A masterpiece of matrimony & madness
One of the most beloved operas in history, Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro seems at first blush the simple story of an unbreakable bond between a couple of soon-to-be newlyweds. But wait... This is Mozart, along with his sidekick Da Ponte, so you can bet the palace door that the story will unfold around characters we alternately adore and despise.
With their wedding day at hand, young Figaro and his betrothed discover their master has other plans in mind. As the plot twists to reveal hidden agendas behind acts of soulless treachery and ceaseless devotion, the music follows in kind, becoming effortlessly more intricate and complex as it goes.
Set-pieces, the incredible layered ensemble finales for each act, are Mozart flexing his compositional mastery at the height of his genius. It’s a comically funny romp for the audience (though maybe not so much for the characters). Come discover why this timeless classic has been converting skeptics into opera fans for 237 years!
See some photos
Meet the artists
Approximately 3 hours, 20 minutes (including one 25-minute intermission)
Count Almaviva lusts after Susanna, chambermaid to his wife, the Countess Rosina. Both Susanna and Rosina plus Figaro, Susanna’s fiancé, unite to humiliate the Count with a plot that involves multiple disguises. Figaro’s family origin is a great surprise. The page, Cherubino, driven by conspicuous teen age sexual desire, plays a key gender-bending role.
In the servant’s rooms of Count Almaviva’s country estate, Figaro, the Count’s valet, measures the space for his wedding bed. Figaro is marrying Susanna, the Countess’s chambermaid. Susanna’s worried that their tiny bedroom is way too close to Almaviva’s’s private quarters. The Count is giving me the eye, she tells Figaro. It’s jus primae noctis, the feudal tradition that the lord is free to sleep with any servant on her wedding night. The Count renounced the tradition but Susanna’s dubious. “He could send you on an errand and presto, he’s in my bed,” she says. Figaro takes this news badly and vows revenge on his master.
Enter Dr. Bartolo and his former housekeeper, Marcellina. They want to stop the wedding. Marcellina waves an IOU. She loaned Figaro money and he agreed to marry her if he can’t repay. Now she’s calling the loan. “Excellent,” says Bartolo, who wants to stick it to Figaro for messing up his marriage plans to Rosina years ago. Marcellina and Susanna trade sarcastic insults in a duet.
Cherubino, a young page, arrives. He’s been fired for being caught with Barbarina, the gardener’s daughter. His hormones raging, Cherubino sings an aria about uncontrollable adolescent desire and tells Susanna he has a crush on the Countess Rosina. In the midst of the confession, the Count himself enters and Cherubino hides behind a chair and listens as Almaviva, just as Susanna predicted, lays on the seduction dialog.
Whoa! Here comes another character. It’s Don Basilio, Susanna’s music teacher. Now it’s the Count’s turn to hide as Basilio brings up Cherubino’s crush on the Countess. Almaviva listens from his hiding spot. “I’ve heard enough!” he shouts, leaping back into view, followed by Cherubino, in a madcap romp around the room.
Figaro returns with a bunch of local folk who joyously praise the Count. Figaro asks Almaviva to bless his speedy marriage to Susanna. The Count stalls. He still has designs on Susanna. But he moves to get rid of one rival by ordering lovesick Cherubino to join the army.
Countess Rosina dishes unhappily with Susanna about her husband’s promiscuity. Susanna reveals a plan to trap him. The Count will receive a mystery letter, actually written by Figaro, luring him to the garden with the promise of meeting a desirable young woman. It will be Cherubino, who, (surprise!) has evaded army duty. He’ll be there, disguised as a girl. When the hoax is revealed, Almaviva will be humiliated.
The Count reads the anonymous letter and confronts his wife in her room, just as she’s helping Cherubino slip into women’s clothes. There follows a scene of comedy and high farce with principal characters hiding in closets, jumping out a window, and to the anger of the gardener, crushing geraniums in the flower bed.
Adding to the chaos, Bartolo, Marcellina and Basilio arrive, citing the unpaid IOU and demanding Figaro marry Marcellina. The perfect excuse for the Count to call off the Figaro-Susanna wedding, which he happily does.
OK, new plan. To raise the money to release Figaro from his wedding contract, Susanna tells the Count she’ll rendezvous with him in the garden after all. Almaviva figures it’s a trap, gets mad and orders Figaro to marry Marcellina.
“But wait,” Figaro says. “I can’t get married without my parents consent and I don’t know who they are because I was stolen from them by gypsies when I was a baby. Want proof? Just look at this strange birthmark on my arm.” Marcellina gasps, recognizing the birthmark. “You’re my son!” she cries. And Bartolo’s the father!
With marriage to his mother thankfully averted, Figaro’s free at last to wed Susanna. And Bartolo and Marcellina, companions for years, agree it’s time to exchange vows. Meanwhile Barbarina, with exquisite timing, points out Almaviva promised her anything she desired when he tried to seduce her a while back. “I want to marry Cherubino,” she says. Almaviva, his hands tied, agrees. A triple wedding! Everyone’s happy. Everyone except the Count.
The Countess, still desperate to teach her husband a lesson, revives the garden assignation plot. She’ll show up dressed as Susanna. She writes a love note in Susanna’s name spelling out the romantic details, seals it with a pin, and has Susanna, her co-conspirator, slip it to the Count during the wedding. Return the pin if you agree to this, the note says. The Count does this, pricking his finger with the pin in the process.
Rosina’s “Meet me in the garden!” plot is underway. Barbarina is charged with carrying the pin from the letter but promptly loses it. She tells Figaro about the rendezvous between Susanna (it’s really the Countess) and the Count.
Figaro assumes his wife is cheating on him, and on their very wedding night! Susanna, knowing Figaro is listening, sings of love, knowing that her new husband is listening and enjoying his jealousy. Susanna (again, it’s really the Countess) and the Count start making out when the Countess (actually Susanna) enters.
Figaro figures out what’s going on and when Almaviva returns, he plays a fake love scene with Susanna (in Countess disguise.) The enraged Count calls everyone to witness his wife’s presumed betrayal. Disguises come off and Almaviva realizes he’s been pranked. He apologizes to Rosina. All is forgiven and with a splendid ensemble finale, the wedding celebration resumes.
- Performance notes by Eugene Carlson
About the composer
“The life of Mozart is the triumph of genius over precociousness,” says biographer Peter Gay. Musical prodigies are always with us but many flame out in adolescence. Mozart’s talent emerged in early childhood and did nothing but gather steam as he grew older. His prodigious output rivals that of the greatest composers — Bach, Handel, Wagner — yet Mozart did it all in less than four decades.
He composed brilliantly in every musical genre. The kaleidoscopic musical output of Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart includes more than 600 works: 41 symphonies, 27 piano concertos and 23 string quartets. He wrote the first of his 22 operas at age 12 and the last two — La clemenza di Tito and The Magic Flute — were finished the year he died. Add to this lengthy catalog horn concertos, violin sonatas and choral works. The list goes on.
He was born in Salzburg in 1756. His mother bore seven children but only Wolfgang and older sister Nannerl, also a gifted musician, survived. Listening to Nannerl’s piano playing was a big influence on baby Mozart. His father, Leopold, a minor composer, doted on his gifted children, touring them around Europe for three years to play concerts before royalty, including a recital for Louis XV. The tour was a financial success for Leopold and gave Mozart exposure and valuable contacts. Eventually, father and son developed a love-hate relationship that profoundly affected the composer’s life, among other things influencing Mozart’s life long obsession with money.
At age three, Mozart was playing keyboard and at five, he was composing simple minuets. His self-esteem and need for attention was obvious early. Performing at the Hapsburg court, the six-year-old prodigy jumped into the Empress’s lap and gave her a big kiss!
Mozart’s teens and early adulthood were filled with performance and more touring. His drive to compose was insatiable. A two-year stint as court organist in Salzburg was unsuccessful. Mozart considered his home town beneath him and at 25, he moved to Vienna and married Constanze Weber, much to his father’s displeasure.
Vienna was good to Mozart. He made money, was a keyboard virtuoso, played in string quartets with Haydn and turned out masterpiece after masterpiece, including three opera classics: The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni and Così fan Tutte. He showed no discipline in his personal finances. What he craved, he bought. A fancy house, a pianoforte and a billiard table. Then came hard times. Austria was at war and Mozart lost the support of wealthy patrons. He toured again and borrowed heavily from members of his Masonic lodge, among others.
Deeply in debt, suffering from depression that had plagued him for years, and perhaps sensing the end, he worked prodigiously in his final months, turning out two operas, three of his greatest symphonies, a number of minuets, the Piano Concerto in B-flat and the Clarinet Concerto in A Minor. He fell ill after conducting the premier of The Magic Flute and died 37 days later on Dec. 5, 1791, the magisterial Requiem in D minor unfinished. He was 35 years old.
Mozart’s death has become popular legend in recent years due to the riveting story of composer Antonio Salieri’s obsessive envy over the success of young Mozart. Peter Shaffer’s contemporary play and movie, “Amadeus,” in which Mozart is poisoned by Salieri, is the latest inventive version of this rivalry. The Russian poet and novelist Pushkin wrote about the feud in 1830 and Rimsky-Korsakov followed with an opera, Mozart and Salieri. The idea that Mozart was murdered is a clever but preposterous fiction. He likely died of the effects of infectious disease, compounded by bleeding by misguided but well-meaning doctors. He was buried in an unmarked grave outside Vienna.
- Performance notes by Eugene Carlson
About the opera
The Marriage of Figaro, (Le nozze di Figaro), Mozart’s thirteenth performed opera, was born of a mashup of music, drama and European politics. Musically, there was a a “prequel” if you will, the 1782 opera The Barber of Seville by Giovanni Paisiello.
If the opera’s name is familiar but the composer’s isn’t, that’s because 34 years later, Gioachino Rossini hijacked the earlier story for his own opera. After a disastrous opening, Rossini’s The Barber of Seville quickly eclipsed Paisiello’s work and became an all time hit in the opera repertoire.
Paisiello was, in fact, an enormously popular composer in his day and his “Barber..” had a great initial run. It was a big hit with opera goers so the idea of writing a continuing story that picked up three years later in the lives of the principal characters — Figaro, Rosina, Count Almaviva and Dr. Bartolo — had great appeal to the 30-year-old Mozart and his genius Italian librettist, Lorenzo Da Ponte.
Lucky for them the blueprint was already there in a 1784 comedy play by Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais, called, in its translated title, The Mad Day, or The Marriage of Figaro. Beaumarchais’ play had rough going with government censors in France. Tension with the ruling class was building. The revolution was on the horizon. The story of a philandering, overbearing aristocrat outwitted by his servant was too much for the courtiers of Louis XVI. The play was banned.
In the Hapsburg Empire, however, Beaumarchais’ comedy had two things going for it. The forward thinking Emperor Joseph II was more culturally tolerant than both French royalty and his prudish mother, Empress Maria Theresa. He kept Vienna censors employed but put limits on what they could kill. And Da Ponte was a brilliant behind-the-scenes negotiator. When Mozart expressed doubt about getting royal approval for the story, Da Ponte replied, “That will be my business.”
With an eye to Austrian censors, Da Ponte toned down a few outspoken bits in his Italian libretto. A last act speech by Figaro where he berates Count Almaviva — “What have you done to deserve so many advantages? You took pains to be born and nothing more.” — was changed to a warning to men in general to beware of women’s charms.
In his self-reverential memoirs, Da Ponte said he told the Emperor: “I have omitted or cut anything that might offend good taste or public decency at a performance over which the Sovereign might preside.” And he added, “The music…seems to me marvelously beautiful.” Mozart followed up. He went straight to the palace and played a handful of selections from the opera. The Emperor, who had banned the play, loved the opera version. “Send the score to the copyist,” he ordered. Mission accomplished.
Ironically, Joseph II did eventually play a censoring role. So popular was the opera, with so many demands for encored arias, that he forbid ensembles to be repeated. The opera is already long enough, he said.
The Vienna premiere in 1786 was a success but it was a subsequent run in Prague where the show took off. It made a lot of money at the box office, no small thing to the perpetually money-challenged Mozart. What’s more, an impressed Czech impresario gave Mozart a contract to write his next opera. It was the masterpiece Don Giovanni.
A word about Cherubino. It’s a “trouser role,” common in Italian comic opera, where women sing the part of teenage boys. Cherubino’s character, a brilliant invention, is central to the confused comic plot. The cross-dressing that comes with the character goes a step further when Cherubino flips gender by donning a woman’s disguise. Trouser roles were a nod to the male castrati who sang these roles in the past, a way to hold on to the castrati’s distinctive high register sound. Cherubino’s Act I aria “Non so più” is a staple for every mezzo soprano.
Musically, Mozart’s high octane score is a challenge for orchestral musicians and singers and a delectable treat for audiences. From the hurry-up overture, where the orchestra mimics the frantic wedding preparation, to short, stunning arias, to the glorious finale ensembles in Acts II and IV, Mozart’s score whizzes along, dazzling as it goes. It’s a triumph from start to finish.
We’ll give the last word to Johannes Brahms: “Every number in Mozart’s Figaro is a miracle to me. I find it absolutely incomprehensible how someone can create something so absolutely perfect.”
- Performance notes by Eugene Carlson
Alexandar R Adams
Alexander R Adams is a bass-baritone singer, composer and voice teacher, born and raised in the Seattle area. He received his Master of Music from the University of Southern California and his Bachelor of Music from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington. Alexander's opera roles include Leporello (Don Giovanni), Count Ceprano (Rigoletto), King Balthazar (Amahl and the Night Visitors), Truffaldino (Ariadne auf Naxos), Publio (La clemenza di Tito), Sprecher/Armored Man (Die Zauberflöte), Minister (Iphigénie en Tauride), Mr. Plunkett/Judge (The English Cat), and Sergeant of the Police (Pirates of Penzance). Alexander is also a composer. His most recent project is a collection of art songs based on poems by Edgar Allan Poe, including “A Dream Within a Dream”, “Annabel Lee”, and “The Conqueror Worm”. Recordings of the songs, performed by tenor John Riesen, have been released on streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music.
The voice of baritone Anton Belov has been called “rich and mellifluous” by the New York Times, while the Philadelphia Inquirer calls it “that of an emerging star”. A graduate of the Juilliard Opera Center, he has appeared with numerous companies and orchestras throughout the United States and has earned critical acclaim for his portrayals of characters as diverse as Count di Luna, Don Giovanni, Escamillo, Count Almaviva, Doctor Malatesta, and Eugene Onegin. Vashon audiences are familiar with his performances as Germont (La traviata, 2019), and Don Giovanni (2014). Equally at home with opera, oratorio, and concert repertoire, Mr. Belov presented over one hundred recitals throughout the States appearing at such venues as Carnegie Hall in New York City and the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. Mr. Belov is the first-place winner of eight vocal competitions including the George London Competition, the Young Concert Artists International Competition, and the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Dr. Belov is the founding artistic director of Aquilon Music Festival and the associate professor of music at Linfield University in McMinnville, OR.
Soprano Holly Boaz enjoys a varied career in opera, oratorio, chamber music, and small ensembles. Career highlights include appearances with Seattle Symphony, Symphony Tacoma, Hartford Symphony, Seattle Opera, Pacific MusicWorks, Music of Remembrance, the Russian Chamber Music Foundation, Vancouver Early Music Festival, Connecticut Opera, The Aspen Music Festival, the Emerald Ensemble, Early Music Tacoma, and in the UK, the Aldeburgh Festival and Caritas Chamber Choir. As a specialist in Baroque repertoire, she frequently performs works of Bach and Handel with regional orchestras and choral ensembles, but she also loves a good romantic art song, especially one in Russian. She is a winner of the Northwest Region of the National Association of Teachers of Singing Artist Award Competition (NATSAA), and the Ladies’ Musical Club of Seattle Competition. She received an encouragement award from the Connecticut District of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, was a finalist in the Palm Beach Opera Competition, completed fellowships at the Aspen Music Festival, Music Academy of the West, and the Britten-Pears Programme in England, and is a graduate of the Seattle Opera Young Artists Program and the Baroque Performance Institute at Oberlin College. She is a passionate teacher, serving on the music faculty at Pacific Lutheran University and maintaining a thriving private studio in Tacoma and online. She is the NW Regional coordinator of the Artist Awards Competition (NATSAA) and serves on the executive board of the Puget Sound Chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS), an organization dedicated to advancing excellence in singing through teaching, performance, scholarship, and research.
Conductor, Stage Director, Musical Director
James Brown enjoys an eclectic career of conducting, concertizing as a singer, stage directing, and voice teaching. He is the Chair of Vocal Studies at Pacific Lutheran University where he directs the opera and oversees a large voice program. As a tenor, James sang in many professional opera productions under the batons of such conductors as James Conlon, John DeMain, Richard Hickox, Julius Rudel, and Robert Spano. As the regular conductor and stage director for Vashon Opera, James has led productions of Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Carmen, Cavalleria Rusticana, Cosi fan tutte, Les Dialogues des Carmélites, Die Fledermaus, Don Giovanni, Eugene Onegin (conductor), Madama Butterfly (stage director), I Pagliacci, Tosca, and Werther. Other notable productions as stage director include Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Kurt Weill’s Street Scene, Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo, Handel’s Semele, La bohème and a critically acclaimed production of Sweeney Todd (Lakewood Playhouse). Recent productions include conducting Giulio Cesare in Egitto, Trial by Jury and L'elisir d'Amore for PLU Opera, The Merry Widow and Ariadne auf Naxos for Vashon Opera, directing Trouble in Tahiti for the Reno Chamber Orchestra and Tacoma Method (Youtz premiere) for Tacoma Opera. James was a Resident Artist at The Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia and holds degrees in voice from Loyola University/New Orleans, The Juilliard School and the State University of New York at Stony Brook.
Lyric bass Michael Colman, hailed by Opera News for “fielding a fine, dark bass-baritone”, has performed leading and supporting roles with many premier opera companies across the United States. In the 2022-23 season, Michael sang Dottore Grenvil in La traviata with Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Judge Turpin (Sweeney cover) in Sweeney Todd with Chautauqua Opera, Angelotti in Tosca with St. Petersburg Opera, and made role and company debuts as Sparafucile in Rigoletto with Vashon Opera and the King of Egypt in Aida with Tulsa Opera. He has become especially well known for his interpretation of The Commentator in productions of Derrick Wang’s Scalia/Ginsburg with Opera Carolina, Opera Grand Rapids, Chautauqua Opera and Opera in the Rock. Other roles include Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Chautauqua and Virginia Operas, Guglielmo and Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte with Opera Grand Rapids and Charlottesville Opera, and Leporello in Don Giovanni with The Janiec Opera Company. Upcoming performances include house debuts as Schaunard in La bohème with Fort Worth Opera and Vodnik in Rusalka with Opera Ithaca. A growing list of operetta and music theater roles include Étienne Grandet in Naughty Marietta with Winter Opera St. Louis, The Sergeant of Police in The Pirates of Penzance with Dayton Opera, and Pharaoh in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat with Utah Festival Opera. Concert credits include Handel’s Messiah with the Dayton Philharmonic, Mozart’s Requiem with The Virginia Consort, covering Verdi’s Requiem with Utah Festival Opera and recital collaborations with Warren Jones and Martin Katz.
Coloratura soprano Sophia Emanuel is thrilled to return for her second appearance with Vashon Opera, having made her recent company debut as Il Paggio in Rigoletto. In 2022-2023 Sophia was a Studio Artist with Puget Sound Concert Opera, singing Il Notaro and covering Amina (La sonnambula). She also performed the role Wife in the world premiere of Tacoma Method with Tacoma Opera. As a 2022 Festival Artist with Utah Festival Opera & Musical Theatre, Sophia covered 1st Lady (The Magic Flute), Micaëla (Carmen), and Mrs. Jenks (The Tender Land). She was the 2021 winner of the Seattle Opera Guild Ernesto Alorda Encouragement award, as well as a two-time semifinalist in the Palm Springs Opera Guild Competition. Sophia made two role debuts in the 2020 season as Queen of the Night and 1st Lady (The Magic Flute) with Northwest Opera in Schools Etc. She has made appearances in several productions with Pittsburgh Festival Opera including the chorus of La Bohème and Arabella, covering The Fiakermilli (Arabella), and premiering the role of Minnie in a workshop of Night Flight for Minerva’s Owl. With San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Sophia performed Ortensia, Ettalina, and Eustacia in Musto’s Bastianello, as well as Prima Conversa (Suor Angelica). At Carnegie Mellon University, Sophia was seen as Soprano II in Philip Glass’ Hydrogen Jukebox and Lucy Lockit (The Beggar’s Opera), as well as premiering roles in two short operas through Carnegie Mellon’s CO-OPERA project.
Mr. Hoffman has enjoyed a long music career both collaborating with and as a member of a number of Seattle-based ensembles, including: St. James Cathedral Cantorei and Choir, Seattle Symphony Chorale, Byrd Ensemble, Opus 7, Seattle Pro Musica, and many others. As a soloist, Mr. Hoffman has enjoyed many opportunities primarily as Bass/Baritone soloist for St. James Cathedral in Seattle, Paper Puppet Opera’s Winterreise productions, South Puget Sound Community College, Vashon Opera, and a host of other collaborations around the city. Growing up in the Seattle area, Mr. Hoffman enjoyed an early start to his music education as a member of the esteemed Northwest Boychoir. David continued his pursuit with a minor in Performance Voice from Harvey Mudd College and the Claremont Colleges Joint Music Program. After a brief career as soloist and section leader for the San Diego Master Chorale, Mr. Hoffman moved back to Seattle where he has enjoyed the many aforementioned opportunities granted him. David has truly appreciated all of the kindness afforded him by the Seattle music community, St. James Cathedral, and the many organizations he has worked with throughout his career.
Soprano Jennifer Krikawa was recently seen singing Hanna Glawari in Vashon Opera’s production of The Merry Widow. She has sung for numerous opera companies such as New York City Opera, Virginia Opera, Connecticut Opera, Sarasota Opera, Opera North, Augusta Opera, Annapolis Opera, Central City Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, and Israel Vocal Arts Institute. Jennifer's roles include: Blanche (A Streetcar Named Desire), Fiordiligi (Così fan tutte), Mimi (La bohème), Micaela (Carmen), Musetta (La bohème), Laurie (The Tender Land), Gretel (Hänsel und Gretel), Pamina (Die Zauberflöte), Frasquita (Carmen), Antonia (Les Contes d'Hoffman), Tatyana (Eugene Onegin), Giorgetta (Il tabarro), Nedda (I Pagliacci), Tosca and Madama Butterfly. Mrs. Krikawa has appeared at Carnegie Hall as the soprano soloist for Scarlatti's Dixit Dominus, Vaughan William's Benedicite, and Poulenc's Gloria and has appeared at Benaroya Hall as soloist in Mozart's Requiem and Soprano II in Mozart's Mass in C Minor with the Vashon Island Chorale. She pursued contemporary music studies at The Banff Centre for the Arts and she holds a master's degree from The New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. Her awards include First Place NATS winner, First Place Opera Theater of Connecticut Amici Competition, Olga Berzins Vocal Scholarship Award, Metropolitan Opera National Council Regional Finalist in Boston and Metropolitan Opera National Council Honorable Mention in Connecticut. She has recorded a CD titled "Songs of Walt Whitman" composed by Malcolm Peyton with Centaur Records. Mrs. Krikawa looks forward to leading Vashon Opera into its 14th Season with The Marriage of Figaro and Romeo and Juliet.
Tenor Max Lopuszynski returns to Vashon Opera after performing as a regular chorister for their first six seasons. He is a Seattle-based actor and singer who divides his time between theatre, opera, and voiceover. He’s performed with Bainbridge Performing Arts, Basement Theatrics, Drama Dock, Last Leaf Touring Children’s Theatre, Renton Civic Theatre, Seattle Musical Theatre, SecondStory Repertory, Tacoma Musical Playhouse, Vashon Opera, Vashon Repertory Theatre, Vespertine Opera Theatre, and more. His opera roles include Guccio (Gianni Schicchi), Guillot (Eugene Onegin), a Soldier (Heart Mountain - world premiere), the Messenger (Werther), and the Page (Amahl and the Night Visitors). With the Seattle Gilbert & Sullivan Society, he understudied King Hildebrand in Princess Ida, and Frederic in The Pirates of Penzance. Select roles in the musical theatre/play canons include The Beadle (Sweeney Todd), Margaret Mead (Hair), Franz/Dennis (Sunday in the Park with George), Karl the Giant (Big Fish), Eddie/Dr. Scott (The Rocky Horror Show), Anselmo (Man of La Mancha), Quartet (The Music Man), Frederick Fellowes (Frayn’s Noises Off), Hunter ([title of show]), and Mellersh Wilton (Barber’s Enchanted April - 2016 Irene Ryan nominee). He also works as a voice actor for Winking Kat Books. He studied acting at Bellevue College. Mr. Lopuszynski grew up on Vashon, and he’s always delighted to come home.
Hailed by the New York Times for his “robust voice, agility and confidence,” Robert McPherson made his Metropolitan Opera debut as Basilio in Le nozze di Figaro and stepped in as Idreno for Semiramide. Additionally, McPherson’s performance as Andres in Houston Symphony’s live recording of Alan Berg’s Wozzeck, culminated with a 2018 Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording in the Classical category. In 2021, Mr. McPherson made his Off-Broadway debut in the premiere of Trump L’oeil at Florence Gould Hall, where he was nominated for Best Solo Performance by Broadway World. Most recently, he sang the Defense Attorney in Scott Davenport Richards’ Blind Injustice with Opera Theatre of the Rockies, and Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia with the Mendocino Music Festival. This spring he sings the title character in Tales of Hoffmann with Tacoma Opera. In other repertoire, McPherson made his San Francisco Opera debut as Italian Tenor in Der Rosenkavlier, where he “brought the first act to a stunned stop with his strikingly beautiful account of the Italian Tenor's aria”; his Lyric Opera of Chicago debut singing Duca in Act III of Rigoletto at Millennium Park; and Nadir in Les Pêcheurs de Perles and Tamino in Die Zauberflöte with English National Opera. McPherson has performed his self-written comic show, The Drunken Tenor, throughout the Pacific Northwest. In 2021, he debuted his adaptation of the Dickens classic, A Very Drunken Christmas Carol, with Seattle Opera, and this October brings The Drunken Tenor’s Halloween Spooktacular to the Vashon Center for the Arts.
Soprano Allison Pohl's vivacious stage presence and spirited singing have inspired enthusiastic responses across three continents. Her work has received positive reviews for her “sparkling voice” (outerstage.com) and “exuberant” performances (Opera News). Of her performance in L'elisir d'amore at Virginia Opera, The Washington Post wrote: “Allison Pohl stood out with a ripe, flavorful soprano and ample character.” Allison has appeared with opera companies and orchestras throughout the United States, including Boston Lyric Opera, New York City Opera, Seattle Opera, Virginia Opera, Opera Saratoga, Tacoma Opera, Vashon Opera, Opera in the Heights, Opera Providence, Opera on the James, Seattle Symphony, Canton Symphony, Symphony Tacoma, Bremerton Symphony, Seattle Philharmonic, Garden State Philharmonic, Harmonia Seattle, and SkyOpera, and has been a soloist for orchestral tours in both Italy and China. Upcoming engagements include Stella in A Streetcar Named Desire at Tacoma Opera and Handel’s Messiah with Symphony Tacoma. Favorite roles recently performed include both Countess and Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro, Tatyana in Eugene Onegin, Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, Adina in L’elisir d’amore, Blanche de la Force in Dialogues des Carmélites, Nannetta in Falstaff, Norina in Don Pasquale, Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Gretel in Hänsel und Gretel, Musetta in La bohème, and Yum-Yum in The Mikado. As a member of Soprello, Allison has performed chamber music across North America with cellist Alistair MacRae. She is a Seattle Opera Career Grant recipient, winner of the Seattle Philharmonic Concerto Competition, and holds degrees from SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Music and Boston University.
Praised by The Herold Times for her “strength and great vocal flexibility,” mezzo-soprano Grace Skinner has won several competitions including the Seattle Opera Guild Singers’ Development Competition, the Indianapolis Musicale Matinee Competition, and the National Society of Arts and Letters Vocal Competition. She was recently a resident artist with Opera Naples performing the roles of Stephano in Roméo et Juliette, Mercedes in Carmen, Little Buttercup in HMS Pinafore, and Woman #2 in Frida. Other recent roles include The Composer in Ariadne auf Naxos with Vashon Opera, and the cover for the title roles of Giulio Cesare with The Atlanta Opera, and Carmen with Utah Festival Opera. Other roles she has performed include Florence Pike in Albert Herring, Prince Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus, La Principessa in Suor Angelica, and Samantha in the world premier of The Place Where You Started. Upcoming roles include Nicklausse in The Tales of Hoffmann with Tacoma Opera and Stephano in Roméo et Juliette with Vashon Opera. Ms. Skinner was a vocal fellow at prestigious young artist programs Music Academy of the West, and Aspen Music Festival. She holds a MM from Indiana University, and BM from Portland State University. In addition to her career as a performer, Ms. Skinner is a sought after voice teacher.