Bass-baritone. Young Emile in Champion.
Aubrey grew up in Tuscon, Arizona and originally discovered singing at church. After high school, he attended Grand Canyon University for his undergraduate degree, Indiana University for graduate school, and was a member of The Juilliard School‘s Artist Diploma in Opera Studies program.
This performance is Aubrey’s WNO debut.
Aubrey spent over 5 seasons with the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. His first part—while a member of the Gerdine Young Artist program—was as a customs official in La bohème. With each season, his roles grew and ranged from Zaretsky in Eugene Onegin to the Mad Hatter in the U.S. premiere of Alice in Wonderland.
Fun fact! In 2013, Aubrey originated the role of Young Emile at his beloved Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. The bass-baritone deeply connected with his character, saying, “I feel like the role was written for me.”
A native of Queens, New York, Dimitri is a graduate of The Metropolitan Opera‘s Lindemann Young Artist Development program.
This production marks Dimitri’s WNO debut as well as his debut in the role of Pinkerton.
Some of Dimitri’s most notable roles include Rodolfo in La bohème, Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet, Macduff in Macbeth, the title role in Don Carlo, and Nemorino in The Elixir of Love.
Fun fact! The life of an opera singer is unlike any other. It’s unpredictable and nonstop and exciting—and this story from Dimitri encapsulates it perfectly. This year, while preparing to travel to Virginia from South Carolina for Passover, Dimitri received a call asking him to replace an ill tenor in an Opera Philadelphia production of The Elixir of Love. Always ready for the stage, Dimitri was forced to forgo his family trip and travel to Philadelphia instead. With only days to rehearse before the premiere, Dimitri saved the day.
Brian is a graduate of The Purchase College’s Conservatory of Music as well as the Adler Fellowship Program at San Francisco Opera.
While Brian has graced many stages—from the Royal Opera House to the Teatro San Carlo—this production marks his WNO debut.
Fun fact! Brian studied computer science and business in college for two years before deciding that singing was “the coolest thing I’ve ever done.” He was then accepted into music school as a tenor, but because of the colors of his voice and the training methods used by his instructors, it was decided he was a baritone. He studied and performed for ten years as a baritone before meeting with a tenor teacher. There Brian was told—officially—that he is, in fact, a tenor.
Mezzo-soprano. Mrs. De Rocher in Dead Man Walking.
A Texas native, this Grammy Award winner is a graduate of Texas Tech University and the Manhattan School of Music.
When Dead Man Walking had its world premiere in San Francisco in 2000, Susan portrayed Sister Helen Prejean, the lead female role that was written especially for her. She returns to this new production from WNO to captivate audiences as Mrs. De Rocher, the mother of the death row inmate.
Mezzo-soprano. Emelda Griffith in Champion.
A D.C. native, Denyce attended the Duke Ellington School of the Arts and was later awarded a scholarship to the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.
Denyce’s title roles in Carmen and Samson et Dalila have made her particularly well-known to opera audiences. In fact, the last time she appeared with WNO, she played the beloved and timeless Carmen. For Champion, she reprises her role as the mother of boxing legend Emile Griffith, following the opera’s world premiere at the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis.
Mezzo-soprano. Sister Helen Prejean in Dead Man Walking.
Originally from Virginia, Kate is a graduate of Indiana University, and was a student of the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program at the Metropolitan Opera. Since entering the program, Kate has performed over 80 times at the Met.
This performance marks Kate’s WNO debut.
Acclaimed performances include Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Cherubino in The Marriage of Figaro, Wellgunde in The Ring, and Hansel in Hansel and Gretel.
A notable moment: In 2012, Kate was featured in Vogue magazine alongside fellow opera singers Susanna Phillips and Isabel Leonard. In the feature, they discuss what it means to be an opera singer in the modern world.
Originally from Cut and Shoot, Texas, Michael is a graduate of the University of North Texas.
This performance is Michael’s WNO debut.
Some of Michael’s most recent and celebrated roles include Sharpless in Madam Butterfly, the title role in Don Giovanni, as well as the title role in Rigoletto.
Fun fact! While this is Michael’s WNO debut, the role of Joseph De Rocher is one that has garnered him great acclaim already. Michael and his self-proclaimed “homeboy”, composer Jake Heggie, have teamed up for many operas, including Three Decembers, Great Scott, and For a Look or a Touch. Michael attributes much of his success to Jake’s partnership, saying “he’s given me the career I have today.”
Born in Youngstown, Ohio, Lawrence decided to pursue opera after a spectator approached him following a high school singing competition and encouraged him to try the art form. The advice stuck, and Lawrence went on to study at Anderson University and Indiana University’s prestigious Jacobs School of Music.
Lawrence was last seen at the WNO in 2009 as Count Almaviva in The Barber of Seville.
The role of Tonio requires Lawrence to sing a succession of nine high Cs. About the difficult sequence, Lawrence says, “They need to be nine bull’s-eyes. They can’t be nine B naturals. But I feel secure. It’s an aria I’ve lived with. I’ve done it a bunch of times.”
Joshua was born and raised in Canada, and was a student at McGill University in Montreal before gaining acceptance into the Houston Grand Opera Studio.
He made his WNO debut in 2014 as Papageno in The Magic Flute.
Some of Joshua’s most recent role highlights include the title role in The Barber of Seville, Tadeusz in The Passenger, Ping in Turandot, and Junior in A Quiet Place.
Fun fact! Joshua was chosen by Opera News as one of “twenty-five artists poised to break out and become a major force in the coming decade.”
Get a glimpse at Joshua’s Count in The Marriage of Figaro, a performance The Globe and Mail says he delivers with “a virile, vigorous yet velvety sound.”
Ryan is a graduate of both the Juilliard School of Music and the Houston Grand Opera Studio.
He made his WNO debut in The Ring this spring, where he played the roles of Donner and Gunther.
Ryan’s favorite opera is Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde. In fact, Wagner is his favorite composer of all time, with the title role in The Flying Dutchman being his character of choice.
Other memorable roles include the title role in Rigoletto, and Tiridate in Radamisto.
Fun fact! Instead of leaving his wife and two children in Houston every time he’s invited to perform at opera houses around the world, Ryan’s family comes with him! The McKinny family even calls Germany their home-away-from-home, as Ryan has placed his vocal focus on the German repertoire.
Listen to Ryan sing a work from The Flying Dutchman at La Scala in Milan, Italy.