Handel’s gorgeous music breathes life into a tale of obsession and heart-breaking betrayal set in the Scottish Highlands.

March 27 and 28, 2015 at 8:00pm. EXIT Theatre, 156 Eddy Street, San Francisco

Special Thanks

Special thanks to our donors, who made this production possible!

  • Centralia, PA
  • Cynthia M. Crile
  • Andrew Schenck
  • Ann W. Moss
  • Anna E Lazar-Johnson
  • Anonymous
  • Benjamin Malkevitch
  • Bruce & Sharon Zegerius
  • Catherine Cook
  • Constance Presley
  • David Rubinsohn
  • Elana Cowen
  • Hans Hoffer
  • Heidi Sali
  • Indre Viskontas
  • Jan M Ripka
  • Jane Randolph
  • Juan Pedro Gaffney
  • Katie Emig
  • Keith & Margaret Mowery
  • Mark O. & Linda Hagenbuch
  • Mary Wildavsky
  • Meghan Spyker
  • Michael A Schuler
  • Mr. Michael Wood
  • Nanci McGregor
  • Nicholas A. Cockerham
  • Richard J. Forde
  • Robert H. Cronin
  • Robert Oorbeck
  • Robynn Curtis
  • Roger Fisher
  • Sara Duchovnay
  • Sara Smucker
  • Sarah Young
  • Sonia Alam
  • Sophia Santulli
  • Tessa Kaneene
  • Thomas Dinardo
  • Verena Schelling
  • William & Joyce Mowery

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Who We Are

Black Box Baroque is a collection of musicians passionate about staging Baroque opera in a friendly, hip setting (with concessions too!).

Last March we joined our talents to present our first show: Handel’s epic 1732 magic opera, Orlando. Tremendous donor support and a sold-out performance encouraged us to continue into our second season with Ariodante.

We’ve performed with Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, American Bach Soloists Festival, Tanglewood, and Amherst/Boston early music festivals. We’re graduates of Juilliard, SF Conservatory, Carnegie Mellon, and Oberlin. And this year our orchestra is the venerable Albany Consort under director Jonathan Salzedo, who has also performed with groups such as San Francisco Symphony and California Bach Society.

Join us for an unforgettable San Francisco experience!

About Ariodante

Ginevra, a Scottish princess, is in love with Ariodante. Polinesso, his evil rival, hatches a plan to win Ginevra and gain the throne. Deception and scandal in Scotland meet thrillingly virtuosic singing in Handel’s glorious music.

  • Ariodante: Danielle Reutter-Harrah
  • Ginevra: Kelly Rubinsohn
  • Polinesso: Ellen Presley
  • Dalinda: Sara Hagenbuch
  • Lurcanio: Jonathan Smucker
  • Re di Scozia: Ben Kazez
  • Odoardo: David Oorbeck

About the Artists

Mezzo-soprano Danielle Reutter-Harrah is an avid performer of baroque, classical, and contemporary music. Highlights of her last concert season included a tour of Charpentier’s La Couronne de Fleurs and La Descente d’Orphée aux Enfers, Handel’s Messiah with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, and Bach’s Magnificat with American Bach Soloists. In the coming season Danielle will appear with the Boston Early Music Festival, Pacific MusicWorks, and Rogue Valley Symphony Orchestra. She performs frequently with lutenist/theorbist/guitarist Adam Cockerham as the duo Jarring Sounds and is a founding member of the Bay Area baroque chamber ensemble Liaison. Danielle teaches voice and piano privately and through schools. She earned her BM at the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music, and her MM at SFCM. Danielle currently resides in San Francisco.

Originally from Newtown, PA, soprano Kelly Rubinsohn has enjoyed performing roles such as Angelica (Orlando), Lucy Brown (Threepenny Opera), Donna Anna and Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni), Geraldine (A Hand of Bridge), and Anna Maurrant (Street Scene). Frequently seen in the Bay Area, Kelly has appeared with Waffle Opera, Black Box Baroque, Opera Parallèle, Pocket Opera, and Opera on Tap San Francisco. Programs include OperaWorks (Advanced Artist), Opera Academy of California, Lyrique en Mer Festival (France), AIMS (Austria), and University of Miami Frost School of Music at Salzburg. In 2012 Kelly won an Encouragement Award from the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions (San Diego), and she has won First Place in the East Bay Opera League Scholarship. Kelly holds degrees from SFCM (MM) and Carnegie Mellon (BFA).

Mezzo-soprano Ellen Presley’s repertoire crosses many styles and centuries. Her 2014–2015 season includes Pisana in Verdi’s rarely performed I due Foscari (West Edge Opera) and First Mother in Heggie’s Dead Man Walking (Opera Parallèle). Past roles include Lieutenant Marshall (South Pacific) with Foothills Theater and Lady with a Hat Box (Postcard from Morocco), Arsamene (Serse), Marcellina (Le nozze di Figaro), and Alma March (Little Women), as well as covers of Prince Orlofsky (Die Fledermaus), all with SFCM. Ellen has performed roles from Mozart to new music with Opera Academy of California, Sacramento State Opera Theatre, SFCM New Music Ensemble, BASOTI, University of Miami Frost School of Summer Music (Salzburg), and San Diego Opera Summer Intensive for Young Singers. She holds an MM from SFCM, where she won Outstanding Achievement Awards from the Opera and Voice departments.

Soprano Sara Hagenbuch, founder of Black Box Baroque, is active as a soloist and choral singer in the Bay Area with Handel Opera Project, SF Contemporary Music Players, Opera on Tap, SF Festival Chorale, and the St. Dominic’s Solemn Mass Choir. Sara is particularly passionate about the music of Handel and Mozart, with favorite roles including Despina (Così fan tutte), Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro), and Dorinda (Orlando). She received her BM summa cum laude from Ithaca College and MM from SFCM, where she studied with Catherine Cook. Sara is thrilled to sing Dalinda in Handel’s Ariodante with BBB and looks forward to singing Antigona in Handel’s Admeto with the Handel Opera Project in January.

Jonathan Smucker’s repertoire spans more than forty roles from baroque to contemporary, encompassing opera, oratorio, operetta, and musical theater.  This past summer, he made his Lincoln Center and Tanglewood Festival debuts in Handel’s Teseo with Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra. Jonathan has sung roles with Aspen Opera Theater Center, SF Opera Guild, Festival Opera, Opera San Jose, Opera Parallèle, Opera San Luis Obispo, Townsend Opera, Livermore Valley Opera, Ash Lawn Opera Festival, and in preview concerts for Opera Santa Barbara. Current season highlights include Mendelssohn’s Lobgesang with Stanford Symphony, Pulcinella and the Mozart Coronation Mass with Santa Rosa Symphony, Oronte in Alcina and Ferrando in Così fan tutte with Pocket Opera, Dead Man Walking with Opera Parallèle, and the title role in Candide for Pasadena Opera. An Ohio native, Jonathan holds BM, MM, and postgraduate degrees in voice from SFCM with special honors for excellence in operatic and baroque performance. He is a member of the voice faculty at the SF Community Music Center.

Baritone Ben Kazez has appeared in 25 performances of concert music, opera, and art song. This season Ben performs as soloist in Haydn’s Paukenmesse and Creation, Brahms’s German Requiem, Handel’s Messiah (Cincinnati Boychoir) and Acis and Galatea, and Vaughan Williams’s Serenade to Music (UC Davis Symphony at the Mondavi Center). Ben also appeared at the American Bach Soloists Festival in 2013 and 2014, performing Handel’s L’Allegro and Esther under Jeffrey Thomas, as well as many chamber works. Ben’s recent operatic roles include Zoroastro in Handel’s Orlando. He has also received praise for his physical comedy in My Fair Lady (Alfred P. Doolittle), Cox and Box (Bouncer), Princess Ida (Arac) and Orlando (Zoroastro). Ben graduated from Carleton College magna cum laude with Phi Beta Kappa. He speaks Italian and French and is also designer and developer of six critically acclaimed mobile apps.

Director Kenneth Keel received his BM from Michigan State and MM from University of Central Florida. While in Florida, he worked with Florida Opera Theatre, performing the roles of Fiorello in Barber of Seville and Maestro Spinelloccio in Gianni Schicchi. Since moving to the Bay Area, he has sung Demetrius in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Masetto in Don Giovanni, and Achilla in Giulio Cesare with the BASOTI. Kenneth frequently sings with Opera on Tap, where he has performed as Antonio in Marriage of Figaro and Alidoro in La Cenerentola. He is happy to be directing for Black Box Baroque again and hopes to build on the success of last year’s inaugural production of Handel’s Orlando.

David Oorbeck, tenor, sings regularly as a soloist and chorus member with the Handel Opera Project in Berkeley, with whom he will be singing King Kaspar in Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors in December 2014. Recent roles include Jason in Cherubini’s Médée and Grimoaldo in Handel’s Rodelinda (both covers), the Narrator in Bach’s Coffee Cantata, Mr. Cash in Mozart’s Impresario, Basilio/Curzio in Marriage of Figaro, all with the Handel Opera Project, and covering the role of Ferrando in Cosí fan tutte with Dazzling Divas Productions. He has been active in other Bay Area choruses including Marin Baroque and the Resmiranda Vocal Ensemble. He originally trained as a French hornist and holds a degree in Musicology from Oberlin.