Cast & Creative
Hailed by the New York Times as bringing “both a Verdi baritone richness and a crisp articulation of the character’s broken English to the title song, “The Most Happy Fella,”, Michael Corvino returns to his triumphant portrayal of Tony Esposito. Mr. Corvino has proven himself one of America’s leading verismo and Verdi baritones. With nearly 200 performances achieved of Verdi’s leading baritone roles, he continues to impress audiences and critics alike. Mr. Corvino began his operatic career in 1997, singing the role of Sharpless with Opera Northeast’s production of Madama Butterfly. In the 2000 – 2001 season, he joined the roster of New York City Opera, where he made many returns in the years to follow. Roles in his repertoire include the title role in Verdi’s Rigoletto, Germont in La Traviata, the title role in Nabucco, Amonasro in Aïda, Iago in Otello, and the Count di Luna in Il Trovatore, as well as Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Alfo in Cavalleria Rusticana, Tonio in I Pagliacci, Marcello in La Bohème, David in L’amico Fritz, Lescaut in Manon Lescaut, and Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor, among many others. In the 2010 – 2011 season, he joined the Metropolitan Opera roster, as part of the casts of Capriccio (R. Strauss), Roméo et Juliette (Gounod) and Don Carlo (Verdi). Mr. Corvino recently joined the roster of Chicago Lyric Opera for their production of Simon Boccanegra.
Lauded by the New York Times for her “powerful sound and striking stage presence,” American soprano Molly Mustonen continues to garner critical acclaim for her performances throughout the United States and Europe. A Minnesota native, Ms. Mustonen was recognized by Opera News as “a real talent,” and praised for her “sensitive, nuanced portrayal” of Nina in Dicapo Opera Theatre’s production of Thomas Pasatieri’s The Seagull. In 2011, Ms. Mustonen made her debut as a guest artist with the Utah Festival Opera, receiving rave reviews for her performances as Ensign Nellie Forbush in South Pacific, and Zerlina in Don Giovanni. She also returned to Dicapo Opera, performing the role of Carmela in Menotti’s The Saint of Bleeker Street. An avid performer of contemporary opera, Ms. Mustonen has worked alongside some the world’s leading modern composers, most recently singing the role of Elizabeth in the 2010 world premiere reading of Thomas Pasatieri’s God Bless Us Everyone. Additional premieres include Florida Fandango in the New York premiere of Randall Eng’s Florida, Ms. Hedgehog in the New York premiere of Tobias Picker’s The Fantastic Mr. Fox, Soprano soloist in the United States premiere of Donizetti’s Requiem, and Tallulah Carter in the New York premiere of Pasatieri’s The Hotel Casablanca. Additional past roles include: Nedda in Pagliacci, Mimi in La Bohème, Musetta in La Bohème, Frasquita in Carmen, Beauty in Gianinni’s Beauty and the Beast, Elvira in L’Italiana in Agleri, Madame Silverpiel in The Impresario, Romilda in Handel’s Serse, and Martha Sheldon in Robert Ward’s The Crucible.
Lauren Hoffmeier was born and raised in the heart of New York City. She received her Bachelor’s of Fine Arts Degree from Boston University's prestigious College of Fine Arts (Theater Arts). Some of her past credits at the College of Fine Arts have included The History of the American Film, Mountain Language, and The Virtuous Burglar. She participated in several opera productions with the Dicapo Opera Theater such as L’Elixir d’Amore, and Street Scene (Jenny). She performed in the world premiere of Douglas McGrath’s stage production of Nicholas Nickleby as Mrs. Squeers and portrayed the role of Irene in the world premiere of Finding Grace. Other favorite credits include Les Miserables (Fantine), and Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband (Mrs. Cheveley). In 2004 she received the Isabelle Stevenson Award from the American Theater Wing.
Brance Cornelius happily returns to Dicapo as “Herman”. This spring, Brance took part in staged readings of Austin’s Bridge (Ronald) and Babes at Sea (Sailor #1). His tour credits include Dr Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas: The Musical! (Papa Who) and R&H’s Cinderella (starring Lea Salonga), performing in China, Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore & the Philippines. Other roles include: Singin’ In The Rain (Cosmo), The Drowsy Chaperone(George), Hello Dolly! (Cornelius), Fiddler on the Roof (Motel) and Irving Berlin’s White Christmas (Phil Davis). Brance is from Lexington, KY (Go Cats!) and is a graduate of Murray State (Bachelor of Arts- Theatre). Many thanks to Bobbie (TEG), Laura & the Cornelius Clan.
Peter Kendall Clark is most happy to be reprising Joe, the role of his Dicapo Opera debut. A born New Yorker, the baritone is a distinguished interpreter of contemporary and standard opera, musical theater and concert works. Recent NYC performances: Count for Chelsea Opera’s Le Nozze di Figaro, Donner in Liedrkranz Opera’s Das Rheingold, Winterreise at the Bechstein Salon, and the title role in Opera Slavica’s Eugene Onegin. He was singled out by the New York Times as “a rascally and irrepressible Top in Bronx Opera’s The Tender Land and as “stentorian and stylish” in the role of Jehovah in the world premiere of Marc Blitzstein’s Cain. Regionally, he has sung at Ash Lawn Opera (Frank Butler, Henry Higgins, King Arthur), Skylight Music Theater (Pirate King, Don Alfonso), and Orchestra Kentucky (King Arthur). Upcoming roles: Mr. Gobineau in The Medium starring Varla Jean Merman (Marjorie S. Little Theater, NYC), John Adams in Chelsea Opera’s staging of A Distant Love, Schaunard in La Bohème at the Belleayre Festival, and the title role of Sweeney Todd for his debut with Opera St. Petersburg.
Lisa Chavez, an emerging young Mezzo, this year Ms. Chavez will introduce 4 new roles to her repertoire. In January Ms. Chavez sang the difficult role of The Secretary with Dicapo Opera. Opera News wrote, "Lisa Chavez successfully balanced the Secretary's underlying compassion against her officious surface coldness." This March Lisa sang her first Suzuki in her debut with Shreveport Opera. May brought the dramatic verismo of Cavalleria Rusticana with Martha Cardona Theater in the role of Mamma Lucia. In November 2008 Ms. Chavez was a finalist in the worldwide Opera Competition with Mezzo TV, and was seen performing the role of Elizabeth Proctor in Robert Ward’s The Crucible in over 40 European countries. January 2011 she received 4th place prize in the Shreveport Singer of the Year Competition. In 2010 Ms. Chavez was an encouragement recipient in the Sally and Tony Amato Scholarship Competition, as well as receiving an Encouragement Award from the Gerda Lissner Foundation in 2009 and 2011.
Michael Hopewell is thrilled to be performing with Dicapo Opera! NYC: Kaspar Hauser (Flea Theater), How Green Was My Valley (The Actor’s Studio), The Pig (Untitled Theater Co. # 61); TOURS: Grease (2006/2007 Asian Tour); Regional: Urinetown (Gateway Playhouse), Forever Plaid (Boothbay Opera House), Fiddler On The Roof, Grease, Gypsy; Recordings: Stage Stars Records – Urinetown, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, How To Succeed…,The Wizard of Oz, Legally Blonde, Hairspray, Sweeney Todd, The Little Mermaid, Godspell, You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown, Kiss Me Kate, The Sound Of Music, Seussical; Demo Recordings – Once Upon A Time In Narcissia, Broadcast, The Yellow Wood.
Heralded by Opera News as “clearly a name to watch,” conductor Pacien Mazzagatti has already garnered considerable critical acclaim for his work conducting opera both in the United States and abroad. Mr. Mazzagatti made his conducting debut at New York’s Dicapo Opera Theatre in 2003 leading performances of Leoncavallo’s I Pagliacci. He was immediately re-engaged and over the course of next two seasons, he conducted Madama Butterfly, Falstaff, Die Zauberflöte, La Traviata, and the New York premiere of Robert Ward’s Claudia Legare. During the 2007-08 season, Mr. Mazzagatti led the first performance in Warsaw in over 60 years of George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess. He also performed Porgy and Bess with the Russian Philharmonic in Moscow’s International House of Music and at St. Petersburg’s historic Mikhailovsky Theater. In the autumn of 2008, he traveled to Szeged, Hungary to conduct the Hungarian premiere of Robert Ward’s The Crucible for the Mezzo International Opera Competition and Festival. This production premiered in New York at Dicapo Opera Theatre to rave reviews in the New York press. The performances in Hungary were broadcast to 38 countries across Europe on the French television network Mezzo Television. In December of 2008, he conducted the Opera Orchestra of New York with opera stars Veronica Villaroel and Fabio Armiliato in a gala in Lincoln Center’s Rose Hall in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of Giacomo Puccini’s birth.
As founder and General Director of New York’s Dicapo Opera Theatre, Michael Capasso has been the driving force behind the myriad projects produced by Dicapo. In past seasons Mr. Capasso, a Puccini enthusiast, has directed every single work by that composer; he has also directed productions at the Toledo Opera, Connecticut Opera, New Jersey State Opera, Opera at Florham, Augusta Opera, Opera Carolina, Orlando Opera, Montreal Opera, and Uruguay Opera. Mr. Capasso’s film on the life and career of Enrico Caruso was aired on the A&E network’s Biography. He has been awarded New York City’s Ellis Island Medal of Honor, a prestigious honor that has been bestowed on six former presidents and recipients of the Nobel Prize, the Licia Albanese/Puccini Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award, a proclamation from the City of New York in conjunction with the Italian Heritage and Culture Month, and the Leonardo Da Vinci Award for Cultural Achievement, and is a regular participant on the popular intermission quiz of the Metropolitan Opera live broadcasts on WQXR Saturday afternoons.
Francine Harman, has been associated with Mr. Capasso for over twenty years. A studio trained dancer and graduate of the prestigious High School of Performing Arts in New York City, Ms. Harman has brought her expertise in Stage Movement to the Dicapo stage in productions which include Roméo et Juliette, Faust, Madame Butterfly, La Bohème, The Crucible, Sarka, and Rigoletto. In addition to productions on the Dicapo Stage, she has assisted Mr. Capasso in productions for L’Opera de Montreal [Rigoletto], Toledo Opera [La Bohème and Norma] and Augusta Opera [Il Trovatore, Side by Side by Sondheim]. Elsewhere, she has staged productons of The Tales of Hoffman, Carmen, Le Nozze de Figaro and several productions of The Magic Flute. Most recently, Ms. Harman directed the New York premiere of Thomas Pasatieri’s, The Hotel Casablanca, for Dicapo Opera Theatre.
John Farrell is the resident designer for Dicapo Opera Theatre where he has created over 50 productions since 1992. Mr. Farrell has also designed for Brooklyn Academy of Music, Naked Angels, The Juilliard School, Theatreworks USA, , The John Houseman and The Douglas Fairbanks Theater. In Mexico City, John has done two productions for Morris Gilbert: Fiddler on the Roof and Besame Mucho. Mr. Farrell has been the exclusive Set and Illusion Designer for the Magician Criss Angel since 1993, overseeing four seasons of “Mindfreak” for A&E and a live show at the Luxor Casino in Las Vegas. Most recently Mr. Farrell served as the designer for the 75th Anniversary touring production of the Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess.
Susan Roth designs for a number of regional opera companies in the U.S. Ms. Roth served as the lighting designer for the 75th Anniversary tour of the Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess. Other recent opera designs include Aida for Tampa Opera, Rigoletto for Augusta Opera and Carmen with Denyce Graves, for Orlando Opera. Ms. Roth is resident designer for Dicapo Opera Theatre in New York, where her recent work includes Falstaff and La Traviata. National theater tour credits include Dreamgirls, Cabaret, Purlie and the first U.S. tours of Little Shop of Horrors and One Mo Time. Ms. Roth also designed the U.S. premier of Public Enemy, a play by Kenneth Branagh, at the lrish Arts Center; West Side Story and Crazy for You at the Westbury Music Fair, and the world premiere of Feau Follet for the Elisa Monte-Dance Company.
Julie Wyma joined the Dicapo Opera Theater as both Resident Artist and Costume Designer for the 2011-2012 season. As costume coordinator her credits include Tosca, La Cenerentola and Beauty and the Beast and as designer La Traviata, The Most Happy Fella, Iolanta and The Consul. Ms. Wyma honed her craft in the opera costume shops at Indiana University and The University of Arizona including productions of Le Nozze di Figaro, Die Zauberflöte, La Rondine, Falstaff, and The Nutcracker. In addition to her primary career as a soprano, Ms. Wyma is a well rounded theatre technician, having worked as a Stage Director, Wig and Makeup Artist, Assistant Stage Manager, in set construction and bridal alterations. Ms. Wyma has mounted several operas as the founder of her production company, Irrational Entertainment.