Bold. Brave. Brilliant.
Music by Craig Bohmler, Libretto by Steven Mark Kohn

Riders of the Purple Sage

Craig Bohmler

Composer

Based in Phoenix, Craig Bohmler is a devoted composer for the stage whose works have been widely performed in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Japan. In addition to four operas and ten musicals, he has written numerous concerti, wind ensemble, choral, and symphonic works. He is currently the Composer in Residence for Arizona Opera.

Bohmler’s works have been performed by the Silicon Valley Symphony, California Symphony, Calgary Philharmonic, Billings Symphony, Utah Festival Opera Orchestra, and International Symphony; by European orchestras including the Milan Symphony, Orchestra Haydn, Belgian Radio Symphony, and Danish Radio Symphony; and at major music festivals, including the Aspen Music Festival, Banff Centre for the Arts, SUMUTE in Finland and Opera in the Alps in Australia. 

Bohmler’s long-standing relationship with the San Jose Chamber Orchestra has yielded a harp concerto, concerti for harpsichord and strings called Pentimento and Chiaroscuro, and Saints and Sinners for orchestra, mezzo and baritone, written for Robert Orth. Bohmler’s collaboration with the San Jose Chamber Orchestra has also fostered his work as a pianist; he recorded the world premiere of Michael Ching’s piano concerto, written for him, for the orchestra’s first commercial album.

Other recent projects include The Haunting of Winchester, a new musical to open the San Jose Repertory Theatre’s 25th anniversary season; The Quiltmaker’s Gift, commissioned by the Phoenix Theatre and now enjoying its 25th production; and Sacagawea, a musical based on the Lewis and Clark story and supported by a National Endowment for the Arts grant.

Bohmler’s musical Enter the Guardsman won the grand prize in the International Musical of the Year competition in Denmark and was nominated for Best Musical at the Olivier Awards for its Sam Mendez production in London’s West End. Also produced off-Broadway,Guardsman was recognized by American Theatre Magazine as the Most Produced New Musical in regional theaters in the 2001/02 season.

His Gunmetal Blues was produced off-Broadway and in London, in addition to over 200 productions in the United States, Canada, and Japan, including the Laguna Playhouse, which released a commercial recording. Other music for the stage includes incidental music for four Shakespeare productions at the Stratford Festival in Ontario, Canada, and a pantomime, Gretel and Hansel, for Shakespeare Santa Cruz. 

His large-scale musical Mountain Days premiered at the Concord Pavilion with the California Symphony, where it has been recorded and has received six subsequent productions as an annual summer event. Other operas include The Tale of the Nutcracker, commissioned by Opera San Jose, and The Achilles Heel, which was commissioned by Houston Grand Opera for the Houston Grand Opera Studio and won first prize in the 1995 National Opera Association Competition.

Other prizes include awards from ASCAP, Dramatist Guild, and BMI, and grants from Meet the Composer and the National Endowment for the Arts. His works are published by Theatrical Rights Worldwide, Samuel French, Dramatic Publishing, and Santa Barbara Music Publishing, and have been recorded by Centaur, Original Cast, BMS, and Navona Records.

Steven Mark Kohn

Librettest

Steven Mark Kohn’s creative output as a composer, arranger, and writer spans the gamut from folk song arrangements premiered at Carnegie Hall to television jingles for Fortune 500 companies and Disney Channel film scores.

Kohn’s involvement in Riders of the Purple Sage is a natural outgrowth of his love affair with American musical folklore. His three-volume set of American folk song arrangements was premiered at Carnegie Hall by David Daniels and Martin Katz, and recorded on Azica Records by Andrew Garland. This style of music also permeates his dramatic art song cycle, commissioned by mezzo-soprano Jennifer Larmore, and based on the diaries of Mary Chesnut, a confederate woman of the Civil War era.

Kohn has composed scores for several award-winning animated children’s films for PBS, ABC, and the Disney Channel, including Frog and Toad TogetherUncle ElephantCousin KevinCommander Toad in SpaceMorris Goes to SchoolRalph S. Mouse, and the Emmy-nominated Runaway Ralph, starring Fred Savage and Ray Walston.

As a composer and arranger, Kohn has created TV and radio commercial music for companies such as Wheaties, Arby’s, Matrix, Volvo, BP, and Hickory Farms. He has also written and arranged music for Sea World, Harper Collins Audio Books, Second Story Productions, The Sylvia Rimm Show on NPR, and the documentary film Let Them Live for BBC 2 London. The music he created for the popular Health Journeys guided imagery has helped propel the series to more than two million copies sold worldwide. 

As a writer, he is a frequent collaborator of composer Craig Bohmler, having crafted lyrics for Bohmler’s The Quiltmaker’s Gift,Unstoppable MeThe Tale of the Nutcracker, and The Three Redneck Tenors. Kohn is on the composition faculty of the Cleveland Institute of Music as director of the electronic music studio.

Joseph Mechavich

Joseph Mechavich

Conductor

Regarded as a conductor of authority and warmth, Joseph Mechavich is known for his exceptional artistry and infectious energy which he brings to every performance as well as the personal and career-defining relationships he has forged with a number of opera companies and orchestras.

Of his Roméo et Juliette at Florida Grand Opera, the Palm Beach Artspaper extolled “One of the best things about this production is the conducting of Joseph Mechavich, who led the proceedings superbly. Tempos were beautifully judged, and the orchestra played wonderfully for him. You rarely hear this score with the kind of big-boned force with which Gounod wrote it, but Mechavich let it rip, with first rate results.”

Maestro Mechavich presided over Jake Heggie’s highly acclaimed opera, Moby-Dick, for both San Diego Opera and Calgary Opera as well as productions of  The Barber of Seville for The Washington National Opera, Porgy and Bess for Deutsche Oper Berlin and Roméo et Juliette for Florida Grand Opera. Engagements for the 2013/2014 season included La Bohème for Kentucky Opera, L’Incoronazione di Poppea for New England Conservatory of Music, Tosca for Dayton Opera, La Traviata for The Florentine Opera and Madama Butterfly for Calgary Opera. Additional upcoming engagements for the 2014-15 season and beyond include a return to Calgary Opera for their production of Silent NightFidelio and A Street Car Named Desire for Kentucky Opera, a recording and performances of Wuthering Heights with Florentine Opera, Nixon in China for San Diego Opera and The Magic Flute for Opera Colorado.… 

Critical acclaim abounds for Maestro Mechavich: “…Mechavich wrapped the whole performance in a kind of musically magic aura that resulted in one of the very best all-round productions ever…” Opera News (Elixir of Love, Dayton Opera); “…Mechavich was in emotional sync with Gounod’s rich swelling melodies…” Sun-Sentinel (Roméo et Juliette, Florida Grand Opera). In past seasons he has conducted highly recognized productions for Calgary Opera, Utah Opera, The Aspen Music Festival, Tulsa Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Oberlin Opera Theatre, Opera Saratoga and Virginia Opera.

On the concert stage, Maestro Mechavich has appeared with the Florida Orchestra, The Oberlin Chamber Orchestra, Naples Philharmonic, Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, Hartford Symphony, Waterbury Symphony, Virginia Symphony and the Sarasota Orchestra. He has collaborated on ballet productions with the Orlando Ballet, Nutmeg Ballet (CT) and Sarasota Ballet.

In 2010, Maestro Mechavich was named Principal Conductor of Kentucky Opera. Previously, he held the position of Principal Conductor for Opera Birmingham from 2004-2010, Director of Music for Orlando Opera from 1998-2000 and Cover Conductor for The Santa Fe Opera from 2004-2007. A native of Long Lake, Minnesota, he studied at the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music and the Yale University School of Music.

Fenlon Lamb

Fenlon Lamb

Stage Director

Opera News called Fenlon Lamb “moving and convincing” and Seen and Heard International complemented her “well-honed theatrical sensibility.” Lamb brings these qualities of experience and perspective as an outstanding singing actress to her work as a stage director.

Lamb directed the world premiere of Riders of the Purple Sage with Arizona Opera in a production that BroadwayWorld.com called “epic” and “memorable…literally and figuratively blazing trails.” She returned to Finger Lakes Opera for her first Tosca in a new prodution created with her artistic partner, Jeff Ridenour. They continued their collaboration this past fall for a “lovingly crafted” Hänsel und Gretel at UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance. Fenlon returned to Palm Beach Opera for her 5th season to direct Tosca with “lively stage direction [which] provided a stream of effective touches that spiced up the drama.” (South Florida Classical Review)

In the past few seasons, Lamb led Dayton Opera’s Carmen and directed the oratorio To Be Certain of the Dawn (Stephen Paulus) with the Lexington Philharmonic. She created a unique production of The Juliet Letters with the Resident Artists of Lyric Opera Kansas City which the Kansas City Star hailed as “a successful, intimate show [that] delighted the audience in a noteworthy production.” In another new production and collaboration with Jeff Ridenour, she debuted with Finger Lakes Opera directing La Traviata. Lamb made her company debut with Opera Santa Barbara directing a double-bill of Suor Angelica/Gianni Schicchi and returned to Palm Beach Operafor her fourth season to direct a “delightful, energetic” Don Pasquale.

Currently, Lamb is the Director of Opera and Vocal Programming at Bar Harbor Music Festival. She has designed and directed engaging productions of Carmen, L’Elisir d’Amore, Madama Butterfly, The Barber of Seville, The Marriage of Figaro, La Bohème, Cinderella, and Don Giovanni while she continues to program innovative recitals and pops concerts each summer. This summer she brought her production of Hänsel und Gretel to the Criterion theater in a collaboration with Papermoon Opera Productions. As the Director of Opera at UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance Ms. Lamb directed The Magic Flute,The Turn of the ScrewSuor Angelica/Gianni SchicchiHänsel und GretelLa voix humaine/L’enfant et les Sortièges along with Cendrillon and Little Women.

Previously, Lamb made her debut at Dayton Opera directing The Pearl Fishers, joined Mobile Opera for Werther with Gran Wilson in the title role and returned to Arizona Opera as stage director for a “grand and gripping” Rigoletto. She directed the young artists of the Crested Butte Music Festival in a production of Don Pasqualeand a new production of Hansel and Gretel for Nightingale Opera Theatre that was hailed as “fresh and alluring from curtain to curtain.” For Palm Beach Opera‘s 2013 International season Fenlon directed a “fizzing and delightful” The Barber of Seville “displaying theatrical ingenuity and artistic taste.” Lamb also directed Our Townand Alcina with the young artists of that company to critical acclaim. She returned to Opera Carolina as Stage Director for The Flying Dutchman with Greer Grimsley in a production lauded for its “intriguing visuals, startling set contexts and projections…balancing operatic polish, romantic beauty and feminist critique.”

Upcoming, Fenlon leads a new production of Charlie Parker’s Yardbird for Arizona Opera and two productions of Carmen with North Carolina and Annapolis Opera companies along with a new production of Scalia/Ginsburgfor Opera Delaware.

Gregory Hirsch

Associate Scenic Designer

Gregory Hirsch's multifaceted career has included nearly 400 productions divided between opera, theatre and television. Opera company production credits include Director of Production at Palm Beach Opera, Portland Opera and San Diego Opera, Production Manager and Technical Director at Dallas Opera and Tulsa Opera. His lighting designs for opera and musical theatre include the Broadway revival and multiple National Tours of Man of La Mancha, Werther, at both San Diego Opera and Opera de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, La traviata at Pittsburgh Opera, and multiple productions for Portland Opera, Florida Grand Opera, San Diego Opera and numerous Off-Broadway productions.
 

Thomas Glass

Lassiter February 28, March 1 & 7

Baritone Thomas Glass is a 2018/2019 Studio Artist at Houston Grand Opera, where this season he makes his role debut as Marcello in La Bohème, Alvaro in Florencia en el Amazonas and covers the title role in Don Giovanni.

In the 2017/2018 season with Houston Grand Opera, Glass made his role debutas Figaroin Rossini’s The Barber of Seville performed Baron Duphol in La Traviata, Fiorello in The Barber of Seville and Officer Krupkein Bernstein’s West Side Story. Further assignments in the season included the cover of Achilla in Handel’s Giulio Cesare in Egitto. He joined Wolf Trap Opera to sing Mercutio in Roméo et Juliette, and appeared with the National Symphony Orchestra as the baritone soloist in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.

In the 2016/17 season, Glass was a Resident Artist at Minnesota Opera, where he made his professional debut as Capulet in Roméo et Juliette. He created the role of Gustave in the world premiere of William Bolcom’s Dinner at Eight and made his role debut as Schaunard in La Bohème. Other assignments included covers of Mercutio in Roméo et Juliette, Donner in Das Rheingold, and Dan Packard and Dr. Talbot in Dinner at Eight. In the summer of 2017, the baritone participated in the Merola Opera Program at San Francisco Opera,where he was featured in the Schwabacher Concert, performing Athanaël in Massenet’s Thaïs and singing Ford’s Monologue from Verdi’s Falstaff in the Grand Finale Concert.

During the summers of 2015 and 2016, Glass was a member ofthe Wolf Trap Opera Studio, where he sang Joseph in The Ghosts of Versaille sand Bragherona in the U.S. premiere of L’opera seria by Florian Leopold Gassmann. While at Wolf Trap, he also covered the roles of Tarquinius in The Rape of Lucretia and Schaunard in La Bohème. In the Studio Scenes Program, he portrayed Dapertutto in the famous sextet from The Tales of Hoffmann, and sang excerpts as Silvioin I Pagliacci and Danilo in The Merry Widow.

A native of Edina, Minnesota, Glass earned his Master of Music in Vocal Performancefrom the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University. While at Rice, he sang the roles of Snug in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Figaro in The Barber of Seville, andPeter in Hänsel und Gretel. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of St. Thomas in Saint Paul, Minnesota, where he earned a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance as wellas a Bachelor of Arts in Music Business. 

Christian Bowers

Lassiter February 29 & March 8

American baritone Christian Bowers, hailed by Opera News for his "warm, well-knit baritone", and by BroadwayWorld.com for his "strong, clear voice", is quickly making a name for himself at home and abroad as a leading interpreter of the baritone repertoire.

​Mostly recently, Bowers made his role debut as the title character in Don Giovanni at Teatru Manoel in Malta. March 2019 performances as Guglielmo in Così fan tutte will see the completion of a Mozart/DaPonte collaboration with Teatru Manoel, where he will also reprise his beloved role of The Pilot in The Little Prince next season.

Bowers’ diverse repertory spans from concert to stage and from the Bel Canto classics to new works. A busy 2017/2018 season saw Bowers returning to favorite roles such as Escamillo in Carmen (Utah Opera), Maximilian in Candide (Théâtre du Capitole de Toulouse and Opéra National de Bordeaux), Count Almaviva in The Marriage of Figaro (Pittsburgh Opera and Teatru Manoel in Malta), and The Pilot in The Little Prince (Washington National Opera & Glimmerglass Festival).  He added the roles of Emile de Becque in South Pacific (Annapolis Opera) and Dandini in Cinderella (Opera Project Columbus) and performed Duruflé's Requiem with the National Symphony Orchestra.

​2016/2017 performances included singing Escamillo in Carmen and Captain Corcoran in HMS Pinafore with Shreveport Opera, and reprising the role of Figaro in The Barber of Seville with Opera Project Columbus. He also covered Simon Thibault and Father Arguedas in the world premiere of Bel Canto at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

Bowers prides himself on his collaborations with leading creators of contemporary American music. He worked especially closely with his long time friend and neighbor Lee Hoiby, and has also collaborated with Rachel Portman, Jake Heggie, Lori Laitman, Huang Ruo, Theodore Morrison and Gene Scheer. Bowers’ performance as Clyde Griffith in Tobias Picker’s An American Tragedy at The Glimmerglass Festival in 2015 was received to great acclaim. Opera Today said, "The central role of Clyde Griffiths is a huge sing and baritone Christian Bowers was every inch the heart of the piece.”

Bowers is an alumnus of the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program at Washington National Opera. While with WNO, he performed many roles including Schaunard in La Bohème, The Pilot in The Little Prince, Second Commissioner/ First Officer in Dialogues of the Carmelites, The Chirurgo in La forza del destino, Dancaïro in Carmen, and Stubb in Moby-Dick.

Prior to joining WNO, he attended the prestigious Academy of Vocal Arts (AVA) in Philadelphia, where he performed Hermann in The Tales of Hoffmann, Belcore in Elixir of Love, Renato in Un ballo in maschera and Figaro in The Barber of Seville. He has also participated in training programs with Santa Fe Opera and Sarasota Opera and made his professional debut in April of 2013 as Masetto in Opera Colorado’s production of Don Giovanni.

​In 2014, Bowers won first prize in the Violetta Dupont Vocal Competition and was a grant winner at the Giuilo Gari Foundation International Vocal Competition. He was a finalist in the Houston Grand Opera Eleanor McCollum Competition and the George London Foundation in 2013 and won second prize in the Mario Lanza Vocal Competition in 2011. He was also a district winner at The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in Philadelphia in 2010 and 2011.

Bowers received a Masters in Opera and Vocal Performance from Temple University and a Bachelor’s of Music for S.U.N.Y Purchase Conservatory of Music.

​A native of Hankins, New York, Bowers enjoyed exposure to many different genres of music while growing up in the Catskill Mountains. He attended fiddle, bluegrass, rock, and folk festivals and even had a chance to meet and work with American legend Pete Seeger. When he is not working on classical music, he enjoys hiking, kayaking, reading, and playing his ukulele and 5-string banjo.

Caitlin Lynch

Jane Withersteen February 28, March 1 & 7

Declared “luminous” by the New York Times and “eloquent” by the Wall Street Journal, soprano Caitlin Lynch is captivating audiences with her portrayals of iconic leading ladies. With a repertoire that encompasses Mozart to Verdi and Handel to Heggie, Lynch brings her dynamic portrayals of both classic and contemporary operas to stages around the world.

The 2016/2017 season brings two major debuts with English National Opera for Donna Anna in Don Giovanni and The Garsington Festival for the Countess in The Marriage of Figaro, as well as an appearance with the Seiji Ozawa Music Academy in Japan as Micaela in Carmen. In concert she joins the St. Louis Symphony and music director David Robertson for Mozart’s Requiem. Future seasons include a debut with San Diego Opera.

Last season, Lynch appeared as The Countess in The Marriage of Figaro with Seattle Opera, returned to The Metropolitan Opera for The Marriage of Figaro and The Abduction from the Seraglio, and sang Violetta in La Traviata with Chautauqua Opera. On the concert stage she sang Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with Seattle Symphony, Dvořák’s Stabat Mater with Omaha Symphony, and Händel’s Messiah with Calvin Oratorio Society.

Lynch made her Metropolitan Opera début performing Biancofiore in Zandonai’s Francesca da Rimini and returned as Cynthia in Nico Muhly’s world-première production of Two Boys, also participating in their new production of The Marriage of Figaro

Additional recent engagements include: the role of Yadwiga in the world première of Ben Moore’s Enemies, a Love Story at Palm Beach Opera, Marguerite in Faust at Michigan Opera Theatre, Violetta in La Traviata with Arizona Opera and Des Moines Metro Opera; and a return to the Spoleto Festival USA as the Soprano Soloist in John Adams’ El Niño. Concert engagements include Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Seattle Symphony, Orff’s dramatic cantata Carmina Burana with Seattle Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, and Alabama Symphony, Ein Deutsches Requiem with the Grant Park Music Festival, and Händel’s Messiah at Pacific Symphony and Milwaukee Symphony.

She received international acclaim for creating the role of Eliza in Nico Muhly’s new chamber opera, Dark Sisters, which premiered at the Gotham Chamber Opera in New York with subsequent performances at the Opera Company of Philadelphia. The Associated Press proclaims, “It’s most of all Eliza, portrayed by the compelling soprano Caitlin Lynch, who commands our attention and sympathy,” and The New York Post states “Caitlyn Lynch unfurled a shimmering soprano as rebellious wife Eliza.”

Lynch, known for her dynamic interpretation of new music, has also worked closely with composers such as Jake Heggie, who engaged her to sing the world première of his new song cycle, Another Sunrise, commissioned by Music of Remembrance in Seattle. This led to a world-première performance of a commission by Jake Heggie with Music of Remembrance entitled, Farewell, Auschwitz!

In her signature role of Countess Almaviva in The Marriage of Figaro, which she has performed with the Glimmerglass Opera, Lyric Opera Baltimore, Michigan Opera, and Opera Lyra Ottawa, critics touted “Time stands still when Caitlin Lynch sings. Her honeyed tone and sweetness of expression as Countess Almaviva goes straight to the heart.” She is also in demand in other important Mozart roles such as such as Donna Anna (Pittsburgh Opera, Green Mountain Opera Festival, Michigan Opera Theatre) and Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni (Madison Opera, Opera Carolina); Konstanze in The Abduction from the Seraglio (Arizona Opera); Erste Dame in The Magic Flute (Dallas Opera); and Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte (Opera Carolina, Arizona Opera, Palm Beach Opera).

Additional performances have included Micaëla in Carmen at Seattle Opera; Alice Ford in Falstaff with Opera Cleveland and the Boston Youth Symphony; Musetta in La Bohème at Nashville Opera; Leïla in Les pêcheurs des perles at Opera Cleveland; and Mrs. Gobineau in The Medium at Spoleto Festival USA.

On the concert stage, Lynch has collected accolades for her performances in Orff’s dramatic oratorio Carmina Burana: “The highpoint of vocal soli was Caitlin Lynch, whose projection and fullness of sound perfectly suited the role. She was consistently in control of color, creating a resonant, shimmering tone.” Other notable concert appearances include Mozart’s Requiem with Kentucky Symphony Orchestra; Händel’s Messiah with the Lexington Philharmonic, Ann Arbor Symphony, Pacific Symphony and Milwaukee Symphony; Carl Nielson’s Symphony No. 3, Op. 27 with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra; a Mendelssohn concert with the Glimmerglass Opera; Monteverdi’s Lamento della Ninfa with the Grandin Festival; a concert with the Columbus Symphony entitled “Beyond the Score”; Madison Opera’s Gala Concert in the Park series; and a recital with tenor Paul Appleby at the Aspen Music Festival.

She was awarded first-place in the 2008 Houston Grand Opera Competition, and subsequently made her main-stage début as Hero in Beatrice et Benedict, Female Soloist in the American première of Chorus!, and in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Additional awards include a Sara Tucker Grant from the Richard Tucker Foundation, First Place in the Irma M. Cooper Opera Columbus Competition, the encouragement award from Opera Index and the Jensen Foundation Voice Competition, and 2nd place winner of the Palm Beach Opera Competition.

Lynch completed the Seattle Opera Young Artist Program, where she performed Micaëla in Carmen and Alice Ford in Falstaff. As part of Glimmerglass Opera’s Young Artist Program, she sang Cleopatra in Giulio Cesare for their Gala Concert at the Morgan Library, and in productions of Orphée et Eurydice and Orfeo during their summer season. Other performances included Oasis in L’étoile with the Cincinnati Opera, and several roles at the University of Cincinnati CCM: Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, Ginevra in Ariodante, and Philippa in Babette’s Feast.

Kaitlyn Johnson

Jane Withersteen February 29 & March 8

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.

Joshua Dennis

Joshua Dennis

Bern Venters February 28, March 1 & 7

The Minneapolis Star Tribune praises tenor Joshua Dennis’ performances, exclaiming, “he made his sincerity believable, and his voice, a robust tenor with baritonal heft, rose to the high climaxes with ringing, ardent bravado.”

This season he makes his company debut as Alfredo in Konwitschny’s acclaimed production of La Traviata with Seattle Opera. He also makes role and company debuts with Minnesota Opera as Roméo in Roméo et Juliette and Kentucky Opera as Belmonte in The Abduction from the Seraglio. He joins the Houston Symphony as Jaquino in Fidelio and returns to Arizona Opera to create the role of Bern Venters in the world premiere of Bohmler’s Riders of the Purple Sage, Opera Idaho for his first performances of the title role of Werther, and the Santa Fe Symphony for further performances of Handel’s Messiah.

Last season, he sang Tamino in The Magic Flure with Michigan Opera Theater, Alfredo in La Traviata with Opera Columbus and Opera Idaho, Roy Dexter in the American premiere of Arizona Lady with Arizona Opera, and Ferrando in Così fan tutte with Ash Lawn Opera. Additionally, he joined Dallas Opera for its production of Heggie’s Great Scott and the Santa Fe Symphony for Handel’s Messiah

Mr. Dennis recently returned to the Santa Fe Opera as Jacquino in Fidelio as well as for its production of Rigoletto. Previously as an Apprentice Artist with the company, he sang Serano in La donna de lago, scenes of Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus and Ruggiero in La rondine in addition to joining the company for its productions of ArabellaLa Traviata, and the world premiere of Morrison’s Oscar. He also recently sang Ferrando in Così fan tutte with Opera Naples, Frederic in Pirates of Penzance with Eugene Opera, a concert of opera favorites with the Santa Fe Symphony, and Dubois’ Les sept paroles du Christ at Lufkin Presbyterian Church (Texas).

The tenor is also a previous Apprentice Artist of Des Moines Metro Opera. He was a district winner and finalist in the northeastern region of The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and was the National Association of Teachers of Singing Singer of the Year in 2011 and first place winner of the graduate division in 2010. 

He holds a Bachelor of Music from Stephen F. Austin State University, at which his performances included Handel’s Messiah, Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus, and Sam in Susannah.

Bille Bruley

Bern Venters February 29 & March 8

Praised by the Huffington Post for his “ringing high notes,” Texas-born tenor Bille Bruley has garnered attention for his strength and versatility in operatic repertoire from baroque to contemporary. A 2018/19 William Matheus Sullivan Musical Foundation Award and Career Grant winner, Bille is currently engaged in his second year with the Marion Roose Pullin Arizona Opera Studio, where his upcoming role assignments include Louis Sullivan in Shining Brow, Bern Venters in Riders of the Purple Sage, and Brighella and Bacchus (cover) in Ariadne auf Naxos.

In the 2019/20 season, Bruley makes a number of exciting house debuts, including engagements with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis as Sam Polk in a new production of Floyd’s Susannah and the Lyric Opera of Chicago, where he will cover Father Grenville and Howard Boucher in Heggie’s Dead Man Walking. He will also make his New York recital debut singing Janacek’s The Diary of One Who Disappeared at the 92nd Street Yalongside Jennifer Johnson Cano. This summer, Bruley performs with the Phoenix Symphony in a program of Mozart arias and makes his return to the Santa Fe Opera, where he will create the role of Benjamin in the world premiere of Poul Ruders’ The Thirteenth Child and cover the role of Laca Klemen in Janacek’s Jenufa.

Highlights of Bruley’s 2018/19 season included his first War Requiem with the Tulsa Symphony as well as several engagements with Arizona Opera—as Gastone in La Traviata, Jonathan Dale in Silent Night, Don Basilio and Don Curzio in The Marriage of Figaro, and as Ferrando in their studio production of Così fan tutte. In the 2017/18 season, Bruley was engaged as an Apprentice Singer with the Santa Fe Opera, where he covered the roles of Captain Nolan in Doctor Atomic and and Governor/Vanderdendur/Captain in Candide. He returned to Virginia Opera for a number of role debuts, including First Philistine in Samson et Dalila, Trin in La fanciulla del West, Flute in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Arturo in Lucia di Lammermoor. He also joined Baltimore Choral Arts as a tenor soloist in Handel’s Dixit Dominus under the baton of newly-appointed director Anthony Blake Clark.

Bruley has received special acclaim for his interpretation of the works of Benjamin Britten, including the title role in Peter Grimes, King Nebuchadnezzar in The Burning Fiery Furnace, The Tempter in The Prodigal Son, and as the tenor soloist in Britten’s War Requiem. Of his performance as King Nebuchadnezzar with Central City Opera, The Daily Camera wrote, “His voice is radiant, his enunciation impeccable. Every word he sings is easily understood and every note is precise in pitch.”

An alumnus of young artist programs at The Santa Fe Opera, The Glimmerglass Festival, and Central City Opera, Bruley has received recognition through a number of young artist awards, including the Richard Tucker Memorial Award from the Santa Fe Opera and the Iris Henwood Richards Memorial Award from the Central City Opera House Association. In 2018, Bruley was a finalist in the Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition. He has taken home prizes from The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions as a winner of the Gulf Coast Regional Finals and as a finalist and winner in the Lois Alba Aria Competition. Most recently, he was named a 2018/19 winner of The William Matheus Sullivan Musical Foundation Award and Career Grant.

Bruley received his undergraduate training at Baylor University, where he studied under Robert Best, and completed his graduate work at Indiana University’s prestigious Jacobs School of Music under the tutelage of Carol Vaness. A native of Montgomery, Texas, Bruley is currently based in Phoenix, Arizona.

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.

Craig Colclough

Bishop Dyer

Craig Colclough began the 2019-20 season with his Metropolitan Opera debut as the title role in Verdi’s Macbeth, a role he performed with Belgium’s Opera Vlaanderen in Antwerp in the summer of 2019. He will reprise the role of Macbeth with the company again this season, with performances in both Ghent and in Luxembourg. He makes his role debut as Don Pizarro in Fidelio, touring with Gustavo Dudamel and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra to Barcelona, Dortmund, and Luxembourg, and returns to Arizona Opera for a role debut as Bishop Dyer in Riders of the Purple Sage.  In the summer of 2020, he makes a return to Los Angeles Opera for the title role in Le nozze di Figaro. Next season includes performances with Washington National Opera in the role of Henry Kissinger in Nixon in China and as Kurwenal in Tristan und Isolde with Opera Vlaanderen.

Last season Craig Colclough returned to Opera Vlaanderen as Telramund in Lohengrin, and Los Angeles Opera as Peter in Hansel & Gretel. He debuted with Oper Frankfurt as Fra Melitone in La forza del destino, and Opera Queensland as the Storyteller in A Flowering Tree. During the summer, he returned to the title role of Don Pasquale with the Berkshire Opera Festival.

Colclough’s 2017-18 season included significant debuts with the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden as Pistola in Falstaff, Opera Vlaanderen as Falstaff in Falstaff (directed by Oscar-winning actor Christoph Waltz), Boston Lyric Opera as Hare in the world premiere of Burke and Hare, and Dallas Opera as Peter Vogel in Der Ring des Polykrates. He also made returns to Minnesota Opera as the title role in Don Pasquale, Arizona Opera as Donner in Das Rheingold, and Los Angeles Opera as Monterone in Rigoletto.

The autumn of 2016 found Craig Colclough’s return to London for Scarpia in Tosca with English National Opera, a role which served as his debut at Canadian Opera Company later in the season. He also joined the Minnesota Opera for Doristo in L’arbore di Diana, and spent the summer singing the title role in Verdi’s Falstaff with Opera Saratoga.

In the 2015-2016 season Colclough’s performances included appearances with Arizona Opera as the title role in Falstaff and Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, for Timur in Turandot, conducted by Gustavo Dudamel. Additionally, he returned to English National Opera for his role debut of Kurwenal in Tristan und Isolde, and Los Angeles Opera for Simone in Gianni Schicchi. On the concert stage, he debuted with the Los Angeles Philharmonic as Dottore Grenvil in La traviata.

In the 2014-2015 season, Craig Colclough made his European debut with English National Opera as Jack Rance in La Fanciulla del West, returned to Los Angeles Opera for concert performances of Hercules v. Vampires (roles of God of Evil and Procrustes), and also debuted with Atlanta Opera as Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro, as well as Lyric Opera of Kansas City as Lieutenant Gordon in Silent Night.

During the 2013-2014 season, the bass-baritone essayed the title role in Don Pasquale at the Arizona Opera, covered the title role in Falstaff for both San Francisco Opera and Los Angeles Opera, and appeared as Bosun in Billy Budd at the Los Angeles Opera. In concert, Mr. Colcough appeared with the Orange County Philharmonic Society for Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.

Past leading roles include Falstaff in Verdi’s Falstaff, Don Giovanni, Leporello and Il Commendatore in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Nick Shadow in Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress, Collatinus in Brittain’s The Rape of Lucretia, Oroveso in Bellini’s Norma, Rambaldo in Puccini’s La Rondine, Raimondo in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, Friar Laurence in Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet and Elijah in Mendelssohn’s Elijah. Additional credits include the Israeli Symphony Orchestra, California Philharmonic, Capitol Records, Abbey Road Studios and the soundtrack of the film Rolled.

A noted interpreter of Mozart and bel canto repertoire as well as Benjamin Britten and many of today’s living composers, Opera News has hailed Keith Phares "as an authentic contemporary-American-opera divo" with "an impressive gallery of finely-drawn character portraits".

2016/17 engagements include Hurstwood in the world premiere of Robert Aldridge's Sister Carrie with Florentine Opera, Escamillo in Carmen with Opera Santa Barbara, Maximilian in Candide with New York City Opera, Elder Tull in the world premiere of Craig Bohmler's Riders of the Purple Sage with Arizona Opera, Charlie in Three Decembers with Hawaii Opera, Albert in Werther with Manitoba Opera, the American premiere of Philip Glass and Christopher Hampton's The Trial with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and Belcore in Elixir of Love with Boston Midsummer Opera.

Recent engagements include Zurga in Les pêcheurs des perles with Seattle Opera, Gaylord Ravenal in Showboat with Kentucky Opera, Charlie in Three Decembers with Florentine Opera, Carmina Burana with Madison Symphony and Fort Wayne Philharmonic, John Sorel in The Consul and Orin Mannon in Mourning Becomes Electra with Florida Grand Opera, Marcello in La Bohème with Seattle Opera and Manitoba Opera, Count Almaviva in The Marriage of Figaro with New Orleans Opera and Opera Saratoga, Paul's Case with UrbanArias and the PROTOTYPE festival, Dandini in Cinderella and the title role in Elmer Gantry with Tulsa Opera and Maximilian and the Captain in Candide with São Paulo Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Marin Alsop.

In previous seasons, the baritone sang the title role in Der Kaiser von Atlantis in a joint production with Central City Opera and Colorado Symphony, Count Almaviva in The Marriage of Figaro with Opera Colorado, returned to Washington National Opera as Figaro in The Barber of Seville, joined Opera Hamilton as Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus, Portland Opera as Guglielmo in Così fan tutte and Central City Opera as Charlie in Jake Heggie's Three Decembers.  His has also appeared as the baritone soloist with San Francisco Symphony, Virginia Symphony and Columbus Symphony for performances of Carmina Burana.

For his debut with Florentine Opera, he portrayed the title role in Elmer Gantry, prompting Opera News to write that “Keith Phares's scrupulously rendered Elmer Gantry appears a strong contender for iconographic recognition. Beautifully vocalized and bursting with charismatic smarm (think Burt Lancaster with buttery legato), Phares's achievement will prove a difficult act to follow.” A live recording of this performance is available from Naxos records. Alongside Grammy awards for Best Contemporary Classical Composition and Best Engineering - Classical, it was named Opera News' #1 Opera Recording of 2011.

During the 2008/09 season Phares made his San Francisco Opera debut in the Company’s première of Jake Heggie’s Three Decembers, singing opposite Frederica von Stade. His performance was praised for his “rich, accurate voice; good looks; and fine acting ability to the part of Charlie, making his performance the highlight of the production.” (San Francisco Classical Voice)  Additional house debuts that season included the Opera Company of Philadelphia where he played the role of Haly in L’italiana in Algeri and Glimmerglass Opera where he played Dandini in a new production of La Cenerentola.  In addition, he sang Falke in Opera New Jersey’s presentation of Die Fledermaus, Kaiser Overall in Ullmann’s Der Kaiser von Atlantis at the Greenwich Music Festival, and Ned Keene in Peter Grimes with Washington National Opera. The Washington Post remarked of his performance that he “sang with a marvelous frank lyricism as Ned Keene.”  He also offered a recital under the auspices of the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts.

Mr. Phares made his Houston Grand Opera debut during the 2007/08 season under the direction of Patrick Summers in the world première of Jake Heggie’s Last Acts (Three Decembers) and returned to the stage of the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis in a new production of Martín y Soler’s Una cosa rara. Continuing his commitment to bring the works of living composers to the stage, he sang the title role in the première of Elmer Gantry, by Robert Aldridge, in a co-production with Nashville Opera and Montclair State University. Phares offered Five Movements for My Father in a program of chamber music by Susan Kander at Weill Hall in New York - his performance coinciding with the commercial release of this work on the Loosecans Music label.

Operatic highlights of recent seasons include his Metropolitan Opera debut, under the baton of James Levine, in the French triple-bill Parade, performances of The Pilot in the Francesca Zambello production of The Little Prince at New York City Opera and Boston Lyric Opera, Maurice Bendrix in Jake Heggie’s The End of the Affair with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City and Madison Opera, Harlequin in Ariadne auf Naxos at the Dallas Opera, Chou-En Lai in Portland Opera’s presentation of Nixon in China, Danilo in The Merry Widow in a return engagement at the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Masetto in the acclaimed Günter Krämer production of Don Giovanni at the Spoleto Festival USA, and Sebastian in the North American premiere of Thomas Adès’ The Tempest presented by the Santa Fe Opera in a new production by Jonathan Kent and conducted by Alan Gilbert.

Additional credits of note include Billy Budd at Washington National Opera, Sweeney Todd, Il ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria, and Die tote Stadt all at New York City Opera, Don Pasquale, Cinderella, and The Mikado for Arizona Opera, Faust and Cold Sassy Tree with Utah Symphony & Opera, Beatrice and Benedict at Santa Fe Opera, and Così fan tutte and The Barber of Seville at Boston Lyric Opera.  With the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, he has been seen as Charles Lindbergh in Loss of Eden by Cary John Franklin and as Pip in Miss Havisham’s Fire by Dominick Argento.

Concert highlights include Béatrice et Bénédict with the New York Philharmonic under the baton of Sir Colin Davis, Candide with the San Francisco Symphony and Patrick Summers, Gerald Barry’s The Triumph of Beauty and Deceit with Thomas Adès and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and a program of Rogers and Hammerstein songs with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. He also has been honored to be affiliated for many seasons with the Marilyn Horne Foundation, under whose auspices he has appeared in numerous recitals and master classes throughout the United States.

A graduate of the Juilliard Opera Center, he was a national winner of the 1998 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and a finalist in the 1999 Eleanor McCollum Competition of the Houston Grand Opera.  He also has been recognized with a Richard Gaddes Grant from the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and the 2000 Richard F. Gold Career Grant from the Juilliard School of Music.

Ken Goodenberger, Artistic Director and Conductor, has been a prominent member of the musical scene in Phoenix for over 30 years. He is active as a conductor, choral clinician, voice teacher, actor and singer. Goodenberger currently serves as Director of Music at Shepherd of the Hills United Methodist Church in Sun City West, and is the Artistic Director of the West Valley Chorale. Ken is also an experienced theater Music Director, having received several ariZoni nominations and Awards. This past season he was the ariZoni winning Music Director of Secret Garden, as well as Little Mermaid Jr., This Way to Broadway, and the Kids Alive and Stardust singing troupes, all at Theater Works, and the ariZoni nominated MD of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels at PVCC. He is also the Artistic Director of Showcase Concerts Inc., which includes Royal Renaissance Singers and OperAntics. Through those education groups, he brings music of all styles to audiences numbering in the thousands. Ken is also well known as a singer and an actor in both Musical Theatre and Opera circles with many credits, including: Follies (Roscoe), A Little Night Music (Fredrik), Into the Woods (Narrator/Mysterious Man), Camelot (King Arthur), Sweeney Todd (Judge Turpin), West Side Story (Tony), Faust (Faust), Tosca (Cavaradossi), and La Bohème (Rodolfo).  This February, Ken covered the role of Judkins in the world premier of Craig Bohmler’s opera Riders on the Purple Sage at Arizona Opera.