The Power of Beethoven
Spring 2002 Concert Solists
Originally from Beaumont, Texas, Soprano Rachel Watkins attended Loyola University, New Orleans, where she studied voice with Philip Frohnmayer and received a Bachelor of Music in Performance. From there Rachel pursued graduate studies at the Yale University Opera Program, studying under Doris Yarick-Cross, and received a Master of Music in May 2001. Some of her recent performances have been Poppea in the Yale Opera production of L’incoronazione di Poppea by Monteverdi as well as Musetta in La Boheme, and Manon in Massenet’s Manon with the Brevard Music Festival conducted by David Effron. Rachel has appeared most recently as the guest soloist with the Bridgeport Symphony, the Orchestra of New England and with the Yale Symphony, under the direction of Shenik Hahm, in Mahler’s Symphony #4. Rachel has also received many awards. She was most recently a winner in the Heinz-Rehfuss Singing Actor Competition in Orlando, and the winner of the Amici Vocal Competition in Connecticut. Rachel was also a winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Connecticut District Competition and was the recipient of the Matthias Award at the MacAllister Opera Competition in Indianapolis in 2000. Also in 2000, she won the Rosa Ponselle in Meriden, Connecticut. and the Jenny Lind Soprano Competition, which included a summer concert tour of Sweden. Rachel now resides in New York City and recently appeared twice in August as the featured soloist along with Claude Frank, pianist, at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival in Connecticut. Rachel will be performing the role of Cleopatra in Handel’s Giulio Cesare with Opera Theatre of Connecticut, and in May she will sing Gilda in Rigoletto with the Gulf Coast Opera in Mississippi.
Tenor Andrew Childs has been a featured soloist with many prestigious organizations. Guest appearances include the Seattle Symphony, the Society of Composers International, the American Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Northwest, The Yale Camerata, the Santa Barbara Quire of Voyces, the Connecticut Master Chorale, and the American Guild of Organists. Andrew has sung roles for Seattle Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Harrisburg Opera, and the Center for Contemporary Opera among others. He has become a frequent and sought-after collaborator by composers of new works. Among his numerous premieres are works by Yehudi Wyner, Victoria Bond, Timothy Melbinger, Brian Fields, and Richard Wilson. Andrew is a dedicated recitalist and teacher of music. He was awarded academic and teaching fellowships by the University of California, Irvine, and the University of Washington where he completed his doctoral studies. Andrew has taught voice, Music Theory, and Music History at Thames Valley Music School at Connecticut College, and has lectured throughout the country. He maintains a private studio in New Haven and is currently Managing Coordinator of Yale Opera.
Brendan J. Cooke, Bass-Baritone has appeared with opera companies all over the United States including the Portland Opera Repertory Theater, Baltimore Opera, Maryland Lyric Opera, Baltimore Young Victorian Theater, Opera Vivente, New Orleans Opera and the Ohio Light Opera. His repertoire ranges from Mozart bass and baritone roles (Guglielmo, Don Alfonso, and Il Commendatore) to twentieth century repertoire (Bottom in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Postman in Lee Hoiby’s The Scarf, Mr. Gobineau in Menotti’s The Medium, and Gino Carella in the world premiere of Mark Lanz Weiser’s Where Angels Fear to Tread). An active recitalist, Brendan has given concerts in New Orleans, Baltimore and Connecticut, and recently at the Academy of the Arts in Easton, MD, in conjunction with their exhibit of N.C. Wyeth and Howard Pyle portraits. On the concert stage, Brendan has appeared with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra and Symphony Chorus of New Orleans as a soloist in Handel’s Israel in Egypt, Bach’s St. John Passion and Kodaly’s Te Deum, with Baltimore’s Ridgely Consort in Fauré’s Requiem. He has been the baritone soloist in Vaughan Williams’ A Pilgrims Journey, Duruflé’s Messe cum Jubilo and Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, and Robert Sirota’s Iscariot. Brendan holds a Bachelor of Music Education from Loyola University of New Orleans and a Master of Music from the Peabody Conservatory, where he was a student of John Shirley-Quirk. This past season, Mr. Cooke appeared with the Baltimore Opera in productions of Il Barbiere di Siviglia and Tosca, with Opera Vivente as Melchior in Amahl and the Night Visitors. Brendan returns to Peabody Conservatory as a guest artist appearing as Don Alfonso in Cosi fan Tutte this March, then appears as Pallante in Agrippina with Opera Vivente in April. In May he appears with the Gulf Coast Opera as Sparafucile in Rigoletto. Currently living in Baltimore, Brendan appears regularly in three different educational outreach productions for the Baltimore Opera. This summer, Brendan will appear as a studio artist with Chautauqua Opera in New York.