John Moore — Count Almaviva
San Diego Opera debut. American baritone John Moore is a frequent performer in both Europe and the United States. A graduate of the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Program, recent appearances include Seattle Opera as Figaro in The Barber of Seville, Hannah Before in As One with Des Moines Metro Opera, Johannes “Pa” Zegner in Proving Up with Opera Omaha, and the Glyndebourne Festival as Achilla in Giulio Cesare. Notable appearances include the world premiere of Missy Mazzoli’s Breaking the Waves with Opera Philadelphia, singing the role of Jan, a role he reprised with Beth Morrison Projects. He also appeared at the Metropolitan Opera as Moralès in Carmen, Seattle Opera as Papageno in The Magic Flute, the Hyogo Performing Arts Center and Santa Cruz Symphony as Figaro, and concert appearances with the Chamber Music Society at Lincoln Center featuring works of Vaughan Williams and Weber. Other notable appearances include Seattle Opera and The Atlanta Opera as Count Almaviva, Bayerische Staatsoper as Adario in Les indes galantes, Florida Grand Opera as Tadeusz in The Passenger, Portland Opera as Papageno, and Opera Omaha as Figaro, Nachtigal in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Fléville in Andrea Chénier, Yamadori in Madama Butterfly, Donald in Billy Budd and Papageno for the Metropolitan Opera, Donald in Billy Budd with Glyndebourne at BAM, and Guglielmo in Così fan tutte at Hyogo Performing Arts Center, Japan, among others.
Evan Hughes — Figaro
San Diego Opera debut. American Bass-Baritone Evan Hughes enjoys an international career. Notable appearances include Cithéron and the Satire in Platée at Sächsische Staatsoper, Theseus in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Opera Philadelphia, Astolfo in Vivaldi’s Orlando Furioso with the Bolshoi Theater, Narbal in Les Troyens, Figaro in The Marriage of Figaro, Leporello in Don Giovanni with the Sächsische Staatsoper, Nick Shadow and the Keeper of the Madhouse for The Rake’s Progress at the National Dutch Opera, and Somnus in Semele for Komische Oper, Berlin. Additional appearances include appearances Semperoper Dresden as a fest member in roles such as Guglielmo in Così fan tutte, Leporello and Masetto in Don Giovanni, Angelotti in Tosca, Schaunard in La bohème, Figaro in The Marriage of Figaro, Angelotti in Tosca, Emma Becker in Nachtausgabe, Achilla in Giulio Cesare, Zoroastro in Orlando, Don Basilio in The Barber of Seville, and Pietro in Simon Boccanegra. Other appearances included a debut with Boston Lyric Opera as the title-role in The Marriage of Figaro, Komische Oper Berlin for Don Basilio, Theseus in A Midsummer Night's Dream on tour in Beijing with the Aix-en-Provence Festival, Leporello with Komische Opera, Oroe in Semiramide for Washington Concert Opera, Starveling in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Metropolitan Opera, and Zuniga in Carmen and Don Fernando in Fidelio with Santa Fe Opera. An alumnus of the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, Mr. Hughes scored a great personal success as Don Alfonso in a production of Così fan tutte directed by Stephen Wadsworth and conducted by Alan Gilbert at the Peter Jay Sharp Theater at Lincoln Center. Mr. Hughes attended the Curtis Institute of Music and was a regional winner and a national Semi-Finalist in the 2010 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.
Caitlin Lynch — Countess
San Diego Opera debut. American soprano Caitlin Lynch’s notable appearances include the Countess at the Metropolitan Opera, Palm Beach Opera, Seattle Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Lyric Opera Baltimore, Michigan Opera, and Opera Lyra Ottawa, the First Lady and Pamina in The Magic Flute, Biancofiore in Zandonai’s Francesca da Rimini, Cynthia in Nico Muhly’s Two Boys for the Metropolitan Opera, Konstanze in Die entführung aus dem Serail for Madison Opera and Arizona Opera, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni at English National Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Green Mountain Opera Festival, Michigan Opera Theatre, Micaëla in Carmen at Seattle Opera and the Seiji Ozawa Music Academy, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni for Utah Opera, Madison Opera, and Opera Carolina, Violetta in La traviata with Chautauqua Opera, Arizona Opera and Des Moines Metro Opera, Yadwiga in the world première of Ben Moore’s Enemies, a Love Story at Palm Beach Opera, and Marguerite in Faust at Michigan Opera Theatre. She created the role of Eliza in Nico Muhly’s chamber opera, Dark Sisters, which premiered at the Gotham Chamber Opera with subsequent performances at the Opera Company of Philadelphia. She has worked closely with composers such as Jake Heggie, who engaged her to sing the world première of his new song cycle, Another Sunrise, commissioned by Music of Remembrance in Seattle. This led to a world-premiere performance of a commission by Jake Heggie with Music of Remembrance entitled, Farewell, Auschwitz! Other notable performances include Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte for Opera Carolina, Arizona Opera, and Palm Beach Opera, Alice Ford in Falstaff with Opera Cleveland and the Boston Youth Symphony, Musetta in La bohème at Nashville Opera, Leïla in The Pearl Fishers at Opera Cleveland, and Mrs. Gobineau in The Medium at Spoleto Festival USA.
Sarah Shafer — Susanna
San Diego Opera debut. Notable appearances by American soprano Sarah Shafer include
Azema in Semiramide for the Metropolitan Opera, Leïla in The Pearl Fishers at Tulsa Opera, Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Pamina in The Magic Flute, Rosetta in Two Women, and Mary Lennox in The Secret Garden for San Francisco Opera, Adina in The Elixir of Love, Nuria in Osvaldo Golijov’s Ainadamar, Voce dal Cielo in Don Carlo, and Papagena in The Magic Flute for Opera Philadelphia, and Barbarina in The Marriage of Figaro for Glyndebourne. An avid concert soloist, notable appearances include Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with Malmö Symphony Orchestra, Mozart’s Mass in C Minor with Utah Symphony Orchestra, Carmina Burana with the San Antonio Symphony, Mozart’s Requiem with the Omaha Symphony, Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony with both the Cheyenne and Williamsport Symphony Orchestras, and the world premiere of Richard Danielpour’s Talking to Aphrodite with the Sejong Soloists at Carnegie Hall. She enjoys an active collaboration with legendary pianist Richard Goode, having recently performed Schumann and Brahms lieder at Carnegie Hall and Schubert’s Der Hirt auf dem Felsen with clarinetist Anthony McGill at the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society. Highlights of concert work include appearances at Carnegie Hall with the New York Choral Society in Mendelssohn’s St. Paul, Handel’s Israel in Egypt with the New York Choral Society, and Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony with the New York Youth Symphony at Carnegie Hall. Ms. Shafer has appeared as soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the National Orchestra of Mexico, the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, Wroclaw Symphony Orchestra, the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Quad City Symphony Orchestra, among others.
Emily Fons — Cherubino
American mezzo-soprano Emily Fons made her Company debut as Zerlina in 2015’s Don Giovanni. Notable appearances include Ruby Thewes in Cold Mountain for the world premiere at Santa Fe Opera and again for Opera North Carolina, Sister Helen Prejean in Dead Man Walking for Kentucky Opera, the title role in Ravel’s L’enfant et les Sortilèges, with the Berlin Philharmonic, and in Japan as part of the Seiji Ozawa Music Academy in Tokyo, Kyoto, and Nagoya, the title role in Cinderella for Opéra de Lille, Stéphano in Roméo and Juliette with the Santa Fe Opera, Cherubino for the Canadian Opera Company and The Dallas Opera, Dorabella in Opera Omaha’s Così fan tutte, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni with the Florentine Opera, the title roles in Handel’s Susanna and Faramondo with the International Händel Festspiele, Sièbel in Faust with the Atlanta Opera, Prince Orlowsky in Die Fledermaus and Nicklausse in The Tales of Hoffmann with Chicago Opera Theatre. She made her European debut in the role of Megacle in Vivaldiʼs LʼOlimpiade with Garsington Opera. She also appeared as Sesto in Michigan Opera Theatreʼs production of Julius Caesar. From 2010-2012 Fons was a member of the Ryan Center at the Lyric Opera of Chicago where she portrayed, among others, Fyodor in Boris Godnuov, Mercedes in Carmen, and Peep Bo in The Mikado.
Susanne Mentzer — Marcellina
American mezzo-soprano Susanne Mentzer made her Company debut as Rosina in 1987’s The Barber of Seville and returned to sing Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier in 1992. Notable roles include Marcellina in The Marriage of Figaro for the Metropolitan Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, and Milwaukee Symphony, the Beggar Woman in Sweeney Todd with Opera Theatre St. Louis, Mrs. Patrick DeRocher in Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking, Nellie in Carlisle Floyd’s Wuthering Heights, Cherubino in The Marriage of Figaro, Idamante in Idomeneo, der Komponist in Ariadne auf Naxos, and Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier, Dorabella and Despina in Così fan tutte, Rosina in The Barber of Seville, Adalgisa in Norma, and Jane Seymour in Anna Bolena. As a recitalist Susanne has appeared in recital on the Great Performers series at Alice Tully Hall, Carnegie’s Weill and Zankel halls, NY Festival of Song, Tisch Center for the Arts, Morgan Library, Town Hall, Tannery Pond, Schubert Club St. Paul, Kennedy Center, Vocal Arts Society- DC, Spivey Hall Atlanta, Schwartz Hall at Emory, Santa Fe Concert Association, Aspen Music Festival, Aspen Winter Music, Wyatt Artist in Residence Series-Calgary, Ravinia Festival, Ann Arbor University Music Society, and Oberlin College. She has an extensive discography of over 25 recordings. Her most recent project is a recording of songs by American opera composer Carlisle Floyd to be released on GPR Records through Naxos.
Ashraf Sewailam — Bartolo
Ashraf Sewailam, Bartolo
Egyptian bass-baritone Ashraf Sewailam made his San Diego Opera debut in 2012 as Cappadocian in Salome, appeared as the Third Tempter/Third Knight in Murder in the Cathedral and as the King in Aida in 2013, was heard in 2014 as Count Horn in A Masked Ball, in 2015 as Leporello in Don Giovanni, and in 2016 as Alidoro in Cinderella. He made his U.S. debut in 2004 with Opera Colorado performing the role of Leporello in Don Giovanni, a role he has also performed with Seattle Opera. Other performances include Basilio in The Barber of Seville with Opera San Antonio, Monterone in Rigoletto for Opera Grand Rapids, Opera Toledo, and Opera Carolina, the Captain in Florencia en el Amazonas for Madison Opera, Sparafucile in Rigoletto with New Zealand Opera, the Mandarin in Turandot and Colline in La bohème with Seattle Opera, Colline for Lake George Opera, Mobile Opera and The Chattanooga Symphony and Opera, Ferrando in Il trovatore for Virginia Opera and Mobile Opera, Mustafá in The Italian Girl in Algiers with Opera Southwest, Basilio and the Pirate King in The Pirates of Penzance with Lyric Opera San Diego, Bonze in Madama Butterfly with Virginia Opera, and Sparafucile with Fresno Grand Opera where he also sang Alidoro in Cinderella. With Chautauqua Opera he performed Ferrando and the role of Secret Police Agent in The Consul. He recently directed The Cunning Little Vixen for Dell’Arte Opera in New York.
Stephen Lawless — Director
British stage director Stephen Lawless made his Company debut in 2007 directing Il trovatore and returned in 2014 to direct The Elixir of Love. He was Director of Production for the Glyndebourne Touring Opera from 1986 to 1991, where his work included Britten’s Death in Venice which was recorded by the BBC for television and video release. He made his debut with the Kirov Opera in Leningrad with Boris Godunov which became the first ever live telecast of an opera from the Soviet Union to the United Kingdom. In recent seasons, Lawless has directed The Elixir of Love, a co-production for Los Angeles Opera and Grand Théâtre de Genève, La clemenza di Tito for the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, The Marriage of Figaro and La bohème for the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Falstaff for Los Angeles Opera, Don Giovanni for the Metropolitan Opera, Il trovatore and Maria Stuarda for the Canadian Opera Company, Capriccio for New York City Opera, Il trovatore at Houston Grand Opera, Anna Bolena at Washington National Opera, The Marriage of Figaro at Portland Opera, Faust at Santa Fe Opera, and Anna Bolena at The Dallas Opera. Other engagements have been with the Staatstheater Nürnberg, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Vienna Staatsoper, Teatro La Fenice in Venice, the Berlin Staatsoper, and the Hong Kong and New Zealand Festivals.
John Nelson — Conductor
San Diego Opera debut. American John Nelson has been the Musical Director of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, the Opera Theater of St. Louis, the Caramoor Music Festival in New York and the Chamber Orchestra of Paris. He has also been the Principal Guest Conductor of the National Orchestra of Lyon, Artistic Advisor of the orchestras of Nashville and Louisville, and is presently the Principal Guest Conductor of the National Orchestra of Costa Rica, the country in which he was born to American missionary parents. He has conducted virtually all the major orchestras in the United States and Canada including those of New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Montreal and Toronto, all the major London orchestras, the Dresden Staatskapelle, the Leipzig Gewandhaus, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, the Orchestre de Paris, the Oslo Philharmonic, the Budapest Festival Orchestra and all the major orchestras in Spain. In Asia, he has conducted the New Japan Philharmonic, the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, the Malaysian Philharmonic, the Hong Kong Philharmonic, the China Philharmonic and the orchestras of Shanghai and Guangzhou. His large repertoire has led him to the world's great opera houses including the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Bastille in Paris, the Stuttgart Opera, the Grand Théâtre in Geneva, the Netherlands Opera and the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma. He is recognized as a great interpreter of the sacred music repertoire. In 1994, he co-founded Soli Deo Gloria, an organization based in Chicago that commissions works of sacred music from the world's great composers such as Christopher Rouse, James MacMillan and Roxanna Panufnik. His discography includes Handel's Semele (Grammy Award 1993), Berlioz’s Béatrice et Bénédict (Diapason d'Or 1992) and highly acclaimed DVDs of Bach's B minor Mass and St. Matthew Passion, Haydn's Die Schöpfung and Beethoven's Missa Solemnis. He also recorded the complete Beethoven Symphonies and Piano Concertos with the Orchestre de Chambre de Paris of which he is Honorary Musical Director. Recent appearances include Bach's Weihnachtsoratorium with Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, Don Giovanni at Santa Fe Opera, as well as engagements with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra, the Oxford Philharmonic, the Symphony Silicon Valley, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of London, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra, the Czech Philharmonic and the Kioi Sinfonietta in Tokyo, the Aspen Music Festival, the Frankfurt Opera for Les Troyens, followed by a recording for Warner Classics of the same opera with Joyce DiDonato as Didon and the Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra, The Damnation of Faust in Bucharest, and a tour of Canada and China with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.