Live theatre returned at last (along with an online livestream of the Saturday night performance). This was Young Vic's first time back performing a full G&S show live in the theatre after a two year hiatus due to COVID-19. And what a great return it was. The audiences were glad to laugh again and our performers were thrilled to be on stage doing what they love best. And they got great notices, like from this review in MD Theatre Guide: Artistic Director, Catrin Rowenna Davies is at the helm of this production and with the assistance of choreographer Thomas Hochla, they move the large cast very well around the small stage and the pacing is excellent. J. Ernest Green returns as the the conductor who has been with YVTC over 20 years. He has an impressive resumé and the orchestra is just sensational–every one of them.
Final dress rehearsal, July 7, 2022, photos by Anne Stuzin and Steve Ruark.
When Frederic was a lad, his nurse (Ruth) was told to apprentice him to a pilot, but she mistakenly apprenticed him to pirates. Although Frederic loathed the trade, he dutifully served.
As the curtain rises, his contract is almost done and he prepares to leave and devote himself to the elimination of piracy. He asks the pirates to join him in a lawful calling, but they refuse. Ruth, wishes to become Frederic’s wife, but having seen few women, he is unsure whether she is as pretty as she says.
Just then a group of girls, Major-General Stanley’s daughters, come upon the scene. Frederic sees their beauty and renounces Ruth. Of the girls, Mabel takes an interest in Frederic, and he in her. The other girls are seized by the pirates and threatened with immediate marriage.
When the Major-General arrives, he cons the pirates by saying he is an orphan, working on their well-known sympathies and thus released. However, in the ensuing days, this lie troubles the Major-General. He broods over it at night while somewhat consoled by Frederic’s plan to lead a band of police against the pirates.
Meanwhile, the Pirate King and Ruth have discovered “a paradox.” Frederic’s apprenticeship runs until his twenty-first birthday, but he was born on February 29 (leap day), so in reality, he has only had five birthdays.
Obeying his sense of duty, Frederic rejoins the pirates and must tell them of the Major-General’s deception. Just as the pirates seize the Major-General, the police come to the rescue and order the pirates to yield, “in Queen Victoria’s name.” As they relent, Ruth proceeds to explain that these men who appear to be lawless pirates are really “noblemen who have gone wrong,” thus they are pardoned and permitted to marry Major-General Stanley’s daughters.
Thomas Hochla, baritone and choreographer, has been flitting in and out of projects with Young Vic since dear Strephon in 2016 (Iolanthe). Locally, some may recall his musical direction with various churches, choral concerts, and educational productions in and around Baltimore and Metro-DC. An avid Maryland transplant, Mr. Hochla has performed at a wide array of venues across the city including Theatre Project, Oregon Ridge, and the Lyric, and is also the Director of Music at St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Rockville, MD.
When not on stage or behind the organ, Mr. Hochla maintains a varied teaching schedule through Anne Arundel County Public Schools, Single Carrot Theatre, and Mike’s Music in Ellicott City. Additionally, he can be found teaching movement-based classes of all sorts at CorePower Yoga locations.
Mr. Hochla holds a BA from Vassar College and his MM from Peabody. Dusting off the proverbial “chops” after pausing much live performance in March 2020, Thomas would like to express his sincere gratitude to ALL involved for remaining vigilant in their pursuit of live musical and theatrical experiences.
Samuel Mungo has been involved in music and theater for over 20 years as singer, actor, director producer and teacher. Some of his favorite roles include Don Giovanni (Minnesota Opera, Chicago Opera Theater), Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus (Vancouver Opera, Central City Opera and Knoxville Opera), and is thrilled to revisit the Pirate King (Colorado Symphony, Eugene Opera, Boulder Light Opera). More recently he was seen as Jesus in Annapolis Chorale’s St. John’s Passion, baritone soloist in the Brahms Requiem with the Montgomery Symphony, and Frederik in A Little Night Music for Alamo City Opera.
Making his Carnegie Hall debut with Milos Bok’s Missa Solemnis, he has sung with the St. Louis Symphony, Amarillo Symphony, Utah Symphony and Orquestra Filarmonica di Lima, among others.
He served as Managing Artistic Director of Opera at the Peabody Conservatory until 2021, where his production Zack Redler’s The Falling and the Rising was named Opera Production of the Year for the National Opera Association, and the World Premiere of Kirke Mechem’s Pride and Prejudice was named Best of Baltimore. He won a Silver medal in the Charles Nelson Reilly Directing Awards at The American Prize. He currently teaches at Towson University, and for Maryland Opera.
Professional directing credits include Die Entführung aus dem Serail for Florida Grand Opera, Suor Angelica for Opera Plovdiv, Rigoletto for San Antonio Opera, and The Falling and the Rising for Opera Carolina, where he will return next season for La Traviata.
Praised by the New Orleans Times-Picayune for his “strong and moving performance,” tenor Daniel E. Sampson is a singing actor known for bringing inspiration and vigor to the stage.
Recent stage appearances include Rinnucio in Peabody Opera’s Gianni Schicchi, George Stinney, Sr. in Stinney: An American Execution at the Prototype New Opera Festival, Georgio in the world premiere of Briscula the Magician with Bel Cantanti Opera, and Monostatos in Loyola Opera’s The Magic Flute. He also sang with the New Orleans Opera Chorus for five seasons. This season, Sampson reprises his role as George Stinney, Sr. in Opera Grand Rapids’ production of Stinney: An American Execution, sings the role of Poisson in Baltimore Concert Opera’s Adriana Lecouvreur, and portrays Samuel in The Pirates of Penzance with Young Victorian Theatre Company. He is also a member of the Baltimore Concert Opera’s Educational Cohort.
Concert performances include Schubert’s Mass in G Major, Saint-Saëns’ Oratorio de Noël, Vivaldi’s Magnificat, and Bernstein’s Mass conducted by Marin Alsop – which was featured in the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival documentary, “The Conductor.” A passionate educator and director, Daniel has taught at all levels of music education, from early childhood to the collegiate level. Sampson was the 2018 winner of the Interplay Teaching Artist Residency at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He is also a founding member and Creative Director of the International Florence Price Festival. Daniel received the Bachelor of Music Education and Voice from Loyola University New Orleans and the Master of Vocal Performance and Pedagogy from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University.
A native of Fairfax, Virginia, Luke Schmidt is a performer and arts administrator. Luke holds a master’s degree from the Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University where he received the George Castelle Prize in Voice. Most recently, Luke returned to Peabody to perform the role of Dr. Osborn in John Musto’s opera Rhoda and the Fossil Hunt. Highlights of his other roles include Prunier in La rondine, Peter Quint in The Turn of the Screw, The Prince in Rusalka, Jupiter in Semele, Herman in The Most Happy Fella, Tenor in The Four Note Opera, and Babolet in The Lantern Wedding. Luke also worked with Peabody Opera Theatre on the world staged premiere of Kirke Mechem’s Pride & Prejudice, where he interpreted the role of Charles Bingley in their 2019-2020 season. Luke is excited to be returning to the Young Victorian Theater Company, after performing in concert with them last summer, for this production of The Pirates of Penzance.
Jim Williams, bass, is a Baltimore-Washington transplant born in New Orleans, LA and raised in Huntsville, Alabama. As a freshman at Oakwood University, Jim joined the now Grammy-nominated group, The Aeolians, under the direction of Dr. Jason Max Ferdinand. He was privileged to travel nationally and internationally with the group as a soloist and choir member. At Oakwood, Jim studied voice with mezzo soprano Dr. Julie Moore-Foster. He enjoyed singing in three opera performances the music department hosted and will always cherish the time spent there. Another musical highlight he experienced in college was participating as a young artist during New York Lyric Opera Theater’s summer program. While there, Jim appeared as Colas from Bastien und Bastienne, and as Bartolo from Le Nozze di Figaro, and performed at the Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, and Opera America. In 2016 he graduated from Oakwood with a Bachelor of Music, with emphasis in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy. At the end of that year, he relocated to Maryland where he now resides.
Jim made his Washington D.C. opera debut as Sarastro in Mozart’s The Magic Flute with D.C. based company The In Series: Opera and More. He returned to the company Fall 2018 as Figaro in their production of Figaro in Four Quartets, based on Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro. He has worked as bass section leader and soloist for the chancel choirs of Georgetown Presbyterian Church, Fourth Presbyterian Church in Bethesda, MD, Foundry United Methodist Church in Washington, D.C. and was chorister/cantor at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle for their Spanish Mass, also located in Washington, D.C. He currently serves as cantor, bass section leader and soloist at Christ Lutheran Church, Baltimore, MD. He has also appeared as a soloist for the National Philharmonic, the Montgomery County Executive and Council, the Baltimore-Washington Conference UMC, the Delaware-Maryland Synod ELCA, and other local and state groups and organizations.
Jim was grateful to have joined the Washington National Opera Chorus (WNO) during the 2018-2019 season and performed with them at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Fuast and Tosca, as well as the 2019 WNO Gala. During Summer 2019, he joined the Coalition for African Americans in the Performing Arts (CAAPA) for their annual Men In Black: From Mozart to Motown concert as one of eight featured soloists. Later in Fall 2019, he joined Maryland Lyric Opera (MDLO) for their concert production of Cavelleria Rusticana. Jim rejoined WNO in the 2019-2020 season in Otello, November 2019. He rejoined MDLO January and February of 2020 for their staged production of Thaïs.
After a nearly two-year operatic break due to the Covid-19 pandemic shut down, Jim returned to the stage with WNO for the concert series Come Home: A Celebration of Return in November 2021. In January 2022, Jim joined an ensemble of WNO Cafritz Young Artists, WNO Choristers and local young artists to workshop Tony Award winning Broadway composer Jeanine Tesori’s new opera, Grounded, along with librettist and renowned playwright George Brant. The new opera is a collaborative project sponsored by the Metropolitan Opera and will be featured in upcoming seasons at both the Met and WNO. In February, after offering a recital at Washington Adventist University on the first of the month, he rejoins MDLO’s chorus for a concert version of Puccini’s Turandot. Next in Jim’s season is Mozart’s Così fan tutte which opens and closes in March at WNO, followed by WNO’s first fully staged production in the opera house since the shutdown, Bizet’s Carmen. He’s overjoyed to be working on his first role since 2019 with Young Victorian Theatre Company. This is a show of firsts for him as it’s his Gilbert & Sullivan debut, role debut, company debut, and his first ever production in Baltimore. Cheers to all!
Tess Ottinger, soprano, is excited to return to YVT for her second summer. Recently, Ms. Ottinger was 1st place winner of the 2022 Regional NATS Competition, 2021 2nd place winner of the NATS National Competition and placed 2nd in last year’s Mid-Atlantic Region NATS Artist Award (NATSAA). In past performances, Tess performed the role of Lisette in Puccini’s La Rondine with the Peabody Opera. Some of Ms. Ottinger’s previous operatic roles include Lauretta in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, and Susanna in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro. Tess has performed as a soloist with various ensembles, including the Richmond Symphony Orchestra and the Williamsburg Choral Guild. She holds two Bachelor of Music degrees from Virginia Commonwealth University in Vocal Performance and Music Education along with a Master of Music in Vocal Performance/Vocal Pedagogy from The Johns Hopkins Peabody Institute. Tess currently studies in the studio of Elizabeth Daniels and is on the vocal faculty of the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, DC.
Soprano Zoë Christine is a dynamic and versatile young artist from the Philadelphia region of Pennsylvania. She’s been recognized for her “expressive and well-trained lyric soprano voice” internationally by the Schultz-Bach Rosenberg International Music Festival and nationally as a district finalist of the National Association of Teachers of Singing. Christine has a passion for performing and enjoys teaching and directing with novices and professionals alike. She’s been recognized for her roles of Second Lady in Mozart’s Die Zauberflote, originating the role of Shanice in Matthew Hardy and Robert Maggio’s musical Bonnets and Bling and has recently performed in Adriana Lecouvreur with Baltimore Concert Opera (now Opera Baltimore), as well as The Governess in Benjamin Britten’s Turn of the Screw with Peabody Opera Theatre. Very goal oriented, committed to community service and team building, Christine played a pivotal role within her community and adapts to new environments with a positive attitude and perspective. Christine holds master’s degree from The Peabody Conservatory at Johns Hopkins University from the studio of Randall Scarlata and is very excited to be making her premiere with YVT in this 50th Anniversary celebration production.
Hannah Wardell is an emerging artist known throughout the greater Baltimore area for her unique timbre and enchanting stage presence. Hannah’s opera credits include Teresa in Bellini’s La Sonnambula, Romeo in Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi, The Princess in Dargomyzhsky’s Русалка (Rusalka), Polina in Tchaikovsky’s Пиковая дама (The Queen of Spades), Cherubino in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, The Third Lady in Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Dorabella in Mozart’s Così fan tutte, Iolanthe in Gilbert & Sullivan’s Iolanthe, and The Sorceress in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas. In addition to opera, Hannah is an avid performer of art songs, and has been recently granted the “Rubinstein Award” from the “Triumph International Russian Competition” based out of Philadelphia. Hannah received her undergraduate degree from Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, WV and completed her master’s degree at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University where she studied under baritone, Steven Rainbolt.
Hana Abrams (Edith) is thrilled to make her debut with YVT! This spring, she joined Washington Concert Opera for their productions of Orphée (Berlioz) and Lakme and advanced as a semifinalist in the Lotte Lenya Competition. Hana earned her master›s degree in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy at the Peabody Institute, where she sang Yvette, Georgette, and the Sopranino in La rondine and Charlotte Lucas in the staged premiere of Pride and Prejudice (Mechem). Other roles include Genovieffa (Suor Angelica), Maguelonne (Cendrillon, Viardot), Stephanie (To Hell and Back, Heggie) and Gertrude (Seussical the Musical).
Cassidy Dixon, soprano, recently graduated from the Peabody Conservatory with a Master of Music in voice performance and pedagogy. Recent performances include featured soloist in the Vivaldi Gloria with Columbia Pro Cantare Chorus, Musetta in La Boheme with Opera Magnifico, Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro with MIOpera, Fiordiligi in Cosi fan Tutte with Peabody Opera Theatre, and Elizabeth Bennet in the stage premier of Kirke Mechem’s Pride and Prejudice with Peabody Opera Theatre. Ms. Dixon won second place at the Friday Morning Music Club Sue Goetz Ross Vocal Competition, third place in the Sylvia Green Vocal Competition, and an Encouragement Award at the Philadelphia District Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. She is looking forward to singing the role of Edith in Pirates of Penzance in her first production with the Young Victorian Theatre Company!
Mercy Calhoun-Dion is a Maryland-based soprano and educator. During the past two years, she has been active on recording projects with Live Arts Maryland (QuaranTiny & Handel’s Messiah), Bethany Church, and duo projects with her husband and pianist, Noah Dion. She was recently seen in the Schütz St. Matthew Passion, as Mrs. Bennett and Charlotte in the staged premiere of Pride and Prejudice by Kirke Mechem, and as Lisa in The Queen of Spades with Peabody Opera.
During the 2018-2019 season, Mercy appeared as the Fairy Queen/Spring in The Fairy Queen with Haymarket Opera Company. On the concert stage, she performed as soprano soloist in Bach’s Cantata 71 with Wintergreen Music, a soloist in Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms with the Annapolis Chorale, and an ensemble member in Camelot, A Grand Night for Singing and Kiss Me, Kate with Live Arts Maryland.
She holds a BM and MM in Voice from the Peabody Conservatory. Upcoming projects include duo recital appearances with Noah, Sondheim’s Side by Side, and J.S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion. In her spare time, she’s cooking and baking up a storm; snuggling her cat, Rumi; or working to keep her new garden alive.
A native of Washington D.C., mezzo-soprano Cara Schaefer is recognized for “the kind of singing which is consummate in its power to communicate authentically” (DC Metro Theater Arts). She is known for the title role in Le Cabaret de Carmen, Arsamene (The Tale of Serse), Cherubino (Figaro in Four Quartets), Isabel (Cecilia Valdes), and Rezia (Oberon) with IN Series; Angela (Chateau Margaux), Maria (Gloria y Peluca), and Elena (El Barbero de Sevilla) with Teatro Lirico of DC; Mother (Hansel and Gretel) with Opera NoVa; and numerous appearances in the ensemble of Maryland Lyric Opera.
As interested in challenging opera’s boundaries as in preserving and celebrating its past, Cara premiered the role of Wo-Man Ray in Caesar and the Mannequin (by Andrew Earle Simpson for Alliance for New Music Theatre and the Phillips Gallery) and was the first to embody Ms. Mary Billings in this Spring’s Voices of Zion (Trey Walton for ANMT). Numerous oratorio appearances include soloist credits in Cantate’s Mozart’s Requiem (2020) and Lord Nelson Mass (2022) as well as Beethoven’s C Major Mass with the World Bank Chorale.
Ms. Schaefer is a two-time winner of the Maryland/DC competition of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, and a Grand Prize winner of the Sue Goetz Ross Memorial Competition. She is best known for debuting the official Spanish-language translation of the Star-Spangled Banner (El Pendón Estrellado) for the National Museum of American History. She holds degrees in Vocal Performance from the Peabody Conservatory and Latin American Studies from Johns Hopkins University and is the proud owner-operator of Carini Voices studio in Bethesda.
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The Young Victorian Theatre Company is funded by an operating grant from the Maryland State Arts Council, an agency dedicated to cultivating a vibrant cultural community where the arts thrive. Funding for the Maryland State Arts Council is also provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, which believes that a great nation deserves great art.
The Young Victorian Theatre Company is a nonprofit professional summer repertory theatre.