FRESNO GRAND OPERA ANNOUNCES CAST FOR ‘OUR TOWN’
Fresno, California – December 5, 2016
Fresno Grand Opera is pleased to announce the cast for the main stage production of Ned Rorem’s Our Town on Saturday, January 28 and Sunday, January 29, 2017 at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium. Soprano Sarah Shafer, who made her San Francisco Opera debut this year as Pamina in The Magic Flute, and Jonas Hacker, a Grand Finalist for 2016 The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, lead a strong cast of familiar faces for the Company.
Emily Webb: Sarah Shafer, soprano*
George Gibbs: Jonas Hacker, tenor*
Stage Manager: Alex Mansoori, tenor*
Mr. Webb: Zeffin Quinn Hollis, baritone
Mrs. Webb: Laura Krumm, mezzo-soprano
Dr. Gibbs: Eric Downs, bass
Mrs. Gibbs: Danielle Bond, mezzo-soprano
Mrs. Soames: Nicole Jacques, mezzo-soprano
Simon Stimson: Robert Norman, tenor
- Company debuts by soprano Sarah Shafer and tenors Jonas Hacker and Alex Mansoori
- The return of mezzo-soprano Laura Krumm, who made her company debut last season as Sister Helen Prejean in Dead Man Walking
- The return of baritone Zeffin Quinn Hollis, who thrilled audiences with his commanding performance in the title role of Sweeney Todd last season
- The return of tenor Robert Norman, who sang the role of Toby in Sweeney Todd last season
* Company debut
About the Cast
Sarah Shafer (Emily Webb)
Labeled a “singer to watch” by the New York Times, Sarar Shafer performed the role of Pamina in The Magic Flute at San Francisco Opera last season, and returns to San Francisco Opera this summer for the role of Zerlina in Don Giovanni. She also made her debut last season with Opera Philadelphia, singing the role of Adina in The Elixir of Love. A graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, she has also performed at the Glyndebourne Festival and the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
Jonas Hacker (George Gibbs)
Currently a student at the prestigious Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia, Jonas Hacker was a Grand Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, making the final ten in one of the most celebrated vocal competitions in the world. He has participated in the Young Artist Programs at Glimmerglass Opera and Wolf Trap Opera, and made his debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra as a tenor soloist.
Alex Mansoori (Stage Manager)
A graduate of The Julliard School, Alex Mansoori returns to the role of The Stage Manager, having sung the role in the New York premiere of the opera Our Town at Julliard. He has since seen his professional debuts at Seattle Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Chicago Opera Theatre and Glimmerglass Opera. An active concert artist as well, Mr. Mansoori has performed as a soloist with the New York Philharmonic and has a long relationship with the New York Festival of Song.
Zeffin Quinn Hollis (Mr. Webb)
Zeffin returns to the company after an incredible performance in the title role of Sweeney Todd. Recent work includes the title role of Falstaff with Pacific Opera Project, Olivier in Therese Raquin with Chicago Opera Theatre, and Falujah with Long Beach Opera and New York City Opera.
Laura Krumm (Mrs. Webb)
A 2013 graduate of the prestigious Adler Fellowship at San Francisco Opera, Laura has joined the artist rosters of several major companies in the United States, including San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago and Dallas Opera. Personally recommended by composer Jake Heggie, she made her role debut as Sister Helen Prejean in our production of Dead Man Walking last season.
Eric Downs (Dr. Gibbs)
A graduate of the Yale School of Music, Eric Downs is an active performer with regional opera companies all over the country. Eric made his Townsend Opera debut in 2014 as Colline in La bohème, He has also recently performed leading roles with Shreveport Opera and Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre, and is an active performer with companies in New York City.
Danielle Bond (Mrs. Gibbs)
An active performer from Los Angeles, Danielle Bond was recently seen in the title role of Marilyn Forever in its American premiere at Long Beach Opera. She also performed in their highly regarded production of John Adams’ The Death of Klinghoffer. Danielle made her company debut in October 2015 as a soloist in Hydrogen Jukebox as part of the Music & Verse Series.
Nicole Jacques (Mrs. Soames)
Based in Fresno, Nicole is a graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. A leading voice for many years in the Fresno Grand Opera Chorus, Nicole made her well-deserved role debut as the Mother of one of the stricken children in Dead Man Walking.
Robert Norman (Simon Stimson)
Robert returns to the company stage after his recent performance as Toby in Sweeney Todd and one of the fathers in Dead Man Walking. He has performed nationally with L.A. Opera, Opera San José, Opera Santa Barbara, Opera Las Vegas, Long Beach Opera, and Union Avenue Opera. Past performances include Goro in Madama Butterfly, Dr. Caius in Falstaff, Gherardo in Gianni Schicchi, and as Remendado in Carmen.