Meet The Artists
JASON HOWARD (baritone) Raised in the rich singing tradition of South Wales, Howard is recognized as one of the United Kingdom’s leading performers on the international operatic stage. Long known as an outstanding performer in the French and Italian repertoire, his most recent success as Wotan in David McVicars’s wonderful production of Wagner’s Ring Der Nibelungen at the Opera National du Rhin in Strasbourg, one review described his recent debut in Die Walkure, as ‘the Wotan of his generation.’ Upon leaving his first career as a fireman he took up studies in London at Trinity and the Royal Colleges of music with John Wakefield and Norman Bailey respectively. He commenced his career at Scottish Opera, subsequently singing with all the major UK opera companies and orchestras. Highlights included his debut at the Royal Opera House and Paris Opera as Marcello in Puccini’s La Boheme and his debut at Chicago Lyric Opera as Adam Brant in Mourning Becomes Electra (also performed in Seattle and New York) and Alfio in Cav/Pag for Washington National Opera. In the winter of 2009, 19 years after his performances of Ravenal in the RSC/Opera North production of Showboat he returned to the stage musical with performances of Emile de Beque in the Lincoln Center Theater production of South Pacific.
EDUARDO VILLA (tenor) is one of the world’s most sought-after and versatile tenors with an usually broad repertoire that ranges from Nemorino to Otello in leading opera houses throughout Europe and North America. He is a regular guest of the Metropolitan Opera and has appeared on their stage in the title roles in Don Carlo and Ernani, Radames in Aida, Rodolpho in Luisa Miller, Don Jose in Carmen, Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly, Turiddu in Cavalleria Rusticana and Canio in I Pagliacci. In North America, he has performed as Don Jose with the Houston Grand Opera, the title role in Otello, Riccardo in Un Ballo in Maschera, and Don Jose for Michigan Opera. In Europe, he was a regular guest of the Bavarian State Opera in Munich (Radames, Don Jose in Carmen, Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly, Fenton in Falstaff, the title role in Les Contes d'Hoffman, Rodolfo in La Bohéme, Paris Opera (Don Carlo, Mylio in Le Roi D'ys, and Alfred) and Deutsche Oper Berlin as Pinkerton. A native of California,Villa is a winner of the 1982 Metropolitan Opera and began his musical training as a violinist. While studying at Santa Barbara City College he concentrated on musical comedy. He later attended the University of Southern California where he switched to operatic training.
OLA RAFALO (mezzo-soprano) has a voice that the Palm Beach Arts Paper has called “attractive, dusky, and powerful”. Her rich voice and dramatic sensibility lend themselves perfectly to the sumptuous roles of Carmen, Eboli in Don Carlo, Amneris in Aida, and Dalila in Samson et Dalila. This season, she performs the title role in Peter Brook’s La Tragedie de Carmen with Syracuse Opera. Recent engagements include Leonora in La Favorita with The Opera Atelier; as well as Dalila in Samson et Dalila, Fricka in Die Walküre, Suzuki in Madama Butterfly, and the title role in Carmen with the Lyric Orchestra. Rafalo has also appeared with Opera Tampa, Sarasota Opera, DuPage Opera Theatre and Palm Beach Opera, where she was a member of their Young Artist Program. In 2008, she was awarded Grand Prize of the Elgin Opera competition and First Prize of the Sherrill Milnes Opera Idol competition. She was also an apprentice artist at Sarasota Opera, receiving the Leo M. Rogers award, as well as an apprentice at Opera Tampa.
ELIZABETH DE TREJO (soprano) “…has it all – a shimmering coloratura of great agility and intriguing color as well as superb acting ability” (The Toledo Blade). Upcoming operatic engagements include Fiordiligi in Cosi fan Tutte with North Carolina Opera and the title role in Bellini’s masterpiece, Norma. With Opera Tampa she performed with much acclaim the roles of Lucia in Lucia di Lammermoor, Violetta in La Traviata, and the role of Rosina in Anton Coppola’s epic opera, Sacco and Vanzetti. She has toured with the Florida Orchestra as guest soloist, and concerts of zarzuela in Mexico City and Lincoln Center. De Trejo has worked with the Metropolitan Opera in Lulu, and in recent seasons, made her Carnegie Hall debut as a soloist under the baton of composer John Rutter. She has also received numerous awards from prominent vocal competitions, including the Gerda Lissner Opera Competition in New York, the MacAllister Opera Competition, the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in the Connecticut and Gulf Coast Regions and the Jenny Lind Soprano Competition. Ms. de Trejo received her Bachelor of Music from Loyola University, New Orleans and her Master of Music from Yale University.
DANIEL LIPTON is widely regarded as one of today’s most exciting and creative conductors, whose superb performances of opera and the concert repertoire have gained him international acclaim. He was appointed music director and chief conductor of the Anhaltische Philharmonie and general music director of the opera company in Dessau, Germany. He became artistic director of Opera Ontario, Canada, and presented the Canadian premieres of Giordano’s Andrea Chénier, Verdi’s I Due Foscari and Massenet’s Portrait de Manon, along with other major operas. Under Lipton’s direction, Opera Ontario has enjoyed not only the highest artistic accolades, but also notable financial success, while greatly expanding the audiences in the process. He has been primarily responsible for the growth of Opera Ontario, making it one of Canada’s most important and artistically innovative companies. His annual POPERA™ galas have met with widespread popularity and acclaim. Before his time in Ontario, Lipton was appointed music director and principal conductor of the Orquesta Sinfonica de Colombia in Bogotà and conducted 33 programs a year with them. In Colombia he rebuilt the symphony orchestra and created a national opera company. He was appointed artistic director of the Opera de Colombia and produced 30 operas. Both organizations were raised to the highest international standard of performance because of his unwavering commitment to excellence. Previous posts include music director with Houston Grand Opera and artistic director of the San Antonio Festival. He has also held positions with the Zürich Opera, the Teatro Comunale in Bologna and Florence, American Ballet Theatre and the Denver Symphony Orchestra. In 2001, he was appointed artistic director of the EurOrchester for the European Classic Festival, (Triennale) for which he has conducted during the past 11 years.