THE SPOTLIGHT STORY
Spotlight on Opera is dedicated to providing training and performance opportunities to career track and avocational singers aged 18 and up.
We are thrilled to enter our 10th Anniversary Season with some very exciting changes. Beginning in Summer 2016, we will be hosted by Texas State University in San Marcos. We'll be adding a musical theatre workshop, student director program, and housing and meal plans for students. We will also maintain a presence in Austin and throughout Central Texas with touring children's opera and concerts!
Founded in 2007 by Program Director Cindy Sadler, Spotlight began as a one week summer program at St. Edward's University. The program expanded quickly and by 2010 went fulltime, acting as a community opera troupe in the fall and spring and a training program for aspiring singers in the summer, a model we continue today.
Spotlight on Opera is open to classical singers aged 15 and up, whether they are well on their way to a place on the professional stage or just want to dip their toes in wonderful world of opera. Our caring staff of professional opera singers, pianists, and educators works with each singer to provide guidance and growth as an artist. We strive to give every singer a chance to experience the spotlight for themselves, and to bring our audience members creative, fun, intimate, and high quality performances. For information about auditioning for Spotlight, please see the Program Info page.
A Hand of Bridge
Trouble in Tahiti
Le nozze di Figaro (Acts I & II)
Dido & Aeneas
Cosi fan tutte
The Rape of Lucretia
The Ballad of Baby Doe
Le nozze di Figaro
Hansel & Gretel
The Magic Flute
Little Red Riding Hood
CONCERTS, SCENES, & SERIES:
Opera Scenes Showcase
Opera Scenes Showcase
Song Café (two different programs) , Opera Scenes Showcase, French Repertoire Concert
Sing to Love Valentine's Concert, Let's Hear it for the Boys Opera Scenes Showcase, Song Café (two programs), Aria Extravaganza Concert, Opera Scenes Showcase, Opera Gala
Sing to Love Valentine's Concert, Opera Scenes Showcases I & II, Song Café , Aria Extravaganza Concert, Aria by Design: Program It Yourself Concert
Sing to Love Valentine's Concert, Opera Scenes Showcase, Acts of Love & Desperation (Act I L'amico Fritz; Dido & Aeneas; Act III Tosca), Opera Scenes Showcases I & II , Song Café, Aria Extravaganza, Season Preview Concert, Opera Ambassadors Concert, Aria by Design, Fright Night at the Opera, A Rose in Winter
Sing to Love, Arabian Nights (Abu Hassan, scenes from L'italiania in Algeri, Abduction from the Seraglio, The Rose of Persia), House Concert, Opera Ambassadors Concert, Season Preview Concert, Aria Extravaganza, Mostly Mozart Opera Scenes Showcase, Fetes & Funerals Opera Scenes Showcase.
Aria by Request, Diva Fits Opera Scenes Showcase, Professional Development Series: Gioacchino Lauro LiVigni Master Classes; Marc Verzatt Master Classes
Professional Development Series: Steven Crawford Master Classes, Il trovatore readthrough, House Concert, Song Café (old folks home), Viva Verdi., Shakespeare at the Opera, Aria Extravaganza, Stone House Vineyard concert, Storm & Romance Scenes in Hallettsville, Mischief & Mayhem scenes
Aria Extravaganza Concert, Opera in the Vineyards Concert, Melodies sous les chênes concert, Shakespeare Goes to the Opera Scenes Showcase
CINDY SADLER, Founder and Executive Director. Mezzo-soprano Cindy Sadler is well-known in the classical community as a singer, teacher, writer, and consultant; and increasingly, as a stage director. A busy professional singer and frequent lecturer on the business of singing, she brings current experience to her students. Most recently, she has appeared as Gertrude in Romeo & Juliette with Austin Opera and Atlanta Opera, Marcellina in The Marriage of Figaro with New Orleans Opera, Mrs. Quickly in Sir John in Love with Odyssey Opera, and the Marquise de Berkenfield in The Daughter of the Regiment with Mill City Summer Opera. In 2016, she will travel to Caltagirone, Sicily to direct Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi at the Mediterranean Opera Festival before returning to Spotlight to direct Carmen. Ms. Sadler has appeared on the stages of Chicago Lyric Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Opera Pacific, Arizona Opera, Sarasota Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, the Princeton Festival, San Antonio Opera, Fort Worth Opera, Kentucky Opera, Opera Santa Barbara, Austin Lyric Opera, Opera Idaho, New Orleans Opera, and the Hollywood Bowl, among many others. She has published over 100 articles in Classical Singer Magazine and is widely recognized for her Ask Erda advice column. She travels the country to consult with singers and lecture on singing careers in her Business of Singing, most recently to the Des Moines Metro Opera Young Artists Program, Sieur Du Luth Summer Opera Training Program, UCLA, the CoOPERAtive program at Westminster College of the Arts, Portland State University, and the Classical Singer Convention. After six years on the music faculty of St. Edward's University, she left to pursue her singing career fulltime. She has served as Executive Director of the Astoria Music Academy in Oregon, and this is her tenth year as Director of Spotlight on Opera. For more information, please visit www.cindysadler.com, www.thebusinessofsinging.com, and www.mezzowithcharacter.com.
DR. SAMUEL MUNGO, Artistic Director; Founder & Director of the Student Directing Program. Dr. Samuel Mungo has been involved in opera as a director, singer and teacher for more than 25 years, and is dedicated to fostering the growth of a true Music Theatre- combining the great music of beautifully sung opera together with complete dedication to character and truthfully created relationship. He has directed professionally around the world. His honors include Classical Performance of the Year for his Rigoletto, and Opera Production of the Year from the National Opera Association. Professional directing credits include Die Entführung aus dem Serail for Florida Grand Opera, Suor Angelica for Opera Plovdiv, Pirates of Penzance for Colorado Light Opera, Trouble in Tahiti for the Boulder Opera Project, and Rigoletto and Il Trovatore for San Antonio Opera. A deft hand at G&S, in addition to Pirates of Penzance he has staged Mikado, HMS Pinafore and Gondoliers. He has commissioned an opera from Henry Mollicone and Sheldon Harnick entitled, Lady Bird: First Lady of the Land, to premiere in 2016. As the Director of Opera Studies at Texas State University, he has created perhaps the most comprehensive undergraduate opera training program in the country, with interdisciplinary training from professionals in the Texas State Theater Department for Acting and Theater Tech, and the Dance Department for Movement and Dance. Known for his acting as much for his singing, his performing credits include Don Giovanni for Minnesota Opera, Falke in Die Fledermaus for Vancouver Opera and Utah Opera, Opera Theater of St. Louis as Junius in The Rape of Lucretia, Pasha in Die Entführung aus dem Serail for Opera Colorado and Danilo in Merry Widow for Sacramento Opera, Opera Grand Rapids and Knoxville Opera. Making his Carnegie Hall debut with Milos Bok's Missa Solemnis, he has sung with the St. Louis Symphony, Colorado Symphony, Utah Symphony and Orquestra Filarmonica di Lima among others.
Kristin Roach, Music Director/Conductor. A native of San Antonio, Kristin Roach is Music Director of Opera Piccola of San Antonio, Music Director of Spotlight on Opera, and Conductor of the Opera Program at Texas State University. She has prepared productions for the San Francisco Opera, San Diego Opera, Tulsa Opera, Utah Opera, San Antonio Opera, and many others. Conducting credits include La Boheme, Cosi fan tutte, Don Pasquale, Liszt's Christus, Golden Space City of God, The Medium, Bastien und Bastienne/La Curandera, The Italian Lesson/Trouble in Tahiti, Speed Dating Tonight!, and the world premier of Mollicone's Children of the Sun. Upcoming engagements include and Dido and Aeneas with Opera Piccola and Gianni Schicchi/Buoso's Ghost at Texas State. Kristin also appears frequently in South Texas as a chamber musician and accompanist. Her recording of chamber works by Miguel del Aguila with Camerata San Antonio, Salon Buenos Aires, was nominated for two Latin Grammy® awards. She received her education at the Eastman School of Music, earning a Bachelor of Music in Applied Music (Piano), the Performer's Certificate in Piano, and a Master of Music in Piano Performance/Literature and Piano Accompanying/Chamber Music.
Brigitte Bellini. Originally from Texas, award winning soprano and professor of voice at Texas State University, Brigitte Bellini, has recently returned to her home state after having lived and performed in New York City and Boston for 20 years. With over 20 years of teaching experience, she was one of the founding members of the voice faculty at The Actors Studio Drama School (as featured on BRAVO'S Inside the Actor's Studio). She has also served on the faculties of New York University, New York's famed High School for Performing Arts and The Horace Mann School, as well as maintaining a private studio of professional singers and actors. Since coming to Texas State University Ms. Bellini has been named Favorite Professor by members of the Alpha Chi Honor Society.
Performance credits include appearances with The Colorado Symphony, Glimmerglass Opera, Tanglewood Music Festival, Sarasota Opera, Di Capo Opera Theater in New York City and Central City Opera, where she is featured on the their anniversary recording of THE BALLAD OF BABY DOE. San Marcos audiences have seen her as The Mother in AMAHL AND THE NIGHT VISITORS with The San Marcos Performing Arts Association and as the soprano guest artist in A SOUSA SPECTACULAR with the Texas State Wind Ensemble. A member of NATS and TMEA, she holds both Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, MA.
Bruce Cain, Stage Director & Voice Instructor. Baritone Bruce Cain is an Associate Professor of Music at the Sarofim School of Fine Arts at Southwestern University, where he is the principle voice teacher and director of the Opera Theatre. His career began as an apprentice with the Chautauqua Opera and then on to Chicago, where the Sun-Times hailed his debut with the Chicago Symphony as "an eloquent soloist" and the Chicago Tribune joined in praising his "sensitivity" as an artist. Dr. Cain’s most recent operatic appearance was at the Natchez Opera Festival playing Papageno in Mozart’s Magic Flute, andin Chicago portraying Ford in L’Opera Piccola’s Falstaff. His other roles include Dr. Lomax in Austin Lyric Opera’s premier of Floyd’s Cold Sassy Tree, Belcore in The Elixir of Love, Dr. Blind and Falke in Die Fledermaus, Marcello and Schaunard in La Bohème, Guglielmo in Cosi fan tutté, and a gambler in Prokofiev’s The Gambler, with the Chicago Lyric Opera. He has often appeared with the Austin Symphony, the Austin Vocal Arts Ensemble, and the Georgetown Festival of the Arts, as well as in concert venues across the U.S. and at the famed Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Recent performances include: Mozart’s Requiem with the St. Edward’s University Madrigal Singers, the role of Schoenberg, in Southwestern’s premier of Jason Hoogerhyde’s The Color of Dissonance, and the role of Kraus in Mendelssohn’s Son and Stranger, with the Georgetown Festival of the Arts.
Shawn Marie Jeffery, Artists Manager/Guest Faculty. A member of the ADA Artist Management team since 2005, Shawn Marie Jeffery has been a vital part of the company's rapid growth into a highly sought after agency, reputed for finding and nurturing some of the most exciting talents on the scene today. Representing a thriving roster of vocalists and conductors worldwide, ADA Artists are seen at the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, New York City Opera, Houston Grand Opera, and throughout the United States as well as in Italy, Germany, Spain, Switzerland and France. In addition to providing the best possible career management to their artists, ADA believes strongly in helping to educate and inform young artists. Shawn's work now takes her to companies throughout the United States, where she often works with the Resident Artists in master classes passing on insight into the business aspect of the opera world. She has presented at the Classical Singer Convention, Ash Lawn Opera, Opera North, Opera New Jersey, the Seagle Colony, and Yale Opera among others. Prior to joining the ADA Artist Management team Shawn worked as the Director of Education for Opera New Jersey. For that company has she created and directed abridged versions of The Magic Flute, Hansel and Gretel, La cenerentola, and The Pirates of Penzance that have toured in schools in the states of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York. As a mezzo-soprano, Shawn was a winner of the Heinz Rehfuss Singing Actor's Award, and was seen on operatic and concert stages throughout the United States. Favorite roles include Isabella in Italian Girl in Algiers, Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro, Suzuki in Madama Butterfly, the Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors, and Bizet's fiery gypsy Carmen. Shawn now resides in Connecticut with her husband and two young sons.
Joseph Mechavich, Conductor/Guest Faculty. Regarded as a conductor of authority and warmth, Joseph Mechavich is known for his exceptional artistry and infectious energy which he brings to every performance. In 2012 Maestro Mechavich presided over Jake Heggie's highly acclaimed opera Moby-Dick for both San Diego Opera and Calgary Opera. He has also conducted Il barbiere di Siviglia for The Washington National Opera, Porgy and Bess for Deutsche Oper Berlin, Madama Butterfly for New York City Opera and Roméo et Juliette for Florida Grand Opera. Future engagements in the 2014-15 Season include Fidelio and Street Car Named Desire for Kentucky Opera, Wuthering Heights (recording) for The Florentine Opera, Silent Night (Canadian premiere) for Calgary Opera, Nixon in China for San Diego Opera, and The Magic Flute for Opera Colorado. Joseph Mechavich studied at Oberlin College Conservatory of Music and Yale University School of Music.
Chad Johnson, Musical Theatre Instructor. Chad Johnson has been a sought after voice teacher in New York City for nearly a decade with students spanning the worlds of opera, musical theatre, film and television. Chad's students have been seen on Broadway (On the Town, Dames at Sea, Memphis, Cinderella), at major regional theaters (Goodspeed, Arena Stage, Paper Mill Playhouse) and national tours (Mary Poppins, Anything Goes, Mamma Mia!), as well as international opera houses and concert halls. Chad is an active performer and has sung leading tenor roles with opera companies and symphony orchestras worldwide including the Florida Grand Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, Fort Worth Opera Festival, Wexford Festival, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and Tanglewood Music Festival under Metropolitan Opera music director James Levine. Equally at home in musical theatre, his roles include Tony in West Side Story, the title role in Candide, Frederik in The Pirates of Penzance, and Prince Karl Franz in The Student Prince at the Glimmerglass Festival, El Paso Opera, San Diego Lyric Opera, Lyric Opera Kansas City, and Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera. In concert, he has been a featured soloist with the Boston Pops in an evening of Leonard Bernstein and a concert of Lerner and Loewe with Susan Eagan and the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra conducted by Steven Reineke, music director of the New York Pops.
Josh Miller, Program Coordinator, Musical Theater Instructor, Stage Director. Joshua Miller has served as an assistant director for Carousel (Glimmerglass Festival), La traviata (Wolf Trap Opera Company & The National Symphony Orchestra), Les Misérables (ZACH Theatre), Le nozze di Figaro & Turandot (Austin Lyric Opera), and Sunday in the Park with George (Austin Shakespeare). Dr. Miller's most recent directing credits include Le nozze di Figaro (University of Texas at Austin, Butler Opera Center), a double-bill of The Italian Lesson & Trouble in Tahiti (Opera Piccola of San Antonio), Sweeney Todd (Butler Opera Center), The Rape of Lucretia (Spotlight on Opera), Cesti's Orontea (UT Early Music Ensemble), Little Women (Spotlight on Opera), and The Magic Flute (Concord University). Miller is the 2014 recipient of the National Opera Association Stage Director Internship. Miller's production of Jake Heggie's Three Decembers was chosen as a winner of Opera America’s 2015 Robert L.B. Tobin Director-Designer Showcase. He and his design team presented their production concept to artistic directors and industry professionals during a special session of Opera America's annual National Opera Conference in Washington, DC.
Allan Armstrong, Coach/Pianist. Pianist and vocal coach Allan Armstrong is a music faculty member at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. He is the official accompanist of the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions for the Colorado/Wyoming district and Rocky Mountain Region. He has served as a resident coach/accompanist and guest music director for Opera Colorado in Denver. In 2015 Allan was the production coach for Britten's The Turn of the Screw at Newfoundland's Opera on the Avalon. Also in 2015 he was the rehearsal pianist and coach for Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle featuring bass-baritone Samuel Ramey at the Colorado Music Festival in Boulder. For nine seasons he was on the faculty of the Sherrill Milnes' VoicExperience Savannah Voice Festival. From 2010-2014 Allan served as a pianist/coach with the International Vocal Arts Institute in Blacksburg, VA. Other recent credits include the world premiere performance of the abridged version of Lori Laitman's The Scarlet Letter; a gala concert for Opera Colorado with soprano Elizabeth Futral; and a concert tour of Japan with soprano Deleen Davidson. In 2010 he was a featured solo pianist in a recital of the complete piano works of Pulitzer prize winning composer David Del Tredici at NYU Steinhardt School. Visit allanglennarmstrong.com for more information.
Joachim Reinhuber, Coach/Pianist. Dr. Joachim Reinhuber serves as Associate Professor of Piano at Texas A&M University, Kingsville, and is In high demand as solo and collaborative performer, clinician, and adjudicator in the US and his native Germany. His first teacher, Franz Calvelli-Adorno, was his grandfather. He studied with Gisela Sott (Frankfurt), Robert Levin (University of Music, Freiburg), John Perry (Rice University, Houston TX), and Nancy Garrett (University of Texas at Austin). Recent performances include Brahm's and Beethoven's first piano concertos, the Schumann concerto, Bach's concerto in D minor, the Stravinsky concerto for piano and winds, and Gershwin's Rhapsody in blue with the TAMUK Wind Symphony. In 2012 and 2014 he was the pianist for the Texas Music Educators Association's All-State Men's Choir. Between 2013 and 2015 he toured extensively throughout Texas and the United States, with a residency at the Keyboard Arts Festival in Pueblo, CO, and over 50 solo performances at, among others, the University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M International University, Bowling Green State University, Youngstown State University, Malone University, Baylor University, and the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. As a collaborator, he has worked with Marianne Gedigian, former principal flutist of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the baritones Ronald Ulen and David Small, and the pianists Caroline Oltmanns, Zahari Metchkov, and Johan Botes. He has served as an adjudicator at the Sorentin International Competition in San Angelo, TX, the Laredo International Piano Competition, and the State Concerto Competition of the Texas Music Teachers Association in Huntsville, TX.
Graham Yates, Coach/Pianist. Graham Yates found his element when he learned that even as a pianist he did not have to play all by himself. Having appeared since then almost exclusively with singers, instrumentalists, choirs, chamber groups, pit bands and orchestras all over western Canada and Central-Eastern Texas where he recently relocated. Mr. Yates is proud to be a faculty member of the Armstrong Community Music School, teaching over 35 students and where he is also the Development Associate; and the volunteer Marketing Coordinator for the Austin Piano Festival. He is staff accompanist for the University of Texas Butler Opera Center Young Artist Program and Spotlight on Opera at Texas State University. This year, he launched his own living room concert series, A Room With a Few. In June, he adjudicated piano competitions for the British Columbia provincial music festival. Mr. Yates completed a master's in piano performance at Brandon University, Manitoba, Canada with a focus on collaborative playing under Dr. Alexander Tselyakov, whose technical and emotional sensitivity has been compared with Horowitz's. Prior to that, he studied at Trinity Western University in Langley, British Columbia, Canada with Dr. Sandra Joy Friesen, who continues to inspire him to love all the strange and unusual kinds of music. www.grahamyatespianist.com
Keeley Hooker, Artistic Administrator. Keeley Hooker is a young soprano who has recently graduated from Southwestern University in Georgetown with a double major in Music and Anthropology. She is a winner of the 2012 Southwestern University Concerto Competition, and while at Southwestern performed the role of June in Gypsy, Ms. Pinkerton in The Old Maid and the Thief, and Ms. Vixen and the understudy of Lucy in The Beggar's Opera. She participated in the 2012 Butler Opera Center Young Artist Program at the University of Texas at Austin, and spent the summer of 2013 singing with Opera in the Ozarks, where she performed the Fairy Godmother and the Stepmother in the outreach program's version of Cinderella (Music by Massenet, Rossini and Rodgers and Hammerstein). She is a member of the Austin Lyric Opera Chorus and will also sing with Spotlight on Opera in our 2015 summer season.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Lori Decter Wright, Chairman