Monday, August 18, 2014

Opera on the Rocks: Don Giovani

Posted: 18 Aug 14
Updated: 26 Aug 14

Great fun!  Am singing the role of Commendatore in one of Mozart 's most famous operas. Although I thought I'd lost my operatic voice years ago, I have been pleasantly surprised to discover that I can do this role! Thanks to director Alicia Solomon for inviting me to try it out.  It feels perfect at the ripe old age of 80! All I have to do (as a statue) is stand there and in a loud voice call Don Giovani to repentance!
(click to enlarge)
Cast of Characters


Carlos Archuleta, baritone (Don Giovanni)
            A native northern New Mexican, Carlos has had a full operatic career, beginning with studying with Andre at NM Highlands, and continuing at the New England Conservatory of Music.  Some of his signature roles were both Figaros, the Count in Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro, Papageno, the Count in Verdi’s Il Trovatore, Escamillo, Sharpless, Marcello, Silvio, and Germont, performing with many notable companies including the Santa Fe Opera, Washington National Opera, New York City Opera, and Dallas Opera.  Since retiring from singing to help raise his daughter, he has become a Mechanical Designer/Technician for Area 52 (Chevron Technology).

Jeffrey Click, bass (Leporello)
            Jeff studied vocal performance while at UC Santa Barbara; he also attended the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria, where he met his wife, Alicia Solomon.  After spending the past twenty years raising their family, he began singing again, performing King Balthazzar in last year’s Opera on the Rocks, Amahl & the Night Visitors.  Jeff leads a team at LANL that provides on-demand cloud computing services.

Christina Martos, soprano (Donna Anna)
            A graduate of Carnegie Mellon and the Yale School of Music, Christina was also a Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist with the Washington National Opera, and performed several seasons with the Central City Opera in Colorado.  Her repertoire includes The Saint of Bleeker Street, The Magic Flute, Hansel & Gretel, L’Elisir d’Amore, Gianni Schicchi, Suor Angelica, The Marriage of Figaro, Dialogues of the Carmelites, and Carlysle Floyd’s Susannah. She lives with her daughter in Los Alamos, where she was seen last year in LALO’s The Mystery of Edwin Drood.
Andre Garcia-Nuthmann, tenor (Don Ottavio)
            Andre is Director of Vocal & Choral Studies at New Mexico Highlands University in Las Vegas, where he manages a wide variety of choral and instrumental ensembles. He earned a doctorate in vocal performance from Arizona State University, and has been a prominent tenor soloist in northern New Mexico for many years, appearing frequently with the Santa Fe Opera, Symphony, Pro Musica, Desert Chorale, and Opera Alta. In last year’s Opera on the Rocks he was King Kaspar; he and Alicia have been making beautiful music together since 1988.

Jess Cullinan, soprano (Donna Elvira)
            Jess holds a B.A. in Theatre Arts from Marquette University, and has sung with the Milwaukee Symphony Chorus, Chicago Chorale, and the Rockefeller Chapel Choir.  With Los Alamos Light Opera and Little Theatre, she appeared in The Sound of Music (Mother Abbess), The Spitfire Grill (Percy), and Into the Woods (The Witch), and directed LALO's The Mystery of Edwin Drood in 2013. With Opera Alta, she sang Josephine in H.M.S. Pinafore, and Fiordiligi and Susanna in the inaugural Opera on the Rocks in 2012. She is also an artist & graphic designer.

Eugene Kovalenko, bass (Statue of Commendatore)
            In a career spanning more than half a century, Eugene has been a military intelligence agent, a nuclear materials scientist, a Soviet-American trade specialist, an engineering manager in aerospace, and a seminar coordinator for Russian & American scientists at LANL.  He still teaches and consults.

Brian Huysman, keyboardist
            Brian recently joined LANL after 30 years with NASA.  With decades as a church pianist, in a Big Band, and over 45 musical theater productions behind him, Brian marvels that only in New Mexico, would he be able to combine his passion for opera with his passion for hiking and backpacking.  He has played for Opera Alta’s “Petra and the Jay”, and all three Opera on the Rocks productions.

Since 2006, Opera Alta (Alicia Solomon, director) has presented performances across northern New Mexico of arias and ensembles from opera and musical theater, a condensed H.M.S. PINAFORE, an original Sci-Fi musical, and for the third year running, Opera on the Rocks at Bandelier.  Personally, Alicia has appeared repeatedly with the Santa Fe Opera, Symphony, Concert Association, Chamber Music Festival, and the Desert Chorale.  She holds a Master of Sacred Music degree, and is Music Director at the Unitarian Church of Los Alamos. (Visit

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