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2024 Love & Revenge


Mara Barrett

Mara Barrett is a proud graduate of the Theatre Program at The College of William and Mary. Some of her performance credits include La bohéme (Commonwealth Concert Opera), The Rocky Horror Show (Richmond Triangle Players), The Addams Family (Dogwood Dell), The Great Gatsby (Quill Theatre), Times Square Angel (Richmond Triangle Players), A Chorus Line (Richmond Triangle Players), Free Man of Color (The Heritage Ensemble Theatre Company), Something’s Afoot (Swift Creek Mill), and Virginia Rep on Tour.

Alan Chavez

Alan has been a mainstay in the Richmond classical music scene since his debut at VCU Opera in 2011. Some of his favorite past roles include both Figaro and Conte d'Almaviva in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, Slook in Rossini's La Cambiale di Matrimonio, the Pirate King in Gilbert and Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance, Silvio in Leoncavallo’s I Pagliacci, the title role in Puccini's Gianni Schicchi, and Marcello in Puccini's La bohème. 

Kirkland Fenerty

Born in Richmond, VA, baritone Kirkland Fenerty takes his second pass at Puccini’s La bohème in the role of Schaunard! Kirk holds a Bachelors of Music from James Madison University, and has studied internationally with AIMS in Graz, Austria and Opera Al Mare in Cesenatico, Italy. Past operatic credits include the title role in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Marcello in La bohème, Nick Shadow in Stravinsky's The Rake’s Progress, Papageno in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte, and Wagner in Gounod's Faust. Chorus credits include Heggie's Dead Man Walking, Monteverdi's L’Incoronazione di Poppea, and Wagner in Gounod's Faust.  Recently, Kirkland performed the role of Schaunard in Puccini's La bohème with Commonwealth Concert Opera, and participated in a workshop for Damien Geter's Loving vs. Virginia with Virginia Opera. 

James Myers

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.

Emily Nesbitt

Emily Nesbitt is an American dramatic soprano from Northern Virginia. She made her Richmond opera debut with VCU in 2015 in Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Gondoliers and went on to sing many roles with them, her favorites being the Countess in Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro, Nedda in  Leoncavello's I Pagliacci, Nella in Puccini's Gianni Schicchi, and Lakmé in Délibes' Lakmé. Her other notable roles include singing Mother Marie in Poulenc's Dialogues of the Carmelites and Mimi in Puccini's La bohème with La Musica Lirica. Emily has been in many Puccini operas but La bohème was her first and remains her favorite. Her debut as Mimi was in Italy with La Musica Lirica, and she recently performed the role again in Richmond with Commonwealth Concert Opera.

Fredrick Newhouse

Fredrick Newhouse is a native of Richmond, Virginia. He has studied vocal performance at VCU and is currently a student of James Taylor. After a long hiatus, he is making his return to opera to debut his first lead role as Rodolfo. Fredrick has performed in the chorus with VCU Opera in Lehár’s The Merry Widow and Mozart’s The Magic Flute. He has also performed the joyous role of Lippo Fiorentino in the “Ice Cream Sextet” from Kurt Weill’s Street Scene. Recently, Fredrick performed Rodolfo in Puccini's La bohème with Commonwealth Concert Opera, and participated in a workshop for Damien Geter's Loving vs. Virginia with Virginia Opera. 

Catherine Pelletier

Catherine studied as a vocal performance major at Virginia Commonwealth University and is a former member of the production staff for VCU’s award-winning opera department. Catherine has performed in a variety of genres at a variety of venues, but her favorite has always been opera. Favorite past performances include Azucena in Verdi’s Il Trovatore, Ms. Todd in Menotti’s The Old Maid and the Thief, Third Lady in Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Princess Ida in Gilbert & Sullivan's Princess Ida, Maria Rainer in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music, and Nick Bottom in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. In August, Catherine will be performing the role of Dalila in Samson et Dalila with Commonwealth Concert Opera, and in May of 2025 will be performing in the chorus for the world premiere of Loving v. Virginia with Virginia Opera.

Elizabeth Robideau

Elizabeth Robideau studied vocal performance at Duquesne University of Pittsburgh. She has performed in oratorio, opera, operetta and recital. Her oratorio performances as soloist include Handel’s "Messiah", Mozart's "Requiem", Bach's "Magnificat" and "Mass in B minor" and Vivaldi's "Gloria". Operatic roles include Maura in Riders to the Sea by Vaughan Williams, Lucilla in Rossini's La scala di seta, Orfeo in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice and the title role in Benjamin Lees’ Medea. She has also appeared in many Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, such as The Yeomen of the Guard" (Phoebe) and The Pirates of Penzance (Edith). She recently participated in the workshop for Geter's Loving v. Virginia with Virginia Opera.

A native of England, Ms. Robideau has also performed as Mad Margaret in Gilbert and Sullivan’s Ruddigore at Gawsworth Hall in the UK. She is currently studying with James Taylor.

James Taylor

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 roles 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".

A talented and sought-after educator, he has served as Director of Opera at Drake University and the University of Alabama and has been on the music faculties of VCU and the University of Virginia. His students have gone on to such prestigious schools as the New England Conservatory, Juilliard, Manhattan School of Music, Yale University, and the Royal College of Music. Several of his students perform regularly with the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, Semperoper, Glyndebourne, the Opera Comique, Utah Opera, Central City Opera, Landestheater Niederbayern, Opera Frankfurt, and the Oldenburgisches Staatsoper.

Mr. Taylor has had the pleasure to work with many of the top Artist Teachers in the business, such as Jon Fredric West, Sherrill Milnes, Richard Cross, Doris Yarick-Cross, Jackson Sheats, Andrew Gainey, and Seth Riggs. He has also participated in Master Classes with Placido Domingo, Sherrill Milnes, and Regine Crespin.

Jessica Voutsinas

Jessica Voutsinas is a coluratura sporano from Richmond, Virginia. She's performed with companies along the East Coast, including Opera Ithaca, Classical RVA, and Commonwealth Concert Opera in beloved roles Susanna in Mozart's Marriage of Figaro, Dorothée in Massenet's Cendrillon, and Musetta in Puccini's La bohème. Jessica has also sung in the chorus for I Pagliacci and performed in the choral works Carmina Burana by Carl Orff, Messiah by George Frideric Handel, and Prayers of Kierkegaard by Samuel Barber. She graduated from Ithaca Conservatory in 2018, and has studied with renowned singers Dawn Pierce and James Taylor.

Charles Staples

Charles Staples’ playing has been described in the Richmond Times-Dispatch as “forceful…but unforced, as natural as breathing.” A native of Alabama and honors graduate of the Alabama School of Fine Arts, Staples won the Van Cliburn full tuition scholarship to the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and went on to receive his master’s and doctoral degrees at Stony Brook University, training under David Bar-Illan, Martin Canin and Bernard Greenhouse. He won prizes in the MTNA Southern Division Competition, the Bryan Young Artist Competition, the Five Towns and Sunwood competitions, and has performed on public radio in Cincinnati, New York and Richmond. Staples has been soloist in concertos with the the Richmond Symphony as well as the CCM Concert Orchestra, the Congress of Strings, the North Carolina Symphony and University of Richmond Orchestra. He recently performed the Brahms 1st Piano Concerto with the Richmond Philharmonic and will make his 6th appearance with them this fall playing the Rachmaninoff 2nd Concerto. He has also performed recitals in New York's Town Hall and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. He teaches on the piano faculties of VCU and the Greenspring International Academy as well as being director of music ministries at Trinity United Methodist Church.

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