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Idaho State University

ISU to host Opera Idaho performance of “L’eliser d’amore” at ISU on Nov. 3

Opera Idaho will present Gaetano Donizetti’s “L’elisir d’amore” on Nov. 3 in the Joseph C. and Cheryl H. Jensen Grand Concert Hall in the L.E. and Thelma E. Stephens Performing Arts Center.

The production is set in the late 1940s or early 1950s. The setting is Adina’s Nightclub at the end of the USO nightclub craze. This setting allows the drama of the opera to unfold both "onstage" and "offstage" as the audience watches big production numbers, as well as intimate moments, that happen backstage.

Adina is the proprietor of the nightclub and their star chanteuse. Nemorino is the janitor, smitten with his boss. Gianetta is the head waiter and leader of the club's chorus. Dulcamara is a travelling snake-oil salesman who has come to town with his two assistants. And Belcore is an army officer on leave before his deployment (to Korea, presumably).

The production, originally staged for Resonance Works Pittsburgh, won the American Prize in Opera Performance in 2015. The letter accompanying the award read, "As much as I am not a fan of operatic 'up-dating', this production is brilliant from start to finish! The concept worked."

“L’elisir d’amore,” starring artist-in-residence soprano Emily Hansen as Adina, returns to the Opera Idaho stage for the first time since 2008 (also produced in 1996).  One of opera’s most endearing comedies, “L’elisir d’amore” also features tenor Thomas Glenn (“The Magic Flute,” 2015) as the country-bumpkin Nemorino, Christopher Job (“Susannah,” 2013) as the slippery Dulcamara, and Boise baritone Jason Detwiler (most recently Dr. Falke in “Die Fledermaus,” 2016) as the braggadocious Belcore.

Soprano Emily Hansen [Adina] is Opera Idaho's Artist-in-Residence for the 2017/2018  season. Emily is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin, where she received her MM in Opera Performance. During her masters program, Emily performed the role of The Mother in Hänsel und Gretel by Humperdinck, the Stepmother in Into the Woods by Sondheim, and the leading role of Blanche de la Force in Dialogues des Carmélites by Poulenc. Emily completed her undergraduate degree at Brigham Young University-Idaho, where she studied with soprano Kristine Ciesinski. While attending BYU-I she performed roles such as Elmire from Tartuffe by Mecham, Violetta in La traviata Act 1 by Verdi, Suor Angelica, from Suor Angelica by Puccini, and Muzetta in Act II of La bohème, by Puccini.  Since joining the Opera Idaho Resident Company, Emily has been involved in the chorus of South Pacific in Concert, the Golden Age of Operetta Concert, Rodgers and Hammerstein Operatini, and she sang the National Anthem at the Governor's Arts Awards Ceremony. Emily sang the role of Cinderella in Opera Idaho's school production of Cinderella, based on Massenet's Cendrillon. Emily received an "encouragement award" at the 2013 and 2016 MONC auditions in Pocatello, Idaho. She will be performing the role of Adina in an abridged version of Donizetti’s L'elisir d'amore by Donizetti for Opera Idaho’s school outreach, as well as the Pocatello performance of the full opera.

Tenor Thomas Glenn [Nemorino] has performed at the San Francisco Opera, The Metropolitan Opera, The Lyric Opera of Chicago, Netherlands Opera and The English National Opera among others. He made his Opera Idaho debut as Taminio in The Magic Flute, 2015. His roles include Ferrando in Così fan tutte and the title role in La clemenza di Tito, Nemorino in Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore, Count Almaviva in Rossini’s Il barbiee di Siviglia and Tebaldo in Bellini’s I Capuleti e Motecchi. He equally, has a great love of Twentieth Century operas, particularly those of Britten, Stravinsky and Janácek. He frequently performs with the Atlanta Symphony as well as orchestras like The Cleveland Orchestra, the National Arts Centre Orchestra of Canada, the China National Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Colorado Symphony, Berkeley Symphony, Marin Symphony, and Santa Rosa Symphony.

At San Francisco Opera, Thomas created the role of Physicist, Robert Wilson in the world premiere of John Adams’ Doctor Atomic.  He reprised this role in many productions and won a Grammy Award for the 2011 recording with the Metropolitan Opera on the SONY label. Thomas holds three degrees in music performance: a bachelor’s from Brigham Young University, a master’s from The University of Michigan and a doctorate from Florida State University.  He is a past winner of the Concours International de Chant de Canari, France and a semi-finalist in the Monserrat Caballé Competition.

 Baritone Jason Detwiler [Belcore] has performed over 50 roles with opera companies across the United States and France. Jason has garnered acclaim for his roles as Figaro (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Eugene Onegin, Malatesta (Don Pasquale), Zurga (Les pêcheur de perles), and John Proctor (The Crucible) among others. Jason has sung with Virginia Opera, San Diego Opera, Wichita Grand Opera, Opéra Théâtre d’Avignon, Opera Santa Barbara, Opera San Jose, Opera Coeur d’Alene, the Boise Philharmonic, and Opera Idaho to name a few. Six years after his first performance with Opera Idaho (La Boheme, 2001), he returned to call Boise his home. Jason was OI’s first artist-in-residence (09-10 season), singing lead roles, giving concerts and masterclasses to the Resident Company.

 L’elisir d’amore marks Jason’s 21th opera and 26th production with Opera Idaho. Previous roles include: Marcello (La bohème), Valentin (Faust), Melchior (Amahl & the Night Visitors), Dandini (La cenerentola), Mr. Webb (Our Town), Sharpless (Madama Butterfly), Ford (Falstaff), Peter (Hansel und Gretel), Silvio (I pagliacci), Almaviva (Le nozze di Figaro), Sam/Gianni Schicchi (Trouble in Tahiti/Gianni Schicchi), Marullo (Rigoletto), Figaro (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Germont (La traviata), Billy Bigelow (Carousel), Curly (Oklahoma!), King (The King & I), Emile (South Pacific), Dr. Falke (Die Fledermaus), and most Recently, Albert (Werther).

Soprano Jena Carpenter’s [Gianetta] recent Opera Idaho performances include First Lady in Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Annina in La traviata, Ida in Die Fledermaus and Pamina in Opera Idaho’s outreach performances of The Mini Magic Flute.  Other performances include: Frasquita in Bizet’s Carmen, Lauretta in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, Marian Paroo in The Music Man, Laurey in Oklahoma!

Jena’s experience ranges from Wagner to Musical Theater with repertoire including Blumenmädchen in Richard Wagner’s Parsifal, Despina (Così fan tutte), Micaela (Carmen) Adina (L’elisir d’amore), Servilia (La Clemenza di Tito), and Marianne (Tartuffe). Jena’s musical theater repertoire also includes Liesel and Mother Superior (The Sound of Music), Johanna (Sweeney Todd) and Mrs.Anderson (A Little Night Music). She has performed in the United States, Germany and Italy.

Bass-baritone Christopher Job [Dulcamara], during the 2016-2017 season was featured as Sir Walter Raleigh in The Metropolitan Opera’s first-ever production of Roberto Devereux, completing Donizetti’s “Tudor Trilogy.” He also took part in Berg’s Lulu as the Theater Manager and Banker. Additionally, this season he was featured in the role of Angelotti in New York City Opera’s production of Tosca, Hobson in Peter Grimes at the Princeton Festival, and Leporello in Don Giovanni at the Bar Harbor Festival. Previous Metropolitan Opera credits include his debut in Shostakovich’s The Nose, the role of Brühlmann in Werther, the role of Servo in Macbeth, and Nicholas in Don Carlo.

Other career highlights include creating the role of Senator Thomas Jordan in the world premiere of The Manchurian Candidate by Pulitzer Prize winning composer Kevin Puts with Minnesota Opera; his debut with Ash Lawn Opera as Olin Blitch in Susannah, a role he also performed at Opera Idaho; the title role in Le nozze di Figaro with Fargo-Moorhead Opera; the role of Colline in La Bohème at Lyric Opera Baltimore; the 5th Jew in Salome at Palm Beach Opera; the High Priest of Baal in Nabucco with Lyric Opera Baltimore; Escamillo in Carmen with Lyric Opera Virginia; Ashby in La fanciulla del West, Kilian in Der Freischütz; Angelotti in Tosca at Des Moines Metro Opera; Caronte in Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo ed Euridice; the Poet in Philip Glass’ Orphée; and Capellio in Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi at Glimmerglass Opera.

Andy Anderson [conductor] is the co-founder and Artistic Director of Queens Opera Theatre in New York City. This exciting new company will make its debut in October 2017. Recent engagements include a debut with Opera Idaho conducting Die Fledermaus, Oklahoma with Ash Lawn Opera, La bohème and Rigoletto with Queens Opera Theatre. Andy has held several esteemed positions such as Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of Mobile Opera, Assistant Conductor with Lyric Opera of Kansas City for three seasons, Artistic Director of Civic Opera Theater of Kansas City for five seasons, Music Director of the Kansas City Civic Orchestra for eight seasons, Assistant Conductor of the Colorado MahlerFest in Boulder, Colorado for ten seasons, Assistant Conductor with Kansas City Ballet for two seasons, and Founder/Artistic Director of the Kansas City Puccini Festival for nine successful seasons.

Andrew Nienaber [director] has been on the directing staff of several major opera companies around the nation, including Dallas Opera. Florida Grand Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Ft. Worth Opera and Central City Opera. He directed The Barber of Seville and The Magic Flute for Piedmont Opera and versions of SemeleThe Tender LandFlorencia en el Amazonas for Palm Beach Opera, and Tosca for Opera Idaho in 2017. His 2014 Elixir of Love for Resonance Works in Pittsburgh won The American Prize in Opera Performance. Andrew also served as the Assistant Director and resident stage director of the Opera Conservatory at the Orange County High School of the Arts, the only high school-level program recognized by Opera America.

About Opera Idaho

Opera Idaho has been producing opera in the Treasure Valley for over 40 years. In recent years, growing support has given Opera Idaho the ability to become one of the broadest-reaching arts organizations in Idaho. We have increased our presence throughout the State of Idaho by taking productions and programs to Pocatello, Ketchum and McCall. In the past two years, we have been able to reach over 40,000 people through our performances, education outreach programs, children’s choruses and involvement in community activities. 

About the General Director

Mark Junkert joined Opera Idaho as Executive Director in 2008 and was named General Director in 2011. He came from New York City and Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota. In St. Paul, he was the managing director of Skylark Opera. Concurrently, he served as executive director of the Martina Arroyo Foundation, a New York-based organization dedicated to training young opera singers. Mark has also held executive and marketing director positions with The Collegiate Chorale in New York, The National Lutheran Choir in Minneapolis and Augsburg Fortress, a publisher in Minneapolis.

A native of Minnesota, Mark studied voice and opera in the Graduate School of Music at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, studying with William Warfield. He received a bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from the University of Denver. At Opera Idaho he has directed Pagliacci and the Christmas productions of Hansel and Gretel and Amahl and the Night Visitors. He recently served as a judge for the Metropolitan Opera National Council District Auditions in Pocatello.