Artistic Director & Conductor: Scott Williamson
Director: JJ Hudson
Stage Manager: John Lipe
Chorus Master & Associate Conductor: Taylor Baldwin
Jefferson Center Production Manager: Rob Bessolo
Costume Director: Sueann Leung
Wig and Makeup Director: Beckie Kravetz
Set Designer: Jimmy Ray Ward
Set Construction: Joey Neighbors & Rob Bessolo
Lighting Designer: Tláloc López-Watermann
Master of Properties & Assistant Stage Manager: Chuck Luvender
Assistant Director: Brynn Scozzari*
Chorus Manager: Asherah Capellaro*
Makeup and Wardrobe Assistant: Dustin Odum*
*indicates Apprentice Artist
Scott Williamson, Artistic Director & Conductor, is Artistic Director of Opera Roanoke, where he produced the company’s first-ever Wagner opera (Der Fliegende Holländer), and led the western Virginia 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 Theatre, “brilliant.” His work has been praised in The New York Times and Sun, Opera News, and The Washington Post. His repertoire ranges from Baroque oratorio to contemporary opera. 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 Williamson.
JJ Hudson, Director, is well known for his sensitive and dynamic productions. In 2014, JJ directed The Turn of the Screw for Stony Brook University, Little Women for Opera Breve in Texas, La Traviata for the Berkshire Theatre Group in Massachusetts, and Le Nozze di Figaro with Columbus State University. Upcoming engagements include West Side Story for Asheville Lyric Opera.
In 2013, Mr. Hudson served on the directing staff of the Aspen Opera Theater, where he worked on productions of Suor Angelica, Gianni Schicchi, and L’Incoronazione di Poppea. Recent directing credits include work with Rochester Lyric Opera, Oswego Opera Theater, Mercury Opera Rochester, Eastman Opera Theater, Stony Brook University Opera Theater, Columbus State University, Concord University, and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
In December 2012, Mr. Hudson directed Schubert’s Winterreise in the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens for the Make Music New York Winter Festival. The production received an enthusiastic review in The New York Times. Mr. Hudson has also worked for Opera North, Syracuse Opera, Tacoma Opera, Mercury Opera Rochester, Empire State Lyric Theater, and Buffalo Opera Unlimited. Hudson holds a M.A. in Stage Direction and a D.M.A. in Voice and Opera Performance from the Eastman School of Music, an M.A. in Vocal Performance from the University of Iowa, and a B.M. in Music Composition and Vocal Performance from Stetson University.
John Lipe, Stage Manager, is 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.
Taylor Baldwin, Chorus Master & Associate Conductor, has performed extensively as chamber pianist and vocal coach throughout the United States, Germany, Austria, Italy and Russia. Professional engagements have included Opera Roanoke, Roanoke Symphony Chorus, AIMS in Graz, Cleveland Opera, Opera Carolina, Knoxville Opera, Central City Opera and Opera Colorado.
Taylor’s conducting credits include Roman Fever (Ward), A Little Night Music (Sondheim), La Traviata (Verdi), The Tender Land (Copland), Amahl and the Night Visitors (Menotti) and chorus master for productions of Flying Dutchman (Wagner) and Pirates of Penzance (Gilbert and Sullivan).
Academic positions have included Opera Music Director/Collaborative Pianist at Concord University, West Virginia and Orchestra Conductor/Collaborative Pianist at Radford University, Virginia.
Currently Taylor is the Associate Conductor/Chorus Master for Opera Roanoke. Taylor holds degrees in conducting and piano from Radford University, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville with additional conducting and piano studies at University of Colorado, Boulder and University of Michigan.
Sueann Leung, Costume Director, is a New York-based costume designer and she is honored to be able to call Opera Roanoke one of her new creative homes as Costume Director. Rossini’s Cinderella is her third production at Opera Roanoke following Mozart’s Abduction and Handel’s Julius Ceasar. She has been featured in a number of fashion columns, most notably The Wall Street Journal. She graduated from Mount Holyoke College with a degree in Costume Design and Gender Studies. Fascinated by the links between sartorial signifiers and the creation and recreation of one’s various identities, the fusion of her two fields of study is often reflected in her work.
Beckie Kravetz, Wig Designer, 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 there. 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. An exhibition of opera-inspired bronze masks at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in LA, launched her career as a visual artist. Beckie now lives in western Massachusetts, and her work is mainly with figurative sculpture and masks. The opera continues to be a great influence on her work. A full portfolio can be seen at www.OperaArt.com.
Jimmy Ray Ward, Set Designer, has 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.
Joey Neighbors, Set Builder & Lead Crew Chief, 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 four 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 16 years, Neighbors Handyman & Custom Carpentry, 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.
Brynn Scozzari, Assistant Director, is from Suffield, Connecticut. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Roanoke College. She made her Opera Roanoke debut in the chorus of The Flying Dutchman, sang in the chorus for The Pirates of Penzance, The Magic Flute, and Julius Caesar and has been a featured soloist in The Masques of Orpheus programs. Recently she was the soprano soloist in The World Beloved: A Bluegrass Mass as part of the Greene Memorial Fine Arts Series.
Asherah Capellaro, Chorus Manager, soprano, is from Strasburg, Virginia. She earned a Bachelor of Music degree from Liberty University and pursued additional studies in Musicology and Choral Conducting at the University of Arizona and Temple University, respectively. As an Opera Roanoke apprentice conductor, Asherah served as Chorus Master for The Magic Flute and Julius Caesar and performed with the chorus in those productions. In addition, she has been a featured soloist in Opera Roanoke’s Masques programs.
Dustin Odum, Costume & Wig Assistant, is double majoring in Vocal Performance and Art History at Roanoke College. Dustin has been an Apprentice in the wig and makeup department for several shows, including The Pirates of Penzance, The Magic Flute, Julius Caesar and Abduction. Dustin sang in the chorus of Abduction, as well as filling his usual role as a makeup and wig apprentice. He plans to do the same for Cinderella.