Mezzo-soprano Erin Alford has been praised for her “vocal sheen” and “stage presence that mark her as a young artist with a bright future.” This season as a Florida Grand Opera Studio Artist, Erin will perform as Fidalma in El matrimonio secreto, La Ciesca in Gianni Schicchi and Buoso’s Ghost, and cover Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia. This past 2021-22 season, Erin made her house and role debuts as Second Woman and Dido cover in Dido and Aeneas with Opera San José, returned to Pensacola Opera as Zweite Dame in Die Zauberflöte. She also joined Opera Santa Barbara as a Chrisman Studio Artist, covering Hannah After in As One and performing song cycle The Starry Night with renowned American composer Jake Heggie at the piano. Additionally, Erin was named a 2022 Tennessee District Winner in the Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition. Notable roles performed include Dorabella in Mozart’s Così fan tutte, the title role in Massenet’s Chérubin, and Sister Helen Prejean in Dead Man Walking. Erin received her Master of Music in Opera Performance from the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at CSULB, and her Bachelor of Arts in Music from UC Berkeley.
Up and coming tenor Charles Calotta is an exceptional talent. Noted for his fresh lyric voice, innate musicality, and skilled acting, he continues to build an impressive reputation in repertoire of all periods. His creativity and unusual versatility make him an outstanding presence on any stage.
Mr. Calotta has performed with the Prague Summer Nights and Lyrique International de Belle-Île Festivals, the Florida Grand Opera, Opera North, the Maryland Opera Studio and the Dell’Arte Ensemble in standard roles such as Tamino in Die Zauberflöte and Count Almaviva in Il Barbiere di Siviglia. He is equally at home in contemporary repertoire. Of particular note is his work in Gregory Spears’ Fellow Travelers, Michael Nyman’s The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, and André Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire.
Upcoming opera performances include the role of Ferrando in Così fan tutte for Opera North, Almaviva with the Winter Harbor Music Festival in Maine, and the world premiere of Elena Ruehr’s Cosmic Cowboy with White Snake Projects. Concert performances include performances of the Saint-Saëns Requiem and Beethoven’s Mass in C with the Wallingford Symphony, the Glens Falls Symphony, and the Astoria Choir.
A native of New York City, Mr. Calotta has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Delene Laubenheim McClure Prize and the Michelson Collaborative Arts Award. He is a graduate of Vanderbilt University and received his M.M. degree from the University of Maryland.
Mr. Calotta will perform the roles of Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi and Buoso’s Ghost and Spoletta in Tosca this season at the Florida Grand Opera.
For more information about Charles, please visit www.charlescalottatenor.com.
A master of his touching, yet bold baritone’ (Berkshire Fine Arts), Matthew Cossack holds graduatedegrees and performance based awards from both The Yale School of Music and Mannes College. His role history includes Onegin (Eugene Onegin), Figaro (Le nozze di Figaro), Don Alfonso (Cosí fan tutte), Peter (Hänsel und Gretel), and Belcore (L’elisir d’amore), amongst others. A native of Brooklyn, New York, he was a finalist of the Opera Index Competition, a Regional Winner in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and a winner in the Opera Foundation Scholarship Competition in 2019. He made his European debut at the Deutsche Oper Berlin in 2019 as a member of the Stipendiat Ensemble. His roles included Dancairo (Carmen), Fiorello (Il Barbiere di Siviglia), Imperial Commissioner (Madama Butterfly) etc. After the pandemic, he returned as a guest artist for Starveling (A Midsummer Night’s Dream) in 2021, and as the baritone soloist in a world premiere of Once To Be Realised, which toured through Berlin, Munich and Athens in 2022. He was a finalist in the International Grand Prix Competition, and awarded the AIMS Graz Scholarship for 2023.
Described by Opera News as having a “resonant bass-baritone,” Phillip Lopez is generating great acclaim in new and established repertoire across the United States. During the summer of 2022, Mr. Lopez made his Chautauqua Opera Company debut as the Father in Kamala Sankaram’s Thumbprint, and Ulysses S. Grant in Virgil Thompson’s The Mother of Us All. Additionally, he workshopped Derek Bermel's The House on Mango Street as the Bum Man and Pregon, and premiered Mary Prescott’s Learning the Grammar of Animacy with the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra. During the 2022-2023 season, Mr. Lopez will join Florida Grand Opera, singing Geronimo in a bilingual version of El matrimonio segreto, Betto in Gianni Schicchi/Buoso’s Ghost, and the Jailer in Tosca, as well as covering the Sacristan in Tosca and Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia. Recently, Mr. Lopez attended esteemed young artist programs at Opera Colorado, Central City Opera, and Op, Angelotti (Tosca), Monterone (Rigoletto), and Antonio (The Marriage of Figaro). In 2022, he won the Denver District of the Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition, and subsequently received an Encouragement Award from the Rocky Mountain Region. Mr. Lopez holds degrees from the Yale School of Music (MMA ‘21), Wichita State University (MM ‘19) and Millikin University (BM ‘16).
Joseph McBrayer, tenor, from Dallas, Georgia is proud to make his debut with Florida Grand Opera. He earned his BM from Kennesaw State University and continued with his graduate studies at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music. While working with companies such as The Atlanta Opera, Capitol City Opera, and Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, he has performed such roles as Alfredo in La traviata, Woz in The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, and Tamino in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte. As a recent Resident Artist with Indianapolis Opera, he performed many recitals with the company as well as the role of Goro in IO’s first performance since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Puccini’s Madama Butterfly at the Indianapolis Zoo. He has performed the work of numerous operatic composers and excels with the works of Mozart, Verdi, Rossini, Puccini, as well as many composers known for their work on Broadway, like Sondheim and Bernstein. In addition to operatic work, Mr. McBrayer has been seen in musicals such as Falsettos and She Loves Me, and also enjoys the symphonic and orchestral works, and has performed as the tenor soloist in Britten’s War Requiem and in Beethoven’s famous 9th Symphony.
Mr. McBrayer will perform the roles of Paulino in El matrimonio secreto, and Gherardo in Gianni Schicchi and Buoso’s Ghost this season at the Florida Grand Opera.
Commended for her “large, darkly colored soprano” (South Florida Classical Review), American soprano Page Michels returns to Florida Grand Opera for the 22/23 season performing the roles of Lauretta in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi and Carolina in a Spanish translation of Cimarosa’s El matrimonio secreto. Last season with FGO, she performed the roles of Lucy in Spears’ Fellow Travelers and A Page in Verdi’s Rigoletto while also placing as a 2022 Oregon District Winner with the Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition. An avid lover of song and recital, Ms. Michels completed the 2022 Brown Loranger Fellowship with SongFest in San Francisco, CA working with composers such as Jake Heggie and John Musto following the presentation of her Master’s II recital, Oleaje, or Sea Foam. In May 2021, Ms. Michels joined the Aspen Music Festival as a Fleming Artist headed by world-renowned soprano, Renée Fleming, where she covered the role of Pamina in Die Zauberflöte subsequent to the COVID-19 cancellation of her scheduled performance of Elisa in Händel’s Tolomeo at Rice University with Rice Opera. Ms. Michels also sang the title role in Floyd’s Susannah with Rice Opera under the baton of Houston Grand Opera’s artistic and music director, Patrick Summers in the spring of 2019. That summer, she joined Des Moines Metro Opera as an Apprentice Artist where she study-covered Mimì in La bohème. Passionate about concert and oratorio work, she has been the soprano soloist in Dvorák’s Te Deum and Bach’s B Minor Mass. Ms. Michels holds a Master of Music in Voice from Rice University under the tutelage of Dr. Stephen King and Bachelor of Music in Voice from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music under the tutelage of Dr. Gwen Coleman.
Praised for her “opulent soprano” and “flowing high register” (South Florida Classical Review), soprano Ashley Shalna is a promising emerging artist from Tampa, Florida. She most recently completed the 2021-2022 season with Opera Tampa as an Opera Tampa Singer, appearing in all of the season’s operatic productions and as a distinguished soloist in outreach concerts. A recent graduate of the University of Miami, Ms. Shalna appeared as Eurydice (Les malheurs d’Orphée) and La Chauve-Souris (L’enfant et les sortilèges) with Frost Opera Theater, as well as Old Woman/Leona (In A Grove) in a developmental workshop with composer Christopher Cerrone and Ensemble Ibis. Other roles include Suzel (L’amico Fritz, canceled due to COVID-19), Gretel (Hansel and Gretel), Berta (Il barbiere di Siviglia) and Papagena (Die Zauberflöte). An award-winning soprano, Ms. Shalna received an Encouragement Award from MONC and a Merit Award from the Dorothy Lincoln-Smith NSAL Vocal Competition last year. She made her Florida Grand Opera debut as Clara in Signor Deluso to critical acclaim in 2021 and will return this season as a Studio Artist to sing Elisetta (El matrimonio secreto) and Nella (Gianni Schicchi). Ms. Shalna holds a Bachelor of Music from the University of Florida and a Master of Music from the University of Miami.