Cast and Characters
Justin Cavazos is Don Giovanni
Don Giovanni is a charming, obscenely self-centered nobleman who seems only to exist for the sake of sexual conquest. All of his actions are informed by his desire to add to his list of bedded women. His obsession pervades every fiber of his being in the form of a crippling, destructive addiction. Don Giovanni is irredeemable, but not evil; he does not wish to harm the people he hurts, but his ingrained selfishness keeps him from helping them otherwise.
Justin Cavazos (’16) is a music major with a concentration in vocal performance. He has studied voice with Gregory Wait and jazz guitar with Rick Vandivier. Justin is a member of the Stanford Chamber Chorale and is the music director of Stanford Mixed Company. He most recently sang baritone in a jazz trio for Leonard Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti and played Dr. Pangloss in Candide for Stanford Savoyards. He also has played guitar for Jason Robert Brown’s The Last Five Years and Alan Menken’s Little Shop of Horrors and continues to write music for his band. Justin’s lessons are supported by his donors, Dr. and Mrs. Mark and Joan Applebaum.
Kyle Efken is Leporello
In Don Giovanni, Don Giovanni is the epitome of the cool kid, and Leporello caters to his every whim to win him over. Maybe Leporello just wants to be accepted by Don Giovanni—maybe he wants a little more than that. Whatever his motivations may be, Leporello is none the less a complex character who despite being a pretty smart guy, makes some poor judgement calls due to his obsession with Don Giovanni.
Kyle (’17) is a Junior from Algonquin, IL, double majoring in Music and Political Science. He has enjoyed singing since high school, and was a 2-time member of the Illinois All-State Choir. While at Stanford, he has sung with the University Singers and performed in the productions of Die Fledermaus, The Marriage of Figaro, Trouble in Tahiti, and Candide.
Christina Krawec and Kathryn Benedicto are Donna Anna
Donna Anna is attacked by Don Giovanni, who also murders her father, Il Commendatore. Determined to bring Don Giovanni to justice, she attempts to convince her fiancé, Don Ottavio, of his guilt. Over the course of the opera, Donna Anna realizes she must take her fate in her own hands.
Soprano Christina Krawec (International Relations and Music, ’15) debuted with the Stanford Savoyards in 2012. Some of her notable roles with the Savoyards and other Bay Area opera troupes include Josephine in HMS Pinafore, Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance, Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus, and Christine in The Phantom of the Opera.
Kathryn Benedicto, soprano, has performed or understudied lead roles at Pocket Opera, Bay Area Opera Collaborative, Free Range Opera, Lyric Theatre of San Jose, and Pacifica Spindrift Players. A resident of Palo Alto since 2010, Kathryn first appeared with the Stanford Savoyards in 2014 as Lady Saphir in Patience. She also played Phoebe in their 2015 production of The Yeomen of the Guard.
Kathryn Benedicto will perform on Thursday, May 12 and Saturday, May 14. Christina Krawec will perform on Friday, May 13 and Sunday, May 15.
Jonathan Tilley is Don Ottavio
Don Ottavio is a fiercely devoted man driven by honor. Normally a calming presence, when he feels he has been wronged he is quick to seek out justice. He loves his fiancé Donna Anna tenaciously, but often struggles to understand her emotionally. Ottavio values associating with other like-minded members of the high society, such Don Giovanni, who is something of a local celebrity due to his charm and charisma.
Jonathan is excited to be performing with the Savoyards for the fifth time. Recently, he has performed with the San Jose Lyric Theatre as Frederic (The Pirates of Penzance) and with the Stanford Opera Program as Dr. Blind (Die Fledermaus). Between rehearsals, Jonathan day-lights as a System Applications Engineer at Apple, enjoys occasional bike rides through the foothills, and has a dangerous appetite for noodle soup.
Kathleen Schwartz and Mia Farinelli are Donna Elvira
Donna Elvira is one of the many victims seduced and abandoned by Don Giovanni. Conflicted between her ardent feelings for him and her anger at his disappearance, her inner turmoil drives her to seek him out and remedy the error of his ways.
Kathleen Schwartz is a Stanford alum who is thrilled to be putting her Italian and music degrees to use at last. She was most recently heard as Mabel in Pirates of Penzance in midcoast Maine, where she lived for several years before returning to the Bay Area to thaw. By day a photographer, her work can be seen at kathleenschwartz.com.
Mia (’17) is studying Communication and Creative Writing at Stanford and is originally from New York City. As well as playing the role of Donna Elvira, Mia is the producer of Don Giovanni, as well as the president of the Stanford Savoyards. She is a member of the Chamber Chorale, and recent performance credits include the Spanish Governor in Candide, the Countess in Marriage of Figaro, and Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus.
Mia Farinelli will perform on Thursday, May 12 and Saturday, May 14. Kathleen Schwartz will perform on Friday, May 13 and Sunday, May 15.
Amanda Harris is Zerlina
Amanda Harris (’19) is a 19 year old soprano. She began singing at 8 with the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus. During her time with the ensemble, she performed at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Hollywood Bowl and the Dorothy Chandler Pavillion, home of Los Angeles Opera, under the direction of James Conlon, Esa-Pekka Salonen and Gustavo Dudamel. She then attended the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, where she majored in voice and participated in Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, Marriage of Figaro, Tales of Hoffmann, Sweeney Todd, Little Night Music, Carmen, Street Scene and Oliver. For her role in Sondheim’s Little Night Music, she was nominated as Best Female Soloist by the John Raitt Awards for Youth. In February of 2016, she starred as Narrator in Jonathan Berger’s The Interrogation. Other artistic credits include serving as a teen ambassador for Los Angeles Opera, assistant directing an original production in China and serving as Chorus Master for the Opera department at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts.
Daniel Wesche and Joe Hack are Masetto
Masetto is a peasant engaged to Zerlina, a simple man who would probably like nothing better than to marry Zerlina and continue living his rustic life. However, Don Giovanni’s advances on Zerlina prevent Masetto from doing this for most of the play. Consequently, the character oscillates between states of pre-marital bliss and cynical frustration throughout the opera. We see this frustration most completely in “Ho Capito,” which is an indictment of not only Zerlina’s indiscretions, but also of the feudal system that robs Masetto of his agency. Through Masetto, we gain insight into another of the themes animating Don Giovanni, which is not only a fable of virtue triumphing over vice but also a critique of feudal inequality.
Daniel is a German baritone versed in art song, oratorio, opera and choral literature. He received early training from Dieter Eppelein and Cornelia Götz, currently studies vocal performance with Gregory Wait, and is a member of Stanford Chamber Chorale and Convivium. When he’s not busy singing, he also is a 3rd year PhD student in Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine at Stanford.
Joe Hack (’17) is a Junior from Omaha, NE, majoring in Earth Systems. This is his first production ever. He sings with Talisman A Cappella and has sung with the University Singers. Joe is very excited to be playing Masetto in this production and hopes to participate in more opera in the future.
Daniel Wesche will perform on Thursday, May 12 and Saturday, May 14. Joe Hack will perform on Friday, May 13 and Sunday, May 15.
Berger Hou is the Commendatore
The Commendatore, Donna Anna’s protective father, is killed by Don Giovanni upon the two men’s first encounter. Later the old commander revisits in the form of a stone statue that represents the celestial justice and announces the end of the protagonist’s life.
Bojue “Berger” Hou is a first year MA in East Asian Languages and Cultures, and he currently studies classical voice with Greg Wait at Stanford. With a degree in journalism, German literature, and music from UNC Chapel Hill, he participated in the operatic productions that featured the works of Verdi, Mozart and Offenbach. He was most recently heard in his senior recital of art songs.
Robin Holbrook (’74)
A former Savoyard from the 1980’s, Robin returned to the company this past Winter for Bernstein’s Candide. Robin has also enjoyed performing recently with Sunnyvale Community Players (The Mystery of Edwin Drood) and the South Bay Musical Theater (Kiss Me Kate) and is already looking forward to her next show with SBMT in the Fall (City of Angels). When not on stage, Robin sings with First Lutheran Church Choir in Palo Alto and works at Stanford as Assoc. DFA for the Baxter Laboratory for Stem Cell Biology.
Cee-Sing studied Traditional Chinese Medicine at a specialty school and now does art and opera for fun. Born and bred Palo Altan, this will be his fourth production with the Savoyards. He has performed in the cast of Patience, Yeomen of the Guard, and Candide.
Karen returns to the Savoyards for the third show, in the Ensemble for Don Giovanni! She played flute/piccolo in 2015’s Yeoman of the Guard, various ensemble roles in 2016’s Candide, and is currently in rehearsal for The Serenade, as her 6th production with Lyric Theatre of San Jose. She also plays piccolo & flute with the Milpitas Community Concert Band. At home, there’s her husband Sal & their two pets who wait anxiously for a glimpse of her between shows and/or concerts!
Cheryl Passanisi has performed with Mission City Opera in Le Nozze di Figaro singing the Maiden Duet, La Boheme, Carmen, Die Zauberfl öte, and Madama Butterfly. She has sung with West Bay Opera in Tales of Hoffmann. With Lyric Theatre of San Jose she has been in G&S productions and other operetta including Naughty Marietta. She has sung in musical theatre with Woodside Community Theatre. She works as a nurse practitioner in hematology at Stanford Cancer Center.
Aaron Levett (Violin ’19)
Aaron currently serves as the assistant concertmaster of the Stanford Symphony Orchestra, and was concertmaster of the World Youth Symphony Orchestra for three weeks at Interlochen Center for the Arts during the Summer of 2015. He is majoring in biology.
Allison Yuen (Flute)
Allison plays flute in the Stanford Symphony Orchestra and various chamber ensembles. In her spare time, she is majoring in computer science.
Eva Wang (Flute, ’19)
Eva hails from Marin County, California, and is currently a flutist in the Stanford Wind Symphony. Although she was involved in many pit orchestras in high school, this is her time playing in a pit at Stanford. When not playing the flute, she enjoys teaching herself Mandarin and conducting Mahler’s symphonies with various baton-shaped foods.
Franklin Jia (Bass Clarinet, ’19)
Franklin is a potential double major in Mathematical and Computational Science and Economics. He has played the clarinet for 7 years. He loves to play sports, especially basketball and football.
InHae Yap (Violin)
InHae is from New York City and plays in the Stanford Symphony Orchestra. Though she directed pit orchestras in high school and was concertmaster for the InterSchool Orchestras, this is her first time being involved in a production at Stanford. She is considering a double major in Anthropology and Art History.
Isabel Skau (Clarinet)
Jamie plays bassoon in the Stanford Symphony Orchestra and Stanford Collaborative Orchestra. They are also involved in theatre at Stanford through Ram’s Head Theatricals. He is currently the Sound Designer Theory of Relativity, will be designing Gaieties 2016 and was an Assistant Sound Designer for Rent.
Jamie Tippett (Bassoon, ’19)
Jamie plays bassoon in the Stanford Symphony Orchestra and Stanford Collaborative Orchestra. They are also involved in theatre at Stanford through Ram’s Head Theatricals. He is currently the Sound Designer for Theory of Relativity, will be designing Gaieties 2016 and was an Assistant Sound Designer for RENT.
Jared Bitz (Clarinet, ’19)
Jared is a total band geek, computer science major, and avid peanut butter enthusiast. Other Stanford productions in which he's been involved include RENT and the upcoming Gaieties 2016.
Joshua Spayd (Saxophone, ’19)
Joshua is a music major and potential computer science minor. He plays in the Stanford Wind Symphony and the Stanford Saxophone Choir. In addition to playing in the orchestra, Joshua is also webmaster for this production.
Marianne Cowherd (Oboe ’19)
Marianne has been worried about reeds for almost eight years and has enjoyed playing in numerous ensembles during that time. She also enjoys spending time in the outdoors and talking about trees.
Marika Buchholz (Clarinet ’19)
Marika is currently a clarinetist in the Stanford Wind Symphony and was previously involved in the orchestra for Candide. When she’s not playing music, Marika enjoys listening to jazz and sleeping on bare mattresses.
Michael Chung (Cello, ’18)
Michael is trying to figure out how to balance his intense love for classical music with his academic duties as a Symbolic Systems major. He is a co-founding member of the Stanford Collaborative Orchestra, and can usually be found crying on the floor at obscene hours of the night.
Momo Hoshi (Oboe, ’17)
Momo has been involved in 18+ ensembles and productions during her time at Stanford, and is still trying to figure out how to make reeds reliably. Maybe bari sax will become her primary instrument one day, so she can stop having to make reeds.
Rebecca Cheng (Flute, ’19)
Rebecca is a freshman from Long Island, NY. She is currently majoring in history, but has an intense love for all things German. She plays flute in the Stanford Wind Symphony and will be the Wind Symphony’s new financial officer for the upcoming year.
Robert Collar (Clarinet)
Robert is a geological sciences major and clarinetist in the Stanford Symphony Orchestra and Stanford Collaborative Orchestra (SCOr). As one of the producers for SCOr, he has figured out just how difficult it can be to put on productions like these… Congratulations to the leadership team!
Rosie La Puma (Viola, ’17)
Rosie is an International Relations major and is excited to return to viola-ing for the first time since playing in Evita last spring. When not listening obsessively to podcasts, she enjoys working with the Stanford Storytelling Project, tutoring at Hume and improvising on her electric violin.
Steven Cheng (Clarinet)
Steven plays clarinet in the Stanford Symphony Orchestra and various orchestras for student-run productions. Outside of playing clarinet, he enjoys playing piano, going on walks, and playing with chemicals.
Tiffany Jiang (Flute, ’19)
Tiffany plays flute in the Stanford Symphony Orchestra and Wind Symphony. She immensely enjoys musical theatre and opera and has played in the pit orchestra of multiple Stanford productions. In her spare time, she enjoys dance, food, and spending time with friends and family.
Melissa Kagen (Director)
Melissa wrote a dissertation on wandering opera in the early 20th century and will receive her PhD in German Studies this June. She has directed 8 opera productions at Stanford, most recently The Marriage of Figaro and Die Fledermaus. Much love and heartfelt thanks to the cast, crew, and orchestra of this logistical improbability.
Mia Farinelli (Producer, ’17)
Mia is studying Communication and Creative Writing at Stanford and is originally from New York City. As well as being producer, Mia also plays the role of Donna Elvira. This is her first producer role in a production, and she is excited to be working on a fully immersive rendition of Don Giovanni.
Diego Hernandez (Music Director, ’17)
Diego is a junior from Tallahassee, FL majoring in Music and co-terming in Computer Science. Previous credits include Candide, Into the Woods, and The Marriage of Figaro, and he plays clarinet in the Stanford Collaborative Orchestra. He is immensely lucky to work with such a fantastic cast, crew, and orchestra in this production.
Tiffany Jiang (Stage Manager, ’19)
Tiffany is a freshman considering a major in Human Biology and a minor in Music. She has played in pit orchestras and other university ensembles, and this is her first time serving as a stage manager. She hopes that you enjoy the magic of Don Giovanni and have as much fun as the cast/crew did.
Niall Sohan (Stage Manager, ’19)
Niall is a freshman considering a concentration in Economics and Modern Languages (German and Russian). Born in Singapore but having also grown up in Europe and North America, his intense love of music has seen him perform alongside Lang Lang while giving recitals under the Steinway & Sons name in Singapore. He might have served in the military for two years, but this is his first time serving as a stage manager.
Chris Yoon (Assistant Music Director, ’18)
Chris is a sophomore interested in Music and Computer Science. Chris and Diego orchestrated all the music in this performance to accommodate a smaller ensemble with limited instrumentations. Previous Stanford Theatre credits include Evita (Assistant Music Director) and A Criminal Cabaret (Violin/Percussion).
Carlos Fresnillo (Vocal Director, ’19)
Carlos is a freshman majoring in physics and minoring in music. This is his first experience in opera, and delights in every opportunity to surround himself with great music. Elsewhere, you can find him performing as part of Mariachi Cardenal and Cardinal Calypso, or sharing memes he’s found on the Internet.
Sam Johnson (Lighting Designer, ’18)
Sam is a sophomore majoring in Electrical Engineering. He has been delighted to work around the challenges of lighting an outdoor, daytime opera. Other recent design credits of his include Macbeth, Candide, and Trouble in Tahiti.
Masha Gorkovenko (Production Manager, ’19)
Masha is a Mathematical and Computational Science major who is from Southern California. She is very interested in the arts, and enjoys playing trumpet in the Stanford Wind Symphony and coordinating jazz-related events for the Stanford Jazz Consortium. In her free time, Masha likes to browse Tumblr, read about her favorite artists, and post random stuff on Facebook.
Garrick Fernandez (Graphic Designer, ’19)
Garrick is a freshman considering Computer Science or Product Design. He has had a lot of fun helping design materials for a very ambitious, interactive opera performance. He hopes you enjoy the show!
Joshua Spayd (Webmaster, ’19)
Joshua is a music major and potential computer science minor. In addition to being webmaster, Joshua also plays saxophone in the Don Giovanni orchestra.