The Cast of The Medium and The Telephone

Oh! 2015 - 2016 Season

Artists are listed in Alphabetical Order, by Last Name

Gwen Alfred
The Medium - Mrs. Gobineau

Soprano, Gwendolyn Alfred will make her professional debut with Opera in the Heights this season. She recently covered Donna Anna (Don Giovanni) at the Miami Summer Music Festival, where she was one of few sopranos chosen to perform for the Christine Goerke Master Class. A notable singer at the Moores Opera Center, her featured roles include Giulietta (Les Contes D’Hoffmann), Magda (The Consul), Contessa Almaviva (Le Nozze di Figaro), Madama Cortese (Il Viaggo a Reims), Cinna (Lucio Silla) and Maria Corona (The Saint of Bleecker Street). Alfred was also a finalist in the Llangollen Eistedfodd International Solo Competition. Alfred is currently completing her DMA at the University of Houston with a major in Voice Performance and a minor in Vocal Pedagogy.


Claudia Chapa
The Medium - Baba

Claudia Chapa recently returned to The Glimmerglass Festival as a Young Artist to perform the role of Third Lady (The Magic Flute), cover The Old Lady (Candide), and made her Carnegie Hall debut as the mezzo soloist in Verdi’s Requiem with DCINY after performing the Requiem with Gulf Coast Symphony. She is excited to perform the title role of (The Medium) at Opera in the Heights, where she was seen as The Witch (Hansel und Gretel) and Dame Quickly (Falstaff). She will also return to DCINY 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. Ms. Chapa made her professional debut as Dritte Dame (Die Zauberflöte) with Austin Opera and subsequently sang Marthe (Faust) with Indianapolis Opera.

Julia Engel
The Telephone - Lucy

Soprano Julia Engel has been called “a gloriously pert Norina” and “beguiling of voice” by the Houston Press in 2013 for her portrayals of Norina in Donizetti’s Don Pasquale and Nannetta in Verdi’s Falstaff, both with Opera in the Heights and is thrilled to be back to sing Lucy in Menotti’s The Telephone. Other roles for Julia include covering Zerbinetta (Kingwood Summer Opera), Ismene (Mitridate, re di Ponto), Zerlina  (The CoOperative Program), Olympia (Opera Theater of Pittsburgh) and The Mother, Dew Fairy, and Witch (HGOco Opera to Go!). Julia will sing her first Konstanze with Piccola Opera of San Antonio in February of 2016.


Monica Isomura
The Medium - Mrs. Nolan

Mezzo-soprano, Monica Isomura, has been praised for her rich vocal quality and captivating stage presence. Since moving to Houston in 2014, the Philadelphia native has sung with the Lone Star Lyric Opera, Da Camera, the Houston Heights Orchestra, and is a member of and frequent soloist with the Houston Chamber Choir. She has previously sung for Michigan Opera Theater, The Castleton Festival, the Occasional Opera Company (NYC), Stony Brook Opera, and Opera in the Ozarks, New Jersey, and Toledo Opera. Favorite operatic roles include Suzuki in Madama Butterfly, Medoro in Handel's Orlando, Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro, and Hermia in A Midsummer Night's Dream.  In concert, Monica has been a soloist in Stravinsky’s Pulcinella, Mozart’s Requiem, Vivaldi’s Stabat Mater, Handel’s Messiah, and numerous Bach cantatas.  She holds degrees from Northwestern University, the University of Michigan, and Stonybrook University.  A passionate performer and dedicated educator, Monica has recently been appointed Education Coordinator for OITH and will also appear as Tisbe in the upcoming production of La Cenerentola.  She is thrilled to make her OITH debut in The Medium under the baton of her partner in music and in life, her husband, Eiki Isomura.

Thomas Richards
The Telephone - Ben
The Medium - Mr. Gobineau

A native of Burnsville, Minnesota, Thomas Richards was named a winner of the 2013 Grand Finals of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions as well as First Place in the 2013 Houston Grand Opera Eleanor McCollum Competition. He earned his master of music degree at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.  Recently, he performed the role of The Bonze in Madama Butterfly at the Glimmerglass Festival, and Figaro in Le Nozze di Figaro with Wolf Trap Opera, and the Baritone in The Tempest Songbook with Gotham Chamber Opera, a performance called “riveting” by the New York Times.  He is a recent graduate of the Houston Grand Opera Studio.


Alex Scheuermann
The Medium - Toby

Leggiero tenor Alexander Scheuermann is a native of Merritt Island, Florida. Alex currently sings with the Houston Grand Opera’s Opera to Go! where he plays The Boy in The Velveteen Rabbit. Recent operatic roles include The Barber in Man of La Mancha with Central City Opera, and Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore at the Moores Opera House. Concert work includes regular performances as a soloist with the Houston Bach Society and the Lone Star Lyric cabaret series. Alex holds a BM in voice performance from Florida State University and an MM in voice performance from The University of Houston where he studied with Joseph Evans.


Julie Thornton
The Medium - Monica

Julie Thornton is a native of Houston, Texas. Recent opera roles include Adina in L’Elisir d’Amore, Olympia in Les Contes d’Hoffman, Lola in Gallantry, Lightfoot in Cold Sassy Tree and Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia. Ms. Thornton is also frequently featured as a concert soloist, having performed in works such as Haydn's Lord Nelson Mass, Karl Jenkin’s Stella Natalis,and in April of 2015  was featured in the U.S. Premiere of film composer Howard Goodall’s Every Purpose Under the Heaven. Her talents have taken her to work with companies such as the Houston Grand Opera Chorus, Lonestar Lyric Opera, Opera Vista, and the Houston Symphony Chorus. Academic performances have also been done with the Moores Opera Center, Kingwood Summer Opera, Seagle Music Colony, Smothers Theater at Pepperdine University, and the Franco-American Vocal Academy. Ms. Thornton holds a B.A. in Applied Music from Pepperdine University, and recently completed an M.M. in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Houston.