Mozart Performer Bios

American Mezzo-Soprano Rachel Abrams has been praised for her dynamic stage presence, vocal richness, and sensitive portrayals both in New England and abroad. Most recently, she performed the roles of Sesto Pompeo in Giulio Cesare in Egitto and Ida in Die Fledermaus with Connecticut Lyric Opera, made her debut with MassOpera singing the roles of Dottoressa Grenvil and the Commissioner in their immersive production of La traviata, was featured as the alto soloist in Handel’s Messiah with Cappella Cantorum, performed as the alto soloist in excerpts from Bach’s Weihnachtsoratorium with the Connecticut Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra, and sang in a concert of opera excerpts with Delaware Valley Opera. 

She has been a young artist with the National Music Festival, Finger Lakes Opera’s Tomita Young Artist program, Connecticut Lyric Opera, the Nahant Music Festival, Winter Opera St. Louis, and Opera Classica Europa in Bad Schwalbach, Germany. She has performed the title role in Dido and Aeneas, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, Lepido in Handel’s Silla, Der Trommler in Der Kaiser von Atlantis, Mércedès in Carmen, Third Lady in The Magic Flute, and the title role in Gilbert and Sullivan’s Iolanthe

Additionally, Rachel has performed with Berkshire Opera Festival, NEMPAC Opera Project in Boston, Cambridge Chamber Ensemble, Lyric Theatre Rochester, Salt Marsh Opera, Emmanuel Music, Union Avenue Opera, Southern Illinois Music Festival, and with the St. Louis Symphony as a member of the St. Louis Symphony Chorus. A native of Stockton, California, Rachel now makes her home in West Hartford, Connecticut. To learn more about Rachel, visit her website: www.rachelabrams.com

Tenor Spencer Lawrence Boyd has sung leading opera roles across the United States to great reception including Nemorino, Don José, Tamino, Count Almaviva, Gabriel von Eisenstein, and Vincent (Gounod’s Mireille). He has also been seen in many other supporting roles, musical theater roles, and in a wide range of oratorio and symphonic works, recitals, and scenes programs. Boyd recently finished residencies with Opera Colorado (’21-’22) and Teatro Nuovo (Summer ’22) and is a two-time fellow of the Aspen Music Festival and School. A native of Canal Fulton, OH Mr. Boyd holds performance degrees fromChapman University, Kent State University, and completed post-graduate studies at Indiana University with internationally acclaimed soprano Carol Vaness. Mr. Boyd is very excited to make his Bel Canto Boot Camp debut this evening singing works by his favorite composer, W.A. Mozart.

Maria Brea, soprano, is a native of Caracas, Venezuela, currently residing in New York City, New York. Praised for being a “very classy Venezuelan soprano” by The Arts Desk, ”versatile soprano” by Tampa Bay and “luxurious soprano” by Opera Wire and as Micaëla; “her lush tones and thrilling diminuendos were warmly received” by The Brooklyn Reporter.

This upcoming 2022-23 season Ms. Brea will be representing Venezuela in the prestigious Operalia. She is making her Cincinnati Ballet debut singing Orff’s Carmina Burana.  Additionally, Maria returns in December to The World Renowed Carnegie Hall  to make her debut singing  Handel’s Messiah  with the prestigious Oratorio Society of New York.  She will be making her Schubert Club’s  debut in Saint Paul, Minnesota along with the Jasper Quartet  in a premiere of award winning Venezuelan composer Reinaldo Moya;  In addition, she will be headlining at the Schubert Club’s 140th season along with a rare performance by legendary cellist Yo-Yo Ma and mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter.

Ms. Brea made her debut at The Carnegie Hall with the Cecilia Chorus singing the soprano solo in Orff’s Carmina Burana, Gilda in Rigoletto in Pittsburgh at Resonance Works, Haydn’s Creation with Richmond Symphony Orchestra “Latinidad la gente y su música” curated by Dr. Zuly Inirio and Sebastian Armendariz, presented by Hearing in Color. Maria participated in the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World, Paris Opera Competition at the Palais Garnier and was Zarzuela Prize- Sixth Prize winner of the Tenor Viñas Competition at Teatro Liceu de Barcelona.

Soprano Lindsey Chinn, a Tennessee native, is a dynamic and well-informed performer and a graduate of the Mannes School of Music. Her upcoming engagements include various Mozart scenes with Bel Canto Boot Camp in summer 2022. 

Past engagements include Dika/Alekto in Mark Adamo’s Lysistrata with Pittsburgh Festival Opera, Gossip 2 in The Ghosts of Versailles with Chautauqua Opera, Anna Maurrant in Street Scene with Mannes Opera, Countess Ceprano in Rigoletto with Lighthouse Opera, Galatea in Acis and Galatea, and Soprano 1 in Hydrogen Jukebox with Carnegie Mellon Opera. In summer 2020 and 2021, Lindsey was a young artist at Pittsburgh Festival Opera. She was a Chautauqua Opera young artist in 2019. She’s also attended IVAI in New York, AIMS in Graz and the Savannah Voice Festival. Lindsey graduated in 2019 with her MM from Mannes School of Music. She holds a BFA from Carnegie Mellon University. Lindsey is a student of Beth Roberts.

Bass-baritone Jonathan Z. Harris is a native New Orleanian opera singer, recitalist, and actor based in New York City. A two-time Regional Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Jonathan has previously been an Apprentice Artist with Sarasota Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Opera Saratoga, and Chautauqua Opera. He has also sung with Opera Company of Middlebury, Bronx Opera, Opéra Louisiane, and dell’Arte Opera Ensemble, among others. Recent roles include the King (Eight Songs for a Mad King), Leporello (Don Giovanni), Don Alfonso (Così fan tutte), Papageno (The Magic Flute), Publio (La clemenza di Tito), Don Basilio (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Peter Quince (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), and Superintendent Budd (Albert Herring). Theatre credits include Salome and The Importance of Being E(a)rnest Hemingway with M-34 and Love & Geography with Piehole. Jonathan holds degrees in theatre arts from Brown University and in music from the University of Michigan. www.jonathanzharris.com

Mezzo-Soprano Emily Hughes’ recent performances include Tisbe in La Cenerentola with Geneva Light Opera, Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Panopera, Annio in La clemenza di Tito with Bronx Opera, and Musette in Leoncavallo’s La Bohème with Teatro Grattacielo, for which Opera News called her “delightful and coquettish Musette” a performance of “particular note.” Other roles include Patsy in The Only Girl with the Victor Herbert Renaissance Project, the title role of Handel’s Teseo with Cantanti Project, Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro with Panopera, the title role of Kamala Sankaram’s The Infinite Energy of Ada Lovelace with New Camerata Opera, and the title role of La Calisto with dell’Arte Opera Ensemble. She has been a soloist for The Messiah, Carmina Burana, and Vivaldi’s Gloria, and has premiered works by many living composers. Emily’s work in early music has brought collaborations with Artek, the Baroque Academy at Amherst Early Music Festival, and Haymarket Opera Company. www.emily-hughes.com

Samual Keeler, tenor, has been hailed for his “rich tenor” (Culpepper Times) and  “strong vocals and crisp, clear delivery” (DC Theatre Scene). His most recent performances include Alfredo in Verdi’s La traviata, Frederic in Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance, Sam Kaplan in Kurt Weill’s Street Scene, Don Curzio & Don Basilio in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, and Lurcanio in Handel’s Ariodante. He keeps a regular performance schedule as a soloist in the greater Philadelphia region. Keeler is a graduate of the Maryland Opera Studio at University of Maryland, College Park. 

Bass-baritone Michael Leyte-Vidal is a graduate of Manhattan School of Music with a Master of Music in Classical Voice. Previous credits include Der Richter in Martha, the Marchese d’Obigny in La traviata, and Gregorio in Roméo et Juliette, as well as appearing as Bartolo and Figaro in scenes from Le nozze di Figaro, John Proctor in scenes from The Crucible, and Un Ballo in Maschera (Sam). Before studying opera Michael was active in Musical Theater where he performed in Sweeney Todd (Judge Turpin, u/s Sweeney Todd), Cabaret (Ernst Ludwig), Evita, and Ragtime, among other professional credits.

Jennifer Moore studied singing at Rice University and New England Conservatory before singing as an Apprentice Artist at the Bel Canto at Caramoor program and subsequently joining the International Opera Studio at Zurich Opera. After that residency she returned to New York City and has since performed locally in various concerts and operatic productions, as well as at the Catholic Church of the Holy Name of Jesus on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, where she has served as cantor for the past 12 years. In that time Jennifer has also developed her professional career at Kaplan Test Prep, where she currently leads the division that helps aspiring medical students succeed on the MCAT. In her free time, when she’s not working on her legato with BCBC, she enjoys running, tennis, and playing with her dog Max.

Soprano Elizabeth Novella will perform Adele in Die Fledermaus with The Muses Project this September. This past winter she covered the roles of Leïla in Les pêcheurs des perles and Marie in La fille du régiment with Sarasota Opera. During her first season at Sarasota, she performed Giannetta in L’elisir d’amore for which the Herald-Tribune praised her “rich voice and fine comic timing” and covered Musetta in La bohème. Ms. Novella dazzled with rich sound and impressive intensity” (Aspen Times) as Antonia in Les contes d’Hoffmann with the Aspen Music Festival. She also performed the role Maia in Christopher Theofanidis’ The Cows of Apollo under the baton of Robert Spano with the Aspen Music Festival where she was featured in a Master Class with the legendary Renée Fleming. She recently covered the role of Peg in the New York premiere of Carlisle Floyd’s Prince of Players with the Little Opera Theatre of New York. Ms. Novella has been a young artist with the Amalfi Coast Music Festival where she performed Pamina in Die Zauberflöte and Bel Canto at Caramoor, where she performed in Bellini’s Il pirata. She is native New Yorker and is currently based in Manhattan.

Making her mark as an “especially impressive” (The New York Times) soprano, Australian/American Nola Richardson has won First Prize in all three major American competitions focused on the music of J.S. Bach (Bethlehem Bach, 2016; Audrey Rooney Bach, 2018; Grand Rapids Symphony Linn Maxwell Keller Award, 2019). These honors have catapulted her to the forefront of Baroque ensembles and orchestras around the country, where she has been praised for her “astonishing balance and accuracy,” “crystalline diction,” and “natural-sounding ease” (Washington Post). In recent seasons she has made debuts with the Seattle, Pittsburgh, Kansas City, and Colorado Symphonies (Handel Messiah); filmed arias with the Atlanta Symphony for a documentary about J. S. Bach; made appearances at the Lincoln Center with the American Classical Orchestra; and performed with a wide range of Baroque ensembles including the American Bach Soloists, the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Musica Angelica, the Colorado Bach Ensemble, and the Madison Bach Musicians. Past operatic highlights include her debut at the Kennedy Center with Opera Lafayette (Fraarte in Handel Radamisto) which drew praise for her “particularly appealing freshness and directness” (Washington Post), and a “standout” performance (Opera News) as the First Lady in Die Zauberflöte with the Clarion Music Society. Nola is also a devoted chamber musician and has performed, toured, and recorded with grammy nominated ensembles Seraphic Fire, Clarion, Musica Sacra, and Trinity Wall Street. She is the first and only soprano to receive the prestigious DMA degree in Early Music Voice from Yale, where she attended the Institute of Sacred Music. Her upcoming season will include debuts with the Boston Early Music Festival, and appearances with the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Virginia Symphony, and Arizona Early Music among others. Nola is an Athlone Artist and resides in NYC.

Kelsey Robertson has been praised by the New York Times for her “verisimilitude” and “legato.”  This past May she debuted the role of Angelina in La Cenerentola with Raylynmor Opera and Salt Marsh Opera. In the Spring of 2020, Ms. Robertson was scheduled to debut the role of Flora with the Orchestra of St. Peter by the Sea in the Festival of the Atlantic’s production of La traviata, but performances were cancelled due to the pandemic. In the Fall of 2019, she debuted the role of Suzuki in Madama Butterfly with Baltimore Concert Opera.

In the 2017-2018 season, Ms. Robertson completed her second consecutive year as an Apprentice Artist with Palm Beach Opera covering the role of Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro and performing the role of the Shepherd boy in Tosca. The 2016-2017 season saw Ms. Robertson make her debut as an Apprentice Artist with Palm Beach Opera covering the roles of Giovanna and Countess Ceprano in Rigoletto. In the Spring of 2017, Ms. Robertson made her New York City Opera debut singing the role of Fuego in the U.S. premiere of Los elementos. In the summer of 2016, Ms. Robertson returned for a second season as an Apprentice Artist with Bel Canto at Caramoor.

Originally from New Jersey, Ms. Robertson holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and a Master of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music. Ms. Robertson’s award credits include Eastman School of Music Vocal Concerto Competition Winner, 2019 Metropolitan Opera National Council Colorado/Wyoming District Winner and Annapolis Opera Vocal Competition Third Prize Winner. Ms. Robertson has placed as a finalist in the 2019 Violetta DuPont Vocal Competition and the 2019 Giulio Gari Foundation International Vocal Competition.

Cape Town Opera soloist Brittany Smith holds a BMus in Opera and a Postgraduate Certificate in Advanced Opera: Performance from the South African College of Music at the University of Cape Town. Under the tutelage of Professor Virginia Davids, she started her solo singing career in 2016 at UCT in the role of Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro, followed by Adele in AGL Opera’s production of Die Fledermaus. Brittany’s awards include the 2013 Ruth Ormond Prize for the Most Promising First Year UCT Female Opera Student, the 2016 Schock Foundation Opera Competition Female Classical Winner, and a nomination for the 2017 Fleur du Cap Award for Best Female Opera Singer for her Pamina in Cape Town Opera’s production of The Magic Flute. Brittany joined the Cape Town Opera Young Artist Programme in 2017 and in 2018 premiered as Norina in Don Pasquale, a collaboration between Cape Town Opera and the UCT Opera School. In May 2019, she sang the role of Giulietta in I Capuleti e i Montecchi (Fleur du Cap nominee) and in 2020, Despina in Così fan tutte. In 2021 at Artscape Opera House she sang Gretel in Cape Town Opera’s Hänsel und Gretel, for which she received a Fleur du Cap nomination, Leïla in The Pearl Fishers and Magda in La rondine. 2022 will see her perform the role of Susanna in Cape Town Opera’s Le nozze di Figaro, Adina in L’elisir d’amore, and later, the title role of Handel’s Alcina.

Missouri-born tenor Steven Tharp’s operatic credits include performances with the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, Netherlands Opera, among many other houses. Handel and Mozart are well represented in Mr. Tharp’s repertoire of more than 60 operatic parts, and his keen interest in 18th- and early 19th-century opera has led to many roles in operas of Gluck, Haydn, Scarlatti, Conti, and others. In concert, Mr. Tharp has appeared with the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Cleveland Orchestra, among others. His concert repertoire includes the Bach, Mozart, Handel, and Haydn masterpieces of the 18th and 19th century and extends to Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius, Schönberg’s Gurre-Lieder, the Verdi Requiem, and Britten’s War Requiem. A dedicated song recitalist, Mr. Tharp has appeared at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, the 92nd Street Y, Carnegie’s Weill Hall, venues in Europe, Japan, and South America. His interest in musical theater and cabaret led to his appearance in 3 Tenors in Search of an Act in a sold-out run at Don’t Tell Mama in New York. Steven has recorded for Decca, Delos, Newport, Albany and Naxos, earning a Grammy Award nomination. He has also served as stage director for the Manhattan School of Music and for Caramoor. He lives in Columbia, Missouri with his adorable Westie, Hector, and is Associate Professor of Voice at the University of Missouri.