Meet the cast of Rossini’s Cinderella:
Angelina (Cenerentola, Cinderella: Amanda Crider, mezzo-soprano
Prince Ramiro: Jonathan Blalock, tenor
Dandini (Prince Ramiro’s valet): Levi Hernandez, baritone
Don Magnifico (Angelina’s stepfather): Donald Hartmann, bass
Alidoro (Prince Raminor’s former tutor): Zachary James, bass
Clorinda (Don Magnifico’s oldest daughter, Angelina’s stepsister): Angela Theis, soprano
Tisbe (Don Magnifico’s youngest daughter, Angelina’s stepsister): Kathryn Kelly, mezzo-soprano
Praised for her “focused golden toned voice,” American Mezzo-Soprano, Amanda Crider (Angelina/Cinderella) is quickly gaining recognition for her extraordinary musicality and assured dramatic presence. Ms. Crider’s current season includes a debut with the Castleton Festival as Zerlina in Don Giovanni in addition to appearances as Mezzo Soloist in Britten’s Phaedra with New World Symphony, The English Teacher in Gregory Spear’s new opera Paul’s Case with the Prototype Festival, Mezzo Soloist with the Bach Festival Society in Haydn’s Creation and J.S. Bach’s St. John Passion, as well as her return to the Grammy Nominated ensemble Seraphic Fire for multiple concerts throughout the 2013-2014 season. Upcoming in the 2014-2015 season, Ms. Crider will be heard as Mezzo Soloist New World Symphony, under the baton of Roberto Abbado in de Falla’s El Amor Brujo, as well as soloist with Seraphic Fire, the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, the Master Chorale of South Florida, and will be making her role debut as Angelina in Cenerentola with Opera Roanoke. In previous seasons she was seen as Prince Orlofsky in Knoxville Opera’s production of Die Fledermaus, Mezzo Soloist with the Greeley Philharmonic and The Dallas Opera in Concert, and returned to both Apollo’s Fire and Seraphic Fire as Mezzo Soloist in Handel’s Messiah. In the 2011-2012 season, Amanda debuted with The Dallas Opera in La Traviata, Opera Omaha in La Cambiale di Matrimonio, and Eugene Symphony Orchestra and the Charlotte Symphony as the Alto Soloist in the Mozart Requiem. She also appeared with Eugene Opera in Nixon in China, was Mezzo Soloist in Chansons Madécasses with the New World Symphony, and was a recitalist on the Trinity Church Concerts at One Recital Series.
Ms. Crider debuted with Florida Grand Opera in 2009 singing the role of Mallika in Lakmé, and went on to delight audiences as Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro. She was also heard in 2010 in the role of Nellie Forbush in South Pacific with Anchorage Opera, a role she had previously performed with Opera Boston. In addition, she sang with the New World Symphony in performances of De Falla’s The Three-cornered Hat, Mozart’s Mass in c minor with the Bach Festival Society, and Messiah with Apollo’s Fire. Other performances in recent seasons include Zerlina in Don Giovanni with Nevada Opera, Diana in Eugene Opera’s Orpheus in the Underworld, Cherubino with the Des Moines Metro Opera and the Eugene Opera, as well as The Monitor in Suor Angelica, Alisa in Lucia di Lammermoor, Berta in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, and Mercedes in Carmen with the Florida Grand Opera.
Ms. Crider joined the roster of the New York City Opera in the fall of 2007 in Barber’s opera Vanessa covering the role of Erika. She has also performed with such companies as Des Moines Metro Opera as Siébel in Faust, Gotham Chamber Opera as the 2nd Gypsy in Scenes of Gypsy Life, and for her first foray into the operatic world, Ms. Crider performed the role of L’Enfant in L’Enfant et les Sortilèges at the Tanglewood Music Center. The Boston Globe said she sang with “ineffable tenderness,” and was hailed by Opera News as “delightful.”
Ms. Crider has been lauded for her fine interpretations of early music. She has been a soloist in recent seasons with the Bach Festival Society of Florida, and the renowned baroque ensemble from Cleveland, Apollo’s Fire. She was heard as Pastore #3 in the 2007 Glimmerglass Opera production of Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo, and returned for a second season in 2008 where she excelled in a performance of the role of Sesto in Handel’s Giulio Cesare, when the artist she was covering was indisposed. She also performed an evening of Baroque arias and duets with internationally renowned soprano Lisa Saffer and the Cooperstown Chamber Music Festival in the summer of 2008.
Alex Ross of The New Yorker named Jonathan’s performance as one of the top ten musical events of 2014, saying, “The tenor Jonathan Blalock was transfixing in the title role; Spears’s score glistened beautifully and eerily around him.” This year, Jonathan Blalock (Prince Ramiro) has been recognized in several other important productions, including Almaviva in Loft Opera’s Barber of Seville, noted by The New York Times as one of the season’s comedic classical music highlights. He debuted with Opera San Antonio in The Fantastic Mr. Fox, which was listed as one of the top ten musical events of the year, and he also debuted with West Edge Opera in Berkely; The San Francisco Chronicle hailed the performance as one of the most impressive musical events of 2014 in the Bay Area.
In 2015 he will debut with Des Moines Metro Opera in the role of Pedrillo in Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail, and he will debut with Nashville Opera in the role of Pang for their production of Puccini’s Turandot. Blalock reprises his role of Don Ottavio in his company debut with Cedar Rapids Opera in Don Giovanni, and he sings Remendado with The Pacific Symphony in a semi-staged production of Carmen. In the coming season Jonathan will join both The Dallas Opera and LA Opera for two different world premiere operas.
Notable performances for Jonathan in the past season include a debut with Washington National Opera (An American Soldier), The Portland Symphony (The Magic of Christmas), Odyssey Opera (The Fantastic Mr. Fox) and The St. George Choral Society (Mozart’s Great Mass in C minor). In 2014 the Opera Orchestra of New York awarded Jonathan Blalock with the Agnes Varis prize for Bel Canto.
Mr. Blalock recently completed two seasons as an Apprentice with Santa Fe Opera, where he covered two Rossini roles: Rodrigo (La donna del Lago) and Condulmiero (Maometto II). In addition, he sang scenes as Peter Quint (Turn of the Screw) and the title role in Le Comte Ory, and covered the Bailiff in the world premiere of Theodore Morrison’s Oscar.
Highly acclaimed for his work in 20th and 21st Century Opera, Jonathan has appeared in a number of world premieres, including The Secret Agent with the Center for Contemporary Opera in NYC and the Armel Festival in Hungary; Jorge Martin’s Before Night Falls with Fort Worth Opera; and Paul’s Case with Urban Arias. In addition, he made his Virginia Opera debut as Cégeste in Philip Glass’ Orphée, and has sung with Fort Worth Opera in the same composer’s Hydrogen Jukebox.
Other career highlights include Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni) with Nevada Opera; Nemorino (L’elisir d’amore) with Opera in Williamsburg; Handel’s Messiah with the Lexington Philharmonic and Winston-Salem Symphony; Carmina Burana with Las Crucas Symphony; Fenton (Falstaff) with Mercury Opera in Rochester; Tonio (La file du Régiment) with IVAI in both Isreal and Montreal; Count Almaviva (Il barbiere di Siviglia) with Opera Company of Middlebury); and Normanno (Lucia di Lamermoor), Howard Boucher (Dead Man Walking), and Remendado (Carmen) with Fort Worth Opera.
Jonathan is represented by Encompass Arts. For more information, please visit www.encompassarts.com.
With a velvety tone and a stage presence which exudes confidence and charm, baritone Levi Hernandez (Dandini) is gaining momentum as a sought after artist on the operatic stage. Mark Thomson Ketterson of Opera News declared of his principal debut of Lyric Opera of Chicago as Dandini in La Ceneretola, “Young baritone Levi Hernandez’s intelligent Dandini displayed a most impressive knack for subtle text-painting within a pristinely negotiated coloratura line…”
Recently the El Paso native made his Houston Grand Opera debut as Sharpless in Madama Butterfly next to Ana Maria Martinez and Joseph Calleja; he also joined the rosters of San Francisco Opera and the Metropolitan Opera in their productions of Puccini’s Il Trittico and Fanciulla del West. The 2013-2014 season features returns to the Metropolitan Opera for Die Frau ohne Schatten, Opera Omaha as Don Magnifico in La Cenerentola, Opera Theatre of St. Louis as Papageno, and the Philadelphia Ballet for Carmina Burana. In the 2012-2013 season Mr. Hernandez returned to the Metropolitan Opera for Carmen, revisited Sharpless with Nashville Opera, appears with Opera Memphis as Marcello in La Boheme, sang Handel’s Messiah with the El Paso Symphony, and performed the role of Guglielmo in Puccini’s Le Villi with the Spoleto Festival, USA. In the 2011-2012 season, Levi sang Tobias Mill in Rossini’s La Cambiale di Matrimonio with Opera Omaha, reprised the role of Sharpless in Madama Butterfly with the Minnesota Opera and the Intermountain Opera, and appeared in concert singing Handel’s Messiah with both the Phoenix Symphony and the Pennsylvania Ballet. He made his European debut in the Komishe Oper Berlin production of Pique Dame in the role of Tomski.
Other recent engagements include Sharpless in Madama Butterfly with Virginia Opera, Lake George Opera and Cedar Rapids Opera, his debut with the Opera Theater of St. Louis as Leporello in Don Giovanni, his return to Opera North as Dandini in La Cenerentola, Valentin in Faust with the Kalamazoo Symphony, and his return to Los Angeles Opera as Don Lucas in Luisa Fernanda. Engagements for the 2007-2008 season included Marcello in San Antonio Opera’s La Boheme, Schaunard in Lyric Opera of Chicago’s La Boheme, appearances with Cheyenne Symphony for the Messiah, and Sciarrone in Tosca and Crebillon in La Rondine with Los Angeles Opera.
A recent alumnus of the Lyric Opera center for American Artists, Mr. Hernandez made his Lyric Opera main stage debut during the 2004-05 season. During his tenure at Lyric he was also seen as Marullo in Rigoletto, Sciarrone in Tosca, the Innkeeper in Manon Lescaut, and the Bartender in the world premiere of William Bolcom’s A Wedding. A versatile actor as well as a fine singer, Hernandez portrayed in the title role in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi at the 2004 Grant Park Music Festival. Other career highlights include Marcello La Boheme for El Paso Opera, Papageno with Madison Opera in their Die Zauberflote, performances in Boston Lyric Opera’s productions of Carmen and Il Barbiere di Siviglia, and Count Ceprano in Rigoletto, Morales in Carmen, and Haly in L’italiano in Algeri, all with Opera Company Philadelphia.
Mr. Hernandez has been seen on the concert stage as a soloist in Handel’s Messiah with Charlotte Symphony and Orff’s Carmina Burana with the Pennsylvania Ballet. A 2002 Metropolitan Opera National Council Awards finalist his many awards include a Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation grant as well as being a 2002 OPERALIA competition finalist. After receiving his undergraduate degree at Westminister Choir College, Mr. Hernandez attended the prestigious Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia where he performed a number of leading roles including Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Marcello in La Boheme, Ford in Falstaff, Gugliemo in Cosi fan tutte, Sharpless in Madama Butterfly, Vicar in Albert Herring and Falke in Die Fledermaus.
Donald Hartmann (Don Magnifico) has been described as possessing a, “big, rich voice with an amazing timbre;” interpretative abilities as “hearty and dramatic;” vocal resonance as “ringing,” “sepulchral,” “richly focused;” and “one of the best character singers on any opera stage anywhere.”He is veteran of over 135 operatic productions, in over 55 operas singing over 65 different roles. Engagements have included appearances with Opéra de Montreal, Madison Opera ,Toledo Opera, Opera Carolina, Michigan Opera Theater, Nashville Opera, Piedmont Opera, and others. A concert recitalist and oratorio soloist, Donald Hartmann has sung with the renowned Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Beethoven Symphony #9 with New Mexico Symphony, the Verdi Requiem with the Eastern Philharmonic. He is a Professor of Voice in the Department of Performance Studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro www.DonaldHartmann.com
Bass Zachary James (Alidoro) created the role of Abraham Lincoln in the world premiere of Philip Glass’ opera The Perfect American at the Teatro Real in Madrid and reprised the performance for the UK premiere with English National Opera in London and for the Australian premiere with Opera Queensland and The Brisbane Festival. He created the role of Lurch in the Broadway musical The Addams Family (800+ performances), as well as appearing in the original revival cast of the Tony Award winning South Pacific at Lincoln Center as Hassinger (400+ performances), the 2007 Broadway play, Coram Boy and in the Off-Broadway Encores! productions of The Most Happy Fella as Pasquale and Irma la Douce as Jo-Jo. A winner of the 2009 Lotte Lenya Competition and Switzerland’s 2013 Schlossoper Haldenstein Competition, Zach has been engaged by opera companies including English National Opera in London, Teatro Real in Madrid, Australia’s Opera Queensland, Opera Roanoke (Osmin in Die Entführung aus dem Serail), Central City Opera (Il Commendatore in Don Giovanni), Opera Ithaca (Bluebeard in Bluebeard’s Castle), Ash Lawn Opera (Il Bonzo in Madama Butterfly), Knoxville Opera (Il Bonzo in Madama Butterfly, Gideon March in Little Women, Joe in The Most Happy Fella), and has sung in concert with the New York Philharmonic, Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, Symphony of the Mountains, Westchester Choral Arts, New York Symphonic Arts Ensemble as well as making concert appearances at Birdland, Don’t Tell Mama, Symphony Space, Joe’s Pub, Chicago’s Gorilla Tango and Civic Morning Musicals in Syracuse. Zach has been honored to be a part of many world premiere works and created the operatic roles of Oberon in Kristin Hevner’s Il Sogno, at the Teatro Citta della Pieve in Umbria and with Metropolis Opera Project in NYC as well as the role of Thomas Jefferson in Dana Wilson’s new opera, The Wolf by the Ears at Ithaca College as an alumni guest artist and also originated five roles in Andy Teirstein’s new opera A Blessing on the Moon at Vancouver’s Chutzpah Festival, accompanied by the Grammy-winning Warsaw Village Band from Poland. In the theatre world he has performed throughout the United States in roles including Sweeney Todd in Sweeney Todd, Miles Gloriosus in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Rapunzel’s Prince in Into The Woods, Abner in Li’l Abner, Squash in Victor, Victoria, Petr in Bryan Putnam’s The Toymaker, and The Major General in The Pirates of Penzance among other roles, at theatres including The Bucks County Playhouse, The York Theatre, Theatre By The Sea, Pocono Playhouse, The Kitchen Theatre, Westport Country Playhouse, and The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center. Zach has appeared on TV as Carl on 30 Rock guest starring opposite Steve Martin and on film as Ballion in The Gift. Zach is a graduate of the Musical Theatre program at Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York, where he was recently awarded the Outstanding Young Alumni Award. Additional studies include Florida State University, University of Tennessee Knoxville and the Goethe Institut in Berlin. From 2008 through 2012 Zach was the Artistic Director of Metropolis Opera Project, a NYC based company dedicated to the development and presentation of new opera, where he produced dozens of new operas, concerts and events. Upcoming engagements include the Pirate King in The Pirates of Penzance with Shreveport Opera in Louisiana, a workshop of a new opera with Opera Philadelphia as well as singing a role in the Handel opera, Susanna, with the Collegiate Chorale at NYC’s Town Hall and returning to Opera Roanoke to sing Alidoro in Cenerentola.
Rising soprano Angela Theis (Clorinda) has captivated the attention of audiences and critics alike. In 2014-2015, Ms. Theis sings Pamina in the Magic Flute School Programs Tour (The Metropolitan Opera Guild), Adina in L’elisir d’amore (Eugene Opera), and Clorinda in La Cenerentola (Opera Roanoke). Last season, she returned to Opera Roanoke to cover Cleopatra in Handel’s Giulio Cesare and sang the solos from Mahler’sSymphony No. 4 and Poulenc’s Gloria with the South Bend Symphony Orchestra. She appears frequently with her hometown Michigan Opera Theatre, previously as Marzelline inFidelio, Barbarina in Le nozze di Figaro, and the High Priestess in Aïda. Other roles around the country have included Mabel in Pirates of Penzance with Eugene Opera, Johanna in Sweeney Todd with Syracuse Opera, and Frasquita in Carmen with Opera Roanoke.
On the concert stage, Ms. Theis was a three-time soloist with Utah Symphony (including Handel’s Messiah), the soprano soloist for Richard Einhorn’s Voices of Light at the Detroit Institute of Arts, and a two-time soloist with the AIMS Festival Orchestra in Austria. Dr. David DiChiera, founding general director of Michigan Opera Theatre, chose her to perform his own compositions at his 2013 Kresge Eminent Artist award presentation. Last season, she reprised these songs in additional Detroit performances in which DiChiera was being recognized.
Ms. Theis has been honored with numerous grants and awards, most notably as a fellow to study under Barbara Bonney at the Universität Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria, as the recipient of both the Audience Choice Award and 2nd Prize in the 2013 AIMS Meistersinger Competition, and as a 2012 Michigan winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. While a resident artist with Utah Opera, she made her professional debut as the Dew Fairy in Hansel and Gretel and performed in the contemporary opera Little Women as Beth. In her final year at New England Conservatory, she was seen as Gretel in Hansel and Gretel and as Zerlina in Don Giovanni, for which the Boston Globe praised her “bright, bold, and beguilingly sung” performance. Ms. Theis holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame.
Hailed for her “voluptuous” soprano voice and “superb comedic timing”, emerging artist, Kathryn Kelly (Tisbe) makes her company debut this season as Tisbe in Opera Roanoke’s production of La Cenerentola. Recently, Kathryn performed as Lauretta (Gianni Schicchi) and Despina (Cosi fan Tutte) with Tidewater Opera Initiative, where her performance was praised as “knowing, earthy, and witty”. This summer, she performed as a professional artist at SongFest in Los Angeles, where she was privileged to work with luminaries such as composer Jake Heggie and mezzo-soprano Susanne Mentzer and participate in several recitals. A dedicated performer of both operatic and art song repertoire, Kathryn was awarded ﬁrst place in the Cantabile Project’s premier season auditions, and has appeared as a featured performer in their 2014 recital series performing works by Bernstein, Cipullo, and Heggie. Kathryn is a former Spectrum Resident Artist with Virginia Opera, where she appeared as a cover artist and in the educational outreach tour of Oh, Freedom! She received her B.M. in Voice Performance and her M.M in Voice Pedagogy and Performance from Westminster Choir College. She is a regular performer and soloist with the Virginia Chorale and has performed in the chorus at Virginia Opera, Opera New Jersey, and the Rome Festival.