|music by Douglas J. Cuomo|
|libretto by John Patrick Shanley|
|after his play © 2005 and film © 2008|
|a New Works Initiative Production|
|January 26, 29, 31, February 2, and 3, 2013|
|Ordway, Saint Paul|
|sung in English with English captions
|stage director||Kevin Newbury|
|set designer||Robert Brill|
|costume designer||Paul Carey|
|lighting designer||Japhy Weideman|
|Father Brendan Flynn, a parish priest||Matthew Worth|
|Sister Aloysius Beauvier, the school principal||Christine Brewer
|Sister James, a teacher and a nun||Adriana Zabala|
|Mrs. Miller, Donald's mother||Denyce Graves|
|St. Nicholas, a Catholic church and school|
|in the Bronx, New York, 1964|
Christine Brewer (Sister Aloysius)
Grammy Award-winning American soprano Christine Brewer’s appearances in opera, concert and recital are marked by her own unique timbre, at once warm and brilliant, combined with a vibrant personality and emotional honesty reminiscent of the great sopranos of the past. Her range, golden tone, boundless power, and control make her a favorite of the stage as well as a sought-after recording artist.
Christine Brewer highlights her 2012–2013 season as Sister Aloysius in the world premiere of Douglas J. Cuomo’s Doubt at Minnesota Opera, based on the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning play and popular film by John Patrick Shanley. An equally exciting concert season will see Brewer singing Strauss’Four Last Songs with the Kansas City Symphony, Eugene Symphony Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and the Deutsches Symphony Orchestra. Brewer will also perform Brünnhilde’s Immolation Scene fromGötterdämmerung with the University of Kentucky as well as with the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, rounding out her concert season with Britten’sWar Requiem with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra. Equally at home on the recital stage, Brewer can be seen at the Sheldon Arts Foundation 9/11 memorial, Vocal Arts Society in Washington D.C., Concord Methodist Church in St. Louis, Wimbledon Music Festival in London, St. Alban’s Church in East Sussex, Cleveland Institute of Music and a special birthday gala for William Lyne at Wigmore Hall in London.
Highlights of Brewer’s 2011–2012 season include opening the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s 67th season with a program featuring Beethoven’sSymphony No. 9 and the Immolation scene from Wagner’s Götterdämmerung. A “superlative Strauss singer” (The New York Times), she also looks forward to singing the German composer’s Four Last Songs with the St. Louis Symphony under David Robertson, besides featuring his music alongside that of Marx, Thomson, Ives and Smith in recital with pianist and frequent collaborator Craig Rutenberg at New York’s Alice Tully Hall.
An avid recitalist, Brewer has graced such prestigious venues as Carnegie’s Zankel Hall, London’s Wigmore Hall, Oberlin Conservatory, the Friends of Chamber Music, Washington DC’s Vocal Arts Society, and many others. She has appeared in Lincoln Center’s “Art of the Song” series at Alice Tully Hall, the Boston Celebrity Series and at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., Atlanta’s Spivey Hall, California’s Mondavi Center, and Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw. Her unique voice has also been featured at the Gilmore, Ravinia, and Cleveland Art Song festivals. Her concert work includes Beethoven’s Missa solemnis with both the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra under Donald Runnicles and the San Francisco Symphony with Michael Tilson Thomas as well as Janácek’s Glagolitic Mass with the Toronto and Chicago Symphonies led by James Conlon.
On the opera stage, Brewer is highly regarded for her striking portrayal of the title role in Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos, which she has performed with the Metropolitan Opera, Opéra de Lyon, Théatre du Chatelet, Santa Fe Opera, English National Opera and Opera Theater of St. Louis. Attracting glowing reviews with each role, the soprano has performed Wagner’s Tristan und Isoldeat San Francisco Opera, Gluck’s Alceste with Santa Fe Opera, the Dyer’s Wife in Strauss’ Die Frau ohne Schatten at Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Paris Opéra, and Lady Billows in Britten’s Albert Herring at Santa Fe Opera. She is also celebrated for her work on lesser-known operas such as the title roles in Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride with the Edinburgh Festival, the Rio de Janeiro Opera and Madrid Opera and Strauss’ Die ägyptische Helena with the Santa Fe Opera.
Brewer has worked with many of today’s most notable conductors, including Pierre Boulez, James Conlon, Sir Colin Davis, Christoph von Dohnányi, Christoph Eschenbach, Valery Gergiev, Alan Gilbert, Lorin Maazel, Sir Charles Mackerras, Kurt Masur, Zubin Mehta, Antonio Pappano, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Sir Simon Rattle, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Robert Shaw and Jaap van Zweden. Frequently sought after to sing the great symphonic works of Mozart, Brahms, Verdi, Mahler, Beethoven, Strauss, Wagner, Janácek and Britten, she has sung with the philharmonics of New York and Los Angeles, and the orchestras of Cleveland, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., St. Louis, San Francisco, Boston and Dallas. In Europe, the soprano counts the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, London Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra and Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Staatskapelle Berlin, Gewandhaus Leipzig, Orchestre de Paris and Toulouse Orchestra as regular partners. In addition, she has made appearances with the Malaysia Philharmonic, New World Symphony and Toronto Symphony. The versatile artist has also been invited to perform for such special engagements as the re-opening of Covent Garden with Plácido Domingo for HRH the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, a concert of Handel with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and a gala performance of Górecki’s Symphony No. 3 with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and long-time collaborator Runnicles.
Brewer’s recordings include a contribution to Hyperion’s prestigious Schubert series with pianist Graham Johnson; the Janácek Glagolitic Mass and Dvorák Te Deum with Robert Shaw and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (Telarc); Dvorák’s Stabat mater (Naxos); and two recital recordings entitled “Saint Louis Woman” and “Music for a While,” produced and released by Opera Theatre of St. Louis. Recent releases include a live recital disc from Wigmore Hall (Koch); Strauss’s Four Last Songs with the “Liebestod” from Tristan und Isolde, Strauss’ Opera Scenes and Mozart’s Requiem with Runnicles and the Atlanta Symphony (Telarc); Fidelio in German with Sir Colin Davis and the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO Live); Barber’s Vanessa with the BBC Symphony (Chandos) and the Grammy Award-winning Bolcom Songs of Innocence and Experience(Naxos), both conducted by Leonard Slatkin; Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 with Sir Simon Rattle conducting the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (EMI); a disc of lieder for Hyperion’s new Richard Strauss series with pianist Roger Vignoles; Fidelio in English and “Great Operatic Arias” with the London Philharmonic (Chandos); and Britten’s War Requiem with the London Philharmonic and Kurt Masur (LPO Live).
Robert Brill (set designer)
For Minnesota Opera, Robert Brill has designed Bok Choy Variations and La bohème. Other designs for opera include Faust for the Metropolitan Opera and English National Opera, Wozzeck at San Diego Opera, L’incoronazione di Poppea at Chicago Opera Theater and the world-premiere of Moby Dick for Dallas Opera and other companies in the United States, Canada and Australia. On Broadway, his designs include the 2012 revival of Jesus Christ Superstar,Guys and Dolls (Tony nominated), Assassins (Tony nominated), Design for Living, Buried Child and the set and club design for the critically acclaimed revival of Cabaret. Other recent designs include A Word Or Two and The Flaming Lips’ musical Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. Brill has designed for the Whitney Museum of American Art, Lincoln Center Theater, the Stratford Festival, Boston Ballet, the Guthrie, Goodman Theater, American Conservatory Theater, the Mark Taper Forum and La Jolla Playhouse, among many others. He is a founding member of Sledgehammer Theatre and a recipient of the Merritt Award for Excellence in Design and Collaboration.
Paul Carey (costume designer)
Paul Carey makes his Minnesota Opera debut. His recent work in opera includes costumes for Roméo et Juliette (Palm Beach Opera); Hansel and Gretel (Virginia Opera); El niño (San Francisco Symphony); Der Kaiser von Atlantis (Central City Opera/Colorado Symphony/University of Denver; Greenwich Music Festival); Orpheus and Euridice, Green Sneakers and Glory Denied (UrbanArias, Washington, D.C.), as well as costumes and scenery forh.m.s. Pinafore (Caramoor Festival). In addition to opera, his repertoire encompasses theater, film and dance. He designed the costumes for Mothra Is Waiting [working title], a short film scheduled for release in 2013, directed by Kevin Newbury. Regional and New York theater credits include The Old Globe, Yale Rep, Amphibian (Ft. Worth), Clubbed Thumb, New York Musical Theatre Festival, Columbia Stages, One Year Lease, nyu Tisch School of the Arts and Williamstown Theatre Festival Workshop. Born in Oregon and raised in South Dakota and Ohio, he is now based in New York City. Upcoming: Il viaggio a Reims (Wolf Trap Opera).
Christopher Franklin (conductor)
Since having started his career in Italy, Christopher Franklin has conducted at several of the major Italian opera houses and festivals including the Teatro Regio di Torino, the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Teatro San Carlo di Napoli, the Teatro Carlo Felice di Genova, the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma, the Teatro Massimo di Palermo, the Teatro Verdi di Trieste, the Teatro Piccolo alla Scala di Milano, the Teatro Comunale di Treviso, Teatro Verdi di Salerno, Teatro Pergolesi di Jesi, the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro and the Spontini Festival in Jesi, among others.
Equally at home on the concert stage, he has conducted the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and West Australian Symphony Orchestra, the National Philharmonic of Russia, a German tour with the Münchner Symphoniker, SWR Orchester in Germany, Orchestra of the Maggio Musicale Firenze, Orchestre de la Monnaie in Bruxelles, Orchestra de Comunitat di Valencia, Orchestra de la Navarra (Spain), Sinfonieorchester St. Gallen, Orchestra Verdi di Milan, Orchestra della Toscana, Orchestra Filarmonica dell'Arena di Verona, Orchestra '900 of the Teatro Regio di Torino, Orchestra Toscanini of Parma, Orchestra da Camera di Padova, I Pomeriggi Musicali of Milano, Accademia della Scala di Milano, and he has collaborated with several world class solosits including Salvatore Accardo, Boris Belkin, Misha Maisky, Natalia Gutman, among others..
The 2012–2013 season sees his return to the Minnesota Opera for the world premiere of Doubt by composer Douglas J. Cuomo, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play and also for the company premiere of Ambroise Thomas' Hamletin a production by Thaddeus Strassberger. In spring 2013, Mr. Franklin will join tenor Juan Diego Flórez for a concert tour and make his debut in concerts with the Philharmonique de Monte Carlo. He also will conduct Rigoletto and Lucia di Lammermoor in Italy.
Last season he conducted Così fan tutte at Minnesota Opera and Teatro Regio in Torino, concerts with the Orchestra and Chorus of the Teatro Verdi in Trieste, Death in Venice at the Opera de Belles Artes in Mexico City, symphonic concerts with the Filarmonica '900 of the Teatro Regio, U.S. concerts with tenor Juan Diego Flórez, a new production of Il barbiere di Siviglia in Lima, Peru with Juan Diego Flórez, Ruggero Raimondi, Alfonso Antoniozz, and an Italian concert tour with the Orchestra da Camera di Padova e del Veneto. Recent productions include La Cenerentola at Minnesota Opera, L'elisir d'amore at Teatro Carlo Felice, the opening concerts of the Como Festival, Chabrier's Une éducation manquée and Rossini's La cambiale di matrimonio at the Wexford Festival, a new production of Sweeney Todd at the Teatro Comunale di Bologna, The Merry Widow at both the Teatro San Carlo di Napoli and Carlo Felice di Genova and symphonic concerts with the the Filarmonica Toscanini in Parma and the Swiss Radio Symphony Orchestra in Lugano. Other notable opera productions include Billy Budd at the Teatro Regio di Torino; a new production of Attila in Lima, Peru, with Ildar Adbrazakov and Dimitra Theodossiou; Rossini's Le comte Ory at the National Opera of Greece in Athens; the Rossini Festival in Wildbad, Germany, where he conducted L'amour coniugale by Johann Simon Mayr (recently released on the Naxos label); and Rossini's La cambiale di matrimonio and La gazzetta (both recently released on the Naxos label).
Christopher Franklin has established over the years a collaboration with famed tenor Juan Diego Flórez and has appeared at with him at the following venues: Konzerthaus Wien, Herkulessaal München, Alte Oper (Frankfurt), Philharmonie Köln, Théâtre Champs-Élysées (Paris), Musikhalle (Hamburg), Festspielhaus (Baden-Baden), Konzerthaus (Dortmund), Cadogan Hall (London), Palau des Arts (Valencia), Carnival Center (Miami), International House of Music (Moscow), Dvorak Hall (Prague) and is scheduled for several upcoming tours (Germany, Austria, Spain, France, the United States and South America).
An active advocate of contemporary music, Mr. Franklin has conducted the works of several contemporary composers: in Italy the Clarinet Concerto, the opera La lupa and ballet Dylan Dog by Italian composer Marco Tutino, the Italian premiere of Michael Daugherty’s Jackie O, symphonic works by Australian composers Ross Edwards (Symphony No. 3) and Marcus Lentz (Ngangkar), and for the past two years the International Composition Competition Alfredo Casella in Siena with the Orchestra della Toscana.
Winner of the Gino Marinuzzi International Conducting Competition, he worked as an assistant to Gianluigi Gelmetti at the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma, Teatro alla Scala, Covent Garden, La Fenice (Venice) and the Münchner Philharmoniker, among others. As winner of the conducting competition Toti dal Monte-La Bottega in Treviso, Franklin was named resident conductor and assistant to Peter Maag at the Teatro Comunale di Treviso. He also attended the conducting class of Maestro Gelmetti at the Accademia Chigiana in Siena, where he was awarded the prestigious Franco Ferrara Prize.
He began studying the violin at the age of six in his hometown of Pittsburgh. After completing a B.A. in violin and German literature at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, he earned his M.M. in conducting at the University of Illinois and his D.M.A. at the Peabody Conservatory with Frederik Prausnitz. He was awarded a scholarship to study at the Tanglewood Music Center, where he worked with Seiji Ozawa, Robert Spano and Gustav Meier, and subsequently, a Fulbright Fellowship to study at the Musikhochschule in Saarbrücken. He began his conducting studies with Charles Bruck at the Pierre Monteux School for Conductors in Hancock, USA. Christopher lives in Lucca, Italy.
Denyce Graves (Mrs. Miller)
Recognized worldwide as one of today's most exciting vocal stars, mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves continues to gather unparalleled popular and critical acclaim in performances on four continents. USA Today identifies her as "an operatic superstar of the 21st Century," and the Atlanta Journal-Constitutionexclaims, "if the human voice has the power to move you, you will be touched by Denyce Graves."
Her career has taken her to the world's great opera houses and concert halls. The combination of her expressive, rich vocalism, elegant stage presence and exciting theatrical abilities allows her to pursue a wide breadth of operatic portrayals and to delight audiences in concert and recital appearances. Denyce Graves has become particularly well-known to operatic audiences for her portrayals of the title roles in Carmen and Samson et Dalila. These signature roles have brought Ms. Graves to the Metropolitan Opera, Vienna Staatsoper, Royal Opera – Covent Garden, San Francisco Opera, Opéra National de Paris, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Washington Opera, Bayerische Staatsoper, Arena di Verona, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Opernhaus Zürich, Teatro Real in Madrid, Houston Grand Opera, Dallas Opera, Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, Los Angeles Opera and the Festival Maggio Musicale in Florence.
Ms. Graves’s 2012–2013 season includes two world premieres; she creates the roles of Mrs. Miller in Minnesota Opera’s New Works Initiative commission ofDoubt, composed by Douglas J. Cuomo and directed by Kevin Newbury, and of Emelda in Champion by Terence Blanchard at the Opera Theatre of St. Louis. The season also marks two role debuts for Ms. Graves as Herodias in Strauss’Salome at Palm Beach Opera, and Katisha in Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikadowith the Lyric Opera of Kansas City. Ms. Graves makes numerous concert and recital performances including at Opera Carolina, Arizona Musicfest, National Philharmonic, San Diego Symphony and several prestigious universities throughout the nation. As Ms. Graves’s dedication to teaching the singers of the next generation continues to be an important part of her career, she joins the voice faculty of the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore.
Denyce Graves made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera in the 1995–1996 season in the title role of Carmen. She returned the following season to lead the new Franco Zeffirelli production of this work, conducted by James Levine, and she sang the opening night performance of the Metropolitan Opera's 1997–1998 season as Carmen opposite Plácido Domingo. She was seen again that season as Bizet's gypsy on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera for Domingo's 30th Anniversary Gala, and she made her debut in Japan as Carmen, opposite the Don José of Roberto Alagna. Ms. Graves appeared in a new production ofSamson et Dalila opposite Plácido Domingo at the Metropolitan Opera, and she performed Act III of this work opposite Mr. Domingo to open the Met’s season in 2005. She was partnered again with Mr. Domingo in the 1999 season-opening performances of this work for Los Angeles Opera. She was seen as Saint-Saëns’ seductress with Royal Opera – Covent Garden and Washington Opera, both opposite José Cura, the latter under the baton of Maestro Domingo, as well as with Houston Grand Opera. Her debut in this signature role came in 1992 with the Chicago Symphony at the Ravinia Festival under the direction of James Levine and opposite Mr. Domingo and Sherrill Milnes, and she made a return engagement to the Festival in this same role in 1997.
Ms. Graves appears continually in a broad range of repertoire with leading theaters in North America, Europe and Asia. Highlights have included a Robert Lepage production of The Rake’s Progress at San Francisco Opera, the title role in Richard Danielpour’s Margaret Garner in the world premiere performances at Michigan Opera Theatre with further performances at Cincinnati Opera, Opera Carolina and the Opera Company of Philadelphia, the role of Charlotte inWerther for Michigan Opera Theatre opposite the Werther of Andrea Bocelli in his first staged operatic performances and Judith in a William Friedkin production of Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle in her return to Los Angeles Opera: she also has sung Judith at the Washington National Opera and for the Dallas Opera. Highlights of the mezzo-soprano’s other recent appearances include Azucena in Il trovatore, Nicklausse in Les contes d’Hoffmann and Dulcinée in Massenet's Don Quichotte with Washington Opera; Giovanna Seymour in a new production of Anna Bolena for Dallas Opera; the title role in La Périchole with the Opera Company of Philadelphia; a rare double-bill of El amor brujo and La vida breve specifically mounted for her by Dallas Opera; Federica in the Metropolitan Opera’s new production of Luisa Miller, led by James Levine; and Amneris in Aida with Cincinnati Opera. Ms. Graves’s debut with the Théâtre Musical de Paris – Chatelet was as Baba the Turk in a Peter Sellars/Esa-Pekka Salonen production of The Rake's Progress, and she returned to Covent Garden as Cuniza in Verdi's Oberto after her debut performances as Carmen. Her debut at Teatro alla Scala was as the High Priestess in La vestale led by Riccardo Muti, and she soon returned as Giulietta in a new production of Les contes d'Hoffmann and as Mère Marie in the Robert Carsen production ofDialogues des Carmélites. She appeared at Teatro Bellini in Catania in the title role of La favorita, and audiences in Genoa saw her first performances of Charlotte soon after her debut there as Carmen. Her debut in Austria came as Carmen with the Vienna Staatsoper, and she has also been seen in this role with Grand Théâtre de Genève, Genoa’s Teatro Carlo Felice, the Bregenz Festival and festivals in Macerata, Italy and San Sebastian, Spain. Ms. Graves gave her first performances of Adalgisa in Norma for Opernhaus Zürich.
Denyce Graves has worked with leading symphony orchestras and conductors throughout the world in a wide range of repertoire. She has performed with Riccardo Chailly, Myung-Whun Chung, Charles Dutoit, Christoph Eschenbach, James Levine, Zubin Mehta, Lorin Maazel, Kurt Masur, Riccardo Muti and Mstislav Rostropovich. Ms. Graves has appeared with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Houston Symphony, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo and National Symphony Orchestra among a host of others.
One of the music world's most sought-after recitalists, Ms. Graves combines her expressive vocalism and exceptional gifts for communication with her dynamic stage presence, enriching audiences around the world. Her programs include classical repertoire of German lieder, French mélodie and English art song, as well as the popular music of Broadway musicals, crossover and jazz together with American spirituals. For her New York recital debut, The New York Times wrote, "[h]er voice is dusky and earthy. She is a strikingly attractive stage presence and a communicative artist who had the audience with her through four encores."
In 2001, Ms. Graves gave a series of appearances in response to the tragic events in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Shanksville, Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001. Ms. Graves was invited by President Bush to participate in the National Prayer Service in Washington's National Cathedral in which she sang “America, the Beautiful” and “The Lord’s Prayer.” This event was televised worldwide and was followed by Ms. Graves’ appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show in a live musical program of “Healing through Gospel Music.” Ms. Graves has since participated in numerous other benefit concerts, and RCA Records released a recording of patriotic songs by Denyce Graves, the proceeds of which benefit various groups who have been affected by the events of September 11. Ms. Graves recently continued her patriotic activities when she sang for President and Mrs. Bush, among other dignitaries, at “An American Celebration at Ford’s Theatre” to benefit U.S. soldiers in Iraq. This concert was taped for television and aired on the ABC network on July 4, 2005. In 2003, Denyce Graves was appointed as a Cultural Ambassador for the United States, and she now travels around the world under the auspices of the State Department appearing in good-will missions of musical performances, lectures, and seminars. Her first trips in 2003 brought her to Poland, Romania and Venezuela.
Ms. Graves appears regularly on radio and television as a musical performer, celebrity guest, and as the subject of documentaries and other special programming. In 1997 PBS Productions released a video and audio recording titled, Denyce Graves: A Cathedral Christmas, featuring Ms. Graves in a program of Christmas music from Washington's National Cathedral. This celebration of music including chorus and orchestra is shown each year on PBS during the Christmas season. She was seen on the Emmy-award winning BBC special “The Royal Opera House,” highlighting Ms. Graves’s debut performances there, and in a program of crossover repertoire with the Boston Pops, which was taped for national television broadcast. In December 1999 Ms. Graves participated in a concert given at the Nobel Peace Prize Awards in Oslo, Norway, which was televised throughout Europe. As the only classical music artist to be invited for this event, she performed selections from her RCA Red Seal release alongside performances by Sting, Paul Simon, Tina Turner and others. She has been a frequent guest on television shows including Sesame Street, The Charlie Rose Show and Larry King Live. In 1996, she was the subject of an Emmy-award winning profile on CBS's 60 Minutes.
In 1999, Denyce Graves began a relationship with BMG Classics/RCA Red Seal. That same year Voce di Donna, a solo recording of opera arias, was released on RCA Red Seal. The Lost Days, a recording with jazz musicians of Latin songs in the Spanish and Portuguese languages, was released in January 2003. In June 2003, Church was released – this recording, developed by Denyce Graves, brings together African-American divas from various forms of music, all of whom were first exposed to music through their upbringing in church. Participants recorded music of their choice and include Dr. Maya Angelou, Dionne Warwick, En Vogue, Patti LaBelle and others. Other recordings of Ms. Graves include NPR Classics’ release of a recording of spirituals, Angels Watching Over Me, featuring the mezzo-soprano in performance with her frequent partner, Warren Jones and an album of French arias, Héroïnes de l'Opéra romantique Français, with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo under Marc Soustrot. Her full opera recordings include Gran Vestale in La vestale, recorded live from La Scala with Riccardo Muti for Sony Classical; Queen Gertrude in Thomas’s Hamlet for EMI Classics; Maddalena in Rigolettowith the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra under James Levine; and Emilia in Otellowith Plácido Domingo and the Opéra de Paris, Bastille Orchestra under Myung-Whun Chung, both for Deutsche Grammophon.
Denyce Graves is a native of Washington, D.C., where she attended the Duke Ellington School for the Performing Arts. She continued her education at Oberlin College Conservatory of Music and the New England Conservatory. In 1998, Ms. Graves received an honorary doctorate from Oberlin College Conservatory of Music. She was named one of the "50 Leaders of Tomorrow" by Ebonymagazine and was one of Glamour magazine's 1997 "Women of the Year." In 1999, WQXR Radio in New York named her as one of classical music's "Standard Bearers for the 21st Century." Denyce Graves has been invited on several occasions to perform in recital at the White House, and she provides many benefit performances for various causes special to her throughout each season.
Denyce Graves has been the recipient of many awards, including the Grand Prix du Concours International de Chant de Paris, the Eleanor Steber Music Award in the Opera Columbus Vocal Competition and a Jacobson Study Grant from the Richard Tucker Music Foundation. In 1991, she received the Grand Prix Lyrique, awarded once every three years by the Association des amis de l’opéra de Monte-Carlo, and the Marian Anderson Award, presented to her by Miss Anderson. In addition, Ms. Graves has received honorary doctorates from Oberlin College, College of Saint Mary and Centre College.
Kevin Newbury (stage director)
Kevin Newbury is a theater and opera director based in New York City. His productions have been presented by many of the top American and international opera companies and symphonies including Santa Fe Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Minnesota Opera, Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, the San Francisco Symphony, the Baltimore Symphony, L’Opéra de Montréal, Bard Summerscape, Portland Opera, New York City Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, the Virginia Arts Festival and the Wexford Festival in Ireland. He has also directed many new plays in New York, including the award-winning Candy and Dorothy.
Mr. Newbury’s production of Virginia for the Wexford Opera Festival recently won the 2010 Irish Times Theatre Award for best new opera production. His work has also been nominated for a Grammy Award (Bernstein’s Mass with Marin Alsop, also named “one of the best events of the year” by The New York Times and The Washington Post, a Drama Desk Award (Best Actor, Candy and Dorothy) and the GLAAD Media Award (winner: Candy and Dorothy, nominated:Kiss and Cry).
Mr. Newbury is especially committed to developing new work. He has collaborated with many top American composers and playwrights, including Ricky Ian Gordon, Mark Campbell and Pulitzer Prize winners John Adams and Lewis Spratlan. In the coming seasons, he will be directing new work by Douglas J. Cuomo and John Patrick Shanley, Mark Adamo, Theodore Morrison and John Cox, Greg Spears and Greg Pierce, Paola Prestini and Donna di Vonelli, and Todd Almond.
Upcoming engagements include new productions with San Francisco Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Minnesota Opera and Lyric Opera of Chicago.
Japhy Weideman (lighting designer)
Japhy Weideman is a New York City-based lighting designer for theater and opera. His opera designs include Bluebeard’s Castle/Il prigioniero at La Scala and Nederlandse Opera; Don Giovanni and Eugene Onegin at Opéra de Lyon; and Life is a Dream and Don Giovanni at Santa Fe Opera. Most recently he designed Cyrano de Bergerac on Broadway and Great God Pan at Playwrights Horizons in New York.
He has lit numerous theater productions in New York for Lincoln Center Theater, Roundabout Theatre Company, The Public Theater, Second Stage and labyrinth Theatre Company. International designs include London’s West End, Royal Shakespeare Co. – Stratford, Edinburgh Festival, National Theater of Greece and National Theater of Korea. Regional theater includes American Conservatory Theatre, Alley, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Cincinnati Playhouse, Huntington, La Jolla Playhouse, Magic Theatre, Old Globe, Shakespeare Theater and Signature Theatre. Upcoming engagements includeThe Nance at The Lyceum on Broadway starring Nathan Lane.
Matthew Worth (Father Flynn)
Hailed by the Dallas Morning News for his "dashing, fine bright baritone" and the New York Times for a voice that is "fully powered and persuasively expressive," Matthew Worth was recently the featured "Sound Bites" artist inOpera News, and is enjoying successes on both the operatic and concert stages, in all styles from the Renaissance to new repertoire.
Matthew Worth’s 2012–2013 season engagements include singing as Father Flynn in the world premiere of the operatic adaptation of John Patrick Shanley’sDoubt in a return to Minnesota Opera; his debut with Opera Theatre of St. Louis as Tomes in Smetana’s The Kiss; returns to New Orleans Opera as Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia, to Boston Lyric Opera as Guglielmo in Così fan tutte with, to Virginia Opera as Billy in Carousel; Tarquinius in The Rape of Lucretia with Opera Memphis; and in recital at the Modlin Center for the Arts. In summer of 2013 he sings Schumann’s “Dichterliebe” and Mahler’s “Songs of a Wayfarer” with Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. In season 2011–2012 he made his debut with Lyric Opera of Chicago as Harlekin in Ariadne auf Naxos, with Opera Memphis as Malatesta in Don Pasquale, with Minnesota Opera as Guglielmo inCosì fan tutte and with Santa Fe Opera as Valentin in Gounod’s Faust. Also in 2011–2012 he returned to Virginia Opera as the title role in Philip Glass’Orphée, reprised the role of Charlie in Heggie’s Three Decembers in his Fort Worth Opera debut and sang Curly in Oklahoma! with Central City Opera.
Recent engagements include his debut with Pittsburgh Opera as Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia, also with Connecticut Concert Opera; with Boston Lyric Opera as Demetrius in A Midsummer Night's Dream; his continuing collaboration with Lorin Maazel as Tarqinius in The Rape of Lucretia with the University of California at Berkeley; singing as Papageno in Die Zauberflötewith New Orleans Opera Association, and appearing as soloist with New York Festival of Song in a program entitled "Manning the Canon: Songs of Gay Life."
Other recent highlights include a return to Chicago Opera Theater as Charlie in Jake Heggie's Three Decembers; Mercutio in Roméo et Juliette with New Orleans Opera; the title role in Don Giovanni with Virginia Opera; Jupiter inOrpheus in the Underworld with Central City Opera; Messiah at University of Richmond; concert performances of The Grapes of Wrath with Collegiate Chorale at Carnegie Hall; singing as soloist in a holiday concert with the Philadelphia Orchestra; in Brahms' Ein deutsches Requiem with Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Donald Runnicles; the title role in Britten'sOwen Wingrave in a return to Chicago Opera Theater; Silvio in I paglacci with Opera Company of North Carolina; Belcore in L'elisir d'amore with Opera Grand Rapids; Danilo in The Merry Widow with Dayton Opera; and Mercutio inRoméo et Juliette with Syracuse Opera; joining the roster of the Metropolitan Opera; his return to Chateauville Foundation to reprise Tarquinius in The Rape of Lucretia, under conductor Lorin Maazel; singing excerpts from Il barbiere di Siviglia and as soloist in Carmina burana with Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, under Robert Spano; and performing as Onegin in Eugene Onegin at the Chautauqua Institution.
Mr. Worth also appeared as Count Carl-Magnus Malcolm in A Little Night Musicwith the Boston Pops at Symphony Hall and at the Tanglewood Music Center, toured with Boston Pops (Keith Lockhart conducting) performing music of Leonard Bernstein, and sang at Tanglewood in a program with the Mark Morris Dance Group. As a fellow of the Tanglewood Music Center he sang Guglielmo inCosì fan tutte under conductor James Levine. Among other recent successes are performances of Papageno in Die Zauberflöte with Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Guglielmo with Opera Naples, his debut with Chicago Opera Theater debut as Claudio in Béatrice et Bénédict, performances of Schulhoff's Die Wolkenpumpe with the ACJW Ensemble at Carnegie's Zankel Hall, Carmina burana with both the Lansing Symphony Orchestra and Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra, and several reengagements with New York Festival of Song.
Mr. Worth's career highlights include originating roles in two different world premieres: the lead role of William Shrike in Lowell Liebermann's Miss Lonelyhearts with the Juilliard Opera Center and the role of the Coachman in Stephen Hartke's The Greater Good at Glimmerglass Opera (recorded for the Naxos label). He made his Carnegie Hall debut as a soloist in Brahms' Ein deutsches Requiem under James DePriest, his Alice Tully Hall debut in Carmina Burana with the Richmond Choral Society, and he performed selections from Wolf's Italienisches Liederbuch with pianist Brian Zeger at Zankel Hall. As a member of the Juilliard Opera Center, Mr. Worth appeared as Demetrius in Benjamin Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream, L'Horloge Comtoise in L'enfant et les sortileges, and Simeon in L'enfant prodigue. He also performed the title role in Modus Opera's inaugural production of Don Giovanni, Morales in Carmenwith Opera Theatre of Saint Louis under Dean Williamson and Harlequin inAriadne auf Naxos with the Chautauqua Voice Program.
An active concert soloist, Mr. Worth's symphonic credits include Fauré'sRequiem, Mozart's Missa Brevis and Mass in C Minor, and Schubert's G Major Mass. Recently he joined the Young New Yorkers' Chorus in a concert of Renaissance polyphony entitled "The Glory of Venice," where he performed Gabrielli's In ecclesis. He has also performed as a soloist in Puccini's Messa di Gloria and Mozart's Requiem. At Glimmerglass he presented a recital of works by Gabriel Fauré, Nadia Boulanger and Marc Blitzstein with pianist David Moody.
Mr. Worth is the winner of the 2008 Connecticut Opera Competition, the recipient of a 2007 Sullivan Grant, a 2006 Richard F. Gold Grant from the Shoshana Foundation, the 2006 DeRosa Career Grant, a 2006 grant from the Julian Autrey Song Foundation, the 2005 Roy Jesson Prize for Outstanding Alumni from the University of Richmond, an Encouragement Grant in 2005 from the Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation, and was a finalist in the 2005 Liederkranz Foundation Vocal Competition.
Adriana Zabala (Sister James)
As the title character in the American Premiere of Dove’s The Adventures of Pinocchio at the Minnesota Opera, Adriana Zabala was recently praised by The Wall Street Journal as showing “tremendous stamina and boy-like flair.” The New York Times hailed her as “a vivid, fearless presence,” and the L.A. Timesas “extraordinary” for her portrayal of the Barbarian Girl in the American premiere of Philip Glass’ Waiting for the Barbarians with the Austin Lyric Opera. Ms. Zabala enjoys a vibrant and unique career that includes opera, song repertoire, new works, concert and oratorio. She performs extensively throughout the United States and internationally, and served for five years as Artistic Director of the Southeastern Festival of Song.
Within the last few seasons Ms. Zabala has been seen on the stages of the Seattle Opera, Minnesota Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, the Wildwood Festival, Syracuse Opera, Arizona Opera, Lyric Opera of San Antonio, Opera Carolina, Lake George Opera, Opera Pacific and Opera Saratoga. She has also been a soloist with the Minnesota Orchestra, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the Jacksonville Symphony, the Spokane Symphony, the Syracuse Symphony, the Virginia Symphony, the Madison Symphony, the New York Festival of Song, and at the Caramoor International Music Festival with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s. She has appeared in recital in the Barns at Wolf Trap, The Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, The Dallas Museum of Art, Ventford Hall in Lenox, MA, and in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall.
Douglas J. Cuomo, composer
Critics have described the music of Douglas J. Cuomo as “eighteen minutes of velocity and ecstasy … mesmerizing … fiercely American in the sense of Whitman, Hart, Crane and Ives,” “… hugely effective musically, as well as awe-inspiring,” “rresistible” and “awesome.”
Recent performances include: Black Diamond Express Train to Hell, a double concerto for cello and sampler, commissioned by the American Composers Orchestra and The Orchestra of the Swan, and premiered at Carnegie Hall; the opera/oratorio Arjuna’s Dilemma, produced by The Music-Theatre Group and premiered at the BAM Next Wave Festival; Only Breath, commissioned and performed by Maya Beiser, at The International Festival of Arts and Ideas, Ravinia, Carnegie Hall and others; Kyrie, commissioned and performed by Chanticleer, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Temple of Dendur; and Fortune, commissioned and performed by The Young Peoples Chorus of New York City. Work for television and film includes: themes for Sex and The City (hbo), Now with Bill Moyers and Wide Angle (PBS); music for Homicide: Life On The Street and others.
His latest opera Doubt, with a libretto by John Patrick Shanley, based on his play and screenplay, had workshop performances in Cincinnati in November 2011 as part of Opera Fusion: New Works, a collaboration between Cincinnati Opera, the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and Minnesota Opera. Additional workshops took place in Minneapolis and in New York in collaboration with American Opera Projects. Upcoming projects include Winter’s Journey, based on Wilhelm Mueller’s Winterreise poetry cycle, for mezzo-soprano Beth Clayton, electronics and three instrumentalists, commissioned by Music-Theatre Group.
Cuomo has received numerous grants and awards including: OPERA America Opera Fund Grant; two National Endowment of the Arts awards for Artistic Excellence in the Creation and Development of New Work; American Music Center’s Composer Assistance Grant; Resident Artist Fellow at The MacDowell Colony, The Hermitage Foundation and Blue Mountain Artist Colony; New York State Council for the Arts recording grant; Argosy Foundation Grant; Mary Flagler Carey Charitable Trust for development and others.
Cuomo also performs as a guitarist with his band, playing jazz interpretations of his film and television work at venues including Birdland, The Knitting Factory and others. He has lectured at various institutions including New York University, Wesleyan University (Connecticut), University of Miami (Florida), University of California at San Diego, Hunter College, Hofstra University, The Asia Society (New York), the Rubin Museum (New York) and the U.S. Naval Strategic Studies Group. Mr. Cuomo’s music is published exclusively worldwide by Schott Music.
John Patrick Shanley, librettist
John Patrick Shanley is from The Bronx, New York. His plays includeDanny and the Deep Blue Sea, Savage in Limbo, Italian-American Reconciliation, Welcome to the Moon, Four Dogs and a Bone, Cellini,Dirty Story, Defiance, Pirate and Storefront Church. His theatrical work is performed extensively across the United States and around the world. For his play, Doubt, he received both the Tony Award and the Pulitzer Prize. In the arena of screenwriting, he has nine films to his credit, most recently Doubt, with Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams, which was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Adapted Screenplay. The film of Doubt was also directed by Mr. Shanley. Other films include Five Corners(Special Jury Prize, Barcelona Film Festival), Alive, Joe Versus the Volcano, which he also directed, and Live From Baghdad for HBO (Emmy nomination). For his script of Moonstruck he received both the Writers Guild of America Award and an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. The Writers Guild of America awarded Mr. Shanley the 2009 Lifetime Achievement In Writing.