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2023 Il Trovatore

Biographies

Alan Chavez

Manrico

Alan is a Richmond native and has been consistently performing since his debut at VCU in 2011, becoming a familiar face in opera around the Richmond area ever since.

Alan is very excited to finally begin his career as a Tenor, where he has already secured multiple performances for the remainder of the year, including Arnalta in Capitol Opera of Richmond’s recent production of L’incoronatione di Poppea as well as Manrico in Commonwealth Concert Opera’s upcoming production of Il Trovatore. He most recently appeared in the RVA Art Song Series presentations of Brahms' "Die schöne Magelone" and "Spooktacular!", and Commonwealth Concert Opera's "Scenes and Arias from Operas by Richard Wagner."

Whitney Martin

Leonora

Whitney Martin is making her return to Commonwealth Concert Opera singing the role of Leonora in this thrilling production of Verdi's Il Trovatore. Whitney is no stranger to the Company, having sang the role of Mercedes in Commonwealth Concert Opera's 2021 production of Carmen, and most recently singing the role of Elisabeth in excerpts from Wagner's Tannhäuser in a Concert of Selected Scenes from the composer's works in August of 2022. In recent years, Whitney covered the role of Countess Almaviva in Capital Opera's 2020 production of the Marriage of Figaro and serves the community as a member on the Board of Directors for Classical Revolution RVA.

James Myers

Il Conte di Luna

James Myers is a baritone who has sung with Washington National Opera at the Kennedy Center, Wolf Trap Opera Company and abroad in Europe with the MittelsaechsischesTheater in Freiberg, Germany.

He sang the role of Guglielmo in Commonwealth Concert Opera’s 2022 production of Così fan tutte and recently performed with Bel Cantanti Opera Company in their productions of Die Csardasfurstin and La Traviata.  He holds a Master of Music degree in vocal performance and works as a professional singer, actor and voice teacher in the Washington D.C. area. As a performer in musical theatre, James has played the Beast in Beauty and the Beast, Tommy Albright in Brigadoon by Lerner and Loewe and South Carolina Senator Edward Rutledge in 1776.  This past October he created the role of Baltus Van Tassel in the world premiere of the musical, Ichabod, the Legend of Sleepy Hollow with the theatre company, Creative Cauldron.

Catherine Pelletier

Azucena

Catherine studied as a vocal performance major at Virginia Commonwealth University and is a current voice student of James Taylor of James Taylor Studios.

She has performed in a variety of genres at a variety of venues, but her favorite has always been opera. Favorite past performances include Ms. Todd from Menotti’s The Old Maid and the Thief, Suzuki from Puccini’s Madama Butterfly (partial role), Dorabella from Mozart’s Così fan tutte (partial role), Leonora from Donizetti’s La Favorita (partial role), Princess Ida from Gilbert & Sullivan's Princess Ida, Maria Rainer from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music, and Nick Bottom from Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. In April, she will be performing the role of Third Lady in Mozart’s The Magic Flute with VCU Opera.

James Lynn

Ferrando

James Lynn, a native of Richmond, VA, holds a BFA in Music from Carnegie Mellon University and a Masters degree from the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music.

He has enjoyed performance experiences from San Francisco to Lisbon, Portugal for such companies as Santa Fe Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Virginia Opera, Lyric Opera of Cleveland, and San Francisco Opera’s Western Opera Theater. He has performed a wide variety of repertoire from beloved standards such as The Marriage of Figaro, Rigoletto, and The Elixir of Love, to more modern opera such as Wozzeck and the world premieres of Emmeline and Seasons in Hell. He recently created the role of Dr. Bortigali in the world premiere of the new Baroque opera, Julie, Monster, produced by RVA Baroque and The Firehouse Theater. Later this spring he will be singing the role of Sarastro in VCU Opera's production of The Magic Flute.

Erik DeMario

Ruiz

Erik DeMario is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University, where he performed as Bob in Menotti's The Old Maid and the Thief and as the title role of Mozart's The Impresario.

He was also seen in VCU Opera's 2021 Scenes Gala playing Dr. Falke in Die Fledermaus, Pish-Tush in The Mikado, and Nemorino in The Elixir of Love. As an actor, his performances have included Orsino in Twelfth Night, Ensemble/Mr. Marks (u/s) in Intimate Apparel, several roles in Firehouse Theatre's War in Pieces, and Orcus/Ronnie in She Kills Monsters.

In July 2022, he debuted with Capitol Opera of Richmond in their production of L'incoronazione di Poppea. Erik recently appeared in the RVA Art Song Series presentation of "Spooktacular!"

Reeve Fenick

Ines

Reeve Fenick, soprano, is in her junior year at Saint Gertrude High School and is very involved in their Honors Ensemble and theater program.

Some of her recent roles in musical theater include Alice in Alice in Wonderland, Alma Hicks in The Music Man, Queen Constantina in Cinderella. She is also a soprano 1 for the 3rd district of the All District Choir, and hopes to sing for the State Choir in the future. Reeve Fenick is a vocal student of Mr. James Taylor.

James Taylor

Artistic Director

Conductor

James Taylor, M.M. (Yale University), is an internationally celebrated performer. At home in opera, concert, recital, and musical theatre, he has appeared with numerous opera companies, symphonies, and theatres, including the New York City Opera, San Francisco Opera, Opera Carolina, Göttigen Handel Festspiele, Theatre Augsburg, and the Nederlandse Reisopera.

In his earlier roles as a baritone, Mr. Taylor performed the title roles in Il Barbiere di Siviglia and Le Nozze di Figaro, Marcello in La Boheme, as well as thirty-three others. As a tenor, his performances have included Siegmund in Die Walküre, the title role in Lohengrin and Parsifal, Don Jose in Carmen, Manrico in Il Trovatore, Cavaradossi in Tosca, and Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly. His many concert performances include Handel's "Messiah", Bach's "Magnificat", Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, and Mozart's "Requiem".

An avid recitalist, Mr. Taylor has presented programs in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht, Breda, and Groningen in the Netherlands, Munich, Augsburg, and Dusseldorf in Germany, Klagenfurt, Linz, and Vienna in Austria, and Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, as well as several universities and colleges across the United States.  He has sung Schubert's "Winterreise", "Die schöne Müllerin", and "Schwanengesang", Schumann's "Dichterliebe", "Liederkreise" Op. 24 & Op. 39, Brahms' "Vier ernste Gesange", "Ziguenerlieder" and "Die schöne Magelone", and Wagner's "Wesendonk Lieder".

Leilani Fenick

Pianist

Leilani Fenick is a professional pianist, and vocal coach in the Richmond area. She has collaborated with professional vocalists, performing throughout the US, China, Italy, and Mexico.

Mrs. Fenick is actively involved in the Richmond professional theatres as a music director and pianist and also teaches in her private studio. Some of her most recent shows as music director include GABRIEL (Assistant Musical Director/Firehouse Theatre), KISS ME, KATE (Ft. Lee), THEY’RE PLAYING OUR SONG (Ft. Lee), PASSING STRANGE (Firehouse), DAMES AT SEA (Swift Creek Mill), GUTENBERG! THE MUSICAL (Quill Theatre), LEGALLY BLONDE (VCU), and TOP OF BRAVERY (Quill).

Many of her shows have been nominated by the Richmond Theatre Critics Circle for several awards including Best Musical and Best Musical Director and was awarded Best Musical Director for her work in RENT (Firehouse).

Mrs. Fenick holds a Master's degree in Piano Performance from VCU. She studied with Dr. Sonia Vlahcevic and Prof. Melanie Day.

Reese Williams

Narrator

Reese Williams has been a voice actor for over 25 years. She enjoys this work because it allows her to be obnoxiously animated, yet socially acceptable.

She’s lent her talent to live radio, animation, mobile apps, voicemails, commercials, corporate videos and backup singing vocals. She’s Head of Business Development for In Your Ear Studios in Richmond, so now she gets to run her mouth about her beloved audio industry for a living. She hosts the live stream concert series Shockoe Sessions Live, and its companion podcast, "This Room Sounds Great." She also produces and hosts her own podcast titled "Spying on Humanity."

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