Meet the Lohengrin Cast
Scott Crowne enjoys a diverse and active career as a pianist, conductor, coach, and teacher. In the realm of opera, he is in high demand as a coach and music director. He is currently the artistic director and principle conductor of Opera Susquehanna in Pennsylvania. In the past he served as principal conductor and music director for the Hub Opera Ensemble and the American Singer's Opera Project. As a coach, he has worked for such institutions as Bel Canto in Tuscany (Florence). the Mediterranean Opera Studio (Sicily), the Middlebury German for Singers Program, the Bay Area Summer Opera Theater, the University of Miami Festival in Salzburg, the voice department of Towson University, the Aspen Music Festival, and the Brevard Music Center.
He finds great fulfillment as a teacher for young musicians as well. As professor of collaborative piano at the Sunderman Conservatory of Music in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, he performs with faculty, guests, and students on a regular basis. In addition he serves as the music director for the opera workshop program and frequently the college musical theater productions as well. Off campus he served as music director for the undergraduate opera workshop and taught graduate vocal literature classes at the University of Maryland, College Park. Additionally, he works each summer with high school students for the Washington National Opera's Family Opera and Opera Institute.
As a pianist, he is praised for his sensitive and supportive collaboration with singers and instrumentalists. He performs in Europe and across the United States many times a year in addition to frequent concerts in the Mid-Atlantic region. Venues include Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall, the Leopoldskron in Salzburg, and the Teatro Eschillo in Sicily.
Complimenting his love of performance, he is also an inquisitive researcher. He enjoys searching out unusual and interesting music to enrich the standard recital repertoire. His particular interest is in the music of Herbert Howells (1892-1983), on whom he did his dissertation and just published an edition of art songs for Novello and Co.
He received his BMus summa cum laude at the Catholic University of America where studied piano and composition. He received a teaching assistance-ship to the University of Maryland (DMA, MMus) where he performed in numerous concerts and recitals as a vocal accompanist, chamber musician, continuo artist, and orchestral pianist. He spent three years as a répétiteur with the Maryland Opera Studio, assisting with the preparation and performance of operas and opera scenes. He participated or served as pianist for masterclasses for Jennifer Laramore, Evelyn Lear, Elizabeth Bishop, Marcello Giordani, Jerry Hadley, Steven Blier and Martin Katz. He has worked with conductors such as Matthias Kuntzsch, Christoph Hagel, Asher Fisch, Ken Slowick and Kenneth Merrill. His teachers include Rita Sloan, John Greer, James Litzelman, and Wendy Dengler.
He currently resides in York, Pennsylvania with his wife, dramatic soprano Leah Schenck-Crowne, and his two daughters.
Susan Wheeler, Soprano
American Soprano Susan Wheeler is a charismatic opera and concert performer who sings “dripping with musicality” (Choralis). Her fiery style draws comparisons with singers of the golden Bel Canto era. Ms. Wheeler's upcoming performances are with The Metropolitan Opera Guild in 2022, singing selections from The Rake's Progress as Anne Truelove, and as Elsa in Lohengrin with Opera Susquehanna. Ms. Wheeler also appears as Chrysothemis (Elektra) with the New York Chamber Music Festival at Symphony Space in 2021.
Susan recently made her Carnegie Hall debut (Mozart Requiem, Dvořák Te Deum). In concert, she has performed with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra (Cunegonde, Maria); Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (Papagena); and Piedmont Symphony Orchestra (Cunegonde, Anne, A Little Night Music). Internationally acclaimed, in 2019 Susan appeared with Radio RBB in Berlin at the Templehof, as Guest Artist with the Bundeswehr Military Band at the Fest der Luftbrüke (My Fair Lady; Glory Denied selections) and in recital at the Embassy of the United States in Berlin (Mozart, Purcell, Strauss). In Italy, Susan appeared with the Mediterranean Opera Festival (Mimi, La Bohème), (Countess, Le Nozze di Figaro) in 2014-2015 and, in 2017, (Donna Anna, Don Giovanni), with Bel Canto Tuscany. Her other roles include Donna Elvira, Elettra (Idomeneo), Strauss' Ariadne and Arabella, Hanna Glawari, and the Verdi heroines Desdemona and Leonora (Il Trovatore).
Ms. Wheeler’s opera performances comprise all three Heroines in Les Contes d’Hoffmann (Augusta Opera); Mimi (Opera Company of Brooklyn); and Valencienne (Annapolis Opera, Maryland Lyric). She has also appreared as Violetta in La Traviata, Marie in La Fille du Régiment, and Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier.
An Actors Equity actress, Susan has been presented in musicals at The Kennedy Center (Johanna, Sweeney Todd, Journalist, 90 North); Encores! at City Center (Soloist, The New Moon); Wolf Trap Performing Arts Center (A Night of Cabaret); and, in 2017, Christine in Phantom of the Opera at the pres Warner Theater.
Ms. Wheeler has been featured on National Public Radio, and Live from the Library of Congress, Susan is a recipient of the Thoman Career Grant, and a winner of The American Prize and the McAllister International and Annapolis Opera Vocal Competitions.
American dramatic soprano Leah Crowne (Ortrud) is known for her powerful voice with a “metallic edge and rich color” (Classima Blog, Beziers, France), “house-shaking power,” (The Rutland Herald, Middlebury, Vermont), and “impressive stage presence” (The Coloradan, Ft. Collins, Colorado). She delivers “fine artistry with legato, Italianate vocalism and musical precision” (Maestro Emmanuel Plasson), as well as a “good mix of strength and vulnerability in her characterizations” (Director Doug Anderson). Ms. Crowne's operatic engagements span across the United States as well as Europe and include Puccini’s Turandot (Opera Bergen, Norway; Opera Company of Middlebury, Vermont; Opera Ft. Collins, Colorado; Opera Susquehanna, Pennsylvania, The Mediterranean Opera Studio; Caltagirone, Italy), Fidelio (Susquehanna Symphony, Pennsylvania; New York Opera Forum, NYC), Kundry in Wagner’s Parsifal (The Metropolitan Opera Guild), Salome (Opera Fort Collins, Colorado); Tosca (Sarasota Opera, Florida); Elisabetta in Verdi’s Don Carlos (Sarasota Opera, Florida); Ariadne in Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos (Hub Opera Ensemble, Maryland; Bay Area Opera Theater, San Francisco), Chrysothemis in Strauss' Elektra (New York Opera Forum), Donna Anna in Mozart’s Don Giovanni (Hub Opera Ensemble, Maryland; Towson University, Maryland). Her concert and oratorio work has included Requiem (Brahms, Duruflé, Mozart, Verdi); Messiah (Handel); Symphony no.9 and Choral Fantasy (Beethoven); Petite Messe Solennelle and Stabat Mater (Rossini), and Coronation Mass (Mozart). Her recital work has included cycles and individual songs by Samuel Barber, Alban Berg, Richard Strauss, and Richard Wagner, among others. She has performed as a soloist with The New Dominion Chorale in Washington DC, Choirs of America at Carnegie Hall, NYC, The Baltimore Basilica, and The National Basilica in Washington DC. Ms. Crowne is the recipient of The Max Kade Fellowship in Middlebury, Vermont; The Wagner Society of New York Scholarship Prize; The Evelyn Lear and Thomas Stewart Emerging Artist Scholarship; The Dolora Zajick Institute for Young Dramatic Voices Professional Scholarship; The Ryan Center at The Lyric Opera of Chicago Stars of Tomorrow Finalists concert, Opera New Jersey Fellowship, and Sarasota Opera Young Artist Fellowship. A lover of vocal technique and teaching, Leah Crowne maintains an active studio of young professional singers from the country. She is based in York, Pennsylvania USA where she lives with her husband, and their two children.
Hear Leah Sing! www.LeahCrowne.com
Keith Craig, Tenor
Tenor Keith Craig is an accomplished artist who possesses an instrument of great power, fullness, and beautiful color with ringing top notes. He made his professional operatic debut in as Don José in Bizet’s Carmen with the Municipal Opera Company of Baltimore. Since that time, Mr. Craig has continued his operatic career along with numerous concerts, recitals and oratorio soloist roles throughout the United States, Europe, and Africa.
Some of his signature roles are Radames from Aida with the Opus Concert Theatre; Calaf from Turandot with Opera Susquehanna; Canio from I Pagliacci with Mississippi Opera; Turiddu from Cavalleria Rusticana with Hub Opera Ensemble and Mingo-Porgy and Bess-Washington National Opera. Recently, he sang a recital program with Opera Nova at the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. His upcoming roles will include Kaspar from Amahl and the Night Visitors and Othello from Verdi’s Otello with the Shakespeare Opera Theatre Company. He is also a member of the Washington National Opera.
Michael Nansel (Frederick), Upcoming engagements during the 2013-14 season for Michael Nansel include a return to Wichita Grand Opera to sing the roles of Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Leuthold in Guillaume Tell and the Sacristan in Tosca.
Michael Nansel, is an award winning singer and actor. Best-known as an opera singer, he is also an accomplished recitalist and concert artist, and appears frequently in musical theater classics. Mr. Nansel has 66-roles to his credit.
"Michael Nansel won the hearts of audience members in his portrayal of the brash and conceited Belcore, his baritone voice in fine, fluid form throughout the performance."
He sings music from the Mozart to Sondheim, from Verdi to Rodgers & Hammerstein. He was the Wichita Grand Opera Singer of the Year in 2012 and was the dual winner in 2003 of the Washington Area Theatre Community Honors for Outstanding lead actor in a musical and Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical. He has also twice been a member of Casts nominated for Helen Hayes Awards.
His voice has been described as “stentorian”, “rich” with “great vocal and emotional power”. Reviewers have also remark that his acting “communicates deep humanity”, can be “tender and anguished” and that he is “the top banana”.
Mr. Nansel possesses a diverse repertoire ranging from the comedic Don Giovanni (Don Giovanni) and Belcore (L'Elisir d'Amore) to the dramatic Count Di Luna (Il Trovatore) and Escamillo (Carmen). Among his most widely acclaimed roles are the Di Luna (Il Trovatore), Iago (Otello), as well as Malatesta (Don Pasquale), Danilo (The Merry Widow), and the Title Character in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
His concert credits include: Mendelsohn’s Elijah, Haydn's Creation, Mozart's Requiem, Faure's Requiem, Handel's Messiah, Brahms’ Requiem, and Beethoven’s Mass in C Major.
Last Season saw him Debut Roles with Wichita Grand Opera as Iago in Otello and Escamillo in Carmen with L’Opera Piccolo. This coming season he is already booked with Wichita Grand Opera in William Tell (Leutoldo), Tosca (Sacristan) and will have his debut performance as the Title Character in the Barber of Seville.
He has been conducted by several Maestros of not including; Julius Rudel, Plácido Domingo, Eugene Kohn, Marin Alsop, Steven Mercurio, Gregory Buchalter. Directors of note include Stephen Lawless, Jonathon Loy, Jayme McDaniel, James Marvel and Scott Schwartz. He has shared the stage with Joyce DiDonato, Salvatore Licitra, Yunah Lee. Currently, Mr. Nansel resides in the Washington, DC area with his wife of 27 years and their two dogs.
Contralto Jeri Buchholz (Queen/ Judge) is a passionate opera singer with a rich voice and a commitment to the craft of operatic singing. Ms. Buchholz enjoys performing and studying the music of the late romantic operas such as Verdi and Wagner, as well as Massanet. She has played an important role in fundraising for opera companies as an executive, as well as performing for them as an artist. Some of Jeri’s roles include La Zia Principessa in Puccini’s Suor Angelica, The Third Lady in Mozart’s Die Zauberfloete, Ulrica in Verdi’s Un ballo in Maschera, Mamma Lucia in Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana, and Erda in Wagner’s Das Rheingold.