The Magic Flute
January 28, 2022 – 7:30 PM
January 30, 2022 – 2:00 PM
German with English dialogue & supertitles
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Premiered during the Age of Enlightenment, The Magic Flute transports us on a mystical journey filled with genies, spirits, and the hilarious antics of a creature who is half man and half bird! The classic elegance of Mozart’s music enthralls us as a young man discovers his humanity during his quest for the truth.
Cast and Creatives
David Blalockas Tamino
Praised for his “fine tenor voice” (Winston-Salem Journal), David Blalock is becoming widely known for his beautiful lyric tone and his varied repertoire. During the 2019-20 season, Mr. Blalock made made his Metropolitan Opera debut as Pong in Turandot and joined Pensacola Opera to sing Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni. Mr. Blalock also made his debut with the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra as the tenor soloist in Handel’s Messiah and joined the Firelands Symphony Orchestra for a concert of Mozart, Puccini, and Verdi. COVID-19 cancellations included the title character in Orpheus in the Underworld at Madison Opera, Frederic in Pirates of Penzance at Virginia Opera, Jaquino in Fidelio with South Dakota Symphony and a reprisal of Count Almaviva in On Site Opera’s acclaimed production of Paisiello’s Barber of Seville at Caramoor. This past year, Mr. Blalock joined Atlanta Opera as Young Thompson in a recorded production of Glory Denied. Upcoming engagements include a debut with Bar Harbor Music Festival as Ferrando in Così fan tutte, a return to the Metropolitan Opera (Turandot and Ariadne auf Naxos), as well as an eagerly anticipated recital with Madison Opera.
Bizhou Changas Pamina
Soprano Bizhou Chang is thrilled to return to Pensacola Opera to perform Mimì in La bohème this January. This season, Ms. Chang will return to Guerilla Opera for the concert presentation and theatrical workshop of Emily Koh’s Her: Alive|un|dead, perform as a featured performer in Pensacola Opera’s 40th Year Anniversary Gala Concert Forty Forward with Pensacola Symphony Orchestra, and make her company debuts as Liù in Turandot with Opera Southwest and Countess Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro with Knoxville Opera.
During 2021-2022 season, Ms. Chang made her role debut as Pamina in Die Zauberflöte with Pensacola Opera, performed the role of Maria in the world premiere of Island of Hope, Island of Tears by Gabriele Vanoni with Guerilla Opera, and Violetta in an immersive production of La Traviata with Opera Columbus and Out of the Box Opera.
During the Covid-19 impacted 2020-2021 season, Ms. Chang made her art film debut as Mimì in an innovative film version of La bohème directed by Laine Rettmer with More than Musical (Hong Kong), a co-production of Opera Omaha, Tri Cities Opera, and Opera Columbus, performed Mimì in a new production of La bohème with Opera Columbus, and returned to Pensacola Opera to sing Micaëla in Carmen.
Elisa Sunshine*as the Queen of the Night
Noted for her “blend of vocal sparkle and theatrical charisma” (San Francisco Chronicle), soprano Elisa Sunshine was a participant in the 2019 Merola Opera Program, where she created the role of Selena in Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s If I Were You. She sang a “fun, feisty, and powerful” Marie (San Francisco Examiner) in a scene from Donizetti’s La Fille du Régiment on the War Memorial Opera House stage as part of the Merola Grand Finale.
An avid supporter of new works, she performed the role of Madame White Snake in a workshop of Scott Wheeler’s Naga at New England Conservatory and sang the role of Elizabeth Christine in Wheeler’s workshop performance of The Sorrows of Frederick with the Center for Contemporary Opera in New York City.
Favorite roles include the Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflöte (Portland Opera To Go, Brevard Janiec Opera Company, and New England Conservatory), Gretel in Hänsel und Gretel (Regina Opera), Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos (Lowell House Opera), Musetta in La Bohème (Regina Opera and, in an all-female La femme bohème, with MetroWest Opera) and Poppea in Agrippina (New England Conservatory).
Sunshine received her Bachelor of Music degree from DePauw University and a Master of Music and Graduate Diploma from New England Conservatory.
Robert Mellon*as Papageno
Baritone Robert Mellon is known for having a “dark baritone, full and fresh and quick with dramatic fire.” 2022 engagements include Papageno with Pensacola Opera; Iago in Othello with InSeries Opera; Marullo in Rigoletto at Opera Philadelphia; and a return to Union Avenue Opera in the title role in Falstaff. His 2021 debut as Figaro in Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia won
critical reviews. He returned to Opera de Oviedo for Marcello in La bohème and Gubetta in Lucrezia Borgia, as well as Malatesta in Don Pasquale with Opera Las Vegas. Other recent roles include Syracuse Opera as Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte; the title role in Gianni Schicchi and Eine Florentinische Tragödie with Livermore Valley Opera; Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro and Papageno in The Magic Flute with Opera Maine; and Schaunard in La bohème with San Diego Opera. In 2019 Robert debuted Dear Erich with NYCO, Leporello in Don Giovanni with Syracuse Opera, Tonio in Pagliacci and Simone in Eine Florentinische Tragödie at Opera de Oviedo (Spain). Upcoming: Taddeo in L’Italiana in Algeri with Tulsa Opera; Tonio in Pagliacci with Opera Tampa; Germont in La Traviata with Opera Las Vegas.
Ron Dukes*as Sarastro
Ron Dukes completed his Master’s Degree in Opera from IU Jacobs School of Music with a full ride and under the tutelage of Professor Peter Volpe. During his time at IU, Ron has performed many roles with IU Opera Theatre and with local start-up opera companies, including Sarastro, Basilio, Bartolo, Simone, and Oroveso.
Ron was featured as a Studio Artist with Wolf Trap Opera in 2019, where he played the role of Truffaldino in Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos and covered the role of Don Inigo Gomez in Ravel’s L’heure Espagnole. In the summer of 2021, Ron will be joining the Glimmerglass Festival to play the role of Armored Man in their adaptation of Die Zauberflöte and cover the role of Sarastro.
Ron is thrilled to joining Pensacola Opera as a resident artist to sing the role of Basilio in Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia and Sarastro in their production of Die Zauberflöte.
Emily Michiko Jensen*as First Lady
Praised for her “theatrical instincts and intriguingly versatile instrument,” Japanese-American soprano Emily Michiko Jensen was most recently an Apprentice Artist with Chautauqua Opera covering the title role of Tosca. She also performed the role of Angel More in The Mother of Us All and covered Susan B Anthony.
During the 2021-2022 season, Ms. Jensen was a Resident Artist at Pensacola Opera, where she sang First Lady while covering Pamina in Die Zauberflöte and covered Berta in Il Barbiere di Siviglia. In recital, Emily performed Wagner’s Die Wesendonck lieder in March 2022. Ms. Jensen made her Florentine Opera debut as Jessie in Weill’s Mahagonny: Ein SongSpiel and was slated to perform Maguelonne in Viardot’s Cendrillon while covering the title role and was also supposed to cover Mimi in La bohème (COVID-19).
Originally from San Diego, California, Ms. Jensen received a Graduate Diploma & MM in Vocal Performance from New England Conservatory. She holds a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from the Eastman School of Music.
Erin Alfordas Second Lady
Mezzo-soprano Erin Alford has been praised for her “vocal sheen” and “stage presence that mark her as a young artist with a bright future.” This season, Erin makes her house debut as Second Woman and Dido cover in Dido and Aeneas with Opera San José, returns to Pensacola Opera as Zweite Dame in Die Zauberflöte, and joins Opera Santa Barbara as a Chrisman Studio Artist, covering Hannah After in As One. As a 2020-2021 Pensacola Opera Artist in Residence, Erin performed Mercédès, and covered the title role, in Carmen, Cousin Hebe in H.M.S. Pinafore, the title role in the education production Cinderella, and Giannetta in Heartbreak High. Additionally in 2021, Erin was awarded an Encouragement Award by the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Kansas City District. Favorite roles recently performed include Sister Helen Prejean in Dead Man Walking, the title role in Chérubin, and Dorabella in Così fan tutte.
Imara Miles*as Third Lady
Imara Miles is a mezzo-soprano from the DC/Maryland area. Originally a musical theatre performer, she performed in shows such as Guys and Dolls (Gen. Cartwright), The Pirates of Penzance (Ruth), Cinderella (Stepmother), and The Drowsy Chaperone (Title Character) before making her operatic debut in Gianni Schicchi (Zita). Since then she has performed in Dialogues des Carmélites (Mere Jeanne), Bernstein’s Mass (Street Singer), and Blue (Girlfriend #3 cover) with companies like IU Opera Theatre and The Glimmerglass Festival. A recent graduate of Indiana University, Imara received her bachelor’s degree from York College of Pennsylvania and has been involved with choirs such as NOTUS and the Grant Park Chorus in Chicago as a fellowship artist. Imara was recently awarded an encouragement award in the district round of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and this past summer she was a Tomita Young Artist with Finger Lakes Opera.
Robert Hartfield*as Monostatos
Robert Hartfield is an American tenor coming from the farmlands of Kansas and Missouri. He possesses a highly personal singing style, carefully developed under the mentorship of his father, former opera singer Paul Hartfield Sr., and the teachings of legendary baritone, professor Kim Josephson. Robert earned numerous prestigious awards early on in his singing career, including winning six National Association of Teacher of Singing (NATS) competitions. Soon after, he was performing leading roles with opera companies such as Opera in the Ozarks, Cimarron Opera, and the University of Oklahoma Theater. A firm believer in music versatility, Robert’s performances range from Mozart’s Abduction from the Seraglio to Adamo’s Little Women. In addition, he pursued an undergraduate in organ performance. Robert recently completed his master’s degree in opera performance from the University of Oklahoma. Upcoming engagements include performances with the Central City Opera, Abilene Philharmonic Orchestra, and Pensacola Opera.
Spencer Reichmanas the Speaker
Alyssa Dessoyeas Papagena
Alyssa Dessoye, American soprano from Tampa Fl, has recently earned her Master of Music degree in Voice Performance from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. Dessoye was most recently seen on the IU Opera Theater stage as Adina in L’elisir d’amore, Zerlina in Don Giovanni, and Kate Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly. She was also featured as a soprano soloist in Honegger’s King David as well as in Handel’s Messiah. She received her Bachelor of Music degree from Florida State University where she also performed as Zerlina and Suor Genovieffa in Suor Angelica. In the summer of 2018, Dessoye joined the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra as Erste Dame in their fully staged production of Die Zauberflöte and made her role debut with the Aspen Music Festival as Giulietta in Les contes d’Hoffmann. Dessoye then joined Sarasota Opera as an Apprentice Artist in their 2020 winter season.
Cody Martinas Conductor
Cody Martin was recently named Music Director at Pensacola Opera, where he has been the Director of Education and Director of the Artists in Residence Program since 2017. During the 2022-23 season, he leads the company’s first ever production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel, as well as sharing the podium for Forty Forward, a 40th anniversary gala concert. Recent seasons have seen Cody leading productions of Die Zauberflöte, Don Giovanni, As One, Florencia en el Amazonas, Man of La Mancha and María de Buenos Aires in Pensacola, as well as making his debut with Fargo-Moorhead Opera conducting Jake Heggie’s Three Decembers. He was on the music staff of Des Moines Metro Opera for three seasons, most recently serving as associate conductor for Rusalka. He previously worked on productions of A Little Night Music, Orphée et Eurydice, and Falstaff in Des Moines. He was on the music staff at Arizona Opera for two seasons, working most recently on productions of Rusalka, Madama Butterfly, Riders of the Purple Sage (world premiere), and La Cenerentola. Prior to that, he served on the music staff of the Janiec Opera Company at Brevard Music Center for three seasons, working as an assistant conductor and coach for productions of The Ballad of Baby Doe, Così fan tutte, Rigoletto, Sweeney Todd, Don Giovanni, and Albert Herring.
An avid proponent of new opera, Cody has worked on multiple premieres, including Arizona Opera’s first world premiere, Craig Bohmler’s Riders of the Purple Sage, with a libretto by Steven Mark Kohn; two workshops of The Copper Queen by Clint Borzoni, with a libretto by John de los Santos; a 2014 workshop of Robert Aldridge’s Sister Carrie, and the world premiere of Michael Ching’s Speed Dating Tonight! at Brevard Music Center.
Cody holds degrees from Murray State University and Florida State University.
Dennis Whitehead Darlingas Stage Director
Dennis Whitehead Darling is an award-winning international stage director of theatre and opera based in Philadelphia. In 2018, Dennis was selected by Opera Memphis as their Inaugural McCleave Fellow in Directing. His recent directing credits include: Marian’s Song (Houston Grand Opera), The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess (Red Mountain Theatre) Independence Eve (Opera Birmingham), Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill (Hattiloo Theatre/Spazio Teatro No’hma – Milan), Jelly’s Last Jam (Hattiloo Theatre), The Parchman Hour (Hattiloo Theatre), Ain’t Misbehavin’ (Spazio Teatro No’hma – Milan), Intimate Apparel (University of Memphis), Movin’ Up in the World (Opera Memphis), Sunset Baby (Hattiloo Theatre), James and the Giant Peach (Circuit Playhouse), Blue Viola (Opera Memphis), Mr. Rickey Calls A Meeting (Hattiloo Theatre), Marcus; or the Secret of Sweet (Hattiloo Theatre). Observerships/Associate/Assistant Directing credits include: English National Opera (Jack The Ripper – Daniel Kramer), world and regional premieres of Lights Out: Nat “King” Cole (Geffen Playhouse, People’s Light Theatre), Triumph of Honor (Opera Memphis). Upcoming productions include: La Bohème (Opera Columbus), Giulio Cesare in Egitto (Carnegie Mellon), Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill, starring Angie Stone (Hattiloo Theatre @ The Cannon Center), Sanctuary Road (North Carolina Opera), and The Secret River (Opera Orlando). For more information visit Dennis’ website: www.denniswhiteheaddarling.com.
CONDUCTOR | Cody Martin
STAGE DIRECTOR | Dennis Whitehead Darling*
LIGHTING DESIGNER | Barry Steele
COSTUME DESIGNER | Glenn Avery Breed
HAIR & MAKEUP DESIGNER | Brittany Rappise
STAGE MANAGER | Alayna Powell
ASSISTANT STAGE MANAGER | Nadine Andrews
REHEARSAL PIANIST | Andrew Pham
* Pensacola Opera debut artist
Meet The Artists Reception
Friday, January 28 at 10:30pm
Director’s Champagne Brunch
Sunday, January 30 at 11:45am
Pensacola Opera and the Saenger Theatre are working together to do everything we can to ensure audience members are safe coming back to live performances. Here are a few things to keep in mind as we prepare to re-enter the theatre:
Save the Date
April 28, 2021
June 7, 2021
Single Ticket Sales Open
August 7, 2021