Le Comte Ory
August 16, 2019 at 7:30 PM & August 18, 2019 at 2:00 PM
1229 W Belmont Ave, Chicago, IL 60657
Stage Director: Corina Brenciu
Conductor: Codrut Birsan
Assistant Conductor:Jeeson Eun
Assistant Stage Director: Alexandra Saulsbury
Musical Preparation: Anthony Benz
At the time of the Crusades, the French lords leave their estates for the Holy Land and women are sometimes left defenseless. Thus, brave Lady Ragonde becomes the keeper of the castle of Formoutiers where the lord’s sister, beautiful Adèle, is drooping. Adventurous and sensuous Count Ory tries to seduce secluded young women with the aid of his debauchery companion Raimbaud. Disguised as nuns, they gain the confidence of Lady Ragonde who’s looking for a devoted comforter for her mistress.
Le Comtesse Adèle - Karen Hunt
Soprano Karen Hunt is a passionate performer of opera, concert, art song, and theatrical music. A native of North Idaho, she has frequently worked with Inland Northwest Opera in both mainstage and outreach productions, as well as the University of Idaho Opera Workshop. Her vast repertoire includes roles such as Drusilla/The Coronation of Poppea and Samuel Pummill’s new opera Opera Noir. Other favorite roles include Gretel/Hansel und Gretel, Cendrillon/Cendrillon, and Julie Jordan/Carousel. This spring she made her debut with Transgressive Theatre-Opera in their concerts of Le Comte Ory and Letters of Love and Subterfuge, and also performed Finette in Offenbach’s Bagatelle and Sophie in von Suppe’s The Finishing School at Roosevelt University, where she has just finished with her M.M. in Voice Performance as a student of Judith Haddon. Her oratorio repertoire includes the soprano solos in Schubert’s Mass in G and Marion in Handel’s Israel in Egypt. Her art song repertoire is more wide-ranging, with a special emphasis on American art song, including the works of emerging composer Jesse Hampsch. Outside of singing, she is also a director, producer, and volunteer. In these roles, she is a facilitator of meaningful and empathetic programming that brings together community, inspires individuals and shapes the character of patrons and performers alike. In her senior year of high school, she organized a 24-hour immersive Homeless Awareness event for her school while serving as the president of the Key Club (Kiwanis International). As a director and producer, she has worked professionally with Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre. Karen holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Idaho, where she graduated magna cum laude. When she is not pursuing the arts, she loves to cuddle with her corgi, Rosie and read Jane Austen and Harry Potter novels.
Le Comtesse Adèle - Mary Lieberman
American coloratura soprano Mary Lieberman is equally at home in opera and musical theatre. Most recently, she performed Vixen Bystrouška in LSU Opera’s production of The Cunning Little Vixen. Other roles that Mary performed include Elisa DooLittle in My Fair Lady, Lady Psyche in Princess Ida, Giulia in The Gondoliers, Papagena in The Magic Flute and Suor Genoveffa in Suor Angelica. Additional roles that Mary prepared and covered include Aveline Mortimer in Elizabeth Cree, Angelina in Trial by Jury, Giulietta in The Gondoliers, and Euridyce in Orpheus in the Underworld. She is a frequent performer with the Turner-Fischer Center for Opera at LSU and Houston Gilbert and Sullivan Society, and she is a proud scholarship recipient of both organizations. At the School of Music, Mary currently studies with renowned vocal pedagogue Loraine Sims, and performs under the direction of Dugg McDonough and under the baton of Michael Borowitz. She will graduate summa cum laude from Louisiana State University as a Master of Music in Vocal Performance in May of 2019.
Cover La Comtesse Adèle - April Sorenson
April Sorenson, soprano, will be starting her fourth year of her undergraduate studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the fall of 2019. She recently won second place in the Wisconsin NATS Auditions. She is pursuing her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Voice Performance under the instruction of Dr. Tanya Kruse. She has been seen as Olympia in scenes from The Tales of Hoffman and The Rose in The Little Prince. She is excited to be apart of Chicago Summer Opera’s production of Le Comte Ory as the cover for Le Comtesse Adèle.
Alice - Carly Cummings
Carly Cummings is currently studying with Ah Young Hong at Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore Maryland, in the persuit of her Masters Degree in vocal performance. Cummings was most recently featured in Peabody Conservatory’s Suor Angelica as Prima Sorella Cercatrici. Before that she appeared on stage as Doctor #3 in The Falling and the Rising also with Peabody Conservatory. She has performed the operatic roles of Cendrillon in Cendrillon, Adina in L'elisir d'amore, Witch one in Dido and Aeneas, and Girl in Strawberry Fields with San Diego State University’s Opera Theater. In the summer of 2018 she performed Gretel in Hansel und Gretel with the Manhattan Opera Studio in New York. In the summer of 2017 she performed with the Seattle Opera Academy in the opera chorus of The Tenderland. She was also featured in the Seattle Opera Academy scenes program as both Pamina and Eurydice. Cummings was involved with San Diego Opera’s training program, Opera Exposed, from 2015-2018 and there she performed many scenes as a part of San Diego Opera’s outreach. She was a part of Music Academy of the West’s Carmen, in the summer of 2014. Cummings was also awarded first place in the NATS competition (San Diego region division 11) in fall of 2017, and second place in the fall of 2016.
Alice - Carolyn Orr
Soprano, CAROLYN ORR, is a Senior Vocal Performance Major from Montgomery, TX, and a student of Dr. Robert Best at Baylor University. She is extremely excited to be performing the role of Alice in Le comte Ory this summer with Chicago Summer Opera! Recently Carolyn has appeared as Clara in Signor Deluso with Baylor Opera Theater, Second Woman/ Spirit in Dido and Aeneas with the Atlantic Music Festival, and Ifigenia in Handel’s Oreste with Baylor Opera Theater. She has appeared in scenes as Countess Almaviva from Le nozze di Figaro with the Atlantic Music Festival, Violetta from La Traviata with the Montgomery County Choral Society, as well as Fiordiligi from Così fan tutte , Countess Almaviva from Le nozze di Figaro, Rose from Street Scene, Rosalba from Florencia en el Amazonas, and Maria from West Side Story in the Baylor Opera Scenes Programs (2017-2019). Carolyn is an active liaison with the Baylor Opera Theater Guild and is one of the Baylor Opera Theater Social Media Coordinators.
Cover Alice - Christine Boddicker
Christine Boddicker is a native of Hinsdale, Illinois and is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in Vocal Performance at MSU under the tutelage of Jane Bunnell. Boddicker recently performed the role of Lauretta in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi with Michigan State University. Boddicker has appeared in choruses at Michigan State University such as L’elisir d’amore, Le nozze di Figaro, and Die Fledermaus, as well as Madama Butterfly and Candide last summer at the Brevard Music Festival.
Comte Ory - Michael Butler
Michael Butler is a student at the University of Maryland pursuing a Bachelors of Music in Vocal Performance, studying his craft with Bass-Baritone Kevin Short. After dedicating more than 10 years of his life to competitive Classical Piano, he turned to Classical Voice to pursue Opera. A few of his most recent achievements are being chosen as a Winner for the 2018 National YoungArts Foundation Vocal Competition, Second place winner at AAMS International voice competition, First place in the 2017 MTNA National Voice Competition, and First Place in the 2015 MSMTA Competition in Classical Voice. A few previous roles Michael has performed have been Dancaire in Bizet’s Carmen with Washington Opera Society, Ivan Lykov in Rimsky-Korsakov’s Czar’s Bride with Belcantanti Opera Company, Messenger in Verdi’s Aida with Washington Opera Society, and Tamino in Mozart’s The Magic Flute with Bethesda Music Festival. Michael is enthusiastic and eager to perform the title role in Rossini’s Le Comte Ory with Chicago Summer Opera.
Comte Ory Cover - Matt Blanks
Matt Blanks is making a name for himself as an exceptional tenor. This is his third production of Le Comte Ory, having sung the title role once with local company Katydid Productions in 2011, and having sung in the chorus at Wolf Trap Opera Company’s 2006 presentation of the work. Mr. Blanks holds degrees from Baldwin-Wallace University and Peabody Conservatory. He made a living as a singer in the Washington, D. C. Area where he sang with such groups as Washington Bach Consort, Chantry, and Concert Artists of Baltimore. During this time, Mr. Blanks performed his first Elijah and Mozart Requiems as tenor soloist, along with a slew of other concert works. Following this, Mr. Blanks participated in resident artist programs at Tri-Cities Opera, Indianapolis Opera, Sarasota Opera, and Chicago Opera Theater. Mr. Blanks has worked extensively in local and regional opera. Some credits include Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor, Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Ferrando in Cosí fan tutte, Fenton in Falstaff, Henrik in A Little Night Music, and Charlie in Brigadoon. Mr. Blanks composes and arranges music in his spare time. He especially enjoys setting poetry and writing classical songs. Mr. Blanks is a gifted pianist, and has worked as service accompanist and choir director for several churches, currently Calvary Episcopal Church in Batavia. He is passionate about education, maintains a studio of voice students, and teaches at North Park and Dominican Universities.
Isolier - Jayme Vaughn-Linebarger
Jayme Vaughn-Linebarger, mezzo-soprano, is a native of Fort Worth, Texas. Her recent operatic appearances include Zita in Gianni Schicchi, Buttercup in H.M.S. Pinafore, and the Mother in Hänsel und Gretel. On the concert stage, she has been the mezzo-soprano soloist in Dan Forrest’s Requiem for the Living with First United Methodist Church Fort Worth and in Mozart’s Coronation Mass K. 317. She’s excited to sing Isolier in Rossini’s La Comte Ory with Chicago Summer Opera. Jayme has earned her Master of Music in Vocal Performance from Texas Tech University and Bachelor of Music from Texas Wesleyan University.
Isolier - Sarah Rauch
Mezzo-soprano Sarah Rauch is excited to be making her role debut with Chicago Summer Opera. Currently in her final year of undergraduate studies at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, she has studied under the guidance of Dr. Katherine Jolly and Wolfgang Brendel and will graduate with a BM in vocal performance in May of this year. She has appeared in the chorus of several IU Opera Theater productions, including Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmèlites and Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore, as well as participating in opera scenes productions in the roles of Sesto (La clemeza di Tito) and Cherubino (Le nozze di Figaro). Last summer she attended Bayview Music Festival’s opera scenes program (SOARS), performing opera excerpts as Sesto (Giulio Ceasare), Dorabella (Così fan tutte), and Charlotte (A Little Night Music). An avid choral musician, Sarah has performed in many curricular and extracurricular choral works at IU as well as in her community, and has appeared as a soloist in performances of Mozart’s Missa Brevis in Bb and Missa Brevis in D.
Ragonde - James Brown
A Maine native considered by the Portland Press Herald as “a countertenor with a pleasingly warm, powerful tone”, James Brown has been seen performing repertoire of diversity while completing his graduate degree at McGill University. He completed the Opera McGill season as both Polinesso in Handel’s Ariodante and an “irresistible” Old Lady in Bernstein’s Candide. James also found a place on the concert stage with Orff’s Carmina Burana and Mendelssohn’s Elijah with the Schulich School of Music as well as a presentation of staged Britten art song in collaboration with the Montreal Rose Festival. His 2019 season consists of performing the roles of Mercutio in Romeo & Juliet and a portrayal of Thomas Tallis in the improvisational Elizabethan Entertainments with the Shakespeare Opera Theatre and Ragonde in Rossini’s Le Comte Ory with Chicago Summer Opera. Mr. Brown has been hailed by L’Opéra as “a voice well controlled in the whole range for playing the cold menace” whilst portraying the role of the Sorceress in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas simultaneously with the North American Premiere of East O’ the Sun, West O’ the Moon by rising opera composer James Garner. Noteworthy work includes Queen of the Fairies (Iolanthe) at the University of Southern Maine as well as performances of Bach’s Es ist euch gut, daß ich hingehe, Mass in B Minor, and Purcell’s King Arthur with the American Bach Soloists Academy. Joined by notable talent in the New England concert scene, he has been involved with the Portland Rossini Club, Bay Chamber Concert Series, and White Mountain Music Festival with works by Britten, Bolcom, and Bach.
Ragonde - Abigail Grosch
Abigail Grosch is a mezzo-soprano from California who moved to Chicago to finish her undergraduate studies at Roosevelt University. She has fallen in love with the windy and is currently in the studio of Mark Crayton. Some of her favorite roles performed are Cherubino from Le nozze di Figaro, Nicklaus from Les contes d’Hoffman, Zita from Gianni Schicci, Principessa and il Zealatrice from Suor Angelica, and Jo from Little Women. Abigail is eager to be appearing in the role of Ragonde from Le Comte de Ory with Chicago Summer Opera.
Raimbaud - Reuben L. Lillie
Baritone Reuben L. Lillie was born and raised in the hills of Greenville, Pennsylvania. Known for his “virile sound” and “reliable technique” (Opera News), Reuben’s stage appearances include Des Moines Metro Opera's Galileo Galilei (Salviati), Vero Beach Opera's Die Fledermaus (Frank), Sugar Creek Opera's The Magic Flute (Papageno), and the Santa Fe Opera's world premiere of Oscar (Jury Foreman). In concert Reuben has sung with a variety of Chicago-based chamber organizations including Fourth Coast Ensemble, Gaudete Brass Quintet, and Civic Orchestra of Chicago. Reuben is a graduate of Olivet Nazarene University (where he now serves as an adjunct professor in both the School of Music and the School of Theology and Christian Ministry), the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, and McCormick Theological Seminary. At CCPA Reuben performed the title role in Gianni Schicchiand the Chicago premiere for the orchestrated version of Vaughan Williams’s Songs of Travel at Symphony Center, receiving subsequent broadcasts on 98.7 WFMT. He has also been a Central Region Finalist to the Metropolitan Opera National Council. Reuben, his wife Stephanie, their son Corban, and their cat Sgt. Tibbs live in Chicago’s Loop.
Una dama - Arianna Denning
Arianna Denning, Soprano, is very excited to be returning to the Chicago Summer Opera after being cast in The Magic Flute last summer. Currently, she is a rising senior at York Community High School in Elmhurst, Illinois. Ari sings in her high school concert choir and a cappella groups, and most recently has been cast in Bright Star. She is very active in the high school theater scene and was previously cast in Tuck Everlasting and West Side Story. Ari has been taking voice lessons since she was nine years old. She has continued her voice training during the summers at Blue Lake Fine Arts camp, which included in a spectacular summer experience singing with its International Choir in France and Germany. Ari is very passionate about singing and all aspects of the Arts. She is an enthusiastic dancer, taking Ballet since she was six years old and performing in the Nutcracker at Dupage Dance Academy. Ari is an accomplished artist, having won 1st place in the Congressional Art Competition for the Illinois 5th district. Ari is an avid reader and enjoys spending time with her older brother, Max, and her big fat cat, Boo. She is grateful for this opportunity to learn and perform in the Le Comte Ory with the Chicago Summer Opera.
Tutor - Ben Ross
Ben Ross is a baritone and native of Rockford, Il, where he grew up singing with a local boychoir. He recently graduated from the University of Iowa with Bachelor’s Degrees in Voice Performance and Music Education, studying under Stephen Swanson. He was featured in several roles with the University of Iowa Opera Theatre including Major General Stanley in The Pirates of Penzance and Simone in Gianni Schicchi. While in Iowa, Ben was featured as a soloist with the Southeastern Iowa Symphony Orchestra, Vocal Artists of Iowa, and Chamber Singers of Iowa City. Ben has maintained an active schedule after recently moving to Chicago with Transgressive Theatre-Opera, Glen Ellyn Opera, Common Pulse, Chicago Choral Artists, Wicker Park Choral Singers, and the Choral Scholars of Saints Peter and Paul. He hopes to continue to grow as a singer in Chicago’s growing small ensemble and storefront opera community. Upcoming work includes Camelot with Janus Concert Series and as a featured soloist with the Rockford New Music Collaborative.
1st Knight - Juan Tello
Juan Tello began his training in 2014 with the internationally recognized tenor Óscar Roa by private tutoring. Afterwards, he began his formal musical studies at the National Conservatory of Music in Mexico City in 2017 with the soprano Minerva Hernández as personal instructor. His repertoire as a chamber music soloist includes Händel’s Messiah, Haydn’s Creation, Schubert’s Mass in G Mayor, Charpentier’s Magnificat and Zelenka’s Omnium Sanctorum Mass. Recently, he was selected to join the barroque music workshops at the Conservatory lead by mezzo soprano, Nurani Huet and internationally recognized flautist Horacio Franco. In these workshops, his repertoire ranged from repertoire by Schütz to Bach cantatas. During his first year at the Conservatory, he sang the roles of Basilio and Don Curzio in Mozart’s "Le Nozze di Figaro" and the title role of Händel’s "Imeneo".