March 15 & 17, 2024
the party of the season
Courtesy of The Metropolitan Opera
Vienna, New Year’s Eve, 1899. Outside the Eisensteins’ apartment, the tenor Alfred serenades his old flame Rosalinde, who is now married to Gabriel von Eisenstein. Adele, Rosalinde’s chambermaid, wonders how to get the night off to attend a glamorous New Year’s Eve ball to which her sister has invited her. She tells her mistress she must visit a sick aunt, but Rosalinde refuses to let her go. Alfred appears and declares his love to Rosalinde, who resists him until he begins to sing. Hearing someone coming, she sends Alfred away, but not before he has convinced her to let him return later. Eisenstein and his lawyer, Blind, arrive from a session in court: Eisenstein has been sentenced to eight days in jail for striking a police officer and must begin his term that very night. He furiously dismisses Blind. His friend Falke urges Eisenstein to delay going to jail until morning and instead join him at the ball, which is being given by the wealthy Prince Orlofsky. Falke tells Eisenstein to bring along his infamous pocket watch to charm the ladies. While Eisenstein changes, Falke invites Rosalinde to the ball as well, telling her that if she comes in disguise, she’ll be able to observe her husband flirting with other women. Rosalinde at first doesn’t like the idea but changes her mind when Eisenstein reappears in evening dress. She joins Adele in a bittersweet farewell as her husband heads off to “prison.” Angry at Eisenstein’s deception, she then tells Adele to go see her “aunt” and receives the ardent Alfred. Their rendezvous is interrupted by the prison warden Frank, who has come to arrest Eisenstein. Rosalinde persuades Alfred to preserve her good name by posing as her husband, and Frank carts Alfred off to jail.
In the ballroom of Prince Orlofsky’s villa, the guests gossip about their host, who has a habit of paying someone to try to make him laugh—usually in vain. Orlofsky doubts that Falke’s promised evening of entertainment will brighten his spirits, but proclaims his guests should behave however they want and do anything they like. Adele arrives—to the surprise of her sister Ida, a dancer in a hit musical show, who claims she never invited her. Ida worries Adele isn’t classy enough to attend the ball, so they decide to present her as a Russian actress named Olga. Eisenstein enters, posing as a Frenchman, per Falke’s instructions. He immediately identifies Adele as his wife’s maid, but she laughs him off. Frank is also posing as a Frenchman, and he and Eisenstein become fast friends. Frank is so smitten with Ida and “Olga” that he pretends to be a theatrical producer to impress them. Finally Rosalinde arrives, disguised as a Hungarian countess. Angry to spot her husband flirting with her maid, she sings an impassioned ode to her betrayed homeland. When a smitten Eisenstein starts flirting with her, she manages to steal his pocket watch. Midnight is approaching, and Falke entertains the guests with the story of how he earned the nickname of Dr. Fledermaus: one drunken evening, when he was dressed as a bat for a costume ball, his best friend Eisenstein played a practical joke on him that made him the laughingstock of Vienna. The crowd toasts drink, love, and brotherhood until the stroke of midnight, when the new century begins. The guests dance through the night. As the clock strikes six, Eisenstein, whose attempts to retrieve his watch from Rosalinde have failed, rushes off to jail.
Frosch the jailer is vexed by the late arrival of his boss, Frank, and by the nonstop singing of Alfred in cell number 12. Frank finally appears, tipsy and enraptured by memories of his magical evening posing as an impresario. Ida and Adele arrive, per Falke’s instructions. Adele hopes Frank might further her stage aspirations. Frank sends them off and then admits Eisenstein, who says he has come to serve his sentence. He is surprised to learn his cell is already occupied by a man who claims to be him and who was found in his apartment with Rosalinde. Blind arrives, claiming he was summoned by the man in cell 12 to handle a case of false arrest. Determined to get to the bottom of the matter, Eisenstein snatches Blind’s cloak, glasses, and wig to disguise himself as the lawyer and confront the impostor. At that moment, Rosalinde rushes in. She tries to secure Alfred’s release and asks “Blind” to press divorce charges against her errant husband, but is offended when the “lawyer” seems to take Eisenstein’s side. Dropping his disguise, Eisenstein accuses his wife of promiscuity, at which point Rosalinde produces his watch. Both lament the impasse at which they’ve arrived, admitting that divorce would be a shame, since they really do love each other. Falke arrives to gloat over the success of his plan—only to find the couple falling into each other’s arms and to discover Adele, Frank, and Frosch happily embarking on new careers. As Falke bemoans that all his efforts were in vain and his life is a failure, Orlofsky arrives with his guests in tow just in time to hear the story—and breaks into hysterical laughter. All sing a final paean to the joys of champagne.
Johann Strauss II
Karl Haffner & Richard Genée
2 hours 45 minutes with 20 minute intermission
Cast & Creatives
Kara Shay Thomsonas Rosalinde
Dramatic soprano Kara Shay Thomson has built an expansive stage career by creating characters that push the limits both musically and dramatically. Ms. Thomson’s major roles include the iconic Puccini heroines Turandot and Tosca. Additional roles include Leonore; Fidelio, Sieglinde; Die Walküre, Santuzza; Cavalleria Rusticana, Donna Anna; Don Giovanni and Magda Sorel; The Consul.
Kara Shay is well known for taking on rarely performed dramatic roles including: The Woman; Erwartung, Cassandre; Les Troyens, Judith; Bluebeard’s Castle, Marta; Tiefland, Agäthe; Der
Freishütz, Vanessa, Zemfira; Aleko, Marietta; Die tote Stadt and Balkis in Odyssey Opera’s live recording of the US premiere of Gounod’s La Reine de Saba.
Company appearances include Lyric Opera of Chicago, Santa Fe Opera, New York City Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Chicago Opera Theater, Virginia Opera, Utah Opera, Portland Opera,
Atlanta Opera, Dayton Opera, Opera Omaha, Kentucky Opera and Sarasota Opera. Kara Shay first appeared at Pensacola Opera in the role of the Countess; Le nozze di Figaro and returned to sing her signature role of Tosca plus multiple Jukebox Gala performances.
Daniel Belcher*as Gabriel von Eisenstein
The 2022-2023 season for baritone Daniel Belcher includes Lawrence in Dame Ethyl Smith’s rarely heard The Wreckers at Houston Grand Opera and Frank/Fritz in Die tote Stadt with Opera Colorado. In the previous season, he returned to The Metropolitan Opera for Ahknaten and Rigoletto. Belcher recently created the roles of Inspector Kildare in Kevin Puts and Mark Campbell’s Elizabeth Cree at Opera Philadelphia, James Addison III in Ricky Ian Gordon and Royce Vavrek’s The House Without a Christmas Tree at Houston Grand Opera (recorded for a September 2018 release on the Pentatone label), Lord Bellingham in Lori Laitman’s The Scarlet Letter at Opera Colorado (released on the Naxos label), Brian Castner in Jeremy Howard Beck’s The Long Walk with Opera Saratoga, and Robert Kennedy in Robin de Raaff’s Waiting for Miss Monroe for his debut at The Netherlands Opera and Holland Festival. Other world premiere roles include John Brooke in Mark Adamo’s Little Women (released on the Ondine label and recorded by PBS’ Great Performances), Andy Warhol in Michael Daugherty’s Jackie O (released by Decca on the Argo label) and multiple roles in Tod Machover’s Resurrection (
John Riesenas Alfred
Tenor John Riesen’s busy 2022-2023 season includes his role debut as Camille at Knoxville Opera, where he also reprises his Younger Thompson in Glory Denied. He makes his role debut as the Duke in Rigoletto at Intermountain Opera Bozeman, appears with Opera Las Vegas as Detective Daniel Lewis in Evan L. Snyder’s A Capacity for Evil, and brings his Younger Thompson to Opera Roanoke. Also this season, John was named a semi-finalist on NBC’s America’s Got Talent. In the 2021-2022 season, John returned to signature roles including Frederic in Pirates of Penzance with Utah Opera, Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi with On Site Opera, Chris in the world-premiere of Favorite Son by Grammy award winning song-writer Marcus Hummons, as well as his Carnegie Hall debut as tenor soloist in Handel’s Messiah with Musica Sacra under the baton of Kent Tritle (postponed due to COVID-19). In the 2020-2021 season John performed concerts, live streams, and productions with several companies including Intermountain Opera Bozeman, Shades of Pink Charity Foundation, The FAR Conservatory in Detroit, and Las Vegas Opera.
Nicole Heinen*as Adele
In the 2022-23 season, Nicole Heinen made her debut with Opera Louisiane as the soprano soloist in the double bill of Bernstein’s “Bonne Cuisine”/Hoiby’s “Bon Appétit!”, New Orleans Opera as the Dew Fairy (Hansel & Gretel), and returned to Florentine Opera for a role debut as Despina (Così fan tutte). She also made her debut TV appearance as “Iolanta” in AMC‘s “Interview with the Vampire.” In the 2022 summer season Ms. Heinen made her Chautauqua Opera debut as Henrietta M. (The Mother of Us All) and covered Mukhtar Mai (Thumbprint), Lillian Russell (The Mother of Us All).
Ms. Heinen has won Mary Ellen Clancy Memorial Award (MIOpera Competition), the Wisconsin District twice (Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition) and 4th place in the Mary Jacob Singer of the Year Competition. She has competed as a finalist in the John Alexander Vocal Competition and Handel Aria Competition, and a semi-finalist in the Premiere Opera Foundation Competition and the Orpheus Vocal Competition.
Scott Leeas Dr. Falke
A native of Statesville, North Carolina, baritone Scott Lee has been praised for his “…substance and velvety bass voice” by the Winston-Salem Journal. In recent years, he has performed with Piedmont Opera, The Princeton Festival, Opera Theater of the Rockies and Magnolia Baroque. In 2020, Lee received the Ron Payne Encouragement Award at the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in Charlotte, NC. His most recent engagement was the role of Antonio in Donizetti’s Linda di Chamounix, where “the opportunity to experience a staging of Linda di Chamounix was a rare gift to UNCSA’s audiences, but singing such as Lee’s is still rarer not only in student production but upon all the worlds stages.” (Voix des Arts) Lee received his Bachelor of Music degree and Master of Music degree from UNCSA. In addition to performing, Lee is a seasoned teaching artist, having served as a member of UNCSA’s ArtistCorps. He is a student of Dr. Marylin Taylor.
Kayla Nantoas Prince Orlofsky
Kayla Nanto is a dynamic mezzo-soprano with a lush and versatile sound who is based in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. This season, Kayla joined Pensacola Opera as a Jan Miller Studio Artist where she appeared as Nettie Fowler in Carousel and as a featured soloist in various concerts. She is a recent winner in the Georgia District of The Metropolitan Opera’s Laffont Competition.
During the 2021-2022 season, Kayla was a winner in the Colorado/Wyoming District of The Metropolitan Opera’s Laffont Competition. This past summer, sang the title role in Carmen with Painted Sky Opera and was recently a Studio Artist with Fort Worth Opera, with whom she made her mainstage debut as Flora in La traviata. In addition, she returned as a Performing Artist with The Dallas Opera’s Education and Outreach program.
Some of Kayla’s other recent engagements include Second Witch in Dido and Aeneas and Eustazio in Rinaldo with American Baroque Opera Company, Alto soloist in Messiah with Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, Frida Kahlo/Mother in the world-premiere of Frida Kahlo and the Bravest Girl in the World with Fort Worth Opera, Alto Soloist in Petite Messe Solenelle with University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, Suzuki (cover) in Madama Butterfly with Opera Fort Collins, Ulisse in Achille in Sciro with Orchestra of New Spain, and Edith in Pirates of Penzance with Loveland Opera Theatre.
Kayla holds degrees from University of North Texas (Master of Music) and University of Northern Colorado (Bachelor of Music). During her time at University of North Texas, she performed the roles of Siébel in Faust, Petra in A Little Night Music, and Flora in La traviata. While at University of Northern Colorado, she performed the roles of Angelina in La Cenerentola and the title role in Carmen.
Lawrence Barasaas Dr. Blind
Lawrence Barasa Kiharangwa, (Nairobi, Kenya), Tenor, is the Performance Director of the Kenyan Classical Singers’ Organization. A tenor from Kenya, Lawrence developed his artistic profile as a member and Assistant Production Manager of The Kenyan Boys Choir. He has performed the roles of Spoletta in Eugene Opera’s production of Tosca, Don Basilio and Don Curzio in Le
nozze di Figaro at the Astoria Music Festival in 2018, and Hoffmann in Les contes d’Hoffmann, Don José in La tragédie de Carmen at the University of Oregon School of Music and Dance.
He also completed training at the Savannah Voice Festival 2019-2020, under the tutelage of Sherrill Milnes and Maria Zouaves. He will be attending Santa Fe Opera as an apprentice artist for the 2023 summer season. This past Fall, Lawrence sang the role of Rodolfo in La bohème and will be singing Don Ottavio in Maryland Opera Studio’s Don Giovanni in the spring of 2023. Lawrence is currently a Graduate International Student at the University of Maryland Opera Studio, studying with Prof. Delores Ziegler.
Bernardo Medeiros*as Frank
Brazilian-American baritone Bernardo Medeiros has performed multiple roles in his young professional career. Bernardo was a 2021 Apprentice Artist with Central City Opera and portrayed the titular role in Rigoletto. He then performed Jigger (Carousel) and Masetto (Don Giovanni) with Indianapolis Opera. In 2022, Bernardo worked with BARN Opera, Opera Project Columbus, and Chautauqua Opera. Roles performed include Malatesta (Don Pasquale), Sciarrone (Tosca), and Virgil Thomson/Donald Gallup (Mother Of Us All). As a current Resident Artist with Syracuse Opera and Tri-Cities Opera, Bernardo will portray Mr. Gobineau (The Medium), King Melchior (Amahl and the Night Visitors) and Antonio (Le nozze di figaro). As a 2023 Apprentice Artist with Santa Fe Opera, he is covering the Shepherd (Pelleas et Melisande) and Jailer (Tosca). Next season, Bernardo is a Resident Artist with Pensacola Opera, where he’ll cover Enrico (Lucia di Lammermoor), Dr. Falke (Die Fledermaus), and perform Frank (Die Fledermaus).
Joe Tomkoas Frosch
Alexandra Sanchezas Sally
Praised for her colorful voice and sparkling stage presence, American mezzo-soprano Alexandra Sanchez has been dazzling audiences in her hometown of San Antonio and across the United States. Ms. Sanchez is thrilled to join Pensacola Opera as a Studio Artist in the 2023/3024 season where some of her assignments include singing Alisa (Lucia di Lammermoor) and covering Prince Orlofsky (Die Fledermaus). Ms. Sanchez will also be a young artist with Finger Lakes Opera during their 2023 Summer Season, where she will be covering Amneris in Aida.
Ms. Sanchez made her San Francisco Opera debut singing Sister Claire in Dialogues of the Carmelites under the baton of Music Director Eun Sun Kim. Ms. Sanchez was also selected to be a Fellow at the Festival Napa Valley’s Manetti Shrem Opera Program where she participated in the 2022 Summer Festival which included a concert with celebrated violinist, Joshua Bell.
Ms. Sanchez earned her Artist Diploma (2022) and Master of Music Degree (2021) in Vocal Performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music under the guidance of mezzo-soprano, Catherine Cook. She also holds a Bachelor of Music Degree in Vocal Performance (2019) from Louisiana State University.
Jerome Shannonas Conductor
Praised for his “skill and verve” (New York Times), Shannon celebrates nearly 30 years as a professional operatic pianist, vocal coach, conductor and administrator. During this time, Maestro Shannon has held leadership positions with Sarah Caldwell’s Opera Company of Boston (Artistic Administrator, Assistant Conductor, Conductor), Virginia Opera (Artistic Administrator, Associate Artistic Director, Conductor), Pensacola Opera (Music Director and Principal Conductor, Artistic Director), Shreveport Opera (Music Director and Principal Conductor), Mobile Opera (General and Artistic Director, Principal Conductor) and the Janiec Opera Company of the Brevard Music Center (Resident Conductor and Vocal Coach).
John Hoomesas Stage Director
Mr. Hoomes has been the artistic director of Nashville Opera since 1995. Also a freelance stage director, he has directed over 150 productions of opera and music theatre in the US, South America, and Canada. The New York Times declared his Nashville Opera world premiere of Elmer Gantry “An Operatic Miracle…in Nashville.” A June 2010 Opera News feature article acknowledged, “Hoomes has proved himself one of the most interesting stage directors in the regional market today with a seemingly limitless knowledge of repertoire.”
Since receiving his masters degree at Indiana University, Mr. Hoomes has worked for many professional opera companies including Opera Lyra Ottawa, Teatro Colón, Cincinnati Opera, The Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Opera Philadelphia, Opera, Indianapolis Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, and Opera Columbus.
Mr. Hoomes has directed, among numerous other productions, Salome, Rigoletto, Tosca, The Pearl Fishers, La Bohème, Carmen, and Der Rosenkavalier for Nashville Opera; Madama Butterfly and Carmen for Kentucky Opera; Die Fledermaus and Susannah for Indianapolis Opera; The Marriage of Figaro, Rigoletto, and La Bohème for Opera Carolina; Don Giovanni, Elmer Gantry, and Salome for Florentine Opera; Don Giovanni for Opera Cleveland; Ernani and Jenufa for Sarasota Opera; and Turandot for The Opera Festival of New Jersey, Nashville Opera, Opera Columbus, Opera Memphis, and Opera Carolina.
Recently Mr. Hoomes staged the world premieres of Robert Aldridge’s Elmer Gantry, which was recorded on Naxos Records, and songwriter Marcus Hummon’s chamber opera Surrender Road at Martha Rivers Ingram Hall in Nashville. He also directed the Southeastern professional premiere of two contemporary pieces, Poulenc’s La Voix Humaine and Peter Maxwell Davies’ The Lighthouse. In fall 2009 Mr. Hoomes directed the Tennessee premiere of The Fall of the House of Usher by composer Philip Glass, a groundbreaking multi-media production, critically acclaimed both by the Wall Street Journal and Opera News.