Artists and Production

Jessica Milanese - Lucia - Jessica Robins Milanese (soprano) returns to Vashon Opera after singing the role of Sister Constance in Vashon Opera's production of Dialogues of the Carmelites and the role of Miss Wordsworth in Vashon Opera's production of Albert Herring. She is critically acclaimed for the depth and sparkle she brings to her performances on the concert and opera stage. With the Northwest Sinfonietta, The News Tribune stated “Jessica Robins Milanese's performance of the well known Exsultate, Jubilate by Mozart was all that could be wished for. Milanese’s voice rang like liquid gold, and she produced some goose-bump coloratura.” Ms. Milanese has performed with many of the regions leading arts organizations such as Seattle Opera, Seattle Symphony, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Nothwest Sinfonietta, Tacoma Opera, Tacoma Symphony and Orchestra Seattle. On the opera stage, Susanna, (The Marriage of Figaro), is one of Ms. Milanese's favorite and most frequently performed characters. She has performed the role with Tacoma Opera, Washington East Opera, Skagit Opera and Opera Pacific. Other memorable roles include Rosina (Il Barbiere di Siviglia), Héro (Béatrice et Bénédict) , Blonde (Die Entführung aus dem Serail), Norina (Don Pasquale), Marie (Daughter of the Regiment), Pamina (The Magic Flute), Zerlina (Don Giovanni) and Gretel (Hansel and Gretel). After Lucia, Jessica looks forward to singing the title role in Tacoma Opera's production of The Merry Widow this coming spring.

Noah Baetge - Sir Edgardo of Ravenswood - Noah Baetge (tenor) starts off the 2017-18 season with a triumphant return to Vashon Opera after performing the role of Cavaradossi in Tosca this past May. Later in the season he will make his role debut as Calaf in Turandot with Pacific Northwest Opera.. Last season, Mr. Baetge made several successful role debuts, including Mario Cavaradossi in Tosca, Florestan in Fidelio, Manrico in Il Trovatore, and the Gran Sacerdote in Idomeneo at the Metropolican Opera (while covering the title role). A native of the Pacific Northwest, Mr. Baetge received his Bachelors of Music from Pacific Lutheran University. After graduating, he spent two years in the Seattle Opera Young Artist program, as well as several other notables, including Music Academy of the West, Pittsburgh Opera Resident Artist Program and the Caramoor Summer Music Festival. In 2012, Mr. Baetge received an Artist Diploma in Opera Studies from The Juilliard School in NYC. Making his Met Opera debut in 2011, Mr. Baetge has gone on to sing and cover many roles on the Met Stage, including Walther von der Vogelweide in Tannhäuser, Augustin Moser in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, the Tambourmajor in Wozzeck, and Neptune in The Enchanted Island. Mr. Baetge made his Carnegie hall debut in 2012 singing the tenor solo in Verdi’s Reqiuem with the St. Cecilia Chorus & Orchestra and continues to sing with prominent symphonies and opera companies around the United States.

José Rubio - Lord Enrico Ashton - Internationally acclaimed baritone José Rubio has quickly established himself performing at major and regional venues across the country. He returns to Vashon after performing the role of Tonio in Vashon Opera's production of I Pagliacci. Equally comfortable in the concert hall as on the operatic stage, Mr. Rubio made his Carnegie Hall Recital Debut which was met with great acclaim. Mr. Rubio's recent engagements have included Falke in Die Fledermaus with Tacoma Opera, company debuts with Asheville Lyric Opera singing Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, and Skagit Opera singing Guglielmo in Così fan tutte. Internationally he was seen on tour in China with the ISING! Internatioal Festival in 2014. Other engagements recently have included a return to Portland Opera singing Morales in Carmen, a reprisal of Le Mari in Les Mamelles de Tirésias with Brava! Opera Theater, Tarquinius in The Rape of Lucretia with Vespertine Opera, the title role in Il Barbiere di Siviglia with Tacoma Opera, and as the Baritone Soloist in Carmina Burana in Seattle with the Spectrum Dance Theater.  In past seasons was seen with Cincinnati Opera in Galileo Galilei, Guglielmo in Così fan Tutte for Tacoma Opera, Bob and Ben in The Old Maid and the Thief, and The Telephone with Brava! Opera Theater, Marcello in La Bohème and Le Mari in the US premiere of the Benjamin Britten adaptation of Poulenc's Les Mamelles de Tirésias with Vespertine Opera, and Portland Opera for the West Coast Premiere of Galileo Galilei, by Philip Glass. He also made his New York City operatic debut to great acclaim in Angel of the Amazon by Evan Mack, a world premiere production with Encompass Opera. He received his Artist Diploma and Master’s degree from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and holds a Bachelor’s from the University of Washington. Mr. Rubio has been a two time winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council District Competition. He is featured in two of Philip Glass's operas that were recorded on the Orange Mountain Music label: Orpheé and Galileo Galilei. He can also be heard on Albany Records' world premiere recording of Evan Mack's American Opera, Angel of the Amazon.

John Marzano - Lord Arturo Bucklaw - John Marzano (tenor) returns to Vashon Opera after singing the role of First Commissioner in the 2016 production of Dialogues of the Carmelites and the role of Le Remendado in the 2012 production of Carmen. He was born and raised in Tacoma, WA. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Vocal Performance at Pacific Lutheran University studying under baritone Barry Johnson. Mr. Marzano has also studied at the New England Conservatory under tenor Bradley Williams. Mr. Marzano is a frequent performer with Seattle Opera and Vashon Opera amongst many other companies. Recent opera roles include Hermosa L’ile de Tulipatan (Crested Butte Music Festival), Gherardo Gianni Schicchi (Crested Butte Music Festival), Ferrando Così fan tutte (NEC Opera), Count Almaviva Il Barbiere di Siviglia (PLU Summer Opera), Tamino Die Zauberflöte (PLU Opera), Rinuccio Gianni Schicchi (PLU Opera), Jupiter Semele (PLU Opera), Mr. Upfold Albert Herring (PLU Opera). He is also an Associate Chorus Member with the Seattle Opera. Mr. Marzano has received numerous awards from the Metropolitan Opera National Council including District and Regional Encouragement Awards and was also named the Northwest District Winner in 2013 and 2015. Mr. Marzano frequents the concert stage as well and has performed with groups such as the Federal Way Symphony, Pacific Lutheran University Orchestra, Tacoma Youth Symphony, Seattle Opera, PLU Choral Union, PLU Choir of the West, PLU University Chorale. He recently finished a season at the Crested Butte Music Festival where he was awarded the music festival’s Rosalind Jackson Award for Excellence. His upcoming engagements include The Songs and Life of Bern Herbolsheimer: in Recital (Seattle Art Song Society), Camille de Rosillon The Merry Widow (Tacoma Opera).

Charles Robert Austin - Raimondo Bidebent - Charles Robert Austin (bass-baritone) has been described by critics as a "possessor of a strikingly beautiful voice" and "completely commanding on stage". He was recently seen singing in the concert portion of Vashon Opera's production of Pagliacci Palooza and he sang the role of Don Alfonso in Vashon Opera's production of Così fan tutte. On the operatic stage his successes include returns to the Metropolitan Opera, LA Opera, Cleveland Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Virginia Opera, Madison Opera, Michigan Opera Theater, Canadian Opera Company, and Opera Pacific portraying such roles as King Mark, Rocco, Duke Bluebeard, Daland, King Henry the Fowler, Wotan, Figaro, Sarastro and Hunding. He created the role of King Hrothgar for the world premiere of Grendel for LA Opera. Recent concert performances include Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast with the Seattle Symphony and Canton Symphony; Mozart’s Requiem with the Cleveland Orchestra; Bach’s Mass in B Minor and Bartok’s Duke Bluebeard’s Castle with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra; Handel’s Messiah with the San Diego Symphony; a Wagner gala evening with the Canton Symphony Orchestra; Berlioz Romeo et Juliette with the Louisville Orchestra; Verdi’s Requiem with the Dayton Philharmonic. His recordings include, for Naxos - Peter Ibbetson, The Execution of Stepan Razin, Merry Mount, for Milken Archives - The Eternal Road, for Chandos - The Consul, for Phillips - Tosca, and for Arabesque - La Fedelta Premiata.

Alexandra Hollerman - Alisa -  Alexandra Hollerman (mezzo soprano)makes her debut with Vashon Opera. She graduated with her masters degree from Louisiana State University. Since graduation, she has moved to the Seattle area and has been in many productions as a variety of characters including Mercedes in Carmen with Opera Bend and Pacific Northwest Opera, Suzy in La Rondine with Puget Sound Concert Opera, and a chorus member in Don Giovanni and Die Fledermaus with Tacoma Opera. Before the move Alexandra performed as Dinah in Trouble in Tahiti with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Heredia, Dorabella with LSU Opera, and Meg Page with BASOTI, amongst others. Alexandra has a passion for music and for performing that she loves to share with people.

Andrew Etherington - Normanno - Andrew Etherington (tenor) makes his debut with Vashon Opera. He hails from Overland Park, Kansas – a suburb of Kansas City. His interest in singing began at his high school, where three musicals were produced a year. Seeking to break him out of the chorus, Andrew’s mother took the initiative to sign up her aspiring baseball player for voice lessons. After being dragged kicking and screaming to his initial voice consultation, he quickly realized his voice had an affinity for the classical technique and, as they say, the opera bug bit. Andrew received his undergraduate at Ole Miss and honed his singing and stage skills with Dr. Bill Hall’s American Opera Studio. In 2010, Andrew moved to Baltimore to attend The Peabody Institute and there expanded his skills beyond that of a performer by receiving mentorship in vocal pedagogy and conducted a volunteer choir at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. He also performed regularly in the professional choruses of Lyric Opera of Baltimore, Baltimore Concert Opera, and Washington National Opera. Andrew and his wife relocated to Silverdale, Washington for her career in 2015. He is an adjunct voice faculty member at Olympic College in Bremerton, WA where he teaches voice lessons and assists with the opera and choral departments. Recently, Andrew performed the role of Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi at Pacific Lutheran University’s Summer Opera Workshop and will be singing with the Seattle Opera chorus for several productions this season. Andrew studies with Barry Johnson and coaches with Phillip Kelsey.

James Brown - Conductor, Stage Director, Musical Director, and Orchestral Arranger - James Brown enjoys an eclectic career of singing, teaching, stage direction and conducting. His work has been seen at Vashon Opera in Tosca, Dialogues of the Carmelites Pagliacci Palooza, The Elixir of Love, Carmen, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Così fan tutte, Die Fledermaus, Werther, and Don Giovanni as stage director, conductor and arranger, Albert Herring (stage director & conductor), Madama Butterfly (stage director) and Eugene Onegin (conductor and arranger). Other productions as stage director include Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Kurt Weill’s Street Scene, Monteverdi’s Orfeo, Handel’s Semele, Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (all PLU Opera), La Bohème (Bellevue Opera) and a critically acclaimed production of Sweeney Todd (Lakewood Playhouse). Recent productions included: conductor and stage director for Carmen with Pacific Northwest Opera (formerly Skagit Opera) and a world premiere opera, Fiery Jade- Cai Yan (Youtz) with PLU Opera. He is the Chair of Vocal Studies at Pacific Lutheran University where he directs the opera and oversees a large voice program. James holds degrees from Loyola University/New Orleans, The Juilliard School and the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Upcoming productions for James include The Magic Flute in May with Vashon Opera.

Evan Stults - Rehearsal Pianist - Evan Stults is an accomplished vocal accompanist whose experience spans opera, recital, musical theatre, choral music, and cabaret. Evan is the founding musical director of the Vashon Opera, and accompanied island productions of The Magic Flute, La Bohème, The Tender Land, The Barber of Seville, Carmen, Eugene Onegin, Werther, Die Fledermaus, Albert Herring,The Elixir of Love, Pagliacci Palooza, Dialogues of the Carmelites and Tosca. Since 1986, Evan has been the principal accompanist for the Seattle Men’s Chorus. He has played for the Seattle Opera and Seattle’s Fifth Avenue Theatre, toured the US and Canada for Columbia Artists and Community Concerts Association, and played for dozens of musicals in professional and community theatres and off-Broadway. Evan’s accompanying career includes international tours and performances in Carnegie Hall, Benaroya Hall, and leading concert halls across the US. He has accompanied artists as diverse as Frederica von Stade, Renee Fleming, Kristin Chenoweth, and Harvey Fierstein, and has played for premieres of new works by composers David Diamond, Gian-Carlo Menotti, and John Corigliano.

Joseph Farmer - Chorus Master - Joe Farmer has participated in many Vashon Opera productions including Die Fledermaus (Dr. Blind), Il tabarro (Venditore di Canzonetti), Gianni Schicchi (Pinellino), Eugene Onegin (chorus soloist), The Tender Land and The Music Shop (Ivan). He has acted as chorus master for Vashon Opera's productions of Tosca, Dialogues of the Carmelites, Pagliacci Palooza, The Elixir of Love, Die Fledermaus, Così fan tutte, Carmen, Madama Butterfly, Il tabarro and Don Giovanni. Joe has also performed the role of Frederick, the pirate apprentice, in Vashon’s Drama Dock production of Gilbert and Sullivan's, The Pirates of Penzance. In 2011, he was a countertenor participant in Pacific Musicwork’s, “L’Accademia d’Amore”, a 10-day workshop at Cornish College of the Arts focusing on the musical and dramatic aspects of early Baroque Opera. Joe has performed with Illumni Men’s Chorale, the Seattle Men's Chorus, Philandros and The Esoterics. He has studied voice with Holly Boaz, Nancy Zylstra and Elizabeth Ripley.