Meet the Cast of EChO's 2020 production Comedy Again?!?

Gontran Bethany Brautigam
Hélène Julia Rahm
Pausanias Zachary Angus
Luise Alannah Spencer
Trott Jake Hemminger
Gilfen Jeremiah Strickler

Baritone Zacahary Angus (Pausanias) is excited to appear with EChO again, having previously created the role of Joseph in Joseph's Gift in 2016. Besides returning to work with EChO this spring, Mr. Angus will appear in John Bilotta's Trifles, presented by Chicago's Thompson Street Opera Company. An exciting presence on the regional operatic and concert stages, Mr. Angus recently completed stints as Resident Artist with Indianapolis Opera and as Emerging Artist with Fort Wayne Philharmonic, where he was featured in concert, recital, and outreach, most notably serving as cover for Lancelot in Indianapolis Opera's Camelot. Other recent credits include: Friedrich Bhaer (Little Women), Claudio (Béatrice et Bénédict) with Eugene Opera; Guglielmo (Così fan tutte, Tuscia Opera Festival); Alfio (Cavalleria Rusticana, Main Street Opera); Marco (Gianni Schicchi), Bartley (Riders to the Sea), Belcore (L'elisir d'amore) with Salt Creek Chamber Orchestra; Captain Corcoran (H.M.S. Pinafore, The Savoyaires of Evanston); Pangloss/Cacambo/Martin (Candide, Opera Notre Dame); and as bass soloist in The Little Match Girl Passion (Facility Theatre) and Handel's Messiah (Salt Creek Chamber Orchestra).

Soprano Bethany Brautigam (Gontran) is delighted to be singing with EChO again, after appearing as Musetta in our recent concert performances of La Bohème and as Laurette in last year's Doctor Miracle. Previous roles include Mimi/La Bohème, 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.

Tenor Jake Hemminger (Trott) made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2018 as a soloist with the New England Symphonic Ensemble performing Mozart's Regina Coeli in C and Beethoven's Choral Fantasy. In 2016, Mr. Hemminger made his international debut in Florence, Italy as a soloist with the Orchestra da Camera Fiorentina performing Mozart's Missa Brevis in F and Schubert's Mass in G. In 2017, Mr. Hemminger was the 2nd Place Winner in The American Prize Competition for College Men in Opera as well as a National Finalist in the Art Song & Oratorio Division. He was also a 2016 National Finalist in the National Society of Arts & Letters National Musical Theatre Competition in Phoenix, AZ. Recent operatic and musical theatre roles include Anthony in Sweeney Todd, Henrik in A Little Night Music, Bobby Strong in Urinetown: The Musical!, Fracasso in Mozart's La finta semplice, and Count Danilo in The Merry Widow. Mr. Hemminger holds a Master of Music in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a Bachelor of Arts in Music Technology from The University of Alabama at Birmingham. He has held adjunct voice instructor positions at Queens University of Charlotte and Averett University in Danville, VA. Mr. Hemminger is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL.

Mezzo-soprano Julia Rahm (Hélène) has performed repertoire from Vivaldi to Debussy, and Rossini to Heggie. A Francophile and travel fanatic, her fondness for French and Baroque music started while she was living in Paris, performing solos in Vivaldi’s Dixit Dominus and Gloria at Chartres cathedral and St. Germain de L'Auxerrois. Her operatic roles include Ms. Bentson in Lakmé, Catherine in Offenbach's Pomme d'api, Ellen in Three Sisters Who Are Not Sisters (Rorem) and Amalie in The Finishing School by Franz von Suppé. Julia is also a member of the Chicago Symphony Chorus, most recently having sung in Cavalleria rusticana under the baton of Riccardo Muti. She teaches piano and voice and is the Alto Section Leader at North Shore Baptist Church. She earned her B.A. in Liberal Arts with concentrations in Theater, Music and French from Sarah Lawrence College and her Master of Music in Voice Performance from the Chicago College of Performing Arts, studying under Mark Crayton. Her most recent projects include launching The Valkyrie Ensemble, an opera company devoted to promoting and empowering women in classical music, with six of her fellow graduates from CCPA. In the ensemble's upcoming all-female production of The Magic Flute, she will be portraying Papageno. She currently teaches a workshop she created called Collective Voice Healing, in which group participants use their own voice as a modality to cultivate mindfulness, presence and deeper creativity. A devotee of many art forms, she is also a poet and songwriter. More...

Soprano Alannah Spencer (Luise) hails from Madison, Wisconsin. In May, she finished a Master’s of Music in vocal performance from Roosevelt University where she studied with Professor Mark Crayton. She has performed a number of operatic roles including Bagatelle in Offenbach’s operetta Bagatelle with Roosevelt Opera and Antonia in Les Contes D’Hoffmann with MIOpera. A great lover of song and new music, Ms. Spencer was a member of the second place team at the Chicago SongSlam competition last spring. She is also the second soprano section leader at St. Matthew’s Episcopal church in Evanston. In her free time, she enjoys visiting museums, reading books, and attempting to craft the perfect cheese plate.

Baritone Jeremiah Strickler (Gilfen) returns to EChO after performing as Marcello in our recent concert performances of La Bohème and is excited to be involved in the musical community of the greater Chicago area. Originally from Montana, Jeremiah received his Master of Music in voice from Roosevelt University's Chicago and his Bachelor of Music in voice with a minor in piano from Indiana Wesleyan University. He currently studies with countertenor Mark Crayton and works for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Strickler has been fortunate to participate in staged and concert performances of such works as Mozart's Die Zauberflöte, Don Giovanni, and La finta giardiniera, as well as other choral and chamber works, including Handel's Messiah and the world premiere of Samuel Pummill's Consanguineal Requiem. He has also performed solo and collaborative recitals featuring both classical and modern repertoire. Mr. Strickler has begun exploring an interest in composition, including projects based on gothic horror literature, such as Dracula and the works of Edgar Allan Poe.