Cast of CANDIDE
Oh! 2017 - 2018 Season
Candide | Benjamin Robinson, tenor
Benjamin Robinson, described as a "charming lyric tenor," is a native of Raleigh, North Carolina. Highlights from the current season include his Carnegie Hall debut with the Distant Worlds Concert Series, Jim in The Gift of the Magi with Queens Opera Theatre and Game Keeper in Rusalka with Resonance Works Pittsburgh. Recent credits include Almaviva Il barbiere di Siviglia with Indianapolis Opera, Alfred Die Fledermaus with Opera in the Heights, Joe La fanciulla del West with Michigan Opera Theatre, Frederic The Pirates of Penzance and The Electrician Powder Her Face with Skylight Music Theater, Flamand Capriccio with Opera Theater of Pittsburgh, Tamino Die Zauberflöte with Anchorage Opera and Peter Quint The Turn of the Screw with North Carolina Opera. www.benjaminrobinsontenor.com
Cunegonde | Kathryn Bowden, soprano
Soprano Kathryn Bowden is making her mark in the fiendish role of the Queen of the Night (Königin der Nacht) in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte, for which she has become highly in demand. In October 2017 Ms. Bowden made her Metropolitan Opera debut as the Queen in the company's German language mainstage production and covered the role during the Met's English language family performances later in the season. She also made her 2017 Baltimore Symphony Orchestra debut performing the Queen's famous "Der Hölle Rache" in the concert program Heroes and Villains. The role of the Queen has served as Ms. Bowden's 2015 San Francisco Opera debut vehicle and her entry onto the Metropolitan Opera roster as cover for the 2016 family performances of The Magic Flute. She looks forward to reprising it for her San Diego Opera debut in April 2021. In 2018 Ms. Bowden makes her debut with Houston's Opera in the Heights as Cunegonde in Candide. Additional roles include Drusilla (L'incoronazione di Poppea), the Coloratura (Postcard from Morocco), Anne Trulove (The Rake's Progress), and Greta Fiorentino (Street Scene). An alumna of San Francisco Opera's prestigious Merola Opera Program, Ms. Bowden performed the roles of Mrs. Gobineau (The Medium) and Nella (Gianni Schicchi) and excerpts from the role of Amina (La sonnambula). She has also participated in the voice program of the Chautauqua Music Festival. Ms. Bowden has been a District Winner of the 2016 and 2014 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in Florida and Winner of the 2013 Jenny Lind Competition for Sopranos. She earned her Performer's Certificate and Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Connecticut, and is a current Masters candidate at Florida State University.
Voltaire/Pangloss/Cacambo/Martin | Michael Scarcelle, bass
Described by The New York Times as “a forbidding, resonant bass-baritone”, Michael Scarcelle’s recent performances include Figaro MARRIAGE OF FIGARO with Opera Theatre of Pittsburgh, Pedruzzi in American Symphony Orchestra’s MONA LISA at Carnegie Hall; Herrmann Augustus CANDIDE with both London Symphony Orchestra and Munich Philharmonic; Papageno MAGIC FLUTE and Pirate King PIRATES OF PENZANCE with Anchorage Opera; Poo-Bah MIKADO with both Mobile Opera and Shreveport Opera; HYDROGEN JUKEBOX with Skylight Music Theatre; Demetrius MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM with Opera Naples; Melchior AMAHL with Amarillo Opera, and Elviro SERSE with Boston Baroque. Michael made his European debut singing Crespel LES CONTES D’HOFFMANN with Festival lyrique international de Belle-Ile en Mer and returned as Schaunard LA BOHÈME. Other performances abroad include Escamillo CARMEN and FIGARO with Volkstheater Rostock. Concert engagements include over 7 solo performances at Carnegie Hall including the Fauré and Duruflé Requiems, Händel's Messiah at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fischer Hall and Bach’s Magnificat televised from the National Cathedral. www.michaelscarcelle.com
Old Lady | Tara Curtis, mezzo-soprano
Mezzo-soprano Tara Curtis is quickly establishing herself as an "impressively full-voiced, dramatic" singer of operatic and concert repertoire. Her "keen, bright mezzo, darkened with raw edges" with its "arresting power and radiant tone" has been hailed as "a natural fit for Verdi." This is her debut with Opera in the Heights and her return to the role of the Old Lady in Candide. She will follow her time in Houston with her international debut in Newfoundland, Canada, singing the role of Hannah After in the immensely popular new opera, As One.
Governor/Vanderdendur/Ragotski | Brian Yeakley, tenor
Brian Yeakley joins Opera in the Heights for another production and couldn't be more thrilled! Yeakley finishes up his spring season performing Carmina Burana with Valley Symphony Orchestra in McAllen, Texas and Bernstein's Chichester Psalms as Soloist with Memorial Drive Presbyterian. Recent: Brighella in Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos w. Austin Opera; Soloist in Puccini's Messa di Gloria w. Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church; Monostatos in Mozart's Magic Flute w. Opera in the Heights; Soloist in Bruckner's Te Deum w. Austin Symphony; Dew Fairy/Sandman in Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel w. Rec Room Arts; Lindoro in Rossini's L'Italiana in Algeri w. Operativo Houston.
Maximilian | Rameen Chaharbaghi, baritone
Rameen Chaharbaghi, baritone, is an emerging classical singer in Houston with "a simply lovely voice" (DC Theatre Scene). His recent operatic roles include the Crocodile (Monkey and Francine in the City of Tigers), Papageno, Belcore, and the Prince (The Goose Girl). A member of the renowned Houston Chamber Choir, Rameen appeared as the baritone soloist in their recent performances of Duruflé's Messe cum jubilo and Bach's Mass in B minor. Other recent concert work includes Ruth Watson Henderson’s From Darkness to Light. Rameen holds a degrees from the University of Maryland and the University of Houston. He currently studies with Barbara Clark.
Paquette | Monica Isomura, mezzo-soprano
Mezzo-soprano, Monica Isomura, is very happy to be back on the OH stage this season. Last year, she performed the leading role of Jo March in Adamo’s Little Women at Opera in the Heights and in past seasons has sung the roles of Tisbe in La Cenerentola and Mrs. Nolan in The Medium. In concert, she is a frequent soloist with The Houston Chamber Choir and the Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church Choir, and has appeared with The Lone Star Lyric Opera, Da Camera, the Houston Heights Orchestra, and the Memorial Classical Music Series. She has previously sung for Michigan Opera Theater, The Castleton Festival, Opera in the Ozarks, Opera New Jersey’s Emerging Artist Program, and Toledo Opera’s Opera-on-wheels. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University, a master’s degree from the University of Michigan, and a doctorate in voice from Stony Brook University in New York. A passionate educator, Monica serves as the Education Coordinator for Opera in the Heights, is an Adjunct Professor of voice at Lone Star College Cyfair, and maintains a thriving private voice studio.
Captain | Austin Hoeltzel, baritone
Austin Hoeltzel hails from the tiny town of Marshall, Michigan. After completing a bachelor's degree at the prestigious University of Michigan, he ventured to Texas to obtain a master's degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Houston. When Austin is not performing around Houston as a vocalist and church musician, he can be found at Pearl Hall Elementary where he teaches classroom music. Austin would like to thank his beautiful wife Julie, his cat Bubbles, and his dog Sweet Pea for their unwavering love and support.