As we come to the end of Virginia Opera’s Alternate Fall: Stayin’ Alive, we truly want to thank all of our partners and sponsors that have allowed us to share the artform that we love with all of you! Please consider supporting Virginia Opera – did you know that your donation will be matched dollar-for-dollar if you give before December 31, 2020.
Catch up on Martinis, Manhattans, and Maestros plus enjoy some beautiful arias and duets from our Stayin’ Alive residency below!
Adam Turner, Artistic Director
American conductor Adam Turner is quickly gaining momentum as a conductor to watch on international opera stages. Currently in his third season as Artistic Director of Virginia Opera (following four seasons as Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor), Maestro Turner garners critical acclaim for the breadth of his repertoire, artistic vision, and polished technique. Of his recent performance of Street Scene with Virginia Opera, Opera News hailed the “sensitive conducting” of Adam Turner “who demonstrated an affinity for a score as stylistically diverse as the characters in the plot.” In his third season as Artistic Director of Virginia Opera, Maestro Turner will conduct performances of a double-bill featuring Poulenc’s La voix humaine and Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, The Marriage of Figaro, and The Pirates of Penzance.
Brandon Eldredge, Assistant Conductor/Chorus Master
Brandon Eldredge has built a broad-scoped knowledge and experience as a conductor, pianist, and operatic coach, working across the United States, Germany, and Sweden. He joined Virginia Opera for their 45th season as Assistant Conductor and Chorus Master. Serving as Assistant Conductor for Opera Saratoga’s 2018 productions of The Merry Widow and The Consul, he was re-engaged to assistant conduct Hänsel und Gretel and conduct Rimsky-Korsakov’s Mozart and Salieri for their 2019 season. As a repetiteur, he prepared productions for Sacramento Opera’s Rigoletto in 2019, Opera Southwest’s Tosca in 2018, and Oper Bonn’s (Germany) Die Zauberflöte and Madama Butterfly in their 2016 season. He was to serve as Associate Conductor and Chorus Master for Central City Opera’s 2020 festival season, including conducting their production of Dido and Aeneas and the matinee performance of Rigoletto. This engagement has been postponed to the summer of 2021. Brandon is excited to return to Virginia Opera for his second season as Assistant Conductor and Chorus Master.
Symone Harcum, Soprano
Symone Harcum was the 2018 first place winner of the NSAL-DC Dorothy Lincoln-Smith Voice Competition and the Sylvia Green Voice Competition. Recent roles include Bea in Opera Maine’s production of Three Decembers and the role of Krystyna Zywulska in Out of Darkness: Two Remain under the direction of composer, Jake Heggie, and librettist, Gene Scheer, Gertrude in Humperdinck’s Hansel und Gretel, and La Ciesca in Gianni Schicchi.
After receiving her Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from Norfolk State University in 2012 and her Master’s of Music from Peabody Conservatory at John’s Hopkins University, she began study in the studio of Denyce Graves and Margaret Baroody.
In 2019 and 2020 she joined the Des Moines Summer Festival as an apprentice artist. Last season at Virginia Opera Ms. Harcum sang the role of Clorinda in La Cenerentola, covered the title role and sang The High Priestess in Aida, and performed in the Fall Education and Outreach Tour.
Whitney Robinson, Mezzo-Soprano
Whitney Robinson, a Mezzo-Soprano from Houston, Texas, received her B.M. in vocal performance from the University of Houston and received her M.M. from the New England Conservatory. Ms. Robinson studied under Bradley Williams at the New England Conservatory of Music as the Artist Diploma Candidate. As a member of Virginia Opera’s Herndon Foundation Emerging Artists Program for the 2019-2020 season, Ms. Robinson performed Tisbe in La Cenerentola, and she is thrilled to return as an Emerging Artist for the 2020-2021 season. She will be singing Ruth in The Pirates of Penzance, Zita in Gianni Schicchi, and Marcellina in Le nozze di Figaro. Ms. Robinson has also sung with esteemed companies such as Odyssey Opera, CLOC, Central City Opera and Opera Saratoga.
Nicholas Martorano, Baritone
As a member of Virginia Opera’s 2020-2021 Herndon Foundation Emerging Artists Program, baritone Nicholas Martorano will be singing Marco in Gianni Schicchi, covering Count Almaviva and singing in the chorus for Le nozze di Figaro, and covering the Pirate King and Samuel as well as singing in the chorus for The Pirates of Penzance. He also sang the Pirate King in the Education and Outreach Tour of The Pirates of Penzance with Virginia Opera last season. Last fall Mr. Martorano sang in Santa Fe Opera’s workshop of M. Butterfly in collaboration with American Lyric Theater and joined Opera on the James as one of the Tyler Young Artists. Past roles include: Hortensius in La Fille du Régiment, Apollo in The Cows of Apollo, Publio in La clemenza di Tito, and Sid in Albert Herring. Mr. Martorano graduated from the University of Southern California and Carnegie Mellon University.
Eric McConnell, Bass-Baritone
Denver native Eric J. McConnell is quickly garnering acclaim in the American opera community for his distinctive dramatic voice and theatrical performances. He debuts as an Emerging Artist with Virginia Opera in its 2020-2021 season, where he will perform Simone in Gianni Schicchi, Bartolo in Le nozze di Figaro, and the Sergeant of Police in The Pirates of Penzance. Other roles performed include the Sodbuster (Missy Mazzoli’s Proving Up), Figaro/Antonio (Le nozze di Figaro), Bartolo/Basilio (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Olin Blitch (Susannah), Dr. Grenvil (La traviata), Frank (Die Fledermaus), Sacristan/Angelotti (Tosca), Grandpa Moss (The Tender Land), and Elisha Fitzgibbon in the orchestral premiere of Evan Mack’s Roscoe, a performance featuring Deborah Voigt. He has trained as a young artist with Opera Colorado, Central City Opera, Opera Saratoga, the Aspen Opera Center, and Seagle Music Colony, and holds degrees from Northwestern University and the University of Miami.