Rowen Sabala, Vireo
Rowen Sabala is a recent graduate (18 years old, Soprano) of the prestigious Orange County School of the Arts (OCSA) in Santa Ana, California where she is studied Opera in the Classical Voice Conservatory under the direction of Dr. Maria Lazarova. Since she was just five years old, Rowen has been singing, dancing and acting in various school and community groups. She has had numerous roles in musicals as a cast member of the elite Fullerton Children’s Repertory Theatre and the Yorba Linda Spotlight Theater. She has also studied acting at the South Coast Repertory Theater in Costa Mesa, California. At OCSA, Rowen currently sings Soprano in the Bel Conto and Chamber Singer choirs. Rowen has a musical heritage; her paternal grandmother (‘50’s Rock and Roll) and great-grandmother (‘40’s Big Bands vocalist) were both professional singers. Rowen aspires to continue her classical voice studies in Europe and to sing opera professionally.
Ryan Glover, Raphael
Ryan Glover, tenor, has performed with the Phoenix Opera since his professional stage debut in December 2010. With that company he has been involved in multiple concerts and in performances of The Magic Flute and La Traviata. Recent performances have included: H.M.S. Pinafore (Ralph Rackstraw cover) in Los Angeles; a New York City debut in Così fan tutte (Ferrando); and South Pacific (Professor), The Creation (Uriel), and Sweeney Todd (Adolfo Pirelli) in Phoenix. Past performances have included Le Nozze di Figaro, Gianni Schicchi, Trial by Jury, The Tales of Hoffmann, Street Scene, The Pirates of Penzance, and A Little Night Music. During the summer of 2011, he sang with Utah Festival Opera & Musical Theatre as a festival artist and was involved in productions of Boris Godunov, The Merry Widow, Don Giovanni, and South Pacific. He is currently studying voice with Gail Dubinbaum in Phoenix.
Laurie Rubin, Voice/Witch
The New York Times has praised mezzo-soprano Laurie Rubin's “compelling artistry,” “communicative power,” and the “earthy, rich, and poignant qualities” of her voice. The Los Angeles Times described her as “a young mezzo-soprano whose voice is darkly complex and mysteriously soulful and who adds intense emphasis to every word of text.” Rubin has performed with the likes of conductor John Williams and opera star Frederica von Stade. She has given concerts at London's Wigmore Hall, The Kennedy Center, the Lincoln Center and the White House, among others, presenting concert programs that tell her unique story through music. Her album Do You Dream In Color? coincides with her memoir of the same name, published in 2012 by Seven Stories Press. The title track of the album, co-written by Rubin and composer Bruce Adolphe, was premiered in its orchestral version in a performance Rubin gave at the International Human Rights Conference in Lucerne Switzerland, and in a performance Rubin gave with the LA Chamber Orchestra. Rubin is cofounder and Associate Artistic Director of Ohana Arts. In 2013, she embarked on an extensive tour. She and composer/producer, Jennifer Taira branded as the pop duo, PureLand, and their first single and music video, “The Girl I Am” was released in March 2014.
Photo by Remsen Allard
Photo by Remsen Allard
Photo by Remsen Allard
Gregory Purnhagen, The Doctor
Gregory Purnhagen enjoys an eclectic career that crosses diverse eras and genres. He has premiered roles in projects for Philip Glass (La Belle et la Bete, Monsters of Grace, Galileo Galilei); sung as a soloist at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Weill Recital Hall and other major international venues; created award winning cabaret shows in New York, most notably Babalu-cy! The Art of Desi Arnaz; has recorded Early Music, New Music, cast albums and appeared as a guest vocalist on Bjork’s Medulla. His work in contemporary opera has included projects for Nick Brooke, Yoav Gal, Fred Ho and Michael Kowalski. A veteran of the 1992 revival of Einstein on the Beach, he also performed in the recent 2012-2014 revival. He gave the American premiere of Glass’ Songs of Milarepa at The Town Hall last autumn. He is also the conductor of The New Xavier Cugat Orchestra, which is introducing vibrant, historic Latin music to new audiences.
Photo by David Soderlund
Maria Lazarova, Mother
Maria Lazarova, mezzo-soprano, earned a Bachelor of Music degree with a concentration in opera performance from Cal State University, Long Beach, and a Master of Music degree and Doctorate of Musical Arts degree with a concentration in vocal performance, music education, stage directing, and jazz studies from the University of Southern California. Lazarova has over fifteen years of performance experience as a soloist in opera, recitals, as well as chamber and choral works. She has performed as a soloist at numerous venues including the Orange County Performing Arts Center, Irvine Bowl, Barclay Theatre, Carpenter Performing Arts Center, Ahmanson Theatre, and the Hollywood Bowl. Her solo opera repertoire includes roles in Don Giovanni, Cendrillon, Dido and Aeneas, La Calisto, The Medium, Turandot, Abduction from the Seraglio, Madame Butterfly, and Dead Man Walking. Awards in competitions and scholarships include the Marilyn Horn Scholarship, International Liszt Competition, Long Beach Mozart Festival Vocal Competition, the Brentwood/Westwood Symphony Orchestra Competition, and the Young Musicians Foundation Solo Competition. At the Orange County School of the Arts, Lazarova serves as the Director of the Classical Voice Conservatory and she is a member of the Voice Faculty at the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music on the campus of Cal State University, Long Beach.
Photo by Joseph Fanvu
Emma MacKenzie, Caroline
Emma MacKenzie is a 15-year-old soprano and member of the five-time Grammy-winning San Francisco Girls Chorus. She plays the role of Caroline, Vireo's mysterious twin sister who appears in Episode 6.
Photo by David Soderland
Kirsten Sollek, The Cow
Contralto Kirsten Sollek has been named ”…an appealingly rich alto” by The New York Times and “…an ideal Bach alto” with “elemental tone quality” by The Philadelphia Inquirer. Ms. Sollek maintains a demanding performance schedule on the concert and operatic stage. She made her Carnegie Hall debut in 2004 with André Thomas and the New York City Chamber Orchestra in Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass, and added the Matthäus-Passion and several Bach cantatas with Masaaki Suzuki and Bach Collegium Japan, performed and recorded Haydn’s Theresienmesse, Schöpfungsmesse and Harmoniemesse with Jane Glover and Trinity Wall Street for Naxos, Bach’s Matthäs-Passion and cantatas with Andrew Parrott and the New York Collegium, an all-Bach program with Helmuth Rilling and the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Vivaldi’s Gloria with the Seattle Baroque Orchestra, Mozart’s Coronation Mass with Tafelmusik, Bach’s Weinahts-Oratorium with Eric Milnes and the Trinity Consort, Vivaldi’s Stabat Mater with Kent Tritle and Sacred Music in a Sacred Space, Duruflé’s Requiem with John Scott at St. Thomas Fifth Avenue, and Handel’s Messiah with Bach Collegium Japan, Minnesota Orchestra, Pacific Symphony, and the Dallas Bach Society. Festival performances include the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center, Boston Early Music Festival, Lufthansa Festival of Baroque Music, the Virginia Arts Festival, and the Carmel Bach Festival.
In 2011 Ms. Sollek covered the title-role Rinaldo for the Glyndebourne Festival. Other opera credits include the role of Bradamante Alcina with Teatro Municipal de Santiago in Chile, Juno Semele with Music in the Somerset Hills, Beauty Blood Rose, the Naumburg prize-winning opera by Hannah Lash (composed for Ms. Sollek), and the title-role Rape of Lucretia with the Eastman Opera Theatre.
Photo by Tippi MacKenzie
Deborah Voigt, The Queen of Sweden
Deborah Voigt is one of the world’s most versatile singers and music’s most endearing personalities. Her Harper Collins memoir, Call Me Debbie: True Confessions of a Down-to-Earth Diva, recently came out in paperback, and 2016-17 sees her join the San Francisco Conservatory of Music as a full-time member of the voice faculty; serve as the new Artistic Advisor to Florida’s Vero Beach Opera; sing Wagner with the Danish National Symphony in Copenhagen and California; and reprise her beloved one-woman show, Voigt Lessons.
Having made her name as a leading dramatic soprano, Voigt has given definitive performances of iconic German operatic roles from Salome to Isolde. Also a devotee of Broadway and American song, she has sung with Rufus Wainwright at London’s BBC Proms, Kristin Chenoweth at Carnegie Hall, and Barbara Cook and Dianne Reeves at the Hollywood Bowl. Her extensive discography includes two EMI solo albums – All My Heart, named one of the “Best of the Year” by Opera News, and the Billboard bestseller Obsession – as well as Deutsche Grammophon’s Grammy Award-winning Blu-ray set featuring her Brünnhilde in Robert Lepage’s visionary Metropolitan Opera “Ring” cycle. She appears regularly as both performer and host in the Met’s “Live in HD” series.
Voigt’s numerous honors include first prizes in Moscow’s International Tchaikovsky Competition and Philadelphia’s Luciano Pavarotti International Voice Competition. A Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, she was Musical America’s Vocalist of the Year 2003, won a 2007 Opera News Award for distinguished achievement, has received Honorary Doctorates from Smith College, University of South Carolina, and a Distinguished Alumnus Award from Cal State Fullerton, where she was a student in the School of Music voice program. She was named one of the Los Angeles Times’s 25 cultural Tweeters to follow.
Photo by Heidi Gutman