THE NEW MERCURY COLLECTIVE
Formed in 2017 by artistic director Daron Hagen and named after Orson Welles' Mercury Theater, the New Mercury Collective exists to create and sustain a laboratory for artistic exploration, creative risk-taking, and performance in which its members can collaborate on the creation and performance of post-genre works combining theater, music, and emerging technology for audiences of all types underpinned by a fierce committment to social justice and civic activism. NMC's members bring a staggering breadth of practical experience, training, and expertise to the development of Orson Rehearsed, the collective's first project, which is being produced by the Chicago College of Performing Arts with the collaboration of the Fifth House Ensemble.
WHO WE ARE
Robert Orth has performed 134 roles in opera and musicals in scores of cities including London, Berlin, Rome, New York, San Francisco, Houston, Los Angeles, Seattle, Philadelphia, Chicago, Dallas, Miami, Portland, Washington D.C., and Denver. He was named “Artist of the Year” by both New York City Opera and Seattle Opera. New York City Opera also gave him the Christopher Keene Award for new and unusual repertoire.
Veteran soprano Carol Greif Schuele is equally at home in opera, musical theater, and straight drama, and has starred in dozens of major operatic and musical theater roles over the past thirty years regionally and at her home company, the Skylight Theater in Milwaukee. She teaches at Cardinal Stritch College.
A 2016 League of American Orchestras Emerging Artist, Gabriel Preisser has been praised by Opera News for his “handsome voice, charismatic energy, and timbral allure” and The New York Times called his performance as Lt Gordon “wonderful.” He also serves as executive & artistic director of Opera Orlando and is co-founder and CEO of Angels & Demons Entertainment. serves as executive & artistic director of Opera Orlando and is co-founder and CEO of Angels & Demons Entertainment.
Gilda Lyons is a New York-based cutting-edge vocalist and composer specializing in extended vocal techniques, improvisation and post-genre works combining technology and social activism who also serves as founding artistic director of the Phoenix Concerts in Manhattan and on the composition faculty of the Hartt School.
Robert Frankenberry is a vocalist, pianist, educator, actor, and conductor. As music director for Opera Theater of Pittsburgh/OT Summerfest, he has collaborated with Jonathan Eaton on critically-praised reinterpretations of Gluck, Bizet, and Hagen operas, among others. As a singer and actor, he’s recorded major roles for Naxos, and created and performed in a new “pocket” Ring Cycle for Skylight Music Theater. He is the pianist for Pittsburgh’s IonSound, and six other national-level new music ensembles and has written operas himself.
Mezzo-soprano Melisa Bonetti has been hailed by Opera today as “a warm, supple mezzo that struck all the right impressions” and as “commanding a wonderful presence in the lower middle voice but also easily soaring heavenward with a well-schooled top.” She has appeared with Kentucky Opera, the Lexington Philharmonic, the Queens Symphony Orchestra, Wolf Trap Opera, and I Sing Beijing.
Artistic Director Daron Hagen is a prize-winning composer, director, librettist, conductor, pianist, educator, and essayist whose nine operas have led his work to the point where auteur creation, sustained and nourished by strong creative collaborations with committed creative and performing artists, have led him to found the New Mercury Collective as a crucible for continued artistic and personal growth.