South Pacific

South Pacific - website Based on James Michener’s Tales of the South Pacific, this Pulitzer Prize-winning work is considered one of the greatest musicals ever written. Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific has become a standard for opera companies since its 1987 production by New York City Opera. Don’t miss this brilliant presentation about two couples from two different worlds who seize their chance at happiness and face the challenges of racial prejudice.

#AOSouthPacific

  • Saturday, November 5, 2016 at 8 PM
    Sunday, November 6, 2016 at 3 PM
    Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts
    801 Chase Street, Annapolis, MD

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Meet the Artists

Nora Graham-Smith

Nellie Forbush

Nora Graham Smith

Nora Graham-Smith
Nellie Forbush

Internationally acclaimed Mezzo-Soprano, Nora Graham will sing the title role in Hansel and Gretel in the United Arab Emirates with their National Symphony in 2016, having sung the dual dramatic roles of the Witch and Mother with Opera Memphis in 2015.

Recently Nora’s Carmen performance with the Pacific Opera Project in Los Angeles, CA, as well as in Castleton, VA and Natchez, MS were hailed as “a dazzling, jaded Carmen that ultimately remained in your mind long after the curtains came down,” and “a voice of refulgent power and carnal warmth.”

Nora made her international debut under the baton of Maestro Lorin Maazel, traveling with him to Italy, Oman, and Virginia where she performed the Title Role in L’enfant et les sortilèges, Mercédès in Carmen, and covered Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia

Operatic credits include roles with Opéra Théâtre d’Avignon, Fondazione Teatro Petruzzelli, The Szeged Opera, Gotham Chamber Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Palm Beach Opera, St. Petersburg Opera, Syracuse Opera, The Center for Contemporary Opera, The Chattanooga Symphony, and The Boston Youth Symphony.

www.noragrahamsmith.com
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Christian Bowers

Emile de Becque

Christian Bowers Headshot 1

Christian Bowers
Emile de Becque

In summer 2015, American baritone Christian Bowers returned to The Glimmerglass Festival, where he performed Maximilian in Francesca Zambello’s new production of Candide. He recently completed his tenure with the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program at Washington National Opera. While with WNO, he performed many roles including Schaunard in La bohème, The Pilot in The Little Prince, Second Commissioner/First Officer in Dialogues of the Carmelites, The Chirurgo in La forza del destino, and Stubb in Moby-Dick as well as covering Dandini in La Cenerentola. Engagements for the 2015-2016 season include a return to WNO as Dancairo in Carmen, his debut with Shreveport Opera as Escamillo in Carmen and Captain Corcoran in HMS Pinafore, covering Simon Thibault and Father Arguedas in the world premiere of Bel Canto at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Howard in the workshop of Dog Days with Opera Philadelphia, and Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Opera Project Columbus. Engagements for future seasons include debuts with Utah Opera as Escamillo in Carmen, as well as the Théâtre du Capitole de Toulouse and Opéra National de Bordeaux.

In the summer of 2014, Mr. Bowers received high acclaim for his performance as the leading role of Clyde Griffiths in An American Tragedy at The Glimmerglass Festival. Prior to joining WNO, he attended the prestigious Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia, where he performed Hermann in Les contes d’Hoffmann (2011), Belcore in L’elisir d’amore (2012), and Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia (2013). He has also participated in training programs with Santa Fe Opera and Sarasota Opera and made his professional debut in April of 2013 as Masetto in Opera Colorado’s production of Don Giovanni.

In 2014, Mr. Bowers won first prize in the Violetta Dupont Vocal Competition and was a grant winner at the Giuilo Gari Foundation International Vocal Competition. He was a finalist in the Houston Grand Opera Eleanor McCollum Competition and the George London Foundation in 2013 and won second prize in the Mario Lanza Vocal Competition in 2011. He was also a district winner at the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in Philadelphia in 2010 and 2011.

In addition to his training in leading young artist programs, Mr. Bowers is a recipient of an Artist Diploma from the Academy of Vocal Arts (2013), a double Masters of Music in Opera and Vocal Performance from Temple University (2010), and a Bachelor of Music from the State University of New York at Purchase College Conservatory of Music (2007).

A native of Hankins, New York, he enjoyed exposure to many different genres of music while growing up in the Catskill Mountains. He attended fiddle, bluegrass, rock, and folk festivals and even had a chance to meet and work with American legend Pete Seeger. He prides himself on his collaborations with some of the leading creators of contemporary American music, including Lee Hoiby, Tobias Picker, Jake Heggie, Lori Laitman, Huang Ruo, Theodore Morrrison and Gene Scheer. When he is not working on classical music, he enjoys hiking, kayaking, reading, and playing his 5-string banjo.

www.christianbowersbaritone.com
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Glenn Seven Allen

Lt. Joseph Cable

glenn-seven-allen-headshot-cropped

Glenn Seven Allen
Lt. Joseph Cable

Glenn Seven Allen is garnering critical acclaim on theatre, opera, and concert stages throughout the United States as a consummate singing actor, lauded for his dynamic interpretations of heroes and leading men, alike. Mr. Allen was hailed by Opera News as an “Edwardian matinee idol, giving by far the most detailed dramatic performance.”

This season, due to the wild popularity of its last run, he will be reprising his role as Jerome in the Drama Desk-nominated Di Goldene Kale Off-Broadway at the National Yiddish Theatre-Folksbiene. He also will be playing the role of Pontius Pilate in Casa Mañana’s production of Jesus Christ Superstar and the role of the male-romantic lead, Will Ladislaw, in Middlemarch in Spring with Ash Lawn Opera.

Recent season’s engagements include Tamino in Die Zauberflöte at the Featherstone Arts Center on Martha’s Vineyard, Jerry in Steven Burke’s new opera The Juggler, based on Joseph Caldwell’s play of the same title at The Park Avenue Armory; tenor soloist in a concert honoring the music of Victor Herbert for the Victor Herbert Foundation, the leading role of Charles in the American Symphony’s world premiere and cast recording of the English language version of The Long Christmas Dinner at Alice Tully Hall; the Florida première of Libby Larsen’s Barnum’s Bird with Gloria Musicae; Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni with Soo Theatre Project, and Camille in The Merry Widow at The Northern Lights Music Festival. He also sang as a featured soloist in a Gala Concert with Jerry Steichen and Fiends in Tonkawa, OK and sang in American Lyric Theatre Alumni: Composers and Librettists in Concert at National Sawdust, and performed a concert version of Sweeney Todd in a collaboration with Glacier Symphony and Alpine Theatre project.

Gaining momentum for his work in contemporary opera, Mr. Allen regularly appears in roles such as Peter Quint in Britten’s The Turn of the Screw with Opera Moderne at Symphony Space. The New York Times praised Mr. Allen as “a mesmerizing Quint, singing with agility and a sweetness that grew appropriately cloying or menacing.” Additionally, he appeared as Rodolpho in William Bolcom’s A View from the Bridge with Vertical Player Repertory supervised by the composer; the title role in Huang Ruo’s Dr. Sun Yat-Sen under the baton of the composer at the American Opera Center; Ferrando in the world premiere of Jonathan Dawes’ Cosi Farran Tutti conducted by Ryan McAdams; Avery Dick in Gordon Beeferman’s The Enchanted Organ directed by Beth Greenburg; Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda and I Have No Stories to Tell You for Gotham Chamber Opera; and has been featured in American Lyric Theater’s Opera in Eden series. Also in demand for his creative portrayals of the leading men of operetta repertoire, Mr. Allen was featured as Camille in The Merry Widow with the Imperial Symphony, Alexius in The Chocolate Soldier with Bard Summerscape, Frederic in The Pirates of Penzance with Utah Shakespeare Festival, and Ralf Rackstraw in H.M.S. Pinafore with Opera Saratoga.

Also known for his work on Broadway and in leading theatres throughout the country, Mr. Allen appeared as Giuseppe in the Tony-winning Broadway run of Guettel’s The Light in the Piazza. Other theatrical credits include Girl Crazy with City Center Encores; Casino Paradise with Lincoln Center’s American Songbook Series; Lancelot in Camelot at the Arvada Center; Rutledge in 1776 at Goodpseed Opera House; Pontius Pilate in Jesus Christ Superstar at North Carolina Theatre; the role of Assistant D.A. Kramer in the world première of Bonfire of the Vanities at The Process Studio Theatre; Carousel with the NY Philharmonic for PBS Great Performances and Clifford Bradshaw in Cabaret at the Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., where he received The Helen Hayes nomination for Best Actor.

Recent operatic engagements include Carnegie Hall début as George Dibdin in Heinrich Marschner’s Der Vampyr, a début Tonio in La fille du Regiment with Connecticut Concert Opera; Roméo in Roméo et Juliette at Intermountain Opera, Il Duca in Rigoletto with Queens Symphony; Alfredo in La traviata with Long Island Opera; Rodolfo in La bohéme, Tamino in Die Zauberflöte, and Roméo in Roméo et Juliette at New York Lyric Opera.

Mr. Allen holds a Master’s Degree in Acting from the University of Washington and a Bachelor’s degree in Musical Theater from the University of Michigan School of Music Theatre and Dance. He is currently a member of the acting faculty at the Yale School of Drama and is a sought after clinician for his “Acting in Song” master classes. Mr. Allen has studied and coached with leading instructors including: George Shirley, Neal Goren, Francis Keeping, Fred Carama, John Mario DiCostanzo, Tyson Deaton, and Howard Watkins.

www.glennsevenallen.com
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Kate Jackman

Bloody Mary

Kate Jackman Headshot - Cropped

Kate Jackman
Bloody Mary

Called “winningly wily and dauntless” by Boston Classical Review, American mezzo-soprano, Kate Jackman, is multifaceted musician and actress who excels in a variety of musical expression.

On stage, Kate performed the lead role in Oliver Knussen’s Higglety Pigglety Pop! at the Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary Music and “touchingly incarnated Jennie” (Alex Ross, The New Yorker). Her other operatic roles include Hansel in Hansel and Gretel, the title role in Carmen, Dorabella in Cosi fan tutte, and Dinah in Trouble in Tahiti.

An avid performer of new works, Kate has premiered roles in Piecing It Apart by Paul Matthews and Lux et Tenebrae by Douglas Buchanan for The Figaro Project’s production of Contemporary Opera Trio. She also premiered the role of Megan 2 in Robert Patterson’s The Whole Truth with Urban Arias, and Patricia Hutton in Joshua Bornfield’s Camelot Requiem, in which she “expressed emotional intensity with the weight of her soothing mezzosoprano voice” (Maureen L. Mitchell, Opera Today)

In concert, Ms. Jackman has performed solos from Handel’s Messiah and Bach’s Christen, atzet diesen Tag over internationally televised programming with The Basilica of the National Shrine in Washington, D.C., and has performed as Narrator in Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat with the Lunar Ensemble.

Kate made her recital debut at the Kennedy Center in the 2012 Vocal Arts Society Discovery Recital Series, and attended the Tanglewood Music Festival, where she performed works by Messiaen, Debussy, & Shostakovich in Seiji Ozawa Hall. In the 2014 season, she made her Carnegie Hall debut in Marilyn Horne’s The Song Continues series and attended the Fall Island Vocal Festival as a voice fellow.

Ms. Jackman holds a Master of Music Degree from the Peabody Institute and a Bachelor of Music Degree from the University of North Texas.

www.katejackman.com

James Ludlum

Luther Billis

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James Ludlum
Luther Billis

James is thrilled to be making his Annapolis Opera debut! Opera: Rigoletto, Macbeth (Bloch), Lakmé, I Capuleti e i Montecchi, The Mother of Us All. Theater: Julius Caesar, The Maids, Oklahoma!, Twelfth Night, Measure for Measure, Macbeth, Kiss Me, Kate. M.Mus Manhattan School of Music.

Sophia Riazi-Sekowski

Ngana

Sophia Riazi-Sekowski Headshot

Sophia Riazi-Sekowski
Ngana

Sophia Nasreen Riazi-Sekowski loves musical theater with her whole heart and soul. Since she was three, she has loved to tell stories. She says, “It gives me so much energy!” Now, being 12, she has been fortunate to be part of a number of wonderful community and professional theater experiences. Some of her favorites include playing Gretl in Compass Rose’s The Sound of Music and Little Girl in Ragtime and Tobias in Sweeney Todd at Laurel Mill Playhouse. When Sophia “grows up,” she wants to become an optical engineer, an oncology researcher, or an environmental scientist, to be an advocate for children, peace, and the environment with the UN, and to go to Broadway! She loves being part of this production as Ngana and is grateful and excited to make her AO debut.

Heidi Thiessen

Jerome

Heidi Rebecca Thiessen Headshot

Heidi Thiessen
Jerome

Heidi Thiessen is a 13 year old eighth grader. She has performed at the Children’s Theatre of Annapolis as Sleeping Beauty in Sleeping Beauty, Annika Settergren in Pippi Longstocking, the Opera Singer in Bugsy Malone Jr. and in The Canterville Ghost as Kathryn.  Other acting experience includes Babette in Beauty and the Beast and Zaneeta in The Music Man Jr. and Mary Poppins, Anastasia, and Annie in her school variety shows. Heidi is also cast as Jane Banks in the Charm City Players March 2017 Mary Poppins production. Heidi also enjoys jazz and lyrical dancing and choral activities such as the OAKE National Choir.

Vanessa Naghdi

Liat

Vanessa Naghdi Headshot

Vanessa Naghdi
Liat

Vanessa Naghdi is an emerging performer on the rise. Most recently, she made her operatic role debut as “Amy March” in Adamo’s Little Women as a Young Artist with Nightingale Opera Theatre in Hudson, Ohio. Last season, she joined Arizona Opera as a Teaching Artist in their Education and Outreach department where she gave performances as a part of the Rediscovered Voices and Grand Canyon Music Festivals and was described as a “strong, ringing soprano” by KJZZ 91.5. Ms. Naghdi played “Sparrow” and “Baker” in Arizona Opera Education’s production of Brundibár. Upcoming engagements include performing in Arizona Opera’s production of Madama Butterfly.

Last summer, Ms. Naghdi portrayed “Nannetta” in Falstaff in Atlanta, Georgia. Other roles include “Belinda” in Dido and Aeneas, “Amelia” in Amelia al ballo, “Dew Fairy” in Hansel und Gretel, and “Guadalena” in La Périchole. She was also “Suor Genvieffa” in Suor Angelica and “Solo Angel” in Die Jungfrau von Orléans with the Mittelsächsisches Theater and Philharmonie in Freiberg, Germany.

In 2013, Ms. Naghdi made her professional ensemble debut with Virginia Opera in their production of Camelot. A pioneer of new works, she created the role of “Diane Slawyer” in the premiere of the new musical Endangered at The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Equally as comfortable performing musical theatre, she made her theatrical role debut as “Helen” in the premiere of the musical Spellbound! with Southwest Shakespeare Company. Also on the musical theatre stage, Ms. Naghdi has performed “Ado Annie” in Oklahoma!, as well as portrayed “Christine Daaé” from The Phantom of the Opera at gala events with Arizona Opera and the Buck Hill Skytop Music Festival in Pennsylvania. Originally from the Washington, D.C. area, she has performed as a soloist with the Washington Women’s Chorus Concert Series at the Strathmore Music Center.

Last year, Ms. Naghdi won as Finalist in the Concert of Soloists Competition at Arizona State University, as well as Semi-Finalist in Phoenix Opera’s Southwest Vocal Competition. In 2013, she won Second Place in the American Prize in Opera, and was a winner of the Shirley Rabb Winston Scholarship in Voice from the National Society of Arts and Letters. Ms. Naghdi holds a Master of Music in Music Theatre/Opera Performance from Arizona State University in which she was the recipient of the Special Talent Award in Music and the Katherine Herberger Music Scholarship. She holds a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Virginia Commonwealth University.

www.vanessanaghdi.com
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Christopher Overly

Captain Brackett

Christopher Overly Headshot - Cropped

Christopher Overly
Captain Brackett

Christopher Overly is a baritone who has performed in numerous ballets, operas, musicals, and plays the states and abroad most notably with the Heidelberg Opera. He was a classical ballet dancer in his younger years, but now focuses more on the less strenuous arts. Some of his favorite roles have been Sweeney Todd in Sweeney Todd, Archibald Crane in The Secret Garden, and Munkustrap in Cats. You can see him often treading the boards in the theaters in and around the greater DC Metro area. Although theater is his love, his daytime passion is computers as an employee at Microsoft. He is eternally grateful to his wife and children for allowing him to follow his passions and always being endlessly supportive. He is excited to be making his Annapolis Opera debut as Captain Brackett.

Andrew Sauvageau

Commander Harbison

Andrew Sauvageau Headshot

Andrew Sauvageau
Commander Harbison

Andrew Sauvageau cares about characters. Praised for the shining color in his voice, the spark and nuance of his acting, and for his contained ferocity in concert, Andrew brings his energy to the stage, both in operatic and in concert settings. His solo engagements include performances with the BBC Symphony Orchestra in the UK premiere of Louis Andriessen’s La Commedia, Oliver Knussen’s Where the Wild Things Are with New York City Opera, Schönberg’s Serenade with the Birmingham New Music Group at the Library of Congress under Oliver Knussen, Berio’s Coro with the Lucerne Festival under Simon Rattle, Henry Partch’s Barstow with Peabody Camerata (Baltimore, MD), and La Commedia, H.K. Gruber’s Frankenstein!!, Armando Bayolo’s Sacred Cows, and Michael Gordon’s Van Gogh with Great Noise Ensemble (Washington, DC). Andrew has also participated in various premieres by Michael Oberhauser with Silver Finch Arts Collective in Washington, DC, as well as premieres by Ruby Fulton and Nicholas Vines at the Tanglewood Music Festival, and the American premiere of Joanna Lee’s Lear TV with hexaCollective at the Baltimore ArtScape Festival.

With a background in classical music, Andrew’s operatic and concert repertoire includes Falke (Die Fledermaus) with St. Petersburg Opera, Florida; Sid (Albert Herring) with hexaCollective, Baltimore; and Mercutio (Roméo et Juliette) with Bel Cantanti, Washington, DC. He has also enjoyed recent performances of Vaughn Williams’ Dona nobis pacem, Fauré’s Requiem, Schumann’s Liederkreise, and Schubert’s Die Schöne Müllerin.

www.andrewsauvageau.com
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Chorus

Soprano
Sarah Baumgarten
Victoria Rose Brown
Maura McColgan
Abby Foy Middleton
Katherine Riddle

Mezzo-Soprano
Lauren Anderson
Nicole Swann Bowers
Patricia Hengen
Erica Miller

Tenor
James Carpenter
Tae Cha
Norman Flora

Joseph Kaz
Paul Patinka

Baritone
Joseph Baker
Justin Hulman
Brandon Shaw
Sam Stenecker

Ronald J. Gretz

Artistic Director & Conductor
ron-gretz-headshot

Ronald J. Gretz
Artistic Director & Conductor

Ronald J. Gretz is celebrating his 34th season as Artistic Director and Conductor of the Annapolis Opera, a position that he has also held with both the Chesapeake and Harford Opera companies. Mr. Gretz served as chorus master and assistant conductor with the Baltimore Opera and Chautauqua Summer Opera in New York and has conducted Baltimore Opera’s Summer Opera. A graduate of the Peabody Conservatory, Mr. Gretz returned to his alma mater for five years [1995-2000] as an Opera Coach. In 2012 he was again appointed to the Vocal faculty as a Vocal Coach where he remains as a part-time faculty member.

In addition to his work in opera, he has conducted musicals with Cock-pit-in-Court and various area dinner theaters. Internationally he has performed twice at the Kanagawa Theater Festival in Japan as well as in Shanghai, China. In 1994 Mr. Gretz was appointed conductor of the Gettysburg Symphony Orchestra, a position he held for 10 years. In 2004 he founded the Maryland Philharmonic Orchestra and continued as artistic director and conductor until 2008. Mr. Gretz was named Professor Emeritus upon retiring from teaching at CCBC where he taught music theory for 41 years. His theory textbook “Music Language and Fundamentals”, published by McGraw Hill is used throughout the U.S. and Canada. Mr. Gretz is also the organist and choir director at the University Baptist Church in Baltimore, a position that he has held for over 25 years.

Braxton Peters

Stage Director
Braxton Peters Headshot

Braxton Peters
Stage Director

Known throughout the region, Stage Director Braxton Peters, has performed in or directed over eighty operas and musicals. In his twenty-six years with Annapolis Opera he has directed numerous productions including Don Giovanni, La Bohème, Romeo et Juliette, Tosca, Carmen, Madama Butterfly, L’elisir d’amore, La traviata, The Student Prince, The Mikado, Die Fledermaus, Die Zauberflöte, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Rigoletto and Così fan tutte. Mr. Peters is well known as a performer in musical theatre, having stared in Sweeney Todd, My Fair Lady, The Secret Garden, Camelot, A Little Night Music, Follies and Man of La Mancha (a role he performed with Annapolis Opera and Virginia Opera companies).

Mr. Peters teaches voice at the Community Colleges of Baltimore County, Essex and Catonsville campuses, and serves as the Stage Director for Little Patuxent Opera Institute, at Howard Community College.