The Company

We Value Artistic Integrity, Musical Excellence, Collaboration, Community Engagement & Inclusion

Our Mission

Chicago Fringe Opera is dedicated to presenting innovative vocal works with an emphasis in the new and contemporary styles, engaging with the Chicago community through intimate and immersive performance experiences, and fostering and empowering local artists.

Our Vision: Chicago Fringe Opera is on the forefront of producing dynamic contemporary vocal works in the city of Chicago.

Julia Elise Hardin

Executive Director

Julia Elise Hardin

Executive Director, Mezzo-Soprano

Julia Elise Hardin, a native of Lawrence, KS, has been touted as a “powerful” and “expressive” singer drawing from her extensive acting background. She is a founding company ensemble member of Chicago Fringe Opera, and was previously Co-Company Manager and Manager of Finance (2014-2015).

As a singer, Ms. Hardin has performed principal and featured roles as a coloratura mezzo-soprano with Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Opera in the Neighborhoods, Chicago Opera Theater, the Castleton Festival (founded by the late Maestro Lorin Maazel), Florentine Opera, Central City Opera, the Fondazione Lirico in Bari, Italy, and more. Orchestral engagements have included regional performances with the Milwaukee Symphony, Grand Rapids Symphony, Rockford and Ft. Wayne Symphonies. Ms. Hardin garners accolades and awards from foundations such as NATSAA, Neue Stimmen, Chicago Union League, Bel Canto Foundation and the Friends of Austria. Julia performs regularly with Chicago groups Music of the Baroque, Aestas Consort and William Ferris Chorale. In 2011, she joined in celebrating the Grammy wins of Florentine Opera’s recording of Aldridge’s Elmer Gantry from the Naxos label, on which she is featured as Mrs. Baines.

In addition to her Executive Directorship with Chicago Fringe Opera, Hardin has worked the head of Development and Engagement and Fest Manager for Twickenham Fest, a chamber music festival located in Huntsville, AL.

Beginning with a career primarily based in theater and acting, Julia Elise Hardin followed with strict vocal training at Northwestern University. She continues study with Julia Faulkner. Hardin holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Kansas and a master’s from Northwestern University. She currently resides in Chicago with her husband.

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

Voices in the Dark, Jazz & Trouble in Tahiti Dinah 2015
Far Off Light Soloist 2015

Catherine O'Shaughnessy

Music Director

Catherine O'Shaughnessy

Music Director

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

George Cederquist

Artistic Director

George Cederquist

Artistic Director

George has directed new productions and opera scenes with Chicago Fringe Opera (where he is the Artistic Director), Pittsburgh Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Main Street Opera, Chicago Summer Opera, North Park University, Roosevelt University, and the Bay View Music Festival.

In September 2015, George launched ‘Opera Box Score’, America’s only weekly talk radio show about opera, broadcast live on WNUR Chicago.

One of ten Americans to receive the 2011-12 German Chancellor Fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, George served as a Regieassistent at the Staatstheater Darmstadt during his fellowship in Germany.

George’s training includes an MFA in Directing from Northwestern University, a BA in Theatre Studies and English from Yale University, and a Directing Fellowship at Wolf Trap Opera, as well as participating in the Resident Artist Program at Pittsburgh Opera and in the Merola Opera Program.

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

The Great God Pan Director 2018
Lucrezia Director 2017
In the Penal Colony Director 2016
The Turn of the Screw Director 2015
Voices in the Dark, Jazz & Trouble in Tahiti Director 2015
The Rape of Lucretia Director 2014

Giovanna Jacques

PR Director

Giovanna Jacques

PR Director, Mezzo Soprano

Mezzo-Soprano Giovanna Manilla Jacques has been actively involved in the Chicago opera scene. She has appeared in several of DePaul Opera Theater productions, portraying such roles as Bianca in Britten’s Rape of Lucretia, Mrs Peachum ThreePenny Opera, Florence Pike in Britten’s Albert Herring, The Duchess in Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Gondoliers and the witch in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas. She will next be heard singing the role of Mrs. Grose in the Chicago Fringe Opera’s production of Britten’s The Turn of the Screw.

She is the head of Development for the Chicago Fringe Opera and is also a founding member of the Chicago women’s ensemble Caritas, as well as a yearly participant in the PianoForte association’s Schubertiade. A native French speaker, she also served as the French language coach for CUBE’s production of La Tragédie de Carmen. She just returned from Los Angeles, where she was a part of the OperaWorks Emerging Artists Program. Though she was born and spent her childhood in San Francisco, Ms. Jacques spent her formative years in the South of France where she studied at the Conservatoire National de Toulon. She completed her Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance from DePaul University.

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

Fringe’s Holiday House Party Soloist 2015
The Turn of the Screw Mrs. Grose 2015
Chicago Fringe Opera’s Lakeside Soiree Soloist 2015
The Rape of Lucretia Bianca 2014

Jacquelyn Kress

Marketing & Events Director

Jacquelyn Kress

Marketing & Events Director, Mezzo-Soprano

Jacquelyn Kress, mezzo-soprano, is a recent graduate of the Opera Institute at Boston University. With the OI, Ms. Kress was seen as Annio (La Clemenza di Tito), Kate (Owen Wingrave), Jean (Le Portrait de Manon), Mother Marie (Dialogues of the Carmelites), and Fidalma (Il Matrimonio Segreto). She has also performed with the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s outreach program as Tisbe in La Cenerentola. Other performances include Hansel and Gretel (Hansel), La vie parisienne (Métella), The Pirates of Penzance (Ruth),Trouble in Tahiti (Dinah), L’enfant et les sortileges (L’écureuil/La chatte), The Mikado (Katisha), Roméo et Juliette (Stephano), Cosi fan tutte (Dorabella). She has also been on the international stage: Salzburg, Austria as Marcellina in Le nozze di Figaro, and Périgueux, France as the title role in Offenbach’s La Périchole. Ms. Kress has a BM from the University of Illinois, and a MM from Roosevelt University.

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

As One Hannah Before (cover) 2017
Fringe’s Holiday House Party Soloist 2015
Chicago Fringe Opera’s Lakeside Soiree Soloist 2015
2014 Christmas Celebration Soloist 2014

Brad Caleb Lee

Production Designer

Brad Caleb Lee

Production Designer

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

Jessie Lyons

Marketing Associate

Jessie Lyons

Marketing Associate, Soprano

Lyric soprano Jessie Lyons is one of the most promising performers of opera’s new generation. The Iowa native has been enthusiastically received by audiences in numerous productions in Italy and throughout the United States.

Jessie has been described as “an amazingly talented young lyric soprano [with] a unique voice that is strong and warm throughout her range,” and her “poise and natural stage presence put her at the top of the list among her current peers.”
(Matthew Chellis, international performing artist).

Of one performance, Stage West Des Moines director Paul Dieke said, “Jessie has an exciting voice, brilliant and powerful, with secure, well-developed high tones. She was musically accurate and approached her roles with sensitivity and expressiveness. Dramatically, she was superb. Her anger/fight scene was mesmerizing.”

Jessie has performed numerous roles with various opera companies. Among her finest achievements to date are her performances of Alice Ford in Verdi’s Falstaff, Musetta in Puccini’s La bohème, La Ciesca in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, and Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni with La Musica Lirica in Italy. She has also performed as Alice Ford in Otto Nicolai’s The Merry Wives of Windsor and Lady Billows in Britten’s Albert Herring at Luther College, and Mimi in American Chamber Opera’s production of La bohème. In addition, she has sung with the Taos Opera Institute in Taos, New Mexico. Following that, Jessie performed with the Des Moines Metropolitan Opera in their 40th anniversary season, singing in Puccini’s La Rondine and Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, and scenes from Britten’s Turn of the Screw, Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande, Smetana’s The Bartered Bride, Mozart’s Cosí Fan Tutte, and Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music.

Jessie holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Luther College and a Master’s Degree from Roosevelt University’s “Chicago College of Performing Arts.” After finishing her Master’s Degree, Jessie spent a summer in New York City participating in the Manhattan School of Music Summer Festival.

Most recently, Jessie took part in Madison Opera’s 2013-14 resident artist program in Madison, Wisconsin, where she covered the title role in Puccini’s Tosca and sang Sister Catherine (and covered Sister Rose) in Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking.

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

The Long Christmas Dinner Lucia/Lucia II 2018
2016-17 Season Opening Gala Soloist 2016
Fringe’s Holiday House Party Soloist 2015
The Turn of the Screw Miss Jessel* 2015

Ted Nazarowski

Technical Director

Ted Nazarowski

Technical Director

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

Isabelle Rund

Resident Stage Manager

Isabelle Rund

Resident Stage Manager

Isabelle Rund is a new resident of the Chicago area. Since arriving she has had the opportunity to work with Chicago Folks Operetta and Spartan Theatre in addition to Chicago Fringe Opera. Rund is previously from St. Louis, MO. While there she had the opportunity to Stage Manage at the Loretto Hilton Center, the Fabulous Fox Theatre and the Tennessee Williams Festival. Isabelle will Stage Manage As One and The Great God Pan for Chicago Fringe Opera this
season. Rund is a graduate of the Stage Management program at the Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Webster University.

Jenny Schuler

Brand, Web & Design Director

Jenny Schuler

Brand, Web & Design Director, Soprano

Soprano Jenny Schuler has earned praise in recent seasons for her powerful vocalism and compelling stage artistry. In 2018 she joins Indiana University as a guest artist in the title role of Ariadne auf Naxos as well as debuting the comic role of Berta in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Sugar Creek Opera. She also appears in a recital for Chicago Fringe Opera and as a soloist with Chicago Folks Operetta in their Reclaimed Voices Series. In December 2018, Ms. Schuler will make her Oregon Symphony debut as the soprano soloist in Beethoven’s 9th Symphony and will return in February 2019 for their production of Hänsel und Gretel.

In 2017, Ms. Schuler debuted the title roles of Ariadne auf Naxos and Catán’s Florencia en el Amazonas, both with the A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute, and covered the role of Leonore in the Princeton Festival’s production of Fidelio. Additional roles in her repertoire have included Micaëla in La tragédie de Carmen, Anaide in Nino Rota’s Il cappello di paglia di Firenze, Female Chorus in The Rape of Lucretia, and Alice Ford in Falstaff.

Ms. Schuler has recently placed as a semi-finalist in Shreveport Opera’s Mary Jacobs Smith Competition, finalist in the Marcello Giordani International Voice Competition, and first prize recipient in the Heafner–Williams Vocal Competition. Ms. Schuler earned her Artist Diploma from the A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute, her Master of Music from Chicago College of Performing Arts, and a double Bachelor of Arts in Music and Graphic Design from Trinity Christian College.

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

2016 Holiday House Party Soloist 2016
Chicago Fringe Opera’s Lakeside Soiree Soloist 2015
Voices in the Dark, Jazz & Trouble in Tahiti Girl, Jazz Trio 2015
2014 Christmas Celebration Soloist 2014
The Rape of Lucretia Female Chorus 2014

Laura Smalley

Development Director

Laura Smalley

Development Director, Soprano

Soprano Laura Smalley is currently a senior at DePaul University School of Music, where she has performed with DePaul Opera Theatre in shows like The Magic Flute, Fairy Queen, L’Orfeo, Street Scene, Suor Angelica, and L’incoronazione di Poppea. She is a founding member of two Chicago-based ensembles: Micro Opera Ensemble, with whom she recently sang the role of Miss Pinkerton in Menotti’s The Old Maid and the Thief; and The Slotted Spoon Initiative, who last year wrote and performed Sorry-Grateful: an Original Sondheim Revue. She also performs with the all-female contemporary music ensemble Noise Bias. Soprano Laura Smalley is currently a senior at DePaul University School of Music, where she has performed with DePaul Opera Theatre in shows like The Magic Flute, Fairy Queen, L’Orfeo, Street Scene, Suor Angelica, and L’incoronazione di Poppea. She is a founding member of two Chicago-based ensembles: Micro Opera Ensemble, with whom she recently sang the role of Miss Pinkerton in Menotti’s The Old Maid and the Thief; and The Slotted Spoon Initiative, who last year wrote and performed Sorry-Grateful: an Original Sondheim Revue. She also performs with the all-female contemporary music ensemble Noise Bias.

An Iowa native, she spent the past summer as Marketing and Development intern with Des Moines Metro Opera. Currently she is the Development intern with Stage 773 in Chicago.

An Iowa native, she spent the past summer as Marketing and Development intern with Des Moines Metro Opera. Currently she is the Development intern with Stage 773 in Chicago.

Jonathan Zeng

Artist & Board Liaison

Jonathan Zeng

Artist & Board Liaison, Tenor

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

Melanie Lunardi

Marketing & Development Intern

Melanie Lunardi

Marketing & Development Intern

After studying vocal performance at DePaul University, Melanie Lunardi shifted her focus towards arts administration. As Merit School of Music’s Voice and Guitar Program Director, she aims to create unique music programs designed to empower and inspire young musicians all across Chicago. In addition to her work in community music education, Melanie is currently pursing her Masters of Science in Leadership for Creative Enterprises at Northwestern University. She has long been a performer and patron with the arts community in Chicago, and is beyond delighted to be part of Chicago Fringe Opera family!

Board Members

Matthew Godfrey
President
Karianne Wardell
Treasurer

Giovanna Jacques

Secretary, Mezzo Soprano

Mezzo-Soprano Giovanna Manilla Jacques has been actively involved in the Chicago opera scene. She has appeared in several of DePaul Opera Theater productions, portraying such roles as Bianca in Britten’s Rape of Lucretia, Mrs Peachum ThreePenny Opera, Florence Pike in Britten’s Albert Herring, The Duchess in Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Gondoliers and the witch in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas. She will next be heard singing the role of Mrs. Grose in the Chicago Fringe Opera’s production of Britten’s The Turn of the Screw.

She is the head of Development for the Chicago Fringe Opera and is also a founding member of the Chicago women’s ensemble Caritas, as well as a yearly participant in the PianoForte association’s Schubertiade. A native French speaker, she also served as the French language coach for CUBE’s production of La Tragédie de Carmen. She just returned from Los Angeles, where she was a part of the OperaWorks Emerging Artists Program. Though she was born and spent her childhood in San Francisco, Ms. Jacques spent her formative years in the South of France where she studied at the Conservatoire National de Toulon. She completed her Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance from DePaul University.

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

Fringe’s Holiday House Party Soloist 2015
The Turn of the Screw Mrs. Grose 2015
Chicago Fringe Opera’s Lakeside Soiree Soloist 2015
The Rape of Lucretia Bianca 2014
Emmet Hogan
Board
Nicole Benuier
Board

Artistic Ally

Cody Michael Bradley

Pianist*

Cody Michael Bradley is a Chicago-based musician with experience as a singer, pianist, vocal coach, music director, and conductor. Currently, on the voice faculty of Loyola University, he has previously worked at the College Light Opera Company (MA) and spent one season at Opera in the Ozarks (AR) as both singer and pianist. In 2016 he returned for his second season as a piano fellow at the Bay View Music Festival (MI), where he also conducted part of an opera scenes program. Recent regional credits include productions with Chicago Fringe Opera, Petite Opera Productions, and Thompson Street Opera. Cody works with numerous schools, churches, and community service groups as a pianist and serves as a vocalist and apprentice conductor with the Apollo Chorus of Chicago.

M.M. Vocal Coaching – Oklahoma City University
B.A. Vocal Music – Northwest Missouri State University

*Artistic Ally

Katherine Bruton

Soprano*

Soprano Katherine Bruton’s clear voice and vibrant characterization bring opera and art song to life. Her nuanced musicality and virtuosic vocal fireworks have earned her the roles of Miss Silverpeal/The Impresario, Mabel/The Pirates of Penzance, Le feu (The Fire)/L’enfant et les sortileges (The Child and the Spells), and Virtù (Virtue)/L’incoronazione di Poppea (The Coronation of Poppea), among others. She has also appeared with Pasadena Opera, the critically-acclaimed Pacific Opera Project, and OperaUCLA, among others.

An advocate of new opera, Ms. Bruton has been a part of several operatic premieres. Recently, Ms. Bruton has performed in the Chicago premieres of contemporary one-act operas as Darling Donnis/The Final Battle for Love by Philip Thompson, Sang Kancil the Mouse Deer/The Mouse Deer and the Crocodile by Hong-Da Chin, and Wing Tip/The Rootabaga Stories by Yvonne Freckmann with Thompson Street Opera Company. She also had the privilege of creating the role of “La Saborini” in the world premiere of The Dove and The Nightingale by American composer Roger Bourland. Upcoming performances include the world premiere of Ross Crean’s opera Lost Daughters as The Queen of the Night with Another Voice Collaborative in partnership with Resonanz Opera and future engagements with Thompson Street Opera Company.

Ms. Bruton also has a passion for art song, especially new art song. She has given premieres of several art songs and art song cycles, including Littles by Michelle Isaac and Personal Weather by Pin Hsing Lin. While at SongFest in Los Angeles, CA, Ms. Bruton had the privilege of working with fabulous collaborative pianists Graham Johnson, Martin Katz, Margo Garrett, and Kathleen Tagg. She has also performed in concert with American composer John Musto. Her passion for art song also extends to Russian art song, which she has performed consistently since Russian baritone Vladimir Chernov introduced her to the language and repertoire during her undergraduate studies at UCLA.

Ms. Bruton is pursuing her Masters of Music degree from the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, where she studies with soprano Judith Haddon. She also received bachelors’ degrees in vocal performance and music education from UCLA, where she studied with Vladimir Chernov. She is a proud OperaWorks alumna and has also attended Songfest in Los Angeles, CA and the Summer in Payerbach Opera Intensive in Austria.

*Artistic Ally

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

The Great God Pan Helen and Mary Cover 2018

Matthan Ring Black

Baritone*

Matthan Ring Black, baritone, holds a Master’s Degree in Opera Performance from Wichita State University and a Professional Diploma from the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University where he spent two years as a Young Artist with Chicago Opera Theater. Matthan has recently performed the roles of Don Alvaro and Dandini in Rossini’s Il Viaggio a Reims and La Cenerentola, Huy/The Doctor in the Chicago premiere of Daron Hagen’s Amelia at CCPA and Roderick Usher in a new realization of Debussy’s unfinished La Chute de Maison de Usher.

Matthan is also committed to classical vocal music in recital and concert. He recently performed in song recitals honoring the 50th anniversary of the death of Francis Poulenc and selections from La Traviata and A Midsummer Night’s Dream to celebrate the birthdays of Verdi and Britten. Matthan is also passionate about the preservation of art song in English through nontraditional performances of songs from composers such as John Adams, Ernst Bacon, Leonard Bernstein, Jake Heggie, and Lee Hoiby.

Matthan recently made his main stage debut with Chicago Opera Theatre as Vagabond #2 in Carl Orff’s Die Kluge and will be featured as an Apprentice Artist with Opera Southwest this October. Matthan will be also performing the role of Tarquinius in Candid Concert Opera’s The Rape of Lucretia in November. Other performances include Papageno (Die Zauberflöte), Sid (Albert Herring), Guglielmo (Cosi fan tutte), L’horloge Comtoise (L’enfant et les sortileges), Henry Davis (Street Scene), and The Lord High Chancellor (Iolanthe).

*Artistic Ally

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

Lucrezia Chucho 2017
In the Penal Colony The Officer 2016
Fringe’s Holiday House Party Soloist 2015
Chicago Fringe Opera’s Lakeside Soiree Soloist 2015
2014 Christmas Celebration Soloist 2014
The Rape of Lucretia Tarquinius 2014

John Cockerill

Pianist*

John Cockerill is a coach and music director for opera and musical theatre. Recent productions include First Lady Suite, Young Frankenstein, Xanadu, Argento’s The Boor, Wargo’s Seduction of a Lady, and High Fidelity. He holds a M.M. in Collaborative Piano from the University of Colorado-Boulder, and a M.M. in Musicology and a B.M. in Piano Performance from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

*Artistic Ally

Alumni

Aaron Wardell

Baritone

Aaron Wardell has been praised for his attractive, versatile baritone and is a sought-after performer in both opera and concert. He recently sang Yamadori in the Castleton Festival’s production of Madama Butterfly, where he was called a “young, handsome hunk” by the Washington Post. He has appeared with Opera Tampa, Dayton Opera, Elgin Opera, Chamber Opera Chicago, Central City Opera and internationally at Teatro National de Sucre in numerous roles including Dancaïro (Carmen), Marcello (La Bohème), Marco (Gianni Schicchi) and the title role in Don Giovanni.

Equally at home on the concert stage, his oratorio credits include Adam in Haydn’s Die Schöpfung, Mozart’s Mass in C Minor, Stravinsky’s Les Noces, Vaughan Williams’ Sea Symphony, Handel’s Messiah, Brahms’ Requiem, and both Bach Passions.

Aaron holds a Bachelor of Music from Western Michigan University, and earned a Master of Music in vocal performance and an Artist Diploma in opera from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

The Great God Pan Raymond 2018
Chicago Fringe Opera’s Lakeside Soiree Soloist 2015
Voices in the Dark, Jazz & Trouble in Tahiti Sam 2015
2014 Christmas Celebration Soloist 2014
The Rape of Lucretia Junius 2014

Alexandra Enyart

Conductor

Alex Enyart is an orchestra and opera conductor with a focus on new music. She had her international premiere with the Tomsk Philharmonic Orchestra in Russia in 2016, and has worked as an apprentice with the Louisville Orchestra and Kentucky Opera. She began focusing on contemporary opera with Thompson Street Opera Company in Louisville, KY where she also received her Masters in Orchestral Conducting. When the company moved to Chicago, she came with them and took the position of Music Director starting in the 2017-2018 season. Alex has also won the CODA conducting competition and as a result was invited to work with Anthony Maeillo. She has also had the privilege to work and study with Kimcherie Lloyd, Joe Mechavich, Harold Farberman, Teddy Abrams, and Donald Portnoy among many others.

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

As One Conductor 2017

Alyssa Arrigo

Pianist

Alyssa Arrigo is the current artist-in-residence collaborative artist at the Chicago College of Performing Arts and a Young Artist at Chicago Opera Theater. She is also an adjunct faculty member at Moraine Valley Community College where she teaches piano and lecture classes.

A Chicago native, Alyssa is a graduate of the esteemed Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. While completing her masters degree, Alyssa worked as an opera coach and rehearsal pianist for the IU Opera Theater in shows like Albert Herring, Faust, A View From the Bridge, Candide and the world premiere of Bernard Rand’s Vincent. She regularly performs with small opera companies around Chicago.

Ms. Arrigo is an avid collaborator. In 2011 she was seen with tenor Andrew Lunsford at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. She has traveled annually to Las Vegas, Nevada, to perform at the annual Food and Beverage Forum with acclaimed tenor, Carlos Montane.

A veteran of numerous summer festivals, Alyssa was has been a part of the Aspen Music Festival and School, Vladamir Feltsman’s PianoSummer and made her Italian debut while playing for opera singers in Montecatini Terme, Italy as part of the Italian Operatic Experience.

Ms. Arrigo maintains a small private studio and also teaches at the Beverly Arts Center in Chicago.

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

2016 Holiday House Party Pianist 2016
Fringe’s Holiday House Party Pianist 2015
Chicago Fringe Opera’s Lakeside Soiree Pianist 2015
Voices in the Dark, Jazz & Trouble in Tahiti Pianist 2015
The Rape of Lucretia Pianist 2014

Amber Treadway

Production Design Intern

Amber is a senior BFA candidate in Directing at Columbia College Chicago, where she recently wrote and directed Frogs (Remix), an original adaptation of Aristophanes’ The Frogs. Past directing credits include Mud, Not Not Not Not Not Enough Oxygen, Dean Talbot & the Search for America (Columbia College Chicago) and Le Nozze di Figaro (OperaRox Productions.) Lucrezia is her second production with Fringe Opera, where she stage managed Turn of the Screw in 2015. Amber returns to OperaRox this summer to direct the NY premiere of Griffin Candey’s Sweets by Kate at the Stonewall Inn.

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

The Turn of the Screw Stage Manager 2015

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

Angela De Venuto

Soprano

Chicago native Angela De Venuto’s vibrant soprano and magnetic stage presence has brought her to perform such roles as Adele (Die Fledermaus), the title role of Angélique (Ibert), Emily Webb (Our Town), Fiametta (The Gondoliers), and Peep-Bo (The Mikado) with DePaul Opera Theatre, and Lady Saphir (Patience) with Savoyaires.

Recently, Angela has performed self-produced recitals: An Evening of Art Song, and Sending Our Love (a benefit recital for Illinois tornado victims). She also performed scenes as Sophie (Der Rosenkavalier) with the Northwest Chicago Symphony and scenes as Countess (Le Nozze di Figaro) at Northwestern University, was soprano soloist for Vivaldi’s Gloria, and covered the role of Musetta (La bohéme) with Kor Productions. She occasionally performs throughout the country as soprano soloist with composer and pianist Eric Genuis in venues ranging from concert halls to maximum-security prisons.

In concert, Angela has performed works from Vivaldi, Handel, and Monteverdi to respected American composers such as John Cage and Thomas Pasatieri. A prolific recitalist, Angela has performed composers such as Respighi, Chausson, Dowland, Barber, Libby Larsen, and Previn. In 2013, Angela was the winner of the Raimondi Scholarship and in 2012, the LiPuma Scholarship in the Casa Italia Vocal Competitions. Angela trained in the Advanced Artist Program with OperaWorks during the summer of 2014 and received her B.M. in Vocal Performance from DePaul University.

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

Fringe’s Holiday House Party Soloist 2015
The Turn of the Screw Miss Jessel 2015

Ashley Armstrong

Mezzo-Soprano

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

Audrey Q Snyder

Cellist

Audrey Q. Snyder is a cellist in Chicago, Illinois.  An advocate of contemporary music, she currently plays as part of the Chicago-based Zafa Collective, a new music group founded with the idea of inclusivity (both in programming and performance) at its core.  Audrey is also a member of the Houndstooth String Quartet, which focuses on contemporary music in its programming. Miss Snyder also regularly plays popular music, having performed several times with folk artist Emily Mure at venues including Club Passim, Rockwood Music Hall, and The Living Room, and can be heard on Emily’s upcoming 2017 album. In 2016, she played with the national tour of The Bridges of Madison County.  Most recently, Audrey has subbed on Hamilton: An American Musical in Chicago. Audrey holds a B.M. and M.M. (with an Arts Leadership Certificate) from the Eastman School, where she studied with Alan Harris.Audrey Q. Snyder is a cellist in Chicago, Illinois.  An advocate of contemporary music, she currently plays as part of the Chicago-based Zafa Collective, a new music group founded with the idea of inclusivity (both in programming and performance) at its core.  Audrey is also a member of the Houndstooth String Quartet, which focuses on contemporary music in its programming. Miss Snyder also regularly plays popular music, having performed several times with folk artist Emily Mure at venues including Club Passim, Rockwood Music Hall, and The Living Room, and can be heard on Emily’s upcoming 2017 album. In 2016, she played with the national tour of The Bridges of Madison County.  Most recently, Audrey has subbed on Hamilton: An American Musical in Chicago. Audrey holds a B.M. and M.M. (with an Arts Leadership Certificate) from the Eastman School, where she studied with Alan Harris.

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

As One Cellist 2017

Becca Jeffords

Lighting Designer

Becca Jeffords is a freelance lighting designer who works across the midwest and southeast. She has had the pleasure of designing Turn of the Screw and In the Penal Colony for Chicago Fringe Opera. Some other Chicago credits include lighting design for Lifeline Theatre, Porchlight Music Theatre, Raven Theatre, Chicago Children’s Theatre, About Face Theatre, Steep, The New Colony, Redmoon and Steppenwolf Garage Series. New York credits include Cherry Lane Theatre and the NYC Fringe Festival. Becca received her BFA in Production Design from Columbus State University and her Masters in Lighting Design from Northwestern University.

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

In the Penal Colony Lighting Designer 2016
The Turn of the Screw Lighting Designer 2015

Bridget Skaggs

Mezzo Soprano

American mezzo-soprano Bridget Skaggs’s performances have been acclaimed across the U.S. and Europe. As a young artist with Opera Theater of Pittsburgh Ms. Skaggs sang Charlotte in A Little Night Music and Darléne in the world premiere of Night Caps International. She is a two-time recipient of the Vocal Chamber Music Fellowship with Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago, an intensive art song training program. This season she performs Austin/The Great God Pan (Chicago Fringe Opera), and the world premiere of I-THOU, a new song cycle by Wayland Rogers (Fourth Coast Ensemble). Other credits include Tangolita/Ball at the Savoy (Chicago Folks Operetta), Quickly/Falstaff (/kor/ Productions), Carmen/Carmen (Lake Forest Civic Orchestra), concert soloist/Anton Bruckner’s Te Deum (Blue Lake International), festival soloist/Baroque on Beaver Festival (Beaver Island, MI). She is a frequent curator and recitalist with the vocal quartet Fourth Coast Ensemble, which she co-founded in 2013. Ms. Skaggs holds a B.M. and M.M. from Oklahoma City University, where operatic credits include Flora/La Traviata, Prince Orlofsky/Die Fledermaus, and Secretary/The Consul.

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

The Great God Pan Austin 2018

Caitlin McLeod

Costume Designer

Caitlin McLeod (Costume Designer) is ecstatic to make her Chicago Fringe Opera debut with this production. Caitlin is a costume and scenic designer, puppet enthusiast, traveler, and dreamer. Most recent credits include: Stellaluna (Northbrook Theatre), Men on Boats (Hollins University), Beauty’s Daughter (American Blues Theatre), and Crazy for You (Drury Lane), along with many assistant credits (Marriott, Drury Lane, Lookingglass Theatre). Outside her work in traditional theatre, Caitlin utilizes art as a catalyst to break the mundane through street art, performance art, and toy theatre. She earned her MFA at Northwestern University.

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

The Great God Pan Costume Designer 2018

Casey Baker

Collaborative Pianist

Pianist/coach Casey Baker, a native of Flushing, Michigan has performed as a soloist, collaborative pianist, and coach for vocalists. He has spent six summers as a coach and pianist for the Musical Theatre Program at the Interlochen Center for the Arts with previous works including Oklahoma, Les Misérables, Crazy for You, Catch Me if You Can, and Evita. Other work includes coaching Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi for Opera Venezuela, The Light in the Piazza at Grand Valley State University, Rodrigo with L’Aurora Nuovo, and Falstaff and Offenbach’s Orphée aux enfers at the University of Illinois Lyric Theater. Casey received an undergraduate degree from Grand Valley State University, studying with Robert Byrens and Helen Marlais, an MM from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, studying with Julie Gunn and Cynthia Hayman-Coleman, and an artist diploma from the Chicago College of Performing Arts studying with Scott Gilmore. While at CCPA he was an apprentice coach and pianist with Chicago Opera Theatre. Previous works include Cabildo, L’enfant et les sortilèges, CCPA; The Fairy Queen, Gianni Schicchi, Lucio Silla, Le Vin Herbé, The Perfect American, Chicago Opera Theatre.

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

The Great God Pan Rehearsal & Performance Pianist 2018

Chris Cvikota

Sound Designer

Chris Cvikota is a Chicago-based Sound and Lighting Technician. He is a graduate of Illinois State University with a degree in Theatre Design/Production with an emphasis in sound and lighting design. Chris has been actively involved in Chicago with many organizations including Northwestern University, Court Theatre, and Music Theatre Works. His summers have taken him to the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, Hope Summer Repertory Theatre, and the world-renowned Santa Fe Opera. While in Chicago, Chris has collaborated on a number of projects with Jeff-award winning sound designer, Jeffrey Levin. He looks forward to his continued collaboration with Mr. Levin and the Chicago theatre community.

Christina Pecce

Soprano

Praised for her “astounding vocal expressivity” and “soaring full voice”, soprano Christina Pecce is a singing-actress who crosses over the genres of opera, musical theatre, jazz, and performance art. This season, she performed in the inaugural Diva Cage Match with Out Of The Box Opera at Uppercut Boxing Gym in Minneapolis and premiered her one-woman cabaret entitled Witches, Bitches, & Divas! at Davenport’s Piano Bar in Chicago. She was featured as an Apprentice Artist for Fort Worth Opera’s 2016-2017 season performing the roles of Frasquita in Carmen and Mother’s Ghost in the world premiere of Voir Dire by composer Matthew Peterson.

A native of Boston, Ms. Pecce has performed the roles of Anne in Heggie’s To Hell and Back and Armida in Rinaldo with Boston Opera Collaborative. Additionally in the Boston area, Christina has performed the title role in Mary Poppins, Vivienne (Legally Blonde), Dottie (Show Boat), and Mrs. Segstrom (A Little Night Music). She is a proud member of the Actor’s Equity Association. In 2015, she took part in the U.S. premiere of Lee Mingwei’s Sonic Blossom, a performance art piece featured at The Museum of Fine Arts. She is a graduate of The Boston Conservatory (MM Opera Performance).

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

The Great God Pan Helen 2018

Codrut Birsan

Conductor

Born in Brasov, Romania, Codrut Birsan began piano lessons at age 6 and at 17 accompanied for Opera Brasov. A former singer, Birsan studied at the Bucharest Conservatory and as a young musician he received instruction from Prof. Georgeta Stoleriu. In 2005, Birsan moved to the United States and obtained his Master of Music after receiving a scholarship from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Here Birsan began collaborations as an accompanist to singers and instrumentalists. Later, as an accompanist at the University of Wisconsin, Birsan began conducting larger instrumental ensembles and coached a wider range of singers, primarily focusing on opera, style, and performance practice. These collaborations would later become the catalyst and framework from which he would build Candid Concert Opera.

Birsan is a regular collaborator with Lyric Opera of Chicago and has served as music director for Opera in the Neighborhoods, Lyric’s vibrant outreach which brings opera productions to suburban and city schools. Recently, Birsan also accompanied a masterclass taught by renowned soprano, Renee Fleming. He has worn a number of professional hats and his musical credits include accompanist and opera coach with the San Francisco Lyric Opera, Livermoore Opera, Bay Area Summer Opera Theater Institute (BASOTI), and with the Opera Academy of California.

Also a capable and respected composer, in 2010 Birsan composed a portion of the score to “The World According to Ion B,” an acclaimed documentary originally premiering on HBO which later received an International Emmy Award.

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

Fringe’s Holiday House Party Pianist 2015
The Turn of the Screw Conductor / Pianist 2015
Chicago Fringe Opera’s Lakeside Soiree Pianist 2015
Voices in the Dark, Jazz & Trouble in Tahiti Conductor 2015
2014 Christmas Celebration Pianist 2014
The Rape of Lucretia Conductor 2014

Danielle Taylor

Violinist / Violist

Danielle Taylor is a violinist and violist in the Chicago area. She holds degrees from Oberlin College and Oberlin Conservatory, where she studied with Gregory Fulkerson and is completing her Masters at Northwestern University where she works with her mentors, Blair Milton and Victor Yampolsky. A passionate advocate for arts education and inclusion, Danielle has been a member of Chicago Sinfonietta and the Grant Park Music Festival’s Project Inclusion program and maintains a busy teaching schedule in addition to performing with groups including The Zafa Collective and Chicago Solisti.

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

As One Violist 2017

David Govertsen

Baritone

Chicago native David Govertsen recently completed his tenure as a member of the Ryan Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago where his mainstage assignments included roles in The Magic Flute, Boris Godunov, Werther and Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. He returned to Lyric this season to sing the Haushofmeister in Capriccio.

In addition to his work on the Lyric stage, this season Mr. Govertsen appeared as the Apparition in Macbeth with the Chicago Symphony under the baton of Maestro Riccardo Muti. Other operatic highlights of the season include featured roles in double bills at both Santa Fe Opera and Chicago Opera Theater, as well as Don Magnifico in La Cenerentola with Candid Concert Opera, Zaccaria in Nabucco with da Corneto Opera, and Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor with Main Street Opera.

Mr. Govertsen made his Carnegie Hall debut as the Herald in Otello with the Chicago Symphony conducted by Riccardo Muti. He is an alumnus of both the Santa Fe and Central City Opera apprentice programs and holds degrees from Northwestern University, Northern Illinois University and the College of DuPage.

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

The Rape of Lucretia Collatinus 2014

Diana Stoic

Soprano

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

Elyse Kakacek

Soprano

Elyse Kakacek has been acclaimed by Chicago critics as “a young singer with vocal heft” with a “sparkling soprano voice” and “pleasing ability to navigate the stage”. She has been seen in various stage roles including Nedda, Susanna, Pamina, Frasquita, Clorinda, Adele and Ida in Die Fledermaus, Despina, Gretel, Zerlina, Papagena, Yumyum and Peep-Bo in The Mikado, and Sieglinde Lessing in Music in the Air. She also was in the cast of Spirit of the Dance in Niagara Falls as a featured soloist for Spirit Productions.

She has performed with The Cobalt Opera, Candid Concert Opera, Music by the Lake, Petite Opera Productions, American Chamber Opera Company, The Gilbert and Sullivan Company of Chicago, The Savoyaires and the DePaul Opera Theatre. She made her musical theatre debut at age seventeen as Dari in a middle-eastern pop-opera Sitaram with Lookingglass Theatre.

Her next adventure will be portraying the role of Despina in The Floating Opera Company’s inaugural production of Cosi fan tutte in the fall. Miss Kakacek will also be singing the role of Alice with Chicago Opera Playhouse during their 2014-2015 season production of Alice in Wonderland by Adam Busch. On the concert stage, she has appeared as soloist in Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy at the International Beethoven Festival in Chicago, Mendelssohn’s Elijah (The Youth), and in Schubert’s Mass in G. Elyse was a Finalist in both Chicago’s Opera Idol Competition and in the Opera Professional division for The American Prize: Virginia Schorr Memorial Award in 2013.

Miss Kakacek is honored to be a member of the Black Box Acting Studio family where she has completed four levels of study in the Sanford Meisner Method. She has participated in several summer training programs including Chicago Summer Opera, Operaworks, The Amalfi Coast Music Festival and the Opera Training Institute of Chicago. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance from DePaul University and currently studies voice with Winifred Faix Brown in Chicago.

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

Fringe’s Holiday House Party Soloist 2015
The Turn of the Screw Flora 2015
Chicago Fringe Opera’s Lakeside Soiree Soloist 2015
The Rape of Lucretia Lucia 2014

Emelinda Escobar

Violinist

Emelinda Escobar is a Chicago-based professional violinist who plays with Quad City Symphony, Heartland Festival Orchestra, and The Zafa Collective. She is on the faculty of Glenbrook North High School in Northbrook and maintains a private studio in both Evanston and Lincoln Park. She graduated from Northwestern University with her MM having studied under Gerardo Ribeiro and was concertmaster of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago 2014-2016 and has played with professional orchestras including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. She has been a soloist with the South Loop Orchestra and has performed with Yo-Yo Ma on Chicago’s WFMT broadcast. Her festival credits include attending Meadowmount as a teaching assistant in addition to the Green Mountain Music Festival, Aria Music Festival, Triada, and Okemo Mountain Music Festival.

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

As One Violinist 2017

Emma Sorenson

Mezzo-Soprano

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

Eric Staves

Actor

Eric Staves is honored to be working with Chicago Fringe Opera for the first time. Chicago credits include: Posh (Steep Theatre Co.), Love and Human Remains (Cor Theatre), Heat Wave (Cold Basement Dramatics), Half Price Cosmos (Bread and Roses). Televison: Empire (Fox). Film: The View From Tall (Official 2016 LA Film Festival Selection) and Goat (Paramount). You can also catch Eric on the popular Web Series, P.O.P.S. on YouTube. Eric is represented by Gray Talent Group.

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

In the Penal Colony Prisoner 2016
Erik Barry
Lighting Designer

Gabriel Di Gennaro

Bass-Baritone

Since moving to Chicago in 2011, Gabriel Di Gennaro has had the pleasure of working with many of the vibrant companies in and around its neighborhoods. In 2018 Gabriel dives into two characters as Roderick & Sam in Hindemith’s The Long Christmas Dinner with Chicago Fringe Opera. In 2017 Gabriel was featured in the role of Ignacio, a less than savory father-to-be, in Bolcom’s Lucretia with Chicago Fringe Opera.

Chicago audiences have witnessed Gabriel in several military roles including the titular role of Johnny Johnson (Folks Operetta), Colonel Calverley in Patience (Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Company), and General Pervoyedov in Bobok (Thompson Street Opera). Other highlights include Figaro in Petite Opera Productions’ The Barber of Seville as well as the world premieres of Rhys Williams in Evanston Chamber Opera Company’s For Those in Peril and Jimmy in The Floating Opera Company’s composite opera War and Peace. Gabriel is an alumnus of the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, the University of Delaware, OperaWorks, the College Light Opera Company, and the young artist programs of Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre, Pittsburgh Festival Opera, and Chicago Summer Opera.

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

Lucrezia Ignacio 2017

Gillian Hollis

Soprano

Gillian Hollis, soprano, studied opera and vocal performance as an undergraduate at the University of Maryland and a Master’s student at Northwestern University. She has performed with many companies in the U.S. including Madison Opera, Ash Lawn Opera, Chicago Folks Operetta, and Main Street Opera. Ms. Hollis is a winner of the Classical Singer Competition, the Virginia Maier Cooper Award, and a two-time Union League Civic and Arts Competition finalist. She is currently touring with Madison-based Opera for the Young as Beauty in their operatic adaptation of Beauty and the Beast, and will return next season as Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute. She is delighted to join Chicago Fringe Opera as Flora in Britten’s Turn of the Screw.

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

Chicago Fringe Opera’s Lakeside Soiree Soloist 2015

Hannah Christiansen

Violinist

Artistic Director of The Zafa Collective, Hannah Christiansen is a Chicago-based violinist. She holds degrees from Oberlin College, Oberlin Conservatory, and Northwestern University, where she studied with Milan Vitek and Gerardo Ribeiro, respectively. A member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Ms. Christiansen has been featured as a soloist with the Northwestern University Baroque Music Ensemble and Contemporary Music Ensemble. In the summers, Ms. Christiansen has been a chamber music fellow at the Manchester Music Festival and at le Domaine Forget, and has been heard in halls including Carnegie Hall (NYC), Ozawa Hall (Tanglewood), the Mozarteum (Salzburg), and Dvorak Hall (Prague). A sports enthusiast, Ms. Christiansen is a writer for Inside Lacrosse in her spare time.

 

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

As One Violinist 2017

Jared Esguerra

Tenor

A Chicago native, Jared received his B.M. from DePaul University in 2012 where he studied with Christopher Lorimer. There, he was cast in a number of leading roles such as Gabriel Von Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus and Luiz in The Gondoliers through DePaul Opera Theater. He recently was an apprentice artist at Sarasota Opera for their 2014 winter season.

Currently, he studies with Julia Faulker while being a chorister for the Lyric Opera of Chicago and for the Chicago Symphony Chorus.

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

2016 Holiday House Party Solois 2016
Fringe’s Holiday House Party Soloist 2015
The Turn of the Screw Miles* 2015
Chicago Fringe Opera’s Lakeside Soiree Soloist 2015
2014 Christmas Celebration Soloist 2014

Jeffrey Levin

Composer

Jeffrey Levin is a composer, sound designer, and musician based in Chicago IL. Jeffrey has contributed original music and sound designs for over 80 productions for various theaters in and outside of Chicago. He has collaborated with Steppenwolf, Steep, Strawdog, A Red Orchid, Oracle, Cor Theatre (Company Member), Windy City Playhouse, Emerald City, Albany Park Theatre Project, Stage Left, TUTA, Step Up Productions, Chicago Commercial Collective, Chicago Fringe Opera, Collaboraction, Hope Summer Repertory Theatre, ChiArts High School, and Columbia College. He was awarded the Edes Award for Emerging Artists that funds an ongoing collaboration with the storytelling artist collective The LIVINGroom. In addition to the Edes Award, other awards and Recognitions include a Joseph Jefferson Award for Sound Design of THE HAIRY APE at Oracle Theatre along with three other Jeff Award nominations for Sound Design and Original Music, the Michael Philippi prize for best professional exhibit (2016), Kleinman Composition Competition for his original work for Clarinet and Electronics, TimeOut Theatre Award nomination, and a Wilde Award Nomination. Jeffrey received his Masters of Music in Composition at DePaul University and Bachelors of Music in Composition at Columbia College Chicago.

Jessica Hiltabidle

Soprano

Jessica Hiltabidle brings a synthesis of sparkle and depth to roles such as Queen of the Night (Die Zauberflöte), Violetta (La Traviata), and the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor. Her interpretations in repertoire from baroque to contemporary have garnered the attention of composers and audiences alike. Jessica created the role of Clytemnestra in the world premiere of Ross Crean’s Lost Daughters and also collaborated with Crean to record the role of Rachel in The Great God Pan for Parma Recordings. In the Dec 2017, Jessica performed as the Marchande de Pois Verts in Offenbach’s comic opera Mesdames de la Halle with New Moon Opera. Previous seasons have included performances with organizations including Oberlin Mozart Players, Chicago Summer Opera, Pittsburgh Festival Opera, Operafestival di Roma, and OperaWorks. In addition to performing in the world premiere of Gilda Lyons’ A New Kind of Fallout, she has been seen in roles including Queen of the Night, Olympia (Les Contes d’Hoffmann), and the title role in Suor Angelica. Jessica holds a Master of Music degree from Westminster Choir College and a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Jonathan Wilson

Baritone

A native of Austin, Texas, Jonathan Wilson has been performing in the Chicago area since 2015, working with many local opera and theater companies. An enthusiast of contemporary opera, Jonathan recently performed the role of John Brooke in Adamo’s Little Women with Chicago Vocal Arts Consortium. He was also excited to perform in the mid-western premieres of Richard Wargo’s opera, The Seduction of a Lady (Peter Semyonych), with Transgressive Theatre-Opera and Hilliard’s and Boresi’s charming comedic opera, The Filthy Habit (Gil), with Third Eye Theatre Ensemble. In 2017, Jonathan also had the opportunity to be part of the world premiere of the full-length work Cosmic Ray and the Amazing Chris (Quintar, Nerd 2), with Thompson Street Opera Company.

At home in many different musical styles, Jonathan recently appeared in Theo Ubique’s 2017 Jeff Award-winning production of the musical The Most Happy Fella (Ciccio, Jake) in Chicago. Other musical theatre and operetta performances include Assassins (Zangara) with Petite Opera Company, several productions with The Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company of Chicago, and multiple productions of Monty Python’s Spamalot.

Passionate about bringing music and opera to new audiences and across cultural barriers, Jonathan was excited to take part in a production of Donizetti’s Rita (Gasparo) in 2016, sung in Italian, to introduce children to opera and foreign language. Additionally, he toured with Chicago Opera Playhouse’s new opera, Once Upon a Windy City (Al Capone), composed entirely of the ideas and stories of Chicago Public School students. Jonathan also made his Symphony Center solo debut in 2015, performing in Mandarin with the Dong Fang Chinese Performing Arts Association, in Xian Xinghai’s The Yellow River Cantata in celebration of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.

Outside of performing, Jonathan is passionate about math and science, and he greatly admires the creative overlap between the scientific and musical arts to explore the intricacy, complexity, and beauty of the world. He holds a BS degree with highest honors from the University of Illinois in Engineering Physics with a minor in Mathematics and a MS degree from the University of Michigan in Applied Electromagnetics and RF Circuits. He has worked as a radio frequency electrical engineer and a lecturer in physics, astronomy, and Earth science.

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

As One Hannah Before 2017

Kaileen Miller

Soprano

Soprano Kaileen Miller is an up-and-coming singer in the Chicago area, performing regularly with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Grant Park Music Festival, and the Lyric Opera of Chicago. She recently particpated in the Emerging Artist Program with Virginia Opera, singing the role of the High Priestess in Aida and covering the role of Eurydice in Philip Glass’ Orphée. She spent two summers at Central City Opera as an Apprentice Artist, most recently singing Nella in Gianni Schicchi and a cover performance of Oriana in Handel’s Amadigi di Gaula. Additionally, she was hailed with rave reviews in her appearance as Donna Anna in Berkeley Opera’s Don Giovanni, declaring her portrayal as “a clear audience favorite…she sang with fervent feeling.” Previously based in San Francisco, Ms. Miller has sung many other operatic roles in the Bay Area including: the Countess in Le nozze di Figaro, Micaëla in Carmen, Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte, and Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. She completed her Master’s degree at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music under the tutelage of mezzo-soprano Catherine Cook. Ms. Miller has worked with such luminaries as Dame Kiri te Kanawa, Thomas Hampson, Christine Brandes, Helmuth Rilling, and Nicola Luisotti. She has won numerous competitions and awards, including third place in the Western Regional Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, fourth place in the East Bay Opera League Scholarship Competition, and an Encouragement Award in the District Met Auditions in San Francisco.

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

Fringe’s Holiday House Party Soloist 2015
The Turn of the Screw Governess* 2015

Karla Wong

Visual Artist

Karla Wong was born in Minatitlan, Veracruz, Mexico in 1974. Her father is originally from Ixtetec, Oaxaca and her mother from Santiago La Ollaga, Oaxaca. This is the reason why Karla’s heart very much belongs to the Mexican state of Oaxaca. Karla grew up in Istmo a region of Oaxaca. The region’s tradition of celebrating art and colors are evident throughout her work. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Law and Social Sciences from the University of Oaxaca (U.A.B.J.O.).
After graduating, Karla began her career as composite artist for the general prosecution and justice department for the state of Oaxaca, which she continues into the present day. She considers herself a “self-taught” artist. Karla started out with pencils then gradually experimented with oil paints. She eventually took private lessons from a renowned master artist in Oaxaca. In every brush stroke, Karla plasters the splendors of her culture, a culture her parents instilled in her. She pushes the limits and steers away from more traditional elements to give it a magical touch of surrealism. Karla paints magical characters using emblematic symbols of Istmena culture. Such imagery as the hair pieces, papel picado (paper banner), the Tehuano hat, and embroidery among others. She brings such characters to life with brightly-colored detail. She has exhibited in the state of Oaxaca, the state of Puebla, multiple museums in Mexico City, numerous cultural houses, and in the National Palace and other prestigious government buildings.

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

The Great God Pan Visual Artist 2017

Katy Compton

Soprano

Katy Compton, a native of Waxahachie, Texas, has been praised for her “clear and attractive soprano,” and has established herself as a warm, accessible, and thoughtful performer. This winter, she looks forward to singing in concerts with CHAI Collaborative Ensemble and Chicago Fringe Opera. Katy’s recent performance highlights include playing the Governess in The Turn of the Screw with Chicago Fringe Opera, touring with Lyric Opera of Chicago’s outreach program, Opera in the Neighborhoods, as Dortchen in The Brothers Grimm, and singing with the Lyric Opera of Chicago chorus in last season’s production of Tannhäuser. Katy was a semi-finalist in last year’s Classical Singer Competition, is a proud member of Vox 3 Collective, and is an accomplished chorister, singing frequently with the Chicago Symphony Chorus and Grant Park Chorus. She received her M.M. in Voice Performance from Florida State University, and lives in Chicago with her husband.

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

Fringe’s Holiday House Party Soloist 2015
The Turn of the Screw Governess 2015
2014 Christmas Celebration Soloist 2014

Laura Kaminsky

Composer

Laura Kaminsky is a composer of opera, orchestra, chamber, vocal, and choral music with “an ear for the new and interesting” (New York Times). Recently cited in The Washington Post as “one of the top 35 female composers in classical music,” her scores often address current social and political issues such as sustainability, war, and human rights. Her music is “full of fire as well as ice, written in an idiom that contrasts dissonance and violence with tonal beauty and meditative reflection.” (American Record Guide) She recently made waves with her opera As One (co-librettists Mark Campbell and Kimberly Reed), which premiered at BAM in 2014 and has since become one of the most frequently produced contemporary operas nationwide. Two more collaborations with Campbell and Reed include Some Light Emerges for Houston Grand Opera and Today It Rains for Opera Parallèle and American Opera Projects. With Reed, she has been commissioned by a consortium led by Santa Fe Opera and San Francisco Opera to create a new opera inspired by the Postville immigration raid. Other commissions include a Piano Quintet for Ursula Oppens and the Cassatt String Quartet, and her seventh string quartet for the Fry Street Quartet. Head of composition at Purchase College Conservatory of Music/SUNY, she is composer-in-residence at American Opera Projects.

Laura Smalley

Soprano

Soprano Laura Smalley is currently a senior at DePaul University School of Music, where she has performed with DePaul Opera Theatre in shows like The Magic Flute, Fairy Queen, L’Orfeo, Street Scene, Suor Angelica, and L’incoronazione di Poppea. She is a founding member of two Chicago-based ensembles: Micro Opera Ensemble, with whom she recently sang the role of Miss Pinkerton in Menotti’s The Old Maid and the Thief; and The Slotted Spoon Initiative, who last year wrote and performed Sorry-Grateful: an Original Sondheim Revue. She also performs with the all-female contemporary music ensemble Noise Bias. Soprano Laura Smalley is currently a senior at DePaul University School of Music, where she has performed with DePaul Opera Theatre in shows like The Magic Flute, Fairy Queen, L’Orfeo, Street Scene, Suor Angelica, and L’incoronazione di Poppea. She is a founding member of two Chicago-based ensembles: Micro Opera Ensemble, with whom she recently sang the role of Miss Pinkerton in Menotti’s The Old Maid and the Thief; and The Slotted Spoon Initiative, who last year wrote and performed Sorry-Grateful: an Original Sondheim Revue. She also performs with the all-female contemporary music ensemble Noise Bias.

An Iowa native, she spent the past summer as Marketing and Development intern with Des Moines Metro Opera. Currently she is the Development intern with Stage 773 in Chicago.

An Iowa native, she spent the past summer as Marketing and Development intern with Des Moines Metro Opera. Currently she is the Development intern with Stage 773 in Chicago.

Leigh Folta

Soprano

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

Mark Haddad

Bass

Basso Profundo Mark Haddad is making his first appearance with Chicago Fringe Opera as Herbert in Ross Crean’s The Great God Pan. Mr. Haddad performs in a variety of vocal ensembles, which include; Bella Voce, the Lakeside Singers, the William Ferris Chorale, Grant Park Music Festival Chorus, the choir of St. Chrysostom’s Church, and Am Shalom Synagogue (among others). In March, aside from his work with CFO, he can be seen making his professional debut with Haymarket Opera Company as Pilato in Rossi’s Oratorio per la Settimana Santa. Mr. Haddad hails from the great state of Texas, and has lived in Chicago for a little over two years. He earned his Bachelor’s in Vocal Performance from Texas Tech University and his Master’s from the University of Delaware, also in Vocal Performance. When he is not performing, he works as a substitute teacher at Intrinsic Schools of Chicago. In his limited free-time, he enjoys spending time with his girlfriend, and is an avid pool player.

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

The Great God Pan Herbert 2018

Marysa Abbas

Mezzo Soprano

Extolled as a “fierce creative,” Marysa Abbas is a passionate performer of new works. Recent World Premieres include: Trevor in the Naxos/Parma recording of Ross Crean’s The Great God Pan, Mrs. Darling in Ross Crean’s Lost Daughters, and ensemble in Minnesota Opera’s critically acclaimed world premiere of Paul Moravec’s The Shining. In Chicago, she’s performed: Dorabella in Cosi fan tutte, Grace Ansley in Roman Fever, Miss Manners in Miss Manners on Music, and Virginia Woolf in a staged performance of Dominick Argento’s From the Diary of Virginia Woolf. She recently sang in the Chicago premiere of The Final Battle for Love with Thompson Street Opera as well as with Sugar Creek Opera as an apprentice artist for their production of Ricky Ian Gordon’s The Grapes of Wrath.

She obtained her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance at Viterbo University, and completed her Master of Music in Opera Performance at Wichita State University. Ms. Abbas currently works as a Managing Diva of Opera on Tap’s Chicago chapter, as well as a producer in the Chicago area. She is the founder of Praxilla Femina, a women’s music collective in Chicago, and is a current student of Julie Miller.

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

The Great God Pan Trevor 2018

Maureen Smith

Soprano

Soprano Maureen Smith has been praised for her “distinctive voice (that rings) out bright and clear” (Third Coast Daily). A fierce lover of new music, Maureen is thrilled to make her Chicago Fringe debut! She cut her teeth in Milwaukee, WI, where she performed with Milwaukee Opera Theatre (Autumn, “Fairy Queen Fantasy;” Lecturer, “Handel’s Bestiary”), Present Music (Thanksgiving concert, 2013), Opera On Tap-Milwaukee (Amahl and the Night Visitors), Kalliope Vocal Arts (Opera galas, recitals) and Sunset Playhouse (Bug in a Rug touring children’s theater; Rose, “Lumberjacks in Love”). She spent a summer in Pittsburgh, PA singing with Pittsburgh Festival Opera, where she had the opportunity to premiere two new works by American composers: “A New Kind of Fallout,” OTP’s commissioned Eco-Opera by Gilda Lyons, and the first of a new song cycle by composer Evan Neely. Since moving to Chicago, Maureen has performed extensively with the Niles Metropolitan Chorus and Musica Lumina Orchestra in recital and oratorio, and made her debut with Main Street Opera in September of 2016 as Nannetta in Falstaff. Her main focus at the moment is as Womanaging Director of Scapi Magazine, a multimedia arts journalism outfit devoted to sharing underserved perspectives. Head to scapimag.com to find articles, videos and podcasts! Go out and make something!

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

The Great God Pan Mary 2018

Maxwell Seifert

Baritone

Praised for his handsome tone and immaculate diction, operatic baritone Maxwell Seifert recently made his professional Chicago debut as Captain Valentine with the Chicago Folks Operetta in Kurt Weill’s rarely heard Johnny Johnson. A Pacific Northwest Native, he began his stage career as a boy soprano in the Seattle Opera’s 2006 production of Macbeth. Today, Maxwell maintains a wide variety of repertoire ranging from baroque to contemporary opera to golden age musical theater. This spring he will play the leading role of Griffith in the world premiere of For Those in Peril by Francis Lynch with the Evanston Chamber Opera Company. Maxwell was recently awarded the grand prize at the Bel Canto Competition in Chicago and was a national semifinalist in the Classical Singer Competition. He has performed in numerous master classes, most notably with Jake Heggie and Isabel Leonard. He was a young artist at the Aspen Summer Music Festival performing in scenes from Ariadne auf Naxos and Die Fledermaus.
His operatic credits include the baritone in the jazz trio in Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti and L’horloge in L’enfant et les sortileges at the Franco American Vocal Academy. In 2015, he graduated with a B.A. in music performance from Pepperdine University where he performed as Danilo in The Merry Widow, Guglielmo in Così fan tutte, Belcore in L’elisir d’more, and Dr. Falke in Die Fledermaus as well as some musical theatre roles such as Enjolras in Les Misérables and the dancing chorus in Oklahoma. Maxwell is currently based in Chicago, where he earned his Master of Music degree from Northwestern University studying with W. Stephen Smith.

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

As One Hannah Before (cover) 2017

Michael McElvain

Pianist

Pianist-conductor Michael McElvain has been heard on WFMT radio broadcasts, including a live cycle of the complete piano sonatas of Beethoven, the WFMT Membership Drive, and contemporary music program Relevant Tones. As a soloist and collaborative artist he has performed in masterclasses led by Leon Fleisher, Emanuel Ax, Martin Katz, and David Daniels. Beyond classical music, he has toured Europe as keyboardist for celebrated progressive rock group Pavlov’s Dog.

Recently, Mr. McElvain led The Metropolitan Orchestra of St. Louis in a performance of Schubert’s “Unfinished” Symphony. He has served as Chorus Master for The Chicago Bach Ensemble, and provided music direction for several stage productions including CUBE Ensemble’s first-ever opera, as well as musical theatre works by Stephen Sondheim. Presently, Mr. McElvain serves on the faculties of DePaul University School of Music and Italian summer voice institute Musica nelle Marche.

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

2016-17 Season Opening Gala Accompanist 2016

Nathan Ward

Tenor

Missourian Nathan Ward comes from an eclectic musical background, drawing on study of piano, cello, and composition to inform his singing. Currently pursuing a master’s degree from Northwestern University under Karen Brunssen, where he has recently performed as Howard Boucher in Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking, and Richard Dauntless in Gilbert and Sullivan’s Ruddigore, Nathan has also recently collaborated as a soloist in Mozart’s Requiem, Kile Smith’s Vespers with the Bienen Contemporary/Early Vocal Ensemble, and Benjamin Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn, and Strings.

Before graduating from the University of Missouri with a bachelor’s degree in voice performance, he performed in Show-Me Opera’s productions of Cosí fan tutte, (Ferrando) La Cenerentola (Don Ramiro), and The Merry Widow, (Saint-Brioche), and became a recurring soloist with the Mizzou New Music Ensemble and the Bach Collegium Choir. Influential teachers include Ann Harrell and Braeden Harris.

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

The Turn of the Screw Quint/Prologue* 2015

Nicole Hager

Soprano

Nicole Elizabeth Hager, soprano, a native of Bettendorf, Iowa, is know for her full dramatic voice and her comedic abilities on stage. Recent roles include Djameleh in the American premier of The Rose of Stambul​ (Leo Fall) with the Chicago Folks Operetta, Sarah Good in The Crucible, Arminy in Carousel, Ida in Die Fledermaus, and Margo in The Merry Widow as well as countless other chorus and opera scene appearances. ​Nicole received her Bachelor of Music degree in vocal performance at Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa where she studied with Dr. Virginia Croskery and Dr. Robert Larsen. She holds a Masters of Music degree from the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University where shes studied with Christine Flasch and Matthew Chellis.​​

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

The Turn of the Screw Mrs Grose* 2015

Patrick Rizzotti

Scenic Designer

Patrick Rizzotti is a scenic designer working in theatre, opera, and television. He has a strong interest in new works and highly collaborative projects that blur the traditional lines between director, designer, performer, and audience. The focus of his work is visual storytelling and creating innovative worlds that help express the idea of the story through the use of the space.

Select New York Designs Include: The Assignment (A.R.T./NY), Snow Orchid and Money Grubbin’ Whores (Theatre Row), Jasper in Deadland (Prospect Theater), Party In The USA, Victor Frange Presents Gas (Incubator Arts), Dukus (Target Margin Lab), Dancing Lessons, Sex and Education, The Fabulous Lipitones, Asher Lev (Penguin Rep), Titanic (Westchester Broadway). Additional credits include: Pittsburgh Opera, Premiere Stages, Flat Rock Playhouse, Florida Repertory, Creede Repertory Theatre, North Carolina Stage Company. Television Design Credits Include: America’s Got Talent, The Dr. Oz Show, The TODAY Show, and The Mysteries of Laura.

Patrick has received the USITT Scenic Design Award, is a winner of the OPERA America Director-Designer Showcase, and a Lincoln Center Director’s Lab Alumni. M.F.A Carnegie Mellon School of Drama. Memberships: Wingspace Theatrical Design Collective and USA 829.

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

The Great God Pan Scenic Designer 2018

Quinn Middleman

Mezzo Soprano

Mezzo-soprano Quinn Middleman is currently a Young Artist with Chicago Opera Theater (COT). The 2017-2018 season brings a lot of firsts for Quinn: she debuted with Haymarket Opera and Third Coast Baroque, and is excited to join Chicago Fringe Opera for the first time. Additionally, she sings the role of Doris in the premiere of Kevin Puts’ Elizabeth Cree with Chicago Opera Theater, and appears with Scott Gilmore in a recital of women composers benefiting a local women’s shelter. Recent engagements include covering Dorabella in Così fan tutte and performing Entertainer in Britten’s The Burning Fiery Furnace with Central City Opera, where she received the John & Ginny Starkey Award for being an outstanding young artist. Quinn maintains a diversified schedule of performing, including concert work, opera, art song, and competitions. Most recently, she was named a winner of the Wisconsin District Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Next season, she will cover the role of Old Lady in Candide with Chautauqua Opera, and return as a professional artist to the stage of Chicago Opera Theater in the premiere of The Scarlet Ibis.

Quinn’s education includes two summers at the Tanglewood Music Center, a master’s degree in Voice from Northwestern University, Bachelor’s degrees in Oboe Performance and Vocal Arts from the University of Southern California, a fellowship with SongFest@Colburn, and a summer with Aspen Music Festival. She currently studies with Judith Haddon.

 

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

The Great God Pan Rachel, Trevor (Cover) 2018

Rachel Mast

Mezzo Soprano

Mezzo- soprano Rachel Mast is a versatile singer, skilled in styles from opera to art song to church music. Hailing from Corvallis, Oregon, Rachel currently resides in Chicago and since living there has had the pleasure of singing with groups such as the St. Alphonsus Choir, the Salt Creek Chamber Orchestra, La Caccina, and the Grant Park Chorus.

Rachel is an alumna of Goshen College where she was a two-time winner of the school’s Concerto-Aria Competition and performed roles including Cherubino/Le Nozze di Figaro and Belinda/Dido and Aeneas. She recently completed her graduate studies in voice at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University where she performed the roles of RN/Bluebeard’s Waiting Room and Valetto/L’Incoronazione di Poppea. Other past engagements include Nicklausse/Les Contes d’Hoffmann with the Napa Music Festival, Mother/Hansel and Gretel with the Midwest Institute of Opera, and a return to Goshen College to sing the alto solos in Larry Nickel’s Requiem for Peace.

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

The Great God Pan Trevor, Rachel (covers) 2018

Robin Bradley

Mezzo-Soprano

Praised for her “very colorful, interesting and beautiful instrument,” Mezzo Soprano Robin Bradley has performed in venues across the nation, ranging from Carnegie Hall to Michigan’s cherished Hill Auditorium to the historic Sanders Theater in Cambridge, MA. A graduate of the University of Michigan and the University of Chicago, Robin recently participated in Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre’s Young Artist Program, where she covered the title role in Carmen. Coming up, she will make her debut with Winter Opera Saint Louis as Emilia in their 2015 production of Otello. Robin has also served as a company apprentice of Flamenco Chicago, the professional company of acclaimed dancer and choreographer Rosetta Magdalen.

Robin was recently seen as Ottavia in L’Incoronazione di Poppea with the Manhattan Summer Voice Festival, Madame de la Haltière in Massenet’s Cendrillon, Tisbe in La Cenerentola, Third Lady in Die Zauberflöte with Candid Concert Opera, La Zia Principessa in Suor Angelica, Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro and The Witch and Mother in Chicago Opera Playhouse’s outreach production of Hansel and Gretel.

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

The Rape of Lucretia Lucretia 2014

Samantha Attaguile

Mezzo-Soprano

Praised for an exciting sound, Mezzo-Soprano Samantha Attaguile is quickly establishing herself as a spirited young talent in the modern artistic world. A New Jersey native, Samantha earned her Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance from The Boston Conservatory and her Master of Music in Voice from the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. Samantha has had the pleasure to work with many of Chicagoland’s musical organizations including Main Street Opera, Third Eye Theatre Ensemble, The Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company of Hyde Park, Thompson Street Opera, and Petite Opera. Samantha is also a managing div@ of Opera on Tap Chicago and helped kickstart New Brew Chicago, an offshoot of Opera on Tap dedicated to performing new vocal music.

Role highlights include Flora (The Enchanted Pig by Jonathan Dove), Lola (Cavalleria rusticana), Dido (Dido and Aeneas),Barbara Ansley (Roman Fever), Dorabella (Così fan tutte), Cherubino (Le nozze di Figaro), Phoebe Meryll (The Yeomen of the Guard), Maddalena (Il viaggio a Reims), Vèronique (Doctor Miracle), Nurse (Strawberry Fields by Micael Torke), and The Abbess (Sister Angelica).

A performer in every sense of the word, Samantha’s experience is not limited to the traditional operatic realm and she enjoys taking part in a wide array of musical and theatrical projects. She performs in semi-annual concerts with the Colombian folk group, The Mulati Ensemble, and appeared as the mezzo-soprano soloist in Duruflé’s Requiem with the DuPage Chorale, as well as with the Southwest Symphony Orchestra singing a concert of Rodgers & Hammerstein classics. For fun and fundraising, Samantha has participated in Compass Creative Dramatics’ adaptations of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Peter Pan to raise money for children’s theatre programs and appeared as a Puppeteer in Quest Theatre Ensemble’s Blue Nativity.

Samantha currently works, lives, and performs in Chicago with her outrageously supportive husband, Antoni, and feline fur babies, Desdemona and Ophelia.

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

As One Hannah After 2017

Sarah Ponder

Mezzo-Soprano

Sarah Ponder, mezzo-soprano enjoys a busy career as a soloist and ensemble singer in Chicago. Hailed as “Deeply expressive” (Chicago Sun Times) and a “first-class soloist” (Chicago Classical Review), some of Sarah’s recent favorite performances include two featured solo appearances with the Grant Park Music Festival, playing the wolf in The Brothers Grimm with Lyric Opera’s Opera in the Neighborhoods production, and a rousing duet rendition of “Row, Row Your Boat” with Yo-Yo Ma at Children’s Memorial Hospital as part of her ongoing work with the Citizen Musician Initiative. Through her outreach at Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Sarah has also “beguilingly” (Chicago Tribune) performed several solo concerts with famed Maestro Riccardo Muti at the piano.

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

2014 Christmas Celebration Soloist 2014

Scott Brunscheen

Tenor

Described as having a “clear, secure, lyric tenor voice” that is “bold and assertive,” Scott Brunscheen is establishing himself as a unique voice in classical music.

For the 2013-14 season, Scott joined Madison Opera as a studio artist, during which he performed as Spoletta in Tosca, the solo inmate in Dead Man Walking, and the understudy for Tonio in Donizetti’s La fille du régiment. Additionally, Scott travelled to Germany and Tunisia to participate with the Bachakademie Stuttgart as a soloist under the direction of Hans-Christoph Rademann. He also returned to Chicago to sing Don Ramiro in Rossini’s La Cenerentola with Candid Concert Opera (now Chicago Fringe Opera). For the summer season, he sang with the Caramoor Bel Canto Festival as a soloist in Donizetti’s Miserere and ensemble member.

During previous seasons, Mr. Brunscheen performed Count Almaviva (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Belmonte (Die Entführung aus dem Serail), Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni), Don Ramiro (La Cenerentola), and covered Roderick in Philip Glass’ The Fall of the House of Usher, First Priest (Die Zauberflöte), Aronne in (Mose in Egitto), Delfa in Cavalli’s Giasone, and Tobias Ragg (Sweeney Todd).

Future performances include Wilhem Grimm in Lyric Opera of Chicago’s outreach and community performances of The Brothers Grimm, Male Chorus in The Rape of Lucretia with Chicago Fringe Opera, and a return to Bachakademie Stuttgart.

Scott has been a young artist with Chicago Opera Theater, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Caramoor Bel Canto Festival, and Opera New Jersey. His completed his undergraduate studies at University of Utah and received his graduate degree from Roosevelt University. He currently lives in Chicago with his husband.

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

2016 Holiday House Party Soloist 2016
Fringe’s Holiday House Party Soloist 2015
The Turn of the Screw Quint/Prologue 2015
Chicago Fringe Opera’s Lakeside Soiree Soloist 2015
Far Off Light Soloist 2015
2014 Christmas Celebration Soloist 2014
The Rape of Lucretia Male Chorus 2014
Shanna Philipson
Costume Designer

Stephanie Cluggish

Costume Designer

Stephanie Cluggish is a freelance costume designer based in Chicago. In addition to collaborating with the Chicago Fringe Opera, she has designed for American Theatre Company, Haven Theatre, Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, Porchlight Music Theatre, The Gift Ensemble, Northwestern University, Yale Dramatic Association (CT), Music Academy of the West (CA), Wolf Trap Opera (VA), and others. She is also the Costume Shop Manager for Lookingglass Theatre Company. She received her BFA from Emerson College and her MFA from Northwestern University. She is a proud member of USA829.

Stephen Hobe

Baritone

Stephen is an aspiring singing actor from the Chicago area. He is currently pursuing his Master of Music degree at the Chicago College of Performing arts. Recently, he has been seen as a performer of opera, operetta, musical theater and straight theater in the Milwaukee and Chicago areas.

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

Lucrezia Chucho 2017
Song from the Uproar Ensemble 2016

Thomas Bailey

Tenor

Thomas Bailey is an Illinois native and a strong advocate for new music. He received his MM from the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, and currently studies with Allan Glassman. Currently based in Chicago, Thomas seeks out and supports new music experiences as often as possible. He has been recently seen onstage in Thompson Street Opera Company’s production of Cosmic Ray and The Amazing Chris as KenKen, and as Overseer Pitts in South Shore Opera Company’s production of Harriet Tubman: When I Crossed that Line to Freedom. Thomas can also be heard in the ensemble of the recording of The Great God Pan.

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

The Long Christmas Dinner Roderick II 2018
The Great God Pan Meyrick 2018

Tobias Wright

Tenor

Tobias Wright is a tenor and native Kansan who was most recently seen in the world premiere of Rootabaga Country as Gimme the Ax with Sarasota Opera. Summer of 2017 saw Tobias make his Opera North debut as Goro in Madama Butterfly and Ajax I in Offenbach’s La Belle Hélène.In the spring of 2017 Tobias performed the role of Lorenzo in William Bolcom’s Lucrezia with Chicago Fringe Opera. Early 2017 saw Tobias with Sarasota Opera, where he made his debut as Un Giovanetto in Italo Montemezzi’s rarely performed L’amore dei tre Re. At the conclusion of the season he was awarded the Scheininger-Reznick Apprentice Scholarship for an Outstanding Apprentice Artist. In December of 2016, Mr. Wright was seen in Chicago with Light Opera Works as Alfred in their new production of Die Fledermaus. Summer of 2017 saw the release of the world premiere of Ross Crean’s The Great God Pan, in which Tobias sang the role of Clarke. The Great God Pan was released by Navona Records/Naxos of America.

In the fall of 2015 Tobias sang the role of Juan in the world premiere of Eustasio Rosales’ Andina at the historic Athenauem Theater in Chicago. The performance and production were featured in the documentary film The Way to Andina, premiering at the Chicago International Movies & Music Festival in the Spring of 2017.

Tobias holds a Master’s Degree in Opera Performance from Northwestern University, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Voice from the University of Kansas.

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

The Great God Pan Clarke 2018
Lucrezia Lorenzo 2017
2016 Holiday House Party Soloist 2016
Voices in the Dark, Jazz & Trouble in Tahiti Baritone, Jazz Trio 2015

Trevor Vanderzee

Baritone

Trevor Vanderzee graduated from DePaul School of Music where he studied under Marc Embree and David Alt. Trevor was seen as a young artist at Utah Festival Opera where he understudied Sharpless (Madama Butterfly) and various other roles. Other credits include Papageno in The Magic Flute (DePaul Opera Theatre), Belcore in The Elixir of Love (Opera for the Young), and Vater in Hänsel und Gretel (Chicago Summer Opera). Trevor was the recipient of 1st place in the Hal Leonard Competition and the NATS Chicago Musical Theatre Competition, and received an Emerging Artist award through the Lotte Lenya Competition. In 2016, Trevor was granted the Betty Van Andel Scholarship through Opera Grand Rapids.

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

2016 Holiday House Party Soloist 2016

Vince Wallace

Bass-Baritone

A native of St. Louis, Missouri, young American bass-baritone Vince Wallace, is a versatile performer with broad performing experience ranging from skilled ensemble performances to a variety of solo roles and orchestral appearances. Currently based in Chicago, Mr. Wallace has appeared regularly with the Lyric Opera of Chicago since 2008; as a member of the ensemble, and as the Usher in Rigoletto. For the 2008/2009 season, Vince performed with both the Lyric Opera of Chicago and San Fransisco Opera productions of Porgy & Bess in the ensemble; covering and going on to perform a small role with Lyric. He performs with the Grammy Award-winning Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in several programs including their encore and live rendering of the scores to The Lord of the Rings at the Ravinia Festival. Locally, he sings with the Grant Park Music Festival as well as numerous chamber ensembles and churches in the area.

Previous work includes the title role in Le nozze di Figaro as a part of Martina Arroyo’s Prelude to Performance, Superintendent Budd in Benjamin Britten’s Albert Herring, Bartolo in Le nozze di Figaro, Balthazar in Amahl and the Night Visitors, the Jailor in Tosca with the Opera Company of Philadelphia, Benoit and Alcindoro in La boheme, both Leporello and the Commandatore in Don Giovanni with American Chamber Orchestra, The King in The King & I, Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, and Uncle Max in The Sound of Music. Solo orchestral performances include appearances as Pilatus in the St. John Passion and Judas in St. Mathew Passion.

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

The Great God Pan Villiers 2018

Zachary Vanderburg

Tenor

Tenor Zachary Vanderburg has been heralded as singing “with vocal luster, dramatic fire, and lyrical sympathy” – Augsburger Allgemeine. Performances this season include Dvorak’s Stabat Mater in festivals in southern France and northern Germany; Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 2 Lobgesang at the Masterworks Festival; Bach’s Quodlibet, Cantata 147, and Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy as an artist-in-residence at the Baroque on Beaver Island Music Festival; appearances with Music of the Baroque, of which he is a member and teaching artist, under the direction of Jane Glover and Nicholas Kraemer; his role debut of The Visitor in Philip Glass’ In the Penal Colony with Chicago Fringe Opera; and guest recitals at Roosevelt University, Ball State University, Chicago’s City Winery, PianoForte Foundation and The Musical Offering.

Recently, Zachary made his Orchestra Hall debut as the tenor soloist in the North American premiere of Jacob TV’s Mountaintop with the Chicago Sinfonietta, a performance he revisited in February. Comfortable in opera repertoire as well as concert and recital, past seasons have seen Zachary’s role debuts of Rodolfo in Puccini’s La Bohème and Leander in Nielsen’s Maskarade; a concert featuring Britten’s Serenade for Tenor and Horn at the Baroque on Beaver Island Music Festival; a performance in the 10th annual PianoForte Foundation Schubertiade; performances with the Chicago Opera Theater in Verdi’s Giovanna d’Arco and Bloch’s MacBeth; European tours of Bruckner’s Te Deum, Haydn’s Die Schöpfung, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, and Mozart’s Coronation Mass headlining the Eutiner Festspiele, Festival Durance Luberon, Hamburg’s St. Michael’s Church, as well as other venues in Germany, France and Luxembourg; and appearances as a backup singer in Chicago with The Rolling Stones on their 50 & Counting tour. Zachary has been recorded for broadcast by the Bavarian Public Radio (Bayerischer Rundfunk), WFMT in Chicago, and Blue Lake Public Radio in Michigan. He is a founding member of Fourth Coast Ensemble, Chicago’s premiere classical vocal quartet. Zachary has a masters from the Chicago College of Performing Arts and is currently pursuing a fellowship in vocal chamber music at the Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago. He is a student of American tenors Allan Glassman and Nicholas Phan.

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

In the Penal Colony The Visitor 2016