May 29, 2015

Chicago Fringe Opera invites you to a Lakeside Soiree in celebration of its successful first season and fundraiser for upcoming productions in 2015-2016. Come join company members at Berger Park in Edgewater for refreshments and performances of favorite American and British opera, operetta, and musical theatre.

Cast

Alyssa Arrigo

Piano

Alyssa Arrigo

Piano

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
The Turn of the Screw Pianist 2015
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

Codrut Birsan

Piano

Codrut Birsan

Piano

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

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

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

Gillian Hollis

Soprano

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

Giovanna Jacques

Mezzo-Soprano

Giovanna Jacques

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

Elyse Kakacek

Soprano

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

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

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 appears 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

Jonathan Zeng

Tenor

Jonathan Zeng

Tenor

Lauded for his versatility as a performer and accomplished in Musical Theater, Opera, Oratorio and Concert repertoire, critically acclaimed 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 by Chicago publications as “valiant”, “stunning”, “vibrant”, and “rich”, Jonathan is based in Chicago and has appeared as soloist with The William Ferris Chorale in the American premiere of John Joubert’s Five Songs of Incarnation and Bonaventura Somma’s Missa Pro Defunctis. You may also have seen him singing with the Grant Park Symphony Chorus, in Johnny Johnson or The Csardas Princess with Chicago Folks Operetta, or performing in Chicago Fringe Opera productions The Long Christmas Dinner, 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, Chip Tolentino in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, and Frederic in Pirates of Penzance.  An avid proponent for arts education and vocal instruction, Jonathan has 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). Jonathan also writes and records his own music.

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

Sounds of Pride Soloist 2019
Love Wounds Narcissus 2019
Dynamic Donuts: A Fundraiser for Love Wounds Soloist 2019
The Long Christmas Dinner Charles 2018
Fringe at the Taproom Soloist 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