The MelanchoLalaland multimedia opera posse (“team” if you must):
Director/Composer Joey Bargsten’s music (instrumental, electronic, vocal) has been performed in concert nationally and beyond, including the Indianapolis Symphony and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, as well as broadcast on NPR. His award-winning digital films have been featured in festivals across the U.S. (NYC, LA, San Francisco), as well as in a New World Symphony showcase (Miami Beach, 2014). His interactive digital art was featured/awarded in such publications as New Media and PRINT magazines, as well as in digital media exhibitions internationally. MelanchoLalaland—co-created with writer Thea Zimmer—was recently featured in Miami’s FilmGate Interactive Conference, 2015. Prior to Bargsten’s associate professorship in interactive multimedia at Florida Atlantic University, he taught at University of Iowa, Georgia Tech, Atlanta College of Art, and University of Oregon.
The opera’s writer/librettist Thea Zimmer also serves as the opera’s co-producer and choreographer (based on her history as a modern dancer). Thea Zimmer’s short stories are in such publications as Fringe Magazine, r.kv.r.y quarterly, New Dead Families, Unlikely Stories of the Third Kind, Weirdyear, Infinity’s Kitchen, Hackwriters, Infective Ink, and Dial Magazine. Check out her interactive narrative “Cake it!” (published first in Fringe) with digital art by Joey Bargsten at www.badmindtime.com/cake.
The opera’s live tenor, Matthew Maness, performed in the Florida Grand Opera’s Young Artists Series where his roles included Gastone de letorieres in La Traviata and Monostatos in Die Zauberflote as well as covering Rodolfo in La Boheme and Alfredo in La Traviata. This summer Matthew performed with Opera on the Avalon singing the role of Quint in The Turn of the Screw and he’ll sing the title role in Albert Herring with The Miami Summer Music Festival. Matthew performed with the Center City Opera Theater (PA) where he created the character Nijinsky in the world premiere of the opera Danse Russe as well as Ferrando in Cosi fan tutte, Ernesto in Don Pasquale, Alfred in Die Fledermaus, and Christoph in the North American premiere of The Shops. Matthew received his bachelors degree from the University of Florida where his roles included Jenik in The Bartered Bride, The Lover in Amelia goes to the Ball and Ferrando in Cosi fan tutte. Matthew now lives in Miami.
The opera’s live mezzo-soprano, Vanessa Rose Rivera, began her career as a professional vocalist in such choirs as The New Haven Choral and The United Girls’ Choir, performing throughout the U.S. including Disney World and Carnegie Hall. After graduating from Vassar College and the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s National Theater Institute, Vanessa pursued her interest in innovative theatre, participating in The Lincoln Theater Directors LAB in NYC and helped to form The Internationalists, a collective whose focus is transmedia and cross-cultural collaboration. Vanessa continues to appear internationally in singing/acting engagements for audiences of all ages on stage and on screen. She is now based in Miami Beach and enjoys performing locally as well as partaking in musical theater, commercials, television and web series, independent and feature films worldwide.
Michael Angelo Gonzalez, the opera’s live baritone, is a Miami native with a fine arts degree from the New World School of the Arts, Miami Beach. He’s also participated in Teatro Prometeo, one of the first all-Hispanic acting conservatories in U.S. Michael was last seen as the lead in the operas Il Matrimonio Segreto (The Secret Marriage), and Cenerentola (Cinderella), as well as Sky Masterson in Guy and Dolls. He also portrayed Garnet in the play Filo Al Fuego by Oliver Mayor, which premiered in the International Hispanic Theater Festival. His other credits include the roles of both a prince and a mourning father in the revue A Grand Night of Singing, as well as roles in Cabaret, Showtune, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, Side by Side, Oklahoma, and As the World Goes Round.
Katharine Goeldner, digitally recorded for the opera, has established an international reputation as a mezzo-soprano. She has appeared at the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Savonlinna Festival, Welsh National Opera, Minnesota Opera, and with the opera houses of Madrid, Salzburg, Oviedo, Toulouse, Lyon, Paris, Dallas, Antwerp, Bilbao, Seville and Dresden. Upcoming performances include Herodias in Salome with Virginia Opera, Bruckner’s Te Deum with the Oxford (UK) Philomusica, and Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde with the Royal Ballet at Covent Garden.
Joanne Togati, videotaped for the opera, is a classically trained award winning opera singer with a large jazz and Top 40 repertoire. She has worked with many great professionals in all three genres of music and is a singer/songwriter. She has been a young artist with Del’Arte Opera in NYC and recently recorded an opera album with Caren Levine of the Metropolitan Opera. She has been a scholarship student in opera at Marymount College as well as New World School of the Arts.
Patrick Reyes, tenor understudy, is a South Florida based actor.
Robin Martino, baritone understudy (trouser role), is a South Florida based actress.
Modern Dancers videotaped for the opera:
- Danielle Kipnis and Katie Wiegman of the Miami-based Nazmo Dance Collective.
- The Demetrius Klein Dance Company, a Palm-Beach-based dance company which includes Demetrius Klein, Amy Morales, Gaynelle Gosselin, and Kristen and Jeremy Vencel.
Professional (South FL) Actors (on video) for the opera:
- David Bennett
- Judi Huard
- Sara Bajger
- Robin Martino
- Mark Sherwin
- Douglas DeLisle
- J.J. Crowne
- Bruce Ebanks, animator
- Joey Bargsten, animator/videographer
- Richard Christian, videographer
- Andrea Guerrero, videographer
- Ileana Escalante, videographer