Production Staff

Ksenia Leletkina

Dr. Ksenia Leletkina serves as coach for the Eastman Opera Theatre. In this role, Ms. Leletkina coaches and music directs the Undergraduate and Graduate Opera Workshops, Advanced Opera Seminar, Introduction to Lyric Theater and Directing Seminar. At the Eastman Opera Theatre, Ms. Leletkina was a Musical Director for the 2014-2015 winter production Menotti’s The Old Maid and the Thief and Poulenc’s La Voix Humaine and is currently working on the double bill of Puccini’s Suor Angelica and Giordano’s Mese Mariano, which will take place in January of 2016.
Ms. Leletkina is an advocate of Russian repertoire, as well as a specialist on Russian diction, having taught courses and given presentations at various venues, including National Association of Teachers of Singing and the Eastman School of Music, where she offers an annual course for singers. She is currently co-authoring a book on Russian diction for singers with Benton Hess. Active as a performer, Ms. Leletkina appeared on stages in Russia, Europe, Asia and North America, including Kennedy Center in Washington. She was a soloist with the Pacific Symphony Orchestra, Skokie Valley Symphony Orchestra, and the chamber orchestra at the Grand Rapids Bach Festival. She has won prizes in competitions such as the Minnesota Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition and the International Competition for Young Musicians in Russia as well as others.
Dr. Leletkina holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music and the Cleveland Institute of Music.

Spencer Reese

Spencer Reese has recently earned his Master’s Degree in Opera Stage Directing from Eastman. In Winter 2015, he directed a double-bill of
La voix humaine andThe Old Maid and the Thief with Eastman Opera Theatre. He currently teaches Introduction to Lyric Theatre and an acting seminar with the sophomore class. He has also developed two independent study courses on dance, Ballroom Dancing for Singers and Dance Audition Skills. Spencer served as the assistant director on all three productions in the Eastman Opera Theatre 2013-2014 season, and assisted on Our Town  in Spring 2015. Spencer has been the assistant director and assistant choreographer/dance captain in residence with the Ohio Light Opera. An experienced choreographer, some of his favorite productions include She Loves MeGuys and Dolls, and selections from Singin’ in the Rain. He is also a competitive ballroom dancer, and has won more than 250 individual awards and placed 3rd at the US National Championships (2012). Spencer graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2013 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Voice Performance and was a University Scholar in UConn’s honors program, a distinction which gave him the opportunity to write, direct, and produce a full-length original opera entitled Always.

Lindsay Warren Baker

Lindsay Warren Baker began her association with the Eastman Voice and Opera Department in 2001 when she joined Eastman Opera Theatre’s stage management team. Having served as EOT’s production stage manager for nine seasons, she now continues her work with the department as a staff acting instructor and dramatic coach. Lindsay leads the Freshman Introduction to Acting and Sophomore Scene Study Seminars and occasionally assists other courses including Advanced Opera Seminar, Vocal Audition Synergism, Opera Workshop and Introduction to Lyric Theatre. In addition to her work at Eastman, Baker is a freelance stage director, playwright/composer, teaching artist and yoga instructor. Recent directing credits: Dear Diary by Betsy Hahm (Young Writers Showcase, Geva Theatre Center), Haydn’s Lo Speziale and Vittorio Gianni’s Beauty and the Beast (Rochester Lyric Opera), Jennifer Bellor’s Christabel (Eastman School of Music), and Sondheim’s A Little Night Music (SUNY Geneseo). Writing credits: Jane Austen’s PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, A Musical (Most Promising Musical, NYMF 2011) which will premiere at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts in April 2015. She has also worked in various capacities with Geva Theatre Center and the Ohio Light Opera. Education and Training: O’Neill National Theater Institute, O’Neill NTI Moscow (Moscow Art Theatre), Dagara Music Center (Ghana), St. Olaf College (BA Music Education and Theater), SUNY Empire State College (MA Liberal Studies, degree candidate).

Emily Cuk

Emily Cuk is currently studying at Eastman School of Music for a M.M. in Opera Directing and is also assisting for the Eastman Opera Theatre. Her past Assistant Directing credits include Strauss’s Capriccio with Opera Theater of Pittsburgh; Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos with Utopia Opera; Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro with Bronx Opera; Handel’s Alcina with Whitebox Sound Lounge; Bizet’s Carmen with Wolf Trap Opera; Britten’s Turn of the Screw and the world premiere of Shawn Jaeger’s Payne Hollow with Bard College’s Graduate Vocal Arts Program; Sergey Taneyev’s Oresteia with Bard SummerScape; and John Corigiliano’s Ghost of Versailles with Manhattan School of Music. In 2015 Emily directed and designed a semi-staged concert of Haydn’s Die Schöpfung with the American Symphony Orchestra and had been a guest Stage Director for Bard’s Undergraduate Opera Program, directing Gluck’s Orfeo ed Eurydice and a fully-staged performance of opera scenes. Additional directing projects include Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel, Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd, and La Migraine: an original pastiche comprised of art songs. Emily is a graduate of Bard College, where she studied music with an emphasis on opera production and vocal performance.

Pesca 2014

Daniel Pesca A composer and pianist currently pursuing a DMA in composition at Eastman, seeks in each of his careers a synthesis between the past and the present. His music aims for clarity of expression and engagement with the traditions of classical music and literature. In the past year, his work has been heard in many parts of the USA, as well as abroad. As a pianist, he is an advocate of recent music in ensemble contexts, but his recital programs tend to mingle the new with earlier repertoire. He has recorded for Block M Records and Urtext Classics, and a recording for Centaur Records with flutist Sarah Frisof is due in 2015. He holds double degrees from Eastman and the University of Michigan in piano performance and composition. He is a student of Nelita True, Logan Skelton, and Rita Sloan (piano), and Robert Morris, Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon, David Liptak, Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez, and Betsy Jolas (composition). At Eastman, his varied catalogue of duties includes teaching a course on twentieth-century piano music, teaching composition to non-majors, and accompanying for the opera department. He is vice president of Ossia, Eastman’s student-run new music organization.

Edward Rothmel

Edward Rothmel from Pottstown, PA, began his piano studies at the age of five and gave his solo debut at age twelve. He has performed professionally in numerous solo and chamber music contexts, giving recitals throughout the United States and in China, and has performed in master classes for Ann Schein, Martin Katz, Graham Johnson, Lisa Kaplan, Samuel Ramey, Frederica von Stade, and Ruth Ann Swenson. In April 2012 he gave his first appearance at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall in concert with Tenor Albert Lee. A former student of Curtis faculty Kristin Ditlow, Mr. Rothmel holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Piano Performance from the Florida State University as a student of Dr. Read Gainsford, and completed his Master’s Degree in Piano Performance at the Florida State University, studying with Dr. Heidi Louise Williams. He has held graduate assistantships in Opera Coaching with the Florida State Opera under the direction of Douglas Fisher, and in the Florida State Choral Program under the direction of Dr. André Thomas. First Prize winner of both the 2010 FSU Chopin Piano Competition and the 2010 FSU Young Artist Concerto Competition, he performed Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3 with the FSU University Philharmonic Orchestra in February 2011 under the baton of Dr. Alexander Jiménez. In the summer of 2015, Edward served as Music Director/Coach Accompanist for the Castleton Festival Castle Artist Training Seminar under the direction of Stanford Olsen.
Mr. Rothmel served as Director of Choral Activities for the award-winning choral program at Freedom High School in Orlando, Florida from 2012-2015. Eddie is currently pursuing his Doctorate of Musical Arts in Collaborative Piano at the Eastman School of Music under the tutelage of Dr. Jean Barr.

You Zhao

You Zhao, a native Chinese collaborative pianist, is pursuing her Master of Music degree in Piano Accompanying and Chamber Music at the Eastman School of Music, where she studies with Jean Barr. She is a graduate of Shandong Normal University (Shandong, China), where she majored in both piano performance and voice performance and received a Bachelor’s degree in Music. Ms. Zhao was a prize winner as a soloist in competitions including The Third KAWAI Asia Piano Competition and Charming China-International Culture Art Festival Piano Competition as well as others. She has participated in many major vocal competitions as a piano accompanist, such as the preliminary round auditions of NEUE STIMMEN International Singing Competition (China area) and the Third Peacock Prize of National Art Colleges Vocal Music Competition. She has performed at festivals throughout China and the United States, such as Beijing International Music Festival and Academy (BIMFA) and Songfest.

Nathan Cheung Piano

Nathan Cheung is currently pursuing MM degrees in Piano Performance and Accompanying at the Eastman School of Music under the tutelage of Professors Nelita True and Jean Barr. An alumnus of Stanford University, Nathan holds a Bachelors degree with honors in Music and a minor in Asian American Studies. Nathan has most recently won the 2015 Aspen Music Festival Concerto Competition. During his studies with Thomas Schultz at Stanford, he has also won the Music Teacher’s Association of California Solo Competition, the Baldini Prize from the Mondavi Young Artist Competition, and the Stanford Concerto Competition. Nathan is also a member of Happy Dog Duo with his longtime piano partner and friend, Eric Tran. Happy Dog Duo has appeared with the Stanford Symphony Orchestra, Diablo Symphony Orchestra, and the Vallejo Symphony. A composer as well, Nathan has had his piano miniatures featured in the United States Open Music Competition and String Quartet premiered in 2012 by the St. Lawrence String Quartet. Nathan also enjoys dabbling in various world music traditions including Chinese instrumental ensembles, Korean Samulnori drumming, and Zimbabwean Mbira. Outside of music, Nathan enjoys scenic bike rides, exploring new places, learning languages, and simply socializing with people.

Mark Houser

Mark Houser, Technical Director for Eastman Opera Theatre, has been an IATSE local 25 member since 1983 and has worked in all professional venues in Rochester, NY. He has also worked hundreds of traveling productions in all areas of stagecraft, traveled for CMI communications as a AV Technical Manager for corporate events across the country and has served as the General Manager for the full service contractor of the Meadowlands Exposition Center.

Lau, Joshua

Josh Lau, Production Stage Manager of Eastman Opera Theatre, was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii and graduated from Punahou School. He received a B.A. in Theatre Arts with a minor in Music from Nazareth College, where he was both a performer and a stage manager of numerous productions and a stagehand for the Arts Center. He interned with Meadow Brook Theatre in Rochester, Michigan and Bristol Valley Theatre in Naples, NY. At BVT he was Apprentice Program Director in addition to Stage Manager. He also volunteered and stage managed for the Rochester Fringe Festival. In Hawaii he was a teaching assistant for the summer school musical theatre class at Punahou, stage managed for the Hawaii Shakespeare Festival, and volunteered for Hawaii Opera Theatre.

Ch. Lucas

Charles Murdock Lucas is a scenic designer working for theatre and opera companies across the United States. Recent productions include Mary Poppins (Children’s Musical Theater, San Jose), Oliver! (Cabrillo Stage), The Pirates of Penzance, (Ohio Light Opera), Honky Tonk Angels (Virginia Stage Company), and The Winter’s Tale (Texas Shakespeare Festival). He received his Master of Fine Arts in Scenic Design from University of North Carolina School of the Arts where he was the A. J. Fletcher Opera Fellow in Scene Design. He is a recipient of the 2012 USITT Scene Design Award Sponsored by Rose Brand. His designs for Il tabarro & Krapp’s Last Tape appeared in the 2011 Prague Quadrennial. He has exhibited work at the 2011 National Design Portfolio Review at the Bohemian National Hall in New York City, the 2011 Michael Merritt Design Showcase at the Goodman Theatre and at the 2011 USITT Young Designer’s Forum   in Charlotte, North Carolina. Select images of his designs are published in Scene Design and Stage Lighting – 10th Edition by by R. Craig Wolf and Dick Block.

Visit him at or on twitter @CMLSceneDesign

Nic Minetor

Nic Minetor has been a full-time lighting designer in the upstate New York region for more than 25 years. Since 1988, he has been the resident lighting designer for Eastman Opera. In addition, he has designed for Finger Lakes Opera and Mercury Opera, as well as for the performing arts program at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, Rochester Children’s Theatre, Geva Theatre Center and Blackfriars Theatre. He is the lighting director for the PBS television show Second Opinion, show on more than 240 stations nationally, and for several sports programs on Time Warner Cable news. He also designs exhibition lighting for the University of Rochester Memorial Art Gallery. Nic has provided principal photography in more than 20 travel and nature guides published by The Globe Pequot Press and Quick Reference Publishing

M. Griswold

Mary Griswold has had the great good fortune since 1995 to participate in thirty seven productions with Eastman Opera Theater as scenic artist and/or set designer, and on one occasion, Transformations, as costume designer as well. Her top five favorite Eastman Opera productions have been CandideLa Finta Giardiniera, A Midsummer Night’s DreamSweeney Todd, and Cosi fan Tutte. Ms. Griswold is a native of Rochester but has primarily made her career in Chicago, designing the premieres of more than fifty new plays and musicals, working with theater and opera companies large and small, television stations and scenery shops. Some notable productions include The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn with the Organic Theater Company, on WTTW-PBS TV, at the Goodman Theater and on tours in the US and Europe, She Always Said, Pablo, at the Goodman and the Kennedy Center, for which she shared in three Joseph Jefferson Awards, and The Mother of Us All (twice), The Good Soldier Schweik and Postcard From Morocco with Chicago Opera Theater. She has served as a regional and national officer of United Scenic Artists, Local USA-829, IATSE, including a brief stint as president during its centennial year, and was the first MFA graduate of the Northwestern University Theater Department.


Adriano Gato is certified with Full Distinction by Fight Directors Canada. His work as a fight director has been seen in over 50 productions across the country, most recently at Geva Theatre Center, Irish Classical Theatre, and Niagara University, his alma mater and where he serves as the current Artist in Residence for the Department of Theatre and Fine Arts. Adriano has taught stage combat for many professional and educational institutions, including the New York State Theatre Education Association, Geva’s Summer Academy and the Memphis Theatre Teacher’s Association. Adriano is also a Fight Instructor Apprentice to Fight Master Daniel Levinson at Rapier Wit in Toronto, Ontario. As an AEA member, Adriano was awarded an Acting Fellowship to train with Michael Kahn at the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D.C., winner of the 2012 Regional Theatre Tony Award. Professional acting credits include productions with Folger Shakespeare Theatre, Round House Theatre, Indiana Repertory Theatre, and Walnut Street Theatre, along with many award winning theatre companies in Buffalo, including the acclaimed production of THE LIAR at Irish Classical Theatre. Adriano was honored with two Artvoice Artie Nominations: Outstanding Actor in a Play for the world premier adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s Emperor and Galilean and Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play for 33 Variations.


In Spring of 2015, Maestro Steve Crowley put down his hammer for his final Eastman Opera Theatre production.


With reluctance, the Voice and Opera Department announced the retirement of Steve Crowley after almost 30 years as Eastman Opera Theatre’s Technical Director/Producer. Steve joined Eastman Opera Theatre in September 1985, working with Richard Pearlman, after a varied career with Trinity Repertory Theater in Providence, Rhode Island, American Place Theater in New York, and other professional and college theaters, as well as Off-Broadway and in television.

He served as the technical director for almost 90 operatic and musical theater productions, working with several generations of Eastman voice students in a wide range of operatic repertoire from Baroque to contemporary. His time, talent, and dedication played an important part in the success of Eastman Opera Theatre’s recognition in the musical world. In ways that were sometimes unknown to the students, Steve’s support and generosity behind the scenes has contributed to their artistic development and Eastman experience. His final production for the Eastman Opera Theatre was Ned Rorem’s Our Town. (April 2015).

“The Eastman School, its community, the Voice and Opera Department and students are indebted to Steve for his dedication and commitment,” says Eastman Opera Theatre stage director Steven Daigle. “He has worked long hours to insure the highest standards possible for this Eastman Opera Theatre program. My first contact with Eastman was a conversation with Steve, almost twenty years ago. His guidance and knowledge have been both invaluable and rewarding. He will be missed.”