Artistic Director and Set Designer
Douglas Anderson is the Executive Director of Town Hall Theater, Inc. Directing projects include all of OCM’s productions starting with Carmen in 2004 through L’Elisir d’Amore in October 2017; Forever Plaid, Smokey Joe’s Café and Falsettos for Town Hall Theater; Falsettos, Company, Sweeney Todd, Gypsy, The Wild Party, Urinetown, Hairspray, Into the Woods, Les Miserables, Ragtime, Chicago, City of Angels, and Cabaret for Middlebury College; Shirley Valentine for the Middlebury Actors Workshop and Vermont Stage Company; several musicals for the Middlebury Community Players, most recently The Music Man and Funny Girl; and workshops of new musicals at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the Cleveland Playhouse. In a prior life, he was head writer on the CBS daytime drama, Guiding Light. In January 2007, he directed and co-wrote RiddleLikeLove (with a side of ketchup), which appeared off-Broadway at the Ensemble Studio Theater. Doug lives in East Middlebury with his wife Debby.
Guest Conductor, A Streetcar Named Desire and Il Trittico
Praised for his “artistic authority,” “fluidity of expression,” and “great delicacy of feeling,” Michael Sakir took on the role of music director of Opera Memphis in the 2017-18 season. In this capacity, he conducted Rossini’s L’Italiana in Algeri and Alessandro Scarlatti’s Baroque comedy The Triumph of Honor. This season, he returns to Des Moines Metro Opera as conductor for Mark Campbell, Kimberly Reed, and Laura Kaminsky’s opera As One, as well as the Opera Company of Middlebury for Andre Previn’s contemporary masterpiece A Streetcar Named Desire. Sakir also makes his debuts with Shreveport Opera conducting The Magic Flute and with the Brevard Music Center conducting Madama Butterfly and Candide. Other recent guest conducting engagements include Intermountain Opera Bozeman, Eugene Opera, Opera Orlando, Northwestern University, American Opera Projects, Opera in the Ozarks, and Opera North.Sakir has held chorus master, assistant conductor, and coach positions for over three dozen productions with Santa Fe Opera, Washington National Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Sarasota Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Pensacola Opera, and Opera Boston. Sakir holds degrees from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and The Boston Conservatory. He was a participant in the 2017 Opera America Leadership Intensive. He is a native of Northern California.
Guest Conductor, L’ELISIR D’AMORE and THE MAGIC FLUTE
Jeffrey Rink (Conductor) returns to the Opera Company of Middlebury having at short notice conducted OCM’s production of The Magic Flute in October 2016. He is the recipient of the 2005 Jacopo Peri Award for outstanding contributions to the art of opera and has been the Mattie Kelly Distinguished Chair in Orchestral Music at Northwest Florida State College and Music Director of the Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra since 2007. A production of La Bohème he led with the Maryland Opera Theatre was praised by the Washington Post as “good as any Bohème you are likely to see this side of the Metropolitan Opera or Covent Garden.” Mr. Rink formerly served as Music Director of Concert Opera Boston where he made significant contributions to opera in concert version, including performances of Attila, Carmen, Faust, Samson et Dalila, Cavalleria Rusticana, Pagliacci, Turandot, Otello, Macbeth, Nabucco, Attila, La Traviata and Mefistofele. He conducts a “World-Class Concert Otello,” said the Boston Globe and was called “Boston’s pre-eminent Verdi conductor” by the Boston Phoenix.
In addition to this production of L’Elisir d’Amore and his regular symphony season Mr. Rink will lead performances of Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis in Tokyo and a production of La Traviata in Florida. In the 2003 and 2004 seasons, he served as a cover conductor for the Boston Symphony Orchestra, assisting James Levine, James Conlon, Hans Graf, Robert Spano, Rafael Frübeck de Burgos, Sir Colin Davis and Gennady Rozhdestvensky.
Jeffrey Buettner is the Director of Choral Activities and Associate Professor of Music at Middlebury College, where he conducts the College Choir, directs and performs with the Collegium, and teaches courses in conducting and ensemble vocal music. He is co-founder/music director of the Middlebury Bach Festival, and conducted the Opera Company of Middlebury production of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas in 2015, and Handel’s Esther with the Bach Festival in 2017. He has conducted at the New York Summer Music Festival and in choral festivals in the Midwest and Northeast. Dr. Buettner has traveled to Ukraine for research in Romani music on several occasions since 1999, and as a Fulbright Scholar to Kharkiv State University of Arts in 2010 where he conducted the University Choir. He has presented at national and international conferences, including Romani vocal music (“Gypsy Choirs”) of Ukraine and Russia and his study of Handel’s Esther (2018). He holds a DMA from Michigan State University, MM from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and BM from St. Olaf College.
Mary Longey has produced and stage-managed for OCM since its first opera in 2004. She serves as Secretary on the Board of Directors for Middlebury Community Players and as Stage Manager and/or Producer since 1999 for the Players and Town Hall Theater, Inc. She volunteers as the Resident Stage Manager for Town Hall Theater. Mary recently retired from her day job “managing” Mary Hogan School (1988-2016), which just gives her more time for opera and theater! She is educating her granddaughters Kiara, Lizzy & Maya about the joys of opera.
Director, Young Artists Program
Mezzo-soprano Dawn Pierce is a native of Olean, New York, and an assistant professor of voice at Ithaca College. Praised as both an exceptional performer and an empowering teacher, Ms. Pierce is devoted to promoting a deeper understanding of artistry and self-expression. Reviewers laud her as “vocally impressive and dramatically convincing,” while students describe her teaching as “creative,” “energetic,” and “inspiring.” On the operatic stage, she recently performed Charlotte in Werther with Mobile Opera, Carmen in Carmen with the Southern Ilinois Music Festival, Olga in Eugene Onegin with Opera Carolina and Opera Company of Middlebury, and Madelon and Bersi in Andrea Chenier with Nashville Opera. Learn more about Ms. Pierce at: www.dawnpierce.com.
Mary Jane Austin
Mary Jane Austin is enjoying a rich musical life in Vermont and abroad. This summer, she is again serving as head vocal coach at the EPCASO opera program founded by Claudia Pinza in Oderzo, Italy. She has worked with major voices such as Vivica Genaux and Michael Chioldi, as well as Vermont’s own Erik Kroncke. She has collaborated with Vermont Contemporary Music Ensemble, TurnMusic, Mad River Chorale, and Vermont Youth Orchestra Choruses. She has directed at the Unadilla Theatre in Calais, including Mozart’s Abduction from the Seraglio and several works by Gilbert and Sullivan. Currently teaching piano and vocal coaching at Johnson State College, she is also the organist at Waterbury Congregational Church and teaches at Monteverdi Music School and Montessori School of Central Vermont.
Costume Designer and Graphics
Debby Anderson first designed costumes for the Middlebury Community Players’ production of Chicago, followed by the country-western version of Twelfth Night. She has been costume designer for all of OCM’s 13 seasons, as well as designing the posters, program covers and other publicity materials. Debby learned early on that if she wanted to see her husband—the director, she had better join the production team. Her day job is Box Office Manager for Middlebury College.
Neil Curtis’ lighting is familiar to OCM audiences, including productions of A Little Night Music, La Bohème, The Barber of Seville, The Pearl Fishers, Thaïs, Eugene Onegin, OCM’s 10th Anniversary Concert, L’Italiana in Algeri, La Traviata, Turandot, Dido and Aeneas and Macbeth. He has also worked at Actor’s Theater in Louisville KY, Pacific Center for the Performing Arts, The Mac Hayden Theater, Ogunquit Playhouse, Middlebury Community Players, and Little City Players. Neil received his BFA in Theatrical Production Arts, Design Concentration from Ithaca College. Neil is a Managing Consultant with a focus on utility energy efficiency programs at Navigant Consulting. He lives in Shelburne, VT with his wife, Amy, and son, Colin.
Technical Director, L’Elisir d’Amore and A Streetcar Named Desire
Bill has been part of OCM’s technical side from the beginning, and constructed sets and developed technical solutions for most of the productions from Carmen in 2004 through Macbeth in 2016, as well as several OCM concert performances. He has also been involved in set design and production for the Middlebury Community Players over many years, some recent highlights being Funny Girl, The King and I, and The Music Man. Bill is happy to be part of the theater family in Middlebury in any capacity and looks forward to OCM’s productions especially. By day Bill provides technical support of another kind for Senix, a maker of ultrasonic sensors. He lives in New Haven with his wife Ellie and family.
Technical Director, Il Trittico
Patrick Orr received an undergraduate degree in Theatre at the University of Vermont in 1977. The first technical director hired by the Department of Theatre, he has been in his position since 1983. A native Vermonter, Patrick has been active in technical theatre since his high school days in Barre. He is a charter member of Vermont’s stage hands union IATSE 919, serving on its executive board for many years. He has toured nationally with Placido Domingo as tour carpenter, designed off-Broadway, worked on several major motion pictures and provided consulting services for theaters on specialty rigging, pyrotechnics and special effects.
Elinor Steele Friml
Elinor Steele Friml has worn many hats in theater and the arts in Middlebury and beyond. She has designed over 30 sets for the Middlebury Community Players since 1983 and has worked as Scenic Artist for many OCM productions. She is an award-winning designer/weaver of contemporary tapestries for home, corporate and healthcare settings nationwide. She currently serves as Town Hall Theater Box Office Manager and Jackson Gallery Director.
Kate Tilton has enjoyed fabricating, finding and finagling props for several shows with the Opera Company of Middlebury (from La Rondine through Macbeth), Middlebury Community Players (The Music Man, Still Life, Spamalot) and Middlebury Actors Workshop (Richard the Third, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde). She had her directorial debut this year with Black Comedy. She serves on the Boards of Directors for MCP and Town Hall Theater. Kate is fond of learning about opera while “propping up the show” from behind scenes.