The Cast of Sugar Creek's 2003 Production of Puccini's La bohème
Sung in Italian with projected English surtitles.
Helen Todd
Mark Thomsen
Jeff Mattsey
Adele Karam
Peter Volpe

Mikolaj Zalasinski

Tony Dillon
Artistic Director,
Helen Todd
Music Director,
Ransom Wilson
Stage Director,
A. Scott Parry



Helen Todd (Artistic Director / Mimi). Hailed by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and USA Today for her recent performance as Aunt Lydia in the North American premiere of Poul Ruder's The Handmaid's Tale with Minnesota Opera, Ms. Todd's lyrical voice is captivating audiences and capturing the national spotlight. A coloratura soprano, Ms. Todd appeared with Cleveland Opera this year as Queen of the Night in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte. She debuted with New York City Opera in 2001 in the same role. Also that year, she played Violetta in La Traviata with Asheville Lyric Opera, and Clorinda in a semi-staged performance of La Cenerentola with the OK Mozart International Festival, under the baton of Ransom Wilson. Also adept with 20th century operas, Ms. Todd has portrayed Curley's Wife in Of Mice and Men with Arizona Opera and Cleveland Opera, as well as the title role in Susannah with Opera North (U.S.). She first achieved national recognition for her portrayal of Violetta in La traviata with Minnesota Opera (The English National Opera / Jonathan Miller Production) and also performed under the baton of Maestro Richard Bonynge in Minnesota Opera's production of Die Zauberflöte.

Ransom Wilson (Conductor & Music Director). Long recognized as one of the world's leading instrumentalists, Ransom Wilson is equally esteemed as an outstanding conductor of orchestral and operatic repertoire. He is music director and principal conductor of Solisti New York Orchestra, which he founded in 1981, artistic director of the OK Mozart International Festival, and artistic director of the Mozart Festival-at-Sea on the M.S. Westerdam. Mr. Wilson has accompanied many internationally renowned artists from the podium, including Itzhak Perlman, Frederica von Stade, Nadja SalernoSonnenberg, Joshua Bell, Garrick Ohlsson, Jeffrey Kahane and Robin Sutherland. An esteemed operatic conductor, Wilson has conducted new and highly acclaimed productions of Mozart's Magic Flute with the Tulsa and Omaha Operas and the American stage premiere of Il Re Pastore, also by Mozart, with the Glimmerglass Opera. Other operatic appearances have included re-engagements at Opera Omaha, where he conducted Beethoven's Fidelio and the American stage premiere of Rossini's Ermione, and at Glimmerglass where he led performances of Così fan tutte, and appearances with the Minnesota Opera to conduct Rossini's Armida and Verdi's Trovatore.

Mark Thomsen (Rodolfo). As one of America's most accomplished tenors, Mark Thomsen enjoys a busy career in the United States and abroad. For the 2002-2003 season, his engagements included performances of Ernesto in Orlando, Tamino in Cleveland, Alfredo in La Traviata in Toledo, Belmonte in Die Entführung in Kansas City and Rodolfo in La bohème in Indianapolis. During the 2001-2002 season, he added two new roles to his repertoire when he sang Lenski in Eugen Onegin with Indianapolis Opera and Lennie in Of Mice and Men in Edmonton. He also returned to the Dallas Opera as Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor and to the New Orleans Opera as Faust. In May 2002 he portrayed Camp Williams in Cold Sassy Tree in Kansas City and The Tenor in Garrison Keillor's Opera, Opera! with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. In summer 2002 he was heard as Ernesto in Don Pasquale at the Crested Butte (Colorado) Festival. Mr. Thomsen has also performed throughout Europe with appearances at Teatro alla Scalla, Vienna Volksoper, Vienna Staatsoper, and Opéra de Nantes.

Jeff Mattsey (Marcello). Lyric baritone Jeff Mattsey made his operatic debut in 1986 as Marcello in La Bohème with the Opera Company of Philadelphia. He joined the roster of the Metropolitan Opera in 1997, and made his house debut in 1998 in the production of Les Contes d'Hoffmann. Mr. Mattsey made his European debut as Marcello in Modena, Italy, and then appeared again in La Bohème, as Schaunard, in Genoa, Beijing, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, and the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Recent engagements include Papageno in The Magic Flute with Vancouver Opera, Valentin in Faust with San Diego Opera, the title role in Eugene Onegin with the Indianapolis Opera, Figaro in The Marriage of Figaro with Cleveland Opera, A Little Night Music with the Utah Opera, and the title role in Don Pasquale with Boston Lyric Opera.

Adele Karam (Musetta). A native of Ohio, Ms. Karam has been praised by audiences and critics alike. Recent reviews have described her voice as "angelic," "sumptuous," "gorgeous," and "a mixture of silver and cream." Ms. Karam has performed opera, oratorio and the musical theater repertory with Cleveland Opera, Opera Memphis, Mississippi Opera, Des Moines Opera, Opera Iowa, Lyric Opera Cleveland and Aspen Opera Theatre. Solo orchestral appearances include the Cleveland Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Fort Wayne Philharmonic, Saginaw Bay Symphony, Canton Symphony, Cleveland Pops Orchestra and the Graz (Austria) Festival Orchestra. Ms. Karam has been a scholarship recipient to the Tanglewood Festival, the Ravinia Festival, and a soloist on the chamber music series of the Blossom Festival.
Peter Volpe (Colline). Peter Volpe has appeared to critical and popular acclaim throughout Europe and North America. For six years, he performed in Europe as principal bass in Bremen and Karlsruhe and made guest appearances in Stuttgart, Saarbrücken, Darmstadt, Dortmund, Dusseldorf and Duisburg, Trier, Braunschweig, Strasbough, Colmar, Mulhouse, and Luxembourg. Since his return to America he has appeared with the New York City Opera (title role in Don Giovanni, Sparafucile in Rigoletto and Colline in La Bohème), the Santa Fe Opera (Zúñiga in Carmen), Lyric Opera of Kansas City (Gremin in Eugene Onegin), Opera Company of Philadelphia (Colline, the Speaker in Die Zauberflöte, Alidoro in La Cenerentola). This season, he will sing Sparafucile for the Arizona Opera, Zúñiga for Kentucky Opera, and make a notable debut with the Metropolitan Opera in their new production of War and Peace. Next season, he will return to the New York City Opera to sing the title role in Don Giovanni and Sparafucile and to the Metropolitan Opera for their production of Les Troyens.
Mikolaj Zalasinski (Schaunard). Mikolaj Zalasinski belongs to a young generation of some of the most talented Polish singers. He is the laureate in the Adam Didur vocal competition, and was named the best actor/soloist in Poland in 2002, receiving the Amber Ring for his performance of Renato in Un Ballo in Maschera. His past engagements include the title role in Nabucco with the operas of Berlin, Lodz, Porto, Belfast, and Bytom; di Luna in Il Trovatore with the operas of Lisboa, Szczecin, Bytom, Krakow, and Trapani; Renato in Un Ballo in Maschera in Sofiya, Szczecin, Stralsund; the title role in Don Giovanni in Vienna, Tokyo, Warsow, Lodz, Bytom, and Bydgoszcz; Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia in Chicago, Prag, Bytom, Krakow, and Szczecin; Escamillo in Carmen in Chicago, Bytom, Lodz, Gdansk, Szczecin, and Sofiya; Scarpia in Tosca in Porto, Krakow, Bytom, and Sofiya; Tomsky in Queen of Spades in Lodz; the title role in Onegin in Katowice; Barnaba in Gioconda in Bytom and Krakow; the title role in Rigoletto in Bytom; Wolfram in Tannhauser in Bytom and Krakow; Germont in La Traviata in Schwedt and Abilene; Valentin in Faust in Krakow and Bytom; Silvio and Tonio in Pagliacci in Bytom; the Count in Le nozze di Figaro in Vienna, Beijing, and Tokyo; Papageno in The Magic Flute in Roubaix and Krakow; Guglielmo in Cosi fan tutte in Bytom.
Tony Dillon (Alcindoro / Benoit). A long time student of the late Jerome Lo Monaco, Tony Dillon has appeared with opera companies and symphonies in the United States, Central America, Russia, and the former Soviet Union. He was also a resident member of the Artist/Faculty of the Brevard Music Center, Brevard, North Carolina from 1992-1996. A former recipient of the Opera Renaissance Award, Mr. Dillon is recorded on Delos International with The Voices of Ascension; National Public Radio's Of Mice and Men from Glimmerglass Opera; Summer and Smoke from the Central City Opera Association; Vanessa from the Washington Opera; and the Washington Opera telecast of La Rondine on PBS's Live from Kennedy Center. His previous engagements include performances with the Mississippi, Los Angeles, Central City, Washington D.C., New York City (National Company), Tampa, Des Moines, Cleveland, El Paso, and Natchez Operas, as well as the Apollom Festival St. Petersburg, Russia.

A. Scott Parry (Stage Director). A. Scott Parry has garnered critical acclaim for his direction of both opera and musical theater productions across the country. He holds a bachelor's degree in voice from Northern Arizona University and a master's degree in opera stage direction from Indiana University, where he also served on faculty after graduation. Most recent and/or upcoming productions include Così fan tutte and La Bohème for Asheville Lyric Opera in Asheville, North Carolina; Songs for a New World for the New World Theatre Group in Reno, Nevada; and West Side Story and Closer Than Ever for Act One Musical Productions in Phoenix, Arizona. Scott is the resident assistant director for the Dallas Opera and is spending this summer as an assistant director and young artist stage director for the Des Moines Metro Opera.

Mark Frederic Smith (Scene Designer). Mark graduated from the Department of Theatre and Drama at Indiana University at Bloomington with a master's degree of fine arts in scenic design. His design and scenic painting credits for IU include Woyzeck, God's Country, The Pirates of Penzance, Oedipus Rex, and Death of a Salesman. He has also designed six productions for the Brown County Playhouse in Nashville, Ind., including this season's Picasso at the Lapin Agile and My Three Angels. Other designs in central Indiana include Children of a Lesser God and Chess at the Buskirk Chumley Theatre; Father Psalm and Schoolgirl Figure for the Bloomington Playwrights Project; La Traviata for Arte Vivo; and Steel Magnolias at the Indianapolis Civic Theatre. Mark recently joined Indiana University Opera's production staff as assistant scenic artist.
Michael Paolini (Lighting Designer). Mike Paolini is pleased to design the premier production of Sugar Creek Symphony & Song. A native New Yorker, Mr. Paolini hails from three prior generations of stagehands. Mr. Paolini is currently earning his B.A. in Theatre Design and Technology at Indiana University, Bloomington. In addition to his involvement with many University productions, he has designed the lighting for Noel Coward's Hay Fever, Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, and native midwesterner Greg Ownes' The Queen of Bakersfield and Other Tales of Dust and Moonlight. He was the properties master for the 2002-2003 opera season at Indiana University's Musical Arts Center. He is a grateful recipient of the Featheringill Scholarship. He is currently engaged as the master electrician at the Brown County Playhouse in Nashville, Indiana.