Soprano Aliana de la Guardia has garnered acclaim for “vocally fearless” performances that are “fizzing with theatrical commitment” (The Boston Globe). A voracious interpreter of repertoire old and new, this Cuban-American artist enjoys a multifaceted career as a vocalist, actor, educator, and entrepreneur in New England and beyond.
A consummate interpreter of new repertoire, she has enjoyed collaborations with many ensembles featuring today’s most eminent composers. As a co-founder of the intrepid Boston-based Guerilla Opera, she has produced many newly commissioned operas with lead roles tailor-made for her ferocious stage presence and a “natural sound [as] lovely, as clear and powerful as grain alcohol.” (The Arts Fuse) Recent projects include the premiere of Hannah Lash’s Beowulf, in which she enraptured audiences with her “beautiful fragility and strength,” (I Care If You Listen) and the newly released Loose, Wet, Perforated by Nicholas Vines on Navona Records, an evocative opera in which de la Guardia “lets loose dizzying flights of virtuosity,” (Gramophone Magazine). As a solo artist, she has worked with numerous organizations including the American Lyric Theater, Beth Morison Projects, the Boston Conservatory New Music Festival, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Center for Contemporary Opera, Firebird Ensemble, Harvard Group for New Music, I/O Ensemble at Williams College, Ludovico Ensemble, and PARMA Festival. Sometimes performing under the guise of “Dirty Paloma,” a moniker for her solo endeavors, she incorporates new music and chamber music collaborations into highly curated, “fearless and edgy” (Boston Musical Intelligencer) concerts throughout New England.
As an educator, she has been a featured artist at Harvard University, Lawrence Conservatory, Vermont College of Fine Arts, University of Memphis, and served on the performance faculty at Hubbard Hall Opera Theater for three seasons. Other guest speaking engagements include those at the National Opera Association Convention, Classical Singer Convention and guest panelist at Boston Lyric Opera’s “Night at the Opera.” She also maintains an active private studio in Haverhill, Massachusetts.
Aliana is currently Co-Artistic Director of Guerilla Opera where she also serves as board treasurer and has been a member of the board since 2007.
Julia Noulin-Mérat is a triple American, Canadian and French citizen. Ms Noulin-Mérat is an international production designer and the founder of Noulin-Mérat Studio, an intrepid NYC production design firm that specializes in Theater, Film & TV, with an emphasis in Opera and immersive site specific theatre. In addition to her work as Associate Producer for Boston Lyric Opera, Julia Noulin-Mérat is the Director of Design and Production for Guerilla Opera, and resident set designer for Attic Theater and Exit, Pursued By a Bear in New York. She has designed over 350 opera, theater and television productions, including 15 new operas and 22 new plays and produced 50 shows. She has commissioned new works from composers; Hannah Lash, Andy Vores, Adam Roberts.
Ms. Noulin-Mérat earned ArtsImpulse's Theatre Award Best Boston Set Design for her production of The Rape of Lucretia and Best Opera for Gallo, and designed NY Times critic's pick These Seven Sicknesses and the Light Princess. Ms Noulin-Mérat was nominated for the Rising Star Award in design. She was selected to participate at the USITT Young Designers’ Forum in Houston, Texas. She won the honorable mention/ Barbizon Award for her design of the production First Blush and she was selected to participate at the First Word Stage Design Exhibition in Toronto. She designed for NYC The Drama League for 6 years. These past two years, she was nominated by Broadwayworld for best set design for her productions of Hairspray and Legally Blonde with Summer Theatre New Canaan.
Ms Noulin-Mérat has a BFA from Concordia University, Montreal, in Design for the Theatre, a MSc in Arts Administration for Performing Arts from Boston University; and an MFA in Scenic Design from Boston University. In addition to her degrees, Julia has studied at Central Saint Martins in London and University of the Arts in Philadelphia.
With TEDx UNO, she has given a lecture on Opera as a modern art form. Noulin-Mérat has taught and lectured at Yale University, Boston University, Northeastern University, Suny Albany, Perpedine University, and is currently an adjunct professor at Pace University.In addition to her work as Director of Design and Production for Guerilla Opera,
Hailed by The Boston Globe as “one of the city’s best percussionists,” Mike Williams has performed throughout North America and Europe and is a regular performer in the Boston area. An advocate for contemporary music, he is a member of the new music sinfonietta Sound Icon and is the percussionist and Artistic Director of Guerilla Opera with whom he has commissioned and premiered fourteen new chamber operas since 2007. He has also performed with groups including the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Ludovico Ensemble, Callithumpian Consort, Chameleon Arts Ensemble, and Harvard Group for New Music. Williams has worked with many of the leading composers of our time including Pierluigi Billone, Philippe Leroux, Salvatore Sciarrino, Gunther Schuller, and Roger Reynolds and been involved in numerous recordings on labels including Cantaloupe, BMOP Sound, Albany, and Northwest Classics.
As an orchestral musician he has performed with the Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra, Portland Symphony, New Hampshire Symphony, Springfield Symphony, and in the summer of 2010 toured North America with the Star Wars: In Concert Symphony Orchestra. He was awarded a fellowship from the Tanglewood Music Center and attended The Institute and Festival for Contemporary Performance in New York. Williams has performed at the Festival de Mexico, Gaudeamus Music Week, New Hampshire Music Festival, Monadnock Music, and the Summer Institute for Contemporary Performance Practice at New England Conservatory.
Williams holds both B.M. and M.M. degrees from The Boston Conservatory, where he won top prize in the Concerto Competition. He also completed a year of advanced study at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam during which time he regularly performed with the Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra under Peter Eötvös. His principal teachers include Peter Prommel, Pat Hollenbeck, Nancy Zeltsman, and Salvatore Rabbio. Williams is on the music theory faculty of the Boston Conservatory at Berklee.
Brian Church, baritone
Baritone Brian Church is described by The Boston Globe as “vocally clear and physically crafty” and enjoys a busy and a varied career in the Boston arts scene. Specializing in Contemporary Music, he is a regular performer with Callithumpian Consort and Sound Icon. He has also performed in the Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary Music, with the Grammy winning vocal group Roomful of Teeth, as a member of the Choir at King’s Chapel and the Cantata Singers, and has sung, accompanied on guitar and written arrangements and transcriptions for the Renaissance Men.
As a veteran of Guerilla Opera, Church’s repertoire includes roles in the operas Heart of a Dog (Rojahn), Loose, Wet, Perforated (Vines), Say It Aint So, Joe(Hughes), Giver of Light (Roberts), and the title roles in Pedr Solis (Bloland) and Beowulf (Lash). He has recorded and toured with the group and taken part in residencies at the University of Memphis, Hubbard Hall (Cambridge, NY) and Brandeis University.
As a contemporary musician and song-writer he played bass and sang with the avant-noise punk group Tristan Da Cunha and this past summer, he released his 2nd album entitled “Then That Soon I See.” Listen to more of his original music at www.brianchurch.bandcamp.com.
Neil Fortin, costume designer
Neil Fortin is a Boston-based costume designer. He is a graduate of Boston University with an MFA in Costume Production, and additionally holds a Bachelors degree in History from Providence College.
Fortin has most recently completed designing Commonwealth Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet directed by Allegra Libonatti. Prior to that he designed The Rakes Progress for the Boston Lyric Opera and James and the Giant Peach for the American Repertory Theater. As an ongoing project he is working on American Repertory’s new musical Burn All Night, which will be part of their 2017-2018 season. Fortin has also worked with Boston’s Huntington Theater Company, Opera Omaha, The Boston Conservatory, Actors Shakespeare Project, The Walnut Hill School, and the Metro Stage Company.
Fortin excels in period tailoring as well as corsetry and period dressmaking. Millinery and crafts work are also in his arsenal, with attention to period and light-handed detail. While Fortin enjoys costume production is he also facile at design work, and understands that the way clothing is constructed affects the design-driven outcome.