PROGRAM BOOK 2022
Alex Boyd | Basilio Melding "a perfect voice for Rossini" with "an ease on stage," bass-baritone Alexander Boyd has performed leading roles across the United States. He recently appeared as Scarpia in Tosca, as well as in three Rossini one act farces, including as the eponymous Il Signor Bruschino, with Sarasota Opera. Last summer, Alex returned to St Petersburg Opera as Tonio in their production of Pagliacci, and performed on a recorded concert of Wagner arias presented by Jane Eaglen for Pittsburgh Festival Opera, where he previously created the role of Robert Redgate in their 2019 world premier of Mr. Rogers' Operas, and performed Donner in their production of Das Rheingold. Alex has been lucky to perform both classic repertoire, and less well known works; at Flushing Town Hall in Queens, he portrayed Jensen in a revival of Korean composer Jeeyong Kim's 2012 opera From my mother's mother. In another revival, he played Jess in Carlisle Floyd's early work Slow Dusk, with the Little Opera Theater of New York. At Sarasota Opera, he played Maruccio in D'Albert's rarely performed opera Tiefland. After performing King Melchior in Amahl and the night visitors in New York, he made a small international debut bringing that role to Cyprus with Kyrenia Opera. On the west coast, he "sang with stentorian tones" in Pacific Opera Project's double bill of Mozart's The Impresario, and Salieri's hilarious Prima la musica, e poi le parole. Alex has received scholarships from both the Bradenton and Sarasota opera guilds in Florida, placed second in the New York Lyric Opera’s 2016 vocal competition, and was a semifinalist in both Opera Tampa's 2019 D'Angelo young artist competition, and the Mildred Miller 2018 vocal competition. Alex's future engagements include Don Pizarro in Fidelio with St. Petersburg Opera, and Frank in Die Fledermaus with the Muses Project in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Other credits include Figaro (Le Nozze di Figaro) with Manhattan Opera Studio, Guglielmo (Cosi fan tutte) with Glacier Symphony, Monterone (Rigoletto) with Opera Project Columbus, Imperial commissioner (Madama Butterfly) with Tulsa Opera, Yamadori (Madama Butterfly) with Prelude to Performance, and Mr. Gobineau (The Medium) with Opera Maine.
Heeseung Chae | Figaro Heeseung Chae, Baritone from South Korea, graduated from the Opera Institute at Boston University. He completed his Master and Bachelor of Music degrees at Seoul National University, and he received his Performance Diploma from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. He has performed the roles of Schaunard in La bohème, Ceprano in Rigoletto, and Ford in Falstaff at the Verdi Gala concert at Seoul National University. At IU, he performed Haly in L’italiana in Algieri, Papageno in Die Zauberflöte, and Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia. With the BU Opera Institute, he performed Philip Glass’s Hydrogen Jukebox, Il Conte in Le nozze di Figaro, Paul Watson in Johnathan Berger’s The War Reporter, and Pelléas in Pelléas et Mélisande by Debussy. He also performed Marullo and covered Rigoletto at Charlottesville Opera as a Young Artist in 2017 and covered Il Conte in 2018 at the same program. He performed Marullo again in Rigoletto at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis as a Gerdine Young Artist on 2019. On 2021, Heeseung performed Schaunard and covered Marcello in La bohème, covered Papageno in Die Zauberflöte, and Silvio in I Pagliacci at Palm Beach Opera as a Benenson Young Artist. As He returned to the PBO 2022 season, He performed Dan Caire and covered Morales in Carmen, covered Belcore in L’Elisir D’amore, sang Cascada and covered Danilo in The Merry Widow.
Greg Eldrige | Director (Il Barbiere di Siviglia) Stage director Greg Eldridge trained at The Opera Studio Melbourne in Australia before completing specialist study in Opera Directing at the Accademia Europea di Firenze in Italy. He is a graduate of the two most prestigious training programs for opera directors in the world - the Merola Program in San Francisco, and the Jette Parker Young Artist Programme at Covent Garden in London. In 2015, the position of Jette Parker Associate Director was created especially for Greg. Greg currently holds the post of Associate Professor of Opera Directing at the prestigious College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati, Ohio. Greg has worked on over 70 productions in 9 countries, and served for 3 years as a board member of industry body Stage Directors UK. A former Bayreuth Scholar, Greg has given talks at Regent's University, London and St John's College, Cambridge as well as interviewing, hosting and appearing on panels for The Royal Opera, Covent Garden. He has worked in conservatoires and young artist programs in Australia, the UK, Germany, Italy and the United States.
Edith Grossman | Rosina This past January Edith dazzled audiences as the Stewardess in Kristine McIntyre’s production of Flight with Utah Opera. After having made her debut with Utah Opera in 2020 as Elle in a modern English translation of Poulenc’s La Voix Humaine, she’s gone on to be featured prominently in both the Utah Opera and Utah Symphony’s seasons. In spring of 2021, she was a featured soloist with Utah Symphony in Light on the Horizon, Stravinsky’s Pulcinella, and Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater. Previously, in the fall she covered Rosina in Utah Opera's Il Barbiere di Siviglia and was the alto soloist in Handel’s Messiah with Utah Symphony. Edith will perform as Edith in The Pirates of Penzance (Utah Opera) this spring and will make her Rosina role debut in Il Barbiere di Siviglia with Kenosha Opera Festival this summer. Having gotten her start in musical theatre, Edith has a particular love of English, modern, and contemporary opera. She created the role of Rachel in Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s If I Were You with Merola Opera Company and workshopped Ricky Ian Gordon and Lynn Nottage’s Intimate Apparel with Lincoln Center Theater. But her ability to move effortlessly between eras of music is remarkable with performances of roles and scenes from La Cenerentola (Tisbe), Falstaff (Meg), La belle Hélène (Hélène), Giulio Cesare in Egitto (Sesto), and La Voix Humaine (Elle). With an expertise in the annals of classical musical theatre, her roles have ranged from Eliza Doolittle to Julie Jordan. Edith is equally adept at contemporary material, including Cats (Grizabella) and most recently, Ordinary Days (Claire). Edith is a graduate of the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam with a B.M. in Vocal Performance. Edith is managed by Encompass Arts.
Max Hosmer | Almaviva Tenor Max Hosmer has been hailed as “scene-stealing” and praised for his “powerful high range” in the Daily Camera. He portrayed George Bailey in the workshop premiere of Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer's It's a Wonderful Life. Other modern opera premieres include Calvin O’Keefe in Libby Larsen’s A Wrinkle in Time, Bev Russell in Zach Redler's A Song for Susan Smith, Lefty Calibrini in Lori Laitman’s Ludlow, and Henry James in Alberto Caruso’s The Master with CU New Opera Works. His clear voice, expressive stage presence, range of repertoire, and quick learning ability has made him a dependable and sought-after performer. Max has been gaining recognition as an operatic performer in both modern and standard repertoire. Favorite roles include Don Ramiro in La Cenerentola, Count Almaviva in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Ferrando in Così fan tutte, Rodolfo in La Bohème, Laurie in Little Women, Martin in The Tender Land, Fenton in Falstaff, Frederic in The Pirates of Penzance, Cascada in The Merry Widow, Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi, Pickups in Rootabaga Stories, and Milkman in Brundibar; with such companies as Townsend Opera Players, Emerald City Opera, Colorado Music Festival, Thompson Street Opera, Bear Valley Music Festival, and the Eklund Opera Program. He has worked under the baton of Ryan Murray, Nicholas Carthy, Glen Cortese, Christopher Zemliauskas, Michael Christie, and Joshua Horsch. Max performed at Carnegie Hall as a finalist for the 2019 New York Lyric Opera National Vocal Competition. He was the winner of the Bernard Polak Award at the 2014 Denver Lyric Opera Guild Competition, and the Myrle F. Hoffman award at the 2013 competition. He is also the winner of the California State University, Stanislaus 2009-2010 Concerto/Aria Competition. Max has participated in masterclasses with Michelle DeYoung, Mary Jane Johnson, Jerold Siena, Carol Kimball, John Baril, and Donald Kaasch. Max is also a skilled performer of concert repertoire. He performed the Tenor Soloist in Carmina Burana with the Colorado Repertory Singers. He has been a regular Tenor Soloist in The Messiah across multiple states. He appeared in Saints and Sinners with the Central City Opera Ensemble in Ouray, Colorado. Other companies Max has been a featured soloist for include Loveland Opera, the Fine Tuned Society of Boulder, the Longmont Chorale, the Colorado Hebrew Chorale, and the Eklund Opera Theatre Singers. A native of Modesto, California, Max graduated summa cum laude from California State University, Stanislaus with a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance, and earned his Master of Music in Voice Performance as well as his Professionals Certificate in Opera and Vocal Performance from the University of Colorado Boulder. He currently resides in the Chicago area.
Ian Huddleston | Pianist, 2022 KOF Fellow Ian Huddleston, pianist, is currently studying at UW-Parkside in his third year as a piano performance student. Within his school life, he is heavily involved in the music department. He is a member of multiple ensembles and spends most of his free time in the practice rooms trying to improve his playing as much as he can. He enjoys playing a range of piano music, from classical to pop music. Through the courses and lessons he has taken, he has become a much better performer, which in turn has made him a much more proficient pianist throughout the community. He is a fill-in accompanist at various churches and other institutions in the area and is an accompanist for solo orchestra students for WSMA Solo & Ensemble. He likes to play for local occasions when needed such as weddings, funerals, and holiday services and is always open to new opportunities that are presented to him!
Savannah Kroeger | Orfeo, 2022 KOF Fellow Savannah Kroeger is a charismatic young artist native to the Kenosha area who has performed across the Midwest. A rising senior at Carthage College, she is pursuing degrees in Music and English alongside her minors in Theatre and Spanish. Throughout her time at Carthage, Savannah has been an active member of the Carthage Choir directed by Dr. Eduardo Garcia-Novelli, Maestro Rick Bjella, and Dr. Dimitri Shapovalov. She is grateful for the wide range of experiences that this choir has offered her as a student, including, but not limited to, Carthage’s annual Christmas Festival, exposure to a wide range of repertoire, and presenting her with a one-of-a-kind music family. She is looking forward to traveling with the ensemble this summer. In addition to her involvement in the choral program, Savannah had the opportunity to participate in the NATS Classical Voice Competition under the guidance of her voice instructor, Peg Cleveland-Plambeck, where she was recognized as a finalist. Some of her favorite moments include collaborating with close friends in the music department. From singing in studio classes to sharing the stage in recitals, Savannah greatly appreciates the chance to work alongside her peers and learn from their creative ambitions. Savannah is an all-around creative at heart and is thrilled to join the Kenosha Opera Festival for her second summer. Last summer’s presentation of Bird’s of a Feather, Fellowship Showcase, and main stage opera, La fille du régiment, were experiences she will never forget. She is excited for the upcoming season!
Jackie Labbe | Muse
Marissa Lake | Amore, 2022 KOF Fellow Soprano, Marissa Lake, is from the small town of Wilmot, WI. Lake is finishing her Bachelor of Music degree at Lawrence University in Appleton, WI studying with John T. Gates. Next year she will begin her Master of Music degree at McGill University in Montreal studying with Dominique Labelle. Since she was young she has been performing in voice competitions and has won multiple awards. In 2016 she won the Diva Quest Scholarship Competition at 15 years old, and this solidified her love for music and performance. In 2018, she traveled Europe with the Wisconsin Ambassadors of Music as one of their lead soloists, performing in cities such as London, Paris, and Venice and over 6 countries. Since then she was awarded second place in the Wisconsin National Association of Teachers of Singing Competition for classical treble voices in 2019. Lake has also performed with Chicago Summer Opera as Oberto from Alcina and in various scenes from Der Rosenkavalier and Hänsel und Gretel. With the Lawrence University Opera Department Lake has performed Barbarina in The Marriage of Figaro, Prima Cercatrice and Prima Conversa in Suor Angelica and has been featured in scenes as Laetitia in The Old Maid and the Thief, Adele from Die Fledermaus and Juliette from Romeo et Juliette. Later this summer, Lake will be traveling to the Netherlands to perform the role of Susanna from Le nozze di Figaro with the International Belcanto Academy.
Ksenia Leletkina | Conductor Pianist Ksenia Leletkina maintains an active international schedule as both a collaborative artist and vocal coach. Currently, Ksenia serves as an Vocal Coach and a Russian Diction Coach of Palm Beach Opera. Her most recent posts include Head Coach of the Resident Artist Program at Opera Naples; Vocal Coach of the Renata Scotto Opera Academy; and a vocal coach/conductor at the summer program Si parla, si canta. Previously, she was engaged as a coach and a music director of the Poulenc’s La Voix Humaine, Puccini’s Suor Angelica and Giordano’s Mese Mariano at the Eastman School of Music’s Opera Theatre. Published author, Dr. Leletkina is an advocate and specialist of Russian repertoire. She has given numerous masterclasses and lectures on Russian diction and vocal music around the United States. Ksenia is an author of the Anthology of Russian Songs, which was released by Leyerle Publications. She is currently working on the second volume of the Libretti of Russian Operas for Leyerly Publications. Ms. Leletkina holds a Doctoral Degree in Accompanying and Chamber Music from the Eastman School of Music and a double Master’s Degree in Piano Performance and Collaborative Piano from the Cleveland Institute of Music.
Edson Melendez | Director (Orfeo ed Euridice), Fiorello, Soldier Edson Melendez is a Kenosha native and Racine resident who has performed as a Singer, Actor, Stage Director, and Arts Administrator in South-East Wisconsin and beyond. Edson earned a B.M. in vocal performance from Arizona State University and an M.M in Vocal Performance from DePaul University in Chicago Il. Locally, Edson has been heard and seen on stage with Florentine Opera, Phoenix Opera, Milwaukee Opera Theatre, Elgin Opera, Candid Concert Opera, North Shore Opera Hour, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, Desert Palms Theatre, and Racine Theatre Guild among others. As a director Edson has directed both opera and non-musical theatre. He was the Stage Direction Apprentice at the renowned San Miguel Institute of Belle Canto in San Miguel, Mexico, where he worked closely with international opera directors Joe McClain and Ragnar Conde. He was the Stage Direction Fellow at Chicago Summer Opera, and most recently the Assistant Director for Florentine Opera's production of "Luisa Fernanda". He has also directed and has upcoming productions with Brew City Opera, and The Belle Ensemble. Edson's repertoire spans from Handel to Weill. He has also been a clinician at the university level and a private dramatic coach. As an Arts Administrator, Edson serves as the Board President and Artistic Director for Belle Ensemble and as Board President and General Director of Brew City opera. Edson is thrilled and honored to be working with Kenosha Opera Festival!
Stacey Murdock | Bartolo
Janese Pentico | Berta Soprano Janese Pentico has been described as “a hardworking, humble artist, open to direction, and a joy to have as part of a creative process.” (Gene Roberts, Stage Director) Fresh out of her graduate work, she was heard last spring as Sister Angelica, the title role in an English-language production of Puccini’s masterpiece, in Southern Utah. Recently, she appeared as Contessa Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro with New York Lyric Opera Theatre. In the 2019 season, she made her role debut as Mimì in La bohème at the Midwest Institute of Opera and in the title role of Madama Butterfly at Operfestival di Roma. In 2020, Ms. Pentico joined the Young Artist Program at Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre, where she covered the role of Madama Butterfly. She also performed as Zerlina in Don Giovanni, was heard in a variety of educational outreach programs, and sang in the popular Sundays at the Basile series while she was a resident artist at Indianapolis Opera. Following her residency at IO, Ms. Pentico prepared the title role in Rachmaninoff’s Francesca da Rimini with the prestigious Russian Opera Workshop by virtual means. A lover of French and contemporary opera, Ms. Pentico created the role of Soprano in Isabelle Aboulker’s Les fables enchantèes in Pèrigueux, France with the Franco-American Vocal Academy. She has also performed the title role of Cendrillon and Lìa in L’enfant prodigue. Other contemporary roles include Liberty in Milton Granger’s The Proposal, Betsy in Marc Bucci’s Sweet Betsy from Pike, and Julie the Realtor in Michael Ching’s Speed Dating Tonight!. Traditional repertoire includes Dido in Dido and Aeneas and Donna Anna in Don Giovanni. After teaching secondary music education in rural Utah, Ms. Pentico earned a Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance from North Park University in Chicago. She obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Music Education at Southern Utah University, where she studied with Lawrence Johnson and Carol Ann Modesitt. Janese is a current student of Samuel M. Handley. She resides in Wisconsin with her husband, two sons, and their beloved beagles.
Ruben Piirainen | Music Director (Orfeo ed Euridice), Pianist Ruben Piirainen is a pianist, composer, vocal coach, conductor, educator, and restaurateur who has appeared as coach, pianist, and/or music director with regional companies including Florentine Opera, Skylight Music Theatre, Brew City Opera, Milwaukee Opera Theatre, Opera for the Young, Music by the Lake, and Present Music. He has appeared in over 100 concerts across the country, including a program of new operatic scenes at the National Opera Center in New York, and recitals with opera superstars Alyson Cambridge and Noah Stewart. His repertoire spans classic operas and the world premieres of PRINCE OF PLAYERS (Carlisle Floyd), SISTER CARRIE (Robert Aldridge), and JUDGMENT OF MIDAS (Kamran Ince). Piirainen himself is the composer of four operas, with performances by Opera Carolina, the Skylight, the Florentine, and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee who just premiered his latest opera READY (OR NOT) in February 2022. Piirainen holds degrees in piano performance with additional studies in opera from Lawrence University Conservatory of Music and Bowling Green State University. He is on the piano faculty of Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, is the music director at Unitarian Universalist Church West in Brookfield, WI, and, in his free time, owns two restaurants in Milwaukee (www.sabrosa.cafe and www.sisucafe.com).
Mitch Roe | Clinician Mitch Roe first began at Florida Grand Opera in 2016. For the first three years of his tenue, he was the Coordinator of the Studio Artist Program. In August of 2019, he was promoted to the position of Director of Artistic Administration while continuing to direct the Studio Artist Program. During this time, he helped the company produce Don Giovanni and Madama Butterfly before the COVID-19 pandemic closed the theater doors. Through the pandemic, Mitch has aided the company in producing its 2021 live, in-theater series of Specials and Shorts. Recently, Mr. Roe made his debut as the stage and film director of Frida Kahlo and the Bravest Girl in the World as part of the company’s in-school opera education program created for the online learning platforms for public and private schools throughout Miami-Dade and Broward counties. He continues to produce with the company as they forge ahead with regular programming. After his studies in vocal performance, he decided to put his knowledge and talents to use in artistic administration. Mr. Roe is gaining a reputation for professional development seminars, masterclasses, and individual coaching most recently at the Vienna Summer Music Festival in St. Petersburg, Florida and Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. Prior to FGO, Mitch spent a summer at Wolf Trap Opera as Rehearsal Administrator after two and a half years at IMG Artists in Finance and Administration. He holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Wright State University and Manhattan School of Music respectively.
Rachel Stiles | Muse Rachel Stiles is thrilled to be a part of this year's opera festival! Normally a backstage wigs and makeup technician + artist, she is excited to be on the other side for once. She would like to dedicate this performance to her mom, who passed away this year and always supported her dreams, no matter how big or small.
Nathan Takahashi | Soldier, Notary
Autumn Voyles | Euridice, 2022 KOF Fellow Growing up in Kenosha, Autumn Voyles has spent a majority of her life performing on the stage. In her pre-professional career, Ms.Voyles was an active member in the KUSD Theater Arts program both as a crew member and as a performer. Ms. Voyles attended Wartburg College and graduated in 2021 with a degree in music therapy, just completing a music therapy internship with Accent Care Hospice. While attending Wartburg College, Autumn studied under Professor Carita Pfaltzgraff and Dr. Jennifer Larson later joining the Wartburg College Opera under the direction of Dr. Brian Pfaltzgraff. In the 2019-20 season of the WCO, Ms. Voyles performed the principal role of Susanna in Mozart’s ‘Le nozze di Figaro’ and was the award recipient of the Waverly Community Symphony Orchestra’s annual aria competition. Ms. Voyles continued performing with the WCO as the role of Lucy in Menotti’s ‘The Telephone.’ Ms. Voyles continued performing post-graduation in the 2021 inaugural season of the Kenosha Opera Festival’s main stage opera of ‘La fille du régiment’ by Donizetti. Ms. Voyles has continued singing with the Kenosha Chamber Choir and most recently performed Gabriel Faure’s ‘Requiem’ with the University of Parkside Master Singers alongside the Racine Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Voyles is excited to spend her summer collaborating with so many wonderful artists.
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