2017–2018 Artist Biographies

 

A finalist in the 2010 Rocky Mountain Regional Metropolitan Opera Council Auditions, mezzo-soprano Nicole Asel (Mother, Amahl and the Night Visitors) is a devoted operatic performer and recitalist. She has been described as “that rare combination of fine musicianship, expressive voice and exceptional acting ability that make her shine on stage.”

Nicole Asel has a passion for new American Opera and song. After working with Mark Adamo, she was selected by the composer to represent his opera Little Women in the G. Schirmer New Opera Sampler CD singing the role of Jo March . She has collaborated with some of opera’s most accomplished living composers in workshop, singing the role of Elizabeth Bennett in Kirke Mechem’s new opera Pride and Prejudice, as well as the role of Carrie Madenda in Grammy Award winning composer/librettist team Robert Aldridge and Hershel Garfein’s opera Sister Carrie. Other operatic roles include Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro, Dorabella in Cosi Fan Tutte, Carmen in recital, Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors, Desiree Armfeldt in A Little Night Music, Mrs. Gibbs in Our Town, Meg Page in The Merry Wives of Windsor, Second Lady in The Magic Flute, and Clarina in La Cambiale di Matrimonio. She has sung with Opera Carolina, Central City Opera, Opera Fort Collins, Greensboro Opera, Long Leaf Opera, The Martina Arroyo Foundation and Colorado Light Opera.

She holds a D.M.A. in Voice Performance and Pedagogy from The University of Colorado at Boulder, an M.M. from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and a B.M. from Ithaca College. Dr. Asel currently teaches applied voice and diction and is Assistant Director of the award winning Opera Department at Sam Houston State University.

More info can be found at www.NicoleAsel.com.

Morgan Buie (Shepherdess, Amahl and the Night Visitors), mezzo-soprano, is currently a first year graduate student, studying Vocal Performance at Wichita State University in Wichita, Kansas. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Vocal Music with a minor in Psychology from Lamar University in Beaumont, TX. Morgan currently studies with Dr. Pina Mozzani at WSU and she studied with Dr. Serdar Ilban for four years at Lamar University. She has recently performed in the chorus of WSU’s production of L’Elisir D’Amore. Morgan has also performed roles such as La Zia Principessa in Suor Angelica, Petra from A Little Night Music (one scene), and the cover of 3rd Lady from Die Zauberflöte. Morgan has also been a soloist in the Lamar Choir during their performance of Handel’s Messiah, numerous Christmas Cantatas with First Christian Church of Beaumont, and has been a soloist at Christ Lutheran Church in Wichita and St. Paul University Parish at WSU. Along with being involved in choir and opera, Morgan was also a member of the Lamar University softball team for four years. Morgan will be performing in WSU’s Opera Scenes program in February as well as playing the role of Marcellina in WSU’s production of Le nozze di Figaro in April.

More info can be found at www.MorganBuieMezzo.weebly.com/.

Katherine Coleman (Shepherdess, Amahl and the Night Visitors), a native central Kansan, is thrilled to make her debut with Music on Site. Katherine is currently a junior at Tabor College in Hillsboro, Kansas, pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music, which she will complete in the spring of 2019. She is a member of the nationally-touring Tabor College Concert Choir, and serves as a section singer in the Chapel Hill United Methodist Church’s Celebration Choir in Wichita. With Tabor College Opera, Ms. Coleman has performed the role of Mother in Hansel and Gretel, and as the title role in scenes from Gilbert and Sullivan’s Patience and as Josephine from H.M.S. Pinafore. In April, she will again perform with Tabor College Opera, this time as Lady Angela in Patience. Recently, she was honored to be added to the artist roster of Opera Kansas. In addition to her operatic work, Ms. Coleman is no stranger to the theatre, having most recently performed the role of Emilia in The Comedy of Errors with Tabor College Theater. She is in her third semester of voice study with Dr. Jen Stephenson.

Mezzo-soprano Kiara Colon (Shepherdess, Amahl and the Night Visitors), is a recent graduate of Wichita State University with her MM in Vocal Performance and is currently studying with Dr. Pina Mozzani. Originally from Chicago, he received her Bachelor of Music degree from Millikin University, located in Decatur, IL in 2015. When Kiara first arrived at Wichita State University, she had the chance to work as the Assistant Stage Manager for the fall production, The Light in the Piazza. While attending WSU, she performed many diverse roles under Dr. Marie King, such as Sesto in Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito, Ursula in Berlioz’s Beatrice et Benedict, and Phani in Rameau’s Les Indes Galantes.

Colon recently performed with the Wichita Chamber Chorale as the alto soloist for the performance of Bach’s Reformation Cantata, Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott, directed by Dr. Mark Bartel. This past summer, she also participated in the Serenade! Music Festival in honor of John F. Kennedy’s 100th birthday, where she met other performers from around the world and learned about their cultures and music. As part of the festival, Colon performed a solo work with Le Cantanti di Chicago at the Kennedy Center. An artist with Lawrence Opera Theatre, sang in scenes that included Mozart’s Rinaldo and Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia, both under the direction of Hugo Vera.

Contralto Lisa Gerstenkorn (Queen Balthazar, Amahl and the NIght Visitors) was recently seen onstage as Miss Todd in Menotti’s Old Maid and the Thief with the Heartland Opera Theatre of Joplin, MO.  She also performed in Queens, NY with the Baroque Opera Workshop as Deianira in Cavalli’s L’Ercole amante, and with Lawrence Opera Theatre as Sarastra, in their new production of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte.  She is currently singing her eleventh season with the professional chorus of the Tulsa Opera, where she made her solo debut as Sister Lillianne in Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking.

She has performed roles with the Ohio Light Opera in Wooster, OH, the College Light Opera Company of Falmouth, MA, and the Ozark Family Opera Company of Bentonville, AR.  She has been a featured soloist with the Taneycomo Festival Orchestra, the Mosaic Vocal Ensemble, the Southeast Kansas Symphony, and the American Opera Studio, under the direction of her voice teacher, Dr. Bill Hall.  Other favorite roles include La Principessa in Suor Angelica, Zita in Gianni Schicchi, Little Buttercup in HMS Pinafore, Edith Frank in Yours, Anne, and Glinda in The Wizard of Oz.  

In addition to her active performing schedule, Ms. Gerstenkorn teaches Voice at Pittsburg State University and Missouri Southern State University, as well as through her private Voice Studio. www.LisaGerstenkorn.com.

A native of Manhattan, Kansas, mezzo-soprano Casey Guthals (Shepherdess/Production Assistant, Amahl and the Night Visitors) is pursuing the Bachelor of Arts degree in music education at Tabor College. She has appeared with the Tabor College Opera as Little Buttercup in scenes from The Pirates of Penzance, Lady Angela and Lady Jane in scenes from Patience, and Lady Kirsten in John Duke’s Captain Lovelock. Additional stage credits include Ms. Meers in Thoroughly Modern Millie and work with Tabor Theatre in their 2015 production of Opal. On the concert stage, Ms. Guthals had been a featured soloist in performances of Handel’s Messiah and Vivaldi’s Dixit Dominus with the Tabor College Oratorio Chorus. Ms. Guthals serves as choir director at Zion Mennonite Church in Elbing, Kansas, and teaches voice through the Tabor College Music Preparatory School. Ms. Guthals is a voice student of Dr. Jen Stephenson.

Tenor Josh Holcomb (Page, King Kaspar-Cover, Amahl and the Night Visitors) from Derby, Kansas is a recent graduate of Friends University, earning his Bachelor’s degree in Voice Performance. Over the past few years he has sung with Opera Kansas in dozens of performances of operas such as Edwin in Trial by Jury, Silvio in Le Docteur Miracle, Robin in Un baiser a la porta, and in the chorus of Amahl and the Night Visitors. He also sang with Central Kansas Concert Opera’s Humanity Sings concert. This past summer he received a grant to take part in a young artist program in Germany with Opera Classica Europa, where he studied and performed for six weeks.

At Friends University Josh was an active member in the Singing Quakers and the Jazz Vocal Ensemble, and also interned as the Chapel Music Leader and Coordinator. While at Friends he played Albert in Bye Bye Birdie, Aeneas in Dido and Aeneas, and Pooch in Good News. Josh was also a two time finalist in the Miller Concerto Competition as well as a finalist at NATS.

Ecuadorian Tenor and Conductor, Alejandro Izurieta (Page, Shepherd, Amahl and the Night Visitors) studied at the Franz Liszt Conservatory, the Youth Symphonic Orchestra in Ecuador, the National University in Argentina, Since that time, he has continued his training in both Italy and the United States.

Izurieta has performed the roles of Beppe in Il Pagliacci, Ferrando in Così Fan Tutte, Anatole in the musical Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812. He has presented recitals and concerts of both classical and pop music in Colombia, Perú, Ecuador, Argentina, and Uruguay. Izurieta also maintains an active voice studio.

As an Assistant Conductor of the Pichincha Professional Choir in Ecuador for four years, he has performed in Germany, México and Colombia.

Soprano Olivia Kliewer (Shepherdess, Amahl and the Night Visitors), from Hillsboro, Kansas, is a recent graduate of Tabor College, where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Music. Recently she has appeared with Opera Kansas in Trial by Jury. Ms. Kliewer is also an active member in the Wichita Choral Society, Bethany Oratorio Society, and the Celebration Choir at Chapel Hill United Methodist Church in Wichita.
At Tabor College, Olivia was a member of  Concerto Bella Voce and Tabor College Concert Choir. In addition Ms. Kliewer has been a featured soloist in performances of Handel’s Messiah and Vivaldi’s Dixit Dominus with the Tabor College Oratorio Chorus.
On the stage, Olivia was a part of Tabor College Opera in scenes from Patience, and H.M.S. Pinafore. With Tabor College Theatre, she performed in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Godspell, Our Town, Secret in the Wings, and Opal. Olivia was also a five-time NATS regional finalist.

Soprano and Director Dawn Neely (Amahl, Amahl and the Night Visitors) is Assistant Professor of Voice and Director of Opera Workshop at the University of West Georgia. Dr. Neely received her Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Alabama. Her most recent directing credentials include Patience, The Marriage of Figaro, Ruddigore, and Orpheus in the Underworld. She has also directed with the University of Alabama Opera Theatre, The Druid City Opera Workshop, the Richard Crittenden Opera Workshop, the Harrower Opera Workshop, and the Atlanta Opera’s 24-Hour Opera Project. Dawn Neely was an Assistant Director with the Opera Theater of Pittsburgh’s SummerFest season in 2015. Dr. Neely currently serves as the Southeastern Regional Governor for the National Opera Association and is active in creating workshops for the region as well as assisting with the National Collegiate Opera and Musical Theater Scenes Competition each year.
As a soprano Dr. Neely has sung in opera, oratorio, and chamber ensembles. She has performed roles such as Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Gretel in Hansel and Gretel, Pousette in Manon. Gianetta in The Gondoliers, Geraldine in A Hand of Bridge, Laurentia in The Beautiful Bridegroom, and Despina in Così fan tutte. She has performed throughout the southeast with the University of Alabama Contemporary Ensemble and the professional chamber ensemble, Druid City Ensemble. Dr. Neely’s research interests include studies on body awareness and alignment methods for musicians. Dr. Neely earned her 200 Level Yoga Teaching Certificate through the Yoga Alliance in 2014.

Edgar Ricaud (King Kaspar, Amahl and the Night Visitors), tenor, was born in Nogales, Arizona, but grew up in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico. His love for singing began at the age of thirteen because of a school project. From that time, he became involved in the cultural activity of his school and received opportunities to perform in various cities of the northern state of Sonora.

As a young adult, he received his first operatic experience in the chorus of Puccini’s iconic Madame Butterfly in Monterrey, Mexico. However, it was at the University of Arizona where he began his first serious vocal study. During his time at the University of Arizona, he performed the main role in the zarzuela Toyupan, Guissepini in the zarzuela El duo de la Africana, and in Mozart’s Don Giovanni.

In the summer of 2012 he studied with the well-known baritone Luis Giron May as part of the summer program Giron leads. In 2014, Mr. Ricaud performed the world premiere of Illegal Alien, composed by Mexican composer Alfonso Molina, at the University of Arizona and in Fiestas del Pitic in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico.

More recently, Ricaud participated in the international festival “Ars Vocalis” in Obregon, Sonora, Mexico. While there, Edgar performed in master classes given by the widely-known tenors Francisco Araiza and Ramon Vargas. This past summer, Ricaud was part of the Redwoods Opera Workshop in Mendocino, California, where he worked with the soprano Elizabeth Kirckpatrick Vrenios.

Currently, Ricaud is pursuing his Performance Certificate as a student of Professor Michael Sylvester.

Baritone Joel Rogier (King Melchior, Amahl and the Night Visitors) returns to Music on Site after appearing in last season’s dual production of The Medium (Mr. Gobineau) and The Telephone (Ben). Since then, Rogier has performed in Missouri with Winter Opera St. Louis and in North Carolina with the Janiec Opera Company at Brevard Music Center. With Winter Opera St. Louis, Rogier played the role of Lucas in The Student Prince, and performed in the world-premiere production of Harold Blumenfeld’s opera, Borgia infami, playing Ascanio. In Brevard, Rogier appeared as Frank Maurrant in Street Scene and covered Count Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro. Rogier previously appeared as Viscomte Cascada in Winter Opera St. Louis’s production of The Merry Widow. Rogier has also performed with Union Avenue Opera (as a soloist in their production of Doubt, starring Christine Brewer) and Opera Kansas, appearing in the educational ballad opera, Two Patriots, which toured to Wichita elementary schools around Constitution Day in 2015.

Rogier’s flexible, wide-ranging voice has allowed him to perform in both opera and musical theatre. Recent roles include Ali in Les Indes galantes and Clayton McAllister in Cold Sassy Tree. Other favorite roles include Don Giovanni, Papageno, Eisenstein (Die Fledermaus), and Father (Hansel and Gretel). Musical theatre highlights include Signor Naccarelli in The Light in the Piazza, Aldolpho in The Drowsy Chaperone, Rudolph Reisenweber in Hello Dolly!, and Lt. Brannigan in Guys and Dolls. Rogier has performed in Italy with the Musica nelle Marche program and participated in the 2012 OperaWorks Emerging Artist program. He has won first place in various regional and state NATS competitions and was a semi-finalist in the 2016 Naftzger Young Artist Competition. Rogier is also an alumnus of Opera Theatre of St. Louis’s Artist-in-Training program.

Rogier earned his Masters of Music in Opera Performance at Wichita State University, where he studied with acclaimed bass-baritone, Alan Held, and worked with renowned bass, Samuel Ramey. He received his Bachelors of Music in Voice Performance from Ouachita Baptist University. Rogier is currently based in Glen Carbon, IL.

Jordan Roth (Shepherd, Amahl and the Night Visitors), bass, is from the small town of Hesston, Kansas. He is a student at Tabor College and a voice student of Dr. Jen Stephenson. He is part of Tabor College’s Concert Choir and Chamber Voices ensembles. He has played the roles of General Bullmoose in Lil’ Abner, the Major General in The Pirates of Penzance, the Beast in Beauty and the Beast, and the iconic role of Jimmy Smith from the show Thoroughly Modern Millie.

Matthew Schloneger (King Kaspar, Amahl and the Night Visitors), tenor, has been hailed as “superb” by the Wichita Eagle and “impressive” by Cincinnati City Beat. An active performer in opera and oratorio, Schloneger has performed principal operatic roles with Wichita Grand Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Operafestival di Roma, Opera Kansas, Whitewater Opera, Sorg Opera, Opera for the Young, Opera Theatre of Lucca, the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music Opera Theatre, Concert Artists AB of Chicago and Goshen College Opera Theatre. Favorite roles include Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore, Nanki-Poo in The Mikado, and King Kaspar in Amahl & the Night Visitors.

A frequent concert artist and recitalist, Schloneger has appeared as tenor soloist with the Wichita Symphony Orchestra, the Messiah Festival of Music and Art in Lindsborg, Kansas, the Newton Mid-Kansas Symphony Orchestra, the Coro Bach di Milano, the University of Cincinnati Philharmonia Orchestra, the Wichita Chamber Chorale and the Lucca Festival Orchestra (Italy), among others. He performs frequently with The Sunflower Trio, a vocal chamber music ensemble that includes his wife, violinist Rebecca Schloneger, and pianist Kenneth Rodgers. The trio tours frequently as part of the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission and the Mid-America Arts Alliance touring rosters and has released two albums, “All Good Gifts” in 2005 and “Reflections: The Music of J. Harold Moyer” in 2015.

Schloneger was recently appointed Assistant Professor of Voice at Friends University in Wichita Kansas. He was Voice Professor at Hesston College from 2001-2017, where he was Chair of the Fine Arts Department and Director of the Hesston-Bethel Performing Arts Series in addition to teaching in the areas of applied voice and musical theatre. He holds a doctorate in vocal pedagogy from the University of Kansas (Lawrence), a master of music degree in voice from the University of Cincinnati (Ohio) College-Conservatory of Music, a bachelor’s in music and sociology from Goshen (Ind.) College and an associate of arts from Hesston College. He completed post-graduate studies at the Civica Scuola di Musica di Milano in Milan, Italy, where he was a Rotary Scholar, and has a certificate in French language from the Sorbonne in Paris, France.

Krystin Skidmore (Mother, Amahl and the Night Visitors) is a Northern California native pursuing her MM in Opera Performance at Wichita State University, where she studies with Dr Cristina Castaldi. A fearless actress with a unique and exciting voice, Ms Skidmore is a winner of the 2017-2018 WSU Concerto-Aria Competition and was a semi-finalist in the 2017 James Toland Vocal Arts competition. Some of her favorite roles include Mrs. Nolan (The Medium), Mrs. McLean (Susannah), Zia Principessa (Suor Angelica), Cecilia March (Little Women), Anna (The King and I) and Marian (The Music Man). Upcoming roles include Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro and Aunt Cecilia in the musical version of Little Women.

Ms. Skidmore has had the opportunity to perform across Europe and South America, in concerts with the San Felice Orchestra in Florence, in St. Peter’s Basilica, in the Temppeliaukio Church in Helsinki, in Lovrijenac with the Dubrovnik Symphony, and with the Buenos Aires Conservatory Orchestra. She remains deeply committed to community outreach, and has most recently performed with local Wichita companies including Music On Site, Opera Kansas, Forum Theatre Wichita and Central Kansas Concert Opera.

Other performance highlights include being filmed in a 2009 documentary about a group of musicians under the direction of Dr. Henry Price retracing the route of Emanuel Schikaneder’s 1779 acting group across Germany and Austria, and participating in Songfest 2008 under the tutelage of Martin Katz and Paul Sperry.

Ms. Skidmore has also studied at Pepperdine University and Rice University and is greatly indebted to her many fabulous teachers and coaches including Dr Dorothy Crum, Dr Melanie Emelio, Kathleen Kaun, and Samuel Ramey.

Praised for her “light and expressive soprano” (South Florida Classical Review), Emily Solo (Amahl, Amahl and the Night Visitors), soprano, recently created the role of Tommie in the world premiere of Tesla with SoBe Arts in Miami Beach. Last summer, she was an Apprentice Artist with Charlottesville (Ash Lawn) Opera, where she played Georgina and covered Gertie Cummings in the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic Oklahoma!. The 16/17 Season featured Ms. Solo in a new production of A Christmas Carol at the Tony Award-winning McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton. She also sang Le Rossignol in Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges and Esmeralda in Smetana’s The Bartered Bride, both with Westminster Opera Theater. Ms. Solo is a former Harrower and CoOPERAtive Young Artist and two-time prize winner at the competitive Bill Riley Talent Search. She is an alumnus of Westminster Choir College (M.M. in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy) and The University of Nebraska-Lincoln (B.M. Vocal Performance / Theatre).

More info can be found at www.EmilySolo.com.

Hailing from Derby, Kansas, Winter Waple (Shepherdess, Amahl and the Night Visitors) is an undergraduate student at Tabor College, in Hillsboro, Kansas. She is currently a member of the nationally-touring Tabor College Concert Choir, as well as the highly selective Chamber Voices ensemble. Additionally, Ms. Waple serves as a choral section leader in the Celebration Choir of Chapel Hill United Methodist Church in Wichita. Recently, she was pleased to be added to the artist roster of Opera Kansas, based in Wichita. With the Tabor College Opera, Winter has performed the roles of Gretel in Hansel and Gretel and Captain Lovelock/Pernille in Captain Lovelock, as well as the roles of Patience in scenes from Patience, and Elsie from The Yeomen of the Guard. In April, she will reprise her role as Patience, this time in Tabor College Opera’s complete production of the Gilbert and Sullivan classic. In December, Ms. Waple made her orchestral soloist debut, serving as soprano soloist with the 150-voice Tabor College Oratorio Chorus and Community Orchestra’s performance of Messiah. Winter will complete her Bachelor of Arts degree with a double major in Music and Communications with a minor in English in the spring of 2019. She is a voice student of Dr. Jen Stephenson.

Lexy Witcher (Shepherdess, Amahl and the Night Visitors) is a singer-actor who has performed in many productions, including Disney’s The Little Mermaid as Adella/ensemble, Cinderella as Stepsister Grace, and Godspell as “O Bless the Lord” and “Turn Back O Man” soloist. While a student at Wichita State University, credits include Two Rooms as Lainie Wells, Sister Act as Nun/First Female Bar Patron, Into the Woods as Sleeping Beauty, and chorus member in both Cold Sassy Tree and Les Indes Galantes.

Lexy is currently completing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in musical theatre with minors in communications and music. While there, she has trained in ballet, jazz, and tap with Nick Johnson, Sabrina Vasquez, and Amy Baker Schwiethale. Lexy has studied acting under Danette Baker and Dr. Bret Jones. She has also performed in a masterclass with actor and WSU alum Javier Ignacio. She has studied vocally under Dr. Pina Mozzani and Emily Sternfeld-Dunn while at WSU, and is currently in vocal coaching with Karen Robu.

Lexy spent her past summer rocking out in Ohio playing the fiddle and singing rock and country music in Totally Live! This Country Rocks at Cedar Point Amusement Park. This semester she played Chiffon in WSU’s production of Little Shop of Horrors, from which she received her second Irene Ryan nomination. She received her first nomination from her role in Two Rooms in the fall of 2016. This coming spring, Lexy will perform the role of Amy March in WSU’s production of Little Women.