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Paris Extraordinaire inspires Opera Las Vegas' extravagant Parisian-themed celebration, featuring an evening of spectacular performances, exquisite formal dinner, hand crafted French libations, legendary silent auction and unforgettable camaraderie.
Opera Las Vegas' poster for their annual 2023 Gala, "Paris Extraordinaire." A crowd of 19th century Parisians gather for a formal ball in a luxurious ballroom with the Eiffel Tower lit in the background. Illustration by Gregory Storkan and Maria Savko.
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Season Artists

Proving Up

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  • Missy Mazzoli, looking straight at the camera with dramtic makeup and expression, auburn hair and a brown muslin top.

    Missy Mazzoli

    Composer

  • Missy Mazzoli, looking straight at the camera with dramtic makeup and expression, auburn hair and a brown muslin top.

    Missy Mazzoli

    Composer


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    Grammy-nominated composer Missy Mazzoli was recently deemed “one of the more consistently inventive, surprising composers now working in New York” (The New York Times) and “Brooklyn’s post-millennial Mozart” (Time Out New York), and has been praised for her “apocalyptic imagination” (Alex Ross, The New Yorker). Mazzoli is the Mead Composer-in-Residence at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and her music has been performed all over the world by the Kronos Quartet, eighth blackbird, pianist Emanuel Ax, Opera Philadelphia, Scottish Opera, LA Opera, Cincinnati Opera, New York City Opera, Chicago Fringe Opera, the Detroit Symphony, the LA Philharmonic, the Minnesota Orchestra, the American Composers Orchestra, JACK Quartet, cellist Maya Beiser, violinist Jennifer Koh, pianist Kathleen Supové, Dublin’s Crash Ensemble, the Sydney Symphony and many others. In 2018 she made history when she became one of the two first women (along with composer Jeanine Tesori) to be commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera. That year she was also nominated for a Grammy in the category of “Best Classical Composition” for her work Vespers for Violin, recorded by violinist Olivia De Prato.

    Mazzoli has received considerable acclaim for her operatic compositions. Her third opera, Proving Up, written with longtime collaborator Royce Vavrek, was commissioned by Washington National Opera, Opera Omaha and New York’s Miller Theatre.  Based on a short story by Karen Russell, Proving Up offers a surreal and disquieting commentary on the American dream through the story of a Nebraskan family homesteading in the late 19th century. Proving Up premiered to critical acclaim in January 2018 at Washington D.C.’s Kennedy Center, in April 2018 at Opera Omaha, and in September 2018 at Miller Theatre. The Washington Post called it “harrowing…powerful…a true opera of our time”. Mazzoli’s second opera, Breaking the Waves, a collaboration with librettist Royce Vavrek commissioned by Opera Philadelphia and Beth Morrison Projects in 2016, was described as “among the best 21st-century operas yet” (Opera News), “savage, heartbreaking and thoroughly original” (Wall Street Journal), and “dark and daring” (New York Times). Earlier projects include the critically acclaimed sold-out premiere of Missy’s first opera, Song from the Uproar, in a Beth Morrison production at New York venue The Kitchen in March 2012. The Wall Street Journal called this work “powerful and new” and the New York Times claimed that “in the electric surge of Ms. Mazzoli’s score you felt the joy, risk, and limitless potential of free sprits unbound.” Time Out New York named Song from the Uproar Number 3 on its list of the top ten classical music events of 2012. In October 2012, Missy’s operatic work, SALT, a re-telling of the story of Lot’s Wife written for cellist Maya Beiser and vocalist Helga Davis, premiered as part of the BAM Next Wave Festival and at UNC Chapel Hill, directed by Robert Woodruff. This work, including text by Erin Cressida-Wilson, was deemed “a dynamic amalgamation that unapologetically pushes boundaries” by Time Out New York.

    Missy attended the Yale School of Music, the Royal Conservatory of the Hague and Boston University.  She has studied with (in no particular order) David Lang, Louis Andriessen, Martin Bresnick, Aaron Jay Kernis, Martijn Padding, Richard Ayres, John Harbison, Charles Fussell, Martin Amlin, Marco Stroppa, Ladislav Kubik, Louis DeLise and Richard Cornell.

    Her music is published by G. Schirmer.

  • Royce Vavrek

    Royce Vavrek

    Librettist

  • Royce Vavrek

    Royce Vavrek

    Librettist


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    Royce Vavrek is a Canada-born, Brooklyn-based librettist and lyricist who has been called “the indie Hofmannsthal” (The New Yorker) a “Metastasio of the downtown opera scene” (The Washington Post), “an exemplary creator of operatic prose” (The New York Times), and “one of the most celebrated and sought after librettists in the world” (CBC Radio).  His opera “Angel’s Bone” with composer Du Yun was awarded the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Music.

    With composer Missy Mazzoli he wrote “Song from the Uproar,” premiered by Beth Morrison Projects in 2012, and subsequently seen in multiple presentations around the country. Their second opera, an adaptation of Lars von Trier’s “Breaking the Waves,” premiered at Opera Philadelphia, co-commissioned by Beth Morrison Projects, and directed by James Darrah to critical acclaim in September of 2016. The work won the 2017 Music Critics Association of North America award for Best New Opera and was nominated for Best World Premiere at the 2017 International Opera Awards.  A new production premiered at the Edinburgh International Festival in the summer of 2019, produced by Scottish Opera and Opera Ventures, helmed by Tony Award-winning director Tom Morris and earned star Sydney Mancasola a coveted Herald Angel Award for her performance.  Their next opera, an adaptation of Karen Russell’s short story “Proving Up,” was commissioned and presented by Washington National Opera, Opera Omaha and The Miller Theatre in 2018, was a finalist for the MCANA Best New Opera Award of that year.  They are currently developing a grand opera for Opera Philadelphia and the Norwegian National Opera based on an original story by two-time Governor General’s Award-winning playwright Jordan Tannahill, as well as an adaptation of George Saunders’ Booker Prize-winning novel “Lincoln in the Bardo” for The Metropolitan Opera.

    His collaboration with composer David T. Little led Heidi Waleson of the Wall Street Journal to proclaim them “one of the most exciting composer-librettist teams working in opera today.”  In April of 2016 they premiered their first grand opera, “JFK,” at Fort Worth Opera, a co-commission with American Lyric Theater and Opéra de Montréal that was called “ravishing” (Opera News), earning a ten-star review in Opera Now Magazine.  This followed the success of their first opera, “Dog Days,” which received its world premiere in September of 2012 at Peak Performances @ Montclair, in a production co-produced by Beth Morrison Projects and directed by American maverick Robert Woodruff.  The work was celebrated as the Classical Music Event of the year by Time Out New York and a standout opera of recent decades by The New York Times.  They are currently developing an original work for the Metropolitan Opera through the Met/LCT commissioning program.

    Royce has also worked extensively with composer Paola Prestini, first on the song cycle "Yoani," inspired by the blog posts of Yoani Sanchez, and then on "The Hubble Cantata," a virtual reality oratorio produced by VisionIntoArt/National Sawdust in association with Beth Morrison Projects. They recently presented the workshop premiere of “Silent Light,” an opera based on the Cannes Jury Prize-winning film by Carlos Reygadas at the Banff Centre for Creativity, a collaboration with the director Thaddeus Strassberger, and are currently working on a new opera inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea.” They are also developing "Film Stills," a project for mezzo-soprano Eve Gigliotti that dramatizes four of Cindy Sherman's iconic photographs through musical monologues composed by Paola, Missy Mazzoli, Nico Muhly and Ellen Reid, and directed by R.B. Schlather.  Royce and Paola's collaboration can be further heard on the AIDS Quilt Songbook: Sing for Hope recording, where their song "Union," as sung by Isabel Leonard, is featured.

    In 2014 Royce premiered “27,” his first collaboration with composer Ricky Ian Gordon, at the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis.  Created for renowned mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe, the work brought to life Gertrude Stein’s famous salon at 27 rue de Fleurus in Paris.  Mark Ray Rinaldi of the Denver Post wrote that the opera “tells a great American story, about Gertrude Stein, as well as opera in the 21st century.”  The opera was subsequently presented by Pittsburgh Opera, MasterVoices at New York City Center, Michigan Opera Theater, Opéra de Montréal and Opera Las Vegas.  In 2017 their adaptation of Gail Rock’s Christmas classic “The House Without a Christmas Tree” for Houston Grand Opera was premiered to critical acclaim.

    Other recent and upcoming projects include “Strip Mall” with Matt Marks for the Los Angeles Philharmonic; “Epistle Mass” with Julian Wachner for Trinity Wall Street, “Midwestern Gothic” with Josh Schmidt for Signature Theatre, Virginia; “Naamah’s Ark” with Marisa Michelson for MasterVoices; “O Columbia” with Gregory Spears for HGOco; and “Knoxville: Summer of 2015” with Ellen Reid for the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and National Sawdust; “Crypto” with Guillaume Coté and Mikael Karlsson; “The Wild Beast of the Bungalow” with Rachel Peters for Oberlin Conservatory; “Jacqueline” with Luna Pearl Woolf for Tapestry New Opera; “Adoration” (based on the film by Atom Egoyan) with Mary Kouyoumdjian for Beth Morrison Projects and “Agnes” with Daníel Bjarnason for the Icelandic Opera.

    Royce is co-Artistic Director of The Coterie, an opera-theater company founded with Tony-nominee Lauren Worsham.  He holds a BFA in Filmmaking and Creative Writing from Concordia University’s Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema in Montreal and an MFA from the Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program at New York University.  He is an alum of American Lyric Theater’s Composer Librettist Development Program.

  • Joshua Horsch, posting with arms crossed in a dark suit and his conducting wand in one hand.

    Joshua Horsch

    Conductor

  • Joshua Horsch, posting with arms crossed in a dark suit and his conducting wand in one hand.

    Joshua Horsch

    Conductor


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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.

    As a dedicated interpreter of new works, Joshua has enjoyed a number of collaborations with many of today’s leading composers including Tom CipulloJennifer Higdon, and Libby Larsen.  For two seasons, Joshua served as Music Director/Conductor of the CU New Opera Workshop where he collaborated with composers Libby Larsen and Alberto Caruso as well as author Colm Tóibín and stage director Ron Daniels.  At Seagle Music Colony’s American Center for New Works Development, Joshua has conducted and played workshops for new works by Libby Larsen and Scott Eyerly.  For four seasons, Joshua served as conductor/co-founder of the Colorado New Music Ensemble where he programmed and conducted works ranging from John Corigliano’s Symphony No. 2 to Susan Botti’s chamber opera Telaio: Desdemona.  While a Festival Artist/Conductor at the Newport Music Festival, Joshua conducted members of the Rhode Island Philharmonic and Providence Singers in a series of contemporary choral/orchestral masterworks.

  • Audrey Chait, Director

    Audrey Chait

    Director

  • Audrey Chait, Director

    Audrey Chait

    Director


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    Audrey Chait is a director, writer, and producer specializing in opera and multi-disciplinary performance art.

    In the 2020-2021 season, Ms. Chait directs the world premiere of Marie Begins for Westminster Opera Theater (online release), The Telephone for Parea Recital Series (online release), Gallantry for Northern Kentucky University, L’inganno felice for Opera Southwest, and Don Pasquale for Opera Las Vegas. In the 2019-2020 season, Ms. Chait directed The Bartered Brideand the North American premiere of Dark Star Requiem, both at CCM, and La fille du regiment for Winter Opera St. Louis. In summer 2021, Ms. Chait joins the prestigious Merola Opera Program.

    Previous directing credits include Bolcom's Dinner at Eight, and the Bach St. John Passion, both at CCM, Scalia/Ginsburg with Opera North, The Magic Flute (Outreach Tour) at Kentucky Opera, and La cenerentola at Opera Las Vegas. Her production of L’elisir d’amore at Winter Opera St. Louis in 2018 was nominated for a St. Louis Theater Critics Circle Award. Ms. Chait’s assistant director credits include Santa Fe Opera, the Glimmerglass Festival, Carnegie Hall, Portland Opera, and Opera Colorado.

    In her prior career as a producer and stage manager, Ms. Chait specialized in large-scale site-specific theatrical projects, including several collaborations with On Site Opera: at Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum, the Cotton Club, and the Fabbri Mansion. She also oversaw a multi-venue TEDx conference produced at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. As an administrator, she worked for two years at the Marcus Institute for Vocal Arts at the Juilliard School.

    Ms. Chait holds a BA in Literary Arts from Brown University, where she studied playwriting and performance art with Erik Ehn. While at Brown, she was selected to travel to Berlin to meet with students in Daniel Barenboim's West-Eastern Divan Orchestra. In 2009, she directed her first opera and never looked back.

    Her writing (fiction, poetry, and plays) tends toward magical realism, broad comedy, and often incorporates operatic elements in both style and content.

  • Dylan Morrongiello headshot, casually neutral in a light floral shirt.

    Dylan Morrongiello

    Tenor

    Miles Zegner

  • Dylan Morrongiello headshot, casually neutral in a light floral shirt.

    Dylan Morrongiello

    Tenor


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    Known for his “agile character tenor” and “over-the-top committed” portrayals, tenor Dylan Anthony Morrongiello will embark on an exciting 2021-2022 season as he joins the rosters of the Lyric Opera of Chicago covering Monostatos in The Magic Flute, and the Metropolitan Opera making his debut singing the Dean in Cinderella and covering Don Curzio and Don Basilio in Le nozze di Figaro, Player 2 in Brett Dean’s Hamlet, and Sellem in The Rake’s Progress. This fall, he will join Opera Las Vegas as Miles Zegner in Proving Up, and in the spring of 2023, he will make his company debut with Arizona Opera as Monostatos in Die Zauberflöte. Mr. Morrongiello’s recent scheduled engagements included his debut with Opera Theater of Saint Louis where he was scheduled to perform the role of Dr. Blind in Die Fledermaus (COVID19) and cover the roles of Elder Hayes and Little Bat in Floyd’s Susannah (COVID19).

  • Christina Mancheni, Soprano, smiling in a formal gown outside.

    Christina Mancheni

    Soprano

    Mrs. Johannes "Ma" Zegner

  • Christina Mancheni, Soprano, smiling in a formal gown outside.

    Christina Mancheni

    Soprano

    Christina Mancheni, soprano, is a current doctoral student at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. Christina was recently a featured artist in the 34th St.Bart’s Music Festival, under the direction of Maestro Steven Mercurio. Recent roles include Fanchette (The Sea Cadet), Adele (Die Fledermaus), Salomea (Frederica) and Nichette (Madeleine) all with the Concert Operetta Theater. She also was featured as the soprano soloist in the Brahms' Requiem, with the Richmond Symphony Orchestra. During her studies at Miami University, she performed the roles of Sister Genovieffa (Suor Angelica), Nella (Gianni Schicchi) and The Fairy God Mother (Cendrillon). Christina also performed the title role in Alcina, as well as Despina (Così Fan Tutte) and Papagena (The Magic Flute) with the UNLV Opera Theater. Christina won first place in the prestigious New Jersey State Opera Alfredo Silipigni Vocal Competition. She has also won awards from the Gerda Lissner Foundation as well as from The National Association of Teachers Singing.

  • Joseph Lodato, wearing a dark suit while sitting on a modern wooden bench.

    Joseph Lodato

    Baritone

    Mr. Johannes "Pa" Zegner

  • Joseph Lodato, wearing a dark suit while sitting on a modern wooden bench.

    Joseph Lodato

    Baritone


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    Italian-American Baritone, Joe Lodato, “an artist the world is excited to see,” is a top contender for the Verdi Baritone repertoire in the international marketplace. Having sung the title role of Rigoletto, Amonasro in Aida, Renato in Un Ballo in Maschera, Giorgio Germont in La Traviata, and Peter in Hansel und Gretel to great acclaim, he has diligently prepared many of the core roles in the fach with the world's top maestri. Upcoming engagements in 2022 include appearances with Boheme OperaNJ, Opera at Florham, and Dikson in New Amsterdam Opera’s production of Boïdelieu’s La Dame Blanche. His voice has been described as possessing a “stunningly beautiful timbre, Italianate snarl, mixed with a controlled passion and deep understanding of the repertoire”, proving further that this is an artist poised to breakthrough in a major way.

    Mr. Lodato was educated at Westminster Choir College, the University of Miami, and Salzburg College, and subsequently completed Young Artist training under the auspices of the Metropolitan Opera, Sarasota Opera, and Aspen Music Festival. He has been awarded top prizes by the Metropolitan Opera National Council, Los Angeles Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Aspen Music Festival, and Premiere Opera Foundation. Equally adept and attuned to the musical theater and jazz idioms, Mr. Lodato has been seen in performance with world-renowned artists such as Tony Award winner Betty Buckley, jazz icon Lea DeLaria, and award-winning composer and pianist John Musto.

    An aggressive champion of song and new works, Joe has premiered many works including the cycle Dear Theo based on the letters of Vincent Van Gogh, composed by Ben Moore; he has also appeared in concert performance with composers Jake Heggie and Ricky Ian Gordon, presenting their works to great acclaim.

  • Kayla Wilkens, Soprano, in black and leaning against a grey wall.

    Kayla Wilkens

    Soprano

    Littler Zegner Sister

  • Kayla Wilkens, Soprano, in black and leaning against a grey wall.

    Kayla Wilkens

    Soprano


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    With a passion for musical theatre and opera, soprano Kayla Wilkens is a versatile young artist originally from Salem, Oregon. An enthusiastic supporter of developing new works, she has performed leading roles in the ASCAP award-winning premiere readings of Persephone Unplugged (Persephone) and Jonathan Reid Gealt’s Dust and Shadow (Miss Monk), in the World Music Award-winning premiere of the opera O Pioneers! (Marie Shabata), John Muehleisen's Pietà (soprano soloist) and in Libby Larsen’s Moabit Sonnets (soprano soloist). Her featured roles in new works include Vía Láctea (Peggy cover/featured soloist) with OperaBend, the American debut of Robert Owen’s opera Culture, Culture! (featured coloratura) international live webcast, and the national prize-winning full orchestra premiere of Mary Zimmerman’s adaptation of Bernstein’s Candide (Cunegonde cover).

    Other recent productions include performing as a featured soloist in concerts with Tony-winning composers Steven Lutvak and Stephen Bray. Her recent roles include Into the Woods (Rapunzel/Cinderella’s Mother) with Musical Theater Heritage, L’Etoile (Princess Laoula) with Sin City Opera, Sweeney Todd (Johanna) with OmniArts, and in the tour of The Drowsy Chaperone (Janet Van De Graaff) with the Stage Theater. Kayla has also performed as a featured soloist in the original historical revues Songs of the Great War at Musical Theater Heritage and in the Abraham Lincoln Birthday Celebration production of Civil War Voices. Other favorite roles include La Fée in Cendrillon, Belle in Beauty and the Beast, Adina in L’elisir d’amore, and Adele in A Man of No Importance.

    As a frequent recitalist and orchestral soloist, her recent performances include Stephen Paulus’ To Be Certain of the Dawn, Handel’s Messiah, Bach’s Magnificat, Faure’s Requiem, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Bernstein’s Mass, and a duet recital series Glimpses premiering commissioned American art songs. Kayla has also toured and performed as a featured soloist with professional choral chamber ensembles including Sounding Light and First Plymouth Cantorei.

    Her honors include the Dorothy Kirsten-James Browning “Most Promising Young Artist” prize in the NATS National Artist Awards, the inaugural Bill Hayes Award in NATS National Musical Theater Competition, as well as awards in the Metropolitan Opera Council Auditions, the Lotte Lenya Competition, the Harold Haugh Light Opera Competition, and the Carolyn Bailey and Dominick Argento National Vocal Competition.

    Having earned a Bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from Linfield College, she completed a Master’s degree in vocal performance at the University of Nebraska. When not on stage, Kayla may be found blues dancing or concocting decadent desserts to reward her dearest friends.  ​​

    Recent highlights from the 2018 season include singing as the soprano soloist in Pietà: An Oratorio by John Muehleisen with the Abendmusik Orchestra at First Plymouth Church, premiering the songcycle April Twilights​ by Chris Miller (of Miller & Tysen), a children's adaptation of The Magic Flute  (Pamina/1st Spirit) with Sin City Opera, singing in educational outreach concerts with Opera Omaha, and The Pirates of Penzance (Mabel) with Sin City Opera and Super Summer Theater. Most recently, Kayla sang in Opera Omaha's Pagliacci, joined the Arts Across Nebraska tour of the musical Civil War Voices and then returned to Las Vegas to sing the Dew Fairy in Hansel and Gretel with Opera Las Vegas. She is currently performing in Stolen! The Musical at the Ohio Star Theater through August and upcoming appearances include performances with Sounding Light, Opera Omaha and  Vegas City Opera.

    ​Full resume and references available upon request.
  • Hilary Grace Taylor, a woman with red hair and red lipstick, standing outside wearing a dark blue formal gown.

    Hilary Grace Taylor

    Mezzo-Soprano

    Taller Zegner Sister

  • Hilary Grace Taylor, a woman with red hair and red lipstick, standing outside wearing a dark blue formal gown.

    Hilary Grace Taylor

    Mezzo-Soprano


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    Hilary Grace Taylor, mezzo-soprano, is a native of Dallas and is becoming known for her versatility of repertoire and love of contemporary music. Most recently she was a Young Artist with Chautauqua Opera in their 2020 virtual season and this year is Semifinalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. This summer she will join Pittsburgh Festival Opera as a Young Artist.

    Hilary is the First Place Winner of the Lewisville Lake Symphony International Voice Competition, and a 2019 winner of the University of North Texas Concerto Competition. She has debuted a number of opera roles nationally and internationally including Dorabella (Così fan tutte) and Principessa (Suor Angelica) with Maestro Gregory Buchalter from the Metropolitan Opera at the 2019 Varna International Opera Academy, Giovanna (Rigoletto) with the Sacramento Symphony and Opera, and appeared as the mezzo soloist in the Verdi Requiem at the Durham Cathedral in Durham, England with conductor Paul Leddington Wright at the Brass Band Festival.

    As an Education Outreach Artist with The Dallas Opera, Hilary was responsible for the role of Bastienne in Mozart’s Bastien und Bastienne in the 2017-18 season and performed Veronica in Doctor Miracle in their 2019-20 season. With UNT Opera she debuted Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni), Desirée Armfeldt (A Little Night Music), Madame de Croissy (Dialogues des Carmélites), Dritte Dame (Die Zauberflöte), Martha (Faust), Mrs. Jones (Street Scene), Regina (Regina) and Gertrude Stein (After Life by Tom Cipullo). In 2018 Hilary was invited to direct UNT Opera’s production of Madame Butterfly as well as scenes from La traviata and Le nozze di Figaro. In addition, she directed The Night of Decayed Musicians with the Dallas-based ensemble Lumedia Music Works. At the invitation of Eugene Migliaro Corporon, director of the UNT Wind Symphony, she performed and recorded James M. Stephenson’s Symphony No. 2.

    Hilary maintains a local voice studio and is a cantor at Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church in Dallas, Texas. She received her Master of Music in Vocal Performance and Opera from UNT and a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance from the Butler School of Music at The University of Texas at Austin. She is currently pursuing the degree Doctor of Musical Arts in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy at UNT.

  • William Meinert casually smiling in a dark suit.

    William Meinert

    Bass

    The Sodbuster

  • William Meinert casually smiling in a dark suit.

    William Meinert

    Bass


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    Praised for his “rich vibrant bass” (Opera Today) and "charismatic [and] exhilarating comic flair" (Boston Musical Intelligencer), William Meinert recently made his European debut with Tiroler Festspiele Erl as Mordred in Le roi Arthus and joined the Internationale Meistersinger Akademie in Neumarkt i.d.OPf., Germany. In 2021 he joined Atlanta Opera as a Studio Artist, debuting as Curio in Giulio Cesare, and returned to Santa Fe Opera, where he performed Snug in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and covered Gremin in Eugene Onegin as an Apprentice Artist. He also debuted with Dallas Opera as the Imperial Commissioner in Madama Butterfly and joined the National Symphony Orchestra as bass soloist for Handel’s Messiah, the NEC Philharmonia & Symphonic Choir for Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 13 “Babi Yar,” and the American Bach Soloists.

    First Prize Winner in the 2022 Shreveport Opera Mary Jacobs Smith Singer of the Year Competition and the 2019 Houston Grand Opera Eleanor McCollum Competition, William is a recent graduate of the Cafritz Young Artist program at Washington National Opera, where he performed Sarastro in The Magic Flute and the Secret Police Agent in The Consul. He has sung Commendatore in Mozart's Don Giovanni (Baltimore Concert Opera), Commentator in Derrick Wang's Scalia/Ginsburg (Opera North), Vodník in Rusalka (Madison Opera), and Le Duc in Gounod's Roméo et Juliette (Pensacola Opera). As a Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Artist, he covered Hjarne and Corbin in the world premiere of Poul Ruders’ The Thirteenth Child. He was scheduled to return to the 2020 Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Artist program to sing Second Armored Man in Die Zauberflöte and cover Vodník in Dvořák's Rusalka. He has been featured in Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with Baltimore Choral Arts Society, Monteverdi's Vespers of 1610 with American Bach Soloists, and Handel’s Messiah with Washington Bach Consort.

    A Master of Music graduate of Peabody Institute, William is also co-founder of Parea Series—a digital performance series combining music, innovative theater, and lively discussion—in which he is not only a principal performer but also responsible for filming, video editing, and lighting design.

  • Rafael Canizalez, with glasses and shaggy curly hair in a bold-patterned shirt, smiling against a plain background.

    Rafael Canizalez

    Actor

    Peter Zegner

  • Rafael Canizalez, with glasses and shaggy curly hair in a bold-patterned shirt, smiling against a plain background.

    Rafael Canizalez

    Actor

    Rafael is a fourth-year student at UNLV majoring in Theatre Studies and Health Care Administration. Most recent credits include Hero in LVLT’s A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and William Barfee in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Other recent works include the production of UNLV Second Stage’s 5th season, direction of Ordinary Days by Adam Gwon, and scenic design and construction for productions of Exit Laughing and Les Miserables. An all-around lover of theatre, Rafael is excited to join this cast and branch out into a new world of performance.

Letters To Lily

World Premiere Workshop of Act 1

More Info →
  • Emily Clements, a young red-headed woman smiling while resting on her elbows and leaning forward.

    Emily Clements

    Composer & Librettist

  • Emily Clements, a young red-headed woman smiling while resting on her elbows and leaning forward.

    Emily Clements

    Composer & Librettist

    Clements is a University of Nevada, Las Vegas Alumni, graduating with a Bachelors of Music in Vocal Performance and intensive compositional studies. Clements was born in Montreal, Quebec but has been a Las Vegas local for ten plus years. Clements began piano lessons at the age of five after watching her father, Alex Clements (award winning pianist and composer) growing up. She performed as a violinist in orchestras for eight years before switching to her true passion, voice. She began her studies in Opera and that led her to vocal writing, which she continued alongside performance throughout her second half of undergraduate studies. Clements studied with Dr. Linda Lister for voice and Dr. Jennifer Bellor for composition. She began writing her first act of her opera Letters to Lily in 2018 after being inspired by new music and singers from around the world at two young artists programs that summer. Clements always had interests in writing, storytelling, and theater growing up. In 2019, she workshopped her first opera scene from Letters in UNLV’s Opera Workshop’s scenes program. She then continued to write two more scenes, Sam’s aria and a love duet that were planned to be workshop premiered at UNLV before the pandemic hit.

    Clements is currently pursuing a Masters of Music in Vocal Performance at the University of Mississippi. Some of Clements’ solo opera credits include Cupid in Orpheus in the Underworld, Second Lady in Dido and Aeneas, and Constance (cover) in Dialogues of the Carmelites at UNLV. Clements also performed in Pirates of Penzance with Vegas City Opera and Summer Super Theatre. Clements also originated the role ‘Felicity' in Linda Lister’s world premiere of State of Grace in the fall of 2018 as well as performed in Cynthia Wong’s workshop premiere of No Guarantees. Additionally, Clements has performed at the National Opera Association conference in Salt Lake City for State of Grace, played Elizabeth Tabor in The Ballad of Baby Doe, and was in the chorus in Little Women at Harrower’s Young Artist Program in Atlanta, Georgia.

    Clements future plans include completing Letters to Lily with Act two along with continuing to workshop scenes and new music. Clements is so honored to work with Opera Las Vegas and wants to thank her dear friends, cast and crew, mentors, and family for supporting her artistic journey.

  • Alex Clements, posing at a grand piano.

    Alex Clements

    Orchestrator

  • Alex Clements, posing at a grand piano.

    Alex Clements

    Orchestrator


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    Vibrant, rhythmic, captivating, and lyrical are just a few of the many adjectives that can be used to describe the many facets of this talented and creative Canadian jazz pianist and composer. Clements', who was a child prodigy at the age of four, won numerous piano competitions in Canada and quickly became an internationally recognized artist, performing in the United States, Europe, Asia, and Africa. One of Clements’ highest accomplishments is an Alberta Achievement Award, which was presented to him by the Government of Canada. He is currently in his twelfth year teaching music at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. He also performs nightly in Cirque du Soleil’s water show ‘O’.

    Clements holds a Doctorate in Musical Arts in Jazz Studies from the University of Southern California. Clements skills and versatility as a composer are recognized by a series of commissions for Canada’s nationally known Montreal Jazz Big Band, including a 60-minute suite entitled “Jazz Images” portraying the history of jazz. His most recent work is a collaboration with award-winning choreographer Ana Cuellar featuring his music score for her work EnMi. His daughter Emily Clements performs in this work.

  • Jennifer Bellor, a young woman with auburn hair, sitting at a piano and resting her chin on her hand.

    Jennifer Bellor

    Conductor

  • Jennifer Bellor, a young woman with auburn hair, sitting at a piano and resting her chin on her hand.

    Jennifer Bellor

    Conductor


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    Las Vegas-based composer Jennifer Bellor has been described as “that rare composer whose music manages to be instantly listenable and emotionally resonant without any compromise to its sophistication.” (textura) Bellor’s music has been presented by Washington National Opera, American Composers Orchestra, Seattle Women’s Jazz Orchestra, Las Vegas Philharmonic, Clocks in Motion, Transient Canvas, Eastman New Jazz Ensemble, UNLV Wind Orchestra, DCINY Series at Carnegie Hall, Eastman Saxophone Project, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and many other soloists and ensembles in the US and abroad. She was the resident Clock Shop Composer for the percussion quartet Clocks in Motion from 2018-2022, culminating in a new album released by Aerocade Music August 19, 2022, which features percussion quartet music written during her residency with Clocks.

    Bellor’s music draws on a variety of influences, evidenced in her self-released debut album Stay (2016), which is a melting pot of different music styles largely based on poetry. Stay was featured on NewMusicBox’s 2016 Staff picks, and was praised as having the ability to “maintain a highly individual identity without needing to take refuge in pre-post-genre musical silos.” Her composition Chase the Stars featured on Stay received acclaim not only for its “dazzling eclecticism” combining opera, hip hop, and jazz, but also for her singing. It was awarded The American Prize (2016) in the orchestral category.

    Born and raised in Northern NY, Bellor earned a PhD in music composition at Eastman School of Music, a Master of Music degree in composition at Syracuse University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in music at Cornell University. Her primary composition teachers included David Liptak, Bob Morris, Andrew Waggoner, Sally Lamb-McCune, and Steven Stucky. She is on the music composition faculty at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and artistic director of the new music series, Nextet. Emily Clements was her composition student, and she is thrilled to see this beautiful work by Emily come to life by Opera Las Vegas.

    For more information, please visit www.jenniferbellor.com.

  • Linda Lister, close-up headshot, smiling.

    Linda Lister

    Director

  • Linda Lister, close-up headshot, smiling.

    Linda Lister

    Director


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    Linda Lister (Director) is Professor of Music and Director of Opera at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Winner of the 2014 American Prize for Directing, she is a graduate of Vassar College, the Eastman School of Music, and the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. She has led UNLV Opera to two first place wins in the 2015 National Opera Association Collegiate Opera Scenes Competition and a second place win in NOA’s 2016 Opera Production Competition. She is author of So You Want to Sing Light Opera and Yoga for Singers: Freeing Your Voice and Spirit through Yoga, and co-author of So You Want to Sing Music by Women and Voice Secrets: 100 Performance Strategies for the Advanced Singer. Also a composer, she has written three one-act operas: Body of Art, State of Grace, and How Clear She Shines! She sings her own compositions on the Albany Records release Pleas to Famous Fairies.

  • Stephanie Council, Music Department, Mount Holyoke College Faculty & Staff, Fall 2018, Day 1

    Stephanie Council

    Chorus Master

  • Stephanie Council, Music Department, Mount Holyoke College Faculty & Staff, Fall 2018, Day 1

    Stephanie Council

    Chorus Master

    Conductor, educator, and singer Dr. Stephanie Council is Assistant Professor of Choral Music at the University of Nevada Las Vegas where she conducts the University Chorale and Chamber Consort and teaches Choral Conducting, Choral Literature, and Choral Methods. She is a sought-after lecturer in choral music education and conductor of collegiate, high school, and youth honor choirs around the United States, and she was a graduate finalist in the American Choral Directors Association National Conducting Competition. A strong proponent of new music, Council is an active commissioner and performer of new works. She sings professionally with mirabai and the San Antonio Chamber Choir and has been engaged in the past to sing with the Philadelphia Symphonic Choir and at the Spoleto Festival USA. Council received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in choral conducting and a graduate certificate in early music performance practice from Texas Tech University. She holds a Master of Music with distinction in choral conducting from Westminster Choir College and Bachelor of Music degrees in vocal music education and vocal music performance from Oklahoma State University.

  • Olivia Yokers, shoulder-length brown hair with a pleasant neutral expression and a strapless top.

    Olivia Yokers

    Soprano

    Lily

  • Olivia Yokers, shoulder-length brown hair with a pleasant neutral expression and a strapless top.

    Olivia Yokers

    Soprano


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    Praised for singing with “gorgeous vulnerability” (The Richmond Times). Olivia Yokers is well-regarded for her thrilling voice and versatility onstage. Ms. Yokers has performed pieces spanning from Mozart to Rodgers and Hammerstein, as well as Philip Glass. Her most recent company engagements include Oklahoma Lyric Theater, Painted Sky Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Dayton Opera, Utah Festival Opera, and Virginia Opera. Her most notable roles are Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance (Dayton Opera, Tulane Summer Lyric, Utah Festival Opera), Zerlina in Don Giovanni (Dayton Opera, Chance Opera Theatre), and Berta in Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Virginia Opera). As an advocate for new music Ms. Yokers was a part of the debut of Before the Night Sky presented by Opera America New Opera Showcase. She also performed with the Indianapolis Opera with the first staged production of Akhnaten. She has performed as a soloist in various concerts and oratorios including Haydn’s Creation, Handel’s Messiah, Ralph Vaughan Williams Dona Nobis Pacem, and John Rutter’s Mass of the Children.

  • Claudia Affan, Headshot

    Claudia Affan

    Soprano

    Sam

  • Claudia Affan, Headshot

    Claudia Affan

    Soprano

    Claudia Affan is a second-year master's student at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where she is pursuing an MM in vocal performance. She holds her BM in vocal performance from Auburn University, where she studied with Dr. Matthew Hoch. Her operatic roles and scenes include Clorinda in La Cenerentola, Norina in Don Pasquale, Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte, L'Eternità in La Calisto, Giannetta in L'elisir d'amore, Adina in L'elisir d'amore, Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro, Pamina in The Magic Flute, Zweite Dame in Die Zauberflöte, Gretel in Hansel and Gretel, Carolina in Il matrimonio segreto, Lady Saphir in Patience, Ānanda in Sherry Woods's MĀRA: A Chamber Opera on Good and Evil, and Rosie in Frank Pesci's Royal Flush. Affan has received awards and recognition at Alabama NATS, Southeastern Regional NATS, Las Vegas NATS, Cal-Western Regional NATS, the Vann Vocal Institute, Alabama MTNA, Southern Division MTNA, Nevada MTNA, Southwest Division MTNA, National MTNA, and Alabama Federation of Music Clubs. She has performed in master classes with David Cangelosi, Dr. Loraine Sims, Dr. Melanie Williams, Dr. Feryal Qudourah, Jennifer Larmore, Michael Sturm, Oresta Cybriwsky, Lawrence Brownlee, Dolora Zajick, and Barbara Dever. She has also performed at the International Music Festival at the American University of Sharjah and the Music by Women Festival at Mississippi University for Women. She studies voice with Dr. Linda Lister.

  • Joshua Hager, an auburn-haired gentleman with a long beard, wearing a light blue suit and a brown scarf in an autumn setting.

    Joshua Hager

    Tenor

    Jack

  • Joshua Hager, an auburn-haired gentleman with a long beard, wearing a light blue suit and a brown scarf in an autumn setting.

    Joshua Hager

    Tenor

    Joshua Hager, Tenor, is a first-year M.M. student at the University of Nevada – Las Vegas. A recent graduate from Mars Hill University in North Carolina (B.M. Music Education). Joshua plans on pursuing a career in music education and performance after his time at UNLV.

    Joshua grew up in Statesville, NC where he developed a passion for music and theatre as he was cast in local and high school productions such as Footloose, The Wizard of Oz, and Singin’ in the Rain. During his time at Mars Hill University, Joshua would perform repertoire from Britten and Haydn to Miles Goodman. He was regularly found singing with the Central United Methodist Chancel Choir in Asheville, NC in addition to the Civic Choral in Johnson City, TN under the direction of Dr. Rodney Caldwell. Joshua has also enjoyed his time serving with TEAMeffort Youth Missions, facilitating construction-based mission sites, directing, and leading in contemporary-style worship.

  • Tyler Urbano, a young woman with dark hair and a dark blouse, neutral expression with dramatic lighting.

    Tyler Urbano

    Mae

  • Tyler Urbano, a young woman with dark hair and a dark blouse, neutral expression with dramatic lighting.

    Tyler Urbano

    Tyler Urbano, soprano, is a Las Vegas native currently pursuing a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance at UNLV under the direction of Dr. Kimberly James. Her operatic roles and scenes include Don Ettore in La Canterina, Despina in Cosí fan tutte, and the First Witch in Dido and Aeneas. She was recently a soprano soloist for UNLV’s performance of Vivaldi’s Gloria. She has also been a chorus member in Puccini’s Tosca, Donizetti’s Don Pasquale, and Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld. Tyler recently attended the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria where she continued her studies in opera under the direction of Dr. Alfonse Anderson. During her time at AIMS, Tyler was selected to perform with the AIMS Festival Orchestra in their concert “O mia bella Napoli.” Her upcoming roles include Alida in Robert Ward’s Roman Fever.

  • Norman Espinoza, Bass, smiling in a suit and tie.

    Norman Espinoza

    Bass

    Frank (Lily's Father)

  • Norman Espinoza, Bass, smiling in a suit and tie.

    Norman Espinoza

    Bass


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    Norman Espinoza, a Bass originally from San José California, has performed internationally and with numerous opera companies in California. He is a graduate from San José State University where he obtained both his M.M. and B.M. in Vocal Performance.

    Recognized for his powerful low notes, he has sung for the Berlin Opera Academy, Montefeltro Music Festival in Italy, Opera San José, Lyric Opera Orange County, Vegas City Opera and Opera Santa Barbara. Roles include: Colline, Alidoro, Reverend Hale, Il Commendatore, Sparafucile, Leporello, Bartolo, Seneca and Sarastro to name a few.

    Norman is currently a Chrismas Studio Artist for the 2021-2022 season with Opera Santa Barbara and recently won 3rdplace for the 2021 Classical Singer Competition’s Classical Young Artist/Emerging Professional category.

    Norman now resides in Las Vegas, Nevada with his wife and off stage they run a small business in financial services. They are a great team and have a passion for educating others about financial literacy/helping others reach their goals and dreams.

  • Rabuel Aviles, with formal makeup and a neutral expression in bright lighting.

    Rabuel Aviles

    Mezzo-Soprano

    Marie (Lily's Mother)

  • Rabuel Aviles, with formal makeup and a neutral expression in bright lighting.

    Rabuel Aviles

    Mezzo-Soprano

    Rabuel Aviles is a Mexican American Mezzo Soprano from Las Vegas Nevada. She has studied at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, and has performed the role of The Chinese Tea Cup in Ravel's L'enfant et les sortilèges, covered Cherubino in Mozart's Le Nozze Di Figaro, performed Oberon in Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Mother Marie of the Incarnation in Poulenc's Dialogues of the Carmelites. Apart from UNLV, she has performed with Opera Las Vegas in the choruses of Madama Butterfly, Carmen, and The Elixir of Love. She was the Page in Rigoletto, performed at the Liberace Gala and sang in their inaugural Latin Fiesta concert. Rabuel has also been a part of Vegas City Opera. She performed as the Father in their all women production of Kurt Weill’s The Seven Deadly Sins, and has been a continuous artist in their seasonal concerts. In addition, she was a young artist with Vegas City Opera for their 2019-2020 season. As part of their outreach program she was Hansel in Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel, Ruth in Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance, and Madame Giry in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera. Being a part of the LGBTQ+ community, Rabuel holds this new work close to her heart and she is excited and honored to be part of this debut.

A Capacity for Evil

West Coast Premiere

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  • Evan L. Snyder, standing casually in a dark green cashmere sweater and jeans. He has long dark hair, glasses, and facial hair.

    Evan L. Snyder

    Composer & Librettist

  • Evan L. Snyder, standing casually in a dark green cashmere sweater and jeans. He has long dark hair, glasses, and facial hair.

    Evan L. Snyder

    Composer & Librettist


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    Winner of the 2017 Frontiers Competition for A Capacity for Evil, Evan L. Snyder is unified in his dedication to storytelling. Best known for his works for the operatic stage, Evan has been praised for his “genuine understanding of the human voice” and his “unapologetically beautiful music,” but for him, bringing stories to life through music is the center of his work. A winner of the 2017 Fort Worth Opera Frontiers Competition, his first opera, A Capacity for Evil, broke with conventional opera genres, telling a Holmesian detective tale on the operatic stage. The opera premiered in fall 2018, with Detroit’s Opera MODO and was enthusiastically received by the run’s sold out audiences. Evan’s current operatic project, The Clef of the Universe, is a new science fiction opera, following a group of archeologist crash-landed on an alien world. An aria excerpted from the new work, “On the beach at night alone…” was previewed at Constellation Chicago as a part of the 2019 Fresh Inc Festival.

    Evan’s interest in novel storytelling carries over to his work outside of opera as well. His musical portrait of a friend, Theme Song for Dan Carty, was originally written for the 2018 Fresh Inc Festival, and since went on to win the 2018 Detroit REVIVAL Project, as well as receiving a performance by the esteemed Fifth House Ensemble at the 2019 Red Note Festival. He has also received chamber music commissions from both Fifth House and the Lansing-based ConTempus Initiative. The latter commission resulted in his Disappearing Landscapes, a children’s work for mixed quartet and narrator, exploring the impact of humanity on nature, which premiered as a part of the 2018-2019 Lansing Symphony’s Family Series.

    Storytelling on a more well-trodden road, Evan has also composed numerous songs, as well as two full-length song cycles. His first cycle, Ulysses, a setting of Tennyson’s famous dramatic monologue of the same name, was premiered by Richard Fracker at Michigan State University in March 2018. His second, Dynamic Roads, is an original work dealing with themes of moving and aging, was created in collaboration with poet Peter Faziani. The work was commissioned by bass-baritone Joe Baunoch, who premiered the cycle at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, May 2019. Upcoming in his work with song, Evan is very excited to be collaborating with internationally-renowned soprano Tamara Wilson on a commission for a new song cycle, which premieres May 2022.

    Evan is a proud graduate of Michigan State University, holding degrees in composition, music theory, and voice.

  • John Riesen in a casual brown t-shirt.

    John Riesen

    Librettist

  • John Riesen in a casual brown t-shirt.

    John Riesen

    Librettist


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    Award-winning American tenor John Riesen’s growing career boasts a variety of roles in which he consistently excels and includes significant work in opera, musical theatre, studio recording and concert. In the COVID-affected 2020-2021 season John performed concerts, live streams, and productions with several companies including Intermountain Opera Bozeman, Shades of Pink Charity Foundation, The FAR Conservatory in Detroit, and Opera Las Vegas. He returned to the stage in 2021 as Ralph Rackstraw in HMS Pinafore with Pensacola Opera, Martin in The Tender Land with The Hart School, Alfredo in La Traviata with the Pacific Symphony, and Younger Thompson in Glory Denied with Berkshire Opera Festival. The 2021-2022 season includes Frederic in Pirates of Penzance with Utah Opera, Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi with On Site Opera, Chris in the world-premiere of Favorite Son by Grammy award winning songwriter Marcus Hummons, as well as his Carnegie Hall debut as tenor soloist in the Messiah with Musica Sacra under the baton of Kent Tritle (postponed due to COVID-19).

  • Joshua Horsch, posting with arms crossed in a dark suit and his conducting wand in one hand.

    Joshua Horsch

    Conductor

  • Joshua Horsch, posting with arms crossed in a dark suit and his conducting wand in one hand.

    Joshua Horsch

    Conductor


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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.

    As a dedicated interpreter of new works, Joshua has enjoyed a number of collaborations with many of today’s leading composers including Tom CipulloJennifer Higdon, and Libby Larsen.  For two seasons, Joshua served as Music Director/Conductor of the CU New Opera Workshop where he collaborated with composers Libby Larsen and Alberto Caruso as well as author Colm Tóibín and stage director Ron Daniels.  At Seagle Music Colony’s American Center for New Works Development, Joshua has conducted and played workshops for new works by Libby Larsen and Scott Eyerly.  For four seasons, Joshua served as conductor/co-founder of the Colorado New Music Ensemble where he programmed and conducted works ranging from John Corigliano’s Symphony No. 2 to Susan Botti’s chamber opera Telaio: Desdemona.  While a Festival Artist/Conductor at the Newport Music Festival, Joshua conducted members of the Rhode Island Philharmonic and Providence Singers in a series of contemporary choral/orchestral masterworks.

  • Linda Lister, close-up headshot, smiling.

    Linda Lister

    Director

  • Linda Lister, close-up headshot, smiling.

    Linda Lister

    Director


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    Linda Lister (Director) is Professor of Music and Director of Opera at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Winner of the 2014 American Prize for Directing, she is a graduate of Vassar College, the Eastman School of Music, and the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. She has led UNLV Opera to two first place wins in the 2015 National Opera Association Collegiate Opera Scenes Competition and a second place win in NOA’s 2016 Opera Production Competition. She is author of So You Want to Sing Light Opera and Yoga for Singers: Freeing Your Voice and Spirit through Yoga, and co-author of So You Want to Sing Music by Women and Voice Secrets: 100 Performance Strategies for the Advanced Singer. Also a composer, she has written three one-act operas: Body of Art, State of Grace, and How Clear She Shines! She sings her own compositions on the Albany Records release Pleas to Famous Fairies.

  • John Riesen in a casual brown t-shirt.

    John Riesen

    Tenor

    Detective Daniel Pilgrim, famed private eye

  • John Riesen in a casual brown t-shirt.

    John Riesen

    Tenor


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    Award-winning American tenor John Riesen’s growing career boasts a variety of roles in which he consistently excels and includes significant work in opera, musical theatre, studio recording and concert. In the COVID-affected 2020-2021 season John performed concerts, live streams, and productions with several companies including Intermountain Opera Bozeman, Shades of Pink Charity Foundation, The FAR Conservatory in Detroit, and Opera Las Vegas. He returned to the stage in 2021 as Ralph Rackstraw in HMS Pinafore with Pensacola Opera, Martin in The Tender Land with The Hart School, Alfredo in La Traviata with the Pacific Symphony, and Younger Thompson in Glory Denied with Berkshire Opera Festival. The 2021-2022 season includes Frederic in Pirates of Penzance with Utah Opera, Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi with On Site Opera, Chris in the world-premiere of Favorite Son by Grammy award winning songwriter Marcus Hummons, as well as his Carnegie Hall debut as tenor soloist in the Messiah with Musica Sacra under the baton of Kent Tritle (postponed due to COVID-19).

  • Gregory Schmidt in a suit and tie, close up with a serious expression.

    Gregory Schmidt

    Tenor

    Doyle, Daniel's Former Partner

  • Gregory Schmidt in a suit and tie, close up with a serious expression.

    Gregory Schmidt

    Tenor

    Mr. Schmidt made his Metropolitan Opera debut in the role of Arbace in Mozart’s Idomeneo, with Maestro James Levine conducting. He recently covered the role of Edmondo de Nobile in Thomas Adès’ The Exterminating Angel, and sang the main stage role of Normanno in Lucia di Lammermoor. He has covered the roles of Ernesto (Don Pasquale), Tamino (Magic Flute), and Flamand (Capriccio), among others.

    Other engagements include the Duke (Rigoletto) with Crested Butte Music Festival, Don Ramiro (La Cenerentola) with Opera Las Vegas, Tonio (La Fille du Régiment) with Tulsa Opera, King of Naples (The Tempest) by Thomas Adès with Opéra du Québec; and Edgardo (Lucia di Lammermoor) and Almaviva (Il Barbiere di Siviglia) with Opera Tampa, under the baton of Maestro Anton Coppola.

    Gregory Schmidt made his professional debut with Washington D. C. Opera in the role of Count Belfiore in Mozart’s La Finta Giardiniera, returning to the Kennedy Center stage the following season as Tamino.

  • Erin Gonzalez, Headshot

    Erin Gonzalez

    Mezzo-Soprano

    Angelica, Daniel's fiancée

  • Erin Gonzalez, Headshot

    Erin Gonzalez

    Mezzo-Soprano


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    Erin Gonzalez has performed with UNLV Opera Theater, Pacific Symphony, Sin City Opera, Florentine Opera, Martina Arroyo Foundation, Opera Las Vegas, Nevada Opera Theatre, Eastman Opera Theatre, and Opera Chapman. Role highlights include Prince Orlofsky (Die Fledermaus), Hermia (A Midsummer Night's Dream), Orfeo (Orfeo ed Euridice), Secretary (The Consul), Angelina (La Cenerentola), and Dorabella (Così fan tutte).

    Winner of the 2015 and 2016 Nevada District Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Friends of Eastman Opera Voice Competition and Bramledge Opera Award and Robert Kuntz Scholarship, Erin received a Bachelor in Music from Chapman University Conservatory of Music and Master in Music from Eastman School of Music.

    In July and August of 2017, Erin was a member of the Opera Studio at the American Institute of Musical Studies (AIMS) in Graz, Austria. While in attendance, she won first place in the elite Meistersinger Competition.

    In April 2019, Ms. Gonzalez was named the Outstanding Graduate Student of the Year for the College of Fine Arts.

    She graduated with her Doctorate in Musical Arts; Voice from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in May 2019.

  • André Chiang, baritone, smiling with hands clasped against a dark background, he is wearing a vibrant blue shirt.

    André Chiang

    Baritone

    Capt. Smith, a captain in the NYPD

  • André Chiang, baritone, smiling with hands clasped against a dark background, he is wearing a vibrant blue shirt.

    André Chiang

    Baritone


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    Baritone André Chiang has been described as “vocally commanding” (Oregonian), “handsome of voice” (Opera News), and lauded with “let’s hear more from this singer” (Washington Post). Chiang’s recent engagements include Silvio in Pagliacci with Painted Sky Opera, Escamillo in Carmen with Mobile Opera, Dandini in La cenerentola and Masetto in Don Giovanni with Dayton Opera, the Pirate King in The Pirates of Penzance with Tulane Summer Lyric Theatre, and Schaunard in La bohème with Mississippi Opera and the Natchez Festival of Music. Highlights include Falke in Die Fledermaus, Ford in Falstaff, Young Galileo/Salviati in Galileo Galilei, where he was commercially recorded, and Argante in Rinaldo with Portland Opera; Masetto in Don Giovanni, El Gallo in The Fantasticks with Shreveport Opera; Belcore in L’elisir d’amore with Opera Birmingham; Anthony Hope in Sweeney Todd with Virginia Opera; Charlie in Three Decembers, Sam in Trouble in Tahiti, Older Thompson in Glory Denied with Painted Sky Opera; Guglielmo in Così fan tutte with The Washington Idaho Symphony; Count Gil in Il segreto di Susanna and Schaunard in La bohème with Mobile Opera. Chiang is also a graduate of several apprenticeships, having spent summers as a Gerdine Young Artist at the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and with the Glimmerglass Festival, covering Nathan Gunn as Lancelot in Camelot as well as performing the role in their Young Artist Matinee. Upcoming engagements include Gianni Schicchi in Gianni Schicchi with Opera Mississippi, Marcello in La bohème with Opera Western Reserve, Baritone Soloist in The Seasons with the Louisiana Philharmonic, Yamadori/Commissioner in Madama Butterfly with New Orleans Opera, Captain Smith in the West Coast Premiere of A Capacity for Evil with Opera Las Vegas, and Father in Fearless (workshop) with Opera Delaware.

    Along with his stage work, he is equally comfortable in recital and concert. Highlights include being the Baritone soloist in Beethoven\'s Ninth Symphony with the Richmond Symphony, Featured soloist in Portland Opera’s “Big Night”, Featured soloist in Virginia Opera’s “Opera in the Park”, Featured Soloist in Mobile Opera’s “Winter Gala Concert”, Baritone soloist in Carmina Burana with the Symphony Chorus of New Orleans, who performed in the French Quarter Festival, the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra, the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra, and the Canterbury Voices, Bass soloist in Haydn’s Mass in D minor with the Eastern Shore Choral Society and the Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra, Paul in Mendelssohn’s Saint Paul and the Narrator in Dvořák’s The Spectre’s Bride with the Berkeley Community Chorus and Orchestra, and Baritone soloist in Vaughan Williams’ Dona nobis pacem and Rutter’s Mass of the Children with Canterbury Voice. At Carnegie Hall, Chiang has appeared as the Young Priest in Dinos Constantinides’ opera Rosanna with DCINY Concerts in Weill Hall and the Baritone soloist in Martin Palmeri’s World Premiere of Gran Misa at Stern Auditorium in Carnegie Hall.

Approaching Ali

West Coast Premiere

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  • DJ Sparr

    D.J. Sparr

    Composer

  • DJ Sparr

    D.J. Sparr

    Composer


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    Composer and electric guitar soloist D. J. SPARR (b. 1975, Westminster, MD), who Gramophone recently hailed as “exemplary,” is one of the preeminent composer-performers of his generation. His eclectic composition style has been described as “pop-Romantic… iridescent and wondrous” (Mercury News) and “suits the boundary-erasing spirit of today’s new-music world” (New York Times). The Los Angeles Times praises him as “an excellent soloist” and the Santa Cruz Sentinel says that he “wowed an enthusiastic audience…Sparr’s guitar sang in a near-human voice.” In 2011, Sparr was named one of NPR listener’s favorite 100 composers under the age 40.
    D. J. was the Young American Composer-in-Residence with the California Symphony from 2011-14 and was Composer-in-Residence with the Richmond Symphony from 2009-11. His compositions have been commissioned and performed by organizations such as the Houston Grand Opera, North Carolina Opera, and Eighth Blackbird. Recent/upcoming works include Katrina: Concerto for Jazz Guitar and Orchestra (Arkansas Symphony) …To me from the earth… (CAM Raleigh, NC Symphony), & On Behalf: Metaphor Fourty-four (Tribeca New Music Festival).

    Of the premiere of Approaching Ali (Washington National Opera), the Baltimore Sun writes, “…Sparr knows how to send a vocal line soaring vividly and how to extract a great deal of color from a 10-member orchestra… It also demonstrates Sparr’s considerable potential; his first attempt in this tricky genre lands some very solid punches…like Ali in his prime, the score is nimble on its feet.”

    As an electric guitar soloist, D. J. has appeared with Filarmonica Arturo Toscanini (Parma, Italy), the New World, Alabama, Dayton, Fort Collins, Space Coast, and Winston-Salem Symphonies, and the Cabrillo Festival of Music under Marin Alsop. He maintains a busy calendar of solo performances from coast to coast, including appearances at the Hirschhorn Museum, Atlas Theater (Washington, DC), Spectrum, and the Flea Theater (NYC). He performed Kenneth Fuchs’s electric guitar concerto, Glacier, on the GRAMMY® award-winning album with the London Symphony under JoAnn Falletta recorded at Abbey Road Studios in August 2017. Glacier is the first electric guitar concerto to be part of a GRAMMY® award-winning project.

    A passion for musical performance grew from family encouragement at a young age. Three-year old D. J. stood in front of a television set holding his great-grandmother Violet Bond’s straw broom in hand pretending it was a guitar while Roy Clark and Buck Owens performed on the Television show Hee Haw. Noticing this, Violet gave him a toy Mickey Mouse guitar for his third birthday and a Ukulele for his fourth birthday. By age five, D. J. was taking guitar lessons and was soon performing original songs for a “captive” audience at his local music store, Coffey Music in Westminster, MD.

    In early high school, D. J. spent his late-night and weekend hours writing and recording music with a Fostex X-26 4-track recorder while attending Baltimore School for the Arts as a jazz guitar major. Surrounded by classical music he began to write compositions for a variety of instruments and attended summer composition programs at The Walden School and the Boston University Tanglewood Institute. D. J. continued honing his compositional craft at the Eastman School of Music (BM) and the University of Michigan (MM, DMA) studying with composers William Bolcom, Michael Daugherty, Christopher Rouse, Joseph Schwantner, and Augusta Read Thomas.

    J. has recently been featured on the Grammy-Award winning all-Kenneth Fuchs recording as the electric guitar soloist. Additionally, his new album, Electric Bands, featuring some of his latest chamber works, is now available through Innova Recordings.

    Hailing from Baltimore, D. J. lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana with his wife Kimberly, son Harris, and their dogs Nanette and Bundini. Sparr is a faculty member at the Walden School’s famed Creative Musicians Retreat in Dublin, New Hampshire. D. J. Sparr’s music is published by Bill Holab Music.

  • Mark Campbell

    Mark Campbell

    Librettist

  • Mark Campbell

    Mark Campbell

    Librettist


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    Mark Campbell’s work as a librettist is at the forefront of the contemporary opera scene in this country. A prolific writer, Mark has created 39 opera librettos, lyrics for 7 musicals, and the text for 6 song cycles and 2 oratorios. His works for the stage have been performed at more than 90 musical venues around the world and the names of his collaborators comprise a roster of the most eminent composers in classical music and include three Pulitzer Prize winners.

    Mark’s best-known work is Silent Night, which received a Pulitzer Prize in Music and is one of the most frequently produced operas in recent history. The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, an audience favorite, received a 2018 GRAMMY Award for Best Opera Recording. Mark's other successful operas include The Shining, Stonewall, Later the Same Evening, The Nefarious, Immoral but Highly Profitable Enterprise of Mr. Burke & Mr. Hare, The Manchurian Candidate, As One, The Other Room, Empty the House, Approaching Ali, A Letter to East 11th Street, Dinner at Eight, Volpone, Frida Kahlo and the Bravest Girl in the World, Bernadette's Cozy Book Nook, Stone Soup, and Bastianello/Lucrezia.His musicals include Songs from an Unmade Bed, The Audience and Splendora. He has also created a successful new adaptation of  Stravinsky/ Ramuz's The Soldier's Story.

    Mark has received many other prestigious prizes for his work, including the first Kleban Foundation Award for Lyricist, a Grammy nomination for Best Classical Recording, two Richard Rodgers Awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, three Drama Desk nominations, a Jonathan Larson Foundation Award, a New York Foundation for the Arts Playwriting Fellowship, the first Dominic J. Pelliciotti Award, and a grant from the New York State Council of the Arts.

    Recordings of his works include: The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs (Pentatone), Sanctuary Road (Naxos), Silent Night (Naxos), As One (Bright Shiny Things), Volpone (Wolf Trap Records), Bastianello/Lucrezia (Bridge), Rappahannock County (Naxos), Later the Same Evening (Albany) and Songs from an Unmade Bed (Ghostlight).

    Mark is also an advocate for contemporary American opera and serves as a mentor for future generations of writers through such organizations as American Opera Projects, American Lyric Theatre, and Washington National Opera’s American Opera Initiative. In 2020, he created and is funding the Campbell Opera Librettist Prize, the first and only award for opera librettists. The award is given annually and administered by OPERA America.

    Future premieres include The Secret River for Opera Orlando (Stella Sung, composer); A Nation of Others for the Oratorio Society of New York (Paul Moravec, composer); Edward Tulane for Minnesota Opera (Paola Prestini, composer); A Sweet Silence in Cremona for the Villa la Pietra–Continuum Theater, Florence (Roberto Scarcella Perino, composer); Supermax for Saratoga Opera (Stewart Wallace, composer; Michael Korie, co-librettist); A Thousand Acres for Des Moines Metro Opera (Kristin Kuster, composer) and the book for the musical Les Girls (Cole Porter, composer).

  • Davis Miller

    Davis Miller

    Author

  • Davis Miller

    Davis Miller

    Author

    Davis Miller is the author of The Tao of Muhammad Ali and The Tao of Bruce Lee. His writing has appeared in Rolling Stone, Men's Journal, Esquire, Sport magazine, Sports Illustrated, and numerous other periodicals. His first published story, 'My Dinner with Ali' was voted by the Sunday Magazine Editors Association to be the best essay published in a newspaper magazine in the US in 1989.

  • Joshua Horsch, posting with arms crossed in a dark suit and his conducting wand in one hand.

    Joshua Horsch

    Conductor

  • Joshua Horsch, posting with arms crossed in a dark suit and his conducting wand in one hand.

    Joshua Horsch

    Conductor


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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.

    As a dedicated interpreter of new works, Joshua has enjoyed a number of collaborations with many of today’s leading composers including Tom CipulloJennifer Higdon, and Libby Larsen.  For two seasons, Joshua served as Music Director/Conductor of the CU New Opera Workshop where he collaborated with composers Libby Larsen and Alberto Caruso as well as author Colm Tóibín and stage director Ron Daniels.  At Seagle Music Colony’s American Center for New Works Development, Joshua has conducted and played workshops for new works by Libby Larsen and Scott Eyerly.  For four seasons, Joshua served as conductor/co-founder of the Colorado New Music Ensemble where he programmed and conducted works ranging from John Corigliano’s Symphony No. 2 to Susan Botti’s chamber opera Telaio: Desdemona.  While a Festival Artist/Conductor at the Newport Music Festival, Joshua conducted members of the Rhode Island Philharmonic and Providence Singers in a series of contemporary choral/orchestral masterworks.

  • Marc Callahan, a handsome brown-haired man formally dressed outside in front of a weathered brick wall.

    Marc Callahan

    Director

  • Marc Callahan, a handsome brown-haired man formally dressed outside in front of a weathered brick wall.

    Marc Callahan

    Director

    Award-winning stage director and designer Marc Callahan has worked on productions at the Royal Opera House, the Aldeburgh Festival, the Holland Festival, Scottish Opera, Miami Music Festival, the New World Center, Théâtre du Châtelet, and the Théâtre du Capitole. Particularly known for his “fringe” productions, Callahan received critical acclaim for Jean-Philippe Rameau’s Les Indes Galantes, saying it was “designed and directed with jaw-dropping invention” (Michael White, The Guardian) and was awarded first prize for his production of Kurt Weill’s Der Jasager from the National Opera Association and was a two-time winner of a Charles C. Reilly Director’s Prize. Recent productions include: The Marriage of Figaro, Cendrillon, and The Blue Forest, Help, Help, the Globolinks!, Der Jasager, Lohengrin, Alcina, ATLAS, Die Walküre, Il sogno di Scipione, Albert Herring, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Ordo Virtutum, and L’incoronazione di Poppea (“…devising a brilliant production of remarkable dramatic intimacy.”).

  • Solomon Howard, Bass, in semi-formal clothes and an overcoat.

    Soloman Howard

    Bass

    Muhammad Ali

  • Solomon Howard, Bass, in semi-formal clothes and an overcoat.

    Soloman Howard

    Bass


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    Winner of the Kennedy Center’s 2019 Marian Anderson Vocal Award, Soloman Howard is a graduate of Washington National Opera’s Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program and garners high praise from the press for his vivid performances on the great opera and concert stages of the world.  Soloman Howard’s voice is described as “sonorous” by The New York Times, “superhuman” by The Denver Post, and “a triumph” by The Guardian.

    Soloman Howard joins San Francisco Opera in the 2021-22 season for no less than three productions: Tosca, Fidelio, and Don Giovanni.  He appears with English National Opera in the role of The Commander in Poul Ruder's The Handmaid's Tale in a new production directed by the Artistic Director Annilese Miskimmon, bows as Colline in La bohème at the Teatro Real in a production by Richard Jones conducted by Nicola Luisotti, and reprises the title role of Approaching Ali, by composer D.J. Sparr and librettists Mark Campbell and Davis Miller, in a site-specific boxing venue with Las Vegas Opera.  Concert appearances of the season include Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Music Director Fabio Luisi and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra as well as with Jakub Hrůša leading The Philharmonia and an all-Verdi Gala Concert at San Francisco Opera under the baton of Music Director Eun Sun Kim.

    Performances of 2019-20 included debuts at the Lyric Opera of Chicago in the company’s new production by Francesca Zambello of Luisa Miller conducted by Music Director Enrique Mazzola as well as at English National Opera in the same title in a new production by Barbora Horáková Joly conducted by Alexander Joel, and Sarastro in The Magic Flute in a return engagement with the Metropolitan Opera.

    Highlights of the recent past include Jacopo Fiesco in a new production of Simon Boccanegra at the Opéra national de Bordeaux conducted by Paul Daniel, Timur in Turandot at San Francisco Opera for his debut led by Nicola Luisotti, Grand Inquisitor in Don Carlo at Los Angeles Opera under the baton of Music Director James Conlon, Il Re in Aida for a debut at the Teatro Real, and Santa Fe Opera performances as Commendatore in Don Giovanni conducted by John Nelson and Colline in La bohème conducted by Jader Bignamini.  He also achieved great success with the roles of Somnus and Cadmus during an international tour of Semele with Harry Bicket leading The English Concert.

    For the Washington National Opera, Soloman Howard has bowed as Fafner in Der Ring des Nibelungen directed by Artistic Director Francesca Zambello and conducted by Philippe Auguin as well as in leading roles in The Magic Flute, Show Boat, Approaching Ali, Don Giovanni, and Nabucco.  He was heralded for the roles of Frederick Douglass and Martin Luther King, Jr. in the world premiere of the revised edition of Appomattox composed by Philip Glass in a production by Tazwell Thompson and in the title role of The Lion, the Unicorn, and Me written by Jeanine Tesori and J.D. McClatchy.

    On the concert stage, he has given performances of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Music Director Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic on a European tour and with Christian Arming and the Vienna Chamber Orchestra on tour in Asia.  He has joined Harry Christophers and the Handel & Haydn Society for Mozart’s Requiem, Kent Tritle and the Oratorio Society of New York in performances of Mendelssohn’s Die erste Walpurgisnacht at Carnegie Hall, and with Christoph Eschenbach and the National Symphony Orchestra in a concert presentation of Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier.

    The Anti-Defamation League presented Soloman Howard with their “Making a Difference Award” in the summer of 2016 for raising awareness of voting rights though his performances of Appomattox at the Kennedy Center; and for bringing opera into the larger community.  Soloman Howard is a proud graduate of the Manhattan School of Music and of Morgan State University.

  • Brian James Myer, a handsome young man with short facial hair in a loosely tied tie and suit, against a white background.

    Brian James Myer

    Baritone

    Davis Miller

  • Brian James Myer, a handsome young man with short facial hair in a loosely tied tie and suit, against a white background.

    Brian James Myer

    Baritone


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    Baritone Brian James Myer has been praised as a stage animal of "both voice and character to make him stand out in the crowd" (Sarasota Observer). In the spring of 2021, Mr. Myer returned to New York City Opera as Alberto in their workshop of The Garden of the Finzi-Continis (Gordon/Korie) and in 2022, he reprised the role in the opera’s world premiere (a recording of the opera will also take place in 2023). Later in 2022, he joined the roster of The Metropolitan Opera as the cover of Marcellus/Player 4 in Brett Dean’s Hamlet, made his Opera Delaware and Baltimore Concert Opera debuts as the title character in Il barbiere di Siviglia and joined the Bard Symphony Orchestra as Second Nazarene in Salome. Upcoming engagements include Mr. Myer making his debut with Berkshire Opera Festival debut as Masetto in Don Giovanni, covering Morbio in Strauss’ Die Schweigsame Frau with Bard Summerscape, joining Brooklyn Art Song Society for selections by Ivor Gurney and Gerald Finzi, returning to Opera Orlando as Papageno in Die Zauberflöte, rejoins Opera Las Vegas as David Miller in Approaching Ali, joining Symphony San Jose as the baritone soloist in Carmina Burana, and debuting the role of Count Almaviva with Tri-Cities Opera and Syracuse Opera.

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

    Sheronda McKee-Dollar

    Soprano

    Odessa Clay

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

    Sheronda McKee-Dollar

    Soprano

    Dr. Sheronda McKee, 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.

  • Sebastian Haboczki, a young caucasian man with light facial hair in a casual dark shirt and a neutral expression.

    Sebastian Haboczki

    Tenor

    Roy Miller

  • Sebastian Haboczki, a young caucasian man with light facial hair in a casual dark shirt and a neutral expression.

    Sebastian Haboczki

    Tenor


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    Dr. Sebastian Haboczki currently serves as Adjunct Professor of Voice at the University of Mary and as the Music Director of Corpus Christi Catholic Church, in Bismarck, ND. Dr. Haboczki has earned critical acclaim as a young tenor with “a rich vibrant voice and an exuberant amount of energy,” in Canada, Europe, and the United States. In 2012, he made his debut at Amsterdam’s Het Concertgebouw as a Studio Artist with Opera Netherlands.

    During his time in the Atelier lyrique young artist program at Opéra de Montréal, Dr. Haboczki was featured on the main stage as Scott Fitzgerald in 27, Ring Announcer in the Canadian debut of Champion, Tybalt in Roméo et Juliette, and Reporter in JFK. Other roles include Rodolfo in La Bohème, Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni, Alfredo in La Traviata, Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Lysander in A Midsummer Night\'s Dream, Ferrando in Così fan tutte, Ulisse in Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria, Brighella in Ariadne auf Naxos, Nerone in L’incoronazione di Poppea, Alfred in Die Fledermaus, Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore, Bénédict in Béatrice et Bénédict, Basilio in Le Nozze di Figaro, Bardolfo in Falstaff, and Dr. Blind in Die Fledermaus.

La Traviata

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  • Portrait of Giuseppe Verdi by Giovanni Boldini, 1886

    Giuseppe Verdi

    Composer

  • Portrait of Giuseppe Verdi by Giovanni Boldini, 1886

    Portrait of Giuseppe Verdi by Giovanni Boldini, 1886

    Giuseppe Verdi

    Composer


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    Giuseppe Fortunino Francesco Verdi (Italian: [dʒuˈzɛppe ˈverdi]; 9 or 10 October 1813 – 27 January 1901) was an Italian composer best known for his operas. He was born near Busseto to a provincial family of moderate means, receiving a musical education with the help of a local patron. Verdi came to dominate the Italian opera scene after the era of Gioachino RossiniGaetano Donizetti, and Vincenzo Bellini, whose works significantly influenced him.

    In his early operas, Verdi demonstrated a sympathy with the Risorgimento movement which sought the unification of Italy. He also participated briefly as an elected politician. The chorus "Va, pensiero" from his early opera Nabucco (1842), and similar choruses in later operas, were much in the spirit of the unification movement, and the composer himself became esteemed as a representative of these ideals. An intensely private person, Verdi did not seek to ingratiate himself with popular movements. As he became professionally successful, he was able to reduce his operatic workload and sought to establish himself as a landowner in his native region. He surprised the musical world by returning, after his success with the opera Aida (1871), with three late masterpieces: his Requiem (1874), and the operas Otello (1887) and Falstaff (1893).

    His operas remain extremely popular, especially the three peaks of his 'middle period': RigolettoIl trovatore and La traviata. The bicentenary of his birth in 2013 was widely celebrated in broadcasts and performances.

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  • Francesco Maria Piave portrait

    Francesco Maria Piave

    Librettist

  • Francesco Maria Piave portrait

    Francesco Maria Piave

    Librettist


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    Francesco Maria Piave (18 May 1810 – 5 March 1876) was an Italian opera librettist who was born in Murano in the lagoon of Venice, during the brief Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy.

    Piave's career spanned over twenty years working with many of the significant composers of his day, including Giovanni Pacini (four librettos), Saverio Mercadante (at least one), Federico Ricci, and even one for Michael Balfe. He is most well known as Giuseppe Verdi's librettist, for whom he was to write 10 librettos, the most well-known being those for Rigoletto and La traviata.

    But Piave was not only a librettist: he was a journalist and translator in addition to being the resident poet and stage manager at La Fenice in Venice where he first encountered Verdi. Later, Verdi was helpful in securing him the same position at La Scala in Milan.[1] His expertise as a stage manager and his tact as a negotiator served Verdi very well, but the composer bullied him mercilessly for his pains over many years.

    Like Verdi, Piave was an ardent Italian patriot, and in 1848, during Milan's "Cinque Giornate," when Radetzky's Austrian troops retreated from the city, Verdi wrote to Piave in Venice addressing him as "Citizen Piave."

    Together, they worked on ten operas between 1844 and 1862, and Piave would have also prepared the libretto for Aida when Verdi accepted the commission for it in 1870, had he not suffered a stroke which left him paralyzed and unable to speak. Verdi helped to support his wife and daughter, proposing that "an album of pieces by famous composers be compiled and sold for Piave's benefit".[2] The composer paid for his funeral when he died nine years later in Milan aged 65 and arranged for his burial at the Monumental Cemetery.

    Read more at Wikipedia.

  • Joshua Horsch, posting with arms crossed in a dark suit and his conducting wand in one hand.

    Joshua Horsch

    Conductor

  • Joshua Horsch, posting with arms crossed in a dark suit and his conducting wand in one hand.

    Joshua Horsch

    Conductor


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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.

    As a dedicated interpreter of new works, Joshua has enjoyed a number of collaborations with many of today’s leading composers including Tom CipulloJennifer Higdon, and Libby Larsen.  For two seasons, Joshua served as Music Director/Conductor of the CU New Opera Workshop where he collaborated with composers Libby Larsen and Alberto Caruso as well as author Colm Tóibín and stage director Ron Daniels.  At Seagle Music Colony’s American Center for New Works Development, Joshua has conducted and played workshops for new works by Libby Larsen and Scott Eyerly.  For four seasons, Joshua served as conductor/co-founder of the Colorado New Music Ensemble where he programmed and conducted works ranging from John Corigliano’s Symphony No. 2 to Susan Botti’s chamber opera Telaio: Desdemona.  While a Festival Artist/Conductor at the Newport Music Festival, Joshua conducted members of the Rhode Island Philharmonic and Providence Singers in a series of contemporary choral/orchestral masterworks.

  • Octavio Cardenas, smiling casually in a black button-down shirt.

    Octavio Cardenas

    Director

  • Octavio Cardenas, smiling casually in a black button-down shirt.

    Octavio Cardenas

    Director


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    Stage director Octavio Cardenas captivates audiences with his visionary, visceral, and physical style of directing. Opera News has praised him for creating “an immersive theater experience” while the Dallas Morning News hailed him for bringing “every character and situation to life.” Recent projects include Lohengrin by Salvatore Sciarrino as a pop-up digital opera installation: a site-specific opera for COVID times in collaboration with artist Lance McGoldrick and Opera Southwest, Cruzar la cara de la Luna with Opera Santa Barbara, and the World Premiere of Zorro with Fort Worth Opera, Barber of Seville with Opera Delaware, and Florencia en el Amazonas with Opera at Chapman.

    Mr. Cardenas’ recent productions of Silent Night for Fort Worth Opera and Lyric Opera of Kansas City were described as “a breathtaking realization” with “many brilliant touches.” The Kansas City Star called the Lyric Opera’s production “one of its finest performances in recent memory.” Other recent productions include La boheme for Minnesota opera to which the Start Tribune acclaimed, “what makes the production a success, is Octavio Cardenas’ staging.” His production of As One for UrbanArias was acclaimed by MD Theater Guide, “Under the direction of Octavio Cardenas, the two stars playfully make great use of both stage and energetic space—it seemed the theatre condensed and expanded with Hannah’s journey.”

    He has served as the Director of Baylor Opera, Head of Directing Staff at Des Moines Metro Opera and has also been on the directing staff at Chautauqua Opera. Mr. Cardenas is currently the Visiting Director of Opera at Chapman University and will be joining the Faculty at Eastman School of Music this coming Fall.

  • Cecilia Violetta López, Opera Las Vegas Social Media Coordinator

    Cecilia Violetta López

    Soprano

    Violetta Valéry

  • Cecilia Violetta López, Opera Las Vegas Social Media Coordinator

    Cecilia Violetta López

    Soprano


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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.

  • Christopher Bozeka, a friendly face with facial hair, he is smiling in a blue velvet tuxedo.

    Christopher Bozeka

    Tenor

    Alfredo Germont

  • Christopher Bozeka, a friendly face with facial hair, he is smiling in a blue velvet tuxedo.

    Christopher Bozeka

    Tenor


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    Tenor Christopher Bozeka is quickly becoming recognized for his “expressively captivating” performances, as well as his “beautiful, piercing tone” (San Francisco Chronicle). In 2021, Mr. Bozeka made his Opera Outdoors Houston debut as the tenor soloist in Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle, was scheduled to make his Sarasota Opera debut as Nadir in Les pêcheurs de perles (COVID19), returned to Houston Grand Opera for holiday concerts, and rejoined Opera Las Vegas as Ernesto in Don Pasquale. He also made his Sarasota Opera debut as Bertrando in L’inganno felice and Florville in Il Signor Bruschino, both by Rossini. During the summer of 2021, Mr. Bozeka will return to Wolf Trap Opera to sing Adolfo Pirelli in Sweeney Todd, Satyavan in Holst’s Savtiri, and Le Prince Charmant in Viardot’s Cendrillon. During the 2021-22 season, Mr. Bozeka will join the roster of the Metropolitan Opera covering Triquet in Eugene Onegin and Pit Singer – Tenor 1 and 2 in Dean’s Hamlet, perform as the tenor soloist in the world premiere of Two Streams with the Houston Chamber Choir and Kinetic Orchestra, sing the role of Dorville in Rossini’s La scala di seta at Sarasota Opera, reprise the role of Count Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Opera Delaware/Baltimore Concert Opera, joins Opera Southwest for their NYE gala and in the fall of 2022, he will make his debut with Livermore Valley Opera as Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore and in 2023, he returns to Houston Grand Opera, singing Fourth Jew in Salome.

    In the 2019-20 season, Mr. Bozeka performed with Houston Grand Opera as Don Gaspar in La favorite and the Messenger in Aida, sang Nadir in the American Premiere of Bottesini’s Ali Baba with Opera Southwest, and appeared in a virtual broadcast as a soloist in Bach repertoire with Ars Lyrica Houston. In the summer of 2020, he returned to Wolf Trap Opera where he appeared in a virtual broadcast as Tom Rakewell in scenes from Igor Stravinsky’s A Rake’s Progress.

    In the 2018-19 season, Mr. Bozeka debuted with Wolf Trap Opera as Count Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia and with Opera Las Vegas as Nemorino and sang as the tenor soloist in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with New Albany Symphony Orchestra. His 2017-18 engagements included Tamino in Die Zauberflöte with Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Adolfo Pirelli in Sweeney Todd with Atlanta Opera, Evandro in Giovanni Simone Mayr's Medea in Corinto with Teatro Nuovo, Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi with Opera Project Columbus, and soloist in Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings with Kinetic Ensemble. In the 2016-17 season, Mr. Bozeka returned to Houston Grand Opera as Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore and Pedrillo in Die Entführung aus dem Serail. He also debuted with Opera Columbus as Pedrillo, Albany Symphony Orchestra as the tenor soloist in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, and Musical Bridges Around the World San Antonio as a soloist in a Mozart Opera Gala.

    During his association with the prestigious Houston Grand Opera Studio, Mr. Bozeka performed in Tosca as Spoletta, Carlisle Floyd’s new opera Prince of Players as Male Emilia, Le nozze di Figaro as Don Curzio, and The Little Prince as the Drunkard/Lamplight. He also performed Rinuccio with San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program in their production of Gianni Schicchi for which Opera News praised his “handsome, open-throated rendering of Rinuccio's aria”, and joined Castleton Festival’s production of Madame Butterfly as Pinkerton.

    Mr. Bozeka is a previous first prize winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council District Auditions in Ohio and Houston, and a second-place winner in Houston’s Eleanor McCollum Competition. He received his master’s degree at the University of Cincinnati College–Conservatory of Music where he appeared as Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore, Ferrando in Cosi fan tutte, Ernesto in Don Pasquale, and the Narrator in Owen Wingrave.

  • Robert Mellon with a sultry expression, a balding man with facial hair, standing with crossed arms against a concrete wall in a bright blue suit.

    Robert Mellon

    Baritone

    Giorgio Germont

  • Robert Mellon with a sultry expression, a balding man with facial hair, standing with crossed arms against a concrete wall in a bright blue suit.

    Robert Mellon

    Baritone


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    American baritone Robert Mellon was acclaimed by Opera News for having “excellent comic timing,” and a “domineering baritone, gleaming like polished copper.” During the 2022-2023 season, Mr. Mellon will be making his house debuts at Tulsa Opera in L’Italiana in Algeri as Taddeo and Opera Tampa as Tonio in Pagliacci; he will then return to Pensacola Opera to reprise the role of Marcello in La bohème; Syracuse Opera as Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro; and to debut the role of Germont in La Traviata at Opera Las Vegas. Mr. Mellon will also be appearing as a soloist with Opera Edwardsville in their free community concert series.

    During the 2021-2022 season Mr. Mellon debuted the roles of Marcello in La bohème and Gubetta in Lucrezia Borgia with Opera de Oviedo; and made his Pensacola Opera debut reprising the role of Papageno in Die Zauberflöte. Mr. Mellon will also debuted the role of Iago in a reimagined production of Verdi's Otello with InSeries Opera in Washington D.C.; he also reprised the role of Marullo in Verdi's Rigoletto with Opera Philadelphia, and he debuted as the title role in Verdi’s Falstaff with Union Avenue Opera.

    In recent seasons, Mr. Mellon has performed the roles of Schaunard in La bohème with San Diego Opera; Malatesta in Don Pasquale with Opera Las Vegas; Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Union Avenue Opera; Simone in Eine Florentinische Tragödie and Tonio in Pagliacci with Opera de Oviedo; and the title role in Gianni Schicchi and Simone in Eine Florentinische Tragödie with Livermore Valley Opera, about which the San Francisco Chronicle wrote, “Baritone Robert Mellon was both the musical star of the performance and its dramatic vertex…with a steely vocal edge that never interfered with the beauty and flexibility of his singing.”

    Other roles include Leporello in Don Giovanni, Don Alfonso in Cosí fan tutte, Escamillo in Carmen, Pizarro in Fidelio, Sam in Trouble in Tahiti, and Macbeth in the U.S. premiere of Ernest Bloch’s Macbeth. Concert work includes the Mozart and Duruflé Requiems, Dvorak’s Te Deum, Stravinsky’s Pulcinella, Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle, Bach’s Magnificat, Handel’s Messiah, Fauré’s Christmas Oratorio, and Mussorgsky’s Songs and Dances of Death.

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