In this one-act Hungarian expressionist opera by Béla Bartók, Judith has left her family to marry the mysterious Duke Bluebeard. Within Bluebeard’s dark fortress, she finds seven locked doors. Bluebeard begs Judith not to open the doors, but her curiosity is too strong. What secrets are lurking deep within Bluebeard’s domain?
Directed by Leicester Landon
Bluebeard – Johnnie Bankens
Judit – Elana Gleason
Conductor – Michael Borowitz
Doors at 7:30PM
Known as an “impressive bass” and a singer of “high caliber,” Johnnie Bankens is thrilled to be making his debut at the Marigny Opera House. Most recently, Mr. Bankens was seen as Prince Gremin in Eugene Onegin, Uncle in Elizabeth Cree by Kevin Puts, and as the bass soloist in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. In 2016, he made his San Diego Opera debut as the Jailer in Tosca alongside Greer Grimsley, Gwynne Hughes Jones, and Alexia Volgaridou. His other roles include the title characters in Le nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni, and Falstaff, Don Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte, Frère Laurent in Roméo et Juliette, Fredrik Egerman in A Little Night Music, Junius in The Rape of Lucretia, Bob Beckett in HMS Pinafore, The Inn-keeper in The Man of La Mancha, and Orin Scrivello, DDS in Little Shop of Horrors. On the New York City concert stage, Mr. Bankens has performed Mozart’s Requiem, Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass and Saint-Saëns’ Christmas Oratorio. Johnnie has made professional appearances with San Diego Opera, Nevada Opera, Opéra Louisiane, Blue Lake Opera, The Montefeltro Festival, Starkville Symphony, West End Collegiate Singers, The Stonewall Chorale, and the Louisiana Choral Foundation. Upcoming performances include Don Annibale Pistacchio in Donizetti’s Il campanello with Blue Lake Opera and a Fourth of July Collaborative Recital with Susan Ruggiero, soprano and Mitchell Giambalvo, piano.
Elana Gleason, hailed by the New York Post for having “flaunted pinpoint finesse on high B’s and C’s” and by Opera News for
singing with a “particularly beautiful soprano,” is proud to appear
in her role debut as Judith in Bluebeard’s Castle. This past season,
Elana was seen creating the role of Elizabeth in the university
premiere of Kevin Puts’ Elizabeth Cree, as well as singing as a
soloist with Lisette Oropesa in her concert Starry Night and
performing Countess Ceprano in Rigoletto and Tatiana in Eugene
Onegin. Other favorite recent engagements include Marguerite in
Faust, Mrs. Nordstrom in A Little Night Music, Mabel in The Pirates
of Penzance, Micaela in Carmen, the title role in The Merry Widow,
Violetta in La Traviata, Nedda in Pagliacci, and the title role
in Tosca. She has made professional appearances with New
Orleans Opera, the Natchez Festival of Music, Mississippi Opera,
Opera Louisiane, The Clayton Piano Festival, Dicapo Opera, Regina
Opera, the Staten Island Philharmonic, and the Allentown
Symphony. Ms. Gleason is the recent second place winner of
Mobile Opera’s Madame Rose Palmai-Tenser competition, and the
first place winner of the Collegiate Scenes Competition at the
National Opera Association. Upcoming performances include the
role of Joan of Arc in The Maid of Orleans with Russian Opera
Workshop at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia.
American conductor and pianist Michael Borowitz is currently in his eleventh year as Music Director and Associate Professor of LSU Opera, where this season he conducted performances of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, Kevin Puts’ Elizabeth Cree, and Poulenc’s Les mamelles de Tirésias. He is in his ninth season as Artistic Director with Opéra Louisiane, for whom he has created numerous orchestral reductions of major works (Wagner’s The Ring – a two-hour adaptation of Der Ring des Nibelungen, as well as Monteverdi’s Ulysses: An American Mythology – an R&B/gospel realization of Il ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria, to name just two) and this season conducted performances of Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel, Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors, and Bizet’s Carmen.
This summer he will conduct performances of Puccini’s Suor Angelica with OperaFestival di Roma. His current recordings (all on the Albany label) include Offenbach’s Bluebeard, Kern’s The Cabaret Girl, Herbert’s Mlle. Modiste (also released on DVD by Operetta Archives), and Gilbert and Sullivan’s Ruddigore and Patience. Newly released on DVD by Operetta Archives is Mr. Borowitz conducting the 2007 Ohio Light Opera production of Kálmán’s The Duchess of Chicago.
For nine years he was Artistic Director of Nevada Opera, and for five seasons he was Music Director for Ohio Light Opera. He has been a guest conductor for La Musica Lirica, Des Moines Metro Opera, Baltimore Concert Opera, Opera Delaware, Pensacola Opera, AVA Ballet, Eastman School of Music, Opera Idaho, Opera Southwest, Rimrock Opera, Opera Columbus, The Reno Philharmonic and the LSU Symphony Orchestra, as well as assistant conductor with The Metropolitan Opera, Indianapolis Opera and Cleveland Opera.
Mr. Landon is a Louisiana native Theatre Artist and Educator. Recent directing credits include: 12 Things I learned… – The Bridge Theatre, NYC; A Christmas Carol, Wizard of Oz – EBRP Schools. Recent acting credits include: NOLA – Tempest (Sebastian), and readings of Titus, King Lear, & Othello – Shakespeare Festival; SEATTLE – Blood Wedding (GROOM), Blues for Mister Charlie (LYLE), Glass Menagerie (JIM) – The Williams Project; Return to Grey Gardens (JERRY) w/ Jinkx Monsoon; NEW YORK – Ugmo and Eenie… – Dixon Place; Snow White and the Seven Bottoms (PRINCE CHARMING) – Gold Dust Orphans; The Tempest (CALIBAN) – MA; Bank Job (Russell) – TX. Film credits: Bayou Caviar – dir. Cuba Gooding Jr.; Shooting Gallery – dir. Keoni Waxman; Romeo and Juliet (BENVOLIO) – WordPlay Shakespeare – NYC. He is a member of the Seattle-based theater company The Williams Project and the international theater outreach organization Stories 4 Strength. He is an alum of the Chautauqua Theater Conservatory and a graduate of the Brown University – Trinity Rep MFA program in Acting and Directing.