Hansel and Gretel
Meet the Cast
Megan Kasanders (Mother/Witch)
Soprano Meghan Kasanders has been hailed by Opera News as “a wonderfully promising, rich dramatic soprano.” She begins the 2020-2021 season with a debut at Opera Columbus for Don Giovanni (Donna Anna) followed by a return to Opera Theatre of Saint Louis for Gianni Schicchi (Nella). Last season, she debuted the title role in Anna Bolena with Baltimore Concert Opera and made her European debut in Hänsel und Gretel (Gertrud) with Staatsoper Hannover. Next season, she will debut at Opera Ithaca for Hansel and Gretel (Mother/Witch) and Lubbock Symphony for Beethoven Symphony No. 9 and return to Staastoper Hannover for Hänsel und Gretel (Gertrud), Opera Columbus for Fellow Travelers (Mary Johnson), and Opera Theatre of Saint Louis for The Magic Flute
Ms. Kasanders made her Carnegie Hall debut singing in Bernstein's Songfest with the Juilliard Orchestra under the direction of Marin Alsop and debuted at Opera Saratoga in their critically acclaimed production of The Consul (Magda). She also performed Sibelius’ Luonnotar, Barbara Hannigan conducting, in Alice Tully Hall (NYC) and Don Giovanni (Donna Anna) at The Juilliard School. Ms. Kasanders is a 2019 Grand Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and both the First Prize and Audience Choice Winner in the 2019 Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition.
Annie Rosen (Hansel)
Mezzo-soprano Annie Rosen's performances have been acclaimed as “fearless,” “intensely present,” and “soul-crushingly vulnerable.” Prior to COVID-19, this season she was to have sung her first Cherubino/Le nozze di Figaro with Opera Omaha, Kashchejevna/Kashchej the Immortal with Chicago Opera Theater, Ruby in Virginia Opera's new production of Cold Mountain, the title role in L'enfant et les sortilèges with Florentine Opera, and Unborn Child/Die Frau ohne Schatten with The Metropolitan Opera. Given COVID-19, she's creating digital content for several companies and performing livestream recitals from balconies across Chicago.
Last season, Rosen made her debut live and in HD at The Metropolitan Opera as Ankhesenpaaten/Akhnaten, debuted with Calgary Opera as Adalgisa/Norma, and appeared in concert at Carnegie Hall and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Hall. Her last engagement of the season, Wellgunde in Wagner's complete Ring cycle with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, was canceled due to COVID-19. Some previous roles have included Suzuki/Madama Butterfly with Central City Opera, Adalgisa/Norma with Utah Opera, and Siébel/Faust with the Lyric Opera of Chicago.
An aficionado of new and experimental work, Ms. Rosen joined the Lyric Opera of Kansas City's Explorations series in 2019 to present a fully staged version of Sarah Kirkland Snider's one-woman song cycle Penelope. Other fringe work has included a collaboration with L.A.-based director Annie Saunders and the International Contemporary Ensemble to help create The Wreck, a site-specific devised opera based on the poetry of Anne Sexton and the compositions of Mariana Sadovska; a fully staged interpretation of Gyorgy Kurtag's Kafka Fragments for solo voice and solo violin in New York City, which OperaNews hailed as “a flat-out triumph for its two fearless performers"; and a collaboration with the Hong Kong Ballet in Kurt Weill's Die Sieben Todsünden.
On the concert stage, Rosen enjoys a relationship with the New York Festival of Song, with whom she most recently performed as a guest alumna at Wolf Trap Opera in a tribute to Steven Blier. She was a founding member of the New York City-based chamber ensemble Cantata Profana, with whom she has performed Berio's Folk Songs, Ligeti's Nouvelles aventures, and Thomas Adès' Life Story. Some of her other recital repertoire has included chants of Hildegard von Bingen, Handel solo cantatas, song cycles by Berlioz and Shostakovich, and world premieres of Hindi and Farsi songs by Indian-American composer Reena Esmail. She is a 2021 semifinalist in the postponed Naumburg Vocal Competition for recitalists.
Rosen was a 2012 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions semifinalist. She holds additional awards from the Gerda Lissner Foundation, the Santa Fe Opera and Central City Opera, and the Connecticut Opera Guild. She is a recipient of the Shoshana Foundation's Richard F. Gold Career Grant and the Louis Sudler Prize in the Performing and Creative Arts from Yale College. Her apprenticeships included the Deutsche Oper Berlin and Lyric Opera of Chicago. A New Haven, CT native, Rosen earned degrees in musicology and performance from Yale University and Mannes College.
Marlen Nahhas (Gretel)
Mexican-Lebanese soprano Marlen Nahhas is currently a Cafritz Young Artist with Washington National Opera. Praised for her “impassioned soprano” (San Francisco Chronicle), upcoming engagements include singing Mimì in La bohème at Washington National Opera. Highlights of her time as a Cafritz Young Artist include Pamina in The Magic Flute, Violetta in La traviata (under the direction of Francesca Zambello), Flamingo in Jeanine Tesori’s The Lion, The Unicorn and Me, Queer Kid in the world premiere of Kamala Sankaram’s Taking Up Serpents, a Concert of Comedic Masterpieces under the baton of Maestro Joseph Colaneri, and Foreign Woman in The Consul.
Additionally she made her debut with the National Symphony Orchestra in excerpts from La bohème conducted by NSO music director Maestro Gianandrea Noseda. In the summer of 2018, she was a member of the Merola Opera program at the San Francisco Opera where she performed scenes from Il tabarro, Don Giovanni, Don Carlo, and La rondine in the Schwabacher and Grand Finale concerts.
During the 2017-2018 season Marlen was a Resident Artist at Lyric Opera of Kansas City where she performed the Page in Rigoletto and covered Tatyana in Eugene Onegin. Additionally, she made her Kansas City Symphony debut singing excerpts from Le nozze di Figaro. In April 2018, Ms. Nahhas was a National Semi-Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. During the summers of 2016 and 2017, Marlen was an Apprentice Artist with Central City Opera where her assignments included covering the title role in Tosca and Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte. Additional roles include the title role in Madama Butterfly and Rosalinde (Die Fledermaus)
A native of Houston, Texas, Marlen is a graduate of Oklahoma City University and Indiana University.