An Afternoon at the Opera
September 29, 2019
3:00 p.m.
John Bellemer, tenor
Susannah Biller, soprano


Verdi: Overture to La Forza del Destino
Various Arias and Duets
Bizet: selections from Carmen Suite No. 1
Puccini: Finale of Act I from La bohème

Susannah Biller, soprano
Soprano Susannah Biller has been praised for her “incandescent, exquisitely supple soprano” (Dallas Morning News) and her “light, sweet lyric voice and coloratura agility” (Chicago Tribune). An alumnus of the prestigious Adler Fellowship Program with San Francisco Opera, she was seen as Frasquita in Carmen, Lolita in the world premiere of John Harbison’s Heart of a Soldier, Kristina in The Makropoulos Case and Madame Herz in Der Schauspieldirektor. Additional productions with San Francisco Opera include Der Ring des NibelungenSerse and Werther.

Last season included Norina in Don Pasquale with Minnesota Opera, Lieschen in Der Ring des Polykrates with The Dallas Opera, Nanetta in Falstaff with Opera Colorado, and her role debut as Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus with Des Moines Metro Opera. Engagements for the 2018-2019 season include the revival of her Kitty Packard in Dinner at Eight in her Wexford Festival debut as well as the title role in Madame White Snake on tour with Beth Morrison Projects for the Hong Kong Arts Festival, Musetta in La bohème with Austin Opera, and a return to Opera Theatre of St. Louis as the Countess in Le nozze di Figaro.

John Bellemer, tenor
American tenor John Bellemer has gained a reputation for his strong portrayals in a very wide repertoire. Possessed of a voice the New York Times calls “clarion-toned”, he continues to appear in leading roles at opera houses across North America and Europe. He is featured in the Academy Award-nominated film “Lincoln” as Gounod’s Faust. Engagements in the 2018-19 season include soloist in works by Schubert, Gardel, Ventadorn, and Dowland at the Salt Bay Chamberfest, and soloist in Hours of Freedom: The Story of the Terezín Composer with the Defiant Requiem Foundation at Zankel Hall in New York’s Carnegie Hall.

In the 2017-18 season, Mr. Bellemer’s highlights included the Duke of Mantua in Rigoletto with Michigan Opera Theatre, following his return to Berkshire Chorale Festival in the summer of 2017 as soloist in Verdi’s Requiem. In the 2016-17 season, Mr. Bellemer returned to Austin Lyric Opera as Der Steuermann in Der fliegende Holländer, Pacific Symphony Orchestra as soloist in Messiah, and debuted with North Carolina Opera as Nadir in Les pêcheurs de perles. His engagements in the 2015-16 season included his return to Hawaii Opera Theatre as Lysander in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Rodolfo in La bohèmewith Bangor Symphony Orchestra, soloist in Bach Cantatas with Toledo Symphony Orchestra, Hours of Freedom with Defiant Requiem Foundation at Czech Center New York, Carmina Burana with Teatro Regio di Torino, and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with Pacific Symphony Orchestra with a repeat performance in the summer.

Recent engagements included Don Ottavio in Don Giovanniand Sandy/Officer One in Davies’ The Lighthouse with Boston Lyric Opera; Gabriele in Foroni’s Cristina, regina di Sveziaand Sali in Delius’ A Village Romeo and Juliet with Wexford Festival Opera; Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontiusand Britten’s Spring Symphony with Berkshire Choral Festival; Toni in Henze’s Elegy for Young Lovers at Venice’s Teatro la Fenice; works by Schubert, Schumann and Brahms Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center; Male Chorus in The Rape of Lucretiawith Florence’s Maggio Musicale; Alfredo inLa Traviata with Florida Grand Opera; and Nebuchadnezzar in Britten’s The Burning Fiery Furnace and as Herold in Grassl’s Tassilowith Festival Mattseer Diabelli Sommer (Austria).

Other international appearances include Opéra National de Bordeaux, Opéra National de Lorraine, Opéra de Rouen, Teatro San Carlo di Napoli, Teatro Lirico di Cagliari, Teatro delle Muse, Spoleto Festival dei Due Mondi, Opéra de Rennes, Theater Erfurt, Stadttheater Giessen, Opéra Royal de Wallonie, Estonian National Opera, and Teatro Arriaga among others.

Mr. Bellemer’s extensive North American credits also include performances with New York City Opera, San Diego Opera, Michigan Opera Theater, Madison Opera, Cleveland Opera, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Hawaii Opera, Arizona Opera, Calgary Opera, Minnesota Opera, Palm Beach Opera, Dayton Opera, Opera Omaha, Austin Opera, Vancouver Opera, Opera Grand Rapids, Opera Ontario, Opera Birmingham, Opera San José, and the Berkshire Opera.

As concert artist, Mr. Bellemer has appeared with the Columbus Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, New York Choral Society, Calgary Philharmonic, American Symphony Orchestra, Berkeley Symphony Orchestra, Pacific Symphony, Choral Arts Society of Washington DC, Oratorio Society of New York, and concerts in Paris and New York City sponsored by UNESCO.

Mr. Bellemer toured with pianist John Wustman from 1992 to 1998, performing a program titled “The Songs of Franz Schubert.” He made his European recital debut at the Estonian National Opera.

Mr. Bellemer holds a bachelor’s degree from James Madison University and a master’s from the University of Illinois. He lives in New York with his wife, Sarah Blaze and their Parson Russell Terrier, Bandit.


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