Get to Know Our 2022-23 Artists in Residence

A collage featuring the headshots of all the 2022-23 Artists in Residence

By: Jennifer Colgan

Have you heard of our Opera on Tour programs? Been to one of our Student Matinees? Seen familiar faces pop up in all our mainstage programs? The wonderful artists you see and hear at the Ellie and throughout the community are our Artists in Residence! Each winter, we audition hundreds of singers from around the world to select the next incoming class of artists, and we are thrilled to share the cohort for the 2022-23 Season. We also asked them a few fun questions to help you get to know them, from their favorite movie to their Hogwarts house.

Francesca Mehrotra, soprano
Joanne Evans, mezzo-soprano
David Soto Zambrana, tenor
Dante Mireles, baritone
Keith Klein, bass-baritone
Turner Staton, bass-baritone
Oleg Bellini, collaborative pianist

Meet Opera Colorado Artist in Residence: Francesca Mehrotra, soprano

Francesca Mehrotra Headshot
2022-23 Opera Colorado Artist in Residence Francesca Mehrotra, soprano
  1. Where you are from? Ashburn, VA
  2. What is your favorite month? My favorite month is December! I love the holiday season and the spirit of community and generosity that it inspires in people. I also usually get to spend a couple of weeks in NYC, where I’m able to reunite with old friends who are all in the city for auditions and catch a few Broadway shows.
  3. What is your favorite movie of all time? I love the Harry Potter movies and am also a huge Jane Austen fan!
  4.  What excites you most about Colorado? I’m so looking forward to living in a new part of the country! I grew up on the East Coast, went to school in TX, and have spent time on the West Coast as well, but have never been to Colorado before. The mountains are so beautiful, the people seem very friendly, and I’m really looking forward to not having any humidity ruining my hair!
  5. Favorite music outside of opera? I’m a huge fan of musical theater, from Golden Age to contemporary. I also love Lake Street Dive and John Mayer.
  6. What is your Hogwarts house? I love this question! I’m a Hufflepuff 😊
  7.  Is your bed made right now? Absolutely.
  8. What is your go-to lazy dinner? Kraft mac and cheese or Dino nuggets!
  9. What has been your favorite age so far? My favorite memories are from around age 11. I lived next door to my best friend, and we would spend all our free time writing plays and putting on performances for our families.

Meet Opera Colorado Artist in Residence: Joanne Evans, mezzo-soprano

Joanne Evans Headshot
2022-23 Opera Colorado Artist in Residence Joanne Evans, mezzo-soprano
  1. Where you are from? London, U.K.
  2. What is your favorite month? December—the most wonderful time of the year!
  3. What is your favorite movie of all time? Notting Hill, Midsommar, and Everything Everywhere All At Once – each for very different reasons.
  4.  What excites you most about Colorado? The mountains. I’ve lived in the Hudson Valley for the last two years and I love the landscape. I’m looking forward to seeing the Rockies when I wake up every morning.
  5. Favorite music outside of opera? Impossible to answer! But if I could only listen to one artist outside of opera it would be Stevie Wonder.
  6. What is your Hogwarts house? I’ve now taken three online quizzes: either Hufflepuff or Gryffindor.
  7.  Is your bed made right now? With military precision.
  8. Do you have any nicknames? What are they? My friends from childhood call me Jo.
  9. What is your go-to lazy dinner? Breakfast tacos.
  10. What has been your favorite age so far? I was not excited to turn 30 but it’s been pretty great so far!

Meet Opera Colorado Artist in Residence: David Soto Zambrana, tenor

David Soto Zambrana Headshot
2022-23 Opera Colorado Artist in Residence David Soto Zambrana, tenor
  1. Where you are from? San Juan, Puerto Rico
  2. What is your favorite month? Honestly? December. All my favorite things happen in December: good music, good food, good weather, good movies, and presents!
  3. What is your favorite movie of all time? This is difficult because I watch a lot of movies! But, if I was stuck on an island and could only take one movie, it would be The Lord of the Rings. I’ve got the extended edition on Blu-ray so that counts as one movie, right?)
  4.  What excites you most about Colorado? The Mountains! I love going hiking and am so excited to be in one of the most beautiful parts of the world.
  5. Favorite music outside of opera? Depends on what I’m doing—video game soundtracks for productivity, EDM for chores.
  6. What is your Hogwarts house? Ravenclaw 300%. Tested three times!
  7.  Is your bed made right now? It most definitely is…not.
  8. Do you have any nicknames? What are they? I don’t really have nicknames, but I go by DoktorD52 or Otid Vasod when I play online.
  9. What is your go-to lazy dinner? Pizza, for sure.
  10. What has been your favorite age so far? The Age of Enlightenment? Semi-kidding! 29 has been nice so far—it’s bringing me to Colorado!

Meet Opera Colorado Artist in Residence: Dante Mireles, baritone

Dante Mireles Headshot
2022-23 Opera Colorado Artist in Residence Dante Mireles, baritone
  1. Where are you from? McAllen, TX
  2. What is your favorite movie of all time? Tree of Life
  3. What excites you most about Colorado? Being able to perform all the time and grow as an artist.
  4. What is your Hogwarts house? I think I am most likely a Gryffindor.

Meet Opera Colorado Artist in Residence: Keith Klein, bass-baritone

Keith Klein Headshot
2022-23 Opera Colorado Artist in Residence Keith Klein, bass-baritone
  1. Where you are from? Overland Park, KS
  2. What is your favorite month? November, something about fall turning to winter is romantic to me.
  3. What is your favorite movie of all time? The Grand Budapest Hotel, all my favorite actors are in it.
  4.  What excites you most about Colorado? I’m so excited to be making wonderful music in such a beautiful state.
  5. Favorite music outside of opera? Jazz, I love playing jazz piano.
  6. What is your Hogwarts house? Ravenclaw. Every day.
  7.  Is your bed made right now?  Oh absolutely, did it one day of my own accord and never looked back.
  8. Do you have any nicknames? What are they? I wish! Unfortunately, I have a one-syllable name.
  9. What is your go-to lazy dinner? Club sandwich with ham and cheese. Typically most of my fun meals are interesting sandwiches.
  10. What has been your favorite age so far? 23— all my prime number years have been good so far!

Meet Opera Colorado Artist in Residence: Turner Staton, bass-baritone

Turner Staton Headshot
2022-23 Opera Colorado Artist in Residence Turner Staton, bass-baritone
  1. Where you are from? Kansas City, MO
  2. What is your favorite month? My favorite month has got to be December. You have Christmas, the snow which is clearly the best weather, and it reminds me of going out and sledding back behind our house when I was a kid!
  3. What is your favorite movie of all time? This is a tough one, but I have to go with The Pursuit of Happyness. I ugly cry every time I watch Will Smith and his son sleeping on the bathroom floor. Then to watch him finally get hired in the end and see the tears of joy and relief on his face, I don’t think there is a more beautiful message in life than working hard to find those moments of bliss.
  4. Favorite music outside of opera? I love jazz. I played bari-saxophone for seven years when I was younger and I miss it! I’m not really a big genre guy in terms of listening to one thing—I usually just like specific songs—but jazz is something I always come back to.
  5. What is your Hogwarts house? Hufflepuff all the way! I took the test about four times and I think I got Hufflepuff three times and Ravenclaw once, so I have a bit of that in me, but my Patronus is an Eagle Owl and I have an Elm Wood wand with Phoenix Core. As you can see, I am a big high-fantasy nerd.
  6.  Is your bed made right now? Currently, it is, but there are definitely clothes on my floor. My house is clean, though, so it’s all about the small victories!
  7. Do you have any nicknames? What are they? Turner is already kind of an interesting name, so people usually just call me that or T for short. My full name is Turner Southall Blevins Staton so names have never been lacking in my family!
  8. What is your go-to lazy dinner? I would say an Impossible Burger with a little bit of fries and some blueberry lemonade. I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in the past year and it’s made me change a ton about my lifestyle and diet. A great burger is something I will never say no to, especially now that I can have them with Impossible meat!
  9. What has been your favorite age so far? To be honest, I would say this age right now, 26 has been a great year of learning, growth, and rediscovery. I love the fact that I am still changing and evolving as a person, and I hope next year I say that is my favorite age, too!

Re-Meet Returning Opera Colorado Artist in Residence: Oleg Bellini, collaborative pianist

Oleg Bellini Headshot
2022-23 Opera Colorado Artist in Residence Oleg Bellini, collaborative pianist
  1. Where you are from? Alessandra, Italy
  2. What is your favorite month? I don’t really have one.
  3. What is your favorite movie of all time? The Matrix.
  4. What excites you most about Colorado? The incredible view of the mountains and the sunny weather.
  5. Favorite music outside of opera? I like to listen to popular 80’s music.
  6.  Is your bed made right now? Thanks for reminding me 😊
  7. What is your go-to lazy dinner? Frozen pizza, please don’t judge.
  8. What has been your favorite age so far? So far, my late 20’s has been my favorite age.

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