Dec 21, 2014

2014 Christmas Celebration

A night of Christmas music featuring Benjamin Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols, Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on Christmas Carols, several other popular & favorite Christmas tunes.

Cast

Matthan Ring Black

Baritone

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).

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

Codrut Birsan

Pianist

Codrut Birsan

Pianist

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

Scott Brunscheen

Tenor

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

Katy Compton

Soprano

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

Jared Esguerra

Tenor

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

Jacquelyn Kress

Mezzo-Soprano

Jacquelyn Kress

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

Sarah Ponder

Mezzo-Soprano

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

Jenny Schuler

Soprano

Jenny Schuler

Soprano

Soprano Jenny Schuler has earned praise in recent seasons for her powerful vocalism and compelling stage artistry. In 2018 she joined 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 appeared as a soloist with Chicago Folks Operetta in their Reclaimed Voices Series. In December 2018, Ms. Schuler made her Oregon Symphony debut as the soprano soloist in Beethoven’s 9th Symphony and returned in February 2019 for their production of Hänsel und Gretel. Also in February 2019, Ms. Schuler made her New Jersey Festival Orchestra debut in the title role of Tosca.

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 was the first place winner of the 2018 Lyra New York International Vocal Competition, second place winner of the 2018 Lyra New York Online Mozart Competition, finalist in the 2017 Marcello Giordani International Voice Competition, a semi-finalist in Shreveport Opera’s 2017 Mary Jacobs Smith Competition, and first prize winner in the 2016 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

Dynamic Donuts: A Fundraiser for Love Wounds Soloist 2019
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

Aaron Wardell

Baritone

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