Fall 2010 Concert soloists:
Rita Lilly, Soprano
Rita Lilly has appeared as a featured soloist with the American Boychoir, American Classical Orchestra, American Symphony Orchestra, Artek, Bachworks, Bach Aria Group, Collegium Antiquum, Concert Royal, and the New York Consort of Viols, among others. As the soprano soloist of the Waverly Consort, she toured throughout the U.S. and abroad. She made her N.Y. Weill Recital Hall debut in Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater with Collegium Antiquum and has toured with renowned harpsichordist Anthony Newman.
Since coming to the Bay area, Ms. Lilly has been a soloist with AVE, American Bach Soloists, Bay Choral Guild, California Bach Society, Chora Nova, City Concert Opera, Magnificat, New Music Works in Santa Cruz, S.F. Concert Chorale, S.F. Renaissance Voices, and Sacramento Baroque. She has also been featured in numerous early music concerts at Musicsources and opera productions at Mills College. Her recordings include three with the Waverly Consort on EMI; Handel and Vivaldi’s Dixit Dominus with the American Boychoir on Musical Heritage; Scarlatti’s St. Cecilia Mass on Newport Classic; Sowerby’s Medieval Poem on Naxos; a German Baroque Christmas with American Classical Orchestra; and Orff’s Carmina Burana with the S.F. Concert Chorale.
California Artist-in-Residence, MacDowell Colony Residency recipient and recording artist, Lauren Carley performs with her chamber music ensemble Polyhymnia and the Renaissance quintet Schola. Performing on the concert stage, in cabaret, and theatre, Carley specializes in new work, premiering works by Philip Glass, Edmund Campion, Hugo Weisgall, Miriam Gideon, Walter Hilse, Judith Lang Zaimont and John Cage. She has premiered interdisciplinary staged works for NYC’s EmmaTroupe and toured the George Coates Performance Works’ world premiere of 20/20 Blake in Brazil. Ms. Carley’s solo CD, “Hooked on Weill” features original arrangements of the music of Kurt Weill accompanied by jazz and classical musicians, which music she tours in original solo shows.
Ms. Carley teaches choral music for the Osher Lifelong Learning faculty of both SF State and UC Berkeley, maintains a private voice studio, leads on-going sight-singing classes and conducts the Joy of Singing in Sacred Spaces vocal workshop each summer in Calvi del’ Umbria, Italy. Carley is Artistic Director for the Variety Pack and Rhythm Society choruses, and is a former Music Director/Company Member in the all-female Shakespeare company Woman’s Will. Ms. Carley leads on-going retreats, performances and workshops in singing for healing, ministry, sacred services, and community engagement.
Past appointments include Vocal/Choral Director for the Oakland Public Conservatory of Music, choral conductor with the Oakland Youth Chorus, and Guest Professor at the Colorado College Drama/Dance Department, teaching the Art of Solo Performance and Voice for the Theatre. She has served as Adjunct Professor of Voice at New York University, vocal faculty at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy, Vocal Department Head and Master Coach for Birch Creek Music Academy.
J. Raymond Meyers, a.k.a.”Joe” is a highly sought after West Coast tenor with projects ranging from Verdi to Weill with many other stops along the way. Over the past five years, he’s turned his attention to the leading roles of the lyric stage. The Duke in Rigoletto, Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly, Ferrando in Cosi fan Tutte, Rodolfo in La Boheme, Hoffmann in The Tales of Hoffmann, Ernesto in Don Pasquale, Camille in The Merry Widow, Rinuccio in Gianni Schicci and Alfred in Die Fledermaus are just of a few of the roles for which he is becoming known.
Within the confines of the classical music business, the tenor has been involved in so many different productions in so many different capacities as a singer that to say, ”Lyric Tenor” really only captures where he is and doesn’t reflect on where he has been and some of the roles which have defined him as an actor/singer in the opera world. Goro in Madama Butterfly, Beppe in I Pagliacci, Bardolfo in Falstaff, Remendado in Carmen, the Four Macabre’s in The Tales of Hoffmann, and other character roles along the same lines were his first steps into the singing business and at this point in his career these roles still compromise a part of his work load, but as someone once said, “the voice cannot be denied” so instead of being referred to as an “Actor-Singer”, he prefers the reverse of “Singing-Actor” to illustrate his place in the opera business.
He’s been a frequent performer with many of the America’s premiere opera companies, including leading and supporting roles with San Francisco Opera, Anchorage Opera, Utah Festival Opera, Portland Opera, Opera Tampa, Opera Grand Rapids, Rogue Opera, Opera Santa Barbara, Sacramento Opera, San Francisco Lyric Opera, West Bay Opera, Opera San Jose, Stockton Opera, Bear Valley Music Festival, Apollo Performing Arts, Mendocino Music Festival, Pacific Repertory Opera, Festival Opera, Pocket Opera and many others.
Highlights from the last few seasons include the 2001-2002 season marking the tenor’s first affiliation with the San Francisco Opera covering Goro in Madama Butterfly, Remendado in Carmen and Bardolfo in Falstaff. Then in 2003, he made his debut with Portland Opera as Tony in the West Coast Premiere of William Bolcolm’s A View from the Bridge. The 2004-2005 season provided the opportunity to work with Opera San Jose, continuing his long standing relationship with the company where he first started singing the character roles which would shape his early career. He was pleased to sing one of his signature roles, Alfred in Die Fledermaus as well as Giles Corey in The Crucible. During the 2006 summer season the tenor made his Prague debut singing the Requiem Mass of Czech composer F. Hidas. He then returned to the U.S. for his debut at Opera Grand Rapids as Goro in Madama Butterfly.
On the concert stage, the tenor is well known for his portrayal of the roasting swan in Carmina Burana. Whether as a “roasting swan” or as guest soloist, he has appeared with the New West, Napa Valley, Modesto, Santa Rosa, Stockton, Diablo Valley, Redwood, Santa Cruz and Monterey symphonies.
Recent projects include Lou Harrison’s Young Caesar with Ensemble Parallèle, Mozart and Haydn with the Modesto Symphony, and Carmina Burana with San Mateo Masterworks Chorale and Santa Clara Chorale. Last summer he returned to Pocket Opera for his debut as Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly and made his debut at Sonoma City Opera as Belmonte in Die Entführung aus dem Serail. He was tenor soloist in San Francisco Ballet’s West Side Story Suite last spring, as well as Carmina Burana with Ballet San Jose in Shanghai, China last May, and Rodolfo in La Boheme at Pocket Opera in San Francisco last July. In August he returned to Sonoma City Opera as Ernesto in Don Pasquale and made his debut at Toledo Opera in November as Borsa in Rigoletto.
More Upcoming: The Fourth Jew In Toledo Opera’s Salome, a return to San Francisco Ballet as tenor soloist in the West Side Story Suite, Carmina Burana with Peninsula Symphony and Rodolfo in La Boheme at Rogue Opera.
Mr. Meyers made his Motion Picture debut this November portraying an opera singer in the movie, "Milk" starring Sean Penn and directed by Gus van Sant. The movie won acadamy awards for best original screen play (Dustin Lance Black) and the Best Actor oscar went to Sean Penn.
Gregory Stapp, Bass
Featured as Sarastro on the 1987 Great Performances: LIVE FROM LINCOLN CENTER PBS telecast of New York City Opera’s Die Zauberflöte, and heard in fifteen NPR broadcasts with the San Francisco Opera, basso profondo Gregory Stapp has garnered acclaim across the United States, in Europe, China, Mexico and Japan
Oscar-winning filmmaker, Bruce Beresford, directed Stapp as Ashby in the Spoleto Festival’s Italian telecast production of La fanciulla del west. At Spoleto, Gian Carlo Menotti presented Stapp in recital, and then invited him to Scotland’s Edinburgh Festival as Mr. Kofner in the composer’s production of The Consul. He sang Ramfis in Aïda for the Centro Internacional de Opera in Guadalajara, Mexico; the bass solos in Verdi’s Requiem with the Osaka Symphoniker; starred in a cabaret show, concerts, and several operas for Japan’s Sakai City Opera (including Sarastro in a joint Die Zauberflöte with Germany’s Chemnitz Opera); and, in 2009, appeared with China’s Shandong Symphony Orchestra and Kunming Symphony Orchestra.
He was Fasolt in Wagner’s Ring with Seattle Opera; the Emperor Altoum in the American stage premiere of Busoni’s Turandot with Connecticut Grand Opera; John Mackay in the world premiere of Herbolsheimer’s Mark Me Twain with Nevada Opera; Charlemagne in the American premiere of Schubert’s Fierrabras with Philadelphia’s AVA Opera Theatre; and, the bass soloist in the American premiere of Garcia’s Requiem at Carnegie Hall with the Universidade de Brasilia Chorus.
Widely hailed for his spectacular Osmin in The Abduction from the Seraglio, his 30 roles under the auspices of San Francisco Opera include Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor, Achillas in Julius Caesar, Pluto in Il ballo dell’ingrate, Friar Lawrence in Roméo et Juliette, the Priest in Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, the Parson in The Cunning Little Vixen and Dansker in Billy Budd. Other roles include Bluebeard in Duke Bluebeard’s Castle, Falstaff in The Merry Wives of Windsor, Figaro in The Marriage of Figaro, Kecal in The Bartered Bride, Nilakantha in Lakmé, Reverend Hale in The Crucible, Don Basilio in The Barber of Seville, the Grand Inquisitor in Don Carlo, Ramfis in Aïda, and Don Quixote in Man of La Mancha.
He has appeared with the Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Bear Valley Music Festival, Sacramento Symphony, Carmel Bach Festival, Mendocino Music Festival, and Illinois Symphony. Stapp’s Profondo Delights & Laments recital was recently premiered at San Francisco’s Old First Concerts. Engagements include Verdi’s Requiem with Stanford University’s Summer Chorus & Freiburg, Germany’s Junge Kammerphilharmonie; Haydn’s Harmoniemesse for the Berkeley Community Chorus & Orchestra; Osmin, Friar Lawrence & concerts at the Gallo Center with Townsend Opera; Bluebeard at the Mondavi Center with the UC Davis Symphony; the premiere of David Garner’s song cycle, Opening Nights, at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music; and, conducting The Marriage of Figaro for Notre Dame de Namur University, where he recently joined the faculty.
Appointed twice to the prestigious San Francisco/Affiliate Artists–Opera Program, Stapp was later awarded one of the San Francisco Opera Center’s inaugural Adler Fellowships. He has received major grants from the Metropolitan Opera Auditions, National Institute for Music Theater, Baltimore Opera Auditions and the William Matheus Sullivan Musical Foundation.