The Cast of Sugar Creek Symphony & Song's
2004 Production of Gounod's
Roméo et Juliette
Sung in French with projected English surtitles.

Matthew Chellis
Helen Todd
Jane Dutton
Robert Garner
Friar Laurence,
Matthew Lau
Ronald Hedlund

Justin Vickers

Kathryn Cowdrick
The Duke,
George Washington III
Artistic Director,
Helen Todd
Antony Walker
Stage Director,
Gina Lapinski


Scene Designer,
Carey Wong

Matthew Chellis, Tenor (Roméo). One reviewer described Mr. Chellis as "a tenor of considerable softness and beauty of tone with a surprising reserve of power."  The Washington Post wrote "A mellow tenor voice floated out from the stage:'Comfort Ye, Comfort Ye My People', and you could feel the audience doing just that." Mr. Chellis is regular performer with New York City Opera in such roles as Tamino in The Magic Flute, Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni, Nanki-Poo in The Mikado and Cascada in The Merry Widow in the Live from Lincoln Center telecast on PBS.   International credits include the role of the Duke in Rigoletto with Teatro Colon de Bogota (Colombia), Ernesto in Don Pasquale with Calgary Opera and Edmonton Opera and Ramiro in La Cenerentola with Opera de Quebec. Mr. Chellis has also performed Pedrillo in Washington Opera and Andres in Wozzeck at Dallas Opera.

Helen Todd, Soprano (Juliette). 2003 proved to be a stunning year for Helen Todd with national media attention from The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today for her portrayal of Aunt Lydia in the North American premiere of The Handmaid's Tale at Minnesota Opera. The New York Times stated "Todd, a sweet-faced soprano, is physically unimposing, but she made it clear through her focused intensity that you wouldn't want to mess with her." She journeys to Toronto, Canada this fall to reprise this role in the Canadian premiere of The Handmaid's Tale. Last year, Ms. Todd also performed to great acclaim as Lucia in Lucia di Lammermoor with Opera Illinois where the Peoria Times-Observer wrote that her performance had a "thrilling dynamic range, ravishing ornamentation, perfect intonation, and terrifying emotional intensity." Ms. Todd has performed often with Cleveland Opera, Minnesota Opera, Arizona Opera, New York City Opera, and Opera North, among others, in roles such as Queen of the Night, Violetta, Gilda, Lucia, and Juiliette.

Jane Dutton (mezzo-soprano). Acclaimed for her "rich and sonorous sound" (Pravo Newspaper, Czech Republic), mezzo-soprano Jane Dutton is in demand for operatic and concert engagements internationally. Regularly engaged by the Metropolitan Opera, during her sixth season on the roster, Miss Dutton performed as Jordan Baker in John Harbison's The Great Gatsby, which was conducted by James Levine. Her performances in past seasons have ranged from Stephano in Roméo et Juliette conducted by Bertrand de Billy, to Mrs. Gleaton in the Metropolitan Opera premiere of Carlisle Floyd's Susannah, conducted by James Conlon. She was also responsible for roles in Ariadne auf naxos, Lulu, Madama Butterfly, Rigoletto and in Wagner's Ring Cycle. She recently added the Composer in Ariadne auf naxos to her repertoire in her first engagement at the San Francisco Opera and was reengaged for Sonjetka in Johannes Schaaf's acclaimed production of Shostakovitch's Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk, conducted by Donald Runnicles. She made her debut at the Tokyo Opera Nomori in Robert Carsen's production of Elektra, with performances conducted by Seiji Ozawa.

Robert Garner, Baritone (Mercutio). Robert Garner has performed Mercutio in Romeo et Juliette with Opera Carolina, Connecticut Opera, and Natchez Opera Festival. Mr. Garner recently stepped in at the last minute to perform the role of Ford in Opera Southwest's production of Falstaff. He has also performed at Opera Colorado, New York City Opera, and L'Opera Francais de New York. He is a past winner of the Friedrich Schorr Memorial Prize.

Matthew Lau, Bass (Friar Laurence). Mr. Lau's incredible artistry as both singer and actor have graced the opera stages throughout the United States in such roles as Papageno with New York City Opera, Don Pasquale with Arizona Opera, Osmin with Kansas City, Colline with New York City Opera, Omaha and Atlanta Opera, Sarastro with Tulsa Opera in The Magic Flute, Lieutenant Ratcliff in Billy Budd with Seattle Opera, and Dottore Grenvil in La traviata with Lyric Opera of Chicago. In the role of Friar Laurence at Sarasota Opera, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune wrote of the he brought a "chilling effect as he described the potion's action to Juliette in Act IV."
Ronald Hedlund, Bass-Baritone (Capulet). Bass-baritone Ronald Hedlund has had a 30-year distinguished career in opera and classical music. He was a regular member of the Metropolitan Opera National Touring Company where he performed both the Figaro and the Count in Le nozze di Figaro,  Sharpless in Madame Butterfly, Colline in La boheme, Ford in Falstaff, and Germont in La Traviata. He also appeared as Escamillo in Carmen with Seattle Opera, Rev. Blitch in Susannah with Houston Grand Opera, Osmin in Abduction from the Seraglio with Washington Opera (D.C.), Scarpia in Tosca with Miami Opera, the title role in Macbeth with Chicago Lyric Opera, and the title role in Falstaff with Boston Opera, Sarasota Opera, and Michigan Opera Theatre. Mr. Hedlund has played opposite such operatic luminaries as Joan Sutherland, Renato Scotto, Jerry Hadley, Erie Mills, Anna Moffo, and Alfredo Kraus. Mr. Hedlund has performed the role of Capulet with Dallas Opera.
Justin Vickers, Tenor (Tybalt). A native of Danville, Illinois, Justin Vickers was praised by the Washington Post for his "emotionally charged delivery" in his portrayal of the title role of Idomeneo at Wolf Trap Opera. Mr. Vickers has also performed the Ballad Singer in Of Mice and Men with Washington Opera and the Italian Singer in Der Rosenkavalier with Minnesota Opera. Outside the US, Mr. Vickers has performed with Festival de Mallorca and the Festival Internacional de Moia de Bages in Barcelona. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois and the University of Kentucky.
Kathryn Cowdrick Mezzo-Soprano (Gertrude). Career highlights have included Paulina in Pique Dame, Meg Page in Falstaff, Siebel in Faust, Third Lady in Die Zauberflöte, Mrs. Nolan in The Medium, and Grimgerde in Die Walküre with San Francisco Opera; Varvara in Katya Kabanova with Los Angeles Opera; Mistress Page in The Merry Wives of Windsor with Washington Opera; Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia with De Nederlandse Opera, Scottish Opera, Vancouver Opera, and Bühnen Stadt Köln; Berta in Il barbiere di Siviglia with New York City Opera; title role in La Cenerentola with Kentucky Opera; Isabella in L'italiana in Algeri with Utah Opera; Charmian in Antony and Cleopatra with the Spoleto Festival USA & Italy (New World Records / 1985 Grammy Award); Elizabeth Proctor in The Crucible with Tulsa Opera; Marcellina in Le nozze di Figaro with Opera Omaha; Marquise in La fille du régiment, Old Prioress in Les dialogues des carmélites, and Filipevna in Eugene Onegin with Arizona Opera; Foreign Singer in Postcard from Morocco with Opera Festival of New Jersey; and Suzuki in Madama Butterfly with the Wildwood Festival. Concert highlights have included Karolka in Jenufa with Opera Orchestra of New York at Carnegie Hall (Grammaphone Bis) and appearances with the San Francisco Pops.

George Washington III (The Duke). George Washington III is a native of Kankakee, Ill., and is a longtime member of the Opera Carolina Chorus in Charlotte, North Carolina. He has has appeared as the Imperial Commissioner (Madama Butterfly), Dr. Grenvil (La traviata) , Dr. Lomax (Cold Sassy Tree), Elder Ott (Susannah), and Balthazar (Amahl & the Night Visitors) as a house artist for Opera Carolina. He is a graduate of Northwestern University.

Antony Walker, Conductor. Born in Sydney, Australia, Antony Walker continues to expand his international reputation as both conductor and choral director. Antony has conducted at the Welsh National Opera as House Conductor and Chorusmaster, is the Artistic Director of Washington Concert Opera, founded both the Pinchgut Opera and the professional chorus Cantillation in Australia. He continues to conduct often in the United States, including Minnesota Opera, Hawaii Opera, Pittsburgh Opera and next season New York City Opera.
Gina Lapinski, Stage Director. Ms. Lapinski is a regular member of the directing staff at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. She has directed The Turn of the Screw for L'Opéra de Montréal, the Emilio Sagie production of Don Carlos at San Francisco Opera, Carlisle Floyd's Susannah with Palm Beach Opera, and her new production of The Magic Flute with Opera Festival of New Jersey. Recently, Ms. Lapinski also co-directed a new production of Das Rheingold in Santiago de Chile.

Carey Wong, Scene Designer. Having designed nearly 200 productions of operas, plays, and musicals, Mr. Wong has more than 25 years of experience as a scene designer for sets and costumes. His original productions have been seen at Seattle Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Edmonton Opera, Austin Lyric Opera, and Fort Worth Opera, among countless others. His production of The Consul was aired on PBS as part of the "Great Performances" series. Mr. Wong also designed environmental and commercial installations for art galleries for the 1992 Anchorage Winter Olympics Organizing Committee. Mr. Wong is a summa cum laude graduate of Yale College.