Ricky Ian Gordon’s Orpheus and Euridice
January 11, 2019 at 7:30PM & January 13, 2019 at 2:30PM
Kerrytown Concert House (415 North Fourth Ave., Ann Arbor)
Performed in English
A modern take on an ancient tale of love and loss, presented by a group of three fierce ladies in Ann Arbor's most intimate venue.
Arbor Opera Theater co-produces with the Kerrytown Concert House Ricky Ian Gordon’s Orpheus & Euridice, a tender song cycle in two parts for soprano, clarinet, and piano. Gordon’s astoundingly beautiful work is his own take on the Orpheus myth, written as his partner was losing his battle to AIDS. “What could I have really understood in that story?” Gordon asked of the myth, “But something lingered. Because one night, at 4 in the morning, I rose from sleep, went to the dining-room table, and wrote the entire text. It seemed I suddenly had a deep identification with Orpheus; only my Euridice was not bitten by a snake, but robbed slowly by an incurable virus.” Soprano Monica Dewey, clarinetist Marissa Mitchell, and pianist Kathleen Kelly headline these performances with Arbor Opera Theater.
MONICA DEWEY | Soprano (Euridice)
Described by Opera News as having “an endearing timbre bursting with warmth. . . as close to perfect as opera gets,” Monica Dewey is an exciting, versatile soprano beginning her career. Recent performances of note include Alexandra in Marc Blitzstein’s Regina with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Alice B. Toklas in Ricky Ian Gordon’s 27 with Michigan Opera Theater, and an appearance on the Met Stage as a National Semi-Finalist of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Monica’s 2018-19 season begins with Plácido Doming’s Operalia Competition in Lisbon. She will then make her European debut with Oper Köln singing First Niece in Peter Grimes. As a recent graduate of the Michigan Opera Theater studio, Monica will return to Detroit to sing Cunegonde in Candide, and conclude the season with a return to Opera Theatre of Saint Louis to sing Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro. Monica received her Master of Music degree from Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music. Prior to her studies at IU, Monica obtained a dual bachelors degree in Music and Arts Administration from the University of Kentucky. When she is not performing, she enjoys spending time with her partner and playing tennis with friends.
MARISSA MITCHELL | Clarinet (Orpheus)
A native of Memphis, Tennessee, Marissa Mitchell is pursuing a Doctorate of Musical Arts under the tutelage of Guy Yehuda at Michigan State University. She has collaborated with established composers and conductors, including John Mackey and Paul Dooley. Recently, Marissa performed at the 2018 Imani Winds Chamber Music Festival in NYC, where she played standard and contemporary works for woodwind quintet while working with members of the esteemed Imani Winds. She has also won talent awards for her clarinet performance at preliminary competitions within Miss America Scholarship Organization. Marissa has over 10 years of teaching experience, including teaching undergraduate courses at Baylor University as a Graduate Teaching Assistant. She volunteered as a clarinet instructor the Joy of Music School, a non-profit organization that provides free lessons for Knoxville’s youth. She was selected to coach chamber groups at the 2017 Philadelphia Orchestra International Summer Music Festival and served as principal clarinet of the college division orchestra. Marissa holds a Bachelor of Music Education from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville and Master of Music form Baylor University.
KATHLEEN KELLY | Pianist
Kathleen Kelly begins the 2018-19 season on the heels of a successful recital tour with mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton and an acclaimed scenes concert at the San Francisco’s Merola program. The year ahead begins with Madama Butterfly at Opera Columbus. It continues on recital stages with Jamie Barton, Caitlin Lynch, Michael Kelly, Ariana Strahl, Jonathan Lasch, and Monica Dewey. All through the year, Kathleen will continue her coaching work with new and established artists, most especially with the students at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of music, where she joins the faculty in September.
Kathleen enjoys a wide-ranging and dynamic musical life as a pianist, opera coach, conductor, and master teacher. The first woman and first American named as Director of Musical Studies at the Vienna State Opera, Kathleen joined the faculty of the University of Michigan in 2015 as that school’s first Coach/Conductor of Opera. Her recital partners have included Jamie Barton, Christine Goerke, Michael Kelly, Troy Cook, Amber Wagner, Susan Graham, Albina Shagimuratova, Valentina Nafornita, Joyce DiDonato, and Thomas Hampson. She has curated art song series for the Houston Grand Opera and the Vienna State Opera, and currently is artistic director of the Kerrytown Concert House in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Photo of Monica courtesy of Synthia Steiman. Photo of Kathleen courtesy of Arielle Doneson.