Nov 16, 18, 25, 29, Dec 1, 2018

Opera in one act by Paul Hindemith, with an English libretto by Thornton Wilder, based on his play

American playwright Thornton Wilder (who wrote Our Town) adapted his own play for German composer Paul Hindemith’s 1963 English-language chamber opera.  A series of Christmas dinners are celebrated by one family over a period of ninety years, fused into a single, long meal. Hindemith’s expressive music reveals what Wilder called the “mill of time”:  a simultaneous view of the past, present, and future, allowing us to choose whether to perceive such overlap as misfortune, or consolation, or both at once. Audiences will enjoy Parlor Songs performed by the cast before the main opera.

Bar accepts cash only.

Ticketing Refund Policy: Chicago Fringe Opera does not issue refunds for tickets; if you would like to exchange for a different performance date, please contact a member of our team at info@chicagofringeopera.com. If you would like instead to donate your tickets please let us know!

This project is partially supported by a CityArts Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events.

Cast

*SELECT PERFORMANCES
Tierra Whetstone: 11/16, 11/18 • Melissa Arning: 11/25, 11/29, 12/1 • Gabe DiGennaro: 11/16, 11/18, 11/29, 12/1 • Andrew Groble: 11/25

Lucia/Lucia II

Jessie Lyons

Jessie Lyons

Lucia/Lucia II

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

Mother/Ermengarde*

Melissa Arning

Melissa Arning

Mother/Ermengarde*

Melissa Arning grew up in the Detroit suburbs, went to college in Cleveland, and now continues her tour of the Midwest at her home in Chicago. A frequent performer of both oratorio and opera, Ms. Arning’s roles include Ruth in Dark Sisters, Meg inFalstaff, Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Cendrillon in Cendrillon, Muse/Nicklausse in Les contes d’Hoffmann, Pitti-Sing in The Mikado, Hänsel in Hänsel und Gretel, Despina in Cosi fan tutte, Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro, and Mercedes in Carmen. Ms. Arning has appeared with The Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Third Eye Theatre Ensemble, The Grant Park Chorus, Main Street Opera, The North Shore Chamber Arts Ensemble, Opera for the Young, Petite Opera, Music by the Lake, Chamber Opera Chicago, Chicago Folks Operetta, Music of the Baroque, Cleveland Opera, Lyric Opera Cleveland, and The Cleveland Chamber Symphony. In her spare time, Ms. Arning is a beekeeper.

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

The Great God Pan Mother/Ermengarde 2018

Mother/Ermengarde*

Tierra Whetstone

Tierra Whetstone

Mother/Ermengarde*

Tierra Whetstone, Mezzo-Soprano is currently a senior at North Park University pursuing her B.A. in Music and studies with Dr. Samuel Handley. Ms. Whetstone has appeared in Alice in Wonderland as the Cheshire Cat, Pirates of Penzance as Ruth, Into the Woods as the witch and in Cendrillon as Madame de la Haltière. She has had the opportunity to sing with the Savannah Philharmonic Chorus and The John W. Work Chorale here in Chicago.

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

The Long Christmas Dinner Mother/Ermengarde 2018

Roderick/Sam*

Gabriel Di Gennaro

Gabriel Di Gennaro

Roderick/Sam*

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

Roderick/Sam*

Andrew Groble

Andrew Groble

Roderick/Sam*

Baritone Andrew Groble (a Milwaukee, WI native) is very excited to be making his debut with Chicago Fringe Opera.  While at DePaul University for his masters studies, he was seen as Ottone in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea, the title role in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, Harry Easter in Weill’s Street Scene, Eisenstein in Johann Strauss’ Die Fledermaus, and Don Eusebio in Rossini’s L’occasione fa il ladro.  During his time as an undergraduate at Oberlin College and Conservatory (where he also studied German literature), Andrew performed as Nardo in Mozart’s La finta giardiniera and as the Bartender in Bolcom’s A Wedding, as well as in a number of sad Irish plays.  In Chicago, Andrew has also sung with the William Ferris Chorale.

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

The Long Christmas Dinner Roderick/Sam/Brandon Cover 2018

Brandon

Zachary Angus

Zachary Angus

Brandon

Zachary Angus is a lyric baritone praised by Chicago Theater Review for his “earnest and spinning instrument.” Recently, his work around the Chicago area has centered on new works: Poet (When Adonis Calls, regional premiere with Thompson Street Opera), Joseph (Joseph’s Gift, world premiere with Evanston Chamber Opera), and Little Matchgirl Passion (Facility Theatre, staged by Dado). In recent seasons he has been featured in a number of opera and light opera productions both around Chicago and on the west coast: Friedrich Bhaer (Little Women, Eugene Opera), Marco (Gianni Schicchi, Salt Creek Chamber Orchestra), Bartley (Riders to the Sea, SCCO), Belcore (L’elisir d’amore, SCCO), Claudio (Béatrice et Bénédict, Eugene Opera), Captain Corcoran (H.M.S. Pinafore, The Savoyaires of Evanston), and Pangloss/Cacambo/Martin (Candide, Opera Notre Dame), as well as serving as an Emerging Artist with Fort Wayne Philharmonic Orchestra. This spring he will join Indianapolis Opera as a Resident Artist.

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

The Long Christmas Dinner Brandon 2018

Charles

Jonathan Zeng

Jonathan Zeng

Charles

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

Genevieve

Naomi Brigell

Naomi Brigell

Genevieve

Naomi Brigell, mezzo-soprano, is quickly gaining recognition as an “expressive, athletic and strong-voiced” presence on the operatic stage (Naples Daily News). In 2018, Brigell joined Opera Naples as a resident artist, performing as Cherubino (Le nozze di Figaro) and Giannetta (L’elisir d’amore). She then joined Des Moines Metro Opera as an apprentice artist, where she was featured on the main stage as Third Wood Sprite (Rusalka). Other highlights include Dritte Dame (Die Zauberflöte) with Opera in the Heights, Sesto (La clemenza di Tito) with Chicago Summer Opera, and Nancy (Albert Herring) with Opera Breve.

Brigell was awarded the grand prize in the Kristin Lewis Foundation Competition and first runner-up in the Mobile Opera Madame Rose Competition. During her academic studies, she was awarded the Winifred and Maurice Hirsch Memorial Scholarship and the Ellalou Dimmock Award.

Naomi Brigell is a proud graduate of University of Houston and Boston University.

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

The Long Christmas Dinner Genevieve 2018

Leonora

Megan Fletcher

Roderick II

Thomas Bailey

Thomas Bailey

Roderick II

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

Covers

Lucia/Lucia II/Leonora

Rachael Long

Lucia/Lucia II/Leonora

Soprano Rachael Long has performed the role of Narrator in the World Premier of Francis Lynch’s opera For Those in Peril. In her first world premiere with Lynch, she portrayed the role of Acolyte in Joseph’s Gift. Other roles include Nedda (Pagliacci), Countess Almaviva (Le nozze di Figaro), Corinna and Delia (Il Viaggio a Reims) and La dame in Poulenc’s La dame de Monte Carlo. Future engagements include Lauretta (Gianni Schicchi) and Serafina (Cover – Il campanello) with New Moon Opera, Susanna (Susanna’s Secret) with Evanston Chamber Opera, Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro) and Countess Adèle (Cover – The Count Ory) with Transgressive Theatre Opera. Long received her MM from the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University (CCPA) and her BFA from Carnegie Mellon University. She was a founding member of Forte, Chicago’s premier opera improv troupe.

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

The Long Christmas Dinner Lucia/Lucia II/Leonora Cover 2018
Charles/Roderick II

Achilles Leonidas Bezanis

Charles/Roderick II

Achilles Leonidas Bezanis, Tenor, recently completed his Master’s in Voice and Literature at the Eastman School of Music, studying under Professor Robert Swensen. He also holds a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre, and Dance, where he studied with Dr. Scott Piper. Achilles has performed the role of Fabrizio Naccarelli (The Light in the Piazza) at the Eastman School of Music, Gonzalve (L’Heure Espagnole) at the University of Michigan, Lucano (L’incoronazione di Poppea) at the Eastman School of Music, Beppe (I Pagliacci) at the Fresno Opera and Orchestra Summer Academy, El Remendado (Carmen) at the Bay View Music Festival, and most recently made his European debut as Monostatos (Die Zauberflöte) with the Berlin Opera Academy. Scene highlights include performances as Ferrando (Cosi Fan Tutte) at the Castleton Festival and Pong (Turandot), Candide (Candide), and Orombello (Beatrice di Tenda) at “Si parla, si canta” in Urbania, Italy.

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

The Long Christmas Dinner Charles/Roderick II Cover 2018
Brandon

Andrew Groble

Brandon

Baritone Andrew Groble (a Milwaukee, WI native) is very excited to be making his debut with Chicago Fringe Opera.  While at DePaul University for his masters studies, he was seen as Ottone in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea, the title role in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, Harry Easter in Weill’s Street Scene, Eisenstein in Johann Strauss’ Die Fledermaus, and Don Eusebio in Rossini’s L’occasione fa il ladro.  During his time as an undergraduate at Oberlin College and Conservatory (where he also studied German literature), Andrew performed as Nardo in Mozart’s La finta giardiniera and as the Bartender in Bolcom’s A Wedding, as well as in a number of sad Irish plays.  In Chicago, Andrew has also sung with the William Ferris Chorale.

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

The Long Christmas Dinner Roderick/Sam/Brandon Cover 2018

Artistic Team

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
Director

George Cederquist

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
Executive Director

Julia Elise Hardin

Executive Director

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
Stage Manager
Shelby Krarup
Scenic Designer

Brad Caleb Lee

Scenic 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
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.

Lighting Designer

Jay Koch

Lighting Designer

Jay Koch hails from Elmhurst, IL and moved to Chicago three years ago to pursue lighting design. She is currently a senior at The Theatre School at DePaul University and a graduate of Officer Candidate School with the United States Marine Corps in Quantico, Virginia. She is very excited to announce that this is her first design with Chicago Fringe Opera! Previous designs include Mr. Burns: a Post Electric Play, The Seagull, Crime and Punishment and She Kills Monsters at The Theatre School. She has also worked on productions for live TV including the ESPY awards, and the MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City.

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

The Long Christmas Dinner Lighting Designer 2018
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
Rehearsal and Performance Pianist

Anatoliy Torchinskiy

Rehearsal and Performance Pianist

Born in Kiev, Ukraine, Anatoliy Torchinskiy began his piano studies almost forty years ago. After immigrating to Chicago, he earned both bachelors and masters degrees in piano performance from Chicago Musical College at Roosevelt University. He began accompanying professionally in 1996 and has been heard in Italy, Scotland, New York, Michigan, Wisconsin, and the Chicago area. He has played live on WFMT radio for da Corneto Opera and Chicago Folks Operetta. In the summer of 2008, he played under the baton of Maestro James Conlon as a rehearsal accompanist for Ravinia’s production of Mozart’s Abduction from the Seraglio. In 2016-17, Mr. Torchinskiy was more active as an accompanist to soloists and small ensembles, both instrumental and vocal. At Westminster Presbyterian Church in DeKalb, IL, he accompanied and performed with a Mendelssohn sextet. At Roosevelt University, he performed with a vocal quartet at a Composers’ Concert, performing a work by Patricia Morehead. He also accompanied at Northern Illinois University for several solo recitals. Anatoliy most recently played for the Sunrise Sunset Benefit Concert with local singers and as rehearsal accompanist for Soiree Lyrique’s production of Tosca under the baton of Maestro Philip Morehead. For more info visit www.torchinskiy.com.

Productions with Chicago Fringe Opera

The Long Christmas Dinner Pianist 2018
Assistant Director
Alexis Randolph
Production Assistant
Eric Turner