Sarah Joy Miller
Sarah Joy Miller, praised by The New York Times as “vivacious and fearless” is widely acknowledged as one of the industry’s foremost emerging talents. Ms. Miller first began turning heads at her New York City Opera and BAM débuts to great critical acclaim singing the title role of Anna Nicole Smith in the Royal Opera House commissioned opera Anna Nicole by Mark-Anthony Turnage. Operatic highlights include her début at Michigan Opera Theater singing Gilda in Rigoletto, with subsequent returns as Leïla Les pêcheurs de perles, a role début as Marguerite in Faust, and Roxanne in David DiChiera and Bernard Uzan’s Cyrano; Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance and Violetta in La traviata with Palm Beach Opera; and Juliette in Roméo et Juliette at Opera Grand Rapids, Opera Carolina, Opera Tampa, and Lyric Opera Baltimore. Additionally, Ms. Miller joined the esteemed roster of The Metropolitan Opera for multiple productions including Adriana Lecouvreur in which she performed the role of Mlle. Jouvenot in her mainstage début.
Rising tenor, Derrek Stark, is quickly establishing a reputation as an elegant performer with nuanced and stylish singing. His commanding technique and youthful, ardent stage presence perfectly embody the romantic heroes he portrays. A 2018 Sullivan Foundation Grant Winner, he has been hailed by Opera News for his “handsome sound,” and described as a “standout” by the Wall Street Journal. In 2019, Stark made his international debut with Opernhaus Zürich as the Italian Tenor in Der Rosenkavalier and returned to Palm Beach Opera as Alfredo in La traviata. Other engagements this season include a role premier with Teatro Nuovo as Arturo in La straniera, and Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi with OperaFusion. Equally at home in concert repertoire, Mr. Stark has performed with the Atlantic Classical Orchestra, the Boise Philharmonic, and the Orchestra of Saint Luke’s in repertoire ranging from Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, to Orff’s Carmina Burana, and Rossini’s Petite messe solennelle. He will make a debut with Kansas City Symphony Orchestra as a soloist in Beethoven’s 9th Symphony in June of 2020.
Veteran baritone Troy Cook has enjoyed international presence with notable debuts in past seasons as Ford in Hamburgische Staatsoper’s Falstaff, following his debut with the company as Marcello in La bohème, and with the Royal Opera, Covent Garden as Guglielmo in Così fan tutte.
Mr. Cook’s 2019-2020 season began with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra as he joined them for a night of arias and ensembles to open their concert season. He also made his house debut with Portland Opera as Sharpless in Madama Butterfly, followed by another house debut with Teatro San Carlo Napoli as “Watty” Watkins in Gershwin & Gershwin’s Lady Be Good. He also returned to the Indianopolis Symphony as the baritone soloist for Handel’s Messiah. He performed with Lyric Opera of Kansas City as Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor, and as Father Palmer to Utah Opera, where he will also be seen as Athanaël in Thaïs. He also appeared with Opera Saratoga in a signature role as Sharpless in Madama Butterfly and his first Major General in the Pirates of Penzance.
Hannah Penn, mezzo-soprano, enjoys a diverse career as a performer of opera, oratorio, and recital literature. Frequently praised for her musicality and the timbre of her voice, Ms. Penn has recently been called “…a major talent”, and “…an intelligent and wonderfully musical singer” by Portland’s Willamette Week, and was praised for having “…intriguing colors at both ends of her range” by The Oregonian. She has sung more than twenty operatic roles with Glimmerglass Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Portland Opera, Tacoma Opera, and other companies. Her first leading role for Carmen with Portland Opera garnered critical acclaim and resulted in a chance to reprise the role following season with the Teatro National Sucre in Quito, Ecuador. Ms. Penn has since returned to Portland Opera many times as a guest artist, most notably as Julie in Show Boat and L’enfant in Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortileges.
A most versatile conductor, JOHN BARIL has led critically acclaimed performances of symphonic and choral music, ballet, opera, operetta and musical theater. Since 2006, he has been Music Director of Central City Opera where he has worked in several capacities for 20-plus seasons. John made his Nashville Opera debut in 2008 in Don Giovanni as well as his Opera Delaware debut in 2010 with Tosca. At the University of Missouri in Kansas City in 2015, he was at the helm for La traviata; and in summer 2016, he led Tosca. In winter 2020, he joins the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University conducting their production of Die Fledermaus. A native of Stagecoach, Nevada, JOHN BARIL attended the University of Nevada—Reno, where he was awarded full scholarships in tuba, conducting as well as in music education and, later, vocal performance, and from which he graduated cum laude. This led to a fourteen-year relationship with the Nevada Opera Association, where he began as a chorister at age 17, soon thereafter studying under the late, famed vocal pedagogue Ted Puffer. John is an endurance runner; he’s completed many half marathons, eight marathons and finished his first ultramarathon in 2013.
Dan Wallace Miller
Hailed as a “visionary director” by The Stranger, Dan Wallace Miller’s stage direction is “riveting… well executed, and relevant.” (CityArts) As Founder and Artistic Director of Vespertine Opera Theater, Mr. Miller dedicates his career to presenting operas in unique spaces that are dramatically engaging and cleverly innovative. In 2019, he made his mainstage début with Seattle Opera directing their production of Il Trovatore, as well as joining them for of Turn of the Screw, The (r)evolution of Steve Jobs, and Carmen. He joined Washington National Opera for the first time in 2018 for Kevin Puts’ Silent Night and Central City Opera for their production of Billy Budd. In winter 2020, he returns to Washington National Opera for Saint-Saëns, Samson et Dalila as Assistant Director to Peter Kazaras. In spring 2021, he will lead the Seattle