Turandot Workshop

with  piano accompaniment, sung in Italian with English subtitles 
August 2018

Turandot Cast

Stephanie Thurm,
dramatic soprano

Dramatic soprano Stephanie Thurm holds a dual degree in music and theater from Meredith College in her hometown, Raleigh. She has studied voice with Met Opera/La Scala soprano Christine Weidinger for the past decade.


Miss Thurm has performed extensively in the Triangle area and elsewhere across the state. She was Madame Flora in Menotti’s The Medium for Triangle Opera Studios in Durham and also appeared with Chapel Hill’s Longleaf Opera Company in the 2009 world premiere of Daron Hagen‘s New York Stories – with the composer in attendance. For her alma mater – Meredith College – she was Prince Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus and Rona in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. She also staged Puccini’s Suor Angelica for Meredith’s Music Department and directed Donizetti’s Il campanello di notte for Capitol Opera in Raleigh.


Classical Voices of North Carolina has praised “the Wagnerian capacity of her voice; a big sound, rich in quality and broad in range and scope.”

Timothy Culver, tenor

Tenor Timothy Culver has been described as having “a rich but penetrating tenor” and that he “faces florid tenor writing with a fearless vivacity.” Since his professional debut in 2003, he has performed almost forty different stage roles. Equally at home in both operatic and musical theatre works, Mr. Culver has performed with Atlanta Opera, Ann Arbor Symphony, Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, Cleveland Opera Theater, Canton Symphony Orchestra, Porthouse Theatre, Akron Symphony, Nightingale Opera Theatre, Bar Harbor Music Festival and the Cleveland Orchestra. Some recent roles include Cavaradossi in Tosca, Werther in the title role, Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly, Luigi in Il Tabarro, Arturo in Lucia di Lammermoor, Canio in I Pagliacci, Il duca di Mantua in Rigoletto, Alfredo in La Traviata and Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore. During the inaugural season of the Opera Theatre of Lucca in Lucca, Italy, Mr. Culver performed and studied under the direction of internationally renowned baritone, Lorenzo Malfatti. A frequent recitalist, oratorio and concert soloist, Mr. Culver sang in the U.S. premiere of Erwin Schulhoff’s H.M.S. Royal Oak with the Cleveland Chamber Symphony. In 2012, Mr. Culver was selected to participate in the Cleveland Art Song Festival where he worked with international artists Christine Brewer, Roger Vignoles and Warren Jones.


Currently, Mr. Culver is an Associate Professor of Voice at the Hugh A. Glauser School of Music at Kent State University, where he earned both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees.  He resides in Stow, Ohio with his wife and three children

Victoria Erickson, soprano, is currently pursuing her MM in Voice/Opera at University of North Carolina- Greensboro on a full tuition scholarship and assistantship. Recent engagements include Pamina in Die Zauberflöte and Granny in children’s touring opera production of Little Red Riding Hood (UNCG Opera Theatre). In the 2016-17 season, she received an Encouragement Award at the Charlotte Opera Guild Competition and was awarded a Colburn Fellowship with SongFest in Los Angeles. Previous stage credits include Maggie in The Clever Artifice of Harriet and Margaret (Really Spicy Opera), The Baron in Cendrillon (Garden of Song Opera), Rapunzel in Into the Woods (Phipps Center for the Arts, College Light Opera Company) and Hedy LaRue in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (College Light Opera Company). Erickson is thrilled to perform the role of Liù in Turandot with NC Summer Opera. She is a student of Dr. Carla LeFevre and Dr. James Bumgardner.

Victoria Erickson, soprano
(Liù - August 10th)
Helen Wong, soprano
(Liù - August 12th)

Helen Wong, soprano, is the founder and Executive Director of the North Carolina Summer Opera. She is an active performer on concert and opera stages. Ms. Wong was the soprano soloist of Handel’s Messiah with the Cary Community Choir accompanied by top NC symphony players in 2016. In 2017, she soloed at the North Carolina Bach Festival Benefit Concert with the NC Bach Festival Ensemble. Her recent recital partners include flutist Rebecca Cochran, pianist and composer James Esterline, and internationally acclaimed flutist Nicolas Duchamp.

After having studied opera repertoire for six years with former Principal Tenor of the Paris Opera, Jacques Pottier, former Principal Soprano of the Metropolitan Opera, Christine Weidinger, and current voice teacher, Barbara Ann Peters of UNC School of the Arts and High Point University, and coached by NC Opera Chorus Master Dr. Scott MacLeod, his teacher Dr. Carla Lefevre of UNC Greensboro, and Kate Lewis, collaborative pianist of NC Opera, Ms. Wong is ready to direct and produce the Turandot workshop with her Chinese cultural background and prior opera stage experience, and to portray Liù, all at once.

Ms. Wong was the Business Director of Candid Concert Opera and the President of the Cary Community Choir. She is an internationally certified Project Management Professional (PMP), with a BS in Architecture from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Melbourne, Australia, and an MBA in Finance from California State University, Sacramento.

Karl Buttermann, bass-baritone

American bass-baritone Karl Buttermann recently portrayed the role of Alidoro in La Cenerentola as a fellow with A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Last summer, he sang the role of Betto in Martina Arroyo’s Prelude to Performance’s production of Gianni Schicchi in New York, NY. Previously last spring, also with Fletcher, Mr. Buttermann performed the role of Capitán in Florencia en el Amazonas, in which the Winston-Salem Journal praised his “robust bass-baritone.” In addition to this performance with Fletcher, Karl also sang the role of Truffaldino in Aridane auf Naxos. In the summer of 2016, Mr. Buttermann portrayed the title role of Le nozze di Figaro in Italy at the Amalfi Coast Music Festival. In the previous season, Mr. Buttermann performed in productions of Così fan tutte and Street Scene with Peabody Conservatory, singing the roles of Don Alfonso and Carl Olsen, respectively, in Baltimore, Maryland. Karl also portrayed William Jennings Bryan in The Janiec Opera Company’s production of Ballad of Baby Doe at Brevard Music Center in the summer of 2015. Other notable performances with Peabody include Sir Thomas Bertram in the U.S. premiere of the chamber opera Mansfield Park, Le Roi in Cendrillon, and Snug in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In addition to these, past portrayals include Rabonnier in La rondine at the Chautauqua Institution Voice Program in Chautauqua, NY, and Antonio (Le nozze di Figaro) at the Amalfi Coast Music Festival. On the concert stage, Mr. Buttermann debuted as a bass soloist with the Peabody Concert Orchestra in Haydn’s Harmoniemesse in 2014.

 Upcoming engagements include King Arkel in Impressions de Pelléas with Fletcher Opera, and Timur in Turandot with North Carolina Summer Opera. Mr. Buttermann graduated with a B.M. in Vocal Performance from Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University under the tutelage of Dr. Stanley Cornett, and is presently pursuing a M.M. degree in Vocal Performance at The University of North Carolina School of the Arts, studying with Dr. Marilyn Taylor and Robert Overman.

Ian DeSmit, tenor
(Prince of Persia & Emperor)

Baritone Adam Dengler is a newcomer to the operatic stage, making his debut in the chorus of North Carolina Opera’s latest season with Rigoletto and Cold Mountain. Recent engagements include the Bass soloist in the Chapel Hill 52nd Annual Open Sing Handel’s Messiah and Théodore Dubois’s The Seven Last Words of Christ. Mr. Dengler is a longtime member of Voices: The Chapel Hill Community Chorus. Bass soloist with Voices include Mass in D major by Antonín Dvořák and Dan Locklair’s Requiem. Previous stage credits include All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914, and Jean Valjean in Les Misérables. Mr. Dengler studied voice in Arizona with Dr. Andrea Pitman Will for two years, where he was placed 1st in the Adult Beginner division and was voted ‘Most Promising Young Singer’ at the Arizona National Association of Teachers of Singing classical competition.

Mr. Dengler is a Research Engineer at Redbud Labs and has a Ph.D. in Biomedical engineering from the Joint BME Department of UNC-Chapel Hill and NC State.  Mr. Dengler is excited to be performing Ping in Turandot with the North Carolina Summer Opera. 

Adam Dengler,
(Mandarin, Ping & Wiseman)

Ian DeSmit is from Lumberton, North Carolina. He is currently a senior music performance major at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro where he studies with Dr. Robert Wells. At home in both opera and musical theater, Ian’s credits include Marcellus Washburn in The Music Man, T-Frankie (Ferrando) in an English version of Mozart’s Così fan tutte, and Seymour Krelborn in Little Shop of Horrors.  Ian is a member of UNCG’s Chorale choir.

Ian attended Gardner-Webb University (GWU) for three years where he studied with Professor Jondra Harmon.  Ian was a member of GWU’s touring concert choir, with which he performed Handel’s Messiah and Durufle’s Requiem. Ian was also featured as the tenor soloist in Mozart’s Requiem and in the world premier of Nathaniel Park’s Messe de Perdu. Ian is the past recipient of the Gardner-Webb Music Achievement Award and the first place winner of the Freshman Men category in the Mid Atlantic Region NC chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS).

Recently, Ian was a semi-finalist at the Heafner-Williams competition in Lincolnton, NC. Ian had the distinct opportunity to perform in Robbiate Italy at the Bassi-Brugnatelli Singing Symposium in the summer of 2017. This November, Ian made his professional debut with Greensboro Choral Society singing the Petite messe solenelle by G. Rossini and performing in the Greensboro Opera’s Chorus in Rossini’s Barber of Seville.


Most recently, Ian performed the role of Tamino in UNCG Opera Theater’s production of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte under the direction of Professor David Holley and conducting by Dr. Kevin Geraldi. Upon graduation, Ian plans to attend graduate school for his master’s degree with a concentration in opera performance. 

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