~ “The Magic Flute” by W.A. Mozart ~
Asheville Lyric Opera is proud to present the revival of its national award winning production of The Magic Flute. This production will feature a distinguished cast of performers bringing their talent to Asheville from all across the U.S. Witness this amazing night of excitement as we journey through the magic of Mozart’s masterpiece.
A celebration of true love conquering all, the Magic Flute, a singspiel that includes both singing and spoken dialogue, transports us into an enchanted world where good faces the forces of dark. The blend of high comedy and serious drama is packed with exquisite singing and stage wizardry. This opera, which premiered in 1791, tells the story of Prince Tamino who must save Princess Pamina from her evil mother, the queen. To help him on his quest he is given a magic flute. With its help and the companionship of his jovial friend, Papageno, the prince overcomes the trials of Silence, Patience and Courage and thereby wins the hand of Princess Pamina. The real meaning of the opera lies in its many symbols of freemasonry and the Enlightenment, portraying the education of mankind, progressing from chaos (the serpent) through religious superstition (the Queen and Ladies) to rationalistic enlightenment (Sarastro and Priests).
~ Meet the Cast ~
Tenor, Jacob Wright has appeared with the Asheville Lyric Opera, Jackson Symphony Orchestra and Des Moines Metro Opera, where he was an apprentice during the 2014 season. This season, Wright made his debut with the North Carolina Opera as Gastone in Verdi’s La Traviata and received 3rd prize and Audience Favorite in the 2015 Orpheus Vocal Competition Young Artist Division. He holds a M.M. from The University of Michigan where he studied with Stanford Olsen. Wright appeared with the University of Michigan Opera Theatre as Tamino in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, Count Almaviva in Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia, and Brighella in Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos. Other operatic credits include Marco Polo in Stella Sung’s The Red Silk Thread, Nemorino in Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore, Don Ottavio in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Fredric in Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance, Ralph Rackstraw in Gilbert and Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore, Donald Hopewell in in Moore’s Gallantry, and Kaspar in Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors.
Soprano, Julia Ebner’s 2015-2016 season includes her debuts with The Metropolitan Opera in Otello and Turandot as well as her company debut with St. Petersburg Opera in their annual gala Bella Voce, and as the cover of Liu in Turandot. Ms. Ebner’s additional operatic credits include the title roles in Romeo et Juliette, L’incoronazione di Poppea, The Merry Widow, Hansel and Gretel and Princess Ida. She has also appeared as Violetta in La Traviata, Olga in La Grand-Duchesse de Gérolstein, Stella in A Streetcar Named Desire, Giulietta in I Capuleti e I Montecchi Musetta in La Boheme, Belinda in Dido and Aeneas, Gianetta in The Gondoliers, Madeline/Isabelle in The Face on the Barroom Floor, Micaela and Frasquita in Carmen, and The First Lady and Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, Amitta in Der Geduldige Socrate, Monica in The Medium, and Donna Anna in Don Giovanni. She has taken the stage for companies including The Santa Fe Opera, The Florida Grand Opera, Opera North, Virginia Opera, Green Mountain Opera Festival, Virginia Opera, The Santa Fe Opera, Syracuse Opera, Opera in the Heights, The Tri-Cities Opera, Amherst Early Music Festival, Oswego Opera, and The Charleston Chamber Opera
Adrian Smith was most recently heard as an Apprentice Artist at the Santa Fe Opera in productions of La Fille du Régiment, Salome, and the world premiere of Jennifer Higdon’s Cold Mountain. A recent alumnus of Virginia Opera’s Emerging Artist Program, his assignments included Joseph Porter in Gilbert and Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore, and covering the title role in Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd. In recent seasons he performed Colline in La Bohème with Opera North, and Angelotti in a concert performance of Tosca with the Owensboro Symphony Orchestra, amidst a wealth of debut performances including King Arthur in a performance of Camelot at Glimmerglass Opera and Dr. Grenvil in Atlanta Opera’s La Traviata. Additional credits include appearances as Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor, Frère Laurent in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette, as Geronimo in Domenico Cimarosa’s Il Matrimonio Segreto, as Marquis de la Force in Dialogues des Carmélites, and in the title role of Donizetti’s Don Pasquale. On concert stages, Adrian’s engagements include Mozart’s Requiem, Bach’s Magnificat and Mass in B Minor, Puccini’s Messa di Gloria, Haydn’s Paukenmesse, Dvořák’s Stabat Mater, Händel’s Messiah and Dettingen Te Deum, and Mozart’s Great Mass in C minor at Boston Symphony Hall. A native of Hickory, NC, Adrian holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Voice Performance from Lenoir-Rhyne University, a Master of Music Degree in Voice Performance from Boston University, and was a member of the Boston University Opera Institute where he earned a Certificate in Opera Performance.
Coloratura soprano, Megan Brunning is beginning to make a name for herself with demanding roles such as The Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflöte, Konstanze in Die Entführung aus dem Serail, and Olympia in Les Contes d’Hoffmann. She is equally at home with the lighter side of opera, having taken on Gilbert & Sullivan damsels Mabel in Pirates of Penzance and Gianetta in The Gondoliers. Megan made her professional debut as the Queen of the Night in July 2015 with Sugar Creek Opera. In June of the same year, she portrayed Lieutenant Konstanze in a hilarious Star Trek version of The Abduction from the Seraglio with Scenic City Opera. Megan has also performed with Capital City Opera, The Atlanta Opera, Greensborro Light Opera and Song, Songfest at Colburn, Harrower Opera Workshop, Greek Opera Studio, and the Festival of the Aegean. In 2013, Megan competed as a Regional Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. She received an encouragement award from the 2014 MONC Georgia District Auditions. Other Awards include the James Toland Vocal Arts Competition Semifinalist, Pro-Mozart Society of Atlanta Competition Second Place Encouragement Award, Opera Birmingham Competition Semifinalist, and University of Georgia Concerto Competition Winner.
Bass Geoffrey Cox has a deep, rich and hall-filling sonority, combined with a well-tuned musical instinct. His natural simpatico, athletic physique and comfortable stage presence make him the perfect choice for a wide range of repertoire. In the 2015/16 season, Mr. Cox is slated to appear at Union Avenue Opera as Il Commendatore in Don Giovanni. In the 2014/15 season, he performed Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte at Rollins College and Il Commendatore in Asheville Lyric Opera’s production of Don Giovanni. In 2013 he sang The Duke in Romèo et Juliette with Opera Colorado. In recent seasons he has been seen as Count Ceprano (while covering Sparafucille) in Rigoletto with Florida Opera Theater, and Zuniga in Carmen with the Orlando Philharmonic at Mad Cow Theatre. On the concert stage, Geoffrey Cox has shone as a soloist in works such as Mozart’s Requiem and Coronation Mass, Händel’s Messiah, and Fauré’s Requiem. His repertoire also includes many of the 19th century’s major works – Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, Verdi’s Requiem, and Rossini’s Stabat Mater. In addition to his Bachelor of Arts degree from Rollins College of Winter Park, Mr. Cox has received training from some of the best music programs including V.O.I.C.Experience with Sherrill Milnes and Maria Zouves, Elora Festival Academy of Music in Canada, and Music Theatre Bavaria. He has twice won awards from the Florida Suncoast Opera Guild Competition (2nd Prize in 2006 and 3rd Prize in 2009), and was a nominee for the 2012 Sarah Tucker Award.
Thomas Joiner has appeared as a conductor, violinist, chamber player, and teacher throughout the United States and eleven foreign countries. As Professor of Violin and Orchestral Activities at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina, he conducts the Furman Symphony Orchestra in orchestral, operatic, and oratorio performances each year. He is Music Director and Conductor of the Hendersonville Symphony Orchestra. For 31 seasons he was a member of the Artist–Faculty of the Brevard Music Center, holding the Dr. & Mrs. William J. Pendergrast, Sr. Artist Chair and serving as a concertmaster of the Brevard Music Festival Orchestra. He was honored in 2009, along with his wife, violist Anna Barbrey Joiner, with the Distinguished Alumni Award.
Joiner earned the Doctor of Music in Violin Performance from Florida State University, the Masters of Church Music in Musicology from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and the Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance from Furman University. Previous positions include Associate Principal Second Violin of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, first violinist with the Louisville Orchestra, Professor of Violin and Orchestral Activities at the University of Georgia School of Music, South Carolina president of the American String Teachers Association, and member of the national board of directors of the Conductors Guild. As a 1996 Artistic Ambassador for the United States Information Agency, Joiner presented seventeen violin recitals with pianist Douglas Weeks during a five-week tour of western Africa and the Middle East. In 2001 he spent a sabbatical in France studying with eminent maestro John Nelson. During the fall of 2010 he served as a visiting professor at the Accademia dell’Arte in Arezzo, Italy. Joiner is a native of Rock Hill, South Carolina where he was drum major of the Rock Hill High School Bearcat Band!
American tenor, Grant Knox is enjoying a varied career in opera, musical theater, concert and recital. He has appeared with the Cincinnati Opera, Atlanta Opera, Chicago Opera Theater, Chautauqua Opera, Tri-Cities Opera, Ohio Light Opera, Asheville Lyric Opera, Lyric Opera Atlanta, Rochester Lyric Opera, GLOW Lyric Theatre, and with Maestro Lorin Maazel’s Castleton Opera Festival. Equally at home in concert repertoire, Knox has been engaged by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Illinois Philharmonic, Greenville Symphony Orchestra/Chorale, Cobb Symphony, Peninsula Music Festival, Bach Ensemble of Cincinnati, Rochester Oratorio Society/Philharmonic and in recital at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. This year, Knox will sing the tenor solos in Carmina Burana with the Greenville Symphony and Chorale and Elijah with the Rochester Oratorio Society and Rochester Philharmonic.
Dr. Knox is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music (BM, MM) and Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music (DM). Dr. Knox serves as Artist/Teacher of Voice and Director of Opera/Lyric Theatre at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina. Before coming to Furman, Knox held the Neyer Family Endowed Professorship in Music at Northern Kentucky University.