Cast of The Magic Flute
Oh! 2017 - 2018 Season
Tamino | Paul Nicosia, Tenor | November 10, 12, 18
Paul Nicosia most recently appeared at Arizona Opera, singing the role of Telemachus in their production of Patrick Morganelli's Hercules vs Vampires. Before that, Paul sang the title role of Acis in Opera Theater of Montclair's Acis and Galatea. Prior to that he performed the role of Danny in Arizona Opera’s premiere of Arizona lady by composer Emmerich Kálmán. Previously at Utah Festival Opera he covered the roles of Rodolfo in Puccini’s La bohème and Enoch Snow in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel. During the 2014/15 season, Paul finished his second year as a Resident Artist at Sarasota Opera. While there, he sang the Ufficiale in Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, Villager in Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci, and 1st Boyar in Rimsky-Korsakov’s Zolotoy petushok (The Golden Cockerel). Paul has also appeared on the stages of Opera New Jersey as Normanno in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, and at Des Moines Metro Opera where he covered Howard Bucher in Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking.
Tamino | Ryan C. Connelly, Tenor | November 11, 17, 19
Ryan C. Connelly is thrilled to be making his debut at Opera in the Heights as Tamino in The Magic Flute. Previously, he was seen as Squeak in “Billy Budd” and the Emperor in “Turandot” with Des Moines Metro Opera, as well as Scaramuccio in “Ariadne auf Naxos” and Pedrillo in “Die Entführung aus dem Serail” with Kentucky Opera. A graduate of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Ryan has performed roles all over the globe since finishing his Master’s degree in 2011. Highlights include singing Florville in “Il signor Bruschino” in Spoleto, Italy, singing Sam in the West Virginia University production of “Street Scene”, singing roles the inaugural double-bill performance of Cincinnati-based opera company Queen City Opera, “Bastien und Bastienne” and “Schauspieldirektor”, and premiering the role of Alex in Evan Mack’s opera “Roscoe” in Saratoga Springs, NY. He will next be headed out to Brava! Opera in Oregon to sing the role of Pedrillo in “Die Entführung aus dem Serail” in early 2018. For more information, go to www.RyanCConnelly.com.
Pamina | Maren Weinberger, Soprano | November 10, 12, 18
Maren is thrilled to be joining Opera in the Heights for this role debut, and in her hometown no less! Some recent roles for Weinberger include the following: "Mary Warren" in Robert Ward's The Crucible at The Glimmerglass Opera Festival; "The Queen of Eldorado" and "Cunegonde" cover in Candide at Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux and Théâtre du Capitole in Toulouse; performed in "Brief Encounters" with Performance Santa Fe as "Lucy" (Heggie's Again), "Mrs. Walden" (Adamo's Avow), and "Sandy" (Joe Illick's Feel the Tango); "Elena" in Buried Alive, "Victoria Reilly" in Embedded, and "Berta" in Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Fort Worth Opera, 2016 season).
Other credits from past seasons include; Young Artist with Fort Worth Opera (2014-2016), The Glimmerglass Festival (2015, 2016), and Seagle Music Colony (2012, 2013); Second Prize at The Lotte Lenya Competition (2013), Kurt Weill Professional Development Grant (2014, 2016, 2017); Finalist in The McCammon Competition (2016); Second prize The Dallas Guild Vocal Competition (2011). Maren graduated with her masters in music from Manhattan School of Music, and her BM from Oklahoma City University. She is represented by Kathy Olsen at Encompass Arts Management.
Pamina | Julia Fox, Soprano | November 11, 17, 19
Texan soprano Julia Fox embraces opera, concert and chamber performances, and premiering new music. She works to offer an “excellent performance” (Gramophone) “with dazzling effect” (Pittsburgh Stage Review) wherever she sings.
Ms. Fox made her Oh! debut as Amore in Orfeo ed Euridice. Recent credits include three Strauss roles--Aminta, Italienische Sänger, and Najad (cover)--with Opera Theater Pittsburgh; creating Helen (Sawyer The Scarlet Professor, Mendenhall Center) and Gina (Buller The Puffed-Up Prima Donna, HGO’s Opera to Go!); playing Cinderella (Sondheim Into the Woods) and Mabel (Sullivan Pirates of Penzance); and as featured soloist with Mercury, Ars Lyrica, and Carnegie Hall.
Papageno | Nicholas Ward, Baritone | November 10, 12, 18
Nicholas Ward has been hailed as a performer of “engaging, commanding ease” and “noteworthy drama,” (annarbor.com). He is thrilled to make his debut with Opera in the Heights this season. He recently appeared with the Crested Butte Music Festival as Marco in Gianni Schicchi and Duke Cacatois XXII in Offenbach’s L’Ile de Tulipatan. Last season, he returned to Florida Grand Opera, performing the roles of Moralès in Carmen and Cristiano in Un Ballo in Maschera. He has also performed with Union Avenue Opera, Central City Opera, Toledo Opera, Opera Saratoga, and is currently based in Chicago, IL. www.nicholasjward.com
Papageno | Andrew McLaughlin, Baritone | November 11, 17, 19
Andrew McLaughlin is often praised for his artful interpretations of repertoire. A frequent performer with Washington National Opera, he appeared as Brian Young in An American Soldier, Rex in An American Man, and the Spanish Sailor in Moby Dick. McLaughlin has performed roles in the premières of Robert Paterson and Mark Campbells’ The Whole Truth with UrbanArias, Janice Hamer’s Lost Childhood with National Philharmonic Orchestra, and Claude Debussy/Robert Orledge’s La Saulaie at The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center. This season, McLaughlin performs Papageno in Die Zauberflöte with Opera in the Heights and Ping in Turandot with Cedar Rapids Opera.
Queen of the Night | Elizabeth Vickers, Soprano | November 10, 12, 18
Michigan native Elizabeth Vickers, soprano, has been hailed for her “rich, soaring voice” and “honeyed tone.” She has previously appeared at OH! as Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus, Michaëla in La tragédie de Carmen, and Annina in La traviata. Recent engagements include the title roles in Manon and Frau Margot, appearances with the Victoria and Lake Charles Symphonies as soprano soloist in Carmina Burana, and Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915. She is an alumnus of Butler University and the Moores School of Music, and will complete her DMA degree in Vocal Performance from the Moores School of Music in December 2017.
Queen of the Night | Natalie Polito, Soprano | November 11, 17, 19
Praised for “note perfect and thrilling” (Times Union Saratoga) performances in her signature role of the Queen of the Night, rising star soprano Natalie Polito is thrilled to return to Opera in the Heights after her company debut last season as Musetta in La Bohème. Recent performances as Queen of the Night have taken her to Opera Saratoga, Delaware’s Master Players Concert Series under the baton of Martin Katz, and the Erie Chamber Orchestra. In the 2017-2018 season, she makes her role debut as Nedda in I Pagliacci with Opera New Jersey, and returns to Resonance Works Pittsburgh to sing the Foreign Princess in Rusalka. Past credits include performances with Opera Columbus, NYC’s LoftOpera, Virginia Opera, the Santa Fe Opera, Santa Fe Symphony, Colorado Symphony, Sarasota Opera, and at the National Academy of Music in Hanoi, Vietnam. For more information, please visit: www.nataliepolito.com.
Sarastro | James Harrington, Bass | November 10-12, 17-19
Praised by Broadway World as a “compelling actor” with a “rich and powerful bass voice,” James Harrington spent two summers as an Apprentice Singer at Santa Fe Opera, where he sang Billy Jackrabbit in La Fanciulla del West and Diener #4 in Capriccio, and covered Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor, Capulet in Roméo et Juliette, and the Haushofmeister in Capriccio. In 2017-18, he debuts as Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte at Houston’s Opera in the Heights and Dottore Grenvil in La Traviata at St. Petersburg Opera. He has previously appeared in principal roles at Portland Opera, Nashville Opera, Utah Festival Opera, Opera New Jersey, and Winter Opera St. Louis.
First Lady | Dominique McCormick, Soprano | November 10-12, 17-19
Dominique McCormick is a lyric soprano from New York known for her “superlative vocals complimented with wonderful expressiveness and impeccable comic timing” (Houstonia). She received her undergraduate and masters degrees from the Eastman School of Music. She continued her education and professional experience in France performing oratorio and operatic works with, l’Orchestre Nationale des Pays de la Loire, Théâtre d’Asnières, Théâtre du Tambour-Royal and upon her return to the United States, singing with Ars Lyrica in Houston. Finishing her doctoral dissertation on the vocal works of Marital Caillebotte, she is overjoyed to be singing with Opera in the Heights and is proud to be the Co-Founder of Century Fine Arts, a music and fine arts school in Sugar Land, TX.
Second Lady | Raphaella Medina, Mezzo-soprano | November 10-12, 17-19
Raphaella Medina is delighted to be making her Opera in the Heights debut. Recent engagements include originating the role of Oldest Daughter in the world premiere of Anice Thigpen’sThe Woman of Salt in Eugene OR, and Stéphano in Roméo et Juliette with the Moores Opera Center. In the fall of 2016, Raphaella participated in a series of master classes led by mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato at Carnegie Hall. Other recent roles include: Elizabeth Proctor in The Crucible and Dorabella in Cosi fan tutte (MOC), Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia (Seagle Music Colony), and Zerlina in Don Giovanni (FSU Opera). raphaellamedina.com
Third Lady | Naomi Brigell, Mezzo-Soprano | November 10-12, 17-19
Naomi Brigell has performed and studied across the USA and Europe. Most recently, she was seen as Sesto (La clemenza di Tito) with Chicago Summer Opera and Zulma (L’Italiana in Algeri) with Operativo Houston. Other highlights include Nancy (Albert Herring), Rebecca Nurse (The Crucible), and Gertrude (Roméo et Juliette). In March, Naomi was awarded the grand prize at the Kristin Lewis Foundation Vocal Scholarship Competition. She also received the prestigious Ellalou Dimmock Vocal Honors Award at Boston University. Naomi Brigell holds an MM from University of Houston and BM from Boston University. She is a student of Melanie Sonnenberg.
Monostatos | Brian Yeakley, Tenor | November 10-12, 17-19
Brian Ross Yeakley hailing from Wichita, Kansas has performed with many refutable companies like Wolf Trap Opera, Glimmerglass Opera Festival, Opera Saratoga, and Virginia Opera among others. Yeakley obtained his MM from University of Houston in 2014. Recent credits include Evangelist in Bach's BWV 248 with Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church; covers for Beppe in Pagliacci and Pang/Pong in Turandot with Virginia Opera; Lindoro in L’Italiana in Algeri with Operativo Houston; Tenor soloist in Te Deum with Austin Symphony. Future engagements: Brighella in Ariadne in Naxos with Austin Opera, and The Swan in Carmina Burana with the Valley Symphony Orchestra.
Papagena | Elizabeth Gautsche | November 10-12, 17-19
Soprano Elizabeth Gautsche, will sing Papagena in Opera in the Height’s production of Die Zauberflöte. Ms. Gautsche sung the role of Pamina in Die Zauberflöte with the Blooming Voce Summer Opera Workshop in 2017, and will return this season to sing the role of Rusalka in Dvořák’s Rusalka. She received her Masters in Voice at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music and her Bachelors in Voice from the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music. Ms. Gautsche played the role of Telemaco in Monteverdi’s Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria and Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro for the Shepherd School’s opera productions. She currently studies with Barbara Clark.
Speaker of the Temple | Johnny Salvesen, Bass | November 10-12, 17-19
Johnny Salvesen hails from Waco, TX and recently performed as Mustafa in L'italiana in Algeri with Operativo Houston. Other role credits include Frére Laurent in Romeo et Juliette, Elisha Fitzgibbon in the world premiere of Evan Mack's Roscoe, Jim Wright in the world premiere of David T. Little's JFK, The Narrator and Mysterious Man in Into the Woods, and Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte. Johnny currently pursues his master's in Music Theory at the Moores School of Music and graduates in May 2018. He participates in their fall, winter, and spring opera productions this academic year.
First Armored Man | Calvin Harris, Tenor | November 10-12, 17-19
Calvin Maurecé Harris is a native of Hampton, Virginia and a proud alumnus of Virginia State University, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music. Since arriving in Houston, Texas in 2012, Mr. Harris has been a member of the Opera in the Heights chorus. In 2013, he made his operatic debut on the OH! stage playing the role of Il Commissionario in La Traviata. In addition to his work with the Opera in the Heights chorus, Mr. Harris has also performed in other comprimario roles including the role of Parpignol in Puccini's La Boheme.
Second Armored Man | Nnamdi Nwankwo, Bass-Baritone | November 10-12, 17-19
Nnamdi Nwankwo is a Houston born and raised Lyric Bass-Baritone and actor. He is a graduate of Stephen F. Austin State University with a B.A in Theatrical Performance with a Minor in Operatic Performance. Some of his credits include: Guglielmo in “Cosí fan tutte”, Impresario in "Viva La Mamma", Mícha in "The Bartered Bride", and Superintendent Budd in "Albert Herring”. In his solo work, he has sung pieces from works like “Schubert Mass in G Major”, and Handel’s “Messiah”. He has had the opportunity to work with companies like Lone Star Lyric Theater Festival, Bach Society Houston, and Operativo Houston.