In the professional vocal arena, it seems that there is a larger pool of women than men, but performance opportunities do not always reflect this. Often, the show being performed has many male roles and only one or two female roles. In order to remedy this, Garden of Song Opera seeks to provide emerging professional singers—especially women— in the Minneapolis area more performance opportunities. In this way, the singer can continue her education in the area of performance.
The vision is Garden of Song Opera is to provide women with more performance opportunities by performing recitals, oratorios, operas, chamber operas, and operettas with all or mostly female casts, the goal being to have at least as many female roles as there are male roles. We also strive to create programs that audiences will enjoy, to attract those who may be new to opera, and to present shows appropriate for the whole family.
Garden of Song Opera seeks to expand its vision as the organization develops to include an array of educational opportunities for women to gain experience performing and to prepare them for a professional singing career including workshops, seminars/webinars, performing tours, and educational outreach.
Carmelita Guse, Executive/Artistic Director
Carmelita has performed with The Gilbert & Sullivan Very Light Opera Company Summer Concert (Minneapolis, MN) as Peep Bo in The Mikado, as Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance, and as Josephine in HMS Pinafore. She also sang the role of Antonia in Minneapolis-based Mixed Precipitation Theatre’s production of The Tales of Hoffmann. She was a soprano soloist in the premiere of Missa Aurea in New Hope, MN, and she is a frequent soloist at Faith Temple Church in Sioux Falls, SD. She has also sung with the Minnesota Opera Chorus, CORO! (an ensemble of soloists), Minnesota Chorale, Skylark Opera, the Minnesota Concert Opera Chorus, and the Bravo Singers. As part of the Bravo Singers, Carmelita performed in an opera education program for elementary school students, and wrote a kids’ opera based on the Three Little Pigs. She has performed solo recitals in Waterloo, IA, Minneapolis, MN, Springfield, MO, and Sioux Falls, SD and has been a featured soloist in several concerts in Minneapolis and Sioux Falls. She has a Bachelor of Music Education from Evangel University, Master of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Northern Iowa, and she teaches voice at North Central University in Minneapolis.
Taylor Ellice Van Denburgh
Taylor has been working as a freelance performer in the Twin Cities since completing her BAs in Vocal Performance and Sociology at The College of St Benedict/St John’s University in 2009. Taylor can be seen on the first season of Fake Off on TruTV! as a member of YFX Physical Theatre. Recent credits include Daylight’s Nightfall with YFX Physical Theatre, The Lower Depths with Nimbus Theatre, Guys and Dolls with Rooftop Theatre Company, Hamlet with the Minnesota Opera, and The Nark-A World Premiere with Freshwater Theatre Company-winner of an Ivey for best playwriting in 2013. Taylor’s newest adventure has been delving into the world of circus performing. She takes classes in aerial arts at Xelias in NE Minneapolis, and recently began learning the flying trapeze with Twin Cities Trapeze in St Paul. If you ask, she will proudly show you her most recent bruises! Find out more at taylorevandenburgh.webs.com and like her on Facebook!
Betsie is a lyric-coloratura soprano and has played the roles of Lisa in The Grand Duke, Casilda in The Gondoliers, Peep-Bo in The Mikado, Melissa in Princess Ida, Princess Zara in Utopia, Limited, Yum-Yum in The Mikado (The Gilbert & Sullivan Very Light Opera Company), Martha in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and Grace Farrell in Annie (Applause Community Theatre) and Despina (cover – University of MN). She sang with the opera group Twin Cities CORO! for the 2015-16 season. Betsie won the Voices of Vienna scholarship to study at the Mozarteum in Salzburg. She has performed as soprano soloist in the Messiah and Carmina Burana. She has a Bachelor’s of Music Education from Crown College, and a Master’s of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Minnesota, where she was a Graduate Assistant. She has taught private voice lessons at Normandale Community College and Crown College. Betsie and her husband, Dan, are the proud parents of daughter Tamsen (9) and son Elijah (6).