John & Gillian Riesen
December 5, 2021
This special concert will feature vocalists John and Gillian Riesen, with music from their highly regarded album, "Christmas at Home". Hailed as “every inch the hero in stature and voice” (Classical Voice North America), award-winning American tenor John Riesen is consistently impressing audiences with his "impassioned...and vibrant" voice (Opera Today). Riesen’s growing career boasts a variety of roles in which he excels and includes significant work in opera, musical theatre, studio recording and concert. He has released two studio recording albums: What You'd Call a Dream (2019) and Christmas at Home (2020), and several singles including, “Autumn Leaves (2021)” “What a Wonderful World (2021)” and “Maria (from West Side Story) (2021)” that have reached well over 1 million streams on Spotify and Apple Music. John is also the head of Spotify promotion and PR for Emitha LLC, building an ecosystem for classical singers around the world to be heard on streaming services.
In the covid-affected 2020/2021 season John performed concerts, live streams, and productions with several companies including Intermountain Opera Bozeman, Shades of Pink Charity Foundation, The FAR Conservatory in Detroit, and Las Vegas Opera. He returned to the stage in 2021 as Ralph Rackstraw in HMS Pinafore with Pensacola Opera, Martin in The Tender Land with The Hart School, Alfredo in La Traviata with the Pacific Symphony, and Younger Thompson in Glory Denied with Berkshire Opera Festival. In the 2021/2022 season, John returns to signature roles including Frederic in Pirates of Penzance with Utah Opera, Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi with On Site Opera, Chris in the world-premiere of Favorite Son by Grammy award winning song-writer Marcus Hummons, as well as his Carnegie Hall debut as tenor soloist in the Messiah with Musica Sacra under the baton of Kent Tritle.
Hailed as "impeccable" by Broadway World, award-winning American mezzo-soprano Gillian Lynn (Cotter) Riesen is quickly impressing audiences with her strong voice and dynamic presence. Recent roles include Hansel in Hansel and Gretel with Opera Louisiane, Suzuki in Madama Butterfly with Pensacola Opera, Sister Helen Prejean in Dead Man Walking with Shreveport Opera, the title role in Rinaldo with Fresco Opera and Angelica in the world premiere of A Capacity for Evil with Opera MODO. Current projects include role and house debuts as Joan in Tchaikovsky's Maid of Orleans with Opera Company of Middlebury and Vera Lynn in Another Brick in the Wall with Michigan Opera Theater.
Ms. Cotter recently completed her second year as an Apprentice Artist at the Santa Fe Opera. Her assignments there included covering Karolka in Jenůfa, La Madre in Madama Butterfly, and she was featured in Act 2 of Hänsel und Gretel as Hänsel in the Apprentice Scenes Showcase.
Other recent engagements have seen Ms. Cotter as Edith in The Pirates of Penzance with Opera Ithaca, her PORTopera debut as Mrs. Nolan in Gian Carlo Menotti's The Medium, and Older Alyce in Glory Denied and Jade Boucher in Heggie's Dead Man Walking with Pensacola Opera.
Gillian also has a thriving Photography and Web-Design company, a passion which allows her to use her artistic eye to help other artists fill out their much needed press kits with the highest quality websites and headshots. Dr. Gillian Lynn (Cotter) Riesen is currently the CEO and President of Emitha LLC www.emitha.com.