Shira Renee Thomas has performed as a soloist alongside such renowned artists as Ana Maria Martinez, Quinn Kelsey, Rod Gilfry, and Nicole Cabell. Ms. Thomas has portrayed over twenty leading soprano roles, including such personal favorites as Juliette, Violetta, Adina, Marguerite, and Lucia di Lammermoor with organizations including Opera Pacific (Costa Mesa, CA), the Pacific Symphony (Costa Mesa, CA), Valley Opera & Performing Arts/Center Stage Opera (Canoga Park, CA), Townsend Opera (Modesto, CA), Opera San Luis Obispo (CA), Mission Opera (Sylmar, CA), Opera Company of the Highlands (NY), and Utah Festival Opera Company.
World famous soprano Carol Vaness raved that “(Shira Renee Thomas’) Juliette is incredibly moving, as she can sing it beautifully with incredible passion and commitment.” The Press Enterprise noted her “…perfect intonation, elegant control, and artistic phrasing” in a concert with the Riverside Philharmonic. As Juliette, Ms. Thomas was reviewed as being “…a wonder of dramatic and lyric intensity.” Among the numerous awards earned by Ms. Thomas, she was awarded 1st prize in the prestigious Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod Vocal Solo Competition in North Wales, which has hosted such competitors as Luciano Pavarotti and Bryn Terfel in past years. She was also a Finalist in the Palm Beach Opera Vocal Competition (Advanced Division) and the Burbank Philharmonic Hennings-Fischer Competition, and has won several other competitions, including the Sigma Alpha Iota Pasadena Alumni Chapter Vocal Competition, the FéBland Foundation Vocal Scholarship Competition, the Society of Singers Vocal Scholarship Competition, and the Metropolitan Opera National Council(Los Angeles District).
Shira Renee Thomas is the Co-Founder, General Director, and Principal Soprano for Valley Opera and Performing Arts (formerly Center Stage Opera). In addition to working with the senior staff to produce high quality operatic and musical theater productions, she is also the casting director, graphic designer, and administrative director for the company. In 2014, Ms. Thomas founded the Center Stage Opera Vocal Competition, which has hosted such prestigious judges as Nicole Cabell, Milena Kitic, Rod Gilfry, and LA Opera music and directing staff, including Joshua Winograde, Sam Gelber, Eli Villanueva and Nino Sanikidze.
Cindy Sadler commands any stage with her rich, impressive contralto and distinctive characterizations. As a “wonderful” Baba the Turk who “made every phrase count” (New York Times); a “terrific and touching Gertrude” with a “powerful voice” (ConcertNet.com); or a Marquise de Birkenfield who manages to be “both a fragile damsel … and an imperious aristocrat” (TalkinBroadway.com), she is the singing actor of choice for both comedic and dramatic contralto and mezzo-soprano roles.
With over fifty roles in her repertoire, she has appeared with Lyric Opera of Chicago, Atlanta Opera, Arizona Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Opera Pacific, Austin Opera, San Antonio Opera, Portland Opera, the Hollywood Bowl, and many others. Most recently, she embodied the role of Madame Armfeldt in A Little Night Music for Austin Shakespeare and the Mother in The Consul for Dayton Opera. La Zia Principessa is a signature role. Please visit www.CindySadler.com for more information.
Lyric soprano Jennifer Lindsay has recently been awarded her first Grammy Award as a member of the chorus in the Metropolitan Opera’s 2020 production of Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess. As Mimì in La Bohème with Opera Connecticut, she was lauded for her “plummy voice” by the Connecticut Town Times, and VOICE Magazine called her a “standout singer” for her portrayal of the pivotal character Mary Warren in Robert Ward’s The Crucible, a role she performed as a Chrisman Studio Artist with Opera Santa Barbara. Equally at home in the contemporary music scene, Ms Lindsay appeared with the LA Philharmonic in conjunction with Beth Morrison Projects to perform excerpts from John Adams’ I Was Looking At The Ceiling And Then I Saw The Sky, conducted by the composer. She debuted the role of Lucha in the world premiere of HOPSCOTCH with The Industry, directed by Pulitzer Prize-nominee Yuval Sharon, and performed the role of Tasha in excerpts from Dylan Mattingly’s modern opera Stranger Love at the biannual FIRST TAKE contemporary music festival co-hosted by The Industry and wildUp, Christopher Roundtree’s acclaimed new music ensemble. Ms Lindsay has also been a featured soloist with the San Diego Symphony, the Pacific Symphony, and the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra. She currently resides in Los Angeles.
Karin Wilcox, mezzo-soprano, first discovered her love of classical singing as a youth growing up in Germany, which developed into a passion for opera upon starting her studies at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, CA. There, she performed the roles of “Zweite Dame” in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, “La Ciesca” in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, “Second Witch” in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, and “Madame de la Haltière” in Massenet’s Cendrillon with Point Loma Opera Theatre. Karin has distinguished herself as District Winner at the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in San Diego, and has sung with Opera Theatre of the Rockies (“Miss Bentson” Delibes’ Lakmé and “Peep-Bo” in Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Mikado), Boulder Opera (“Madame de la Haltière” in Massenet’s Cendrillon), and Denver Immersive Opera (“The Secretary” in Menotti’s The Consul). She has also appeared with Valley Opera & Performing Arts as “Siebel” in Gounod’s Faust, and with Lyric Opera of Orange County as “Armelinde” in Pauline Viardot’s Cendrillon. Most recently, Karin participated in the Young Artist Training Program at San Diego Opera for their 2019-2020 season.
Praised for resonant, flexible singing, Canadian mezzo-soprano Linda Baird’s 2020/2021 season includes her debuts as the mezzo-soprano in Verdi’s Messa da Requiem (Sacramento Choral Society and Orchestra), Jane Quig/Annie in Elizabeth Cree (West Edge Opera), Monitor in Puccini’s Suor Angelica (Mission Opera/Opera San Luis Obispo/VOPA), and Adalgisa in Bellini’s Norma (California Opera). She will also sing Third Lady in Mozart’s The Magic Flute (Opera Modesto)
Other roles include: Zita-Gianni Schicchi, Carmen-Carmen, Bartender-Gilberto, Judith-Bluebeard’s Castle, Third Lady-The Magic Flute, Mother-Ahmal and the Night Visitors, Flora/Annina-La Traviata, Abish-Ammon and the King, and Mercedes-Carmen, Suzuki-Madame Butterfly, Kate/Suzuki cover-Madame Butterfly, Fricka-Die Walküre, Tisbe-Cenerentola, Nora-Lillian Alling, Dorabella-Cosi fan tutte, Romeo-I Capuleti ei Montecchi, Foreign Princess-Rusalka, Rosina-The Barber of Seville, Second Lady-The Magic Flute, Charlotte-Werther, Prince Orlofsky-Die Fledermaus, Iolanthe-Iolanthe, Valencienne-The Merry Widow, The Grand Duchess-The Goldoliers, and Anna-Les Troyen.
Linda is a native of Vancouver, Canada, and holds a Master of Music in Opera from The University of British Columbia. Linda resides in Seattle, WA and works as a teaching artist for San Francisco Opera.
This is Mezzo Soprano Hannah Headland’s fifth production with Valley Opera and Performing Arts. She has performed the roles of Angelina in La Cenerentola, Gianetta in Elisir d’amore, Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro, and Annina in La Traviata. Her other roles include Jo in Adamo’s Little Women, Helena in Purcell’s The Fairy Queen, The Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors by Menotti and the title role in Handel’s Ariodante. She has worked with opera companies throughout Southern California including Riverside Lyric Opera, San Diego Opera, and Lyric Opera of Orange County. She was an Apprentice Artist for two seasons with Sarasota Opera and was the Alto soloist in Handel’s Messiah with Mission Basilica San Juan Capistrano and Delirium Musicum Chamber Ensemble.
Trisha Rivera is a Mezzo-Soprano based in Los Angeles, CA. She’s described by critics as having a “rich, velvety voice” and singing with “captivating power and soul.” Her roles include Dorabella in Così fan Tutte, Dido in Dido and Aeneas, Prince Charming in Cendrillon, Hansel in Hansel and Gretel, Orfeo in Orfeo ed Euridice, and Mercedes in Carmen. She has performed worldwide, most notably in Austria at the Schlossberg Kasematten with internationally acclaimed conductor Alexander Kalajdzic, the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod in Wales, Carnegie Hall, Disney Hall with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and The Dolby Theater. Trisha earned both her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in Vocal Performance from California State University Northridge, returning two years ago to teach as a part of the voice faculty.
Praised as a “gloriously radiant” (Broadway World), “silvery soprano” (Opera Today) with a “crystalline, pure, powerful voice” (LOL-LA), Tiffany Ho is quickly making her mark as an emerging vocalist in Southern California.
Tiffany’s most recent performances were as Lauretta in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi and The Princess in Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges with Pacific Opera Project; Frasquita in Bizet’s Carmen with Vox Visceralis; Adina in Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore with Valley Opera & Performing Arts, and Peep-Bo in Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Mikado with Pacific Opera Project. Other opera roles include Nella (Gianni Schicchi), Zerlina (Don Giovanni), Giulietta (I Capuleti e i Montecchi), Prilepa (Pikovaya dama), Bellezza (Il Trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno), Clarice (Il Mondo della Luna), Little Matchgirl (The Happy Prince), and Sandman/Dew Fairy (Hansel und Gretel).
In addition to her involvement in opera and solo classical work, Tiffany has an extensive choral background. She is on the current Roster of the Philadelphia Symphonic Choir which performs exclusively with the world-renowned Philadelphia Orchestra. Tiffany sings with the Los Angeles Master Chorale on the Auxiliary Roster, performs as a Fox Singer with the Verdi Chorus, and is the soprano section leader at St. Michael & All Angels Episcopal Church in Studio City.
Tiffany earned her Master of Music degree, with distinction, in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy from Westminster Choir College; she received her Bachelor of Music degree, cum laude, in Music Education at Nazareth College of Rochester.
Ms. Gonzalez-Rodriguez, Mexican-American Mezzo-Soprano, is known for her “warm tones and a lyrical upper range showed her voice to be flexible and easy to listen to” –Laurie D. Goldenhersh, LaurisList. A 2019 and 2020 Opera Buffs grant recipient, highlight engagements include the role of Frida Kahlo in Frida with the 2019 Opera Steamboat Summer Intensive, Prince Orlofsky in Vienna, Austria with the 2019 Vienna Summer Music Festival and as Marcellina with the 2018 Prague Summer Nights Festival, in collaboration with world-renowned tenor, Lawrence Brownlee and contralto, Rosalind Plowright. Recent engagements include The Abbess (Suor Angelica), Mercedes (Carmen), Orfeo (Orfeo ed Euridice), La Ciesca (Gianni Schicchi), Hansel (Hansel und Gretel), Olga (The Merry Widow), Siebel (Faust), Hippolyta (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Nancy (Albert Herring) in partnership with the LA Opera Britten/100 Celebration and Suor Dolcina (Suor Angelica) She can also be seen, as a singing student in Nickelodeon’s “Parental Discretion, Episode-Singing School.”
Ms. Gonzalez-Rodriguez has been the recipient of several scholarships including for the 2019 Vienna Summer Music Festival, the 2019 Opera Steamboat Summer Intensive and the 2018 Prague Summer Nights Festival. Upcoming engagements include Little Buttercup (HMS Pinafore) with Lyric Opera of OC and the South coast Symphony, Le Prince Charmant (Cendrillon) with The Miami Summer Music Festival and Cousin Hebe (HMS Pinafore) with Opera on the Bluff.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Mount Saint Mary’s College and a Master of Music degree from California State University, Los Angeles. With an avid dance background, she is currently part of Kamala Almanzar’s Dance Collective bellydance troupe. She is also a volunteer Community Educator with LA Opera and has been a member of the Santa Barbara Opera Chorus since 2018. She coaches with, Brent McMunn and Douglas Sumi and studies voice under Reid Bruton.
Audrey Yoder recently made her company debut in Pacific Opera Project’s double-bill of Gianni Schicchi/L’Enfant et les sortileges where James Sohre (Opera Today)hailed her “attractive timbre and laudable musicianship.” Ms. Yoder looks forward to returning for POP’s U.S. Premiere of Ercole Su’l Termodonte as Orizia.
A frequent performer with Opera Santa Barbara, Ms. Yoder appeared as Bard and Siren (Odyssey) and Ruth Putnam (The Crucible). Other roles include Juliette (Romeo et Juliette), Gretel (Hansel und Gretel), Euridice (Orfeo ed Euridice), Barbarina (Le Nozze di Figaro), Miss Jessel (The Turn of the Screw), Miss Cripps (HMS Pinafore) and Dinah (Trouble in Tahiti).
Ms. Yoder’s solo concert work spans Poulenc’s Gloria, Handel’s Messiah, Bach’s Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben, Vivaldi’s Gloriaand Rutter’sGloria. This fall, Ms. Yoder will perform Faure’s Requiem in a virtual broadcast and, when conditions permit, she will be featured in Mozart’s Requiem in D minor with the St. Cecilia Chorale.
Soprano, Christina Kushnick received her MM at Manhattan School of Music in 2020 under the tutelage of Shirley Close. Ms. Kushnick has also been a student of Dolora Zajick’s Institute of Young Dramatic Voices since 2017. Previous credits include Aïda (High Priestess), and scenes from Ariadne auf Naxos (Ariadne) and Un Ballo in Maschera (Amelia). She was also chosen as the Soprano Solo Cover for Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 during Manhattan School of Music’s Centennial Celebration. Other past performances include Hansel and Gretel (The Witch) with Manhattan School of Music, made her Carnegie Hall debut in the Vanessa Quintet for the MSM Centennial Gala in April, and attended the Musik Theater Bavaria program in Oberaudorf, Germany in July 2019. Ms. Kushnick is a humble recipient of the Licia Albanese/Puccini Scholarship and the Richard F. Gold Career Grant.
Sarah Salazar, is no stranger to the stage. After winning Miss Tustin in 2010 she was awarded the preliminary talent award at the Miss California Competition. In 2015, Salazar faced a life threatening illness, where it was projected she would not survive, let alone sing. After an extensive recovery period, she has never been more sure that she was put on this earth to use her voice. She has sung with Opera Santa Barbara, Valley Opera and Performing Arts, LA Symphonic Winds, Glendale Opera Company and The Pacific Opera Project. She also currently sings as a Fox Singer with the Verdi Chorus in Santa Monica. In addition, Sarah heads the music program at a Kirk O’ the Valley School in the San Fernando Valley and has a large studio of her own students. For more information please visit sarahsalazarsoprano.com
Kristina Horácek Prozesky is a Central Coast resident, and has been a soloist with Cal Poly Bach Week, Canzona Women’s Ensemble, New World Baroque Orchestra, Cal Poly Co-Opera, SLO Little Theatre, Central Coast Gilbert and Sullivan, and Café Musique. Favorite roles include: HMS Pinafore (Josephine), The Merry Widow (Valencienne), Patience (Patience), Iolanthe (Phyllis), The Magic Flute (Third Spirit) and Into the Woods (Cinderella).