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Our Leadership, Board, & Trustees

Opera Las Vegas Leadership & Staff


James Sohre, Opera Las Vegas General Director

James Sohre

General Director

Chief, US Army Europe Entertainment (Retired)
director@operalasvegas.com

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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 PucciniViva 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 DiamondsOperatic 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. 

Joshua Horsch, conducting

Joshua Horsch

Music Director and Principal Conductor

musicdirector@operalasvegas.com

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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, Mobile Opera, Pacific Opera Project, Opera Las Vegas, Tri-Cities Opera, and Chicago Summer Opera.

With a diverse repertoire of over fifty operas and a broad spectrum of orchestral and choral works, Joshua has recently held positions as a conductor/coach/chorus master on the music staff of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Michigan Opera Theatre, Florida Grand Opera, North Carolina Opera, Opera Saratoga, Pensacola Opera, Fort Worth Opera, the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Colorado Music Festival. Joshua’s guest and workshop conducting includes work with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Omaha Symphony, the Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra and Chorus, the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, the Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic Orchestra, Orquestra Filharmonia de Chihuahua, the Lyatoshinsky Chamber Orchestra, the Newport Music Festival, the Colorado New Music Ensemble, the PENDULUM New Music Ensemble, the Boston Opera Collaborative, and the Boulder Bach Festival.

Sheronda McKee-Dollar, D.M.A., Opera Las Vegas Diversity Coordinator

Sheronda McKee-Dollar, D.M.A.

Diversity Coordinator

secretary@operalasvegas.com

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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, D.M.A., Opera Las Vegas Chorus Master

Joseph Svendsen, D.M.A.

Chorus Master

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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.

Athena Mertes, Soprano, against a blue background.

Athena Mertes

Chorus Master, Opera Las Vegas Youth Chorus

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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.

Cecilia Violetta López, Opera Las Vegas Social Media Coordinator

Cecilia Violetta López

Social Media Coordinator

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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.

Richard Brusky

Richard Brusky

Company Photographer

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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.

Opera Las Vegas Board


Paxton A. Fleming, Opera Las Vegas Board President

Paxton A. Fleming

President

Howard & Howard Attorneys
president@operalasvegas.com

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Paxton Fleming is an attorney who advises clients on developing and protecting their intellectual property. She focuses on domestic and foreign patent prosecution, patentability searching and clearance/freedom to operate issues. She joined Howard & Howard in 2016 as an intellectual property intern while attending law school in the evenings. During law school, she externed in China, where she focused on patent law. Prior to joining Howard & Howard, Paxton worked for Laboratory Services of America, testing and analyzing whether drugs were present within individuals’ systems. When ideas translate into products, processes, art, or authorship, she helps clients protect their innovations and commercialize their work. She has a J.D. in Intellectual Property Law from the University of Nevada Las Vegas, William S Boyd School of Law; and a B.S. in Chemistry, and Forensic Science. with a minor in Criminal Justice from Trine University. She is a member of the American Intellectual Property Law Association.

Sheronda McKee-Dollar, D.M.A., Opera Las Vegas Diversity Coordinator

Sheronda McKee-Dollar, D.M.A.

Secretary

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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.

Alvida Lane, Opera Las Vegas Historian

Alvida Lane

Historian

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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.

Dr. Alfonse Anderson Headshot

Dr. Alfonse Anderson

Board Member

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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.

Dr. Richard Kravchak in a formal suit and tie, smiling in front of a shaded natural background.

Dr. Richard Kravchak

Board Member

Oboist and accomplished academic administrator.

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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.

Opera Las Vegas Legal Council


Diana Dickinson

Diana Dickinson

Legal Counsel

Littler, Labor and Employment Law Solutions

Brian Blaylock, Opera Las Vegas Legal Counsel

Brian Blaylock

Legal Counsel

Snell and Wilmer Law Firm

Opera Las Vegas Sustaining Trustees


Christopher and Anita Murray, Opera Las Vegas Sustaining Trustee

Christopher and Anita Murray

Sustaining Trustees

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