Sugar Creek Artists

I pagliacci Cast | Video | Photos
Composer: Ruggero Leoncavallo | Performed at Sugar Creek: Sat., Aug. 8, 2009 at 8 pm

Our Cast
x Canio
Tonio Di Paolo
Helen Todd General Director & Nedda
Helen Todd
x Tonio
Michael Mayes
x Silvio
Christopher Hutton
x Beppe
William Bennett
A Scott Parry Stage Director
A. Scott Parry
James Lowe Conductor
James Lowe

Director Scott Parry staged our production of I pagliacci as a circus that had come to a 1970s American town. The 2009 season also marked an expansion in the festival's apprentice program, as well as the first year we performed two operas in a single season: I pagliacci and Aaron Copland's The Tender Land.

Our Cast

Helen ToddHELEN TODD (General Director/Nedda)
Ms. Todd has developed an international reputation performing twenthieth century music. Ms. Todd’s recent performances as Madame Mao in Nixon in China with Minnesota Opera caused quite a stir. The Pioneer Press wrote that “the energy in the Ordway spikes when Helen Todd takes the stage as Mao’s wife, Chiang Ch’ing. There are no bad voices in the company, but when Todd’s crystalline soprano rips into a politically charged aria, it’s like she’s grabbing each individual in the audience by the shoulders and giving them a good shake.” In 2003, Ms. Todd earned national media attention in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today for her portrayal of Aunt Lydia in Minnesota Opera’s The Handmaid’s Tale. Ms. Todd performed the role again in the Canadian premiere at Canadian Opera Company in Toronto in 2004. The National Post of Canada wrote that “Ruders has placed Aunt Lydia . . . in a long line of hysterical, sexually repressed operatic women who sing the glass-shattering range of the Queen of the Night. Helen Todd did a superb job, her eyes gleaming with a fanaticism that was truly scary.”

xJAMES LOWE (Conductor)
James Lowe is a versatile conductor and pianist who has performed across North America and Europe in virtually every musical style, ranging from classical music and opera to the avant-garde; from musical theater and jazz to rock, blues, and country. He is currently the music director and conductor for the U.S. National Tour of Cameron Mackintosh and Trevor Nunn’s acclaimed West End production of My Fair Lady, and he recently conducted the First National Tour of Adam Guettel’s Tony Award–winning musical, The Light in the Piazza. For several seasons he was associate conductor at Houston Grand Opera, where he conducted and orchestrated a portion of the fiftieth anniversary gala concert with Sir Elton John. He conducted the 2003 world premiere and the 2004 revival of The Little Prince, an opera by Academy Award–winning composer Rachel Portman. At HGO he has also led Carmen, Le nozze di Figaro, Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Jake Heggie’s The End of the Affair, and the HGO Studio production of Copland’s The Tender Land.

xA. Scott Parry (Stage Director)
A. Scott Parry has garnered critical praise for his work in both Opera and Musical Theatre throughout the country. He is currently a stage director at New York City Opera, but has continuing associations with many other companies across the US. He has served on the School of Music faculty at Indiana University in Bloomington and headed the Musical Theatre faculty at Mesa Community College in Phoenix, Arizona. Scott most recently directed productions of Il barbiere di Siviglia for Opera Pacific, La traviata for Chautauqua Opera, and La cenerentola for Florida Grand Opera. Upcoming, he directs the operatic première of The Pig, the Farmer, and the Artist for Bargemusic in Brooklyn, NY. As a librettist, Scott has completed an English adaptation of Beaumarchais’ La mère coupable, which is currently being set to music, and as a composer, he recently had the New York City première of his Theatre Song-Cycle based on the works of Dorothy Parker, Oscar Wilde, and Edna St. Vincent Millay.

Tonio DiPaolo’s prominent career earns the tenor accolades on stages throughout North America and Europe, including the Metropolitan Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Canadian Opera Company, Houston Grand Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Washington Opera, Seattle Opera and San Francisco Opera. The New York Times says, “Tonio DiPaolo has a big, authentic, and rich-sounding tenor voice,” while The Washington Post exclaims, “Tonio DiPaolo shows comic gifts and sheer acting ability that one cannot take for granted in tenors. He also has a voice like spun gold.” The current season brings performances of Canio in I pagliacci with Opera de Quebec, Opera Company of North Carolina and here with Sugar Creek Symphony and Song; Alfred in Die fledermaus with Opera New Jersey, and Calaf in Turandot with the Chattanooga Symphony. Additional recent engagements include Cavaradossi in Tosca with Opera Ontario, Canio in I pagliacci at the Utah Opera, Radames in Aida at Atlanta Opera, Calaf in Turandot at the Austin Lyric Opera, Duke in Rigoletto at the Arizona Opera, Dick Johnson in La fanciulla del West with Austin Lyric Opera, a concert performance of La bohème with the Spokane Symphony, Canio in I pagliacci and a return to Central City Opera as Don José in Carmen. Additionally, he was also recently seen as Calaf in Turandot and Don José in Carmen with Milwaukee’s Florentine Opera.

With a strong voice and even stronger sense of drama, baritone Michael Mayes is making waves in the opera world for his command of the stage and attractive masculine presence. Originally from Conroe, Texas, Michael has performed with opera companies across the country, including Madison Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Palm Beach Opera, and Central City Opera, to name a few. Recent engagements include the title role in Don Giovanni and Dandini in La cenerentola with Connecticut Opera, Lancelot in Augusta Opera’s Camelot, Top in The Tender Land with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, and Marcello in La bohème with Opera on the James and again with Skylight Opera Theater. In an extension of his involvement with the development of Margaret Garner, a new opera by Richard Danielpour, Mr. Mayes performed the role of Edward Gaines opposite mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves to critical acclaim. Performances during the 2009-2010 season include the roles of Conte di Luna in Il trovatore with Eugene Opera, Morales in Carmen and Motorcycle Cop in Dead Man Walking with Fort Worth Opera, as well as Guglielmo in Così fan tutte with Arizona Opera.

Christopher Hutton recently performed the title role in Gianni Schicchi with Lyric Opera Theater at Arizona State University, and Marullo in Verdi’s Rigoletto with Arizona Opera. Christopher also performed the role of Baron Douphol in Verdi’s La traviata with Sugar Creek Symphony & Song, and also with Akron Symphony’s concert version of La traviata. He recently made his debut as Donner in Opera Theater Pittsburgh’s production of Das Rhinegold by Jonathan Dove. Other recent productions include Schaunard in La bohème with Salt Marsh Opera, Alidoro in La cenerentola and the Old American Songs by Aaron Copland with Sugar Creek Symphony & Song. Mr. Hutton has been engaged by Boston Lyric Opera for the roles of Zaretski in Eugene Onegin; the Businessman, Baobab, and Hunter in Rachel Portman’s The Little Prince; Ali in L’italiana in Algeri; Marullo in Rigoletto and Sciarrone in Tosca. 2004 also marked his debut with Opera Theater Saint Louis playing Dancairo in Carmen and covering the role of Richard Nixon in Nixon in China. Memorable roles include Guglielmo in Così fan tutte with Asheville Lyric Opera, Marullo in Rigoletto and Curio in Giulio Cesare with Cleveland Opera, Schaunard in La bohème and Dr. Falke in Die fledermaus with Annapolis Opera, Schaunard in La bohème with Opera North (New Hampshire) and with the Firelands Symphony Orchestra, Sulpice in The Daughter of the Regiment with Lyric Opera Cleveland, and Tarquinio in Resphigi’s opera Lucrezia with Opera Theater Lucca, Italy.

William Bennett joined the Chicago Opera Theater Young Artist Program covering the role of Lechmere in Benjamin Britten’s Owen Wingrave, and recently solidified his transition from baritone to tenor as Tamino in The Magic Flute with the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s “Opera in the Neighborhoods” program. He sang the role of Papageno with the Chicago Symphony in several Kraft Family Series concerts and spent three summers at the Chautauqua Institute Voice Program where he performed Don Alfonso in Cosi fan tutte, Benoit/Alcindoro in La bohème and Baron Duophol in La traviata. He also performed the role of the Officer in Il barbiere di Siviglia as part of the Young Artist Program at Cedar Rapids Opera. Mr. Bennett sang the roles of Remendado in Carmen and Freddy in My Fair Lady at the Ash Lawn Opera Festival in Charlottesville, Virginia, the home of his alma mater, The University of Virginia. William continues to pursue his passion for engineering and entrepreneurship and has created the first career management software package for classical singers’ retailing online at



Photos from Our Production of I pagliacci

Videos from Our Production of I pagliacci

"Vesti la giubba" with Tony di Paolo as Canio


Michael Mayes as Tonio