Last seen in Roanoke over a decade ago, Bohème’s true-to-life characters, struggling young artists and professionals, sing music of astonishing beauty in scenes of true pathos. Puccini’s keen dramatic sensibilities balance the heartbreaking tragedy of Rodolfo and Mimi with the wit of their fellow “bohemians”. The cast and members of the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra are led by MET opera conductor and Opera Roanoke Principal Guest Conductor, Steven White. Returning to the stage are Opera Roanoke favorites Corey Crider (Sweeney Todd ’15, South Pacific ’16) and Matthew Vickers (Susannah ’17) with Chelsea Bonagura (Magic Flute ’13) singing the role of Mimi.
American soprano Chelsea Bonagura has been praised for her “beautifully warm and rich” voice (Classical Voice of North Carolina). This season, Chelsea was a featured dancer and ensemble member in Alekko/Paggliaci and La Campana Somersa with New York City Opera, and most recently made her role debut as Water in the North American premiere of Los Elementos with New York City Opera. This summer, she will sing the title role of Rebecca Manchester in a new opera by Kevin Wilt Prix Fixe with Fresh Squeezed Opera Company. Next season, Ms. Bonagura joins Palm Beach Opera as a Benenson Young Artist and will cover the roles of Cunegonde in Candide and Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro, and sing Barbarina in their mainstage productions. She will then return to Opera Roanoke to make her role debut as Mimi in La Bohème. She is a graduate of Eastman School of Music and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Her many accolades include top awards in the Rosen-Schaffer Competition (2013) and the Charlotte Opera Guild Competition (2011).
Baritone Corey Crider is an alumnus of Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Ryan Opera Center and recently returned to the company as Malatesta in Don Pasquale. Additional recent highlights include Marcello in La bohème with Arizona Opera and the Munich Philharmonic, Cavaliere di Belfiore in Un giorno di regno with Sarasota Opera, and Escamillo in Carmen with Opera Lyra Ottawa. In the 2014-15 season Corey debuted the title role of Sweeney Todd with Madison Opera, sang Marcello inLa bohème with Opera on the James, Scarpia in Tosca with the New Philharmonic, Escamillo in La tragédie de Carmen with Opera Naples, the Sacristan in Tosca with the Detroit Symphony, and Dulcamara in The Elixir of Love with Finger Lakes Opera. The 2015-2016 season includes the reprise of his celebrated Sweeney Todd with Opera Roanoke, Sharpless in Madame Butterfly with Dayton Opera, Guglielmo inCosì fan tutte with Sarasota Opera, Escamillo in Carmen with Lyric Opera of Kansas City, and Handel’s Messiah with Augustana College.
In addition to appearances with the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra in Don Giovanniand Opera Festival di Roma as Mozart’s Figaro, Crider has been heard with the major opera companies of Omaha, Cincinnati, Nashville, and Dayton. He performed excerpts from Don Giovanni with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, having sung that opera’s title role with the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.
A two-time national semi-finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and a finalist in Houston Grand Opera’s Eleanor McCollum Competition for Young Singers, Corey took fourth prize in the Florida Grand Opera Young Patronesses of the Opera Voice Competition. He is an alumnus of the Artist Diploma program at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music; as well as of the University of Kentucky (M.M.) and Murray State University (B.M.).
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), Avito in L’amore dei tre re (Sarasota Opera), Sam in Susannah (Opera Roanoke), and the Duke in Rigoletto (Ashlawn Opera).