2016-17 Production Staff

The Magic Flute 

Christopher Zimmerman
conductor/music director

"Watch out for Christopher Zimmerman.  The Music Director of the Fairfax Symphony has been injecting adrenalin into this determined ensemble since he took over in 2009, and the resulting performances have made the Fairfax players a serious force to be reckoned with."  - Stephen Brookes, Washington Post, 2013

Subsequently appointed Music Director of the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra (starting in 2014) where reviewer John Lamb wrote " Christopher Zimmerman gave the orchestra a workout Saturday night and gave the audience something to stand and cheer about."  

Zimmerman graduated from Yale with a BA in Music, and received his Master's from the University of Michigan. He also studied with Seiji Ozawa and Gunther Schuller at Tanglewood, and at the Pierre Montreux School in Maine with Charles Bruck.  Zimmerman served as an apprentice to Andrew Davis and the Toronto Symphony and in Prague, as assistant conductor to Vaclav Neumann and the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra.

Zimmerman's debut with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra was followed by engagements with the London Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic.  He has since conducted orchestras all over the world - the Prague Symphony, the Slovak Philharmonic, the Seoul Philharmonic, the Mexico City Philharmonic, the Caracas Philharmonic, National Orchestra of Rio de Janeiro, the Xiamen Symphony - to name a few.   In opera he has worked as the assistant conductor for Carmen at the Nimes Festival and as assistant conductor for Salome at the Mexico City Opera where he was invited to return to conduct a full production of Gianni Schicchi the following season.  His U.S. operatic debut conducting Carlisle Floyd's Susannah won the National Opera Associations First Prize as did Bright Sheng's Song of Majnun, which Zimmerman also led.  

Zimmermann was recognized as the winner of the American Conducting Prize in 2011, a new award given for nationwide performances by orchestra conductors, choral conductors, and a host of other categories.  

Patrick Hansen

Patrick Hansen continues his unique career throughout North American as an operatic stage director, conductor, and vocal coach.  His stagings have garnered praise in both Canada and the United States.  Opera Canada wrote, " Director Patrick Hansen captured the opera's bohemian vitality - the city of Paris itself was the characterful backdrop to the action.  When he ran out of space in Act II, the crowd simply spilled down into the auditorium . . the comic business was well handled . . . The acting, indeed, was a strong point throughout."  

Mr. Hansen has been on the musical staffs of the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Pittsburgh Opera, Tulsa Opera, Opera Memphis, Des Moines Metro Opera, Ash Lawn Opera, The Juilliard Opera Center, Fargo-Moorhead Opera, and Glimmerglass Opera as well as being the Director of Artistic Administration for Florida Grand Opera during the opening of the Miami Arts Centre.  

At ease in opera and musical theatre, his stage directing credits encompass the entire spectrum of repertoire now being presented in opera companies;  Alcina, Orfeo ed Eudridice, Cosi fan tutte, Die Zauberflute, L'elisier d'amore, La traviata, Dialogue des Carmelites, Albert Herring, Hansel and Gretel, La Boheme as well as the musicals Camelot and Trouble in Tahiti.  

Currently the director of Opera McGill in Montreal at McGill University, Mr. Hansen is the former director of the Young American Artist Program at Glimmerglass Opera, and has presented masterclasses and coachings with the Young Artists of Virginia Opera and for many years served as the stage director at the Kennedy Center with the Washington Chorus' Essential Verdi.  Mr. Hansen returns to Fargo-Moorhead after successful stagings of Fille du Regiment and Suor Angelica/Gianni Schicchi in previous seasons. 

Amahl and the Night Visitors

Stephen Sulich
conductor/music director

 Stephen Sulich has performed as piano soloist and collaborated with singers in concerts from coast-to-coast.  He has conducted opera for 20+  companies in the U.S. including Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera and The New York City Opera, with such artists as Felicity  Lott, Mark Elder, Mirella Freni, Josephine Barstow,  and Catherine Malifitano. He boasts a broad repertoire of almost 50 operas that include:  The Magic Flute , Don Giovanni,  Cosi fan tutte, La Cenerentola, The Rape of Lucretia, Capriccio, and Carmen.

Mr. Sulich has been a full-time faculty member at Concordia College in Moorhead, MN since 2012.  In the past, he has been a faculty member at the Amalfi Coast Music and Arts Festival (2008-2011) in Vietri sul Mare, Italy, where he conducted Puccini's Suor Angelica, The Eastman School of Music in 2008, 2009, and 2013, The Crested Butte Music Festival 2012 & 2013, where he conducted a double bill of Brundibar and Der Kaiser von Atlantis, and at Hunter College 2008-09 in New York City.  From 2003-2007 Mr. Sulich was also Musical Director and Conductor for the Pine Mountain Music Festival Young Artist's Program in Houghton, MI where he returned in July 2010 & 2013 as a guest artist. 

Mr. Sulich served as Music Director and Principal Conductor of Anchorage Opera from 1993-99, overseeing a period of remarkable growth for the company.  His productions of Aida, Faust, Fidelio, and The Merry Widow were the first performances of these operas heard in Alaska.  As Music Director and Principal Conductor of Texas Opera Theatre, he conducted Carmen, Lucia di Lammermorr, and La Boheme on tour, as well as Lucia and La Boheme at the Spring Opera Festival in Houston.

No stronger to operetta and the American Musical, Mr. Sulich made his New York City Opera debut with The Pajama Game.  As Music Director of The New England Lyric Operetta he conducted productions of The Mikado, The New Moon, South Pacific, and Brigadoon.

David Hamilton 

David Hamilton is currently the General Director of Fargo-Moorhead Opera, where he has successfully directed various productions as well as performed in them in a variety of roles. He is also Professor of Voice and Italian at Concordia College.  

His  distinctive, elegant lyric tenor voice has been heard at many opera companies including the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, San Diego Opera, Washington Opera, Vancouver Opera, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Opéra de Nice, Teatro Bellini in Catania, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. His broad repertoire as an orchestral soloist has led to engagements with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra and the symphony orchestras of Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Indianapolis.

Operatic engagements include the title role in Faust with Austin Lyric Opera and Central City Opera, Tamino in Die Zauberflöte with Vancouver Opera and Opéra de Nice, Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni for Tulsa and in Catania, the Male Chorus in The Rape of Lucretia and Peter Quint in The Turn of the Screw for Edmonton Opera, Lensky in Eugene Onegin with Scottish Opera and Manitoba Opera, Roméo et Juliette for Edmonton, Der Kavalier in Hindemith’s Cardillaac at Stadttheater GieBen, Belmonte in Entführung aus dem Serail for Des Moines, and Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus for Opera Southwest and Tacoma Opera.

Highlights from concerts include soloist in the Mozart Requiem for both the Pacific Symphony and the Springfield Symphony, the Messiah with the symphonies of Columbus, Colorado, San Diego and Minnesota, as well as in Carnegie Hall, Liszt’s Faust Symphony in Madrid, Beethoven’s Symphony #9 in Vancouver with Sergio Comissiona, Brahms’ Rinaldo with the Pittsburgh Symphony, Dvorak’s Stabat Mater with the Columbus Symphony, and Ariel in Schumann’s Scenes from Goethe’s Faust performed at the Caramoor Festival.

As a soloist, television and radio appearances include Live from the Met – Dialogues of the Carmelites and The Barber of Seville, Minnesota Public Radio Recital Broadcasts, Pacific Symphony Live Broadcasts, Dublin Promenade Concerts, Pittsburgh Symphony Radio Broadcast, Performance Today, National Public Radio, and Metropolitan Opera Saturday Afternoon Radio Broadcasts.

Among the awards he has received are First Prize and Opera Prize in the Paris International Voice Competition, First Place in the Eleanor Steber Competition, and grants from the Sullivan Foundation, the Astral Foundation and the Puccini Foundation. In 2001, he received the North Dakota Governor’s Award for the Arts.


The Pirates of Penzance 

Stephen Sulich
conductor/music director

Eric Gibson 

Eric Gibson is a stage director residing in Flagstaff, AZ who feels equally comfortable with opera and music theatre, who has a particular passion for educating young singers.

In 2002, Gibson took over the artistic directorship of LOOK Musical Theatre (formerly Light Opera Oklahoma) where he directed a wide range of repertoire for the company including musicals from Broadway's Golden Age, operettas from the European and American repertoire and many of the works of Gilbert & Sullivan.  He is renowned for his ability to add a unique and personal stamp on these productions in particular.  Two of his productions, The Mikado and The Sorcerer, were co-productions with the OK Mozart International Festival in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.

Mr. Gibson has been tapped to direct original productions of The Mikado for both Wichita Grand Opera and Mobile Opera, and also staged original productions of The Light in the Piazza and Sweeney Todd in Mobile, AL.  Other guest appearances include working with: Mid-Atlantic Opera Company, Opera Vivente, Boheme Opera New Jersey, Fargo-Moorhead Opera, and Union Avenue Opera in St. Louis.

Mr. Gibson was director of the opera program at Baylor University for the 2011-12 academic year and has presented audition master classes at Baylor, University of Central Oklahoma, The University of Tulsa, The University of Mobile, Bowling Green State University, Oklahoma State University, Goshen College, Oral Roberts University, University of Northeastern Oklahoma and The University of Michigan.  He was also the director of education for Tulsa Opera for three season and while at Light Opera Oklahoma he created the LOOK Musical Theatre Apprentice opportunity in business.  

Gibson received a bachelor of music education at the University of Michigan and his masters in the stage director of opera from Indiana University.  He is currently the Director of Lyric Theatre at Northern Arizona University and directed productions of Trouble in Tahiti and Kiss Me Kate! for the School of Music.
<September 2017>

Board of Directors

General Director
David Hamilton

Sheri Gronhovd-Schrock

Vice President
Mariane Lemieux-Wottrich

Dr. Theodore Kleiman

Michael Sly

Guild Representative
Diane Wolter

Dr. Julie Blehm
Dr. Robert Meili
Martha Moore
Katie Perleberg
Karin Rudd
Eeva Salejarvi
John Stibbe
Deborah Wald

Advisory Board Members
Sue Oatey

Opera America

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