Matthew DiBattista’s engagements this season include Camille Raquin in Picker’s Thérèse Raquin (Long Beach Opera and Chicago Opera Theater); Curley in Floyd’s Of Mice and Men (Tulsa Opera); Britten’s War Requiem (Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra); and the servant in Capriccio (Lyric Opera of Chicago). Last season’s engagements include his Lyric Opera of Chicago debut in Parsifal; Eddie Fisslinger in Elmer Gantry (Tulsa Opera); and Monastatos in Magic Flute (Opera Theatre of St. Louis). Recently he sang Steve Hubble in A Streetcar Named Desire (Virginia Opera), Beppe in I Pagliacci and Tinka in Il tabarro (Opera Theatre of St. Louis), and Jack in Tippett’s Midsummer Marriage (Boston Modern Orchestra Project). Career highlights: Jasper Vanderbilt in Kirke Mechem’s The Rivals (world premiere, Skylight Opera Theatre); roles in Unsuk Chin’s Alice in Wonderland (American premiere, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis); Stage Manager in Rorem’s Our Town (Monadnock Music Festival); Flute in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Boston Lyric Opera); Molqi in The Death of Klinghoffer and Bégearss in The Ghosts of Versailles (Opera Theatre of St. Louis); David in Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg (Boston Symphony Orchestra); Flavio in Norma (Tanglewood, Charles Dutoit conducting); the title role in The Good Soldier Schweik (Long Beach Opera); Yarzhkin in The Nose (Opera Boston); Jack O’Brien in The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny and Louis in Eötvös’ Angels in America (North American premiere, both with Opera Boston); Martin in Copland’s The Tender Land, (PBS’ “Great Performances”); and Pedrillo in Die Entführung aus dem Serail (Glimmerglass Opera).
Disastrous winters live long in historical memory. For example, there is the blizzard that hit the Great Plains in January of 1888, which caught many who lived in the Midwestern territories unawares. Known as the Children’s Blizzard, the storm trapped students and teachers in their one-room schoolhouses where they remained for days. Many who ventured out into the storm succumbed to frostbite. Others froze to death. In conservative estimates, several hundred people died.