Spotlight on Opera is in its 9th season as Texas' premiere summer opera training program. We are dedicated to providing training and performance opportunities to career track and avocational singers aged 15 and up.

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.


Cindy Sadler

CINDY SADLER, 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 with Chautauqua Opera as Mrs. Sedley in Peter Grimes, with Austin Lyric Opera as Martha in Faust, with Tulsa Opera as Marie in The Most Happy Fella, as Gertrude in Romeo et Juliette with Intermoutain Opera, and as Effie Belle Tate in Cold Sassy Tree with the Sugar Creek Festival. 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. Upcoming engagements include La Zia Principessa/Zita in Suor Angelica/Gianni Schicchi with Opera on the James; Marcellina in Le nozze di Figaro with the Jacksonville Symphony, Messiah soloist with the Boise Symphony, and Ruth in The Pirates of Penzance with Portland Opera. 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 seventh year as Director of Spotlight on Opera. For more information, please visit www.cindysadler.com, www.thebusinessofsinging.com, and www.mezzowithcharacter.com.

Bruce Cain

Bruce Cain, Assistant Director, Summer Season. 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.

Jennifer Anderson

Jennifer Anderson, Artistic Administrator. Jennifer Anderson has worked as a Stage Manager in many venues around Austin, including Footloose with Zilker Theatre Productions, Here�s To You and House of Several Stories with Imagine That Productions, When Something Wonderful Ends with Red Then Productions, The Clean House and Plays Well With Others at Zachary Scott Theatre Center. At Austin Lyric Opera, she worked as an Assistant Stage Manager on shows including Flight, The Italian Girl in Algiers, La traviata, Hansel and Gretel, The Star, La bohème, Dialogues des Carmélites, and Rigoletto. She served as Assistant Stage Manager for The Drowsy Chaperone at ZACH, and also as a production assistant and stage crew member for over two dozen shows from 2005 to 2007 including these favorites: Porgy and Bess; Jesus Christ, Superstar; Present Laughter; The Rocky Horror Show; Crowns; Urinetown, The Musical; Rockin Christmas Party; Keeping It Weird. Jennifer has a Bachelors degree in education, specializing in music, has studied vocal performance and opera extensively, and is a soprano in the St. Austin Catholic Parish Choir.

Chuck Dillars

Chuck Dillard, Music Director. Originally from South Carolina, Chuck Dillard has been praised as an educator, chamber musician, vocal coach, and soloist. He has been heard from coast to coast with orchestras, choirs, chamber musicians, and in instrumental and vocal recitals. As an opera pianist, he has worked with several major companies including Central City Opera, Opera Colorado, Opera Carolina, and summer programs in Santa Barbara and Aspen among others. As an educator, he regularly participates in outreach performances for school children as well as having served as instructor at Furman University and the University of Colorado. In the fall, Mr. Dillard will be joining the newly formed collaborative piano department at the University of Texas at Austin. He holds degrees from the University of Maryland, Furman University and is currently completing his doctorate at the University of Colorado.

Nyle Matsuoka

Nyle Matsuoka, Assistant Music Director. A versatile and engaging performer, Nyle Matsuoka is a sought-after pianist, vocal coach and chamber musician. He has been heard around the country in the Green Recital Series (Ottawa, KS), Lakes Area Chamber Festival (Brainerd, MS), and in multiple solo performances with the Utah State Symphony Orchestra. Most recently, Nyle gave a benefit concert with soprano Leslie Heal-Ray in Chapel Hill, NC to help fund heart surgeons traveling to Uganda.

As a frequent recitalist, Nyle has worked with many distinguished artists. A founding member of Trio Takeo, he performed with the group throughout Idaho and Utah in the spring of 2008. He has worked closely with the Butler Opera Center as a coach and pianist, in vocal studios as a freelance pianist, and in the department of theater and dance at the University of Texas. He has also served as pianist for the Franco-American Vocal Academy and the Butler Opera Center Young Artist Program, as well as apprentice pianist with Arizona Opera. This year, he again will coach and play for the Butler Opera Center and returns for his second summer as Assistant Music Director and collaborative pianist, performing Le nozze di Figaro and a variety of scenes.

In 2011, Nyle graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a Master of Music degree in Collaborative Piano. He was awarded a full teaching assistantship for the duration of his studies. He received his Bachelor of Music degree in piano performance from Utah State University, where he graduated magna cum laude with university and departmental honors. His principal teachers have been Anne Epperson, Chuck Dillard, Gary Amano, Del Parkinson, and Linda Aufderheide.

Rebecca Herman

Rebecca Herman, Stage Director, Le Nozze di Figaro. Rebecca Herman made her directing debut in 2012 at Tulsa Opera directing Bernstein's Trouble in Tahiti for the company's collaboration with the Philbrook Museum's exhibit American Streamlined Design and returned for their 2011-12 season. Other directing credits include Mozart's Bastien und Bastienne at the Butler Opera Center at The University of Texas at Austin and Bernstein's Trouble in Tahiti, Barber's Hand of Bridge and Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro, Acts I & II and Bizet's Carmen for Spotlight on Opera.

Ms. Herman has directed numerous opera scenes for the Butler Opera Center and the Butler Opera Center Young Artists Program. Additionally, Rebecca has worked as an assistant director with Austin Lyric Opera, The Dallas Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, and The Great River Shakespeare Festival.

Ms. Herman's upcoming schedule includes directing an all female version of La Bohème called La Femme Bohème, Le Nozze di Figaro with Spotlight on Opera, and Austin Lyric Opera's production of Don Giovanni in the spring of 2015.

Pamela Christian

Pamela Christian, Acting Coach/Scenes Director. Pamela Christian is a UT theatre professor, stage performer and voice/dialect coach. She serves as acting coach for the UT Music Theatre Program, and enjoys working with singers at any/all stages of development. Her own music/theatre credits include roles in The Threepenny Opera, Something's Afoot and Cabaret. Austin theatre credits include lead performances in new plays (ex. ICU at FronterFest and Advance Man at UTNT), The Genuine Article, a solo piece about columnist-satirist Fanny Fern, and Elizabeth I in the Oswald adaptation of Mary Stuart with Austin Shakespeare, for which she received an Austin Critics' Table Award for dramatic lead.

Matthew Trevino

Matthew Treviño, Voice/Careers Instructor. Bass Matthew Treviño is a graduate of Baylor University (BM, MM Vocal Performance) and, in addition to his international opera career, provides masterclasses and private lessons in voice, style, languages, and career readiness.

Matthew begin his career with Fort Worth Opera and later started singing lead roles with other Texas companies including Dallas Opera, Austin Lyric Opera, San Antonio Opera, and Amarillo Opera. After joining the Merola Young Artists Program in 2001, his career flourished and he's sung many leading roles in the US and abroad. Along with his flourishing opera career, Mr Treviño enjoys mentoring young singers in preparation for the challenges of the opera and classical singing world.

Recent stage Highlights include his company debut as Hobson (Peter Grimes) and as Sparafucile (Rigoletto) with the English National Opera in London, Colline (La bohème) for the Florentine Opera, Dr. P (The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat) with the Nashville Opera, Leporello (Don Giovanni) for Opera Colorado, Sparafucile and Monterone (Rigoletto) for the Lyric Opera Baltimore and Opera Memphis, and a debut with the Saint Louis Symphony (Messiah) under Christopher Warren-Green. He also won the Austin Critics Award in 2011 for his rendition of Mr P in Austin Lyric Operas production of The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat.

Shawn Marie Jeffery

Shawn Marie Jeffery, Manager, ADA Artists Management and Representation. 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, where she created and directed abridged versions of several operas which toured in schools throughout the northeast. 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.

Edward Crafts

Edward J. Crafts, Master Teacher.Edward Crafts' performing career, which includes the Metropolitan Opera and most other major North American companies, expanded in recent years to the capital cities of Europe - London, Vienna, Rome, Monte Carlo, Budapest and Warsaw. Among the highlights of his activity have been the world premiere of Bernstein's A Quiet Place, which he subsequently recorded with the composer for Deutsche Grammophon, the North American premieres of Wagner's Das Liebesverbot, Prokofiev's Maddelena, Zemlinsky's Eine Florentinische Tragödie/Der Geburtstag der Infantin, as well as the Canadian premieres of Montemezzi's L'Amore dei tre Re, Hoiby's The Tempest and Weber's Der Freischütz. He has sung Wotan/Der Wanderer in two complete Ring cycles with Arizona Opera.

Edward Crafts has worked closely with many of the world's best-known stage directors, including Jean-Pierre Ponelle, Gian-Carlo Menotti, Bliss Hebert, Steven Wadsworth, Günter Krämer, and Frank Galati. A recipient of a Master's Degree from the prestigious Indiana University Opera Stage Direction program, Mr. Crafts served for five years as Artistic Director and Principal Stage Director of the Maryland Lyric Opera, directed the University of Nebraska Opera Theater, and has instructed young professional singers at Peabody Conservatory, in Oberlin Conservatory's Oberlin in Italy program and for the Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Program. Recent projects include Cosi fan tutte in Cortona, Italy and La Traviata and Rigoletto for the 2013 Seoul Opera Festival in Korea. In July, Mr. Crafts will be returning to Italy for his tenth summer as a faculty member of Musica nelle Marche in Urbania.

Mr. Crafts currently lives in the Dallas, TX area, where he and his wife Heather are active with their private voice studio and a new professional opera organization, Opera in Concert.