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Oct. 24 ART & OPERA: Paintings and Musical Highlights from The Magic Flute, Chelsea

 KENNETH OVERTON, Baritone – Papageno 

Baritone Kenneth Overton has consistently received accolades for his rich gleaming voice and his many layered, powerful interpretations. After successful engagements with New York City Opera’s Schomberg Series, Kenneth makes his NYCO mainstage debut in Feburary 2012 as Doctor Grenvil in Verdi’s La Traviata and will return to Boheme Opera(NJ) as Papageno in The Magic Flute. Recently  he performed a gala with the Sarasota Symphony, and also sang the title role of Porgy in Porgy and Bess with Lexington Opera Society /U of Kentucky Opera Theater. Kenneth also made his Pensacola Opera debut this season in the world premier of David Ott’s The Widow’s Lantern and returned to Pensacola Opera as Joe(Showboat). He reprised the role of Sharpless(Madama Butterfly) for Opera Memphis, and Porgy for The 75th Anniversary tour to Opera Carolina, and returned to San Francisco Opera as Sid (La Fanciulla del West).



Tenor Darren T. Anderson has emerged as a versatile singing actor in demand in the U.S. and abroad. This past spring he made his Carnegie Hall debut with the American Symphony in Paul Dessau’s oratorio Haggada Shel Passach. Past roles include Don José in La Tragedie de Carmen, and Camille de Rosillon in The Merry Widow . he has appeared in the title roles of Les Contes d’Hoffmann and Roméo et Juliette, as Arrigo in Verdi’s I Vespri Siciliani with Opera In Concert in Toronto, and Ferrando in Così fan tutte. Darren also made an off-Broadway debut as Don José in La tragedie de Carmen with The InCite Festival.


MALINDA HASLETT, Soprano – Pamina (cover- Winnie Nip)

Malinda Haslett, soprano, is known for leading characters in the most beloved operas of all time. Ms. Haslett has performed her signature role Violetta in over fifty performances in Paris, Brussels, and the US, and her Pamina has won awards in Syracuse and France for which Opera News wrote “Ms. Haslett sang ‘Ach, ich fühls’ with such meltingly limpid phrases that the audience held its collective breath.” Ms. Haslett has sung numerous leading roles, the most notable of which include Juliette, Mimi, Musetta, Susanna, Nannetta, Micaela, Norina and Adina. A proponent of modern works, Ms. Haslett has premiered works in Berlin’s famed Konzerthaus and New York’s Avery Fisher Hall and Symphony Space. A true renaissance woman, Ms. Haslett has been the co-guest of honor with President Barack Obama for the American Cancer Society, is an award winning Pastry Chef, is a marathon runner, and will begin doctoral studies in the fall of 2012.


WINNIE NIP, Soprano – Papagena 

Winnie Nip, 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”.



TBA, Soprano – Queen of the Night _____________________________________________________

 JORGE OCASIO, Bass – Sarastro

With his “deep, warm bass voice and an informed musicality” Jorge Ocasio is quickly becoming a favorite of audiences and music critics. In a glowing review of his recent Dulcamara one New York critic wrote: “Jorge Ocasio steals the show in ‘Elixir.’ The role of Dr. Dulcamara was vividly brought to life by Jorge Ocasio who, like the great singing actor Tito Gobbi, could instantly grip the audience’s attention. Ocasio, with his lustrous dark basso and perfect operatic stagecraft charmed us all with his ‘Udite, udite, o rustici.’ Ocasio’s Act 2 duet with Adina was great fun! Ocasio recalled the memory of the great Baccaloni, who was an unforgettable Dulcamara. (Of course Ocasio is much slimmer.)” Most recently, Mr. Ocasio reprised his delightful Dulcamara in a company début with Wichita Grand Opera and sang his first Don Pasquale in New York. Recently, he appeared with Houston’s Opera in the Heights, El Dorado Opera in Los Angeles, Teatro del Barrio, Connecticut Grand Opera and in television broadcasts with Opera de Puerto Rico, and in the title role of Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro in Rome, Italy, Teatro de la Opera and Opera de Puerto Rico, Marta Domingo’s production of Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia with Cecilia Bartoli, and Abimelech in Camille Saint-Saëns Samson et Dalila starring Placido Domingo.


OSCAR CASTRO, Tenor – Monostatos

Oscar Castro started into music at the age of 3, playing the piano. At the age of 13 he joined the National Conservatory of Bellas Artes in his native city of Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico. At the age of 23, out of mere curiosity he started taking singing lessons with Maestro Jose Guadalupe Briano in Mexico City, which made him take the decision to quit piano playing and switch into singing. After that he had the opportunity to audition for Maestra Joan Dornemann in Mexico City and enroll in the renowned international singing workshop of SIVAM, where he was the recipient for the Placido Domingo Scholarship which helped him come to NYC to pursue a singing career. Oscar currently studies with singing teacher, Maestro Gerald Martin Moore.


 JULIA LIMANOVA, Soprano – First Lady

She was awarded the 1st prize of the NY District Metropolitan National Council 2011, International international competition “Bella voce” (the 1st prize), all-Russian competition “Festos” (the 1st prize),”International Festival of Arts in Yalta ” (the 1st prize).She made her american debut with the New York Lyric Opera Theatre in the role of Madame Goldentrill. She has appeared as Susanna in an american premiere of “I due Figaro” by S.Mercadante with Amore Opera. She is graduate of the State Musical College named after Gnessins (Russia, Moscow), a master level sport of gymnastics; has also been seen as an actress, participating in the shooting of TV cultural programs, full- length movie and many other TV shows.


BARBARA LEMAY , Soprano – Second Lady 

Ms. LeMay’s roles have included Prinz Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus, Lucretia in The Rape of Lucretia. the Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors, Suzuki in Madama Butterfly, Gertrude in Hansel and Gretel, Camilla in Donizetti’s Il Giovedì Grasso, and the Nurse in “Strawberry Fields” of Central Park. Roles with Opera Company of Brooklyn have included Mrs. Nolan in Menotti’s The Medium, Berta in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Zweite Dame in Die Zauberflöte; and La Suora Zelatrice in Suor Angelica. Companies include New York City Opera, St. Petersburg Opera, Amarillo Opera, and Pine Mountain Music Festival.


LAUREN PASTOREK, Mezzo-Soprano – Third Lady and Third Spirit

Lauren Pastorek, mezzo-soprano, is delighted to return to OCB after performing the role of Giulietta in The Tales of Hoffmann. This May, Lauren sings the role of Celia in Iolanthe at Symphony Space. Lauren played both Missy and Cindy Lou in The Marvelous Wonderettes Off-Broadway, and has appeared at City Center with Encores! and NYGASP, the Kennedy Center, LA’s Ahmanson Theatre, and literally hundreds of theaters across the country in various national tours and regional productions. This winter, she debuted her solo “opera cabaret” to great acclaim at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina. Grand Prize Winner in the Lotte Lenya Competition.


 Ming Kwong, Pianist
Pianist/Coach Ming Kwong is actively involved in the opera industry. Besides his frequent appearances with Opera Company of Brooklyn, in the fall of 2011, he played the NYC auditions for Aspen Opera Theater and Glimmerglass Opera besides being invited back to play for Portland Opera. He is well-known for his ability to adjust tempo, give singers time to breathe and help them through a phrase in a totally unrehearsed situation. He was engaged as a faculty coach at the New Jersey CoOPERAtive program this past summer where colleagues included Anthony Manoli, Thomas Bagwell and William Hobbs. Ming is regularly engaged by the Metropolitan Opera Guild as well 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 George Manahan on Cosi fan tutte. Equally at home in operatic repertoire and recital, Ming Kwong made his Kennedy Center (D.C) debut with Metropolitan Opera Competition Grand Winner Lori Guilbeau. He was chosen to work with Martin Katz and Craig Rutenberg in the renowned Cleveland Art Songs Festival in 2010. Other credits include performing on the Stephanie Blythe master class at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and the Joey Reynolds show – WOR news talk radio 710HD in October 2009. Mr. Kwong has been a prize winner of numerous competitions, including First Prize in the Advanced Improvisation and Second Prize in the Advanced Bach Session in the 12th Hong Kong (Asia) Piano Open Competition. Ming Kwong holds a Masters degree in Piano Accompanying from Manhattan School of Music under the tutelage of Warren Jones, and a Masters degree in Vocal Performance from New England Conservatory.
MAESTRO JAY MEETZE – Artistic and Music Director
Maestro Jay Meetze (pronounced Mets) is lauded for his “passionate and undeniably impressive command of performances” and “sympathetic leadership of the forces of the OCB.” (Opera News). He founded Opera Company of Brooklyn in 2000 and serves as the Artistic and Music Director. Meetze’ innovative vision for opera is featured on the Jeopardy quiz show, Good Morning America with MythBusters, CNN’s Tips from the Top, ZDF (German Public TV), other favorable and numerous coverage include radio: National Public Radio’s Day to Day, American Public Media’s Marketplace, 1010WINS, WNYC’s Overnight Music and Soundcheck, and reviews and articles (some front-page and full-page) in: Wall Street Journal, NY Times, NY Daily and NY Post newspapers, NY Magazine, Life, American Record Guide, Opera News Magazine, Crain’s New York Business, Classical Singer Magazine, Frommer’s and two arts administration books. Metropolitan Opera’s “Opera News” magazine named his CD “BEST OF THE YEAR” and “CRITIC’S CHOICE,” recorded on Albany Records and features music by and with Thomas Pasatieri, whose many film orchestrations include Finding Nemo, Little Mermaid, Shawshank Redemption, American Beauty. The CD has Pasatieri’s most famous opera Signor Deluso and his newly rewritten La Divina, sung by San Francisco Opera Center’s Director Sheri Greenawald, MSM’s Ashley Putnam and several young artists selected by Meetze and Pasatieri. Supporters/colleagues include NYC Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, Richard Tucker Music Foundation President Barry Tucker, Alfred Hubay, conductors Joseph Rescigno, William Hicks, Steven Jarvi, Forbidden Broadway creator Gerard Alessandrini, directors Francesca Zambello, Ira Siff, Rhoda Levine and Ned Canty, and singers Lucine Amara, Martina Arroyo, Harolyn Blackwell, Simon Estes, Elaine Malbin, Frederica Von Stade. Past supporters: Betty Allen, Anna Moffo, Charles Riecker, mentors Gerhard Samuel and Richard Woitach. Meetze, born in Flint, Michigan, received his M.M. in Orchestral Conducting at the College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati.
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