We have six great soloists for our Messiah and Magnificat concerts on November 2 in Chicago and November 2 in Wheaton:
Robin Wiper – Soprano
Robin Wiper received her Masters Degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music and has had the blessing to learn from many famous Master Clinicians, Teachers and Coaches during her 25 -plus years of study, performance and teaching. She has studied acting, directing, pedagogy, movement and dance, and has twice been a Certified Actor Combatant in six weapons as a stage combat artist with the Society of American Fight Directors. Read more …
Michelle Wrighte – Soprano
Michelle Wrighte’s versatile talent has taken her all over the United States performing many lead roles. The Iowa-born mezzo-soprano earned critical praise for her portrayal of Emilia opposite Ben Heppner, Renae Fleming, and Lucio Gallo — in Sir Peter Hall’s internationally acclaimed new production of Otello, which opened the 2001-02 season of Lyric Opera of Chicago. During Ms. Wrighte’s past seasons at Lyric Opera she has also performed the roles of Mercedes/Carmen … Read more …
Denise Gamez – Alto / Mezzo-soprano
Mezzo-soprano Denise Gamez regularly sings recital, oratorio and symphonic repertoire with orchestras throughout the United States and abroad. She has appeared as soloist with the Indianapolis, San Francisco Opera, Toledo, South Dakota, Columbus Indiana Philharmonic, Terre Haute, and Wheaton College symphony orchestras, and twice performed with the National Symphony Orchestra of Costa Rica under the baton of John Nelson. Read more …
Timothy Bentch – Tenor
Tenor Timothy Bentch was raised on a farm in Missouri. His first singing experiences took place in the local Mennonite church and practicing scales on the tractor and in the silo but eventually led him to a master’s degree at the acclaimed Curtis Institute of Music. For twelve years he lived in Hungary where critics referred to him as “a treasure in today’s Hungarian musical life”, naming him the most significant “Hungarian” lyric tenor of this generation. Read more …
Stephen Morscheck Bass / Baritone
Bass-baritone Stephen Morscheck is an alumnus of Wheaton College and is widely respected for the dignity he brings in both concert and operatic performances. “Stephen Morscheck’s Leporello was genuinely funny, as well as solidly sung. His catalogue aria was almost too effective, drawing applause before its conclusion,” says Opera News of his performance in Don Giovanni. Of Verdi’s Requiem, The Boston Herald said … Read more …
Robin Wiper – Soprano
Robin Wiper is a local private vocal instructor with a checkered past.. She has her Masters Degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music and has had the blessing to learn from many famous Master Clinicians, Teachers and Coaches during her 25 -plus years of study, performance and teaching. She has studied acting, directing, pedagogy, movement and dance, and has twice been a Certified Actor Combatant in six weapons as a stage combat artist with the Society of American Fight Directors. Her students have gained entrance to fine schools and conservatories around the country. Currently residing as a stay-at-home, home schooling mother of four, she coaches and teaches voice lessons out of her home in Wheaton. She is also wife to Steve Wiper, who knows about her former secret life as an opera singer, among other things. Continue reading if interested.
Ms. Wiper, an aluma of the Lyric Opera of Chicago Apprentice Program, has had the pleasure of singing all over the world. She made her Lyric Opera debut as Suor Genovieffa in Suor Angelica as an apprentice. Her favorite roles with the Lyric have been varied from Papagena in The Magic Flute to the pants role of Oberto in Alcina. With the Lyric Opera she has also performed the title role of Lucia with the Grant Park Orchestra.
Ms. Wiper has also appeared at the Metropolitan Opera in New York (debut LuLu 2000) as well as with the New York City Opera (debut Orfeo1997) both onstage at Lincoln Center and on their National Tour (title role in The Daughter of the Regiment 1998-99). She was also featured in the role of Margaret in the opera Lizzie Borden as which was broadcast live from Lincoln Center. Other regional opera companies include Indianapolis, Atlanta, Cinncinnati, Cleveland, Memphis and Eugene. She made her European debut at the Spoleto Festival in Italy as Blondchen in Mozart’s the Abduction from the Seraglio.
A sought-after recitalist and oratorio performer, Ms. Wiper has performed with a variety of orchestras, including the National Symphony at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, the Atlanta Symphony and the Birmingham Symphony.
Equally at home in the world of musical theatre, Ms. Wiper has performed in professional and semi-professional companies in such roles as Fiona in Brigadoon, Lizzie in Baby, the Mistress/chorus/swing in Evita, Winthrop (yes, Winthrop) in The Music Man, and Liesl in The Sound of Music.
Michelle Wrighte’s versatile talent has taken her all over the United States performing many lead roles. The Iowa-born mezzo-soprano earned critical praise for her portrayal of Emilia opposite Ben Heppner, Renae Fleming, and Lucio Gallo — in Sir Peter Hall’s internationally acclaimed new production of Otello, which opened the 2001-02 season of Lyric Opera of Chicago. During Ms. Wrighte’s past seasons at Lyric Opera she has also performed the roles of Mercedes/Carmen, Giovanna/Rigoletto, the Tango Singer/The Great Gatsby, the Herdswoman/Jenufa, and the Second Apparition/Macbeth. A passionate advocate of Baroque opera, she has been heard as Armindo/Handel’s Partenope in Francisco Negrin’s critically acclaimed Glimmerglass Opera production, conducted by Harry Bicket; Ino/Handel’s Semele at the renowned Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy; and as both Virtue and the Nurse/Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea at Utah opera.
The mezzo has made an indelible impression nationwide in an unusually wide variety of repertoire with important companies. Ms. Wrighte’s portrayal of Meg Page/Nicolai’s The Merry Wives of Windsor has been heard at Indianapolis Opera, and she sang Miss Dorothy Snite/Susa’s Black River at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. Other operatic Highlights include: Prince Ramiro in La Finta Giardiniera for San Francisco Opera Center, The Fox in The Cunning Little Vixen at Tulsa Opera, Dinah in Trouble in Tahiti at Tampa Opera, Isabella in L’italiana in Algeri at Pamiro Opera, Cenerentola in La Cenerentola for the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Opera in the Neighborhood, Dinah in Trouble in Tahiti at Tampa Opera and Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro at L’opera Piccola where “Michelle Wrighte sang both arias charmingly,” according to the Chicago Tribune.
While at the Lyric Opera Center for American Artists, now known as the Ryan Opera Center, Ms. Wrighte was heard in an operatic concert at the Ravinia Festival; as Zerlina/Don Giovanni and Dorabella/Cose fan tutte at the Grant Park Music; and in her debut with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, singing Bernstein’s Songfest. She also collaborated with Lyric’s Opera’s two composers-in-residence, premiering Ricky Ian Gordon’s song “Friend” and creating the role of Lucy Cross in the workshop production of Michael John LaChiusa’s Lovers and Friends (Chautauqua Variations).
A highly successful concert artist, Ms. Wrighte has sung the alto solos in Bach’s St. John Passion under the baton of Robert Shaw, Handel’s Messiah and Mozart’s Requiem with the Elgin Symphony and Beethoven’s Symphony No.9 with the Illinois Symphony Orchestra and the Decatur Symphony. Michelle has performed the alto solos of Bach’s B minor Mass and Handel’s Messiah with The Choral Society of Durham.
Ms. Wrighte was a featured recitalist for the San Francisco Opera with performances of Schumann’s Frauenliebe und Leben in San Francisco and Oakland, CA., and also with Ned Rorem’s west coast premiere of song cycle, Evidence of Things Not Seen at San Francisco’s 9th Other Minds Festival with the composer in attendance. Ms. Wrighte was also featured in the prestigious New Works Sampler for OPERA America’s 2001 annual conference in Atlanta, for which she sang works by John Adams, Michael Ching, and Tobias Picker.
Michelle was a featured soloist in an operatic concert at the 20th International Saint-Barthelemy Music Festival in the French Caribbean. She mesmerized the audience with a riveting rendition of Carmen’s Habanera and sang the powerful ensemble pieces of Rosenkavalier Trio and the Rigoletto Quartet. Michelle followed her St. Bart’s debut with another featured soloist role in Oak Park’s fifth annual Handel Week. Michelle brilliantly performed several rare secular Handel cantatas thrilling an audience of Baroque enthusiasts at The 5th annual Handel Week in Oak Park IL. Ms. Wrighte was also featured at Oak Park’s Handel Week in the title role of Ezio in 2006 and the role of Micah in Handel’s Samson in 2007.
The mezzo-soprano was a 1998 national finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Ms. Wrighte has a B.M. from Drake University, a M.M. from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and a Certificate of Opera Studies from Temple University.
Denise Gamez – Alto / Mezzo-soprano
Mezzo-soprano Denise Gamez regularly sings recital, oratorio and symphonic repertoire with orchestras throughout the United States and abroad. She has appeared as soloist with the Indianapolis, San Francisco Opera, Toledo, South Dakota, Columbus Indiana Philharmonic, Terre Haute, and Wheaton College symphony orchestras, and twice performed with the National Symphony Orchestra of Costa Rica under the baton of John Nelson, most recently in Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis this past November. She has collaborated with other conductors including Patrick Summers, Dennis Russell Davies, David Bowden, Delta David Gier, Sherrill Milnes, and Daniel Sommerville in repertoire including Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, the Verdi Requiem, Mahler’s Songs of a Wayfarer, the Brahms Alto Rhapsody, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, the Bach Saint Matthew Passion, Handel’s Messiah, and de Falla’s Siete Canciones Populares Españolas. At the Merola Opera Program of the San Francisco Opera, where she received the Gropper Memorial Award, she sang Dame Quickly in Verdi’s Falstaff, and Fidalma in Cimarosa’s The Secret Marriage. She was mezzo soloist in the premiere of Daniel Kellogg’s Children of God, commissioned by the Soli Deo Gloria Music Foundation. In recent seasons, she has been a frequent guest artist at the Peoria Bach Festival, operatic and Broadway selections with the Terre Haute Symphony Orchestra, performed Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the MasterWorks Festival Orchestra, and the Bach Saint John Passion with the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra. Recently, she appeared as Mrs. Noye in the Wheaton Opera Music Theater production of Britten’s Noye’s Fludde. A frequent recitalist with pianist Daniel Paul Horn, she is a graduate of the Wheaton College Conservatory of Music and the Indiana University School of Music, and is currently a member of the voice faculty at the Wheaton College Conservatory of Music.
Timothy Bentch – Tenor
Tenor Timothy Bentch was raised on a farm in Missouri. His first singing experiences took place in the local Mennonite church and practicing scales on the tractor and in the silo but eventually led him to a master’s degree at the acclaimed Curtis Institute of Music. For twelve years he lived in Hungary where critics referred to him as “a treasure in today’s Hungarian musical life”, naming him the most significant “Hungarian” lyric tenor of this generation. He has sung at all the leading venues in this country appearing before presidents and prime ministers with many television appearances and radio broadcasts. At the Hungarian State Opera he premiered new productions as Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni, Belmonte in The Abduction, Nencio in L’Infeldelta delusa by Haydn and the Evangelist in a semi-staged version of Bach’s Saint Matthew Passion. Other roles with the Hungarian State Opera include Ferrando in Cosi fan tutte, Tamino in The Magic Flute, Tito in La Clemenza di Tito, and Alfredo in La Traviata. His performed opera repertoire of over 40 roles also includes such roles as Mozart’s Mitridate, Nemorino in L’Elisir d’amore, Edguardo in Lucia, Almaviva in The Barber of Seville, Ismaele in Nabucco, Fenton in Falstaff, Tom Rakewell in The Rake’s Progress, four roles in operas by Benjamin Britten, and numerous baroque operas – Jupiter in Semele, Nero in The Coronation of Poppea, Monteverdi’s Ulyssis, and Orfeo – a performance that marked the opening of the new theater in the Hungarian National Palace of the Arts in 2005. His performances have taken him to many other countries including the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Bulgaria, France, Malta, Israel, Russia, the UK, and Germany.
In symphonic repertoire, he has performed the entire standard repertoire from renaissance and baroque to the large works of Mahler and Verdi. Highlights have included the Evangelists in the Bach Passions, the Dream of Geronius by Elgar, and Mahler’s 8th Symphony which he recorded for Naxos. This recording was lauded by critics winning the “Recording of the Month” by Sterophile Magazine. Bentch’s performance was described as “bright, confident, and heroic, and his “Blicket auf!” is stunning.” Another critic wrote, “Bentch’s top B-flats and Bs are as heroic as his sweet singing is sweet. His “Blicket auf,” a moment that can cause fear and trembling, is stirring in all the right ways.” A recent review in the BBC Music Magazine praised Timothy Bentch’s “heroic tenor” as one of the saving graces of a recent recording of Janacek’s Glagolitic Mass with the Warsaw Philharmonic. He has sung with the philharmonic orchestras of Lille, Strasbourg, Avignon, Saint Petersburg, Sofia, Warsaw, the Israeli Chamber Orchestra, the Ars Nova Symphony in Chicago, and appears regularly with the Hungarian National Philharmonic. His most recent performance with the HNP of the Britten War Requiem was critically acclaimed and broadcast live on national radio. He has sung under the batons of Zoltán Kocsis, János Fürst, Ádám Fischer, Tamás Vásáry, János Kovács, John Nelson, Jean Claude Casadesus, Antoni Witt, György Vashegyi, and Valentin Radu.
Timothy is the co-founder and co-artistic director of the Crescendo Summer Institute. He is active as a voice teacher and his former students sing in many of the leading opera houses of Europe. He also enjoys scriptwriting. His recent script was a quarterfinalist in the Academy Nicolls Fellowship in Screenwriting Competition sponsored by the Academy Awards.
Bass-baritone Stephen Morscheck is an alumnus of Wheaton College and is widely respected for the dignity he brings in both concert and operatic performances. “Stephen Morscheck’s Leporello was genuinely funny, as well as solidly sung. His catalogue aria was almost too effective, drawing applause before its conclusion,” says Opera News of his performance in Don Giovanni. Of Verdi’s Requiem, The Boston Herald said he, “projected…with just the right thrilling, in-your-ear Verdian punch…Morscheck’s bass seemed the perfect medium for some of heaven’s sterner pronouncements.” This season’s engagements include numerous classical masterworks including Bach’s Magnificat and Handel’s Messiah with Camerata Chicago, Verdi’s Requiem with Southwest Florida Symphony Orchestra, St. Matthew Passion with Shreveport Symphony, and Mahler’s Symphony no. 8 with South Dakota Symphony Orchestra.
Known for his stunning interpretations of oratorio repertoire, Mr. Morsheck is highly sought after on concert and recital stages. Recent concert appearances include Verdi’s Requiem with the Knoxville Symphony Society; Dvořák’s Requiem with the UNC Summer Music Festival; Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass with the Music of the Baroque; Elijah with Opera Naples; Brahms’ Requiem with the Sheboygan Symphony; Mozart’s Requiem with the Sheboygan Symphony and the Southwest Florida Symphony Orchestra, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Glacier Symphony and Chorale, Roanoke Symphony, Alabama Symphony, The Sheboygan Symphony Orchestra, and Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra; Jesus in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with The Bach Society of St. Lewis, Festival de Saint-Denis, Laudate Deum Chamber Choir in Switzerland, Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra, and Soli Deo Gloria under John Nelson; two concerts with Duke University Chapel for their Bach Cantata Series; Bach’s B-minor Mass with Alabama Symphony Orchestra; St. John Passion at the St. Vincent de Paul Church in Chicago, Costa Rica Philharmonic, and Bach Society of St Louis; and Händel’s Messiah with Pacific Symphony, Santa Fe Symphony, Rochester Chamber Philharmonic, Dallas Bach Society, Duke University Chapel, and Orchestra Kentucky.
Recent opera engagements include Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte with Glacier Symphony, Count Capulet in Roméo et Juliette at Opera Colorado, Dallas Opera, and Florida Grand Opera; Capellio in I Capuleti e i Montecchi with Lyric Opera of Kansas City; Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia with the Orlando Philharmonic, Opéra de Montréal, Kentucky Opera, and Atlanta Opera; Commendatore in Don Giovanni with South Dakota Symphony; Bartolo in Le nozze di Figaro at Lyric Opera Baltimore and Dallas Opera; and Father Trulove in The Rake’s Progress at the Princeton Festival, where he previously performed Il Ré in Ariodante. Additional engagements include Palemon in Thaïs with the Lyric Opera of Chicago; Colline in La bohème with Los Angeles, Dallas Opera and Opéra de Montréal; Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor with Washington National Opera and Arizona Opera; Rocco in Fidelio at Opera Company of Philadelphia and the Florentine Opera of Milwaukee; Alidoro in La Cenerentola with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Orlando Opera, and Florentine Opera; Leporello in Don Giovanni with Opera Carolina; Sparafucile in Rigoletto with the Florentine Opera; Don Alphonso in Così fan tutte with Arizona Opera and Kentucky Opera; and Nourabad in Les pêcheurs de perles with Kentucky Opera. With the Spoleto Festival USA, appearances include Le Chiffonnier in Louise and John Adams in Amistad; and with the Santa Fe Opera, Publius in La clemenza di Tito.
Notable engagements from earlier in his illustrious concert career include several appearances with the Ensemble Orchestral de Paris in repeat performances of both St. John Passion and St. Matthew Passion; with the Music of the Baroque in Chicago he has performed Mozart’s Requiem, Simon in Judas Maccabeus, King Arthur, and the title role in Hercules; Händel’s Messiah with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Dallas Bach Society, and Duke Chapel Choir; Dvořák’s Stabat Mater with the Berkshire Choral Festival; Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the National Symphony Orchestra in Santo Domingo; Mozart’s Coronation Mass at the Spoleto Festival; Verdi’s Requiem with the Anchorage Symphony and University of North Texas; Beethoven’s Missa solemnis with the Milwaukee Symphony and the Choral Society of Durham; Bach’s B-minor Mass with the National Symphony Orchestra of Costa Rica in San Jose; Mozart’s Requiem with the Eastern Connecticut Symphony; and soloist in the Atlanta Opera’s La Belle Soirée.
Mr. Morscheck graduated from Wheaton College and completed advanced degrees from the University of Michigan. In 1995, he was awarded the “Richard Tucker Career Grant.” He currently serves as an Associate Professor of Voice at the University of North Texas, Denton.
Amelia Piscitelli made her professional debut with Camerata Chicago in our October 2016 Sweetest Day Series and went on to perform the Vivaldi Four Seasons in October 2017. We are now recording the Four Seasons this summer for a new educational CD primarily for children which will include a performance of the complete work, the poetry Vivaldi wrote and numerous demonstrations of the sound effects he uses. As part of the recording project, we have two concerts to support the project on July 13 in Griffith and July 14 in Wayne.
The following video is Amelia’s debut with Camerata Chicago as part of the Sweetest Day Series:
Amelia has been smiling to classical music since infancy and formally began playing violin at the age of four. From 2009-2014, she studied violin with Debbie Edwards, then in late Summer 2014, she began studying with Drostan Hall, her current teacher. Having recently turned 17, she has just completed her junior year at Hammond Baptist High School, and greatly enjoys playing violin, teaching violin, and playing specials with her violin students at church. She relishes the chamber music opportunities afforded her at Sforzando String Camp for the last 7 summers and has been privileged to be a member of the Camerata Chicago Academy Orchestra since 2015.
Amelia is Concert Master of the Camerata Chicago Academy Orchestra. She performed an entire recital of virtuoso classics on 98.7WFMT Introductions on December 3, 2016. She was accompanied by Cindy Trowbridge and performed:
Violin Sonata No. 4 in D Major, HWV371, George Frideric Handel
– Movement 1 – Affettuoso
– Movement 2 – Allegro
Romanze Op. 26, Johan Svendsen
Praeludium and Allegro “in the Style of Pugnani”, Fritz Kreisler
Variations on a Theme of Corelli, Fritz Kreisler
Melodie, Christoph Willibald Gluck
Scherzo tarantelle, Op.16, Henri Wieniawski