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Handel Choir's exceptional cast of guest soloists for Semele

Clara Rottsolk photoSemele, daughter to Cadmus, belov'd by and in love with Jupiter

“Pure and shining” (Cleveland Plain Dealer), soprano Clara Rottsolk has been lauded by the New York Times for her “clear, appealing voice and expressive conviction” and by the Philadelphia Inquirer for the “opulent tone [with which] every phrase has such a communicative emotional presence.” In a repertoire extending from the Renaissance to the contemporary, she has appeared as soloist with ensembles such as Tempesta di Mare, American Bach Soloists, St. Thomas Church 5th Avenue, Philadelphia Bach Festival, Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, Bach Sinfonia, Handel Choir of Baltimore, Clarion Music Society and Piffaro-The Renaissance Band, and under conductors including Joshua Rifkin, Jeffrey Thomas, John Scott, David Effron, Bruno Weil and Andrew Megill. Her stage roles include Micaëla in Carmen, Dido in Dido and Aeneas, and Arminda in La finta giardiniera. Rottsolk’s “supple and stylish . . . and unflaggingly attractive” (Gramophone Magazine) recording of Scarlatti cantatas with Tempesta di Mare is available on the Chandos-Chaconne label.

A native of Seattle who earned her music degrees at Rice University and Westminster Choir College, she is currently based in Philadelphia where she teaches voice at Swarthmore, Haverford and Bryn Mawr Colleges.


photo Aaron SheehanJupiter, king of the gods; god of the thunderbolt; seducer of Semele

Tenor Aaron Sheehan is in high demand as a versatile performer in repertoire ranging from oratorio and chamber music to opera. Known especially for his Baroque interpretations, Sheehan’s voice was described in the Boston Globe as “superb: his tone classy, clear, and refined, encompassing fluid lyricism and ringing force.” The Washington Post praised his “polished, lovely tone.”
He has sung in numerous festivals and diverse venues from Massachusetts to the West Coast, Europe, and South America. Notable among these are appearances with Tempesta di Mare, Boston Handel and Haydn Society, Charleston Bach Festival, and the San Diego Bach Collegium. Sheehan, who made his operatic debut with the Boston Early Music Festival in the world première staging of Mattheson’s Boris Gudenow, continues to work with the company in leading roles by Lully, Charpentier, and Handel. He has also sung with American Opera Theater and Intermezzo Opera Theater in works by Cavalli, Handel, Weill and Satie.

A native of Minnesota, Sheehan holds a BA from Luther College and a MM in Early Voice Performance from Indiana University. He is currently on the voice faculties of Boston University, Wellesley College, and Towson University.

Juno, wife of Jupiter; goddess of marriage; disguises herself as Ino to deceive Semele

Contralto Monica Reinagel, who has performed with opera companies, orchestras, chamber, and choral groups throughout the United States and Germany, has been praised by critics for her “voluptuous voice,” “brilliant coloratura,” and “dramatic mastery.” But in the words of the Baltimore Sun, “it is her connection with her audience that remains etched in the memory.” Recent performances with period music ensembles include Handel’s Messiah, Bach’s Magnificat, B-Minor Mass, and St. Matthew Passion, Monteverdi’s Incoronazione di Poppea and Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria, and Charpentier’s Les Arts Florissants. She has also created leading roles for the world premières of three new American operas:  Dan Crozier's With Blood, with Ink (winner of the Opera America award), Augusta Read-Thomas' Ligeia, and Robert Ward's Roman Fever.

Reinagel studied voice and opera at Boston University, the Musikhochschule in Munich, Germany, and Peabody Institute in Baltimore. While living in Germany, she spent two seasons touring with the Bavarian National Radio Chorus. She is a winner of the Richard Wagner Verein Prize and Scholarship and was a Regional Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Auditions.


Athamas, a Prince of neighboring kingdom Bœotia, in love with and designated to marry Semele

With a voice hailed as “vivid” (Wall Street Journal) and “unusually sparkling” (Kansas City Star), countertenor Douglas Dodson is gaining national recognition for his stylish interpretation of both early and modern works. He has been featured as a soloist in concert and chamber works and has sung operatic roles in Handel’s Rinaldo and Giulio Cesare; Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, Dioclesian, and The Fairy Queen; Monteverdi’s Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria; and Johann Georg Conradi’s Die schöne und getreue Ariadne. Recent roles include The United Way in the American première of Tod Machover’s Death and the Powers with American Repertory Theater and Chicago Opera Theater and Argante in Handel’s Rinaldo with Baltimore’s Opera Vivente.

In May 2008 Dodson competed in the national finals of the National Society of Arts and Letters Voice Competition in Bloomington, IN. He recently completed a Masters Degree in Vocal Performance at the University of Missouri, Kansas City Conservatory, under the tutelage of Dr. Raymond Feener and also holds a Bachelors Degree in Anthropology from the University of South Dakota.


Ino sister to Semele, in love with Athamas

Praised for her “warm alto sound” and voice of “sweet clarity,” mezzo-soprano Kristen Dubenion-Smith enjoys an active performing career in oratorio, opera, and recital, specializing in music of the medieval, renaissance, and baroque eras. Her operatic career includes more than a dozen roles. Notable among them are Endimione in La Calisto, Hecuba in La Didone, and Cupid in Venus and Adonis with American Opera Theater, Humility in Ordo Virtutum with the Peabody Early Music Department, and La Baronne in Chérubin with New Jersey Opera Theater.

This season’s engagements include concerts with The Washington Bach Consort, Folger Consort, Eya Medieval Ensemble, The Evolution Contemporary Music Series, Cathedra of the Washington National Cathedral and Concerto delle Donne, an all female ensemble Dubenion-Smith founded in 2011.

Originally from Michigan, she graduated from Alma College before moving to Baltimore to complete her vocal studies at the Peabody Institute. In 2010 she co-founded the Washington D.C.-based medieval trio, Eya, alongside soprano Allison Mondel and Elizabeth Hungerford.


High Priest and Cadmus, King of Thebes, father of Semele

Baritone Stephen Caracciolo, a choral conductor recognized for his passionate artistry and creative teaching, is a nationally known composer and arranger whose choral works have been performed throughout the United States and Europe. He has guest conducted at the Capital University NOW Music Festival, accepted commissions from numerous choral organizations and was awarded the prestigious Individual Artist’s Fellowship in Composition from the Greater Columbus Arts Council. In 1994 Caracciolo founded BelCanto Singers, a professional performing arts organization dedicated to chamber choral music in Columbus, Ohio. Under his direction their performances received public praise and critical acclaim. As a choral performer he has sung with the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Juilliard School Orchestra, Indiana University Orchestra, and the American Symphony. He is presently a professional singer at Washington National Cathedral.

Caracciolo has served on the faculties of Denison University where he was coordinator of choral activities; Ohio University where he conducted the Singing Men of Ohio; and Roberts Wesleyan College as Director of Choral Activities. Currently he is the Vocal and Choral Area Coordinator in the Department of Music at the University of Maryland Baltimore County where he teaches voice and conducts the UMBC Camerata.


Iris, a messenger to Juno

Soprano Emily Noël, praised by the Washington Post for her “strikingly lovely voice,” appears frequently as an oratorio and recital soloist in a variety of repertoires. Her solo engagements include a one-on-a-part performance of Bach's Matthäus-Passion at the Washington National Cathedral and George Crumb's Apparition and Ancient Voices of Children with the Indiana University New Music Ensemble. In recent seasons Noël has performed a wide range of operatic roles, notably Gilda in Verdi's Rigoletto with Ente Concerti Cittã di Iglesias (Sardinia, Italy), Nora in Vaughan Williams' Riders to the Sea at the Amsterdam Grachtenfestival, and Dido in Purcell's Dido and Aeneas with American Opera Theater. She has recorded for the Bard label with the Folger Consort, and on the Dorian label with the Bach Sinfonia. Upcoming engagements include Karol Szymanowski’s King Roger with Santa Fe Opera and Rachmaninoff’s Vespers with the Santa Fe Desert Chorale. Noël serves as voice instructor on the faculties of Franklin & Marshall College and Notre Dame of Maryland University.


Apollo, god of prophesy, music and poetry

Tenor Jordan Markham, a native of Middletown, Pennsylvania, has been a voice student of baritone William Sharp at the Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University. He is a gifted keyboardist as well as singer and he performs with the Washington National Cathedral Choir and Handel Choir of Baltimore as a professional chorister.



Baltimore Baroque Band
Hailed for its “fluency and nuance” by Tim Smith (The Baltimore Sun), Baltimore Baroque Band is the baroque orchestra of the Peabody Conservatory of Music. Playing side-by-side with their professors Risa Browder, John Moran and Adam Pearl, students learn to play in a conductor-less large ensemble that combines the commitment and attentiveness of chamber music with the discipline of orchestral playing. Now in its seventh season, BBB has appeared with Washington Kantorei at the German Embassy in Washington and with Pro Musica Rara and Handel Choir of Baltimore. BBB has performed in opera productions with Peabody Chamber Opera, including Handel's Julio Cesare in January 2012, and presented Bach's St. John Passion.


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Photo of Ms. Rottsolk by Acis Productions

Baltimore Office of Promotion & the ArtsBaltimore County Commission on Arts and SciencesHandel Choir of Baltimore is a GuideStar Exchange Member (click here for more info)All programs of the Handel Choir of Baltimore are made possible by support from the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts, the Baltimore County Commission on Arts and Sciences and the Maryland State Arts Council, an agency funded by the State of Maryland and the National Endowment for the Arts.