William Lee Bryan
Baritone William Lee Bryan makes his Florida Grand Opera debut this season. A native of Saint Paul, Minnesota, Bryan’s “large, ingratiating baritone” impresses audiences across the United States, where he has performed has performed opera, operetta, musical theater, and concert works across the United States (Minneapolis Star Tribune). Most recently, Bryan was a Resident Artist with Minnesota Opera, performing the roles of the Duke of Verona in Romeo and Juliet, Mr. Hatfield in Dinner at Eight, and Marcello in La bohème. Other favorite roles have included Don Giovanni, Elmer Gantry, Elijah, Ford in Falstaff, Demetrius in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Rappaccini in La Hija De Rappaccini, Fredrik in A Little Night Music, Lancelot in Camelot, Hans Scholl in Weisse Rose, and Guglielmo in Così fan tutte. He holds a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Minnesota, where he studied with Philip Zawisza, and a Master of Music in Vocal Performance from Florida State University, studying with David Okerlund. In FGO’s 2017-18 Young Artist Program, he will perform the roles of 5th Jew and Cappadocian in Salome and Alvaro in Florencia en el Amazonas.
Tenor Dominick Corbacio returns for his second season with Florida Grand Opera. Last season he was seen as Le Remendado in select performances of Carmen, as well as Monsieur Triquet in Eugene Onegin, for which he was praised for his “agile instrument that sparkled during his time on stage” by the Palm Beach Arts Paper. In the summer of 2017, he will make his role debut as Fenton in Giuseppe Verdi’s Falstaff with Opera Saratoga. In 2015, he was lauded by the New York Times as having given “one excellent performance after another of the sublime Du bist die Ruh.” after being featured in Mingwei’s Sonic Blossom at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Other recent credits include: The King of Venice (Glass’ The Witches of Venice), Prince Sou Chong (Lehár’s Das Land des Lächelns), Ernesto (Don Pasquale), Steven Todd/Arnold Murray (Chen’s The Life and Death(s) of Alan Turing), and The Sailor in Dido and Aeneas with Opera Saratoga, Venture Opera, Manhattan School of Music, and American Lyric Theatre. This season at FGO Dominick sings Normanno in Lucia di Lamermoor and 4th Jew in Salome, while study-covering Arcadio in Florencia en el Amazonas.
Baritone Benjamin Dickerson makes his Florida Grand Opera debut this season. Winner of the 2015 Marilyn Horne Song Competition, Dickerson made his Carnegie Presents recital debut in Weill Hall alongside pianist Warren Jones in January 2017. Last season, Dickerson joined the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts as a Schwab Vocal Rising Star in New York Festival of Song’s Emerging Artist Series and returned to Opera Theatre of Saint Louis’ Gerdine Young Artist Program in the premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon’s The Grapes of Wrath. His 2016 national recital tour culminated in a performance at New York’s Greene Space, broadcast live on WQXR, and joined by Isabel Leonard and Marilyn Horne. Dickerson recently appeared with Opera Theatre of St. Louis as the Wigmaker in Ariadne of Naxos.
Benjamin received his Bachelor of Music from the Manhattan School of Music in 2017, where he won 1st prize in the Ades Vocal Competition and performed leading roles in Don Giovanni, The Dangerous Liaisons, and Le roi l’a Dit.
As a member of FGO’s Young Artist Program, Dickerson will cover the roles of Enrico (Lucia di Lammermoor) and Alvaro (Florencia en el Amazonas) and sing the role of 1st Soldier in Salome.
Bass Simon Dyer makes his Florida Grand Opera debut this season. Last season, Simon Dyer was an Emerging Artist at Boston Lyric Opera, while completing his studies at Boston Conservatory. He was seen at BLO as Keeper of the Madhouse (The Rake’s Progress) and Antonio (Le Nozze di Figaro). Dyer has participated young artist training programs at The Glimmerglass Festival and Santa Fe Opera. Recent appearances include Giorgio in La Gazza Ladra (Glimmerglass Festival); Luka in The Bear, Mr. Grinder in The Zoo (Odyssey Opera); Superintendent Budd in Albert Herring (Boston Opera Collaborative); Prophet/King in Dark Sisters, Melisso in Alcina, Figaro in The Marriage of Figaro, Immigration Officer in Flight, and Nick Shadow in The Rake’s Progress (Boston Conservatory).
In concert, Dyer recently appeared as a soloist in Verdi’s Requiem in London, at a recital at the Museum of Fine Art, Boston, and as curator of John Cage’s SongBooks and a performance art piece entitled "A Theatre of Dead Artist's Hobbies," also at the MFA. Dyer received his undergraduate training at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in his native London.
This season, Dyer will sing the roles of Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor and 1st Nazarene in Salome.
Soprano Jessica Faselt makes her Florida Grand Opera debut this season. Known for her “keen expression and impressive delivery” (Music in Cincinnati), soprano Jessica Faselt hails from Iowa. Most recently, Faselt was a 2017 National Semi-Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. This summer, she will sing with the Institute for Young Dramatic Voices in Reno, NV under mezzo-soprano Dolora Zajick. She also participated in Opera Theatre of Sant Louis’ Gerdine Young Artist Program (Summer 2015 & 2016), where she covered the title role in Ariadne auf Naxos.
Other operatic roles include: Fiordiligi, Così fan tutte (New Philharmonic Orchestra, 2016); Hanna, The Merry Widow; Rosalinda, Die Fledermaus; Vitellia, La Clemenza di Tito; and Mrs. Grose, The Turn of the Screw. Additionally, she was a semi-finalist of the Eleanor McCollum Voice Competition with the Houston Grand Opera in February 2016.
Faselt completed her Master’s Degree at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) and her Bachelor of Music from the University of Iowa.
This season, Faselt will study-cover the roles of Aliza in Lucia di Lammermoor, as well as the title roles in Salome and Florencia en el Amazonas.
Jessica E. Jones
Soprano Jessica E. Jones makes her Florida Grand Opera debut this season. Described as “full of dazzling radiance” (Houston Press), Jones will appear in the world premiere of The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs as Chrisann Brennan with Santa Fe Opera this summer. A noted interpreter of American opera, she has also workshopped Roscoe by Evan Mack as Veronica with Opera Saratoga, and portrayed Lightfoot McLendon in Floyd’s Cold Sassy Tree, Lulu in Elmer Gantry, and Rosasharn in The Grapes of Wrath.
Other operatic repertoire includes: Lucia, Lucia di Lammermoor (Santa Fe Opera cover); Elvira, L'italiana in Algeri (Sarasota Opera); Desdemona, Rossini’s Otello (Opera in the Heights); Adina, L’elisir d’amore (Crested Butte Music Festival); Rosalinda, Die Fledermaus (Opera Idaho); and Erste dame in Die Zauberflöte (Opera Saratoga).
She was 2012 Regional Finalist of the Metropolitan National Council Auditions. Jones holds a Master and Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from the Moores School of Music, where she sang the roles of Corinna (Il Viaggio a Riems), The Governess (The Turn of the Screw), Pamina (Die Zauberflöte), Lauretta (Gianni Schicchi), and Beatrice in Daniel Catán’s Il Postino.
This season, Jones will sing the role of Euridice in Orfeo ed Euridice and study-cover the roles of Lucia in Lucia di Lammermoor and Rosabla in Florencia en el Amazonas.
Russian-American Mezzo-Soprano Mariya Kaganskaya will make her Florida Grand Opera debut this season. This summer, she will sing the role of Teacher in world premiere of The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs at Santa Fe Opera, as a second-year Apprentice Singer. As a 2016-17 Marion Roose Pullin Studio Artist at Arizona Opera, she appeared as Tisbe (La Cenerentola), Suzuki (Madama Butterfly), and Third Wood Sprite (Rusalka).
Kaganskaya has participated in the Mosher Studio Artist Program at Opera Santa Barbara, Young Artist Program at China’s iSing Festival, OperaWorks Advanced Artist Program, and the Russian Opera Workshop at the Academy of Vocal Arts. Performance credits include: Hostess (Boris Godunov, New Opera NYC), Marta (Iolanta, New Opera NYC), La Nourrice (Médée, Mills College/Opera Parallèle), Mexican Woman (A Streetcar Named Desire, Opera Santa Barbara), and Olga (Eugene Onegin, Russian Opera Workshop).
Kaganskaya earned her MM ('15) and PGD ('16) at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music studying with Catherine Cook, where she sang the roles of Dorabella (Così fan tutte), Ottavia (L’incoronazione di Poppea), Dinah (Trouble in Tahiti), Julia Bertram (Mansfield Park), and the title role of Serse.
This season, she will perform the roles of Page (Salome) and Paula (Florencia en el Amazonas).
Soprano Evan Kardon from Philadelphia makes her Florida Grand Opera debut this season. This past season, she sang with the chorus of Opera Philadelphia in both Turandot and Le Nozze di Figaro; she also participated in a workshop of The Wake World, premiering Fall 2017.
Kardon has participated in numerous Young Artist Programs, including: Opera Saratoga’s Apprentice Program (Susanna cover, Le Nozze di Figaro and Second Fairy in Philip Glass’ The Witches of Venice); Des Moines Metro Opera’s Apprentice Artist Program (Blonde cover, Die Entführung aus dem Serail); Wolf Trap Opera’s Studio Artist program (Une Dame, Mamelles de Tirésias); OperaWorks’ Emerging Young Artist Program; and CoOPERAtive’s Young Artist Program. Kardon has also been a participant in the International Vocal Arts Institute in Montreal. In January of 2016 she was a District Finalist at the Metropolitan Council Auditions.
Kardon holds a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Rice University and a Master in Music from San Francisco Conservatory, where she performed the role of Poppea in L’incoronazione di Poppea, Adina in L’elisir d’amore, as well as Atalanta in Serse.
She will be performing the role of Amor in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice as well as Slave in Strauss’ Salome.
Mary Beth Nelson
Mezzo-soprano Mary Beth Nelson debuts with Florida Grand Opera in the company’s 77th season. This summer she returns to The Glimmerglass Festival as a Young Artist to portray Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in Derrick Wang’s opera Scalia/Ginsburg and cover Aurelio in Donizetti’s The Siege of Calais. In 2016, she made her Glimmerglass debut in The Crucible (Betty Parris), Sweeney Todd (Ensemble & Quintet Soloist), The Thieving Magpie (Pippo cover), and Lost Luggage (Ernestina, Aug 19).
Last season, Nelson was a resident artist with Tri-Cities Opera, where she performed as Flora in La Traviata, Hansel in Humperdinck's Hansel & Gretel, Concepción in L'heure espagnole, Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Dinah in Bernstein's Trouble in Tahiti, Beggar Woman in Sondheim's Sweeney Todd, and Isabella in L’italiana in Algeri. She also trained as a young artist at Seagle Music Colony in Schroon Lake, NY during its 99th and 100th seasons. Nelson completed her Bachelor of Music degree in 2014 at the Bass School of Music at Oklahoma City University.
This season as an FGO Young Artist, she will sing Alisa in Lucia di Lammermoor and study-cover the roles of Orfeo in Orfeo ed Euridice and Paula in Florencia en el Amazonas.
Brazilian bass-baritone Rafael Porto makes his Florida Grand Opera debut this season. This summer, Porto will sing the role of Sacristan/Jailer in Tosca at Nashville Opera. Last season, he appeared in Man of La Mancha and Il barbiere di Siviglia (Don Basilio) at Indianapolis Opera.
Current operatic repertoire includes: Fabrizio (La gazza ladra), and Colline (La bohème) as covers with the Glimmerglass Festival; Dr. Bartolo (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Sarastro (Die Zauberflöte), Musfafà (L’italiana in Algeri) with Indiana University Opera Theater; Dulcamara (L’elisir d’amore), Dr. Bartolo (Le nozze di Figaro), Norton (La cambiale di matrimonio) with the Montefeltro Music Festival; Gianni Schicchi (title role), Sir Joseph Porter (HMS Pinafore), Frank (Die Fledermaus) and the Sprecher (Die Zauberflöte) with Butler Opera Theater.
Rafael Porto holds an MM Vocal Performance from Indiana University and a BM Vocal Performance from Butler University.
This season at Florida Grand Opera, Porto will sing the roles of 2nd Soldier in Salome and Capitán in Florencia en el Amazonas, and study-cover the roles of Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor and Riolobo in Florencia en el Amazonas.
Tenor Chaz’men Williams-Ali makes his Florida Grand Opera debut this season. A young tenor from St. Louis, Chaz’men studied voice at the University of Iowa School of Music, where he performed in many operas and oratorios. Chaz’men made his professional opera debut in 2008 with Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre. After enjoying regional success, in multiple roles such as Romeo and Cavaradossi, Chaz’men joined Glimmerglass Festival as a Young Artist in 2016 where he sang Giles Corey in The Crucible and stepped in as Rodolfo in La boheme. He went on to enjoy success as Pinkerton in the Emerging Artist performance of Madama Butterfly with Washington National Opera at the Kennedy Center. Chaz’men is very excited to be a part of the Florida Grand Opera Young Artist program for the 2017-18 season, where he will be singing Arturo in Lucia di Lammermoo and 1st Jew in Salome.
Tenor Benjamin Werley returns to Florida Grand Opera’s Young Artist program for a second season. During the 2016-17 season, Werley he sings the Judge and Amelia’s servant in Un ballo in maschera and study-covering Don José in Carmen and Lensky in Eugene Onegin. He has been part of the Young Artist programs at The Santa Fe Opera (Courier in Fanciulla del West and Diener 3 in Capriccio), Merola Opera Program (Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni and Steve Hubbell in A Streetcar Named Desire), Opera Colorado (Messenger in Aida and A Farmer in the world premiere of Lori Laitman’s The Scarlet Letter), Virginia Opera (Second Jew in Salome and Giuseppe in La Traviata), and Opera Theatre of St. Louis. A graduate of the Indiana University Jacob’s School of Music, he appeared as Rodolfo (La Bohème), Camille de Rosillon (The Merry Widow), and Fenton (Falstaff) during his studies. Werley also was one of twenty singers in the semifinals of the 2013 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.
This season at FGO, Werley will sing the roles of Arturo in Lucia di Lammermoor and Narraboth/2nd Jew in Salome.