Boheme associates with several of Manhattan’s prestigious artist management agencies, and presents many of the emerging stars of opera’s national circuit. Exciting debuts have dotted Boheme’s history from the very start, with remarkable careers thus blossoming: baritones Mark Delavan, Daniel Sutin and Constantinos Yiannoudes; tenors Allan Glassman, Antonio Nagore and Benjamin Warschawski; sopranos Paula Delligatti, Lorraine Ernest, Adina Aaron, Othalie Graham and Olga Chernisheva; and mezzos Grace Echauri and Mika Shigematsu; among others. Legendary 20th century artists from the Metropolitan Opera have graced Boheme’s stage and have collaborated in gala and special events, including bass Jerome Hines, tenor Franco Corelli, sopranos Licia Albanese and Roberta Peters.
CAST OF LA TRAVIATA
Meet the Cast, Co-Founders and Stage Director
La Traviata 2014
Soprano Lorraine Ernest as Violetta Valery
Acclaimed by critics for her portrayal as Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflote in opera houses throughout the United States and Europe, Peter G. Davis of The New York Magazine writes, “Lorraine Ernest brought down the house with her spectacular arias.” Ms. Ernest has performed this signature role with New York City Opera, Metropolitan Opera Company, Pittsburgh Opera, Washington National Opera, Denver Symphony Orchestra and the Volksoper of Vienna, as well as with many other opera companies. Other roles in her repertoire include a debut with The Opera Company of Philadelphia as Elvira in L’Italiana in Algeri, Washington National Opera as Cleopatria in Julius Caesar, also with Washington alongside Placido Domingo and Mirelli Freni in Fedora and her Carnegie Hall debut performing the role of Mademoiselle Jouvenot in the Opera Orchestra of New York’s concert version of Adriana Lecouvreur. She made her debut with Los Angeles Opera as PrincessTatishchev alongside Placido Domingo in Nicholas and Alexandra.
Ms. Ernest performed her first Violetta in a semi-staged La Traviata with Boheme Opera NJ and more recently made her debut with Cedar Rapids Opera Theater and Kansas City Lyric Opera as Queen of the Night. She was the recipient and winner of the Richard Tucker Foundation, The Mathias Sullivan Foundation, Metropolitan Opera National Council finalist, George London Scholarship, Liederkranz first place and Birgit Nilsson Competition finalist. In addition to her extensive singing career, Ms. Ernest is on the voice faculties of Montclair State University and Seton Hall University.
Tenor Jeffrey Hartman as Alfredo Germont
Jeffrey Hartman, making his debut with us is a native Anderson, Indiana. The 2011 Wagner Society of New York winner will be making his debut with Lyric Opera of Chicago in January-March of 2015 as Cavaradossi in Tosca. Mr. Hartman made his international debut with Musica Viva Hong Kong in January 2013 in the roles of Canio in I Pagliacci and Turiddu in Cavalleria Rusticana. He returned to Hong Kong in December 2013 to sing the role of Il Duca of Mantua in Rigoletto. He has sung with Boston Lyric Opera and Lowell House Opera as Cavaradossi in Tosca following a successful run of Calaf in Turandot with Lowell House Opera. Mr. Hartman is also an advocate for awareness of Huntington’s disease and ALS, and he frequently performs at fundraising events and concerts.
Baritone Michael Corvino as Giorgio Germont
During the 2015-16 season, Michael Corvino makes a debut with Utah Opera as Amonasro in Aida. During the 2014-15 season, he makes a debut with Arizona Opera singing the title role in Rigoletto. Engagements during the 2013-14 season include the title role in Rigoletto with Musica Viva in Hong Kong and Opera Memphis. Recent engagement during the 2012-13 season for Mr. Corvino included Tonio in I Pagliacci with Compania Lirica National, Costa Rica, while joining the roster of Lyric Opera of Chicago for their production of Simon Boccanegra. His 2011-12 season included Tony in The Most Happy Fella with DiCapo Opera Theatre, Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor with Musica Viva in Hong Kong, Count di Luna in Il Trovatore with Opera Carolina and both Alfio in Cavalleria Rusticana and Tonio in I Pagliacci with Opera Tampa.
During the 2010-11 season, Mr. Corvino joined the roster of the Metropolitan Opera for productions of Don Carlo, Romeo et Juliette and Capriccio. Additional career highlights have included other leading baritone roles with New York City Opera, Germany’s Stadttheater Giessen, Connecticut Opera, Opera Memphis, Opera Santa Barbara, Granite State Opera, Fresno Grand Opera, Sarasota Opera, Utah Festival Opera, Opera Illinois, Central City Opera, Opera Grand Rapids, Anchorage Opera, Opera Tampa, Opera Northeast and New York Grand Opera. Concert highlights have included Simonson in Alfano’s Risurrezione, and the Shepherd Baldassare in Cilea’s L’Arlesiana with Teatro Grattaiello at Alice Tully Hall; a Carnegie Hall debut with Opera Orchestra of New York in La Juive and subsequently in Lucrezia Borgia; the title role in Rigoletto with the Newton Symphony Orchestra; Verdi Concerts with Dayton Opera, Sarasota Opera, Opera Birmingham and the New Haven Symphony Orchestra; the 2007 Montreal Opera Gala; A Night at the Opera with La Belle Epoque; From Op to Pop American Style at Weill Recitall Hall.
Soprano Rachel Cetel as Flora Bervoix
Rachel Cetel, soprano, is thrilled to participate in Boheme Opera NJ’s 25th anniversary season! A proud member of Boheme since 2009, she was The Second Lady in The Magic Flute in 2012 and The Young Shepherdess in Tosca in 2011. Additionally, she sang ensemble for Faust, The Pirates of Penzance and Messiah and La Cugina in Madame Butterfly. In 2013, with “Edward Bogusz and Friends”, she appeared as The Forest Bird in a concert version of Wagner’s Siegfried. She also performed with Opera New Jersey from 2007-2012 as The Aunt in Madama Butterfly and ensemble in many productions and choral works including Die Fledermaus, Carmen, The Merry Widow, Roméo et Juliette, Mendelssohn’s Lobgesang, Orff’s Carmina Burana, and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. Ms. Cetel holds an M.M. in Voice Performance and Pedagogy from Westminster Choir College and a B.M. in Voice Performance from Boston University. While at Westminster, she performed as Barbarina in The Marriage of Figaro. A NATS member, Ms. Cetel currently resides in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, where she teaches voice privately. www.rachelcetel.com
Bass-baritone Brandon Gaines as Baron Douphol
Brandon Gaines, bass-baritone, has performed numerous operatic roles including Dr. Falke in Die Fledermaus, Toante in Handel’s Oreste, Simone in Gianni Schicchi, Figaro and Count Almaviva in The Marriage of Figaro, Superintendent Budd in Albert Herring, Leporello in Don Giovanni, Polyphemus in Acis and Galatea, and Marquis de la Force in Dialogues of the Carmelites. Mr. Gaines served as an apprentice artist at the Ash Lawn-Highland Opera Festival in Charlottesville, Va. where he performed the role of Benoit in La Bohème and covered the roles of Alcindoro in La Bohème and Max Detweiler in The Sound of Music. His solo concert credits include Handel’s Messiah and Israel in Egypt, Haydn’s The Creation and Lord Nelson Mass, Mozart’s Vesperae Solennes de Confessore and Coronation Mass, and Faure’s Requiem, among others.
Tenor Brett Colby as Gastone of Letorieres
Brett Colby is a versatile performer and director of opera, musical theatre and cabaret. Previous roles with Boheme Opera include Goro in Madama Butterfly, the tenor soloist in Messiah and the Maestro in Il Maestro di Musica. He has performed many of opera’s classic character tenor roles, including Goro, Don Basilio, Little Bat, Beppe, Hoffman’s 4 Servants and Spoletta with Virginia Opera, Anchorage Opera, El Paso Opera, Opera Illinois, Cedar Rapids Opera, Opera Delaware, Mobile Opera, Connecticut Opera, West Bay Opera and several theaters in Germany and France. Musical theatre roles include Harold Hill in The Music Man at Algonquin Arts Theatre, as well as The Narrator in The Rocky Horror Show and Charlemagne in Pippin at ReVision Theatre.
Bass Ian Highcock as Marquis D’Obigny
La Traviata marks Mr. Highcock’s main-stage role debut with Opera Boheme NJ. He has been a professional chorister with the company since its 2009-10 season, and made his comprimario debut as the Notary in Boheme Opera’s recent semi-staged production of Don Pasquale. Mr. Highcock received his Bachelor of Music Performance degree from the College of New Jersey in December 2011. As a member of TCNJ’s Lyric Theatre, he performed in the following: Man of La Mancha (Governor/Innkeeper), Così fan tutte (Don Alfonso), Into the Woods (Narrator/Mysterious Man), The Barber of Seville (Doctor Bartolo), and The Pirates of Penzance (Major-General Stanley). He was the bass soloist for TCNJ Chorale and Orchestra’s U.S. and N.Y. premieres of George Friedrich Haas’s Sieben Klangräume accompanying the unfinished fragments of Mozart’s Requiem. He is currently the Bass Section Leader at Madison Presbyterian Church.
Bass-baritone Edward Bogusz as Dr. Grenvil
Edward Bogusz’s career began in Italy for two years of study and performance, where he was a coaching and opera student of the incomparable basso Italo Tajo. Returning to this country, he began singing as guest artist with many of the prestigious orchestras and operas companies in the USA. He has appeared with San Francisco Opera, Virginia Opera, Mississippi Opera, Indianapolis Opera, opera Delaware, Pennsylvania Opera Theater, Buffalo Opera, and, for twelve seasons, with Des Moines Metro Opera, where he sang over 25 roles in well over 150 performances. One of the popular singers to appear with Boheme Opera NJ, Mr. Bogusz has sung in 14 productions with that company, including a record four portrayals of “Sacristan” in Tosca in 4 different venues. Last year, he returned to the title role of Don Pasquale, which he first sang in 1991 with Boheme Opera. Mr. Bogusz’s repertoire encompasses well over 100 operatic as well as nearly 80 oratorio-concert roles. In addition to his continued singing career, he is a producer (Philadelphia’s Ed Bogusz and Friends), coach, teacher and adjudicator within the opera field.
Soprano Cecelia Tepping as Annina
Cecelia Tepping, soprano, was born in Virginia and raised on the Connecticut shoreline. A graduate of Syracuse University, she holds a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy and a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance. Prior roles include the First Lady in Boheme Opera’s The Magic Flute, Zerlina (Don Giovanni), Despina (Cosi Fan Tutte), and Frasquita (Carmen), as well Santa Chiara in the premiere of Il Poverello, in Assisi, Italy. Central New York audiences have acknowledged Ms. Tepping as an accomplished Gilbert and Sullivan performer for her portrayals of Aline (The Sorcerer), Josephine (HMS Pinafore), and Pitti-Sing (The Mikado). Ms. Tepping has also been seen in the chorus of Boheme Opera, in Tosca and Faust. Other local chorus involvement includes Die Fledermaus and Carmen, both for Opera New Jersey.
Joseph Pucciatti – Co-Founder, Artistic Director & Conductor
Since 2000, Trenton-born conductor, teacher and lecturer Joseph Pucciatti has been guest conductor of Mozart’s The Impresario with The Greater Trenton Symphony Orchestra; conductor of Boheme Opera New Jersey productions of West Side Story, Rigoletto, Turandot, Aida, Floyd’s Susannah, Don Giovanni, Cavalleria Rusticana, I Pagliacci, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Carmen, La Boheme, Lucia di Lammermoor, Madama Butterfly, Il Trovatore, La Traviata, Tosca, The Elixir of Love and Il Tabarro/Gianni Schicchi. In 2007, he made his stage-directing debut with BONJ’s production of Rigoletto, followed by his direction of semi-stagings of La Traviata, Il Maestro di Musica, La Serva Padronna and recent BONJ premiere main stage productions of The Magic Flute and Faust. During his 18-year tenure with the Greater Trenton Choral Society, he conducted performances of Mozart’s Requiem and Coronation Mass, Beethoven’s Mass in C, Handel’s Messiah, Puccini’s Messa di Gloria, Rutter’s Requiem and Vivaldi’s Gloria. He has been recognized with the Governor’s Teacher Recognition Award; Honoree of the Italian American National Hall of Fame; International Who’s Who of Professionals; 2002 Italian-American Society of Monroe Township Columbus Award with his wife and colleague, Sandra. The couple was also honored in 2005 by the Trenton Community Music School. A career music teacher for Trenton Board of Education, Mr. Pucciatti has been Guest Conductor of the Greater Trenton Symphony Orchestra Association over the past 16 years; Director of Princeton Junction’s Congregation Beth Chaim Choir for 33 years; Choir Director of Our Lady of the Angels Parish in Trenton for the past 6 years, Host of BONJ Pre-Curtain Talks and creator of scripts and music adaptations for BONJ’s periodic Inside Opera programs.
Sandra Milstein –Pucciatti, Co-Founder & Managing Director
Philadelphia-born concert pianist and opera lecturer, Ms. Milstein-Pucciatti has appeared as piano soloist, duo-pianist and featured performer with orchestra and chamber music ensembles throughout the United States. As a professional accompanist, she specializes in vocal/recital literature and woodwind repertoire. She has accompanied some of opera’s most distinguished artists in recital, most notably the late legendary bass Jerome Hines. She produced and performed a national tour with East-West Piano Duo. She is creator of the Inside Opera outreach program for Boheme Opera NJ. A faculty member and coach of the NJ Governor’s School of the Arts Music Division for 8 consecutive summers, she was a freelance accompanist for the music department at Trenton State College/The College of New Jersey for 22 years. She has shared a 33-year affiliation with Princeton Junction’s Congregation Beth Chaim Choir with director-husband Joseph and maintains a private piano studio. She earned a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from Temple University School of Music, Magna Cum Laude, with the Louis and Peter Vennett Memorial Scholarship, and upon graduation was awarded the Essie Baron Memorial Award. Following was a Master of Music in Piano Performance from Trenton State College, Summa Cum Laude. Ms. Milstein-Pucciatti is a protégé of Harvey Wedeen, Lambert Orkis and Karl Ulrich Schnabel. She is the host of BONJ’s periodic Inside Opera programs.
Reegan McKenzie. Stage Director
Reegan McKenzie is a singer, stage director, vocal instructor, dramatic coach and recording artist. She began her directing career while in college where she staged numerous high acclaimed university productions at the same time building a singing career. She has continued singing and directing to the present. Taking her years of experience both in performance and in stage directing, she brings a unique perspective. Ms. McKenzie returns to Boheme Opera NJ to direct their 25th anniversary production of La Traviata. Some other Boheme Opera productions include: Lucia di Lammermoor, Carmen, Cavalleria Rusticana, I Pagliacci, their groundbreaking production of Aida partnering with American Repertory Ballet of Princeton, and most recently Madama Butterfly. Other opera directorial highlights include Metro Lyric Opera’s The Marriage of Figaro with the revered conductor Anton Coppolla, who was featured in Godfather 2 & 3 by his uncle Francis Ford Coppolla. Ms. McKenzie is also currently stage directing Kander and Ebb’s And the World Goes Round, in her sixth season for Wyckoff, NJ’s Y arts community theater and the Y’s relatively new “Opera 691” as well as sometimes performer. Opera 691’s premiere was the one-act opera Gianni Schicchi following the next year with her acclaimed Barber of Seville, a double feature of Suor Angelica and I Pagliacci, and most recently Hansel and Gretel. She is a long time voice teacher in her town of Rochelle Park, NJ, as well as one of the instructors for the growing performance Studio 691 at the Wyckoff Family Y. Ms. McKenzie is also a regular stage director in Oklahoma for Children’s Musical Theater of Bartlesville, where last summer, she directed Oklahoma’s premiere of Lippa’s The Little Princess. Her vocal career snapshots include touring with San Francisco Opera’s Western Opera Theater singing Cio-Cio-San in Madama Butterfly; working with the late Jerome Hines in his fellowship program Opera Music Theater International, where she performed Marguerite in Faust, Elizabetta in Don Carlo and Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, as well as touring with Mr. Hines to Russia to sing I Am The Way at the Bolshoi Theater. While directing and teaching are her main focuses at present, she is known to dust her vocal chords off for the occasional outing.