By Louis Karchin
Libretto by Diane Osen
Based upon the novel by Charlotte Bronte
October 20 7:30 PM and 22 8 PM at the Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College
Director: Kristine McIntyre
Conductor: Sara Jobin
Jane Eyre: Jennifer Zetlan
Rochester: Ryan MacPherson
Roderick Ingram / St. John Rivers: Tom Meglioranza
Mrs. Fairfax: Kimberly Giordano
Blanche Ingram: Katrina Thurman
Mr. Mason / Mr. Briggs: Adam Cannedy
Mr. Wood: David Salsbery Fry
Mary / Bessie: Jessica Best
Diana / Mrs. Ingram: Jessica Thompson
Production Manager: W. Wilson Jones
Costume Designer: Rachel Townsend
Lighting Designer: Burke Brown
Scenic Designer: Luke Cantarella
Rehearsal Pianist: Isabella Dawis
The Center for Contemporary Opera Orchestra
Keats Dieffenbach, concertmaster
Arthur Moeller, principal
Jessica Meyer, principal
Daryl Goldberg, principal
Lewis Paer, principal
Sue Ann Kahn
Lee Soper (orchestra contractor)
Act I: In the novel, the heroine, Jane Eyre, is introduced as a child, and great detail is lavished on her upbringing. By contrast, in the opera, the audience is immediately thrust into the heart of the drama, with the curtain opening on a fire, just set in Thornfield Hall, the estate of Edward Rochester. Jane is employed there as a governess, and the first scene explores the beginnings of the relationship between Jane and Rochester. The second scene, in the lavish English drawing room of the manor, pits Jane against the wily Blanche Ingram, who intends to wed Rochester herself. Rochester, disguised as a gypsy, exposes Blanche’s insincerity. In scene three, Richard Mason, introduced as a family friend, has been attacked while asleep. Rochester calms him, and at the scene’s end, Jane is called to the home of her disgruntled and dying Aunt Reed, with the promise of mysterious news. Rochester becomes more aware of how indispensable Jane is to him.
In Act II, it is announced that Jane and Rochester will wed. They confess their love for each other, but Jane also confesses to nightmares and strange omens. The wedding ceremony, on an eerie afternoon, is interrupted by Mason’s attorney, Mr. Briggs, who claims that Rochester is already married. Rochester concedes that this is true; his wife is insane and a lunatic, he tells Jane, but he could not bear to have her committed to an asylum. Mason is her brother. She lives in the upper reaches of the house, guarded by a servant, Grace Poole, and has caused the various fires and accidents. Rochester asks Jane to come away with him to Florence; he is carried away by his passion, and declares that he is not beholden to God’s laws, but Jane realizes that she must leave Rochester, and tearfully prepares to go.
Act III begins with a tumultuous overture suggesting the destruction of Rochester’s mansion by yet another blaze set by his wife. The music dies down to invoke a pastoral scene: Jane, having previously been found unconscious, has been rescued by a family in a remote village, a pastor and his two sisters, Mary and Diana. Nursed back to health, she is teaching in a one-room schoolhouse. The pastor, St. John, asks her to marry him for God, not for love, and become a missionary with him. Jane declines, but she also receives through St. John a clarification of the mysterious news hinted at in Act 1: she has been left an inheritance from a rich uncle, and is now a wealthy woman. She shares her newfound wealth with her country friends (who turn out to be distant cousins), and hears a voice beseeching her to return to Rochester. She returns to find him crippled and nearly blind from the last fire, with his house destroyed and his wife killed in the blaze. Both are overcome, and vow never to part.
Burke Brown’s NYC recent designs includes Imagining the Imaginary Invalid (Mabou Mines), Celestina (Metropolitan Museum of Art), The Long Shrift (Rattlestick Playwrights Theater) and Lift (Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater). Other designs include projects with Trick Saddle, Two River Theater, Ars Nova, NYSF-Public Theater, Playmakers Rep, Cleveland Playhouse, Center Stage, and the Baryshnikov Arts Center. His work has been presented at the Joyce Theater, Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, New York City Center, Yerba Buena Center and across North America, Europe, and Russia. Recent dance design includes work with English National Ballet, Bayerisches Staatsballett, Parsons Dance, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Houston Ballet, St. Louis Ballet, Kansas City Ballet, Compañia Nacional de Danza (Mexico), and Aszure Barton & Artists. Originally from North Carolina, Mr. Brown now lives in New York City. MFA: Yale. Member of Wingspace Theatrical Design.
Hailed for his “sonorous and secure voice” (Opera Today), baritone Adam Cannedy is quickly making his way on opera stages across the country. A champion of contemporary opera, Mr. Cannedy has collaborated with and performed for living composers including Carlisle Floyd, Ned Rorem, Oliver Knussen, William Bolcom, Stephen Paulus, Simon Sargon, Richard Wargo, Peter Ash, and Philip Glass. In 2010, he appeared as a guest artist with the Tanglewood Music Center’s Contemporary Music Festival in Oliver Knussen’s Where the Wild Things Are, which led to his subsequent Lincoln Center debut with New York City Opera. Other career highlights include the staged premiere of William Bolcom’s Lucrezia, the world premiere of Peter Ash’s The Golden Ticket with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, and the European premieres of both The Golden Ticket and Richard Wargo’s Winners during the 2010 season of Ireland’s Wexford Festival Opera, the occasion of Mr. Cannedy’s European debut.
Luke Cantarella is a designer of scenery and spaces. He has designed scenery for over 130 productions around the United States such as the American Repertory Theater, Yale Repertory Theater, Repertory Theater of St. Louis, and many others. Opera credits productions of Street Scene, Don Giovanni, La Traviata, The Rake’s Progress (Peabody Opera Theater), Cosi Fan Tutte (Curtis), La Clemenza di Tito (Wolftrap). Internationally, his work has been seen at the Arts Theater (London-West End), and with the Transversal Theater Company in Amsterdam, Romania and many other locales. Additionally, Luke creates projects in design ethnography, a hybrid form that uses design thinking as a tool for social-science research. Projects include 214 Sq. Ft (2012), Trade is Sublime (2013), and Yes, We’re Open (2016). Luke is an associate professor of design at Pace University
Isabella Dawis returns to CCO after performing as pianist for Jeremy Beck’s monodrama Black Water last season. Also a singer and actor, her recent credits include vocal soloist with the New York Philharmonic Very Young Composers, assistant music director with the National Asian American Theatre Company, the Ouroboros Trilogy opera cycle premiere, Much Ado About Nothing (Hero) with Easy Leap Theatre Company, the New Ohio Ice Factory Festival, the Venture(NY) choir with Juilliard Dance, and NYU’s Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program. Originally from Minneapolis, Isabella has appeared as a pianist in concert with the Minnesota Orchestra, the Dakota Valley Symphony, and the Minneapolis Civic Orchestra. Theatrical performances include the Minnesota Opera, the Guthrie Theater, Boston’s Symphony Hall, Mu Performing Arts, and the Children’s Theatre Company. B.M. summa cum laude and highest distinction, piano performance, University of Minnesota; New England Conservatory, Voice; American Theater Wing’s SpringboardNYC.
Bass David Salsbery Fry is a tireless advocate for new music; his previous engagements in this idiom include Master Chen in the world premiere of Scott Wheeler’s opera Naga, four workshops for The Metropolitan Opera, numerous appearances in New York City Opera’s VOX Festival, Wuorinen’s Never Again the Same at Tanglewood and the world premiere performances of several solo and chamber works, including the song cycle ten songs of yesno by Osnat Netzer. Mr. Fry previously appeared with the Center for Contemporary Opera in a staged reading of The Sorrows of Frederick, also composed by Scott Wheeler. Upcoming performances include the world premiere of Chaya Chernowin’s opera Infinite Now in Ghent, Belgium. More on Mr. Fry’s life and career can be found in the October 2015 issue of Classical Singer Magazine.
Lauded for her “polished”, “sterling” and “honest performance” (Seattle Times), soprano Kimberly Giordano delights audiences with her consummate blend of elegance and emotion. Recent highlights include the title role in Portland Concert Opera’s Iolanta, Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus with Tacoma Opera, Verdi’s Requiem with Thalia Symphony and Choir of the Sound, and her fourth season of singing the National Anthem for the Seattle Mariners. A Northwest favorite, Kimberly has performed with many area companies including Seattle Opera, Music of Remembrance, Tacoma Opera, the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra, Whatcom Symphony, Kirkland Choral Society, and Choral Arts. She made her Carnegie Hall debut singing Vaughan William’s Dona nobis pacem with the New England Symphonic Ensemble. A Hudson Valley native, she holds degrees in Voice and Music Theatre from the University of Washington and Illinois Wesleyan University. Upcoming events include Carrie Kipling in John Muehleisen’s But Who Shall Return Us Our Children – A Kipling Passion, a world premiere with Choral Arts Northwest.
Jane Eyre marks Sara Jobin‘s second world premiere with the Center for Contemporary Opera. It is her fourth full production in five years with the company, following Michael Dellaira’s The Secret Agent, William Mayer’s A Death in the Family, and Hans Werner Henze’s El Cimarrón. In her second season as Resident Conductor of the Toledo Symphony and Opera, she is proud to conduct Kristine McIntyre’s staging of Samuel Barber’s Vanessa this spring.
Particularly fond of projects that increase cross cultural understanding, Jobin has also premiered portions of Sheila Silver’s A Thousand Splendid Suns at the Opera America New Works Forum, and Brent Michael Davids’ The Purchase of Manhattan, told from the Native American perspective. Jobin was lucky enough to make her first recording with Frederica von Stade, and was nominated for a Grammy the first time she recorded an opera, John Musto’s Volpone. She has made history a few times as the first woman to conduct in various opera houses, including San Francisco and most recently, Baltimore.
W. Wilson Jones (Production Stage Manager) has staged managed world premieres of As One, Harriet Tubman, Out Cold, This is the Rill Speaking, Patience & Sarah, and Louis Karchin’s Romulus and for American Opera Projects, workshops of Heart of Darkness, Séance on a Wet Afternoon, Before Night Falls, Darkling, Tone Test, Paul’s Case, and Summer King, among many others. Other New York work includes the New York premiere of Mollicone’s Hotel Eden, United States staged premiere of Milhaud’s Christophe Colomb and the American premiere of Sirota’s The Clever Mistress. Among the over 100 productions stage managed with the AVA Opera Theater, Opera Company of Philadelphia, and other Philadelphia area companies are several PBS telecasts. Mr. Jones is a member of the Stage Managers’ Association and a recently retired Associate Curator on the faculty of the New York University Libraries.
Over the course of a career spanning more than three decades, composer Louis Karchin has amassed a portfolio of over 75 works, encompassing virtually every genre. Critic Andrew Porter, writing in The New Yorker, hailed Karchin as a composer of “fearless eloquence,” and the American Academy of Arts and Letters singled out his vocal writing for its “unprecedented fusion” of poetry and music. Critic Paul Griffiths, writing in the N. Y. Times, noted Karchin’s enthusiasm for exploring “wide harmonic worlds, but with precision and determination.” Mr. Karchin’s many awards and honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship, three awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, three National Endowment for the Arts Awards, and Koussevitzky, Barlow, and Fromm commissions. The British music journal, Contemporary Music Review, cited Karchin as one of twenty-five of the most exciting American composers born in the1950’s, and he was selected as one of 53 composers to represent New York at the turn of the millennium in the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s “Great Day in New York” Festival at Alice Tully Hall. Karchin (born Philadelphia, 1951) studied at the Eastman School of Music and Harvard University with additional study as a Leonard Bernstein Fellow at Tanglewood. He is Professor of Music at New York University. His works are published by C. F. Peters Corporation and the American Composers Alliance, and are available on Bridge, Naxos, New World, and Albany labels.
Marisa Karchin, soprano, completed her Master’s degree in Vocal Performance at Mannes School of Music in 2016, after earning a B.A. from Yale University. During the 2015-2016 season, Marisa sang with Utopia Opera and the Mannes Sounds Festival, and debuted at Carnegie Hall with the Yale Symphony Orchestra. In past seasons, she has performed the roles of Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro), Poppea (L’incoronazione di Poppea) and Mabel (Pirates of Penzance). Marisa is an avid performer of new music and has recently appeared with the Kronos Quartet, the Washington Square Contemporary Music Society, the Mannes Contemporary Music Ensemble, and C4: The Choral Composer-Conductor Collective. This summer she joined Opera Theater of Pittsburgh SummerFest, where she performed the role of Fifi in Alberto Garcia Demestres’ Honeymoon Suite. Marisa looks forward to portraying Shirley Temple in a new production of Robert Ashley’s DUST in 2017
Ryan Macpherson recently made company debuts with Austin Lyric Opera as Curley – Of Mice and Men and at Anchorage Opera as Nanki Poo – The Mikado. Before portraying Gérald in Lakmé with Calgary Opera and Baltimore Concert Opera, he returned to Chicago Opera Theatre as the title character in Mozart’s Lucio Silla. Notable roles include: Ferrando – Cosi fan tutte at Portland Opera, NYCO, Opéra de Nice; Anatol – Vanessa at NYCO, Wiener Konzerthaus; Alfredo – La Traviata at Glimmerglass Opera, Opera Santa Barbara, Opera Tampa, Central City Opera; Peter Quint – The Turn of the Screw & Heurtebise – Orpheé at Portland Opera; The Duke – Rigoletto at Opera Memphis, Nashville Opera; Kornélis – La princess jaune, & Horace – La colombe at England’s Buxton Festival; Jack’s Father – Brokeback Mountain at Teatro Real Madrid; Neurologist – The Man the Mistook His Wife for a Hat at Nashville Opera. MacPherson will join the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra this winter as the tenor soloist in Handel’s Messiah.
Soprano Caitlin Mead is a native of Madison, WI and made her opera debut as Third Spirit in Madison Opera Company’s production of The Magic Flute. Most recently, Ms. Mead appeared in Mannes Opera’s spring 2016 production of Mark Adamo’s Little Women as Beth cover and ghost voice. She appeared in the Opera Company of Brooklyn’s productions of Mozart’s Idomeneo as Ilia and in Beethoven’s Fidelio as Marzelline cover. Ms. Mead won the Alsop Entrepreneurship Award in 2015 for her combination art gallery and recital entitled “Utopian Dream,” which centered around Luciano Berio’s Folk songs. She is a graduate of Mannes College the New School for Music, where she received her master’s degree.
Opera and theatre director Kristine McIntyre has directed more than 70 operas across the U.S. with a focus on new, contemporary and American works including Dead Man Walking, Flight, The End of the Affair, Three Decembers, Elmer Gantry, Of Mice and Men, The Tender Land, Street Scene, Bon Appétit and the world premiers of John Brown and The Canticle of the Black Madonna. Other recent new productions include Jenůfa, Peter Grimes, Eugene Onegin, Lucia di Lammermoor, Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria, La Clemenza di Tito, a new American setting of Hansel and Gretel and a film-noir adaptation of Don Giovanni. Upcoming projects include the world premier of Mark Lanz Weiser’s The Place Where You Started, Dead Man Walking, and new productions of David T. Little’s Soldier Songs, Billy Budd and Jake Heggie’s Moby Dick.
Thomas Meglioranza, a winner of the Naumburg and Concert Artists Guild competitions, has sung oratorios with many major orchestras, as well as Eight Songs for a Mad King with the LA Philharmonic, Bach cantatas with Orpheus and Les Violons du Roy, Copland’s Old
American Songs with the National Symphony, Harbison’s Symphony no. 5 with the Boston Symphony, and Babbitt’s Two Sonnets with the MET Chamber Ensemble. Operatic roles include Pierrot in Die tote Stadt, Chou En-Lai in Nixon in China, and Prior Walter in Peter Eötvös’ Angels in America. With pianist Reiko Uchida, he has given recitals all over the world and recorded Schubert’s Winterreise, assorted Schubert lieder, and Fauré songs to wide acclaim. His discography also includes Bach cantatas with the Taverner Consort, vocal music of Louis Karchin, and Virgil Thomson’s orchestral songs with BMOP. He is a graduate of Grinnell College and the Eastman School of Music.
Librettist Diane Osen graduated from Vassar College and earned an MA in English from Rutgers University before embarking on a career as a writer, consultant and teacher. Her writing talents emerged against a background of immersion in the world of opera: her father, David Osen, began his career as a baritone at the New York City Opera, singing in productions including The Student Prince and Der Rosenkavalier. One of Osen’s four books, The Book That Changed My Life, is a collection of interviews she conducted with prize-winning novelists, historians and poets including John Updike, E. L. Doctorow, Don DeLillo, Diane Johnson, David McCullough and Philip Levine. In fashioning the libretto for Jane Eyre, she felt she was adapting the book that changed her own life, and took great pleasure in re-introducing to 21st century audiences an iconic figure of 19th century literature.
Praised for her versatility and dramatic prowess, soprano Rachel Rosenberg made her professional debut at the Cleveland Playhouse, both singing and playing the violin in Shakespeare’s As You Like It. She recently made her Russian role debut as Tamara in the Philadelphia premiere of Rubinstein’s The Demon, and premiered new works by composers Wendy Griffiths and Denise Mei Yan Hofmann. In past seasons she has sung Medea (Il Giasone), Barbarina (Le nozze di Figaro), and Calisto (Daphnis et Chloé). She has performed with the Center for Contemporary Opera in their ateliers, News from Poems (Susan Kander), Four Sisters (Elena Langer), and Anon (Errollyn Wallen). Ms. Rosenberg recently joined the New York Continuo Collective in their concert series of early music, ranging from Monteverdi to Barbara Strozzi. Ms. Rosenberg holds a BA in Vocal Performance and Theatre from Case Western Reserve University and an MM in Vocal Performance from the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music.
Alize Rozsnyai, a coloratura soprano “displaying profound imagination and control” (Philadelphia Inquirer), is a current ArtistYear Fellow with the Curtis Institute of Music. This season includes debuts at Carnegie Hall as soloist in Berio’s Sinfonia, and the Kennedy Center performing Schonberg’s Pierrot Lunaire, with the Curtis Symphony Orchestra, Unsuk Chin’s Akrostichon-Wortspiel , world premiere of Love’s Call, by Shulamit Ran and recital with Lucy Shelton (Songfest), Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance with International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival, Andy in Andy: A Popera with Opera Philadelphia which reprises with Seattle Symphony in 2017. Favorite credits include L’Elisir d’Amore (Adina), Rinaldo (Almirena), Giulio Cesare (Cleopatra), Königin der Nacht, Idomeneo (Ilia),Dialogues des Carmélites (Blanche de la Force), Les mamelles de Tirésias (Thérèse), Elegy for Young Lovers (Hilda), and Orphée aux enfers (Eurydice), and Ms. Rozsnyai has performed with Curtis Opera Theatre, Opera Philadelphia, Rossini Opera Festival, and Chautauqua Opera Company, among others.
Steven Jude Tietjen (Projected English Titles) is a writer and dramaturg based in New York City. He recently completed his fifth season with The Glimmerglass Festival, where he has been the Assistant Dramaturg since 2014. He has created titles for The Glimmerglass Festival, Manhattan School of Music, Prototype Festival, American Lyric Theater and for R.B. Schlather’s exhibitions of Handel’s Alcina and Orlandoand has written program notes and translations for Supreme Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Jessye Norman, Deborah Voigt, Dolora Zajick, Hei-Kyung and Jamie Barton, among others. Steven Jude has contributed program and education materials to The Glimmerglass Festival, Vocal Arts DC and Washington National Opera and is a frequent contributor to Opera News. Last year, Steven Jude hosted How to Opera: Demystifying the World of Opera for Fluent City and he continues the project in his apartment, in bars, on the subway — wherever grassroots opera outreach is needed.
New York City based operatic soprano, Jessica Thompson, is praised as “spirited” and “a dynamic actress” (The Baltimore Sun). Miss Thompson is currently active in New York City’s contemporary opera community, not only as a performer and stage manager, but also for the past five years as Company Manager for the Center for Contemporary Opera. She joined SongFest in Los Angeles as a New Music Fellow in 2015. Miss Thompson’s lush full lyric voice has performed numerous title roles including Massenet’s Manon, Janacek’s The Cunning Little Vixen, Luigi Zaninelli’s Snow White, and Violetta in Verdi’s La Traviata. A veteran performer with CCO’s atelier productions, including Jiří Kadeřábek’s Kafka’s Women, Susan Kander’s News from Poems, and Eric Salzman’s Big Jim and the Small Time Investors, Miss Thompson is excited to perform in her first full production with the company. In addition to her performing career, she is currently studying to be a Speech Language Pathologist.
Hailed by Gramophone for her “remarkably vibrant and flexible voice” and Opera News for her “wonderfully clear, pointed sound and the natural warmth she brings to her character”, soprano Katrina Thurman has performed prominent roles with opera houses and symphonies throughout the United States and Europe, including Opéra de Lyon and Festival Lyrique de Belle-Ile en Mer (France), Oper Bonn (Germany), Opera Philadelphia, Glimmerglass Opera, Florentine Opera, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, New York City Opera, Florida Grand Opera, American Opera Projects, Tulsa Opera, Syracuse Opera, Sacramento Opera, the Shippensburg Music Festival, Anchorage Opera, Piedmont Opera, Indianapolis Opera, Shreveport Opera, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Utah Symphony, Omaha Symphony, and the New York City Chamber Orchestra in her Carnegie Hall debut. She can be heard on the Naxos label as Martha in Louis Karchin’s critically acclaimed Romulus.
Rachel Townsend’s Previous Designs include Eugenia (Parker Theater), The Wakeville Stories (SUNY New Palz), Liverpool Trading (Working Theatre’s Director’s Saloon) Costume Coordinator: Not the Messiah (The Collegiate Chorale) Recent Assistant Credits include The Crucible (Glimmerglass Festival), Lazarus (NYTW), Hadestown (NYTW), Bel Canto (Chicago Lyric Opera), Old Times (Roundabout), Pericles (TFANA), Cato in Utica (GGF), Additionally, she has worked extensively with the Papermill Playhouse, Central City Opera, Canadian Opera, RedBull Theatre, among others. BA SUNY New Palz, Kingston University (London, UK).
Abigail Wright is a lyric Mezzo Soprano whose excellent musicianship and dramatic skills are matched only by her captivatingly unique and desirable voice. She made her Carnegie Hall debut as Marghareta in The Song of Norway and appeared in Live from Lincoln Center‘s Carousel and in several of the Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD series (most recently, Turandot). In one of the highlights of her career thus far, she also collaborated with composer Mark Adamo to portray Meg in the Israeli premiere of his opera Little Women. Other roles include Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Dorabella in Così fan tutte, Nellie in South Pacific, Concepción in L’Heure Espagnole, Rosita in the puppet opera Don Cristóbal, Cheri in the film Wolfy’s Journey, and the Mezzo Soprano in Conrad Susa’s Transformations. She’s thrilled to make her CCO debut with Jane Eyre this Fall.
Soprano Jennifer Zetlan has performed on the stages of the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, Seattle Opera, Santa Fe Opera and Florida Grand Opera. On the concert stage she has performed with the New York Philharmonic, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Indianapolis Symphony, and has been heard at Carnegie Hall with Oratorio Society of New York, Musica Sacra, and the New York Youth Symphony. In the 2016-2017 season, Ms. Zetlan is heard on several New York concert stages- with the New York Philharmonic (Saariaho at The Armory and Das Rheingold), Oratorio Society (Mozart c minor mass and Bruckner Te Deum), Wordless Music at BAM (live score for the film The Tree of Life), as well with Oper Stuttgart (The Fairy Queen). Last season, Ms. Zetlan made her Broadway debut in a new production of Fiddler on the Roof, directed by Bartlett Sher. She also performed the role of Despina in Così fan tutte with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.