3rd Anniversary House Concert
December 14, 2022
Sometimes life gives you lemons. . .
Due to illness, pianist Aurelien Eulert AND opera couple Ashley Marie Robillard and Joshua Blue have had to withdraw from this event (the virus trifecta they've been warning us about is apparently, a real thing). We are sending them all the virtual hugs and warm wishes for a speedy recovery we can muster.
...and you make a delicious lemonade...
In their stead, we welcome one of Philly's favorite opera couples, acclaimed baritone Marcus DeLoach and pianist Grant Loehnig, and introducing: soprano Aubry Ballarò.
ePOP is thrilled to return to our roots with this event! This promises to be a wonderful evening of song, celebration, and an opportunity to support us as we look toward ePOP's future.
Seating is extremely limited and proof of vaccination is required to attend.
East Passyunk Opera Project (ePOP) was developed to create opportunities to bring opera off the stage and into Philadelphia communities. ePOP is the brainchild of Katrina Thurman—an opera singer who has performed with The Metropolitan Opera, Aurelien Eulert—pianist and head of music for Opera Delaware, and Robert Hawkey. Their desire is to bring the art form up close and personal in order to build a more intimate level of engagement between audiences, the artists, and the music.
From their first packed house concert in December of 2019, ePOP quickly pivoted to alternative venues in 2020 and staged successful outdoor performances in partnership with East Passyunk Avenue Business Improvement District as well as digital productions such as their 2021 Love Notes. They collaborate with exceptional visual and performance artists and unique venues in order to find innovative ways to bring free or low-cost performances of opera, musical theater, and art song to Philadelphia audiences.
Aubry Ballarò, soprano
Quickly gaining attention as a lyric coloratura soprano with exceptional bel canto technique, soprano Aubry Ballarò recently made her international debut as the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor with State Opera Stara Zagora. Soon after, Ms. Ballarò joined The Princeton Festival to sing the role of Madame Herz in their 2022 production of The Impresario.
In 2023, Ms. Ballarò will be returning to State Opera Stara Zagora to debut the role of Violetta Valéry in Verdi’s La Traviata, and will be joining Opera Columbus to debut the role of Gilda in Verdi’s Rigoletto.
Under the baton of Steven Mercurio, she has appeared twice at the Festival de Musique de Saint Barthélemy, singing Micaëla in their 2020 production of Carmen, and popular operatic selections in their 2021 concert with orchestra. Ms. Ballarò was a Finalist in the 2021 Vincerò World Singing Competition in Napoli, a winner of the 2019 Bologna International Vocal Competition, as well as a District Winner of the 2022 Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition.
Ms. Ballarò is a recent graduate of the Academy of Vocal Arts, where she was seen performing roles such as Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro, Musetta in La bohème, Juliette in Roméo et Juliette, and Oscar in Un ballo in maschera.
Marcus DeLoach, baritone
Following his debut at Opera Philadelphia in the East Coast premiere of Jennifer Higdon’s Cold Mountain in 2016, baritone Marcus DeLoach received critical acclaim for his creation of the roles of Senator Joseph McCarthy in Gregory Spears’ Fellow Travelers at Cincinnati Opera, and the Minister in Missy Mazzoli’s Breaking the Waves at Opera Philadelphia. He reprised both roles for their New York premieres at the PROTOTYPE festival in 2017 and 2018, and went on to make his Lyric Opera of Chicago debut as Senator McCarthy in Fellow Travelers in the spring of 2018.
Marcus was hailed as “powerfully convincing” in his Opera Ireland (Dublin) debut as Joseph De Rocher in Dead Man Walking in 2007. And in 2009 he received critical acclaim for his debut at Teatro Comunale di Bolzano (Italy) as Jean in Philippe Boesmans’ Julie. From 2000-2006, as a principal artist of New York City Opera, he sang the roles of Count Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro, Satyr and Cithéron in Platée, Slim in Of Mice and Men, and many others. He has also appeared in principal roles with American Opera Projects, Boston Lyric Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Seattle Opera, Utah Opera, and many others.
Marcus has appeared in concert with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, The London Symphony Orchestra, Die Münchner Philharmoniker, MDR Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, and numerous other American orchestras. In1997 he was unanimously voted the first-place winner of London's inaugural Wigmore Hall International Song Competition, and in 2004, he joined the acclaimed rock group Trans-Siberian Orchestra in a national tour of their rock opera Christmas Eve and Other Stories.
Marcus currently serves as Associate Professor of Voice and Opera at Temple University’s Boyer College of Music and Dance.
Grant Loehnig, pianist
Pianist and vocal coach Grant Loehnig serves as Head of Music Staff at Opera Philadelphia and a Master Opera Coach on the faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music. He works regularly on the music staff of Lyric Opera of Chicago and Aspen Opera Theater. He also frequently serves as a district judge for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. His recital credits include collaborations with Susanne Mentzer, Morris Robinson, Paul Groves, John Holiday, Will Liverman, and Marcus DeLoach. Recently released recordings include a premiere recording of songs of Carlisle Floyd with Susanne Mentzer, art songs of Karim Al-Zand, the premiere recording of David Hertzberg’s opera The Wake World, and the premiere of a piece by Tyshawn Sorey written expressly for countertenor John Holiday and Grant.
For over ten years Grant served as Head of Music Staff for Wolf Trap Opera, where he also served as a recitalist and chorus master. He prepared the chorus and small roles for Houston Symphony’s performances of Wozzeck, awarded the 2018 Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording. Grant is a graduate of Macalester College, Manhattan School of Music, Houston Grand Opera Studio, Music Academy of the West, and San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program. Before joining the Curtis Institute faculty, he served on the Opera Studies faculty of Rice University in Houston.
Katrina Thurman, soprano
Soprano Katrina Thurman has been praised for her “remarkably vibrant and flexible voice” (Gramophone) and her “wonderfully clear sound and natural warmth of character” (Opera News). She is a versatile artist who has built a solid reputation performing traditional operatic repertoire while also specializing in contemporary opera and musical theatre. Her repertoire encompasses over 45 roles in six languages and has taken her to theaters including The Metropolitan Opera, Opéra de Lyon and Festival Lyrique de Belle-Ile en Mer (France), Oper Bonn (Germany), Opera Philadelphia, The Dallas Opera, Glimmerglass Festival, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Florentine Opera, New York City Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Opera Omaha, Utah Opera, Tulsa Opera, American Opera Projects, Anchorage Opera, and Indianapolis Opera.
Ms. Thurman is a noted specialist in contemporary opera and created the roles of Liz in Cummings’ The Golden Gate (American Opera Projects), Blanche Ingram in Karchin’s Jane Eyre (Center for Contemporary Opera & recording on Naxos label), Isabella Beecher in Bond’s Mrs. President (Anchorage Opera), and Martha in Karchin’s Romulus (American Opera Projects) which was also recorded on the Naxos label. The 2021-2022 season saw her debut with Opera Naples as Hildy in On the Town and her stage debut with The Metropolitan Opera as Meretaten in Akhnaten. Upcoming engagements include her debut with Virginia Opera as Miss Lightfoot in Gregory Spears’ Fellow Travelers.