Six Women Conductors to Showcase Talent with The Dallas Opera This December

The Dallas Opera is thrilled to present six women conductors of international stature making music with The Dallas Opera Orchestra and a host of outstanding young artists in one great evening designed to showcase the work of the inaugural Linda and Mitch Hart Institute for Women Conductors at The Dallas Opera.

This extraordinary concert will take place on Saturday, December 5, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center located in the Dallas Arts District. Tickets are $10 and may be purchased in advance at 214.443.1000 or at (under "Upcoming Events" on the home page).

The on-stage concert will feature music by a wide variety of composers including Giacomo Puccini, Maurice Ravel, Georg.Friedrich Händel, Gian Carlo Menotti, Jake Heggie, W.A. Mozart, Gioachino Rossini, Mark Adamo, Giuseppe Verdi, Carlisle Floyd, Gaetano Donizetti, Jules Massenet, and Johann Strauss II.

Conducting these selections will be the 2015 Institute Fellows Jennifer Condon (Australia/Germany), Jessica Gethin (Australia), Natalie Murray Beale (United Kingdom), Stephanie Rhodes (USA), Anna Skryleva (Russia/Germany), and Lidiya Yankovskaya (USA).

Seven accomplished singers will share the spotlight with the conductors that evening. They are: baritone Theador Carlson, mezzo-soprano Heather Johnson, tenor Alasdair Kent, bass Adam Lau, tenor Don O'Neal LeBlanc, soprano Sarah Jane McMahon, and soprano Stacey Tappan.


JENNIFER CONDON (Australia/Germany) - Jennifer Condon has been passionate about opera from an absurdly young age - since her teens she has been fortunate to have fellow Australian, Simone Young, as mentor. Jennifer studied piano in Sydney, and conducting in Melbourne and Vienna before commencing work as a souffleuse at the Hamburg State Opera in 2008. She now has a repertoire of over 55 operas. During her time in Hamburg, Jennifer also brought Peggy Glanville-Hicks' opera Sappho (1963) from the composer's hand-written manuscript to the recording studio. The CD, with an eminent cast including Deborah Polaski, Sir John Tomlinson and Wolfgang Koch with the Gulbenkian Orchestra, has been released to considerable critical acclaim. Jennifer lives in Berlin and works as a free-lance vocal coach and prompt as she pursues a conducting career. Assistant conducting engagements to date include Lohengrin in Zurich and Salome in Vienna. Future engagements include Reimann's Lear in Budapest and Ariadne auf Naxos in Tokyo.

JESSICA GETHIN (Australia) - Conductor Jessica Gethin, winner of the prestigious Brian Stacey Australian Emerging Conductor Award, has won praise from audiences and critics alike for her dynamic energy, outstanding musicianship and abounding presence on the podium. A graduate of the exclusive Symphony Australia Conductor Development Program, Ms. Gethin commenced her official appointment as Chief Conductor of the Perth Symphony Orchestra (Perth, Australia) in 2011. Jessica Gethin has performed on stages throughout Europe, USA, UK, Canada, Asia and Australia as conductor, concert presenter, program writer, orchestrator, guest lecturer, music educator and adjudicator. With a diverse background working across a variety of genres ranging from classical, jazz, opera and ballet to musical theatre, contemporary and film score; Jessica has recorded for numerous CDs, television documentaries, live radio broadcasts and television commercials. She was recently named one of the "100 Most Influential Women in Australia" for 2015 by the Australian Financial Review. Artist collaborations include conducting Welsh bass baritone Bryn Terfel, Divinyl's Chrissy Amphlette, The Ten Tenors, soprano Rachelle Durkin, Australian screen star Lisa McCune, soprano Marina Prior, tenor David Hobson, jazz trumpeter James Morrison and Dutch violinist Rudolf Koelman, to name a few. Ms. Gethin currently resides in Western Australia with her husband and two children.

NATALIE MURRAY BEALE (UK) - Conductor Natalie Murray Beale is a BBC Performing Arts Fund Fellow and is being mentored by Esa-Pekka Salonen. She has performed with the Welsh National Opera, Opera Holland Park, Spitalfields Festival, Chamber Orchestra of London and the City of London Sinfonia. Ms. Murray Beale has also gained valuable experience as Assistant Conductor for the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Festival d'Aix, Wiener Festwochen and Den Nye Opera with the Philharmonia, Bergen Philharmonic, B'Rock Orchestra, Le Cercle de l'Harmonie and the Freiburger Barockorchester. Previous positions include serving on the music staff of Welsh National Opera; as coach at the Royal Opera House, Young Artist Programme; and as Guest Chorus Director of London Symphony Chorus. Ms. Murray Beale enjoys collaborating with composers and recently conducted the soundtracks to the video game Alien:Isolation (BAFTA nominated) and the British film Robot Overlords. Her performances of the new opera, We are Shadows, received a Royal Philharmonic Society award. This year she will make her debuts with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and Malta Philharmonic Orchestra.

STEPHANIE RHODES (USA) - Stephanie Rhodes is a renowned opera collaborator, having served on the music staff of the Bolshoi Theatre of Russia, The Dallas Opera, Houston Grand Opera, LA Opera, San Francisco Opera, Washington National Opera and Wolf Trap Opera, amongst others. She has garnered experience as a conductor, assistant conductor, prompter, chorus master, rehearsal pianist, orchestral keyboardist and diction coach. This summer she joins the Miami Summer Music Festival as the Studio Program Director and conductor of Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, additionally participating as a fellow in the festival's Orchestral Conducting Institute. As a Fulbright award recipient, Ms. Rhodes spent the 2012/13 season in Moscow specializing in Russian repertoire and pronunciation for non-native singers. She was recently commissioned by The Dallas Opera to transliterate Tchaikovsky's Iolanta and is currently working on a book to standardize Russian diction for singers. An alum of the Houston Grand Opera Studio and San Francisco's Merola Opera program, she holds degrees from the University of Michigan and Utah State University in Collaborative Piano and Piano Performance.

ANNA SKRYLEVA (Russia/Germany) - Russian conductor Anna Skryleva has lived and worked in Germany for the past 15 years. Currently, Ms. Skryleva is engaged as principal resident conductor at The State Theatre, Darmstadt, in addition to performing as a concert pianist and a chamber musician in Russia, other European nations and Mexico. Anna Skryleva's career as a conductor began in 2002 in Karlsruhe, where she was engaged at the Music College as music assistant of the conductor Prof. Alicja Mounk. From 2007 to 2012, Anna Skryleva was engaged at the State Opera Hamburg as musical assistant of Simone Young, where she acquired a wide repertoire, from German Romanticism to Italian bel canto to modern music of the 20th century. After successfully conducting Richard Strauss' Salome at the State Theatre Darmstadt in 2013, Anna Skryleva was named Darmstadt's Principal Resident Conductor. Since then, she has conducted new productions and revivals of works including Otello, Tristan und Isolde, Il trittico, Madame Butterfly, La traviata and many more. The German publication Main-Echo named Anna Skryleva "Person of the Year 2013." Earlier this year, she was nominated for the "Emotion Award 2015" in the Category "Women in Leadership"; winners will be announced later this month.

LIDIYA YANKOVSKAYA (USA) - Lidiya Yankovskaya's recent work as a symphonic and opera conductor has been hailed as "superb," "expert," and "coax[ing] every possible expressive note from the instrumentalists." Currently, Ms. Yankovskaya serves as Music Director of Harvard University's Lowell House Opera, Artistic Director of Juventas New Music Ensemble, and Music Director with Commonwealth Lyric Theater. She also works regularly with Gotham Chamber Opera, Center for Contemporary Opera, and New York Lyric Opera. Last summer, Ms. Yankovskaya served as a conducting fellow under renowned conductor Lorin Maazel at the Castleton Festival, where she had the privilege of assisting Maestro Maazel and filled in for him regularly in rehearsal and performance. Recent productions have received multiple awards ranging from The American Prize to the National Opera Association Award. In addition to her work as a conductor, Lidiya is a pianist and coach, recently serving as Music Director for Opera Boston's education tours. Presently, she is working as a Russian Diction Coach and occasional rehearsal conductor for Tanglewood Festival Chorus (the chorus of the Boston Symphony).


Theodor Carlson, baritone - Theodor Carlson sings operas of Verdi, Puccini, Wagner and Richard Strauss. Rigoletto, and The Flying Dutchman are among roles he's sung in Munich, Hamburg, Berlin, Dresden, and Baden Baden, He earned a University of Michigan Bachelor in Music, studied at Juilliard, and earned a diploma from the Rome-Accademia-Musicale Ottorino Respighi. He took First Prize in Verviers and New York competitions and earned MET and Puccini Foundation prizes. He toured Germany with Schubert's Die Winterreise. He was Soloist in Handel's Messiah and Mendelssohn's Elijah. Carlson gave a Liceu Opera recital and presented lectures on Franz Schubert for the German-College in Barcelona. Carlson is featured in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony with the Thüringen Philharmonic in December and Galas with the Frankfurt Symphony in the coming year.

Heather Johnson, mezzo-soprano - Heather Johnson made her Metropolitan Opera debut in 2013 as the Flower Maiden in the new production of Parsifal. She has sung with Sarasota Opera as Cenerentola, and in The Crucible, L'Amico Fritz, Rigoletto and Hansel and Gretel. With Boston Lyric Opera she has sung Don Giovanni, A Midsummer Night's Dream and title role of Lizzie Borden in her Tanglewood Festival debut in 2014. Past and future engagements are Carmen with Volkstheater Rostock, Madama Butterfly and Hansel with PORT Opera, The Long Walk with Opera Saratoga, Little Women in Madison Opera, Salome and Becoming Santa Claus at The Dallas Opera. She has also been a regular with Opera Orchestra of New York and New York Choral Society in Carnegie Hall and with New York City Opera.

Alasdair Kent, tenor - Tenor Alasdair Kent is a Resident Artist at The Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia, where his performances have included L'italiana in Algeri, Così fan tutte and Don Giovanni. Mr. Kent made his professional debut as Don Ramiro in La Cenerentola for Opera Queensland in his native Australia. As an Emerging Artist with Opera Philadelphia, he has performed in recital and will make his company debut in Cold Mountain in 2016. Mr. Kent has been part of the prestigious Merola Opera Program and the Martina Arroyo Foundation. In 2015, Mr. Kent won First Prize in the Violetta DuPont Vocal Competition. In 2016, Mr. Kent will perform Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi with The Academy of Vocal Arts and as a Filene Young Artist with Wolf Trap Opera.

Adam Lau, bass - In the 2015-2016 season Adam Lau will debut with the San Francisco Symphony as the bass soloist in Händel's Messiah. On the opera stage Mr. Lau will return to North Carolina Opera in il Barbiere di Siviglia and the Dallas Opera's World Premiere of Mark Adamo's Becoming Santa Claus. In the 2014-15 season, Mr. Lau made debuts with the Dallas Opera, and Opera Theater of St. Louis as Berardo in the American Premiere of Handel's Riccardo Primo. In summer 2015, he created the role of Papa San in the World Premiere of Jack Perla's opera, An American Dream with Seattle Opera. Mr. Lau has appeared with some of the nation's leading festivals including The Hollywood Bowl with Los Angeles Philharmonic, Merola Opera Center, Aspen Opera Theater Center and Santa Fe Opera.

Don O'Neal LeBlanc, tenor - After a twenty-year hiatus, tenor Don O'Neal LeBlanc has returned to his life-long passion for singing. The San Benito, Texas native studied Vocal Performance at The University of North Texas. A 1990 regional finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Don performed leading roles in Gianni Schicchi, L'elisir d'Amore, Carmina Burana and numerous oratorios. Since returning to the stage, Don has been a frequent featured soloist with the UNT orchestra and chorus, Arlington-based Timeless Concerts, and various churches and arts organizations around the DFW area, including Opera on Tap, a non-profit of which he is co-manager. In 2015, in addition to joining The Dallas Opera chorus, Don was selected as a semi-finalist in the Professional Men's Division of The American Prize in Vocal Performance.

Sarah Jane McMahon, soprano - Hailed by Opera News for her "golden sound," Sarah Jane McMahon has sung on opera and concert stages throughout the U.S. and abroad, recently performing opposite Plácido Domingo, who selected her to join the Los Angeles Opera. A Masters graduate of Yale University, the many companies and orchestras she has performed with include the San Francisco Symphony, Munich Philharmonic, Washington Concert Opera, and New York City Opera. Her performances have also taken her to Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, the Vienna Concert House, and the Santo Domingo Festival. Her recent and upcoming engagements include performances with New Orleans Opera, Portland Symphony, Winston-Salem Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Charlotte Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic, Cleveland Pops, Dallas Opera, and Tulsa Opera.

Stacey Tappan, soprano - Stacey Tappan has distinguished herself as an exceptional musical artist in the United States and abroad. Recent engagements include the world premiere of Adamo's The Gospel of Mary Magdalene with San Francisco Opera; Lucia di Lammermoor with Arizona Opera; Clorinda in Cinderella and Miss Wordsworth in Albert Herring with LA Opera; the Charmeuse in Thaïs at the Edinburgh Festival; and The Ring Cycle with San Francisco Opera and Lyric Opera of Chicago. Current engagements include Stella in A Streetcar Named Desire and Florestine in The Ghosts of Versailles with LA Opera; Adamo's Becoming Santa Claus and Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro with Jacksonville Symphony. In addition, she will be heard in Carmina Burana with Los Angeles Master Chorale and Omaha Symphony.

Related Articles View More Opera Stories

More Hot Stories For You

Before you go...

Never Miss a Story
Like Us On Facebook
Follow Us On Twitter
Follow Us On Instagram instagram