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Bernstein & Gershwin
Saturday, October 20, 2018
7:30 PM - Lexington Opera House
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Suite from Candide
Rhapsody in Blue
Ryan Shirar, piano
Trouble in Tahiti - semi-staged opera
John de los Santos, director
Kris Kirkwood, Lighting Designer
Lauren Camargo, Stage Manager
Ryan Shirar, Rehearsal Pianist
Cecelia Hall, mezzo-soprano
Keith Phares, baritone
Timothy Murray, high-baritone
Kentucky Opera Studio Artists -
Reilly Nelson, mezzo-soprano
Thomas J. Capobianco, tenor
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
RYAN SHIRAR, PIANO
Ryan Shirar is a New York City-based pianist and musician, whose range of talents include conducting, music directing, arranging, composing and teaching. His repertoire ranges from classical to pop to Broadway. Shirar has performed at venues including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Aspen Music Festival, New York’s Town Hall, and Feinstein’s/54 Below and with orchestras including Austin Symphony, Harrisburg Symphony, Columbus Symphony, and Cleveland Pops. Shirar made his Broadway debut in 2015 as pianist for The Visit, and is currently the music director and orchestrator for the international performing group, The Four Phantoms. He also performs with SpotOn Entertainment and Manhattan Concert Productions. Shirar received his Masters in Orchestral Conducting from Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music and his Bachelor of Arts in piano from the University of Kentucky. He enjoys returning to Lexington and is always grateful for the opportunity to play Rhapsody in Blue since he and George Gershwin share the same birthday.
JOHN DE LOS SANTOS, STAGE DIRECTOR
Director/choreographer and librettist John de los Santos has been called a “brilliant combination of literary insight and choreographic creativity.” He has staged a range of productions that include opera, musicals, plays, ballet, concerts, and workshop readings. His extensive background as an actor and dancer has given him a incisive dramatic perspective which has yielded stagings hailed as “vivid theater”, “imaginative and sophisticated”, and “stark and unflinching”. John last collaborated with LexPhil for the 2013 production of Maria de Buenos Aires. Learn more about John at his website.
CECELIA HALL, MEZZO-SOPRANO
American Cecelia Hall is one of today’s most established young mezzo-sopranos. Hailed by the Financial Times for her ‘easy exibility, arresting poise and enveloping warmth’, she has appeared since 2014 in leading roles at many of the world’s finest stages, including Munich’s Bayerische Staatsoper, The Santa Fe Opera, Seattle Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Canadian Opera Company, Opera Philadelphia, and Oper Frankfurt, where she is a member of the ensemble.
Learn more about Cecelia at her website.
KEITH PHARES, BARITONE
A noted interpreter of Mozart and bel canto repertoire as well as many of today’s living composers, Keith Phares is regarded as one of his generation’s most versatile artists. Recent engagements have included Gasparo in Donizetti’s Rita with Chicago Opera Theater; Count in Le nozze di Figaro with Opera Saratoga and Opera Maine; Ford in Falsta with Opera Omaha; Zurga in Les pêcheurs de perles with Seattle Opera; Hurstwood in the world premiere of Sister Carrie with Florentine Opera; Elder Tull in the world premiere of Riders of the Purple Sage with Arizona Opera; and John Sorel in The Consul, and Orin Mannion in Mourning Becomes Electra with Florida Grand Opera. A graduate of the Juilliard Opera Center, he was a national winner of the 1998 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and a finalist in the 1999 Eleanor McCollum Competition of the Houston Grand Opera.
Learn more about Keith at his website.
TIMOTHY MURRAY, HIGH-BARITONE
Lauded for his “consistent, attractive baritone” (Opera News), Wisconsin-born baritone Timothy Murray is a recent winner of the Opera America Career Blueprints grant. This season, Mr. Murray joins the prestigious Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia, and debuts with Arizona Opera as William Dale in Kevin Puts’ Silent Night. A graduate of the Lyric Opera of Kansas City Resident Artist Program, Mr. Murray covered the title roles in both Eugene Onegin and Il barbiere di Siviglia, and performed Marullo in Rigoletto and Guy Cotter in Everest. Mr. Murray is a 2018 District Winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.
Learn more at his website.
THOMAS J. CAPOBIANCO, HIGH-TENOR
Hailed as “the hilarious Thomas J. Capobianco,” tenor T.J. Capobianco is joining the Barbara and Halsey Sandford Studio Artist Program with Kentucky Opera in the 2018- 19 season. He will debut as Monastatos and First Armored Guard in The Magic Flute, Nissen in Enemies, a Love Story, and Borsa in Rigoletto. In the spring of 2018, T.J. performed with Des Moines Metro Opera’s traveling OPERA Iowa troupe portraying Count Almaviva in The Barber of Seville and Jack in John Davies’ children’s opera Jack and the Beanstalk. T.J. appeared with New Orleans Opera in October 2017 where he made his debut as Beppe in Leoncavallo’s I Pagliacci; he also debuted as King Kaspar in Amahl and the Night Visitors with Opéra Louisiane in December 2017. Raised in Scranton, Pennsylvania, T.J. earned his Master of Music in Vocal Performance from the College Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. Learn more at his website.
REILLY NELSON, MEZZO-SOPRANO
Canadian mezzo-soprano Reilly Nelson has been praised by the Boston Music Intelligencer for her “bright and glowing [voice], with a bit of an edge when needed.” Reilly recently completed her graduate studies at the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music (CCM), where she was a student of Thomas Baresel. The 2017-2018 season included two role debuts for Ms. Nelson: Flora Bervoix in La Traviata and Vera Lynn in the United States premier of Another Brick in the Wall with Cincinnati Opera. Reilly was the winner of the 2017 Middle/East Tennessee District MONC audition and a 2016 finalist and winner of the Carolyn Weber Award in the Kurt Weill Foundation’s Lotte Lenya Competition. Learn more at her website.