To commemorate both Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary and its own 60th, the Santa Fe Opera commissioned a new work from composer Joseph Illick, with a libretto by Andrea Fellows Walters. Mixing Shakespeare and sci-fi, UnShakeable travels 25 years into the future after a pandemic called “Erasure” has corroded people’s memories. Will Shakespearean actors and former lovers Wyatt and Meridian reconnect and restore their bond? Hear selections performed by baritone Samuel Schultz, soprano Jacquelyn Stucker, and Joseph Illick.
Free in the New Mexico History Museum auditorium; reservations required. Go to the Santa Fe Opera box office or call (505) 986-5900 or (800) 280-4654. Seating is limited.
Bios of the performers:
Joseph Illick is General Director of Performance Santa Fe, as well as Music Director and Principal Conductor of Fort Worth Opera, a post he has held since 2002. From 1984-1986, Illick served as House Conductor at the Wiener Kammeroper in Vienna.
He was Artistic Director of Voices of Change, the new music ensemble of Dallas, for three years, and has served as Artistic Director of the Lake George (NY) Opera Festival; as interim Artistic Director of Greater Miami Opera (now Florida Grand Opera); as Music Director of the Pittsburgh Opera Theater; and as Artistic Director of Shreveport (LA) Opera.
For Teatro Lirico d’Europa, he has conducted performances of Rigoletto, Tosca, Nabucco, Turandot, and Aida in Copenhagen, Paris, and Siena, as well as in New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Fort Lauderdale, and other U.S. cities. He is the conductor of the 2007 world premiere recording of Thomas Pasatieri’s opera Frau Margot, the conductor and pianist on the CD Monologues with soprano Lauren Flanigan and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and the conductor of the world premiere recording of Jorge Martin’s opera Before Night Falls, all released on the Albany label.
As a concert pianist, Illick won first prize in the Mid-Somerset Festival in Bath, England, and he is active both as a piano soloist and chamber musician in Europe and in the United States. As a composer, Illick’s symphonic works have been performed in New York, Washington, Dallas, and Santa Fe. Illick also gives master classes to the Opera School and the Masters Program students at the Royal College of Music in London. He composed UnShakeable with librettist Andrea Fellows Walters, commissioned by the Santa Fe Opera for its 60th anniversary.
American soprano Jacquelyn Stucker is quickly being recognized as a versatile singer of new and interesting repertoire from concert works to opera to contemporary music. Praised for her “dark-tinged soprano with a dusky lower register,” 2015/2016 performances include solo cantata BWV 199 (“Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut”) at Boston’s King’s Chapel, the soprano solos in the Poulenc Stabat Mater and St. Matthew Passion with Mo. Scott Allen Jarrett, Schubert’s "Der Hirt auf dem Felsen" in Jordan Hall, a role debut as Bystrouška in Příhody Ilšky Bystroušky, and a gala performance with North Carolina Opera as Ada in selections from Jennifer Higdon’s Cold Mountain. Stucker was also recently named the 2015 Ruth Freehof Award winner and a winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council’s Boston District auditions, and she will originate the role of Meridian in the premiere of Joe Illick and Andrea Fellows Walters’ UnShakeable with the Santa Fe Opera’s Education Department. This summer, also with the Santa Fe Opera, she will cover Juliette in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette and the Italian Singer in Richard Strauss’s Capriccio.
Highlights from her 2014/2015 season include performances of Fiordiligi in Così Fan Tutte with Mo. Stephen Lord, the eponymous role in Handel’s Theodora, and Elle in La Voix Humaine in conjunction with The Knight Foundation. Under the baton of Mo. Jarrett, Stucker performed as the Soprano II soloist in Mozart’s Mass in C Minor with Boston’s Back Bay Chorale and made her solo debut with the Handel and Haydn Society as the soprano soloist in Bach’s Weihnachts Oratorium IV. Stucker spent the summer as a member of the Santa Fe Opera’s Apprentice Artist Program, where she covered Isabel Leonard as Ada in the world premiere of Cold Mountain. While in Santa Fe, Stucker was selected to perform Brahms’s Liebeslieder Walzer with Mos. Joseph Illick and Harry Bicket in a concert produced by Performance Santa Fe. An enthusiastic performer of oratorio, chamber, and concert repertoire, Stucker is the Docia Goodwin Franklin Third Place Award winner in the 2015 Lyndon Woodside New York Oratorio Society Competition, and she performed Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire and Ligeti’s Aventures in Boston’s Jordan Hall with John Heiss conducting.
American baritone Samuel Schultz maintains a diverse career of operatic and concert performances. Besides the world premiere of UnShakeable with Santa Fe Opera and a series of recitals across the United States, he will also be featured on an upcoming album on which he will be heard performing the world premiere recording of Gettysburg by William Bolcom. Schultz has appeared with Houston Grand Opera as Dr. Falke in Die Fledermaus, Mr. Lindquist in A Little Night Music, Morales in Carmen, The Businessman in The Little Prince, Counsel for the Plaintiff in Trial By Jury, and Perückenmacher in Ariadne auf Naxos. He made his Houston Symphony Orchestra debut singing Ramiro in Ravel’s L’Heure Espagnole and the orchestrated Don Quichotte. He returned to sing in a concert version of Wozzeck. IMr. Schultz also performed Junius in The Rape of Lucretia in performances at the Aspen Music Festival conducted by Jane Glover.
As a Gerdine Young Artist with Opera Theatre of St. Louis he covered the role of Howie in the world premiere of Champion. He was the recipient of the 2014 Stern Fellowship at SongFest where he sang concerts and recitals in Los Angeles, including a concert tour featuring the music from Songs in the Key of Los Angeles. Schultz then sang Berio’s rarely-performed Coro, conducted by Sir Simon Rattle at the Lucerne Festival (Switzerland). He is a distinguished former United States Senate Page and had the prestigious honor of singing for the United States Congress.