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alize FRANCHESKA rozsnyai

soprano/librettist

Alize Francheska Rozsnyai

"Serena"

Alize Francheska Rozsnyai, a classically trained soprano, actor, and writer, is passionate about the creation and performance of contemporary opera. A recent graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music Opera Program, she has performed over 20 leading roles in operas and musicals, directed two full-length productions, and has been writing creatively since childhood. Her 2022-2023 season includes performances with Hub City Opera and Dance Company, Experiments in Opera NYC, and St. Petersburg Opera in Florida.

After composing and lyric-writing as frontwoman and multi-instrumentalist of the band, The Fancy Balloons, she was first launched into the idea of performing lyrics in a classical setting when asked to perform her own translation of Schonberg’s Pierrot Lunaire for The Curtis Institute of Music’s 20/21 Ensemble. After coaching with Lucy Shelton, Alize performed the staged work at the Kennedy Center, and Kimmel Center in Philadelphia.

Alize’s second major project was a modernized adaptation of J.S. Bach’s Coffee Cantata involving a trendy couple fighting over coffee addiction. This more feminist version is a significant departure from the original concept and ends with the female protagonist choosing coffee over her lover. Alize modified the instrumentation to include electric bass guitars and saxophone, and it was paired with the world premiere of Alize’s first opera, Phony, with music by David Matthew Brown, which explores the ways in which smartphone technology can destroy meaningful human relationships.

Recent performances include Phony and her Coffee Cantata adaptation double-bill with Hub City Opera in April 2023, in which Alize sang the soprano roles as well; Liking Myself, a monodrama responsorial to Poulenc’s La Voix Humaine with composer Sarah Marze singing the soprano role, at the University of Connecticut in April 2023; and Souls Unscreened, with composer Roger A. Martinez: an installation-style work exploring the impact that Zoom and other technologies have had on humanity during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Alize is also Artistic Director and Co-Founder of Alter Ego Chamber Opera, a Philadelphia-based collective inspired by devised theatre, with the mission of performing brand new works and historical works reimagined in new and radical ways, while uplifting underrepresented creative voices.

annie gill

soprano

"CON ANGEL"

Annie Gill

Praised for “astounding technical vocal ability, solid song interpretation and stage presence,” soprano Annie Gill  continues to gain recognition as a distinctive and versatile artist. Particularly excelling in the repertoire of Mozart  and Puccini, Ms. Gill has been commended for "a glorious voice - opulent from top to bottom,” and possesses an  extensive variety of vocal colors in her expressive full lyric soprano.  

Most recently, Ms. Gill performed the role of opera singer Elena Firenzi in the Regional Premiere of Ken Ludwig’s  Lend Me A Soprano with New Stage Theatre in Jackson, Mississippi. Ms. Gill also sang the role of Élisabeth Vigée le  Brun in the world premiere of Girondines with Wilmington Concert Opera, appeared as a Soprano Soloist with  Classic Theatre of Maryland in the one-night only concert A Little Bit of Broadway and All That Jazz, appeared as the Soprano Soloist in Handel’s Messiah with the Landon Symponette, the Soprano Soloist with the  Spires Brass Band in the Spires at Christmas concert, Soprano Soloist in Stand and Sing with the Easton Choral Arts  Society, and as a Soprano Soloist in Salute to Sondheim with the Baltimore Musicales. Ms. Gill also recently  premiered Benvenuta Primavera, a solo recital of Italian opera and songs for the Sons of Italy Society, and appeared in  Autumn Leaves, a recital with soprano Katherine Merryman and pianist Andrew Stewart at Manor Mill in Monkton,  MD. 

  

With over thirty roles from opera, operetta, and musical theater in her repertoire, Ms. Gill continues to garner  acclaim for her commanding interpretations, detailed characterizations, and dramatic performances. Past roles  include the title roles in Puccini’s Suor Angelica and Massenet’s Manon, Nedda (I Pagliacci), Rosalinde (Die Fledermaus),  Mimì and Musetta (La Bohème), The Mother (Amahl and the Night Visitors), La Contessa (Le Nozze di Figaro), Donna  Elvira (Don Giovanni), and Pamina (Die Zauberflöte) with companies including The Singers’ Theatre of Washington,  Baltimore Opera Theatre, Aurora Opera Theatre, and Opera in the Ozarks. Ms. Gill has also worked with composer Garth Baxter in numerous previous productions, including performing Two Last Songs and April Twilight from his album Ask the Moon. She also performed in a CD release concert for Mr. Baxter’s album Ask the Moon as well as the world premiere of Mr. Baxter’s song cycle Three Poems from Edna St. Vincent Millay.

Ms. Gill is the Grand Prize Winner of the 2017 Alpha Corinne Mayfield Award in Opera Performance from the  National Federation of Music Clubs. A First Prize Winner in the 2013 Barry Alexander International Vocal  Competition, Ms. Gill made her Carnegie Hall debut in the competition Winners’ Recital on January 27th,  2013. Also in 2013, Ms. Gill won 3rd Prize in the National Federation of Music Clubs Biennial Young Artist  Awards, and 3rd Prize in the Russell C. Wonderlic Voice Competition. In 2012, Ms. Gill was the Grand Prize  Winner in the 2012 Singer Recital Competition for the Art Song Festival of Toledo, OH and performed a full solo  recital program for the first evening of the festival. Ms. Gill has also received awards from the Orpheus Vocal  Competition (Puccini Award), Coeur d’Alene Symphony Young Artist Competition, Kentucky Opera Idol  Competition (Grand Prize Winner), and the Opera New Hampshire Competition, and has been a Finalist in the  ACPC Marcella Kochańska Sembrich Vocal Competition, Howard County Arts Council Rising Star Competition,  Hawaii Public Radio Art Song Competition, MetroWest Opera Competition, and the Rochester Oratorio Society  Classical Idol Competition.  

Upcoming engagements include the concert performances as Soprano Soloist in Handel’s Messiah with the Landon  Symphonette, and as Soprano Soloist in Winter Inspiration! with the Central Pennsylvania Symphony. In addition to  her classical singing career, Ms. Gill is a voice over artist and acts in commercials and television, most notably  appearing as the “Opera Singer” in the Season 2 Finale of House of Cards and as Maeve in the feature film Wild Fire.

KATHERINE BOYCE

soprano

Katherine Boyce

"PRO ANGEL"

Commended for her “expressiveness and lush vocal lines,” soprano Katherine Boyce has performed the roles of Leïla (Les Pêcheurs de Perles, Bel Cantanti), Pamina (Die Zauberflöte, Towson University), Lucia (Lucia di Lammermoor, Center Stage Opera PA), Olympia (Les Contes d’Hoffmann, CSO PA), Nedda (Pagliacci, CSO PA), Suzel (L’Amico Fritz, CSO PA) and Suor Dolcina (Suor Angelica, Berlin Opera
Academy). Additional roles in operetta, musical theatre, and plays include Amelia (The Jolly Roger, New Old Theatre Baltimore), Fräulein Schneider (Cabaret, Phoenix Festival Theatre), Witch and Stepmother (Into the Woods, Rockville Musical Theatre), Mrs. Bedwin and Mrs. Sowerberry (Oliver!, Annapolis Shakespeare), Clo Clo (The Merry Widow, Eastman Opera Theatre), Fritzie (Cabaret, EOT), Mother Miriam (Agnes of God, Maryland Theatre Collective), and Julie (Danton’s Death, UR International Theatre Program). Katherine has also performed in multiple children’s operas at Annapolis Opera, including the title role in Barab's Little Red Riding Hood, Despina in Mozart/Davies' The Three Little Pigs, and Pamina in a children's version of The Magic Flute. Katherine received her B.Mus. and Arts Leadership Certificate from the Eastman School of Music as a Howard Hanson scholar, as well as her M. Mus. from Towson University. A member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing and the American Psychological Association, Katherine maintains an active private studio and is currently pursuing her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology at Stevenson University. She will be presenting her research on COVID-19-related moral injury in adolescents and young adults at the International Congress of Psychology this summer in Prague.

aaron Thacker

music director and pianist

Aaron Thacker

Aaron Thacker is an accomplished pianist, who has performed extensively in the realm of Opera. He has served as rehearsal pianist

for North Carolina Opera, Baltimore Lyric Opera, Peabody Conservatory, and The Ford Theatre. He has appeared on NPR with famous tenor Noah Stewart and played for many other of the greatest and most sought after opera singers in the country, including Christine Goerke, Anthony Dean Griffey, Nathan Gunn, Soloman Howard, Denyce Graves, and Steven LaBrie. He currently is full-time faculty at specialty high school George Washington Carver Center for the Arts and Technology in Towson, MD.

Garth Baxter

composer

Garth Baxter

Composer Garth Baxter is noted for his modern traditionalist style of writing. He is recognized as one of the preeminent composers of art songs and has been described as an unabashed, lyrical, tonal composer.

 

Baxter’s compositions for chorus, orchestra, symphonic band, piano, organ, flute, voice, and guitar, as well as other instrumental combinations, have been performed throughout the world. His music has been featured on radio and on-line programs worldwide. 

He has received numerous awards, commissions, and honors. 

 

Baxter’s opera Lily, An American Opera, with librettist Lisa VanAuken, premiered November 2022 to enthusiastic reviews. It has been called “a masterpiece” that “fits within the genre of traditional opera and needs to be part of the repertoire.” Lily is the subject of a performance lecture hosted by Boheme Opera in New Jersey. It was featured in the music blog outwardsound.org by Andrea Morris titled “Garth Baxter’s Lily” April 28, 2023. This opera has been viewed online more than 5,000 times since its release.

 

Baxter was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1946, and moved to California when he was nine years old. He earned music degrees from Pepperdine University and California State University at Northridge. He studied composition with Robert Hall Lewis, Joseph Wagner, and William Thornton. He studied guitar with Ronald C. Purcell and David Underwood. In addition to writing music, Baxter continues to mentor emerging composers.

 

Baxter’s works are published by Les Productions D’OZ, Doberman-YPPan, ALRY Publications, Columbia Music Company, Guitar Chamber Music Press, Mel Bay Publications, North Star Music, and Theodore Presser.

 

www.garthbaxter.org

STEPHEN STROSNIDER

director and scenic designer

Stephen Strosnider

Director Stephen Strosnider, a Carroll County native, has been working within the performing arts industry for over twelve years as an actor, director, scenic designer, and teacher. In 2022, he also worked with Composer Garth Baxter to direct his "Lily" opera, which premiered at the Carroll County Arts Center.  He has performed and designed throughout the DMV area including The Kennedy Center, Metro Stage, and our wonderful Carroll Arts Center, which hailed him “funny, sincere, and exceptionally entertaining!” Community members may recall his acclaimed productions of La Boheme and The Elixir of Love at The Scott Center as well as his numerous productions through Take the Stage Drama School. A graduate of Shenandoah Conservatory, he is currently the Technical Director and Theater Coordinator for McDaniel College’s Theater Arts Department.

also featuring

Prior to the premiere of A Pregnant Pause, Soprano Alicia Woodberry will perform four moving  art songs related to the theme of the opera.

Alicia
woodberry

Soprano

Alicia Woodberry

Soprano Alicia Woodberry has been praised as an insightful musician and a captivating performer. She joined the roster of Annapolis Opera and Maryland Lyric Opera in 2022 and made her film debut in the opera Lily by Garth Baxter. She has performed with many festivals and companies including Miami Music Festival, Bel Canto in Tuscany, Young Artists of America, and Vancouver International Song Institute. Her recent performances include Gertrude (Hansel and Gretel), First Lady (Die Zauberflöte), Lauretta (Gianni Schicchi), La prima sorella cercatrice (Suor Angelica), and Echo (Ariadne auf Naxos). Ms. Woodberry earned her Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance from Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, where she studied with soprano Tony Arnold and received both the George Castelle Memorial Award and the Peabody Talent Award. Ms. Woodberry teaches and performs in Washington, DC and studies with soprano Elizabeth Daniels. 

Justin Pechulis

justin pechulis

Accompanist for ms. Woodberry

Justin Pechulis is the Director of Music and Organist at St. John's Episcopal Church, where he directs the parish's choir, handbell ensemble, instrumental ensemble, and contemporary band. He is also a piano instructor, and has studios at the Menchey School of Music, Mike's Music, and Elizabethtown College. Justin has a bachelor's degree in piano performance from Elizabethtown College and is currently finishing a Master of Sacred Music from Westminster Choir College.

additional musicians
Farah Kidwai

Farah kidwai

understudy for serena

Mezzo-soprano Farah Kidwai holds an M.M. In voice pedagogy and performance from Westminster Choir College. She relocated to the DC area recently from California, where she was a member of the world-renowned Los Angeles Master Chorale for eight seasons. While there, she lent her voice to several world premiere performances and recordings, including collaborations with Gustavo Dudamel, John Adams, Morton Lauridsen, and Eric Whitacre. As a SAG-AFTRA session musician, she has appeared in several film and TV soundtracks, including Mission Impossible 2: Ghost Protocol, Oblivion, and Disney’s Planes 2. Farah is also a professional voiceover actor and audiobook narrator.

Marcelle McGuirk

Marcelle McGuirk

understudy for con angel

Praised for her “clear, beautiful soprano," Marcelle McGuirk (she/they) was a
National Finalist in the 2016 Classical Singer Vocal Competition and won the Amy & James Cohen Achievement award at Opera Connecticut's 2016 American Opera Idol Competition. Notable stage credits include: Della (The Gift of the Magi), Snow Maiden (The Snow Maiden), Rosina (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Yum Yum (The Mikado), Musetta (La Boheme). In addition, she has self-produced numerous concerts and is a co-founder of Prismatic Arts Ensemble, a chamber ensemble that creates immersive stagings of song literature. She also co-hosts and produces the podcast My So-Called Opera Life, which offers resources to fellow singers. She lives in Philadelphia with her spouse and their very fluffy dog, Zoë. Learn more: www.marcellemcguirk.com

Katie Procell

katie procell

understudy for pro angel

Baltimore-based operatic and new music “emerging soprano Katie Procell is a vocal chameleon” (Opera News). Past opera credits include Susanna (The Marriage of Figaro; Peach State Opera cover & Le nozze di Figaro; Peabody), six roles in new chamber opera collection Elevator (ENA Ensemble); Lisa (La sonnambula; Opera Alchemy); Giulietta (I Capuleti e i Montecchi; Alchemy); Krysia (cover Out of Darkness; Baltimore Theatre Project); Rosina (Il barbiere di Siviglia; JMU); Valencienne (The Merry Widow; JMU); Phyllis (Iolanthe; Luray Opera Theater); Patience (Patience; JMU); Despina (Così fan tutte; Alchemy & Luray). She studies with Elizabeth Futral and has studied with Phyllis Bryn-Julson at Peabody Conservatory (MM '18) and Kevin McMillan at James Madison University (BM '16).

Zixin Zhang

ZIXIN ZHANG

understudy for MR. THACKER

Zixin Zhang, born in a musical family in Hubei, Wuhan, started her music life at age 9 with her mother’s encouragement. She studied under Dr. Ying Zhang, Dr. Wuna Meng (high school), Peter Takacs (Oberlin Conservatory). Zixin was an Honor Award recipient in the Cross Jirail Taiwan Cup music competition in 2015 and was a finalist in the North Coast Piano Festival in 2017. She gained recognition as a great young artist, and has been in touch with contemporary masters such as Douglas Humphreys, Alexander Kobrin, Logan Skelton, Dahao Guo, Hong Xu, and Alon Goldstein. With one of her advisers at Oberlin, Dr. Thomas Bandy, she added voice accompanying as an additional concentration. Zixin is currently a graduate student at the Peabody Institute under Professor Benjamin Pasternack. 

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