Jaquino: M. Andrew Jones
Tenor M. Andrew Jones returns to Queen City Opera after his breathtaking triumphs in Der Freischütz as Max, in Iolanta as Vaudemont, and in Siegfried as Mime, a role that he reprised at Valhalla Productions in San Francisco. His other performances include Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni, and Pedrillo in Die Entführung aus dem Serail, both with Queen City Opera, 1st Armored Man/Second Priest in Die Zauberflöte with Dayton Opera, The Messenger in Aida as well as the Innkeeper in Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier with Cincinnati Opera.
Mr. Jones has a Master’s of Music in Vocal performance from the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, where he performed the roles of Lennie in Carlisle Floyd’s Of Mice and Men and Bardolfo in Verdi’s Falstaff. He received his Bachelor of Arts in music from Luther College where he performed the role of Monastatos in Die Zauberflöte.
Marzelline: Erin Keesy
Soprano Erin Keesy has been praised for her “plush timbre” and “agile purity”. She is thrilled to be returning to Queen City Opera to perform in Beethoven’s masterpiece. She received her Masters degree and Artist Diploma in Opera from the College-Conservatory or Music in Cincinnati. She has made solo appearances with the Cincinnati POPS orchestra, the Louisville Orchestra, Butler Philharmonic, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra and performed as a young artist with Cincinnati Opera. She made her international solo debut last year in Seoul, South Korea singing the soprano solos in Mendelssohn’s Elijah with the Seoul Oratorio Festival. Some of her recent role and concert work includes Clorinda (Cenerentola), Agathe (Der Freischütz), soloist in Händel’s Messiah, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass, Bach’s Weihnachtsoratorium, and Fauré’s Requiem.
Rocco: Kenneth Shaw
American bass-baritone Kenneth Shaw, who has been hailed for his “strong, impassioned and lyrical” voice (Opera News), long ago established himself as one of America’s most talented and versatile artists. Now in his 42nd year as a professional singer, he has performed with opera companies throughout North America to critical acclaim. He has sung over 70 leading roles in over 50 operas, as well as concerts and recitals across America, Southeast Asia, Brazil, Canada and the United Kingdom. Shaw’s recordings include the BIS label live performance of Jenufa, as Starek, with Opera Orchestra of New York, and on ACA Digital as bass soloist in Mozart’s Requiem with the Atlanta Opera Orchestra.
Though his primary focus today is teaching aspiring professional singers at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and proudly shares the stage with several of them in this production, he remains in demand as a singer, and continues to add new roles and new companies to his long list of accomplishments.
In 2017, Mr. Shaw appeared as Old Doctor in Samuel Barber’s Vanessa with Toledo Opera, with Jennifer Rowley and Sean Pannikar. In 2018, Shaw sang 3 new roles: with Tulsa’s Signature Symphony for Shostakovich’s The Execution of Stepan Razin, as Timur in Turandot with the Kentucky Symphony with Amy Johnson, and Wotan in Das Rheingold with Pittsburg Festival Opera, garnering rave reviews. And 2019 brought another role debut as Friar Lawrence in the uniformly lauded 2019 Cincinnati Opera production of Romeo et Juliette. In April 2021, he returned to Dayton for an astonishing 17th production, as Germont in La Traviata, a role he last sang in 1987 with New York City Opera in Taipei, Taiwan. And most recently, Shaw returned to Dayton as Reverend Milton Wright in the February 2022 world premiere of Laura Kaminsky’s Finding Wright.
Having previously appeared as Don Pizarro in a number of productions of Fidelio, these performances mark both a company and role debut for Shaw as Rocco.
Leonore: Mithra Mastropierro
The young soprano Mithra Mastropierro was lauded by the New York Times as “an artist to watch out for.” She has sung at some of America’s most important opera houses such as The Glimmerglass Festival and the Dallas Opera. She also joined The Lyric Opera of Chicago to cover Abigaille in their recent production of Nabucco. She has sung some of the most important roles of her repertoire such as Norma, Abigaille and Tosca at the Croatian National Theater, where she received rave reviews and was hailed as “a miracle soprano with beautiful bel canto style, unbelievable range and regal stage presence.” A versatile artist, she sang Mimì in New Rochelle Opera’s production of La bohème, and Brünnhilde in Siegfried at Queen City Opera in Cincinnati, her first experience as a Wagner heroine.
Mithra is a major grant winner of the Olga Forrai Foundation for large dramatic voices and has received numerous scholarships and awards, among them an encouragement award by the Gerda Lissner Foundation and full scholarships to Joan Dornemann’s IVAI programs in Israel and Virginia and a full scholarship to study voice and performance at Mannes College.
Pizzaro: Brandon Morales
Brandon Morales, Bass-Baritone, returns to QCO following his stunning performance of Kaspar in Der Freischütz. He has performed with companies all over the US – stretching from Portland Opera to Opera Orlando. Most recently Morales has performed Count Carl-Magnus in Arizona Opera’s production of Sondheim’s A Little Night Music and Masetto in Don Giovanni with FF Collective in San Diego. Morales has completed artist residencies with Arizona Opera, Virginia Opera, and Toledo Opera, as well has received a Master’s in Voice from Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music where he was active in performing with Dayton Opera, Toledo Opera, and Cincinnati Opera among others. From San Antonio, TX, Morales is currently enjoying a return to performing and the vagabond life while also pursuing medical school admission within Texas.
First Prisoner: Travis Pierce
Tenor Travis Pearce is a Cincinnati based artist who has been performing in the area for several years. He has performed most recently with the in Cincinnati Opera’s 2021 summer season at Summit Park as well as having previously performed in Cincy Opera’s production of Porgy and Bess. Travis frequently performs with Queen City Opera, most recently in their production of Carl Weber’s Der Frieschütz, as well as Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta where he performed the role of Almeric. He has performed roles such as Ferrando in Cosi fan tutte, Sam Kaplan and Lippo Fiorentino in Kurt Weill’s Street Scene and Mr. EEE in the world premiere of Martian Chronicles. Travis has been a featured soloist with orchestra in works including Handel’s Messiah and Haydn’s Creation. While attending the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria, Travis was awarded the Harold Heiberg Liedersänger Preis for his extraordinary performances of Schubert lieder. As the winner, he was later invited to sing a recital of lieder and operetta for the Austrian Embassy in Washington, D.C.
Second Prisoner: John Mburu
John Mburu is a Bass-Baritone born in Warwick, Rhode Island. Currently attending Cincinnati Conservatory as a master’s student in Voice Performance he has been involved with CCM Opera as Bartolo in Le Nozze di Figaro, Logger in Bulrusher, and Pope Urban VIII/Cardinal Barabarini/Simplicio in Galilei Galileo. He studies voice under Professor Kenneth Shaw. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Lee University where he studied under Tony Deaton and performed the roles of Bob in The Old Maid and the Thief, Mr. Kofner in The Consul, and Martin Avdeitch in What Men Live By. His upcoming projects are playing Young Paul/Frank Goode in Opera Fusion’s workshop of Robeson/Moscow, performing as the Bass Soloist in Haydn’s Nelson Mass with The Union choir, and singing as a chorister in Cincinnati Opera’s Aida.
Florestan: Brent Reilly Turner
American tenor Brent Reilly Turner has been critically acclaimed across the United States and abroad. Turner’s appearances in opera, concert and recital have been characterized as having a full, dramatic timbre, energetic personality and unique honesty.
Turner has been named the Grand Prize Winner in the McCammon Voice Competition, the James Toland Vocal Competition, the New Jersey State Opera Competition, the Peter Elvins Competition, the Mary Jacobs Singer of the Year Competition, the Orpheus Vocal Competition, and the Florida Suncoast Opera Guild Competition. Turner received runner up honors at the Dallas Opera Guild Competition, and the Irma M. Cooper Competition hosted by Opera Columbus. Turner was an encouragement award recipient in the Wagner Division of the 2014 Gerda Lissner Vocal Competition in New York City and was a recipient of a study grant from the Wagner Society of New York.
Mr. Turner’s Wagnerian repertoire includes roles such as Siegmund in Die Walküre, the title role of Lohengrin, Erik in Der Fliegende Holländer, and Froh/Loge in Das Rheingold. Other roles include Max in von Weber’s Der Freischütz, Bacchus in R. Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos, Florestan in Beethoven’s Fidelio, Don Jose in Bizet’s Carmen, Sam Polk in Floyd’s Susannah, and Eisenstein in J. Strauss’ Die Fledermaus. Mr. Turner has participated with several major Young Artist and Apprentice Programs including Santa Fe Opera, Utah Opera, Ash lawn Opera, Opera North, Opera Saratoga, Opera Theatre and Music Festival of Lucca, Brevard Music Center, and V.O.I.C.Experience.
Turner holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Stetson University and a Master of Music from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati.
Don Fernando: Thomas Dreeze
Thomas Dreeze enjoys a varied career in music, arts administration, and events management. He performs opera, operetta, oratorio, music theatre, art song, and the American songbook.
Praised for his baritone voice of wide range, flexibility, warm-timbre and musicianship, Thomas has shared the stage with two generations of vocal luminaries, including Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, Sherrill Milnes, Grace Bumbry, and, more recently, J’Nai Bridges, Janai Brugger, Stephen Costello, Nicole Cabell and Jessica Rivera.
Thomas has sung over ten roles with Cincinnati Opera since his 2011 debut and returns in June for Benoit and Alcindoro in La Bohème. October 2017 marked his debut with the Cincinnati Symphony with Louis Langrée in Pelléas et Mélisande. He has sung with The Atlanta Symphony, Hilton Head Symphony with music director John Morris Russell, Reno Philharmonic, Bellingham Festival, Minnesota Orchestra, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Grant Park Concerts, Chicago Opera Theatre, and throughout the Midwest in concert, recital, opera, operetta and music theater.
Recent engagements include Bach’s Saint Matthew Passion in April 2022 on the Knox Music Series in Cincinnati, and Messiah with the Toledo Symphony. In June 2023 Thomas makes his Carnegie Hall debut in the world premiere The Golden Door by the late Paul Stanbery.
Thomas has appeared with the Cincinnati Ballet, The Butler Philharmonic, Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, Collegium Cincinnati, Vocal Arts Ensemble, and concert:nova. For five years he was an adjunct instructor of voice and opera workshop at Xavier University and now maintains an active private voice studio in Cincinnati.
In a previous life, Thomas was Events Program Manager at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London, and Events Manager at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. Thom received his Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Toledo and Master’s Degree in Voice Performance from the University of Michigan.
Rebecca Herman splits her time between directing and assistant directing at numerous companies around the country, including numerous productions at Des Moines Metro Opera and Portland Opera. She returns to QCO following her revelatory stage direction in productions of Walküre, Act 1, Der Freischütz, and Iolanta. She is the Founding Artistic Producer at LOLA Local Opera Local Artists, where she recently directed We Might Be Struck By Lighting, and an innovate all-female production of La bohème called “La Femme Bohème.” Her productions there include La Clemenza di Tito: A Retelling. Other credits include directing Don Giovanni and The Daughter of the Regiment at Austin Opera; Assistant Directing Turandot, The Magic Flute, and Rigoletto at Michigan Opera Theatre; and directing The Damnation of Carmen at Lawrence Opera Theatre.
Production Designer: Lizzy DuQuette
Lizzy DuQuette is a multimedia artist living in Price Hill. This is her eighth time working with Queen City Opera. Past productions include design for Mozart’s Abduction, Wagner’s Siegfried Act II and III, Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta, and Weber’s Der Freischütz (The Magic Bullets). She created illustrated projections for QCO’s Israel in Egypt at the Mayerson JCC. Lizzy is interested in small and large scale puppetry and has apprenticed with the legendary Bread & Puppet Theater in Glover, VT.
Lighting Design and Technical Director: Larry Csernik
Larry Csernik is lighting designer for theatre and dance. Originally from Louisville, KY, Larry is a local lighting designer who stayed in Cincinnati after attaining his BA in Theater at Northern Kentucky University.
At NKU he has designed many shows including Mud Nostalgia, The Divine Visitor, Dance, The Wedding Singer, Birds, Years: A Musical, As You Like It, The Heidi Chronicles, and most recently Angels in America: Part I.
For the past four years he has designed for both The Commonwealth Theatre Company as well as The Contemporary Dance Theatre of Cincinnati. Other recent productions include The Full Monty and Willy Wonka (The Carnegie in Covington), the premier performance of Soldier’s Christmas (Blueline Editorial), and numerous shows at Thomas More College. He is pleased to return once again to Queen City Opera after designing for Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Rossini’s Cinderella, Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta, Weber’s Der Freischütz, and Wagner’s Die Walküre, Act 1.
Costume Design: Brooke Arthur
Brooke Arthur is a freelance costume designer that has designed for theatre, opera, tours, and musicals. Brooke originally started out in art school at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn New York for Fashion Design. She then decided to start her Costume Design career at the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, where she graduated in 2017 with her BFA in Costume Design and Technology with a specialty in Design and Crafts. After graduating she worked in several different areas within the costuming world, such as the Costume Shop Manager at Florida Repertory Theatre, Crafts Artisan for When You Wish,Shrek, Newsies at Tuacahn Center for the Arts, Wardrobe Supervisor/ Assistant Costume Shop Manager at Arizona Opera, Wardrobe at Shakespeare & Co, Crafts Artisan at Stage Craft, and Crafts Artisan/ Wardrobe Supervisor at Illinois Shakespeare Festival. Brooke’s design credits include: Twelfth Night at Florida Rep. Education tour, Bulletproof Backpack at Florida Rep., Every Beautiful Thing at Florida Rep., and Design Assistant for When You Wish at Tuacahn Center for the Arts. She recently moved back home to Cincinnati in 2020 from Florida and is now working as the Costume Supervisor at Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati. Brooke is looking forward to being back in Cincinnati and creating more within a community that she calls home.