Meet the Cast of EChO’s 2019 production Comedy Tonight!

Laurette Bethany Brautigam
Veronique Ashley Puenner
Pasquin/Silvio/Dr. Miracle Karlos Piñero-Mercado
Mayor Matthew Brennan
Susanna Rachael Long
Count Gil Nathan J. Kistler
Sante Lane Halverson

Soprano Bethany Brautigam (Laurette) is delighted to be making her EChO debut in Doctor Miracle! Previous roles include Mimi/La Boheme, Donna Anna/Don Giovanni, Pamina/The Magic Flute, Donna Elvira/ Don Giovanni , Suor Angelica/Suor Angelica, First Lady/The Magic Flute, Lauretta/Gianni Schicchi, and Cinderella/Into the Woods. Ms. Brautigam is a winner of the Casa Italia Cultural Center competition and a recipient of the Illinois Arts Council Professional Development Award. She obtained her master’s degree from North Park University, and her undergraduate degree from Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, CA.

Baritone Matthew Brennan (Mayor) recently completed the Master of Music program at the Cleveland Institute of Music, studying with Dr. Dean Southern. Favorite roles include Count Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro, Curly in Oklahoma!, and the Vater in Hänsel und Gretel. He has worked professionally with the Ohio Light Opera, and is a member of both the Chicago Symphony Chorus and Evanston’s Lakeside Singers. In 2018 he was baritone soloist for the world premiere of Keith Fitch’s The Range of Light, and previously premiered the role of The Innocent in the art song theater piece Once, Babylon at the Vancouver International Song Institute. He completed his Bachelor of Music degree at Vanderbilt University.

Actor Lane Halverson (Sante) is very excited to be joining EChO’s production of Susanna’s Secret. His appearance as the valet Old Adam in last year’s Ruddigore with the Savoyaires marked his 15th season with the company and though noteless in the role of Sante, he continues on a note of servitude in this show. Most recently, Lane appeared as Mortimer in Ogorod Productions’ The Fantasticks, and as Sheriff Will Masters in Bus Stop and Doc Gibbs in Our Town with the Des Plaines Theatre Guild. Lane invites you to enjoy the show in good health.

Baritone Nathan J. Kistler (Count Gil) is a recent transfer to Chicago and is excited to include the Evanston Chamber Opera company among his first performances in the city. Before Chicago, Nathan earned a Masters degree in Sacred Music from the University of Notre Dame, and a Bachelor of Arts in Vocal Performance from Central Michigan University. Previous credits include the role of Muse in the Chicago Premiere of When Adonis Calls by Clint Borzoni, Matt Shepard in Considering Matthew Shepard, Aeneas in Dido and Aeneas, Sam in Trouble in Tahiti, Jeff in [Title of Show], Papageno in Die Zauberflöte, Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro, and Leaf Coneybear in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.

Soprano Rachael Long (Susanna) is excited to be returning to EChO for her third season. Long has most recently performed with the Salt Creek Chamber Orchestra as the soprano soloist for Handel’s Messiah. This season, she covered the roles of Lucia/Lucia II/Leonora in Chicago Fringe Opera’s The Long Christmas Dinner, and performed/premiered new works by local Chicago composer Elizabeth Rudolph in her concert Finding Home, Finding Self. Long has performed the role of Narrator in the world premiere of Francis Lynch’s opera For Those in Peril. In her first world premiere with Lynch, she portrayed the role of First Acolyte in Joseph’s Gift. Other roles include Nedda (Pagliacci), Countess Almaviva (Le nozze di Figaro), Corinna and Delia (Il Viaggio a Reims) and La dame in Poulenc’s La dame de Monte Carlo. Future engagements include Lauretta (Gianni Schicchi) and Serafina (Cover-Il campanello) with New Moon Opera, Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro) and La Comtesse Adèle (Cover-Le comte Ory) with Transgressive Theatre Opera. Long received her MM from the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University (CCPA) and her BFA from Carnegie Mellon University. She was a founding member of Forte, Chicago’s premier opera improv troupe. More...

Puerto Rican tenor Karlos Piñero-Mercado (Pasquin/Silvio/Dcotor Miracle) is a Chicago-based perfomer and a new music enthusiast who is excited to be back on the stage with Evanston Chamber Opera. He was recently seen premiering the roles of Howell and Whiteside in Francis Lynch’s For those in Peril. Recent performances include: La théière in Ravel’s L’Enfant et les sortilèges, Cornelius in Lynch’s Joseph’s Gift, The Lover in Menotti’s Amelia Goes to the Ball, Eisenstein in Strauss’s Die Fledermaus, Dr. Cajus in Otto Nicolai’s The Merry Wives of Windsor, Brother in Weill’s The 7 Deadly Sins, and the tenor soloist in Händel’s Messiah (Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra). In 2015, he was a finalist for the Central Region NATS qualifying him as a semi-finalist at the NATS National Convention. He received his Master of Music degree at Roosevelt University, studying under countertenor Mark Crayton.

Mezzo-soprano Ashley Puenner (Veronique) hails from Crystal Lake, Illinois, holds a Master of Music in Voice from the University of Kansas, and earned her Bachelor of Music in Voice at Illinois Wesleyan University. Most recently, she was seen as Nicklausse in Les contes d?Hoffmann as a Resident Artist with Opera North. Ashley was a Studio Artist with the Florentine Opera for the 2016/17 and 2017/18 seasons, where her roles included Second Lady in The Magic Flute, First Witch in Dido and Aeneas, and Mrs. Hurstwood in the world premiere of Sister Carrie, which was recorded and released on the Naxos label. Other recent credits include Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro, Carmen in The Tragedy of Carmen (Brooks/Bizet), and Beggar Woman in Sweeney Todd. Pursuing an avid interest in newly composed music, Ashley has premiered works by several composers including Robert Aldridge, Emile Naoumoff, and Forrest Pierce, along with commissioning a song cycle by American composer Nathan Jones (Six Qabbani Love Songs).