Carrie Hennessey, soprano
Known for her ability to bring great musical and theatrical depth to her performances, soprano Carrie Hennessey is a powerful and talented artist.
Carrie's much-awaited debut in Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire “gave us a Blanche that let us burrow into her character’s soul, even into the darkest crevices. . . . Hennessey, using a one-two punch of music and drama, made [the role] resonate in a way that equaled the finest stage performances of the part I’ve seen” (Fresnobeehive.com). Her embodiment of the title role in the West Coast premiere of Picker’s opera Emmeline earned her a nomination in the 2010 Bay Area Broadway World Awards for Best Leading Actress in a Musical (Local). She brought “exquisite vocal purity and range to the title role” and was “nothing short of sensational” (Metroactive). With West Bay Opera as Mimì in La bohème, she was “possessed of a full, powerful lyric soprano, which delivers Puccini’s arias and duets richly. Her 'Mi chiamano Mimì' (Yes, they call me Mimì) in Act 1 is gorgeous" (San Francisco Classical Voice). On only one day’s notice, Carrie made her debut with the Modesto Symphony Orchestra as soprano soloist in Mahler’s Symphony No. 4, to great acclaim.
In addition to A Streetcar Named Desire, the 2014–15 season includes several concert and recital appearances as well as soprano soloist in Verdi's Requiem and Mozart's Requiem. The 2013–14 season included the role of Sarah Miles in the Bay Area premiere of Heggie’s The End of the Affair, a reprise of The Woman in Poulenc's La voix humaine, Mimì in La bohème, Villa-Lobos's Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5, Mendelssohn’s Elijah and Lobgesang, Brahms's Requiem, Vaughn Williams’s moving Dona Nobis Pacem, Mahler’s epic symphonic song cycle Das Lied von der Erde, and appearances in multiple concert and recital series. In 2012–13, Carrie made several appearances with Sacramento Opera in concert. She also sang the role of Lauretta in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi as well as Magda and Floria Tosca in Puccini: A Man and His Muses. Other performances included a world premiere of a song cycle by Mark Vance written for Carrie and the Rootstock Percussion Trio; Mozart’s Exsultate, jubilate and Coronation Mass; Fauré's Requiem; Bernstein’s Jeremiah Symphony; the role of Josephine in Gilbert and Sullivan's H.M.S. Pinafore; Duruflé's Requiem; several concert and recital appearances; and a European tour as soprano soloist in Mozart's Mass in C minor and in the stunningly dramatic and rarely performed Dvořák's Requiem in Rudolfinum Hall in Prague.
Engagements in 2011–12 included her European debut at the International Mahler Festival in the Czech Republic singing Mahler's Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, her NYC debut in La voix humaine, and performances of Mozart's Mass in C minor; Mahler’s Ich bin der Welt; Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, with the Grand Rapids Symphony; Orff's Carmina Burana, with the Oakland East Bay Symphony; Mozart's Requiem, with the Modesto Symphony Orchestra; Dvořák's Requiem; and several recital, concert, and master class appearances.
When not performing on the main stage, Carrie continues important music education work with the Sacramento Philharmonic, the Berkeley Symphony, Symphony Napa Valley, and other organizations in Northern California.
Brian Thorsett, tenor
Hailed as “a strikingly gifted tenor, with a deeply moving, unblemished voice” (sfmusicjournal.com), tenor Brian Thorsett excels internationally in opera, oratorio, and recital. He has been seen and heard in over 100 diverse operatic roles, in works ranging from Monteverdi to Britten to Rameau, as well as in pieces composed specifically for his talents. During the 2014–16 seasons, Brian returns as Acis in Handlel’s Acis and Galatea, Tamino in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, and Alfredo in Verdi’s La traviata. He adds the roles of Edoardo in Rossini’s Cambiale di matrimonio, Jason in Cherubini’s Médée, Father in Weill’s 7 Deadly Sins, one of the trio in Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti, Peter Quint in Britten’s Turn of the Screw, and the title character in Handel's Judas Maccabaeus. He will create the Narrator and Bull roles in the premiere of Josheff’s Europa and the Bull.
As a concert singer, Brian fosters a stylistically diverse repertoire of over 250 works, which has taken him to concert halls across the United States and Europe. Future engagements include the role of Evangelist in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion and St. John Passion, and soloist in Bach’s Mass in B Minor, J. L. Bach's Trauermusik, Orff's Carmina Burana, Handel’s Messiah, Britten's St. Nicolas, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, the requiems of Mozart and Dvořák, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, a rare performance of Blitzstein’s Airborne Symphony, and the premiere of Garrop’s Terra Nostra.
Closely associated with expanding the vocal chamber genre, he has been involved in premieres and commissions of works by Ian Venables, Peter Josheff, David Conte, Shinji Eshima, Gordon Getty, Michel Bosc, Noah Luna, Laurence Lowe, Brian Holmes, Eric Davis, Robert Conrad, and Nicholas Carlozzi. His voice has been featured in films and commercials.Brian’s first solo album will be released in fall 2014, featuring the works of Frank Tours, Idabelle Firestone, Victor Herbert, and their contemporaries, arranged for salon orchestra. He will also contribute the Rossetti Songs to a recording of David Conte's music.
Brian is a graduate of San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program, Glimmerglass Opera’s Young American Artists Program, American Bach Soloists' Academy, and the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme at Aldeburgh, England. He also spent two summers at the Music Academy of the West.
Brian is currently Assistant Professor of Voice at Virginia Tech and has previously served on faculty at Santa Clara University and University of California at Berkeley.
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Efraín Solís, baritone
Mexican-American baritone Efraín Solís is a recent graduate of the Adler Fellowship at San Francisco Opera. He made his Company debut as Prince Yamadori in Madama Butterfly and has appeared as Silvano in Un Ballo in Maschera, Sciarrone in Tosca, Schaunard in La Bohème for Families, and Dandini in a revival of Jean Pierre-Ponnelle's classic production of La Cenerentola.
This fall he took on the iconic role of Papageno in Mozart’s The Magic Flute, and recently he performed the role of Slook in Rossini's one act comedy La Cambiale di Matrimonio with the Philharmonia Baroque and baroque specialist Nicholas McGegan. In 2014 he collaborated with the New Century Chamber Orchestra and the incomparable Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg in a semi-staged production of Donizetti’s Rita, as well as Glass’ Hydrogen Jukebox with West Edge Opera. This season he performs the role of Mercutio in Gounod’s Romeo et Juliette at Opera Carolina, Virginia Opera, and Toledo Opera as well as participating in a Schawabacher Debut Recital, in San Francisco, and the New York Festival of Song with Steven Blier. In the spring of 2013, he joined Opera Santa Barbara as a member of their Studio Artist Program, where covered Dr. Malatesta in Don Pasquale. As a participant of the 2013 Merola Opera Program, he sang Junius in The Rape of Lucretia and covered Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro. Chosen as a finalist for the 2013 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and the Houston Grand Opera's Eleanor McCollum Competition, he holds degrees from Chapman University and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where he performed the title role of Don Giovanni, Guglielmo in Così fan tutte, and the title role of Gianni Schicchi.
Efraín is also the first in his family to receive the degree of Bachelor or Master.