Cabaret at Signature




Wednesday, July 13 at 8 p.m.

At Signature Theatre


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Melissa Wimbish

Directed by Courtney Kalbacker

with R. Timothy McReynolds on Piano

Melissa Wimbish, soprano


At the Statue of Venus – Jake Heggie/Terrance McNally

    Meet Rose. She is in an art museum, waiting for her blind date . . . and bearing her soul to us as the minutes pass. Jake Heggie, composer of Dead Man Walking, and Terrence McNally, author of Master Class, give us a funny and heart-warming portrayal of a smart, successful, and touchingly vulnerable woman as she waits for a chance at true love, while imagining the worst.

Arias from A Streetcar Named Desire – Andre Previn/Philip Littell

    Blanche Dubois is one of the most iconic women in American Theater. We present two ravishing arias from Andre Previn’s beautiful opera, which premiered in San Francisco in 1998.

Excerpts from Josephine – Tom Cipullo

    Josephine Baker was a brilliant and complicated performer, activist, and mother. UrbanArias gave the world premiere of Josephine, a 30-minute opera based on her life, last April. Melissa Wimbish will reprise the searing last scenes of the role she created.

Join us for an exploration of three women facing difficult odds!


Praised by The New York Times for her “stylish singing” and by The Boulder Daily Camera as “simply incredible…the highlight of the entire evening,” soprano Melissa Wimbish is consistently recognized for her artistry, technical prowess, and captivating stage presence. Recently appearing as Barbarina in Le nozze di Figaro with Lyric Opera Baltimore, the young soprano did not go unnoticed with Opera News noting her “promising soprano” while The Baltimore Sun praised her “bright voice” and “knack for animating phrases”. She was awarded the Grand Prize in the 2014 NATS Artist Award Competition in addition to the Franco-American Award for best interpretation of French repertoire. A finalist in the 2013 International Liszt-Garrison Competition, she received special honors for her performance of American song. Melissa made her Kennedy Center recital debut as a winner of the Vocal Arts Society Discovery Series in 2012 and was a winner of the Denver Philharmonic Concerto Competition the same year.

Melissa performed Györgi Ligeti’s Mysteries of the Macabre with Maestro Ed Polochick and Concert Artists of Baltimore at the Gordon Center for Performing Arts in October. Depicting both good and evil opera heroines, she makes her debut with Annapolis Opera as part of their Angels and Demons concert production followed by a recital tour in March with the University of Baltimore in which she presents three consecutive art song recitals on each of the UB campuses. This April, in collaboration with Tom Cipullo and UrbanArias, Melissa will star in a new one-woman opera centered on the life of a prominent Black entertainer in the 30s. Followed by that appearance, she returns to the Kennedy Center as the soprano soloist for Carmina Burana presented by Washington Ballet. Her Carnegie Hall recital debut in October 2016 will feature works of living American composers including Jake Heggie, Tom Cipullo, Gregory Spears, and Jessica Meyer.

Melissa made her Prototype Festival premiere with the critically- acclaimed DC-based opera company UrbanArias as the History Teacher in Gregory Spears’s highly celebrated chamber opera, Paul’s Case. Also with UrbanArias, she has appeared in recitals alongside pianist and composer Tom Cipullo at Atlas Performing Arts Center and at Strathmore Mansion where she performed selections from Craigslistlieder and the role of Eve in Patrick Soluri’s dark comic opera, Adam and Eve. These frequent interpretations of modern music have led the soprano to several premieres including her debut with Strathmore’s National Philharmonic as the teenage anti-Semite, Christine in Janice Hamer’s Lost Childhood, her portrayal of Jackie Kennedy’s closest advisor, Nancy Tuckerman in Camelot Requiem (Bornfield), and her collaboration with renowned organist Donald Sutherland in Anton Heiller’s Zwei geistliche Gesänge. Other operatic roles include Micaëla in Carmen, the Soprano in Dominick Argento’s Postcard from Morocco, Queen of the Night (Die Zauberflöte), Manon (Manon), Nella (Gianni Schicchi), Blondchen (Die Entführung aus dem Serail), Adele (Die Fledermaus), Cunegonde (Candide), and Elle in Poulenc’s monodrama for soprano, La voix humaine.

Timothy McReynolds, pianoPursuing a career that embraces art song, opera, chamber music, and cabaret, pianist R. Timothy McReynolds is also active as a teacher and vocal coach. He is a member of the Voice/Opera faculty of the University of Maryland, School of Music, and the former Music Director of Towson University’s Music for the Stage. He has participated as vocal coach/pianist for the Washington National Opera’s Opera Institute and the Aspen Music Festival. He was Instructor of Piano at American University in Washington, D.C. and Loyola University of Maryland, where he remains as pianist for the Vocal Masterclass Series.

He has toured internationally in concerts, cabarets, and masterclasses in Mexico, Germany, and Austria, as well as across the United States. He also performed in recital with acclaimed bass-baritone, the late William Warfield. He has been heard with, among others, Linda Mabbs, Francois Loup, Isabel Leonard, Timothy Mix, Danielle Talamantes, and Colleen Daly. The Washington Post hails him as the, “perceptive accompanist”, the Baltimore Sun, an “excellent pianist”, while the website Classical Journal proclaims him as the “brilliant accompanist” in a recital with mezzo-soprano, Delores Ziegler. He continues his close association with the Washington (D.C.) Vocal Arts Society and their Discovery Recital Series. Recent concert venues include the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater and the Embassy of the Netherlands in Washington, D.C., the Maryland Arts Festival in Baltimore, a state tour of Maryland with the Annapolis Symphony, the Egyptian Embassy Concert Series in Vienna, Austria, and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York City. He recently recorded a CD to be released in 2012 of Schubert’s Die schöne Müllerin with tenor Bryce Westervelt. Another CD recording with the chamber music group, Greenbrook Ensemble will also be released in 2012. His recent concert schedule includes venues in New York, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Florida, Texas, Vermont, and Pennsylvania.

2013KalbackerHeadshotCourtney Kalbacker is a freelance opera director, producer, and performer based in the Washington, D.C. area. Ms. Kalbacker has served as an Assistant Director at Michigan Opera Theatre, a stage manager at Lyric Opera Baltimore, and Dramaturge/Director of Production at Opera Anne Arundel Community College. She has a special interest in developing young singer-actors, directing improvisational and traditional music theatre productions for several seasons as the director of the Academy of Youth Music Theatre Company at Oklahoma City University. Kalbacker also created and taught the Acting and Stage Movement for Singers curriculum at the Boston University Tanglewood Institute for six summer seasons. As a director, her productions of “arresting new opera” have been called “a perfect balance between storytelling and sonic expression” (DC Metro Theater Arts). She has also been recognized for her “wonderful stage pictures” and her creation of “complex, passionate, poetic prism[s]” (DC Theatre Scene, DCMTA). Her direction and performance of the one-woman monodrama The Young Wife (by composer/librettist Katarzyna Brochocka) was awarded “Pick of the Fringe – Best Opera or Musical Theatre” at the 2013 Capital Fringe Festival and she was invited to reprise role at the Warsaw Chamber Opera that fall. As a coloratura soprano, Kalbacker was a Midwest regional finalist of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and has performed at the Boston University Tanglewood Institute as soprano soloist in both Honegger’s Le Roi David in the Koussevitzky Shed, as well as Carmina Burana in Ozawa Hall. Recent operatic roles include Zerbinetta, Ariadne auf Naxos (HUB Opera Ensemble); Mrs. Ford, The Merry Wives of Windsor (Oklahoma Opera & Music Theatre Company); and her origination of the title role in The Young Wife (Warsaw Chamber Opera/Kingshead Theatre, London/ Washington, D.C./Baltimore).