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Elixir of Love


Peruvian-born bass-baritone, Ivan Amaro, has been acclaimed by critics for his vibrant voice and his exceptional communication of the characters he performs. He has many opera roles to his credit: Rigoletto, Germont , Don Carlo, Il Conte di Luna, Ferrando, Sulpice, Enrico, Dulcamara, Count Almaviva, Figaro, Bartolo, Don Magnifico, Bruschino Padre,Don Pasquale, Slook. Tobia Mill, Marcello, Tonio,  Leporello, Papageno, Don Alfonso, Crespel , Elviro, Salieri, Chorazy, Mr. Gobineau, Pizarro, and Sancho Panza, among many others. Mr. Amaro has also enjoyed huge success with many principal roles from the zarzuela  repertoire. He has been featured in festivals such as the Rossini Festival (Lima, Peru), the Arcady Music Festival (Maine), the Alexander Paley Festival (Richmond, Virginia), and the Atlantic Coast Festival (Philadelphia. PA) His extensive stage experience with orchestras includes the Budapest Symphony, the Cuba Symphony, the Lima Philharmonic, Trujillo Symphony, the Mannes Orchestra, the Astoria Symphony, Choral Symphony Society (NY), the South Shore Symphony and the National Symphony of his native country. Mr. Amaro is also an archaeologist with many published works on precolumbian archaeology and archaeomusicology.


DUSTIN BEAR, Assistant Conductor

Dustin Bear, born-and-raised in the same Iowa town as Opera Singer Simon Estes, rooted his early leadership experience directing Marching Bands, Concert Band Orchestra, Jazz Ensembles, and conducted his first musical “The Music Man”, all before graduating High School. After receiving the Centerville Simon Estes Music Scholarship, he earned his degree from the University of Miami and now adventures around the world as a Musical Director aboard cruise lines. Dustin will soon be conducting Broadway’s “Chicago” aboard Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the seas, and is excited to usher in his professional experience with the Opera Company of Brooklyn.


A Tennesse native, Aaron Blankfield was most recently an apprentice artist for Sarasota Opera’s winter season covering the role of Judge Danforth, The Crucible. In 2009, Mr. Blankfield was a studio artist with Florentine Opera where he performed Borsa, Rigoletto and Bully and Dr. Binch, Elmer Gantry. While participating in the Caramoor Music Festival, he performed the roles of Trabuco, La Forza del Destino and covered Count Almaviva, Il Barbiere di Siviglia. Other roles include: Messaggiero, Aida (Riverfront Opera), Normanno and Arturo, Lucia di Lammermoor (NY Opera Forum), and Gastone, La Traviata (Boheme Opera NJ).



Acclaimed for his “commanding stage presence” and “dramatic fire” (Raoul Abdul, Amsterdam News), baritone Courtney Carey is rapidly establishing himself as one of the most fascinating and exciting artists of his generation. Since his operatic debut in 2003 as Morales with the Kommische KammerOper Muenchen, he has gone on to sing principal and supporting roles in Le Nozze di Figaro (Il Conte di Almaviva), Cosi fan tutte (Don Alfonso and Guglielmo), Susannah (Elder Gleaton),  Romeo et Juliette (Mercutio), and many others. With his striking good looks and burnished, chocolate –hued voice, Mr. Carey created a stir with his carefully crafted portrayal of the villainous Lantello in the 2006 world premiere of Noam Sivan’s Fruits of Folia with Metropolitan Opera conductor Joseph Colaneri leading the artistic forces. Other important career highlights include artistic collaborations with eminent maestri including- David Effron, David Gilbert, Joshua Green, Matthias Kuntzch, Jay Meetze, and Ted Taylor among others.


KELVIN CHAN, Baritone – BELCORE (Cover)

Kelvin Chan, baritone, hails from Chino Hills, CA.  His recent operatic engagements include Houston Grand Opera, where he created the role of Goong-Goong in the HGOCo production of Courtside by Jack Perla, Cincinnati Opera, where Kelvin performed the role of Yamadori in Madama Butterfly, and Opera Theater of Pittsburgh, creating the role of Shi-Yin in RedDust, an opera electronica by Mathew Rosenblum.  At CCM, Kelvin performed the roles of Harlekin in Ariadne auf Naxos, Schaunaurd in La Bohème, and Valmont in Conrad Susa’s The Dangerous Liaisons.  He performed the role of Remendado in Carmen with 2005 Regional Theatre Tony Award-winning Theatre de la Jeune Lune in Minneapolis, MN, and reprised that role with the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, MA.



Christina Douglas is an active performer in recital, concert and opera.  Originally from Whitewater, Wisconsin, she completed her undergraduate work in May of 2008 from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.  At Luther, Christina was a participant in the opera, choral and French program. In 2007 she covered the role of Adina in The Elixir of Love and in 2008 performed the Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute.  She also sang solos in 2005 and 2007 at Luther’s annual Christmas concert.  In September 2008 Christina began her graduate work at UNLV, where she performed the roles of Mrs. Nordstrom in A Little Night Music, Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi, Adele in Die Fledermaus, and Papagena in The Magic Flute.  She placed first in the NATS graduate division and advanced to the Regional level of NATSAA in 2009.  Christina also participated in the Hawai’i Performing Arts Festival in the summer of 2010 where she covered the role of Le Feu in Ravel’s L’Enfant et les Sortilèges.  In August of 2011 Christina moved from Las Vegas to New York City to further her musical development and singing career.



Audean Farmer, “perky soprano” (New York Times) recently graduated with her M.M. from Manhattan School of Music where in the fall of 2010, she “brought lively stage presence” (Opera News) to the role of Nellie in Lee Hoiby’s Summer and Smoke. She can now be heard on the premiere recording voted into the “Top Ten New Recordings of 2011” by Opera News. Ms Farmer’s other appearances on the Manhattan School of Music stages include performances in Street Scene, The Beggars Opera, Le Nozze di Figaro, The Magic Flute, and scenes from Don Giovanni, Werther, Don Pasquale, La Clemenza di Tito, and Carmen.



Soprano Halley Gilbert has already distinguished herself in many operatic roles:La Fee (Cendrillon), Queen of the Night (Die Zauberflote); Lucia (Lucia di Lammermoor), Gianetta (L’elisir D’amore); Arminda (La Finta Giardiniera), Georgette (La Rondine).  Ms. Gilbert won the 2011 Jenny Lind International Soprano competition and debuted on WQXR.  She was one of the regional finalists of the Metropolitan Opera Competition in 2009 and has been chosen as one of the 10 finalists in the 2nd season of Opera Idol to be held in May 2012.  The Greenwich Times has noted her “clear, velvety sound” while The San Francisco Chronicle praised her “big, beautiful voice.”  The Lake Placid News recently pinned her as “a very gifted musician…A person to watch and whose performances will be well worth attending.”



Pianist/Coach Ming Kwong is actively involved in the opera industry. He is regularly engaged to play NYC auditions for many programs including Portland Opera. He was engaged as a faculty coach at the New Jersey CoOPERAtive program this past summer.

Ming is regularly engaged by the Metropolitan Opera Guild to accompany their master class series.

His past credits include an assistant coach position at Glimmerglass Opera, Tanglewood Music Center (assisting Maestro James Levine on Don Giovanni), and an apprenticeship with Florida Grand Opera for their 2008-2009 season. He held a fellowship coach position at the Aspen Summer Music Festival and was a vocal pianist at the prestigious Music Academy of the West, where Marilyn Horne chairs the program. Mr. Kwong was the Music Director of the Undergraduate Opera Theater at Manhattan School of Music and has also worked with Maestro Jay Meetze in the past on Barber of Seville.



Melinda is a member of the Blue Hill Troupe (a NY charity group that performs Gilbert & Sullivan). She was last seen stepping in as Third Maid in NY Opera Forum’s Elektra.  Other credits: NY Lyric Opera Theatre’s Artist-in-Residence concerts; Amore Opera’s The Mikado (Pitti-Sing), Die Zauberflote (Third Lady); One World Symphony’s Pique Dame (Governess); NY Opera Forum’s Le Nozze di Figaro (Marcellina).  Melinda studies with Harolyn Blackwell and, in addition to performing, Melinda coaches rock bands in performance preparation using a classical singing approach.  Her interests encompass all music, but especially bel canto and American art song.



Kentucky native Page Lucky first performed as an ensemble member in Amahl and the Night Visitors with Kentucky River Opera in 2004. Her performances with Eastern Kentucky University began with Jenny in Down in the valley, followed by Beauty in Sleeping Beauty, and Gretel in Hansel and Gretel. Furthering her education at the University of Wyoming, she starred as Monica in Menotti’s The Medium and studied the role of the Queen of the Night, followed by completion of her BM in Music in 2011.  Page moved to New York October 12, 2011 to begin a career.



Winnie Nieh, First Prize winner in the 2012 St. Andrews Arts Council International Aria Competition, will be making her Canadian debut this summer. A Resident Artist with Opera Company of Brooklyn, she made her opera debut as Susanna while at Harvard and has since sung Pamina, Blondchen, Olympia, La Fée, Romilda, Galatea, Gilda, Sophie, Violetta, Mélisande, Juliette and Giannetta. Upcoming roles include Voce dal cielo (Don Carlo) at the Metropolitan Opera Guild, Amor (Orfeo ed Euridice) and Papagena. An all-round musician with Associate of Trinity College London diplomas in voice, violin and piano, she has also performed extensively as an oratorio and concert soloist, and continually captivates her audiences with her “fantastic facility” and exquisite “clarity of tone”.



Born in Yauco, Puerto Rico, Ivan Rivera was most recently seen as Ferrando in Opera Manhatttan’s concert version of Cosi fan tutte, Don Basilio in the Marriage of Figaro with OperaMission at the Bryant Park Festival, Don Almaviva in Atlantic Opera’s production of Barber of Seville and Ferrando in the Underworld Productions’ mounting of Cosi fan tutte at Symphony Space.  Opera News applauded Mr. Rivera as “tight, deft tenor who handled Ferrando’s music well.”  Other roles include Tony (West Side Story), Tamino (Die Zauberflöte), Il Duca (Rigoletto), Ralph (HMS Pinafore), Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni), Tybalt (Romeo et Juliette), Nathanael (Les Contes d’Hoffmann), and Nermorino (L’Elisir D’amore). He’s  performed as Tenor Soloist in Bruckner ‘s Te Deum and Schubert’s Mass in G for the Masterwork Chorale Summer Sing Program and sang in Assisi, Italy as part of the 2011 Assisi Music Festival.



Turkish-American, lyric-coloratura soprano Bengi Tasci made her Metropolitan Opera debut in 2003 and her European debut at BelleÎle-en-Mer, France in 2006. Among others, she has sung the roles of Zerlina (Don Giovanni), Olympia (Tales of Hoffmann), Oscar (Un Ballo di Maschera), Adina (L’Elisir d’Amore), and Königin der Nacht (Magic Flute), and has performed under maestros James Levine, Valery Gergiev, Julius Rudel, Paul Nadler, Franz Welser-Möst, Anton Guadagno, Kamal Khan, Jay Meetze, Linus Lerner and Philip Walsh. Ms Tasci is a winner of several prestigious vocal competitions including Palm Beach Opera Voice Competition, Opera Birmingham Vocal Competition and Palm Beach Atlantic Vocal Competition. In addition to her performing career, Ms. Tasci teaches voice at Abrons Arts Center in New York City and Music in Chappaqua.


JOHN TORRES, Baritone – BELCORE (Cover)

John Torres, Baritone, received his Masters of Music degree in Voice Performance from the Manhattan School of Music where he performed in scenes with the Contemporary Opera Ensemble, was part of the Ensemble in the mainstage production of Le nozze di Figaro with MSM’s Opera Studio. Mr. Torres also had the pleasure of performing the role of Schaunard in La bohème as part of Martina Arroyo’s Prelude to Performance program, Harlekin/Wigmaker in Ariadne auf Naxos with the Brooklyn Repertory Opera and the roles of L’Horoge and Le Chat in Ravel’s L’Enfant et les Sortilèges in Hawaii and was a Resident Artist with Dicapo Opera Theatre.



Erika Wuerzner, a dual citizen with the United States and Canada, has performed as a soloist with such organizations as Austin Lyric Opera, The Austin Symphony Orchestra, and Des Moines Metro Opera as an apprentice artist.  In 2010 she was a Regional Finalist for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. She has performed such roles as Nanetta, Manon, Gretel, Papagena, The Page in Rigoletto, Amelia in Menotti’s Amelia Goes to the Ball, and Mabel in Pirates of Penzance.  Erika currently studies with Braeden Harris and has relocated to NYC to pursue her career in opera.  



Minah is excited to sing with Opera Company of Brooklyn for the first time. She has sung in numerous opera scene performances as Susanna from Le nozze di Figaro, Adina from L’elisir d’amore, Ilia fromIdomeneo and Manon from Manon, as well as in a chorus of premier of A Night of Pity, a new opera by Dr. Robert Cookson, at Mannes College. She has also appeared in number of concerts in New York City presenting newly composed choral music. Later this year, Minah will be singing with Chelsea Opera for Madama Butterfly as an ensemble cast.




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