Bernardo, a Spanish brown bear, is the newest in the Zoo family. When he first arrives, he gets lost and begins to feel very lonely. That is until he meets Polly the panda bear who loves to read and study Spanish, and Marla the koala bear from Australia. Can they work together to build a friendship with the zoo bully Griff the Grizzly and show him that even though they are all different on the outside, their hearts are the same?
Show Description in español:
Bernardo, un oso pardo español, es el más reciente de la familia del Zoo. Cuando llega, se pierde y empieza a sentirse muy solo. Conoce y se hace amigo de Polly, la osa panda a la que le encanta leer y estudiar español, y de Marla, la osa koala de Australia. ¿Serán capaces de entablar amistad con el matón del zoo, Griff el Grizzly, y demostrarle que, aunque todos son diferentes por fuera, sus corazones son iguales?
Learn more about our Opera in the Schools program.
Music Director: Alexander Aylward
Music Supervisor: Valerie Trujillo
Stage Director: Daniel Grambow
Creator: Anna Young
Tour Manager: Shawn Sprankle
Director of Arts Education: Suzanne Fassett-Wright
Arts Education Coordinator: Samantha Minardi
Bernardo: Juan Hernandez
Polly: LaDejia Bittle
Marla: Lauryn Davis
Zookeeper and Griff: Joel Clemens
Meet the Cast
LaDejia Bittle, mezzo-soprano
Mezzo-soprano LaDejia Tenille Bittle is from High Point, NC and is a second-year graduate student pursuing an M.M. in Opera Theatre at the University of South Carolina. She studies with Rachel Calloway and is a choral scholar at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. She has performed as a soloist in Handel’s Messiah, Bach’s St. John Passion, Bach’s Mass in B Minor, and several other major works. Notable operatic roles include The Third Lady in The Magic Flute, Elizabeth Proctor in The Crucible (Opera at USC) , Zefka/Third Female Voice in The Diary of One Who Disappeared (The Castleton Festival/Opera at USC), Nerone in L’incoronazione di Poppea (Chicago Summer Opera), Choral Fellow in the Omar: World Premiere (Spoleto Festival USA), Hänsel in Hänsel and Gretel (Wingate University Opera), among other others. This summer, LaDejia will perform the role of La Zia Principessa in Suor Angelica with the Chautauqua Opera Conservatory.
Joel Clemens, baritone
Baritone Joel Clemens has performed roles ranging from the classical to contemporary repertoire, exhibiting the versatility of his voice which has established him as an emerging young artist to watch. His operatic repertoire ranges from classical to contemporary and shows versatility of voice and character. Notable roles include Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro, Hannah Before in As One, Hawkins Fuller in Fellow Travelers, Sid in Albert Herring, Manfred in Out of Darkness, Valentin in Faust, Joseph De Rocher in Dead Man Walking, and Guglielmo in Così fan tutte. Joel is a proud alumnus of the Seagle Festival Emerging Artist Program, where he sang the role of Charles Ives in a world premiere production of Robert Carl’s Harmony, a new opera with libretto by acclaimed American writer Russel Banks. He received an M.M. in Opera Performance at the Boston Conservatory, where he was the recipient of the Miles A. Fish III Scholarship. He holds a B.M. from James Madison University, where he was awarded the Showalter Scholar Award.
Lauryn Davis, Soprano
Soprano Lauryn Davis is notable for her poised stage presence and rich, warm tone. Her recent performance highlights include operatic and music-theatre roles such as Musetta from Puccini’s La bohéme and Margaret from Adam Guettel’s The Light in the Piazza. She has been included in masterclasses with world-renowned musicians and conductors such as Pierre Vallet, Jennifer Larmore, and Chuck Hudson. In 2022, She was the winner of the Atlanta Opera Guild’s Scholarship Competition, receiving the Tommy Trotter Award. Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, Lauryn is currently pursuing an M.M. at Cincinatti’s College-Conservatory of Music (CCM). Lauryn will join Chautauqua Opera Company as a 2023 Studio Artist, appearing in the ensemble of Sweeney Todd and covering the role of Micaëla in La Tragédie de Carmen.
Juan Hernandez, tenor
Juan Hernández, Puerto Rican Tenor, began his professional singing career with the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra in 2012 and has since been part of many local and international productions in the US and abroad. In the 2022 season he made his South Africa debut, singing the role of Nemorino in Cape Town Opera’s touring production of L’elisir d’amore. Additional role credits include Jerome in Great moments in Human History (TOND), Danieli in I Vespri Siciliani (NAO), Ferrando in Così fan tutte (TOND), Conte Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia (Teatro Nuovo Cover), Peppe in I Pagliacci (PBO Cover), and Tebaldo in I Capuleti e i Montecchi (PBO Cover). Recent awards include Laffont Competition Puerto Rico District Encouragement Award Encouragement award (2022), Revelación Masculina FOSLP Concurso de Canto Linus Lerner (2020), Laffont Competition Puerto Rico District Encouragement Award (2019).