This preview was provided by Singer’s Circle.

Singer’s Circle was founded by Monifa Harris in 2009. This organization by and for singers, was formed to be a safe place and support group for singers developing their talents. Independent singers face a number of challenges without the resources of a university or company.  We address these problems by providing opportunities to perform, feedback from seasoned performers, and connections to other singers and musicians.

Sing-Through: There are many steps for an opera singer to learn, perfect, and perform a role in full production and a sing-through concert is one of them.  After studying the role alone in practice, then with a coach, the next step is to join with other singers and begin to mesh the musical lines and characterization with the other roles. These wonderful professional singers will be performing this role in concert with no staging concentrating on the beautiful music emotion of the show. We welcome you to experience the excitement of these incredible voices bringing these roles to life before your eyes.

Philip van Lidth de Jeude, Director: Career spans the German-speaking areas of Europe and in the Netherlands, performing with the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Dusseldorf, Cologne Opera, State Theater of Oldenburg, Bavarian State Theater at Gärtnerplatz, and the Eutin Summer Opera Festival.

Mitchener Howell – Otello: Mitchener Howell, tenor is a native of Durham, NC. He attended the Durham Public Schools and after graduating from Jordan High School he pursued a B. A.from Yale University where he founded the Yale College Opera Company. During his time at Yale, he served many roles with the company from directing the company’s inaugural production of Handel’s Giulio Cesare to performing as Astolf in Schubert’s Die Verschworenen.

Kimberley Bentley – Desdemona: Proclaimed “… ravishing to the ear” by the Raleigh News and Observer and “…vocally captivating” by Spectator Magazine, Kimberley Bentley’s “rich and mature” soprano is ideal for the leading ladies of Verdi, Puccini and Strauss. Ms. Bentley’s roles include Amelia in Un Ballo in Maschera, Waltraute in Die Walküre, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, Musetta in La Bohème, Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus and the role of Mother in Hansel and Gretel which she performed with The North Carolina Symphony and Capital Opera Raleigh.

Jeffrey Carlson – Iago: Bass-baritone Jeffrey Carlson possesses a rich, lyric voice and engaging stage presence in opera, recitals and musical theater. He has sung on stages in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Washington, D. C., Graz (Austria), and throughout central North Carolina where he currently resides.

Catherine Hamner – Accompanist: Ms. Hamner received her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees at UNC-Chapel Hill, with additional study at Florida State University and in Europe. Upon completion of her master’s degree, she performed a Mozart piano concerto with the NC Symphony on tour.  Years later, she conducted two operas with the NC Symphony: Cosi fan tutte, by Mozart and La Perichole, by Offenbach.  Mrs. Hamner spent a summer music directing the Cleveland Lyric Opera Company’s apprentice program, under the baton of Benton Hess.

Also featuring:
Vasco Botelho – Cassio
Monifa Harris – Emilia
Dante Harrell – Roderigo
Thomas Keefe – Montano/A Herald

Otello Synopsis

Act 1 In front of the castle, beside the harbor: The people of Cyprus wait for Otello, their new governor.  Jago plots with Roderigo to seduce Otello’s wife Desdemona.  Later at the celebration Cassio and Montano get into a sword fight due to Cassio’s drunkenness resulting in his inability to take watch.  Otello asks “honest Jago” what he thinks and then declares Cassio is no longer captain.  The act ends with Desdemona and Otello recounting how they fell in love.

Act 2 Inside the castle, a chamber next to the garden: Jago sends Cassio to talk about his demotion with Desdemona then tells Jago that he is worried that Cassio and Desdemona are having an affair.  Later Jago demands Desdemona give him her handkerchief and after she refuses takes if from her. Desdemona implores Otello for to reinstate Cassio.  Otello sends her away and begins to doubt her loyalty.  After discussing it with Jago he plans on vengeance.

Act 3 A great hall of the castle: Desdemona approaches Otello to remind him of Cassio’s request.  Otello states he has headache and asks for the handkerchief he gave her to soothe it.  When she can not produce it after several requests he becomes distraught then angry unto violence when Lodovico stops him.  Otello announces bitterly that he has been called into battle and Cassio will be the new governor.  He refuses consolation from Desdemona.

Act 4 Desdemona’s chamber: Desdemona prepares for bed remembering the Willow Song her mother used to sing.  Otello wakes her to ask her if she has prayed because it is time for her to die and he doesn’t want to damn her immortal soul.  She begs him not but Otello tells her it is too late and strangles her.  Emilia comes to tell Otello that Roderigo is dead and finds her mistress dying by the bed.  Emilia chastises Otello for believing Iago and tells him Iago stole her handkerchief and killed Cassio. After realizing what has happened Otello grieves Desdemona’s death and turns a dagger on himself to die beside her.