Opera Bites


An Immersive Song Cycle Experience

Schumann's Frauenliebe und -leben

Argento's From the Diary of Virginia Woolf 

January 6 - 8, 2017

People Rave


“...Mirror is a touching, thought-provoking evening of music theater that will have you discussing not just the lives and loves of women then and now, but also the brave, bright future of young opera companies such as this one .”

Boston Music Intelligencer http://www.classical-scene.com/2017/01/08/boc-mirror/

“....contrasting the song cycles is a beautiful idea, made more elegant by the choice to stage the show piece by piece in the labyrinthine Zabriskie House mansion at the Longy School of Music. What a wonderful concept, realized in immersive detail..”

The New England Theater Geek

http://www.netheatregeek.com/2017/01/11/mirror-immerses- audience-in-both-moving-show-and-modern-complexities-of- womanhood/#more-2889

Come celebrate the New Year with us as we present two stunning song cycles in an immersive performance that pairs Schumann’s beloved Frauenliebe und -leben with Argento’s From the Diary of Virginia Woolf – a physical and musical journey through the lives of two women separated by a century of changing expectations and aspirations.

Drinks and hors d’oeuvres served before, during and after the event.


Both works explore eight moments from the lives of two women: the first, a young woman falling in love, and the second, a celebrated writer falling into depression and madness.


Staged in rooms throughout Longy’s historic Zabriskie House mansion, this production allows 15 patrons at a time to follow the characters throughout the house.


The performance lasts approximately 80 minutes.

Performed in German and English with piano accompaniment.

Originally developed in partnership with

Longy School of Music of Bard College.


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In this immersive experience, you'll hear two song cycles

performed in rooms throughout Longy's Zabriskie house


In each room, two singers and a pianist perform one song from each cycle

before leading you and a small group of audience members through the halls,

the down staircases and around the hidden recesses of this magnificent old mansion,

taking you to the next room and the next pair of songs. 

As you move from room to room, you'll also move through the moments - 

some slight, some monumental - that shape the lives of two women 

separated by a century of change.


The Experience

Cast & Creative Team

Visit "our people" for full biographies


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Creative Team

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The Works

Frauenliebe und -leben

Music by Robert Schumann

Text by Adelbert von Chamisso


Julia Cavallaro

Rhaea D'Aliesio

Carley DeFranco

Susannah Thornton

Accompanied by piano

Creative Team

Music Directors:

Jean Anderson Collier

Patricia Au

Brendon Shapiro

Chelsea Whitaker

Stage Directors:

Patricia Weinmann

Greg Smucker

About Our Guest Artists

Jean Collier: Music Director

Dr. Jean Anderson Collier is the principal opera coach at Boston Conservatory and also teaches diction courses and coaches privately.  She is also a vocal coach at New England Conservatory of Music where she works in the opera department, coaches privately, and teaches diction and art song courses.  She is also active as musical advisor and coach for the Boston Opera Collaborative, and is the organist and choir director at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Scituate, MA.

Patricia Au: Music Director

Widely known for her vivacious playing, Canadian collaborative pianist Patricia Au leads an active performing and coaching career. In the past several seasons, she has toured throughout North America and Europe performing opera and art songs and worked with Boston-based organizations such as Boston Opera Collaborative, Opera on Tap and Phoenix.  Currently based in Boston, Patricia Au is pursuing a doctoral degree at New England Conservatory majoring in Collaborative Piano where she is also part of the coaching staff. Most recently, she joined the coaching staff at Boston Conservatory at Berklee and served as Education Pianist for Boston Lyric Opera's Education Outreach Programs.


Brendon Shapiro: Music Director

Brendon Shapiro is a versatile pianist, vocal coach and conductor with a specialty in opera and a passion for contemporary music. He has worked for numerous companies including Boston Lyric Opera, Opera NEO, Boston Opera Collaborative, MetroWest Opera, Opera Fayetteville, North End Music and Performing Arts Center, Opera on Tap and Juventas New Music Ensemble.

Brendon is currently serving as a staff pianist at Boston University, the organist for First Parish in Arlington, MA and the assistant music director for the Boston Saengerfest Men's Chorus. He has also been on faculty as a vocal coach at the Boston University Tanglewood Institute. As a freelance pianist, Brendon is frequently sought out for recitals, competitions, concerts, auditions, recording sessions and coachings.

Brendon has enjoyed working outside of the classical music scene as well. He served as musical director for the first four seasons of the newly renovated Woodstock Playhouse in Woodstock, NY. In a performance praised by the Boston Globe, he appeared in a production of Master Class with the New Repertory Theatre portraying Manny, the onstage pianist. In addition, he has performed as a featured soloist with Video Games Live with whom he also recorded a solo piano album, Through Time and Space, which became a #1 bestseller on Amazon.com.  

Brendon holds a Master of Music degree in Collaborative Piano Performance from Boston University and a Bachelor of Music degree from the Ithaca College School of Music where he won the Mary Hayes North Piano Competition Award.


Chelsea Whitaker: Music Director

Chelsea Whitaker is a collaborative pianist in the Boston area, enjoying a diverse career   involving art song, opera, chamber, musical theatre, worship, and choral performances in the United States and Europe. She is in high demand for her supportive and reliable collaboration, coaching, and teaching. A native of Kansas, she received her Bachelor's degree in Piano Performance from the University of Missouri-Kansas City: Conservatory of Music and Dance under the instruction of Dr. Robert Weirich. She continued her studies at the University of Southern California: Thornton School of Music and received her Master's degree in Keyboard Collaborative Arts in 2014, studying under Dr. Alan Smith.

Chelsea has performed in the masterclasses of Susan Graham, John Moriarty, Barbara Bonney, Margo Garrett, Graham Johnson, Martin Katz, Emma Kirkby, and numerous others. Her most recent work in the Boston area has included serving as the assistant music director and keyboardist for Show Boat at the Shubert theater; Liederabend concerts with New England Conservatory and the Boston Art Song Society; a performance of John Heiss’ Songs from James Joyce with the NEC Contemporary Ensemble in Jordan Hall, coached and directed by the composer; and a salon-style performance collaborating with Greer Grimsley and Luretta Bybee. Chelsea currently studies under Cameron Stowe and Jonathan Feldman at New England Conservatory, where she is working on her DMA.


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Boston Opera Collaborative, 

PO Box 301622, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130

info@bostonoperacollaborative.org   (617) 517-5883