Oct 28, 30, Nov 1, 3, 2016

By Missi Mazzoli
Libretto by Royce Vavrek

With a libretto by Royce Vavrek, Missy Mazzoli’s enthralling multimedia opera conjures the rebel hero/heroine Isabelle Eberhardt, the extraordinary writer who left her home in Europe to explore Northern Africa.

Mazzoli’s electric score layers acoustic and electronic sound with live and pre-recorded voices to create a spellbinding beautiful indie-rock opera. Mazzoli/Vavrek’s recent world premiere BREAKING THE WAVES is being hailed as “among the best twenty-first-century American operas yet” (Opera News).

Chicago Fringe Opera’s production is led by Catherine O’Shaughnessy (conductor), Amy Hutchison (stage director) and Kia Smith (choreographer). Mezzo-soprano Emma Sorenson stars as Isabelle Eberhardt, in her exciting Chicago debut.

Cast

Isabelle Eberhardt

Emma Sorenson

Emma Sorenson

Isabelle Eberhardt

Lyric mezzo soprano Emma Sorenson hails from Houston, Texas. Ms. Sorenson currently resides in Boston where she is an Emerging Artist for the Boston Lyric Opera. She debuted with the company as a featured artist in their Art in Bloom series at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and will appear in the ensemble of La Boheme, and as Frou Frou in their Spring production of The Merry Widow. Ms. Sorenson is an active member of the Boston Opera Collaborative, where she will be singing the role of Siebel in Gounod’s Faust. This summer, Ms. Sorenson is engaged as an Apprentice Artist with Des Moines Metro Opera . There she sang the part of a Flower in La Hija de Rappaccini by Catan, and performed as a chorus member and featured soloist in their mainstage works Jenůfa by Leoš Janáček and Die Entführung aus dem Serail by Mozart . While in Boston, she has performed several mainstage roles with The Boston Conservatory including the role of Lucretia in The Rape of Lucretia by Benjamin Britten, Dritte Dame in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, Zulma (and Isabella cover) in Rossini’s L’italiana in Algeri, and most recently Baba the Turk in The Rake’s Progress by Igor Stravinsky.

Ms. Sorenson is the recipient of the Ileana Ingraham Encouragement Award at the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions in Kansas City. Previously, Ms. Sorenson also won first place for the second consecutive year in her age group in the tri-state midwest National Association of Teachers of Singing competition, and is the two-time recipient of the James Moroney Nigh Opera Scholarship. She recently graduated with a Master of Music performance degree from The Boston Conservatory under the tutelage of Dr. Rebecca Folsom.

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

Song from the Uproar Isabelle Eberhardt 2016
2016 Holiday House Party Soloist 2016

Ensemble

Ashley Armstrong

Ashley Armstrong

Ensemble

Praised for her expressiveness and richly colorful tone, mezzo-soprano Ashley Armstrong is known for her musicianship as well as her scholarship. Driven by the desire to inspire in others a curiosity for more knowledge about music, she seizes every opportunity to share her vocal talents. This motivation has afforded her many unique opportunities to sing for esteemed individuals such as his Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, and at such celebrated locations as St. Paul’s Cathedral at Ground Zero, and Chicago’s Auditorium Theatre.

Ms. Armstrong begins the 2016/2017 season as an Artist with Chicago Fringe Opera, performing in Missy Mazzoli’s Song from the Uproar, an opera inspired by the journals of Isabelle Eberhardt, detailing her fantastic seven-year odyssey through the desserts of North Africa; and Ted Rorem’s Our Town, a tongue in cheek commentary on American life, based on the play by Thornton Wilder about the small fictional town of Grover’s Corners and the daily lives of its citizens. Her other engagements include Beethoven 9 with Chicago combined choirs, and a series of concerts in collaboration with Old Capitol Opera.

Ms. Armstrong made her operatic debut in 2011 as Third Lady in Die Zauberflöte at the Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Art Center, and this last year, she received her Chicago premiere at CCPA where she was featured as The Wife in Thomas Pasatieri’s The Women, Suzette in Milton Granger’s Bluebeard’s Waiting Room, and Ottavia in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea. Other opera credits include Mother in Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors and Azucena in a gala presentation of Verdi’s Il trovatore. Additionally, she presented or has been featured in recitals for the Chicago College of Performing Arts, the University of Northern Iowa, and the Chicago Art Institute. In 2012 she won the senior division of the Iowa chapter of NATS student auditions and the next year she took home second place in the graduate division.

Currently a student of Allan Glassman, Ms. Armstrong received her M.M. from the Chicago College of Performing Arts in May of 2016. Before that, she graduated magna cum laude and Pi Kappa Lambda with a B.A. in Music and Theatre from the University of Northern Iowa, where she studied with Jeffrey Brich. During her time as a student she also gave world premieres of many works, including: “Could” by Pete Fernandez, Just Ann by Rebecca Burkhardt and Cynthia Goatley, Joy by John Schwabe, and Festival te Deum by David Childs.

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

Lucrezia Lucrezia 2017
2016-17 Season Opening Gala Soloist 2016
Song from the Uproar Ensemble 2016
2016 Holiday House Party Soloist 2016

Ensemble

Leigh Folta

Leigh Folta

Ensemble

Lyric soprano and native New Yorker Leigh Folta was recently named first place winner at the 2016 Chicago Chapter NATS competition. In 2015, she placed first in the Casa Italia Competition and was named a finalist in Chicago Opera Idol, where she sang for famed baritone Sherrill Milnes. Her roles to date include Poppea/L’incoronazione di Poppea, LPN/Bluebeard’s Waiting Room, Pamina, Papagena, and 2nd Spirit/Die Zauberflöte, Anne of the Cross/Dialogues of the Carmelites, and Suor Osmina/Suor Angelica. While at the Astoria Music Festival in June 2015, the Oregon Music News reported; “…with her gorgeous expressive face and gorgeous voice, [Leigh] glowed as Pamina” (goo.gl/IiXsP4). During a 2016 Masterclass, distinguished collaborative pianist and coach Martin Katz said of Leigh’s performance, “That was the best Caro Nome I’ve ever heard.” Leigh holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Southern California and a Master of Music degree from the Chicago College of Performing Arts.

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

Song from the Uproar Ensemble 2016
2016 Holiday House Party Soloist 2016

Ensemble

Cody Monta Jarrett

Cody Monta Jarrett

Ensemble

Cody is a Professional Artist graduate of the A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute of the University of North Carolina School of the arts, where his roles included Emilio in Nino Rota’s Il cappello di paglia di Firenze and Escamillo in Peter Brook’s La tragédie de Carmen. 2015/16 season highlights include a professional stage debut with Piedmont Opera as Marullo in Verdi’s Rigoletto, the role of Randolph in William Bolcom’s A Wedding and the cover for the role of Marcello in La Boheme, both at the Aspen Music Festival.

In 2015 Cody made his role debut as Marcello in Puccini’s La Boheme at The Bay View Music Festival and performed the role of Mr. Gobineau in Menotti’s The Medium with Chicago Summer Opera. In 2014 Cody attended the Aspen Music Festival as a New Horizon’s fellow where he covered the role of James Vane in Lowell Liebermann’s The Picture of Dorian Gray.

Also in 2014, Cody took the stage as Mr. Gideon March in Northwestern University’s production of Mark Adamo’s Little Women. He was also featured as the bass soloist in Mozart’s Requiem with Prince George’s Philharmonic, and as Simon in Handel’s Judas Maccabeus with Northwestern’s Baroque Music Ensemble.

Cody holds a Master’s in voice from The Bienen School of Music, Northwestern University and a Bachelor’s in voice from New England Conservatory of Music. When Cody isn’t performing, he enjoys reading and training in crossfit.

Cody is currently freelancing in Chicago, IL where he lives with his fiancée, Brandi and two dogs: Thriller and Vibrant.

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

Song from the Uproar Ensemble 2016

Ensemble

Diana Stoic

Diana Stoic

Ensemble

Soprano Diana Stoic is a Chicago-area native who is garnering acclaim on opera and concert stages in Illinois and throughout the Midwest. For her portrayal of Cunegonde in Candide with the Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre, Stoic was described as “utterly luminous.”

Ms. Stoic is a member of the Supplementary Chorus at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. She last appeared in their production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel in 2015. She performs with many local opera companies in the Chicago-area, most recently the First Lady in The Magic Flute with Petite Opera Productions. She is a member of the Lira Ensemble, the nation’s only professional organization specializing in Polish music.

She has sung extensively with Des Moines Metro Opera, performing mainstage roles in their productions of Le nozze di Figaro and Tosca. With DMMO she has covered leading roles including Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro and Alexandra in Blitzstein’s Regina.

A frequent soloist with the DuPage Symphony Orchestra, Ms. Stoic has performed a program of Czech songs and arias, Villa-Lobos’ Bachianas Brasilieras No. 5, and the roles of Sandman/Dew Fairy in concert performances of Hansel and Gretel. She has also performed with the Chicago Civic Orchestra, Illinois Philharmonic, Musica Lumina, and Salt Creek Chamber Orchestra.

Ms. Stoic is passionate about introducing young audiences to opera and educating them about classical music. She participated in outreach programs with Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre, Opera Santa Barbara, OPERA Iowa, Opera for the Young, Chicago Opera Playhouse, and is currently a teaching artist with Chicago Opera Theatre.

She completed her Masters of Music from the Chicago College of Performing Arts and received her Bachelor of Music from Simpson College (Indianola, IA). Ms. Stoic has received numerous awards from the Bel Canto Foundation and was a winner in the 2012 Opera Idol Competition.

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

Lucrezia Annunciata 2017
2016-17 Season Opening Gala Soloist 2016
Song from the Uproar Ensemble 2016
2016 Holiday House Party Soloist 2016

Ensemble

Jonathan Zeng

Jonathan Zeng

Ensemble

Lauded for his versatility as a performer and accomplished in Musical Theater, Opera, Oratorio and Concert repertoire, “excellent tenor” Jonathan Zeng has performed throughout the United States with companies such as Cincinnati Opera, Central City Opera, Tulsa Opera, Opera Memphis, Utah Festival Opera, and the Princeton Festival. With a voice described as “impeccable”, Jonathan is based in Chicago where he has appeared as soloist with The William Ferris Chorale in the American premiere of Joubert’s Five Songs of Incarnation and Somma’s Missa Pro Defunctis. You may also have seen him singing with the Grant Park Symphony Chorus, in Folks Operetta productions Johnny Johnson or The Csardas Princess, or in Chicago Fringe Opera productions Trouble In Tahiti, Turn of the Screw, and Song From the Uproar. Roles elsewhere range from Goro in Madama Butterfly & Beppe in I Pagliacci to Prince Charming in Cinderella & Frederic in Pirates of Penzance.

Jonathan served as an adjunct faculty member in the Preparatory Department at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and has maintained a private voice studio for more than a decade. Jonathan received a BA in Music Education from the School of Music at Western IL University and an MM in vocal performance from the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music (CCM)

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

The Long Christmas Dinner Charles 2018
The Great God Pan Clarke and Meyrick Cover 2018
Song from the Uproar Ensemble 2016
The Turn of the Screw Miles 2015
Chicago Fringe Opera’s Lakeside Soiree Soloist 2015
Voices in the Dark, Jazz & Trouble in Tahiti Tenor, Jazz Trio 2015

Artistic Team

Conductor

Catherine O'Shaughnessy

Conductor

A resident of Chicago, Illinois, Catherine O’Shaughnessy is an active orchestra and opera conductor both in the United States and abroad. In 2010, she made her international professional conducting debut as music director of the Mittelsächsisches Theater’s production of Pyramus und Thisbe in Freiberg, Germany; she has also conducted the Moscow Philharmonic and the Rousse Philharmonic (Rousse, Bulgaria) in concert. Avidly committed to Chicago’s dynamic opera scene, she founded Windy City Opera and conducted its first production (La bohème) in 2015. Additionally, she just completed her first collaboration with The Floating Opera Company and 42nd Parallel as conductor and music director for Don Giovanni. Catherine, a student of William Reber at Arizona State University, holds a B.M. from the University of Michigan and a M.M. from Bowling Green State University. In addition to her musical pursuits, Catherine is passionate about the role of the arts in philosophy and society. She currently serves as co-organizer for two philosophy meet-up groups and presented a paper on the philosophy of passion at the 2013 Humanities Conference at Lincoln University, PA.

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

The Great God Pan Conductor 2018
Lucrezia Conductor 2017
In the Penal Colony Conductor 2016
Director

Amy Hutchison

Director

Amy Hutchison has championed American opera throughout her career. Her production of Missy Mazzoli’s Song from the Uproar: The Lives and Deaths of Isabelle Eberhardt for Chicago Fringe Opera was hailed as “imaginative” and “striking… contemporary music theater.” She has directed William Bolcom’s A View from the Bridge for Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, Washington National Opera and Portland Opera. Her collaboration with Ricky Ian Gordon and Stacey Tappan, Once I Was: Songs by Ricky Ian Gordon, was staged at the Chicago Cultural Center and recorded on the Blue Griffin label. Hutchison’s production of William Grant Still’s epic masterwork Troubled Island for South Shore Opera Company was named the number one classical music event of 2013 by Andrew Patner in the Chicago Sun-Times. Hutchison has also directed: Joelle Lamarre’s The Violet Hour: the Life of Leontyne Price; Jonathan Stinson’s The March: A Civil Rights Opera Project and Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s Dream Lovers and African Romances for South Shore Opera Company. Other local productions include Leo Fall’s Madame Pompadour (Chicago Folks Operetta), Dido and Aeneas and The Telephone (Elgin Opera), Brigadoon (Music By the Lake), Faust (DuPage Opera), and Ned Rorem’s Our Town (DePaul Opera Theatre). Productions nationwide include Carmen (Kansas City, Milwaukee, Columbus), Turandot (Orlando), Don Pasquale (Indianapolis), La Traviata (Costa Mesa), Il Matrimonio Segreto (Boston), and Help, Help, the Globolinks! (Madison).

Ms. Hutchison has served on the directing staffs of Lyric Opera of Chicago and Houston Grand Opera. She has staged the Maurice Sendak production of Hänsel und Gretel for Opernhaus Zürich, The Juilliard School (televised for PBS: Live from Lincoln Center) and for the Canadian, San Diego, Indianapolis, and Baltimore opera companies. As Associate Director, Hutchison has staged Porgy and Bess throughout the United States and globally, including Milan’s Teatro alla Scala, L’Opéra National de Paris, Teatro La Fenice, and opera houses in Düsseldorf, Lucca and Tokyo.

Ms. Hutchison is a member of the faculty of The Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University, where she teaches Opera Workshop to Voice Performance majors.

Upcoming projects include: AS ONE for Chicago Fringe Opera, THE POET for South Shore Opera Company of Chicago, and A Donizetti double bill of IL PIGMALIONE and RITA for Chicago Opera Theatre.

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

As One Director 2017
Song from the Uproar Director 2016
Assistant Director & Stage Manager

Brad Caleb Lee

Assistant Director & Stage Manager

Brad Caleb Lee is a designer and assistant director whose collaborators, among others, include Chicago Fringe Opera, Filament Theatre, Hell In A Handbag, Pride Films & Plays, Theatre Tuscaloosa, Music Theatre Wales, ELANFrontoio, and Welsh National Opera. He co-designed the award-winning British Pavilion Make/Believe for the 2015 Prague Quadrennial and the subsequent exhibition at The Victoria & Albert Museum, London. Brad’s design for The Richard Burton Theatre Company’s Dogville was selected as part of World Stage Design 2017. He holds an MA w/Merit from The Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama and is a member of OISTAT, USITT, and SBTD.

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

Lucrezia Production Designer 2017
Song from the Uproar Assistant Director & Stage Manager 2016
Choreographer
Kia Smith
Projections & Paintings
Franny Mendes Levitin
Costumes
Janice Pytel
Lighting

Ted Nazarowski

Lighting

Ted Nazarowski has worked in many facets of theater throughout his career. In addition to his day job as a music and theater teacher in the Chicago Public Schools, Mr. Nazarowski has worked as a director, musician, and designer throughout the Chicago area. Recent lighting design credits include A Fool’s Journey (Misfit Circus), Lucrezia and Songs from the Uproar (Chicago Fringe Opera), The Violet Hour (South Shore Opera) and The Consul (Main Street Opera). He is thrilled to be working with such an amazingly talented cast and crew!

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

Lucrezia Lighting Designer 2017
Song from the Uproar Lighting Designer 2016
Sound
Chris Cvikota
Dancer
Reesie Davis
Dancer
Dedrick Gray
Piano
Tonia Miki
Electric Guitar
Danny Cohen
Flute
Jennifer Shanahan
Clarinet
Manuel Ramos
Double Bass
Jackson Kidder

Media