Cast Information

Linh Kauffman (Pocahontas) – Praised as “radiant” by the Saint Paul Pioneer Press, soprano Linh Kauffman has appeared in oratorio, opera, new music and musical theater. She recently made her Latin American debut as Melia in Mozart’s Apollo et Hyacinthus at the Teatro Nacional de Panama. She was a festival artist the Oregon Bach Festival, soloing under Maestro Helmuth Rilling in Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy and lecture concerts of Bach’s Mass in B Minor, which were filmed for an upcoming multimedia project. Highlights of recent seasons include solos with Minnesota Orchestra (Arvo Pärt’s Como cierva sedienta under the baton of maestro Osmo Vänskä), the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra (McMillan’s Seven Last Words from the Cross), and the Richmond Symphony (St. Matthew Passion). She recently toured Germany as the choral soloist in Sven-David Sandstrom’s Messiah at the Rheingau Festival, Berlin Philharmonie, and on German radio. She also appeared with the Festival Ensemble Stuttgart in Vaughan Williams’ Serenade to Music and in Haydn’s Heiligmesse, which was recorded and released on the Hänssler Classics label. She has twice been a young artist at the Weill Music Institute at Carnegie Hall, working with Ton Koopman on Handel choral works and Maestro Rilling on Haydn’s Creation. She performed Tarik O’Regan’s new cantata The Ecstasies Above with Minnesota’s Alchemy Ensemble, the Angel in Respighi’s Lauda per la Natività del Signore and Stravinsky’s Mass with the Bach Chamber Players of St. Paul, and Carmina Burana with the Oratorio Society of Minnesota.

Juli Bunyak (Young Pocahontas) – Ms. Bunyak hails from Littleton, CO.  She attended the University of Denver where she received her Bachelor of Music degree under the instruction of Kevin Kennedy.  She recently completed her Master of Music degree from Northwestern University and currently studies with Sunny Joy Langton and Alan Darling.  Bunyak has performed the roles of Adina in L’elisir d’amore, Barbarina in Le nozze di Figaro, Cobweb in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Luisa in The Fantasticks, Minnie Faye in Hello, Dolly! and most recently as Valencienne in The Merry Widow under the direction of Jay Lesenger.  She was the First Place recipient of the Denver Lyric Opera Guild competition in 2009, as well as the winner of the Northwestern Aria and Concerto Competition where she performed Ophelia’s Mad Scene in concert with the Northwestern University Chamber Orchestra in 2010.  Solo works include Handel’s Messiah, Mozart’s Requiem, and Schubert’s Mass in G.  Bunyak currently lives inIllinois where she works for the Music Institute of Chicago. 

Andrew Oakden (John Smith) – Tenor Andrew Oakden continues to garner critical acclaim in opera houses across the United States and abroad making his international debut last season with Opéra de Nice, performing the role of Rambaldo in La rondine. Mr. Oakden made his New York City opera mainstage debut during the 2007-2008 season performing the roles of Alfio in Cavalleria Rusticana and Tonio in Pagliacci, which he performed earlier that season with Virginia Opera. Recent engagements include company debuts with Florida Grand Opera, performing his first Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro and with Shreveport Opera the role of Lescaut in Manon Lescaut, a reprise of the roles of Sharpless in Madama Butterfly with Utah Opera and Marcello in La bohème with Mercury Opera and performances of Raleigh in Roberto Devereux in a new production with Dallas Opera. On the concert stage, Mr. Oakden recently performed with Santa Fe Symphony as soloist in Orff Carmina Burana after successful performances of the Mandarin in Turandot and Pietro in Simon Boccanegra with Santa Fe Opera.

Branch Fields (John Rolfe) – Branch Fields, who has been described as “a bass of resonant richness,” and declared by The New York Times to be “a gifted young bass,” recently was chosen to understudy the role of Emile de Becque in South Pacific at the Lincoln Center Theater, a Bartlett Sher directed production which has won seven Tony Awards.  His versatility as a singing actor allowed him to join the ensemble while understudying Emile de Becque, a first for this Broadway production. Mr. Fields was busy in 2007-2008, his third season performing with the New York City Opera, singing the roles of Angelotti in Tosca, Major Domo in Vanessa and Zuniga in Carmen. In addition to his duties at New York City Opera, last season also included performances at Asheville Lyric Opera and Opera Company of North Carolina as Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor and at Opera on the James as Colline in La bohème. An audience favorite, all of these regional companies invited Mr. Fields back for return engagements, slating him to sing the roles of Sparafucile in Rigoletto, Alidoro in La Cenerentola and Commendatore in Don Giovanni, respectively, in 2009.

Andrew Fernando (Powatan) – International Filipino Baritone Andrew Fernando is the First Prize winner of the prestigious 2003 Loren L. Zachary National Vocal Competition in the United States and an alumnus of the San Francisco Opera Merola Program. Also a prize winner in the Metropolitan Opera National Auditions in the Los Angeles district and in the Pacific region, the Grand Prize winner in the Pasedena Opera Guild Vocal competition in 2004, A recipient of the Opera Buffs Inc., scholarship funds, winner in the Palm Springs Opera Competition and a grand finalist in the Licia Albanese Puccini International Vocal Competition held in New York in 2003. Mr. Fernando recently performed the title role in Rigoletto in Modesto and has reprised the role this past season with Opera San José.  Andrew’s 2007-2008 season also includes participation in the New York City Opera’s productions of Cendrillon and Tosca as well as Vaughan Williams Dona Nobis Pacem with the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra at the Cultural Center of thePhilippines.

Jessica Medoff (Mother) – Lyric soprano Jessica Medoff is known for her versatility throughout all genres of music. From Bartok to Bacharach and back to Bernstein, Ms. Medoff impresses audiences throughout the United States with her style, charm and commitment to text and music. In 2010, she was awarded 1st Prize winner of the Mary Jacobs Smith Singer of the Year competition at Shreveport Opera. Her operatic repertoire includes the roles of Judith in Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle, Musetta in La Bohème, Micaela in Carmen, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, the title role in Suor Angelica, The Governess in Turn of the Screw, Hanna Glawari in The Merry Widow, The Sorceress in Dido and Aeneas, and Pamina in Die Zauberflöte. In her young career, she has already performed with Opera New Jersey, Lake George Opera, Natchez Music Festival, Ash Lawn Opera and the Aspen Opera Theater Center. On the concert stage, she has most recently sung soprano soloist in the Fauré Requiemin Carnegie Hall, Verdi’s Requiem in New Mexico, and Ravel’s Chansons madécasses with the Luzerne Chamber Music Festival.

Markand Thakar (Principal Conductor) – Thakar’s appearances in recent seasons include concerts and a national radio broadcast with the New York Philharmonic, and concerts with the National, San Antonio, Columbus, Alabama, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Charlotte, Knoxville, Richmond, Colorado Springs, Chattanooga, Greensboro, Illinois, Kalamazoo, Windsor, Flint, Maryland, Ann Arbor, Waterbury, Annapolis, and Florida West Coast symphony orchestras; the Calgary and Long Island philharmonics; and the Boston Pro Arte, National, and Cleveland chamber orchestras. A frequent guest conductor at the Aspen Music Festival, Mr. Thakar has appeared with Yo-Yo Ma and the Colorado Symphony Orchestra and with Itzhak Perlman and the Boulder Philharmonic, and is a winner of the Geraldine C. and Emory M. Ford Foundation Award. Familiar to national radio audiences as a frequent commentator for National Public Radio’s Performance Today, he has appeared on CBS This Morning and CNN conducting the Colorado Symphony.

Information about Stage Director Craig Fields is available by clicking here.

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