Calling: An Opera of Forgiveness

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Roland Burks and Nicole Tori
Roland Burks and Nicole Tori,
leads for Calling September, 2008.
(Photo: Azikiwe Mohammed)
Calling: Creative Team for fall 2008 Performances
Wickham Boyle: Concept, Librettist, Director
Wickham BoyleWickham Boyle Began her career at La Mama ETC and after numerous theatrical diversions working at Lincoln Center, the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs and extensive international touring, she returned to LaMama in 1983 to be executive director where she learned experimental producing at the side of founder Ellen Stewart. Boyle commissioned work from Carter Burwell, Tom Judson, Bob McGrath, Bill T. Jones, The Blue Man Group, and the Urban Bush Women among others. She has a BA in Anthropology from NYU and an MBA from Yale. Boyle has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, a fellowship from the Japan Society and the Cuban /American Writers Guild. She was the founder of CODE magazine and was editor of the monthly publication, THRIVEnyc. She contributes to National Geographic Traveler, Budget Travel, Uptown, Gotham, The New York Times, and New York Magazine. Her book A Mother’s Essays From Ground Zero was a fundraiser for the downtown schools attended by her two children.  For more information, please see and

Douglas Geers, Composer
Doug GeersDouglas Geers is a composer who works extensively with technology in composition, performance, and multimedia collaborations. Geers' works have been performed widely, and he has won many grants and awards, including a 2007 McKnight Composer Fellowship, a Fulbright Scholarship, a Composers Commissioning Project prize from the American Composers Forum, the Roth-Thomson award for "Impressive project for musical composition," and others from sources including the Experimental studio der Heinrich-Strobel-Stiftung des Südwestrundfunks e.v. (Germany), the Zürich Hochschule für Musik und Theater (Switzerland), Meet the Composer, ASCAP, NYSCA, the Ditson Fund, Columbia University, and the Mellon Foundation. Geers is currently Assistant Professor of Music at the University of Minnesota (Minneapolis) School of Music, where he teaches composition and is Director of the studios for Sound, Technology, and Research at the University of Minnesota (STRUM).  He is also the founder and director of the annual Spark Festival of Electronic Music and Arts, is a co-founder and co-Director of the Electric Music Collective, an internationally-based group of electroacoustic composer-performers, and he is a member of the electroacoustic improvisation group Sønreel.  For more information including scores, audio, and a list of recent performances, please see
Burke Brown: Lighting Designer
Recent designs include: The Brothers Size (NYSF-Public Theater, NYC; The Studio Theatre, DC; The Abbey Theater, Dublin); Going Down Swingin’ (NY Musical Theater Festival), John Selya’s La Voix at Joyce Soho; Aszure Barton’s A Traveling Show at the Baryshnikov Arts Center; The Marriage of Fiagro (University of Maine), The Song for New York: What Women Do While Men Sit Knitting (Mabou Mines, Associate Designer); Lulu (Yale Rep); The Flight of Icarus (Soho Think Tank); Richard III, In the Red & Brown Water by Tarell Alvin McCraney, Layla & Majnun, The Real Thing, MSN Dream (Yale School of Drama); Sincerity Forever, Hotel: Eight Rooms (Yale Cabaret); 365 Days/ 365 Plays: Week One (World Performance Project); God is a DJ, Eye, Savage/Love &  Tongues (Summer Cabaret); Hansel und Gretel (Opera Theatre of Yale College); Jazz Like a Drug (Juggerknot Theatre Co.); The Just Assassins (Dreamer's Theatre). As a Director: Sarah Kane’s Crave, and Tarell Alvin McCraney’s Run, Mourner, Run (co-Director). Mr. Brown is the 2008 Artist in Residence for Lighting Design for Ars Nova.  He is a member of Wingspace.  BA, Guilford College. MFA, Yale School of Drama.
Marty Kapell: Designer
Prior to his training as an architect, Marty Kapell worked extensively in theater, dance and opera in a variety of capacities including set designer, lighting design, director and stage manger.  He was the Artistic Director of the Second Company of the Williamstown Theater Festival for several seasons and worked as set designer under Wilford Leach for the ETC Company of LaMama.  In dance he was the Production Stage Manger for Twyla Tharp's company and his opera experience includes directing La Dafne for the New York Pro Musica Antiqua. Marty is currently Senior Partner of WASA/Studio A a multi-discipline architectural design firm.  Although he works on a wide range of building types, he has designed numerous theaters including, 37 Arts [with John Averitt], the Hofstra University Performing Arts Building and projects at the Brooklyn Academy of Music among many others. While studying architecture at Yale University, Marty had the incredible opportunity to take classes with Ming Cho Lee.
Edisa Weeks, Choreographer
Edisa WeeksEdisa Weeks is the Director and Choreographer for DELIRIOUS DANCES. Her choreography merges theater with dance to explore the beauty and complexity of life.  The New York Times described her work as having, “A lot of imagination and a gift for simple but striking visual effects.” Her work has been performed in a variety of venues including swimming pools, storefront windows, senior centers and various living rooms, as well as at Chashama Theater, Emory University, Jacob’s Pillow, Works & Process at the Guggenheim Museum, The Massachusetts International Festival of the Arts, The National Black Arts Festival, and Summerstages Dance Festival, among others. Internationally her work has been performed in Canada, England, Germany, Italy, Japan and Spain. Edisa has received several awards including a New York Foundation for the Arts Choreographic Fellowship, and Brooklyn Art Council grants. Raised in Uganda, Papua New Guinea and Brooklyn, NY, Weeks holds an MFA in choreography from NYU where she was an Alberto Vilar Fellow, and a BA from Brown University. She has taught at the Alvin Ailey School, Bard College, Brigham Young University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Milwaukee University, Saint Ann’s High School and currently teaches at Princeton University.
Hiroya Miura, Conductor
Hiroya MiuraHiroya Miura, a native of Sendai, Japan, has been active as a composer, conductor, and performer in the U.S. and Canada.  Acclaimed by Alan Kozin of New York Times as “acidic and tactile,” his compositional output typically mirrors his multiple musical roles, and creates “the charm resulting from continuous changes of balance.”  Feeling equally as an insider and outsider to Japanese court music and European modernist music, Miura has composed works for Speculum Musicae, New York New Music Ensemble, American Composers Orchestra, and Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, and members of Reigakusha (Gagaku ensemble based in Tokyo), performed in venues such as Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, Merkin Hall, Annenberg Center, and Smithsonian Institution’s Freer Gallery.  He is also a founding member of the electronic improvisation unit, NoOneReceiving, whose debut album from the Grain of Sound has won critical acclaim in Europe and the United States.  Most recently, Miura’s recent works were featured in the one-hour program, Ear to Ear on New York Public Radio.  Miura has received commissioning grants and fellowships from the Mellon, Jerome, Whiting, and Rohm Foundations, the Atlantic Center for the Arts, and the American Composers Forum.  He holds D.M.A. degree from Columbia University, and he is Assistant Professor of Music at Bates College, where he teaches music theory and composition, and directs the College Orchestra.
Carl Christian Bettendorf, Assistant Conductor
Carl C. BettendorfBorn in Hamburg, Germany, Carl Christian Bettendorf is currently completing his doctoral degree at Columbia University where he studied with Tristan Murail. Prior to moving to New York, he studied composition in his home country at the Schools of Music in Munich and Karlsruhe, working with Hans-Jürgen von Bose and Wolfgang Rihm.  His works have been played at major new-music festivals and venues in Europe and North America alike. He has received numerous awards, most recently a fellowship from the State of Bavaria to spend six months in residence at the Cité des Arts in Paris.  As a conductor, Mr. Bettendorf has worked closely with ensembles in Munich (piano possibile) and New York (Wet Ink Ensemble) and served as assistant conductor of the Columbia University Orchestra. He has recorded for Albany Records, ArtVoice and Cybele, and his music was broadcast on German, Swiss, Canadian, U.S. and Australian radio.
Edith Hirshtal, Music Director and Pianist
Edith HirshtalAustrian born pianist Edith Hirshtal has won enthusiastic responses from audiences and critics alike. Michael Kimmelman of The New York Times called her "a pianist with something to say, and that alone makes her preferable to the majority of pianists today."  As soloist , chamber musician and collaborative artist, Hirshtal has been heard in concert halls throughout the United States , including The Philadelphia Academy of Music and Lincoln Center in New York City. She has appeared with principal members of The Philadelphia Orchestra, the New York Metropolitan Opera Company, the Philadelphia Opera Company ,the Sequoia Quartet and as soloist with San Francisco’s Women’s Philharmonic , under the baton of JoAnn Falleta. Her first Compact Disc was recorded in Los Angeles and distributed by Dunhill Compact Classics , where she can be heard performing the music of Chopin in the CD entitled “Music Inspired by the Film, Impromptu.” The recipient of many awards, Ms. Hirshtal was a prizewinner in the William Kappel International Piano Competition, where she won the prize for ‘Best Classical Sonata’ for her performance of Beethoven’s piano sonata ,Opus 109. She was awarded the Galica Prize by the Paderewski Foundation of New York City and was a semi finalist in The Young Concert Artists’ International Auditions. Other honors include an Alumni Award from Temple University and numerous awards from The California State University System . She is listed in Marquis ‘ Who’s Who of America, Who’s Who of American Women and Who’s Who in the World.  She is professor emeritus of The University of California, Long Beach, where she taught piano and served as  director of Keyboard Studies and Area Coordinator of Piano Studies. Please see for more information.
 Calling: Cast
Nicole Tori, soprano (female lead)
Nicole ToriSoprano Nicole Tori (the Mother) is an accomplished singer of opera, oratorio and musical theater. Her credits include Musetta in La Bohème (New York Opera Forum), Oscar in Un Ballo in Maschera (NYOF), Despina in Cosi fan Tutte (Mannes), Najade in Ariadne auf Naxos  Dell’Arte Opera Ensemble), and Mother Abbess in The Sound of Music (Millbrook Playhouse). International credits include L’Elisir d’Amore (Urbania, Italy), and the Asian tour of The Sound of Music. Nicole performed as a finalist in the Classical Productions Vocal Competition at Weill Recital Hall (Carnegie Hall) and studied voice performance/opera at Wheaton College (IL) and New England Conservatory of Music.
Roland Burks, bass-baritone, Father (male lead)
Roland BurksAmerican born bass-baritone Roland Burks is emerging as one of the leaders of a new generation of vocalists whose range and flexibility recall the great masters of the bel canto era.  Hailing from America’s Midwest, Mr. Burks is the recipient of numerous vocal scholarships and awards, including top honors in the Midwest region of the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions.  He has performed extensively throughout the United States and Europe, with such companies as Houston Grand Opera,  Tri-Cities Opera, Connecticut Opera, The Phoenix Symphony, Teatro Real (Madrid, Spain), Ernen Festival of Tomorrow, (Ernen, Switzerland), Bregenz Festival (Bregenz, Austria), and International Opera Theater in Umbria, Italy.  Mr. Burks’ engaging stage presence and versatility have garnered critical acclaim in Opera, Oratorio, and Musical Theater alike.  In addition to the sacred Oratorios and Cantatas of Bach, Handel, Mendelssohn, and Mozart, other favorite portrayals of Mr. Burks include; Raimondo in “Lucia di Lammermoor”, The Four Villains in “Les Contes d’Hoffmann”, Colline in “La Bohème”, and the title roles in Handel’s masterpiece “Giulio Cesare”, and Stephen Sondheim’s award winning Broadway Musical “Sweeney Todd”.
Nique Haggerty, soprano, Teen Daughter
Nique HaggertyNique Haggerty is honored to work on this wonderful project.  New York/Regional: Margaret Garner at NYCOpera, The Happiest Girl in the World (Diana), Out of This World (Helen), The Magic Flute (Queen of the Night), To Kill a Mockingbird (Calpurnia), The Devil and Elijah Muhammad (Sister Maryum), Show Boat.  Commercials: Hyundai and Atlantis Resort.  Many thanks to my voice teacher Peter Pesco!
Madison Pappas, Younger Daughter
Madison PappasMadison Pappas is a delightful and precocious 8 year old girl.  She is a student at Church Street School of Music and Art with acclaimed jazz musician Abby Payne.  She lives in Lower Manhattan with her parents and her teacup yorkie named Biscuit.  Madison has been performing in public since she was 4 years old.
Maja Cerar, violin
Maja CerarCritics of the Neue Zürcher Zeitung have praised violinist Maja Cerar in as an "extraordinary talent," a musician of "great depth," an artist who "listens to her inner self" to whom "phrasing, articulation, rhythmic and dynamic differentiation appear to be given by nature." Maja Cerar graduated with honors from the Conservatory Winterthur-Zurich, where she studied violin under Aida Stucki-Piraccini. She also took master classes with Zakhar Bron, Franco Gulli, Igor Oistrakh and Igor Ozim and has given violin master classes since 2005.  From 1995 to 2001 she polished her performance further with Dorothy DeLay and Kurt Nikkanen in New York. Maja Cerar's repertoire ranges from the Baroque to the present and her stage experience includes performance with live electronics, dance and theater. Concurrent with her violin performance career, Maja Cerar earned her Master of Arts and Master of Philosophy degrees in Historical Musicology at Columbia University, and where she is currently completing her Ph.D. with a dissertation on Schubert's late string quartets. Grants and awards include Fellowships from the Swiss Study Foundation for Especially Gifted University Students, the Migros Foundation, and Columbia University. Ms. Cerar frequently works with composers, has premiered numerous works written for her, and has been coached by Beat Furrer, Uros Krek, György Kurtàg, Morton Subotnick, Alvin Lucier, and John Zorn. For more information please see
Shiau-uen Ding, piano
Shiau-uen DingA native of Taiwan, pianist Shiau-uen Ding is a rising presence on the new and electro-acoustic music scenes, and an original and energetic performer of traditional solo and chamber repertoire. As a soloist, her virtuosic and sensitive interpretations have won standing ovations, at performances in Cincinnati (Music X Festival), Minneapolis (Spark Festival), New York and Taipei. She has collaborated with numerous internationally renowned performers and composers, including Michael Kugel, George Tsontakis (who refers to her performance of his Ghost Variations as a “monster performance”) and Moritz Eggert, who dedicated his Hämmerklavier XIX: Hymnen der Welt (Afghanistan bis Zimbabwe) to her. In addition, several new compositions have been written for her by well-known composers, including Mara Helmuth, Christopher Bailey, Burton Beerman, Eric Lyon and Naxos artist Gao Ping. She has recorded for the Capstone, Centaur and Electric Music Collective labels. 
Gretchen Garvin, multiple roles
Gretchen GarvinGretchen Garvin was on the national tour of "Annie Get Your Gun" where she understudied and performed the role of Annie Oakley. She also had the pleasure of performing in "42nd Street" in Moscow. Some of Gretchen's favorite roles have been: Polly Baker in "Crazy for You", Winnefred in "Once Upon a Mattress" and Antonia in "Man of La Mancha". She had the great opportunity of singing with The Boston Pops and was apart of the Broadway Theatre Project in Tampa, FL. She is a Graduate of The Boston Conservatory of Music where she received a BFA. Gretchen is very excited to be performing in Calling: The Opera!
Cecilia "Chichi" Gault
Cecilia GaultCecilia "Chichi" Gault is thrilled to sing in this production. At nine years old she is a big fan of opera. La Traviata and La Boheme are her favorites.  Cecilia is a native of Battery Park City and is entering the fifth grade this fall at P.S. 89.  She is a devout student of acclaimed jazz singer Abby Paine, and she is also a member of Trinity Chorus directed by Rob Ridgell.  Cecilia also enjoys fencing, swimming and diving at NYU.  While not performing or practicing, she likes to go clothes shopping in Harajuku.  Fluent in Japanese, she spends part of each summer visiting her grandparents in Yokohama, Japan. She is also a civically minded environmentalist and enjoys attending Community Board One meetings with her dad.   
Jonah Goldfarb
Jonas GoldfarbClassically trained in piano and singing for 8 years.  plays electric guitar and trumpet for 4 years. Dance training at the Alvin Ailley school of dance for 5 years.  Studied acting for 2 years at  P.P.A.S (professional performing art school).
Jonah loves to listen and perform a large variety of music styles from Opera to Rock and Roll.
Jonah Goldfarb has acted and sang in a few plays and performed with his band at the School of Rock at The Knitting Factory NYC and at the old CBGB's.   
Jay Hassler, clarinet
Jay HasslerJay Hassler began his clarinet career while growing up in Anchorage, Alaska. By the time he graduated from high school, he had performed with the Anchorage Symphony and the Anchorage Opera. Studying clarinet with Ricardo Morales, Mr. Hassler received his Masters degree in Orchestral Performance from the Manhattan School of Music. Mr. Hassler performs with the Manhattan Chamber Orchestra both as principal clarinetist and as chamber musician. An active freelance musician, Mr. Hassler has performed with the New Jersey Symphony, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, American Symphony, and the Stamford Symphony. He recently completed a thirty-city tour of Brazil with the Manhattan Orchesis quartet. Mr. Hassler is currently a member of the orchestra for the current Broadway show The Producers.  He has worked with many notable music figures from many different genres including Wayne Shorter, Andrea Bocelli, Randy Newman, and Anna Netrebko.
William Martina, cello
Will Martina Will Martina has resided in New York since early 2006, and during his short time here he has already established himself as an in-demand instrumentalist, performing and collaborating across a wide range of styles ranging from Jazz, to Afropop, Rock, Cabaret, and of course, Classical.  He has performed throughout North America and the US and for many years has been associated with the Banff Center for the Arts in Alberta, Canada, both as a student and as an instructor. In 2002, Will was employed by the Banff Center as a member of the Music Faculty. During this period, as well as teaching, he devised an improvised score for a Native American dance piece (Bones: An Aboriginal Dance Opera), was a collaborative artist during the Summer Keyboard Festival, and performed as soloist with the Banff Summer Festival Chamber Orchestra. Will enjoys the opportunity to collaborate with artists from other disciplines. Throughout 2006 he worked closely with the visual artist Janet Biggs, composing and performing music for several of her works, and their collaborative pieces were displayed at the LOOP Video Art Fair in Barcelona and Art Basel Miami.
Daria ParadaDaria (Darcia) Parada, multiple roles (Soprano)
Daria (Darcia) Parada has sung on opera and concert stages from Canada to Kazakhstan.  As a singer, she has performed many leading operatic roles: Tatyana "Eugene Onegin", Nedda  "Pagliacci", Mimi "La Boheme", Santuzza "Cavalleria Ruticana", Cio cio san, "Madama Butterfly", First Witch "Dido and Aeneus", Abigail "The Crucible", with the Kyrgyz State Opera, Tashkent Bolshoi, Almaty Opera, Usedomer Festival Germany, Dartington Festival, UK, Brooklyn Lyric Opera, Brandenburg Opera, American Landmark Festivals in NY, as well as on soundtrack recordings on the Decca and London Labels.  In addition to role of singer, Miss Parada has forayed producing and directing as founder of Mercury Opera, originally based in New York (featured on Lifetime Live ABC News), whose mission is to stage operas in unusual spaces, desiring to take this beloved art form and make it more accessible to audiences that might otherwise find it intimidating in a more conventional sense.  Recent successes include rave reviews for a run of Pagliacci staged inside a tent in Giovanni Caboto Park and at Edmonton's Fringe Festival.

James J. Rollins, multiple roles
James J. RollinsJames J. Rollins, baritone, will debut with Opera Pacific and Eastern Connecticut Symphony this year.  He has performed leading roles with many regional opera companies including Baltimore Opera, Utah Symphony and Opera, Opera North, and Opera Tampa to name a few.  Having worked on new operas such as Dead Man Walking, and debuting Grapes of Wrath, he is very excited to be a part of Calling.
Troy Valjean Rucker, multiple roles
Troy Valjean RuckerTroy Valjean Rucker, baritone. Credits: N.Y./Regional: Margaret Garner (NYCOpera), 365 Days/365 Plays, Show Boat, Ragtime, South Pacific, Angels In America, L’Histoire du Soldat, Babes In Toyland, operas of: Verdi, Puccini, Beethoven, Joplin.  National/European Tours: Jesus Christ Superstar, International Symphony.  Performances at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, Aretha Franklin with the Detroit Symphony.  TV/Commercials: History Channel, NBC, UPN, Ford Motor Company.
Kamala Sankaram, multiple roles
Kamala SankaramKamala Sankaram (soprano) has performed with such diverse artists as the Philip Glass Ensemble (Einstein on the Beach), The Wooster Group (La Didone), the Albany Symphony Orchestra, and Dan Zanes and Friends, among others. Her compositions have been featured in the Music with a View festival at the Flea Theater, in New Music Box magazine, and as part of the Serial Underground series. She is on the board of Anti-Social Music, as well as composer, video artist, and bandleader for the multi-media new music band Squeezebox. She is also an artist in residence at HERE, developing a one-woman chamber operetta for production in early 2010. As a voice over actor, Kamala has created characters for Disney, the Cartoon Network, and Comedy Central. Upcoming, she'll reprise her roles as Juno and Anna in the Wooster Group's La Didone in Luxembourg, Lisbon, and New York.
Chihiro Shibayama, percussion
Chihiro ShibayamaNative of Japan, Chihiro Shibayama graduated from Interlochen Arts Academy with two performance awards in 2003, Chihiro earned Bachelor of Music degree from The Juilliard School in May 2007. She is currently a second year masters student at The Juilliard School, studying under Daniel Druckman. Her former teachers include Greg Zuber, Joe Pereira, Roland Kohloff, Keith Aleo, Mariko Okada and John Alfieri. Her awards include the Zildjian Scholarship for the past three years, Irene Diamond Graduate Fellowship at The Juilliard School in 2007-08, Weekes Memorial Scholarship from the Glassmen Drum and Bugle Corps in 2006 and the third prize winner of the PAS(Percussive Arts Society) High School Keyboard Competition in 2003. Chihiro is an active performer as a soloist, member of orchestras, small ensembles and a co-founder of MuSE (Multicultural Sonic Evolution), which pursues to create a multicultural environment through sound and collaborations with other fields of art such as dance, theater, and film. She regularly performs with The Juilliard Orchestra, New Juilliard Ensemble, Juilliard Percussion Ensemble and AXIOM. She has performed concertos as a soloist with orchestras including Great Lake Symphony Orchestra and Manitou Music Festival Orchestra. She was also a member of Spoleto Music Festival in Italy in 2004, Daytime Emmy's Award Orchestra at Radio City Music Hall in 2005 and Drum Corps International Finalist, The Glassman as a timpanist in the summer of 2005 and 2006. Among other notable performances, Chihiro was one of the on-stage percussionists in the U.S premiere of Tan Dun’s opera, "TEA – A mirror of soul" at The Santa Fe Opera in Santa Fe in the summer of 2007.
Calling Support Team:
Isabelle Deconinck, Media Relations
Hattie Elliot, Director of Development
Dominique Stone, Director's Assistant
Viktoria Televnyy, Graphic Design
Viktoria Televnyy was born on May 9 in the small Ukrainian town of Ternopol. When she turned 13 her parents immigrated to the United States. Her passions are photography and graphic design . This year she received her B.A. in Business Communication with a Major in Graphic Design from Weissman School of Art (aka Baruch College). Viktoria participated in Young Guns6 (an international art competition), and was awarded first place for design of a theatrical poster.  She has extensive layout and design experience and enjoys working on precise and detail-oriented projects.  Currently she is interning at Forbes Magazine.
Azikiwe Mohammed, Photography
Azikiwe Mohammed
Azikiwe Mohammed graduated from Bard College where he studied photography under the tutelege of Larry Fink, Stephen Shore and An-My Le'. Since graduation he has been shooting his way through the city while working on a photo essay entitled Pictures My Dad Took. A freelance printer, digital and film shooter, Azikiwe currently works at the Camera Club of New York, teaches at the Educational Alliance and is represented by Gallery Sensei.