Stage Director & Conductor – Scott Williamson is Artistic Director of Opera Roanoke, where he produced the company’s first-ever Wagner opera (Der Fliegende Holländer), and led the western Virginia professional premiere of Handel’s Giulio Cesare. He conducted the world premiere of The Three Feathers, a children’s opera by composer Lori Laitman and poet Dana Gioia. An internationally recognized tenor, the Times of London called his debut at Shakespeare’s Globe, “brilliant.” His work has been praised in The New York Times and Sun, Opera News, and The Washington Post. His performances of Mendelssohn and Dallapiccola with the American Symphony Orchestra are available on iTunes. His “Night by Silent Sailing Night: A Performance of John Cage’s STEPS: A Composition for a Painting,” was acclaimed upon its creation at the Taubman Museum of Art, where he is guest curator in music. Dr. Williamson has served on the faculties of Washington and Lee and Virginia Tech, and is in demand as a guest artist and presenter. His poetry has recently appeared in Atlanta Review and Tupelo Quarterly. He also serves as music director of Temple Emanuel in Roanoke, where he lives with his wife, acclaimed soprano, Amy Cofield.
Associate Conductor & Chorus Master – Hailing from Alsace, France, Aurelien Eulert has been on the music staff of the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival, USC Thornton Opera, UCLA Alpert School of Music, Pacific Opera Project, Palm Beach Opera and the Los Angeles Opera Education department. He was musical director of the Chamber Opera of USC from 2008 to 2013 and more recently with the Kahilu Theatre (Hawaii). Aurelien has played for eminent singers such as Marilyn Horne, Phyllis Curtin, Dawn Upshaw, Frederica von Stade and Rod Gilfry. He has assisted and performed under conductors such as James Conlon, Robert Spano and John Williams. Aurelien holds degrees from the Conservatoire National de Strasbourg, Syracuse University and the University of Southern California, and attended the Tanglewood Music Center in the summer of 2010. In addition to joining the staff of Opera Roanoke and OperaDelaware, this season includes the music direction of The Marriage of Figaro with Tidewater Opera Initiative and Massenet’s Sapho with Angel City Opera.
Stage Manager – John Lipe, is a stage manager from Carbondale, Illinois. He has been a director or assistant director for Opera Omaha, Utah Opera, Utah Festival Opera, Central City, Palm Beach Opera, Pittsburgh Opera Center at Duquesne, Sarasota Opera, and Indianapolis Opera. He has stage managed performances with the Opera Company of Philadelphia, Toledo Opera, Opera Festival of New Jersey, Opera Birmingham, Tampa Opera, and Lyric Opera of Kansas City. Recent work has included Porgy and Bess, Rigoletto, The Rape of Lucretia, Wozzeck, and Carlyle Floyd’s latest opera Cold Sassy Tree.
Assistant Stage Manager – Danielle Stoots, is a graduate of Hidden Valley High School, Kevin Jones Performing Arts Studio, Art in Motion Dance Center, Arnold R. Burton Center for Performing Arts, and Mill Mountain Theatre conservatory. Most recently she was the Assistant Stage Manager for Opera Roanoke’s production of Sweeney Todd and will also act as Assistant Stage Manager for their production of La Traviata.
Lighting Designer – Dante Olivia Smith is a lighting and set designer based in New York, and is thrilled to be here in Roanoke, working on her third Traviata. New York: Tonight/Jungle, Tender Napalm, Love in Transit (The Shop) Motherstruck! (Culture Project) Sarah Flood in Salem Mass (The Flea) Professor Brenner, Carcass (HERE Arts) Waiting for Waiting for Godot (The Collective) Suicide?! Romeo & Juliet (Empirical Rogue, Resident Designer) Stabat Mater Fabulosa (Morningside Opera), In the Company of Jane Doe, Modern Dance for Beginners (Cake Productions).
United States: Warren (or) Those People (Boise Contemporary Theater) Monopoly, How Theatre Failed America (Mike Daisey) Final Broadcast (Umo Ensemble). She also had the pleasure of designing the first production of Tony Kushner’s The Henry Box Brown Play. Dante is an avid Seattle sports fan (Seahawks/ Mariners!) www.danteoliviasmith.com
Choreographer – Pedro Szalay was born to Hungarian parents and is a native of La Guaira, Venezuela where he started dancing in a local school by Ms. Machado. He received a scholarship at Ballet National of Caracas, coached by Vladimir Isayev and many other national and international teachers. There he danced many of Nebrada’s choreographed pieces. Later he traveled to New York City to be coached by Madame Darvash and performed with New York Dance Theatre.
He has been a guest teacher throughout South Carolina as well as in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Virginia School of the Arts, Washington and Lee University and St. Paul’s Ballet Company. Szalay served as a coach choreographer for the School of Richmond Ballet and other Richmond, Virginia dance schools and he was the artistic advisor for Chesterfield Ballet School Szalay was a coach for the Wheel Chair Miss Richmond. He currently teaches at The Dance Centre of Southwest Virginia.
As of January 2007, Szalay became Artistic Director of Southwest Virginia Ballet in the Roanoke Valley taking SVB to be recognized locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. In 2009, he was awarded the Perry F. Kendig Award for Outstanding Performing Artist and in 2010 named the best Local Celebrity for Charity Events by the Roanoker Magazine. In 2014, he started a beginner ballet class for Roanoke City middle school students.
Szalay’s choreography credits include: The Long Christmas Ride Home, for Flournoy Playwright Festival, TIES: A Railroad Ballet, Cinderella, Coppelia, Romeo and Juliet, Sowing Seeds, Miss Richmond Pageant ( 2002 – 2003), the Miss Virginia Pageant (2009-2012), Charlottesville Ballet (2014), Nick Cave/Taubman Museum of Art (2012), Like Winter Waiting (2012-2014), and many others.
Costume Director – Audrey Hamilton-Shelton, holds an MFA in Costume Design and Technology from the University of Alabama; a MAT in English from University of West Alabama; and a BFA in Theatre from the Mississippi University for Women. Recent costume/hair/makeup designs: Sweeney Todd (Opera Roanoke), Legally Blonde, Spamalot, Night of the Iguana (Washington and Lee University), Wittenberg, Antony and Cleopatra (American Shakespeare Center) Shrek (Jackson, MS).
Assistant Costumer – Natalie Lawton is excited to be joining Opera Roanoke for this production of La Traviata. Previously, Natalie has been a costumer, squire for the joust, and actor at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire. She has also designed and sewn horse and human costumes for the professional joust company, Noble Cause Productions. Graduating from Alvernia University with a BA, her senior project included designing and executing costumes for a non-traditional production of Macbeth. This summer, she will be joining the staff of Camp Med-O-Lark in Maine to share with the next generation the joy of theater.
Wig and Makeup Designer – Beckie Kravetz trained as a theatrical mask maker. A job at Santa Fe Opera introduced her to the mask-like scale of operatic makeup, and after apprenticeships at Santa Fe, Spoleto, and San Francisco Operas, she served as the assistant wigmaster and principal makeup artist with Los Angeles Opera for 20 years. Beckie’s skills have transformed singers including Placido Domingo, Sir Thomas Allen, Carol Vaness and Samuel Ramey. She also created the makeup, masks and wigs for television commercials starring Michael J. Fox, Charles Barkley, Michael Jackson and Madonna.
In addition to her work in the makeup and wig department, Beckie was the resident mask maker at Los Angeles Opera. She has created masks for opera, theater and film across the country, and has exhibited her work in galleries, museums and opera houses. A solo exhibition of opera-inspired bronze masks of opera characters, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in LA, launched her career as a visual artist. Beckie now lives in western Massachusetts, and her work focuses mainly on figurative sculpture masks. The opera continues to be a great influence on her work. A full portfolio can be seen at www.OperaArt.com.
Assistant Stage Director – After earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Music from Roanoke College, Brynn Scozzari began working with Opera Roanoke through their Apprentice Artist Program. As an apprentice, Brynn covered the role of Blondchen in OR’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail (2014) and has performed in scenes programs for The Masques of Orpheus where she performed The Counsel in Trial by Jury, among other various roles. In 2014, Brynn began working as an Apprentice Stage Director for OR. Brynn Assistant Stage Directed Opera Roanoke’s Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail and La Cenerentola (2014/2015). Brynn currently resides in Carbondale, Il where she is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Opera/Musical Theater from Southern Illinois University. This past year, she performed in the dance/chorus ensemble for SIU’s production of The Addams Family and performed the role of Gretel in their operatic production of Hansel and Gretel. Brynn is excited to return to work with Opera Roanoke!
Wig & Makeup Assistant – Dustin Odum, bass, is a vocal apprentice with Opera Roanoke’s Apprentice Artist Program. As a student at Roanoke College Dustin is double majoring in Vocal Performance and Art History. Dustin has been an apprentice in the wig and makeup department for several shows, including The Pirates of Penzance, The Magic Flute, and Julius Caesar. Dustin sang in the chorus of Abduction and was the Makeup Coordinator for Sweeney Todd. Dustin is working as a wig a makeup assistant in Opera Roanoke’s production of La Traviata.
SET DESIGNER – Jimmy Ray Ward With an MFA in Design from UNC-Greensboro, his credits include work at many theatre companies along the East coast such as Spoleto Festival USA, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Seaside Music Theatre, Flatrock Playhouse, and the Gainesville Theatre Alliance. Locally, Jimmy designs for Opera Roanoke, Roanoke Children’s Theatre, and Mill Mountain Theatre, where he worked as resident designer for nine seasons. Some favorite designs over the years include scenery for Il Trovatore, The Flying Dutchman, The Adventures of Frog and Toad, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, Seussical, and Grease, costumes for Hamlet, Beauty and the Beast, Joseph…Technicolor Dreamcoat, and lighting for Driving Miss Daisy, Wit, and Rapunzel, among many others. Now an assistant professor at Radford University, he continues to design and produce regionally and locally. Despite years of working in a field he loves, Jimmy feels that his best productions to date are his children, Henry and Lily, Gracie and Frank.
TECHNICAL DIRECTOR/SET BUILDER – Joey Neighbors has been in the theatre all his life. He has worked on countless productions all over the Southeast and Northeast United States. He has his BFA from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. He has been the resident builder for Opera Roanoke for the past five seasons. He has worked with Opera Roanoke on countless productions on and off since 1986. Along with his work with Opera Roanoke he also works with Off the Rails Theatre in Roanoke, Opera on the James in Lynchburg, and Annapolis Opera in Annapolis MD. He has owned his own business for 17 years, Neighbors Handyman & Custom Carpentry and Star City Sets, doing small remodeling/repair jobs, tile work, and custom built-in’s and Sets for Opera and Theatre Companies. His joy in life is his family.
SET BUILDER – Angela Neighbors has a BFA from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Technical Direction. She has been working in theatre for over 30 years. Her full time job is a Manager of Business Analysis for United Healthcare Insurance Company. She works in theatre part time thru Star City Sets. In the last few years she has built scenery for Opera Roanoke, Off the Rails Theatre, Roanoke Children’s Theatre, Opera on the James, and Annapolis Opera.