Staff

Mary Longey

Executive Producer

Mary Longey has produced and stage-managed
all operas and events for the Opera Company of Middlebury since its first season in 2004. She has particularly enjoyed OCM’s Eugene Onegin (2013) and The Maid Of Orleans (having majored in Russian at Middlebury College). Since 1999, Mary has produced, stage managed, or otherwise assisted with over 50 Middlebury Community Players’ shows (serving on that Board since 2003), as well as numerous productions and events at Town Hall Theater, where she volunteers as the Resident Production Manager. Mary retired from her day job “managing” Mary Hogan School (1988-2016), which has given her more time for opera and theater.


Douglas Anderson

Artistic Director and Set Designer

Douglas Anderson is currently the Artistic Director of Town Hall Theater, Inc. (having been Executive Director until July 2018). Directing projects include all of OCM’s productions starting with Carmen in 2004 through Completing the Picture, Candide and The Maid of Orleans in 2020-21; Forever Plaid, Smokey Joe’s Café, Falsettos and Hands on a Hardbody for Town Hall Theater; Falsettos, Company, Sweeney Todd, Gypsy, The Wild Party, Urinetown, Hairspray, Into the Woods, Les Miserables, Ragtime, Chicago, City of Angels, Cabaret, Sunday in the Park with George, and The Light in the Piazza for Middlebury College; Shirley Valentine for Middlebury Actors Workshop and Vermont Stage Company; musicals for the Middlebury Community Players, including The Music Man and Funny Girl;  workshops of new musicals at Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and Cleveland Playhouse. In a prior life, he was head writer on the CBS daytime drama, Guiding Light. 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.


Michael Sakir

Music Director

Conductor: The Maid of Orleans, CandideCompleting the Picture, Cendrillon, A Streetcar Named Desire and Il Trittico

Michael Sakir has been praised for his “artistic authority,” “fluidity of expression,” and “great delicacy of feeling.” He serves as Artistic Director of Intermountain Opera Bozeman and Music Director of the Opera Company of Middlebury. From 2016-2020, he was Music Director of Opera Memphis, where he was deeply involved in the company’s groundbreaking civic practice programs, community partnerships, and commissioning projects. Recent guest conducting engagements include Seattle Opera, Brevard Music Festival, Des Moines Metro Opera, Opera Orlando, Eugene Opera, Northwestern University, American Opera Projects, Opera in the Ozarks, and Opera North. He has held music staff positions 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. Since 2016, Maestro Sakir conducted for OCM: Il Trittico, A Streetcar Named Desire, Cendrillon, Completing the Picture an
Candide. He was a participant in the 2017 OPERA America Leadership Intensive. He is a native of Northern California.
Website: michaelsakir.com

Dawn Pierce

Artistic Director, Young Artists Program

dpierceMezzo-soprano

Dawn Pierce

is a native
of Olean, New York, and an assistant professor of voice at Ithaca College. She was seen as a featured recitalist in the Middlebury Song Festival and has performed the Verdi Requiem, Beethoven’s Ninth and the Messiah with symphonies throughout the country. On the operatic stage: Béatrice in Béatrice et Bénédict with Asheville Lyric Opera, Charlotte in Werther with Mobile Opera, the title role in Carmen with Opera Ithaca, Olga in Eugene Onegin with OCM and Opera Carolina, and Madelon and Bersi in Andrea Chenier with Nashville Opera. She earned a Performing Artist Certificate and a Master’s in Opera Performance from the AJ Fletcher Opera Institute and holds Bachelor’s degrees in Vocal Performance and Music Education from Ithaca College. Learn more about Ms. Pierce at: www.dawnpierce.com.


Filippo Ciabatti

CHORUS MASTER AND COACH, YOUNG ARTISTS PROGRAM

Filippo Ciabatti is Music Director of the Dartmouth Symphony Orchestra, and Interim Music Director of Dartmouth’s choral ensembles. In 2018, he led the Dartmouth Symphony Orchestra in an Italian tour in collaboration with the Orchestra Toscana dei Conservatori. Recent guest engagements include the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, Opera North (NH), ICM Orchestra, Martha Graham Dance Company, Universidad Central Symphony Orchestra (Bogota, Colombia), and University of Illinois’ Lyric Theatre, where he conducted a production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, directed by and featuring Nathan Gunn. In 2018, he was named a Conducting Fellow at the Aurora Music Festival in Stockholm, under the direction of Jukka-Pekka Saraste. Ciabatti also serves on the faculty of Camerata Bardi Vocal Academy and Opera Viva (Italy). Website: filippociabatti.com

Sarah Cullins

Coordinator, Young Artists Program

Eighth-generation Vermonter and soprano Sarah Cullins is thrilled to have returned home and be involved in a myriad of vocal programs that give back to her community. During her decade-long musical adventure in Bogota, Colombia, she designed and led the Universidad Central voice and opera program while maintaining a busy career in opera, oratorio and symphonic repertoire. In Vermont since 2013, she has sung five roles with OCM, frequently performs with her husband as the 8 Cuerdas Duo and maintains a large private vocal studio; and founded Youth Opera Workshop of Vermont. During the pandemic summers of 2020 and 2021, she created Project Serenade, an outdoor concert series at long-term care facilities and community centers. Her involvement with OCM has recently expanded; she is excited to begin her new roles as Board Member and Program Coordinator of the Young Artist Program. Website: www.sarahcullins.com


Tim Joy

Editor & Audio Engineer, Candide and Completing the Picture

Tim is a Producer, Director, Editor, Composer, Pilot, Audio Engineer, and Inventor who grew up wanting to be a rock star. Playing music and listening to others play was his passion—everything from Jazz, Classical, and Reggae; to Rock, Electronic, and Funk. Although he did lead a band for a few years, it was the audio engineering side of it that excited him most. He ventured to Hollywood and studied Music, Theater, and Audio Engineering, where he then served as studio tech and recording engineer for composer Joel Goldsmith, most known for scoring the TV series, Stargate SG-1. Under his wing, Tim honed his skills as recording engineer, composer, and computer tech. In 2001, he founded Projection Films and began making short films, working as a production sound mixer and boom operator, and flying model helicopters with cameras strapped to them. Since relocating to Vermont in 2007, he has produced and directed over 20 short films, made dozens of videos, commercials, and graphic animations, while continuing to compose music and work as an audio engineer. As an amateur machinist and hobby inventor, Tim enjoys designing and building new filmmaking tools and “flying cameras.” Visit Tim’s website for Projection Films at: Projectionfilms.com


Jeffrey Rink

Guest Conductor, Tosca, L’Elisir d’Amore and The Magic Flute

headshot-rink-small

Jeffrey Rink 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 Jacopo Peri Award for outstanding contributions to the art of opera and served for eleven seasons as Music Director of the Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra. 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, La Traviata and Mefistofele. He conducted 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 Tosca Mr. Rink’s upcoming performances include appearances with the Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo Amadeus Orchestra and Tokyo Oratorio Society as well as concerts with the Orquesta Filarmónica de Jalisco, the Orquesta Filarmónica de Boca del Río and the Central Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra. 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.
Website: jeffreyrink.com


Jeffrey Buettner

Choral Director

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.


Debby Anderson

Costume and Graphics Designer

Debby Anderson (Costume and Graphics Designer) 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 18 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. She retired in 2020 from her day job as Box Office Manager for Middlebury College.


Mary Jane Austin

Pianist, Chorus Master and Vocal Coach

Mary Jane Austin is enjoying a rich musical life in Vermont and abroad, where her interests range from recital work and full-scale opera productions to teaching and choral conducting. She has been enjoying her post as conductor of the Mad River Chorale since 2018 after a long tenure as a collaborative pianist for the organization. Discovering a love for opera while studying with Claudia Pinza, Maurizio Arena, Enza Ferrari, and Warren Jones, she began working at the Italian opera program EPCASO shortly thereafter. She is principal keyboardist of the Vermont Symphony, and in 2016 she was awarded the title of “Honorary Conductor” by the VSO. She especially enjoys being the rehearsal pianist for the OCM, and also regularly collaborates with TURNmusic, Eleva Chamber Players, and Vermont Virtuosi. She co-founded the Vermont Italian Opera Intensive with bass Erik Kroncke, and together they direct opera and operettas at the Unadilla Theatre in Calais every summer, and produce the outdoor State House concert series, new this summer. She is currently on the faculties of Middlebury College, Dartmouth and Northern Vermont University. She is also the vocal coach for the Youth Opera Workshop, organist at the Waterbury Congregational Church, and rehearsal pianist for the Handel Society and the South Burlington Community Chorus. She was the rehearsal pianist for Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra’s production of La Traviata, and recently accompanied OCM’s touring productions of Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore and Puccini’s Tosca. She led the pit in performances of Middlebury College’s production of Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park with George, and this past January conducted Middlebury College’s production of The Light in the Piazza.


Neil Curtis

Lighting Designer

Neil Curtis

Neil Curtis (Lighting Designer). Neil’s lighting is familiar to OCM’s audiences, including productions of A Little Night Music, La Bohème, The Barber of Seville, The Pearl Fishers, Thaïs, Eugene Onegin, L’Italiana in Algeri, La Traviata, Dido and Aeneas, Macbeth, The Magic FluteIl Trittico, L’Elisir d’Amore, Cendrillon, Tosca and Candide. Neil received his BFA in theatrical design from Ithaca College. By day, he is a Managing Consultant with Navigant Consulting.


William Friml

Technical Director

Bill Friml (Technical Director) has been part of OCM’s technical side from the beginning and has constructed sets and developed technical solutions for most of the productions from Carmen in 2004 through Candide and the Vermont tours of L’Elisir d’Amore (2018) and Tosca (2019), 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. 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.


Peter Dempewolff

Technical Director, Cendrillon

Peter has been involved in set-building and other technical support for OCM since The Pearl Fishers. He has also done set construction for the Middlebury Community Players and other local companies since 1966, and has partnered with his wife Mary Kay on many theatrical projects over the years. Peter is currently the Facilities Manager at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church.


Elinor Steele Friml

Scenic Artist

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

Properties

Kate Tilton

Kate Tilton has enjoyed fabricating, finding and finagling props for several shows from The Pearl Fishers through Candide with OCM; 
The Music Man, Still Life, Spamalot with Middlebury Community Players; and Richard the Third and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde with Middlebury Actors Workshop. She had her directorial debut with MCP’s 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.


Kyle Naig

Pianist, Maid of Orleans

Kyle Naig is a pianist, coach, conductor, and arranger from Des Moines, Iowa. Recently, he was associate conductor for Sweeney Todd at Des Moines Metro Opera, and in spring 2021 he assisted a gala concert at Dallas Opera featuring Joyce DiDonato and Emmanuel Villaume. He has appeared as a young/resident artist, conductor and music director for recitals and operas with companies such as Pacific Opera Project, Houston Grand Opera Studio, Opera Santa Barbara, Glimmerglass Festival, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Opera Memphis, Intermountain Opera Bozeman, and Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre. Kyle is a graduate of the University of Kansas. Website: kylenaig.com

Erica Furgiuele

Company Manager, Cendrillon, Candide, The Maid of Orleans

Erica Furgiuele is a singer, composer, lyricist, podcaster. She graduated summa cum laude from Middlebury College with a degree in theatre and film. She has appeared off-Broadway in the Potomac Theater Project’s Pentecost as Marina, in Middlebury Acting Company’s production of The Christians, and in OCM’s productions of Candide, Madame Butterfly, and La Traviata. Her work has been published in the New World Theatre anthology A Solitary Voice, and her plays have been produced by Bald Mountain Theater, Tiny Theatre, Windows Theatre, and the Vermont Actors’ Repertory Theater. She is honored to be working once again with OCM.


Marykay Dempewolf

Wardrobe Mistress and Set Designer

 

Elko’s belief and encouragement. She has done Costume and Set Design for OCM, Middlebury Community Players, Middlebury Acting Company and countless others of her four children’s, grandson’s, nieces’ and nephews’ costuming needs. Her favorite work at present is teaching her six-year-old grandson Fineas how to make stuffed animals.

 

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