Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's
Bastien und Bastienne
Available 26 March 2021
Raylynmor Opera values the health and safety of our patrons above all else and we are committed to taking every precaution to ensure the health and wellbeing of our cast, crew and patrons in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As such we have chosen to offer this infrequently performed gem as a streaming event.
Written when Mozart was only 12 years old, this clever #opera about love and misunderstandings is whisked to the era of social media obsession with a new English translation by Artistic Director Ben Robinson that will leave you ROFL💓.
MEET THE ARTISTS
Edward Graves (Bastien)
Tenor Edward Graves, a 2019-20 Studio Artist at Michigan Opera Theatre, covered Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni and sang Rinuccio in a double bill of Puccini's Gianni Schicchi and Ching's Buoso's Ghost. He also stood by for the role of Luis Rodrigo Griffith in Champion. Highlights of the 2018-19 season included his Seattle Opera debut as Robbins in Porgy and Bess and a return to the Glimmerglass Festival for the world premiere of Blue. In 2017-18, Edward was a Baumgartner Studio Artist at Florentine Opera where he performed the roles of St. Brioche in The Merry Widow, Shepherd/ Sailor in Venus and Adonis/Dido and Aeneas, and 2nd Priest/1st Armored Man in The Magic Flute. Edward was the tenor soloist in Florentine Opera's Viva Opera! Opera's greatest hits concert and premiered the role of Buzz/Child in the children's opera A Busy Bee.
Edward received an Encouragement Award from the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Wisconsin District in 2017. That same year he was a Young Artist at The Glimmerglass Festival where he sang the role of Peter and covered the role of Robbins in Porgy and Bess, also performing the role of Fred in Oklahoma! He received his Performer Diploma and Master of Music in Voice Performance from Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music where he studied with Patricia Havranek. He earned his Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance from Towson University as a student of Aaron Sheehan. While at Towson, he performed the roles of Calandrino in Mozart’s The Goose of Cairo, Cinderella’s Father in Into the Woods, Dudley in John Davies’ children’s opera Little Red’s Most Unusual Day, and Gabriel von Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus. In 2011 he participated in the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival, performing scenes from The Merry Widow, Showboat, and Regina. Toward the end of his graduate studies, Edward transitioned from baritone to tenor. Previous Indiana University Opera Theater appearances include Brühlmann in Massenet's Werther, ensemble in Verdi's La Traviata, The Doctor/ensemble in Menotti's The Last Savage, ensemble in The Magic Flute, Dr. Falke in Die Fledermaus, Prince Yamadori in Madama Butterfly, Grimoaldo in Rodelinda, and Constable Locke/ ensemble in The Music Man.
In 2020 Mr. Graves debuted with the Baltimore Concert Opera. His Lincoln Center debut with Mostly Mozart in Blue, and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Madison Symphony Orchestra, John DeMain conducting, were canceled due to Covid-19.
Amanda Nelson (Bastienne)
Hailed for her balance of technique and musicality, fierce stage presence and quirky personality, coloratura soprano, Amanda Nelson, has recently relocated back to her hometown, Nashville, Tennessee.
Ms. Nelson received her Master's in Vocal Performance at Manhattan School of Music '17 and Bachelor Degrees in Psychology and Classical Vocal Performance at EWHA Women's University in Seoul, South Korea '15.
Performances with the Manhattan School of Music Opera Theatre include Ravel's L'enfant et les Sortilèges, Mozart's La clemenza di Tito, Strauss's Der Ziegeunerbaron, and opera scenes as Amy from Little Women. She was also a soloist and ensemble performer in Manhattan School of Music's Contemporary Opera Ensemble.
Amanda's most recent performances include, Belinda from Dido and Aeneas with the Miami Music Festival, Lakmé from Lakmé, Olympia from Les contes d'Hoffmann, and Ophelia from Hamlet whilst studying in France with Classic Lyric Arts.
Ashraf Sewailam (Colas)
The New York Times hailed Ashraf Sewailam’s début at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall as a “stand out performance” and Opera News described his voice as “purring and velvety with an easily produced Ramfis-like top range with a majestic tone,” and his stage presence as “strong, mysterious and with mesmerizing intensity.” This season, Mr. Sewailam performs the title role in Ali Baba with Opera Southwest, Giorgio in I Puritani with Opera Choir in Rotterdam, Ramphis in Aida with Virginia Opera, and Colline in La bohéme with Seattle Opera. Last season, he performed the role of Osmin in Abduction from the Seraglio and Queequeg in Moby Dick with Opera San Jose, Bartolo in Le nozze di Figaro with San Diego Opera, Colline in La Boheme with Austin Opera, and Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia with New Zealand Opera.
Other operatic engagements include the role of Capitán in Florencia en el Amazonas with Madison Opera; Monterone in Rigoletto with Opera Grand Rapids, Toledo Opera, and Opera Carolina; Lignieres in Cyrano with Opera Carolina; Ramfis in Aida with Opera Rockies in Colorado Springs; sang on a recording of The 13th Child, a new opera by Danish composer Poul Ruders; Die Sprecher in Die Zauberflöte with Central City Opera; and the pivotal role of Ferrando in Il trovatore, critics exclaiming, “ When you add bass Ashraf Sewailam to the mix, this becomes even more special…And it needs someone of Sewailam’s caliber.”
In his début with New Zealand Opera as the assassin Sparafucile in Rigoletto, he was described as “hard to better, both vocally and dramatically.” He subsequently returned to sing Alidoro in La Cenerentola, which he later performed for Queensland Opera. Ashraf made his United States début in 2004 with Opera Colorado performing the role of Leporello in Don Giovanni. Quickly becoming a house favorite, he subsequently performed there as Count Ceprano in Rigoletto, Bartolo in Le nozze di Figaro, Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia, and The King of Egypt in Aïda.
Other engagements include appearances with The Boston Symphony as Leoporello in Don Giovanni; Colline in La bohème, Pistola in Falstaff, Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte, and The Narrator in Peter and the Wolf ; returns to San Diego Opera for Ramfis in Aïda, Leporello in Don Giovanni, and Pizzetti’s Assassinio nella cattedrale; the Pirate King in The Pirates of Penzance with Lyric Opera of San Diego; and an exciting co-production between Opera Carolina, Virginia Opera, Toledo Opera, Opera Grand Rapids, and Lyric Opera Baltimore of Roméo et Juliette as Capulet. Additional roles include Balthazar in Amahl and the Night Visitors at Central City Opera; Angelotti in Tosca with Lyric Opera Baltimore; Pooh-Bah in The Mikado with Opera Memphis; Escamillo in Carmen and Queeqweg in Moby Dick with Fargo-Moorhead Opera; Secret Police Agent in The Consul with Chautauqua Opera; Sparafucile in Rigoletto with Fresno Grand Opera; Ferrando in Il trovatore with Chautauqua Opera and Virginia Opera; Colline in La bohème with The Chattanooga Symphony and Opera; Dulcamara in L’elisir d’amore with Baton Rouge Opera; and a rousing performance as Beethoven/Commendatore in Pulitzer Prize–winning composer Steven Stucky’s opera The Classical Style at Carnegie Hall, a role he originally created at Ojai Music Festival.
Mr. Sewailam began his career as a Cairo Opera Company house soloist, where he performed many roles including Dulcamara in L’elisir d’amore, Gaudenzio in Il signor Bruschino, Ramfis in Aïda, Palémon in Thaïs, and Sparafucile in Rigoletto. Mr. Sewailam was named a prize winner at the New Voices (Neue Stimmen) international competition in Gütersloh, Germany and was featured in the opening concert of the New Alexandria Library singing Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in Arabic. In addition to his singing engagements, Mr. Sewailam has taught at the American University in Cairo, and served as music director for Disney Character Voice International (DCVI) dubbing Disney productions into Arabic, and performed several of the characters. He earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Ben Robinson (Director & Librettist)
Ben Robinson is the Artistic Director of Opera Ithaca and Raylynmor Opera (New Hampshire), as well as the Managing Director of Lyric Fest (Philadelphia). A critically acclaimed tenor, the Raleigh, North Carolina native also works as a stage director, librettist, and educator. As a stage director, he has mounted numerous productions, highlighted by new productions for which he also wrote new English libretti: Madame Butterfly, Macbeth, Hansel and Gretel, and The Barber of Seville. This past season, he wrote new libretti for Die Fledermaus and Pauline Viardot’s Cendrillon. Other directing credits at Raylynmor include Gianni Schicchi, Amahl and the Night Visitors, Iolanthe, and La Tragédie de Carmen. Projects for the 2020-2021 season include directing the filmed production of Gianni Schicchi for Opera Ithaca along with a revival of his innovative production of Bon Appétit! | Hansel and Gretel. He will direct a filmed production of Pagliacci and stage direct Aida, as well as write a new English libretto for Mozart’s Bastien und Bastienne for Raylynmor. He will serve as guest director for Suor Angelica for West Texas A&M University and Gianni Schicchi for Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre (Iowa).
Recent performing credits include Ralph Rackstraw in H.M.S. Pinafore with Eugene Opera, Chip in On the Town with Resonance Works Pittsburgh, and Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn, and Strings with the Knickerbocker Chamber Orchestra. Other credits include the Game Keeper in Rusalka with Resonance Works Pittsburgh, the title role in Candide and Alfred in Die Fledermaus with Opera in the Heights, Joe in La fanciualla del West with Michigan Opera Theatre, Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia at Indianapolis Opera, Frederic in The Pirates of Penzance with Amarillo Opera, the Electrician in Powder Her Face with Skylight Music Theatre, Tamino in Die Zauberflöte with Anchorage Opera, Flamand in Capriccio with Opera Theatre of Pittsburgh, and Basilio/Curzio in Le nozze di Figaro with Salt Marsh Opera. He recently appeared with the Southwestern Suburban Symphony in an all-Bernstein program, including Tony in the West Side Story Suite, Jim in Gift of the Magi with Queens Opera Theatre, and made his Carnegie Hall debut singing the role of Draco from the Final Fantasy video game opera, Maria and Draco.
Other career credits include Hydrogen Jukebox, Kaspar in Amahl and the Night Visitors, Orpheus in Orpheus in the Underworld, Abdallo in Nabucco, Don Anchise in La finta giardiniera, Henrik in A Little Night Music, Antinoo in Antígona Furiosa, Spoletta in Tosca, Malcom in Macbeth, Charles in The Hotel Casablanca, Laurie in Little Women, Gernando in L'isola disabitata, Peter Quint in The Turn of the Screw, and the title role of The Wandering Scholar.
Joe Turbessi (Pianist)
Raylynmor Debut: Macbeth (2016)
Hometown: Boston, MA
Two Recent Performances: Sweeney Todd (conductor) Hansel and Gretel (conductor)
One Upcoming Performance: Beethoven, Piano Concerto #4 Soloist with the Boston Conservatory players
Favorite Opera: Falstaff
Joe Turbessi is a versatile musician in the greater Boston area, maintaining a career as an opera conductor, collaborative pianist and vocal coach. His piano playing has been described by composer Craig Hella Johnson as an "independent, probing musical voice" with "clear and expressive, singing tone.” He is the founder and artistic director of Opera Theater of Cape Cod, which debuted in 2018; as well as assistant conductor for Lowell House Opera, the accompanist for the choirs of the Boston Conservatory and the Radcliffe Choral Society of Harvard; and Music Director at Old South Union church in Weymouth, MA. Notable recent projects include Sweeney Todd (Sondheim) Hansel and Gretel (Humperdinck), Cosi fan tutte (Mozart), La Tragédie de Carmen (Brooks), Le Comte Ory (Rossini), Ariadne auf Naxos (Strauss), Requiem (Faure), Jesu, meine Freude (Bach), Macbeth and Requiem (Verdi), Amahl and the Night Visitors (Menotti), part I of Messiah (Handel), and several other projects.