Cavalleria Rusticana

Friday, June 9 & Sunday, June 11, 2023
Marshall Performing Arts Center

Composed by Pietro Mascagni with libretto by Giovanni Targioni-Tozzetti and Guido Menasci 

LOON returns to UMD’s MPAC stage this Summer with Cavalleria Rusticana, a beloved one-act opera featuring gorgeous music and classic themes of love and betrayal.


Creative Team

Maria Sensi Sellner
Marni Raab
Stage Director
Michael Fuchs
Chorus Director
Joelle Coutu
Stage Manager
April Ellingsen
Assistant Stage Manager
Ann Gumpper
Scenic Designer and Painter
Alex Flinner
Lighting Designer
Ora Jewell-Busche
Wig & Makeup Designer
Sasha Howell
Costume Designer
LilaAnn Coates White
Bill Munson
Rehearsal Pianist
Teresa Vaughan
Rehearsal Pianist
Kentaro Shiozawa
Intermezzo Dancer
Kyra Olson
Intermezzo Dancer

Orchestra Bios

Erin Aldridge, originally from Milwaukee, came to Duluth in 2003 to join the faculty of UW-Superior and play with DSSO and LOON Opera orchestras. When she is not working, she is either playing bluegrass/folk with her band, Danny Frank and the Smoky Gold, or binge-watching Marvel TV/movies.

J. David Arnott, DMA, (he, him) a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, the Philadelphia College of Performing Arts, and the University of Southern Mississippi, currently holds the position of Manager of Orchestral Operations with the Duluth Superior Symphony, and plays violin or viola depending on the needs of the moment. He is unabashedly in love with opera.

Laurie Bastian is a Duluth native who received her BA from CSS. She has been a member of the DSSO, LSCO, and the Highland String Quartet for around 4 decades. She teaches violin/viola to all ages. Gardening and yard games add joy to her summers.

Double bass player, Timothy Churchill, is a middle school math teacher, co-founder of l.e.i | logistics experts inc. …”helping those behind the curve get in front of the curve by meaningful and productive conversations…”, and board member/ board chair of Matinee Musicale. Husband to Leslie and father to Jackson, Timothy is also a bicycle rider, reader, and an advocate for the design, construction, and use of round-a-bouts.

Jeremy Craycraft (he/him) is originally from Cincinnati, but calls Minnesota home now after almost two decades by the big lake and in our forests. He is currently the Fine Arts chair at the College of St. Scholastica, and enjoys playing professionally with various Twin Ports organizations as much as possible. 

Principal oboe with MN Opera Orchestra and the Duluth Superior Symphony since 2005, Michael Dayton (he/him) is also an active free-lance musician in the Twin Cities performing with many orchestral, ballet, chamber and choral groups in greater Minnesota and Wisconsin.  Mike has also held positions with the South Dakota Symphony and Orquesta Sinfonica de Aguascalientes in Mexico.  He holds degrees from Eastman School of Music and Augsburg College (University).  His teachers include Richard Killmer, Merilee Klemp, Steinar Hannevold and Bert Lucarelli.  Mike grew up on a farm in western North Dakota and now resides in Menomonie, Wisconsin with his son. When not performing, he enjoys reading, cycling and binge watching The Witcher. Or Game of Thrones.  Or really any epic sci-fi series…

Amy Eichers is a violinist with the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra.  She absolutely loves her job as the Orchestra Director at Superior High School.  During the summer when she is not teaching or performing you can find her either working in her garden or road tripping to National Parks with her family, Chad, Clara & Eleanor.  The Grand Tetons are on deck in a couple weeks!

Steve Highland, violinist, has been playing in the LOON orchestra for many years.  He has been a member of the Highland String Quartet since its start in 1985, and he has been playing in the DSSO since he graduated from high school almost 50 years ago. Steve is also into physics, math and wild mushrooms.  His cats own him.

Kevin Hoeschen (he/him) has been happily active as a violist, orchestra teacher, and conductor in the Twin Ports area for a long, long time!  He currently serves as principal viola in the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra and he co-conducts the DSSO’s youngest youth orchestra, the Sinfonia. In recent years, Kevin has enjoyed his new role as grandfather to Eddie, age six and Louie, almost four!

Betsy Husby (she/her) is a Duluth native having earned her D.M.A. in cello performance at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.  She is principal cello of the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra and plays with many of the region’s art organizations.  When not playing her cello during the growing season, you’ll find her either planting, hilling, or digging potatoes!

Mary Alice Hutton (she/her) is a violinist from Minneapolis, Minnesota. She is currently the Associate Concertmaster of the Duluth-Superior Symphony Orchestra. When not performing, she can be found gardening, kayaking, and spending time with her husband and their adorable puppy, Murphy.

Ronald Kari (he/him) is the Assistant Principal Violist of the Duluth Superior Symphony. He has just completed his 61st season with the Orchestra and has played every classical subscription concert during that time. Holding the same position with the Lake Superior Chamber Orchestra and Loon Orchestra, he has played with these groups since their beginnings. He is also violist with the Highland String Quartet now in its 38th year and all with its original members. Ron loves all the arts and has been an opera fanatic since the fourth grade.

Byron Klimek is an active cellist, orchestra teacher, and conductor in the Twin Ports area. He teaches orchestra at Denfeld High School and Lincoln Park Middle school, and also plays in the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra and co-conducts the DSSO’s youngest youth orchestra, the Sinfonia. In his spare time he enjoys running, spending time with friends, and playing chamber music with dear friends. 

Janell Kokkonen Lemire (she/her) grew up in rural Cloquet and attended UMD where she received a B.A.S degree in Home Economics with a 7-12 grade teaching certificate and minor in music. She is an early pioneer to adapting Suzuki principles, a method in teaching the harp for 3 year olds through adults. When not teaching or performing, you will find her behind a sewing machine creating or cooling off in the lake after a hot, relaxing sauna. 

Jean Donahue Leibfried (she/her) was born and raised in West Duluth. She is a 1973 graduate of Denfeld High School and a 1977 graduate of UMD, earning a Bachelor of Music Education. Jean taught Orchestra in Crookston, MN, General Music and Special Ed in Malta, MT, and Orchestra in Superior, WI, retiring as Superior High School Orchestra Director in 2017. Grandma (aka, MopMop) to seven grandchildren, Jean (aka Queen Jean to all who know and love her) hikes, reads, bakes chocolate chip cookies and is true to her blood type, B positive!

David Leslie was born in Duluth, MN and holds a Bachelors degree in Trombone from UMD. After his time at UMD, David moved to Texas where he earned a Masters in Music Performance from Texas Tech University and also spent two years at the University of North Texas in their DMA program. From Texas, David moved to the state of Virginia to work as a Music Director & Performer for Busch Gardens Williamsburg and also ran the Academy of the Arts at Liberty Baptist Church. David is now the Instructor of Low Brass at UWS and resides in his hometown of Iron River, WI with his wife Megan and two young girls Carolyn and Genevieve.

Utility violist, Kevin Peterson, can often be found playing with the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra, Lake Superior Chamber Orchestra and gigging at area churches, breweries and anywhere a viola is needed. His current ‘retirement’ gig is co-owning Room at the Table Catering and Bakery which has grown to include two very busy food trucks and managing the food service at the University of Minnesota Cloquet Forestry Center.

Horn player Deborah Rausch (she/her) has lived in Duluth long enough to consider herself a native.  She loves winter (including the record-breaking season of 22/23) and she fully engages in what she calls the ‘3-jam lifestyle’.  This singular lifestyle entails jamming with her family, jamming on trails with friends, and jamming in the kitchen with berries. 

Michael Roemhildt is a retired public school music teacher, and is currently living a very active post-retirement life as a bassoonist, piano technician, bassoon reed maker, and instructor of bassoon at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. When not involved with music, Michael and his wife, Regina, love traveling abroad.

Mr. Earl Salemink has served as the Principal Trumpet of the Duluth-Superior Symphony Orchestra (DSSO) since 1989 with a Master’s degree in trumpet performance from Northwestern University.  When not enjoying performing with the many fantastic groups in the area, he enjoys designing and making various items both big and small for the house and personal use and reading up on the latest news with renewable energy.

Violinist Kathleen Sanders (she/her) has been a member of the Duluth Superior Symphony for a long time and resides in the first violin section. As a life-long Duluthian, she loves the fact that the city not only has beautiful places to spend time in but also some of the highest quality arts organizations for a city its size. She has thoroughly enjoyed expanding her opera repertoire with LOON.

Originally from Philadelphia, clarinetist Theodore Schoen (he/him) moved to Duluth from Florida where he was the principal clarinet of the Atlanta Opera and Orlando Philharmonic. He is the professor of clarinet and saxophone at UMD and is currently a member of the DSSO and has performed extensively with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. When not teaching or performing, Ted enjoys baking bread and working with his three dogs including a sweet 10-week old puppy. Melanie Sever (she/her) is a flutist with the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra and plays with many regional ensembles. She is administrative director of the Duluth Superior Symphony Youth Orchestras program and teaches at The College of St. Scholastica and University of Wisconsin-Superior. A native of Duluth, she spent over 20 years in California beginning with a stint in the USMC 3rd Marine Air Wing band. Upon her return to Minnesota in 2007, she completed her MM in flute performance and a post baccalaureate K-12 teaching certification from UMD. When not playing or teaching, you will find her enjoying the amazing northern Minnesota outdoors – skiing, biking, hiking, running and swimming!

Chorus Bios

Ian Appold moved to Duluth in 2019 to pursue his Associates Degree at LSC. He has performed with the Minnesota Valley Men’s Chorale and was also involved in UWS’s 2020 production of Company. He is excited to join the chorus of Cavalerria Rusticana as his first production with LOON.

Isak Artang is a music and computer science double major at UMD. In the future, he hopes to be able to combine his passions in his career. 

Isabel Blakewell (she/they) is from Mankato MN and she received her B.M. in vocal performance from UMD this year. This will be her first production with LOON. Outside of performing she likes to go exploring outdoors and spend time with her friends and family. 

Grace Brinkert (she/her) is excited to be a part of her first LOON production! Since graduating from the College of St Scholastica with a focus on Vocal Performance last year, she has been involved with Twin Ports Choral Project and the Duluth Playhouse. Grace enjoys playing games, listening to podcasts, and relaxing with her partner and her two cats.

Patrick Colvin is a choral and theater artist, pianist, and educator based in Duluth. Recent theater projects include Singin’ in the Rain at UMD and The Fantasticks at UWS. He is director of music at Pilgrim Congregational Church, teaches voice and piano at Encore Music Studios, and is a founding member of both Twin Ports Choral Project and Borealis Chamber Artists. If he’s not in rehearsal, he is probably hiking. 

Born and raised in Duluth, Ben Ellison (he/him) is proud to share his love of vocal music in his hometown. Ben sings with Lyric Opera of the North, Twin Ports Choral Project, and hundreds of young adults daily while teaching Choir at Lincoln Park and Ordean East Middle Schools. When not teaching or performing, Ben enjoys taking in the natural and musical offerings of the Twin Ports with his lovely fiancée.

Native Duluthian Rebecca Farmer (she/her) has performed with many local theater companies over the years. She works with several local dealerships as their Marketing Director. Outside of performing, Rebecca wrangles kids, cats, and chickens.

Keegan Foster (she/her) is from Hudson, WI and is currently studying Vocal Performance at the University of Minnesota, Duluth. When she isn’t performing, she enjoys teaching dance, being outside, and spending time with her dogs, Willie and Waylon.

Hilary Godard (he/him) retired to Duluth in 2012 after 27 years of making glass and singing in symphonic and chamber choirs.  He now sings in several area choirs and in 3 previous LOON choruses.  As assistant carpenter, he has helped build LOON sets since 2017.  He, his wife Martha, 2 dogs, and 5 cats live in the woods north of Island Lake.

David Greenberg (he/him) is a native of the twin ports and studied music at the University of Wisconsin Superior. He’s been featured in roles with the Duluth Playhouse, Renegade Theater Company, Lyric Opera of the North, as well as performing with local choral groups like Arrowhead Chorale and DSSO Chorus.

Katheryn Hamm (she/her) came to Duluth from Colorado Springs in 2014 to attend grad school at UMD. She works for Memorial Blood Centers, and on evenings and weekends you can find her taking long walks on one of the many trails in Duluth, or cuddled up with a good book and a hot beverage.

Riley Hinnenkamp (he/him) is a Hermantown native and current Vocal Performance major at the University of Wisconsin-Superior, with an emphasis on opera/art song and conducting. Riley has sung and performed a variety of music all over the United States, Sweden, and Ghana; and is always looking for more opportunities to perform.

Steve Johnson is thrilled to return to the stage again with Lyric Opera of the North in this production of Cavalleria Rusticana.

Bob Kelley (he/him) has been a part of the theater/music community in Duluth for over 40 years. Has performed in musicals and plays at the Duluth Playhouse in the past, spent 16 years singing in Arrowhead Chorale and with them in The Mikado, The Pirates of Penzance and The Merry Widow. Over the last 5 years he has performed with LOON as a chorus member in Rigoletto, Don Giovanni, and now backstage for Cavalleria Rusticana.

Caroline Kouma (she/her) came to Duluth “for a few weeks” in 2020 when a pandemic put a pin in her international travels and pursuit of a European singing career. She fell in love with Lake Superior and decided to stay! When not singing, she can be found exploring the beauty of the north shore or making delicious craft cocktails at Vikre Distillery.

Janet MacDonald – teacher, singer, pianist and conductor-now resides in AZ and summers in MN. Recent LOON appearances include LOON Cor 2023 debut concert, Les Uncomfortables and L’elisir d’amore. In Arizona she is the Choir Director at American Lutheran in Sun City and sings with the AZ MusicFest Chorus in Scottsdale. 

Dan Maki (he/him) has called Duluth home for almost 30 years. Singing and theater are his hobbies and he truly loves being part of the LOON family.

After graduating high school from Perpich Center for Arts Education, Audrey May (she/her) moved to Duluth to study voice at UMD. When not singing, Audrey loves to have picnics on Lake Superior and attends gallery showings of northland arts groups.

Calland Metts (he/him) was a working singer in Chicago when he came to Duluth in 2000 to sing in the opera Les Uncomfortables with Colder By the Lake. Now he is co-General Artistic Director of Lyric Opera of the North, and an adjunct teacher at LSC and FDLTCC.

Aine Miller (she/her) came to Duluth from Minneapolis in 2011 for college. Aine has been fortunate enough to be involved in many musical opportunities in town including the Arrowhead Chorale, Twin Ports Choral Project, and the music ministry at First Lutheran Church. When she isn’t doing music you can find her at the customer service desk of the Duluth Whole Foods Co-op or spending time outside with her dog McCoy.

Gunnar Molstad (he/they) is a singer from rural West Central MN, and teaches middle school vocal music at North Star Academy. Since moving to Duluth with his wife and cats in August 2022, he has joined Twin Ports Choral Project, the Borealis Chamber Artists, LOON, and is always looking for more opportunities to sing.

Lisa Munson (she/her) moved to Duluth in 2018 from Hopkins, MN. She holds a Bachelor’s in Music and a Master’s in Public and Non-Profit Administration. In her professional life, Lisa works in corporate learning & development. When she’s not working or performing, Lisa loves to travel (anywhere!) or you can find her on the hiking trails, kayaking, or binge-watching good shows (especially during those cold Minnesota winters!).

James Olson (he/him) arrived in the Twin Ports in 1979 via Vienna, Austria where he received his MA from the Vienna Academy of Music & Performing Arts. Jim is grateful to have performed in many local chorus, opera, and musical productions over the years. He currently resides in Solon Springs with his wife Vickie. 

Elsa Persson (she/her) is from Stillwater, MN and is currently at the University of Minnesota Duluth studying Acting and Music in pursuit of a career in professional theater and opera. Elsa is also a big fan of spending time outdoors, roller blading, and Buffalo Wild Wings.

Alice Pierce (she/her) lyric coloratura soprano, 12 years soprano soloist in Staatstheater Cottbus, Germany. Retired from UMD. Hikes, yogas, bakes, knits, DSSO soloist and chorister, and LOON COR. Coos in a high key over grandchildren and husband John. 

John Pierce (he/him) moved to Duluth in 2012. Before that he sang leading tenor roles (Tristan, Lohengrin, Tannhaeser, Don Jose, Otello, Peter Grimes, Cavaradossi, etc.) in Germany and around the world for 20 years. He owns Duluth Fine Pianos, teaches singing, and occasionally bows with the Twin Ports Tenors.

Paul Piszczek (he/him) has sung in LOON choruses since 2013 after arriving in the Twin Ports in 2012 to work full-time as a fisheries biologist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. He is also a Registered Piano Technician and tunes, regulates, and repairs pianos.

Lisa Roazen (she/her) is an emergency physician at St. Luke’s Hospital, but whose passions lie with good food and good music. She’s performed with various choral groups in Duluth and NYC, and plays line cook and chauffeur to her 3 spunky children and co-conspirator with her husband, Jules.

Brayden Slattery (they/them) is from Vadnais Heights, MN, and is currently studying Vocal Music Education at the University of Minnesota, Duluth. When they are not studying or performing, they love watching old movies and being cuddled up with their dogs and cats!

Sage Sorenson (she/her) is 6 years old and will start 1st Grade in the fall at Bay View Elementary. This is her 2nd production with LOON. Sage also enjoys drawing, playing soccer and basketball, and playing outside with her friends. 

Jacob Waechter (he/him) is in 7th grade at North Star Academy. This is his 3rd production with LOON.  He also enjoys theater, cross country running, and track.

Keely Waechter (she/her)  is a native Duluthian. She is a Work Based Learning Coordinator for ISD 709, and when she is not with students working on Theater,  Key Club, or DnD, she is spending time with her family.

Sabbastian Wilson-Webb (he/him) lives by the water in Hackensack, MN, where he can frequently be found composing, singing, and playing various instruments while finishing a degree in Composition for Film, TV, and Games at Berklee Online. He was introduced to the kind folks at LOON by John Pierce, who has been mentoring him in singing tenor.

Catherine Zbaracki (she/her) is a Duluth native who recently moved back with her husband Joe and their two young daughters. Catherine sings with LOON, Twin Ports Choral Project, the Borealis Chamber Artists, and several churches in the area. When she’s not singing Catherine is a full time parent who can be found baking and cooking, doing yard work, and spending time outside.