Gregory Spears writes music that blends aspects of romanticism, minimalism, and early music. His work has been called "astonishingly beautiful" (New York Times), "coolly entrancing" (The New Yorker), and "some of the most beautifully unsettling music to appear in recent memory" (The Boston Globe). In recent seasons he has been commissioned by The Lyric Opera of Chicago, The Cincinnati Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Seraphic Fire, and the Jack Quartet among others.
Spears' most recent evening length opera, Fellow Travelers, premiered this summer at Cincinnati Opera in a ten-performance run. It was hailed as "one of the most accomplished new operas I have seen in recent years" (Chicago Tribune) and an opera that "seems assured of lasting appeal" (The New York Times). The premiere of Fellow Travelers was also recently included in The New York Times' Best in Classical Music for 2016. Before premiering, excerpts from the opera were presented at the OPERA America New Works Forum and at National Sawdust. The entire piece was workshopped by Opera Fusion in 2013. Spears' children's opera Jason and The Argonauts also premiered this summer at the Lyric Opera of Chicago and was subsequently performed on tour this fall. His opera about space exploration, O Columbia, premiered in 2015 at Houston Grand Opera. O Columbia was described in the Wall Street Journal as having "crystalline orchestrations" and "textured, complex musical structures that sound old and new at the same time." Spears' first opera, Paul's Case, described as a "masterpiece" and a "gem" (New York Observer) with "ravishing music" (New York Times), was developed by American Opera Projects and premiered by Urban Arias in 2013. It was restaged at the Prototype Festival in New York, and presented in a new production by Pittsburgh Opera in 2014.
Spears is currently writing a double trumpet concerto commissioned by Concert Artists Guild and the BMI Foundation for trumpeter Brandon Ridenour as well as a new vocal work commissioned by New York Polyphony — made possible by a 2016 Chamber Music America Classical Commissioning Program grant. He also recently completed the soundtrack for the British feature film Macbeth (Kit Monkman, director), which is currently in post-production.
Much of his work involves period instruments. Recently, Spears was commissioned by Seraphic Fire to write a New Sanctus, Benedictus, and Agnus Dei to replace Franz Süssmayr's contribution to the Mozart Requiem. The new movements were premiered in Miami by Seraphic Fire and the Firebird Chamber Orchestra and were performed with period instruments as part of Seraphic Fire's 2016 East Coast tour. His recent dramatic cantata Virginiana, commissioned by the period instrument ensemble New Vintage Baroque and the Damask vocal ensemble, was inspired by eighteenth-century music. New Amsterdam Records released his early music-inspired chamber Requiem to critical acclaim in 2011. Requiem was commissioned by Christopher Williams Dances and underwritten by the O'Donnell-Green Music and Dance Foundation. He is also writing a dance-opera, Wolf-In-Skins in collaboration with choreographer Christopher Williams. Excerpts were featured at the OPERA America New Works Forum, and Part One was produced by Philadelphia Dance Projects featuring performers from the Sebastian Chamber Players period ensemble. The Sebastian Players also gave the New York premiere of Our Lady commissioned by countertenor Ryland Angel as part of the Twelfth Night Festival at Trinity Wall Street.
Spears won a Jerome Composers Commissioning Award to support the composition of his string quartet Buttonwood for the Jack Quartet. The piece was inspired by his experience as composer-in-residence at the Buttonwood Psychiatric Unit in the winter of 2010. At the time Spears was teaching a course at the Princeton Writing Program called Music and Madness, which explored the connection between mental illness and creativity. Spears has also collaborated with musicologist Simon Morrison at Princeton to realize the original score for Prokofiev's ballet Romeo and Juliet, which was premiered by the Mark Morris Dance Group and the Bard Festival in 2008.
Other recent commissions have come from The Five Boroughs Music Festival, OPERA America, poet Tracy K. Smith, Christopher Williams Dances, the Dalton School Orchestra, Houston Grand Opera (for the Persian-themed one-act opera The Bricklayer), pianist Marika Bournaki, the Present Music Ensemble, and the Greater Princeton Youth Orchestra. In 1999 Spears was awarded a First Music Commission to write a piece for the New York Youth Symphony, which was given its premiere at Carnegie Hall. His music has also been performed by the American Composers Orchestra, Inscape Chamber Orchestra, the NOW Ensemble (the MATA Festival), So Percussion, and Eighth Blackbird.
He has won prizes from BMI and ASCAP as well as awards and fellowships from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Vagn Holmboe Competition. He holds degrees in composition from the Eastman School of Music (BM), Yale School of Music (MM), and Princeton University (PhD) and traveled to Denmark on a Fulbright Fellowship to study composition with Hans Abrahamsen. He has been an artist-in-residence at Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, the Aaron Copland House, the Rauschenberg Residency at Captiva Island, and was a participant in American Opera Projects' Composers and the Voice 2007/2008 season. His music is published by Schott Music and Schott PSNY.
Greg Pierce grew up in Shelburne, Vermont. His play Slowgirl was the inaugural play of Lincoln Center's Claire Tow Theater (LCT3). It was subsequently produced by Steppenwolf Theatre and the Geffen Playhouse among others. His play Her Requiem, a Lincoln Center Theater commission, was also produced by LCT3. His play Cardinal was commissioned and produced by Second Stage Theater. The Landing, a musical written with composer John Kander, premiered at the Vineyard Theatre in NYC. His second musical with Kander, Kid Victory, was co-produced by Signature Theatre in VA and Vineyard Theatre. Fellow Travelers, an opera he wrote with composer Gregory Spears, based on the novel by Thomas Mallon, premiered at Cincinnati Opera, and will soon appear at PROTOTYPE festival in NYC, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Minnesota Opera. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, co-written with director Stephen Earnhart, based on the novel by Haruki Murakami, premiered at the Edinburgh International Festival, and went on to play the Singapore Arts Festival. The Quarry, with music by Pierce's brother Randal was commissioned and produced by Vermont Stage Company. Greg has received fellowships from the Edward F. Albee Foundation, Yaddo, The Djerassi Institute, the New York Public Library, and the Baryshnikov Arts Center.
He currently holds commissions from Manhattan Theatre Club/Sloan Foundation. His work has been developed with Naked Angels, The New Group, Atlantic Theatre Company, Asia Society, the Rattlestick Theater, and the Public Theater's Under the Radar festival.
Pierce's stories have appeared in literary magazines such as New England Review, Avery, Berkeley Fiction Review, Confrontation, and Conjunctions. For years, he wrote and performed with a theater group called The Bad Astronauts. His verses to accompany Saint-Saëns's Carnival of the Animals (written with Brian Hargrove) were performed at the Hollywood Bowl with the L.A. Philharmonic. He has a B.A. from Oberlin College and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Warren Wilson College. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild and the WGA. His plays are published by the Dramatists Play Service. His work is represented by Scott Chaloff at WME. He plays backgammon.
Thomas Mallon’s ten books of fiction include Henry and Clara, Fellow Travelers, Watergate (a Finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award) and the just-published Landfall. He has also written volumes of nonfiction about plagiarism (Stolen Words), diaries (A Book of One’s Own), letters (Yours Ever) and the Kennedy assassination (Mrs. Paine’s Garage), as well as two books of essays (Rockets and Rodeos and In Fact). His work appears in The New Yorker, The New York Times Book Review and other publications.
Mallon received his Ph. D. in English and American Literature from Harvard University and taught for a number of years at Vassar College. His honors include Guggenheim and Rockefeller fellowships, the National Book Critics Circle citation for reviewing, and the Vursell prize of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, for distinguished prose style. He has been literary editor of Gentlemen’s Quarterly and deputy chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, and in 2012 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is Professor Emeritus of English at The George Washington University and lives in Washington, D. C.
Conductor Daniela Candillari continues to be recognized for her dynamic and compelling performances at opera houses and concert stages throughout North America and Europe. Her 2019/20 season features a number of important debuts, including her New York Philharmonic debut conducting Thomson’s The Mother of us All at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. She makes her mainstage debut at Arizona Opera in November conducting Gregory Spears’ Fellow Travelers, which she led in previous seasons with both the Lyric Opera of Chicago and Minnesota Opera. Following her acclaimed performances of Acquanetta with the PROTOTYPE Festival, Candillari returns to New York in January to conduct Rev. 23, produced by Trinity Wall Street and directed by James Darrah. An avid educator, she spent the summer of 2019 conducting the West Coast premiere of Jennifer Higdon’s Cold Mountain at the Music Academy of the West. She makes her debut at the Mannes School of Music this season for performances of The Turn of the Screw, and returns to the Manhattan School of Music for a new production of Martha. Candillari makes her debut with Cincinnati Opera in the summer of 2020 for the company’s 100th Anniversary season, leading Dvořák’s Rusalka.
Recent engagements include her debut with Los Angeles Opera for Ellen Reid’s Pulitzer Prize winning opera, prism, Opera Philadelphia in a new production of Rene Orth’s Empty the House, her Boston conducting debut in the world premiere of PermaDeath, and her Asian debut in Hong Kong conducting Du Yun’s Pulitzer Prize winning opera, Angel’s Bone. She appeared in concert with Trinity Wall Street’s NOVUS NY Festival to open their 2018 season in celebration of Leonard Bernstein’s Centennial, and returned to the Lyric Opera of Chicago in 2019 for Jack Perla’s An American Dream.
In past seasons Candillari has collaborated with Matthew Aucoin on his opera Crossing for The Brooklyn Academy of Music’s NEXT WAVE Festival and Vasily Petrenko on a production of Falstaff with Royal Liverpool Philharmonic featuring Sir Bryn Terfel. In addition to leading workshops for Arizona Opera (The Copper Queen) and Opera Philadelphia (Double Exposure), she workshopped Rachel Peters’ and Royce Vavrek’s opera Wild Beast of the Bungalow and gave the first public presentation of Hannah Lash’s opera Beowulf at the Center for Contemporary Opera. Candillari conducted the world premiere of Stefania de Kenessey’s Bonfire of the Vanities at the Museo del Barrio in New York.
As a composer, Candillari has been commissioned by artists including instrumentalists from the Boston, Cleveland, Detroit, and Pittsburgh Symphonies, as well as the three resident orchestras of Lincoln Center - the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, and the New York City Ballet. A champion of contemporary repertoire, Candillari founded her own chamber orchestra Gravity Shift in New York City in order to bring traditional repertoire to new audiences.
A native of Slovenia, Candillari holds a Doctorate in Musicology from the Universität für Musik in Vienna, a Master of Music in Jazz Studies from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, and a Master of Music and Bachelor in Piano Performance from the Universität für Musik in Graz. She was a Fulbright Scholarship recipient and was subsequently awarded a TED Fellowship.
Kevin Newbury is a theater, opera, film, and event director based in New York. Kevin has directed over 70 original productions and his work has been presented by many opera companies, festivals, theaters, and orchestras, including the Park Avenue Armory, Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, BAM, Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu, San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, American Repertory Theatre, CTG/LA, Houston Grand Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Minnesota Opera, Montreal Opera, Opera Philadelphia, Seattle Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, the Prototype Festival, Bard Summerscape, the Virginia Arts Festival, Wexford Festival, San Francisco Symphony, and the Philadelphia Orchestra.
Kevin is especially committed to developing and directing new work. He has directed over two dozen world premiere operas and plays, many of which were subsequently published or recorded. Recent world premiere highlights include Spears/Pierce's FELLOW TRAVELERS (Cincinnati Opera, Prototype Festival/NYC and Lyric Opera of Chicago, upcoming: Arizona Opera), Bates/Campbell's THE (R)EVOLUTION OF STEVE JOBS (Santa Fe Opera, Indiana University, Seattle Opera, upcoming: San Francisco Opera, GRAMMY Winner: Best Opera Recording), Todd Almond's KANSAS CITY CHOIR BOY (starring Almond and Courtney Love, NYC, Boston, LA and Miami), Spears/Vavrek's O COLUMBIA (Houston Grand Opera), Puts/Campbell's THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE and Cuomo/Shanley's DOUBT (Minnesota Opera), Lopez/Cruz's BEL CANTO (Lyric Opera of Chicago, broadcast on PBS' Great Performances), Morrison/Cox's OSCAR (Santa Fe Opera and Opera Philadelphia), Spratlan's Pulitzer Prize-winning LIFE IS A DREAM (Santa Fe Opera) Rodewald/Di Novelli’s THE GOOD SWIMMER (BAM Next Wave Festival) and James/Douglas’ THE NINTH HOUR at Met Live Arts at the Cloisters.
Kevin’s production of FELLOW TRAVELERS was named "One of the Best Classical Music Events of 2016" by The New York Times and the New Yorker named the commercial recording "One of the Best Classical CDs of 2017." His production of VIRGINIA for the Wexford Opera Festival won the 2010 Irish Times Theatre Award for Best New Opera Production and his productions of OSCAR, BEL CANTO, and THE (R)EVOLUTION OF STEVE JOBS were all nominated for "Best World Premiere" at the International Opera Awards, three years in a row. His co-production of NORMA at Canadian Opera Company won three Dora Awards (Best Costume Design, Best Set Design, Best Female Performance). In addition to the Grammy win for Steve Jobs, Kevin’s work has also been nominated for a Grammy Award (BERNSTEIN'S MASS with Marin Alsop, also named “One of the Best Events of the Year” by The New York Times and The Washington Post for the Carnegie Hall and Kennedy Center iterations in 2008 and by The Chicago Tribune for the 2018 Ravinia Festival production), and the GLAAD Media Award (Winner: CANDY & DOROTHY, Nominated KISS AND CRY). The revival of Kevin’s production of Bernstein’s MASS was revived in 2019 and recorded for PBS’ Great Performances — his third production to be broadcast.
Kevin's first two short films, MONSURA IS WAITING and STAG, have screened at a total of forty film festivals and have each several won festival awards. MONSURA IS WAITING and STAG are both available on iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon, and his third, EPIPHANY V, a music video collaboration with Jimmy Lopez and David Johnson, is streaming for free on youtube in an effort to bring classical music to a wider audience.
As an event director, Kevin directed the Park Avenue Armory’s annual gala three years in a row (2015-2017) and returns again to direct 2019’s gala. He also directed the 2019 BAM Gala.
Kevin has collaborated with many top artists in multiple mediums including (in addition the writers listed above): Bradley Cooper, Carey Mulligan, Roland Orzabal/Tears for Fears, Courtney Love, Ricky Ian Gordon, Patti Lupone, Joyce Di Donato, Sondra Radvanovsky, John Adams, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Kimbra, Dawn Upshaw, Denyce Graves, The Young Professionals and Tracy K. Smith, just to name a few.
Upcoming projects include the world premiere of Spears/Smith’s CASTOR & PATIENCE at Cincinnati Opera, LA FAVORITE at Houston Grand Opera, Salmond/KIng’s new musical EIGHTY-SIXED and a new television project created with Jeremy J. King and James Onstad.
Kevin was raised in Maine, graduated from Bowdoin College and spent a year at Oxford University.
Marcus Shields is a New York City based director who specializes in the presentation and performance of classical music.
He is the recipient of the 2017 Drama League Opera Directing Fellowship in conjunction with The Metropolitan Opera and Wolf Trap Opera as well as well as a winner of the 2018 Opera America Robert L Tobin Director-Designer Showcase grant. His work ranges in scale from installation/ performance art to fully produced theater and blends his various skills (pianist/ singer/ visual artist/ director) into cross disciplinary pieces that probe the boundaries of genre.
Trained as a musicologist, he has, at times, moonlighted as a grant/ proposal writer, worked as a rehearsal pianist/ music director (Northwestern University’s musical theatre program), and sung professionally (concert/ opera) throughout the United States. He has professional directing affiliation with the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Curtis Institute of Music, the Merola Opera program, Lyric Opera Chicago, the Atlanta Opera, Urban Arias, Wolf Trap Opera, Cincinnati Opera, and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
He currently serves as the Visiting Assistant Professor of Opera Directing at University of Cincinnati's College Conservatory of Music.
A 2016 Grand Finalist of The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, tenor Jonas Hacker regularly receives high praise for his “attractive tenor voice” and his ability to convincingly portray characters across genres from Mozart to Glass. In the 2017/2018 season, Hacker makes his Lyric Opera of Chicago debut as Timothy Laughlin in Gregory Spears’ Fellow Travelers and made his Opera San Jose debut in Cinderella, an opera by Alma Deutscher, the fast rising 12-year old British prodigy. Hacker opened the season returning to Annapolis Opera as Theodore “Laurie” Lawrence in Little Women, the company with whom he made his professional debut in 2015 as Ferrando in Così fan tutte. Hacker also returned to Washington Concert Opera, where he was heard in the role of Osburgo in Bellini’s La straniera. In the summer, Hacker joins the prestigious Mozart Residency at Festival d’Aix-en-Provence.
In the summers of 2016 and 2017, Hacker was selected as a Filene Young Artist with Wolf Trap Opera where he has been heard in multiple productions. In the summer of 2016 he made his debut as Sospiro in the U.S. premiere of Florian Gassmann’s comic opera L’opera seria, sang in the concert From Lute Song to The Beatles with Steven Blier, and was part of the Improper Opera improv troupe. In 2017, he sang Bastianello and Lambent in John Musto's Bastianello, Roderick Usher in Philip Glass' The Fall of the House of Usher, and presented a concert entitled Four of a Kind with collaborator Steven Blier.
Recent performances include his debut with Washington Concert Opera in their performance of Beethoven's Leonore, the first version of his opera Fidelio, as the tenor soloist in a quartet rendition of Bach's Cantata 150 with the Philadelphia Orchestra under the baton of Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin, and as George Gibbs in Ned Rorem's Our Town with Fresno Grand Opera and Townsend Opera.
In 2016, Hacker was seen on Dallas Opera's Institute for Women Conductor's concert, which received a segment on PBS's NewsHour program, and made his debut with Washington Concert Opera singing the famous duet from Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers on their 30th Anniversary Concert to honor Maestro Antony Walker's 15th season of leadership. The previous summer, he was part of the Glimmerglass Festival Young Artist Program where he covered the title role in Vivaldi’s Catone in Utica, and while there, performed Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn, and Strings with members of the Glimmerglass Festival Orchestra.
Active on the concert stage, Hacker made his debut with the Columbus Symphony in 2016 singing Obadiah in Mendelssohn’s Elijah under the baton of Maestro Rossen Milanov, and returned in the summer of 2017 as the tenor soloist in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. In 2015 he sang the Tenor Soloist in Part 1 of Handel’s Messiah for the Philadelphia Orchestra’s SingIN event in Verizon Hall, and sang the complete Messiah with the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra in 2012.
Frequently recognized by prestigious competitions, Hacker was one of nine Finalists in the Mildred Miller International Voice Competition, won second place in the Giargiari Bel Canto Competition, won the Robert Crosby Memorial Award in the Opera Index Competition, and in February 2017 was awarded the Robert Jacobson Award as a Finalist in the George London Foundation Competition.
Hacker hails from Lake Delton, Wisconsin and recently completed his studies at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia. While attending the Academy of Vocal Arts, his performances have included Tamino in The Magic Flute, Ferrando in Cosí fan tutte, Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni, and Lindoro in L’Italiana in Algeri. He received his Master’s Degree in Voice Performance from the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor and his Bachelor’s Degree in Voice Performance from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire.
Baritone Joseph Lattanzi is gaining notice for his “robust vocalism,” “unmistakable charisma,” and “undeniable star potential.” A 2017 recipient of a top prize from the Sullivan Foundation, Joseph Lattanzi established himself as a singer to watch with his portrayal of Hawkins Fuller in the world premiere of Greg Spears’ Fellow Travelers with Cincinnati Opera, followed by further performances for his debut with Lyric Opera of Chicago. Praise for his performances included The New York Times saying “Joseph Lattanzi was splendid as Hawk, his buttery baritone luxuriant and robust.” and Opera News described him as a “confident, handsome presence, and a resonant baritone suggesting wells of feeling that the character might prefer to leave untapped.” In the 2018/2019 season, Lattanzi joins the roster of The Metropolitan Opera for the first time for their production of Nico Muhly’s Marnie and returns to Arizona Opera for the central role of Lt. Auderbert in Kevin Puts’ Silent Night. He makes his Jacksonville Symphony debut in the title role of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, sings Carmina Burana with the Rochester Philharmonic, sings a concert celebrating the music of Bernstein with Atlanta Symphony, and returns to Cincinnati Opera as Count Almaviva in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro. Recent performances include his New York debut as Hawkins Fuller at PROTOTYPE Festival; his debut with Virginia Opera as Sonora in La fanciulla del West followed by performances of Demetrius in A Midsummer Night’s Dream; performances with Atlanta Opera as Le Dancaïre in Carmen and Anthony in Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd; and West Side Story at Grand Tetons Music Festival with Donald Runnicles.
From 2015 – 2017, Lattanzi was a member of the Marion Roose Pullin Arizona Opera Studio. During his time with the company, he was heard in the title role of Don Giovanni, as Dandini in Cinderella, Riolobo in Florencia en el Amazonas, and was featured in the company’s Sapphire Celebration with Frederica von Stade. Additional performances included Moralès and Dancaïre in Carmen, Yamadori in Madama Butterfly, and as the Gamekeeper in Rusalka. During this period, he also returned to Seattle Opera as Kuligin in Katya Kabanová and joined San Francisco Opera for their production of Don Giovanni.
Previously, Lattanzi appeared with Jake Heggie in OPERA America’s Creators in Concert series, previewing Fellow Travelers at Brooklyn’s National Sawdust, and in Carmina Burana with the Reno Philharmonic and at the Christ (Crystal) Cathedral. Lattanzi’s 2014/2015 season began with a return home to debut with The Atlanta Opera as Yamadori and included workshopping Jake Heggie’s new opera Great Scott, revisiting Fellow Travelers at The National Opera Center, Carmina Burana with the Chicago Sinfonietta, and performing Guglielmo in Così fan tutte. The 2013/2014 season included his return to Seattle Opera in The Consul, a debut season with Cincinnati Opera in three roles, and an exciting international debut in Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem with the Orchestra e Coro Sinfonica di Milano “Giuseppe Verdi”. Mr. Lattanzi also garnered acclaim for his performances of Il Conte in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro led by Xian Zhang at San Francisco Opera’s Merola Opera Program. Equally at home in standard and new repertoire, Lattanzi has created roles in workshops of operas by Matthew Aucoin (Eurydice), Gregory Spears (Fellow Travelers), Jake Heggie (Great Scott), Daniel Catán (Meet John Doe), and Clint Borzoni (The Copper Queen). In the 2011/2012 season, Lattanzi was recognized by Opera News Magazine for his “fresh, bright baritone voice” as Moralès with Seattle Opera. As a member of Seattle Opera’s Young Artist Program, he also performed the roles of Dr. Malatesta in Donizetti’s Don Pasquale and Albert in Massenet’s Werther. The Mableton, GA native has studied at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM). In addition to two summers at the Merola Opera Program, he has participated in programs at the Brevard Music Center and the Chautauqua Institute Voice Program. Joseph can be heard on the World Premiere audio recording of Fellow Travelers, available for purchase digitally and on CD, and on all major streaming audio platforms.
Applauded for her “florid musicality” and “von Stade-like shimmer,” mezzo Katherine Beck has been recognized for her unique sound and honest performances throughout the United States. In 2018, Beck took First Prize at the Mildred Miller International Voice Competition and Third Place in the Metropolitan Opera National Council’s Western Regionals.
A current member of the Marion Roose Pullin Studio at Arizona Opera, 2019 highlights for Beck this year include performances of Cherubino in The Marriage of Figaro this spring and Mary Johnson in Fellow Travelers in the fall. Beck recently created the role of Lisette in the world premiere of Gerald Cohen’s Steal a Pencil for Me at Opera Colorado in January 2018. Equally at home in recital and chamber music, she is a two-time alumna of the Tanglewood Music Center as a Vocal Arts fellow. Beck has shared the stage with the likes of Stephanie Blythe in recital at Tanglewood, as well as with Charles Castronovo, Kelley O’Connor and Rod Gilfry in Carmen in the summer of 2017 in Los Angeles.
This summer finds Beck at Santa Fe Opera, performing the role of Karolka in Jenufa and covering Ms. Emily D’Angelo as Dorabella in Cosi fan tutte.
American soprano Kaitlyn Johnson is quickly becoming an artist to watch in operatic repertoire ranging from classical to contemporary. Johnson returns as a Marion Roose Pullin Arizona Opera Studio Artist in 2019/20, which brings four exciting role debuts. Johnson will perform Miss Lightfoot in Fellow Travelers, Musetta in La Bohème, Jane Withersteen in Riders of the Purple Sage, and Echo in Ariadne auf Naxos in her second season with the company.
In her first season with Arizona Opera, Johnson performed the role of Doris Parker in Charlie Parker’s Yardbird, “an energetic Doris who charmed Parker with her sweet lyric tones” (Operawire), and Fiordiligi in the studio production of Così fan Tutte. Johnson also made her debut with The Phoenix Symphony in a chamber music series featuring the works of Schubert and Mozart.
Spring 2018 saw an exciting debut in her hometown of Atlanta, as Frasquita in the Atlanta Opera’s Carmen. Celebrated on the operatic stage for her "powerful and dramatic soprano," (The Bloomington Herald-Times), Johnson has appeared as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni with both Indiana University Opera Theater and onstage at the Estates Theatre in Prague as part of the Prague Summer Nights Festival. As Donna Anna, Johnson was commended for her "rich, dramatic voice that carries and then some" (NUVO Indianapolis).
A passionate advocate for Spanish repertoire, Johnson performed the title role in IU Opera Theater’s production of Catán’s Florencia en el Amazonas to great acclaim. The Bloomington Herald- Times raved "Johnson carried herself like a diva and produced a voice of range and strength." Johnson is the recipient of the Handel Award from the Orpheus Vocal Competition (2018), an Encouragement Award from the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions (2017), the Georgina Joshi International Fellowship from Indiana University (2016) and the Farb Family Outstanding Graduate Award from Rice University (2015). She is a graduate of Indiana University (MM) and Rice University (BM, cum laude), and is an alumnus of the Institute for Young Dramatic Voices, Aspen Opera Center and Houston Grand Opera’s Young Artist Vocal Academy.
She is a 2015 cum laude graduate of Rice University's Shepherd School of Music. Johnson is the recipient of a 2017 Encouragement Award from The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, the 2016 Georgina Joshi International Fellowship (Indiana University), and the 2015 Farb Family Outstanding Graduate Award (Rice University). She is a proud alumnus of the Aspen Opera Center, Oberlin in Italy, and Houston Grand Opera’s Young Artist Vocal Academy. Johnson is from Atlanta, Georgia.
Marcus DeLoach has been hailed by Anthony Tommasini of the New York Times as "a fine baritone who puts words across with clarity and naturalness." A leading performer of contemporary classical vocal music today, he has established himself in the areas of opera, concert, and crossover. He received critical acclaim in 2009 for his debut at Teatro Communale di Bolzano (Italy) as Jean in Philippe Boesmans’ Julie and was called “powerfully convincing” in his Opera Ireland (Dublin) debut as Joseph De Rocher in Dead Man Walking. That same year he made his debut at Seattle Opera as Schaunard in La Bohème. DeLoach was a principal artist at the New York City Opera where he sang the roles of Count Almaviva in The Marriage of Figaro, Satyr and Cithéron in Platée, Slim in Of Mice and Men, Don Alvaro in Il viaggio a Reims, Schaunard in La Bohème, and many others. He has also performed with Bard Summerscape Festival, PROTOTYPE, Opera Philadelphia, Cincinnati Opera, Central City Opera, Kentucky Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Nashville Opera, Opera Santa Barbara, Boston Lyric Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Utah Opera, Tulsa Opera, Wichita Grand Opera, American Opera Projects, The Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, and others.
In concert he has performed Sciarrone and the Jailor in Tosca with Lorin Maazel and Ein Knecht in Hindemith's Sancta Susanna with Riccardo Muti and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. With conductor Kristjan Järvi, DeLoach has appeared as Maximillian in Candide with the London Symphony Orchestra, Die Münchner Philharmoniker, MDR Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra, and Musikfest Bremen.
In 1997, DeLoach was unanimously voted the first place winner of London's inaugural Wigmore Hall International Song Competition. In addition to concert appearances with many American symphonies and orchestras, he has also appeared regularly with The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and The Marilyn Horne Foundation. With a deep commitment to the creation and promotion of modern opera DeLoach has created principal roles in the world premieres of Spears' Fellow Travelers, Mazzoli's Breaking the Waves, Wiesman's/Hoiby's Darkling, Beeferman's The Rat Land, Drattell's Lilith and Marina: A Captive Spirit, and Paul Schoenfield's The Merchant and the Pauper. DeLoach has also recorded several CDs of modern operatic works for Naxos including Scott Wheeler’s The Construction of Boston and Scenes from Jewish Operas Vol. 2 with Gerard Schwartz and the Seattle Symphony. Adding to his credits as a crossover artist, he joined the acclaimed rock group Trans-Siberian Orchestra for their rock opera Christmas Eve and Other Stories in a tour which included Madison Square Garden and the Fleet Center, performing for an estimated audience of one quarter million.
DeLoach holds both Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from The Juilliard School and a Doctorate of Musical Arts from Rice University's Shepherd School of Music. He has also attended The Britten-Pears School, New England Conservatory, and The Music Academy of the West. The Opera Index, Albanese-Puccini, Rosa Ponselle, Liederkranz and George London Foundations, the Young Concert Artists International, The National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts, Metropolitan Opera National Council and The Gaddes Fund have all honored him for his outstanding achievements and artistry.
Recent engagements include a role debut as Figaro in Milhaud’s La Mére coupable with On Site Opera, the Second Armored Man in The Magic Flute with Philadelphia Opera, Wolf-in-Skins a collaboration of Philadelphia Dance Projects with American Opera Projects and Christopher Williams Dance, and Messiah with the Tucson Symphony in 2017. In 2018 he reprised the roles he created in Fellow Travelers at PROTOTYPE and Chicago Lyric Opera. In 2018 he sang Sam in Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti and Arias and Barcarolles at Boston Lyric Opera and Tickenhamfest. In the fall of that same year he sang the role of Don Quixote in Master Peter’s Puppet Show with The Knights at the Tilles Center and BAM’s Bric House and was also the baritone soloist in Britten’s War Requiem for his debut with with Tulsa Symphony. In 2019, he made his company debut as Don Giovanni with Syracuse Opera and was the baritone soloist for the Brahms Requiem with Choral Artists of Sarasota.
Louisiana-born soprano, Cadie Jordan, joins Arizona Opera for the 2018/2019 season as a member of the Marion Roose Pullin Studio Artist Program where she sings Despina in Così fan tutte and makes three role debuts as Chan Parker in Charlie Parker's Yardbird, Annina in La traviata, and Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro.
The summer of 2018 brought a return to Des Moines Metro Opera where Jordan sang Second Wood Sprite in Rusalka and covered Laurie Moss in The Tender Land, as well as a return to Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute. Previously this season, she made her debut as Clara in the second premier of Jake Heggie’s It’s A Wonderful Life with Indiana University Opera Theatre.
In 2017, she joined the Apprentice Artists of Des Moines Metro Opera where she covered Anne Egerman in A Little Night Music. She was a singer fellow of Ravinia's Steans Music Institute for a series of recitals and masterclasses. She received her Master's Degree from Indiana University in the studio of Heidi Grant Murphy from which her roles include Marian Paroo in The Music Man, and Despina in Così fan tutte. In the summer of 2014, Jordan made her international and role debut with Lisette in La rondine as part of the La Music Lirica Young Artist Training Program in Novafeltria, Italy. In the same summer, she toured as a soprano soloist with the C.S. Lewis Choral Institute through Oxford and Cambridge, England. Other concert performances include Handel's Messiah and Salve Regina during her time at Indiana University.
Jordan received her Bachelor's degree from Louisiana State University where she began her musical pursuit under the tutelage of baritone Dennis Jesse. There, she made her role debut as Despina in Così fan tutte and Zerlina in Don Giovanni.
Recognized for his “impressive singing … well-supported tone and supple phrasing,” (Baltimore Sun) baritone Rob McGinness‘ recent venue debuts include Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center Concert Hall. This season Rob joins Arizona Opera as a member of the Marion Roose Pullin Arizona Opera Studio, performing multiple roles including Schaunard in La Bohème, Harlekin in Ariadne auf Naxos and the lead role in Shining Brow, Darren Hagen’s opera about Frank Lloyd Wright. Other highlights this season include Orff’s Carmina Burana with the Maryland Symphony Orchestra.
Often featured portraying opera’s “bad boy,” Rob’s operatic credits include the title roles in Eugene Onegin and Don Giovanni, as well as Marcello in La Bohème. Rob has made a specialty in Russian repertoire, performing leading roles in Rimski-Krosakov’s Tsar’s Bride, Mozart and Salieri, Snow Maiden, Sadko as well as Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta. Other famous roles include Enrico in Lucia, Count Almaviva in The Marriage of Figaro, and Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus, a performance lauded for a “bright baritone and winning jitteriness” by the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
As a featured soloist, Rob performed Mahler’s Songs of a Wayfarer, the Duruflé Requiem with the Peabody Symphony Orchestra, and the Brahms Requiem with Portsmouth Pro Musica. Other concert credits include Carmina Burana with Columbia Pro Cantare and Brahms’s Requiem with The Washington Chorus, where Rob’s performance was lauded by the Washington Post for his “warm baritone.”
Committed to promoting and performing new works, Rob regularly premieres new roles, including Ed Wall in Frances Pollock’s award-winning opera Stinney, and Saul Hodkin/Price in The Ghost Train by Paul Crabtree. Rob’s own compositions include vocal, theatrical and orchestral pieces premiered at IngenuityFest, Andy’s Summer Playhouse, and by the Windham Orchestra in Vermont.
Rob holds degrees from Oberlin Conservatory and the Peabody Institute, and was a young artist with Pittsburgh Festival Opera, Teatro Nuovo, and Bel Canto at Caramoor. His awards include first place in the Sylvia Greene Vocal Competition, second place in the Piccola Opera Competition, and the Patricia A. Edwards Award in the Annapolis Opera Vocal Competition.
Thomas Cannon is attracting attention as an important young singer with a unique vocal timbre, exquisite musicianship, and sensitive artistic expression. Described as “Strong and striking" with a “talent for characterization" (Opera Today), he has participated in young artists’ programs at the Glimmerglass Festival, where he was singled out for his “forceful, throbbing voice" (Opera News), Arizona Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Crested Butte Festival, The Dallas Opera, International Vocal Arts Institute in Tel Aviv-Israel and Santa Fe Opera. He has also appeared with Opera Roanoke as Sharpless in Madama Butterfly. He was an artist fellow at The Music Academy of the West where he sang a “riveting Escamillo" in Carmen (Opera News). In the fall, Cannon sang the finals of Chicago Lyric Opera’s Ryan Center, and was a featured soloist in concerts with Gulfshore Opera.
Cannon has appeared on the concert stage in Carnegie Hall as soloist in Verdi’s Requiem, to benefit victims of Japan’s Earthquake; with The St. Cecilia Chorus of NY, singing Mozart’s Vesperae Solennes de Confessore and Shubert’s Stabat Mater (D. 383). Elsewhere, he has performed a host of oratorio and orchestra works including: Mozart’s Requiem, Rossini’s Petite Messe Solenelle, and Handel’s Messiah.
He is a graduate of Baylor University (2006) and The Juilliard School (2008), on full scholarship. Notable teachers include: Nico Castel, Joan Dornemann, Mignon Dunn, Marlena Malas, and Sherrill Milnes.
Cannon has garnered awards from: The Dallas Opera Guild (Encouragement Award), Chautauqua Opera (Guild Award), The Anna Sosenko Foundation, West Palm Beach Opera (Finalist), Opera Birmingham (Encouragement Award), and The Metropolitan Opera National Council (Regional Finalist).
Cannon grew up in the small town of Hahnville, Louisiana. He is the oldest of three children and took to music at an early age by playing piano, drums & percussion. Cannon ultimately focused his passion towards singing and it is his absolute joy.
Brandon Morales, Bass-Baritone and 2nd year member of the Marion Roose Pullin Studio Artist Program, has performed with opera companies all over the US - stretching from the Pacific northwest’s Portland Opera to Virginia Opera on the East coast. Morales has recently completed two years with Virginia Opera’s Heardon Foundation Emerging Artist’s Program with highlights including Bartolo in The Barber of Seville, Peter Quince in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Jose Castro/Billy Jackrabbit in La Fanciulla del West, and the Mother in Weill’s Seven Deadly Sins.
A graduate of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music, he has been highly active in the Ohio area performing with Dayton Opera, NANO Works, Cincinnati Chamber Opera, Queen City Chamber Opera, Cincinnati College-Conservatory, Cincinnati Opera, participated in Toledo Opera’s Resident Artist program, and performed the roles of Friedrich von Telramund in Lohengrin and the Dutchman in Die Fliegende Holländer in concert with the Wagner Society of Cincinnati, where he is a part of their blooming Wagner studio. A native of San Antonio, TX, Morales currently enjoys the vagabond life of performing, but misses his faithful cat, Elsie.