Harlem Stage Gatehouse
150 Convent Ave. (at W. 135th Street) NY, NY 10031
Puerto Rican soprano Samarie Alicea has been seen recently Off-Broadway in the role of Susana in Figaro 90210!, Vid Guerrerio's updated version of Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro. Her performance was praised by the New York Times, citing her "bright-voiced and endearing soprano." El Ayre is her first leading role with New York City Opera; she has performed in the ensemble of City Opera’s productions of Candide, Aleko and Pagliacci, and Florencia en el Amazonas. Ms. Alicea has performed the role of Susanna in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro with Long Island Opera and was featured in the role of Servilia in New York's dell´Arte Opera Ensemble's production of Mozart's La clemenza di Tito. She was the first prize winner in the Metropolitan Opera National Council District Auditions in Puerto Rico. For more information please visit her website at www.samariealicea.com.
Lebanese-American mezzo-soprano Melanie Ashkar is known for the “rich texture” of her voice and her “delightfully expressive” stage presence. She has appeared across New York City as Lucretia in The Rape of Lucretia with Utopia Opera, Bradamante in Alcina with OperaRox Productions, Jo in Little Women with Mannes Opera, La Zia Principessa/Zita in Suor Angelica/Gianni Schicchi with Mannes Opera, and Wowkle in La fanciulla del West with Apotheosis Opera, among others. Upcoming performances include Suor Angelica/Gianni Schicchi with Martina Arroyo’s Prelude to Performance and Olga in Eugene Onegin with Utopia Opera. A Washington, DC native, Ms. Ashkar has performed throughout the DC region as Amastre in Serse with Bel Cantanti Opera, the Witch in Hansel and Gretel with Loudoun Lyric Opera, and in concert with Chesapeake Chorale, Friday Morning Music Club and others. In the fall, Ms. Ashkar joins the Resident Artist Program at Utah Opera, where she will appear in Gianni Schicchi and Die Fledermaus.
Soprano Chelsea Bonagura has been praised for her "beautifully warm and rich" voice by Classical Voice of North Carolina. Her upcoming engagements include the role of Rebecca Manchester in Prix Fixe by Kevin Wilt with Fresh Squeezed Opera Company, and covering Micaëla in Carmen with the Martina Arroyo Foundation. Next season, Ms. Bonagura joins Palm Beach Opera as a Benson Young Artist, and will return to Opera Roanoke to sing Mimì in La bohème. Last season, Ms. Bonagura appeared with the Winston-Salem Symphony in Handel’s Messiah, where she was hailed as “a star in the making” by Classical Voice of North Carolina. Of her performance of Bruckner's Psalm 150 in the previous season, the Winston-Salem Journal noted "the soaring dramatic soprano voice of Ms. Bonagura added brilliance to the work.” Miss Bonagura is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music.
Mezzo-soprano Kelsey Robertson recently completed her first year as an Apprentice Artist with Palm Beach Opera in their 2016-2017 covering the roles of Giovanna and Countess Ceprano in Rigoletto and Kate and Edith in Pirates of Penzance. She was an Apprentice Artist in the 2015 and 2016 seasons at Bel Canto at Carmoor, appearing in recitals and in the choruses of Fidelio, Aureliano in Palmira, Dialogues des Carmélites and La Favorite. Kelsey sang as a Season Artist for Opera Saratoga's Outreach program singing the role of Composer in Operation Superpower. Kelsey received her Bachelor of Music from Oberlin Conservatory and her Master of Music from Eastman School of Music. During her time at Eastman she performed the roles of Mrs. Jones in Kurt Weill’s Street Scene and the title role in Handel’s Xerxes. At Oberlin she sang the role of Antonia in William Bolcom’s A Wedding and was an active participant in opera choruses and opera scenes.
Mezzo-soprano Magda Gartner recently made her New York City Opera debut as the Third Elf in La campana sommersa. She appeared as Hansel in Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel with Opera Pomme Rouge on the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC as well as at Queens Museum in New York City. In the summer of 2016, Ms. Gartner was a Young Artist with dell’Arte Opera Ensemble and performed Musette in Leoncavallo’s La bohème and Flora in La traviata. Other roles in her repertoire include Mercedes and the title role in Carmen, Componist in Ariadne auf Naxos which she performs with Opera Academy Berlin this coming summer, Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier, Dorabella in Così fan tutte, the title role in Rossini’s Cenerentola and Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia. In addition to her vocal studies at Mannes School of Music and The Royal College of Music in London, Ms. Gartner holds a Master of Music in piano from the Mozarteum in Salzburg.
Italian-born baritone Marco Nisticò recently appeared as the title role in Don Pasquale and Manfredo in L’amore dei tre re at Sarasota Opera, Tonio in Pagliacci at Opera Memphis, Amonasro in Aïda at both Opera Colorado and Sarasota Opera, and Malatesta in Don Pasquale at Florida Grand Opera. His Metropolitan Opera appearances include productions of Carmen, La traviata, and Nico Muhly’s Two Boys. Recent European highlights include Dulcamara in L’elisir d’amore and Dancaïro in Carmen with Teatro dell’ Opera di Roma, Dulcamara with Landestheater Bregenz, and Guglielmo in Così fan tutte with Teatro Regio Torino. His future engagements include returns to Sarasota as Germont in La traviata and Colorado Opera as Ford in Falstaff, and his debut with San Diego Opera in Turandot. Mr. Nisticò has been a familiar presence at New York City Opera having made his debut in 2005 as Morales in Carmen and subsequently appearing as Sharpless in Madama Butterfly, Pallante in Agrippina, Dulcamara in L’elisir d’amore, Prudenzio in Il viaggio a Reims, Schaunard in La bohème, and Dancaïro in Carmen.