Opera North 2017 Resident Artist Biographies

 

Opera North is proud to bring a select group of talented young professionals to the Upper Valley each summer. This company of Resident Artists performs and covers appropriate roles in the mainstage productions of the season, in addition to showcasing their talents at concerts around the Upper Valley.

Michael Bagby, Resident Artist, Pianist/Vocal Coach (Kiss Me, Kate, La belle Hélène), is a native of Dubuqe, Iowa pursuing a DMA in vocal coaching and accompanying at the University of Illinois under the direction of Julie Gunn. He completed his Masters at the University of Michigan, studying with Martin Katz. He also holds Bachelor degrees in piano performance and K-12 vocal education from Iowa State University. Most recently, Michael led the orchestra from the harpsichord for the Lyric Theatre at Illinois’ production of L’incoronazione di Poppea and served as assistant conductor for The Light in the Piazza. He is a two-time recipient of the Nancy Wustman Memorial Award in Vocal Accompanying, established by John Wustman.

Bradley Christensen, Fred Cover/Chorus (Kiss Me, Kate), Agamemnon (La belle Hélène), a New Zealand-born baritone, obtained his Master’s degree from the University of Toronto where he was the recipient of the University of Toronto - Faculty of Music Vocal Performance and Pedagogy Graduate Award. During his studies at the University of Auckland, Bradley won the Pears-Britten singing scholarship, the Marie D’Albini scholarship in singing, and a travelling scholarship to study in Italy. Since immigrating to Canada, Bradley has performed across the country with numerous organizations including the Canadian Opera Company, Opera Atelier, and Opera on the Avalon. For the 2016/17 season, Bradley was one of seven artists selected to join The Rebanks Family Fellowship and International Performance Residency Program at The Royal Conservatory’s Glenn Gould School.

Christina Christensen, Ensemble (Kiss Me, Kate), Leona/Helene Cover (La belle Hélène), Chorus (Madama Butterfly), was a 2017 Encouragement Award recipient and 2014 Regional finalist for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Recent performances include the modern revival of Pasquini’s Il Tirinto with the baroque ensemble Consortium Carissimi, where she was praised for “(bringing) allure and dignity” to the role of Rosaura. Other recent credits include Prince Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus and Ernesto in Haydn’s Il Mondo della Luna. She was also the alto soloist in Handel’s Messiah with the Duluth-Superior Symphony Orchestra. A Wisconsin native, Christina now resides in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where she is a regular performer with Minnesota Opera.

Cara Collins, Ensemble (Kiss Me, Kate), Partheonis (La belle Hélène), Suzuki Cover/Chorus (Madama Butterfly), is a graduate of the State University of New York Purchase College Conservatory of Music, where she earned her Bachelor’s degree and studied under the direction of Dr. Sherry Overholt. Recently, she has performed the role of Elizabeth Proctor in Robert Ward’s The Crucible. She has also performed as Ottavia in L’incoronazione di Poppea, Marcellina in Le nozze di Figaro, Mutter in Hänsel und Gretel, and Hippolyta in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Cara has also performed as a mezzo-soprano soloist in Vivaldi’s Gloria, the Saint-Säens Christmas Oratorio, Händel’s Messiah, and Mozart’s Vespers.

Emily Geller, Hattie (Kiss Me, Kate), Orestes (La belle Hélène), Kate Pinkerton Cover/Chorus (Madama Butterfly), returns to Opera North after singing Ma Moss in The Tender Land and Mrs. Jones in Street Scene, where she was praised as “dangerously close to stealing the show with her effortless comic delivery.” She has performed with Tri-Cities Opera, Natchez Festival of Music, Opera on the James, Loft Opera, and Center for Contemporary Opera. Most recently she sang Prinz Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus with Taconic Opera. Emily earned her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from the New England Conservatory of Music under the Ruth S. Morse Scholarship, and holds a Master of Music in Opera from Binghamton University, where she received a full assistantship. This fall, Emily will be part of St. Petersburg Opera’s Emerging Artist Program covering Martha in Faust.

Gabrielle Gilliam, Vanessa Cover/Ensemble (Kiss Me, Kate), Chorus (La belle Hélène), Kate Pinkerton (Madama Butterfly), a native of Houston, Texas is a recent graduate of University of North Texas where she was a scholarship recipient and winner the 2016 Concerto Competition. Her roles include Blanche in Dialogues des Carmélites, Violetta Valery in La Traviata, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, Hanna Glawari in The Merry Widow, Antonia in Les contes d’Hoffmann, Johanna in Sweeney Todd, and Suor Genovieffa in Suor Angelica. This past season, Gabrielle was a young artist in The Dallas Opera’s Outreach and Education Program where she performed the role of Bastienne in Mozart’s Bastien and Bastienne.

Peter Lake, Ensemble (Kiss Me, Kate), Paris (La belle Hélène), Goro Cover/Chorus (Madama Butterfly), was recently a Herndon Foundation Young Artist with Virginia Opera, where he covered Count Almaviva in Il Barbiere di Siviglia. Peter was a 2016 young artist with Central City Opera where he won the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Apprentice Award. In the spring of 2017, Peter performed the Duke in Mississippi Opera’s youth/cover performance of Rigoletto, was well as multiple concert engagements. In May, he made his role debut as Count Almaviva in Il Barbiere di Siviglia for Natchez Festival of Music. Peter is excited to join Opera North in his role and house debut as Paris in La belle Hélène. Other notable roles include Spoletta in Tosca and Vogelsang in The Impresario (Central City Opera), Remendado (José cover/youth performance) in Carmen (Mississippi Opera), and Triquet in Eugene Onegin (Chautauqua Opera).

Eric Lindsey, Calchas (La belle Hélène), The Bonze (Madama Butterfly), an Atlanta-born bass-baritone, has performed with Sarasota Opera, Opera North and Opera Theatre Pittsburgh (now Pittsburgh Festival Opera). His most recent roles include Figaro in Le Nozze di Figaro and Ceprano in Rigoletto with Opera in Williamsburg (Virginia), Sacristan in Tosca (Opera North), Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte (Sarasota Opera), Rucker Lattimore (filling in for the illustrious Samuel Ramey) in Wichita State University’s production of Carlisle Floyd’s Cold Sassy Tree, Sciarrone in Tosca, and Truffaldino in Ariadne auf Naxos. In November, he will debut with Shreveport Opera as Benoît/Alcindoro in La Bohème. Eric received his Associate of Fine Arts from Young Harris College, his Bachelor of Music from Kennesaw State University and his Master of Music from the University of Houston.

Nathan Mitticks, Ensemble (Kiss Me, Kate), Chorus (La belle Hélène), Yamadori/Sharpless Cover (Madama Butterfly), has a BM in Vocal Performance from the College of Charleston (SC). After relocating to New York City, he established himself as an exciting young singer essaying the ‘cavalier’ baritone repertoire. Recently, Nathan made a critically-acclaimed debut as Valentin in Faust for Taconic Opera, as well as Metro New York City productions of Don Giovanni (Don Giovanni), Lucia di Lammermoor (Enrico), Carmen (Escamillo), Manon Lescaut (Lescaut), i Pagliacci (Silvio) and The Merry Widow (Danilo). In 2013, Nathan made his professional operatic debut as Morales in Carmen with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra. Additionally, he was selected by Marilyn Horne to be a participant in her “Song Continues” program at Carnegie Hall. At the College of Charleston, Nathan appeared in Le Nozze di Figaro (Almaviva), Gallantry (Dr. Gregg), The Mikado (Poo-Bah) and Gianni Schicchi (Simone).

Christopher Nelson, Ensemble (Kiss Me, Kate), Menelaus (La belle Hélène), Benjamin Pinkerton Cover/Chorus (Madama Butterfly), graduated from Indiana University with a Masters degree in Voice Performance under the guidance of Carol Vaness. Recent credits include Don Jose in Carmen at the Natchez Festival of Music, Frederic in The Pirates of Penzance at the Nashville Opera, and Bardolpho in Falstaff at the Opera on the James. Other credits include Alfredo in La Traviata, Ernesto in Don Pasquale, Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly, Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore, and Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus. Christopher has been a young artist with the Des Moines Metro Opera, Opera Santa Barbara, The Ohio Light Opera and Mobile Opera.

Javier Ortiz, Ensemble (Kiss Me, Kate) Chorus (La belle Hélène), Imperial Commissioner (Madama Butterfly), has portrayed 23 leading and supporting opera roles and appeared as a soloist in 13 major orchestral works. As a member of Opera Studio Nederland, Ortiz appeared in concert at Amsterdam’s famous Concertgebouw, sang a duet from La Traviata for the 25th Anniversary Jubilee of the Muziektheater, performed duets and arias from Die Zauberflöte with the Amsterdam Symphony Orchestra, and participated in the Rotterdam Opera Days as a concert soloist and in the role of Colline in La Bohème. Javier was an Opera North Resident Artist in 2014, performing Dottore Grenvil in La Traviata and covering Alfred Doolittle in My Fair Lady. He also sung King Balthazar in their 2014 – 2016 productions of Amahl and the Night Visitors, and appeared as Hortensius in La fille du régiment. Javier also played Figaro in ¡Figaro 90210! for the Hopkins Center for the Arts at Dartmouth College.

Brendon Shapiro, Resident Artist, Pianist/Vocal Coach (Madama Butterfly, La belle Hélène), is a versatile pianist, vocal coach and conductor, with a specialty in opera and a passion for contemporary music. He has worked with numerous opera companies across the United States including Boston Lyric Opera, Opera NEO, MetroWest Opera, NEMPAC, Opera Fayetteville, and Juventas New Music Ensemble. He also served as the musical director for Boston Opera Collaborative’s most recent season. A fan of musical theatre, Brendon was the musical director for the first four seasons at the Woodstock Playhouse in Woodstock, NY. Brendon is currently serving as a staff pianist at Boston University, the organist for First Parish in Arlington (MA) and the assistant music director for the Boston Saengerfest Men’s Chorus. He also maintains an active schedule of recitals, concerts and vocal coachings.

Elisabeth Slaten, Chorus (La belle Hélène), Cio-Cio San Cover/Chorus (Madama Butterfly), debuted in New York City this year with Bronx Opera singing Meg Page in Vaughan Williams’ Sir John in Love. In February, she sang the soprano solo in Poulenc’s Gloria with the Venice Symphony. Recent roles include Musetta (La bohème) and Peep-bo (The Mikado) with Capitol City Opera in Atlanta. As the Soprano-in-Residence at the University of Georgia, she performed Suzel (L’amico Fritz), Gretel (Hansel and Gretel), Adina (L’elisir d’amore), Antonia (Les contes d’Hoffmann), and Pamina (Die Zauberflöte). Elisabeth has been the soprano soloist for Handel’s Messiah, Saint-Saens’ Christmas Oratorio, Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem, and Dubois’ The Seven Last Words of Christ. Most recently, she was a Finalist in the Atlanta Pro-Mozart Society Scholarship and a 2015 Semi-Finalist in the National Orpheus Vocal Competition. Elisabeth earned her Masters of Music in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy from Peabody Conservatory and her Doctorate in Voice from the University of Georgia, under a full assistantship.

Diego Valdez, Ajax 2 (La belle Hélène), recently completed his undergraduate degree in Music Performance at the University of North Texas, where he received the Dean’s Camerata Opera Scholarship. Recently, he performed as Mr. Erlanson in Sondheim’s A Little Night Music with UNT Opera, Tamino in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte with Fillmore Studio Opera, and Don José in Bizet’s Carmen with Harrower Summer Opera Workshop. He will be starting his Masters degree in Opera and Voice Performance this fall at Montréal’s McGill University as a Teaching Fellow.

Dashiell Waterbury, Resident Artist, Assistant Director (Madama Butterfly, La belle Hélène), is a director and tenor living in Houston, Texas. He completed two degrees in vocal performance at the University of Cincinnati (CCM) and holds a second graduate degree in opera directing from Florida State University. At FSU, he adapted two outreach operas for children and directed several full shows, including A Little Night Music and Postcard from Morocco. Recent productions include Little Women with Opera in the Heights and Dido and Aeneas with Chicago Summer Opera.

Tobias Wright, Ensemble (Kiss Me, Kate), Achilles/Paris Cover (La belle Hélène), Goro (Madama Butterfly), most recently performed the role of Lorenzo with Chicago Fringe Opera in William Bolcom’s Lucrezia. In early 2017, Tobias was an Apprentice Artist at Sarasota Opera. While at Sarasota Opera, he made his debut as Un Giovanetto in Italo Montemezzi’s rarely performed L’amore dei tre Re, and was awarded the Scheininger-Reznick Scholarship by the Sarasota Opera Guild. Tobias was recently featured in the documentary film The Way to Andina, which premiered at the Chicago International Movies and Music Festival. Tobias also sang the role of Clarke in the world premiere of The Great God Pan, scheduled to be released in 2017 by Navona Records/Naxos America. Tobias has a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Kansas, and received his Master’s degree from Northwestern University.

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