“The Blacksmith”, a Comic Opera

The Blacksmith” is a two act comic opera with songs and dialogue in English, set in the American west of the 1890’s. The opera will be performed by singing actors and musicians of Opera Lafayette, before being presented at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC and in New York City.

The opera was composed in 1762 by Francois-Andre Danican Philidor and is being updated by Opera Lafayette’s Artistic Director Ryan Brown and Stage Director Nick Olcott, who draw on their family histories and those of their native western communities. The performance integrates American folk songs and the audience is invited to sing along.

Saturday Gala Performance
Saturday, May 2, 2020

6:30 PM – 8:30 PM

Saturday’s performance benefits the Mancos Creative District.

Sunday Performance
Sunday, May 3, 2020

6:30 PM – 8:30 PM

The Blacksmith / Painting by Amy Severson

Gala performance of “The Blacksmith”, including a reception with heavy hors d’oeuvres, desserts, a cash bar and an opportunity to meet the musicians.

“The Blacksmith” is a two act comic opera with songs and dialogue in English, set in the American west of the 1890’s. The opera will be performed by singing actors and musicians of Opera Lafayette, before being presented at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC and in New York City.

The opera was composed in 1762 by Francois-Andre Danican Philidor and is being updated by Opera Lafayette’s Artistic Director Ryan Brown and Stage Director Nick Olcott, who draw on their family histories and those of their native western communities. The performance integrates American folk songs and the audience is invited to sing along.

This evening’s performance benefits the Mancos Creative District.

Artistic Team

Nick Olcott, Stage director/ Adaptor

Nick Olcott (director and translator/adaptor) has worked with Opera Lafayette for many years.  As a director, he mounted Bonsoir, Voisin; L’épreuve villageoise; Il barbiere di Siviglia; and most memorably Cosi fan tutte/Les femmes vengées, which played at the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, and the Opéra Royale in Versailles.  As a writer, he supplied dialogue and narration for Le déserteur, Le magnifique, and Sancho Pança.  Other opera credits include Boston Lyric Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, Cleveland Opera, Ash Lawn Opera Festival, Saarburg Serenaden, Prague Summer Nights, and the In Series.  Theatre credits include Arena Stage, the Kennedy Center, Philadelphia Theatre Company, the Round House Theatre, and Constellation Theatre.  His operatic translations and adaptations have been performed by numerous companies, including his Love Potion No. 1 (L’elisir d’amore), Così fan tutte goes Hollywood, The Emperor of New Atlantis, and Fidelio in Latin America.  His musical play Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Purloined Patience (or, the Scandal at the D’Oyly Carte) received a Charles MacArthur Award.

Ryan Brown, Music director/adaptor/violinist

Ryan Brown is the Founder and Artistic Director of Opera Lafayette, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary during the 2019-2020 season. Through his work with Opera Lafayette, Mr. Brown has gained an international reputation for his role in the revival and reassessment of significant works from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. His discography of twelve sound recordings for Naxos has focused on the French repertoire, including well-known works by composers such as Lully, Rameau, and Gluck, as well as premiere recordings of operas by Rebel/Francɶur, Monsigny, Philidor, Grétry, Sacchini, and David.  Mr. Brown has also created two DVDs with Opera Lafayette for Naxos, including the modern premiere of Gaveaux and Bouilly’s Léonore, ou L’Amour conjugal, the model for Beethoven’s Leonore, the latter which Opera Lafayette will present later this season, as well as Rameau’s Les Fêtes de L’Hymen et de L’Amour, ou Les Dieux d’Egypte, a collaboration with the New York Baroque Dance Company, the Seán Curran Dance Company, and Kalanidhi Dance. Mr. Brown has also led performances of operas by Vivaldi, Handel, Mozart, Haydn, Paisiello, and Cimarosa. He regularly appears in Washington, DC and New York with Opera Lafayette and has also conducted in San Francisco, Seattle, and at The Glimmerglass Festival and the Opéra Royal de Versailles. Mr. Brown was raised in a musical family in California and performed extensively as a violinist and chamber musician before turning his attentions to conducting. His teachers included Dorothy DeLay and Gustav Meier. He is a recipient of La Médaille d’Or du Rayonnement Culturel from La Renaissance Française. When not conducting spends his time in southwestern Colorado. 

Lisa Schlenker, Scenic Designer **

Ms. Schlenker is excited to debut with Opera Lafayette on the creative team for THE BLACKSMITH, as Nick and the entire ensemble dive into the fusion of French opera and cowboy folk song! Lisa enjoys a diverse professional life with a variety of Wisconsin based theaters as a scenic designer, and also serves as Florentine Opera Company’s Production Manager. Avocationally, Lisa can be found giving care to Wisconsin’s native bats at Wisconsin Humane Society Wildlife Center, where she is an active wildlife rehabilitator. Lisa’s book with co-author Sandra Strawn: The Properties Director’s Tool Kit is available on Amazon.com. Recent design work: WINDJAMMERSDAIRY HEIRS,WE LIKE IT WHERE, DAD’S SEASON TICKETS (Northern Sky); MARY JANE (Forward Theatre); FIRES IN THE MIRROR (MCT); NUNSENSE (Milwaukee Rep); HAPPY DAYS (Renaissance Theaterworks). Upcoming design projects: THE TRAGEDY OF CARMEN (Florentine Opera); LEONA LIONHEART (Kohl’s Wild Theatre); DOC DANGER (Milwaukee Opera Theatre). 

Thank you for supporting live local theatre!

Marsha LeBoeuf, Costume Designer

Marsha M. LeBoeuf has over 35 years of experience in costume design and management and has been the costume director for Washington National Opera since 1988, overseeing more than 180 productions. She has many responsibilities related to costuming, but her overall responsibility is to ensure that every costume presented on any WNO stage measures up to the most exacting standards. Before coming to WNO, Marsha worked for Missouri Repertory Theatre, Indiana University School of Music, Chicago Opera Theatre, Central City Opera, and designed costumes for numerous theaters in the Chicago area. She designed costumes for Eugene Onegin and Xerxes at Maryland Opera Studio. In addition to her work at WNO, Marsha has been a guest speaker or lecturer at numerous organizations, including the Renwick Art Gallery, National Museum for Women in the Arts, U.S. Institute for Theater Technology, George Mason University and Towson University. Her essay titled “Apparel and the Opera Singer” was published in the Opera America Perspectives Series. She has been a member of the Opera America Technical/Production Committee since 1995 and serves on the Finance Committee for the U.S. Institute for Theater Technology.

Keri Thibodeau, Lighting Design

Cast

Laurent Deleuil, Baritone

Role: Marcel

The French-Canadian baritone Laurent Deleuil made his debut at the Opera National du Rhin, during his time at Opera Studio in the title role of Britten’s opera Owen Wingrave. He moved to Paris in 2013 to take part in the Academie de l’Opera Comique, during his time there he was the understudy for the part of Frederic in Leo Delibes’ Lakme and as Ali Baba in Charles Lecoq’s eponymous operetta.

He recently sang the role of Sam in Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti at the Athenee Theatre and the role of Ulysse in Jules Matton’s new production of Odysee at Opera de Lille. He has also interpreted the role of Idreno on tour with Arcal and Orchestre de la Loge in Haydn’s opera Armida, of Hamlet at the festival Musica Nigella and the title role in Pelleas and Melisande and in a chamber ensemble version presented by the Quebecois collective, 1 Opera 1 Hour. Also known for his concert work, Mr. Deleuil recently took part in the Opera de Bordeaux’s Christmas concert, in a concert of new works at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence and in an international tour of Pierre-Yves Mace and Joris Lacoste’s Suite no3.

Laurent Deleuil holds a master in opera from the Amsterdam Conservatory, which he completed after achieving a first masters in piano at the University of Montreal. He is the winner of several national and international competitions including le Prix d’Europe (Montreal, 2010), the International Competition of Marmande (2014), the International Competition of French Arts songs of Toulouse (Francis Poulence Prize 2015) and was named Generation Spedidam. Soon we can hear him in correct with the Musiciens du Louvre in The Little Marriage of Figaro, at Opera de Tours ( as le Podestat in Doctor Mira-cle), with the Concert Spirituel (as Tircis in The Magnificent Lovers), and at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC in the title role of Philidor’s The Blacksmith/ Le Marechal Ferrant.

Pascale Beaudin, Soprano

Role: Claudine

Pascale Beaudin began her career on stage with the Atelier Lyrique de l’Opera de Montreal. She appears on operatic stages in Canada (Opéra de Montréal, Opera Lyra Ottawa, Opéra de Québec), in France (Angers-Nantes Opéra, Opéra de Marseille, Opéra National de Lorraine, Opéra de Metz) and the United States (Opera Lafayette) in roles such as Zerlina, Papagena, Fiordiligi, Oscar, Adèle de Formoutiers and Nannetta. The New York Times praised her shimmering voice and girlish sassiness, while the Washington Post music critic reported that she sang « the aria “Per pietà” with such deliberate quiet elegance and restraint that it was a highlight not just of the evening, but also of my year. »

Beaudin’s incomparable diction, intelligent musicality and expressivity make her ideal for concert and recital work. In addition to being a permanent member of the Four Nations Ensemble, Mrs. Beaudin collaborates with many orchestras, namely the Orchestre Métropolitain, l’Orchestre Symphonique de Québec, Les Violons du Roy, I Musici de Montréal, the Ensemble Contemporain de Montréal, the McGill Chamber Orchestra, the Orchestre de la Francophonie, the Société de musique contemporaine du Québec, Les Idées Heureuses, Montréal Baroque, the Société d’art vocal de Montréal, the Centre international de mélodie française de Tours and the Orchestre régional de Cannes. She has been invited to perform in music festivals such as the Festival de Lanaudière, the Festival d’opéra de Québec, the Montreal Bach Festival, the Festival des musiques sacrées de Marseille, the Festival du Domaine Forget.

Mrs. Beaudin is one of 6 singers featured on the critically acclaimed 5-disc release « Mélodies complètes de Francis Poulenc » with pianist Olivier Godin, on the Atma label. She is also featured on the world premiere recording of Les femmes vengées, an opera by Philidor, with Opera Lafayette on the Naxos label.

Proud of her Acadian heritage, Pascale Beaudin frequently performs at home, with Symphony New Brunswick and Opera New Brunswick, as well as at the Lamèque International Baroque Music Festival, the Indian River Chamber Music Festival and the Barachois Summer Music Festival.

Pascale Beaudin has received national recognition with government grants from the Canada Arts Council, the Conseil des arts et lettres du Québec and the Jacqueline Desmarais Foundation. 

Véronique Filloux, Soprano

Role: Jeannie

French-American soprano Véronique Filloux has been noted for her “radiant vocal ease” and was recently praised by OperaNews for her “expressive, lovingly shaded soprano.” In the 2019/20 season, she performs the roles of Shepherdess/Soprano Soloist (Venus and Adonis) and Jeannette (The Blacksmith) with Opera Lafayette, with whom she debuted as Tigrane (Radamisto) last year. Also an active concert singer, she returns to soprano solos in Carmina Burana, Bach’s Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen, and Handel’s Messiah, debuting with the Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra and Bach Collegium San Diego. She is thrilled to rejoin Chicago’s Music of the Baroque, singing Pales in Bach’s “Hunt Cantata” and Aricie/La chasseresse (Hippolyte et Aricie, excerpts). She spends the summer with Des Moines Metro Opera, singing Amour and covering La folie in Platée. Véronique recently completed two summers with Central City Opera, with whom she sang both Papagena (Die Zauberflöte) and the title role in Debussy’s La damoiselle élue. She was awarded the company’s Apprentice Artist Award and the prestigious Central City Opera Young Artist Award. Other recent highlights include her debut with Chicago Opera Theatre, covering Brigitta (Iolanta) and Doodle (The Scarlet Ibis), and solo work in Handel’s Dixit Dominus and The Fairy Queen (excerpts) with Music of the Baroque. Additional performances include Mae Jones (Street Scene), Soeur Constance (Dialogues des Carmélites), Servilia (La clemenza di Tito), Isifile (Il Giasone), Adele (Die Fledermaus), Despina (Così fan tutte), Lily (The Young King– world premiere), Olympia (Les contes d’Hoffmann), and solos in lost objects, several Bach cantatas, and Poulenc’s Gloria. Véronique is a first prize winner in the Saltworks Opera Competition and an Encouragement Award recipient from the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions- Capitol District.

Jack Swanson, Tenor

Role: Cody

Stillwater, Minnesota native Jack Swanson is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after young tenors in the opera world. His distinctive high lyric voice is known for singing the acrobatic arias of Rossini and the legato melodies of Donizetti.

This season brings Mr. Swanson to new stages in new roles: first in Frankfurt as Rodrigo in a new production of Rossini’s Otello, then as Belmonte in Die Entführung aus dem Serail with Opera Omaha and to Opera Lafayette as Cody in Philidor’s The Blacksmith. A special project will be Jack Swanson’s debut with the Minnesota Opera, his home company, as the title-role in the world premiere of Paola Prestini’s Edward Tulane. Mr. Swanson rounds out the season with a return to the Santa Fe Opera as Almaviva in Il Barbiere di Siviglia. In concert, the tenor will be heard in Paris in Rossini’s Messa di Gloria and at New York’s Alice Tully Hall for a concert of pieces by sons of J.S. Bach. Future engagements include debuts with the Houston Grand Opera and returns to the Norwegian Opera and Garsington Opera.

Mr. Swanson is the competition winner and recipient of several prestigious awards including first place in Florida Grand Opera’s Young Patroness Competition, The San Antonio Music Club Competition, The National Opera Association Competition and The Hal Leonard Art Song Competition. He twice received the Richard Tucker Memorial award from the Santa Fe Opera. He was a finalist in both Houston Grand Opera’s Eleanor McCollum competition and Fort Worth Opera’s McCammon Competition. Recently, Mr. Swanson was featured on National Public Radio’s Young Artist in Residence program, Performance Today.

Frank Kelley, Slim MacBride/Banjo

Mr. Kelley sings a wide variety of music throughout North America and Europe. He has performed many roles with the Odyssey Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Opera Boston, Florentine Opera, Opera Theater of St. Louis, and the San Francisco Opera Company, and has appeared at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, the Theatre de la Monnaie in Brussels, The Frankfurt Opera, Opera de Monte Carlo, Dallas Opera, Nashville Opera and in the Peter Sellars productions of Die Sieben Todsünden, Das Kleine Mahagonny, Cosi fan tutte, and Le nozze di Figaro. The Mozart operas were recorded by Decca and Austrian Public Television, and were broadcast on PBS’s “Great Performances”. They are available on London DVD as is Weill’s Die Sieben Todsünden. His recording of Elmer Gantry, with the Florentine Opera Company and the Milwaukee Symphony for Naxos records, has won two Grammy awards including best original composition. The most recent recording, Carlisle Floyd’s Wuthering Heights, (Florentine Opera and Milwaukee Symphony) has been highly acclaimed. In concert performances Mr. Kelley has sung with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the National Symphony, the Dallas Symphony, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional, Orquesta Sinfónica de Mineria, and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s. He has performed medieval and renaissance music with Sequentia, the Boston Camerata, and the Waverly Consort, and he performs baroque music with the Handel and Haydn Society, Boston Baroque, Emmanuel Music, Music of the Baroque, and Aston Magna. Mr. Kelley has participated in the Blossom Festival, the Tanglewood Festival, Ravinia Festival, Marlboro Music Festival, Pepsico Summerfare, the New England Bach Festival, Next Wave Festival, Wexford Festival Opera, and the Boston Early Music Festival. He has recorded for Naxos, London, Decca, Erato, Harmonia Mundi France, Teldec, Telarc, Koch International, Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, and Centaur. Mr. Kelley has directed productions for the Florentine Opera (Elmer Gantry, 2015) and for Odyssey Opera (Patience, 2017 and La Belle Hélène, 2019). A resident of Boston, Mr. Kelley sings there regularly with Emmanuel Music, both in the ongoing series which presents the complete Bach cantatas and in special projects, including the complete piano/vocal works of Beethoven, Schumann and Brahms, Schubert lieder, Don Giovanni, Alcina, The Magic Flute, The St. John Passion, The Rake’s Progress, Susanna, Die Schöne Müllerin and Dichterliebe with Russell Sherman, Die Sieben Todsünden, and most recently, The St. Matthew Passion.

Jonathan Woody, bass-baritone

Bass-baritone Jonathan Woody is a sought-after performer of early and new music in New York and across North America. He has been featured with historically-informed orchestras such as Apollo’s Fire, Boston Early Music Festival, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, Bach Collegium San Diego, Portland Baroque Orchestra and New York Baroque Incorporated, earning praise as “charismatic,” “riveting,” and “wonderfully dramatic.” Jonathan is also committed to ensemble singing at the highest level and has performed with the Choir of Trinity Wall Street, TENET, the Clarion Music Society and New York Polyphony, among others. An avid performer of new music, Jonathan has premiered works including Ellen Reid’s p r i s m (2019 Pulitzer Prize winner), Ted Hearne’s The Source, Missy Mazzoli’s Breaking the Waves (NYC premiere), and Du Yun’s Angel’s Bone (2017 Pulitzer Prize winner). He has appeared with Staunton Music Festival, Aldeburgh Festival, Portland Bach Festival, Carmel Bach Festival, Oregon Bach Festival, Opera Lafayette, Gotham Chamber Opera, and Beth Morrison Projects. Jonathan has recorded with the Choir of Trinity Wall Street (Musica Omnia), Boston Early Music Festival (RadioBremen), and New York Polyphony (BIS Records). Jonathan’s musical pursuits extend beyond his voice, and has been commissioned as a composer for groups including Lorelei Ensemble, the Handel & Haydn Society and the Uncommon Music Festival. Currently based in Brooklyn, NY, Jonathan holds degrees from McGill University and the University of Maryland, College Park and is represented by Miguel Rodriguez of Athlone Artists.

Musicians

Ryan Brown, Music director/adaptor/violinist

Ryan Brown is the Founder and Artistic Director of Opera Lafayette, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary during the 2019-2020 season. Through his work with Opera Lafayette, Mr. Brown has gained an international reputation for his role in the revival and reassessment of significant works from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. His discography of twelve sound recordings for Naxos has focused on the French repertoire, including well-known works by composers such as Lully, Rameau, and Gluck, as well as premiere recordings of operas by Rebel/Francɶur, Monsigny, Philidor, Grétry, Sacchini, and David.  Mr. Brown has also created two DVDs with Opera Lafayette for Naxos, including the modern premiere of Gaveaux and Bouilly’s Léonore, ou L’Amour conjugal, the model for Beethoven’s Leonore, the latter which Opera Lafayette will present later this season, as well as Rameau’s Les Fêtes de L’Hymen et de L’Amour, ou Les Dieux d’Egypte, a collaboration with the New York Baroque Dance Company, the Seán Curran Dance Company, and Kalanidhi Dance. Mr. Brown has also led performances of operas by Vivaldi, Handel, Mozart, Haydn, Paisiello, and Cimarosa. He regularly appears in Washington, DC and New York with Opera Lafayette and has also conducted in San Francisco, Seattle, and at The Glimmerglass Festival and the Opéra Royal de Versailles. Mr. Brown was raised in a musical family in California and performed extensively as a violinist and chamber musician before turning his attentions to conducting. His teachers included Dorothy DeLay and Gustav Meier. He is a recipient of La Médaille d’Or du Rayonnement Culturel from La Renaissance Française. When not conducting spends his time in southwestern Colorado. 

Adam Gardino, Guitarist

Adam Gardino has been dazzling audiences since 2005.  At 16, he placed in the top five of the International Finger Style Guitar Competition held in Winfield, KS.  Continuing to hone his skills, in 2010 he placed 3rd behind the infamous Pete Huttlinger; and eventually he worked his way to winning twice – in 2012, and again in 2019 after the mandatory 5-year hiatus. He graduated from CU Denver in 2011 with a B.S. in Music Performance.   In his many performances he has shared the stage with Stephen Bennett, Grammy winners Doug Smith and Pat Donohue and opened for Adrian Legg, Jake Shimabukuro and Josh Turner.  Adam joined the Flying W Wranglers in 2014 and got the opportunity learn about stage craft firsthand from the second oldest Cowboy Western band.  As one critic would say, “He could play the phonebook and make it interesting”.

Doug Balliet, Bass player

Doug Balliett is a composer, instrumentalist and poet based in New York City. The New York Times has described his poetry as “brilliant and witty” (Clytie and the Sun), his bass playing as “elegant” (Shawn Jaeger’s In Old Virginny), and his compositions as “vivid, emotive, with contemporary twists” (Actaeon). Popular new music blog I Care if You Listen has critiqued Mr. Balliett’s work as “weird in the best possible way” (A Gnostic Passion) and “light-hearted yet dark…it had the audience laughing one minute and in tears the next…” (Pyramus and Thisbe). He teaches baroque bass and violone at the Juilliard School since 2017. With a constant stream of commissions, many compositional and educational projects produced with his twin brother, and nearly 200 performances per year, Mr. Balliett has been identified as an important and active voice for his generation.

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