The Tender Land
- Music by Aaron Copland
- Libretto by Horace Everett
- June 14th and 16th, 2019
- Orr Auditorium
Meet Our Production Cast
In keeping with the mission of its founders, the Company consistently produces two to four operas each year. MROC productions of foreign-language operas are usually performed in English translation. However, in recent years, the Company has mounted the occasional production in original language with projected English supertitles. MROC hires several guest artists as professional singers, directors, designers and/or instrumental musicians for every production.
Although the Board of Directors accepts professional credentials throughout the year, open auditions for roles in all productions take place prior to the beginning of each new season. Thus, the Company assures experience but also utilizes the regional community's own impressive reserve of fine singers, musicians, and artists and also offers opportunities for younger musicians to grow into the operatic performance tradition.
William Shomos is Director of Opera at UNL, which in 2019, toured a production of The Tender Land to rural Nebraska. Since beginning his professional directing career with Muddy River Opera Company some 25 years ago, he has directed for numerous companies. Highlights of his singing career include the role of Wolfram in Wagner's Tannhäuser in Tirana, Albania--the land of his heritage, and a Lincoln appearance as Don Quixote in Man of La Mancha.
Dr. David Michael Galant has recently accepted the Assistant Professor of Music position at Creighton University and will be Music Director of the Creighton Symphony Orchestra in their 2019- 2020 season. He also is the Director of the Kanesville Symphony in Council Bluffs, Iowa and the Trinity United Methodist Chancel Choir of Ralston, Nebraska. This past year Dr. Galant was Assistant Conductor with Winter Opera St. Louis in their productions of Die Fledermaus, conducted the Charleston Symphony in South Carolina under the mentorship of Mark Gibson, and conducted Chess the musical with The TADA Theatre in Lincoln, Nebraska
Praised by The New York Times for singing with “bell-like clarity and surpassing sweetness,” Penelope Shumate has appeared at both Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York City. She is the first place winner in the 2019 American Prize for Vocal Performance in Oratorio and this summer debuts with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra for a recording at historic Abbey Road Studios in London. She has also sung with opera companies and orchestras across America.
Mark Gilgallon is delighted to return to Quincy and to the role of Grandpa Moss, which he performed for Muddy River Opera in 1995. He debuted with the company in 1990 as Simeon in The Nativity According to St. Luke and last appeared at Giorgio Germont in La Traviata. Since La Traviata, solo debuts were made at Carnegie and Avery Fisher Halls, with the Indianapolis, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and Kansas City symphonies, and the Cincinnati Pops with Erich Kunzel. In addition to Mark’s performing career, he serves as Director of Music at North United Methodist Chruch (Indianapolis), and a studio musician recording for Beckenhorst, Shawnee, Hal Leonard, Hope, Lorenz, and other choral publishers.
Praised for his powerful, colorful singing, tenor Stephen Carroll recently made his principal artist debut at Virginia Opera as Don Ottavio inDon Giovanni. Recent operatic roles include Normanno in Lucia di Lammermoorwith Virginia Opera, Dr. Blind in Die Fledermaus, with The Santa Fe Opera, Cassio in Otellowith Dayton Opera, Malcolm in Macbeth, First Armored Man in The Magic Flute with The Glimmerglass Festival, and Steve in A Streetcar Named Desire with Kentucky Opera.Originally from Scotch Plains, NJ, Stephen holds an artist diploma from the College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati, a master’s degree from University of North Texas, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware.
Mezzo-Soprano Lisa Blake holds degrees from Truman State and Missouri State University. She has been featured as a soloist for Bach’s Magnificat, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass, Handel’s Israel in Egypt and Messiah, and Mozart’s Requiem. This will be her fifth production with MROC. Some of her roles include Principessa in Suor Angelica, Mercedes in Carmen, and Lady 3 in The Magic Flute. Lisa has studied voice with Phyllis Robertson, Carol Mathieson, and Ann Marie Wilcox -Daehn.
This marks Bass-Baritone Steven Soebbing's fourth appearance with Muddy River Opera. Most recently, he was Papageno in The Magic Flute. Steven is the instructor of music and theater at John Wood Community College. A native of Quincy, Illinois, he received his doctorate and masters from the University of Nebraska -Lincoln and a bachelor’s in vocal performance and English from the University of Notre Dame. He has performed numerous opera roles including Seneca (L’incoronazione di Poppea), Mercutio (Roméo et Juliette), The Count (Le Nozze di Figaro), and Nick Bottom (A Midsummer Night'sDream). As a librettist with the composer Garrett Hope, their work The Passion of Jehanne, an opera on Joan of Arc, premiered in 2015 at Lincoln, Nebraska, was performed at University of Georgia in 2018, and is set for a 2020 New York City debut at Carnegie Hall.
David Czechut joined children’s choir when he was eight and hasn’t looked back since. He joined his first cast as Whitney in “Life With Father” for Hannibal-LaGrange University and has partaken in numerous productions since. He worked with Muddy River Opera as The Wolf for “Little Red Riding Hood” and the Witch for “Hansel and Gretel” and joined “The Magic Flute” as an armed man. He studied percussion performance at Quincy University with a minor in vocal performance and hopes to earn a graduate degree in music composition.
Gretchen Wolfmeyer is a mezzo-soprano from Quincy, IL. This is her first appearance with Muddy River Opera Company. Gretchen is an active volunteer at Quincy Community Theatre. She has previously performed such roles as Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd and Carrie Pipperidge in Carousel.. Gretchen is a cantor and soloist at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church. She is a member of the Square Peg Group-Troupe, a Quincy acting troupe found performing Shakespeare around town.
Support Our Mission
Muddy River Opera Company produces professional operatic performances and creates educational operatic opportunities for the people of Illinois, Iowa and Missouri. As a part of our mission to provide educational experiences, Muddy River Opera Company conducts Educational Outreach Tours with local grade school students. Overseen by a Muddy River Opera Company director, cast members from the opera workshops of Culver-Stockton College, John Wood Community College and Quincy University tour grade schools in various counties in Illinois and Missouri, staging high-quality operatic experiences that are enjoyed by grade school children.
By purchasing tickets to our performances, attending our fundraising events, volunteering your time with our productions, viewing our recorded media and donating to our organization, you are helping us advance our mission. Thank You!