The Story of Daughter of the Regiment...

An orphan named Marie has been raised from infancy by a French army regiment whose soldiers love her for her beautiful songs, her cheerfulness, and her beauty.

Marie has fallen in love with the handsome Tonio, who joins the regiment just to be near her.

When her aunt, the Marquise of Berkenfield, discovers her by chance while traveling in the region, she demands that Marie be returned to her family to take her rightful place as a noblewoman, married to a nobleman.

An unraveling chain of family secrets, and the sudden appearance of Tonio and the entire regiment, scandalize Marie's stuffy in-laws-to-be and derail her arranged wedding.



About the Opera Company
of the Highlands

Headed by soprano Claudia Cummings, the new non-profit Opera Company of the HIghlands is an outgrowth of the performances and works of Festival Theatre of New York, a performing arts organization Cummings co-founded with her husband, Shakespearean actor Jack Aranson, in 1999.


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The Daughter of the Regiment

by Gaetano Donizetti

A comic opera sung in English

March 3-19, 2006

Artistic & Musical Director
Claudia Cummings

Stage Director
Michael Shell

The Cast >
Character
Performer
Marie
Kinga Skretkowicz, Soprano
Jeanai Ratcliffe, Soprano
Tonio
Luke J. Grooms, Tenor
Sulpice
Giuseppe Spoletini, Baritone
Marquise de Berkenfield
Jennifer Barsamian, Mezzo Soprano
Hortensius
José F. Dominquez, Bass
Duchess of Krackenthorp

Margaret Hill, Soprano
Cynthia Topps, Soprano

A Corporal

Jeremy J. Moore, Baritone

Pianists
Lillie Mikesell / Joel Flowers

Stage
�Manager

Kathy Lawrence
Costume Design
Kathryn Luciana
Hair & Makeup Design
Lucia Aloi
S C H E D U L E
Date
Venue
Address
Wed.
March 1
School Performance
10 AM
Festival Theater
Blooming Grove
Get directions >>

Fri.-Sun.
March
3rd @ 8PM
4th @ 4PM
5th @ 3PM

United Church of Christ
Route 94 at Old Dominion Rd., Blooming Grove
Get directions >>

Fri.-Sun.
March
10th @ 8PM
Calvary Presbyterian Church
Grand St., Newburgh
Get directions >>
Sat.
March
11th @ 8PM
Calvary Presbyterian Church
Grand St., Newburgh
Get directions >>
Sun.
March
12th @ 3PM
Cunneen-Hackett Theatre
12 Vassar St., Poughkeepsie
Get directions >>

Fri.-Sun.
March
17th @ 8PM
SUNY Orange, Orange Hall Theater
Wawayanda Ave., Middletown
Get directions >>
Sat.
March
18th @ 8PM
SUNY Orange, Orange Hall Theater
Wawayanda Ave., Middletown
Get directions >>
Sun.
March
19th @ 3PM
Pavilion Theatre/Lycian Centre for the Performing Arts
Kings Hwy.,
Sugar Loaf
Get directions >>

All tickets are $25
Reservations: 845-562-5381



BIOS of the DIRECTORS
Director

Claudia Cummings
Artistic & Musical Director

CLAUDIA CUMMINGS is an opera singer who has appeared all over the world singing the leading ladies in such operas as Lucia, La Traviata, Die Fledermaus, The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni, Lulu, The Tales of Hoffman and Satyagraha, to name a few. In her twenty-five year opera career, Miss Cummings performed as a principal singer in the New York City Opera for ten years, and sang with the Chicago Lyric and San Francisco Opera among many others. She has sung regularly with symphony orchestras and chamber music groups. Miss Cummings has also starred in musicals, and played the Mother Abbess in The Sound of Music on Broadway, and in its tour of 60 cities of the United States and Canada.

In appreciation of her talents, Mount Saint Mary College has conferred upon her the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters. Miss Cummings is the Producing Director of Festival Theatre of New York, the Conductor of The Newburgh Symphony Chorale.� As the Founder and Artistic Director of Opera Company of the Highlands, she presented Die Fledermaus in October and November, 2005, and is preparing for the 2006 season, beginning with The Daughter of the Regiment� in March, a youth opera this summer, and La Bohème in the fall.

Michael Shell, Tenor
Stage Director


A graduate of North Carolina School of the Arts and a Fletcher Institute Fellow, Mr. Shell is also an accomplished tenor who has appeared with the Virginia Opera, Opera Omaha, Utah Festival Opera, Bel Canto Northwest, New Orleans Opera and Chautauqua Opera among others. His lead roles have included Beast in Beauty and the Beast, Don Ottavio IN Don Giovanni, and Albert in Albert Herring. His directorial debut with Opera Company of the Highlands follows several assistant directorships, including work on La Traviata, The Merry Widow, Threepenny Opera, H.M.S. Pinafore, Manon and The Daughter of the Regiment, with many of the same companies. He will direct the Virginia Opera Family Day production of Sleeping Beauty next month. Mr. Shell will also be the Assistant Director on the world premiere of "The Greater Good or the Passion of Boule de Suif" at Glimmerglass Opera this summer.

Kathy Lawrence, Soprano
Stage Manager

A versatile singer with a range of musical genres, from jazz and blues standards, to show tunes, folk and classical music, Ms. Lawrence is also a trained linguist and public speaker. Skilled in German and French and fluent in Chinese, Ms. Lawrence sings folk music in various languages, including Mandarin. A frequent performer in the Hudson Valley, she has been a guest artist at the Warwick Valley Winery and a featured artist at the Equinox Caf� in Milheim, PA. Ms. Lawrence is in demand as an accompanist and is supporting rehearsal pianist for the Newburgh Symphonic Chorale and for Die Fledermaus. She is a Founding Board Member of the Opera Company of the Highlands, and debuted with the company as Suzie in Die Fledermaus. Ms. Lawrence co-founded the acoustic duo Heartstrings with Broadway baritone Rich Flanders, which performs music from the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s, in the Hudson Valley region. For information, visit www.heartstrings.com.
Performer

Kinga Skretkowicz, Soprano
Maria

A native of Lodz, Poland, Ms. Skretkowicz has just completed a Performer’s Diploma at the Indiana University School of Music, where she also received her master’s degree. At IU Opera Theater she performed the roles of Fiorilla in Il Turco in Italia, Adele in Die Fledermaus, Gretel in Hansel and Gretel, and Nicoletta in The Love for Three Oranges. Other roles from her repertoire include Gilda in Rigoletto, Le�la in Les P�cheurs de Perles, Poppea in Agrippina, Contessa in Il viaggio a Reims, Poussette in Manon, and Zerlina in Don Giovanni. In 2003, she was profiled in a cover story (“Kinga for a Day”) for the IU School of Music alumni magazine, I.U. Music.

In 2003 Ms. Skretkowicz joined the Chicago Opera Theater Young Artist Program, where she performed in Handel’s Agrippina (Poppea cover) and gave several solo recitals. She returned to the Chicago Opera Theater for their 2004 season operas, Britten’s Death in Venice (Lace Seller) and Rossini’s Il viaggio a Reims (Contessa cover). She has recently been invited to cover Madam Mao in their 2006 production of Nixon in China. Ms. Skretkowicz’s recent concert appearances include solo recitals at the Polish Consulate in Chicago and Chicago Cultural Center, “Voices of Poland” for the Chicago Humanities Festival at the Chicago Symphony Center, and Wolf’s Italienisches Liederbuch, staged by H�kan Hageg�rd at IU.

Ms. Skretkowicz is a winner of the 2001 Marcella Sembrich Competition, a recipient of the Rossi-Lemeni Award in the 2002 Society for Arts and Letters competition, two Kosciuszko Foundation scholarships, and The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans for which she is now serving as a selection panelist. Ms. Skretkowicz also holds an Artist’s Diploma in Piano from the Lodz State School of Music, Poland, an MA in English from the University of Lodz, and an MBA from the University of Lyon.

In the 1990s, Ms. Skretkowicz toured in Europe and South America as a soloist in the award-winning chamber ensemble Con Vigore, performing repertoire ranging from Renaissance to contemporary music. A keen and adventurous actress, she was a member of the experimental theater group Cacho Perro, and performed leading roles in professional theaters in Poland, at the Gdansk Theater Festival, and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. She honed her acting skills at the Academy of Music Opera and Drama Department and during a series of workshops with The Royal Shakespeare Company.


Jeanai Ratcliffe, Soprano
Marie

Jeanai Ratcliffe is thrilled to make her debut as Marie with Opera in the Highlands. She will also appear in The Daughter of the Regiment later this spring with Boston Lyric Opera. Jeanai 2005 performances include her debut at the Ravinia Festival in Chicago in August, as the coloratura soprano soloist, under the baton of Paul Gemignani, in Sondheim’s Anyone Can Whistle with Audra McDonald and Patty LuPone; Musetta in La Boh�me with Bronx Opera; Beauty in Beauty and the Beast with DiCapo Opera in New York and Mae Jones in Street Scene with Maine Grand Opera.

In 2004, Jeanai sang the role of Caresse in the world premiere of The Brazilian with Manhattan Opera Theatre. In New York, Jeanai’s performances have included The Gondoliers with the New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players at City Center, Jekyll and Hyde with Gateway Playhouse and Der Zwerg with American Symphony Orchestra at Avery Fisher Hall. In the Boston area, Jeanai sang Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi with Lowell Opera, in Smooth Sailing with New England Light Opera, and The Chimes in Boston’s Birth of a Musical Festival. Jeanai received her MM from Manhattan School of Music in 2002.

Jeanai’s other roles performed include Cunegonde in Candide, Rose in Street Scene, Laetitia in The Old Maid and the Thief, Queen of the Night/ Papagena in The Magic Flute, Despina in Cosi fan tutte, Gretchen in Lortzing's Der Wildsch�tz and Ann Putnam in The Crucible. Jeanai won 1st place in the Florida Suncoast Opera competition in 2004.


Luke J. Grooms, Tenor
Tonio

A graduate of Emory and Henry colleges with an advanced degree from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, tenor Luke J. Grooms is earning a reputation as a leading tenor. In December 2004 he made his New York debut with The Bronx Opera, in their production of Menotti's The Consul, and sang his first Rodolfo in La Boh�me with them in May 2005, where he covered the title role in Les Contes D'Hoffmann for the Des Moines Metro Opera's Young Artist Program this past summer.

He returned to New York as a Resident Artist for DiCapo Opera Theatre, where he covers Rodolfo and Sam in Susannah, and he sings the roles of Parpignol in La Boh�me; Elder Gleaton in Susannah, and Don Jose in Carmen for the company’s outreach program. Mr. Grooms made his Regina Opera debut as Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus, his Cantiamo Opera debut as Rodolfo, and his Opera Company of the Highlands debut as Tonio in The Daughter of the Regiment. This season also finds him covering The Young Conductor in Pasatieri's La Divina, as well as Leon in Signor Deluso, also by Pasatieri, for the recording debut of these works by Opera Company of Brooklyn, on Albany Records. He has attended young artist programs with several distinguished companies, including Glimmerglass Opera, Chautauqua Opera, and Sarasota Opera, and has performed recitals throughout New York State, Tennessee, Virginia, and in Boston.


Giuseppe Spoletini, Baritone
Sulpice

Canadian Baritone, Giuseppe Spoletini has performed widely throughout Canada and the United States. He was most recently seen performing the role of the Guy Carteblanche in the world premiere operetta Le Brazilienne with the Manhattan Opera Theater.

Some of Mr. Spoletini’s other operatic roles include Il Conte in le Nozze di Figaro, Figaro in The Barber of Seville, Gullielmo in Cosi fan tutte, Papageno in the Magic Flute and Escamillo in Carmen, to name a few. He has performed with The Opera Theater of Saint Louis, Saskatoon Opera Association, Cincinnati Opera Education Ensemble, Manhattan Opera Theater, Chautauqua Institute, not to mention his alma mater, Manhattan School of Music, where he is still frequently invited to perform and is a member of the pre-college faculty.

Mr. Spoletini often returns to his hometown of Calgary, Alberta to perform concert arias and recital repertoire with the Mountain View Festival of Song Concert Series. His versatility of style made him the perfect candidate to perform the role of Kurt Weill in the American Musical Theater Ensemble’s performance of “September Songs… The Legacy of Kurt Weill.” He was also one of twelve national finalists in the 2005 Lotte Lenya Competition for singers.

Mr. Spoletini received his Master of Music degree from Manhattan School of Music. He has also participated in numerous programs including the 20th Century Opera and Song Dramatic Integration program at the Banff Center for the Arts in Banff, Canada, Centro Studi Lirica in Novafeltria, Italy and the Chautauqua Institute in Chautauqua, NY. He is currently studying with Mark Oswald.


Jennifer Barsamian, Mezzo Soprano
Marquise de Berkenfield

A Long Island native, Ms. Barsamian was recently seen as Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro with Asheville Lyric Opera. For the Hartt Opera Theatre she has sung La Zia Principessa in Puccini’s Suor Angelica and Zita in Gianni Schicchi. For Intermezzo Opera, Ms. Barsamian has sung the role of Mum in Albert Herring, the Third Lady in Magic Flute, and the title role in The Rape of Lucretia. She has been an apprentice at Glimmerglass Opera, covering the roles of Alma March in Little Women, and Mamma Lucia in Cavalleria Rusticana, and where she sang a song recital on the Young American Artist Recital series. She covered the role of Irene in Handel’s Tamerlano and sang on the Kenan Fellows recital at the Spoleto Festival USA. Last May, Ms. Barsamian was a participant at the Cleveland Art Song Festival where she sang on master classes for Martin Katz, Warren Jones, David Daniels, and Stephanie Blythe. She was a finalist for the Connecticut Opera competition. She received her Bachelors degree from Westminster Choir College; her Masters degree from the North Carolina School of the Arts, and an Artist Diploma at the A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute in North Carolina. Other roles include The Witch and Mother in Hansel and Gretel; Arnalta in L’Incoronazione di Poppea; Ursula in Beatrice and Benedict; Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro, and the Old Lady in Candide.


José F. Dominquez, Baritone
Hortensius

A native from Beeville Texas, Jos� Dominguez attended Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas, and majored in Vocal Performance. He relocated to New York City in 2000 and to New Paltz in 2002. Mr. Dominguez was soloist at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in 2000 and 2001. He has performed with the New York Chorale Society at Carnegie Hall and with the New York Metropolitan Vocal Arts Ensemble (NYMVAE), most notably in the East Coast premiere of Robert Bhoury’s Cat, Bowl, Broomstick in 2001 as the Broomstick, and in Menotti’s The Medium in 2002 as Mr. Gabineau. He is a member of the choral ensemble Seraphim, under the direction of Robert Long, which performs for the memorial services at St. Peter’s Church in NYC every September 11. Mr. Dominguez currently studies voice with Dr. Robert Osborne of Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY.


Margaret Hill, Soprano
Duchess of Krackenthorp

Margaret Hill has performed extensively in theater, opera, film, television and choral groups. She has performed over 35 leading roles in opera and musical theater. Critics from across the country have praised her as “enchanting,” “charming” and “impeccable.” The Rocky Mountain Journal cited her “freshness as a comedienne,” calling her a “singer-dancer-actress of high caliber.” For another role, they said she “never forgets her audience, which in turn glows with the reflection of her soprano.” After 12 years of retirement to raise her beautiful daughter Amanda, a talented ballet dancer, Ms. Hill was thrilled to get back on stage as the First Lady in The Magic Flute with Festival Theatre of New York. She also appeared with them as Marcellina in The Marriage of Figaro and in the concert “Orange at Eisenhower Hall.” She is a frequent soloist at the Cornwall Presbyterian Church and has appeared for the past several years as Clara’s mother in the Hudson Valley Dance Theater’s production of The Nutcracker. Ms. Hill is so happy to be part of the Opera Company of the Highlands.


Cynthia Topps, Soprano
Duchess of Krackenthorp

Cynthia has been performing in the Hudson Valley area for many years. Most recently she has been performing at Forestburgh Playhouse in My Fair Lady, La Cage Au Folles, Sound of Music and Full Monty. Cynthia is a part time reviewer for the Times Herald Record and a drama instructor for SUNY Orange's Young Saturdays' Programs. She is a Newburgh resident with her husband David (who also appears in this production) and her four footed menagerie of two cats and two dogs.


Jeremy J. Moore, Baritone
ACorporal

A Colorado native, Jeremy J. Moore apprenticed on the voice faculty of the Berkshire Choral Festival in Santa Fe, NM and Sheffield, MA, and sang with the Salzburg, Austria Festivals in 2001 and 2002. He has performed in solo recitals and ensemble concerts throughout the U.S., including many annual performances as bass soloist in H�ndel’s Messiah with the Aspen Choral Society and Orchestra in Colorado. The singer’s 2003 European debut was in the roles of Nardo (La finta giardiniera) and Papageno (Die Zauberfl�te) with the Austrian American Mozart Academy in Salzburg, Austria, and he sang with Hans Nieuwenhuis at the Opera Studio Nederland in Amsterdam. As a soloist, he recently sang two oratorio premieres by Ray Vincent Adams at Harris Concert Hall in Aspen. In addition to ongoing performances around the country, Mr. Moore teaches voice from his private studio in New York, where he lives with his wife, Heather.



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