Sunday, April 23 6:00pm, Good Shepherd Church
Sunday, May 7, 3:00pm Matt Ross Community Center
Featuring Youth Soloist Aaron Tseng, Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in E minor
Sunday, June 11, 3:00pm, Thompson Park, Downtown Overland Park
Who’s Who: Carmen, March 4, 2023
Raffaele Cipriano, Music Director
Raffaele Cipriano is an Italian conductor, vocal coach, composer, and computer scientist. He studied at the Conservatories of Padua and Venice with international mentors, focusing on orchestral conducting, collaborative piano, opera repertoire, and composition. In 2015 he moved to Kansas to pursue the doctorate in orchestral conducting at KU, under the supervision of Maestro David Neely. He graduated in 2018 with honors, gaining overwhelming feedback for continuous artistic collaborations in the area (Lawrence Arts Center, Lawrence Opera Theater, Landlocked Opera, community orchestras). For the 2018-2019 season, Cipriano was the assistant/cover conductor of Maestro De Renzi at Sarasota Opera, and since 2020 he has been the assistant conductor for the Topeka Symphony Orchestra. Recently, he was the music director for the opera Romeo and Juliet with Lawrence Opera Theater, orchestra conductor for the musical A Chorus Line in Topeka, and guest conductor at the Springfield Symphony (MO). He is based in the Kansas City metropolitan area, where he conducts two community orchestras (Overland Park Orchestra and Philharmonia of Greater Kansas City) and serves as music director at the Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Shawnee.
Jonathan Ray, D.M.A., Le Remendado, smuggler
Jonathan Ray serves as Assistant Professor of Music at Central Methodist University, where he teaches Applied Voice, directs Opera Workshop, and conducts the musical theater productions. Hailed for his “very rich, full tenor” (Broadway World), Dr. Ray has performed with such companies as Utah Festival Opera & Musical Theatre, Heartland Opera Theatre, The Lyric Opera of Kansas City, The Missouri Symphony, Opera in the Rock, The Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra, St. Petersburg Opera, Lawrence Opera Theatre, Opera in the Ozarks, Greensboro Opera, and Greensboro Light Opera and Song.
Dr. Ray received the Doctorate of Musical Arts in Vocal Performance and Choral Conducting from Louisiana State University where he studied with tenor Robert Grayson and coached with renowned vocal pedagogue Loraine Sims and Metropolitan Opera tenor Paul Groves. He received his Master of Music in Vocal Performance from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro where he studied with Carla LeFevre. He earned his Bachelor of Vocal and Instrumental Music Education from Arkansas Tech University where he studied with Jon Clements and Arlene Biebesheimer and his major instruments were voice and tuba. In 2019, Dr. Ray completed his apprenticeship as the tenor Apprentice Artist with The Lyric Opera of Kansas City where he continued his vocal studies with tenor Vinson Cole.
Known for his “stamina and unrelenting concentration, as well as his lovely singing” (Arktimes), some of Dr. Ray’s operatic highlights include Ferrando (Così fan tutte), Roméo (Roméo et Juliette), Alfredo (La Traviata), Belfiore (La finta giardiniera), Eisenstein (Die Fledermaus), Almaviva (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Lindoro (L’Italiana in Algeri), Ramiro (La Cenerentola), Benedict (Béatrice et Bénédict), Ottavio (Don Giovanni), Belmonte (The Abduction from the Seraglio), Tamino (The Magic Flute), Basilio (Le Nozze di Figaro), Nemorino (L’elisir d’amore), Rinuccio (Gianni Schicchi), and the title roles in Albert Herring and Candide, as well as the principal tenor roles in the Gilbert & Sullivan operettas The Gondoliers, The Pirates of Penzance, and Trial by Jury. A lover of musical theater, Dr. Ray has performed leading and supporting roles in She Loves Me, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, West Side Story, Newsies, Into the Woods, Amazing Grace, Hairspray, Sweeney Todd, Assassins, You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, South Pacific, and A Little Night Music. Dr. Ray is also an active recitalist, performing such song cycles as Schubert’s Die schöne Müllerin, Beethoven’s An die ferne Geliebte, Finzi’s A Young Man’s Exhortation, Schumann’s Dichterliebe, Philip Glass’s Songs from Liquid Days, and several cycles by Benjamin Britten including Les Illuminations, Canticles I, II, and III, Winter Words, On This Island, and Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings, as well as many of his folk songs. Some of his concert work includes the tenor solos in Carmina Burana, Stravinsky’s Cantata, Bach BWV 148, and Mozart’s Requiem in D minor and Great Mass in C minor.
Dr. Ray has served on the voice faculties for Northwest Missouri State University, Johnson County Community College, and Music/Arts Institute. He has also served as a church musician for many years, most recently as the vocal music director for Avondale United Methodist Church in North Kansas City, where he directed the chancel and bell choirs. Currently, Dr. Ray serves as the Traditional Music Director at First Baptist Church in Columbia. Voice students of Dr. Ray have earned top prizes in various categories at NATS, as well as other nationally recognized vocal competitions, and his students have been seen performing throughout the Midwest and beyond. He currently serves on the board for Mid-Missouri NATS.
Dr. Ray is also Co-Founding Artistic Director for Landlocked Opera, Inc. Their full-length opera productions include Trial by Jury, Beatrice and Benedict, The Old Maid and the Thief, and The Magic Flute, which Dr. Ray had the privilege to direct. Recently, Landlocked Opera produced Kirke Mechem’s operatic rendition of Moliere’s Tartuffe in collaboration with the Kansas City Moliere Festival in commemoration of Moliere’s 400th birthday.
When he is not performing or teaching, Dr. Ray enjoys spending time with his beautiful wife Christina, their wonderful daughter Lucy, and their cats Churro and Gravy.
Jacob De Sett, Escamillo, Toreador
Raised in Leawood, 23-year-old baritone Jacob De Sett is an Artist Diploma student at William Jewell College where he studies with Daniel Belcher. Most recently, at the Folly Theater, he performed alongside the Kansas City Chamber Orchestra in Gordon/Vavrek’s The House without a Christmas Tree. This summer, he made his Central City Opera debut as a Bonfils-Stanton Studio Artist covering Gad Beck in Heggie/Scheer’s Two Remain, Roy Johnson in The Light in the Piazza, and Frosch in Die Fledermaus.
Last season, De Sett made his American Opera Project debut in Kaminsky, Campbell, and Reed’s virtual premiere choral work titled “A Brighter Light” alongside mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke. At William Jewell College, he performed Antonio in Le nozze di Figaro and portrayed five characters in Puts/Cambell’s Elizabeth Cree. Other notable roles include Figaro (Le nozze di Figaro), Mercutio (Roméo et Juliette), and Hannah (As One).
This spring, De Sett will perform the role of Albert in Werther with William Jewell College before he graduates and pursues his Master of Music in opera/voice performance in another part of the country. De Sett holds a Bachelor of Music from the University of Kansas, where he received the Carl and Frances Haven Preyer Award for Voice and studied with Dr. Genaro Méndez.
Christina Ray, Mercédès, Companion of Carmen
Praised for her “velvety mezzo” (OperaWire), Christina Ray is equally at home on the operatic, concert, and musical theatre stages. Recent roles include Mrs. Splinters in Aaron Copland’s The Tender Land and Ms. Lark in Mary Poppins with Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre, Béatricein Béatrice et Bénédict, with Landlocked Opera, Celeste #1 in Sunday in the Park with George, Ramiro in Mozart’s La finta giardiniera, Hänsel from Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel, and Maman/la tasse Chinoise/la libellule in Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges. As an active choral singer, Ms. Ray is a member of two professional choral ensembles Vox Nova and Kantorei KC.
Ms. Ray made her professional debut with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City as a chorister in their 2018 season. She has also sung professionally with the Overland Park Orchestra, Missouri Symphony Orchestra, and Manhattan Concert Productions. In 2016 she was a recipient of an Encouragement Award at the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, in the Little Rock, AR district.
Ms. Ray is the Founding General Director of boutique opera company, Landlocked Opera. Landlocked Opera is committed to serving the Missouri community with quality performances and serving area artists with quality opportunities. Believing strongly in breaking down barriers and opera stereotypes, Landlocked Opera’s motto is “Opera for All.”
Ms. Ray is an adjunct professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia, and Central Methodist University. She is also is on the Board for Mid-MO NATS. Many of her students have placed in national competitions, been accepted to top undergraduate and graduate vocal music programs, and performed leading roles on opera and musical theatre stages.
Ms. Ray completed an Artist Certificate in Vocal Performance with Dr. Aidan Soder at the UMKC Conservatory, her Master of Music in Vocal Performance with Dr. Lori Bade at Louisiana State University, and her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Missouri with Ann Harrell.
Dominic Armstrong, Don José, Corporal of Dragoons
Dominic Armstrong impresses audiences with his musicianship, characterization, and dynamism of repertoire. A Metropolitan Opera National Council Finalist and winner of the George London Competition, Mr. Armstrong has made important debuts with companies in the United States and internationally.
Past performances have included productions of Tosca (Cavaradossi) with Maestro Emmanuel Plasson in a tour of southern France; a nationwide tour of the US with Mikael Eliasen and Milos Repicky for Curtis on Tour; as well as debuts with LA Opera (Edgar Allen Poe and Cecil Cheshire in Gordon Getty’s Scare Pair), Opera Omaha (Lurcanio in Handel’s Ariodante), Syracuse Opera (Macduff in Verdi’s Macbeth), and the completion of Wagner’s Die Walküre portraying Siegmund with the Miami Music Festival. Recent highlights include a debut with the Kentucky Opera revisiting the role of Don José, and joining OnSite Opera in New York City, portraying the role of Peter Quint in Benjamin Britten’s The Turn of the Screw and making his Off-Broadway debut with Lincoln Center Theatre in Ricky Ian Gordon and Lynn Nottage’s Intimate Apparel. Other milestones include performances with the New York City Opera, Chicago Opera Theatre, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Opera Philadelphia, Opera Colorado, Opera Regio Torino, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Wexford Festival Opera, Ars Musica Hong Kong, Carnegie Hall Presents, Lincoln Center Festival, Chautauqua Opera, Prototype Festival, and many others.
On the concert stage, Dominic has recently joined the Florida Symphony for Michael Tippett’s A Child of Our Time, Kaohsiung Symphony in Taiwan for a New Year’s Concert, Milwaukee Symphony for Bach’s Magnificat, and the Orchestra of the Tchaikovsky Conservatory (Svetlanov) and several other Russian orchestras with Maestro Mark Mandarano on a tour celebrating Leonard Bernstein. In the coming months, Mr. Armstrong will make debuts with both the Amarillo Symphony (Tenor Soloist, Beethoven 9) and the Portland Symphony Orchestra (Tenor Soloist, The Bells, Rachmaninoff). Other symphonies and orchestras Mr. Armstrong has appeared with include The Russian National Symphony (Brabbins), Philadelphia Orchestra (Nizet-Seguin), Boston Symphony Orchestra (Nelsons), Detroit Symphony (Slatkin), Portland Symphony (Portland, Oregon), Rochester Symphony, Waterbury Symphony, Princeton Symphony, Symphony in C, National Symphony Orchestra, Lansing Symphony, and the New York Philharmonic (Gilbert).
In recital, Dominic has been heard with his consistent partners at The Brooklyn Art Song Society, performing most recently in an acclaimed performance of Janacek’s The Diary of One Who Disappeared with pianist Joel Harder and mezzo-soprano Kate Maroney. Other recent collaborations include concerts in San Francisco (Lieder Alive), Davis, CA, The Dame Myra Hess Series in Chicago, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the series at the La Jolla Athenaeum. Summer of 2019 Dominic made a return to Twickenham Festival in Huntsville, Alabama, where he sang the complete songs of Henrí Duparc with Susanna Phillips and Roman Rabinovich. Other art song collaborators have included Craig Rutenberg, Mikael Eliasen, Brian Zeger, Rachel AuBuchon, Michael Brofman, Milos Repicky, Shannon McGinnis, Joel Harder, and Wilson Southerland. In the fall of 2019, an album of Lori Laitman art song will be released featuring Dominic collaborating with Warren Jones and Andrew Rosenberg.
Dominic has worked with many contemporary composers interpreting, creating, and workshopping operas, art songs, and oratorios by John Corigliano (Ghost of Versailles), André Previn (A Streetcar Named Desire), John Musto (The Inspector; Rhoda and the Fossil Hunt), Matthew Aucoin (The Crossing), Harold Meltzer (Beautiful Ohio), Jeremy Gill (A Whitman Portrait), Laurence Siegel (Kaddish), Frédéric Chaslin (Clarimonde), Steven Stucky (The Classical Style), Gordon Getty (Usher House; The Canterville Ghost), Missy Mazzoli (Breaking the Waves), and creating the role of Arthur Dimmesdale in Lori Laitman’s The Scarlet Letter. He has also participated in American Opera Project’s Composers and the Voice program.
Jessica True, Frasquita, Companion of Carmen
American soprano Jessica True has been described as having “unusual flexibility and sensitivity to the inner as well as outer drama of music and text.” She recently sang Jane Quig in Elizabeth Cree and Despina in Cosi fan tutte with William Jewell’s Artist Diploma program; Adina in L’elisir d’amore, Cleopatra in Giulio Cesare, and Cathleen in Riders to the Sea with KU Opera Theater and Héro in Béatrice et Bénédict with Landlocked Opera. She also has performed with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra in Die Zauberflöte. Other recent credits include numerous performances at the Indiana University Opera Theater, including the role of Zaneeta Shinn in The Music Man. Ms. True has a BA in Italian and a BM in Voice from Indiana University, and an MM in Opera from KU.
Sarah Horn, Micaëla, A Village Maiden
A recent Southern California transplant, Sarah Horn is happy to make her singing debut in Kansas with OPO. Sarah holds a B.S. and M.M. in vocal performance from Belmont University and California Baptist University and transitioned from Musical Theatre to opera studies in 2017. Sarah has been featured in operatic performances in Italy, Germany, and Turkey, performing in various concerts and operas. Some of her favorite past roles, productions, and experiences are Fiodiligi in Cosi fan tutte in Italy, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni in Turkey, Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd with the Golden State Pops Orchestra in Los Angeles, Martha of Bethany in Rob Gardner’s Lamb of God in Salt Lake City, touring China for a week of solo concerts music directed by Mike Kestler on piano, premiering a new musical in the principal role of Mama Grace in An Extra Penny with Signature Inc. in North Carolina, and singing a duet with Kristin Chenoweth at the Hollywood Bowl in 2013 which produced a viral video on YouTube, a TEDx Talk, and an invitation back to the Hollywood Bowl to sing, MC, and host an event. sarahhornmusic.com Outside of her musical life, Sarah is an accomplished Mindset Coach and certified Trainer of Neuro Linguistic Programming. Yourmindsetmasterycoach.com
Sarah Curtis, Carmen, A Gypsy Girl
Sarah Kathryn Curtis is an emerging mezzo-soprano from the Kansas City area. Now based in Lawrence, KS, Ms. Curtis is pursuing a Doctorate of Musical Arts in vocal performance at the University of Kansas under the tutelage of Joyce Castle. Past roles include Zita (Gianni Schicchi), the titular character of Giulio Cesare, and Little Buttercup (H.M.S. Pinafore) with the University of Kansas; Quickly (Falstaff) with Lawrence Opera Theater; Ursule (Béatrice et Bénédict) with Landlocked Opera, Berta (Il barbiere di Siviglia) and Augusta Tabor (The Ballad of Baby Doe) with Opera in the Ozarks; the Witch (Hansel and Gretel) and Jo March (Little Women) with Simpson College Opera; and Florence Pike (Albert Herring) with Chicago Summer Opera. Her passion for contemporary music allowed her to sing in the premiere of Bonnie McLarty’s Snow Angel with the KU Orchestra as well as premieres on several other student-led programs. This past summer, Sarah had her debut with Central City Opera, where she participated as a Studio Artist. Upcoming projects include performances of Ottavia (L’incoronazione di Poppea) and Mrs. Grose (The Turn of the Screw), both with the University of Kansas Opera.
Dmitry Tyshlek, Le Dancaïre, smuggler and Moralès, Corporal of Dragoons
Dmitry Tyshlek is a senior business analytics major and a music minor, on track to graduate this spring. He started as a vocal performance major at the University of North Texas in the fall of 2019. There he performed in UNT’s production of Don Giovanni and was a member of the UNT Acapella Choir. Since transferring to the University of Kansas, he has performed in KU’s Gianni Schicchi as Pinelino, HMS Pinafore as Dick Deadeye, and Coronation of Poppea as Arnalto, Liberto, Lucano, and a soldier. Dmitry has also performed in Lawrence Opera Theater’s production of Cenerentola as Dandini.
His other accomplishments include performing with the Honors Performance Series at Carnegie Hall and Sydney Opera House. He would like to thank his family and friends for all their love and support, and a special thanks to Professor Stephens for his exceptional instruction.