The Arizona Opera Ambassadors
Experience an operatic recital, solo performance, and or lecture with the Arizona Opera Ambassadors! Designed for adult audiences, these performances range from one-time events and special celebrations to longer residencies with our community partners. The members of the Arizona Opera Ambassadors perform in regional opera tours, local and statewide community programs, as well as, Arizona Opera community alliances programs.
CUSTOM COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT PROGRAMS
Still looking for the perfect program for your organization? We know that each organization has unique needs and that no program is truly one-size-fits-all. Arizona Opera will work directly with you and your organization to create opera programming that best serves your community.
Send an email to Education and Community Engagement Manager, Madalyn Kiewiet, at email@example.com for more information!
2023/24 Arizona Opera Ambassadors
Helen Hendricks, soprano
Helen Hendricks is an operatic soprano well-versed in a variety of styles including Jazz, Pop, Rock, Musical Theatre, and Classical. In addition to being a singer, Hendricks also plays and teaches tuba (as well as other brass instruments) and piano. Hendricks has been seen on the ASU stage in the 2019 production of Suor Angelica as Suor Clarlario and in the 2018 production of Bernstein’s Mass. In addition to her operatic engagements, Hendricks can be seen regularly at Mystery Mansion Dinner Theatre playing the role of Fanny. Hendricks is a coloratura soprano who enjoys performing the music of Strauss, Verdi, Donizetti, Mozart, and Massenet. Hendricks is a Phoenix native and lives with her lovely cat, Mendelssohn. When not working on music, Hendricks enjoys crocheting, reading, studying foreign languages, and sewing.
Yue Huang, soprano
Yue Huang is a Chinese soprano currently pursuing her Doctorate degree at the University of Arizona under the guidance of Professor Yunah Lee. Huang completed her Master’s degree in Voice at the Manhattan School of Music and obtained her Bachelor’s degree in musicology from Hunan Normal University in China. Huang has earned accolades as the winner of both the Reiman Competition and the Marguerite Ough Voice Competition. Notable opera roles include Laurette in Gianni Schicchi and Laurie in The Tender Land.
Nicole Larsen, soprano
Nicole Larsen holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of New Mexico and received her Master’s in Opera and Musical Theater Performance from Arizona State University in the spring of 2017. In between degrees, Larsen’s time was spent developing a music and choir program at a Montessori elementary school, directing and organizing several music education and outreach programs with the New Mexico Jazz Workshop, performing around the world as the lead singer for Celebrity Enterprises, including an international tour with Artrageous, as well as several operatic appearances in Germany. Larsen comes from a diverse musical background, and has experience singing jazz, musical theater, pop and classical styles.
Kelli Shill, soprano
Kelli Shill recently served as a teaching artist for Arizona Opera's 2023/24 OperaTunity tour. Shill holds a Masters of Music in Opera Performance (2022) and a Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance (2020) from Arizona State University, where she studied with Carole FitzPatrick. While at ASU, Shill performed as Gretel in Hansel und Gretel and participated in the productions of Street Scene, Suor Angelica, and The Magic Flute as well as the Opera Scenes program. In addition to her performances, Shill directed the first staged production of Nkeiru Okoye’s 600 Square Feet and served as a graduate choral artist.
Diana Peralta, soprano
A mezzo-soprano from Mexico City, Diana Peralta graduated from the National Conservatory of Music with Degree in Opera and Concert Singing. Peralta obtained her Master’s Degree in Voice Performance in the University of Arizona and currently studying her Doctoral Degree.
In July 2019, Peralta sang the role Cherubino from The Marriage of Figaro by Mozart with the Jerusalem Opera Studio in Israel. Peralta made her debut in Carmen in a production with the San Luis Opera Festival in July 2018 with the conduction of Dr. Linus Lerner and sang it again in a new production for “Opera de Mexico” Company. Peralta’s roles also include Donna Elvira, Cherubino, Zita, Zia Principessa, Ma Moss, Mercedes, Mme de la Haltiére, Hansel, Charlotte, Lady Rhondda, 2nd and 3rd lady of The Magic Flute among others. Peralta has been the mezzo-soprano soloist at The Messiah, Symphony No. 9, Requiem of Mozart and Petite Messe Solennelle in New York City. Peralta was awarded 2nd place in the Amelia Rieman Opera Competition and 1st place in “Opera Guild Quest for the Best”, both in the University of Arizona in their 2019 Edition.
Dr. Miriam Schildkret, mezzo-soprano
Dr. Miriam Schildkret, PN1 has been performing with Arizona Opera for over a decade. Dr. Schildkret was an Education Teaching Artist with Arizona Opera from 2017 – 2022 and has appeared in bit roles and as a chorister in several Main Stage shows. Former credits with Arizona Opera include Frau Zeller (The Sound of Music), Bridesmaid/Cherubino Cover (The Marriage of Figaro), Cinderella (Cinderella), Third Lady/Queen of the Night/Papagena (The Mini-Magic Flute), Hansel (Hansel and Gretel), and The Sea Witch (Rusalka: The Littlest Mermaid). Other favorite roles include Dorabella (Così fan tutte), Dido (Dido and Aeneas), Prince Orlofsky (Die Fledermaus), Tisbe (La Cenerentola), Third Lady (The Magic Flute), and Kate (Owen Wingrave).
Dr. Schildkret is a frequent lecturer and motivational speaker as well; she has provided the pre-show talks at Symphony Hall, Coffee @ Kerr lectures, and workshops through the Virtual Masterclass Series. Dr. Schildkret is the co-owner of High Note Performance, an online health and fitness company that helps performing artists reach their physical and technical potential. Dr. Schildkret was featured in the Arizona PBS series Desert Canvas, a collection of stories about local artists and their impact on the community, and was also a speaker with TEDx Scottsdale Women.
Micheal Dewayne Jackson, tenor
Micheal Dewayne Jackson is a tenor from Las Vegas, Nevada and received his Bachelor’s degree at the University of Nevada-Reno. Jackson is currently completing his Master’s at the University of Arizona. Jackson’s recent roles include Goro in Madama Butterfly, Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi, Don José in La tragedy de Carmen, and Basilio in The Marriage of Figaro. Before Jackson’s career as an Opera singer, he enjoyed a living singing Jazz and R&B. New to the greater Tucson area, Jackson is beyond excited to be working with the Arizona Opera Education Teaching Artist in his upcoming role as Beast/Prince, in Beauty and the Beast.
Guillermo Keymolent, tenor
Born in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, award-winning tenor Guillermo Keymolent currently holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music from the University of Arizona and a Master of Music in Vocal Performance at California State University Northridge. Most recently, Keymolent performed the role of Rodolfo in CSUN Opera’s production of Puccini’s La Bohème and was in the chorus, played guitar and covered Don Jose for Lyric Opera Orange County's production of Carmen. Keymolent has performed with Arizona Opera, Oro Valley Theater Company, Southern Arizona Performing Arts Co. and Mariachi Matadores de CSUN. Keymolent was the K-8th Music Teacher for Academies of Math and Science in the Tucson-Phoenix Arizona area and choir teacher at Magnolia Science Academy-7 in Los Angeles. Currently, Keymolent is a Music Teacher at Agua Caliente Elementary in Tucson, Arizona.
Brad Summers, tenor
Tenor Brad Summers is a versatile singer and stage actor having performed with companies such as Prague Summer Nights, Utah Opera, Knoxville Opera, Marble City Opera, Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre, and the Savannah VOICE Festival. Recognized by Arts Knoxville for his physicality and comedic presence, Summers has performed leading roles in Don Giovanni, The Marriage of Figaro, La finta giardiniera, The Magic Flute, and Trial by Jury, among others. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Summers created and premiered the role of Mr. Huxley in the original chamber opera A Storm we call Progress, which he recorded and performed virtually at his Phoenix apartment. Summers is entering his second season as a Chorister for Arizona Opera, may be recognized locally for performances with the King’s Carolers, and in promotional videos for the Phoenix Symphony. Summers is a graduate of the vocal programs of Utah State University and the University of Tennessee- Knoxville, where he was inducted into the Pi Kappa Lambda honor society.
As an exciting addition to his artistic work, Summers is also a commercial airplane pilot. Formerly an instructor at AeroGuard Flight Training Center in Deer Valley, Summers now flies for Westwind Air Service, providing air tours and charter services throughout Arizona.
Yongjae Lee, baritone
Yongjae Lee, a South Korean Baritone, received a bachelor's degree in classical voice from Seoul National University (SNU) and a master's in Voice Performance from the Manhattan School of Music (MSM) in New York. Lee won the 1st Prize in 'The 5th New York International Music Competition', got an 'Edward C. Braunstein, New York Assemblyman Award,' and he performed in 'The 5th New York International Music Concours of Winner's Recital' at the Bruno Walter Auditorium in Lincoln Center, New York. In addition, he got 1st Prize from 'Dr. Larry Day Memorial Voice Competition' and a President's competition voice winner at the University of Arizona with 'Distinguished Baritone in the Voice Area Concerto Competition Award for Outstanding Academic and Musical Achievement.'
Recently, Lee got a Platinum medalist in Classical Voice in Quebec Concours International de Musique et des Beaux-Arts. Lee performed the roles Gianni Schicchi, Leporello, and Grandpa Moss' in the University of Arizona Opera Theater production and 'Peter' in Hansel and Gretel at the Chicago Summer Opera Festival. Lee has been an Arizona Opera Ambassador since 2022 and is pursuing a D.M.A. as a Graduate Teaching Assistant at the University of Arizona (UOA), Fred Fox School of Music, under the tutelage of Professor Yunah Lee.
Mauricio Perusquia, baritone
Mauricio Perusquia, baritone, holds an Masters of Music in Opera Performance from Arizona State University and a Bachelors of Music in Voice Performance from the University of Texas at El Paso. Perusquia has engaged in many new Opera works such as Arizona Opera’s Silent Night and the New Works reading of the jazz interactive opera, Marie Begins, as well as concert works such as Cipher. With Arizona State University’s Music Theatre and Opera, Perusquia performed the roles of Frank in Street Scene and Simone in Gianni Schicchi, as well as participating in many productions including Trouble in Tahiti and Bernstein’s Mass. Perusquia has also performed many roles with Gilbert and Sullivan Company of El Paso for which he is on the board of directors, and is a past Joan Quarm Scholarship winner. Perusquia is a proud alumnus of the music fraternity Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, a former member of First Presbyterian Church of El Paso’s scholarship singer program, and a current Valley Singer at Valley Presbyterian Church.
William Vallandigham, baritone
Prescott-based baritone, William Nathan Vallandigham, is an up-and-coming singing actor as well as concert soloist. Vallandigham is regularly seen on opera and concert stages across Southern California, and the greater Chicago area. Upcoming engagements include singing with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in their 2023 concerts of Orff’s Carmina Burana and Beethoven’s Missa solemnis, as well as Mendelssohn’s Elijah with the Quartz Ensemble. Recently, Vallandigham was featured in the role of Francis Nurse in Opera Santa Barbara’s production of The Crucible. Previous performance credits include the roles of Guglielmo (Così fan tutte), Morales (Carmen), Pish-Tush (The Mikado), Eugene Onegin (Eugene Onegin), Maximillian/Cacambo (Candide), Barone Douphol (La Traviata), Editor Webb (Our Town) and Yeletsky (The Queen of Spades). Other career highlights include his performance in the North American staged premiere of Phillip Glass’s Kepler (Spoleto Festival USA). Vallandigham’s solo concert engagements range in diversity; from Bach’s Mass in B minor, to most recently the orchestrated music of video game composing legend, Nobuo Uematsu. Vallandigham earned his Master of Music from Westminster Choir College and a Bachelor of Music from Baldwin Wallace University. Vallandigham currently lives in Prescott with his wife and daughter.
Jennifer Hoppe, piano
Jennifer Hoppe, pianist, is an active vocal coach, teacher and pianist based in Phoenix, Arizona. Since moving to Phoenix in 2013, Hoppe has worked as a pianist with the Arizona Opera Orchestra and also as principal pianist of the Phoenix Boys Choir. In the winter of 2016 she was on coaching staff at Opera Works in Los Angeles, California. From 2010-2015, Hoppe was on the Metropolitan Opera staff as a score consultant for their "Live in HD" Series. In the same period, she joined the staff of the Dallas Opera for their production of Romeo and Juliet. During her 15 years in New York City, Hoppe maintained a private coaching studio and was also on the music staffs of the Seattle Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Tulsa Opera and Glimmerglass Opera. She has also taught at the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival, the Westchester Summer Vocal Arts Institute and the Intermezzo Young Artist Development Program.
Hoppe, previously an adjunct professor at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix has also been an adjunct professor at New York University's Steinhardt School of Education and has been on staff at the Mannes College of Music. She has also been a performer on the Tuesday Musical Concert Series in Omaha Nebraska, the Donnell Library Concert Series and the MOSA Concert Series in NYC, the Tappen Zee Music Festival and the Town and Gown Concert Series in New Jersey. In 2006 and 2007 she was heard on the Joey Reynolds Show, WOR Radio, NY, with Dicapo Opera Theatre.
Hoppe presently runs Jennifer Hoppe Studios, her own private voice and piano studio in Phoenix, Arizona. Hoppe holds Master of Music Degrees in Collaborative Piano and Vocal Performance from Arizona State University and the University of Connecticut, respectively.
For more information about the Arizona Opera Ambassadors, please contact Education and Community Engagement Manager, Madalyn Kiewiet, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Arizona Opera’s Education and Community Engagement programs are made possible, in part, thanks to the support of: The Molly Blank Fund, Dr. Rex Brewster, Invest in Kids Charitable Gift Fund, The Moreno Family Foundation, The Ted Stephan Teaching Artist Endowed Fund, The Arizona Republic, Cardinals Charities, The City of Peoria, and a consortium of individual donors.