctive characters in the garret’s morally questionable landlord in Act 1 and Musetta’s sugar daddy in Act 2.” This season Mr. Gardner will reprises the roles of Benoit/Alcindoro in La bohéme with Lyric Opera Kansas City and Arizona Opera, and performs the role of Talpa in Tabarro with Maryland Lyric Opera.

Last season, Mr. Gardner reprised the roles of Benoit/Alcindoro in performances of La bohème with the Lyric Opera Chicago, performed Sir Joseph Porter in H.M.S. Pinafore with Eugene Opera, Le Bailli in Werther with Florida Grand Opera, and Narrator in a Wagner Concert with Binghamton Philharmonic. Recent engagements include Judge Turpin in Sweeney Todd with Houston Grand Opera and Virginia Opera, the Dutchman in Der fliegende Holländer with Piedmont Opera; Sir Joseph Porter in H.M.S. Pinafore with Virginia Opera, and productions of Manon Lescaut as Geronte de Ravoir with Washington National Opera and as Monsieur de Brétigny with Lyric Opera of Chicago.

Allegra De Vita

Allegra De Vita

Mezzo-soprano

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Allegra was recently seen as Angelina in La Cenerentola at Boston Midsummer Opera, The Page in Salome at The Spoleto Festival, Siebel in Faust at Washington National Opera and the title role in Carmen in a semi-staged production with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic. Future engagements include Maddalena in Rigoletto with Austin Opera, Rinaldo in Rinadlo at the Glimmerglass Festival. As a 2018 graduate from the Washington National Opera’s Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program she was seen as Rosina in The Barber of Seville (Emerging Artist Performance), Tebaldo in Don Carlo, Sister 2 in Provin’ Up, The Fox/A Rose in The Little Prince, Ruggiero in Alcina (Emerging Artist Performance), the title role in The Dictator’s Wife, Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro (Emerging Artist Performance) and Kate Pinkerton in Madame Butterfly. She was also seen as Tancredi in Erminia with Opera Lafayette, Arsamenes in Xerxes at the 2017 Glimmerglass Festival as well as the roles of Olga in Eugene Onegin with Syracuse Opera and Isaura inTancredi with Opera Philadelphia. Allegra was a 2015 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Grand Finalist.

Louis Salemno

Louis Salemno

Music Director

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Louis Salemno is the Music Director of Maryland Lyric Opera and is the principal conductor for all its performances, including the recent Thaïs, La fanciulla del West, and the MDLO Orchestra concert featuring pianist Leon Fleisher. He oversees the recruitment and training of the emerging artists of the MDLO Institute and leads the team responsible for auditioning, hiring, and managing the MDLO Orchestra and Chorus.

Maestro’s long and storied international conducting career includes posts at some of the world’s leading opera houses, including Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, and New York City Opera, among many others. He studied with Nadia Boulanger in France and was mentored by the legendary Kurt Herbert Adler, Krzysztof Penderecki, Gianandrea Gavazzeni and Bruno Bartoletti.  As a pianist, he has appeared in recital with Montserrat Caballe and Denyce Graves.

As a mentor, he held the post of Resident Coach for Washington National Opera’s acclaimed Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program for nearly a decade, where he also trained conducting students as well as visiting conductors in preparation for performances. He has also mentored singers at the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía in Valencia and the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires. He studied piano with Mieczyslaw Horszowski and conducting with Max Rudolf at The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.

Jose Miguel Cueto

Jose Miguel Cueto

Concert Master

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Violinist José Miguel Cueto has over 40 years of experience leading orchestras in the USA and abroad. His multitalented skills as concertmaster, soloist and chamber musician make him a much sought-after artist. After completing his studies at the Conservatory of Music in his native Puerto Rico, Cueto was awarded a scholarship to further his violin studies under the tutelage of laureate violinist Berl Senofsky at the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore. Recognized for his “bravura playing and full-blooded music making” José Cueto has performed worldwide in North, Central and South America, the Caribbean, Europe and China. Among others, his festival appearances include performances on the Casals, Aspen, Alba, Usa/China, Autunno Musicale Veronese, and for the American Liszt Society. His four-decade partnership with pianist Nancy Roldán encompasses recordings and worldwide performances hailed by critics as … “superb, powerful, well balanced and exciting.” Mr. Cueto has recorded for Centaur, Sonora, Marquis, Crystal, and Educo labels, performing in chamber ensembles and as soloist with orchestras. Mr. Cueto has previously served as Concertmaster of Concert Artists of Baltimore and the Baltimore Opera Orchestra. He teaches at Catholic University of America and St. Mary’s College of Maryland, where he’s also been Artist in Residence and Head of Strings. Cueto shares his expertise as violin teacher, chamber ensemble, orchestra coach and lecturer in studio and master class settings. He plays a 1920 Stefano Scarampella and a 2005 violin made specially for him by Luiz Bellini.

Steven Gathman

Steven Gathman

Chorus Master

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Steven Gathman was appointed Chorus Master of Maryland Lyric Opera last fall and prepared the chorus for La Fanciulla Del West. He has spent 24 years with Washington National Opera and was appointed Chorus Master in 1997. He has prepared the WNO Chorus for over 120 productions in seven languages. For WNO he has conducted performances of Tosca, Il barbiere di Siviglia, La clemenza di Tito, Der fliegende Holländer, and Carmen. At the Miami Summer Music Festival he has conducted Dido and Aeneas, The Medium, Albert Herring, L’Enfant et les Sortilèges and Gianni Schicchi. He has served on the music staffs of the Metropolitan Opera, Il Festival dei Due Mondi in Spoleto, Italy, Michigan Opera Theatre and Opera Pacific. He was on the faculty of the University of Maryland at College Park and served as a guest coach at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia, in addition to giving master classes around the country. He holds a bachelor’s of music in piano from DePaul University and a doctor of musical arts degree in piano accompanying and chamber music from the University of Michigan.

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