Craig Trompeter
HOC General Director

Craig Trompeter has been a musical presence in Chicago for nearly twenty years. He performs in concert and over the airwaves with Second City Musick, Music of the Baroque, Chicago Opera Theater, the Cal Players, the Oberlin Consort of Viols, and the Smithsonian Chamber Music Society. He has appeared at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Glimmerglass Festival, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music. As soloist he has performed at the Ravinia Festival, at the annual conference of the American Bach Society, and with the Chicago Symphony and Music of the Baroque. Trompeter has recorded discs of Mozart, Biber, Boismortier, Marais, Handel, Henry Eccles,Vivaldi, and a potpourri of Elizabethan composers on the Harmonia Mundi, Cedille, and Centaur labels. As a modern cellist, Trompeter was a founding member of the Fry Street String Quartet. He premiered several chamber operas by MacArthur Fellow John Eaton, performing as actor, singer and cellist. A passionate educator, Trompeter has taught master classes at his alma mater, the Cleveland Institute of Music, the Oberlin Conservatory, Grinnell College, and the Chicago Musical College. In 2003 he founded the Feldenkrais® Center of Chicago where he teaches Awareness Through Movement® and Functional Integration®. Craig has given Feldenkraisworkshops throughout the nation in universities, music conservatories, and dance studios. He is the general director of the Haymarket Opera Company.

“I have long admired Craig Trompeter's stylish musicality and proven leadership skills. He is a valuable part of the Chicago area's growing early music scene.” John Von Rhein, Chicago Tribune
“Tasteful…impressive in his mastery…delightful” Chicago Tribune
“First-rate…stalwart support” Chicago Classical Review
“Mastery of French baroque style” CCR
“Terrific playing in the restless, running cello passages” CCR

Meriem Bahri is a self-taught costume designer and maker. After completing a PhD in biology, she turned definitively to her great passion for costumes. Her interest for this field began with the Brazilian dance group Atabak in France and she has continued to enrich her knowledge with world-renowned companies such as Boston Early Music Festival, the Joffrey Ballet, and Opéra de Nice. Currently, she collaborates regularly with two groups specialized in baroque operas: Haymarket Opera Company in USA and Académie Desprez in Europe. She has also brought her costuming skills to dance and theater through the Beethoven Festival, Balam Dance Theater, Elements Contemporary Ballet, and International Voices Project. Outside of her work as a costume designer, she is a freelance illustrator providing unique and custom-made drawings. Meriem currently lives in Chicago after spending 18 years in France and 9 years in Tunisia. For more information, please visit

Sarah Edgar is a dancer, choreographer, and researcher specializing in eighteenth century performance. She is the associate director of The New York Baroque Company and  choreographer/stage director at the Haymarket Opera Company in Chicago. Her  2013 directing debut with the Haymarket Opera Company, Telemann’s Pimpinone, was hailed by Newcity as one of the five best operas in Chicago. With The New York Baroque Dance Company, she has performed at Drottningholm Theater in Sweden, the International Händelfestspiele Göttingen, Danspace at St. Mark’s Theater, the Guggenheim Museum, and the Potsdam Sanssouci Music Festival. From 2006-2012, she lived in Cologne, Germany and toured Europe as a freelance dancer, performing in Italy, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, and France.

She has taught master classes in baroque dance at numerous universities in the United States and in Germany, and has given several lectures at symposia for eighteenth century performance. She was an adjunct professor in dance at Northwestern University in winter 2014, teaching baroque dance technique. She holds a BFA summa cum laude in dance performance from The Ohio State University, and an MA in Tanzwissenschaft from the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln.

William C. Kirkham (Lighting Designer) is thrilled to be working with Haymarket Opera Company after last Fall’s production of Pimpinone.  Recent designs include: The Tennessee Williams Project (The Hypocrites); The Little Prince (Lookingglass Theatre Company); A Year with Frog and ToadBud, not Buddy (Chicago Children’s Theatre); Annie (Arizona Broadway Theatre); The Verona Project (American Music Theatre Project); The Iron Stage Kingpt 1 (Co-Design, House Theatre - Jeff Award Nominated); the world premiere of Gidion’s Knot and From Prague (Contemporary American Theatre Festival); William received his MFA in Stage Design from Northwestern University.

Praised for her “impressive power” (Chicago Classical Review) and “richly evocative” voice (Chicago Critic), soprano Chelsea Morris is a performer who “has the ability to command the stage with grace and poise” (Hyde Park Herald). Operatic repertoire includes star turns as Lisa/The Land of Smiles, Pamina/Die Zauberflöte, Susanna/Le nozze di Figaro and Emily Webb/Our Town. Ms. Morris has appeared as soloist with The Madison Bach Musicians, Chicago Bach Ensemble, and Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra. A winner of numerous competition prizes, the Michigan native has been championed by The Schubert Club, National Opera Association, and Bel Canto Foundation of Chicago.

Brian Novatny, set designer, is based in Brooklyn, NY with an active career in the arts.  Even though he is primarily a visual artist, he is no stranger to the realm of the performing arts having been introduced to dance many years ago through friends and colleagues. His admiration for dance has grown over the years and he has lent his visual expertise to a number of dance performances. His worked has been exhibited at galleries in New York City, Los Angeles, Seattle, New Orleans, St. Louis and Berlin. He has also shown in a number of contemporary art institutions which include the Knoxville Museum of Art, The Mississippi Museum of Art, and most recently at the Inside Out Art Museum in Beijing, China. He will be returning to Beijing this December participating in another group exhibition at that museum. Corporations, museums and universities, such as Microsoft, The Progressive Corporation, The Knoxville Museum of Art, The Daum Museum of Contemporary Art, the University Of Alabama and The Central Academy of Fine Arts of Beijing have his work in their collections. Novatny has received several awards including a grant from the Basil H. Alkazzi Foundation. He attended the Columbus College of Art & Design in Columbus, Ohio where he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts and continued his studies in painting and printmaking at the Yale School of Art for his Masters degree.

Praised for her "lively personality, abundant charm, and luscious vocalism," (Chicago Tribune), soprano Erica Schuller brings committed artistry to a broad musical repertory. This season, Erica made her Chicago debut with Haymarket Opera Company as Vespetta in Pimpinone, recently rated one of the top 5 operas of 2013 by Newcity Stage. In October, she also debuted with Skylight Music Theatre as Marzelline in Fidelio. She returned to the Skylight stage in their production of Hydrogen Jukebox by Philip Glass. Upcoming engagements include roles with Boston Early Music Festival in both their Fall and Summer productions, and a recital of Italian Baroque cantatas in San Francisco. As resident artist with the Florentine Opera Company, Erica garnered acclaim as Elvira in Rossini's L'Italiana in Algeri, and as the soprano soloist with the MSO in their presentations of Handel's Messiah (2010, 2011). She has also performed with the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, the San Francisco Bach Choir, and the Boston Early Music Festival. She can be heard as Marte in Duron's Salir el Amor del Mundo, recorded for the Dorian Record Label. Other credits: Mrs. Gleaton (Susannah), Armida (Rinaldo), Pamina (Die Zauberflöte), Belinda (Dido and Aeneas), Amor (L'Egisto), Noémie (Cendrillon), Lazuli (L'Étoile), and Euridice (L'Orfeo). Erica received her Masters of Music from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music under the tutelage of Pamela Fry, and holds degrees in Vocal Performance and Music Education from the Eastman School of Music, where she studied with Kathryn Cowdrick. Ms. Schuller is a new resident of Chicago where she performs and teaches voice.

Ryan Townsend Strand, native of Minnetonka, MN, is a recent Master's graduate from Northwestern University's Bienen School of Music. Thrilled to be making his debut with Haymarket Opera, Strand will perform the role of Armindo in this fall's production of Gli equivoci nel sembiante. Recent credits include the title role in Handel's Judas Maccabaeus, Laurie in Mark Adamo's Little Women, Nerone in Monteverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea, and Al Joad in Ricky Ian Gordon's The Grapes of Wrath. This summer, Strand will be performing with Philadelphia-based vocal ensemble The Crossing, under the direction of Donald Nally, and will also be singing in the Grant Park Supplemental Chorus under chorus master Christopher Bell.

Karim Sulayman is consistently praised for his sensitive musicality, vivid portrayals, and beautiful vocalism. With a vast repertoire that spans renaissance to contemporary music the young tenor/haute-contre has firmly established himself as a sophisticated and versatile artist of his generation and enjoys a busy calendar in opera and concert performances throughout the world. He was recently described as possessing a “lyrical, expressive and appealing tenor” (Washington Post), and was hailed for his “energetic and elastic performance” (Opera News), and “apt comedic gifts.” (New York Times)

This season he debuts with Haymarket Opera as Eurillo in Scarlatti’s first opera, Gli equivoci nel sembiante. He also embarks on a national tour with Apollo’s Fire singing the tenor solos in Monteverdi’s Vespro della beata vergine (1610). He recently completed his third summer participating at the Marlboro Music Festival, made his role debut as Eumete in Monteverdi’s Il ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria with Opera Omnia and the Baryshnikov Arts Center in NYC, and debuted with the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society.

Other recent highlights include engagements at Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, New York City Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Chicago Opera Theater, Apollo’s Fire, the Aldeburgh Festival, the Casals Festival, and the International Bach Festival under Helmuth Rilling. He has collaborated with such renowned conductors as Harry Bicket, Yves Abel, Jane Glover, James Conlon and Raymond Leppard. His growing discography includes the title role in Handel’s Acis and Galatea, two releases for NAXOS in works of Philidor and Grétry, and forthcoming releases for Furious Artisans and the AVIE labels.

Mr. Sulayman’s musical education began with violin studies at age 3, followed by several years as a boy alto soloist, including performances with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Sir Georg Solti, and the St. Louis Symphony under Leonard Slatkin. He holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music and Rice University, and was a featured young artist at Chicago Opera Theater and the Britten-Pears Programme. Additional honors include awards from the Kurt Weill Foundation and fellowship invitations from the Aspen Music Festival, Rice University and the Steans Institute for Young Artists at the Ravinia Festival. After living in Paris, he returned to the U.S.A. and took courses in improvisation at the Second City Training Center, because he’s funny. Seriously.

Samantha Umstead, wigs and makeup artist, is a graduate of the DePaul University Theater School where she studied costume design and art history. She is a licensed cosmetologist who does hair and makeup throughout Chicago for film and photography. She has worked at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater for three seasons as a wig maker. She is extremely excited to once again be working with the Haymarket Opera Company.

Concertmaster Jeri-Lou Zike is a versatile, energetic musician who enjoys a variety of artistic activities in symphonic, baroque, and chamber music. She is principal and founding member of the Metropolis Symphony Orchestra and principal second violin of the Chicago Opera Theater. She is also a member of the Chicago Philharmonic, the Joffrey ballet orchestra and the Ravinia Festival Orchestra.

As a period instrument performer, Ms. Zike is concertmaster of the Haymarket Opera Company which she manages alongside the General director, Craig Trompeter, cellist. The opera company is taking Chicago by storm in its third year and according to all the critics, the praise for its quality is of highest caliber. Other musical credits include principal of Baroque Band, soloist with the Chicago Baroque Ensemble, Concertmaster of the University of Chicago Rockefeller Chapel Concerts, as well as performances with His Majestie’s Clerkes, Kansas City Music Consort, and Music of the Baroque’s first period instrument concert.  

Ms. Zike is also a well-regarded contractor of musicians, providing orchestras for the Apollo Chorus, Chicago Chorale, the Cathedral Singers, and Rockefeller Chapel choirs among others. Jeri-Lou Zike has recorded with GIA, Centaur, and Cedille Records.  To balance the intensity of music making, Jeri-Lou loves to swim, bike and run and is a three time Ironman. 


Craig Trompeter, President
Jeri-Lou Zike, Vice-President
Rupert J. Ward , Treasurer
Susan Rozendaal, Secretary
Sarah Harding
David Rice
Russell Wagner


Jane Glover
Harry Bicket
Jerry Fuller, James S. Kemper Foundation