Orpheus in the Underworld
by Jacques Offenbach
Park Theatre, Jaffrey
7:30pm 5 May 2023
2:00pm 7 May 2023
A Hilarious Romp Through the Depths of Hell
Join Raylynmor Opera for a merry romp through the depths of Hell as they present Offenbach's comic masterpiece, Orpheus in the Underworld, a delightful parody of one of mythology's most familiar tales. Orpheus and Eurydice are unhappily wed. When Eurydice is whisked off to Hell, Orpheus must retrieve her, not because he wants to, but because Public Opinion insists. Don't miss this unforgettable production, featuring the lively "Galop Infernal", later popularized as "can-can". Presented with chamber orchestration and performed with English translation.
Meet the Artists
Charles Calotta (Orpheus)
Up and coming tenor Charles Calotta is an exceptional talent. Noted for his fresh lyric voice, innate musicality, and skilled acting, he continues to build an impressive reputation in repertoire of all periods. His creativity and unusual versatility make him an outstanding presence on any stage.
Mr. Calotta has performed with the Prague Summer Nights and Lyrique International de Belle-Île Festivals, the Florida Grand Opera, Opera North, the Maryland Opera Studio and the Dell’Arte Ensemble in standard roles such as Tamino in Die Zauberflöte and Count Almaviva in Il Barbiere di Siviglia. He is equally at home in contemporary repertoire. Of particular note is his work in Gregory Spears’ Fellow Travelers, Michael Nyman’s The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, and André Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire.
Upcoming opera performances include the role of Ferrando in Così fan tutte for Opera North, Almaviva with the Winter Harbor Music Festival in Maine, and the world premiere of Elena Ruehr’s Cosmic Cowboy with White Snake Projects. Concert performances include performances of the Saint-Saëns Requiem and Beethoven’s Mass in C with the Wallingford Symphony, the Glens Falls Symphony, and the Astoria Choir.
A native of New York City, Mr. Calotta has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Delene Laubenheim McClure Prize and the Michelson Collaborative Arts Award. He is a graduate of Vanderbilt University and received his M.M. degree from the University of Maryland.
Francesca Federico (Eurydice)
Hailed as having a voice of “such strong presence and beauty of tone that she left one longing for more.” (Opera News), soprano Francesca Federico was born in Paris, and lives in New York City. She is a Fulbright Scholar, and recently completed a performance residency at the Irish World Academy in Limerick, Ireland, focusing on the origins of Irish traditional music in 20th century English-language art song.
Engagements this season include a return to the Teatro Nuovo bel canto festival at Lincoln Center to cover Anna in Rossini’s Maometto Secondo; Eurydice in Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld with Opera Ithaca; Soloist with Raylynmor Opera in their season-opening concert, and Soloist with the American Contemporary Music Ensemble, performing Ravel’s Chansons Madécasses and the premiere of Clarice Jensen’s Enheduanna. She makes her Carnegie Hall debut in 2023, as Soprano Soloist in John Rutter’s Requiem with the New England Symphonic Ensemble.
Engagements in the 2021-22 season include Clorinda in Rossini’s La Cenerentola with Raylynmor Opera; Frasquita in Bizet’s Carmen with Salt Marsh Opera; La Donna in Zandonai’s Giulietta e Romeo with Teatro Grattacielo, and Sor Andrea in the East Coast premiere of Carla Lucero’s Juana with dell’Arte Opera. In concert, she was Soprano Soloist in Bach’s Magnificat and Britten’s Ceremony of Carols with Holy Trinity Lutheran Church. She is also Lyric Soprano Soloist in the upcoming short film Reverie, with music composed by Brian K. Bowers, and also appeared on Clarice Jensen’s upcoming album Esthesis.
She made her European debut in 2020 with Wexford Festival Opera, performing the role of Alice Ford in Verdi’s Falstaff in their inaugural Young Artist division, the Wexford Factory. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, she appeared with the Children’s Philharmonic of New Jersey, as Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, and was named a finalist in the Vermont Vocal competition and The American Prize competition.
Highlights of her 2018-19 season included her debut at the Rose Theater at Lincoln Center with the Teatro Nuovo bel canto festival under the baton of Maestro Will Crutchfield, where she covered the role of Ninetta in Rossini’s La gazza ladra, and joined their production of Bellini’s La Straniera; a company debut with Bronx Opera, performing the role of Anna Gomez in Menotti’s The Consul, and being named the winner of a 2018 opera grant from the Anna Sosenko Assist Trust, as well as being a finalist for a Career Bridges grant.
In the 2017-18 season, Francesca created the role of “Lyric Soprano/Naftalina” in the world premiere of Constantin Basica’s Knot an Opera!, with the Fresh Squeezed Opera Company. She was also the Soprano Soloist in the world premiere of Brad Balliett’s multidisciplinary opera The Universal Drum, and an Artist Fellow with the Art Song Preservation Society Festival, specializing in French repertoire.
Ms. Federico received a Masters in Voice at the Mannes School of Music, where she studied with Bonnie Hamilton. She completed her undergraduate degree at New York University, where she majored in Global Politics. She currently studies with Mark Schnaible in New York.
Jean Bernard Cerin (John Styx)
Bio not currently available
Bryan Murray (Jupiter)
Forthcoming and recent engagements include Priest/Fisherman in Saariaho’s Only The Sound Remains at the Tokyo Bunka Kaikan, Venice Bienniale, and Strasbourg Festival Musica, and Ben Upthegrove in Menotti’s The Telephone for Pittsburgh Festival Opera.
Bryan recently completed a one year contract with Deutsche Oper Berlin as a Stipendiat, performing comprimario roles during the 2018/19 season including Fiorello in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Moralès in Carmen, and Marullo in Rigoletto.
He obtained a Master of Musical Arts degree in opera performance from Yale University’s School of Music under the tutelage of Richard Cross and Doris Yarick-Cross. He received an Artist Diploma and a Master of Music degree from the Purchase College Conservatory of Music, and a Bachelor of the Arts degree from Stony Brook University.
In December 2019 Bryan won the first prize in the finals of the Talents of the World competition in New York, and a few days later took first prize in the Premiere Opera Foundation and NIYOP 2019 International Vocal Competition. He is also the grand prize winner of Heida Hermann’s International Voice Competition, the third prize winner in Mirjam Helin’s International Singing Competition, the winner of the “Sachi Liebergesell” award from the Opera Index Competition, a finalist in the Eastern Region of the Met Council auditions, and the winner of an Encouragement Grant from the Premiere Opera International Voice Competition.
On the concert stage, Bryan has sung the baritone/bass solo in works such as John Rutter’s Mass of the Children with the Orchestra of Deutsche Oper Berlin, Bernstein’s Opening Prayer with Marin Alsop conducting the Yale Philharmonia, Fauré Requiem with the Jacksonville symphony, Handel’s Messiah with the New Haven Symphony, Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana with the Yale Symphony, and in the world premiere of Transfiguration by Robert Kyr with the Yale Camerata.
In May 2020, Bryan sings the baritone solo in Rossini’s Petite messe solennelle with the Cathedral Choral Society in Washington DC.
Madison Hoerbelt (Public Opinion)
Madison Hoerbelt, mezzo soprano, is from Batavia, New York and is a recent graduate in the voice performance program at Ithaca College where she studied with Dawn Pierce.
Madison has been in operas in the Ithaca area, starting in La Bohème (Ensemble, 2019) with Opera Ithaca in collaboration with the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra. She has also been seen in productions with Ithaca College Opera, including Dido and Aeneas (Second Witch/Second Shepherdess, 2020), Die Zauberflöte (Dritte Dame, 2021), and L’Enfant et les Sortilèges (L’Enfant, 2021). In March, Madison premiered the role of Rowan in We Wear the Sea Like a Coat, a collaboration between Ithaca College Opera and Opera Ithaca. She then returned as a Young Artist with Opera Ithaca and performed in Le Nozze di Figaro (Marcellina - cover, Ensemble). This season, Madison was a District Competitor in the Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition.
Madison recently performed with the Dorothy Cotton Jubilee Singers at Carnegie Hall with the Fisk Jubilee Singers. In addition, she has also sung in the Women’s Chorale, Madrigal Singers, and Concert Choir at Ithaca College.
This summer, Madison will be a Young Artist with Chicago Summer Opera, where she has been offered the role of Ma Moss in The Tender Land by Aaron Copland.
Fran Laucerica (Pluto/Aristeus)
Mr. Laucerica joins Virginia Opera as an Emerging Artist for 2022-2023 season singing Alfredo/La Traviata (Emerging Artist Performance) as well as Gastone, and covers Frederic/The Pirates of Penzance and Timothy Laughlin/Fellow Travelers. Later in the season, he joins the Grammy-award winning new music ensemble The Crossing debuting Hearne’s Farming, and making his New York Philharmonic debut singing the premiere of unEarth by Julie Wolf. Other role/house debuts include Opera Ithaca as Pluto and Aristeus/Orpheus in the Underworld and First Coast Opera as Silvio/Le docteur miracle. He also joins Lawrence University as a guest soloist in the Brahms Liebeslieder Waltzes, Op. 52 and debuts with Madison Bach Musicians in a concert of Latin American Baroque Music.
Last season, he was a young artist with The Glimmerglass Festival, premiering the leading role of Dante/Tenor Overboard, a newly fashioned Rossini pastiche by Ken Ludwig, and covered the tenor roles in both Sankaram’s Taking Up Serpents and the premiere of Geter’s Holy Ground. He was also a Resident Artist with Toledo Opera, where he sang Count Almaviva in a touring production of The Barber of Seville, Ferrando/ Cosí fan tutte (Resident Artist Performance) and Gastone in La Traviata. Additionally, Mr. Laucerica joined Seaglass Theater Company to perform scenes from Les pêcheurs de perles and Arrieta’s Marina.
Amidst the shutdown, he joined Wolf Trap Opera for both the 2020 and 2021 seasons as a studio artist where he covered the roles of Adolfo Pirelli/Sweeney Todd, Comte Barigoule/Cendrillon, and Satyavan in Holst’s Savitri, and performed scenes from Billy Budd and Fellow Travelers.
Mr. Laucerica's other recent opera credits include Tamino/Die Zauberflöte with Miami Music Festival, Miguelín in the premiere of Omar Najmi's En la ardiente oscuridad with Catalyst New Music Ensemble, 2nd Seigneur in Saint Saëns’ Henry VIII with Odyssey Opera, The Vain Man/The Snake in Rachel Portman’s The Little Prince as well as Don Ottavio/Don Giovanni (cover) with NEMPAC Opera, and Peter Quint/Turn of the Screw (cover), Reverend Samuel Parris/The Crucible, and the title role in Albert Herring with Chicago Summer Opera. Other roles include Ernesto/Don Pasquale, The Magician in The Consul, and Chevalier de la Force/Dialogues des Carmélites (cover) with Boston Conservatory.
On the concert stage, Mr. Laucerica has been the tenor soloist in varied works including Orff’s Carmina Burana with Lexington Symphony, Handel’s Messiah with the Callipygian Players, Hailstork’s I Will Lift Up Mine Eyes with Glencoe Union Church, as well as Mozart’s Coronation Mass, and Puccini’s Messa di Gloria as a guest soloist with the Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra. A passionate advocate for new music, Mr. Laucerica has premiered several works including Samuel Carl Adams’ Light Readings with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra MusicNOW initiative and David Lang’s a house with the Bienen Contemporary Vocal Ensemble.
Mr. Laucerica is a recent Encouragement Award Winner in the Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition, as well as a semi-finalist in the SAS Performing Arts, Camerata Bardi and Music International Grand Prix competitions. He graduated from the Boston Conservatory with a Master’s in Opera Performance and a Bachelor’s from Northwestern University.
Kayla Oderah (Cupid)
Soprano Kayla Oderah is an emerging young artist and graduate of the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre, and Dance. Kayla made her professional debut in 2022 performing the role of Girlfriend 2 in Blue with Toledo Opera as well as Despina in Così fan Tutte with Finger Lakes Opera as a Tomita Young Artist. Last Fall she sang as a young artist with Opera Ithaca. There, Kayla performed the role of Zegner Daughter Littler in Proving Up and Anna in Nabucco. While completing her master’s at Michigan she performed the role of Tytania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In 2016 she attended the Aspen Music Festival as a studio artist. Oderah is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she received her Bachelor of Music degree in vocal performance with a minor in artistic entrepreneurship. At UNC she was the recipient of the prestigious four-year Kenan Music Scholarship and performed opera roles including, Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus, Servilia in La Clemenza di Tito, and Mary in Highway #1 USA. Kayla has performed internationally at the University of Cape Town where she sang the role of Constance in Dialogues of the Carmelites. She’s also performed in opera at the Amalfi Coast Music Festival and the Berlin Opera Academy.
Ava Dunton (Diane)
Ava Dunton (soprano) recently graduated from Ithaca College with a BM in Vocal Performance and is now an Apprentice Artist with Opera Ithaca for their 2022-2023 season. Her most recent credits include a chorus member in Verdi’s Nabucco with Opera Ithaca and Maggie in the world premiere of Sally Lamb McCune’s We Wear the Sea Like a Coat with Ithaca College Opera/Opera Ithaca. In the Spring of 2023, she will be making her role debut as Diana in Opera Ithaca’s production of Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld.
Grant Cooper (Conductor)
The son of a soloist with the New Zealand Opera Company, GRANT COOPER sang and acted in his first opera at age four and studied piano and music theory prior to college.
After completing his degree in pure mathematics at the University of Auckland, he embarked on a performance career as an orchestral trumpet player, which led to a fellowship from the Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council for study with Bernard Adelstein and Gerard Schwarz in the U.S. This was followed by performances in New York’s Carnegie Hall and at Tanglewood under Arthur Fiedler, where he also performed as principal trumpet under conductors Leonard Bernstein, Seiji Ozawa. and Sir Neville Marriner, among others.
His initial opportunities as a conductor grew from his colleagues’ invitations to lead them in larger chamber ensemble performances. Since then, his many guest conducting engagements have included the Houston Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony, The Florida Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic, Rochester Philharmonic, Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, Auckland Philharmonia, and Syracuse Opera, among many others. Recent international debuts include the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and the Malaysian Philharmonic.
Cooper was artistic director and conductor of the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra from 2001-2017, previously serving as resident conductor of the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra for 10 seasons. He currently serves as artistic director of the Bach and Beyond Festival in Fredonia, New York.
A commissioned composer, Cooper is especially passionate about creating works designed to introduce young audiences to the orchestra. His concert works include A Song of Longing, Though …, for soprano and orchestra, which has received numerous performances in recent seasons. His ballet, On the Appalachian Trail, premiered at Chautauqua in 2010. Cooper has recorded for Delos International, Atoll, Ode, Mark, and Kiwi Pacific recordings, and has the unique distinction of having CD recordings of himself as conductor, performer, and composer, all currently available in the catalog.
Cooper’s dedication to serving the West Virginia arts community was recognized in the spring of 2012 with his receiving the Governor’s Award for Distinguished Service in the Arts and with Fairmont State University conferring the degree of Doctor of Letters in 2017. He has been on the conducting faculty of Eastern Music Festival since 2013.
Ben Robinson (Director)
Ben Robinson is the Artistic Director of Opera Ithaca (New York) and Raylynmor Opera (New Hampshire), as well as the Managing Director of Lyric Fest (Philadelphia). In June 2023, he will become the next General Director of Anchorage Opera. He works as a director, librettist, educator, and arts administrator. As a stage and film director, he has mounted numerous productions, highlighted by new productions for which he also wrote new English libretti: Madame Butterfly, Macbeth, Hansel and Gretel, The Barber of Seville, The Impresario, Die Fledermaus and Pauline Viardot’s Cendrillon. Ben's film production of Bastien and Bastienne, with his original English libretto setting the action in the social media-obsessed present, was released in March 2021 and subsequently streamed at the Arlington International Film Festival. He directed and edited a film release of Pagliacci for Raylynmor Opera in October 2020 and directed Gianni Schicchi for Opera Ithaca, which Opera Magazine heralded as the "deftest use... of Covid-era technology as part of modern operatic reality." He was announced as a 2021 recipient of the Ewing Arts Award, which celebrates the diversity and excellence of artists in the Monadnock region of New Hampshire.
In February 2023, his 2022 "moving, visually daring" (Opera News) Julia Child-inspired Hansel and Gretel film joined the Opera Philadelphia Channel.
Directing highlights include a suburban American Le nozze di Figaro (Opera Ithaca/Raylynmor Opera), a reimagined double blind production of The Medium (Amarillo Opera), a fashion-world inspired La Cenerentola (Raylynmor Opera), a new chamber production of Suor Angelica (West Texas A&M University), and the world premiere of Sally Lamb McCune's We Wear the Sea Like a Coat (Opera Ithaca/Ithaca College).
Projects for the 2022-2023 season include directing Nabucco for the inaugural Opera Ithaca Festival, The Impresario and The Pirates of Penzance for Ithaca College, a soap-opera inspired conceptual production of Così fan tutte for Cedar Rapids Opera, Hänsel und Gretel for Temple University, Orpheus in the Underworld for Opera Ithaca and Raylynmor Opera, L'italiana in Algeri for St. Petersburg Opera, and Gianni Schicchi for Opera Steamboat.
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 fanciulla 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.