Wolf Trap Opera Season Opens with a New Production of Rossini’s The Touchstone (La pietra del paragone) The Barns at Wolf Trap, Four Performances, June 23, 25, 28 and July 1

The Touchstone

Vienna, VA (June 23, 2017)
Wolf Trap Opera opens its resident season with the company premiere of Gioachino Rossini’s The Touchstone (La pietra del paragone) in a fully staged, new production on Friday, June 23 at 7:30 p.m. at The Barns at Wolf Trap. Three additional performances are scheduled for Sunday, June 25 at 3 p.m., Wednesday, June 28 at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday, July 1 at 7:30 p.m.  See below for complete casting and ticketing information. High resolution production images are available upon request.

“Our 2017 season offerings are, as always, a reflection of the unique strengths of our artist roster. These singers are particularly suited to making Rossini’s first masterpiece sparkle,” stated Kim Pensinger Witman, Senior Director of Wolf Trap Opera, a premier training ground for opera talent.

At 20, Rossini had already completed six operas when The Touchstone (La pietra del paragone) premiered at La Scala in 1812. In this opera, Count Asdrubale and Marchesina Clarice meet at a party, and their affection for each other grows. Historically, a touchstone  was used to test the purity of gold; in the opera,Count Asdrubale uses his riches as a test to separate his real friends from those who love him only for his money. In true opera buffa fashion, the tests are filled with sparkling vocal acrobatics and numerous disguises.  Rossini composed lead roles in The Touchstone for Filippo Galli (Asdrubale) and Marietta Marcolini (Clarice) for whom he also created roles in four other operas.  

The Touchstone (La pietra del paragone) is conducted by Antony Walker and directed by E. Loren Meeker, with scenic design by Erhard Rom, costumes by Erik Teague, and lighting by Robert H. Grimes. Continuing Wolf Trap Opera’s broadcast initiative, performances will be filmed and audio recorded for future radio broadcasts and online streaming.

Continuing Wolf Trap Opera’s tradition as a top-tier operatic training program for emerging artists, all principal roles will be performed by Wolf Trap Opera’s Filene Young Artists. The cast, in order of appearance, includes baritone Shea Owens (Pacuvio), bass Anthony  Robin Schneider (Fabrizio), mezzo-soprano Megan Mikailovna Samarin (Baroness Aspasia), soprano Summer Hassan (Donna Fulvia),  baritone Kihun Yoon (Macrobio), tenor Alasdair Kent (Giocondo), mezzo-soprano Zoie Reams (Clarice) and bass-baritone Richard Ollarsaba (Count Asdrubale). Wolf Trap Opera’s elite group of young singers is chosen through a highly selective annual nationwide audition tour. See complete casting below.

Since 1971, Wolf Trap Opera has mounted more than 130 productions of over 80 different operas. In addition to The Touchstone (La pietra del paragone), the summer opera season will also feature a double bill of Philip Glass and Robert Moran’s The Juniper Tree and John Musto’s Bastianello (August 11, 13, 16, and 19) at The Barns, and Puccini’s Tosca  (August 5) at the Filene Center with the National Symphony Orchestra led by Grant Gershon. Additionally, Wolf Trap Opera presents concerts and productions at venues across the region, including Halcyon Stage at Dock 5, The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, Union Market and Wolf Trap’s Children’s Theatre-in-the –Woods. Visit wolftrap.org/opera for more information.


Special thanks to Dan and Gayle D’Aniello, Wolf Trap 2017 Season Underwriters
and Ed and Andy Smith, Performance Sponsors.

Wolf Trap Opera is a program of Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, produces and presents a full range of performance and education programs in the Greater Washington area, as well as nationally. Wolf Trap features three performance venues: the outdoor Filene Center and Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods, both located at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, and The Barns at Wolf Trap, located down the road from the national park and adjacent to the Center for Education at Wolf Trap. The 7,028-seat Filene Center is operated in partnership with the National Park Service and annually showcases an extensive array of diverse artists, ranging from pop, country, folk, and blues to classical music, dance, and theatre, as well as multimedia presentations, from May through September. The Barns at Wolf Trap is operated by the Wolf Trap Foundation year round, and during the summer months is home to the Grammy-nominated Wolf Trap Opera, one of America’s outstanding resident ensemble programs for young opera singers. Wolf Trap Foundations’s education programs include the nationally acclaimed Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts, Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods, a diverse array of arts education classes, grants, and a nationally recognized internship program.

Media Information

(Please do not publish contact information)

Michelle Pendoley, Director, Public Relations
703.255.1917 or michellep@wolftrap.org

Press passes and high-resolution production photos may be available upon request.


The Touchstone (La pietra del paragone)
New production, Company Premiere
Music by Gioachino Rossini | Libretto by Luigi Romanelli

Friday, June 23, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, June 25, 2017 at 3 p.m.
Wednesday, June 28 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, July 1, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.

Inside the Opera pre-show talk begins one hour before curtain at the Center for Education at Wolf Trap, next door to The Barns at Wolf Trap.
The Barns at Wolf Trap is located 1635 Trap Road, Vienna, VA 22182
Three hours with one intermission | In Italian with projected translations
Tickets start at $32 and can be purchased online at wolftrap.org, in person at the Filene Center and Barns Box Offices, or by phone at 877.WOLFTRAP.


In order of vocal appearance

Pacuvio, a poet                                                                 Shea Owens
Fabrizio, a servant                                           Anthony Robin Schneider
Baroness Aspasia                                             Megan Mikailovna Samarin
Donna Fulvia                                                      Summer Hassan
Macrobio, a journalist                                   Kihun Yoon
Gioconodo, Asdrubale’s friend                  Alasdair Kent
Clarice                                                                   Zoie Reams
Count Asdrubale                                              Richard Ollarsaba
Guests & Servants of the Count*             Ricardo Garcia, Sam Grosby, Cory Gross, Senhica Klee,
                                                                                Jonathan Bryan, Geoffrey Hahn, Michael Hawk,
                                                                                Matthew Adam Fleisher, Andrew Gilstrap

*Studio Artists



Conductor                                                           Antony Walker
Director                                                                E. Loren Meeker
Scenic Designer                                                                Erhard Rom
Costume Designer                                           Erik Teague
Lighting Designer                                             Robert H. Grimes
Wig & Makeup Designer                               Anne Nesmith
Chorusmaster                                                   David Hanlon