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American Wagner Project Concert

WAIT LIST ONLY. We are fully-booked. A concert performance featuring some of our most promising singers from the American Wagner Project!

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American Wagner Project Concert
American Wagner Project Concert


May 25, 2023, 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM EDT

Arts Club of Washington, 2017 I St NW, Washington, DC 20006, USA



7:00 pm - Doors open for seating

7:15 pm - Program begins

8:30 - 10 pm - Post-performance reception, meet the performers

American Wagner Project singers Jon Janacek, Maureen Brabec and Heather Hjelle will be performing the following program:

Wagner: Rienzi, Act V, sc. 1, Rienzi's Prayer  -  Jon Janacek, Tenor

Ponchielli: La Gioconda, Act IV, sc. 1, Aria: Suicidio! - Heather Hjelle, Soprano

Wagner: Lohengrin, (Duet, Elsa/Ortrud) Act II, sc. 2 "Euch Lüften, die mein Klagen so traurig oft erfüllt...Entweihte Götter! Helft jetzt meiner Rache!...Du Ärmste kannst wohl nie ermessen, wie zweifellos ein Herze liebt?   

Maureen Brabec, Soprano

Heather Hjelle, Soprano

Wagner: Lohengrin, (Duet, Elsa, Lohengrin) Act III, Sc. 2 (Brautgemach). Das süße Lied verhallt; wir sind allein...Atmest du nicht mit mir die süßen Düfte?... Doch dort - der Schwan - der Schwan! 

Maureen Branec, Soprano

Jon Janacek, Tenor

Wagner: Lohengrin, (Aria, Lohengrin) Act III,  Sc. 3 In fernem Land

Jon Janacek, Tenor

American Wagner Project May 2023 Concert Singers Biographies

Jon Janacek, Tenor

A graduate of Baylor University, Jon Janacek as a Bass-Baritone performed an Armed Guard in The Magic Flute, Simone in Gianni Schicchi, Olin Blitch in Carlisle Floyd's Susannah, Peter in Hansel and Gretel with the Waco Lyric Opera and the Temple College Opera, and Alfio in Cavallaria Rusticana for Kingwood Summer Opera. Mr. Janacek changed to the tenor fach in 2008. He was a Regional Winner of the Graduate Men's Division of the Texoma NATS Vocal Competition in 2006. He won the Encouragement Award of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 2008 and the Audience Choice Award of the Lois Alba SOMA International Vocal Competition in 2016. Roles he has performed as a tenor include Canio in Pagliacci, Rodolfo in La Bohème, and Bacchus in Ariadne auf Naxos as a young artist with Kingwood Summer Opera. He performed Jenik in concert for The Bartered Bride as a vocal fellow at Music Academy of the West in 2016 and performed the role of Bacchus with the Berlin Opera Academy in 2017. Mr. Janacek made his Houston Grand Opera debut as the Official Registrar in Madame Butterfly in 2015. Other roles he performed at HGO in past seasons include Ein Anderer Mann in Götterdämmerung and Giuseppe in La Traviata.

An experienced concert artist, Mr.  Janacek has been a featured soloist in performances of several sacred oratorios.  He has appeared with the Baylor Symphony and Choral Union, the Central Texas Choral Society, members of the Waco Symphony Orchestra, the Kingwood Chorale and Chamber Orchestra, and recently with the St. John the Devine Chorale and ROCO Chamber Orchestra in Houston.

Mr. Janacek is a current participant in the Dolora Zajick Institute for Young Dramatic Voices. For the Wagner Institute of the Miami Music Festival he performed excerpts of the title role in Lohengrin in 2018 and the role of Erik in The Flying Dutchman in 2019. Mr. Janacek recently completed recording and filming portions of four roles including Loge, Siegmund, and the younger and older Siegfrieds for a reduction of Wagner’s Ring Cycle. This reduction, created by Maestro Dennis Doubin, is a virtual video performance produced by Vegas City Opera. In November 2021 He returned to Vegas City Opera to sing Rodolfo for the zombie production of La Bohëme (La BoDead). Mr. Janacek returned to The Wagner Institute, Miami Music Festival in June of 2021 to sing Loge in Das Rheingold. Future engagements for Mr. Janacek include performances of Messiahin April in Waco, TX with the newly formed Vox Seraphim Choir and Orchestra and the role of Giuseppe in Houston Grand Ooera's outdoor production of La Traviata at the Miller Theatre in May.

Heather Hjelle, Soprano

Spinto soprano Heather Hjelle is a two time Encouragement Grant winner from the Wagner Society in New York. During a 2022 Tebaldi tribute concert, La Renatona’s Chicago Midsummer Centenary stated, “[Hjelle’s] most potent vocal asset is direct projection… one is curious to hear her gifts in that [Wagnerian] repertoire”.

Hjelle made her professional debut with the role of Santuzza in Main Street Opera’s production of Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana in 2017, shortly after covering Metropolitan Opera soprano, Alexandra LoBianco, in the same role with Opera Steamboat. In 2019, she starred in the title role of La Gioconda with Opera MODO.

In the 2021-22 season, Ms. Hjelle premiered Jennifer Higdon’s new song cycle, Love Sweet with ProMusica Chamber Orchestra in New Ulm, MN. She was also heard singing Wagnerian repertoire with Kenwood Symphony orchestra and in concert with St. Croix Valley Opera. Later that summer, she was invited to sing with the American Wagner Project in Reno, Nevada where she trained with some of the leading dramatic voice legends of our time.

Ms. Hjelle has performed internationally with Operafestival di Roma multiple times. Italian audiences have heard her in the title role of Puccini’s Suor Angelica in Rome, and as Donna Anna in Mozart’s Don Giovanni in Orvieto. She has also performed the title role of Rusalka with Toronto Summer Opera Workshop in Canada.

A Minnesota native, Heather teaches vocal lessons at Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, where she earned degrees in theater and music. She received her Master of Music in vocal performance at North Park University in Chicago.

Maureen Brabec, Dramatic Soprano

Maureen Brabec is a dramatic soprano currently based in Chicago.

In the 2023-2024 season, she looks forward to making her role debut and European debut singing the title character in Puccini’s Turandot at Landestheater Detmold in Germany. In July 2022, she covered Senta in Der Fliegende Holländer with Opera Maine. She has prepared Sieglinde, Leonore (Fidelio) and Elisabeth (Tannhäuser) with the support of the American Wagner Project. Other recent performances include Myrrhine in Pittsburgh Festival Opera’s film of Mark Adamo’s Lysistrata, Aunt Norris in Dove’s Mansfield Park, Elaine in Musto’s Later the Same Evening, and Erste Dame in Die Zauberflöte.

As a graduate student at UCLA, she sang Mamousia in the West Coast premiere of J. Hamer’s Lost Childhood and Susan B. Anthony in Thomson's The Mother of Us All.

Though she calls Chicago home, she lived and studied in DC for 8 years and is thrilled to be back!

Heather Hjelle's bio is available on her website.

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