CAST BIOS AND PHOTOS:
THE TELEPHONE by composer Gian Carlo Menotti features faculty members from all three of Manitoba’s major music schools; Brandon University, Canadian Mennonite University and the University of Manitoba.
David Klassen: Director / Ben
Noted for his “rich baritone” (Minneapolis Star Tribune) and praised for his savvy stagecraft, David Klassen’s versatility as a performer has brought him to the stage in New York, Minnesota, throughout the Canadian Prairies and beyond. Operatic performance highlights include the Minnesota premier performance as Valmont in Susa’s Dangerous Liaisons and an award-winning performance of the title role in Mozart’s Don Giovanni. Equally comfortable on the opera, oratorio and concert stages, Mr. Klassen has been engaged as a soloist by the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Saskatoon Opera, Groundswell, The Chamber Players of St. Paul, Brandon Chamber Players and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra singing for a Canada Day audience of thirty thousand. Directing credits include Anne of Green Gables (Steinbach Arts Council), and Die Fledermaus and The Merry Wives of Windsor (Canadian Mennonite University)
Naomi Forman: Lucy
“Mesmerizing” wrote the Winnipeg Free Press. “While she was onstage you couldn’t take your eyes off her – she has that kind of star power.” Naomi Forman is a soprano who refuses to be put in a box with credits that run the gamut from Mozart to Musical Theatre. Recent engagements for this versatile singing actor include Manitoba Opera, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, the Calgary Bach Festival Society, Ottawa Chamber Music Festival and the Brandon Chamber Players. Most recently, she sang the role of Alice in Dry Cold’s production of THE ADDAMS FAMILY. Her production company, Naomi Forman Productions, created “StarBach’s: The Coffee Cantata”; an updated version of Bach’s classic for the triple-soy-venti set. Forman is a voice instructor at Brandon University. www.naomiforman.com
Madeline Hildebrand: Piano
Acclaimed Canadian pianist Jon Kimura Parker describes Maddy as “an extraordinary young artist whose communicative skills convey the essence of all that she plays. Her pianism is of the highest level, and she has an instinctive understanding of beautiful sound.” Her playing has taken her from coast to coast in Canada and America, Italy, and Romania. Recent engagements include a concerto performance with the Thunder Bay Orchestra, a house concert tour throughout Manitoba with flutist Haley Marie, a cross-Canada tour with soprano Sarah Kirsch, and chamber music concerts with many of Winnipeg’s foremost classical musicians. She is a graduate of the University of British Columbia where she studied under distinguished pianist Jane Coop, and teaches piano at CMU.
Gian Carlo Menotti (1911-2007): Composer/Librettist
Italian-born American composer, Gian Carlo Menotti is best known for his melodramatic operas that mixed lyrical sound with new harmonies.
At the age of 17 he immigrated to the United States to complete his musical education at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. His first opera, AMELIA AT THE BALL was produced in 1936. Other well-known works include THE OLD MAID AND THE THIEF (1939), the Pulitzer Prize-winning THE CONSUL (1950) and THE SAINT OF BLEECKER STREET (1951). His greatest commercial success, THE MEDIUM (1946) set a precedent in American opera by running on Broadway, and was coupled with a short curtain raiser, THE TELEPHONE. Another precedent was set by AHMAL AND THE NIGHT VISITORS (1951), the first opera specifically written for television. Menotti`s partner in both life and work was fellow composer, Samuel Barber, and their 40-year relationship lasted until Barber`s death in 1981. Menotti is the recipient of many awards including a 1984 Kennedy Center award.