Soprano Julianne Gearhart (Artemisia) is quickly becoming known on both sides of the Atlantic for her remarkable theatrical presence as well as the crystalline quality of her singing. A graduate of the Seattle Opera Young Artist Program, she made her mainstage debut as Helen Niles in Mourning Becomes Electra. She regularly performs with the Seattle Symphony, singing Poulenc’s Gloria and Bach’s BWV 51, Jauchzett Gott in allen Landen. Julianne made her Italian debut at the Teatro Lirico di Cagliari, Sardinia, as Blondchen in Die Entführung aus dem Serail. This season she reprised that role for the Vlaamse Opera’s production. Other roles for Vlaamse include Melanto in Il Ritorno d’Ulisse and Azema in Semiramide. She has also performed with the Edinborough Festival, Opera North, Sarasota Opera, Opera Grand Rapids, Port Angeles Symphony, Salem Philharmonic Orchestra, Palm Beach Symphony, New Israeli Opera, and the Grand Theatre Geneve. Her roles include Madame Goldentrill in The Impresario, Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos, Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier, Najade in Ariadne auf Naxos, Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance, Oscar in Ballo in Maschera, Gilda in Rigoletto, Nanetta in Falstaff, Amour in Orphée et Euridice, Olympia in The Tales of Hoffman, Juliette in Romeo et Juliette and Marzelline in Fidelio. Julianne’s 2009 appearance in the Ring Cycle (Seattle Opera) was hailed as both “spectacular”, (San Francisco Opera Examiner) and “stellar” (KING FM radio). Noted as one of 2007’s “Who’s Hot? New Talents to Watch”, (OperaNow), Julianne “sang with Ophelia-like innocence that was both sweet and touching, and her Zerbinetta had patrons’ heads spinning with the bouyant charm and sparkle of her vocal acting”. In other press, she “proved her worth as a singing actress…a bewitchingly artless Sophie” (Seattle Times), and “sang like an angel… Gearhart was pretty and pristine, her voice as pure as falling water” (Opera News).
Andrew Pickett (Meraspe) received his Master of Music in Literature and Performance from the University of Western Ontario, and then spent four years in the UK, earning a graduate diploma at the Royal College of Music and studying with such notable experts in the vocal Baroque as Dame Emma Kirkby, James Bowman, and Michael Chance; while there, he was a Britten-Pears Young Artist and a Brighton Early Music Festival Young Artist. Andrew has performed major roles in operas by Handel, Monteverdi, Alessandro Scarlatti, Hasse, Purcell and Jonathan Dove, and been a soloist in works by Purcell, Charpentier, Handel, Britten, and Bach in the UK, Europe, and Canada. Recent work has included Bernstein Chichester Psalms with the Halifax Camerata Singers, Bach St Matthew Passion and Mass in B Minor with Paul Halley and Ensemble Regale, A Midsummer Night’s Dream with the Halifax Summer Opera Workshop, Messiah with Symphony Nova Scotia, and Purcell Fairy Queen in the UK. Andrew lives in Halifax where he works as a voice teacher, clinician, and director of The Prince Edward Consort, an early music vocal ensemble.
Soprano Dawn Bailey (Artemia) is a versatile performer, recognized for her engaging performances in a wide variety of vocal styles. Dawn is equally at ease on the concert and operatic stages, moving fluidly from chamber music to opera, oratorio, and art song. Especially sought after for her imaginative interpretations of music from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, she has appeared with some of Canada’s leading early music ensembles, including Tafelmusik, the Toronto Consort, Ensemble Caprice, Les Violons du Roy, the Theatre of Early Music, and le Studio de musique ancienne de Montreal. Dawn has also premiered several new compositions by Canadian composers, notably singing the role of Elizabeth in Andrew Ager’s opera Frankenstein in Toronto. Other recent operatic roles include Venere in Monteverdi’s Il Ballo delle ingrate in Toronto and Flore in Charpentier’s La Couronne de Fleurs in Seattle. In the 2011/2012 season, Dawn was delighted to tour the Salsa Baroque programme with Ensemble Caprice in the Montreal island. She also sang Bach’s B Minor Mass in Halifax, Haydn’s Stabat Mater with the Cantata Singers of Ottawa, and Bach’s cantata BWV147 with Ensemble Serenata in Montreal. This season, Dawn looks forward to an exciting array of performances in Canada and abroad, including recitals in Toronto and Amsterdam.
Soprano Margot Rood (Ramiro) brings her luminous tone and superb musicality to repertoire ranging from baroque opera to American musical theatre to music of the 21st century. Margot’s appearances on the concert platform have delighted audiences and garnered critical acclaim from national journals. Appearances in the 2012-2013 season include singing Johanna in Sweeney Todd with St. Petersburg Opera and performing as soloist in Purcell’s The Indian Queen with Handel and Haydn Society. Margot’s 2011-2012 season included her debut with Boston Modern Orchestra Project performing as soloist in Kati Agocs’ Vessel and as soprano evangelist in Arvo Pärt’s Passio Domini Nostri Jesu Christi secundum Joannem, her debut with Back Bay Chorale as soprano soloist in Bach’s St. John Passion conducted by Scott Allen Jarrett, and singing the world premiere of Christopher Trapani’s Past All Deceiving in New York City. In the spring of 2011, Margot made her Carnegie Hall solo debut in the world premiere of Shawn Jaeger’s Letters Made with Gold, under the direction of Dawn Upshaw. Steve Smith of The New York Times praised her debut for its “luminosity and grace”. Also in 2011, she made her Boston Symphony Hall debut as Soloist/Miriam in Handel’s Israel in Egypt with the Handel and Haydn Society under the baton of Harry Christophers. “Margot Rood hushed the audience with her fresh, open tone and glowing, focused pitch,” raved Harlow Robinson of The Boston Globe. . Other recent appearances include performing Despina in Cosi fan tutte at Green Mountain Opera, the world premiere in New York City of Quick Study by Matthew Ricketts and as soprano soloist in Handel’s Dixit Dominus with Handel and Haydn Society.
Canadian soprano Erika Vogel (Eurillo) is equally at home in baroque opera, oratorio and recital repertoire. Upcoming solo engagements include performances of Bach Magnificat at Boston’s Symphony Hall and in Purcell Indian Queen with the Handel and Haydn Society and in the role of Eurillo in Cavalli’s Artemesia with Helios Early Opera. Last season’s highlights include ensemble performances of Bach St. Matthew Passion with the Handel and Haydn Society, including a solo as Ancilla II; solo work with Exultemus Period Ensemble in their Telemann project and singing the title role of Calisto in Cavalli’s Calisto with the Harvard Early Music Society. Previous operatic experience includes Fairy One in Montreal Baroque Festival’s production of Purcell’s Fairy Queen, andNanettafrom Fastaff in the scenes program at Manhattan School of Music. She was also cast as Adele in J. Strauss’ Die Fledermaus at the University of Montreal with Jean-François Rivest conducting. Valetto in Monteverdi’s l’Incoronazione di Poppea at the University of Montreal with Alexander Weimann directing. Galatea in a full concert version Handel’s Acis and Galatea with Edmonton’s Small Fish Baroque Ensemble as conducted by Michael Kurschat. She performed the role of Beth in Opera Nuova’s production of Aaron Copland’s The Tender Land. At the University of Alberta, Erika portrayed Laetitia in Gian Carlo Menotti’s The Old Maid and the Thief with Tanya Prohatzka conducting, and Countess Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro under the baton of Michael Massey. Erika has studied the Spanish and Latin American repertoire with Patricia Caicedo, Stela Brandao and Max Lifchitz and made her Spanish début at the Ateneu Barcelones in Barcelona summer of 2008.
Countertenor Gerrod Pagenkopf (Niso) has been praised by the Houston Chronicle as having “an elegant bearing and a sweet, even sound,” and by the Boston Musical Intelligencer as “emit[ting] one gorgeous mellifluousness after another.” Mr. Pagenkopf made his professional operatic debut in October 2008 with Amarillo Opera as Prince Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus. Other opera credits include the title roles in Actéon, Orlando, Rinaldo, Ottone (L’incoronazione di Poppea), Endimione and Satirino (La Calisto), the Sorceress, Second Witch, and Spirit (Dido and Aeneas), Tolomeo (Giulio Cesare), Arsamenes (Serse), Public Opinion (Orpheus in the Undeworld), Oberon (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), and the Refugee (Flight). As a concert soloist, Gerrod has performed with ensembles including Ars Lyrica Houston, Mercury Baroque, the Bach Society of Houston, the Houston Chamber Choir, the Dominic Walsh Dance Theater, Ballet Florida, Sarasota Ballet, Orchestra X (Houston), the Green Bay Symphony, the Bel Canto Chorus of Milwaukee, Masterworks Chorale of Boston, Exsultemus, the Blue Heron Ensemble, Aston Magna Festival, Ensemble Altera, La Donna Musicale, Newton Baroque, as well as the Wisconsin Baroque Ensemble. He has performed as soloist in such masterworks as Handel’s Messiah and Israel in Egypt; Bach’s Passions, Magnificat, and Mass in B Minor; Vivaldi’s Gloria and Dixit Dominus; as well as numerous cantatas, oratorios, and other liturgical works of Alessandro Scarlatti, Caldara, and Telemann. A native of rural Wisconsin, Gerrod received his Bachelors degree in Music Education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his Masters of Music in Voice Performance from the University of Houston.
Tenor Marcio de Oliveira (Erisbe) is a graduate of the Masters of Music degree program in Voice Performance & Pedagogy at Westminster Choir College. He studied with Laura Brooks Rice and coached privately with J.J. Penna, Susan Ashbaker, and Andrew Megill. Marcio is a native of Turlock, California. He has been praised for his “agile, multi-faceted voice” and “vibrant stage presence”. Previous operatic roles include Joadab in Charpentier’s David & Jonathas (Helios Early Opera), Aladino in Scarlatti’s La principessa fedele (Amherst Early Music Festival), Ferrando in Così fan tutte (Westminster Opera Theater), Albert in Albert Herring (Westminster Opera Theater), Tamino in The Magic Flute (Townsend Opera Players), Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi (CSU Stanislaus Opera Workshop), and Dr. Blind in Die Fledermaus (Townsend Opera Players). His most recent concert & recital work includes Bach’s Cantata BWV 71 (Symphony Hall solo debut), Magnificat, Christmas Oratorio & St. Matthew Passion (Handel & Haydn Society); Evangelist in Bach’s St. John Passion (Fuma Sacra, Andrew Megill); Britten’s Five Canticles; Poulenc’s Calligrammes; Handel’s Messiah; Bach’s Missa in G Minor BWV 235 and Cantatas BWV 29, 147, 166 & 211; Mozart’s Requiem, Missa Brevis in F, and Coronation Mass; and Rachmaninov’s Vespers. Upcoming performances include Purcell’s The Indian Queen this coming Winter & Handel’s Jephtha on tour with the Handel & Haydn Society this coming Spring. Marcio sings regularly with the Advent Choir of The Church of the Advent on Beacon Hill. He strives to maintain a solo- & choral-singing career in concert, recital, and operatic performance.
Praised for her “vibrant presence” by Tim Smith of The Baltimore Sun, mezzo-soprano Elizabeth Merrill (Oronta) is known for her versatility across genres, from Early Music to standard repertoire, to contemporary composition. In June 2012, Elizabeth sang the role of Clori in Musica Nuova’s pastiche production of Monteverdi’s Il Ballo delle Ingrate at (Le)Poisson Rouge in New York. Earlier that year, she performed Sesto in Handel’s Giulio Cesare in Egitto with the Peabody Chamber Opera, directed by Timothy Nelson. Elizabeth has appeared as the 2nd Knabe in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (Marin Alsop, cond.), Gerina in Alessandro Scarlatti’s La Principessa Fedele (Amherst Early Music Festival), and as Belinda in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas and Senator Patrick Leahy in Melissa Dunphy’s The Gonzales Cantata in a double-bill production (American Opera Theater). She has appeared as Vénus in Rameau’s Adonis (Peabody Opera Potpourri), and as a soloist in Bach’s St. John Passion (Baltimore Baroque Band). Ms. Merrill has performed with The Figaro Project, Concerto delle Donne, hexaCollective, the Federal Hill Parlor Series, Vivre Musicale, Intermezzo: The New England Chamber Opera Series, the Hammond Performing Arts Series, and Union Avenue Opera. Elizabeth received Master’s degrees in both vocal performance and historical vocal perofrmance from the Peabody Conservatory, and is currently enrolled in Peabody’s Graduate Performance Diploma program. She completed her undergraduate studies at Wellesley College, receiving the Billings Performance Award in Music. In 2010, she was awarded the Eugene L. Cox Graduate Fellowship for research of Medieval and Renaissance history and culture. She was inducted into Pi Kappa Lambda in 2011. Ms. Merrill lives in Baltimore and studies with baritone William Sharp.
Argentinean Mezzo-soprano Raquel Winnica Young (Alindo) earned her Degree in Vocal performance from the Colon Opera House in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She received her Artist Diploma in Voice from Duquesne University. A winner of the 2010 Pittsburgh Concert Society Major Auditions, Ms. Winnica Young has performed in South America and Europe. Recent international performances include C.P.E. Bach’s Die Israeliten in der Wüste in Argentina, Handel’s La Resurrezione at the Bach Festival in Lausanne, Switzerland, and the title role of Orfeo and Euridice in Argentina. Closer to home, she has performed in The Magic Flute with Apollo’s Fire in Cleveland ,Vivaldi’s Gloria at the Strings Music Festival in Colorado , Bach’s Easter Oratorio with Pittsburgh Baroque Ensemble and the principal role in Maria de Buenos Aires by Astor Piazzolla with Quantum Theatre of Pittsburgh. Raquel has also performed as a soloist with the Pittsburgh Camerata, Alia Musica Pittsburgh, and the Johnstown (PA) Symphony. She will sing with Chatham Baroque on their 2012-2013 season.
Baritone Will Prapestis (Indamoro) is quickly establishing himself in the Boston musical community. Will has had the pleasure of singing with ensembles such as Boston Baroque, appearing on their recent recording of Haydn’s Creation as a chorister, the Cantata Singers, Emmanuel Music, the Orpheus Singers, Boston University Chamber Chorus, and the Fredonia College Choir. He has performed at a number of venues including Boston Symphony Hall, Jordan Hall, Boston Marsh Chapel, Emmanuel Center, VMA Arts and Cultural Center in Providence, RI and Kleinhans Music Hall in Buffalo, NY. Will also takes part in a number of Early Music ensembles, performing for the Society for Historically Informed Performance and Amherst Societatis-Oratorio. His solo credits including Schlendrian in Bach’s Kaffee Kantate and baritone soloist in Giovanni Gabrieli’s In Ecclesiis, under the baton of Martin Pearlman and Ann Howard Jones, respectively. His accolades are not exclusive to Early Music; Will has performed a number of operatic roles, including Marcello in La Bohème, Papageno in The Magic Flute, and Father in Hansel and Gretel with the Hillman Opera. He has also performed as the eponymous role in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, John Proctor in Ward’s The Crucible, and Rocco in Beethoven’s Fidelio with Fredonia’s Student Opera Theatre Association. He is also a bass player, thoroughly active in the Boston and New York City Pop Music scenes, performing with as many as seven bands as a bass guitarist, vocalist and arranger. Will is a native of Elmira, NY and he earned his BM in Music Performance at SUNY Fredonia. This is his first appearance with Helios Early Opera.