Brooke Tolley is a native of Roanoke, Virginia and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Vocal Performance from Liberty University and a Master of Arts in Voice from Radford University. Brooke’s opera roles include Kate Pinkterton in Madama Butterfly, Johanna in Sweeney Todd, the Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute, Laetitia in The Old Maid and the Thief and Lucy in Menotti’s The Telephone. As a concert soloist, Brooke has performed in Handel’s Messiah, DuBois’ Seven Last Words of Christ, Schubert’s Mass in G, and Pepper Choplin’s A Journey with the Shepherd, which she premiered at Lincoln Center in 2017.
As an experienced voice teacher, she has maintained a private voice studio for students across the Roanoke Valley since 2012 and has taught lessons at Opera Roanoke, the Jefferson Center’s Music Lab and Hollins University.
She was a participant in Leadership Roanoke Valley’s Class of 2019 and was chosen as one of only three opera administrators across the country to attend The Hart Institute for Women Opera Conductors and Administrators at The Dallas Opera in 2018. Brooke was appointed General Director of Opera Roanoke in 2019 and was chosen by The Roanoker magazine as one of Roanoke’s “40 Under 40” in 2021. She is passionate about connecting audiences of all ages with opera in both traditional and non-traditional venues and believes that opera should be accessible to all.
Praised by Opera News as a conductor who “squeezes every drop of excitement and pathos from the score,” Steven White is one of North America’s premiere operatic and symphonic conductors. He made his acclaimed Metropolitan Opera debut in 2010, conducting performances of La traviata starring Angela Gheorghiu. Since then, he has conducted a number of Metropolitan Opera performances of La traviata, with such stars as Natalie Dessay, Hei-Kyung Hong, Plácido Domingo, Thomas Hampson, Dmitri Hvorostovksy and Matthew Polenzani. In the past several seasons he has returned to the Met to participate in critically fêted productions of Don Carlo, Billy Budd, The Rake’s Progress and Elektra.
With a vibrant repertoire of over eighty titles, Maestro White’s extensive operatic engagements have included performances with New York City Opera, L’Opera de Montréal, Vancouver Opera, Opera Colorado, Pittsburgh Opera, Michigan Opera Theater, Baltimore Opera, New Orleans Opera, and many others. In recent seasons he has conducted Rigoletto with San Diego Opera, Otello with Austin Opera, Tosca with Utah Opera, and Eugene Onegin with Opera Omaha.
In the 2022-2023 season he returns to the Metropolitan Opera for their production of Der fliegende Holländer, and makes his debut at the Wexford Opera Festival in Ireland. He continues his close collaboration with Opera Omaha, conducting Le nozze di Figaro. He joins Rutgers University as an artist-in-residence and conductor of La bohème, and returns to Opera Roanoke for Glory Denied in February and Britten’s War Requiem in April.
Katie Hylton grew up in Collinsville, Virginia- about an hour southeast of Roanoke, where she found a love for people, history, museums, and the arts. She graduated from the University of Virginia's College at Wise with a bachelor's of arts in public history, where she learned how history and culture are essential to society. Since graduating, Katie has bounced around from places such as Reynolds Homestead, the Virginia Museum of Natural History, and Wonder Universe: A Children's Museum. She enjoys interacting with people, jamming to music (especially live music events and performances), and reading a good book. Katie is excited to join Opera Roanoke and to help facilitate bringing culture to the Roanoke Valley, one smile and performance at a time.
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Isabel Ditzel | Retired Educator
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Dr. Bruce Johnson
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