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
During the Covid-19 impacted 2020-2021 season, soprano Bizhou 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.
In the 2021-2022 season, Ms. Chang will make her role debut as Pamina in Die Zauberflöte with Pensacola Opera, and makes her company debut in the world premiere of Island of Hope, Island of Tears by Gabriele Vanoni with Guerilla Opera.
Ms. Chang’s operatic repertoire spans from Baroque to Contemporary, including Zerlina in Don Giovanni and Leonora (cover) in Il trovatore with Pensacola Opera, Cio-Cio-San in Madama Butterfly with Janiec Opera Company at Brevard Music Center, Countess Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro with Miami Music Festival, Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte, Tatyana in Eugene Onegin, Magda Sorel in Menotti’s The Consul, Madame Lidoine in Dialogues des Carmélites, and the title role in Alcina with Boston Conservatory at Berklee. Ms. Chang is a finalist of the prestigious Teatro all Scala Academy of Lyric Opera Competition and a finalist of the XVI International Tchaikovsky Competition.
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
American baritone Robert Mellon was acclaimed by Opera News for having “excellent comic timing,” and a “domineering baritone, gleaming like polished copper.” In the 2020-21 season he makes several role and house debuts: Schaunard in La bohème with San Diego Opera, Malatesta in Don Pasquale with Opera Las Vegas, Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Union Avenue Opera, and Marcello in La bohème and Gubetta in Lucrezia Borgia with Opera de Oviedo.
The 2019-20 season included company debuts with Opera de Oviedo as Simone in Eine Florentinische Tragödie and Tonio in Pagliacci; the title role in Gianni Schicchi and Simone in Eine Florentinische Tragödie with Livermore Valley Opera, where the San Francisco Chronicle wrote, “Baritone Robert Mellon was both the musical star of the performance and its dramatic vertex…with a steely vocal edge that never interfered with the beauty and flexibility of his singing.” Mr. Mellon reprised the roles of Papageno in Die Zauberflöte with Opera Maine and Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte with Syracuse Opera.
In 2018-19 Robert sang the world premiere of Dear Erich with New York City Opera and Leporello in Don Giovanni with Syracuse Opera. He also sang Bernardo in West Side Story with Shreveport Opera. He has performed leading roles with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, The National Sawdust Festival, the Peoria Symphony, and was a guest artist with Manhattan School of Music and Rutgers University. Other roles include Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro, the title role in Falstaff, Sam in Trouble in Tahiti, and Macbeth in the U.S. premiere of Ernest Bloch’s Macbeth. Concert work includes the Mozart and Duruflé Requiems, Dvořák’s Te Deum, Stravinsky’s Pulcinella, Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle, Bach’s Magnificat, and Mussorgsky’s Songs and Dances of Death.
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 is thrilled to join Pensacola Opera’s Artists in Residence program, where she will debut with the company as First Lady (Die Zauberflöte) while also covering the role of Pamina. She also covers Berta (Il barbiere di Siviglia).
Last season, Emily was a Baumgartner Studio Artist at the Florentine Opera where she was scheduled to perform the roles of Maguelonne in Viardot’s *Cendrillon while covering the title role. She was also set to cover the role of Mimi (*La bohème). In 2020, Emily made her role debut as Suor Angelica at the Indiana University Opera Theater. She previously sang Donna Anna (Don Giovanni) at Boston Opera Collaborative, where she made her company debut as Marguerite (Faust) in 2016.
Emily was previously an Apprentice Artist at Sarasota Opera, and a Studio Artist with Chautauqua Opera.
(*Postponed due to pandemic.)
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 is currently the Director of Education and Director of the Artists in Residence Program at Pensacola Opera. During the 2018-19 season, he leads a production of Catán’s Florencia en el Amazonas and is associate conductor for Roméo et Juliette. In the 2017-18 season, he conducted productions of María de Buenos Aires and Man of La Mancha. Cody worked with Des Moines Metro Opera this summer for his third season, serving as associate conductor for Rusalka and coaching singers in the Apprentice Artist Program. He has 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. Cody also worked with Virginia Opera in the 2014-15 season as the Emerging Artist Coach. He was 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.
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