Unfinished: An Opera New Concert Reading

October 7, 2018

Our Team

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Maggie Finnegan | soprano

Hailed for her “noteworthy acting prowess” [Opera News] and her “silvery, pitch-perfect voice” [The Washington Post], Maggie Finnegan is a versatile soprano specializing in contemporary opera. She was awarded first place in the Washington International Competition for voice, the S&R Foundation’s Washington Award, and second place in The American Prize for Women in Opera. Premieres include Dan Visconti’s PermaDeath: A Video Game Opera, Lembit Beecher’s Sofia’s Forest, Andriessen’s Anais Nin/Odysseus’ Women, and Jacob TV’s Van Grote en Kleine Vogels. She has appeared as a soloist with the Handel & Haydn Society, the City Choir of Washington, the PyeongChang Winter Music Festival in South Korea, The Capital Fringe Festival, The Metropolitan Opera Guild, Beth Morrison Projects, the Center for Contemporary Opera, and The Broken Consort (with which she is a core member). This season includes a duo recital with Stephanie Blythe and the title role in The Gonzales Cantata as well as opera roles with the Belgian National Orchestra (L’Enfant et les Sortilèges), Operadagen Rotterdam, Radial System Berlin, the Muziekgebouw in Amsterdam, Opera Parallele (The Little Prince), Boston Baroque (L’Incoronazione di Poppea), White Snake Projects, and Vital Opera. www.maggiefinnegansoprano.com

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Danielle Messina | soprano

Danielle Messina, soprano, has been hailed for being a fine actress with a “big, bright voice” [Music in Cincinnati]. Ms. Messina was part of Vital Opera’s initial workshop presentations for Unfinished: An Opera in 2016, and she is thrilled to continue exploring the piece in this new concert reading. In recent seasons, Ms. Messina covered Juliette in Roméo et Juliette with Virginia Opera and was seen at Kentucky Opera in the leading role of Margarita Xirgu in Osvaldo Golijov’s Ainadamar. She also sang the role of Konstanze in Mozart’s Die Entführung auf dem Serail with Queen City Chamber Opera. In January of 2014, Ms. Messina made her mainstage debut as Nella in Gianni Schicchi with Opera Carolina. Other performances include Mary in The King’s Man (world premiere), Musetta in La Bohème with Opera Columbus, and Lucy in The Telephone with Opera Saratoga.

Ms. Messina is as comfortable in the concert hall as she is on the opera stage, and has performed the soprano solos in such works as Carmina Burana by Carl Orff, Handel Messiah, and Vivaldi Gloria. In the fall of 2016, Ms. Messina made her debut with the Albany Symphony singing Young Veronica and covering the role of Veronica in the concert premiere of Evan Mack’s Roscoe. In 2017, she sang “My Old Kentucky Home” in the Opening Ceremonies of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. Ms. Messina holds a M.M in Voice Performance from the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), and is a native of Poughkeepsie, New York. daniellemmessina.com

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Kristin Gornstein | mezzo soprano

Praised as “a fine actress with a deep, spacious sound” [Parterre], American mezzo-soprano Kristin Gornstein brings her “rich-voiced mezzo-soprano” and “lines of an uncannily silky legato” [New York Times] to her work, ranging from the traditional to the edgy and imaginative. She was lauded for her recent portrayal of Ramiro in Mozart’s La finta giardiniera in a co-production by On Site Opera and Atlanta Opera, a role she reprised in 2018 at Caramoor. The 2017–18 season also brought debuts with The Prototype Festival (Aquanetta), and the Little Opera Theatre of New York as Piramo in Johan Hasse’s baroque gem Piramo e Tisbe. Kristin made her Carnegie Hall debut in the Spring of 2018, winning third place in the Lyndon Woodside Oratorio Competition.

A frequent performer on the New York scene, Ms. Gornstein has appeared as Lucretia in Britten’s Rape of Lucretia and Rosina in Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia with Loft Opera, as Mrs. Slender in Salieri’s Falstaff with Dell’Arte Opera, as Dulcinée in Massenet’s Don Quichotte with Utopia Opera, and as Romeo in I Capuleti e i Montecchi with Opera Modo. She is an Associate Artist with Heartbeat Opera; appearing as Xantippe in Daphnis and Chloé, as featured soloist in Queens of the Night: Mozart in Space at Brooklyn’s National Sawdust and as part of the first fully staged opera pastiche ever performed on Manhattan’s High Line.

Upcoming engagements include solo appearances with Sacred Music in a Sacred Space, the Brooklyn Art Song Society, and the Newburgh Symphony Orchestra. Learn more at www.kristingornstein.com.

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Jose Rubio | baritone

Internationally acclaimed baritone José Rubio has garnered attention performing at major and regional venues across the country. His Carnegie Hall Recital Debut was proclaimed as “nothing short of stellar” [The Opera Insider]. Mr. Rubio’s recent operatic engagements have included the title role in Don Giovanni, Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Escamillo in Carmen, Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor, Marcello and Schaunard in La Bohème, Guglielmo in Così fan Tutte, Tarquinius in The Rape of Lucretia, Tonio in I Pagliacci, and Dr. Falke in Die Fledermaus. His leading credits include principal roles for Cincinnati Opera, Portland Opera, Nashville Opera, Alamo City Opera, Asheville Lyric Opera, Tacoma Opera, Vashon Opera and Bellevue City Opera among others.

On the concert stage he performed with the Albany Symphony in the orchestral debut of Evan Mack’s opera, Roscoe, with the Evansville Philharmonic, Bellingham Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Northwest, Orchestra Seattle and Chamber Singers amongst others. Other orchestral works have included Orff Carmina Burana,Brahms Requiem, Fauré Requiem, Beethoven 9th Symphony, Dvořák Te Deum, Vaughan Williams Sea Symphony, Dona Nobis Pacem, and Five Mystical Songs. Internationally, he was seen on tour in China with the ISING! International Festival in 2018, 2017 and 2014.

Upcoming performances this season include role debuts as Bernardo in West Side Story with the Evansville Philharmonic, Hannah Before in As One with Alamo City Opera, Lancelot in Camelot with the Indianapolis Opera, Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire with the Vashon Opera, and a world premiere performance as Walter Harper in The Princess Sophia with the Orpheus Project in Juneau, Alaska. www.joserubiobaritone.com/

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Kristen Kemp | piano

Originally from Florida, vocal coach and accompanist Kristen Kemp has worked with numerous opera companies throughout the United States, including Cincinnati Opera, Michigan Opera Theater, Sarasota Opera, Utah Festival Opera, Martina Arroyo Prelude to Performance, Opera North, Chelsea Opera, and the Opera Theatre of Lucca, Italy, in association with the Cincinnati Conservatory, among others.

Ms. Kemp was also a music staff member at Sarasota Opera beginning in 2003, as well as the Studio Artist Director for 5 seasons. As Studio Artist Director, she regularly coached main-stage roles and prepared and performed over 30 outreach concerts each season. As a member of the coaching staff for Sherrill Milnes V.O.I.C.Experience, Ms. Kemp has had the pleasure of working with the programs in New York, Florida and Savannah since 2010.

Each February, she serves as coach-pianist with the Metropolitan Opera Guild Community Engagement for their Opera Intensive program. She is also a regular collaborator in recitals in New York City and at Mannes School of Music. Kristen received her Masters Degree in Vocal Accompaniment and Artist Diploma in Opera Coaching from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

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Rale Micic | electric guitar

Rale Micic is one of the most successful and critically acclaimed jazz guitarists to emerge from Serbia. Audiences throughout the world have been captivated by his mesmerizing music, exploring the interaction between his Serbian musical roots and his extensive knowledge of jazz. Born in Belgrade, Serbia and living in New York City for nearly two decades, he has performed and recorded with some of today’s most regarded jazz artists including Tom Harrell, Don Friedman, Gregory Hutchinson, Eric Alexander, Scott Colley, Steve LaSpina, Louis Haynes, Nasheet Waits, John Abercrombie, Wayne Escoffery and many more.

Mr. Micic has been featured in numerous publications including Downbeat, JazzTimes, LA Times, San Diego Tribune, and Boston Globe. He has performed at prominent jazz clubs and music festivals throughout the U.S. and Europe including Village Vanguard, Catalina Jazz Club, Blues Alley, Scullers Jazz Club, Dizzy’s, Smalls, San Jose Jazz Festival, and the Hartford International Jazz Festival. With five albums as a leader, Mr. Micic is currently working on a new album with Galician pianist Abe Rabade, performing eclectic range of original music inspired by jazz, Galician and Serbian melodies.

Rale Micic plays Sadowsky guitars and D’Addario strings. www.ralemicic.com

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Daniela Candillari | conductor

Daniela Candillari is quickly emerging as a dynamic and compelling conductor in opera houses and on concert stages throughout North America and Europe. Recent engagements include her Lyric Opera of Chicago debut, leading Gregory Spears’ Fellow Travelers, which resulted in her immediate reengagement to lead An American Dream in the 2018-2019 season. Other debuts include Minnesota Opera leading Fellow Travelers, her concert debut with NOVUS NY of Trinity Wall Street, opening their festival celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of Leonard Bernstein, and her PROTOTYPE Festival debut conducting Acquanetta. In the 2018–2019 season, she makes her Boston conducting debut with the world premiere of PermaDeath, her Asian debut in Hong Kong conducting Du Yun’s Pulitzer Prize winning opera Angel’s Bone, and her Opera Philadelphia debut conducting Rene Orth’s Empty the House, a new production, produced in cooperation with the Curtis Institute of Music. In the summer of 2019 she leads the West Coast premiere of Jennifer Higdon’s Cold Mountain in a new production by director James Darrah at Music Academy of the West. Future engagements include her debuts with Arizona Opera and Cincinnati Opera.

Other recent projects include conducting the Manhattan School of Music Philharmonia, assisting Matthew Aucoin on his opera Crossing for BAM’s Next Wave Festival, and assisting Vasily Petrenko on a production of Falstaff with Royal Liverpool Philharmonic featuring Sir Bryn Terfel. Additionally, she has led workshops for Arizona Opera (Clint Borzoni’s The Copper Queen) and Opera Philadelphia (Double Exposure).

A native of Slovenia, Ms. Candillari holds a Doctorate in Musicology from the Universität für Musik in Vienna, a Master of Music in Jazz Studies from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and a Master of Music and Bachelor in Piano Performance from Universität für Musik in Graz. She was a Fulbright scholar and was subsequently awarded TED Fellowship. www.danielacandillari.com

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Joshua Groffman | composer

Joshua Groffman is a composer, performer, and scholar. His work focuses on place, nature, and sound, most often in the context of New York’s Hudson Valley, of which he is a native. Previous performances have been with groups including the American Composers Orchestra, Ensemble Laboratorium, Vital Opera, Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, New York New Music Collective, Poné Ensemble for New Music, Delaware Valley Chorale, Ars Musica Chorale, Duo 231, Bard College Vocal Arts Program, and the Indiana University Contemporary Vocal Ensemble. His works have been selected for performance at the Aspen Music Festival, June in Buffalo, SEAMUS National Conference, Electroacoustic Barn Dance, College Music Society National Conference, Florida State University New Music Festival, Cal State Fullerton New Music Festival, New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival, Midwest Composers Symposium, and the 60×60 VoxNovus East Coast Mix.

Dr. Groffman (b. 1984) graduated magna cum laude from Cornell University in 2007, where he completed double majors in music and history. While at Cornell, he studied composition with Roberto Sierra and Steven Stucky and piano with Xak Bjerken and Malcolm Bilson. He holds Doctor of Music (2012) and Master of Music (2009) degrees from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where he studied composition with Sven-David Sandström, P.Q. Phan, Claude Baker, Aaron Travers, and Don Freund and computer music with Jeffrey Hass and John Gibson. He is currently assistant professor of music at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford. joshuagroffman.wordpress.com

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Sarah Heady | librettist

Sarah Heady is the author of Niagara Transnational (Fourteen Hills, 2013), winner of the 2013 Michael Rubin Book Award, and Tatted Insertion (San Francisco State University, 2014), with artist Leah Virsik. Her manuscript ‘Comfort’ was a finalist for the 2017 National Poetry Series, the 2017 and 2016 Colorado Prizes for Poetry, the 2016 Omnidawn Open, and the 2016 Cleveland State University Poetry Center Open Book Competition, as well as a semifinalist for the 2017 Nightboat Poetry Prize and the 2016 Subito Press Poetry Contest.

She is a co-editor of Drop Leaf Press, a small women-run poetry outfit that released its first full-length title, PRIMA VERA by Jill Tomasetti, in 2015. Sarah was a founding member of the New Philadelphia Poets, a writing and performance collective whose work was featured in the Philly Fringe Festival. In 2013 she was a writer-in-residence at Art Farm in Marquette, Nebraska, and in 2014 she received a fellowship to attend the Summer Literary Seminars in Vilnius, Lithuania.

A native of New York’s Hudson Valley, Ms. Heady holds a BA from Oberlin College and an MFA from San Francisco State University. She lives in San Francisco, where she works in fundraising at the intersection of mental health, spirituality, and social justice. www.sarahheady.com