Set against a backdrop of war, chaos and corruption in Rome, the beautiful, celebrated opera singer, Floria Tosca, must give the performance of a lifetime to save the man she loves from the tainted hands of the treacherous chief of police. Set in early 1800s Italy, Tosca is the passionate, sweeping story of three strong-willed characters destined to become masters and victims of their own fate. Will she murder for the man she loves? Will she save her lover in time? Will she emerge as the victor or victim of her own destiny? Tosca has everything: a real and worldly love, an extraordinary heroine and the greatest villain in all of opera.
Tosca’s dramatic music demands powerhouse performers. Sensational young conductor Tiffany Chang and OPERA America Women Conductor Grantee leads a brilliant cast. Michelle Johnson returns as Floria Tosca, a role coveted for its vast dramatic arc and show-stopping aria, ‘Vissi d’arte’ after a moving Aida in 2018. Met favorite, Adam Diegel makes his Opera Columbus debut as passionate Cavaradossi. Brian Major, renowned for his villains, returns as Scarpia. In this Bridgerton-esque production, Tosca will feature new, original costumes by UK based Neil Fortin, use an original set construction by Opera Omaha and Boston Lyric Opera, and striking lighting design by Pablo Santiago. The three-act opera will be directed by Eve Summer who last season luminously directed Don Giovanni.
Tosca will be sung in Italian with English surtitles.
Tosca is not recommended for patrons under the age of 13.
This production uses gunshot and cannon effects.
COVID-19 SAFETY GUIDELINES
We adhere to state and federal COVID-19 safety recommendations. Beginning in October 2021, attendees of all Opera Columbus events are required to be fully masked regardless of vaccination status. Additionally, attendees of all Opera Columbus events are required to present a valid ID and proof of COVID-19 vaccination (in the form of an immunization card or photo proof of one) or negative PCR test results obtained no more than 72 hours before the event.
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Soprano Michelle Johnson, a Grand Prize Winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions where she was described as “a clear audience favorite” (New York Times), has been lavished with praise for her “extraordinary breath control and flawless articulation… Her voice is velvety and pliant – a dulcet dream.” Recent engagements include Ms. Johnson’s debut with Opera Tampa in the title role of Verdi’s Aida, a house and role debut with Chicago Opera Theater as Zemfira in Aleko, a featured soloist performance with Madison Symphony Orchestra, a debut with Waterbury Symphony for their Holiday Pops and a return to Chautauqua to perform Strauss’ Vier letzte Lieder with Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra. During the 2020-2021 season, Ms. Johnson was slated to make her Allentown Symphony, Florentine Opera, Opera on the James and Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia debuts (COVID 19). Instead, she joined Opera Tampa as Leonora in// trovatore, and Opera Delaware for a concert of Shakespeare selections. During the 2021-2022 season, Ms. Johnson will make her Boston Lyric Opera debut singing Santuzza in Cavalleria Rusticana, as well as, make a role debut with Opera Columbus as Tosca, sing the title role in Aida with Opera Carolina and sing Mimi in La boheme with both the Columbus Symphony and Florentine Opera. In the summer of 2022, Ms. Johnson will make her debut with Des Moines Metro Opera as Bess in Porgy and Bess and in 2023, she will reprise the title role of Aida with Opera Grand Rapids and sing as the soprano soloist in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Allentown Symphony.
A favorite of many houses, Ms. Johnson made recent returns to Lyric Fest for “I Hear America Singing”, Sarasota Opera as Madame Lidoine in Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmelites, and Boston Landmark Orchestra as a soloist in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. Ms. Johnson has also made a name for herself as one of the most in demand Aidas in the opera world today, performing Verdi’s tragic heroine with Glimmerglass Music Festival, Opera Santa Barbara, Opera Columbus, Knoxville Opera, Opera Idaho, and Sarasota Opera, among others. Ms. Johnson’s debut with Columbus Symphony as soprano soloist in Verdi’s Requiem was highly praised, and her collaboration with Madison Opera as Santuzza in their most recent production of Cavalleria Rusticana was given rave reviews.
Past opera credits include Leonora in // trovatore with Hawaii Opera Theatre, Minnie in La Fanciulla def West with Kentucky Opera, Elisabeth de Valois in Don Carlos with Sarasota Opera, the title role in /vlanon Lescaut and Donna Anna in Don Giovanni with Opera Philadelphia, and Mimi in La boheme with both Annapolis Opera and PortOpera. Her concert and solo credits include the soprano solo in Verdi’s Requiem and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with Orquesta Sinf6nica del Principado de Asturias, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with Boston Philharmonic, an all-French Opera concert with Maestro Michel Plasson in Montpellier, France, the soprano soloist in Vaughan Williams’ Dona nobis pacem with Juneau Symphony, and an all Verdi concert with The Princeton Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Rossen Milanov. Adept in non-standard repertoire as well, Miss Johnson performed the title role in the rarely performed Sakuntala with Teatro Grattacielo along with numerous other contemporary works.
A graduate of the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia, Boston University Opera Institute, and New England Conservatory, Ms. Johnson was seen as the title role in Suor Angelica, Leonora in Oberto, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, the Countess in Capriccio, and Alice Ford in Falstaff during her educational tenure. In addition to winning a Grand Prize at the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Miss Johnson has also graced the winner’s circle of the William Matheus Sullivan Foundation, Gerda Lissner Foundation and the Giulio Gari Foundation.
Mr. Diegel made his Metropolitan Opera début as Froh in Robert Lepage’s landmark production of “Das Rheingold,” and later reprised the performance under Fabio Luisi. Further appearances at The Met include Pinkerton in “Madama Butterfly” under Plácido Domingo and Ismaele in “Nabucco” under Paolo Carignani. He returned to the famed house in 2019.
Other notable recent U.S. engagements include: Pinkerton in “Madama Butterfly” at Atlanta Opera, Fort Worth Opera, Arizona Opera, Opera San Antonio, and Kentucky Opera; Ismaele in “Nabucco” at Opera Philadelphia; Cavaradossi in “Tosca” at Vancouver Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Seattle Opera, and Arizona Opera; Don José in “Carmen” at Glimmerglass Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Florida Grand Opera, Arizona Opera, and Madison Opera; and Rodolfo in “La Bohème” at Opera Omaha and Minnesota Opera. Other international appearances have included: Don José in “Carmen” in a new production at English National Opera and Opera Australia’s Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour; Pinkerton in “Madama Butterfly” with Lithuanian National Opera, The Savonlinna Opera Festival, and on tour in China at the Guangzhous Opera House in Anthony Minghella’s acclaimed production; Maurizio in “Adriana Lecouvreur” at The National Theatre in Budapest, where he later performed Cavaradossi in “Tosca”; and David Alden’s new production of “Luisa Miller” for Opéra National de Lyon.
Charismatic baritone Brian Major continues to be praised by critics for his “velvety voice’ and “commanding stage presence.” In the fall of 2019, Mr. Major joined Madison Opera for their production of La traviata as Baron Douphol and covered the role of Germont. In 2020, Mr. Major returned to Toledo Opera as Marcello in La bohème, made his South American debut as Amonasro in Aïda with Theatro Municipal de São Paulo, and was slated to make his Princeton Festival debut as Germont in La Traviata (COVID19). During the 2020-2021 season, Mr. Major was engaged to make his Chautauqua Orchestra debut singing in Paul Moravec and Mark Campbell’s Sanctuary Road and performing selections from Porgy & Bess, his Opera on the James debut as Scarpia in Tosca, and a debut with Maryland Lyric Opera as Ford in Falstaff (COVID19). In the spring of 2021, Mr. Major returned to Opera Grand Rapids as Gary in Douglas Pew’s Penny and joined Lyric Fest for a filmed recital of Kurt Weill songs, the Princeton Festival for an Opera Gala, and Opera Delaware for a concert of Shakespeare selections. During the 2021-2022 season, Mr. Major will make his role debut as Scarpia in Tosca with Opera Columbus, sing the role of Taylor in the world premiere of Undying Love at Hearing in Color in Chicago and make his Florentine Opera debut as Schaunard in La bohème. He will also return to both the Columbus Symphony to sing another Schaunard in La bohème and the bass soloist in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, as well as, Opera Carolina to sing Amonasro in Aïda.
During the 2018-2019 season, Mr. Major made debuts with Toledo Opera, Opera Grand Rapids, and Opera Carolina in their productions of The Magic Flute and Carmen where he sang the roles of The Speaker and El Dancaïro. Other season highlights include his turn in the title role of Gianni Schicchi, a recital for the Shivers Concert Series in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem with The Colorado College Summer Music Festival. Mr. Major was also a featured musical guest at an Evening of Joyful Praise at the historic Great Auditorium in New Jersey and closed out his season as the baritone soloist in Orff’s Carmina Burana with the Boston University Tanglewood Institute.
Past season credits include his debut with Opera Columbus and Columbus Symphony Orchestra in a collaborative production of Aïda as Amonasro. Mr. Major also presented Kirke Mechem’s Songs of the Slave in Boston Symphony Hall and reprised the role of Amonasro in a debut with Opera Theatre of the Rockies in their twentieth-year celebration where Mr. Major’s voice was described as “honey-filled and capable of organic, dramatic expression.”
Quickly gaining renowned acclaim for his proficiency in the iconic dramatic repertoire, Opera News praised Mr. Major’s Escamillo as “embracing the love of the spotlight” and “never losing the strength of the vocal line.” Mr. Major has performed with Opera Saratoga as Giorgio in Catan’s Il Postino, with Opera in the Heights where he gave a “sexy and despicable, full-bodied and broad” performance of the title role in Don Giovanni, with Opera Company of Middlebury where he sang the role of Germont in La Traviata, and in Montpellier, France where he performed an all-French Opera concert with Maestro Michel Plasson. Other operatic credits include Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor, Count Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro, 1st Nazarene in Salome, and George Milton in Of Mice and Men.
An accomplished recitalist and concert artists, Mr. Major has been the baritone soloist in Handel’s Messiah, Vaughan Williams’ Five Mystical Songs, and Mendelssohn’s Elijah. These works were performed with The Siena Chamber Orchestra in Italy, Sun Valley Opera in Idaho, Des Moines Symphony Orchestra, and the Michigan State University Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Major has won numerous awards and honors on the competition circuit including 2nd Prize at the Harold Haugh Opera Vocal Competition, 1st prize at the Opera Ebony Vocal Competition, 3rd prize at the Annapolis Opera Vocal Competition, 2nd prize at the Opera at San Nicola Vocal Competition, 1st prize at Harlem Opera Theater’s Vocal Competition, 1st prize at the Atlanta Music Club Vocal Competition, and an Encouragement Prize at the Palm Beach Atlantic Vocal Competition. Mr. Major holds degrees from Morehouse College, Boston University, and Michigan State University.
Tenor Michael Kirkman is well known to Columbus audiences as both a soloist and ensemble singer. He has performed with Opera/Columbus since 1991 and has also worked with Columbus Light Opera and several professional choral ensembles, including Lancaster Chorale, Cantari Singers, and Cecilian Singers. His work includes several performances as soloist in the Messiah and the Mozart Requiem, as well as Britten’s Agnus Dei; Saint-Saen Requiem; Bach Magnificat; Dubois Seven Last Words of Christ; and Bernstein Chichester Psalms. He is in his twenty-fourth year as tenor soloist and section leader with the BroadStreet Choir at Broad Street Presbyterian Church. Michael studied with Robin Rice at Ohio State and more recently with Jason Heister at Ohio Wesleyan University. He is a co-founder of Converging Arts Columbus, a new arts organization that seeks to create opportunities for professional singers through multi-disciplinary, collaborative performances.
Hidenori Inoue, bass baritone, hails from Himeji, Japan. In 2018-19 he performed the roles of Leporello and Commendatore in Don Giovanni with Opera Steamboat, and the Bonze in Madama Butterfly with Virginia Opera and Opera Omaha. He reprised the role of Makoto Kobayashi in An American Dream at Anchorage Opera, returned to Tulsa Opera as the Commendatore in Don Giovanni, also making a role debut as Sarastro in The Magic Flute with Opera Maine. Heday was the bass soloist in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Spartansburg Symphony and reprises the work in 2022 with the York Symphony. In 2020, He sang another Commendatore with Pensacola Opera, and returned to Tulsa Opera for the Bonze in Madama Butterfly. He also recorded the role of Nourabad in Les Pecheurs de perles for InSeries Opera. This season he makes a role and company debut with MTM Hong Kong as Escamillo in Carmen followed by a role and company debut as Angelotti in Tosca with Opera Columbus. His debut as Colline in the film of La Bohème was a collaboration amongst Tri-Cities Opera, Opera Columbus, Omaha Opera and MTM Hong Kong. In 2021 Heday sings Fasolt in Das Rheingold with Virginia Opera, and in 2022 performs Sarastro in The Magic Flute with North Carolina Opera.
In 2018 Hidenori sang the role of Timur in Turandot and covered the role of Méphistophéles in Faust with Tulsa Opera, followed by the role of Makoto Kobayashi in the east coast premiere of Jack Perla’s An American Dream and the Baron in La Traviata with Opera Maine. He was also heard as Padre Guardiano and the Marquis in Verdi’s La forza del destino with New Amsterdam Opera, and Don Magnifico in La Cenerentola with New York City’s ARE Opera. Other credits include the title role of Don Pasquale with the Manhattan School of Music, Pistola in Falstaff with the Italian La Musica Lirica, Benoit and Alcindoro in Puccini’s La Bohème with International Vocal Arts Institute, and Barbemuche in Leoncavallo’s La Bohème.
In 2016, Inoue performed Monstre Cathos in Jacques Ibert’s Persée et Andromède with the Manhattan School of Music. Hailed as “the smoky-voiced bass” by the New York Times, this performance was listed in The New York Times as one of the Top 10 Vocal Performances of 2016.
Hidenori holds a Bachelor of Law degree from Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan and a Master of Music degree from the Manhattan School of Music.
Venezuelan bass-baritone Miguel Pedroza recently graduated with a Master’s degree in Vocal Performance from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, studying under professor William McGraw and coaches Donna Loewy, Kathleen Kelly, and Marie-France Lefebvre. His engagements at the conservatory included Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte (Sarastro), Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro (Figaro), and Cavalli’s La Calisto (Sylvano). Prior to his time at the conservatory, Miguel received a Bachelor’s in Vocal Performance from the University of Houston. Miguel has been contracted with Cincinnati May Festival, Opera in the Ozarks, and Opera in the Heights, with appearances in Milhaud’s Le Pauvre Matelot (Son Beau-Père), Cimarosa’s Il Matrimonio Segreto (Geronimo), and Bizet’s Carmen (Zuniga). He has performed as a chorus member with Cincinnati Opera and Houston Grand Opera and as a soloist in concerts across the US, including Bach’s Magnificat and St. Matthew Passion, Schubert’s Mass in G minor, and Mozart’s Spatzenmesse.
Robert J. Kerr
Known for his stage savvy, Robert Kerr’s foundation in opera began in musical theater. Anthony Tommasini of the New York Times wrote of his Falstaff: “He made words matter and conveyed the self-delusion of this likable laughingstock… “. Known to Opera Columbus audiences, Robert Kerr returns this season in Tosca and Fellow Travelers. His past performances with the company include the King in Aida; the world première of The Flood by Korine Fujiwara with libretto by Stephen Wadsworth; the title role of Gianni Schicchi; and, Tonio in Pagliacci. Notable credits include a return to Rose Theater with Atsushi Yamada conducting the Philharmonia Orchestra of New York in an all-Verdi concert; he was Pooh-Bah in The Mikado with Performance Santa Fe!; the title role of Rigoletto with Opera Projects Columbus in addition to the title role in Gianni Schicchi with the company. He has been heard as Germont in La traviata with the Philharmonia Orchestra of New York at Lincoln Center and as soloist in Mozart’s Requiem; and, has appeared with the local symphonies on numerous occasions. In prior seasons, Mr. Kerr returned to Japan for engagements in performances of Requiem by Minoru Miki in Natori and reprising the work at Rose Theater at Lincoln Center; he has covered the role of the King in El Gato con Botas with Gotham Chamber Opera; and, was soloist with the New York City Opera Orchestra in a Japan tour of Carmina Burana. Other engagements include his appearance at the Kennedy Center Honors with Sondra Radvanovsky and Joseph Calleja in an Aida tribute to honoree, Martina Arroyo. Equally at home in musical theater, Mr. Kerr has sung King Hildebrand in Princess Ida with So. Ohio Light Opera; the role of Peachum in The Threepenny Opera with Amarillo Opera; and Pooh-Bah in The Mikado.
Vocalist Aryssa Leigh Burrs is hailed for her “rich sound and thoughtful musical ideas” while “transcending vocal styles and genres with flexibility and ease.” Ms. Burrs spent the Summer ’21 season as an Apprentice Artist with Central City Opera. While with CCO, she performed a solo Al Fresco Concert, covered the role of Sorceress in Dido and Aeneas, and was a featured ensemble member in a paired down production of Carousel. Aryssa will return as a Resident Artist with Opera Columbus-Capital University, where she was be seen singing the role of Zerlina in their spring 2021 production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni. Other recent engagements include Elvis Costello’s The Juliet Letters with UrbanArias and Mame Dennis in Mame at The Seagle Festival. Ms. Burrs is a recent graduate of Northwestern University, where she obtained a Masters of Music in Voice and Opera Performance. At Northwestern, she performed in numerous opera productions (Orlofsky, Die Fledermaus; Captain, Dog Days; Baba the Turk, The Rake’s Progress), while also appearing as a soloist with various choral and orchestral ensembles (Am I born, David T. Little; Terra Nostra, Stacy Garrop; The Branch Will Not Break, Christopher Cerrone). As she is committed to using music for cultural and social justice causes, one of Ms. Burrs’ most cherished performances includes her orchestral debut with the Charlotte Symphony as a featured soloist with the acclaimed drag queen production of Thorgy and the Thorchestra. Ms. Burrs also had the honor of performing a set of musical theater and operatic hits for the incomparable Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at a “thank you” dinner.
During the pandemic, Aryssa Leigh got to continue to hone her passion for progressive concert work and a lifelong interest in exploring musical styles through story and song. In January ’21, Aryssa created, produced, and performed in the virtual debut performance of her concert entitled Identify, which raised funds for the non-profit organization “Phenomenal Womxn” to launch their summer camp to teach empowerment through the arts to young girls. This concert looks at Aryssa’s personal pillars of identity through the musical and visual arts that help her to feel challenged, curious, and ultimately empowered in those bits of herself; all with the intent of inviting audience and collaborators alike to join her in the use of art in their own explorations. Identify, to be performed again for many seasons to come, encompasses styles ranging from english baroque, french mélodie, german romanic opera, to contemporary feminist pop.
Ms. Burrs holds both a Bachelor of Music Degree in Voice Performance and a Bachelor of Music Education Degree in Choral/General Music from the University of Maryland in College Park. Ms. Burrs has taught K-12 General and Choral Music in Montgomery County, MD Public Schools, while maintaining a private voice and piano studio. DC Metro Theater Arts states, “From the moment she burst onstage, Aryssa [Leigh] Burrs charmed and dazzled the audience with her rich, full voice…she has the knack for singing pop and jazz music exceptionally well without compromising her vocal technique.”
Giacomo Antonio Domenico Michele Secondo Maria Puccini (UK: /pʊˈtʃiːni/ puu-CHEE-nee, US: /puːˈ-/ poo-; Italian: [ˈdʒaːkomo putˈtʃiːni]; 22 December 1858 – 29 November 1924) was an Italian opera composer who has been called “the greatest composer of Italian opera after Verdi“.
Puccini’s early work was rooted in traditional late-19th-century Romantic Italian opera. Later, he successfully developed his work in the realistic verismo style, of which he became one of the leading exponents.
Giuseppe Giacosa was born in Colleretto Parella, now Colleretto Giacosa, near Turin. His father was a magistrate. Giuseppe went to the University of Turin, studying in the University of Turin, Faculty of Law. Though he gained a degree in law, he did not pursue a legal career.
He gained initial fame for his play Una Partita a Scacchi (“A Game of Chess”) in 1871. His main field was playwriting, which he accomplished with both insight and simplicity, using subjects set in Piedmont and themes addressing contemporary bourgeois values. He wrote La signora di Challant (La Dame de Challant, The Lady of Challand), based on a novella by Matteo Bandello, for noted French actress Sarah Bernhardt, produced in New York in 1891.
Giacosa wrote the final polished version of the libretto for Giacomo Puccini‘s Manon Lescaut, which had been begun by Ruggero Leoncavallo, Marco Praga, Domenico Oliva, and Luigi Illica. He also wrote the librettos used by Puccini for La bohème, Tosca and Madama Butterfly in conjunction with Luigi Illica. Illica supplied the plot and dialogue, and Giacosa polished the libretto into verses. Also well as the one Act play of The rights of the soul“.
Luigi Illica (9 May 1857 – 16 December 1919) was an Italian librettist who wrote for Giacomo Puccini (usually with Giuseppe Giacosa), Pietro Mascagni, Alfredo Catalani, Umberto Giordano, Baron Alberto Franchetti and other important Italian composers. His most famous opera libretti are those for La Bohème, Tosca, Madama Butterfly and Andrea Chénier.
Illica was born at Castell’Arquato. His personal life sometimes imitated his libretti. The reason he is always photographed with his head slightly turned is because he lost his right ear in a duel over a woman. When silent films based on Illica’s operas were made, his name appeared in large letters on advertisements because distributors could only guarantee that his stories would be used, and not that they would be accompanied by the music of the appropriate composer.
As a playwright of considerable quality, he is today remembered through one of Italy’s oldest awards, the Luigi Illica International Prize founded in 1961, which goes to world famous opera singers, opera conductors, directors and authors. The Award is now awarded every two years and alternates with the Illica Opera Stage International Competition, which offers prizes and debut opportunities to young singers.
Taiwanese-American conductor Tiffany Chang is determined to improve ensemble work culture for musicians and to help artists pursue purpose so they can feel fulfilled every day.
Chang is recognized internationally for her exceptional artistry, formidable versatility, and unshakable integrity that lead people to accomplish things they once thought were impossible. Her innovative creativity on the podium naturally elicits the best work from any musician, while her refreshing perspectives as a leader give people the power to feel like their work matters.
Awarded a 2020 Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award, Chang serves as artist-faculty at two major institutions across the United States, Oberlin Conservatory as Conductor of the Oberlin Arts and Sciences Orchestra and Berklee College of Music as Associate Professor. Her visionary leadership at both institutions had transformative impact that had local communities take immediate notice.
Equally adept in opera, she garnered significant attention at The Dallas Opera’s Hart Institute for Women Conductors in 2019 and was named winner of The American Prize in Opera Conducting in 2017. She also served ten seasons as Music Director/Conductor for the North End Music and Performing Arts Center’s (NEMPAC) Opera Project in Boston and served as guest conductor in productions at Boston University and Baldwin Wallace Conservatory.
Her versatility continues to encompass frequent appearances with new music ensembles, such as the Dinosaur Annex Contemporary Ensemble, ALEA III, Xanthos Ensemble, and she has been invited to present a pioneering orchestral work she commissioned during the pandemic to be performed entirely on Zoom at the 2021 New Music Gathering.
She has additionally been engaged by BlueWater Chamber Orchestra, OperaHub, the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra of Boston, Brookline Symphony Orchestra, Parkway Concert Orchestra, Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra, Northern Ohio Youth Orchestras, Boston University, Baldwin Wallace Conservatory, among others.
Chang studied conducting with David Hoose and Bridget-Michaele Reischl; she has also worked with Carlo Montanaro, Emmanuel Villaume, Gustav Meier, JoAnn Falletta, Robert Spano, Gunther Schuller, Larry Rachleff, and Ann Howard Jones. She holds a doctoral degree in orchestral conducting from Boston University and degrees from Oberlin Conservatory in cello performance, music education, composition, and
Sought-after as a webinar panelist and speaker, Chang recently began sharing her passion for leadership and work culture in her blog “Conductor as CEO.” Visit www.tiffanychang.net for more.
Hailed “a rising star of stage directing [whose] approach to directing refreshes hope for the future of opera,” Eve Summer is a director, producer, and choreographer. She has been described as having “a gift for translating classic symbolism into familiar detail with just enough flippancy to bring out the fun of the opera without skewing the emotional equation.” Ms. Summer begins this season with new productions of Tosca at Opera Columbus, Don Giovanni at Opera Carolina and Opera Grand Rapids, and Thomas Albert’s Lizbeth at Opera Orlando. Selected recent directing credits include The Little Prince at Tulsa Opera, Albert Herring at Curtis Opera Theatre, Trouble in Tahiti at the Glimmerglass Festival, Don Giovanni at Opera Columbus, The Mikado at Opera Grand Rapids, The Pearl Fishers at Opera Tampa and Opera in Williamsburg, The Tales of Hoffmann at Opera Orlando, Xerxes at Connecticut Early Music Festival, John Musto’s Later the Same Evening at Boston University, Aida and Lucia di Lammermoor at Boheme Opera New Jersey, Suor Angelica at the Boston Symphony Orchestra, The Magic Flute at Opera in Williamsburg and Hartt Opera Theatre, Così fan tutte at Opera Grand Rapids, Connecticut Lyric Opera, and Commonwealth Opera, Bluebeard’s Castle at Mid-Ohio Opera, Le nozze di Figaro at dell’Arte Opera Ensemble, Carmen at MassOpera, and the world premiere of Larry Bell’s opera Holy Ghosts at the Berklee Performance Center.
Ms. Summer’s work has been called “eye-poppingly contemporary,” “a riveting, glorious production from beginning to end,” and “can only be described as brilliant.” Critics raved that her production of Xerxes was “a delight, and a testament to Summer’s gift for banishing stodginess from an art form too often seen as fossilized and elitist”. Critics hailed her recent Albert Herring at Curtis as “exuberant and delightful,” “a drawing room tour de force,” and declared “It is hard to imagine how the performance could have been improved. It was sensational.”
A former professional ballet dancer and choreographer, Ms. Summer’s choreography credits include a commission to choreograph a new ballet, Jeanne’s Fantasy, by composer Mark Warhol for the premiere with Contrapose Dance and Fort Point Theatre Channel, Elektra at Des Moines Metro Opera, Falstaff at Opera Colorado, and Don Giovanni at Boston Opera Collaborative. She recently collaborated with renowned choreographer Karole Armitage on the critically acclaimed American premiere of Philip Glass’ Opera-Ballet The Witches of Venice at Opera Saratoga. Ms. Summer has served as staff and assistant director and choreographer at many opera companies including Boston Lyric Opera, The Glimmerglass Festival, Des Moines Metro Opera, Opera Colorado, Tulsa Opera, Opera Saratoga, and Opera Boston.
Dr. Jason Hiester
Dr. Hiester performs professionally in a variety of genres including opera, oratorio, choral and jazz. His credits include roles with West Palm Beach Opera, Utah Festival Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Columbus Opera, ProMusica Chamber Orchestra, Florida Grand Opera and concert work with Miami Bach Society, Musica Sacra of Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky Symphony, Columbus Bach Ensemble, Columbus Dance Theater, Central Ohio Symphony Orchestra, Vocal Arts Ensemble of Cincinnati, Springfield Symphony, and Vocal Arts Ensemble of Springfield. He was a winner of both the Schloss Leopoldskron competition in Salzburg, Austria and the West Palm Beach Opera Competition. Locally, Dr. Hiester is the artistic director of Converging Arts Columbus, a conductor for the Sacred Music Institute of America, Associate Professor Music at Ohio Wesleyan University and organist at Powell United Methodist church.
Luther Lewis III is a multidisciplinary artist, singer, teacher and stage director within Classical Voice/Opera, Theater and Visual Art and is currently the Crane Directing Fellow at Opera Columbus. He has appeared with several major Opera companies in supporting and chorus roles including Lyric Opera of Chicago, Cincinnati Opera, San Francisco Opera, Opera de Montreal, as well as international tours in Austria, France, Germany, Israel, South America, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. In 2018, he presented an Art Gallery Concert featuring his illustrations of legendary African American Opera singers at the iconic Goodman Theatre in Chicago, Illinois in collaboration with Chicago Opera Theater. Luther has studied Vocal Performance at Oberlin Conservatory of Music and the University of Kentucky as well as Visual Art Studio at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Fortin is a UK based costume designer who hails from Boston, Massachusetts. He is a graduate of Boston University with an MFA in Costume Production, and additionally holds a Bachelor’s degree in History from Providence College. Tosca is Fortin’s 1st production with Opera Columbus and he is excited to be making his debut in Ohio. During the pandemic year, Fortin began his own menswear accessories company called Thomas Fortin Menswear, producing English silk pocket squares, neckties and scarves. Fortin also owns his own historical millinery company based in Bath, England. He has also worked with Boston’s Huntington Theater Company, The American Repertory Theater, Boston Baroque, The Boston Conservatory at Berklee, Opera Omaha and Guerilla Opera.
Pablo Santiago is a Mexican-American Lighting Designer and the winner of the Richard Sherwood Award and Stage Raw Award and multiple Ovation Award nominee. Pablo is proud to have long standing collaborations with many great artists such as James Darrah, Jose Luis Valenzuela, Ellen Reid, Missy Mazzoli, Karen Zacarias, Bill Rouch, Patricia Mcgregor, Ted Hearne, Christopher Rountree, Francois-Pierre Couture, Adam Rigg, Adam Larsen and Yuval Sharon. Pablo has designed for companies such as Santa Fe Opera, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Los Angeles Opera, San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Symphony, Boston Lyric Opera, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Opera Omaha, Center Theater Group, Music Academy of The West, Broad Museum and Beth Morrison Projects. Some of the amazing venues he has worked at include: Teatro Municipal Sao Paulo, The Goodman Theater, Disney Hall, Davies Hall, Mark Taper Forum, Kennedy Center and Arena Stage in DC, La MaMa in NYC, Skirball Center, Paramount Theater, Huntington Theater and Majestic Theater in Boston, and BAM- Harvey Theater. Recent highlights include: Lord of Cries (Santa Fe Opera), The Fall of The House of Usher and Desert In (digital feature films for Boston Lyric Opera); the Anonymous Lover (Digital Content- LA Opera); Pulitzer Winner p r i s m (Sao Paulo, LAO, Prototype Festival), Macbeth and Mother Road (Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Arena Stage); Place (BAM-LA PHIL-Beth Morrison Projects), Proving Up (ONE Festival/Opera Omaha and Miller Theater); Valley of The Heart and Zoot Suit (Mark Taper Forum); Threepenny Opera, Norma (Boston Lyric Opera); Destiny of Desire (Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Goodman Theatre, Arena Stage); War of the Worlds (Los Angeles Philharmonic and The Industry); Breaking the Waves (OperaPhila and Prototype Festival); Pelleas et Melisande (Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra); Flight, Pagliacci and Madame Butterfly (Opera Omaha); On The Town (San Francisco Symphony); Skeleton Crew and The Cake (Geffen Playhouse). instagram: @pablosdesign
*Opera Columbus debut
+Opera Columbus/Capital University Resident Artist