Center City Opera Company has acquired the talent of Phil Lusardi host, actor, comedian, raconteur. Phil’s maiden voyage with the Opera company will be as host for our show, Opera on a Schtick at the 101st annual Lyngblomsten Arts Festival in Saint Paul on July 11, 2015. Phil has a great background as actor, writer/creator and director with many arts organizations, including Disney, Minneapolis’s Brave New Workshop and too many others to list. He is one of the creators of Flanagan’s Wake which opened twenty-one years ago in Chicago and is still running all over the country. In reference to “Opera on a Schtick,” Phil says, “What a gas!” He also says that, “Growing up in an Italian home Opera was the soundtrack of my childhood. To this day I consider it unlucky to knead bread without the accompaniment of Pagliacci."
Lawrence Henry is active in the Twin Cities as a coach-accompanist, conductor, organist and voice teacher. He received his B.A. from Carleton College and his M.M. in Choral Conducting at the University of Minnesota. He has accompanied for numerous groups, including the Minnesota Chorale, Minnesota Orchestra, University of Minnesota, Skylark Opera, Voices of Vienna, St. Catherine's University and CORO!. He has received fellowships from the Bach Aria Festival in Stony Brook, New York and is the former music director for the University of Minnesota Opera Theatre. He served thirteen years as Staff Accompanist at Carleton College and currently occupies the same position at Macalester College. He has taught voice at Visitation, Stillwater, St. Agnes and Prior Lake High Schools and has sung with Minnesota Chorale and the Gregorian Singers. His church positions have been diverse; currently he is Parish Musician at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Lakeland.
At New York City’s Carnegie Hall in April 2009, Kristin Morant “brought the audience to its feet” (Standard-Examiner Utah). Morant has had similar success across the country in March 2011 at Chicago’s Symphony Hall and at the Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles in 2007. Morant’s opera performances have included many of the most spectacular coloratura roles in the repertory including: Queen of the Night in Mozart’s Magic Flute, Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos, Elisa in Il rè pastore, Olympia in Les contes d’Hoffmann and Cécile in the Midwestern premiere of Susa’s The Dangerous Liaisons. Locally, Morant has appeared with the Minnesota Opera, (also on the Minnesota Opera’s Midwestern Tour), Twin Cities Lyric Theater, Gilbert and Sullivan’s Very Light Opera Company, and The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. Nationally, Morant maintains a warm relationship with the World Projects’ festival series, with which shehas appeared three times. Kristin Morant has been the recipient of the Schuessler Vocal Fellowship, the Schubert Club Special Opportunities Grant and the Minnesota State Arts Board Career Opportunities Grant. She earned her Master of Music degree from University of Minnesota. In recording, Kristin Morant can be heard with the Exultate Choir and Orchestra in Emmanuel.
Kristin Morant also enjoys teaching voice and piano and is the director of the Como Voice and Piano Studio.
Judith Melander, mezzo, has appeared on stage with the Minnesota Opera, North Star Opera, Gilbert and Sullivan Very Light Opera Company, and the Twin Cities Lyric Theater. She has also performed as a soloist on concerts with the Mississippi Valley Orchestra, the Oratorio Society of Minnesota, and the Kenwood Symphony Orchestra. An honors graduate of the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor of Music in vocal performance, Judith currently serves as the Director of Music at St. Paul’s United Church of Christ on Summit Avenue, where she can be seen conducting the choir, playing the hammered dulcimer, and beating the djembe in addition to performing her vocal solos. Judith maintains a private voice and piano studio from her home on Medicine Lake, where she lives with her husband and two children.
John deCausmeaker, tenor, has performed as a soloist and as a chorister with numerous arts organizations in the Twin Cities and the Fargo-Moorhead area, including The Minnesota Opera, Minnesota Chorale, The Dead Composer’s Society, The Mirandola Ensemble, The Masterworks Chorale, Fargo-Moorhead Master Chorale, and The Fargo-Moorhead Opera. Recent performances include the role of Ferrando in Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte with the Dead Composer’s Society, and as a chorus member in La Traviata, Maria Stuarda, La Cenerentola, Don Giovanni, Tosca, The Pearl Fishers, La Boheme, Faust, The Barber of Seville, The Marriage of Figaro, Susanna, Die Fledermaus, Cassanova’s Homecoming, and Il trovatore. Recent concert solo performances include Handel’s Messiah, The Seven Last Words of Christ by Dubois, and Mendelssohn’s Christus. John is also a tenor section leader/soloist with Grace-Trinity Community Church in Uptown. John resides in Crystal, MN with his wife Monica, a soprano, and their son Julian, a future tenor.
Don Moyer, is the producer of the show and the bass singer. He returned to singing about fifteen years ago when he took a voice lesson for the heck of it and soon found himself winning scholarship contests at MacPhail Center for Performing Arts . Since then he has been on stage with Minnesota Opera, Theater Latte Da, The Gilbert and Sullivan Very Light Opera Company and the Padelford riverboat. He was a featured performer at the Schubert Club’s courtroom series, The Kenwood Orchestra and is a frequent soloist with CORO! Don has sung the national anthem for numerous sports teams, including the Lynx and the Timberwolves. He is currently a section leader and soloist at St. George Episcopalian Church. He is also an occasional soloist and choir singer at White Bear Unitarian Universalist Church.