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 Grand Prize winner of the 2019 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and a recent alum of the Houston Grand Opera Studio.

In the 2019/20 Season he returns to Houston Grand Opera for a role debut as Papageno in Barrie Kosky’s acclaimed production of The Magic Flute, under the baton of Jane Glover. He makes house and role debuts with Atlanta Opera as Dandini in La Cenerentola, and Arizona Opera as John Lassiter in Riders of the Purple Sage. On the concert stage, he joins Ars Lyrica Houston for a program of Bach and presents a solo recital with the Nantucket Musical Arts Society.

In the 2018/19 Season, Glass made his role debut as Marcello in La bohème with Houston Grand Opera, and subsequently made his Des Metro Opera debut in the role. At Houston Grand Opera, he also sang Alvaro in Florencia en el Amazonas and covered the title role in Don Giovanni.

Career highlights include multiple assignments with Houston Grand Opera including role debuts as Figaro in Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, Baron Duphol in La Traviata, and Officer Krupke in Bernstein’s West Side Story, as well as covering the role of Achilla in Handel’s Giulio Cesare in Egitto. He joined Wolf Trap Opera to sing Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet and was the baritone soloist for Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the National Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Bramwell Tovey.

A former Resident Artist at Minnesota Opera, Glass made his professional debut as Capulet in Romeo and Juliet, 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. An alum of the Merola Opera Program at San Francisco Opera, 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.

Born in Edina, Minnesota, Thomas earned his Master of Music in Vocal Performance from the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University. While at Rice, he sang the roles of Figaro in The Barber of Seville, Peter in Hansel and Gretel, and Snug in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. 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 well as 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.

Katie Van Kooten

Jane Withersteen February 28, March 1 & 7

American soprano Katie Van Kooten’s operatic and concert appearances continue to thrill audiences and earn her praise for using her “powerful, gleaming soprano” to bring vibrancy and life to all of her performances.  Of her recent role debut as Tatyana in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, the Houston Chronicle wrote, “Her singing is extraordinary in is radiance, power and sheer expressiveness. Her "Letter Scene" alone, would be reason enough to attend.”

In the current season Ms. Van Kooten makes her house debut at Dallas Opera as Donna Elvira in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, under the baton of music director Emmanuel Villaume. On the concert stage, she retunrs to the Boston Symphony Orchestra at the Tanglewood Festival for Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony conducted by Andris Nelsons and sings the piece with the Rochester Phlharmonic.

In the 2016/17 season Ms. Van Kooten returned to the Lyric Opera of Kansas City Opera to reprise her portrayal of the Countess in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, and returned to both the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra for Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony conducted by music director, Marin Asop and the Oregon Symphony for Mozart’s Requiem, conducted by Jean-Marie Zeitouni.

Operatic highlights from recent seasons include Tatayana in Eugene Onegin at Houston Grand Opera, where she has also appeared as Elisabetta in Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda opposite Joyce DiDonato Antonia in The Tales of Hoffmann , Mimi in La bohème, and Ellen Orford in Britten’s Peter Grimes in a new production by Neil Armfield.  She has performed Liù in Turandot with Opera New Orleans, Elettra in Idomeneo and Vitellia in La Clemenza di Tito at Oper Frankfurt, Mimi and the Countess at Lyric Opera of Kansas City, the Countess with Atlanta Opera, and Donna Elvira with Opera Grand Rapids.  Ms. Van Kooten made her house debuts at the Metropolitan Opera in the acclaimed Nicolas Joël production of La Rondine as Magda and at Houston Grand Opera as Helena in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. She made her debut at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in as Magda in La Rondine and return performances there have included Antonia in The Tales of Hoffmann opposite Rolando Villazón and led by Antonio Pappano, Pamina in The Magic Flute, Mimi in La Bohème, and Marguerite in Faust. She made her Japanese debut as Micaëla in Carmen under the direction of Seiji Ozawa, and her United States debut performing Marguerite in Gounod’s Faust with the Metropolitan Opera on the Great Lawn of Central Park.

Notable appearances on the concert stage include performances with the San Francisco Symphony for Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with Michael Tilson Thomas and Handel’s Messiah led by Ragnar Bohlin, as well as a New Year’s Eve program with Dimitry Sitkovetsky.  She has performed the Beethoven 9 with the Baltimore Symphony, conducted by Nicholas McGegan, the Philadelphia Chamber Orchestra, Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, Oregon Symphony and the Louisville Symphony.  She has performed Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with Tucson Symphony Orchestra, Mozart’s Requiem with the London Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Vladimir Jurowski and Strauss’ Four Last Songs with the Halle Orchestra led by Edward Gardner. She made her Minnesota Orchestra and role debut as the Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier under the direction of Andrew Litton and returned for Strauss’ Four Last Songs and Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 under the baton of music director Osmo Vänskä.  She has sung the Marschallin in excerpts from Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier alongside Heidi Grant Murphy with Tucson Symphony.

A graduate of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, Ms. Van Kooten studies voice with Rudolf Piernay. She received her Bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from Biola University where she studied with Dr. Jeanne Robison and is a graduate and perpetual member of the Torrey Honors Institute.

 

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

Known for his “voluptuous elegant tone,” and a “robust tenor with baritonal heft,” American lyric tenor Joshua Dennis is a star on the rise. This season, Dennis is slated to return to Arizona Opera in the second world premiere of Clint Borzoni and John de los Santos’s production, The Copper Queen, after a recent reprisal of the role of Bern Venters in the world premiere of Riders of the Purple Sage. Additionally, he sees performances as Leonard in the world premiere of Nadia Boulanger’s La Ville Morte with Neal Goren’s new opera company, Catapult Opera, and also make his role debut as Don José in Carmen in a return to Opera Idaho.

Last season Dennis, a champion of new works, had the honor of originating two roles: “Shoeless” Joe Jackson in Minnesota Opera’s world premiere production of The Fix, and Prince Frederic in Poul Ruders’ The Thirteenth Child with the Santa Fe Opera. Additionally, he was heard in Huang Rou’s Paradise Interrupted at the MGM Grand in Macau, and as the host of Santa Fe Opera’s virtual event Songs from the Santa Fe Opera in place of their opening night event. In summer 2020, Dennis was scheduled to perform the role of Marc in the world premiere of Huang Ruo and David Henry Huang’s M. Butterfly, which was cancelled due to the global pandemic.

As Alfredo in La traviata in his recent role and house debut with Seattle Opera, the Seattle Times raved, “Joshua Dennis gave a vocally smooth and well-schooled performance….” Additional highlights of recent seasons include performances of Roméo in Roméo et Juliette with Minnesota Opera and Utah Opera, where he was also heard as Greenhorn in Jake Heggie’s Moby Dick; Alfredo in La traviata with Opera Columbus and Opera Idaho, where he also performed the title role of Werther; the Duke of Mantua in Verdi’s Rigoletto with Minnesota Opera and Dayton Opera; Jaquino in Beethoven’s Fidelio with the Santa Fe Opera and the Houston Symphony; and title role of Faust with Opera San Antonio and Annapolis Opera. Additional performances include Ferrando in Così fan tutte with Charlottesville Opera and Opera Naples and Belmonte in Die Entführung aus dem Serail with Kentucky Opera and New Orleans Opera.

On the concert stage, Dennis has performed as soloist in Handel’s Messiah with the Santa Fe Symphony and the Las Vegas Philharmonic, Beethoven’s Mass in C with the Phoenix Symphony, and Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde as the first tenor soloist to sing at the XXI Festival International de Piano en Blanco & Negro in Mexico. Additionally, he was a soloist in Dubois’ Les Sept Paroles du Christ and performed the role of Tony in Opera Idaho’s concert version of West Side Story.

Dennis has held apprenticeships with the Des Moines Metro Opera as well as the Santa Fe Opera, where for two consecutive summers he performed the role of Serrano in La donna del Lago and covered the roles of Elemer in Arabella, Alfredo in La traviata, and Frank Harris in the world premiere of Oscar. In 2018, Dennis was the only tenor to represent the USA in Placido Domingo’s Operalia Competition in Astana, Kazakhstan. Additionally, he was a finalist of the Metropolitan Opera Competition at the regional level.

Dennis earned his Bachelor and Master of Music degree from Stephen F. Austin State University. While in attendance, he sang the roles of Alfredo in La traviata, Sam in Susannah, and Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus.

Bille Bruley

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.

Recent COVID-19 cancellations include debuts with the Los Angeles Philharmonic for Tristan und Isolde (Sailor/ Shepherd), Opera Theatre of Saint Louis for Susannah (Sam), and Colorado Symphony in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 at Red Rocks. Last season he joined the roster of Lyric Opera of Chicago Dead Man Walking to cover Father Grenville and Howard Boucher and returned to Arizona Opera for Shining Brow (Louis Sullivan), Riders of the Purple Sage (Bern Venters), and Shining Brown (Louis Sullivan). Additionally, he made his New York recital debut singing Janacek’s The Diary of One Who Disappeared at the 92nd Street Y. Highlights from previous seasons include Britten’s War Requiem with the Tulsa Symphony, a program of Mozart arias with the Phoenix Symphony, and a return to The Santa Fe Opera, where he created the role of Benjamin in the world premiere of Poul Ruders’ The Thirteenth Child. Upcoming engagements include debuts with Austin Opera, Atlanta Opera, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, and a return to Arizona Opera.

Bruley has previously been an Apprentice Artist at Santa Fe Opera in 2018 where he covered Governor/Vanderendur/Captain in Candide and Captain Nolan in Doctor Atomic directed by Peter Sellars. As a member of the Young Artist Program at The Glimmerglass Festival, he sang Beadle Bamford in Christopher Alden's provocative production of Sweeney Todd and Giles Corey in Robert Ward's rarely heard opera The Crucible. He has also been an Apprentice Artist with Central City Opera, singing the music of Benjamin Britten: The Tempter in The Prodigal Son and King Nebuchadnezzar in The Burning Fiery Furnace.

He joined the Marion Roose Pullin Opera Studio at Arizona Opera for the 2018/19 Season where his assignments included roles in Così fan tutte, La traviata, and Silent Night. Bruley was also an apprentice artist at Virginia Opera where he was heard in Samson et Dalila, La fanciulla del West, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Lucia di Lammermoor, and The Seven Deadly Sins. He was a Guest Artist with the Pine Mountain Music Festival and had a major success in the title role of Britten's Peter Grimes with Indiana University Opera Theater.

Bille Bruley hails from Montgomery, Texas and is a recent graduate of the prestigious Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where he received his master’s degree studying with Carol Vaness. He completed his Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance at Baylor University.

Praised for her “beautiful sound,” “free spirit,” and “silver high notes,” Louisiana-born soprano Cadie J. Bryan is quickly emerging as a captivating and versatile performer in a variety of repertoire. She recently came out of the Marion Roose Pullin Arizona Opera Studio where she performed mainstage leading and supporting roles including Musetta in La bohème, Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro, Bess in Craig Bohmler’s Riders of the Purple Sage, Maid in the Taliesin West Premier of Daron Hagen’s Shining Brow, and Annina in La traviata. She spent three seasons with Des Moines Metro Opera during which which she made her mainstage debut as the Second Wood Sprite in the Emmy Award-winning production of Rusalka with director Chas Rader-Shieber. In the 2021 season at DMMO, she will appear as Clarine in Rameau's Platée and Chlöe in The Queen of Spades. An avid recitalist and lover of art song, Cadie is an alumna of Ravinia's Steans Music Institute for singers where she developed relationships with world-renowned coaches and collaborative pianists including Helmut Deutsch, Denise Massé, Cori Ellison, Stephen Blier, and JJ Penna.

Dedicated to promoting new works, other career highlights include Chan Parker in Daniel Schnyder's and Bridgette Wimberly’s Charlie Parker’s Yardbird and Lucy in Fellow Travelers with Arizona Opera as well as Clara in Jake Heggie’s and Gene Scheer's It’s A Wonderful Life at Indiana University. She received a Masters and a Performance Diploma from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music under the tutelage of Heidi Grant Murphy and Kevin Murphy and her Bachelors from Louisiana State University.

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 many of today’s prominent composers, Opera News has recently hailed Keith Phares as a "mainstay of contemporary opera" and " an authentic contemporary-American-opera divo" with "an impressive gallery of finely-drawn character portraits.”

This season he workshops the role of Tom in Matthew Boehler's Fat Pig with Victory Hall Opera, and sings the roles of Daddy Lowell and Mr. Floyd in the premiere of Clint Borzoni's The Copper Queen, to be released on film and produced by Arizona Opera. Highlights from last season include Brahms' Requiem with the Bucks County Choral Society, Messiah with Toledo Symphony, a reprise of Elder Tull in Riders of the Purple Sage with Arizona Opera. Phares was slated to appear as Mountjoy in Gloriana with Arts Centre in Ottawa; however both engagements were cancelled due to COVID-19 safety protocols.

Recently he appeared as Edward Kynaston in Carlisle Floyd's Prince of Players with Florentine Opera (recorded live for Reference Records), Sam in Trouble in Tahiti with Lexington Philharmonic, the premiere of Paul Salerni's opera, The Haunted at Zoellner Arts Center, Carol of Words - a song recital with Lyric Fest featuring texts by Walt Whitman and a return to Opera Saratoga as Dr. Ludwig Binswanger in the premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon's Ellen West.

In the 2017/18 Season he made debuts with Los Angeles Opera as Roderick Usher and Hiram Otis in Gordon Getty's SCARE PAIR: Usher House/Canterville Ghost, Chicago Opera Theater as Gasparo in Donizetti's Rita, Opera Omaha as Ford in Falstaff, and Opera Maine as Count Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro. Other highlights from last season include Viva Opera! at Florentine and the recording of Gregory Spears' critically acclaimed Paul's Case as the Father, which he sang in the opera's premiere at UrbanArias and PROTOYPE festival remount.

In the 2016/17 Season he sang Hurstwood in the world premiere and live recording of Robert Aldridge's Sister Carrie with Florentine (released on Naxos in Sept '17), 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 Theatre, 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 L'elisir d'Amore with Boston Midsummer Opera.

Other recent engagements have included 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 Le nozze di Figaro with New Orleans Opera and Opera Saratoga, Paul's Case with UrbanArias and the PROTOTYPE festival, Dandini in La cenerentola 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 Le nozze di Figaro with Opera Colorado, returned to Washington National Opera as Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia, 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.

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 Loose Cans Music label.

Phares made his Metropolitan Opera debut, under the baton of James Levine, in the French triple-bill Parade, sang 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 Donald in Billy Budd at Washington National Opera; Anthony Hope in Sweeney Todd, Telemaco in Il ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria, and Fritz in Die tote Stadt with New York City Opera; Malatesta in Don Pasquale, Dandini in La cenerentola, and Pish-Tush in The Mikado for Arizona Opera; Valentin in Faust and Clayton McCallister in Cold Sassy Tree with Utah Symphony & Opera; Claudio in Beatrice and Benedict at Santa Fe Opera; Guglielmo in Così fan tutte and Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia at Boston Lyric Opera; and Charles Lindbergh in the premiere of Loss of Eden by Cary John Franklin as well as Pip in the premiere of the revised Miss Havisham’s Fire by Dominick Argento.

Other concert highlights include Claudio in Béatrice et Bénédict with the New York Philharmonic under the baton of Sir Colin Davis, Maximilian in Candide with the San Francisco Symphony conducted by Patrick Summers, Gerald Barry’s The Triumph of Beauty and Deceit with Thomas Adès and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and a program of Rodgers and Hammerstein songs with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. He also has been honored to have been affiliated for many seasons with the Marilyn Horne Foundation, under whose auspices he 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, the 2000 and 2001 Shouse Grants from Wolf Trap 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.