Cast of ConciertOh! de Invierno
Mexican mezzo-soprano Claudia Chapa recently perform the role of Flora (The Medium) at Opera in the Heights, where she has been seen as The Witch (Hansel und Gretel) and Dame Quickly (Falstaff). This past summer she returned to The Glimmerglass Festival as a Young Artist to perform the role of Third Lady (The Magic Flute) and to cover The Old Lady (Candide). Earlier this season Ms. Chapa made her Carnegie Hall debut as the mezzo soloist in Verdi’s Requiem with Distinguished Concert International New York (DCINY) after performing the Requiem with Gulf Coast Symphony, and will return as the mezzo soloist in Beecham/Goosens' re-orchestration of Handel's Messiah.
Ms. Chapa has appeared with Winter Opera St. Louis as Dame Quickly and as Alisa (Lucia di Lammermoor). In 2014 she joined the Young Artist Program at The Glimmerglass Festival, covering the role of Dryade (Ariadne and Naxos). She performed the role of Azucena in Opera in Williamsburg’s production of Verdi’s Il Trovatore and has covered the role of Gertrude (Roméo et Juliette) as a member of the Des Moines Metro Opera Apprentice Program. She has sung with Portland Opera’s educational tour of The Magic Flute and received the prestigious Silverman Award after performing the role of Madame de Croissy in Dialogues des carmélites with the International Vocal Art Institute in Tel Aviv, Israel.
Ms. Chapa made her professional debut as Dritte Dame (Die Zauberflöte) with Austin Lyric Opera and subsequently sang Aunt Cecilia in Little Women with Opera Fayetteville and Marthe (Faust) with Indianapolis Opera.
Ms. Chapa received her training at the Butler School of Music at University of Texas-Austin, where she performed the role of Beatriz in the world premiere of the new orchestration of La Hija de Rappaccini with late composer Daniel Catan. There she also sang Zia Principessa in Suor Angelica, the title role in Rodriguez’s La Curandera, Gertrude in Hansel and Gretel, and Mrs. Herring in Albert Herring.
Baritone and Guitar
Houston Grand Opera Studio alumnus Octavio Moreno appeared at HGO during the 2009/10 season as Sourin in Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades, Belcore in Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love, and as a Noble in Wagner’s Lohengrin. During the 2008/09 season he sang Marullo in Verdi’s Rigoletto (and he jumped to aid a fellow singer on the title role at the last minute).
Originally from Hermosillo, Mexico, Mr. Moreno received his Bachellor dregree invoice at Universidad de Sonora (with teachers Jesus Li and Marybel Ferrales), then did the artist program at the Academy of Vocal Arts (AVA) in Philadelphia (with teacher Bill Schumman), followed by the Houston Grand Opera Studio (with teacher Stephen King). He currently is under Hector Vasquez’s wing.
The baritone won third place in the 2008 Eleanor McCollum Competition for Young
Singers and represented Mexico in the 2009 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition
and the 2010 Paris International competition, as well as third place in the Carlo Morelli
competition in Mexico city. He made his Bellas Artes Debut (Mexico city) in June 2011 in la fille du regiment. In 2010 He gave life to Laurentino in the world premiered of Cruzar la cara de la luna and then in the europe premiere at the chatelet in Paris in 2011. Followed by a US tour in San Diego, Houston and Chicago in 2013. With this same opera mr. Moreno made his Arizona
Opera debut in October 2014. His Opera in the Heights’ debut was with the role of
Germont in La Traviata followed by Malatesta in Don pasquale and Enrico in Lucia di
Lammermoor in the 2013-14 seasson and the title role or Verdi’s Rigoletto in the 2014-15
season. He will return to Chicago lyric Opera, Houston Grand Opera and San Diego Opera as
Xihuitl in the new mariachi Opera ‘El Pasado Nunca Se Termina’ in 2015, as well as his
debut with the San Antonio Symphony in the ‘Estancia’ Ballet singing the Baritone Solo in
April 2015. He returned to Arizona Opera in the role of Lopez Ibanez, for the American
premiere of ‘Arizona Lady’ in October of this year and will make his Moores Opera center
debut next year as Don Alfonso in Mozart’s ‘Cosí fan tutte’ in 2016. He released his first solo album in 2013 called “Amar a esa mujer”, accompanied with mariachi and music of his own.
Praised for his "authoritative and rich baritone", James D. Rodriguez, a native of Honduras, was most recently seen performing the role of Tonio (Pagliacci) at Opera in the Heights. This summer he was an apprentice artist with Des Moines Metro Opera where he covered the role of Rappaccini in Daniel Catán’s La Hija de Rappaccini. Other notable roles include Escamillo (Carmen), Figaro (Il Barbiere di Siviglia), Dandini (La Cenerentola), Harlekin (Ariadne auf Naxos), Belcore (L’Elisir d’Amore), Captain Magallanes (Salsipuedes), Don Giovanni (Don Giovanni), and Rigoletto (Rigoletto) with such companies as Opera IOWA, Opera Theater of Pittsburgh, Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theater, the Natchez Festival of Music, and the Moores Opera Center. Rodriguez was a finalist in the Concorso Lirica International Competition, and the first place winner in the Texas Young Artist Vocal Competition. He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Houston.
Originally from Houston, Texas, Patrick Contreras has performed concerts of German Lied, Zarzuela, Traditional Mexican Folk music and Musical Theatre galas. Conteras began studies this year at the "Comunidad Operística Potosina" in San Luis Potosí, México. As a founding member of the same, he performed the Requiem Mass in D minor (K.626) by Mozart, Carmina Burana by Carl Orff and at several Opera galas. Conteras studied Vocal Technique with professional singer and vocal teacher Liliana del Conde, at the Centro de las Artes de San Luis Potosí.
Outstanding Participation in the "1st International Singing Competition Sinaloa 2009" in Sinaloa, Mexico; directed and conducted by Maestro Enrique Patrón de Rueda. In 2009, he was also the tenor soloist in Beethoven's 9th Symphony with the San Luis Potosi Symphony, conducted by Maestro José Miramontes Zapata. The following year, he performed "Repertorio Operistico" directed by Maestro Sergio Cardenas and Maestro Miguel Alonso, and was chosen to join the cast in La Boheme (G. Puccini) with the role of Parpignol. In early 2011, he was selected for the Julian Carrillo State School of Music (SLP) in collaboration with the Ohio Northern University to perform in the "Symphony Gala of American Musical Theatre Concert" conducted by Maestro Lloyd Butler (currently conducting the 2015-2016 Celtic Woman US tour). In 2012, Contreras made his international professional debut with the role of Thuy in Ohio Northern University’s production of Miss Saigon.
He has served as a guest singer in several American Musical Theatre shows, such as The Phantom of the Opera, Beauty and the Beast, Cats, The Fiddler on the Roof, Jesus Christ Superstar, Wicked, Houdini, and Les Mis among others. Since August of 2013, he has worked as a regular chorister in the Houston Grand Opera Chorus under direction of Maestro Richard Bado.
Primarily a collaborative artist, pianist Brian Suits has performed with many singers and instrumentalists, including Alan Held, Robert White, Joseph Evans, Greer Grimsley, Kyung Sun Lee, Dan Zhu, Sung-Sic Yang, Clancy Newman, Lluis Claret, Suren Bagratuni, Christina Jennings, Aralee Dorough, Emily Skala, and Leone Buyse. Suits is also a composer, conductor, and improviser. He has written concerti for both piano and violin, a double concerto for violin and guitar, a string quartet, a program work for full orchestra, and manifold solo and chamber works and songs. His album of jazz-flavored original solo piano works, “The Way Back,” was released on musikdorf Records. Suits has made and conducted orchestral arrangements for more than a dozen Korean films, including “The Host” and “Mother,” both directed by Bong Joon-Ho. “The Host” was a hit at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival, broke all box office records in Korea, and was a sleeper art house hit in the United States. Suits taught accompanying and coached art song at the Yale School of Music from 1990-2002, and was on faculty at the Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival in Burlington, Vermont from 2005-2010. He joined the faculty at the University of Houston's Moores School of Music in fall of 2006, where he is Visiting Associate Professor of Accompanying and Chamber Music, as well as art song coach.
Arnold Yzaguirre is a classically trained guitarist and a highly talented performer. He studied classical guitar at Laredo Community College and at the University of Texas at Austin. Arnold actively performs as a solo artist as well as in ensemble and professional concerts around the Austin area. He also enjoys playing for weddings and many other special occasions. Arnold currently lives in Austin with his wife, the talented, Claudia Chapa; where he is a teacher at the Bachus Conservatory and in his own private studio. He also holds the position of Events manager for Austin Classical Guitar.