Festival Stories

The exciting part of a summer opera festival is seeing two hundred people come to Pittsburgh—from places all over the world—in order to tell great stories through music. However, the stories being told on stage are not the only interesting ones. There are even mores tales of the activity behind the curtain that are just as vital (and just as interesting) as those in front. Here are some of our favorites...


Lara Lynn has been described as "a voice of size, clarity, and wide coloristic range...a three-dimensional figure who combined vulnerability with strength and tugged at the heartstrings in her every breath and movement" (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 2013). With Pittsburgh Festival Opera, she has portrayed Cleopatra in Julius Caesar, Antonia in The Tales of Hoffmann, and Mamah Cheney in Shining Brow. During the 2015 festival, Lara Lynn created the role of Alice Front in the world premiere of A New Kind of Fallout by Gilda Lyons and Tammy Ryan.  This year Lara Lynn returns as Romilda in Xerxes.

Soprano Meghan DeWald is thrilled to be making her Pittsburgh Festival Opera debut in Intermezzo as Christine Storch. She most recently returned from the Lucerne Festival in Switzerland, where she performed in Luciano Berio’s Coro under the baton of Sir Simon Rattle as a member of the prestigious Lucerne Festival Academy.

Andrey Nemzer, acclaimed Metropolitan Opera countertenor, returns to Pittsburgh Festival Opera in the title role of Xerxes. A native of Russia, Andrey is known for the adventurous repertoire associated with that rare voice part.

Andrew Cummings is consistently praised for his rich, flexible baritone, heart-wrenching expressiveness, and dramatic intensity. Andrew is thrilled to be back with Pittsburgh Festival Opera in the production of Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd, starring in the title role. Andrew lives with his son in Riverdale, NY, and is a student of Arthur Levy.

Valerie Hosler returns to Pittsburgh Festival Opera for another season. Her previous roles have included a tough ballplayer, a red-cloaked children's story heroine, a pig sibling, a gangster trying to settle a debt, and now a candy-loving little girl.

Daphne Alderson returns to Pittsburgh Festival Opera with new program of Leonard Cohen’s legacy, a vintage tapestry of love, loss, and rebirth.

Anna Singer will play Mrs. Lovett in Pittsburgh Festival Opera's production of Sweeney Todd. She has performed with Pittsburgh Festival Opera throughout all of its seasons. She loves acting and opera immensely. She feels very blessed to have had the opportunity to get up on the stage and forget who she is—to become someone else entirely. That is a lot of fun.

Terriq White makes his Pittsburgh Festival Opera debut as Victor in A Gathering of Sons, his second world premiere!

This season Terriq appears in festival productions of A Gathering of Sons (Victor), Intermezzo (cover Baron/Servant), and in Xerxes (chorus).

Denise Sheffey-Powell stars as Victoria in Pittsburgh Festival Opera’s world premiere of the compelling contemporary jazz and gospel opera A Gathering of Sons. Her character's son Victor is shot by a rogue police officer as her other son's child is being born.

Bass-baritone Miles Wilson-Toliver, sings the role of City in the new jazz opera A Gathering of Sons, which opens Pittsburgh Festival Opera’s 40th Season.