American Soprano Leah Crowne is known for her powerful voice with a “metallic edge and rich color” (Forum Opéra[Blog], Béziers, 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 Michel Plasson), as well as a “good mix of strength and vulnerability inher characterizations” (Director Anthony Pilavachi).
Ms. Crowne will perform the role of Santuzza in Cavelleria Rusticana and Isolde in Wagner's Tristan und Isolde this fall with Music! Gettysburg in fall of 2021. Past 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), Beethoven's Fidelio (Susquehanna Symphony, Maryland; New York Opera Forum, NYC), Kundry in Wagner’s Parsifal (The Metropolitan Opera Guild), Strauss's 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 and Contessa in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro (Hub Opera Ensemble, Maryland; Towson University, Maryland).
Also known for her pedagogical work, she has taught masterclasses across Europe and the US. She has a large studio of talented opera and music theaters from across the United States and has been professor of music at Gettysburg College and Mount Saint Mary's University.
Gran Wilson, a native of Bessemer, Alabama, has distinguished himself as an interpreter of the bel canto repertoire with a performing career spanning four decades and four continents. He has sung with companies such as the New York City Opera, Boston Symphony, San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Australian Opera, Oper Frankfurt, Netherlands Opera, Vlaamse Oper, Teatro di San Carlo Lisboa, Opera de Nice, Teatro Galdos Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, L'Opera de Toulon, L'Opera Royal de Wallonie, Theatre Graslin Nantes, L'Opera de Nancy et de Lorraine, St. Paul Symphony, Edinburgh Festival, Lincoln Center Festival, Spoletto USA Festival and Mostly Mozart Festival.
Wilson can be seen on Kultur Video as Tamino in the Australian Opera's Magic Flute conducted by Richard Bonynge. A best-seller in Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Company's telecast was a nominee for the Australian Emmys. He has also been seen in televised broadcasts throughout Europe. In the U.S., Wilson has appeared on "Live from Lincoln Center" in Anna Bolena with Dame Joan Sutherland and on "CBS Morning" as the Duke of Mantua in Verdi's Rigoletto.
On radio, Wilson has been heard on NPR affiliates with The Baltimore Choral Arts Society, Seattle Opera, Miami Opera, St. Louis Opera, Central City Opera, Boston Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony and Richmond Symphony. Wilson was chosen by composer Ned Rorem as tenor soloist for his world premiere of "Swords and Plowshares" heard on live broadcasts of the Boston Symphony. Wilson's recording of Stravinsky's Pulcinella Suite with Gerard Schwartz and the Seattle Symphony is on the Delos Label.
Locally, Wilson has appeared with the Washington National Opera, National Symphony, Baltimore Opera, Opera Vivente, Washington Lyric Opera, Capital Symphony, Hopkins Symphony and Baltimore Choral Arts Society. Wilson often performs on campus in collaborations with the Maryland Opera Studio and various ensembles, including the University of Maryland String Orchestra for a "Music of the Mind Series" concert performance of Britten's Les Illuminations, which can be viewed on YouTube. Wilson resides in College Park, MD, and maintains an active teaching and performing schedule throughout the United States.
Courtney Kalbacker is an AGMA opera production professional who travels throughout the United States as a Stage Director, Production Manager, and Assistant Director. She specializes in contemporary pieces and working with young singer-actors to develop characters for the operatic stage.
Her many roles off stage include directing and production positions with UrbanArias, Lyric Opera Baltimore, Peabody Opera (Peabody Institute), Baltimore Concert Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, Live Arts Maryland, Silver Finch Arts Collective, the Boston University Tanglewood Institute, and Oklahoma City University among others. Ms. Kalbacker is currently the Director of the Music for the Stage program at Towson University. Recent engagements include directing the short comedic operas Service Provider and The Whole Truth with UrbanArias, Assistant Directing Madama Butterfly at Michigan Opera Theatre, and directing the American premiere of Errollyn Wallen's ANON for Peabody Opera.
As a passionate educator and advocate for developing singer-actors, Kalbacker originated and taught the Acting for Singers curriculum for Boston University Tanglewood Institute for five seasons, led the acting and improvisation classes at Lyric Opera Baltimore’s Opera Kids Camp, and is the designer and facilitator of a interactive presentation for school children: "What is Opera? A Team!"
Check out recent coverage of Ms. Kalbacker's directing work on the Press page.
A Fire in Water, July 2014, photo by Zach Kronisch
UNMANNED STAGECRAFT is a two-woman operatic production team. Polish composer Katarzyna Brochocka and American soprano Courtney Kalbacker have collaborated since 2008 creating and translating libretti as well as workshopping and performing new operas, song cycles, and pursuing other creative endeavors. Their work has been featured internationally, most recently earning critical acclaim at OperaUpClose's Flourish Competition at the King's Head Theatre [London] for their performance of excerpts from Brochocka's one-woman opera The Young Wife.
THE YOUNG WIFE
[This show was produced three times in 2013: at Baltimore's ARTSCAPE, D.C.'s CAPITAL FRINGE FESTIVAL, and at the WARSAW CHAMBER OPERA, in Poland]
written by Katarzyna Brochocka and based on the novel by Gabriela Zapolska. Performed by Courtney Kalbacker.
Confessions of passion: the secrets of a Young Wife revealed! In 1890s Poland, a skittish Young Wife discovers an unexpected way to deal with her snippy husband, his giggling “lady-friend” and her own forbidden longings. Full of playful melodrama, the audience becomes her confidant in this delightful one-woman comic opera.
DC Theatre Scene:
"a perfect balance between storytelling and sonic expression.."
Stacey Mastrian, a “manifestly courageous” (Boston Globe) and “very impressive” (Berliner Zeitung)
Italian-American soprano, has sung at venues such as the Konzerthaus (Berlin), the Kennedy Center (DC),
(Vatican City), Teatro La Fenice (Venice), and in more than half of the U.S. states. and Mexico. Dr.
Mastrian has been a Fulbright grantee and Beebe fellow to Italy, and she specializes in Italian repertoire
from Monteverdi through Verdi to Maderna and beyond. Her collaboration with pianist Scott Crowne
on their CD of 20 th -century Italian art songs, Sonetti e favole (Sonnets and Fables—Stradivarius Records,
Milan), has been lauded as “a perfect amalgam” (GB Opera Magazine). Awards have included the
Respighi Prize (Chamber Orchestra of NY), Pavarotti Scholarship (National Italian American Foundation),
and Gold Career Grant (Shoshana Foundation). Dr. Mastrian taught Italian diction and repertoire for six
years at Peabody Conservatory as well as at American University, University of Maryland, and as
Assistant Professor of Voice/Opera at Gettysburg College’s Sunderman Conservatory of Music. She
maintains a select private studio online and gives voice, diction, and embodied anatomy workshops