Merlin CastMerlin Cast Samuel Levine (Merlin) -- American tenor Samuel Levine, acclaimed for his "powerful and fluid" singing, thrilling dramatic presentation, and outstanding musical intelligence, is a recent graduate of of the Yale Opera Studio. In 2012, he made his debut in recital at Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall under the auspices of the Liederkranz Foundation, and performed Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde with Orchestra New England opposite the mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke. Mr. Levine made his international debut in 2009 as LÃ©on in The Ghosts of Versailles with Wexford Festival Opera, which won "Best Opera" prize at the Irish Times Theatre Awards. Samuel has been recognized by many prestigious competitions, including Opera Index., Inc., The Licia-Albanese Puccini Foundation, Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Southeast Region, Career Bridges Foundation, Anna Sosenko Assist Trust, and the Irma M. Cooper Opera Columbus Competition, and the 2012 winner of the St. Bonaventure Performance Prize from the Liederkranz Foundation. The Boston native is a graduate of the Apprentice Singer program at The Santa Fe Opera, the Gerdine Young Artist Program at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, and was a Vocal Fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center under the direction of Maestro James Levine. A strong supporter of contemporary music, Mr. Levine has performed major works by Theodore Morrison, John Corigliano and Lee Hoiby, and participated in several premieres, including the world premiere of Aaron Helgeson's The Crane Wife at Oberlin, and the North American premiere of Olga Neuwirth's Lost Highway at the Miller Theater in New York City. He hold degrees from the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music and Yale University.
Emily Marvosh (Viviane/Mutter) -- Emily Marvosh, contralto, has been gaining recognition as a skilled performer of oratorio and opera. Possessed of a "flexible technique and ripe color," and demonstrating "smooth, apparently effortless vocal display," she has recently been heard as a soloist with the Handel and Haydn Society (Magnificat and in recital at the Museum of Fine Arts), the White Mountain Bach Festival (Vivaldi'sSalve Regina), Opera Boston (La Grande Duchesse de GÃ©rolstein), Boston Lyric Opera (Rusalka), Longwood Opera (The Barber of Seville), and Intermezzo Chamber Opera (world premiere of James Yannatos'sRocket's Red Blare); she is also a frequent soloist with the MarshChapel Choir Bach Cantata Series. Ensemble appearances in the past and upcoming seasons includethe Oregon Bach Festival under the direction of Helmut Rilling, the Bachakademie Stuttgart, Portland Baroque Orchestra, Tucson Chamber Artists, Boston Camerata, the New York Virtuoso Singers, and Cambridge Concentus. A regular member of Miami-based Seraphic Fire, Miss Marvosh can be heard on their recent GRAMMY-nominated recording of Brahms's Ein Deutsches Requiem.
Forays into new music include the role of Meg in the NewEngland premiere of Mark Adamo's Little Women and world premiere performances with Juventas New Music. She is also a founding member of the Lorelei ensemble, which promotes new music for women. Of a recent Lorelei performance, one critic wrote, "Marvosh, whose stage presence was a joy to behold, offered a tone that had the velvety soulfulness of a cello...and lent a refreshing pious solemnity to this more joyful of Mass texts." In the 2012-2013 season, Miss Marvosh appears with the Charlotte Symphony (Messiah), Handel and Haydn Society (Magnificat), the Brookline Symphony (Sea Pictures), and the Chorus of Westerly (Mozart'sRequiem). She holds degrees from Central Michigan University and Boston University.
Toby Newman (Young Merlin) --Opera Magazine (UK) recently praised "Toby Newman's moving, plaintive-voiced account of the name part" for her portrayal of the title role in Holst's Savitri. Other traditional opera credits include Dinah in Trouble in Tahiti (Anchorage Opera), Zerlina in Don Giovanni (Phoenicia International Festival of Voice), Dorabella in Cosi fan tutte (St. Petersburg Opera), and the Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors with the Mostly Baroque Players at the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford, CT. Ms. Newman's longtime association with Meredith Monk has included multiple recordings and concerts at Carnegie Hall among many other settings. Other new music engagements include Ni Gui-Zhen in Huang Ruo's Chinese language opera Sun Yat-Sen. World premieres include the lead female role in Robert Een's opera The Escape Artist at Disney Hall in Los Angeles and repeat performances in Maharashstra, India, the alto soloist in Thomas Pasatieri's choral cantata In the Light of Angels, and Manja in Gerald Cohen's opera Steal a Pencil for Me. Recent concert credits include the alto solos in Handel's Messiah, Judas Maccabeus, and Dettigen Te Deum, Bach's St. Matthew Passion and Cantata 80, and Brahms' Liebeslieder Walzes. Upcoming performances include the mezzo soloist in the New Haven Symphony Orchestra's Dueling Divas concert on July 20th, and the role of Sesto in Handel's Giulio Cesare with Opera Roanoke.
Christopher Herbert (Pendragon/Uterpendragon) -- Christopher Dylan Herbert is a musician based in New York City. A classical baritone, he performs concerts and opera throughout the United States and Europe, principally with his ensemble, New York Polyphony. Hailed by Opera News for his "exceptional" singing, Christopher has also received acclaim for his "smooth baritone voice," his "consistently warm sound" and his "versatile dramatic abilities." He is a recipient of awards from the Sullivan Foundation and GÃ©rard Souzay Competition. His outdoor Winterize/Winterreise project with Make Music New York is described by The New York Times as "brave and, in all senses, chilling... an elegantly lean performance that would have been impressive in any context but was remarkable under these conditions."
Recent performances in concert and opera include Henrik in A Little Night Music at Opera Theatre Saint Louis, Dover Beach at Lake George, Winterreise at the Austrian Cultural Forum of New York and Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles, Kindertotenlieder with the Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra, and various recitals with pianist Thomas Bagwell. In previous seasons, Christopher performed Sid in Britten's Albert Herring with Opera Vivente, Connie in Gordon's Grapes of Wrath at Hawaii Performing Arts Festival, and Il prigioniero in Il piccolo Marat at Avery Fisher Hall. He has also performed with the Boston Pops and at Tanglewood, Wolf Trap, and Central City Opera. He holds a B.A. in Music and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from Yale University and an M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard University.
Anthony Webb (Blasius/Gavan) -- Anthony Webb is quickly distinguishing himself as a young tenor to watch. Opera News lauded his Pirelli (Sweeney Todd) with Opera Theatre of St. Louis, declaring that he "showed fine comic flair and a well-schooled voice as the Irish-Italian huckster Pirelli." Also with Opera Theater of St. Louis, Mr. Webb appeared as Bantam Cock in the 2012 U.S. premiere of Unsuk Chin's Alice in Wonderland. Mr. Webb recently debuted with Des Moines Metro Opera as Elder Hayes (Susannah) and Josiah Creach (Markheim), and with Bel Cantanti Opera as Lindoro (L'Italiani in Algeri). As a Bel Canto Young Artist at the Caramoor Festival, he covered both Arnold and Ruodi (Guillaume Tell). Highlights of his 2012-13 season are Thespis (Plateé) with Pocket Opera of New York and Wagner/Nereus (Mefistofele) with Taconic Opera. Recent concert engagements include Carmina Burana with Encore Vocal Arts and with the Owensboro Symphony Orchestra, Handel's Messiah with Rogue Valley Symphony, and Rossini's Messa di Gloria in Urbania, Italy. Mr. Webb is a 2010 District Winner of the Metropolitan National Council Auditions.
Isaac Grier (Vortigern) -- Young American bass-baritone Isaac Grier is rapidly making a name for himself in the world of opera. His uniquely rich voice has the depth, color and easy low notes of a bass combined with the ring and upper extension of a baritone. Grier has performed the roles of Il Bonze in Madama Butterfly, Colline in La bohème, the Sacristan and Angelotti in Tosca, Commendatore in Don Giovanni, Frère Laurent in Romeo and Juliette, Theseus and Quince in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Banquo in Macbeth, Publio in La clemenza di Tito, Melchior in Amahl and the Night Visitors and Sam in Trouble in Tahiti. He has sung with Opera North in New Hampshire, New Orleans Opera, The Martina Arroyo Foundation, dell'Arte Opera Ensemble, Amore Opera andRegina Opera in New York City.In the 2010-11 season, Grier was the featured soloist in a concert with the Flint Symphony Orchestra as part of the Black Classical Music Family Festival. He also appeared as Colline in Puccini's La Boheme and Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor with dell'Arte Opera Ensemble, Escamillo in Georges Bizet's Carmen with Amore Opera and Clarence in a staged premier of Benjamin Yarmolinsky's Clarence and Anita with Underworld Productions Opera
A native of Flint, Michigan, Grier received his Bachelor of Music degree from Xavier University in New Orleans and his Master of Music at the Manhattan School of Music in New York City. At Manhattan School of Music, he blossomed under the tutelage of such music luminaries as Warren Jones and Tom Muraco. Isaac Grier currently resides in New York City.