The Symphony season comes to a close with a semi-staged presentation of Carmen. See for yourself why this is the world’s most beloved opera. A first for the Billings Symphony Orchestra & Chorale.
Featuring: Billings Symphony Chorale, Kristee Haney (Carmen), Christie Conover (Micaëla), Benjamin Cleveland (Don José), Gregory Gerbrandt (Escamillo) , Bret Weston (Zuniga), Amy Logan (Mercédès), Janie Sutton (Frasquita), Eric Hudgson (Morales), Geneva Copeland (Remendado), Carrie House ( Danciare), NOVA Center for the Performing Arts ROCK Choir
Directed by Susan Sommerfeld
Susan has been a part of the music and theatre community in Billings for many years as a singer, actor, director, and choreographer. Some of her favorite roles include Lady of the Lake, in BST’s production of “Spamalot”, as Frau Blucher, in “Young Frankenstein the Musical” and as Norma Desmond, in “Sunset Boulevard”, with Venture Theatre at Nova. Her memorable works as a director include “Chicago”, “Forever Plaid”, “Les Miserables”, and “It’s a Wonderful Life – a Radio Show”. Susan has also been a guest vocal artist with the Billings Symphony Orchestra & Chorale. When not at the theatre, she spends her time at her art glass studio, Kennedy’s Stained Glass. She has a BFA in Musical Theatre from the United States International School of Performing and Visual Arts.
Written by French composer George Bizet, Carmen premiered at Opèra-Comique on March 3, 1875. At first, it received critical reviews. It wasn’t until several shows ran outside of Paris, did it begin to gain notoriety. After its return to Paris in 1883, Carmen really became popular world-wide. Bizet passed away unexpectedly after Carmen’s 33rd show. He never knew the international acclaim his opera would achieve.
Kristee Haney (Carmen,) – Mezzo-Soprano – is known for her performance of Carmen in George Bizet’s Carmen. Haney has performed throughout North America and Europe, most notably with the New York City Opera. She is an accomplished soloist with numerous symphony orchestras.
Christie Conover (Micaëla) – Soprano – is a Billings native and has received national attention through esteemed competitions. Conover’s performances of Micaëla have garnered her critical acclaim. She made her international debut with the Komische Oper Berlin during the 2015-2016 season. She has performed with symphony orchestras all over the nation.
Gregory Gerbrandt (Escamillo) – Baritone – has performed over 70 principal roles with top opera, musical theatre, and symphonic organizations on five continents, singing for ambassadors and other officials from all over the world. Gerbrandt has created the lead role in four World Premiere operas and is constantly in high demand to perform the prominent standards of Italian, French, English, and Russian opera.
Ben Cleveland (Don José) – Tenor – is from Spokane, WA. He has worked as an apprentice artist at the Lyric Opera of Kansas City and was an Emerging Artist at Opera New Jersey. Ben is currently performing with Seattle Opera’s touring production of Cinderella en España, and recently sang the role of Don Josè in Pacific Opera Northwest’s production of Carmen. Other recent performance credits include Rodolfo in La bohème, Boris in Katya Kabanova, Sam in Susannah, and Tamino in Die Zauberflöte.