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Micaele Sparacino
Artistic Director

Donizetti Festival
Hommage à Maria Callas
Marino Faliero
Messa da Requiem
Hommage à Luigi Lablache
Maria di Rohan

1996-97 SEASON
Arrieta | Marina
Tschaikovsky | Iolanta
Donizetti | Lucrezia Borgia

Cilea | Adriana Lecouvreur
Rossini | Mosè in Egitto
Donizetti | Poliuto

Artists, Iolanta

Cora Alter, Chorus Master, continues to serve as alto section leader in her third season with Opera Camerata of Washington. Her conducting studies began at Music and Art H.S. in New York City and continued at Queens College as part of a B.A. in music education. Ms. Alter has performed as a soloist at many area churches and synagogues and with the Shir Chadash Corale. She produced the Hanukah Festival at the Kennedy Center for 15 years. She has also performed with the Washington Opera and the Chicago Symphony.

Renata Babak, Martha, distinguished leading artist of the Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow, is internationally renowned for her portrayals of Carmen, Eboli, Azucena, Amneris, Marina, Santuzza and Leonora in Verdi's La Forza del Destino. She made a spectacular debut in Verdi's Don Carlo at La Scala, Milan in 1974. Her heroic defection from the Soviet Union after those performances caused international uproar. Since emigrating to the United States she has continued her career throughout North America. In Washington, D.C. she has appeared as soloist with Mstislav Rostropovich and the National Symphony, and in joint recital, here at the Lisner, with Met bass and fellow Ukrainian Paul Plishka. Ms. Babak's New York debut, with Eve Queler and the Opera Orchestra of New York in a rare revival of Mussorgski's Khovantchina, was such a success with the New York public it prompted two sold-out recitals at Carnegie Hall. Joseph McLellan in the Washington Post hailed her as " of the really great voices of our time.''

David Brundage, Bertrand, appears regularly in the Washington area as soloist with such companies as the Paul Hill Chorale, National Choral Society, Joffrey Ballet and Dance Theatre of Harlem. He appeared with the Washington Opera at the Kennedy Center this season as a soloist in The Ballad of Baby Doe and has also been cast as the inkeeper in Menotti's Goya and as the jailor in Tosca, both with Placido Domingo. Mr. Brundage has also made appearances with the Wolf Trap Opera, Washington Concert Opera, and Deutches Oper Berlin.

Yuri Dobrovolsky, King René, sang masterfully in two Opera Camerata productions last year, beginning with his American debut in Adriana Lecouvreur, and continuing with Mosè in Egitto, as the Pharaoh. Mr. Dobrovolsky has come to Washington from St. Petersburg, where he was a principal artist of the famed Kirov Opera. In addition to having appeared in most of the major opera houses of the former Soviet Union, he has made guest appearances in Europe with such artists as the Labecque Sisters (in Stravinsky's Les Noces) and Orchestre de Paris under Semyon Bychkov.

Mark Husey, organ and MIDI keyboard, also served as the orchestra for our January 1995 production of Opera Goes to Hell, with his vivid transcriptions for the Rodgers 905 organ, and last year accompanied our Mosè in Egitto at St. Matthew's Cathedral. Mr. Husey has established an international career as an organist and conductor. He has produced two compact disc recordings and appeared nationally on CBS This Morning. A graduate of Westminster Choir College, Mr. Husey is now choirmaster and organist at St. John's Episcopal Church in Baltimore and holds a similar position at Baltimore Hebrew Congregation, one of the oldest and largest synagogues in the country.

Debra Lawrence, Brigitta, who appeared as Amaltea in our production of Mosè in Egitto a year ago, remains one of Washington's most beloved and sought-after artists, appearing as soprano soloist in Elijah, opposite Sherrill Milnes, and as Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus with the Annapolis Opera under Barry Tuckwell. Ms. Lawrence thrilled Camerata audiences in our Petite Messe Solennelle in 1994 and has sung with the Washington Opera, Opera Theatre of Northern Virginia, the Washington Savoyards Ltd., and the Victorian Parlour Ensemble. With her large repertoire of lyric and bel canto roles, she is noted for her portrayals of Mimi, Micaela, Donna Elvira, Violetta, Tosca and Princess Ida.

Eva Nagorka, Laura, who sang in Opera Camerata's productions of Rossini's Petite Messe Solennelle and Stabat Mater, is an adjunct instructor of voice at George Washington University and contralto soloist at the Church of the Annunciation, Washington. She received the distinguished Marcella Sembrich Vocal Award presented by the American Council for Polish Culture. A graduate of the North Carolina School of the Arts, Ms. Nagorka has appeared with the Washington Opera, Piedmont Opera Theatre, Opera Theatre of Northern Virginia, Prince George's Civic Opera, Shenandoah Valley Music Festival and the Masterworks Chorus. Her repertoire includes both Cherubino and Marcellina in The Marriage of Figaro, Stephano in Romeo et Juliette, the Witch in Hansel and Gretel and the Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors.

Medea Namoradze, Iolanta, received a standing ovation from Opera Camerata's audience after her moving portrayal of Adriana Lecouvreur in January 1996. She appeared as Euridice and Marguerite in the company's January 1995 production, Opera Goes to Hell and returned as soprano soloist in Rossini's Stabat Mater in March 1995. This charming soprano was a principal artist of the Tbilisi Opera in the Republic of Georgia. She also appeared with the Bolshoi Opera in Moscow. After immigrating to the United States, she made her Carnegie Hall debut in 1992 and her Washington debut with Opera Camerata in 1994. In 1990 she was summoned to Plains, Georgia, for a command performance for President and Mrs. Jimmy Carter. Ms. Namoradze's repertoire includes the title roles in La Traviata and Iolanta (Tschaikovsky) and Gilda in Rigoletto. She is currently on the voice faculty at Shenandoah Conservatory.

Christopher Petruccelli, Vaudémont, caused sensations with Opera Camerata audiences as soloist in our productions of Mos&grave in Egitto last year and Stabat Mater in 1995. He was a finalist in the 1995 Metropolitan Opera Competition and a winner in the previous year's Baltimore Opera Competition. He has appeared with the Washington Opera, Opera Americana, the Washington Savoyards, Ltd., the "In" Series at Mt. Vernon College, the Annapolis Opera Company and the Baltimore Opera, singing Malcolm in Verdi's MacBeth. Mr. Petruccelli is particularly noted for his portrayal of Nemorino in Donizetti's The Elixir of Love.

John Schultz, Alméric, sang the role of Felice in the Opera Camerata production of Poliuto last summer and appeared in our production of The Four Note Opera by Tom Johnson and Antoni Jaworski. A frequent soloist with area companies, Mr. Schultz has also appeared with the Eldbrooke Opera Ensemble and the Summer Opera Theatre Company. At Catholic University he has appeared to enthusiastic acclaim in the principal tenor roles of Puccini's La Bohème, Il Tabarro and Madama Butterfly.

Vladimir Schvetz, Robert, is a native of Ukraine. He received his musical and stage training in Moscow at the Ippolitov-Ivanov Music Institute and the Dunacharsky State Institute of Theatre. As a student he was a member and soloist of the Moscow Patriarchat Chamber Choir, which performed Russian music at hundreds of festivals throughout Europe. In 1995 Mr. Schvetz made his operatic debut in Moscow with the Helicon Opera as Germont in La Traviata. Recently moved to the United States, he continues his operatic training at the Peabody Conservatory of Baltimore. At the Peabody, Mr. Schvetz has appeared as Verdi's Falstaff and as Leporello in Don Giovanni, in which the Baltimore Sun proclaimed "...baritone Vladimir Schvetz was the best." We are pleased to present Vladimir Schvetz in his professional American debut.

Zourab Tsiskaridze, Ebn Hakia, began his operatic career relatively late. At the age of 31, while appearing as soloist with one of Russia's most prominent big bands, he was discovered by Pavel Lisitsian, the famous Bolshoi baritone. After a year of intensive study in Moscow with Mr. Lisitsian and another Bolshoi great, tenor Zourab Andjaparidze, Mr. Tsiskaridze returned to his native Republic of Georgia and made his debut as Don Giovanni at the Georgian State Opera in Tbilisi. Since then, in an operatic career that has spanned more than a decade, he has sung over two dozen roles including Eugene Onegin, the elder Germont (Traviata), Iago (Otello), and Rigoletto. As the Georgian State Opera's leading baritone, he has also performed at Bolshoi Theatre and in the leading opera houses of Germany, Czechoslovakia, Iceland, Australia, Argentina and Brazil. Tonight's performance marks Mr. Tsiskaridze's American operatic debut.

Technical staff

Stefan Johnson, Lighting Designer, works many theatres nationally, including the Kennedy Center, Warner Theatre, Dance Place and Woolly Mammoth Theatre in Washington as well as Performance Space 122 and Fourteenth Street Dance Center in New York; Baltimore, Philadelphia, Minneapolis and Colorado. Internationally his work has been seen in theatres in Egypt, England and Germany. Stefan designs lighting for numerous dance and theatre companies; primarily avant garde, modern and contemporary. He is experienced with touring and local productions in many types of facilities.

Gil Thompson, Technical Director, is resident sound designer for the award-winning Studio Theater of Washington, D.C., and for 11 seasons has served as technical director of the popular Washington Revels winter holiday productions here at Lisner Auditorium. Mr. Thompson has been nominated three times for the distinguished Helen Hayes Award. Mr. Thompson designed the lighting for Opera Camerata's productions of Opera Goes to Hell, Maria di Rohan and Adriana Lecouvreur. He heads the technical theater program at Sidwell Friends School, Washington, D.C.

George T. Wang, Box Office Manager, has performed in musical comedies and in an opera symposium at the Kennedy Center. He has choreographed musicals, designed props and helped in set construction, lighting design and stage management. For Opera Camerata, he has been the company's Business Administrator and also served as stage manager for Opera Goes to Hell, Stabat Mater, Adriana Lecouvreur, Mosè in Egitto and Poliuto.