From Stage to Screen: The Show Must Go On(line)!
The Results Are In:
Our first virtual concert was a terrific success!
Rick Perdian from Seen and Heard International exclaimed, "...full of passion, molten sound and soaring high notes..."
Mike Moran from In The Spotlight wrote, "...a stunningly dramatic account... this BOF event measures up admirably..."
Rex Hearn from the Berkshire Record said, "...what glorious voices we heard from this virtual concert..."
Berkshire Opera Festival's first-ever virtual concert was a wonderful treat for our ears. Comprised of musical selections from across the operatic spectrum and beyond, "From Stage To Screen: The Show Must Go On(line)" featured performances from the internationally-renowned cast of BOF’s canceled 2020 production of Don Giovanni, performing from their homes and from our home at Saint James Place in Great Barrington.
Photos, top row: Bass-baritone John Cheek performed “O wie will ich triumphieren” from Die Entführung aus dem Serail by Wolfgang A. Mozart, with Christopher Koelzer on piano.
Soprano Joanna Latini performed “Mi tradì” from Don Giovanni by Wolfgang A. Mozart, with Christopher Koelzer on piano.
Tenor Joshua Blue performed “Che gelida manina” from La Bohème by Giacomo Puccini, with Christopher Koelzer on piano.
Photos, second row: Bass Erik Anstine performed “Some Enchanted Evening” from South Pacific by Richard Rodgers, with Carol Wong on piano.
BOF Co-Founders Brian Garman and Jonathon Loy hosted this concert, with closing remarks from BOF Executive Director Abigail Rollins.
Soprano Natalia Santaliz performed “De España vengo” from El Niño Judío by Pablo Luna, with Ernesto Busigó on piano.
Photos, bottom row: Soprano Laura Wilde performed “Du bist der Lenz” from Die Walküre by Richard Wagner, with Pedro Yanez on piano.
Baritone Brian James Myer performed “Mein Sehnen, mein Wähnen” from Die tote Stadt by Erich Korngold, with Michael Sherman on piano.
Our concert finale was a duet featuring Joanna Latini and Joshua Blue performing “O soave fanciulla” from La Bohème, with Christopher Koelzer on piano.
This hour-long concert premiered on Vimeo on Friday, August 28, 2020, at 7:30 pm, and was available for on-demand viewing through Friday, September 4, 2020.
As a special thank-you, Berkshire Opera Festival offered free passes for this virtual concert to medical professionals in the Berkshires who have worked tirelessly through this pandemic, including hospital, nursing home, and EMT employees.
Praised by Opera News for his “splendid, lush bass-baritone,” André Courville is gaining momentum as a rising star on stages throughout the world. This season featured debuts in Bordeaux as Basilio in Il Barbiere di Siviglia and Arizona as the title role in Le Nozze di Figaro, as well as a da Ponte cycle in Bordeaux and Figaro with Kentucky Opera. Further engagements bring him to Houston, Zurich, Washington, and Cincinnati. Highlights of previous seasons include his European debut at Karlsruhe's Badisches Staatstheater as Mozart’s Figaro, Leporello in Don Giovanni at the Guangzhou Opera House in China, the Marquis in La Traviata with The Santa Fe Opera, and a return to the Philadelphia Orchestra as the Jailer in Tosca under the baton of Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Trained at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia, he garnered critical acclaim for performances there of many important roles such as Méphistophélès in Faust and Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor. An equally busy concert performer, he has appeared at Carnegie Hall for numerous seasons since his debut there with Opera Orchestra of New York. A Louisiana native, Mr. Courville is the recipient of top awards in eight national and international vocal competitions, including the Loren L. Zachary National Vocal Competition and the Gerda Lissner Foundation International Vocal Competition.
Commended for the beauty of his voice and the vitality of his performances, American bass Erik Anstine is making a name for himself on opera and concert stages in North America and Europe. This season, he made his Opera Omaha debut as Osmin in Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail. In prior seasons, he performed Leporello in Don Giovanni with Edmonton Opera, after making his San Francisco Opera debut in the same role as part of an all-star cast including Ildebrando D'Arcangelo and Ana Maria Martinez. In 2016, he returned to the Salzburger Festspiele to perform in Le Nozze di Figaro and Manon Lescaut, which was recorded by Deutsche Grammophon. Previous seasons saw debuts in Salzburg and Hamburg, along with performances of Leporello with Seattle Opera. Mr. Anstine recently completed a four-year tenure with the ensemble of Opernhaus Zürich, during which he performed roles such as Colline in La Bohème, Bartolo in Le Nozze di Figaro, and many others. He also was a member of Los Angeles Opera’s Domingo-Thornton Young Artist Program, The Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Program, and Seattle Opera’s Young Artist Program. A two-time regional finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Mr. Anstine earned degrees in music from Northwestern University and Indiana University.
A 2019 Richard Tucker Foundation Career Grant recipient, American soprano Laura Wilde has been lauded by Opera News as having “a ravishingly beautiful sound [and] a fine sense of style and character.” This past season, she returned to Oper Stuttgart as Agathe in Der Freischütz and Arizona Opera as Mamah Cheney in Daron Hagen’s Shining Brow. Concert appearances included Gretel in Hänsel und Gretel with Sir Andrew Davis and the Melbourne Symphony, and a solo recital with Craig Terry in Milwaukee. Highlights of recent seasons include the title role in Janáček’s Jenůfa at The Santa Fe Opera and English National Opera; Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte at Staatstheater Stuttgart; the title role in Janáček’s Kát’a Kabanová at Scottish Opera; Freia, Ortlinde, and the cover of Sieglinde in Das Rheingold and Die Walküre at Lyric Opera of Chicago; and Vitellia in La Clemenza di Tito at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. She also performed and covered several roles while a member of the prestigious Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago. Ms. Wilde attended St. Olaf College for her Bachelor’s degree, and earned her Master of Music degree from Indiana University. She is a winner of numerous awards, including a Sullivan Grant and the Mabel Dorn Reeder Foundation Award from Opera Theatre of Saint Louis.
British-American tenor Joshua Blue launched the 2019-20 season by performing Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the National Symphony Orchestra. The inaugural recipient of the James McCracken and Sandra Warfield Opera Prize, Mr. Blue made debuts last season at the Kennedy Center as Alfredo in La Traviata with Washington National Opera and Act I of La Bohème with the National Symphony Orchestra. Other engagements featured his role debut as Tamino in Die Zauberflöte at Washington National Opera. He joined Wolf Trap Opera for the role of Harlekin in Ullmann’s Der Kaiser von Atlantis and traveled to Japan to cover the role of Monsieur Triquet in Eugene Onegin conducted by Fabio Luisi. Mr. Blue was the tenor soloist in Verdi’s Requiem with the Oratorio Society of New York at Carnegie Hall and the Cleveland Chamber Orchestra. He also sang the American premiere of Liszt’s opera Sardanapalo at the Library of Congress. Mr. Blue was a semi-finalist at the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in April 2018. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and a master’s degree from The Juilliard School. In 2018, Mr. Blue was an apprentice artist with The Santa Fe Opera, and recently completed his second year as a Cafritz Young Artist with the Washington National Opera.
Soprano Joanna Latini, a New Jersey native, is quickly making a name for herself with her informed and passionate performances. Opera News hailed Ms. Latini as “a generous performer [with] winning personality and a sound both luscious and supple, exuding charm.” Her professional experience ranges from Baroque opera to new works and musical theater. In 2018, she was named a national semi-finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. The 2019-20 season for Ms. Latini brought numerous company and role debuts, beginning with her Canadian debut as Musetta in La Bohème with Calgary Opera. She returned to the concert stage in her debut with Ars Lyrica Houston for their “Handel in Love” program, and reprised the role of Rosina in The Ghosts of Versailles for her European debut at the Château de Versailles Spectacles in France. Her 2018-19 season included appearances with Lyric Opera of Kansas City and Atlanta Opera as Teresita in Francesca Zambello’s production of West Side Story, and with the Glimmerglass Festival as the title role in Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen. She also joined the Benenson Young Artist Program at Palm Beach Opera, where she covered Violetta in La Traviata and Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni.
One of the most accomplished artists of our time, bass-baritone John Cheek has appeared at the Metropolitan Opera in over 360 performances. He sang many leading roles at New York City Opera, and has performed at all of the major American opera houses, including Houston Grand Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Cincinnati Opera, and Pittsburgh Opera. Mr. Cheek is active in oratorio performance, appearing with all the greatest orchestras in North America. He participated in the Cincinnati May Festival and Ravinia Festival for 15 seasons. Other festival appearances include the Blossom, Mann Center, Tanglewood, Saratoga, Bard, Mostly Mozart, and Marlboro festivals. His versatility reflects a repertoire encompassing an enormous variety of music, ranging from the Baroque era to many world premieres by composers such as Sir Michael Tippett, Ned Rorem, David Diamond, Stephen Paulus, and Romeo Cascarino. In Europe, he has sung with the Paris Opera, Bregenzer Festspiele, Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels, the Berlin Philharmonic, Salzburg Festival, the London Promenade Concerts, the BBC Symphony, and the Stockholm Royal Philharmonic, among several others. His many recordings are commercially available on the RCA, EMI, Telarc, Teldec, Albany, and Naxos labels. Mr. Cheek resides in the Berkshires with his wife, Lee.
Last season, soprano Natalia Santaliz performed the role of Camila in Frenesí by Johanny Navarro at the Cuartel de Ballajá in Puerto Rico, was the soprano soloist in John Rutter’s Requiem with the Puerto Rico Symphony, and sang on the program “The Blue Project: Puerto Rican Folk Music” presented by the New World Symphony. Prior to this, she was a member of the Martina Arroyo Foundation’s “Prelude to Performance” program, where she covered the role of Nannetta in Verdi’s Falstaff and sang on a master class for soprano Sharon Sweet. In 2017, she participated in the Sherrill Milnes Voice Studio as part of the Savannah VOICE Festival in Georgia. She has been a guest artist with Ópera de Puerto Rico, Teatro de la Ópera, Fundación Puertorriqueña de Zarzuela y Opereta, Taller del Opera del Conservatorio de Música, and Teatro Lírico del Oeste. Additional roles include Susanna in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro and Mařenka in The Bartered Bride by Bedřich Smetana. Ms. Santaliz has been presented in recital at the Conservatorio de Música de Puerto Rico en Miramar and the Mannes School of Music in New York City. She is the recipient of the 2016 Roberto I. Ferdman Award.
Baritone Brian James Myer has been praised by the Sarasota Observer as a stage animal of "both voice and character to make him stand out in the crowd.” In 2018, he made debuts with Hawaii Symphony as the baritone soloist in Carmina Burana, American Lyric Theater on their “InsightALT: Opera in Eden” concert at Merkin Hall, the Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice as Moralès and Le Dancaïre in Carmen, and the Grand Teton Music Festival as Snowboy and Big Deal in West Side Story under the baton of Donald Runnicles. He also returned to Opera Las Vegas as Dandini in La Cenerentola and Hawaii Opera Theater as Mercutio in Roméo et Juliette. In 2019, Mr. Myer debuted with New York City Opera as Young Erich in Ted Rosenthal’s Dear Erich, returned to Opera Orlando to sing Fiorello and Bert (formerly known as Berta) in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, made his MESS (Mise-en-scène Studios) debut as the baritone soloist in the Brahms Neue Liebeslieder Walzer, rejoined Opera Las Vegas as Leo Stein in Ricky Ian Gordon’s 27, and returned to New York City Opera as Carlos in the world premiere of Iain Bell and Mark Campbell’s Stonewall.
Grammy-nominated pianist Christopher Koelzer hails from the San Francisco Bay Area and performs and coaches regularly in the New York City and Washington, DC metropolitan areas. He has worked as a vocal coach and pianist with many opera companies, including Washington National Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, Maryland Lyric Opera, and Northern Lights Music Festival, and coached and performed with the Maryland Opera Studio from 2013-17. He has performed and recorded several new musicals in New York City by Blake Allen, as well as world premieres of operas in Washington, DC and South Carolina. He was nominated for a 2019 Grammy Award for his work with the National Orchestral Institute Philharmonic on the album Ruggles, Stucky & Harbison: Orchestral Works with conductor David Alan Miller. Mr. Koelzer began collaborating in opera, musical theater, and chamber music at age 13, and he has performed around the world both as a solo and collaborative pianist. He received his Bachelor’s degree in piano performance at Brigham Young University, holds a Master’s degree in collaborative piano from the University of Maryland, College Park, and is currently a Doctoral candidate at the University of Maryland.