Tenor, Hugo Vera (Don José), a native Texan, is described as possessing a “truly heroic voice” that is both “beautiful and brilliant.” Increasingly in demand and a recent addition to The Metropolitan Opera artist roster, Mr. Vera has performed 34 roles and 20 choral orchestral works with distinguished companies in the US as part of his musical and artistic development of the full lyric and spinto tenor repertoire. In addition to The Metropolitan Opera, Mr. Vera has sung with Spoleto, USA, Kansas City Symphony, New York City Opera, Illinois Symphony and Chorus, Fort St. Symphony and Chorus, Opera Memphis, Aspen Music Festival, Brevard Music Center, Sarasota Opera, the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Glimmerglass Opera, Opera North, Aspen Opera Theatre, The Minnesota Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Nashville Opera, Shreveport Opera, Tanglewood Music Festival and The Metropolitan Opera where he return for a fifth season in 2013-2014 where he is working in productions of Tosca as Spoletta, The Nose and Norma. In 2013-2014 he also will be performing recitals as an Artist in Residence at Dartmouth College and University of Texas-Pan America, Tenor Soloist in Verdi’s Requiem with the Long Island Choral Society and Orchestra. The Tenor Soloist in Orff’s Carmina Burana with the Gulf Coast Symphony, News Anchor in the world premiere of Bum Phillips with the Monk Parrots Experimental Theatre (NYC), and Don Jose (Carmen) with GLOW Lyric Opera and returning to Piccolo Spoleto for a series of concerts. Mr. Vera has performed important principal roles in his fach including Manrico (Il Trovatore), Cavaradossi (Tosca), Radames, (Aida), Hoffmann (The Tales of Hoffmann),Pinkerton (Madama Butterfly), Faust (Faust), Pietro Nuttini (The Glass Blowers), Luiz (The Gondoliers), Alfredo (La Traviata), Raffaele (Stiffelio) and Manuel the down and out boxer in Marcus Hummon;s opera Surrender Road. He has expanded his core repertoire with cover assignments of significant roles comprising Stiffelio, Duke of Mantua (Rigoletto), Jacopo Foscari (I due Foscari), and Sam (Susannah). As a concert artist, Mr. Vera has successfully performed works ranging from the cantatas of J.S. Bach to the works of Britten, Tippett and Vaughn Williams. Of the oratorio/concert repertoire Mr. Vera has sung Verdi’s Requiem, Vaughn William Mass in G minor, Schubert’s Mass in G, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass, Handel’s Messiah, and various works of Beethoven including the Choral Fantasy, the Mass in C, Missa Solemnis, and the great Symphony No. 9. He has had the pleasure of performing both Bach’s Magnificat, as well as, the celebrated Mass in B minor. Recognized as a significantly talented singer, Mr. Vera enjoyed the privilege of training with several noteworthy young artist programs including the Brevard Music Center, the Tanglewood Music Festival, Aspen Music Center, Chautauqua Opera, The Lyric Opera of Kansas City, The Minnesota Opera, and Glimmerglass Opera .
Liz Cass (Carmen) is a mezzo of unique brilliance, depth, and agility. Her voice adapts easily to fit a wide array of repertoire and styles. Ms. Cass has star quality that radiates through her portrayals on the operatic stage and in concert. Liz is a regular soloist with Austin Lyric Opera, The Austin Symphony, Austin Chamber Music Center, Austin Classical Guitar Society, and Chorus Austin. Ms Cass’s versatility extends to theatre as well and she has toured with renowned theatre company, The Rude Mechanicals in their L.A. run of “I’ve Never Been So Happy”. Each year, Ms. Cass travels to Guatemala City and Antigua, Guatemala to perform Handel’s Messiah. Dignitaries from all over the world come together for these events in which proceeds benefit various educational efforts throughout Guatemala. Ms. Cass’s upcoming engagements include June performances of the role of Marcello in an all female version of La Bohème that Ms. Cass is producing in Austin, TX. August takes Liz on a tour of Texas and Kansas with the operatic quintet, Margot. Her 2015 calendar includes performances of Manuel de Falla’s El Amor, Brujo with the Austin Symphony Orchestra. In addition to keeping up with her busy performance schedule, Liz is the Associate Director of Programs with the Armstrong Community Music School where she maintains a large and diverse vocal studio. Ms. Cass founded the Operatic Quintet, Margot, in April of 2012. Liz is a graduate of UMKC where she studied and continues to study with her teacher, Inci Bashar. Ms. Cass currently resides in Austin, TX with her husband, Tim and their three magical cats Harriet, Jemimah, and Ricardo.
Soprano, Candace Dickinson (Micaëla) received her Master of Music degree in Voice Performance from the University of Colorado in Boulder, CO where she studied with Julie Simson. She also holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Voice performance from Converse College where she studied with Dr. Beverly Hay. She was a finalist in such competitions as the Denver Lyric Opera Guild Competition, and was given the encouragement award at the South Carolina District Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Candace made her professional debut as Hermione in Strauss’ Die Ägyptische Helena at the Santa Fe Opera in 2001 where she later returned as a guest artist in Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance. She has worked with such conductors and as Alan Gilbert and Martin Isepp. Her opera roles include Nannetta in Verdi’s Falstaff, and Barbarina in Marriage of Figaro. Her concert work includes being the soprano soloist for Faure’s Requiem, Bruckner’s Te Deum, and John Rutter’s The Mass of the Children. Regionally, she has performed with the Opera Company of North Carolina, the Greater Anderson Musical Arts Consortium, The Greenville Chorale, The Foothills Philharmonic, The Greenville Pops Orchestra, and The Augusta Choral Society. She frequently performs in recital and in collaboration with other musicians. She serves on both the Drama and Music departments’ faculty at the South Carolina Governor’s School for Arts and Humanities in Greenville, SC.
GLOW General Director and baritone Christian Elser (Escamillo) is making a step out from behind the conducting podium to sing in this production. Although known to many as a conductor, professor and impresario, Christian has had a long career in opera, operetta and musical theater. He has performed with such organizations as the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Chicago Opera Theatre, Charleston Chamber Opera, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Opera Cleveland, Light Opera Oklahoma, Jefferson Performing Arts Society (New Orleans), Milwaukee Opera Theatre, Tulsa Project Theatre, and Centre Stage Theatre of South Carolina. Christian has recorded for Cedille Records where he sang several roles on the world premiere CD of Robert Kurka’s The Good Soldier Schweik which was nominated for the “Best New Classical Recording” at the 2003 Cannes Music Festival. In broadcast he has performed live in concert on WFMT Chicago’s Live from Studio One and on Wisconsin Public Radio’s Live from the Elvejhem series. This past season Christian performed “Herr Buff” in Mozart’s Der Schauspieldirektor with the Charleston Chamber Opera, as the baritone soloist in Beethoven’s Scottish Songs with the Charleston Chamber Orchestra, and as the baritone soloist in Finzi’s In Terra Pax and Bach’s Magnificat with the Augusta Choral Society. Last summer he performed the role “Simeon” in Debussy’s L’Enfent Prodigue at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston. He was also selected as one of ten voice educators nationally to take part in Northwestern University’s “Naked Voice” seminar with master voice teacher Steven Smith. Christian is looking forward to music directing and conducting the GLOW 2014 Festival Season of La Bohème and Rent. Immediately following Carmen, Christian is off to Tulsa, OK to perform roles in the 2014 Season with LOOK Musical Theatre in Tulsa, OK. He holds a Doctor of Music degree from the University of Kansas, and is Associate Professor of Music at Presbyterian College.
Vocal Coach and Collaborative Pianist Lynn Kompass, currently on faculty at the University of South Carolina, has performed in venues across the country including Weill Recital Hall and the Nicholas Roerich Museum (NYC), the Strings in the Mountain Festival (Colorado), Harold Washington Library (Chicago), North Carolina Museum of Art (Raleigh) and various other chamber music series in North and South Carolina. She has also given recitals at numerous colleges and conservatories nationwide, including the Conservatorio de Musica de Puerto Rico, Eastman School of Music, University of Tennessee, Western Michigan University, University of Florida, and James Madison University. For five summers she was engaged as a pianist for the prestigious Steans Vocal Institute in residence at the Ravinia Music Festival, where she played for she numerous voice recitals and master classes. Recent collaborative recitals include tours of both Northeastern Brazil and Northern Thailand. Ms. Kompass holds graduate degrees in collaborative piano from the University of Michigan, where she studied with Martin Katz.