Skip to Content
/ Articles / Arts & Culture /

Berks Opera Premieres “These Valleys and Mountains: Berks Legends”

by Berks Opera Company

Jun 09, 2022


Chris Heslop

“These Valleys and Mountains: Berks Legends” is a new opera composed by Chris Heslop, with libretto by Vicki Haller Graff, and direction by Joel Richard Gori.

Mountain Mary left a legacy of loving spirituality and profound healing. Matthias Schaumbacher left the opposite: a legend of greed and violence. How have the seeds planted in the stories of these two people, who lived such different lives, grown in this place we call home?

From our Director, Joel Gori, “I have always enjoyed staging Heslop’s and Haller Graff’s work. This opera is no exception. The libretto and the music offer lovely moments. The opera also has reflective and dramatic scenes with an orchestration that is always surprising.”

Berks Opera Company recently received a grant from the Arthur Judson Foundation for the Spring 2022 production ” These Valleys and Mountains: Berks Legends”.

June 17th, 7:30pm, Miller Center at RACC

Ticket link:

Maria Damore, soprano


  • Mountain Mary – Maria Damore, soprano
  • Mr. Hollinshead – Thomas Killourhy, tenor
  • Matthias Schaumbacher – Connor McLaughlin, baritone
  • Becky Schaumbacher – Emily Byrne, mezzo-soprano
  • Mrs. Sprague/Minnie Ruppert – Mary Fetterman, soprano
  • Mrs. Keim/Mrs. Schroeder – Jennifer Laubach, mezzo-soprano
  • Mr. de Benneville/Elias Featherolf  – Orin Strunk/Matt Mangus, tenors
  • John Joseph/Oscar Lutz – Christopher Jon Hartung, bass
  • Hawk – Lily Oglesby

Vicki Haller Graff


  • Francine Black, piano
  • Robin Lilarose, flute
  • Julie Drey, clarinet and bass clarinet
  • Jill Haley, oboe
  • Shari Gleason-Mayrhofer, French Horn
  • Valerie Trollinger, bassoon
  • Kevin MacConnell, bass
  • Robert Nowak, percussion
  • Brent Behrenshausen, percussion

Joel Richard Gori


  • Chris Heslop, conductor
  • James Damore, stage manager
  • Lily Oglesby, choreographer
  • Brad Gale, set design
  • Brett Buckwalter, lighting design
  • Amy Mozingo, costumes
  • Kathie Kustudich, props
  • Tamara Black, production manager

Berks Opera Company receives state arts funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

Berks Opera Company receives funding support through a grant from the Reading Musical Foundation.

Berks Opera Company is a fictitious name owned by Berks Opera Workshop, a Pennsylvania nonprofit corporation and tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization. Learn more:

We need your support!

Your contribution makes community media possible.

A donation of any size to your nonprofit media organization supports the future of media access in our community - the things you love, and the places you care about, by the people you know.

Live Streaming