HOC General Director
“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. After completing a PhD in biology, she turned to her passion for costumes. Her interest for this field began with Atabak, a Brazilian dance group, in France and developed her knowledge and experience with world-renowned companies such as the Joffrey Ballet and Opéra de Nice. She regularly collaborates with two groups specializing in baroque opera as Costume Designer for the Haymarket Opera Company and Assistant Designer for the Boston Early Music Festival. She is also actively involved in the French association Académie Desprez, dedicated to the performing arts of the 17th and 18th centuries.
Meriem has also brought her skills as a designer to dance and theater through the Beethoven Festival, Elements Contemporary Ballet, and International Voices Project. This spring, she is making her debut with the Joffrey Academy of Dance. In addition to her work as a costume designer, she is a freelance illustrator. For more information, please visit meriembahri.com
Zuleyka Vargas Benitez, HOC set designer and prop builder, received her Bachelor’s Degree from Virginia Tech and Master of Fine Arts from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. Ms. Benitez taught drawing at Iowa State University, University of Missouri at St. Louis, and has lectured extensively on narrative art. She has exhibited her drawings and paintings internationally and is included in numerous national and private collections. In addition to producing fine art, Ms. Benitez works as a designer, decorative painter, and builder. Big Chicks and Tweet in Chicago and Relish in Evanston are a few of her projects accessible to the public. Ms. Benitez is responsible for creating Dapple, Sancho Panza's donkey in HOC’s production of Don Quichotte auf der Hochzeit des Comacho, her only regret is that he can't be in every HOC production.
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.
Countertenor Alexander Edgemon, a native of Big Spring, Texas, was the
American Traditions Competition 2015 Gold Medal Winner and a featured soloist
with the Chicago Arts Orchestra. Edgemon was a featured soloist in 2013 with
the Orchestra of New Spain. In 2012, he sang the roles of First Priest and First
Inquisitor in Philip Glass' Galileo Galileo with Madison Opera. Edgemon has
performed the roles of Cherubino in Corigliano's The Ghosts of Versailles,
Oberon in Benjamin Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream and Orfeo in Gluck's
Orfeo ed Euridice. Other soloist performances include The Messiah, St. Matthew
Passion, Mass in B Minor, Carmina Burana, Requiem (Mozart), Gloria (Vivaldi),
and Chichester Psalms (Bernstein). He is a graduate of Northwestern University
where he received a Master's degree in Vocal Performance and Literature and a
Certificate in Performance and from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas,
where he received Bachelor Degrees in Vocal Performance and Music
Countertenor José Lemos won the 2003 International Baroque Vocal Competition in Chimay, Belgium. In 2014 Gramophone Magazine featured his solo album performance, Io vidi in terra, saying “Lemos has effortless technical agility and uncanny word-painting”, while Early Music America Magaizine has described Lemos as “…a countertenor with a rich timbre, flexible, agile and with an impressive range, with a seamless transition from head to chest voice which gives him enormous expressive strength.” A native of Brazil and Uruguay, he has appeared in operas across the globe: Tanglewood—Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Oberon), Boston Baroque—Handel’s Giulio Cesare (Julius Caesar), Zürich Opernhaus—Giulio Cesare (Nireno) and Agrippina (Narciso), Buenos Aires—Monteverdi’s Poppea (Arnalta) and Xerxes (Arsamene), Seattle Early Music Guild—Poppea (Ottone), Göttingen Handel Festival—Giulio Cesare (Tolomeo), in five productions with Boston Early Music Festival—Lully’s Psyche (Silène), Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas (Spirit), Steffani’s Niobe (Nerea), Monteverdi’s Poppea (Nutrice) and Ulysse (Pisandro), Opera de Nice—Scarlatti’s Tigrane (Policare), and Vlaamse Opera—Handel’s Agrippina (Narciso). He has also performed with William Christie’s Les Arts Florissants at Lincoln Center and throughout Europe. In concert he has sang as soloist in prestigious concert halls such as Avery Fisher Hall and Carnegie Hall in New York, Barbican Hall and Royal Festival Hall in London, Salle Pleyel in Paris, Auditorio Nacional in Madrid, and Concertgebow in Amsterdam. In addition to opera, he tours in recital of baroque arias with harpsichordist Jory Vinikour and thorbist Deborah Fox, and in repertories of renaissance music with The Baltimore Consort. Haymarket Opera production of Handel Amadigi di Gaula marks his Chicago debut.
Mezzo-soprano Suzanne Lommler was recently a soloist with the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony in a Mozart Soirée and with Orchestra Iowa in Bach’s St. John Passion, both broadcast on Iowa Public Radio’s “Symphonies of Iowa” program. She also soloed with the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir and Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra in the Bach Magnificat and appeared in the film “Kharmen,” by Jay Bolotin. Suzanne sang the roles of Melide in Cavalli’s Ormindo (Pittsburgh Opera) and Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro, Second Lady in Die Zauberflöte, and Dorabella in Così fan tutte (Hamburger Kammeroper in Germany). Her New York City debut was as Annio in La Clemenza di Tito, conducted by Julius Rudel. She sang in recital at the Handel House Museum in London, in Hamburg’s Opernsalon series, and on tour in Scotland with the Edinburgh Quartet. As a soloist, she has appeared with the Kansas City Symphony in the Bach Magnificat, with the Cincinnati May Festival in Britten’s Rejoice in the Lamb, conducted by James Conlon, and with the Bloomington Early Music Festival. She has been a member of the Ravinia Festival’s Steans Institute and the Tanglewood Institute. Other performances were with the Spoleto Festival in Italy, Cincinnati Opera, Portland Opera Repertory Theatre, Florida Grand Opera, Utah Festival Opera, Garsington Opera, the Glyndebourne Festival Opera, and Glyndebourne on Tour. Suzanne received her Master's degree from the Manhattan School of Music and Bachelor's from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and currently studies with Marie McLaughlin.
Lighting Designer, Lindsey Lyddan is thrilled to be working with Haymarket Opera for her first time on this splendid production. She is currently working on Hotel 666 with WildClaw Theatre Company, and her thesis in lighting and scenic design at Northwestern University, as well as, several other productions around town. She has worked all over the city including Steppenwolf, the Goodman, the Lyric, Adventure Stage Chicago, the Cherub program at Northwestern University, the Royal George, and Profiles Theatre. She would love to thank her husband, Bill, for his support in all her endeavors.
Soprano Erica Schuller has been praised for her “lively personality, abundant charm, and luscious vocalism” (Chicago Tribune), and for performing with “grace and strength” (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel). She has performed leading and supporting roles with Boston Early Music Festival, Haymarket Opera Company, Florentine Opera Company, and Skylight Opera Theatre, among others. As a soloist, Ms. Schuller has appeared with Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Elgin Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, San Francisco Bach Choir, Second City Musick Baroque Ensemble, and Ensemble Musical Offering. Previous Haymarket productions include Vespetta in Telemann's Pimpinone and Lisetta in Scarlatti's Gli equivoci nel sembiante.
This past season, Ms. Schuller created the roles of Joan Strasinsky/Princess in world premiere of the newly composed opera The Snow Dragon by award winning composer Somtow Sucharitkul, her singing described as “ethereal” by Broadway World Magazine. She will reprise these roles in Thailand with Opera Siam this July. In addition, she starred as Livietta in Boston Early Music Festival's production of Pergolesi's Livietta e Tracollo. She returned to perform several roles with Festival in their presentations of Monteverdi's three surviving operas this summer. Ms. Schuller also made her debut performance with the Elgin Symphony and Master Chorale as the soprano soloist in Poulenc's Gloria, and was a featured performer with Second City Musick, singing English Renaissance consort songs.
Operatic highlights include Armida in Handel’s Rinaldo, Pamina in Mozart’s Magic Flute, Belinda in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, Amor in Cavalli’s L’Egisto, Noémie in Massenet’s Cendrillon, Euridice in Rossi’s L’Orfeo, and Lazuli in Chabrier’s L’Étoile. In 2009, she appeared with Boston Early Music Festival in Monteverdi’s L'incoronazione di Poppea, and was commended for performing her roles with “skill and grace” by the Boston Globe. She can also be heard as Marte in Duron’s Salir el Amor del Mundo, recorded with Richard Savino and El Mundo.
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.
John Lee, operations manager, grew up in Honolulu and completed his formal education at Lawrence University (Appleton, WI) with a Bachelor of Arts in Music. During his studies, John discovered his love for baroque music and instruments. In 2011, he began volunteering with Haymarket Opera Company, gaining experience in administration, set construction, props, and costumes. Recently he was hired part-time with the company. When John is not working for Haymarket Opera, he is both the program coordinator for the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts at the International Music Foundation and the administrative assistant for Holy Name Cathedral’s music ministries. In his spare time, he enjoys playing his seven-string French bass viola da gamba, reading, and cooking (favorite tools are his hands, a Kramer 52100 carbon steel chef’s knife, and fine mesh strainers).
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Sarah Harding, President
David Rice, Vice-President
Susan Rozendaal, Secretary
Rupert Ward, Treasurer
ARTISTIC ADVISORY BOARD
Jerry Fuller, James S. Kemper Foundation