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Austin Opera Presents Selections from Carmen, Ariadne auf Naxos, La Traviata: July 16

Sara Ann Mitchell

 Austin Opera will perform in the Georgetown Public Library’s popular “Live Music at the Library” series on Sunday, July 16, 2017, at 2 p.m. in the library lobby.

The concert will be an afternoon of music from the opera stage and broadway theatre, featuring selections from Austin Opera’s upcoming 31st Season productions – Carmen by Bizet, Ariadne auf Naxos by Strauss and La traviata by Verdi.

Performers will be Sara Ann Mitchell, soprano, Liz Cass, mezzo, David Small, baritone, and Cynthia Wilson, pianist.

Lizz Cass
David Small
Cynthia Wilson

The Georgetown Public Library is located at 402 W. Eighth Street in Georgetown. Free and open to the public, this performance is a gift of the Friends of the Georgetown Public Library. Come and go, or have a seat in the library and enjoy the concert.


Soprano Sara Ann Mitchell has been praised by Opera News for her “low notes as alluring as her coloratura top…” and by The Daily Record as having “a remarkable range.” Ms. Mitchell will perform the role of Najade in Austin Opera’s production of Ariadne auf Naxos this season.  In 2014, she performed both the role of Oscar in Un ballo in maschera and Gianetta in L’elisir d’amore with Austin Opera. With Des Moines Metro Opera, she performed the roles of Niece 1 in Peter Grimes and Tirésias in Les mamelles de Tirésias. She also performed with companies such as PORTopera and Ohio Light Opera, where she sang the roles of Madame Herz in The Impresario, Serafina in Il campanello di notte, Fifi in Mlle. Modiste, and Josephine in HMS Pinafore, with additional engagements with Quincy Choral Society, Juventas New Music, Opera Boston, Opera Providence, Boston Opera Collaborative, and New England Light Opera. Among her many awards, Ms. Mitchell is a 2015 nominee for Austin Critics Table Award, as well as a regional finalist and district winner in the 2011 Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions.  Beyond the stage, Sara’s singing is featured on the Albany Records recording of Ohio Light Opera’s production of the operetta Mlle. Modiste. Currently, Ms. Mitchell is the soprano soloist and cantor at St. Mary’s Cathedral in downtown Austin. Originally from Tulsa, Oklahoma, she holds a Master of Music degree from New England Conservatory and a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Oklahoma.

Baritone David Small has portrayed over 60 different operatic roles ranging from Papageno in The Magic Flute to the title role of Rigoletto, and virtually everything in between. A frequent Austin Opera artist, Mr. Small has appeared as Figaro in the Barber of Seville twice, Dr. Falke in The Bat (Die Fledermaus) and most recently as Senator Thomas Jordan in Kevin Puts’ The Manchurian Candidate.  This season Mr. Small will perform the role of the Agent in Ariadne auf Naxos.  Besides Austin Opera, he has performed leading roles with Cincinnati Opera, Sarasota Opera, San Diego Opera, Sacramento Opera, Dayton Opera, Toledo Opera, among others and has been featured soloist with the Haifa Symphony (Rigoletto), St Louis Symphony, Cincinnati May Festival Orchestra, Rochester Philharmonic, Austin Symphony, Fort Wayne Philharmonic and many others. An avid recitalist, he has collaborated with pianists such as Anton Nel, Jeffrey Kahane, Tamara Sanikidze and Joachim Reinhuber. Mr. Small joined the UT Butler School of Music faculty in 1999 and currently serves as an Associate Professor of voice and the Director of Graduate Studies for the Butler School of Music.  He was one of four nationally chosen Master Teachers for the NATS Intern Program in 2011, and in 2015 was the recipient of the Texas Ten Teaching award.

Mezzo soprano Liz Cass will perform the role of Flora Bervoix in Austin Opera’s production of La traviata this season. Ms. Cass enjoys a busy performance schedule working with many arts organizations in Austin, Texas and beyond.  She travels each year to Guatemala City and Antigua, Guatemala to perform Handel’s Messiah.  Proceeds from these concerts benefit ecological and educational organizations in Guatemala.  Ms. Cass founded LOLA – Local Opera Local Artists in 2014 with Artistic Producer, Rebecca Herman.  LOLA is a professional opera company dedicated to keeping the art form alive by utilizing local Austin, Texas talent in new and innovative productions.  LOLA’s first opera was the first ever all-female version of Puccini’s La Bohème titled La Femme Bohème.  LOLA has been nominated for and has won three Austin Critics Table Awards for La Femme Bohème.  Recent performance highlights for Ms. Cass include the premiere of Graham Reynold’s new chamber opera, Pancho Villa From a Safe Distance with Ballroom Marfa, The Manchurian Candidate with Austin Opera, and the Donald Grantham premier of Meditations on Hafiz with Chorus Austin.  She recently won a 2017 Austin Critics Table Award for her performance in Pancho Villa From a Safe Distance.  Ms. Cass is a graduate of the University of Missouri at Kansas City conservatory of Music.  She began studying with Inci Bashar at UMKC in 1997, and continues studying with her to this day.

Cynthia Wilson Smith holds a Master’s Degree in Piano Performance from the University of Texas (2007) and a Bachelor of Music from Mercer University in Macon, Georgia (2005). Since 2007, she has served on the piano faculty at the Armstrong Community Music School, and has collaborated with music students at Texas State University since 2012. Ms. Wilson also performs regularly for Austin Opera’s Education programs.  Cynthia’s most recent Austin performance was as pianist of La Femme Bohème, an all-female version of Puccini’s opera.

Austin Opera’s upcoming season, Season 31, includes three of the most celebrated operas in the repertory, featuring some of its most infamous heroines. We begin with a gritty and seductive new take on Bizet’s Carmen set in 1970’s Spain starring the stunning Sandra Piques Eddy. Dueling sopranos Alexandra LoBianco and Jeni Houser will delight in a whimsical new production of Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos conceived by Glimmerglass Festival Director Francesca Zambello. Finally, Dallas Opera’s 2017 Maria Callas Debut Artist of the Year, Marina Costa-Jackson, will lead the classic production of Verdi’s heart-wrenching tale, La traviata. Subscriptions start at $60 and are on sale now. Single tickets will go on sale September 8. For more information about the upcoming season, tickets and Austin Opera visit