Chief, US Army Europe Entertainment (Retired)
Jim Sohre serves as full-time General Director for Opera Las Vegas, for which he has devised and directed such events as Bravo, Bernstein!, A Passion for Puccini, Viva Verdi! , Latin Fiesta, and Bravo, Bernstein! at the Smith Center Cabaret Jazz; Who’s Afraid of Opera?, Carmen and Rigoletto Informances tours to area schools; Britten’s Noye’s Fludde (Noah’s Flood) to local churches; Stars of David, saluting Jewish-American opera stars at Temple Sinai; family friendly operatic versions of Pinocchio, The Three Little Pigs, and Jack and the Beanstalk to library theatres; and various other thematic performances like Divas in Diamonds, Operatic Spook-takular, Our Three Tenors, Holiday on Broadway, Beer and Baritones, Opera Legends in Black, Dueling Pianos and Cinderella’s Diamond Ball which performed at the historic Liberace Mansion.
Jim travels throughout North America and Europe regularly to review performances for Opera Today, and Music and Vision among other publications. He is a founding member of the Las Vegas Valley Theatre Awards program. He completed a 40-year civilian career with the Army Entertainment program, most of it spent as the Chief for the European Region. He was the longtime chair of the International Committee for the Association of Community Theatre (AACT).
He has directed and/or served as music director for more than 200 productions, including Les Miserables, The Addams Family, Something’s Afoot, The Fantasticks, Hairspray, The Producers, The Drowsy Chaperone, and many others. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Music from the University of Wisconsin and a Master’s Degree in Theatre from Tulsa University.
He has received multiple awards from the U.S. Army for his work improving the quality of life for soldiers, and from AACT for “promotion and development of the highest standards for community theatre.” He has adjudicated theatre festivals in Germany, Japan, Canada, and the United States and is the recipient of the Mort Clark International Theatre Award. His achievements have been honored with a dedicated chair at the National Theatre in Washington, DC.
Music Director and Principal Conductor
Praised for conducting with "steady acumen and considerable aplomb" and "awesome control” (Opera Today), Joshua Horsch is an extremely versatile operatic and symphonic conductor. A two-time winner of the American Prize in Opera Conducting, Joshua serves as Music Director and Principal Conductor of Opera Las Vegas. Joshua’s recent and upcoming conducting engagements include appearances with Atlanta Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Opera Orlando, Opera Idaho, Opera Baltimore, Greensboro Opera, Mobile Opera, Pacific Opera Project, and Tri-Cities Opera. With a diverse repertoire of over sixty operas and a broad spectrum of orchestral and choral works, Joshua has recently held positions as a conductor and pianist/coach on the music staff of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Austin Opera, Detroit Opera, Florida Grand Opera, North Carolina Opera, Opera Saratoga, Pensacola Opera, the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Newport Music Festival. Joshua studied conducting and piano at the University of Colorado Boulder, the Pennsylvania State University, and Ithaca College.
Sheronda McKee-Dollar, D.M.A., soprano, originally from Phoenix, Arizona has been appearing on stages in both the United States and Europe. Recently she finished her Doctor of Musical Arts at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas under the guidance of Dr. Alfonse Anderson. She is currently performing with Opera Las Vegas and Opera On Tap Las Vegas. Most recent roles performed with UNLV Opera include Countess Almaviva (Le nozze di Figaro) and Ariadne (Ariadne auf Naxos). She has also performed the title role in Puccini’s “Suor Angelica” for the International Lyric Academy during the Tuscia Opera Festival. In concert and in scenes she has played Violetta (La Traviata), Nedda (I Pagliacci), Lucia (Lucia di Lammermoor) and others.
Sheronda has been a featured soloist in Handel’s Messiah as well as Mozart’s Requiem. She has traveled to Viterbo and Tarquinia in Italy with the International Lyric Academy and Graz, with the AIMS Program (American Institute of Musical Studies) where she was an alternate in the 2010 Meistersinger Vocal Competition. Recent awards include the Pasadena Opera Guild Scholarship, the Encouragement Award from MONC (Metropolitan Opera National Council) as well as First place in NATS (National Association of Teachers of Singing). She most recently appeared with Opera Las Vegas in Opera Legends in Black.
Joseph Svendsen is the Director of Choral Studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he conducts the flagship ensemble, the UNLV Singers, and the Early Music Ensemble. He teaches graduate coursework in conducting and choral literature and serves as an advisor to graduate students seeking the MM in Choral Conducting, as well as co-director of the Las Vegas Baroque Festival.
Svendsen is the Chorus Master for Opera Las Vegas, a position he has held since 2017. He was named Artistic Director of the Las Vegas Master Singers, the chorus-in-residence for the Las Vegas Philharmonic, beginning in the 2021-2022 season. Other professional engagements include singing tenor with Anúna and the San Antonio Chamber Choir. He has served as an invited conductor and clinician for choral festivals in California, Iowa, Minnesota, Nevada, Utah, Texas, and Wisconsin. He has presented at recent conferences of the Nevada Music Educators Association and the American Choral Directors Association.
Svendsen’s research and artistry focuses on sacred choral music. His recent article, Healey Willan: Crafting Plainsong” is published in CrossAccent, the journal of the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians. He is the Artistic Director of the Las Vegas Sacred Music Institute.
Svendsen serves in leadership positions in the American Choral Directors Association and the Nevada Music Educators Association. He holds a Doctor of Music in Choral Conducting from Texas Tech University, a Master’s degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Bachelor’s degrees from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.
Chorus Master, Opera Las Vegas Youth Chorus
Athena Mertes is one of the Valley’s most celebrated sopranos, whose opera and concert credits include Despina (Cosi Fan Tutte), Gretel (Hansel and Gretel), Lucy (The Telephone), Zerlina (Don Giovanni), Gianetta (L’Elisir d’Amore), Morgana (Alcina), Musetta (La Bohème), Pamina (Die Zauberflöte), Abigail (The Crucible), Nella (Gianni Schicchi) and soprano soloist in Vivaldi’s Gloria, Handel’s Messiah and Honegger’s King David. She has performed as a guest soloist with the Burbank Philharmonic, Las Vegas Philharmonic, Henderson Symphony, Opera Las Vegas, Vegas City Opera and Lexington Opera Outreach. She has appeared with Opera Las Vegas on many occasions, in Holiday on Broadway, the Old Lady and the doll Olympia in Pinocchio, and Despina in The Three Little Pigs. She is also the director of the OLV Youth Chorus. Most recently, Athena was Alice B. Toklas in the West Coast premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon and Royce Vavrek’s 27, sang in the Twentieth Anniversary Season Reveal, and portrayed Lilly in Sasha Matson’s Cooperstown. She was scheduled to sing the role of Papagena in June’s The Magic Flute, before it was canceled.
Company Collaborative Pianist
Deborah Gordillo, originally from New York City, is a winner of the Prix D’Excellence, France, and the New York Artists International Competition. She has performed at Carnegie Hall, for President George W. Bush at the White House, and has served as accompanist for studios of Metropolitan Opera tenor Nico Castel and cellists Gary Hoffman and Timothy Eddy.
Mrs. Gordillo sang in the choir of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, where she became its sole Composer-In-Residence in history after winning the competition to compose the New York Archdiocese’s bicentennial hymn. Commissions include orchestral arrangements for the New York Papal masses in 2008, a Spanish mass, additional mass parts, anthems, and orchestrations. Her choral works were performed throughout New York State and at the Vatican.
Mrs. Gordillo served on the faculties of her alma mater, the Mannes College of Music, and Eugene Lang College. She teaches music theory, piano, ear training, and has written textbooks for beginner through undergraduate music theory levels.
Company Collaborative Pianist
Dr. Spencer Baker is a distinguished Las Vegas pianist, conductor and teacher. Spencer has been a soloist with several regional orchestras. While most of Spencer's solo appearances have centered in the Southwest, new engagements have taken him to Dallas, Washington DC, Disneyland, Niagara Falls, Montreal, Italy and China. Dr. Baker is in his seventh season with the International Opera Performing Experience in Mercatello sul Metauro, Italy as Pianist/Apprentice Tier Director.
Dr. Baker is currently Assistant Professor of Music at the UNLV School of Music. In addition, he is the Director of Music for Saint Timothy’s Episcopal church and frequent pianist for Opera Las Vegas and Opera On Tap, Las Vegas.
Dr. Baker recently served as guest conductor and pianist for Vegas City Opera’s production of Gianni Schicchi at Art Square Theater and The Face on the Barroom Floor at the Artisan. He is a Liberace scholar and professional competition winner and on the State Board of the Nevada Music Teachers Association. Dr. Baker recently held an artist in residency position at Truman State University (Missouri) and maintains an active teaching studio and solo performing career. For more information, please visit his website at www.spencerbakerpiano.com
Social Media Coordinator
Celebrated soprano, Cecilia Violetta López, has been named one of “Idaho’s Top 10 Most Influential Women of the Century” by USA Today and has been named one of opera’s “25 Rising Stars” by Opera News. The singing actress is constantly praised for her “alluring voice and incredible range” (Washington Post).
She has received accolades for her signature role of Violetta in La traviata, which she has performed countless times throughout North America. Critic, James Jorden, exclaimed “she is a Violetta fully- formed and, I think, ready for the great stages of the world.” She has now performed the role with Minnesota Opera, Opera Colorado, Opera Tampa, Opera Idaho, Ash Lawn Opera, The Northern Lights Music Festival, Madison Opera, Pacific Symphony and Virginia Opera. Ms. López made her European début as Norina in Don Pasquale with Zomeropera in Belgium, for which Klassiek Centraal exclaimed: “She turns out to be the revelation of the show and wins over the audience with her funny rendition, irresistible charm, and [she is] natural in the different vocals.”
From her performance as Adina in The Elixir of Love with Virginia Opera, The Virginian- Pilot hailed, “Cecilia Violetta López is showing local audiences why Opera News named her one of its ’25 Rising Stars.’ In the lead role of Adina, she hit the highest notes with ringing clarity, performed the vocal runs with precision and grace and showed a particular charm and humanity in the softest passages and lowest ranges.” In her recent performance as Marguerite in Faust with Opera Omaha, the Omaha World-Herald claimed “...López sang Marguerite’s seduction, madness and salvation with an other wordly wisdom and artistry.”
Despite the halting effects of COVID-19 in the opera industry, Ms. López’ 2020-2021 has included both virtual and live recitals with Opera Idaho, Opera Las Vegas, Austin Opera, Opera Southwest, Chatter ABQ, and Madison Opera. Ms. López made her company debut with Pacific Symphony as Violetta in their 90 minute version of La traviata, and Ms. López will also be the featured soprano soloist in the world premier of Mi Camino, a virtual project with Opera Cultura. Cecilia will also return to Opera Colorado as a soprano soloist in Canciones de Nuestras Tierras: a live, outdoor performance.
Mr Brusky was born in Kewaunee, Wisconsin; raised in a working-class Milwaukee suburb; and studied Economics at The University of Chicago. He worked for 32 years as a federal civil servant and retired in 2007 as the Chief of The Strategic Planning Team for the Air Force Materiel Command headquarters at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. He began photographing the Mountain West and other landscapes as a hobby in 1994 in conjunction with business travel. His photographic interests quickly expanded to Jazz and Blues venues in the Dayton, Ohio area. In 1998 a friend, a high school theatre instructor, asked him to photograph a play, A Piece of My Heart, and he was hooked by the power of the emotions conveyed. He decided they should be captured and shared. He’s been photographing theatrical performances ever since. When he retired and moved to Las Vegas, he quickly introduced himself to the local theatre community. He’s done promotion and production photography for Insurgo Theatre Company, Las Vegas Little Theatre, Super Summer Theatre, Vegas Theatre Company, A Public Fit Theatre Company, Nevada Conservatory Theatre, Vegas City Opera, and since 2015 has been photographing almost all Opera Las Vegas events.
Vietnam Infantry Officer, Pilot, Businessman, Author
William Schroder is retired and lives in Las Vegas with Elizabeth Jacks, his wife of forty-five years. As a young man, Bill spent over five years in the U.S. Army, serving in Vietnam as an infantry officer and combat helicopter pilot. In addition to having a thirty-year career as a successful businessman, he has also sailed small boats across the Pacific Ocean and for years flew his own aircraft in the Alaskan bush. His proudest achievements, however, are those of husband, father and author.
In addition to his many articles, historical essays, short stories and movie screenplays, he is the author of Cousins of Color, an historical novel that examines America’s 1899 invasion of the Philippines, our nation’s first overseas war of conquest and occupation. Since its publication, Cousins of Color has gained acceptance in academia and with African/American and multicultural interest groups. He is also the author of The Disposable Generation, an examination of the lifelong effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Vietnam veterans.
Bill is also proud to be selected to serve on the board of Opera Las Vegas, Nevada's finest and most professional opera company.
Nicole Harris, soprano, is an emerging artist from Las Vegas, Nevada. She received her Bachelors of Music and Masters of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. There, she studied with Dr. Michelle Latour and Dr. Tod Fitzpatrick. In 2014, she made her operatic debut with Vegas City Opera as Third Spirit in their production of The Magic Flute. Other productions with them include La Perichole (Hinoyosa), L’Etoile (Chorus), Pagliacci (Chorus), Seven Deadly Sins (Brother), The Pirates of Penzance (Ward), Das Rheingold (Wellgunde), and Die Walküre (Rossweisse). She has also been featured in the chorus with Opera Las Vegas in their productions of Carmen and Elisir d’amore.
For 9 years, Nicole was an active member of the Las Vegas Master Singers, first under the direction of Dr. Jocelyn Jensen, then David Weiller, and currently, Joseph Svendsen. With them she was able to perform alongside the Las Vegas Philharmonic and sing major works including, Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, Brahms’ Ein Deutches Requiem, and Mahler’s 9th Symphony. Nicole currently teaches piano and voice at Nevada Music Academy, works as a choir assistant at a middle school, and is a roster singer with Opera on Tap Las Vegas.
Tenor, Professor of Voice UNLV
Dr. Alfonse Anderson, tenor and Professor of Voice is currently Vocal Coordinator at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. He has performed in opera, recital and concerts for over 40 years.
In the United States and Europe he has performed with such notable organizations as the Houston Grand Opera, Teatro Colon Buenos Aires, Teatro Municipal Sao Paulo, Teatro Sols Montevideo, Arizona Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Minnesota Opera, Chicago Opera Theatre, Oakland Opera, Virginia Opera, Opera Francais, Opera South, Opera Columbus, Opera North and Opera Las Vegas.
Anderson has performed in concert and oratorio with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center and in the National Cathedral in Washington DC, Chautauqua Symphony, Illinois Symphony, Grant Park Orchestra in Chicago, Warsaw Symphony and Krakow Symphony in Poland, Las Vegas Philharmonic and the Henderson Symphony. He also performs frequently in recitals, concerts and master classes throughout the US.
The World premier of the opera Bandana by Daron Hagen was released in summer of 2006 on Albany Records with Anderson singing the role of the “Leader”. Anderson can be heard on various recordings with the American Spiritual Ensemble and on the Nationally acclaimed DVD titled “The Spiritual” airing throughout the US on PBS. Also in 2008/09 the CD from the German recording label Klavier singing " Nessun dorma" from the opera Turandot.
He has taught voice for over 30 years and in that time his students have won international, national and regional vocal competitions with such notable organizations as the MET Opera, NATSAA, Leontyne Price, Marian Anderson, Mario Lanza, Montserrat Cabellé, Meistersinger, Opera Index, Belvedere and Palm Spring Vocal Competition to name a few.
Many of his students have performed in young Artist Programs such as the internationally recognized Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia, Aspen Musical Festival, San Francisco Opera, Florida Grand, American Institute of Musical Studies, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, LA Opera, Miami, Chautauqua Opera, Des Moines Opera, Opera North, Sarasota Opera, Mirella Freni CUBEC program. Many of his students and former students are performing with opera companies in the US, Europe and China. Anderson also serves as a master vocal clinician throughout the US and Europe.
Oboist and accomplished academic administrator.
Dr. Richard Kravchak is one of America’s most exciting oboists and accomplished academic administrators. He has been heard as an oboe soloist, chamber and orchestral musician worldwide, performing throughout Europe, Asia, and the Americas. He specializes in contemporary music, with over 100 compositions written for him, and HIP (Historically informed practice) frequently performing period music on oboes of the Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and early 20th century.
Kravchak holds performance degrees from the Eastman School of Music, the Juilliard School, and Florida State University. He has been Chair of Music at CSU Dominguez Hills and was the founding Director of the School of Music and Theatre at Marshall University as well as the Director of the School of Music at the University of Southern Mississippi. Currently Dr. Kravchak serves as Dean of the School of Arts and Letters at the College of Southern Nevada, our nation’s 5th largest Community College.
Trustee, Women's Health & Safety Advocate, Computer Systems Manager (Retired)
Anita Murray was a Patron of the Metropolitan Opera in New York for many years. After moving to Nevada, she became an enthusiastic supporter of Opera Las Vegas. She has been a Trustee and served as co-chair of gala events and silent auctions for Opera Las Vegas. She is a recipient of the Opera America 2020 National Opera Trustee Recognition Award.
While in New York Anita was a member of Community Board 1 in lower Manhattan and a board member for her residential cooperative building. She has been a longtime advocate for women’s health and safety.
Anita is retired from a career in computer systems management in various industries, including airline, apparel, commodities, consulting, and software. Anita has a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh and a Master of Science in Statistics from Stanford University.
Gregory A. Gordillo became a lawyer after obtaining his bachelor's degree from Northwestern University as a theatre major and his law degree from Cleveland State University in Cleveland, Ohio. As a lawyer, he focuses on helping small businesses and their owners lead more productive and fulfilling lives by using the law to stay out of court and out of conflict.
A lawyer by trade, Greg is an artist at heart. As a high school student, he was a Cleveland Orchestra volunteer fundraiser. Ever since, he has been part of local arts communities and organizations whether as an employee, patron, supporter, or counselor. Although all his experiences with the arts have been fulfilling, the best part is being married to his wife and Opera Las Vegas Company’s Collaborative Pianist, Deborah Gordillo who he met when they were students together at a summer music camp more than 45 years ago.
Non-Profit Leader, PhD Student, and Musician
Teri Raven is a non-profit leader within the Las Vegas community and has had a lifelong commitment to academia, philanthropy, and the arts. She serves as Chairwoman of the Board for Notes With a Purpose, and has also served on the boards of the Las Vegas Philharmonic Guild, the UNLV Newman Center, and the Junior League of Las Vegas. She is currently pursuing a graduate degree and PhD in Family Therapy and Psychology, and also holds an Executive MBA from UNLV. Teri has an extensive professional career in leadership positions within the technology sector and at the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce. She is a professional violinist, vocalist, and artist, and is a passionate supporter of the Las Vegas performing arts community.
Littler, Labor and Employment Law Solutions
Snell and Wilmer Law Firm
Board Member Emeritus & Historian
Volunteer, Classical Radio Host
Alvida Lane has been an opera lover since she started listening to the Metropolitan Opera Radio Broadcasts at age 9 in Vancouver, BC. Shortly after moving to Las Vegas in 1988 her husband passed away, and she became a volunteer at classical radio KNPR, eventually moving up to an on-air “classical disc-jockey”. When KNPR decided to discontinue airing the Met broadcasts, management asked her if she would like to host an opera program. Alvida was delighted and produced her own opera show for about two years. At that time Opera Las Vegas was just getting established and asked her to join the group. She happily agreed, since she saw it as an opportunity to bring live opera to Las Vegas. She was soon thereafter elected as Secretary of the Board of Directors, a position which she held for 20 years. As a senior member of the Board, has helped and watched as Opera Las Vegas grew and developed into the organization it is today. Alvida currently serves as the OLV Historian.