2016 – 2017 Season


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Friday, April 28, 2017 | 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, April 30, 2017 | 3:00 p.m.

Located at the Shaftman Performance Hall at the Jefferson Center

We will conclude our 41st season of great musical theater in Virginia’s blue ridge with the local premiere of what many consider the greatest American opera of the 20th century: Carlisle Floyd’s award-winning drama, Susannah. Based on a story from the Biblical Apocrypha, Susannah is a compelling drama whose issues resonate across cultural, social, political and religious lines. Set in the Appalachian mountains, Susannah’s music reflects its locale, and Floyd’s score is a masterpiece of dramatic power and lyrical beauty. MET Opera conductor, and Opera Roanoke Principal Guest Conductor Steven White leads the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra and an outstanding cast, under the stage direction of Artistic Director, Scott Williamson.



Talamantes.D.HeadshotDanielle Talamantes, Susannah Polk

“It’s not often that a fortunate operagoer witnesses the birth of a star!” critics hailed for Danielle Talamantes’ recent role début as Violetta in La traviata. This season, Talamantes reprises the role of Violetta with Finger Lakes Opera, performs the role of Anna in Nabucco and Frasquita in Carmen with The Metropolitan Opera, Marzelline in Fidelio with The Princeton Festival, the title role in Susannah with Opera Roanoke, and sings the soprano solo in Händel’s Messiah with National Philharmonic and The New Choral Society, Brahm’s Requiem with National Philharmonic, Mozart’s Requiem with Phoenix Symphony Orchestra, Verdi’s Requiem with Gloria Musicae, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with Fairfax Symphony, and Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with Manchester Symphony Orchestra. Additionally, she will sing the soprano solo with Gamut Bach Ensemble with Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, two solo performances in Spokane’s Northwest Bach Festival and Series, and the soprano solo in Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman! with Manchester Music Festival.


Vickers_HeadshotMatthew Vickers, Sam Polk

American tenor, Matthew Vickers, has been praised for his “brilliant and golden voice” (Die Kleine Zeitung), his “burnished sound and confident acting” (National Post), and hailed “a gutsy performer whose glowing tenor voice has interestingly dark, baritonal undertones (Opera Now). Recent performances include Don José in Carmen (Opera Western Reserve), Fritz in Mascagni’s L’amico Fritz (Boston Midsummer Opera), Laertes in Faccio’s Amleto (Opera Delaware), and Arrigo in Verdi’s La Battaglia di Legnano (Sarasota Opera). Upcoming performances include Avito in L’amore dei tre re (Sarasota Opera), Sam in Susannah (Opera Roanoke), and the Duke in Rigoletto (Ashlawn Opera).


Zachary James.Zachary James, Olin Blitch

Zachary James returns to Opera Roanoke for his fourth production having previously appeared in Sweeney Todd, Cenerentola and Mozart’s Abduction. He has performed internationally with English National Opera, Teatro Real, Opera Queensland and Teatro Citta della Pieve and in the US with Los Angeles Opera, Opera Philadelphia, Central City Opera, Ash Lawn Opera, Knoxville Opera, Opera Ithaca, Anchorage Opera, Shreveport Opera, Phoenicia Festival, Prototype Festival, New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra and NYC Ballet. Zach created the roles of Abraham Lincoln in Philip Glass’ opera The Perfect American for Teatro Real and Terry in Breaking the Waves for Opera Philadelphia. A winner of the Lotte Lenya Competition, Zach originated on Broadway as Lurch in The Addams Family and in Coram Boy and the Tony Award winning Lincoln Center revival of South Pacific. Upcoming engagements with the Metropolitan Opera, LA Opera, English National Opera and Des Moines Metro Opera. www.ZachJames.com @zjamesoperabass


Nichols_HeadshotJason Nichols, Little Bat McLean

Jason Nichols is currently pursuing his M.M. in Vocal Performance. A winner of the 2016 South Carolina District Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, he is a versatile singer with ample experience onstage and in the studio. Jason recently appeared on the Opera Roanoke stage as Gastone in La Traviata where he was “heard with pleasure in his every line” (Voix des Arts). A member of Opera Roanoke’s Apprentice Artist program in 2015, he graduated from Liberty University in 2015, where he was honored as 2014-15 Performer of the Year, Vocalist of the Year and winner of the 2015 Concerto & Aria Competition. Previous roles include Ferrando in Così fan tutte, Canio in I Pagliacci, Vašek in The Bartered Bride, and Tobias in Sweeney Todd. His career continues to grow as the upcoming year holds a number of role debuts, including Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi, Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni and more. He is active in academia, recently having mentored a group of high school students with Stafford Opera Troupe’s 2016 Summer Opera Program in addition to teaching voice privately.


Greg Parker croppedGregory Parker, Elder McLean

Gregory Parker, Professor of Music and Head of the Department of Music at Washington and Lee University, holds the Bachelor of Music Education degree and the Performer’s Certificate in Voice from Samford University, the Master of Music degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in voice performance from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music. Dr. Parker has performed as a baritone soloist in a number of operas, oratorios and recitals. In addition to studying with James McKinney, author of The Diagnosis and Correction of Vocal Faults, he has worked with internationally acclaimed pedagogues Horst Günter and Richard Miller. He is in demand as a performer, voice teacher, clinician, and choral director. Currently, he is serving as the Membership Coordinator for the Virginia Chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing. Dr. Parker has thirty-three years of experience in Baptist church music and presently serves as the Director of Music at Buena Vista Baptist Church. His wife, Lori, is a realtor with James Wm. Moore Real Estate in Lexington. They are the parents of two children, Alex and Brianna.


Adam McAllisterAdam McAllister, Elder Gleaton

Adam McAllister, tenor, is a native of Bluefield, Virginia.  He holds a B.A. in Music from Bluefield College, a M.A. in Worship Studies from Liberty University, and a M.A. in Music with an emphasis in Music History from Radford University.  Adam has performed the roles of Samuel in The Pirates of Penzance, Monostatos in The Magic Flute, covered the role of Pedrillo in Abduction from the Seraglio, Beadle Bamford in Sweeney Todd and Luther Billis in South Pacific with Opera Roanoke. Adam’s musical theatre roles include Uncle Max in The Sound of Music and Marcus Lycus in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Currently, he is on faculty at Ferrum College where he teaches voice, music appreciation, diction, and conducts the college choir.


Murray_HeadshotSteven Murray, Elder Hayes

German-American Tenor Steven Murray is originally from Heidelberg, Germany. Born to a German mother and American Father. He has completed the Master of Music in Vocal Performance from Shenandoah Conservatory and the Bachelor of Arts in Music with Vocal Performance Emphasis from Charleston Southern University. He has sung roles as Alfredo, Faust, Tamino, Tito, and Rodolfo, to highlight a few. He was an Apprentice Artist with Sarasota Opera in the Winter Season of 2013. He is thrilled to be making his professional mainstage debut with Opera Roanoke in the upcoming production of Carlisle Floyd’s Susannah.


Zahm_HeadshotRobb Zahm, Elder Ott

Robb Zahm, baritone, is a graduate of the Washington & Lee School of Law, class of 2013. He now works as a Loan Officer at CornerStone Bank in Lexington. His local performance credits include multiple productions at W&L, including Cabaret, Bye, Bye, Birdie!, Comedy of Errors, Arsenic & Old Lace, and Spamalot. Robb has also worked with the Hollins University Theatre Department as a guest artist in their recent production of Little Women.  Robb made his Opera Roanoke debut in this production of La Traviata and covered the role of Emile de Bacque in South Pacific.


Newman_HeadshotToby Newman, Mrs. McLean

The New York Times described Toby Newman’s performance last month as Emilia in Rossini’s Otello as “fresh-voiced and sympathetic.”  Ms. Newman is thrilled to return to Opera Roanoke, where she was last seen as Sesto in Giulio Cesare. Her repertoire also includes Dinah in Trouble in Tahiti (Anchorage Opera), Savitri in Savitri (Little Opera Theatre of New York), Zerlina in Don Giovanni (Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice), Bianca in Rape of Lucretia (Loft Opera), Dorabella in Cosi fan tutte (St. Petersburg Opera), and the Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors (The Bushnell Center for Performing Arts in Hartford, CT). An accomplished and active oratorio singer, Ms. Newman was most recently seen in the region as the alto soloist in the Rockbridge Choral Society’s Elijah. Equally known for her extensive new music work and longstanding association with Meredith Monk, highlights include the lead female role in Robert Een’s opera The Escape Artist at Disney Hall in Los Angeles, world and American premieres by composers such as Thomas Pasatieri, Huang Ruo, and Gerald Cohen, and an upcoming recording as the alto soloist in Emerson Eads’ Mass for the Oppressed. www.tobynewmanmezzo.com


Molly Cox, Mrs. GleatonMollyCox Headshot

Molly Cox, mezzo soprano, is a recent graduate of Radford University where she received a Bachelor of Science in Music.  Concentrating in vocal performance, she studied in the voice studio of Melissa Sumner, was a member of Mu Phi Epsilon, and participated in many ensemble groups including Opera Workshop, Madrigal Singers, and Chorale.  She also made appearances with Summer Musical Enterprise and HaeBo productions.  In 2014 Molly made her international operatic debut in Freiberg, Germany with the Mittelsaechsisches Theater playing the role of Dido in Dido and Aeneas.  In addition she performed the role of Second Witch in Dido and Aeneas and was in the chorus of the Der Zigeunerbaron. Molly covered the role of Bloody Mary in Opera Roanoke’s recent production of South Pacific.


BrookeTolley_HeadshotBrooke Tolley, Mrs. Hayes

Brooke Tolley, lyric coloratura soprano, made her professional debut with Opera Roanoke in 2011 as Kate Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly.  Since, she has completed young artist programs at Opera Roanoke, Asheville Lyric Opera and Chicago Summer Opera.  While in Chicago, Brooke made her role debut as the Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute and returned to cover the role at Opera Roanoke in 2014. Recently she has sung the roles of Annina in La traviata with Capitol Opera Raleigh, Johanna in Sweeney Todd, and was the soprano soloist in Dubois’ Seven Last Words of Christ.  Upcoming performances include Mrs. Hayes in Susannah with Opera Roanoke and soprano soloist in Schubert’s Mass in G with Greene Memorial UMC.  Brooke holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Liberty University and a Master of Music degree from Radford University. She is also the Director of Operations at Opera Roanoke.


Potter_HeadshotChristie Massey, Mrs. Ott

 Christie Massey, mezzo-soprano, is from Lynchburg, VA. She holds Bachelor of Music Education from Liberty University’s School of Music and is preparing for graduate school auditions to enter a vocal performance program in Fall 2017. As an Apprentice Artist, Christie has performed in the choruses of Sweeney Todd, The Magic Flute, Julius Caesar and Abduction. Other performances include chorus member and featured dancer in Opera on the James’ Die Fledermaus, Grisette in Liberty Univerty Opera’s The Merry Widow, and chorus member and Dorabella cover in Tidewater Opera Initiative’s Cosi fan Tutte.

Met Live in HD

Opera Roanoke and Virginia Western Community College are proud to present the Met Live in HD for the 2016-2017 season. The new season of the Met’s Emmy and Peabody Award-winning performance transmissions features ten presentations.

Read more about Met Live in HD at https://www.virginiawestern.edu/community/metopera.php

To purchase tickets for the Met: Live in HD 16-17 season, please click the link below.