Hansel and Gretel and the
Case of the Deep Dark Woods
Music by Franz von Suppé
Libretto by Daniel A. Gainey
Meet the Cast
Luke Fang is an accomplished collaborative pianist and soloist. Quite active as a collaborative pianist, Luke has performed with numerous instrumentalists and vocalists in recitals including performances at University of South Carolina, Meredith College, College of Charleston, Clemson University, and Grey Walls recital Hall in Raleigh, North Carolina. While obtaining his master’s in Piano Performance at the University of South Carolina, Luke was the rehearsal pianist for Opera at USC, and performed in Opera at USC productions, and served as musical director for the Sidney Palmer One Act Operas. He is in frequent demand as an accompanist both in classical and sacred music, and currently serves as church pianist for a church in Lexington, South Carolina.
Marie Putko is a lyric soprano, dancer, physical theater artist, voice teacher, and yoga instructor from New York City.
She holds her Masters of Music in Vocal Performance in Opera Studies, and her advanced certificate in Vocal Pedagogy from New York University. She received her bachelor’s degree at Providence College in Vocal Performance, graduating with honors in 2010. She had her Off-Broadway debut in Figaro 90210! at the Duke Theater on 42nd Street last year and will be returning for the reprise this April. She also premiered in a thriller opera, Hannibal, with One World Symphony in New York City, as the leading role of Abigail Hobbs. She’s had the privilege of working with Ellen Schaefer at Quisisana Resort, Music on the Lake in Madame Butterfly, Carmen, and All According to Taste, The Three Bears Guide to Making Porridge.
Marie is the creator of Embody-Voice, Freeing the Voice through mindful movement, breath, meditation, and relaxation. She offers classes in NYC and also teaches Yoga through the Mindfulness Project at NYU.
A native of Ronkonkoma, New York, Robert Mellon, is known for having a "dark baritone, full and fresh and quick with dramatic fire." A recent recipient of a Sullivan Foundation award and career grant, Mellon will perform with the National Sawdust Festival as Brother in the U.S. premiere of The House Taken Over; Major General in the outreach production of Pirates of Penzance with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis; Don Alfonso in the 2017 production of Così fan tutte with Shreveport Opera; and the roles of Priest, Willem, Usher and the Clerk in the June 2017 U.S. premiere of Philip Glass’s The Trial as a Gaddes Festival Artist with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. During the 2015-2016 season Mellon made his principle artist debut with PORTopera as Le Dancaïre in Carmen and was a Gerdine Young Artist with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis making his debut with the company as The Customs Officer in La Bohème. Earlier that season he was a resident artist with Peoria Symphony in their concert production of Così fan tutte as Don Alfonso. Other roles include Figaro (Le nozze di Figaro), Falstaff (Falstaff), Sam (Trouble in Tahiti), and Macbeth in the U.S. premiere of Ernest Bloch’s Macbeth. Concert work includes Mozart's Requiem, Duruflé's Requiem, Dvorak’s Te Deum, Stravinsky’s Pulcinella, and Mussorgsky’s Songs and Dances of Death. Mellon is a graduate of Manhattan School of Music and the State University of New York College at Potsdam.
Samantha Leibowitz is ecstatic to be returning for her second tour with FBN Productions, Inc. to reprise the role of Goldilocks after performing All According to Taste: The Three Bears’ Guide to Porridge Making this past summer at the Quisisana Resort in Maine. Samantha has a Bachelor’s degree in Classical Voice from New York University and a Master’s degree in Opera Performance from the University of Texas at Austin. Recently, Samantha made her Florida Grand Opera debut singing in the choruses of Carmen and Eugene Onegin. Favorite roles include Frasquita (Carmen) at the Quisisana resort, Gymnasia (A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum) at the Wick Theatre, and Johanna (Sweeney Todd) and Zerlina (Don Giovanni) at the University of Texas at Austin. www.samanthaleibowitz.com
Tenor, Jonathan Hill, has been featured with opera companies along the upper West coast and recently enjoyed singing such roles as Monostatos (Die Zauberflöte) and Guiseppe (La Traviata). He has also sung the roles of Spoletta (Tosca) with Mississippi Opera, Goro (Madama Butterfly) with Natchez Festival of Music, and Pedrillo (Entführung aus dem Serail) with New York Opera Forum. In April of 2017, he will make his debut singing Don Miguel in La Perichole with Tacoma Opera. Hill regularly travels to New York City where he continues to work with stage director Cindy Oxberry and vocal coach Mitchell Cirker. He currently resides in Boise, Idaho where he studies with Sue Patchell and Brett Hamilton.
Peter Johnson has been described as “a performer who possesses not only an incredibly rich voice, but also brilliant comic instincts”. Mr. Johnson has been making a name for himself in regional Opera over the past few years. He recently sang with Nashville Opera in their new production of La Bohème, and it was noted that he “provides nice support as both the landlord Benoit and the bumbling Alcindoro”. He returned in the Fall of 2015 to Nashville Opera to sing the Bass role in Phillip Glass' opera Hydrogen Jukebox. Following this, he made his debut with Opera Fayetteville as Basil Hallward in Lowell Lieberman’s The Picture of Dorian Gray. Mr. Johnson is capable and well suited to both comedic and serious roles, and is a skilled interpreter of both modern and classical works. As a graduate of the Knoxville Opera Studio, he appeared in many productions with Knoxville Opera, including Puccini’s La fanciulla del West (Sid), Offenbach’s Les contes des Hoffmann (Hermann), Gilbert and Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore (Boatswain) and Bizet’s Carmen (Zuniga). Mr. Johnson has participated in a number of well-known apprenticeship and training programs. In the summer of 2014 he completed the Apprentice Artist Program at the Des Moines Metro Opera in Indianola, Iowa, where he covered the role of The Tutor in Rossini’s Le comte d’Ory. In the summers of 2012 and 2013 he was a member of the Janiec Opera Company at the Brevard Music Center, where he created the roles of Campaign Consultant and Triathlon Dan in Michael Ching’s new opera Speed Dating Tonight!, and also appeared as Escamillo in Peter Brook’s Le tragédie de Carmen.
Mr. Johnson earned his master’s degree from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where he studied with Andrew Wentzel. He completed his undergraduate training from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota where he studied with David Hamilton and toured both nationally and internationally with The Concordia Choir under the direction of Dr. René Clausen.
Mr. Johnson currently makes his home in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Khary Wilson, tenor, hails from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He received his Bachelors from the University of South Carolina and his Master's Degree from Louisiana State University. As a 2013 young artist with Opera Theater of Pittsburgh, Mr. Wilson performed Remandado in Carmen. He performed the four character roles in Les Contes d’Hoffman with Harrower Opera Workshop and Simon Zealots with GLOW Lyric Theater. In 2014, he performed Ferrando with the Peach State Opera and was returned to Opera Theater Pittsburgh to sing Brighella in Ariadne auf Naxos. Recently, Mr. Wilson was a 2015 Studio Artist with the Opera Studio Melbourne/Gertrude Opera in Melbourne Australia. While in the studio, he performed Guido in Offenbach’s Guido’s Cat, Boy Sam in The Difficulty of Crossing a Field and the Tenor Soloist in Bach’s “Coffee Cantata.” Other Australian performances include: Tenor in Tutti Mozart with Canberra Concert Series, Tenor solo in Carl Orf’s "Carmina Burana" with the Maroondah Symphony Orchestra and Soloist in Handel’s "Dixit Dominus" with Heidelburg Choral Society.
Bianca Raso is an alumna of the University of South Carolina with a Bachelor of Music in voice performance. Bianca's eclectic array of performance credits include plays, musicals and operas. Some onstage credits include Germaine and Reporter 2 in LungFish Production’s Never The Sinner, Chava and Fruma Sarah in Snoqualmie Falls Forest Theatre’s Fiddler on the Roof and Petunia in FBN Productions, Inc.'s touring opera of the same name for children of all ages. Bianca was born in Toronto, Ontario and currently lives in Seattle, Washington.
Cera Finney makes her FBN Productions, Inc. debut this season. Cera is mezzo-soprano who recently completed her Master’s of Music at the University of South Carolina in Columbia. She completed her Bachelor’s in Music from East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, where she performed such roles as Hippolyta in Benjamin Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Madame Flora in Gian-Carlo Menotti’s The Medium, and the title role in Jack Beeson’s Lizzie Borden. During her time in South Carolina, Cera was engaged with Opera at USC, where she has performed as The Old Lady in Leonard Bernstein’s Candide, Pallas Athena in Camille Saint-Saëns’ Hélène, and as Dorabella in Mozart’s Così fan tutte. She was also recently in American Singers’ Opera Project’s production of Hansel and Gretel as the Witch and the Mother. Cera has also been seen internationally as one of Oberlin in Italy’s touring concert artists in 2013 and was a prize holder from the Metropolitan Opera South Carolina District in 2014.
Sophia Ryoo is a recent graduate of the University of South Carolina where she earned a Master of Music degree in piano performance under the direction of Dr. Charles Fugo. In 2014, she performed with the Alicante Philharmonic at Music Fest Perugia in Perugia, Italy. While pursuing her undergraduate degree at Georgia Regents University, she received various awards from numerous Georgia-based competitions, including Outstanding Performance, which allowed her to perform at the Savannah International Trade Center on several occasions. In 2012, she placed as an Alternate in the Georgia Music Teachers National Association's collegiate auditions. Miss Ryoo also received the Award of Excellence and Honorable Mention from both the Georgia Music Educators Association and the Georgia Music Teachers Association. Other accomplishments include the Powers-Baldwin Music Award and the Concerto Competition awards in 2009 and 2012 at Georgia Regents University. In 2007, she was recognized as a district percussionist representing Lakeside High School in Georgia.
While pursuing her bachelor's degree at Georgia Regents University, Miss Ryoo performed extensively as a collaborative pianist with the Augusta State University Opera Ensemble, Women’s Choir, and University Chorale. While pursuing her master’s degree at USC, Miss Ryoo received a Graduate Assistantship and worked as a collaborative pianist with the opera workshop classes and accompanied various instrumentalists/vocalists for recitals and masterclasses.
In regards to academic excellence, Miss Ryoo is a member of the honorary music fraternity society Pi Kappa Lambda. She previously studied with Martin David Jones and Jinha Park, and has also worked with Clara Park, Alexander Schimpf, Nadia Shpachenko-Gottesman, Ilana Vered, Alex Sokolov, Steven Spooner, Philip Bush, Marina Lomazov, and Joseph Rackers, Barry Snyder, Alexander Shtarkman.
Miss Ryoo is a member of the MTNA chapter in Augusta, GA. In 2010, one of her students was recognized at GMTA and performed at the winner's convention in Savannah. The remainder of her students also participate in the Augusta music festival annually and consistently receive Superior and Excellent ratings. In June 2015, Miss Ryoo coached piano trios at the Chamber Music Institute at Georgia Regents University.