Production Crew & Cast Bios
Kevin Scott, Conductor
A tireless advocate of new, unknown or unjustly neglected composers, Kevin Scott has conducted various ensembles throughout the greater New York area and appeared as a guest conductor in Atlanta, Philadelphia and Varna, Bulgaria, where he made his European debut in 2000. He is also a composer whose works have been performed by preeminent American orchestras.
A lifelong New Yorker, Scott received his music education at Lehman College studying composition with Ulysses Kay and John Corigliano, and later at the Mannes College of Music with Christine Berl and David Tcimpidis, in addition to conducting with Yakov Kreizberg.
Scott served as music director or resident conductor of numerous organizations including the Doctor's Orchestral Society of New York, Schubert Music Society, Central City Chorus, and the Bronx Symphony Orchestra. From 2006 to 2014, Scott served as the director of SUNY Orange County Community College's band program, and from 2014 to 2018 he served as director of the Maybrook Wind Ensemble.
Tamara Cashour, Artistic Director, Director: MACBETH and Rehearsal PIanist
Cashour formed OperAvant at New York University, where she obtained an MA from the Gallatin School of Interdisciplinary Studies. Cashour's interdisciplinary major was in Opera/Theatre Production, Musical Direction and Performance, with a minor in stage directing, avant garde theatre techniques and feminist psychoanalytic theory/theories of performance. Ms. Cashour’s MA Thesis was a full production of a traditional opera, to which she wrote an accompanying dramatic text and incidental music; the entire process was informed by Ms. Cashour’s seven year study of various theatre disciplines and included independent coursework in: deconstruction, philosophy, psychoanalysis, theatre semiotics, and feminist theories of the stage. Cashour's thesis won the prestigious NYU Siff Performance Award. At NYU, Ms. Cashour trained in Directing Theory and Acting with noted avant-gardist Richard Schechner; Theories of the Avant-Garde with Michael Kirby; Directing/Acting Practicum with Helen White; Gendered Theories of Performance with Professors Peggy Phelan and Alexis Greene; and finally, in 20th Century European Styles of Acting and Directing with Damyan Popchristov. Additional directors Ms. Cashour studied in-depth included: Richard Foreman, Elizabeth LeCompte, Ariane Mnouchkine, Peter Sellars, Peter Brook, Joanne Akalaitis, Stanislavsky, Mtislav Meyerhold and Alexander Tairov. At NYU, Ms. Cashour directed numerous scenes of avant-garde interpretations of: Angels in America, Antigone, Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, and the operas The Consul, Pagliacci, Marriage of Figaro and La Voix Humaine. OperAvant continues her groundbreaking work in deconstructionist theatre techniques.
Germaine Shames, Librettist
A Kilroys List playwright and recipient of her state’s Literary Fellowship in Fiction, Shames is author of the award-winning novels, Between Two Deserts and You, Fascinating You. Writing under the pen name Casper Silk (Hotel Noir, Echo Year), she has been compared to F. Scott Fitzgerald, Graham Greene and P.D. James “on steroids”. For the past five years, Shames has celebrated premieres in such cities as New York City, London, Chicago and Minneapolis. Her TYA play, Year of Thirteen Moons, won ThinkTank’s 2021 playwriting award, and her adaptation, The Lost Girl, Starlight Theater’s 2019 award. Her new musicals, If the Spirit Moves and The Manifesto, premiered at Theatre Elision in 2019 and 2020 respectively. Her bio-drama, The Higher Love, winner of four workshop competitions and a finalist for the Trustus Award, will be revived as part of Transformation Theatre’s 2022 season. A new bio-drama, SWEET SPOT: The Fleeting Glory of Althea Gibson and Angela Buxton, is in development at Brave New World Repertory Theatre. As a librettist and lyricist, Shames collaborates with world-class composers in musical theatre, opera, choral and popular music. Her songs have been performed in a range of venues from Paris to Washington, DC. She is grateful to OperAvant for the upcoming premiere of her eco-opera, The Bird Lady (with composer Timothy Miller). It’s all about love.
Timothy Lee Miller, Composer
Tim is a prolific American composer, arranger, orchestrator, and publisher writing contemporary concert music for chamber ensembles, orchestra, wind ensemble, opera, and voice, as well as jazz, film, and music for video. He has earned degrees from the University of Tennessee, the University of Miami, and Vermont College of Fine Arts. His principal composition teachers have been John Anthony Lennon, James Progris, Tamar Diesendruck, Jonathan Bailey Holland, Andy Jaffe, John Fitz Rogers, and Roger Zahab. He has received numerous commissions and awards, including several ASCAP awards. In 2015 Miller recorded two of his big band charts in Havana, Cuba with the noted band Ikerere, which were released in 2016 on ABRAZO: The Havana Sessions on PARMA Recordings’ Ansonica label. And in 2018 he released his debut jazz album, SOMETHING MORE: The Jazz Music of Timothy Lee Miller, which includes seven quintets and one octet, also on the Ansonica label. His music has been performed throughout the US, Europe, Russia, and China by the American Modern Ensemble, American Modern Orchestra, St. Andrews New Music Ensemble, Millennium Symphony Orchestra, Moravian Philharmonia, Athens Philharmonia Orchestra, Klang String Quartet, Sunderman Wind Quintet, Vermont Jazz Ensemble, Diane Moser’s Composers Big Band, Ikerere, and others.
David See, Pianist, Macbeth
David has enjoyed a varied career as colllaaborative pianist, orchestral pianist, organist, choral singer, teacher and composer. He is currently a staff pianist for The Mannes School of Music at The New School. He has been a pianist and guest faculty at Broadway Dance Center, also playing for Apotheosis Opera, Tapestry Choir and most recently with the chamber group L'Amore della Musica. He has sung baritone for several years with the choral new music group C4: The Choral Composer/Conductor Collective, which has premiered several of his compositions. A CD recording of Seven Franchetti Songs composed by Michael Linton, with David on piano, is available for streaming at refinersfire.us. David holds a B.M. degree in Music Composition form Oberlin Conservatory, and is a member of New York Composers Circle.
Carrie Wesolowski (Director/The Bird Lady)
Carrie Wesolowski is a NYC Actor/Director, Host and Singer. Carrie graduated from Queens College with a BA in Drama/Theatre. After graduation, she continued studying acting with Michael Harney and completed a 2-Year Acting program with Phil Gushee and Joe Anania based on the teachings of The Neighborhood Playhouse. Carrie's credits span film, theatre, television and now Zoom. Carrie is co-host and regular contributor as an Actor/Director on AirPlay, a weekly Radio /Virtual Theatre Platform that brings new plays to a world audience. In the past year, projects where Carrie has served as Actor/Director have been finalists in several film festivals--Simon Says in the 1st Playbill VTF Live and Simon Says and The Unusual Chauncey Faust in Manhattan Rep's Stories Film Festival. Carrie has been a singer in the volunteer choir, Peace of Heart Choir since 2013. Upcoming projects include a supporting role playing First Lady of the Theatre--Helen Hayes, in Live From The Bardo: MY DINNER WITH MARY during a 2-week run at The Theatre for the New City (TNC) in NYC from January 13- 23, 2022.
Richard Hobson, Lord Macbeth
Richard Hobson, baritone sang at The Metropolitan Opera for 10 consecutive years. He had assignments in The Nose, Don Carlo, Carmen, Rigoletto, War And Piece, Boris Goudanov, Le Rossingnol, Madama Butterfly and Andrea Chenier as well as other operas.
Mr. Hobson sang the eponymous role in Gershwin's Porgy and Bess as New York City Opera and Zuniga in Carmen. He made his Italian debut as Amonosro in Franco Zeffirelli's production of Aida which celebrated the centennial of Verdi's death. With Metro Lyric Opera of New Jersey, Mr. Hobson sang Germont, Marcello, Enrico, Count di Luna and Amonosro under the baton of Anton Coppola. He has sung with Toledo Opera, with Austin Lyric Opera as Rigoletto, Taconic Opera as Rigoletto and Renato and Nashville Opera as Sharpless. Mr. Hobson sang Egberto in Verdi's Aroldo with New York Grand Opera under the direction of Vincent La Selva.
He has sung Porgy in Brazil, Germany, Australia, France and in many US cities. he is presently on the faculty of Southern University where he is the founder and director of Opera Southern, the resident opera company of Southern University.
Emilie Storrs, Lady Macbeth
Emilie has sung operatic heroines from Mozart to Verdi, and from Tchaikovsky to Carlisle Floyd, throughout the United States as well as in England, Italy, Greece and Bulgaria. She most recently sang Chrysothemis in a new English translation of Richard Strauss’s opera Elektra presented by The Elektra Company at The DiMenna Center in NYC. Other recent performances include Kate in If This Be Madness with NYU’s IMPACT Festival. An avid birdwatcher, she has toured a recital of songs about birds, the program notes of which were illustrated by photos she took of the birds about which she was singing. Ms. Storrs was a Semi-finalist in the 2017 Art Song division of The American Prize, celebrating American excellence in the arts. An avid fan of improv (both acting and musical), Emilie relishes any opportunity to flex her comedy muscles, to balance out all of her operatic characters’ weeping and dying.
Chris Fistonich (Understudy, Macbeth)
Chris s a PhD Immunologist and cybersecurity researcher turned opera singer. Chris has been hailed as a "voluminous, beefy baritone" with "supple variation of dynamics" (South Florida Classical Review), and as "simply great" (Art Burst Miami). Upcoming engagements include Peter (Hänsel und Gretel) with Westminster Opera Theatre, and Chorus (Oedipus Rex) with Opera Philadelphia. Recent opera experience includes Papageno (Die Zauberflöte), Pandolfe (Cendrillon), Sage (Marie Begins), Marco (Gianni Schicchi), and Une Bête (L’enfant et les Sortilèges). Currently residing in Princeton, New Jersey, Chris is pursuing a Master of Music degree in vocal performance at Westminster Choir College, studying with Dr. Christopher Arneson.
Originally hailing from Los Angeles, CA, Chris received his Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics from UCLA in 2012. After graduating from UCLA, Chris attended Yale University, earning a Ph.D. in Immunobiology in 2018 and publishing his research in academic journals.
Andrew Boisvert, Banquo
Andrew (Needham, MA) has been praised for his “deep warmth” in the bass roles he undertakes. Based out of Canaan, New York in the Berkshires, he has persevered through the pandemic with outdoor balcony aria performances as part of the “Music on the Hill” concert series which he created in the summer of 2020. He has had recent performances with Opera North as Sarastro in The Magic Flute, Sarasota Opera covering Il Pedone in Catalani’s La Wally, Count Capulet in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette, and Il Conte di Ceprano in Verdi’s Rigoletto, performing Olin Blitch in Floyd’s Susannah with the Brevard Music Festival, and performing as Frank Maurrant in Weill’s Street Scene with the Maryland Opera Studio. Upcoming engagements include Don Basilio in The Barber of Seville with Opera Theater of Connecticut and covering Cadmus, Somnus, and the High Priest in Semele with St. Petersburg Opera. He is a graduate of the Maryland Opera Studio (MM). Boisvert is a student of Kevin Short.
Roger Ohlsen, Macduff
Roger Ohlsen started at 15 with the Edmonton Opera and sang across Canada before moving to NY for school.
In 77 he was in the first year of the Houston Grand Opera Studio singing both Cavarafossi and Fenton on the main stage.
Debuts in Frankfurt in a new opera followed. And a CD called Souls on Fire.He sang both Rodolfo and Des Grieux in the French Manon with The American Opera Theater at The Juilliard School
In 84 he joined City Opera Chorus performing there (including supporting 18 roles) for 30 years. In the off season he was a featured performer at the Asti Opera Restaurant and Bianch & Margheritas Opera Restaurant both in Greenwich Village
Gina Haver, Witch #1
Gina' s background includes opera, oratorio, theatre, television and film and has performed at Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center, NYC Town Hall, Carnegie Hall, the Harry Chapin Theatre at Hecksher State Park, St. Ann's Holy Trinity Church in Brooklyn, the Northport Theatre, and Westchester Town Hall with various solo appearances at CAMI Hall, Merkin Hall, 92nd Street Y, Alice Tully Hall, and Symphony Space. Other NYC credits: The Singers Theatre of NY, New York Selah Ensemble, New York Chamber Players, Genesis Repertory Ensemble, soprano soloist for New York Choral Society Summersings (Carmina Burana, Brahms Requiem, Israel in Egypt), Dicapo Opera Young Artist Program. Opera roles performed include Violetta/La Traviata, Gilda/Rigoletto, Queen of the Night/The Magic Flute and Mimi/Musetta from La Boheme. She's also done numerous musical theatre roles. Gina is a church soloist and pianist with various churches throughout New York and is co-founder of “DivaLicious!”, a touring opera trio.
Elizabeth Merrill, Witch #2
Praised for her “vibrant presence” in The Baltimore Sun, mezzo-soprano Elizabeth Merrill is known for her incredible range and versatility across genres. Recent solo performances include Zelenka’s Missa Omnium Sanctorum with the Dalton Chorale, Rachmaninoff’s All Night Vigil with the Summit Chorale, and J.S. Bach’s Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben (BWV 147) with the American Classical Orchestra at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall. Ms. Merrill has also performed with American Opera Theater, The Amherst Early Music Festival, the Annapolis Chorale, the Antioch Chamber Ensemble, Downtown Voices, Ensemble Musica Humana, Intermezzo: The New England Chamber Opera Series, the Mid-Manhattan Performing Arts Foundation, Musica Nuova, and Union Avenue Opera. She completed her BA in music with honors at Wellesley College, and earned Master’s degrees in both vocal performance and Early Music voice performance, as well as a Graduate Performance Diploma, from the Peabody Conservatory.
Emily Hughes, Witch #3
Mezzo-soprano Emily Hughes’ last season included performances as Tisbe in La Cenerentola with Geneva Light Opera, Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Panopera, and Musette in Leoncavallo's La Bohème with Teatro Grattacielo, for which Opera News called her “delightful and coquettish Musette” a performance of “particular note.” Other recent roles include the title role of Handel’s Teseo with Cantanti Project, Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro with Panopera, and the Shepherdess in Venus and Adonis with New Camerata Opera. She has been an apprentice artist at Teatro Nuovo and at dell’Arte Opera Ensemble, where she sang the title role of Cavalli's La Calisto. She has been a soloist for The Messiah, Carmina Burana, and Vivaldi's Gloria, and has premiered works by many living composers. Emily’s work in early music has brought collaborations with Artek, the Baroque Academy at Amherst Early Music Festival, and Haymarket Opera Company. www.emily-hughes.com.
Christine Browning, Dama
Christine, originally from Beavercreek, OH, is living her dream teaching and singing in NYC and around North America. During the summer of 2020, Ms. Browning had the pleasure of recording selections from a new opera The Beckoning Fair One by New York composer Paul Zeigler. Pre-covid she sang Tatiana in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin with the Eurasia Festival. As a semi-finalist in the Southhold Opera Aria Competition Ms. Browning made her Carnegie Hall Debut in December of 2018 and her European debut earlier that year with the Canto Festival in Zagreb, Croatia. In summer 2017, she was a Festival Artist with Utah Festival Opera where she covered the title role in Puccini’s Madame Butterfly, the soprano soloist in Verdi’s Requiem, and portrayed Maud Dunlop in The Music Man. Other favorite roles include Liù in Turandot, Hanna in Lehar’s The Merry Widow, Mother in Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel, and Contessa in Le Nozze di Figaro.
Mark Martinez, Macbeth Chorus
Mark, a graduate of Harvard College, is tenor in NYC. Recent roles he has sung include, Acis from Handel's Acis and Galatea, Col Fairfax from Sullivan's Yeomen of the Guard, and Don Ottavio from Mozart's Don Giovanni.
Anna Woiwood (Macbeth chorus, First Witch Cover),
Anna is a graduate of Mannes School of Music. Upcoming performances include Condesa in the East Coast premiere of Juana with dell’Arte Opera Ensemble and she will be covering Mimi in La Boheme with Light Opera of New Jersey. Previous roles and scenes include Victoria Woodhull in Mrs. President (dell’Arte Opera), Giorgetta in Il tabarro (Dramatic Voice Festival), Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni (Geneva Light Opera), Fiordiligi in Cosi fan tutte (Opera Theatre of the Rockies and Geneva Light Opera), and Liù in Turandot (Opera Fort Collins). She previously apprenticed with Opera Theatre of the Rockies and Opera Fort Collins.
Barbee Monk, cover Witch #2, Chorus
Barbee Monk is known for her “vivacious flair” and “plush, vibrant soprano.” Of her recent performance in Bronx Opera’s updated Mikado, Robert Levine of Classics Today wrote, “The finest singing of the afternoon came from Barbee Monk as Yum-Yum, with a superbly tuned, full-lyric soprano and flawless diction.” Her opera roles include Fiordiligi (Così fan tutte), Donna Anna (Don Giovanni), Konstanze (Die Entführung aus dem Serail), Pamina (Die Zauberflöte), Rosalinde (Die Fledermaus), and Galatea (Acis and Galatea). She has performed with companies including Geneva Light Opera, New Rochelle Opera, New Amsterdam Opera, Light Opera of New Jersey, and Opera Theatre of Montclair. Ms. Monk was a 2019 Eastern Region Finalist of the NATS Artist Awards. She has also been recognized with awards from the Gerda Lissner Foundation, New York Lyric Opera, and Georgina Dieter Dennis Foundation. She holds degrees from the University of Miami and the University of North Florida.
Steven Switzer, Messenger & Servo
Steven Switzer is excited to be working with OperaVant for his first production. His other performances in opera include Villager 1 in Pagliacci, as well as being a chorus member for Rigoletto. He has also performed in professional musical theatre and church choirs in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maine, and Florida. He would like to thank all of his family and friends for coming out and supporting the arts after not being able to perform for over a year