dell’Arte Opera Ensemble

dell’Arte Opera Ensemble

Elyse Anne Kakacek, Soprano
Liz Bouk, Mezzo-Soprano
Whitney George, Composer/Co-Conductor
Sarah Young, Director
Karen Rich, Managing Director

dell’Arte Opera Ensemble 2019 Summer Festival: Voices From the Tower

Summer Shares at La MaMa Experimental Theater
August 10th to 25th


Princess Maleine in PRINCESS MALEINE


Elyse Anne Kakacek (Princess Maleine) is ecstatic to be will be creating the title role in dell’Arte Opera’sfirst commission, Princess Maleine, this summer. Career highlights include Micaela in Carmen, Norina in Don Pasquale, and Nedda in I Pagliacci. Last season, Ms. Kakacek reached the milestone of performing every Mozart/Da Ponte peasant role with her performance as Zerlina in dell’Arte Opera Ensemble’s Don Giovanni. She has appeared as a soloist in venues such as the David Koch Theatre at Lincoln Center (Promenade), Carnegie Hall, Symphony Space, Preston Bradley Hall, La Mama Experimental Theatre, and National Sawdust. Elyse is aproud recipient of The Lynne Harvey Foundation Scholarship from theMusician’s Club of Women and the Bel Canto Vocal Scholarship. Ms. Kakacek is represented by Martha Wade of Wade Artist Management in New York City. In her spare time, Elyse enjoys knitting, painting, and spending time drinking homemade kombucha in her Brooklyn apartment with her kind boyfriend and snuggly cat.

LIZ BOUK – mezzo-soprano


Liz Bouk (Queen Anne) is a dell’Arte Opera Ensemble alumnus. In 2015, The New York Times praised Liz’s “silky mezzo” as Amparo in Rosina. Since then, Liz has broughthis “impressive firmly-grounded contralto” (Opera News) to roles including Lucretia, Carmen, Augusta Tabor, and Fosca. This season, Liz performed Hannah-after in Alamo City Opera’s As One, La Suora Infermiera in St. Petersburg Opera Company’s Suor Angelica, and Sarah in the World Premiere of Stonewall with New York City Opera at Lincoln Center. With Bea Goodwin, Liz recently told his own coming of age story through spoken word and song. Mr. Liz’s One [wo] Man Show: [Living in the In-Between] premiered off-off-Broadway at The Tank Theater and New Beginnings premiered with The New Work Series at TADA Theater and at Dixon Place in Manhattan. Liz holds performance degrees from The University of Cincinnati, CCM and Westminster Choir College and studies with Katherine Ciesinski.

WHITNEY GEORGE – Composer/Co-Conductor

PRINCESS MALEINE, a new opera with a libretto by Bea Goodman (based on the play by Maurice Maeterlinck) commissioned and produced by dell’Arte Opera Ensemble.

This is dell’Arte’s first commissioned opera!

Whitney George is a composer and conductor who specializes in the use of mixed media to blur the distinctions between concert performance, installation art, and theater. Utilizing a wide variety of material including literary texts, silent film, stock footage, and visual arts, George’s compositions are characterized by an immersive theatricality that thrives on collaboration in all phases of the creative process. Her affinity for the macabre, the fantastic, and the bizarre frequently gives rise to musical programs that evoke the traditions of phantasmagoria and melodrama, challenging musicians to experiment liberally with their stage personae, and audiences to widen the scope of their attention.

Specializing in interdisciplinary, collaborative works, Whitney George’s staged and theatrical compositions have been recognized with numerous awards. She was named as a John Duffy Composers Institute Fellow for two years running in 2010 and 2011 for her staged works The Yellow Wallpaper and And Thus the Whirligig of Time Brings in His Revenges.The Robert Starer Award commemorated her multi-movement orchestral work “The Anatomy of the Curiosity Cabinet” in 2011,and she received the 2017 Elebash Award for her orchestration of Miriam Gideon’s opera Fortunato. In 2012 a collection of her chamber works was released in the UK by Blue Tapes on a series of cassettes titled “Blue Nine: Whitney George.” Movements from her 2013 work “Night, like velvet: in twelve letters” have been selected for performance on various new music festivals since its completion, including the New Music Conflagration series, Hartford Women Composers Festival, AME 10th Annual Awards Night, Dixon Place’s Works in Progress Series, the ShoutHouse Ensemble call for works, and more.

Whitney George is Artistic Director and Conductor of the new music ensemble, The Curiosity Cabinet (est. 2010).

George holds an undergraduate degree from the California Institute of the Arts, a Masters degree from Brooklyn College Conservatory, and is currently continuing her studies as a PhD candidate at the CUNY Graduate Center, where she studied with David Del Tredici, David Olan, Bruce Saylor, and Tania Leon. In addition to her composing and conducting, George teaches at the Brooklyn College Conservatory, works at the Hitchcock Institute of American Studies and is the Managing Director for New York’s American Modern Ensemble (AME)..

SARAH YOUNG – Director

La liberazione di Ruggiero

Sarah Young is a critically praised NYC based director and a recent MFA graduate from New School for Drama. In May 2019 she directed a reading at Cherry Lane Theatre and her upcoming productions include La liberazione di Ruggierofor the Dell’Arte Opera Ensemble at La Mama in August.

The San Francisco Chronicle has called her work “enchanting” while the San Jose Mercury News praised it as “intimate and edgy”. Her productions explore explosive themes of power, religion, and the duality of human nature for both good and evil.


At the New School she directed Sueño by Jose Rivera for the New Visions Festival 2018 and the world premiere of Plain Brown Box by Conlan Carter for the New Voices Festival 2019. She also directed her original adaptations of Shakespeares King John, the popular novel Good Omens, and the world premiere of Badby Conlan Carter. Her professional New York city debut was made at Cherry Lane in May 2019.


Sarah also holds a Masters of Music from the San Francisco Conservatory.

She has directed operas throughout the United States for companies including The San Francisco Opera Guild, West Edge Opera, and Pittsburgh Festival Opera.


Sarah brings her passion for visual storytelling and unique blend of theatrical and musical training to create vivid and emotional films. In March 2019 she directed and edited a short film called Be A Man leading a team of both student and professional artists. Over the Summer of 2019 she will be shooting a series of short films to build her reel and looks forward to pursuing that avenue of storytelling.

Sarah lives in New York with her husband Jason and two feisty cats named Ambrosius and Xena.

KAREN RICH, Managing Director, dell’Arte Opera Ensemble

DELL’ARTE OPERA ENSEMBLE provides emerging opera artists with training and performance opportunities necessary to bridge the gap between the conservatory and a flourishing career. The emphasis is on “learning by doing”, backed by our philosophy that superior craft creates great art. DELL’ARTE’S annual summer repertory festival offers audiences high-quality and meticulously crafted opera presentations featuring rising young vocal artists, designers, directors and conductors. The company’s repertoire ranges from standard operas like Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro and Bizet’s Carmen to seldom heard works like Salieri’s Falstaff and Hiram Titus’ Rosina.

Since its founding in 2000 by Artistic Director Christopher Fecteau and Managing Director, Karen Rich, DELL’ARTE has focused on integrating the skills all singers must master into a comprehensive role preparation process by:

  • Providing role preparation guidance, from audition and casting, through coaching and rehearsal, to debut performances;
  • Providing singers with a comprehensive professional context for effective collaboration with the highest expectations and standards.

Participants in our singer-development programming receive a unique and carefully structured curriculum of private coachings and masterclasses with industry professionals designed to address practice methods, diction, musical style, movement and character development, preparing them for a career in an increasingly competitive opera world. Our program is tuition free, and does not require singers to leave New York City.

Participants in our Opera Leaders Mentorship Program take modestly-paid leadership roles in our productions (stage direction, stage management, costume and scenic design, conducting and coaching) and receive mentorship from industry leaders. Guidance focuses on planning, communication, problem-solving, and budget-skills, and fosters the artistic vision of each mentee.

Since its inception in 2000, nearly 500 singers have benefited from DELL’ARTE’s programs. Of these, more than 30% are still pursuing operatic careers, performing regularly in opera houses at all levels, throughout the US and internationally, including LA Opera, Sarasota Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Royal Opera House (London) and Bel Canto at Caramoor. At least 10 have had Metropolitan Opera debuts and many are now on faculty at universities around the country or serving in administrative leadership positions.

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