Click on each singer's photo to watch their Aria Project installment!
Adam Qutaishat, Tenor
Adam Qutaishat is an Actor, Director, Designer, Teacher, Writer, and Composer working throughout the Midwest, based in Milwaukee, WI. Area highlights include work with Next Act Theatre, Skylight Music Theatre, Milwaukee Opera Theatre, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, Renaissance Theaterworks, and Music Theatre of Madison. Adam also writes, produces, and directs radio play podcast All-Arcadians and serves as an Artistic Associate for Music Theatre of Madison and All In Productions.
Allison Hull, Mezzo-soprano
Allison holds degrees in Vocal Performance from Lawrence University and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She has served as a Young Artist for the Skylight, Glimmerglass Opera, and Seattle Opera, where she gave a notable performance as Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro. Ms. Hull has won awards from the Metropolitan Opera Auditions including District Winner and Third Place at Regionals. She is on the voice faculty at UW-Parkside, Carthage College, and the Florentine Opera’s Young singing Actor Intensive. Among Ms. Hull’s performance highlights are the title role of L’enfant, Historian in Clara, Hansel, Cendrillon, Ljubica in the Milwaukee premiere of Svadba, and the Alto Soloist in The Poe Requiem. Recent and upcoming engagements include an American Songbook cabaret with Ruben Piirainen, Handel’s Messiah, and work with the Belle Ensemble.
Nicole McCarty, Soprano
Nicole McCarty, soprano, holds a B.M. in Music Education and recently received her M.M. in Vocal Performance. She is a soprano with early music ensemble Aperi Animam and is the female vocalist for the Milwaukee based funk band, Montage. Along with performing, Nicole enjoys teaching private piano and voice lessons. She was last seen performing with UW-Milwaukee in their world premiere of Kristi and the Priest, as Kirsti, and The Choice, as Crew Member One. Prior to that, she worked with UW-Milwaukee and Milwaukee Opera Theatre on La clemenza di Tito, as Vitellia (one of her favorite roles). Performing musicals and operas bring her true joy and fulfillment, which is something we all need during these times.
Alexandra Kassouf, Soprano
Alexandra Kassouf is a performer and teacher, based in Milwaukee, WI. She has performed as both a singer and a dancer with Opera Columbus, Queen City Opera, Cincinnati Chamber Opera, Folks Operetta, Contemporary Dance Theater, and the Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company of Chicago.
Alexandra is also a founding member of Avimimus, a vocal duo specializing in early music and new works. During the last year, Avimimus has released several virtual programs, including world premieres by Laura Harrison and Daniel Harrison. The duo will conclude their current season with a piece for unaccompanied vocal duo by Steve Landis.
As a soloist, Alexandra performed the US premiere of Michael Csanyi-Wills’ 3 Budapest Songs at the Constella Festival. With Fresco Opera Theater, she premiered the role of Clara Schumann in Clara, and with Evanston Chamber Opera the role of Gwendolyn in Francis Lynch’s For Those in Peril.
She has created choreography for Wagner’s Siegfried with Queen City Opera, Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo and Pergolesi’s La Serve Padrona with Cincinnati Chamber Opera, and Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen at CCM.
Currently, Alexandra teaches Alexander Technique classes at UW-Milwaukee and virtual lessons in her private studio. She is a certified Alexander Technique teacher (M.AmSAT) and has recently taught workshops at the Florentine Opera, the University of Memphis, CIVIC MUSIC, and Johnston Voice Studio. She earned a Master of Music at the College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) and a Bachelor of Fine Arts at UW-Milwaukee, where she also studied dance.
For more, visit www.alexandrakassouf.com.
Nathan Wesselowski, Tenor
Nathan Wesselowski (tenor) had a much anticipated return to the stage with Florentine Opera Chorus in RIGOLETTO in October of 2021. As with many performers there was a long drought as he was last seen as Swan in CARMINA BURANA with Skylight Music Theatre, Milwaukee Opera Theatre, Danceworks and Chant Claire. Nathan’s favorite roles performed include a bird of another color and quite another vocal range, Papageno in Milwaukee Opera Theatre’s imaginative production of ZIE MAGIC FLUTE, Spalanzani in TALES OF HOFFMANN, The Evil Headmaster in Jason Powell’s FORTUNA THE TIME BENDER VS THE SCHOOLGIRLS OF DOOM, Dr. Frank-N-Furter in ROCKY HORROR LIVE at The Alchemist, Cratchit/Tiny Tim in A TWISTED CAROL at In Tandem Theatre, Flora in LA TRAVIATA at Skylight, El Payador in MARIA DE BUENOS AIRES at Milwaukee Opera Theatre/Danceworks and Wizard in TRANSFORMATIONS at Lyric Opera Cleveland. He has also performed with New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players, Cleveland Opera, The National Opera Company, Ash Lawn Highland Summer Festival, Mill Mountain Theatre, Milwaukee Shakespeare and The Fireside.
What is Nathan up to these days? Well, he has taken on the role and permanent employment of Singing Sexton, where he keeps good care of Immanuel Presbyterian Church and regularly sings. Pandemics bring on career changes.
Cecilia Davis, Soprano
Cecilia is thrilled to participate in The Aria Project! Cecilia most recently performed in the cast of Skylight Music Theatre’s 2021 premiere of Forgotten Voices. She also appeared in the Skylight Music Theatre/Milwaukee Opera Theatre productions of Carmina Burana (soloist) and The Tales of Hoffmann (Olympia/Dr. Miracle). Other Milwaukee Opera Theatre productions include Fairy Queen Fantasy, Ernest in Love, Victory for Victoria, and Handel's Bestiary. With Skylight, Cecilia has also appeared as Clara in Porgy and Bess and in the featured ensemble of Les Misérables. In recital, she has also performed in a variety of local concert series.
Passionate about arts education and youth development, Cecilia has held community engagement, education, and development positions with several of Milwaukee’s finest youth arts and educational institutions. Her signature roles are mom to spirited sons Owen and Milo, and spouse to wonderful Jon.
Austin Bare, Tenor
Austin is a classically trained tenor with a specialization of the Romantic era, especially song cycles by his favorite composer, Franz Schubert. He has been seen in various performances such as Utterance, a contemporary opera bridging old and new forms of composition through the lens of contemporary composer Amanda Schoofs and Renaissance composer Orlando de Lassus, curated by Milwaukee Opera Theater and early vocal music ensemble APERI ANIMAM. Austin recently performed in a collaborative work titled Hope & Healing, which featured small scenes and chamber opera Ready (Or Not) by Ruben Piirainen.
Austin is thrilled to be singing again and looking forward to performing in Monteverdi's L’Orfeo, a collaboration between APERI ANIMAM and Milwaukee Opera Theatre, early this Summer.
Colleen Brooks, Mezzo-soprano
Colleen Brooks, mezzo-soprano, has performed in North America, Europe and Asia and is proud to have been featured in opera productions with all three opera companies in our Milwaukee community.
Colleen was an apprentice artist with Florentine Opera for their 2008-09 season where she performed the roles of Kate Pinkerton (Madama Butterfly) and Third Lady (The Magic Flute) and was most recently heard there as Mariana in their production of Luisa Fernanda. Additional roles performed include Dora Marx in the world and Thailand premieres of The Snow Dragon, Wagner’s Mezzos in The Skylight Ring, Isabelle Eberhardt in Missy Mazzoli’s Song From the Uproar, Queen Chandra Devi in the European tour of The Silent Prince, Azucena, Rosina, Donna Elvira, Hansel, Garcias in Tulsa Opera’s Don Quichotte, Nora in Vaughan William’s Riders to the Sea, Catherine in A View from the Bridge, Piramo in Piramo e Tisbe, and Mrs. Webb in a workshop performance of Rorem’s Our Town.
Colleen has had the privilege of coaching with current American composers such as William Bolcom, Jake Heggie, Thomas Pasatieri, Ned Rorem and Somtow Sucharitkul and performed with Mr. Heggie at the Grandin Music Festival in Cincinnati in 2006. She was a Wisconsin District Winner in the Metropolitan Opera Competition in 2009 and a participant in San Francisco Opera’s Merola Opera Program in the summer of 2010.
Colleen has been a member of the voice faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee since 2013. She produced and stage directed opera at UWM from 2015-2020 and has also stage directed at the Florentine Opera (The Three Little Pigs and Trouble in Tahiti) and assistant stage directed at Skylight Music Theatre (Sweeney Todd). Colleen completed her DMA in vocal performance at the College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) in Cincinnati, OH. She holds a master’s degree in vocal performance from Indiana University as well as bachelor’s degrees in both vocal performance and biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Creative Team Biographies
Catie O'Donnell, Director
Catie O'Donnell is a theater director, producer and educator from Milwaukee, and recently relocated to Los Angeles. Favorite directing credits include Ruddigore, The Mikado and Candide with Milwaukee Opera Theater, regional premieres of Striking 12, Arlington, Hostage Song, 35mm and Nevermore with Music Theater Madison, The Love That Changed My Life, Soul Food and In A Clearing with Forward Theater in Madison, multiple productions with the Young Playwrites Festival at Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, Amadeus with The World's Stage in Milwaukee, A Klingon Christmas Carol with Commedia Beauregard in Chicago, associate director for The Belle of Amherst with Renaissance Theatreworks, assistant director for The Marriage of Figaro with Skylight Music Theatre, and directing intern for Roman Holiday at The Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. This summer, Catie will be directing two productions in the Hollywood Fringe Festival, Stilettos & Steel and will be leading the directing team for The Veterans’ Project. Her film with Milwaukee Opera Theatre In The Cloud has been named as an official selection at the London Shorts film festival. She is an alumni of Lincoln Center Directors Lab in New York and holds a BA in theater and music from the University of Miami, FL.