Mezzo-soprano Melisa Bonetti has been hailed by Opera today as “a warm, supple mezzo that struck all the right impressions” and as “commanding a wonderful presence in the lower middle voice but also easily soaring heavenward with a well-schooled top.” She has appeared with Kentucky Opera, the Lexington Philharmonic, the Queens Symphony Orchestra, Wolf Trap Opera, and I Sing Beijing.
Robert Frankenberry leads a multi‐faceted career as a vocalist, pianist, educator, actor, and conductor. His credits in musical direction cover the span of opera, including Sweeney Todd (Weathervane Theatre), The Tales of Hoffmann (D’Angelo Opera Theatre), Cosi fan Tutte (DaCorneto Opera), Monteverdi’s 8th Book of Madrigals (Opera Theater of Pittsburgh), Robert X. Rodriguez’ Frida (microscopic opera), and the staged premiere of Daron Hagen’s Vera of Las Vegas (Center for Contemporary Opera). During the 2013-2014 season, he served as Associate Music director for Glass/Ginsberg’s Hydrogen Jukebox and Music Director for the premiere of Daron Hagen’s I Hear America Singing at Skylight Musical Theatre, and returned in the Spring of 2015 as Music Director/Alberich/Hunding/Mime/Hagen for the premiere of The Skylight Ring. This past summer, he conducted the premiere of Gilda Lyons’ and Tammy Ryan’s opera, A New Kind of Fallout, based on the life and work of Rachel Carson, for Opera Theater of Pittsburgh’s SummerFest.
On stage, he has performed a wide range of roles, including Mozart (Amadeus), John Adams (1776), Bacchus (Ariadne auf Naxos), Yorick (Her Hamlet), Alfredo (La Traviata), The Duke of Mantua (Rigoletto), Count Carl-Magnus (A Little Night Music), Radames (Aida), Rodolfo (La Boheme), and the title roles in Don Carlo, The Tales of Hoffmann, Faust, and Willy Wonka. As a member of Millennial Arts Productions’ Baroque Opera Institute, he received specialized training in Baroque gesture and vocal performance style, and appeared in a fully-staged off-broadway production of Handel’s Messiah.
As Music Director for Opera Theater of Pittsburgh/OT SummerFest, he has garnered critical praise for his collaborations with Jonathan Eaton for their “reimaginations” of Gluck’s Orpheus and Eurydice and Carmen—The Gypsy (re-orchestrated for folk ensmble); a chamber reorchestration for the North American staged premiere of Montemezzi’s L’Incantesimo; and The Tales of Hoffmann—Retold, which featured music from ETA Hoffmann’s Undine recomposed by Frankenberry and incorporated into the production. Their production of Ricky Ian Gordon’s Orpheus and Euridice, which was performed on the lake in the Allegheny Cemetery, was chosen as one of the Pittsburgh region’s Top 10 cultural events for 2011 by the Tribune-Review staff. In 2013, they commissioned the “Fallingwater” version of Daron Hagen’s Shining Brow, which they premiered on and in Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater and subsequently produced at the Twentieth Century Club in Pittsburgh. Since the inaugural season of the Opera Theater SummerFest Young Artist Program, Frankenberry has coordinated the commissioning of and led the premieres of the Night Caps, Night Caps International, and Happy Hour projects, designed to feature young artists and provide new avenues for audience and community engagement, comprising new works by Daron Hagen (George Washington Suite), Gilda Lyons (Moonlight Suite), Roger Zahab (Happy Hour, Presidential Suite, Penthouse Suite), Eric Moe (Valkyrie Suite), Alberto Demestres (Honeymoon Suite), Monic Cecconi-Bottella (French Suite), Yanwa Guo (Chinese Suite), Dwayne Fulton (Gospel Suite, Bridal Suite), and himself (Checking In/Checking Out). He is currently at work on an official chamber orchestra reduction of Richard Strauss’ Die Schweigsame Frau for the 2016 SummerFest season.
At the piano, Frankenberry performs both traditional classical and contemporary chamber music, and is a member of IonSound, Chrysalis, the Music On the Edge Chamber Ensemble, Trio AnimeBOP, the Phoenix Players, and entelechron. He holds a BM in Piano Performance from Mercyhurst College and an MM in Voice Performance from Carnegie Mellon University. He has held faculty and staff positions at Mercyhurst College, The University of Akron, Chatham University, and Carnegie Mellon University, and is a regular guest presenter at the Vermont College of Fine Arts for their MFA in Composition.
Barbara Grecki, is a writer, director, performer and teacher. She has co-written the libretti with Daron Hagen, for New York Stories, and A Woman In Morocco. Her collaboration on In Our Own Words, a theater performance piece of documented interviews ofthe 9/11 experience and Same Difference, follow-up interviews of the aftermath and interfaith outreach, has been presented at the United Nations, and theaters around the country. She was a finalist in the Empire Screen Writing Competition for Being Loved By You. She is a member of The Writers Guild. She is currently collaborating with Hagen on an opera based on The Deputy by Rolf Hochhuth.
Veteran soprano Carol Greif Schuele is equally at home in opera, musical theater, and straight drama, and has starred in dozens of major operatic and musical theater roles over the past thirty years regionally and at her home company, the Skylight Theater in Milwaukee. She teaches at Cardinal Stritch College.
Artistic Director Daron Hagen is an award-winning composer, librettist, stage director, conductor, collaborative pianist, and essayist. He is the recipient of the 2015 American Academy of Arts and Letters’ Academy Award for “the artist who has achieved his singular voice.” His music is performed worldwide—from the Ullens Center in Beijing to the Louvre in Paris, the South Bank in London to Lincoln Center in New York City, from Suntory Hall in Tokyo to McCaw Hall in Seattle. Commissioned by the New York Philharmonic, Seattle Opera, and The Philadelphia Orchestra, among many others, his catalogue includes nine operas, five symphonies, twelve concerti, dozens of instrumental works, and over 300 art songs and cycles. A member of the Artist Faculty at the Chicago College of the Performing Arts and Chair of the Composition Faculty of the Wintergreen Music Festival and Academy, he has taught at Bard College, the Curtis Institute of Music, and the Princeton Atelier. He has served as president of the Lotte Lehmann Foundation, and artistic director of the Seasons Music Festival Academy in Washington, conducted the cast recordings of several of his operas, and stage directed the premieres of others. Twice a Rockefeller Foundation Fellow at Bellagio, he has received the Guggenheim Fellowship, the Kennedy Center Friedheim Prize, the ASCAP-Nissim, Barlow Endowment, and Columbia University Bearns Prize. A Lifetime Member of the Corporation of Yaddo, he is a graduate of Curtis and Juilliard, and now lives in Rhinebeck, New York with his wife and two sons.
Gilda Lyons is a New York-based cutting-edge vocalist and composer specializing in extended vocal techniques, improvisation and post-genre works combining technology and social activism who also serves as founding artistic director of the Phoenix Concerts in Manhattan and on the composition faculty of the Hartt School.
Robert Orth has performed 134 roles in opera and musicals in scores of cities including London, Berlin, Rome, New York, San Francisco, Houston, Los Angeles, Seattle, Philadelphia, Chicago, Dallas, Miami, Portland, Washington D.C., and Denver. He was named “Artist of the Year” by both New York City Opera and Seattle Opera. New York City Opera also gave him the Christopher Keene Award for new and unusual repertoire.
Robert Frankenberry is a vocalist, pianist, educator, actor, and conductor. As music director for Opera Theater of Pittsburgh/OT Summerfest, he has collaborated with Jonathan Eaton on critically-praised reinterpretations of Gluck, Bizet, and Hagen operas, among others. As a singer and actor, he’s recorded major roles for Naxos, and created and performed in a new “pocket” Ring Cycle for Skylight Music Theater. He is the pianist for Pittsburgh’s IonSound, and six other national-level new music ensembles and has written operas himself.