Presented by Opera Philadelphia and ePOP
Thursday, August 24, 2023
6:00 – 7:00 PM
1 S 15th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102
East Passyunk Opera Project and Opera Philadelphia team up again this year as they return to The Arts on Center Stage at Dilworth Park for an evening of the greatest hits from opera and musical theater in the impressive shadow of Philadelphia's City Hall!
The concert stars vocalists who perform all over the world; some of which have made Philadelphia their home! Artists include soprano Aubry Ballarò, mezzo-soprano Kathryn Leemhuis, mezzo-soprano Taylor-Alexis Dupont, tenor John Viscardi, baritone Jorell Williams, and pianist Aurelien Eulert.
Performance from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. | Free and open to the public
Bring-your-own blanket or chair encouraged. Seating in the Greenfield Lawn is limited.
Supported by PNC Bank
The Arts on Center Stage is generously supported with funds
from the Center City District Foundation (CCDF).
Programs are weather permitting and subject to change.
— Aubry Ballarò & Taylor-Alexis Dupont
La fleur que tu m'avais jetée
— John Viscardi
Ah scostati. . . Smanie implacabili
from Così fan tutte
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
— Kathryn Leemhuis
Soave sia il vento
from Così fan tutte
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
— Aubry Ballarò, Taylor-Alexis Dupont, & Jorell Williams
— John Viscardi
Spargi d'amaro pianto
from Lucia di Lammermoor
— Aubry Ballarò
Dunque io son
from Il barbiere di Siviglia
— Kathryn Leemhuis & Jorell Williams
— Taylor-Alexis Dupont
Un di felice, eterea
from La Traviata
— Aubry Ballarò & John Viscardi
What a Movie!
from Trouble in Tahiti
— Kathryn Leemhuis
Waiting for life to begin
from Once on this island
Lynn Ahrens & Stephen Flaherty
— Taylor-Alexis Dupont
The Impossible Dream
from Man of La Mancha
Wasserman, Leigh, and Darion
— Jorell Williams
Act III Quartet
— Aubry Ballarò, Kathryn Leemhuis, John Viscardi, & Jorell Williams
*program subject to change without notice
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 returned to State Opera Stara Zagora to debut the role of Violetta Valéry in Verdi’s La Traviata, and joined 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.
Taylor-Alexis Dupont, mezzo-soprano
Hailed by the Washington Post as a singer with a “beautifully rich and spirited” voice, Taylor-Alexis DuPont has performed internationally from China, to Italy, and in 2019, in NYC as a member of the Metropolitan Opera’s Grammy award winning production of Porgy and Bess. Soon after, Ms. DuPont joined Santa Fe Opera to perform the role of Moth in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and later debuted as a featured soloist with the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra.
In spring of 2023, Taylor-Alexis was awarded the first place Grand Prize at the 25th Lotte Lenya Competition. She then debuted with Washington National Opera as Phoebe in The Passion of Mary Cardwell Dawson. Taylor-Alexis has performed substantial roles with Virginia Opera, The Glimmerglass Festival, Heartbeat Opera, Florentine Opera and more. Ms. DuPont earned a Master’s Degree in Voice from Peabody Conservatory while studying with Denyce Graves. Taylor-Alexis is excited to make her Florida Grand Opera debut as Flora in La Traviata and Musetta in La bohème.
Aurelien Eulert, pianist
Hailing from Alsace, France, Aurelien Eulert made his U.S. house debut in 2014 with Palm Beach Opera as diction coach for their production of Les Contes d’Hoffmann and head coach for the Young Artist Program. Since then, he has been on the music staff of Charlottesville Opera, Opera Memphis, Opera Roanoke, Palm Beach Opera, Hawaii Performing Arts Festival, USC Thornton Opera, UCLA Alpert School of Music, Pacific Opera Project and the Los Angeles Opera Education department. Aurelien has played for acclaimed singers such as Marilyn Horne, Phyllis Curtin, Dawn Upshaw, Frederica von Stade and Rod Gilfry. He has assisted and performed under conductors such as James Conlon, Robert Spano and John Williams. In 2019, Aurelien was named Head of Music Staff at OperaDelaware, and was instrumental in launching the company’s Young Artist Program. He had previously held the position of Chorus Master and Principal Pianist since 2017. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, he was instrumental in OperaDelaware’s switch to digital and outdoor performances and continues to manage the acclaimed Pop-Up Opera program with outdoor presentations on the company’s mobile stage. Aurelien’s 2021/22 season included a return to the theatre stage with OperaDelaware’s productions of Don Pasquale, The Barber of Seville and The Marriage of Figaro, and a debut with Opera Southwest for Pelléas et Mélisande. His 2022/23 season includes debuts with Opera Philadelphia, Opera Baltimore and Intermountain Opera Bozeman. Aurelien holds degrees from the Conservatoire National de Strasbourg, Syracuse University and the University of Southern California, and attended the Tanglewood Music Center in the summer of 2010.
Kathryn Leemhuis, mezzo-soprano
American mezzo-soprano Kathryn Leemhuis has performed with international opera companies such as the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Dallas Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Teatro Colón, Fort Worth Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Florentine Opera, Chicago Opera Theater, Ash Lawn Opera, and Annapolis Opera, among others. One of her most notable roles is Dorabella in Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte, for which Kathryn has been hailed as “ravishing,” adding that “her sheer vocal beauty allied to nimbleness and an astonishing range of dynamic and coloristic nuance,” (Dallas Morning News). Her other prominent roles include Suzuki in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, Dido in Pucell’s Dido and Aeneas, Zerlina in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, the Mother in Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors, Paquette in Bernstein’s Candide, Hänsel in Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel, Giulietta in Offenbach’s Les contes d’Hoffmann, Amaltea in Rossini’s Mosè in Egitto, and Florence Pike in Britten’s Albert Herring.
On the concert stage, Kathryn has performed at Carnegie Hall, the Ravinia Festival, the Grant Park Music Festival, the Boise Philharmonic, with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra at the Tanglewood Music Festival. She performed with Chicago’s Music of the Baroque in both Haydn’s Missa in Angustiis and Mass in the Time of War, with the Apollo Chorus of Chicago in Händel’s Messiah, and with Gloriae Dei Cantores in Mozart’s Requiem and Vaughan Williams’ The Pilgrim’s Progress. She has also performed multiple times with the Richmond Symphony, presenting Berlioz’s Les nuits d'été, Berlioz’s Roméo et Juliette, and Mendelssohn’s Die erste Walpurgisnacht.
John Viscardi, tenor
John Viscardi has moved audiences around the world with his vocal beauty and dramatic intensity, having performed with Santa Fe Opera, Opera Philadelphia, New York City Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Des Moines Metro Opera, and Opera Carolina.
Winner of both the Gerda Lissner International Vocal Competition and Concorso Internazionale F.P. Tosti, Mr. Viscardi has appeared in both recital and concert at venues that include Carnegie Hall (New York), Geffen Hall (New York), Tokyo Opera City (Tokyo), Verizon Hall (Philadelphia) and Avery Fisher Hall (New York).
In October of 2022, Mr. Viscardi made his tenor debut in Puccini's Tosca as Cavaradossi with Opera Carolina. Of the performance, Afton Wooten for OperaWire remarked, "Viscardi did not hold back. His 'Recondita armonia' soared through the auditorium as it seemed he sang these endearments from his heart. The fullness of Viscardi’s sound blended beautifully with the orchestra – using a wide range of dynamics swelling to fortissimo and gradually back to sweet pianos."
The remainder of the 2022/23 season sees Mr. Viscardi as Pélleas in Pélleas et Melisande with LA Opera (cover), Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus with Opera San Louis Obispo, in concert with East Passyunk Opera Project at Philadelphia's Dilworth Park, at Carnegie Hall in the Hardin Requiem, and with Classic Lyric Arts at Merkin Hall. Mr. Viscardi is a 2023 Artist Fellow with the Philadelphia Center of Psychoanalysis.
Jorell Williams, baritone
American Baritone Jorell Williams is gracing the world’s most prominent concert and opera stages. The 2023-2024 season showcases Mr. Williams in debut engagements with Opera Omaha, Greek National Opera, Catapult Opera, Symphony Nova Scotia, and The Ottawa Choral Society, with returns to the National Philharmonic Orchestra, Brooklyn Art Song Society, and Tapestry Opera. A Native of Brentwood, NY, Jorell made his Lincoln Center Theater Off-Broadway debut in Lynn Nottage and Ricky Ian Gordon’s critically acclaimed Intimate Apparel in January 2022 (filmed for PBS Great Performances).
His career has brought him on tour with the Mark Morris Dance Company, Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Chorale Le Chateau, American Modern Ensemble, and Essential Voices USA. He had the honor to perform with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra in A Celebration of America at the Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theater on the occasion of the first Presidential Inauguration of Barack Obama, as well as the European premiere of Marsalis’ Abyssinian Mass at the Barbican during the 2012 Olympics in London. Mr. Williams has also worked alongside some of today’s most versatile artists, including Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu, Damien Sneed, Jon Batiste, David Lang, and most recently, Jennifer Higdon for her 2017 Grammy nominated World Premiere Opera Cold Mountain with the Santa Fe Opera. He is an advocate for artist rights and serves as chair of the artistic arts council of Finger Lakes Opera, is a member of the artistic council advisor for The Denyce Graves Foundation, On-Site Opera, and currently on the New Music Board for the Brooklyn Art Song Society, using his experience to consult with arts organizations on their Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives.