Jimi James and Jonathan Howell Lead Strong Cast in Rigoletto – The Oswego Story

Oswego, NY – The Oswego Opera Theater and Artistic Director Mack Richardson are in final rehearsals for the upcoming Rigoletto – The Oswego Story, scheduled for this upcoming weekend at SUNY Oswego’s Waterman Theatre in Tyler Hall.

The performance on February 21st will be at 7:30 pm and the February 23rd showing will be held at 2:00 pm. Tickets are $25 for regular price admission, $20 for seniors and faculty/staff of all educational institutions in the region, and $5 for all students. Tickets are available at the SUNY Oswego Box Office at (315) 312-2141 or online at tickets.edu.

The Adaptation of Giuseppe Verdi’s first true masterpiece, Rigoletto, will showcase a variety of talented musical performers including Jimi James and Jonathan Howell. The orchestra will be made of up of Symphor!a musicians.
Jimi James, who plays Rigoletto, was deemed “a force of nature” by the Springfield News Leader for his depiction of Germont, and joyously applies his talents to his greatly-varied roles.  Recent engagements have seen him inhabit the personas of Enrico (Campanello), Dr. Malatesta, Figaro, Shadbolt, Dandini, Tobia Mills, and Dr. Bartolo along with concerts of Rogers and Hammerstein, A Night at the Opera, Saint-Saens’ Christmas Oratorio, and Ein Deutsches Requiem. Mr. James’ venues include Lyric Opera Baltimore, Live Arts Maryland, Young Victorian Theatre, Opera Memphis, Tri-Cities Opera, Annapolis Opera, Granite State Opera, Connecticut Concert Opera, Empire State Lyric Theater, Baltimore Concert Opera, Mercury Opera, Oswego Opera, Springfield Regional Opera and Syracuse Symphony, Springfield Symphony, West Virginia Symphony, Nashua Symphony, Roanoke Symphony and Granite State Symphony. Born in Hawaii and raised on Cape Cod, the baritone’s repertoire is as broad-ranged as his travels with staged portrayals of Scarpia, Lord Mountararat, Guglielmo, Escamillo, Silvio, The Police Sergeant, Leporello, Schaunard, Gianni Schicchi, Rigoletto, Enrico (Lucia), Masetto, Mustafa, Emile de Becque, Billy Bigelow and The Pirate King.   Concerts include the requiem settings of Brahms, Fauré, Mozart and Verdi, Bach Cantatas 68, 78, 145 and 211, Moravec‘s Songs of Love and War, Elijah, Schubert’s Mass in G, Polar Express, Peter vs. the Wolf, Songs of Travel, Messiah, Carmina Burana, Dvorak’s Stabat Mater and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9.

Jonathan_HowellJonathan Howell, who plays Duke in Rigoletto – The Oswego Story, first established himself on the opera stages of Dallas, where his character Rodolfo won him attention. A former Syracuse Opera’s Artist of the Year in a Featured Rolem, winner of the Charn Uswachoke Competition Scholarship, and Texoma Region N.A.T.S. Winner, Mr. Howell toured the lead tenor role of Edoardo in La Cambiale di Matrimonio in Venice Italy in collaboration with La Fenice Opera and Steffani Concervatorio. His roles have included Don Jose in Carmen, Cavaradossi in Tosca, Riccardo in Un Ballo in Maschera, Calàf in Turandot, Rodolfo in La Boheme.  His Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi drew accolades from The Greater Dallas Puccini and Wagner foundations. In concert and recital repertoire, he has performed as a tenor soloist in The Mozart Requiem & Coronation Mass, Verdi Requiem, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, Carmina Burana, the Bach Magnificat, the St. Matthew Passion, Elijah, Messiah, as well as the Puccini Messa di Gloria. A native of Syracuse, New York and graduate of the University of North Texas, Mr. Howell currently studies with the great tenor Jon Fredric West.

A number of other musical talents will join James and Howell for the Oswego Opera Theater performances including: singer, actor, radio host and all-around voice pro Bruce Paulsen, who will play the dangerous Sparafucile. He has brought his larger-than-life persona to any number of stage ventures. Operatically, he has been a king, an assassin, a high priest, and evil incarnate. He has been the stage’s favorite dairyman in Fiddler on the Roof, provided many an enchanted evening in South Pacific, and given audiences Fantasticks to remember. On the non-musical stage, he has been terrifying as Frankenstein’s creature, enthralling as Cyrano de Bergerac, irrepressible as Shakespeare’s Falstaff, and foolish beyond measure as Malvolio in Twelfth Night. While serving as a popular on-air host for WCNY-FM, he has performed regularly with the Syracuse Opera and the Syracuse Vocal ensemble. He created a chilling Rasputin in Covey Theatre Company’s The Romanovs, Grinched it up for Holidays at Hendricks, and delighted as the Chief Magistrate in Wind in the Willows for Cazenovia Counterpoint.

Danan Tsan will perform Mde. Ceprano, Giovanna, and Maddalena. Her musical career includes a five-year stint in the Soldiers’ Chorus of the US Army Field Band, three years fronting a rock band in Baltimore, and her own solo rock career in New York City.  A classically trained graduate of The Eastman School of Music, Danan and her family live in Syracuse, NY where she is enjoying her time as a stay at home mom while continuing to pursue her passion for music. She has gotten involved in the local theater scene, starring as Philia in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, the Witch in Into the Woods, Aldonza/Dulcinea in Man of La Mancha, and most recently as Fantine in Les Miserables. Danan is also Adjunct Professor of Voice at LeMoyne College and the Associate Director of The Syracuse Community Choir. David Artz, who will perform Borsa, is an Oswego native, graduate of the Oswego High School, and also a graduate of both Syracuse University and Peabody Conservatory. He has sung with the Oswego Opera Company, Syracuse Opera Company, Syracuse University Opera Theatre, Peabody Conservatory Opera Theatre, Lyric Opera Baltimore, Singers’ Theatre of Washington, Opera Delaware, Bel Cantanti Opera Company, Young Victorian Theater Company, Baltimore Concert Opera, Operafestival di Roma program, AIMS in Graz program, and Accademia Europea dell’Opera program. A high lyric tenor with an extended leggiero range, David is well at home in the roles in Bel Canto style (Ernesto, Tonio, Almaviva, Arturo, Nemorino), roles of French style (Nadir, Romeo, Gerald), in the grand roles of Verdi and Puccini (Alfredo, the Duke of Mantua, Rodolfo, Rinuccio, Prunier), and the lighthearted roles of German-style Operetta and Light Comic Opera (Alfred, Blind, Ralph Rackstraw, Detlef, Barinkay, Danilo, Nanki-Poo). Praised for his great musicianship and beautiful warm sound, Baritone Angky Budiardjono makes his professional baritone debut as Marullo in this production of Rigoletto. Born in Jakarta, Indonesia, Angky moved from his home in Santa Barbara, CA to Syracuse, New York to start his career as an opera singer.  His recent performances were as Don Giovanni in Syracuse University Opera Theatre’s fully staged production of Don Giovanni, as the officer in a fully staged production of Il Barbiere di Siviglia and as Pilatus in Arvo Pärt’s Passio Domini Nostri Jesu Christi secundum Joannem. Mr. Budiardjono has participated in recent competitions in upstate New York becoming a finalist in both the upstate New York chapter of the 2013 National Association of Teachers of Singing vocal competition and the Civic Morning Musical Vocal Competition.  He will also be performing in Syracuse City Opera’s production of Porgy and Bess in the opera chorus under the direction of Douglas Kinney Frost who works with LA Opera.  He is currently in his first year of his Masters degree in vocal performance at The Setnor School of Music at Syracuse University and studies under Dr. Kathleen Roland-Silverstein. He will also be participating in Operaworks’ Advanced Artist Summer Training Program June 28th – July 28th in Los Angeles, California.

Tatiana Poletskaya was born in Moscow, Russia, and just recently relocated to the United States. When she was six years old she found her passion for singing. Her grandmother was a singer heard on the radio, which influenced her to follow in her path.  At the age of 12, she became the leading soloist of the choir “Mladost” in Moscow.

In 2007, Tatiana graduated from Gnessin Music College in Moscow, Russia. She was taught by Professor N. V. Popova, where she earned her degree as the Artist of the Choir and Ensemble. In 2012, she graduated from Gnessin Moscow State Academy of Music and received a B. A. in Vocal Art. Tatiana had the honor to be taught by Professor Margarita Miglau, the People’s Artist of Russia and a former soloist of the Bolshoi Theater.
Tatiana Poletskaya began her career in 2007, where she worked with Tchaikovsky Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra as Adina in “L’elisir d’amore” by Gaetano Donizetti. In “The Magic Flute” by Mozart, Tatiana played The Queen of the Night at a concert held in Homestead “Arkhangelsk” and at the Concert Hall “ZIL” in Moscow.

In 2006 she was the winner of the “Felix Mendelssohn” competition in Moscow. In 2007, she was the winner of the “Silver Dew” competition in Moscow. In 2009 she received Grand Prix of Feodor Chaliapin International Competition in Ukraine. In 2011, she advanced to the semi-final round of the “Competizione dell’opera” in Moscow.

Her operatic roles include Gilda (Rigoletto by Verdi), Lauretta  (Gianni Schicchi by Puccini), Olympia (The Tales of Hoffmann by Offenbach), Prilep (The Queen of Spades by Tchaikovskii), and the Snow Maiden (The Snow Maiden by Rimskii-Korsakov).
Jonathan Fox Powers is a 2009 graduate of SUNY Oswego and is delighted to be returning as Ceprano in Rigoletto – The Oswego Story. He last appeared with Oswego Opera Theater as Moralès in Carmen in 2008. He has since performed with numerous opera companies in New York City including Amore Opera, the Blue Hill Troupe, Utopia Opera, Light Opera of New York, and Pacific Encore Performances. Some of his favorite roles include Papageno (The Magic Flute), Ko-Ko (The Mikado), The Devil (The Beauty Stone) and Strephon (Iolanthe). Mr. Powers also works as a professional pianist, composer, and actor. Most recently, he created the role of Mr. Blifil in Tom Jones off-off-broadway, and will be creating the role of Smike in Nicholas Nickleby this April with Tracie Thoms and Luba Mason.

Frederick Willard, Stage Director, has had an eclectic career in the theatre and music as a director, conductor, composer, orchestrator and multi-instrumentalist.  After training with the legendary Boris Goldovsky, he saw the true theatrical possibilities of opera, and was hooked for life.  He has conducted full productions of Don Giovanni and The Gondoliers with orchestra and has stage directed Pump Boys and Dinettes, Jerry’s Girls, Songs for a New World. He has conducted many regional productions of shows including Les Miserables, Titanic, Miss Saigon, Aida, White Christmas, Fiddler on the Roof, A Chorus Line, The Full Monty, and The Buddy Holly Story. As a composer and lyricist, Mr. Willard has penned Mandorla: The Musical Musical Mystery (with author and co-lyricist, Mark Cole) and Fractured Fairy Tales: The Musical (with co-librettist Joan Hart Willard), and A Remarkable Story: Voices of Pan Am 103  (Edinburgh Fringe Festival). He has served on the faculties of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts (Founding member CAP 21 Conservatory) and Syracuse University, where he currently serves on the keyboard faculty and co-teaches the opera workshop.

Dan Williams, Chorus Director and Assistant Music Director, as well as performing the role of Monterone, is a 2009 graduate of SUNY Oswego’s School of Communication, Media and the Arts with a Major in Music, as well as Spanish, and a minor in Theatre. He studied voice with Dr. Todd Graber, piano and conducting with Dr. Juan Francisco LaManna, and choral conducting with Dr. Julie Pretzat. He has participated in each of the Music department choirs and since graduating has remained active with Festival Chorus, as well as accompanist for the College choir under Drs. Pretzat, Hudson, Price and now currently Mihoko Tsutsumi. Other choruses he has been active with are the New Horizons chorus, under the direction of Mary Lou Bjorkman and also Syracuse Opera chorus under the direction of Maestro Douglas Kinney Frost. Also an active church musician, Dan is organist at Minetto United Methodist Church. Operas he has performed in include Amahl and the Night Visitors, Carmen, Cosi fan Tutte,  Dido and Aeneas, La traviata, The Fairy Queen, The Merry Widow, and “Opera Love Stories.” Well versed in American musical theatre both as performer and musician, he has performed with groups across Central New York, from Rochester to Albany and many areas between, including Downstairs Cabaret Theater, Geneva Theatre Guild, Moravia Historical Society, Auburn Players, Jordan-Elbridge Community Theatre, Fulton Community Theatre, Appleseed Productions, Baldwinsville Theatre Guild, CNY Playhouse, CNY Arts Center, Not Another Theater Company, Rarely Done Productions, Redhouse Arts Center, Rising Stars Children’s Theatre, Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts, Oswego Players, Port City Theatre, Oswego Children’s Theater, Mac-Haydn Theatre, the Wits End Players, and of course SUNY Oswego’s Department of Theatre as well as Oswego Opera Theatre. He is fairly new to leading a chorus, although he has been well prepared and most recently helped to start a ladies barbershop group called The Stylists. Lastly Dan is a member of the Oswego Players as well as a board member of Oswego Opera Theatre.

Mack Richardson, the Artistic Director and Conductor for Rigoletto – The Oswego Story, is an Adjunct Professor Music at SUNY Oswego, teaching “Introduction to the Worlds of Music” and “The Business of Music,” and is also Artistic Director and Conductor of Oswego Opera Theatre.  He has led productions of Mozart’s The Impresario, Gilbert & Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore, Salieri’s First the Music, Then the Words, Pergolesi’s La serva padrona, Lerner & Loewe’s My Fair Lady, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music and Carousel, Bizet’s Carmen, and Mozart’s Così fan tutte.  He has conducted many scenes of operas such as Madama Butterfly, Tosca, and The Elixir of Love, as well as serving as the principal rehearsal conductor at Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music’s productions of Verdi’s Falstaff, Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia, and Mozart’s Don Giovanni.

He earned Bachelors and Masters degrees from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville in Music Theory and Music History.  He holds a Masters in Orchestral Conducting and Arts Administration from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.  He also studied for several summers at the Pierre Monteux School for Conductors and Orchestral Training. After a period of post-graduate study, he served as Music Director of the Seven Hills Sinfonietta and the American Opera Auditions in Cincinnati, and from 1992-2006 was Chief Executive Officer of  the BC Pops in Binghamton (NY); the South Dakota Symphony in Sioux Falls; the South Bend Symphony (IN) and the Cape Cod Symphony (MA). He is from Tennessee originally, and his wife Christine from Oswego (she is Director of Career and Extending Learning Services at Cazenovia College).  His son Andrew is a doctoral student in opera performance at the Indiana University (Bloomington) Jacobs School of Music, and sang lead roles in Handel’s Serse, Mozart’s Le Nozze de Figaro, Pergolesi’s La serva padrona, and Englebert Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel during 2013.

For more information call (315) 638-0674 or visit Facebook: Oswego Opera Theater Events; www.oswegoopera.org; or email [email protected]

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