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Soloists Announced for Composers : Then and Now 2015

What do the ping of fine crystal, the warm fragrance of hot tea, the peal of a brass bell, and the rich luxury of a cashmere blanket have in common?  If you can imagine the blend of those sounds, you’ll be close to what you’ll hear in this fine quartet of soloists who will join us for Composers : Music Then and Now at the Lobero March 28 and 29, 2015.

Here’s a little more about them:

Elissa JohnstonElissa Johnston/Soprano was recently cited by the Chicago Tribune for the “exquisite beauty, sensitivity and precision” of her singing. She enjoys performing a wide range of repertory and recent performances include Handel’s Messiah in Tokyo and Osaka with the Telemann Chamber Orchestra, the world premiere of “Some Things Do Not Move” by Ann LeBaron with Southwest Chamber Music, Unsuk Chin’s Akrostichon Wortspiel, Chinary Ung’s Aura at Le Poisson Rouge with the New York New Music Ensemble, and David Lang’s the little match girl passion at the Ravinia Festival. Particularly drawn to the music of J.S. Bach, she has recently performed Bach Cantatas 54 and 84 with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Cantatas 51 and 82 with the Long Beach Symphony, the Mass in B Minor and St Matthew Passion with the L.A. Master Chorale, and has appeared with Los Angeles based Bach’s Circle at the Oregon Bach Festival. Her orchestral engagements include appearances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Atlanta Symphony, St Paul Chamber Orchestra, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Colorado Symphony, Fort Worth Symphony and the San Francisco Contemporary Players. Upcoming performances include Barber’s Knoxville Summer of 1915 and Mahler Symphony No. 4 with the Long Beach Symphony, and concerts at Le Salon de la Musique and Boston Court. She recorded Chinary Ung’s Aura with Southwest Chamber Music and toured with the ensemble in Vietnam and Cambodia, and has sung Messiaen’s epic song cycle Harawi with pianist Vicki Ray at both Jacaranda Music and Pianospheres. Elissa can be heard on dozens of film soundtracks, and is featured in Danny Elfman’s Serenata Schizophrana, which was released on the Sony Classical label.

Tracy Van FleetTracy Van Fleet/Mezzo possesses a rich and warm mezzo voice that has earned critical acclaim from Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles to the Philharmonic Center for the Arts in Florida. As a soloist, she has performed with the LA Master Chorale, Naples Philharmonic, Los Angeles Bach Festival, San Diego Chamber Orchestra, Pasadena Symphony, Colorado Philharmonic, USC Symphony and Chorus, and others, including many appearances with the LA Music Center Opera, LA Philharmonic, Pacific Symphony, Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, Opera Pacific, San Diego Opera and Opera Colorado. In 2013 she toured Europe and the U.S. with the Los Angeles Philharmonic singing in the new oratorio by John Adams The Gospel According to the Other Mary. Ms. Van Fleet earned a Master and Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from USC, where she graduated cum laude. Among various operatic roles, she has sung the title role in an adaptation of Bizet’s Carmen, both the Witch and Mother in Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel, Flora in Verdi’s La Traviata, Tisbe in Rossini’s Cenerentola, and Lola in Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana. She has sung Gilbert and Sullivan in theaters across the country, including the roles of Ruth in Pirates of Penzance, Katisha in The Mikado, and Buttercup in HMS Pinafore. On the concert stage, she has earned high praise as the alto soloist for many performances of Bach’s B Minor Mass, St. John’s Passion, and Magnificat, Beethoven’s Mass in C and 9th Symphony, Mozart’s Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, Verdi’s Requiem, and many others.

Tyler ThompsonTyler Thompson/Tenor returns as a soloist in the Mozart Solemn Vespers with the Santa Barbara Choral Society. This Spring, Mr. Thompson will perform with Opera Santa Barbara, as a studio artist. He will perform the role of the Newspaper Collector and will cover the role of Steve Hubbel in A Streetcar Named Desire by Andre Previn. Last season, Mr. Thompson also performed with Opera Santa Barbara, singing the role of Bardolfo in Verdi’s Falstaff. Recently, he performed as Rinuccio in Riverside Lyric Opera’s production of Gianni Schicchi. Mr. Thompson also sang the tenor solos in the Bruckner Te Deum with the Santa Barbara Choral Society. Recent performances include Amon in Long Beach Opera’s production of Ahknaten by Philip Glass, El Remendado in Lyric Opera Northwest’s production of Carmen, and the tenor soloist in Under the Shadow, a new oratorio by Robert Denham, conducted by Carl St. Clair of the Pacific Symphony. Mr. Thompson has performed regularly with the Los Angeles Opera Outreach and Community Department, appearing in several productions, including the role of Dick Johnson in an outreach adaptation of La Fanciulla del West. Mr. Thompson demoed the role of Tomas Chacon for Los Angeles Opera and Placido Domingo in Dulce Rosa, a new opera by Lee Holdridge, which premiered in 2013. Mr. Thompson was an Apprentice Artist with Sarasota Opera, performing in scenes as Manrico from Il Trovatore, Walther from Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, and Dick Johnson from La Fanciulla del West. He also appeared as a Young Artist with Toledo Opera, performing the role of the Alchemist and the Crook in Berstein’s Candide and Frederic in over fifty outreach performances of The Pirates of Penzance by Gilbert and Sullivan. He has performed with Celestial Opera, including the roles of Jenik in the Bartered Bride and Belmonte in Die Entführung aus sem Serail. Mr. Thompson lives in Santa Barbara and holds the position of Associate Pastor at Oaks Bible Church.

Ralph CatoRalph Cato/Baritone has travelled the world extensively, telling stories in song using his warm, clarion baritone. Whether performing oratorio masterpieces, traditional opera characters, or as an integral part of an ensemble, he brings a humanity to each character he portrays and always delivers a memorable performance. Early in his career, Cato travelled extensively with Albert McNeil’s Jubilee Singers as a featured soloist. He has sung Carmina Burana to great acclaim numerous times from Estonia to America and much oratorio, including the Mozart C minor Mass with the Kölner Philharmonie in Köln Germany, and more recently tackled the avant-garde Aye in Philip Glass’ Aknaten for Long Beach Opera. For Redlands Opera, he has portrayed the title role in Gianni Schicchi, Sharpless (Madama Butterfly), Marcello (La Boheme), Sonora (Fanciulla del West), Germont (LaTraviata), Escamillo (Carmen) and Tonio (I Pagliacci). In Porgy and Bess, he has portrayed Peter for Opera Pacific, Sportin’ Life in Lisbon, and Porgy/Jake for Chicago Sinfonetta’s Swiss Tour. Cato also toured Europe, China, Canada and the US with the Irish dance show Riverdance as a featured singer and was selected for Baz Luhrman’s La Boheme. He has performed with LA Opera, LA Master Chorale, Long Beach Symphony, San Bernardino Symphony, Symphony Silicon Valley, Stockton Symphony, The Southeast Symphony, The Pacific Chorale, Chorale bel Canto, and the Santa Barbara Choral Society. When not performing, Cato teaches applied voice, performance practice and diction for singers at UC Riverside and Los Angeles Valley College.