The Opera Colorado Artist in Residence Program* is vital to the company’s mission of bringing opera to thousands of people across the Rocky Mountain region. Each season’s Artists in Residence perform in schools, community centers, and other venues across the state; take on select mainstage roles for Opera Colorado; and are the featured performers in the annual Student Matinee. Their eight-month residency in Denver also includes training and coaching from artistic staff and guest artists.
For more information, please contact Cherity Koepke, Director of the Opera Colorado Artist in Residence Program, at email@example.com or 303.778.0371.
The Artist in Residence Program is sponsored by Ken and Donna Barrow, with additional support from Patrick Spieles and Carol McMurry.
The Artist in Residence Showcase and Celebration Concerts are sponsored by Pam Beardsley, Penelope Lewis, and Carol Whitley.
MEET THE 2018-19 ARTISTS IN RESIDENCE
Rebekah Howellsoprano | Bio
Sponsored by Agatha Kessler & Curtis Fentress and Laurence & Cynthia Chan
Praised for her bell-like and crisp tone, native Houstonian soprano Rebekah Howell is making her mark as a versatile stage artist with “plenty of high notes” (The Herald Times). During the 2018-19 season at Opera Colorado, she will perform the mainstage roles of Annina in La Traviata, Girl in After Life, and Barbarina in The Marriage of Figaro. She will also cover Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro, in addition to singing the role for the Student Matinee performance. As part of the company’s touring productions, she performs Gretel in Hansel and Gretel, and Juliet in Romeo & Juliet. In the summer of 2018, Howell debuted the roles of Zerlina in Don Giovanni and Cunegonde in Candide with Chautauqua Opera. During the 2017–18 season, Howell appeared as Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute with Opéra Louisiane and as the soprano soloist in Carmina Burana with the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra. Howell holds degrees from Baylor University (BM) and Indiana University (MM) where she also served as an Associate Instructor of Voice.
Kira Dills-Desurramezzo-soprano | Bio
Sponsored by Gayle & Gary Landis
Kira Dills-DeSurra is from Petaluma, CA, and earned her artist diploma and master of music from the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, and her bachelor of music from the University of Southern California. Prior to joining Opera Colorado, Dills-DeSurra was a Central City Opera Apprentice Artist (and was award the Central City Opera Guild Award in 2017), as well as part of the Chicago Opera Theater Young Artist Program. This season with Opera Colorado, Dills-DeSurra will perform the mainstage roles of Flora in La Traviata and Gertrude Stein in After Life; cover Cherubino in The Marriage of Figaro; and sing Cherubino for the Student Matinee performance. As part of the company’s touring productions, she performs Hansel in Hansel and Gretel, and Lady Capulet and Stephano in Romeo & Juliet. Other recent roles include an Actress in Sir David McVicar’s production of Elektra at Lyric Opera of Chicago; her debut as Vera Boronel in a co-production of The Consul by Long Beach Opera and Chicago Opera Theater; and the Second Lady in The Magic Flute at Central City Opera.
Aaren Rivardtenor | Bio
Sponsored by Donald K. Braden and Chris & Joy Murphy
Aaren Rivard earned his master’s degree from Wichita State University, where he studied with Alan Held and Sam Ramey; and his bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern Maine, where he studied with Ellen Chickering. He has performed several times with Opera Maine, including in the company’s productions of The Daughter of the Regiment, Madama Butterfly, La Bohème, Rigoletto, and Tosca. He was also an Opera Maine Studio Artist for Gianni Schicchi, in which he sang the role of Amantio di Nicolao and covered Rinuccio. Most recently, he was a 2018 Apprentice Artist with Des Moines Metro Opera. As an Opera Colorado Artist in Residence during the 2018-19 season, Rivard will sing the mainstage roles of Gastone in La Traviata and both Basilio and Don Curzio in The Marriage of Figaro. As part of the company’s touring productions, he performs the Witch in Hansel and Gretel, and Romeo in Romeo & Juliet.
Nicholas Kreiderbaritone | Bio
Sponsored by Dr. Stephen L. Dilts
Originally from Lansing, MI, Nicholas Kreider obtained both his bachelor and master of music degrees from Michigan State University, under the tutelage of Professor Richard Fracker. Since graduating, he has been a Bel Canto at Caramoor apprentice artist and a Crested Butte Summer Music Festival young artist. This season will be his second as an Opera Colorado Artist in Residence; during the 2017-18 season, Kreider performed the role of Dandini in the touring production of Cinderella, as well as on the mainstage as Customs Sergeant in La Bohème and 1st Nazi/SS Officer in the world premiere of Steal a Pencil for Me. This season, he will perform the mainstage roles of the Marchese d’Obigny in La Traviata and Pablo Picasso in After Life, as well as Antonio in the Student Matinee of The Marriage of Figaro. As part of the company’s touring productions, he performs the Father in Hansel and Gretel and Capulet/Tybalt in Romeo & Juliet.
Edward Laurensonbaritone | Bio
Sponsored by David & Elizabeth Budd and Martha & Will Tracey
Recipient of the Dame Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation Grants 2013-2018 and the Guildhall Prize from the IFAC Australian Singing Competition 2013, “Laurenson is blessed with the ability to look both handsome and unstoppably mean while singing with unflinching power” (San Francisco Classical Voice). Originally from Auckland, New Zealand, Laurenson graduated from London’s prestigious Guildhall School of Music & Drama in 2016, where he studied with Australian soprano Yvonne Kenny, and received coaching from Dame Kiri Te Kanawa. One of the highlight moments from his time in London was having the privilege of performing for Her Majesty The Queen. Most recently, he studied under the tutelage of César Ulloa at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where he performed the roles of Tarquinius in Benjamin Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia, and Older Thompson in Tom Cipullo’s Glory Denied. With Opera Colorado in the 2018-19 season, Laurenson will perform the mainstage role of Baron Douphol in La Traviata, cover Count Almaviva in The Marriage of Figaro, and perform that same role for the Student Matinee performance. As part of the company’s touring productions, he performs the Prince and Mercutio in Romeo & Juliet.
Eric McConnellbass-baritone | Bio
Sponsored by Joyce de Roos and Marlis Smith
Originally from Thornton, CO, Eric McConnell has trained as a young artist with Central City Opera, Opera Saratoga, Seagle Music Colony, and the Aspen Opera Center. As an Opera Colorado Artist in Residence this season, McConnell will also perform the mainstage roles of Dr. Grenvil in La Traviata and Antonio in The Marriage of Figaro, and sing Figaro in the Student Matinee performance. With the company’s touring productions, he performs Sandman in Hansel and Gretel and Friar Laurence in Romeo & Juliet. Past roles for McConnell include Blitch (Susannah), Bartolo/Basilio (The Barber of Seville), Simone (Gianni Schicchi), Frank (Die Fledermaus), Sacristan/Jailer (Tosca), and Sarastro (The Magic Flute). Additional career highlights include singing Elisha Fitzgibbon in the orchestral premiere of Evan Mack’s Roscoe with the Albany Symphony Orchestra, in a performance featuring renowned soprano Deborah Voigt. McConnell holds degrees from Northwestern University and the University of Miami.
Brian Gillingcoach accompanist | Bio
Sponsored by Peyton & Suzanne Bucy and Ken & Barbara Laff
Brian Gillingcoach accompanist
Pianist and conductor Brian Gilling received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Carnegie Mellon School of Music, and has worked with orchestras and opera companies in Europe and the United States. Recent credits include music directing and conducting LoftOpera’s production of Pergolesi & Vivaldi; serving as a pianist and music director with Opera Saratoga; conducting La Rondine at Undercroft Opera; and performing with the Berkshire Opera Festival. Gilling is also the pianist and co-founder of the award-winning Lîla Quartet, which will soon release its recording of Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time.
*Prior to the 2018-19 season, the Artist in Residence Program was known as the Young Artist Program.
APPLY FOR 2019-20
To apply for next season’s Artist in Residence Program, please visit YapTracker.com.
ARTIST IN RESIDENCE PROGRAM LEADERSHIP
Director of the Opera Colorado Artist in Residence Program
Director of Education & Community Engagement
Lead Acting Coach
Manager of the Opera Colorado Artist in Residence Program
Manager of Education & Community Engagement
Production Assistant for Hansel and Gretel
Assistant Director for Romeo & Juliet, An Afternoon of American Song, and Storytime Sessions
Opera Colorado General & Artistic Director
Opera Colorado Music Director