Artists and Production

Jennifer Hines - Carmen - Jennifer Hines (Contralto) resides in New York but she is not a stranger to Seattle. Ms. Hines was a participant in the inaugural season of Seattle Opera's young artist program. She portayed multiple roles in Seattle's 2005 and 2009 Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen including Flosshilde and Schwertleite. This season Ms. Hines will sing the role of Suzuki in Madama Butterfly with Seattle Opera in the spring of 2012 and will return for Maddalena in Rigoletto in 2014. Ms. Hines made her Metropolitan Opera debut in 2005 in Schoenberg's Moses und Aron under the baton of Maestro James Levine. In 2010-11 Jennifer Hines reprised her critically acclaimed performance of Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky with the Reno Philharmonic, appeared as soloist in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with Santa Cruz Symphony Orchestra, and in Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 with the Sarasota Orchestra. Recent highlights include singing as soloist in de Falla’s El Amor Bruja with the Florida Orchestra, also the Toledo Symphony Orchestra; in Jommelli’s “The Lamentations of Holy Week” with the Grand Tour Orchestra; and appearing as Schwertleite in Die Walküre with Hawaii Opera Theatre. Other successes include singing as soloist in Verdi’s Requiem with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra; her debut with Atlanta Opera as Suzuki in Madama Butterfly, also singing the role with Florentine Opera, Opera Grand Rapids and Nashville Opera; her debut with Palm Beach Opera as Maddalena in Rigoletto; singing as soloist in Alexander Nevsky with the San Antonio Symphony; her debut with Portland Opera as Bertarido in Rodelinda; and Page in Salome with the National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Leonard Slatkin. She appeared as soloist in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Rossen Milanov at both the Mann Music Center and the Bravo! Vail Festival, as well as under Murry Sidlin at the Cascade Music Festival. She made her recording debut in the title role of Astor Piazzola’s Maria de Buenos Aires, Murry Sidlin conducting. She is honored to be here to sing this wonderful role and is joined by her toy Shit-tsu Gizmo.

Stephen Rumph - Don José - Stephen Rumph has established himself as a leading tenor in opera, oratorio, and concert. Stephen made his Seattle Symphony debut in Bach's Cantata 171 and returned to sing Beethoven's Ninth Symphony and Uematsu's Distant Worlds. Recent operatic credits include Pinkerton (Madama Butterfly), Rodolfo (La Bohème), Don José (Carmen) and Tamino (The Magic Flute) with Skagit Opera, Rodolfo and Orpheus (Orpheus in the Underworld) with Tacoma Opera, Alfred (Die Fledermaus), David (Die Meistersinger), and Loge (The Legend of the Ring) with Berkeley Opera. He recently sang Beethoven's Ninth with Spokane Symphony, Mozart's Requiem with Northwest Sinfonietta, Haydn's The Creation with Northwest Symphony, and Handel's Messiah with Tacoma Symphony and Bellevue Philarmonic. Other concert appearances include Mozart's Requiem with the Walla Walla Symphony, Das Lied von der Erde with the Northwest Mahler Festival, Haydn's The Creation and Rachmaninoff's The Bells with Tacoma Symphony, Bach's Mass in B Minor with the Lake Chelan Bach Fest, and Beethoven's Mass in C with both Orchestra Seattle and the Kirkland Choral Society. Stephen is a professor of music history faculty at the University of Washington. His second book, Mozart and Enlightenment Semiotics, will appear in October.

Christina Kowalski - Micaela - Christina Kowalski (soprano) is a native of Germany, where she graduated in Music and Drama from the Hochschule für Musik und Kunst in Frankfurt am Main. Ms.Kowalski appeared in productions by the Frankfurt Opera Studio as the Governess in Turn of the screw and Parascha in Stravinsky’s Mavra. She toured with the “Febi Armonici” with Maestro Michael Schneider throughout Germany and appeared as Amore in Poppea at the Stadttheater Eisenach and the Berlin Philharmonic. Ms.Kowalski held an all-Schubert Recital in Vienna, and was a member of the Lied-Klasse of Professor Charles Spencer in Frankfurt, Kammer Saengerin Gundula Janowitz in Vienna and Ms. Elena Lazarska in Salzburg. Ms. Kowalski made her Debut in the United States as Marzelline in Beethoven’s Fidelio at the Mark Theater in Portland. She performed with “POW”, as Pamina in The Magic Flute and Clorinda in La Cenerentola and appeared as Anna Gomez in The Consul, Inez in Il Trovatore and Barbarina in The Marriage of Figaro at Portland Opera. Her favorite Roles are Mimi, The Contessa and Cio Cio San, which she has performed with the Portland Summer Fest, Kitsap Opera, Skagit Opera, Washington East Opera and Opera Coeur D’Alene. She is an Audience favorite at Coeur d’Alene Opera, where she also portrayed Lauretta in Schicci, Adina in L'Elisir, Clorinda in La Cenerentola and Mimi in La Boheme. In the near future she is scheduled to perform Tosca with Skagit Opera, the Rueckert Lieder with the UPS Symphony Orchestra under Maestro Christphe Chagnard and the role of “Maria” in the World Premiere of John Muehleisen’s Stabat Mater.

Glenn Guhr - Escamillo - Glenn Guhr (baritone) is equally at home in everything from Shakespeare to Sondheim and Monteverdi to Verdi, and has always prided himself on his versatility. He has appeared in operas, operettas, musicals, plays, and film with the Pacific Northwest Ballet, Seattle Opera, Seattle Early Music Guild, Civic Light Opera, Tacoma Opera, Bellevue Opera, Lakewood Playhouse, The St. Louis Shakespeare Company, Theatre Factory St. Louis and others in such roles as Gianni Schicchi, Sweeney Todd, Papageno (The Magic Flute), Rodrigo (Don Carlo), Ford (Falstaff), Germont (La Traviata), Guglielmo (Così fan tutte), Grosvenor (Patience), and Fred Graham/Petruchio (Kiss Me, Kate).

In addition to his stage roles, Mr. Guhr appears frequently in recital and concert in the Pacific Northwest, performing with the Walla Walla Symphony, the Bellevue Philharmonic, Orchestra Seattle/Seattle Chamber Singers, the Seattle Choral Company, the Everett Symphony, the Port Angeles Symphony, the Seattle Philharmonic and others.

Mr. Guhr received a BA in music from Tabor College and an MM in Music History from Kansas State University. He also completed course work towards a PhD in Musicology at Washington University in St. Louis before turning his full attention to performance. In 2002, he finished a DMA in Vocal Performance at the University of Washington, where he studied with the late Julian Patrick. He is currently on the faculty of Pacific Lutheran University.

Michael Dudley - Morales - Michael Dudley (baritone) was raised in Seattle and was an active participant in the city’s vibrant music scene. From gospel choirs, the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestras or Bellevue Community College’s award-winning jazz ensemble Celebration!, Michael found many venues to pursue his passion for music performance. Michael has performed with several regional opera, orchestras and choral companies, including Seattle Opera, Seattle Symphony Chorale, Tacoma Opera, and Puget Sound Concert Opera. As a frequent guest of Bellevue Opera, Michael has performed the roles of Angelotti in Tosca, Dancairo in Carmen and Nathanael / Spalanzani in The Tales of Hoffmann. Most recently, Michael appeared as a member of the chorus in San Francisco Opera’s critically acclaimed production of Porgy and Bess. This season Michael is a part of the Seattle Opera Regular Season Chorus, and has chorus solo roles in Seattle Opera’s production of Porgy and Bess. In addition, Mr. Dudley has appeared locally as a church soloist in concert and in oratorio.

Tess Altiveros - Frasquita - Tess Altiveros (soprano) has been featured as a soloist both locally and internationally, including tours to Europe and Southeast Asia as well as frequent appearances with the Seattle Mariners. Acclaimed for her operatic roles, she most recently appeared as Mimí with Bellevue Opera, and Luisa in Puget Sound Opera’s Luisa Miller. Other credits include Galatea in Von Suppe's My Fair Galatea (Tacoma Opera), Laurette in Bizet's Dr. Miracle (Tacoma Opera), and Barbarina in Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro (Tacoma Opera). She has appeared frequently onstage at Meany Hall in numerous roles, including Don Ramiro (La Finta Giardiniera), Dido (Dido and Aeneas) and Tatyana in Eugene Onegin, of which critic Melinda Bargreen wrote "Tess in particular is just a star. The voice is beautifully produced…and she is such an appealing actress." She served for three years as artistic staff for Cascadian Chorale, during which time she was featured in Haydn's Paukenmesse, Boulanger’s Soir sur la pleine, and Schubert's Mass in G, among other works. Other concert works include Handel’s Messiah and Mozart’s Requiem (Tacoma Symphony Chorus), Schubert's Der Hilt auf dem Felsen, Haydn’s Creation, the Vivaldi Gloria and Dixit Dominus, and the Bach B Minor Mass (University of Washington Symphony Orchestra). Upcoming engagements include a return to Tacoma Opera as Musetta for their production of La Bohème. Ms. Altiveros holds a Master’s degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Washington. She studies with renowned soprano, Jane Eaglen.

Julia West - Mercedes - Julia West (Mezzo-Soprano) is a Puyallup native and an alum of Pacific Lutheran University. While there she sang Lady Billows in Britten's Albert Herring, Rosalinde in Strauss' Die Fledermaus, and a Salvation Army Girl in Weill's Street Scene. She has most recently been seen as Jane Seymour in Puget Sound Opera's staging of Donizetti's Tudors trilogy, Apollonia in Haydn's The Budding Soprano with Tacoma Opera. Last summer she participated in the Astoria Music Festival Apprentice Program, singing Hansel in Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel and Prince Orlofsky in Strauss' Die Fledermaus.
Last fall, she was the youngest district winner at the 2010 Western Washington Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and received an Encouragement Award at the Regional Competition this January. She currently studies with Janeanne Houston.

John Marzano - El Remendado - John Marzano (Tenor) was born and raised in Tacoma, WA. He is currently earning his Bachelor’s Degree in Vocal Performance at Pacific Lutheran University studying under Barry Johnson. Recent opera roles include Jupiter in Handel’s Semele (PLU Opera 2011) and Mr. Upfold in Benjamin Britten’s Albert Herring (PLU Opera 2009). Mr. Marzano has also been a featured soloist in Bach’s B Minor Mass at Pacific Lutheran University. Musical Theater roles have included Matt (The Fantasticks) The Wiz (The Wiz) and Fleet (Titanic). Marzano has earned many awards including 1st (2008) and 3rd (2009) places in the WMEA Solo/Ensemble Competitions. He also holds the Agnes Berge Smith Music Scholarship at Pacific Lutheran University. In 2007 he was accepted into the National High School Music Institute at Northwestern University where he studied under Christopher Lorimer and Kurt Hansen. His upcoming role(s) include Rinuccio in PLU Opera’s production of Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi.

Thomas Thompson - El Dancaïro - Thomas Thompson (Baritone) has been singing in Seattle for the last 16 years with various local groups including the Northwest Boychoir, Vocalpoint! Seattle, the Renaissance Singers, the Compline Choir at St. Mark’s cathedral, Capella Romana, Canonici and the Tudor Choir. He has also appeared as soloist for the Christmas Revels in both Tacoma and Portland, and in the Seattle Symphony’s educational concert series. In the past year he has been cast in his first professional opera role – as Tancredi in Pacific Musicworks production of Monteverdi’s Tancredi e Clorinda, appeared on the Seattle Early Music Guild "First Tuesdays" series performing Bach cantatas, and been accepted to the prestigious American Bach Soloists Summer Academy for 2011. In his spare time he practices martial arts, something he has been doing since the age of 8, and works in his garden.

Jonathan Silvia - Zuniga - Jonathan Silvia (Bass-baritone) is in high demand as a vocalist throughout the Puget Sound region. Formerly a member of the Seattle Opera Chorus, he has since performed there as a principal in The Magic Flute and La Traviata. He performs regularly with a number of local opera companies, such as Tacoma Opera, Bellevue Opera, Puget Sound Concert, Skagit Opera, and several others. On the national stage he performed the title role in Markheim at Des Moines Metro Opera while an apprentice there. The composer, Carlisle Floyd had been in attendance. Other roles he has performed recently include Filippo II in Don Carlo, Nilakantha in Lakmé, Fiesco in Simon Boccanegra, Colline in La Bohème, Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Figaro in Le Nozze di Figaro, and Sam in Trouble in Tahiti. Carmen is Jonathan’s third production with Vashon Opera.

Gordon Millar - Lillas Pastia - Gordon Millar (Actor) emigrated from his homeland, Scotland, in 1968 to join the Boeing Company and moved to Vashon in 1977 where he soon became involved with Drama Dock, performing in many plays and a couple of musicals, Anything Goes and Honk. Most recently he co-starred with Andy Krikawa in a one act play adaption of The Cure, a short story by renowned author Susan Vreeland. His Scottish heritage also led him to an interest in Celtic folk music causing him to take up the penny whistle. For several years he played and sang with the Vashon band Geordie’s Byre which he co-founded. He also co-founded and serves as president of the Vashon Burns Society which annually celebrates the birthday of Scottish poet Robert Burns with a traditional supper and concert of his poetry and songs. Gordon’s first appearance with Vashon Opera was in the comedic role of Ambrogio in The Barber of Seville and he is delighted to be recalled for the role of Lillas Pastia in Carmen. He is happily married to theater director and actress Patricia Kelly.

James Brown - Conductor, Stage Director, Orchestral Arranger, - Jim Brown enjoys an eclectic career of singing, teaching, stage direction, conducting and composing. His work has been seen recently at Vashon Opera in Il Barbiere di Siviglia (stage director, conductor and arranger) and Madama Butterfly (stage director). Other recent productions as stage director include Handel’s Semele (PLU Opera), La Boheme (Bellevue Opera) and Sweeney Todd (Lakewood Playhouse). Upcoming productions for James include Francesca Caccini’s La liberazione di Ruggiero dall'isola d'Alcina (producer) for Cornish School of the Arts and Eugene Onegin for Vashon Opera (conductor and arranger).

As a singer, Jim has distinguished himself on the opera and concert stage. The tenor has appeared with Seattle’s world-renowned community of early music specialists in concerts and operas at Seattle’s Town Hall, St. James Cathedral, Intiman Theatre and the Moore Theatre. At the Moore Theatre, Jim performed with Tony award winners Handspring Puppet Company and celebrated artist William Kentridge. Jim has appeared as concert soloist at the Aspen Music Festival, Ravinia Festival and Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall. He will sing the tenor solos in upcoming 2011 Messiah with the Tacoma Symphony under the baton of Geoffrey Boers. Jim has sung with New Orleans Opera, New York City Opera, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Rogue Opera, Skylight Opera Theatre and Tulsa Opera.
He is the Chair of Vocal Studies at Pacific Lutheran University where he directs the opera and oversees a large voice program. Jim holds degrees from Loyola University/New Orleans, The Juilliard School and the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

Christine Juarez - Choreographer - Christine Juarez is currently Director of Dance for Vashon Allied Arts. She has directed and taught dance to diverse populations for the past 30 years. Christine currently serves on faculty at Cornish College of the Arts and creates curriculum and directs Summer Dance Programs for the college. She has taught in Seattle since 1994 in locally established programs, and has also served on the faculty at Washington University in St. Louis. She holds a M.S. from Indiana University in Modern dance and Physical Sciences and a B.S. in Ballet and Music from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. Christine is a master artist in residence for the state of Washington and enjoys collaborative projects annually with classroom teachers integrating academics and movement. She has been a presenter of early movement education for the Dance Educators Association of Washington and numerous other conferences. .She has also choreographed musical theater including Fiddler on the Roof, Cinderella, Cabaret and more. Christine started dance in Philadelphia as a young girl and was trained in the Russian syllabaus, Vagonava method of Ballet. Her training included an immersion in opera and she has performed in numerous operas including: Orpheus and the Underworld, The Bartered Bride, and Boris Godunov, and Merry Widow. Christine is Artistic Director of the Blue Heron Dance Company, Vashon’s pre-professional ballet company whose mission is to stage full length romantic ballets and educate our communities in the classical arts. To date Christine has staged: Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Coppelia, La Fille Mal Gardee, Firebird, Midsummer Nights Dream, Serenade, Romeo and Juliet, Rodeo, and La Sylphide. She believes that dance should be accessible to all and that it can be taught in a positive engaging atmosphere. She has dedicated her life to bringing dance to as many people that she can. She is thrilled to be working with the Vashon Opera this season.

Evan Stults - Rehearsal and Performance 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, and The Tender Land. 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. Evan has a degree in semiotics from Brown University, and lives on Vashon with his partner Joe Farmer.