Acis and Galatea Bios and Headshots
David Walton - Acis
Praised for his “clean, clear voice,” David Walton dazzles stages across the country to critical acclaim, clearly staking his claim as the up-and-coming lyric tenor to watch. Recent roles include Ernesto in Don Pasquale with Minnesota Opera, described as "this production's breakthrough performance" (Pioneer Press), and "the sweetest singing of the evening...a lyric tenor with strong Italianate stylings" (Star Tribune). As the title role in Albert Herring with Union Avenue Opera, Broadway World called him "the perfect voice for this role." He sang Belmonte with "appealing warmth and richness" (Capital Times) in Mozart's The Abduction from the Seraglio with Madison Opera. And this summer he returned to the Glimmerglass Festival as Count Almaviva in Francesca Zambello's new production of Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia. Photo by Craig VanDerSchaegen
Siena Forest - Galatea
Praised for her “mesmerizing sound… (which) would rival Homer’s sirens,” Siena Forest, an American lyric coloratura soprano, stands out for her “spunkiness and feisty vocalism.” Siena enjoys a career in opera, oratorio, chamber music and recital, with a special interest in new works and bel canto repertoire. Originally from Massachusetts, Siena recently relocated to the Twin Cities and has taken the opera scene by snowstorm performing this season with Minnesota Opera, Out of the Box Opera, Loft Recital, Mill City Summer Opera, St. Cloud Symphony, Hill House Chamber Players, Skylark Opera, Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus, and Lakes Area Music Festival.
Andrew Wilkowske - Polyphemus
Andrew Wilkowske – when singing a “virile, sturdy Marcello” or a “garrulous yet endearing” Papageno – displays an engaging combination of musical talent and masterful stage presence. According to Opera News, Wilkowske's recent performance in The Elixir of Love with Utah Opera was "played with on-the-nose hubris and vocal swagger."
Highlights of the 2017-2018 include Don Pasquale and Dead Man Walking with Minnesota Opera; Don Pasquale with Fort Worth Opera; The Invention of Morel with Long Beach Opera; and Ein Deutsches Requiem with the Duluth Symphony. Recent engagements include The Magic Flute with Komische Oper Berlin and Minnesota Opera; The Barber of Seville with Florentine Opera; Silent Night with Atlanta Opera; and 1776 with Milwaukee Opera Theatre. Photo by Twin Cities Headshots
Tricia Van Ee, Soprano
Soprano Tricia Van Ee is a former resident artist at Opera Omaha and has been a Nebraska district winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Her opera roles include First Lady in The Magic Flute at the Minnesota Opera, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, Mimì in La Bohéme, Miss Jessel in The Turn of the Screw, Antonia in Les Contes d' Hoffmann, and Madame de Tourvel in The Dangerous Liaisons.
Van Ee has appeared as a soloist with Omaha Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Concert Opera, Northwest Iowa Symphony Orchestra, Mankato Symphony Orchestra, and other local and regional groups in works such as Mahler’s Symphony No. 4, Poulenc’s Gloria, Mozart’s Requiem, and Handel’s Messiah. Opera roles performed in concert include Micaëla in Carmen and Ines in Il Trovatore.
Sahar Hassan, mezzo-soprano
Egyptian American mezzo-soprano Sahar Hassan maintains a busy schedule as a chamber musician and frequent oratorio soloist. Committed to bringing lesser known works to life, she is artistic director of the Twin Cities based Ladyslipper Ensemble, which was born out of her love for chamber music. Ms. Hassan has been on the voice faculties of New England Conservatory’s Division of Preparatory and Continuing Education, Wellesley College, Salve Regina University, College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University and McNally Smith College of Music. She earned her Masters in Music from New England Conservatory of Music, with additional studies at the Conservatoire de Versailles in France and the Hochschule für Musik in Munich, Germany. In 2017, Ms. Hassan received an Artist Initiative Grant from the state of Minnesota to record a CD of vocal/instrumental chamber music titled "The World's Highway", which was recently released in March of 2019. She is training to become a Certified Alexander Technician.
Eric Mellum, tenor
Eric Mellum has sung regularly with The Minnesota Opera for more than 20 seasons, and was featured in the world premieres of Silent Night and The Grapes of Wrath, and also as The Condemned Guardian in The Handmaid’s Tale. He has also performed regularly with Mill City Summer Opera, where he was a featured soloist in Sweeney Todd, and sang in the ensembles of Carmen, The Daughter of the Regiment, and The Barber of Seville. He has performed several principal roles with The Gilbert & Sullivan Very Light Opera Company, including Frederic in The Pirates of Penzance, Nanki-Poo in The Mikado, Ralph Rackstraw in HMS Pinafore, Lord Tolloller in Iolanthe, and others. Eric has performed frequently with Skylark Opera (formerly North Star Opera), in roles including Count von Asterburg in The Student Prince, Kromov in The Merry Widow, and Alphonse in The Red Mill. Eric has also appeared with The Minnesota Orchestra, Colorado Opera Festival, and as a principal/soloist with New Breath Productions, Ashland Productions, Twin Cities Chamber Orchestra, Kenwood Chamber Orchestra, St. Olaf Catholic Church, and Mount Olivet Lutheran Church. Eric is a graduate and trustee of Colorado College, where he majored in Mathematics and was a frequent soloist in all three choirs. Eric works as a Management Consultant and Managing Director of a local Information Technology consulting firm.
Charlie Aldrich, Tenor
Charles Aldrich is a tenor that hails from the Twin Cities metro area. After completing a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance at Lawrence University, he went on to pursue graduate studies in opera and music theatre performance at Arizona State University. While studying there, he performed in numerous shows including Leonard Bernstein’s “MASS” and “Trouble in Tahiti,” Poulenc’s “Les mamelles de Tirésias,” and Handel’s “The Fairy Queen.” He also sang with Arizona Opera Chorus, most notably in their 2019 inaugural production of Kevin Put’s Silent Night. Other favorite performances include Sam Kaplan in Weill’s “Street Scene” (Lawrence University, 2014) and Martin in Copland’s “The Tender Land” (Lawrence University, 2015). Charles recently completed his graduate work at ASU and is living and working near Minneapolis.
Stefan Egerstrom, Bass
Bass Stefan Egerstrom makes his Out of the Box Opera debut as the Ensemble Bass in Acis and Galatea. Stefan received his Bachelor’s in Vocal Performance from Lawrence University, and his Master’s degree in Voice from The University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. A resident of Minneapolis, Stefan has performed with The Minnesota Opera in the world premieres of Puts’ Silent Night and Moravec’s The Shining. In 2018 he made his role debut as King René in Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta with Queen City Opera. While at CCM, Stefan was seen as Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte, Siroco in L’étoile, Carlino in Don Pasquale, and Bass Soloist in Bach’s Johannes-Passion. As part of the Opera Fusion: New Works intiative between Cincinnati Opera and CCM, Stefan performed in workshops of Ricky Ian Gordon’s Morning Star and Gregory Spears’ Fellow Travelers. He has also been a Young Artist with Des Moines Metro Opera, covering the roles of Prince Gremin in Eugene Onegin and Il commendatore in Don Giovanni. Other operatic roles include Don Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Dulcamara in L’elisir d’amore, Dottore Grenvil in La traviata, and Kecal in The Bartered Bride. This summer, Stefan will be part of the 2019 Merola Opera Program, performing in the Schwabacher Summer Concert, the world premiere of If I Were You, and The Merola Grand Finale.
Lara Bolton, Music Director
Lara Bolton is a collaborative pianist, vocal coach, and arranger. Her work spans many different genres, including classical, rock, jazz, and musical theatre, and she is particularly drawn towards socially relevant projects. She is on faculty at the University of Minnesota as a vocal coach, is head of music for Mill City Summer Opera, music director of Arbeit Opera, and a master coach for Minnesota Opera. She also maintains an active recording and concert career. Other opera and theater affiliations include the Guthrie Theater, Jungle Theater, San Francisco Opera, Washington National Opera, Out of the Box Opera, San Diego Opera, Seattle Opera, Chicago Opera Theater, Opera Santa Barbara, West Bay Opera, Opera Colorado, and Amarillo Opera.
Bryon Wilson, Accompanist
Bryon Wilson is a freelance pianist based in Minneapolis. Bryon divides his time between teaching, coaching and performing. He has appeared with numerous artistic organizations including Schubert Club, Source Song Festival, Thursday Musical, NATS, Mill City Summer Opera, and River Sounds in Ft. Lauderdale. In 2015 Bryon performed in the world premiere of Minnesota Opera’s La Divina, a one-woman play about Maria Callas. Bryon also studies and performs music composed by holocaust prisoners in Theresienstadt and recently presented a lecture recital on the topic as part of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas series of Holocaust survivors in Minnesota.
Bryon maintains an active piano studio, and his students have entered music programs at Indian University, New York University, Boston University, and Interlochen Arts Camp. During his Master’s and Doctoral studies in Collaborative Piano at the University of Minnesota, Bryan worked with Timothy Lovelace, Noriko Kawai and Margot Garrett. Bryon is on the faculty of MacPhail Center for Music and is organist at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Edina, MN. Bryon also spends two months every summer commercial salmon fishing in Bristol Bay, AK.