Contact: Angela Whitehead

Communications & Media Manager

Dayton Performing Arts Alliance

Phone 937-224-3521 x1138

[email protected]


DAYTON, OH (January 8, 2019) – Dayton Opera is pleased to welcome four young opera singers to the Dayton area for its 2018–2019 Artist-in-Residence Program. They are: soprano Marisa Karchin, mezzo-soprano Courtney Elvira, tenor Jacob Ryan Wright, and bass-baritone Michael Colman. The four singers, selected from national auditions, performed together for the first time in Dayton this past December in Dayton Philharmonic’s annual presentation of Handel’s Messiah. They begin their official residency this week, joined by music director and accompanist Carol Walker.

The Dayton Opera Artist-in-Residence (AIR) program was established in 1987 as a professional training program for young singers, providing a bridge for the move from the university/conservatory education experience into the arena of a professional opera company. This season marks the 32nd year of this successful opera training program with Dayton Opera.

During January and February, the Artists-in-Residence and music director Carol Walker will be appearing at numerous schools throughout the community to present educational programs that introduce Dayton area students to the art of opera. This season, they will be performing an in-school version of The Pirates of Penzance. The Artists-in-Residence will perform their production of The Pirates of Penzance in Dayton area schools in cooperation with Dayton’s nationally recognized arts education organization, The Muse Machine.

The four AIRs appear in a variety of Dayton Opera productions and Dayton Philharmonic concerts in the 2018–2019 Vistas Season. In addition this past December’s appearance as soloists in the Dayton Philharmonic’s Messiah, all four Artists-in-Residence will perform roles in Dayton Opera’s mainstage production of The Pirates of Penzance this March. This past fall, Courtney Elvira performed the roles of Giovanna in Rigoletto and the unique mezzo-soprano role of Lilith in Dayton Ballet’s Dracula: Bloodlines, and both Jacob Wright and Michael Colman will perform roles in the production of Salome this May.

Soprano Marisa Karchin is excited to join Dayton Opera’s Artists-in-Residence Program, where she will make her debut as Edith in The Pirates of Penzance. Last season, Marisa was featured in a new production of Moto Osada’s Four Nights of Dream in NYC and Tokyo and also performed with the Light Opera of NY, the Canadian Vocal Arts Institute, and the Chelsea Music Festival. Other recent roles include Angelica in Orlando and Nanetta (cover) in Falstaff with Opera Saratoga’s Young Artist Program. An avid interpreter of new music and art song, Marisa is the winner of the 2018 Joy in Singing Art Song Competition and has been featured with the Washington Square Contemporary Music Society and Venice’s Agimus Ensemble.

Mezzo-soprano Courtney Elvira hails originally from St. Petersburg, FL. She recently finished her second summer with Des Moines Metro Opera, covering Prince Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus. Last spring, Courtney sang the role of Third Spirit in The Magic Flute with St. Petersburg Opera and covered roles in her second season with Opera Saratoga, summer 2016. She looks forward to making her debut performing Kate in Dayton Opera’s The Pirates of Penzance. She’ll also be making her debut with Opera Ithaca in mid-April 2019. Courtney is a recipient of an Encouragement Award from the Iowa District Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. She is a proud graduate of Carnegie Mellon University with her master’s degree in Vocal Performance, studying with the acclaimed Maria Spacagna. Courtney continues her studies with Stella Zambalis.

Tenor Jacob Ryan Wright began 2018 with a “smashing Piedmont Opera debut as Frederic” (Winston-Salem Journal) in The Pirates of Penzance. His 2018–2019 season includes roles as Belmonte (cover) in Die Entführung aus dem Serail with Opera San Jose and a return to Greensboro Opera as Goro in Madame Butterfly. Jacob then debuts at Dayton Opera as Frederic in The Pirates of Penzance, followed by the role of the First Jew in Salome. His 2018 credits included Opera Saratoga as an Apprentice Artist and the roles of Don Ramiro in La Cenerentola and Pelléas in Impressions de Pelléas with the AJ Fletcher Opera Institute. Other credits include Tamino in Die Zauberflöte with Asheville Lyric Opera and Gastone in La Traviata with North Carolina Opera. Jacob has also been a young artist with Sarasota Opera and Des Moines Metro opera where, as a cover, he sang Gastone in La Traviata on the mainstage.

Bass-baritone Michael Colman has performed across the country in roles ranging from the comedy of Mozart’s Figaro and Leporello to the drama of the Sorceress in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas and Collatinus in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia. Michael made his professional debut singing the Commissioner in Madame Butterfly as an Apprentice Artist with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, and he went on to sing Basilio in Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia and cover the Mother in Kurt Weill’s Seven Deadly Sins as an Emerging Artist with Virginia Opera. He has performed with Toledo Opera, Indianapolis Opera, Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre, Janiec Opera Company, Fayetteville Opera, Savannah Voice Festival, and as a Young Artist with Charlottesville Opera. He earned degrees from Baylor University and the University of Kansas studying under Dr. John Stephens. He makes his Dayton Opera mainstage debut this March as Sergeant of Police in The Pirates of Penzance and then as the Fifth Jew in Salome.

Pianist Carol Walker, Music Director and Accompanist for the 2018-2019 Artists-in-Residence program, is an experienced and sought after accompanist and opera and song repertory coach in the region. She has worked extensively in that capacity for Cincinnati Opera and has been principal accompanist for past Dayton Opera productions of Porgy and Bess, The Tragedy of Carmen, The Glory of Wagner, Lucia di Lammermoor, Dead Man Walking, The Consul, The Barber of Seville, and Turandot, and in this season for Rigoletto, The Pirates of Penzance, and Salome.

Dayton Opera and the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance welcome these artists and their contribution to the educational and season programming for the 2018–2019 season.

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About the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance
The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance was formed in July 2012 as the result of a groundbreaking and innovative merger between the Dayton Ballet, the Dayton Opera, and the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra. Together, they are the largest performing arts organization in the community, offering a tremendous variety of performance and education programs and setting a new standard for artistic excellence. Dayton Performing Arts Alliance performances are made possible in part by Montgomery County and Culture Works, the single largest source of community funds for the arts and culture in the Miami Valley. The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance also receives partial funding from the Ohio Arts Council, a state agency created to foster and encourage the development of the arts and to preserve Ohio’s cultural heritage. Funding from the Ohio Arts Council is an investment of state tax dollars that promotes economic growth, educational excellence, and cultural enrichment for all Ohio residents. In 2013, The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance was thrilled to be one of five performing arts organizations in the country selected to receive a three-year “Music Alive” grant from New Music USA and the League of American Orchestras. The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance is the proud recipient of a 2017-2018 Art Works grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.