by George Frideric Handel
August 18, 2018 at 7:30 PM & August 19, 2018 at 2 PM
The Den Theatre
1331 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
Performed in Italian with projected English translations
Stage Director: Dylan Evans
Conductor: Nickolas Carlson
Assistant Conductor: Rebecca K. Smithorn
Assistant Stage Director:
Musical Preparation: Maja Tremiszewska
August 18, 2018
August 19, 2018
Goffredo, the Captain General of the Christian army, is leading his men in attacking Jerusalem. He has also promised the hand of his daughter, Almirena, to the Christian hero, Rinaldo. Argante, the Saracen King of Jerusalem, seeks a truce and works with the sorceress, Arminda, to abduct Almirena. Rinaldo now is resolved to save Almirena but is intercepted by Armida who disguises herself as Alimirena. However, Rinaldo rejects her. Armida's anger is further aroused when Argante, thinking he is addressing Almirena, protests his love for her. Later, with the help of a magic want, Goffredo reaches Armida's magic mountain. Already, Rinaldo has arrived in Armida's garden and saved Almirena. With the help of Goffredo and his magic wand, the garden is turned into a desert. Argante and Armida, now reconciled, review their troops and the Christian forces prepare for battle in which they are victorious, thanks to the heroism of Rinaldo. Argante and Armida are taken prisoner. But after they convert to Christianity, they are pardoned.
Rinaldo - Julia Powers
Mezzo-Soprano, JULIA POWERS, is a recent graduate of the Master of Music Program in Vocal Performance at Baylor University. During her time at Baylor, she studied with Dr. Jamie Van Eyck. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Education from Stephen F. Austin State University and spent two years teaching elementary music in her hometown before coming to Baylor. Her recent performances include Oreste in Handel’s Oreste, Desirée in A Little Night Music, Little Buttercup in HMS Pinafore and Ramiro in La Finta Giardiniera. She also made her debut at Carnegie Hall in May of 2018 as the winning vocalist of the Baylor Semper Pro Musica Solo & Chamber Competition. She is grateful and excited to performing Rinaldo with Chicago Summer Opera.
Rinaldo - Kathryn Tolley
Kathryn Tolley, mezzo soprano, is thrilled to be joining Chicago Summer Opera in the title role of Rinaldo. Kathryn is currently based in Boston, MA, where she recently received her Masters degree in Voice Performance from Boston University under the tutelage of Dr. Lynn Eustis. Recent roles include the cover of Cherubino (Le nozze di Figaro) with Boston University Opera Institute, and the cover of Bradamante (Alcina) with Opera del West in Natick, MA. She has also performed in scenes as Cherubino and Sesto (Giulio Cesare) with Boston University, and as Meg Page (Falstaff), Béatrice (Béatrice et Bénédict), and Quickly (Sir John in Love) with the Up North Vocal Institute in Boyne City, Michigan. In concert, Kathryn performed as an alto soloist in Purcell’s King Arthur, and was also featured as a choral soloist in the Ouroboros Trilogy Workshop Presentation of Scott Wheeler’s opera Naga for the Beth Morrison Project. Upcoming roles include Siebel (Faust) with Opera51 in Concord, MA, and Jo March (Little Women) with Hawaii Performing Arts Festival.
Goffredo - Jaimie Lowe
A 2017 winner of Texas State University’s Aria and Concerto Competition, mezzo-soprano Jaimie Lowe brings to the stage vulnerable and intelligent interpretations of works ranging from Massenet to Bernstein. Known for her warm, even tone, she made her Alamo City Opera debut in 2017 as Billie/Dater #28 in Speed Dating Tonight. A graduate vocal performance major at Texas State University, she covered the roles of Miss Jessel and Mrs. Grose in her school’s production of The Turn of the Screw (fall 2017). Previously, she sang several roles with Spotlight on Opera, including a heartbreaking portrayal of 1950s housewife Dinah in Trouble in Tahiti, as well as L’écureuil, La tasse Chinoise and La libellule in Ravel’s whimsical L’enfant et les Sortilèges. Jaimie received her B.M. in Vocal Performance from Lawrence University, where she explored a wide range of styles with roles including Ludmila in The Bartered Bride, the Old Lady in Candide, and the Witch in Into the Woods. Residing in Austin, TX, she has been involved with Gilbert and Sullivan Austin as a soloist in their musicales and played Kate in their 2017 production of The Pirates of Penzance. Other local projects include membership in Texas Concert Opera Collective, with whom she will sing Mrs. McLean (Susannah) and Charlotte (Werther) in semi-staged concert productions during the 2018-2019 season. Upcoming engagements include the Classical Singer Competition semifinals and the role of Hansel in Texas State University’s modernized production of Hansel and Gretel.
Eustazio - Sophia Ahwazi
Sophia Ahwazi, mezzo-soprano, looks forward to joining Chicago Summer Opera as the role of Eustazio in the production of the opera, Rinaldo and as the Announcer in the production of the one act opera, Gallantry. Sophia, a native of sunny California, resides in Chicago where she received her Bachelor’s of Music from Roosevelt University’s, Chicago College of Performing Arts. Since graduating she studies with Tom Studebaker (teacher) and Dr. Shannon McGinnis (coach). Recent roles include the title role Baba/Madame Flora (The Medium), Cherubino (Le nozze di Figaro), Diana Trapes and covered Polly Peachum (Beggars Opera), and the role of Durla (Best Little Whorehouse of Texas). Sophia has also done various opera scenes throughout her studies with CCPA and previous summer programs including Up North Vocal Institute and OC Ars Vocalis Academy. These scenes include: the cave scene (Dido and Aeneas), paradox trio scene (Pirates of Penzance), and the infamous card trio scene (Camren).
Eustazio - Elizabeth Dickerson
Mezzo-soprano and Chicago native, Elizabeth Dickerson’s most recent performance engagements include the role of Unulfo in Handel’s Rodelinda, as well as a double bill of John Musto’s Bastianello (Amadora/Stelladora) and William Bolcom’s Lucretzia (Lucretzia). In previous seasons, Ms. Dickerson role debuts included Julia Bertram in the West Coast premiere of Jonathan Dove's Mansfield Park, Miles in Benjamin Britten’s Turn of the Screw, Suora Infermiera in Puccini’s Suor Angelica, Irene in Handel’s Atalanta, and Florence Pike in Britten’s Albert Herring. During her vocal training, Ms. Dickerson traveled to Urbania, Italy to study at the Si parla, Si canta! summer program, and accepted an opportunity to be a Fellow at the nationally renowned CoOperative Program at Westminster Choir College. This summer she will be participating in both OperaWorks in Los Angeles as an Advanced Artist and in the Chicago Summer Opera.Ms. Dickerson holds both a Master's Degree and Post-Graduate Diploma from the San Francisco Conservatory, studying under the guidance of acclaimed mezzo-soprano, Catherine Cook. Prior to attending the San Francisco Conservatory, Ms. Dickerson earned her Bachelor's Degree in Vocal Performance from The New England Conservatory in Boston.
Almirena - Mishelle Cipriani
Soprano Mishelle Cipriani hails from Chicago’s south suburbs. Her most recent roles include La Fée in Viardot’s Cendrillon and Mme Beurrefondu in Offenbach’s Mesdames de la Halle with New Moon Opera in Chicago. This summer, in addition to performing as Almirena from Rinaldo, she will perform the roles of Soprano 1 in the Little Women Quartet and studying Amy, and singing First Lady from The Magic Flute. Other programs she has participated in include Russian Opera Workshop, Bay View Music Festival, and Angels Vocal Art. Her past roles include Olga in Rusalka (Dargomyzhsky), Le Bottier in Les Bavards (Offenbach), and First Spirit in The Magic Flute. In addition to solo work, she performs choral work with Apollo Chorus of Chicago occasionally singing solos with them in concert, most recently singing with composer Jeff Beal. She received her Bachelors in Music from Moody Bible Institute and will begin her Masters in Vocal Performance in the fall.
Almirena - Nini Marchese
Nini Marchese, soprano, is thrilled to join Chicago Summer Opera for Rinaldo. Currently residing in Houston, TX, she is an active soloist and chorister. Nini regularly performs with Bach Society Houston, including a Germany tour last season as part of Bachfest in Leipzig. This season, she performed as a soprano soloist in Bach’s Magnificat and portrayed Gläubige Seele in Handel’s Brockes Passion. In the Houston area, she has also performed with the Foundation for Modern Music, Houston Chamber Choir, and Piping Rock Singers. A lover of Baroque Opera, Nini has performed the titular role in Rameau’s Zephyre, Evanco in Handel’s Rodrigo, Phillidel/Venus in Purcell’s King Arthur, and Libia/La Ira in Velsco’s La Purpura de la Rosa. Her other roles include Cobweb in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Papagena in Die Zauberflöte, and Barbarina in Le Nozze di Figaro. An Illinois native, Nini completed her Bachelor of Music Degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where she was a Thomas J. Smith Scholarship Competition Winner. In the Fall, Nini will begin graduate studies in Vocal Performance at the University of North Texas.
Armeida - Emelia Clark
Emelia Clark, a native of Grand Rapids, Michigan, found her love for music at a young age. From growing up watching all of the golden age movie musicals to piano lessons starting at age six, Emelia always knew music was the only option. Her first real foray into performance was through the West Michigan Academy of Music for Girls, where she was able to grow as a confident singer, performer, and ensemble member as well as a person confident in her uniqueness. Through the girls choir, Emelia was able to compete and perform around the U.S. as well as Austria and Germany. She continues to speak and perform at benefit concerts and dinners when asked.Although she now lives in Chicago, Ms. Clark enjoys going back to her home state to collaborate and perform in as many ways as she can. While living there, she performed the soprano solos in Rutter’s Requiem with the Cathedral Choir of St. Andrews, the ending quartet in the Chichester Psalms with members of the Grand Rapids Symphony and David Lockington conducting, and with Opera Grand Rapids in their production of Samson et Dalilah. She also wrote, recorded, and performed frequently with her pop/punk band SinceClaire from 2007-2009. Since leaving, she has returned to sing with her Church and to perform recitals, like her 2015 recital during the annual Festival of the Arts. Ms. Clark’s scene work includes Alcina (Alcina), Adina (L’elisir d’amore), and Yvette (La Rondine). Her full roles include Lauretta (Gianni Schicchi), Laetitia (The Old Maid and the Thief), Leonore in Mendelssohn’s Loreley, Vixen (The Cunning Little Vixen), and Arminda (La finta giardiniera). Along with stage work, Ms. Clark enjoys programing recitals and performing art song. She has been especially successful with works by Ravel, Strauss, Dvorak, Bernstein, and Tchaikovsky. Ms Clark also enjoys collaborating with other artists. During the inaugural performance of Boston Conservatory’s Student Opera (BoCoStOp), she was able to collaborate with other students to produce a staged production of Menotti’s The Old Maid and the Thief. She was also able to debut in Boston an art song set written specifically for her by Nicole DeMaio. This past year, Emelia has had the privilege to contribute to a new opera by Sean Hussey by discussing her own misgivings with the Opera genre as well as recording selected aria’s that will be modified and played during the live performance. By making new music with others and by connecting and collaborating, she finds ways to reconnect with the simplicity of loving music. A long educational path has found her pursuing her Masters Degree in Voice Performance at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University where she studies with Allan Glassman and coaches with Dr. Dana Brown. She currently holds an Associates in Music from Grand Rapids Community College and a Bachelors in Voice Performance from The Boston Conservatory (now the Boston Conservatory at Berklee).
Armida - Shelly Cooper
Shelley is thrilled to be returning to Chicago Summer Opera! Shelley was last season as "The Spirit" in Dido and Aeneas last June. Shelley has performed all over the world for a number of companies such as Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, Monroe Symphony, Orlando Repertory Theatre, Shawnee Summer Theatre, Redhouse Arts Center, Bangkok Theatre Festival, Simbiose Produções in São Paulo, Brazil and the Venetian in Macau, China. Most noted performances are “Johanna" in Sweeney Todd starring Tony-Award Winning Actress, Faith Prince, “Nellie” in South Pacific,“Cinderella” in Into the Woods, “Helena” in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, “Ariel” in The Little Mermaid and the Soprano soloist in Handel's Messiah with Bangkok International Orchestra. Her original one-woman show, La Divina: The Last Interview of Maria Callas has been performed on three continents. Shelley is currently the Assistant Professor of Musical Theatre at Augustana College in Rock Island, IL.
Sirene - Carolyn Anderson
Carolyn Anderson is ecstatic to be part of Chicago Summer Opera. Ms. Anderson grew up in the village of Almond, NY, an hour south of the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, where she started taking lessons in euphonium and voice. She received her Advanced Diploma in Voice from the Eastman Community Music School as a sophomore. Ms. Anderson attended Interlochen Arts Academy as a junior and senior where she studied with Laura Osgood-Brown and was a member of the Interlochen Chamber Singers. She will be a senior this fall at Oberlin Conservatory where she studies with Daune Mahy and will soon finish her Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance. She has performed the roles Sister Mary Amnesia (Nunsense), Rapunzel (Into the Woods) and Eve (The Apple Tree). Recent ensembles include Seven Deadly Sins, Du Yun’s Pulitzer Prize winning Angel’s Bone, Cendrillion and Pirates of Penzance. Ms. Anderson has received a Merit Award from the YoungArts Foundation, a Fine Arts Award from Interlochen Center of the Arts and the Nina Wiggin Award from the Snow Pond Center for the Arts. She has participated in masterclasses with Joseph Kaiser, Barbara Paver and Margo Garrett. Ms. Anderson is excited to perform Sirene and cover Almirena in Handel’s Rinaldo
Sirene - Abigail Jackson
Soprano, Abigail Jackson is excited to be making her Chicago debut! She is a recent graduate from the University of Texas, Austin with her master’s degree in Opera Performance. She performed many roles with the UT Butler Opera Center including Beth March in Mark Adamo’s Little Women, Nella in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, and the Dew Fairy in Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel. Most recently she was seen singing Servilia in Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito: A Retelling with Austin’s Local Opera Local Artists. She has also been seen singing many new works in Austin including the Wolf in the world premiere of Cry Wolf, a children’s opera, with the Cohen New Works Festival, Speeches for Dr. Frankenstein, a song cycle by Dr. Bruce Pennycook, and Homecoming by Australian composer, Sam Lipman. A Dallas native, but currently residing in Austin, she works as Austin Baroque Orchestra’s Ensemble Administrator, and has been seen in the choruses of Austin Opera and Gilbert and Sullivan Austin.
Argante - Jason Martin
Jason Martin recently graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Voice. While there, he studied and continues to study voice with Dr. Tanya Kruse. Through UWM’s Opera Theatre program, Martin has performed scenes from Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Il barbiere di Siviglia, Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffman, Donizetti’s Don Pasquale, Purcell’s The Indian Queen, Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti, Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo, and Jonathan Dover’s Flight. Other scene engagements include performances from Mozart’s Cosí fan Tutté and Sondheim’s A Little Night Music with the Up North Vocal Institute. Through UWM Opera, Martin has performed the roles of Aeneas in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas and Andrew Viceroy in Offenbach’s La Périchole. His concert engagements include singing as the baritone soloist in John Rutter’s Mass of the Children with the Milwaukee Children’s Choir, Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy with the UWM Orchestra, and both Bernstein’s “A Simple Song” and Adam’s “The Holy City” with Fond du Lac Symphonic Band. Last summer, Martin covered the role of Don Giovanni in Mozart’s Don Giovanni with OperaFestival di Roma. He is incredibly thankful to be making music with the artists of Chicago Summer Opera. He’d like to send out special gratitude to Georgine Kudrna and his voice teacher for their love and support.
Argante - Stephen Hobe
The music theatre turned operatic baritone Stephen Hobe has flourished in classical and crossover repertoire in hometown Chicago. Mr. Hobe returns to Chicago Summer Opera to sing Argante in RINALDO. Previous roles with Chicago Summer Opera include: John Proctor in THE CRUCIBLE, Budd in ALBERT HERRING, David in A HAND OF BRIDGE and Guglielmo in scenes from COSI FAN TUTTE. Mr. Hobe studied paleontology and music theatre at Carthage College, while exploring his operatic chops. Mr. Hobe quickly found a home in the lyric baritone repertoire, which he focused on during his Master’s degree at Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts (Spring, 2018), studying with Kurt Link. Mr. Hobe most recently impressed regional audiences with Silvio in PAGLIACCI at Main Street Opera. Other memorable roles display Mr. Hobe’s versatility in both comedic and dramatic repertoire: Gamekeeper in CUNNING LITTLE VIXEN, Nardo in LA FINTA GIARDINIERA, Le Chat /L’Horloge Comtoise in L’ENFANT ET LES SORTILÈGES, and Kauz in THE HOMECOMING, a Liederspiel by Mendelssohn. Mr. Hobe has been seen regionally performing with Music Theater Works, Main Street Opera, NewMoon Theatre, Towle Theatre, Chicago Summer Opera, North Park University, as well as with La Musica Lirica in Novafeltria, Italy. He has also collaborated as a soloist in concert with Opera on Tap’s Chicago and Milwaukee chapters, New Moon Opera, Janus Concert Series and as the bass soloist in the Second Presbyterian Quartet.
A herald - Benjamin Kawsky
Tenor, Benjamin Kawsky is excited to join Chicago Summer Opera, in Rinaldo, The Turn of the Screw, and Gallantry. Benjamin is currently a young artist with Cedar Rapids Opera Theartre, where he covered the role of Pong in Turandot, and Jeff Douglas in Brigadoon earlier this season. Benjamin Kawsky is a student of Allan Glassman and received a master’s degree in vocal performance form the Chicago College Performing Arts. Past roles include: Camillo in In Search of Desdemona with the Altamura Center for the Arts, Joe Hardy in Damn Yankees with Wilmette Center for the Arts, Rodolpho in A View from the Bridge with the International Master’s Academy of Opera, Cléon in L’Ivrogne Corrigé with CCPA, Soldate in L’incornazione di Poppea with CCPA, 1st Armored Man/1st Priest in Die Zauberflotë with the Astoria Music Festival, Nemorino in L’elisir d’more with the MasterWorks Festival, Martin in The Tenderland with the MaterWorks Festival, Lurcanio in Ariodante with the MasterWorks Festival, Reuben in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat with the Booth Tarkington Theater, and Peter in The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Theater Company.