In the 2019-20 season, rising young soprano Madison Leonard made her role debut as Gilda in Rigoletto in a return to Seattle Opera and performed this role with Austin Opera. On the concert stage, she returned to the Florida Orchestra for Stravinsky’s Pulcinella and sang Handel’s Messiah with the Jacksonville Symphony.
Last season, she joined Seattle Opera as Chrisann Brennan in Bates’ The [R]evolution of Steve Jobs and Frasquita in Carmen. She sang Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro in a return to Inland Northwest Opera, her hometown company, returned to the Florida Orchestra for her first performances of Haydn’s Creation, and offered a solo recital at Washington Adventist University.
Ms. Leonard is a 2018 winner of the Metropolitan National Council Auditions, at which she sang arias from Rigoletto and Hänsel und Gretel with Bertrand de Billy conducting. The soprano earned her Master of Music degree from Northwestern University and her Bachelor of Arts from Pepperdine University.
With a vocal quality described by Opera Today as “stunning . . . with a striking brightness that thrills,” American baritone Shea Owens is quickly gaining a reputation as a confident and charismatic performer.
In the 2019-2020 season, Mr. Owens ensemble work included Theater St. Gallen in Switzerland, with as Valentin in Gounod’s Faust, Agamemnon in Offenbach’s comedy Die schöne Helena, and Gaveston in George Benjamin’s Lessons in Love and Violence, among others. In the 2018-2019 season, Shea Owens joined the Theater St. Gallen as an Ensemble member, performing Belcore in L’elisir d’amore, Ottone in L’incoronazione di Poppea, Prinz Iwan and Des Kaisers Kammerherr in a double bill of Rimsky-Korsakov and Stravinsky’s Der unsterbliche Kaschtschei and Die Nachtigall, respectively, and staged performances of Haydn’s The Seasons.
Mr. Owens’ 2017-2018 highlights include a return to the Grand Théâtre de Genève for Wagner in Faust, also covering the role of Silvio in Pagliacci. Additional projects included Charlie in Three Decembers opposite Frederica von Stade with Livermore Valley Opera, Seneca in Jonathan Dawe’s Nero and the Fall of Lehman Brothers with the Montréal-based company Ballet-Opéra-Pantomime.
Recent projects included his European debut as Colonel Ricci in Sondheim’s Passion with Natalie Dessay at Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, Marcello with the Grand Théâtre de Genève in Switzerland, Junius in The Rape of Lucretia, the title role in John Musto’s Bastianello, and Pacuvio in Rossini’s La pietra del paragone, all with Wolf Trap Opera.
Max Mendez has spent the last thirty years as a concert, theater, and opera artist. He has sung to critical success in the Northwest Bach Festival, the Spokane Symphony, and Spokane Opera. As an opera artist he has performed with Los Angeles Music Center Opera, Opera Pacific, Spokane Symphony Orchestra, Spokane Opera, Opera Idaho, and Inland Northwest Opera. His versatility as a singer ranges from opera and oratorio to musical theatre, cabaret, and popular styles. Max currently is on faculty and Director of Choirs at North Idaho College in Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho.
Brandon has been performing in professional and community theaters on both coasts for over twenty years. Brandon and his family relocated to North Idaho after living in Fairbanks, Alaska. Brandon has performed with Opera Fairbanks, UAF Opera, and Inland Northwest Opera. He was recently a soloist with Chuck Israel’s jazz orchestra and the Northwest Sacred Chorale.
Career highlights include Directing Sweeney Todd at Fairbanks with Light Opera Theater; Le Dancaïre (Carmen) with Inland Northwest Opera & Spokane Symphony; Dylan (Making Tracks) with Village Theater Issaquah; Concert of Excellence at Carnegie Hall (Featured performer) with 2g Theater.
Amy R. Porter, a Louisiana native, has appeared in many standard operatic roles, including Königin der Nacht (Die Zauberflöte), Violetta (La Traviata), Lucia (Lucia di Lammermoor), Mimi (La Bohème), Marguerite (Faust), Contessa (Le Nozze di Figaro), and Alice (Falstaff). She has performed more contemporary operatic works, including Poulenc’s one woman monodrama La Voix Humaine (Femme), Dinos Constantinides’s psychological one-act opera Rosanna (Angelina), and a partially-televised production of David Amram’s Twelfth Night (Olivia), as well as early music productions, including Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas (Dido) and the New York City premiere of Hildegard von Bingen’s medieval morality play Ordo Virtutum (Victory). An ardent solo performer of pre-classical repertoire, she was a founding member of the Baton Rouge Early Vocal Ensemble (BREVE). Ms. Porter has performed recitals, concerts, and oratorio repertoire throughout the United States. She teaches applied voice at Gonzaga University and serves as lecturer faculty of Whitworth University, where she teaches applied voice, lyric diction, and song literature.