Lyric Opera of Chicago

Faust Bios

PIOTR BECZALA

Piotr Beczala (Faust)
Lyric Opera debut
Also this season:
 Faust,  Vienna Staatsoper; Strauss orchestral songs, Berlin Radio Orchestra;  La bohème,  Covent Garden.

The Polish tenor debuted as Faust at Covent Garden, and he has since reprised the role at a company with which he has long been closely associated, the Zurich Opernhaus (2007). “For me, this is a typically romantic story. Faust can show his humanity the first time he sees Marguerite, when he really is falling in love. There’s also a beautiful romantic moment at the beginning of their duet; Marguerite is so charming, and she takes Faust away from all his thinking and philosophizing.Faust isn’t playing at all this stuff – I think he really feels it. His aria comes in the middle of the opera, at a point where you should try to take the public into your confidence, into your view of the role and your singing.” Last season Beczala triumphed at the Metropolitan Opera in  Rigoletto Eugene Onegin, and  Lucia di Lammermoor  (HD broadcast). In 2008 he sang his first Riccardo/ Un ballo in maschera  (Berlin Staatsoper) and the Prince/ Rusalka  (Salzburg Festival). Beczala has established himself as a major artist worldwide with appearances at La Scala, Covent Garden, and the leading houses of Munich (most recently a greatly acclaimed  Werther  at the 2009 Opera Festival), Vienna, Amsterdam, Berlin, Warsaw, and Tokyo, as well as at eight major festivals and concerts at distinguished venues including Berlin’s Philharmonie, Munich’s Herkulessaal, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, and Cleveland’s Severance Hall. Beczala appears on CD in a recently released solo operatic recital and in stage works of Mozart, Offenbach, Verdi, Tchaikovsky, Lehár, and Szymanowski; and on DVDs from Zurich, Salzburg, Paris, and Berlin.

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JOSEPH KAISER

Joseph Kaiser(Faust – Oct. 30, Nov. 3, 7)
Previously at Lyric Opera:  Six roles since 2004-05, most recently Chevalier/ Dialogues of the Carmelites, Roméo/ Roméo et Juliette, Narraboth/ Salome  (all 2006-07).
Also this season Fortunio, Opéra-Comique (Paris);  Pulcinella,  St. Paul Chamber Orchestra,  Alceste,  Festival d’Aixen-Provence.

“Were someone to say to me, ‘I want to really get to know opera, so give me a sampling of the ten best operas,’  Faust  would be there, without question,” says the Canadian tenor. “Quite frankly, the saying ‘Youth is wasted on the young’ is never more relevant than in  Faust. I think of how in modern-day therapy they say you spend your life remedying the issues you had in childhood. Here’s Faust saying, ‘I’m getting old, but I want another kick of the can.’ Who hasn’t wanted to do it over? This is a doover, very tantalizing and sensually fulfilling.” A Ryan Opera Center alumnus, Kaiser has rapidly developed a significant international career. Recent seasons have brought company debuts in new productions at Covent Garden ( Salome ), the Bayerische Staatsoper ( Jen°ufa ), and the festivals of Salzburg ( Eugene Onegin Theodora ) and Aix-en-Provence ( Das Rheingold ). At the Metropolitan Opera the tenor debuted as Roméo and returned as Tamino (the latter was his debut role at Los Angeles Opera and – directed by Sir Kenneth Branagh – on film). Among other operatic appearances in America have been Saariaho’s  Adriana Mater  (U.S. premiere, Santa Fe) and  Beatrice and Benedict  (Chicago Opera Theater). Kaiser’s concert schedule has included performances with the major orchestras of Berlin ( Das Rheingold, Berlioz  Requiem ), Boston (Beethoven’s  Symphony No. 9 ), Philadelphia (Schumann’s  Das Paradies und die Peri ), and Chicago ( Otello ). He can be heard on DVD ( The Magic Flute Salome, Eugene Onegin ) and CD (Cararmoor Festival recital with Lorraine Hunt Lieberson).

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ANA MARIA MARTINEZ

Ana María Martínez(Marguerite)
Previously at Lyric Opera:  Nedda/ Pagliacci  (2008-09).
Also this season:  Concerts with Plácido Domingo in Colombia and Peru;  La bohème, Opera de Puerto Rico;  Turandot, Netherlands Opera.

“What I find so brilliantly done in this opera,” says the Puerto Rican-born soprano, “is that Marguerite is singing a folk song and then there are interruptions in which she’s inserting thoughts of Faust – I love all of that. It’s her sensuality beginning to bud, a womanly awakening in her. This scene – the Ballad of the King of Thule, leading into the Jewel Song – shows her complexity, rather than her just singing a lovely aria. We have to see her purity and innocence, as well as her femininity and curiosity, connected with her desire and her impressions of Faust.” Martínez returns to Lyric after triumphing in her Glyndebourne debut in the title role/ Rusalka. Previous successes in French repertoire include Micaëla (Metropolitan Opera debut), Mélisande (Florence), and Blanche (Hamburg). Martínez has also earned acclaim in Mozart (Donna Elvira/Covent Garden, Santa Fe; the Countess/Munich, Houston; Pamina/San Francisco, Vienna, Bonn, Stuttgart; Fiordiligi/ Salzburg, Miami); Verdi (Luisa Miller and Amelia Grimaldi/Paris, Luisa Miller/Berlin, Violetta/Covent Garden, Los Angeles); and Puccini (Mimì/Dresden, Berlin, Los Angeles). Closely associated with Houston Grand Opera, Martínez created Lucero/Daniel Catán’s  Sal-sipuedes  there (2004). She has appeared with many major orchestras, including those of Berlin, Paris and Boston. Her discography includes  Pagliacci, an aria recital, and works of Albeniz, Glass, Rodrigo, Catán, and Castelnuovo-Tedesco. DVDs include  Così fan tutte  (Salzburg) and two all-Spanish programs with Plácido Domingo.

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RENE PAPE

René Pape(Méphistophélès)
Previously at Lyric Opera:  Four roles since 1998-99, most recently Rocco/ Fidelio  (2004-05); Marke/ Tristan und Isolde  (1999-00); Pogner/ Die Meistersinger  (1998-99).
Also this season:  Verdi  Requiem, Munich Philharmonic; recital, Teatro de la Maestranza (Seville);  Das Rheingold, La Scala.

The Dresden-born bass, who has triumphed in  Faust  at the Metropolitan Opera, sings a wide variety of repertoire: “I’m excited by versatility,” he told  Das Opernglas  magazine. “I don’t want to restrict myself to the German repertoire with Wagner, Beethoven, and  Die Zauberflöte. There are so many Italian parts that a  basso cantante  can sing as well as Pogner and Marke. I’ve no desire to let myself be shoved into the drawer of the ‘German bass.’ For me it’s no taboo to sing Italian and French on the international level in Vienna, Paris, and at the Met. My receiving engagements for these parts is showing me that I’m on the right path.” A longtime member of the Berlin Staatsoper, Pape recently made his role debut there as Boris Godunov. After initially attracting international attention at Bayreuth ( Das Rheingold, 1994) and Salzburg ( Die Zauberflöte, 1995), Pape has since set new standards worldwide as King Philip/ Don Carlo, Marke/ Tristan und Isolde  (Met, Glyndebourne, Covent Garden, CD, DVD), Rocco, Pogner, and Heinrich/ Lohengrin. Pape recently made his feature-film debut as the Speaker and Sarastro/ The Magic Flute, directed by Sir Kenneth Branagh. This year has brought Pape to the Met, La Scala (in Milan and on tour to Japan), the major companies of Berlin and Dresden, Rome’s Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, the London Symphony, Carnegie Hall, the London Philharmonic, the Leipzig Gewandhaus, and the Verbier, Salzburg, and Schleswig-Holstein festivals. Besides 11 operas and much concert repertoire, Pape’s discography includes an aria disc and Torsten Rasch’s song cycle  Mein Herz brennt.

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KYLE KETELSEN

Kyle Ketelsen(Méphistophélès – Oct. 30, Nov. 3, 7)
Previously at Lyric Opera:  Masetto/ Don Giovanni, 2004-05); Escamillo/ Carmen  student matinees (1999-00).
Also this season:  The Marriage of Figaro, Lyric Opera;  The Rake’s Progress, Netherlands Opera;  Don Giovanni, Festival d’Aix-en-Provence.

The Iowa-born bass-baritone, who has appeared as Méphistophélès in Detroit (role debut) and Minneapolis, explains that “Méphistophélès begins comedically but ends on a darker note. What I want initially to convey to Faust is charm, allure, showing him that I can get him what he wants. ‘What does it cost? Nothing at all, just your soul.’ The more physical the characterization, the better. I think I tend to move in a dancer-like way in this role. If I’m doing something as simple as shifting weight, I’ll make an attempt not to rock – I’ll slowly glide my feet. I like to keep the character as otherworldly and oily-smooth as possible.” Ketelsen is a favorite at Covent Garden, where he has appeared in  Orlando, Le nozze di Figaro, Carmen, Maskarade,Die Zauberflöte, and most recently as Leporello /Don Giovanni  (DVD). He also sings Giovanni himself (Minnesota Opera). Ketelsen’s celebrated Figaro was heard most recently in his return to Barcelona last season. He has appeared at the Hamburg Staatsoper ( Les contes d’Hoffmann, new production), the Metropolitan Opera ( Tosca),  and the New York City, Glimmerglass, Washington, and St. Louis opera companies. During 2008-09 Ketelsen debuted at Netherlands Opera (Escamillo, previously his San Francisco Opera debut vehicle) and performed in many prestigious concerts, including  Pulcinella  (CSO),  Oedipus Rex  (Philharmonia), and  The Damnation of Faust  (St. Louis Symphony). Among other major orchestras that have welcomed Ketelsen are those of Cleveland, Los Angeles, and St. Paul, as well as the Orchestre National de France and the Monteverdi Choir and Orchestra.

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LUCAS MEACHEM

Lucas Meachem(Valentin)
Previously at Lyric Opera:  Oreste/ Iphigénie en Tauride  (2006-07).
Also this season:  Il barbiere di Siviglia, Los Angeles Opera;  Billy Budd, Opéra National de Paris;  Die tote Stadt, Teatro Real (Madrid).

“I’m excited about doing Valentin with Sir Andrew Davis,” says the American baritone. “The role suits my voice perfectly. This is a character who doesn’t bend at all – there’s a right way, a wrong way, and no grey area. Do the wrong thing in the eyes of God and you’re punished. At the time that  Faust  takes place, if you cursed someone to Hell on your deathbed, that was horrible. Even if you’re family, Valentin doesn’t care! He loves his sister Marguerite, but he loves her  conditionally.” Meachem previously portrayed Valentin at New Orleans Opera and Minnesota Opera. A San Francisco Opera Adler Fellowship alumnus, he has appeared at SFO in such leading roles as Eugene Onegin, Papageno/ The Magic Flute, and last season Fritz and Frank/ Die tote Stadt. Having made his European operatic debut in Gerard Pesson’s  Pastorale  (Stuttgart), he has since scored great successes in debuts in Munich ( The Marriage of Figaro ), Madrid (Sánchez-Verdú’s  El Viaje a Simorgh, world premiere), and Covent Garden ( Dido and Aeneas ). Earlier this year Meachem starred at Santa Fe Opera as Don Giovanni. His diverse repertoire in recent seasons encompasses  War and Peace  (Met debut);  Tannhäuser  (Saito Kinen Festival);  The Pearl Fishers  (Miami);  Carmina Burana  (Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, St. Louis Symphony, Seattle Symphony); Fauré’s  Requiem  (Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Pittsburgh Symphony);  Iolanthe  (San Francisco Symphony); Ferdinand Hiller’s oratorio  The Destruction of Jerusalem  (American Symphony Orchestra at Avery Fisher Hall, U.S. premiere); and Bach’s  St. Matthew Passion  (New York Philharmonic).

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KATHERINE LERNER

Katherine Lerner(Siébel)
Previously at Lyric Opera:  Lola/ Cavalleria rusticana,  Mother/ Lulu, Rosette/ Manon  (all 2008-09).
Also this season:  The Marrige of Figaro,  Lyric Opera.

“I’m excited to do Siébel,” says the New York native, a second-year mezzo in the Ryan Opera Center. “I’ve played Mozart’s Cherubino a lot – Siébel has a similar earnestness and boyish enthusiasm. He’s always between a rock and a hard place, getting into distressing situations, and he’s also in the thrall of young love. He actually gets a featured moment – his aria is the biggest thing I’ve done so far at Lyric. It’s nice to be trusted with this kind of responsibility.” Lerner spent last season at Lyric “taking advantage of this fabulous opportunity to be inspired by world-class artists and immersing myself in this rich operatic soup. In  Manon, I found it thrilling to be onstage with Natalie Dessay – the level of her commitment, and her chemistry with Jonas Kaufmann, was stupendous.” Lerner is an alumna of Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of  Music, where she sang major roles in  Ainadamar Le nozze di Figaro L’Ormindo, and  Postcard from Morocco. While studying at Oberlin Conservatory, Lerner appeared in  Dido and Aeneas The Merry Wives of Windsor Albert Herring, and  Dialogues of the Carmelites.  She has participated in young-artist programs of the Chautauqua Institution ( The Rake’s Progress ), Opera Theatre of Saint Louis ( Street Scene ), and Music Academy of the West. She has also performed as a soloist with the Cleveland Orchestra . Katherine Lerner is sponsored by  The Lester S. Abelson Foundation  and  Bill and Orli Staley.

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JANE BUNNELL

Jane Bunnell(Marthe)
Lyric Opera debut

“Marthe’s ditsy, but she’s not a caricature,” says the American mezzo-soprano. “And she’s not over the hill – she has a real zest for life.” In the Metropolitan Opera’s  Faust  Bunnell has portrayed both Siébel (Harold Prince’s production) and Marthe (Andrei Serban’s production). Bunnell has gradually moved from lyric roles to character parts: “I’m fortunate to have this option. Sopranos aren’t as lucky, but mezzos have another place to go! As Marthe, Gertrude in  Roméo et Juliette, and Marcellina in  Figaro, I’m viewing these operas from a totally different perspective.” Bunnell has sung more than 350 performances of 30 roles at the Met, ranging from Mozart’s Cherubino, Annio, and Dorabella to Britten’s Hermia ( A Midsummer Night’s Dream,  new production). With the Met orchestra under Levine she can be heard on CD ( Idomeneo Don Carlo Parsifal ) and DVD ( Otello ). Bunnell has aqppeared at the Cincinnati May Festival ( Oberon, Conlon conducting) and the major companies of Houston ( Hansel and Gretel Anna Bolena, the latter opposite Sutherland), San Diego ( Faust ), and Kansas City (Flotow’s  Martha ). Among her credits abroad are the title role/ Der Rosenkavalier  (Bonn) and Rossini’s  La scala di seta  (Schwetzingen Festival, DVD). Bunnell teaches voice at DePaul University: “DePaul came at a perfect moment, when I wanted a more permanent base. You can’t sing forever, and you should pass on what you know. I am so excited that my students can see me in action – with the devil, to boot!”

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COREY CRIDER

Corey Crider(Wagner)
Previously at Lyric Opera:  Prince Yamadori /Madama Butterfly, Journalist/ Lulu  (both 2008-09).
Also this season:  The Elixir of Love  student matinees, Lyric Opera.

The baritone, a native of Marion, Kentucky, is in his second year with the Ryan Opera Center. He greatly enjoys spending time in Lyric’s extensive recording library: “I’m giving myself a steady listening diet of great singers who have preceded us. It gives me a ‘bank’ of sound and style – and an aesthetic – to draw from. As a result, when I’m working with a teacher, coach, or conductor, it’s likely that I’ll be quicker in getting the technical coordination, the stylistic nuance, or the little linguistic subtlety that is required of me.” Crider previously participated in the young-artist programs of Glimmerglass Opera ( L’anima del filosofo Orpheus in the Underworld ) and Miami’s Florida Grand Opera (four operas, including  La bohéme Tosca, and the world premiere of  Anna Karenina ). Other credits include a Schubert/Mahler concert (Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra), and Escamillo/ The Tragedy of Carmen  (Opera Omaha). Crider has been heard at Aspen Opera Theater and with the Cincinnati, Dayton, and Nashville opera companies. At the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music his many leading roles included Don Giovanni, which he reprised last June with the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra. Crider was twice a national semifinalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions .   Corey Crider is sponsored by  Mr. and Mrs. William C. Vance.

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SIR ANDREW DAVIS

Sir Andrew Davis(Conductor)
Previously at Lyric Opera:  34 productions since 1987, most recently  Tosca  (2009-10);  The Abduction from the Seraglio Tristan und Isolde  (both 2008-09).
Also this season:  The Damnation of Faust, Lyric Opera;  Hansel and Gretel, Metropolitan Opera; concerts with the major orchestras of Montreal, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, Toronto.

The internationally celebrated English conductor has been Lyric Opera’s music director since 2000. Sir Andrew has enjoyed successes in more than ten works at the Metropolitan Opera, most recently  Don Giovanni  and  Die Walküre  on the company’s 2006 tour to Japan (where he also led a concert with Renée Fleming as soloist and the Met orchestra). He has conducted at many other prestigious theaters internationally, including La Scala (debut leading  The Cunning Little Vixen,  return earlier this year for  A Midsummer Night’s Dream ), the Bayreuth Festival (new production of  Lohengrin ), the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Royal Opera House/Covent Garden, and the major houses of Munich, Paris, and San Francisco. Sir Andrew is former music director of both Glyndebourne Festival Opera and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. In 2000 he concluded an enormously successful 11-year tenure as chief conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra. He is now conductor laureate of the BBCSO, with which he has led many international tours and has recorded extensively (recent releases include “The Elgar Experience” and “The Vaughan Williams Experience”). He has also recently appeared with the major orchestras of Chicago, Toronto, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, and Detroit. Among other orchestral engagements have been the leading orchestras of Cleveland, Philadelphia, Berlin, Amsterdam, and Rome. His vast discography, which appears on more than ten major labels, includes an Elgar recording with violinist James Ehnes and the Philharmonia Orchestra that received a 2008 Gramophone Award. Universally acclaimed Glyndebourne productions of works by Rossini, Mozart, and Janáˇcek conducted by Sir Andrew are currently available on DVD.

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FRANK CORSARO

Frank Corsaro(Stage Director)
Previously at Lyric Opera:  La traviata  (2007-08);  Faust  (2003-04, 1995-96);  Die Frau ohne Schatten  (1984).
Also this season:  “Acting Master Class for Singers,” Manhattan School of Music; recipient of 2009 National Endowment for the Arts NEA Opera Honors.

The renowned American director, whose  Faust  has also been seen at the New York City Opera and Los Angeles Opera, opens his production in a scientific laboratory: “It’s a Gothic tale, and for me that whole image is so relevant to creating the initial atmosphere for the piece – the idea of rising from the dead, the devil issuing in any form.” Another priority is to present Marguerite as “a girl with many imaginative ideas about what love is about. She turns from a sugar-spun character into a woman already almost dangerously in love.” Corsaro has also directed Busoni’s  Doktor Faust  for The Washington Opera and Wolf Trap Opera. Since 1957 he has been associated with New York City Opera, where his many other trailblazing productions include much standard repertoire plus works of Debussy, Delius, Janáˇcek, Korngold, and Stravinsky. Corsaro’s stylistic range also encompasses Handel ( Rinaldo, Houston Grand Opera, Metropolitan Opera), Verdi (Renée Fleming’s first  La traviata, Houston) Puccini ( La fanciulla del West, Deutsche Oper Berlin), Ravel and Prokofiev ( L’heure espagnole/L’enfant et les sortilèges  and  The Love for Three Oranges, Glyndebourne productions currently on DVD). At Juilliard Opera Center Corsaro’s numerous productions include  Hansel and Gretel  (revived in Houston, Toronto, and Zürich, available on DVD) and a world premiere, Stephen Paulus’s  Heloise and Abelard,  composed to Corsaro’s libretto (he has also written libretti for Thomas Pasatieri’s  Before Breakfast  and  Frau Margot ). Among his other world premieres are operas of Floyd, Hoiby, and Pasatieri. Corsaro was artistic director of the world-renowned Actor’s Studio in New York from 1977 to 1985.

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AMY HUTCHISON

Hutchison Headshot(Associate Stage Director)
Previously at Lyric Opera:  Associate director for four productions since 2003, most recently  Die Fledermaus  (2006-07);  Aida, Tosca  (both 2004-05).

“The Faust myth is a cautionary tale exposing man’s innate fear of death and, worse, insignificance,” says the American director. “The old scholar, frustrated by his deteriorating body and mind, rails against God that his life’s work has been for naught. His salvation comes through diabolical design. This production embraces Victorians’ fascination with ghost stories and the macabre, highlighting modern industrialized man’s conflict between science and faith, between fact and fantasy. Faust embodies the scientist’s hope that magic cannot all be explained away.” Among Hutchison’s productions nationwide have been  Turandot  (Orlando),  Carmen  (Milwaukee, Kansas City),  La traviata  (Costa Mesa),  Don Pasquale  (Indianapolis),  Help, Help, the Globolinks  (Madison, available on CD) and, in Chicago,  Faust  (DuPage Opera Theatre),  Transformations  (DePaul University), and both  Gallantry  and  The Telephone  (Opera Moda). She has directed  Hänsel und Gretel  for the Indianapolis, San Diego, Canadian, and Baltimore opera companies, and Bolcom’s  A View from the Bridge  for Washington National Opera and Portland Opera. Hutchison has staged  Porgy and Bess  throughout America and at La Scala, the Opéra National de Paris, the Teatro La Fenice, and in Düsseldorf, Lucca, and Tokyo. Hutchison was director of Baltimore Opera’s Studio Artist Training Program in 2000. Her work with Lyric Opera’s Ryan Opera Center includes directing  Don Giovanni.  As director of opera for Princeton’s renowned Westminster Choir College, she created productions of  Xerxes, Die Zauberflöte, Dido and Aenea s, and  La clemenza di Tito.

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ROBERT PERDZIOLA

perdziola headshot(Set and Costume Designer)
Previously at Lyric Opera:  Four productions since 1998-99, most recently  Così fan tutte  sets and costumes (2006-07);  Carmen  costumes (2005-06);  Faust s ets and costumes (2003-04).
Also this season:  Design for Living, Shakespeare Theatre Company (Washington, D.C.);  La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein, Opera Boston;  Così fan tutte, The Dallas Opera.

The American designer has previously created  Faust  productions for the Hannover Staatstheater and Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. Lyric Opera’s  Faust  is “meant to be a mid-19th century version of the story.  Faust  is about someone confronting the end of his life, but at the same time it’s a very French piece and I don’t think it holds up under a lot of visual weight.” Perdziola especially enjoys the Garden Scene, “the soul of the opera. It calls for romance – this should be a place where one can retreat and fantasize.” Perdziola debuted at the Metropolitan Opera with  Il pirata  and returned for last season’s opening-night gala, for which he redesigned the set for  Capriccio. He returned to St. Louis last season for  Il re pastore.  Perdziola has also designed for San Francisco Opera ( L’incoronazione di Poppea, Hamlet, remounting of Lyric Opera’s  Ariadne auf Naxos ), Santa Fe Opera ( Arabella ), and Milwaukee’s Skylight Opera Theatre ( Così fan tutte ). His Opera Australia production of  Arabella  received five Helpmann Awards and earned a Green Room Award for Perdziola when seen in Melbourne. Perdziola’s ongoing association with Washington’s Shakespeare Theatre Company includes  Don Carlos The Country Wife  (both received Helen Hayes Awards), and  King John. He designed Signature Theatre’s  Follies  production and created principals’ costumes for American Ballet Theatre’s  Le Corsaire. Other ballet productions include  The House of Bernarda Alba  (scenery) at Miami City Ballet.

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CHRISTINE BINDER

Binder( Lighting Designer )
Previously at Lyric Opera:  Fourteen productions since 1997-98, most recently  Tosca  (2009-10);  Madama Butterfly  (2008-09);  Eugene Onegin  (2007-08).
Also this season:  The Merry Widow, Lyric Opera;  David Schwimmer’s  Trust,  Lookingglass Theatre;  Lookingglass Alice  tour to Louisville, Syracuse, and Atlanta.

“In this production,” says the American designer, “we’re trying to create a mysterious world that Méphistophélès can manipulate. The story lends itself to chiaroscuro, high-contrast lighting. In the garden, when Méphistophélès conjures up the night, instead of a ‘comfortable’ romantic setting, we change it into something quite blue, with fiber optics in all the foliage. I’ve surprised myself in that, rather than the black-and-white that I’d originally imagined for most of this opera, its colors have become very rich and saturated. It’s actually Méphistophélès who brings more color to it.” Among Binder’s operatic credits are  Eugene Onegin  (Detroit, Miami),  Don Giovanni  (Tulsa, Pittsburgh, Costa Mesa, New York City),  I Capuleti e i Montecchi  (Los Angeles, Minnesota, New York City), and  Dialogues des Carmélites  (Vienna’s Theater an der Wien). Her many recent credits in Chicago include  The Brothers Karamazov  (Lookingglass Theatre),  The Oxherder’s Tale  (Blair Thomas and Company), and  The Lieutenant of Inishmore  (Northlight Theatre). Among other important credits in Chicago and nationally are productions for Oregon Shakespeare Festival ( Tartuffe ), Milwaukee Shakespeare ( Love’s Labours Lost ), Northlight Theatre ( Pride and Prejudice, Jeff-nominated), About Face ( Winesburg, Ohio, Proust Loving Repeating ), Redmoon Theatre ( Frankenstein, The Ballad of Frankie and Johnny ), Lookingglass Theatre, where she is an artistic associate ( Sita Ram, 1984, Hillbilly Antigone, Lookingglass Alice  – the latter toured to Princeton, New York, and Philadelphia), and several operas for DePaul University’s School of Music.

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DONALD NALLY

Nally(Chorus Master)
Previously at Lyric Opera:  Chorus master since 2007-08.
Upcoming:  First season as music director of Cincinnati’s Vocal Arts Ensemble; commissioned premieres of David Lang, Lansing McLoskey, and Paul Fowler with The Crossing, Philadelphia.

“The chorus in  Faust  unwittingly serves as Méphistophélès’s cohorts,” explains Lyric’s chorus master. “In their daily revelry as students, soldiers, matrons, flirtatious girls, or church goers they inadvertently entice, seduce, and torment Faust. Perhaps this is why they are also given the role of redeemers in the end; after so much  carpe diem  living, they are allowed a stirring chorale through which they are also called to redemption.” Nally is winner of the 2009 ASCAP/Chorus America National Award for Adventuresome Program with The Crossing, his Philadelphia-based professional chamber choir that specializes in new music (their much-acclaimed recording of Kile Smith’s  Vespers  was released last April). Former chorus master of Welsh National Opera, Nally conducted that company on tour in major cities throughout England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. While in the U.K., Nally often guestconducted London’s Philharmonia Chorus and collaborated with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Sinfonia Cymru of Wales, and the Philharmonia Orchestra. Nally was previously based in Philadelphia as chorus master at Opera Company of Philadelphia, director of music at Saint Mark’s Church, and artistic director of the Choral Arts Society of Philadelphia. He also collaborated regularly with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Pennsylvania Ballet. Nally was for many years chorus master at the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy. He has collaborated with many renowned conductors and directors, including Gian Carlo Menotti, Carlo Rizzi, Richard Hickox, Vladimir Jurowski, Sir Charles Mackerras, Gunter Kramer and Richard Jones.

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SARA STEWART

Stewart Headshot(Movement Director)
Previously at Lyric Opera:  Choreographer or movement director for seven productions since 2000-01, most recently  La traviata  (2007-08),  Rigoletto  (2006-07),  Manon Lescaut  (2005-06); ballet mistress for 12 productions since 1995-96.

The New Jersey-born dancer/choreographer’s recent credits include the choreography of Lyric Opera’s  Un ballo in maschera  for its revival by Houston Grand Opera, and  The Beggar’s Opera  and  Faust  for DuPage Opera Theatre. Other operatic choreography credits include  Carmen  for Milwaukee’s Florentine Opera (2003-04). Last season Stewart was assistant choreographer for San Diego Opera’s  Samson et Dalila. Her new piece to music of Dvoˇrák was completed and performed in 2004 for the Terpsichore Dance Company, the student company of the Dance Academy of Libertyville, where Stewart is a faculty member. She has also taught ballet at Northwestern University’s National High School Institute. During the 2005-06 season Stewart performed in  The Nutcracker  with Chicago Festival Ballet (Harris Theater), having previously appeared in the same work at Chicago’s Arie Crown Theater. Her performance credits nationwide include Maryland Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Ohio Ballet, and Scottish-American Ballet. She represented America at Tokyo’s First International Dance Competition. The proud mother of two young sons, Stewart is in her third year of law school at Chicago-Kent College of Law, from which she will graduate in December 2010.

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RICHARD JARVIE

Jarvie(Wig and Makeup Designer)
Previously at Lyric Opera:  Wigmaster and makeup designer since 2000-01; supervisor of the wig department and principal makeup artist, 1982-2000.

Lyric’s wigmaster and makeup designer brings a Victorian look to the principals and chorus in this production: “They look like normal, everyday people. It’s a bit like the Visconti movie  The Leopard, in terms of the silhouette and clothing. Even Méphistophélès looks very normal, and that actually seems part of the lure and danger that the character presents. There is no pointed goatee and no horns, but instead simply a very stylish Victorian gentleman. Marthe is also unexaggerated – absolutely grounded in reality, with no funny hair or makeup. We don’t have the typical braids for Marguerite, just a center part and smoothly shaped back, a little like what we see in  Gone with the Wind. Our designer, Robert Perdziola, wants the chorus women to have invisible hair, so they wear bonnets and have tiny, understated Victorian silhouettes. The men have a variety of Victorian beards, mustaches, and muttonchops, but nothing exaggeratedly grand as in, say, Die Fledermaus. It is all very simple and tasteful.” Jarvie was wigmaster and makeup designer for Chicago’s Shakespeare Theater from 1989 to 2000. He has previously served as wigmaster for Minneapolis’s Guthrie Theater and wig/makeup supervisor for the Thomas Patterson Theatre of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Ontario.

-return to Faust-