We're thrilled to welcome back Trevor Scheunemann, who will play Count Almaviva in The Marriage of Figaro. Trevor starred in our 2012 production of The Music Man. You may have recently seen Trevor on stage at The Metropolitan Opera where he successfully stepped in at the last minute as Count Almaviva in their production of Marriage of Figaro. Don't miss Trevor as our own Count Almaviva this summer!
Next up, we have Brian Giebler who will be performing Jack in Into the Woods for which he won a regional Best Supporting Actor Award for back in 2005! Just a few of Brians credentials include performing with chamber ensembles throughout the country, including Grammy Award-winning Conspirare of Austin, Grammy nominated Seraphic Fire of Miami, Grammy nominated Clarion Music Society in NYC, and he is a member of the Grammy nominated Choir of Trinity Wall Street in Manhattan, where he currently resides. Don't miss him this summer!
Stage Director for our production of Into the Woods, Raymond Zilberberg is a New York based, multi-lingual director of opera, musicals & dramas. In his native Canada, Raymond founded One Foot Productions, a not-for-profit theater company dedicated to revitalizing English musical theater. When not working in the arts, Raymond is a Project Manager for corporate events. Recent clients include Samsung, Google, and Fox.
"There is no Sondheim show that resonates with audiences of all ages quite like 'Into the Woods'. By using characters and stories so deeply woven into our cultural fabric and taking them on a new journey, this musical instantly transports us to a place that is so familiar yet at the same time so foreign, uncomfortable and exciting. It's as though we are in on the joke but just as surprised by the punchline. I cannot wait to explore the themes of how far our imagination will take us, the laughs along journey, what it means to be accountable for our wishes and actions, and how we must work together as a community if we are going to survive all the evils that come our way. I am really looking forward to telling this story with my talented team of designers, brilliant cast of singers and musicians and crew that make up the incredible company that is Charlottesville Opera."
Meet David Paul, Director of this season's production of The Marriage of Figaro. Keep reading for a direct quote from David.
"It's a terrific joy to return to Charlottesville this summer for our new production of LE NOZZE DI FIGARO, having previously had the pleasure of directing its 'prequel' (so to speak), The Barber of Seville, in 2011. With the exciting new leadership brought by my colleague and friend Steven Jarvi, I'm thrilled to be a part of this transformative new time at Charlottesville Opera. The opportunity to work with artists of the highest caliber, and to do so in a setting as beautiful, supportive, and welcoming as Charlottesville, is truly unique within the Opera world. I count myself very lucky to enjoy it again this summer.
I've been fortunate to direct FIGARO several times previously, and each time has only confirmed my feeling that this may well be the best opera ever written. From the unbelievable music to the freshness and modernity of the characters and the range of emotions it brings out in an audience, this piece is so rich and varied that it always feels new whenever I engage with it. Every time I work on FIGARO, I hear and see things that I never noticed before -- much like a great Shakespeare play, and unlike so many operas in the canon.
That said, FIGARO is also an important piece to revisit today. As our society confronts questions of male-female relationships in the workplace and the ways in which these issues are inevitably interwoven with differences of class and power, FIGARO shines an incredibly insightful light on what propels people to make certain decisions, even when these can inflict tremendous pain and suffering on others. Watching these situations in Mozart's piece makes us laugh at their absurdity -- and Mozart's comic genius is unparalleled in opera. But it also makes us think and learn in ways we may not have done before: a large part of what makes FIGARO an important, and truly timeless, masterpiece."
- David Paul
Leah Edwards who will be performing Cinderella in Into the Woods. Leah comes to Charlottesville Opera with an impressive resume that includes her Broadway debut in 2011 as a member of the company of Terrence McNally’s Master Class as well as an appearance as a musical guest on A Prairie Home Companion, broadcast live from New York City’s Town Hall. She recorded her first cast album of George and Ira Gershwin's Lady, Be Good and is an accomplished concert pianist. Catch Leah losing her glass slipper this summer!
Charlottesville Opera is happy to welcome back soprano Karin Mushegain, who will be performing Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro. You may remember Mushegain from Charlottesville Opera's 2011 production of The Barber of Seville. She joins us having portrayed Aldonza in Man of La Mancha with Indianapolis Opera, Despina in Così fan Tutte with Pasadena Opera, and has also sung Handel’s "Messiah" in concert with The Salastina Music Society. Off the opera stage, she can be heard on multiple soundtracks for the ever-popular video game series, Heroes of Might and Magic! Summer is just around the corner, get ready to see Karin Mushegain on stage in Le Nozze di Figaro!
Meet bass-baritone, Tyler Simpson, who will perform the role of Figaro in Charlottesville Opera's Le Nozze di Figaro! Tyler has performed in opera houses and concert halls all around the world. He made his Metropolitan Opera debut in 2010 and has since been involved in 18 MET productions! Other highlights include performing Figaro in North Carolina Opera's production of Le Nozze di Figaro, Messiah with the Edinburgh Royal Choral Union, and Beethoven's Christ of the Mount of Olives with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Tyler played Colline in Charlottesville Opera's 2012 production of La Boheme, and we're pleased to welcome him back.
This week we welcome back Sharon Apostolou who will be performing the Baker's Wife in Into the Woods. Sharin returns to Charlottesville Opera with an extensive resume that includes Handel’s Rodelinda with Portland Opera, which catapulted her into the operatic scene. She's performed with New York City Opera, Anchorage Opera, and Opera Delaware, to name a few. Sharin has also traveled the world performing music of the Baroque period. She made her Asian debut as Belinda in Dido and Aeneas at the Macao International Music Festival and her European debut with the Operafestival di Roma singing Serpina in La serva padrona. You may recognize Sharin from Charlottesville Opera's 2017 productions Broadway in Charlottesville and Oklahoma! as well as playing the female lead in our recent productions of My Fair Lady and South Pacific. We can't wait to have her back on stage!
We welcome Katherine Whyte, who is making her Charlottesville Opera debut as The Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro. You may have seen Katherine on stage at the Metropolitan Opera for productions of Jenufa and Rigoletto or at the Dallas Opera, where she performed Pousette in Manon. Katherine has also performed internationally, including with the Edmonton Symphony and the Qingdao Symphony Orchestra in China.
Deborah Grausman will be performing Little Red Riding Hood into Into the Woods. Currently, Deborah can be heard as the voice of Smartie, Elmo’s new friend on Sesame Street. Select theater credits include Chava in the North American Tour of Fiddler on the Roof, Sharon in Master Class at Shakespeare & Company, and Wendy in Peter Pan at Media Theatre; film credits include Back to Plan A, Blackwell Summers Mysteries, and The Mend. Her voice has been heard on national commercials for Subway, Liberty Mutual, on promos for the Food Network, and on the newly released audiobook, What the Night Sings. Deborah returns to Charlottesville Opera having performed in our December event Broadway in Charlottesville.
Abigail Levis will be performing Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro. Abigail has appeared as a soloist with the Toronto Symphony, Portland Baroque Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony, and Flint Symphony, just to name a few. She is also a prize winner of several competitions spanning all around the country.This coming season Abigail will sing the roles of Testo and Memory 3 in Opera Philadelphia's double bill War Stories. She will also debut with San Francisco's Philharmonia Baroque in Joseph and his Brethren.
Adam Alexander will be performing The Baker in Into the Woods. Adam joins us in Charlottesville from Paris with more than 20 years of professional experience in the arts as a singer, actor, fight director, and teacher. He has performed in multiple classical and musical theater productions at Lincoln Center with the New York Philharmonic and New York City Opera. Some of his favorite roles being, Mercutio, in Gounod's Roméo et Juliette, Puck in Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Njegus in Léhar's The Merry Widow. Adam was previously on faculty at The Actors Studio Drama School, where he created curriculum and taught movement and stage combat. He has choreographed and created movement sequences for Broadway, Off-Broadway, and Regional theater productions as well as for film and opera. Adam will be teaching a masterclass in the art of stage combat that will be free and open to the public.
Brian Kontes will be performing Bartolo in Le Nozze di Figaro. The first highlight of his 2017-2018 season included a return to the Shippensburg Music Festival, where he was featured as the bass soloist for performances of Brahms Requiem. Brian also performed as Bartolo in Le Nozze di Figaro with Pittsburgh Opera back in November of 2017. He was a first prize winner of the George London Foundation Competition and is a graduate of The Curtis Institute of Music.