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Les Plaisirs de Versailles
by Marc-Antoine Charpentier
Friday, September 9 at 7:30pm
Zilkha Hall / Hobby Center For The Performing Arts
Ars Lyrica’s 2016/17 season opens with a trip to Versailles, where French kings and their courtiers cultivated pleasures of all kinds, including musical follies. Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s witty chamber opera pairs nicely with motets, drinking songs, and chamber works by François Couperin & Jean-Philippe Rameau, for a sumptuous and quintessentially French musical feast. Unusually for its era, Les Plaisirs de Versailles is a comedy—and an ode to both wine and chocolate!
Special Thanks to our Reception Sponsor:
Special Guest & Soloists:
About the Artists:
Stage director Tara Faircloth’s work has been seen in opera houses around the nation. She has directed two world premieres with the Houston Grand Opera's East+West series and has a thriving career in regional houses such as Utah Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, Arizona Opera, Atlanta Opera, Tulsa Opera and Opera Colorado (Eugene Onegin, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Rigoletto, Die Zauberflöte, Hänsel & Gretel, etc.). The baroque repertoire is of special interest to Ms. Faircloth, who made her directorial debut with Ars Lyrica Houston’s production of Cain: Il primo omicidio in 2003, and has since designed and directed a number of shows for the company, including several Charpentier works, and aDido & Aeneas for tour in Mexico. This season includes new productions of Madama Butterfly, Don Giovanni, L’enfant et les sortileges, and Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Ms. Faircloth has a private coaching studio in Houston, Texas, and regularly works with the talented singers of the Houston Grand Opera Studio and Rice University.
Soprano and Texas native Megan Stapleton has been described as “sublime" (The Hub Review) and “enchanting" (The Boston Phoenix), with “stunning lyricism" (The Boston Musical Intelligencer). Megan has performed recently with Galveston Symphony Orchestra, Mercury Orchestra, Houston Grand Opera Co., Houston Baroque, Ensemble Correnti, Houston’s Bach Society, Houston’s Gilbert and Sullivan Society, and the Paul English Jazz Trio. While living in Boston, she sang with groups including Boston Early Music Festival, Boston Opera Collaborative and Boston Metro Opera. Megan holds degrees with honors from New England Conservatory and Sam Houston State University.
Ellie Jarrett Shattles
Ellie Jarrett, mezzo-soprano, is thrilled to re-join Ars Lyrica during their 2016 season and recently completed the second year of her D.M.A. in opera performance from the University of Texas Austin where she had the opportunity to sing Der Komponist (Ariadne auf Naxos), The Baker’s Wife (Into the Woods), Cherubino (Le nozze di Figaro), Hansel (Hansel und Gretel), Madeline Mitchell (Three Decembers) and Madame de la Croissy (Dialogues of the Carmelites). For UT’s upcoming season, Ellie is singing La Principessa in Suor Angelica as well as Zita in Gianni Schicchi. She has also sung with many prestigious young artist programs, including Marcellina and Mercédès for Nashville Opera, Rosina for Aspen Opera Theatre, and Dorabella for the Merola Opera Program. In 2011 and 2012, Ellie covered Marthe in Faust and The Fortune Teller in Arabella as an Apprentice Artist for the Santa Fe Opera, and returned in 2013 as part of their Education Development Program to sing Mrs. Noye in Britten’s Noye’s Fludde. Ms. Jarrett has also had the pleasure of singing during her DMA with the UT Symphony Orchestra as well as the UT New Music Ensemble.
Leggiero tenor Alexander Scheuermann is a native of Merritt Island, Florida who now lives and works in Houston. Recent operatic roles include Alfredo in The Puffed Up Prima Donna, and The Boy in The Velveteen Rabbit with HGO’s Opera to Go! The Barber in Man of La Mancha with Central City Opera, and Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore at the Moores Opera House. Concert work includes regular performances as a soloist with the Houston Bach Society, the Three Texan Tenors and the Lone Star Lyric cabaret series. Alex holds a BM in voice performance from Florida State University and an MM in voice performance from The University of Houston. Alex studies under Cynthia Clayton.
Baritone Mark Diamond debuted with Ars Lyrica last season in Bach’s Coffee Cantata. Mr. Diamond is a graduate of the Houston Grand Opera Studio where performances included Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia and Marcello in La bohème, and has since returned to sing Count Carl-Magnus in A Little Night Music. Last season Mr. Diamond debuted with the French opera theaters of Limoges, Caen, and Reims. He is the first prize Winner of the 2010 Eleanor McCollum Competition as well as the recipient of the Richard F. Gold Career Grant from Glimmerglass Festival and the Sarah Tucker Study Grant.
Tony Boutté is described in the current issue of Opera News as “possessed of a radiant, communicative tenor." A native of Louisiana, Tony has traveled extensively, here and abroad, including New York, London, Paris and Los Angeles. Tony has sung with such established ensembles as Les Arts Florissants, Les Talens Lyriques, Tafelmusik, Musica Angelica and Ars Lyrica Houston. His extensive recording catalog includes works by Lully, Handel and Bach, as well as world premier recordings by Philip Glass, Douglas Cuomo and Michael Gordon. Upcoming releases include Fauré songs (Edition Peters Sounds) and music of Boismortier (Centaur) with Arcanum Ensemble. Tony recently joined the faculty of Sam Houston State University, and is excited to be joining the thriving cultural life of Houston. For more info, visit www.tonyboutte.com.
Lyric baritone Brian Shircliffe is excited to be performing with Ars Lyrica again. The San Antonio native has sung with Dayton Opera, Lake George Opera, Utah Festival Opera, Opera in the Heights, Opera Vista, and has performed with numerous opera companies including: Houston Grand Opera, most recently seen in the world’s first Mariachi opera, Cruzar la Cara de la Luna. Brian holds a Master’s of Music from The University of Houston’s Moores School of Music, and teaches voice at San Jacinto College in Houston where he currently resides.. Following his performance as Dancaïro in Carmen, with Houston’s Opera in the Heights, the Houston Chronicle said: “The best individual singing of the evening came from Brian Shircliffe as Dancairo, one of Carmen’s fellow smugglers... He had a sure vocal presence, a natural, unblemished sound and an easy delivery...”
Sarah Brindley, mezzo-soprano, is honored to be making her debut performance with Ars Lyrica. Since arriving in Houston in 2007, she has been a soloist and core member of the Houston Bach Society, and performs frequently in Lone Star Lyric’s summer festival and Lyric Cabaret series. Sarah has also sung with the Houston Symphony and Mercury Orchestra. Some of her most notable roles have been the Wicked Step-Mother in What Your Parent’s Don’t Want You to Know with Lone Star Lyric Festival, the Wife in The Women with Lone Star Lyric Festival, Dorabella in Cosi fan tutte with Opera in the Ozarks, Katisha in The Mikado with Opera in the Ozarks, and Molly Sinclair in The sojourner and Molly Sinclair with the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
American soprano Stacey Franklin delights audiences with her shimmering tone and expressive artistry. As a featured soloist on the Houston Chamber Choir’s 2015 album soft blink of amber light (MSR Classics), Franklin is hailed by Fanfare magazine for “crystal-clear diction, dead-on intonation, and fearless fluency in the numerous treacherous turns of her lines.” The native Houstonian has been presented on stage and in concert by Grace Song, Inc., Greenbriar Consortium, Imperial Arts, Lone Star Lyric Theater, Mercury: The Orchestra Redefined, The Nova Arts Project, Opera in the Heights, Opera Vista, and Zephyr Ensemble. Operatic highlights include Gretel (Hänsel und Gretel), Madame Goldentrill (The Impresario), Zerbina (La Serva Padrona), and Angelica (Handel’s Orlando). Having earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance from Baylor University, Franklin refined her skills at apprenticeship programs in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Also a sixth season member of the Houston Chamber Choir and a sought-after professional harpist, she maintains an active musical presence in the greater Houston area.
soprano, La Musique
Ellie Jarrett Shattles
mezzo-soprano, La Conversation
tenor, Le Jeu
tenor, Un des Plaisirs
*artist bios below