Jacques Offenbach's The Tales of Hoffmann

May 17 and 18, 2019 at 7:30PM and May 19, 2019 at 2:30PM
Arthur Miller Theatre (1226 Murfin Ave., Ann Arbor)
Performed in a new English adaptation by Daniel J. Brylow


Blind dates can be the worst, especially when with a mechanical doll, a ghostly apparition, or a shadow-stealing courtesan.

AOT is pleased to present a reimagined production of The Tales of Hoffmann from Skylight Music Theatre and Milwaukee Opera Theatre, which BroadwayWorld hailed as “ethereal and uplifting,” with a dreamlike setting that “highlights the fantasy in this ‘opera fantastique.’” It tells of poet E.T.A. Hoffmann’s unending search for true love, doing so with a great deal of humor, a dose of magic, and some of Jacque Offenbach’s most memorable melodies, including the “Doll Song” and the Venetian Barcarolle.

Performed in the intimate setting of the Arthur Miller Theatre on the University of Michigan’s North Campus, this enthralling adaptation by director Daniel J. Brylow is sung in English, with a reduced cast, musical ensemble, and playing time from the original—still a complete work of musical art, however, that instead of smaller feels “essential and more concentrated.” The ensemble of singers now numbers only 13, and as there are more parts than people, the villain is played by the previous lover in each subsequent tale—a topsy-turvy yank toward the present day for these old fables. Though Hoffmann’s pursuit of love is foiled by sinister figures at every turn, he is rewarded in the end by the never-ending admiration of his Muse and a newfound love for his art.

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Praised by Opera News for her “sizable and burnished mezzo” and “fluent musicality,” mezzo-soprano Courtney Miller is equally versed in opera as she is in musical theater, art song, and oratorio. 

Recent credits include Olga in Eugene Onegin and Mercédès in Carmen with Florida Grand Opera, Hannah in The Passenger with Michigan Opera Theatre, Meg in Little Women with Madison Opera, Mrs. Ford in Sir John in Love with Odyssey Opera, Dryade in Ariadne auf Naxos and Meg Page in Falstaff with Virginia Opera, and Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro and The Wind in Philip Glass’s opera ballet The Witches of Venice with Opera Saratoga.  

A lover of new music, Miller has created many roles, including Mina Miller Edison is Tesla with SOBE Arts.  

Follow her on instagram @mezzomiller where you’ll also find her adventures in petsitting and all things ABV. www.courtneyallycemiller.com


Tenor Robert Stahley, known for his “vocal acrobatics” and “robust voice” (Cincinnati.com), is making waves throughout the operatic industry. During the 2019/20 season, Robert will join the Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program at LA Opera, and is a young artist at Santa Fe Opera during their summer 2019 festival. This past season, he was a member of the Benenson Young Artist Program at Palm Beach Opera, where he covered the roles of Alfredo in La Traviata and Alfred in Die Fledermaus, and sang William Marshall alongside Susan Graham and James Morris in Opera Theater of Saint Louis’ production of Regina, and in scenes as Lenny in Of Mice and Men and Bacchus in Ariadne auf Naxos with the St. Louis Symphony. Robert was awarded third prize in the 2018 Gerda Lissner competition, named a finalist in the 2018 Mildred Miller Competition, and received the Elihu Hyndman award for his work at OTSL. He has also been a studio artist with Wolf Trap Opera where he covered the role of Rodolfo (La Bohème) and Male Chorus (The Rape of Lucretia). Other major roles include Candide, Idomeneo, Pang (Turandot), The Schoolmaster (The Cunning Little Vixen), Sam Kaplan (Street Scene), and Rinnuccio (Gianni Schicchi). He holds a Master of Music degree and an Artist Diploma from CCM, and a bachelor’s in music from UMass Amherst. www.robertstahleytenor.com


SARAH HAYASHI | Olympia & Dr. Miracle

Franco-American soprano, Sarah Hayashi, started her operatic studies at the Peabody Conservatory before continuing at the Royal College of Music in London and the Wales International Academy of Voice in Cardiff. Roles include Fire, the Princess, and the Nightingale in L’Enfants et les Sortilèges, Miranda in the world premiere of Douglas Buchanan’s Ariel’s Tempest, Miss Ellen in Lakmé; Erste Knabe in Die Zauberflöte, Emmie in Albert Herring. Other roles include Belinda in Dido and Aeneas, Euridice in Orphée aux Enfers, and Despina in Cosi fan tutte. In the past year, Sarah made her role debut as Blonde in Abduction from the Seraglio for the Bronx Opera, was a finalist in the London Handel Singing Competition, and a winner of the RCM Concerto Competition, a winner of the RCM Early Music Competition, and a semi-finalist at the International Cesti Competition. Last summer, Sarah won second place in the Handel Aria Competition in Madison, Wisconsin. She was the recipient of the Maryland Distinguished Scholar of the Arts award, Evergreen House Foundation Scholarship, Charles Brachini Award, and the Josephine Baker Trust. She has also performed extensively as a recitalist in the US, the UK, and France. Recent performances include Susanna Le Nozze di Figaro in Sicily and the Queen of the Night Die Zauberflöte in Germany. www.sarahhayashi.com


MARY MARTIN | Antonia & Dapertutto

Known for her “brilliantly clear, highly refined soprano voice,” Michigan native Mary Martin is thrilled to make her Arbor Opera Theater debut. Opera MODO: Nannetta (Falstaff) and Gretel (Hansel and Gretel). University of Michigan credits include: Susanna (Le Nozze di Figaro), Amy (Little Women), and Queen of the Night (Die Zauberflöte). Additionally, she frequently collaborates with Michigan Opera Theater as an outreach performer and community educator. Recently, Mary performed with South Bend Lyric Opera, playing Lucia in Lucia di Lammermoor and Despina (Cosi Fan Tutte). Brevard Music Center: Mabel (The Pirates of Penzance), Olympia (Les Contes d’Hoffmann). She has also been featured with: Central City Opera, Battle Creek Symphony Orchestra, Midland Symphony Orchestra, Livingston Symphony Orchestra, Michigan Pops, Saginaw Choral Society, New York Opera Exchange. Her proudest credit is “The Star-Spangled Banner” for President Obama and a crowd of approximately 85,000 for the University of Michigan Commencement. Mary is currently a student at Indiana University, studying with Patricia Havranek and Gary Arvin. www.marymartinsings.com


KAYLEIGH JARDINE | Giulietta & Coppelius

Pennsylvania native Kayleigh Jardine makes her Arbor Opera Theater debut playing both Giulietta and Coppélius, a role she definitely never imagined she would play. Praised for her “style and élan” on stage (The Morning Call), she is currently a Specialist of Music student at the University of Michigan. No stranger to the stage, Kayleigh has performed internationally, featured as a concert soloist at David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, and with the Detroit Vocal Ensemble and Community Chorus. This year she was also the winner of the Encouragement Award at the Colorado-Wyoming district of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Recent operatic roles include Bubikopf in Viktor Ullmann’s Der Kaiser von Atlantis and Marcellina in Le nozze di Figaro, both with the University of Michigan. She is very excited to perform with AOT and would like to thank the creative team for offering her this opportunity.

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DARIUS GILLARD | Spalanzani & Ensemble

Tenor Darius Gillard is steadily gaining momentum on regional operatic circuits. Praised for his warm legato and charismatic presence, he excels in the lyric repertoire. Having spent the majority of his career as a lyric baritone, he made a speedy switch to tenor in 2016 and made a role debut the same year as Romeo in Gounod’s Romeo et Juliette at the Power Center for the Performing Arts. To date, he has performed a number roles in operas ranging from the classical works of Mozart to the verismo operas of Verdi and Puccini. He has appeared in leading roles and as a young artist with companies such as Connecticut Lyric Opera, Greenville Light Opera, Capitol Opera Raleigh, Central Piedmont Opera, and The Verdi Opera Theatre of Detroit. He has also made appearances with Charleston Chamber Orchestra, Flint Symphony Orchestra, and the Detroit Festival Camerata as a featured soloist in various oratorio works. At present, he is pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Michigan under the instruction of Dr. Scott Piper.

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KRISTIN CLARK | Mother’s Ghost & Ensemble

Kristin Clark, mezzo-soprano, is featured in the role of Electre on the 2015 GRAMMY nominated recording of Milhaud’s L'Orestie d'Eschyle, for which Opera News lauded her voice as “slicing the air unassailably.”  She made her solo debut at Carnegie Hall in 2015, singing Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde with the Blue Period Ensemble. At home on the concert stage, Kristin has appeared as a guest soloist with the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra, the Illinois Symphony Orchestra, the Toledo Symphony, the Bozeman Symphony, the Oakland Choral Society, the University Musical Society, and the Adrian Symphony. She received her doctorate in vocal performance at the University of Michigan, where she also received Master’s degrees in vocal performance and choral conducting. She is currently an Assistant Professor and the Coordinator of Voice at Adrian College. Her students have performed leading and supporting roles on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and in national tours, as well as in opera. Kristin lives in Ypsilanti with her husband (and favorite pianist), Phillip, and their blended family of five children.


JACK NADLER | Schlemil and Ensemble

Jack Nadler finished his first year of undergraduate vocal performance study at University of Michigan SMTD and is excited to be making his debut with Arbor Opera Theatre. He has also appeared as Pinellino in Gianni Schicchi and Ludwig in The Grand Duke with the University of Michigan Gilbert and Sullivan Society. He has placed in and won various competitions such as New York Lyric Opera Competition and the Schmidt Vocal Competition. His choral repertoire includes baritone soloist in Chilcott’s Requiem, Bach Cantata 36c, and Mendelssohn Psalm 42. He is a student of Freda Herseth.


MITCHELL GILLETT | Cochenille, Frantz & Pitichinaccio

Mitchell Gillett, is happy to be returning to Arbor Opera Theater after a six-year break. The Tales of Hoffman has a special spot in his heart, as it was the opera that inspired him to branch out from operetta. He began his studies with Timothy Caldwell at Central Michigan University, and with Brian Pfaltzgraff and George Shirley. He has performed principal roles with the Southern Ohio Light Opera (Alfred; Die Fledermaus), the Colorado Gilbert and Sullivan Festival, Arbor Opera Theater (Don Basilo & Don Curzio; Figaro), the Buxton (UK) International Festival, the University of Michigan Gilbert and Sullivan Society, and the Comic Opera Guild (Orpheus, Danilo, Tamino). He has also directed opera and operetta productions for the Comic Opera Guild, West Michigan Savoyards, UMGASS, and the Croswell Opera House. Mitch thanks his wife and family, who have given steadfast support.


ANNA VALCOUR | Curtain Singer, Heroines Cover & Ensemble

Anna Valcour, soprano, was most recently a Young Artist with Cedar Rapids Opera, where she performed the role of Molly in Weill’s The Threepenny Opera. Highlights of past seasons include Bastienne in Bastien und Bastienne (The Dallas Opera Outreach), Barbarina in Le nozze di Figaro (Toledo Opera), Königin der Nacht in Die Zauberflöte (Toledo Opera On Wheels), le feu/le rossignol in L’enfant et les sortilèges (Opera MODO), Mary in Hirsch’s Mary (Comic Opera Guild), and the Michigan premiere of Holly in Wolfson’s Rapture (Four Corners Ensemble). Ms. Valcour has performed as a guest artist with the Joliet Symphony, Michigan Philharmonic, Flowermound Symphony, and the Lawrence Symphony Orchestra. This season, she will be making company debuts with Arbor Opera Theatre, Comic Opera Guild, and Main Street Opera, as well as returning to Opera MODO for the role of Eurydice in Orpheus in the Underworld.


SERAFINA BELLETINI | Mother’s Ghost Cover and Ensemble

Mezzo-soprano Serafina Belletini is a recent graduate of Wayne State University. Her undergraduate credits include Hansel in Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel, Jessica in Belshaw’s The Worst One Ever, and the Widow in Barab’s Chanticleer. Serafina recently sang Madeline in the Comic Opera Guild of Ann Arbor’s production of Mary by Louis Hirsch. She performs regularly with the choir of Christ Church Grosse Pointe under the direction of Scott Hanoian. She would like to thank Arbor Opera for granting her this opportunity to perform; her wonderful teacher, Frances Brockington; and her endlessly supportive family.


JACOB SURZYN | Crespel and Ensemble

Jake Surzyn, a baritone from Grosse Pointe, is excited to be making his Arbor Opera Theater debut as Crespel. Most recently he has performed as Melisso (Alcina) and Cacambo (Candide) at the University of Michigan. He has also sung Dandini (La Cenerentola) with Opera MODO, Papageno (The Magic Flute), King Melchior (Amahl and the Night Visitors), and Pirate King (The Pirates of Penzance) with Main Street Opera Theatre. An avid singer of oratorio, he has sung as the bass soloist in J.S. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, Magnificat, and St. John Passion as well as Handel’s Messiah and Haydn’s Creation as Raphael. He will be singing as Jupiter in Opera MODO’s upcoming production of Orpheus in the Underworld.


MICHAEL McELVAIN | Music Director

Pianist-conductor Michael McElvain has been heard on WFMT radio broadcasts, including PianoForte Chicago's live cycle of the complete piano sonatas of Beethoven, The WFMT Membership Drive, and contemporary music program Relevant Tones. His formative piano studies range from the studio of Annie Marchand Sherter, a pupil of French piano legends Vlado Perlemuter and Alfred Cortot, to masterclasses led by Leon Fleisher, Emanuel Ax, David Daniels, George Shirley, and Thomas Hampson. As a conductor, he trained under Dr. Allen Carl Larson, a pupil of Julius Herford, studying the latter’s renowned approach to score-analysis. Recently, Mr. McElvain has appeared as guest conductor with The Metropolitan Orchestra of St. Louis in a performance of Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony. He has prepared cantatas as chorus master for The Chicago Bach Ensemble, conducted numerous stage productions, including, La tragédie de Carmen for CUBE Ensemble, musical theatre works by Stephen Sondheim, and Mary Poppins at Stage 773, Chicago. From 2014-2018, he served on the faculties of DePaul University, Chicago, and Columbia College Chicago, and is presently pursuing his doctoral studies under preeminent vocal coach Martin Katz at the University of Michigan. 2019 marks his seventh season as conductor and coach for Italian summer voice institute, Musica nelle Marche, leading concerts of opera scenes and choruses along the Adriatic coast.


Music-theater artist Daniel J. Brylow has contributed to the burgeoning field of contemporary opera and new music-theater as a stage director, performer, translator, and arts administrator.  He has participated in the premiere of several new operas, including Judgment of Midas (Ince), Kocho (Ficher), Río de Sangre (Davis),
Border Towns (Brooke), and Time and Motion Study (Brooke).  As a translator, his English-language adaptations of Don Giovanni (co-written with singer Tim Rebers), Der Ring des Nibelungen, Die Zauberflöte, and Les contes d'Hoffmann have been performed by such companies as Skylight Music Theatre and Milwaukee Opera Theatre, where he is on the administrative staff.

In the 2018-19 Season, Danny will serve as Production Dramaturg on a fully-staged, collaborative production of Carmina Burana, as well as directing his adaptation of The Tales of Hoffmann at Arbor Opera Theater.  Danny is a graduate of Bennington College with a degree in Music and Drama, and the Wesley Balk Opera/Music-Theater Institute with an emphasis on Stage Direction. www.danielbrylow.com