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Casual, Come As You Are
On Veteran's Day weekend Opera Las Vegas will sing the praises of all those who serve, with a varied 60-minute program ranging from light hearted Broadway fare (I'm in Love With a Soldier Boy, Over There, The Army's Made a Man Out of Me); and operetta (Modern Major General, Stouthearted Men); to selections from operatic "soldiers" in Carmen, Aida, and The Elixir of Love. The Youth Chorus will chime in with Faust's famous Soldier Chorus. The grand finale from The Chocolate Soldier, will sum up the the presiding sentiment of the concert: Hero Mine.
This Performance Is Made Possible by the Generous Support of
Bob and Shirley Kramer
Opera Las Vegas is deeply grateful for their ongoing dedication and friendship.
Athena Mertes is one of the Valley’s most celebrated sopranos, whose opera and concert credits include Despina (Cosi Fan Tutte), Gretel (Hansel and Gretel), Lucy (The Telephone), Zerlina (Don Giovanni), Gianetta (L’Elisir d’Amore), Morgana (Alcina), Musetta (La Bohème), Pamina (Die Zauberflöte), Abigail (The Crucible), Nella (Gianni Schicchi) and soprano soloist in Vivaldi’s Gloria, Handel’s Messiah and Honegger’s King David. She has performed as a guest soloist with the Burbank Philharmonic, Las Vegas Philharmonic, Henderson Symphony, Opera Las Vegas, Vegas City Opera and Lexington Opera Outreach. She has appeared with Opera Las Vegas on many occasions, in Holiday on Broadway, the Old Lady and the doll Olympia in Pinocchio, and Despina in The Three Little Pigs. She is also the director of the OLV Youth Chorus. Most recently, Athena was Alice B. Toklas in the West Coast premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon and Royce Vavrek’s 27, sang in the Twentieth Anniversary Season Reveal, and portrayed Lilly in Sasha Matson’s Cooperstown. She was scheduled to sing the role of Papagena in June’s The Magic Flute, before it was canceled.
Ashley Stone received her Doctorate of Music degree in Vocal Performance of Indiana University where she studied with Costanza Cuccaro. Her most recent performances include Dame Quickly in Falstaff, The Old Lady in Candide, The Principessa in Suor Angelica, and Meg in Mark Adamo's Little Women with the IU Opera Theater. She received her masters degree in vocal performance and literature from the Eastman School of Music, where she studied with Katherine Ciesinski. While in Rochester, NY, she performed as the Principessa in Eastman Opera Theater's Suor Angelica and was a soloist with the Voices Choral Ensemble, the Gregory Kunde Choral, and the Eastman Chorale. Stone completed her undergraduate studies at Texas State University in San Marcos, her hometown. While in Texas, she was a frequent finalist in the NATS regional and district competitions, a Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions regional finalist, and performed as Kate in San Antonio Opera's production of The Pirates of Penzance. In 2006, she attended the Brevard Summer Music Festival, where she performed as Baroness Elsa Shraeder in The Sound of Music. The following summer at Opera in the Ozarks, she played the roles of Suzuki from Madama Butterfly and Cherubino from Le nozze di Figaro.
Michael TK Lam is currently pursuing his Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) degree at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), under the tutelage of Dr. Alfonse Anderson. Originally from Hong Kong, Michael finished his undergraduate studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB); graduated from University College London (UCL) with a MA in Music Education. Inspired by his mentor, Isabel Bayrakdarian, he decided to pursue a career in classical voice and he graduated from the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire (RBC) with a Master's in Music (MMus). Michael has had the honor to perform in operas and concerts in the United States, the United Kingdom, Austria, and Italy. He has also won first place in the New England Music Festival in 2016, and first place in the graduate division of NATS Las Vegas in 2021. Michael recently performed the role of Eurimaco in Monteverdi’s Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria with dell’Arte Opera Ensemble in New York City.
Christophe Kennedy (Bass-Baritone) received his Masters of Arts at the Cleveland Institute of Music under Dr. Dean Southern. Prior to, he completed his undergraduate’s degree at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas under Dr. Alfonse Anderson. He began his career in the arts at Legacy high school where he performed roles such as Roat (Wait Until Dark), Snoopy (You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown) and the Cowardly Lion (The Wizard of Oz). At UNLV, he added various roles such as Figaro (Le nozze), Colline (La Boheme), Bottom (Midsummer’s), King Claudius (Hamlet), and Leporello (Don Giovanni). While at CIM he was casted as The Chamberlain (Le Rossignol), L’Ombre (L’Enfant et les sortilege), Thésée (Hippolyte e Ariciee), and The Father (The Juniper Tree). Currently he’s performing the role of Jonathan in Donte Miller’s The Rocking Chair and will soon star in Opera Las Vegas’s The Bremen Town Musicians as General Boom.
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.
Dr. Spencer Baker is a distinguished Las Vegas pianist, conductor and teacher. Spencer has been a soloist with several regional orchestras. While most of Spencer's solo appearances have centered in the Southwest, new engagements have taken him to Dallas, Washington DC, Disneyland, Niagara Falls, Montreal, Italy and China. Dr. Baker is in his seventh season with the International Opera Performing Experience in Mercatello sul Metauro, Italy as Pianist/Apprentice Tier Director.
Dr. Baker is currently Assistant Professor of Music at the UNLV School of Music. In addition, he is the Director of Music for Saint Timothy’s Episcopal church and frequent pianist for Opera Las Vegas and Opera On Tap, Las Vegas.
Dr. Baker recently served as guest conductor and pianist for Vegas City Opera’s production of Gianni Schicchi at Art Square Theater and The Face on the Barroom Floor at the Artisan. He is a Liberace scholar and professional competition winner and on the State Board of the Nevada Music Teachers Association. Dr. Baker recently held an artist in residency position at Truman State University (Missouri) and maintains an active teaching studio and solo performing career. For more information, please visit his website at www.spencerbakerpiano.com