The Strong Ones
Tenor Erik Bagger has performed over 50 diverse operatic roles in New York City, regional, and international venues. Highlights include Tamino, in Die Zauberflöte, Albert in Albert Herring, Alfredo in La Traviata, Rodolfo in La Bohème, and The Male Chorus in The Rape of Lucretia. He has performed with New Camerata Opera, The San Jose Stage Company, Bronx Opera, Opera on Tap, North Shore Music Festival, dell’Arte Opera Ensemble, The Martina Arroyo Foundation, Utopia Opera, Opera Noire of NY, OperaOggi NY, Apollo Opera, Buck Hill Skytop Music Festival, Intermezzo Opera Festival, International Lyric Academy of Rome, New Operafestival di Roma, LiedAustria, Wendy Taucher Dance Opera Theater, Monk Parrots, Gertrude Opera, Victoria Opera House, Opera Ischia, as a guest of The Lithuanian Consulate, and in concert with New York City Opera. In June 2017, Bagger made his Carnegie Hall soloist debut, with The Eco-Music Big Band in excerpts from the new opera Angela’s Ring (Incontrera). For his strong stage charisma, he has been hailed “consistently amusing” by The New York Times, and a “comic gem” by Broadway World. OperaWire has praised him for his “punctuating high notes”, while Voce di Meche wrote of his “admirable flexibility.” He holds a Masters of Music and a Bachelors of Music, magna cum laude, from The Conservatory of Music of Brooklyn College, where he was the recipient of The Saul Lyons Memorial Scholarship, and The Brooklyn College Opera Theatre Award. Bagger is a Co-Founder and Artistic Chair of New Camerata Opera, a bold and innovative presence on the New York opera scene. He maintains an active performance schedule of contemporary and standard operatic repertoire. In addition, the tenor regularly performs sets of Neapolitan and Italian songs, with his own guitar accompaniment.
JAY LUCAS CHACON
Described as “clownish perfection” (Jonathan Warman, DramaqueenNYC) and “highly entertaining throughout” (Logan Martell, Operawire) for his creation of Sandrino in the uncovered Salieri opera La Cifra with dell’Arte Opera Ensemble, Jay Lucas Chacon has become an active and noticeable artist in NYC.
In a recent return to live performance, Jay performed with Write Act Rep in a concert A Good Day of music by off-Broadway composer Eric Sirota, singing music of the character Sam in his developmental work A Good Day, a musical about dealing with Alzheimer's. Upcoming performances for Jay include his first work as an extra in the Spanish language short film Sin Fondo with Ripple Effect Artists, covering Silvio in Cav+Pag with New Camerata Opera, and the Inkeeper in a film version of Sirota's Frankenstein with Write Act Rep.
Jay is the founder/director of ViOp Productions, a virtual performing company producing work and opportunities through virtual medium, creating opera on film, filmed concerts and online recitals, and virtual readings. He produced and performed with tenor John Riesen in a
duet recital Crossing Paths, Rodolfo in a socially distanced film version of La bohème Act 3 by Leoncavallo, The Spirit of Christmas; a holiday special. and as Anatoly in The CHESS Project. Jay also conceived and produced An American's Journey; a monodrama of Aaron Copland’ Old American Songs, directed a film of Mascagni’ Zanetto, and a recital of African American music featuring soprano Stephanie Ball on location in Washington DC. Upcoming productions with ViOp are The Strong Ones, a series of music videos focusing on mental and emotional health, and ViOp's annual Christmas Special.
In his desire to champion new music, Jay joined New Camerata Opera’ branch of opera-on-film, CamerataWorks, for their commission of Whitney George’ opera Julie in the role of Duc de Durfort which premiered in June 2020. Jay has also performed the role of Brently in Michael Valenti' Story of an Hour with Gramercy Opera and created the role of Richard in the premiere of David Chesky's opera La Farranucci with Operavocateur Productions. In 2018, Jay was seen with Center for Contemporary Opera in their Developmental Series as the Soldier in Scott Wheeler' The Sorrows of Frederick.
Legera Danielides graduated with her Masters in Vocal Performance from DePaul University. Past roles include Zia in Ciao Bambino, Karin in Church Basement Ladies, Petra in A Little Night Music, Fosca in Passion, Leonie in La Vie Parisienne, Nancy in Albert Herring, Lucy Mcintire in Anna Hunter, Mercedes in Carmen, Leila in Iolanthe, Mrs. Meddlock in The Secret Garden, and Meg in Falstaff. She also worked as background in the film In The Heights, and you can catch in the drawing of the lotto numbers scene at the swimming pool!
Lauren Gismondi is a native NYer and a maven to the digital ways of making art. She is a founding member of Divas On Tap NYC, a band that consists of her roommates. Favorite productions: La Farranucci, Grease, Assassins, The Ballad of Baby Doe. She has co-starred in several new productions and workshops of new musicals in the last year, one of which was half way through its run at the Hudson Guild Theatre before being interrupted by the Coronavirus. Thanks to Jay for including her in this project! BFA SUNY Fredonia. Much love and mad respect for her team: Beth, Ben, and Mimi.
Matt Gittins (He/Him) is an actor, musician, composer/lyricist/producer, writer and rapper from Cleveland, Ohio. Otterbein University BFA in Musical Theater Performance class of 2019. Credits include: Newsies (Jack Kelly), Anything Goes (Billy Crocker), Oklahoma! (Curly), An Enemy of the People (Hovstad), The 39 Steps (Clown). Composition/Lyricist credits include: YOU GO ON (book, music/lyrics written by Matt Gittins). Semi-Finalist at the Eugene O’Neill National Music Theater Conference, and Eugene O’Neill Cabaret Conference Alumni. To my family, friends and teachers who helped me along, I cannot thank you enough.
Mezzo soprano Emily Hughes’ last season included performances as Tisbe in La Cenerentola with Geneva Light Opera, Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Panopera, and Musette in Leoncavallo's La Bohème with Teatro Grattacielo. Other recent roles include the title role of Handel’s Teseo with Cantanti Project/ Dorian Baroque, Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro with Panopera, the Shepherdess in Venus and Adonis with New Camerata Opera, and Second Lady in The Magic Flute with The Nahant Music Festival. She has been an apprentice artist at Teatro Nuovo and at dell’Arte Opera Ensemble, where she sang the title role of Cavalli's La Calisto. She has been a soloist for The Messiah, Carmina Burana, and Vivaldi's Gloria, and has premiered works by many living composers. Emily’s work in early music has also brought collaborations with Artek, the Baroque Academy at Amherst Early Music Festival, and Haymarket Opera Company.
Andrew Leonforte is an Actor/singer/songwriter born and raised in Bronx, NY. He has two songs out on major distribution platforms which were both well received. He has been involved in musical theatre since the age of 8, some credits include John Handly in All Hands On Deck (National Tour), Crutchie in Disney’s Newsies (Regional) Chad in Disaster, (New York) Rapunzel's Prince in Into the Woods (New York) You also might recognize him as Young Joe Gideon in Fosse/Verdon on FX.
ERIC SEDGWICK has performed with many of music’s top talents
including Leona Mitchell, Sanford Sylvan and Marni Nixon, Broadway
leading ladies Sarah Rice, Carole Demas and Debra Monk, and English
hornist Thomas Stacy of the New York Philharmonic. A frequent
performer and collaborator in the NYC area, he is also a vocal coach at
the Manhattan School of Music and the faculty collaborative pianist for
the Tanglewood Music Center. He has served as rehearsal pianist for
the Boston Symphony Orchestra, under the batons of Michael Tilson
Thomas, Bramwell Tovey, John Williams and Andris Nelsons. He is a
regular pianist for events with the Metropolitan Opera Guild, and has
worked for Carnegie Hall’s Music Education Workshops with Joyce
DiDonato, as well as for the International Vocal Arts Institutes in New
York and Montreal, and for Beth Morrison Projects. For ten years he
was the music director for the Junior Opera Theater scenes program at Manhattan School of Music, directed by Catherine Malfitano. On the
west coast, he has been a longtime coach and music director for the
OperaWorks training program in Los Angeles. Mr. Sedgwick is the
official pianist for the Art Song Preservation Society in New York, a
group whose regular masterclass series has included Dalton Baldwin, Thomas Grubb, Margaret Lattimore and Joan Dornemann. He performs regularly with local groups in New York including Opera Singers Initiatives, the Stonewall Chorale, La Forza dell’Opera, and the Halcyon chamber music series, and has been featured in the Center for Contemporary Opera concert series, the 2019 Ukranian Contemporary Music Festival and OmniARTS productions. He has appeared often with the Broadway Concerts Direct performances in upstate New York, in cabaret shows at 54 Below and the Metropolitan Room, and as music
director/pianist for The World According to Kurt Weill and Jarmila Novotná: Her Life in Song at UrbanStages. He can be heard in the PBS series The Heart of Art as well as on the soundtracks for the prize-winning short films Connection Lost (The Tinder Opera), Something Blue (The Bachelor Opera) and Someone Like Me (The Facebook Opera). He was a winner of the Boston Steinway piano competition, and has premiered new works by composers Seymour Barab, J. Mark Stambaugh, Joelle Wallach, and Louis Hardin. He is a graduate of Manhattan School of Music and Brown University.
Shoshana is an NYC-based music director, accompanist, composer, and vocal coach. Recent music direction credits include Mamma Mia!, Ghost, and The Rocky Horror Show (Winnipesaukee Playhouse); Mamma Mia! (yes, again) and Saturday Night Fever (Cortland Repertory Theatre); the Holland America Line production shows; and Mary Poppins, 9 to 5, Shrek, and Little Shop of Horrors (Jenny Wiley Theatre). She is currently writing and orchestrating the music for Hooligans and Convicts, a new play by Carolyn Kirsch debuting this summer at the Winnipesaukee Playhouse. Shoshana is a graduate of UC Irvine.