ACT 1: The water nymph Rusalka has fallen in love with a human—the Prince—when he came to swim in her lake. Now she wants to become human herself and live on land to be with him. Rusalka’s father, the Water Sprite, is horrified and tells her that humans are evil and full of sin. When Rusalka insists, claiming they are full of love, he says she will have to get help from the witch Ježibaba. Rusalka calls on the moon to tell the Prince of her love. Ježibaba arrives and agrees to turn Rusalka into a human—but warns her that if she doesn’t find love she will be damned and the man she loves will die. Also, by becoming mortal, she will lose her power of speech. Convinced that her feelings for the Prince can overcome all spells, Rusalka agrees and Ježibaba gives her a potion to drink. As dawn breaks, the Prince appears with a hunting party and finds Rusalka by the lake. Even though she won’t speak to him, he is captivated by her beauty and leads her away to his castle. From the lake, the voices of the Water Sprite and the other water nymphs are heard, mourning the loss of Rusalka.
ACT 2: At the Prince’s castle, the Gamekeeper and the Kitchen Boy talk about the approaching wedding of the Prince and his strange new bride, whose name nobody knows. The Prince enters with Rusalka. He wonders why she is so cold toward him but remains determined to win her. A Foreign Princess, who has come for the wedding, mocks Rusalka’s silence and reproaches the Prince for ignoring his guests. The Prince sends Rusalka away to dress for the ball and escorts the Princess into the castle for the beginning of the festivities.
In the deserted garden, the Water Sprite appears from the pool. Rusalka, who has become more and more intimidated by her surroundings, rushes from the castle in tears. Suddenly recovering her voice, she begs her father to help her, telling him that the Prince no longer loves her. The Prince and the Princess come into the garden, and the Prince confesses his love for her. When Rusalka intervenes, rushing into his arms, he rejects her. The Water Sprite warns the Prince of the fate that awaits him, then disappears into the pool with Rusalka. The Prince asks the Princess for help but she ridicules him and tells him to follow his bride into hell.
ACT 3 Rusalka waits by the lake once again, lamenting her fate. Ježibaba appears and mocks her, then hands her a knife and explains that there is a way to save herself: she must kill the Prince. Rusalka refuses, throwing the weapon into the water. When her sisters reject her as well, she sinks into the lake in despair. The Gamekeeper and the Kitchen Boy arrive to ask Ježibaba for help. The Prince, they say, has been bewitched by a strange wood girl he was going to marry. Enraged, the Water Sprite rises from the lake, saying that it was the Prince who deceived Rusalka. Terrified by the supernatural sight, the two run away. The wood nymphs enter, singing and dancing, but when the Water Gnome explains to them what has happened to Rusalka, they fall silent and disappear.
The Prince, desperate and half crazy with remorse, emerges from the forest, looking for Rusalka and calling out for her to return to him. She appears from the water, reproaching him for his infidelity, and explains that now a kiss from her would kill him. Accepting his destiny, he asks her to kiss him to give him peace. She does, and he dies in her arms. Rusalka asks for mercy on his soul and disappears into the water.
Rebecca Beck, a California native, received her Bachelor of Music degree from California State
University, Northridge (2014) and her Master of Music degree from Boston University (2018).
While in school, she had numerous performing opportunities; her favorites include Miss
Wordsworth (Albert Herring), Damigella (L’incoronazione di Poppea), Denise (Sweet’s by Kate)
and Amelia (Amelia al Ballo). Her last season included Lauretta in Puccini's Gianni Schicchi with Greater Worcester Opera, Countess in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro with LAH-SOW, Frasquita in Bizet's Carmen with MIOpera and Micaela (cover) in Carmen with Music on Site, Inc. She has also had the opportunity to perform with Red River Lyric Opera, New England Opera Intensive, and Opera on Tap (Rhode Island). Other notable roles include Musetta in Puccini's La Boheme, Juliette in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette, and Queen of the Night in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte.
Award-winning tenor Logan Briscoe has enchanted stateside and European audiences alike with his captivating performances. A native of Saratoga Springs, New York, Logan began his study of voice at Concordia University Wisconsin and went on to graduate work at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee. Since his operatic debut amidst the pandemic of 2020, he has brought his heroic sound to UWM Opera Theatre, Utah Vocal Arts Academy, Opera Seme, and Music On Site. Most recently Logan has taken on the role of Kaspar in Amahl and the Night Visitors, Il Podestà in La finta giardiniera, and the titular role in Handel's Samson. Logan is looking forward to taking part in LAHSOW's production of Rusulka and Festival Napa Valley this summer 2023.
Haley Burgh is a Soprano from Greenwood, IN, having earned her Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance from DePauw University’s School of Music. She will be attending the Florida State University College of Music for her Master of Music in Voice, beginning this fall. Her collegiate credits include Dido in Dido and Aeneas, Gertrude in Hansel ünd Gretel, Sibella in A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, and Dorothée in Cendrillon. Haley competed in the District Round of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, was a finalist at the 2017 Michael Feinstein American Songbook Competition, and performed with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra at the Hilbert Circle Theatre for Jack’s Broadway Standing Ovations concert. Haley was announced one of the winners of the 2020 DePauw Concerto Competition, and other recent awards include various First Place finishes in her Classical and Musical Theatre divisions at District and Regional NATS competitions, as well as a Rising Star Award from the Indianapolis Encore Association. Haley would like to thank her family, as well as Mary Martin, Dr. Kerry Jennings, Dr. Caroline Smith, Laura Brumbaugh, and Tony Weinstein for the incredible lessons and encouragement they have provided, both in and outside of the studio.
Canadian soprano Alysse Chivonne, began her musical studies at age three in Elbow, rural Saskatchewan. Noted for her voice's thrilling spin and her sparkle on stage, Alysse honed her musical sensitivity through choristership as an adolescent with the Saskatoon Children’s Choir directed by Phoebe Voigts while touring Austria, Germany, Czech Republic, and South Africa. She recently graduated with a Bachelor of Music from Wilfrid Laurier University in vocal performance under the tutelage of Leslie Fagan and had the opportunity to work with Russel Braun, Jane Archibald, and Isabel Bayrakdarian during her time there. Roles she has performed include excerpts of Sophie from Der Rosenkavalier, Casilda in The Gondoliers, Emily Post in Etiquette, four commission roles for the Canadian Opera Festival with Vera Causa Opera, and soprano soloist for Mozart’s “Piccolomini” Mass in C. Always ready for adventure, she is thrilled to be in the trouser role of Turnspit in Rusalka. When not making music, Alysse enjoys growing cucumbers and horseback riding!
Alicen Criner is a junior Vocal Performance major from Houston, Texas, and she attends Oklahoma State University. She studies voice under April Golliver-Mohiuddin. Alicen has held roles such as Eustazio (Rinaldo), First Witch (Dido and Aeneas), and Jack’s Mother (Into the Woods). In opera scenes she has had roles such as 3rd Lady (Die Zauberflöte), Public Opinion (Orpheus in the Underworld), and Ma Moss (The Tender Land). Alicen is also a member of the OSU Concert Chorale where she is Alto Section Leader. She would like to thank her family for always supporting and encouraging her.
Soprano Taylor Davis is from Houston, Texas. Past roles include Papagena/First Spirit (Die Zauberflote), Cleopatra (Giulio Cesare), Della (The Gift of the Magi), Dance Captain (The Merry Widow), Meg March and Jo March (Little Women), Isabel (The Pirates of Penzance) and ensemble for numerous other operas and musicals. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Music Education in 2020 from Howard Payne University, and was a voice student of Dr. Gregory Church. In 2022, she received her Master’s degree in Vocal Performance, and studied under Dr. Scott LaGraff. Currently, she serves as an elementary music teacher, teaching K-4th grade music, in Pasadena ISD and serves as a staff singer at Bellaire United Methodist Church. Vita Brevis, Ars Longa and God bless!
Emily Densmore is a soprano from Austin, TX. She just recently graduated with a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance with a Minor in Italian from The University of Texas at Austin. She began her musical journey by performing musical theatre and is a classically trained actress through Austin’s premier company ZACH Theatre. Her previous performances include Chorus in Austin Opera’s Sweeney Todd, and various productions with the Butler Opera Center which include Les Contes D’Hoffmann, Carmen, and Elisir D’amore. She was an invited performer to a Masterclass taught by Sasha Cooke and Austin Opera’s Sarah and Ernest Butler Masterclass Series. She will be continuing her studies in the fall at The University of Texas at San Antonio, pursuing a Masters of Music in Vocal Performance and a Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership.
Houston born mezzo-soprano Katherine Dobbs (Ježibaba) is going into her second year of graduate studies as a Master of Music in Vocal Performance at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University. A student of Dr. Robin Rice, she performed as Ottavia in L’incoronzione di Poppea and Mrs. Jones in Street Scene for the 2022-2023 academic season. This past semester she also won 2nd place in the Gilbert and Sullivan Society of Houston’s Career Grant Competition. With a Bachelor of Music and minors in German and Italian from DePauw University, she performed as Orfeo in Orfeo ed Euridice, Miss Todd in The Old Maid and the Thief, Die Knusperhexe in Hänsel und Gretel, and as Madame de la Haltière in Cendrillon. Later this summer she will be a studio artist at the Music Academy of the West and will be returning to Dolora Zajick’s Institute for Young Dramatic Voices.
William Dopp (Vodník) is a Bass-baritone and just completed his first year of study pursuing his Master of Music degree at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music. William is a native of New Orleans, Louisiana and received his Bachelor of Music degree in vocal performance at Southeastern Louisiana University. Past roles include Littore in the Shepherd School of Music’s production of L’incorazione di Poppea, Carl Olsen in the Shepherd School of Music’s production of Street Scene, Figaro in FIO Italia’s production of Le nozze di Figaro in Urbania, Italy, Don Magnifico in FIO Italia’s production of La Cenerentola, and Dr. Falke in Southeastern Louisiana University’s production of Die Fledermaus.
Delaney Downs, mezzo-soprano, is based in Des Moines, Iowa. She is currently a student of Leanne Freeman-Miller's at Drake University and will graduate in May 2024 with a degree in vocal performance. Most recently, Delaney performed as Hansel in Drake Opera Theater’s production of Hansel and Gretel, and is currently preparing the role of Orlofsky for their upcoming production of Die Fledermaus. Other roles include Cherubino in Drake Opera Theater’s production of Le Nozze di Figaro, and numerous roles in their Opera Scenes program. In addition, Delaney has sung with the Des Moines Metro Opera as a chorister and cover for the Second Spirit in their 2022 production of Die Zauberflöte. This last summer, she sang La Ciesca in the International Lyric Academy’s production of Gianni Schicchi.
Delaney has placed in several competitions over the span of her undergraduate career, including 1st place in her division at the Central Region NATS Competition (2022) as well as 3rd place in the Senior Voice Division in the National MTNA Competition (2019).
Abigail Gerstle is a recent graduate of Moores School of Music and will be
attending Appalachian State University for a graduate degree in vocal performance this
fall. Her past performances include chorus roles in Moores’ productions of Orpheus in
the Underworld and Le Nozze di Figaro. Additionally, she recently participated in a
French impressionist workshop and concert series last summer. Abigail’s upcoming
roles include first wood maiden in LAH-SOW’s Rusalka, as well as Alcina in Handel
Opera Academy’s production of Alcina. When not performing, she teaches voice and
piano lessons and has a particular interest in Baroque opera.
Tenor Steven Halloin is a Chicago-based performer that is bringing his international voice to Houston, and he is honored to be performing in this production of Rusalka with LAHSOW. In 2020 he performed at the Fondation des États-Unis in Paris in a revival of André Grétry’s Émilie, ou la belle esclave (Aly) with the Really Spicy Opera Company. Since then, he has performed in various productions with the Chicago College of Performing Arts, the Opera Reading Project, and Lyric Opera of the North while working on his Master’s in Classical Voice. His current teachers are Mark Crayton and David Jones.
Lauren Ingebrigtsen (Ježibaba) is a Chicago based singer and a Teaching Artist with the Lyric
Opera of Chicago. She recently graduated from Oklahoma City University with an M.M. in
Opera Performance. While at OCU she was Mrs. Peachum in OCU’s Threepenny Opera, and The Secretary in Menotti’s The Consul. She is excited to be performing in Rusalka opposite Sarah Kuhlmann, one of her favorite people, whom she met during her time at OCU. Based in Chicago, she has also performed the role of Edka in Heggie’s Two Remain at Chicago Fringe Opera and Florence Pike in Albert Herring with Chicago Summer Opera. She also has a private studio full of students whom she adores.
Soprano Elizabeth Kirkconnell just completed her first year of study pursuing her Master of Music degree under the tutelage of Professor Ana María Martínez. This past spring, she sang Damigella in the Shepherd School of Music's production of L'incoronazione di Poppea. In the fall, she performed as Nursemaid #2 in Street Scene. She received her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of North Florida in 2021. During her undergraduate studies, she performed as the Sorceress in Dido and Aeneas, Miss Todd in The Old Maid and the Thief, Ramiro in La finta giardiniera, and Drei Dame in Die Zauberflöte. She is the 2022-23 recipient of the Schissler Foundation Graduate Fellowship in Opera Studies.
Sarah Kuhlmann is an opera singer based in the midwestern United States. Her past credits include Musetta in La bohème and Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi, both performed with Heartland Opera Theatre. This Fall, she will be singing Eliza in a production of Nico Muhly’s Dark Sisters with Journey North Opera Company. She has also performed Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, Magda in The Consul, and Magda in La Rondine. Sarah is very passionate about exposing new audiences to opera and creating engagement with the art form. She has deeply enjoyed the process of preparing Rusalka, and is excited to sing alongside her friend, Lauren, as Ježibaba!
Lyric tenor Collin LaHood (Prince) is in his second year of study pursuing his Master of Music degree at Rice University in the studio of Professor Nova Thomas. He completed his Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance at the Townsend School of Music at Mercer University. During his undergraduate studies, he was a winner in competitions including the National Association of Teachers of Singing Competition, where he won first place in the Georgia State Competition for his division and second in the Southeast Regional Competition. Collin has performed with The Savannah Philharmonic as the tenor soloist in Messiah and his most recent performance was with Rice University as an Amico in L'incoronazione di Poppea. He hails from Germantown Hills, Illinois. Mr. LaHood is the 2022-23 recipient of the Dorothy K. Brockman Endowed Scholarship in Voice.
Latina-American soprano Daniela Machado hails from South Florida with her roots being in Puerto Rico and Colombia. Machado has just completed her first year of graduate studies at the Shepherd School of Music under the tutelage of Professor Nova Thomas. She received her Bachelor of Music from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music under the instruction of Salvatore Champagne. She was featured in the Shepherd School of Music’s fall production of Street Scene as Anna Maurrant as well as several Oberlin Opera Theater productions including Amelia al Ballo as Amelia and La Voix Humaine as Woman #1. Machado looks forward to her continued study and is grateful for the opportunities she has been afforded.
Anastassia Marr, soprano, is a resident of Slidell, Louisiana and received her Bachelor of Music degree in vocal performance at Southeastern Louisiana University. When at Southeastern, Anastassia was featured in numerous operas, musicals, and concerts including: Die Fledermaus (Strauss II), Opera by the Slice, and A Night on Broadway. Perhaps her most notable role at Southeastern was La Fée, the fairy godmother, in Pauline Viardot’s Cendrillon. Last summer, Anastassia had the distinct honor of working alongside world-renowned coloratura soprano Luciana Serra, in a series of masterclasses in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of southwestern France. While participating in these masterclasses, Anastassia was able to showcase her refinement of the French language and performed at the Cathédrale Caprais d’Agen in Agen, France. In the Fall, Anastassia will be pursuing her Master of Music degree in opera performance at Oklahoma City University.
Conner McWhirter is currently a performance diploma Student at Indiana University under Professor Michelle Deyoung. This summer Conner will perform with the Prague Opernfest in Smetana Hall with the festival orchestra.This fall he will perform Tybalt in Romeo et Juliette both in Bloomington and in Indianapolis. Past credits with IU opera Theater include the Torero in Ainadamar and in Candide Inquisitor and Chorus. With Carol Vaness’ Opera Workshop he performed Cavaradossi, Gherado, Anatol and Pong. Last summer he was Il Duca in Rigoletto with Mediterranean Opera Festival and Gherardo in Gianni Schicchi. He obtained his Masters at Southern Methodist University with Prof Clifton Forbis and Bachelors with Prof. Jan Opalach at the Eastman School of Music, and studied with Richard Owens at Rollins College.
From Atlanta, GA, Myka Murphy is a mezzo-soprano, who has been described as “a (vocal) powerhouse...with an abundant quality of strength” (Opera Wire). This season Ms. Murphy is thrilled to be developing two new works with fellow Juilliard composing Alums, Trey Makler and Ivan Enrique Rodriguez; as well as working on a concert version as Venus in Wagner’s Tannhäuser with Atlanta Concert Opera. Most recently she returned to Opera Mississippi to perform in their double bill of Menotti’s the Medium as Madame Flora and Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi as Zita. Other Performance highlights include: emboding the role of Baba the Turk from The Rake's Progress at Boston University, making her Jackson Symphony debut as the mezzo soloist for Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, portraying Sorceress in the Juilliard School’s production of Dido and Aeneas with Juilliard’s Historical Performance ensemble—Juilliard 415, which she reprised in the touring production with performances at London’s Holland Park and Versaille’s Opéra Royal.
Nina Mutalif is a Uyghur Soprano who has been hailed by Opera News as possessing “a real find, with a shimmering lyric soprano voice of fine quality” Mutalif appeared in several concerts at Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, Kaufman Music Center in past seasons. She made her professional debut singing the Countess(Le Nozze di Figaro)with Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra, She has also appeared as Alice Ford(Falstaff)with Martina Arroyo’s Prelude to Performance and Tatyana (Eugene Onegin)with TU Opera. She was young artist in Chicago Opera Theater and Aspen Music Festival. Her future engagements include the role debut of Rusalka in Houston with LAHSOW workshops , Donna Anna ( Don Giovanni)in Aquilon music festival.
Soprano Beautiful Sheriff (1st wood sprite) is a first-year master’s student at the Shepherd school of Music, studying with Professor Ana María Martínez. Originally from Fort Valley, Georgia, Beautiful began studying voice her sophomore year of college at Mercer University where she performed as ‘Second Woman’ in Handel’s Dido and Aeneas and ‘Perlimpinpin’ in Pauline Viardot’s La Dernier Sorcier, along with being in the chorus for varying shows . This semester, Miss Sheriff performed as ‘Atalanta’ in Handel’s Atalanta and ‘Venere’ in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea at the Shepherd School of Music.
Claire Trochesset is a 22 year old soprano born and raised in Houston, TX. She recently graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University with her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance. Some of her most recent roles include Frasquita in Carmen, 2nd Lady in The Magic Flute, and La Ciesca in Gianni Schicchi. She is excited to be returning to LAH SOW as 2nd Woodsprite.