“Everything Comes to a Head”

“Everything Comes to a Head”

Lyric Opera of the North - Duluth, Minnesota

Inspired by The Decameron Day 4, Story 5 “Filomena’s Story”

Where is Basil, Rosemary’s boyfriend? He made like a tree and leaved. He made like a banana and peeled. He made like a bush and burned. He made like a pandemic committee meeting and Zoomed. Rosemary is worried their love has gone dormant (was it the lack of spice in their relationship?) but she’s staying planted in her tiny apartment. Her roommates, on the other hand, think Rosemary doesn’t need to cultivate that kind of baggage. Basil was deadwood! Everything Comes to a Head gives us some sage advice: if the roots of love are deep enough, it doesn’t matter if you’re in mint condition.


Creative Team:

Rachel J. Peters, Composer
Composer/librettist Rachel J. Peters’s operas include Rootabaga Country (Sarasota Opera), Companionship (Fort Worth Opera), The Wild Beast of the Bungalow (Oberlin Conservatory), Steve (Boston Opera Collaborative), No Ladies in the Lady’s Book (Utah Opera). Musicals: Only Children (NYU), Tiny Feats of Cowardice (NYC Fringe Festival), Write Left (Playwrights Horizons Theatre School), Tomato Red (UC Irvine), Octopus Heart (NYU). Scores for plays: Stretch (a fantasia) (New Georges) and Tania in the Getaway Van (Flea Theater), Transatlantic (Arkansas Rep). Concert works: Ethel Smyth Plays Golf in Limbo (Semperoper Dresden), If You Can Prove That I Should Set You Free (Albany Symphony) I Live Here (Galapagos Art Space), Canon I (Two Sides Sounding), Fronds: The Wisdom of Fanny Fern (Walt Whitman Project). Songs performed at Lincoln Center, Second Stage, National Opera Center, Symphony Space, Joe’s Pub; contributor to The AIDS Quilt Songbook. Upcoming premieres with Opera Kansas and Opera Steamboat. racheljpeters.com.

Margi Preus and Jean Sramek, Librettists

Margi Preus is a Newbery Honor-winning and New York Times bestselling author of books for young readers. Her books have appeared on “best of” lists, been honored as ALA/ALSC Notables, selected as an NPR Backseat Book Club pick, chosen for community reads, and translated into several languages. New titles in 2020 include The Littlest VoyageurVillage of Scoundrels, and The Silver Box, the last in the Enchantment Lake Mystery Series.
Before writing for young people she directed Colder by the Lake Comedy Theater. Along with co-writer Jean Sramek and ensemble members, the company produced myriad comic revues, a live radio series, two comic operas, and some reimagined Shakespeare.
Back when such things were done, Margi enjoyed traveling, speaking, and visiting schools all over the world. Now more permanently at home in Duluth, Minnesota, she likes to hike, ski, canoe, or sit quietly with a book in her lap.

Jean Sramek has written libretti, scripts, lyrics, and sketches for the stage and radio. Most of them have been funny. She has also directed and produced cabarets, plays for young audiences, Fringe shows, and other projects that are hard to explain. Jean has worked with Minnesota-based companies including Lyric Opera of the North, Colder by the Lake, Lake Superior Chamber Orchestra, Wise Fool Shakespeare, Myers-Wilkins Theater Camp, and Renegade Comedy Theater. Her screenplay “Butterhead” was an official selection for the 2019 Catalyst Festival. She has acted, but only under duress. Her primary quarantine activities have been long hikes and answering the question “Can I make kimchi out of this?”


Rosemary – Marjorie Maltais
Mezzo-soprano Marjorie Maltais is rapidly earning an excellent reputation on both concert and operatic stages in Canada and beyond. Recent highlights for this engaging artist include a brilliant debut with Boston Early Music Festival in performances of “Versailles:Portrait of a Royal Domain”, (Charpentier and Lalande), Cherubino (Le Nozze di Figaro) with Southern Ontario Lyric Opera, Mrs. Gobineau (The Medium) with Victory Hall Opera, Cherubino (I due Figaro) and Costanza (L’Isola disabitata) with Opera in Concert. Marjorie has appeared as a guest soloist with Les Boréades de Montréal, Windsor Symphony, Boise Philharmonic, Montréal’s Orchestre Métropolitain, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, and Edinburgh International Festival.
Marjorie is also a member of French Squeeze, a duo with tenor Jacques Arsenault, presenting original accordion arrangements of their favourite French songs from Canada and France.

Sage – Georgia Jacobson
A native of Duluth, mezzo-soprano Georgia Jacobson’s 2019/2020 season included her debut with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra as Maman/La libellue/La tasse chinoise in Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortileges conducted by Louis Langrée, Zweite Dame in CCM Opera’s Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, and the alto soloist in Handel’s Messiah with the Galion Chorale.  Jacobson graduated in May with a Master of Music in Vocal Performance degree from the University of Cincinnati – College Conservatory of Music (CCM), where she studied with Amy Johnson. Recent performances include Endimione (La Calisto) with CCM Opera, Leona (La belle Hélène) with Lakes Area Music Festival, and Cherubino (Le nozze di Figaro) with CCM Opera Bootcamp. In November of 2019, Jacobson joined the Opera Fusion: New Works program in collaboration with Cincinnati Opera and CCM Opera to sing the role of Ruth in a workshop of Tobias Picker’s new opera Awakenings.

Trish – Raven McMillon
Coloratura soprano Raven McMillon is a native of Baltimore, MD. Her opera credits include La Princesse in L’enfant et les sortilèges (Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra); Papagena in Die Zauberflöte (CCM); Morgan in FIERCE (Cincinnati Opera); Adele in Die Fledermaus (Carnegie Mellon); Goldie in Goldie B. Locks and the Three Singing Bears (Pittsburgh Festival Opera); and Linfea in La Calisto (CCM). McMillion has also workshopped new roles such as Mary in Chiao’s The Secret Codes of Mary Bowser and Lucy in Picker’s Awakenings.  McMillon joined the Houston Grand Opera Studio in the 2020/21 season. She will be featured in several HGO productions including the Studio Scenes program and the company’s return to main stage in 2021, The Sound of Music.  Raven received her MM Vocal Performance at the University of Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music (CCM) and her BFA in Vocal Performance at Carnegie Mellon University.

Basil – Jorell Williams
Jorell Williams is an American operatic baritone with a wide variety of experience from standard repertoire to premiere pieces. Praised for his “magnificent, rich-toned” Baritone (The New York Times), Mr. Williams begins the 2020-2021 season with the world premiere of In Real Life written by Robert Paterson and David Cote with the American Modern Ensemble, the title role in Don Giovanni with Opera Columbus, and in concert with Seattle Opera and the Brooklyn Art Song Society. Previous seasons include Seattle Opera, New York City Opera, On-Site Opera, Finger Lakes Opera, and Urban Arias, and performed with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra at the Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theater on the occasion of the first Presidential Inauguration of Barack Obama, as well as the U.S. tour and European premiere of Marsalis’ Abyssinian Mass at the Barbican during the 2012 Olympics in London.

Erin Aldridge, violin
Erin Aldridge, violinist, is a highly sought-after performer and pedagogue performing throughout the US, Europe, Asia, and South America. She has been broadcast on NPR, BBC, Minnesota Public Radio, and Wisconsin Public Radio. Dr. Aldridge attended Indiana University where she received her Bachelor’s degree in Violin Performance. She received her Master’s degree and Performer’s Certificate from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Violin Performance at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her primary teachers include Mimi Zweig, Josef Gingold, Nellie Shkolnikova, Rostaslav Dubinsky, Efim Boico, and Vartan Manoogian. In 2003, Dr. Aldridge joined the music faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Superior. She serves as Professor of Violin and Director of Orchestras. She is the Concertmaster of the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra and Lyric Opera of the North Orchestra, and is on the faculty of the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music Summer String Academy.

Bill Munson, Film Editor & Pianist
Originally from Howard Lake, Minnesota, pianist Bill Munson received his B.M. in piano performance from the University of Minnesota in 1997 and went on to receive a M.M. in piano performance from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2005. Productions include The Medium (Metropolitan State College of Denver), HMS Pinafore and The Mikado (University of Colorado at Boulder), The Music Man (Masquers Theatre Company). Bill was rehearsal and performance pianist for Lyric Opera of the North’s 2020 production of Amahl and the Night Visitors. He has also collaborated with Singers in Accord and Macalester College Chorale. Bill served as the music director at Faith Lutheran Church in Forest Lake from 2007 – 2013. He currently resides in Duluth with his wife Lisa and his dogs Poochini and Hildie.


Production Team:

Christina Baldwin, Director
Christina Baldwin is the Interim Artistic Director of the Jungle Theater in Minneapolis, MN, and frequent collaborator with Lyric Opera of the North. Christina’s collaborations range from Shakespeare and contemporary plays, to musical theater and opera. An advocate of new work, she develops new musical theater and opera with Nautilus Music-Theater and serves as Artistic Associate, music director, creator and performer with The Moving Company. A collaborator with the French-American Theatre de la Jeune Lune for nearly 10 years, Christina co-adapted and performed the title role in their critically-acclaimed touring production of Carmen. She adapts and directs operas, has been a recording artist and vocalist with the Minnesota Orchestra, a writer/actor on NPR’s “Wits” and “A Prairie Home Companion,” and has lent her voice to animated short films by the Dutch filmmaker Rosto A.D. (Cannes Film Festival award-winner).

Ann Gumpper, Scenic Design, Painting, Animation
Ann Gumpper has spent the past decade creating scenery with LOON, in a wide variety of styles and venues. Based in Duluth, Minnesota, she designs for a variety of local companies, including Duluth Playhouse NorShor Theatre, Minnesota Ballet, Wise Fool Theatre, U of MN Duluth Theatre and Opera programs, Lake Superior Chamber Orchestra, Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra, Zeitgeist Theatre, and school and community organizations. Her designs have also been featured at Skylark Opera, Minnesota Orchestra, Twin Cities Ballet, Rochester Civic Theatre, Extreme Home Makeover, Summer Repertory Theatre in Santa Rosa, CA, New Jersey Shakespeare Festival, Theatre-by-the-Sea, RI, among others.  Ann holds an MFA in Set Design from Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts.
More at anngumpperdesign.com

Ora Jewell-Busche, Stylist
Ora Jewell-Busche is a Minnesota based wig, make-up and costume designer working in opera, theater, and film. She has worked extensively with companies ranging from The Lyric Opera of Chicago, Lookingglass Theater, Chicago Shakespeare, The Steppenwolf, The Goodman Theater, Pacific Symphony, Shattered Globe, Sans Culottes, Lyric Opera of the North and many more. Recent projects include: Magic Flute, Aida, Turandot, Carmen, La Traviata (Pacific Symphony), Eugene Onegin, La Fille du Regiment, The Tales of Hoffman, A Streetcar Named Desire, Il Trovatore (Hawaii Opera Theater). Film and television credits include Were the World Mine, Chicago Overcoat, Prison Break and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.  Ora received a BFA in Costume Design from DePaul University, and apprenticed under Melissa Veal (originally of the Stratford Festival of Canada) as a wigmaker. As well as maintaining a busy design schedule, Ora also teaches Theatrical Make-up at Make-up First School in Chicago.

Alex Flinner, Tech Supervisor
A Lighting Designer based in Duluth MN, Alex Flinner has most recently designed lighting for Amahl and the Night Visitors, The Elixir of Love, Don Giovanni, Rigoletto, Don Pasquale, and La Traviata (Lyric Opera of the North), Gilbert and Sullivan’s Ruddigore (GSVLOC), Harbor City International HS productions, and more. He has also worked with The Duluth Playhouse on their Family Stage and NorShor Stage, Gilbert and Sullivan Very Light Opera Company (GSVLOC), Wise Fool Theater, Lyric Arts in Anoka MN, and The Phipps Center in Hudson WI on past productions. In 2017 Alex won Broadway World’s Minneapolis Regional Award for Lighting with GSVLOC’s The Gondoliers. Outside the realm of Lighting, Alex also Designs Sound and records concerts, plays Bass with multiple ensembles, and drives a variety of buses to locations near and far.


About LOON:

Opera is a deeply rooted and thriving element of culture, community, and identity in the North. Founded in 2004, Lyric Opera of the North provides world-class opera performance and education in the North, for all ages in a diversity of venues and formats, welcoming the opportunity to channel our many diverse strengths and passions into collaborative efforts for all who love the grandest of the performing arts, opera.

We believe that by meeting people where they are

  • Across agesfrom nursery school to nursing home
  • In a diversity of venuesfrom the ice house to the opera house
  • In a variety of formats from Les Unc to La Bohème. . .

. . .we can provide a way in to the beautiful, elevating, enriching art of opera, and a way forward for those who already love it.


Sarah Lawrence & Calland Metts, General Artistic Directors
Sarah Lawrence and Calland Metts, Producers, made Duluth their home after performing with Colder by the Lake in the smash hit, Les Uncomfortables in 2001. Since moving to Duluth, they have continued to perform with theatres, opera companies and symphonies around the U.S. When Ruth Jacobson founded Lyric Opera of the North, she hired Sarah and Cal to sing the roles of Pamina and Papageno in The Magic Flute. Since then they have appeared with the company in other roles, and after Ruth’s death in winter of 2010, they were asked to share the role of General Artistic Director for LOON. Local audiences may have seen Sarah & Cal in productions at The Duluth Playhouse and Lyric Opera of the North, and in concerts with the DSSO. Regionally, they have appeared with Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, Omaha Symphony, Skylark Opera Theater, Minnesota Orchestra, Guthrie Theater, and the Minnesota Oratorio Society. Sarah and Cal live in Duluth with their daughter, Giulia Grace.