RENÉE RAPIER, SOPRANO*
American Mezzo Soprano Renée Rapier brings her “dark, velvety mezzo and smoothly controlled, unfailingly eloquent phrasing to match” (Opera News) as well as a “razor-sharp focus” (Bay Area Reporter) to the operatic stage. Ms. Rapier recently appeared with Opera Parallèle as the Minskwoman in Jonathan Dove’s Flight. She makes her LA Philharmonic debut in John Adams’ Nixon in China conducted by the composer and makes her role debut as Suzuki in Madame Butterfly at both Opera Theatre of St. Louis and Seattle Opera. Ms. Rapier’s 2015/2016 season included a critically-acclaimed debut as Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia with Opera San Jose as well as debuts with Seattle Opera in Maria Stuarda, and Florencia en el Amazonas with Emerald City Opera. She appeared with San Francisco Symphony in scenes from Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel and with the San Francisco Opera as Mercédès in Carmen. With LA Opera, she sang Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro and The Ghosts of Versailles, winning a Grammy. Other recent engagements include a debut at Chicago’s Ravinia Festival as both the Page in Salome and Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro, her international debut as Olga in Eugene Onegin with the Seoul Philharmonic, Cornelia in Giulio Cesare with Wolf Trap Opera, and a debut with Opera San Antonio as Mrs. Fox in Tobias Picker’s Fantastic Mr. Fox. Ms. Rapier was a 2012/2013 San Francisco Opera Adler Fellow and sang a number of roles including Giovanna in Rigoletto and Meg Page in Falstaff. She was also a member of LA Opera’s Domingo-Thornton Young Artist Program where she made her professional debut as Stephano in Roméo et Juliette under the baton of Plácido Domingo. She has participated in several other training programs including the Merola Opera Program and Chautauqua Opera. Ms. Rapier received recognition from several competitions including the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions (national semi-finalist), Palm Springs Opera Guild Competition (first place), the Seoul International Music Competition (finalist), Plácido Domingo’s Operalia (semi-finalist), and the Brava! Opera Theater and James M. Collier Young Artist Program Vocal Competition (first place). Ms. Rapier holds degrees in both voice and viola from the University of Northern Iowa.
*Ms. Rapier replaces the originally scheduled artist, soprano Toni Marie Palmertree, for this recital.
ANTHONY REED, BASS
Mr. Reed made his San Francisco Opera debut in various roles in 2015’s Les Troyens. He will be seen this summer as Count Ceprano in Rigoletto, in the fall as Tutor of Orest in Elektra, and Doctor Grenville in La Traviata. He is a third-year San Francisco Opera Adler Fellow who performed Schmidt (Andre Chéiner) and King of Egypt (Aida) in the 2016 Fall season and performed Mayor of the Village (Jenůfa), The Speaker/Second Armored Man (The Magic Flute), Hans Schwartz (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg), and Doctor Primus in Getty's Usher House during the 2015-2016 Season. He was also a participant of the 2014 Merola Opera Program. Roles in his repertory include Sarastro (Die Zauberflöte), Truffaldin (Ariadne auf Naxos), Don Basilio (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Dulcamara (L’elisir d’amore), Don Magnifico (La Cenerentola), and the Four Villains (Les contes d’Hoffmann). Reed received a 2011 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Regional Encouragement Award and has been a young artist at the Wolf Trap Opera Studio and the Seagle Music Colony, in addition to his studies at the Curtis Institute of Music and the University of Wisconsin.
JOHN CHURCHWELL, PIANO
One of the leading collaborative pianists of his generation, John Churchwell enjoys a career on the concert stage as well as in the nation’s leading opera houses. In August 2011, Mr. Churchwell was named Head of Music for San Francisco Opera. Previously, Churchwell served as an assistant conductor for both the Metropolitan Opera and San Francisco Opera for 14 years. In that time, he assisted on more than 100 productions and has collaborated with some of the world’s leading conductors including James Levine, Nello Santi, Nicola Luisotti, James Conlon, Donald Runnicles, Sir Charles Mackerras, Marco Armilliato, Fabio Luisi, and Sir Mark Elder. On the recital stage, Mr. Churchwell has partnered with some of today’s most sought-after vocalists, including Joyce DiDonato, Susan Graham, Michael Fabiano, Diana Damrau, Frederica von Stade, Leah Crocetto, Dawn Upshaw, and Carol Vaness. Recent appearances include New York recitals with Lisette Oropesa, a recital with Lawrence Brownlee in Sonoma, California and San Francisco concerts with James Westman and Daniel Okulitch. In addition to song recitals, Mr. Churchwell is an active chamber musician and has appeared regularly with members of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and the San Francisco Opera Orchestra. A native of Knoxville, Tennessee, Churchwell spends his summers at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California, where he has been a member of the voice and piano faculty since 2000. He is a graduate of Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program and the 1996 Merola Opera Program.
The Woods: A Rom-Com Recital - An original narrative created through a compilation of songs by various American Composers.
Featured Composers – Ned Rorem, Thomas Pasatieri, William Bolcom, Virgil Thomson, George Gershwin, Dominick Argento, Cy Coleman, Cole Porter, John Jacob Niles, Esther Cooper, Stephen Sondheim
*(program subject to change)