Lyric Opera Celebrates its 10th Anniversary with 'The Impresario'

Mozart - The ImpresarioIt’s time to celebrate Rochester Lyric Opera’s 10th Anniversary with a splashy performance in its gorgeous new home – the Lyric Theatre, located at 440 East Avenue in Rochester, NY. What better than Mozart’s The Impresario, which was the company’s inaugural performance on August 28, 2005.

Click here to read the Democrat & Chronicle article by Cynthia Kolko.

There will be a 10th Anniversary reception at 6:30 PM followed by the Gala Anniversary performance at 8:00 PM. Click here to purchase tickets for the reception. Click here to purchase tickets for the performance. Click here to view the evening's program. Visit Rochester Lyric Opera online to learn more.

Mozart called The Impresario a "comedy with music" and wrote it for a Viennese music competition pitting a German musical play against an Italian comic opera. No doubt he knew better than most how farcical it can be to deal with the oversize characters who do opera to entertain the public! Two sopranos duel to be hired by the impresario of the local opera company by singing ever-higher notes – aspiring for top pay and diva billing, amidst a hapless bunch of backstage types (look for a local media personality to star as the Impresario).

Lighthearted, flashy and funny, it was first performed in a palace in Vienna, and Rochester’s palatial new Lyric Theatre is the perfect backdrop for RLO’s gala performance, celebrating 10 years to the day of unique and fun opera in the best town around. This staged presentation, with sung German and English dialogue complete with supertitles, will pair Mozart's single-act gem with famous excerpts from The Marriage of Figaro (written the same year) and his other great classic, Cosi fan tutte.

Lindsay Warren Baker directs a cast of professional singers with strong Rochester ties, accompanied by the Rochester Lyric Opera Orchestra under Eric Townell. RLO welcomes opera audiences to enjoy a sneak peak of what will be a state of the art theater on East Avenue in the Neighborhood of the Arts, acoustically perfect and gloriously grand.


Meet the Cast of Rochester Lyric Opera's 10th Anniversary Concert


Brittany Mruczek, sopranoBrittany Mruczek, soprano   (Mlle. Silberklang)

Brittany Mruczek, soprano, has been celebrated for her rich, warm and unique sound. This past May, Brittany received her Master’s degree in Voice Performance at New York University where she studied under the direction of Rosa Vento.

Some of her credits include Venere (L’egisto), Musetta (La Bohème-scenes), the Tea Cup/White Cat (L’efant et les Sortilèges), Masha (Night Caps), Princess Eugenia (The Student Prince) and most recently took on the title role in Cendrillon.

Brittany has also received many notable vocal awards including 1st place in the NATS 2011 Competition, 2nd place in the NATS 2009 Competition, 1st Place in the 2007 Geneseo Young Artists Competition, 1st place in the Heidi Kilian Competition as well runner-up in the RPO Competition. She also received the citizen of the year award in Art and Drama awarded by the Am-Pol Eagle in 2011 and a huge school grant given by the Polish Falcons of America in 2014.

Brittany has also been an avid concert singer and recitalist. Over the years she has sung numerous Christmas concerts in Western New York and Florida Including “Christmas Around the World” and “Christmas in the Americas” which brought in singers from all over. She also took part in “Sharing the Music” concert at Villa Marie College. Brittany is thrilled to be performing with Rochester Lyric Opera in her first professional performance.

Click here to visit her website.


Susan Cotroneo, sopranoSusan Cotroneo, soprano   (Mme. Herz, Susanna, Fiordiligi)

A native of Rochester, NY, Susan Cotroneo is at home on both the concert and operatic stage.  Career highlights include such roles as Violetta (La Traviata), Fiordiligi (Cosi fan tutte), Susannah (Le Nozze di Figaro), Lauretta (Gianni Schicchi), Gretel (Hansel and Gretel), Goldentrill (The Impresario), Lucy (The Telephone), Rosalinda (Die Fledermaus) and Adina (L’elisir d’amore) a role she debuted at La Festival di Musica da Camera in Italy.  As a featured soloist she has performed such works as Handel’s Messiah, Poulenc’s Gloria, Faure’s Requiem, Vivaldi’s Gloria and Mozart’s Exultate Jubilate.  In September of 2006 Ms. Cotroneo sang the world premier of PASSAGIO PROTETTO (Safe Passage), a monumental work paying tribute to the Italians who rescued the Jews during the Holocaust.  

Ms. Cotroneo has studied under Gianni Raimondi and Giuseppe Taddei at Il Corso Internazionale di Perfezionamento d’Arte Vocale in Italy where she had the honor of performing the role of Musetta opposite Giuseppe Taddei as Marcello.  She continues to coach with Maestro Gildo DiNunzio of The Metropolitan Opera and Isabelle Aubin and is currently studying voice with Katherine Cowdrick.  Ms. Cotroneo holds a Bachelor of Music in vocal performance and education from Ithaca College and a Master of Music in vocal performance from West Virginia University. Additionally, Ms. Cotroneo co-founded Rochester Lyric Opera and currently serves as its managing director and serves as voice faculty at Nazareth College.


Allyn Van Dusen, mezzo sopranoAllyn Van Dusen, mezzo soprano   (Dorabella, Cherubino, Countess)

Allyn Van Dusen, mezzo-soprano, is a versatile professional singer/actor who has appeared as soloist to critical acclaim with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Rochester Oratorio Society, Eastman-Rochester Chorus, and many other prominent ensembles.

Often appearing onstage in opera and musical theatre productions, she has also co-designed and performed in numerous musical theatre revues. Among her lead operatic roles are Lucretia in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia, Prince Orlovsky in Die Fledermaus, Zia Principessa in Suor Angelica, Ramiro in La Finta Giardiniera, Kirstin in Ratcliff’s Beside the Golden Door: The Story of Ellis Island, the title role in Eleni, Elmire in Mechem’s Tartuffe, and The Drummer in The Emperor of Atlantis. Her music theatre roles include Mother Abbess in The Sound of Music, Nettie in Carousel, Mrs. Harcourt in Anything Goes, and Madame Dubonnet in The Boyfriend.

Ms. Van Dusen is an active recitalist and recording artist, with two solo CDs on Songburst Records and contemporary works on Albany Records. She won the Audience Prize in CyberSing 2002, a global Internet art song competition, and was a winner in the Jesse Kneisel Lieder Competition at the Eastman School of Music, where she earned a Master’s degree and Performer’s Certificate. A founder and manager of the Rochester Vocal Arts Collaborative, which has recently joined forces with Empire State Lyric Theatre, she also co-directed and performed in the innovative Fortissimo! Chamber Music Series for several seasons, and has sung with Madrigalia since the mid-1990s. She enjoys teaching voice privately and is on the faculty of Hochstein Music School. She loves sharing the gift of song – the language of the heart – in a wide variety of public performances.


Grant Knox, tenorGrant Knox, tenor   (Vogelsang, Ferrando)

American tenor, Grant Knox is enjoying a varied career in opera, musical theater, concert and recital. He has appeared with the Cincinnati Opera, Atlanta Opera, Chicago Opera Theater, Chautauqua Opera, Tri-Cities Opera, Ohio Light Opera, Lyric Opera Atlanta, Rochester Lyric Opera, and with Maestro Lorin Maazel’s Castleton Opera Festival. Equally at home in concert repertoire, Knox has been engaged by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Illinois Philharmonic, Cobb Symphony, Binghamton Philharmonic, Peninsula Music Festival, Bach Ensemble of Cincinnati, Rochester Oratorio Society and in recital at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

As a proponent of new American music, Knox worked with composers Libby Larsen, John Musto and Jake Heggie as a Stern Fellow at the SongFest Festival in Los Angeles. He was chosen as one of six singers to participate in the pilot season of the Fall Island Vocal Arts Festival, celebrating song repertoire in English and led by American mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe.

Recently, Knox sang the world premiere performances of Nico Muhly’s The Unknown Room, Three Songs for Tenor and Violin, for the Constella Festival of Music in Cincinnati. Upcoming engagements include a concert version of Aida with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Robert Spano, and a performance of William Bolcom’s Canciones de Lorca with the Furman Symphony Orchestra this February.

As a recording artist, he can be heard on the complete cast recordings of Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Grand Duke and The Sorcerer, Offenbach’s The Brigands, Romberg’s Maytime, and Kalman’s The Carnival Fairy, all released on the Albany Records label. Dr. Knox is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music (BM, MM) and Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music (DM). He is proud member of the Opera Producers Group at the John Duffy Institute (Virginia Arts Festival). Before coming to Furman, Dr. Knox served as the Neyer Family Endowed Professor of Music at Northern Kentucky University.


Mitchell Hutchings, baritoneMitchell Hutchings, baritone   (Buff, Count)

Baritone Mitchell Hutchings' most notable roles in opera and musical theatre include the title role in Gianni Schicchi, Marcello in La bohème, Mercutio in Roméo et Juliette, Escamillo in La tragédie de Carmen, Tarquinius in The Rape of Lucretia, Germont in La traviata, Ottone in L’incoronazione di Poppea, Frank in Die Fledermaus, Ben in The Telephone, Yamadori in Madama Butterfly, Marullo in Rigoletto, Fiorello in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Angelotti in Tosca, Quince in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Benoit & Alcindoro in La bohème, Second Armored Man in Die Zauberflöte, the title role in Sweeney Todd, Audrey II in Little Shop of Horrors, Jud Fry in Oklahoma!, and Man #1 in Side by Side by Sondheim.  

As a specialist of contemporary opera, Professor Hutchings essayed the role of Timothy Cratchit in the world premiere of God Bless Us Every One, a Christmas opera by Thomas Pasatieri, at Dicapo Opera Theatre in New York City. He can be heard as Soldier #1 in the world premiere recording of this work, published under Albany Records. Other performances of new works have included the title role in Evan Mack’s Roscoe (libretto based on Pulitzer Prize winner, William Kennedy’s novel of the same title) with Opera Saratoga, and Biceps Guy in another Evan Mack opera Beach and Moan with Hartford Opera Theater.

In 2015, Mr. Hutchings will assist in the creation of the role of Keith in Sarah Hutchings’ The Broken Land.  Professor Hutchings has performed as a soloist with numerous companies and festivals including Des Moines Metro Opera, Pensacola Opera, Ash Lawn Opera, Opera Saratoga, Hartford Opera Theater, PORTopera, Dicapo Opera Theatre, National Lyric Opera of New York, Rochester Oratorio Society, Tallahassee Community Chorus, Opera Theatre and Music Festival of Lucca (Italy), the Czech-American Summer Music Institute (Czech Republic), and under the guidance of Sherrill Milnes at Opera Tampa’s V.O.I.C.Experience.

Degrees include a Master of Music in vocal performance from the College of Music at Florida State University, and a Bachelor of Music in vocal performance from the School of Music at Western Carolina University. He is currently completing his Doctor of Musical Arts in performance and literature with a cognate in voice pedagogy and pathology at the Eastman School of Music.  He makes his home in Houghton with his wife, the composer Sarah Hutchings.

Click here to visit his website.