September 8 & 9, 2023 at 7:00pm 
Ann Nicole Nelson Hall
Adults: $35 | $30 | $25
Ages 17 & Under: $10 
MSU Students: free w/ student I.D.
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Toxic relationships, obsession, betrayal and murder, anyone?
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Cast and Creative Team
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Sarah Heltzel, Carmen

Since her debut as Siegrune and Flosshilde in Seattle Opera’s acclaimed DER RING DES NIBELUNGEN, Sarah Heltzel has coupled her “potent star performances” with a “rich, powerhouse voice" in roles from Verdi to Sondheim. Known as a versatile actress, Heltzel's compelling presence and true Zwischenfach voice have garnered critical acclaim for performances as Offred in THE HANDMAID'S TALE (Melbourne, Australia), Eboli in DON CARLO (Wichita Grand Opera), Santuzza in CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA (String Orchestra of Brooklyn), Der Komponist in ARIADNE AUF NAXOS (Winter Opera St Louis), Musetta in LA BOHEME (Opera on the James), and CARMEN (Tacoma Opera, Wichita Grand Opera, Pacific NW Opera, Newport Music Festival gala).
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Nathan Bowles, Don José

Nathan Bowles holds a master’s degree in vocal performance and performance diploma from Southern Methodist University, where he studied with Professor Clifton Forbis. Shortly after arriving in Dallas he transitioned from baritone to tenor and has been heard as Judge Danforth in SMU Lyric Theatre’s production of The Crucible and as Male Chorus in their production of The Rape of Lucretia. In 2023, Bowles was awarded the Southern Methodist University Meadows School of the Arts Roy and Sue Johnson Opera Theatre Award, the Lloyd Pfautsch Choral Award, and was the vocal winner in SMU’s Meadows Concerto Competition.

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Bowles has performed with the Dallas Opera orchestra in their “Under the Stars with the Dallas Opera” in their inaugural Arboretum concert, as well as with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra in their annual donor gala alongside Thomas Hampson and Susan Graham. Bowles is active in the Dallas Opera’s Educational Outreach program, performing in the’22-’23 season as Dandini in The Billy Goats Gruff, and returning for the ’23-’24 season in the title role of Offenbach’s Pépito. He was selected to attend 2023 Summer Chautauqua Institution as a Studio Artist in the opera program, covering Anthony in Sweeney Todd, and Don José in the Peter Brook Bizet adaption La Tragédie de Carmen.

Bowles hails from Minot, North Dakota, and holds a bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Minot State University, where he studied voice from Kenneth Bowles. He was recently featured as a soloist with MSU’s Concert Choir, under the direction of Emerson Eads, as they toured North Dakota with Hailstork’s Cantata “I Will Lift Up Mine Eyes.”

Bowles has sung roles with Minot’s Western Plains Opera as Alfred in Die Fledermaus, the Father in Into the Woods, and Basilio in The Barber of Seville.

Bethany Jelinek, Michaëla

Soprano Bethany Jelinek received her MM and BM in Vocal Performance from Southern Methodist University, where she has been featured in the leading roles of the Female Chorus in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia, Abigail Williams in Ward’s The Crucible and Fiordiligi in Mozart’s Così fan tutte. In addition, she has performed Samuel Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 and the world premieres of budding composer Ethan Gurwitz’s Tales of the Cottingley Fairies and Echo’s Last Words with the Meadows Wind Ensemble. Ms. Jelinek is the recipient of the 2023 Jonathan Pell People’s Choice Award from the Dallas Opera Guild Biennial Lone Star Vocal Competition, the 2022 Roy and Sue Johnson Opera Theatre Award and the 2021 Thomas Hayward Memorial Award for outstanding undergraduate singer at SMU. Active as a performer and teacher, she has sung performances throughout the DFW Metroplex including the Puccini Society, Highland Park United Methodist Church and Holy Trinity Catholic.

Christopher Holmes, Escamillo

Christopher Holmes returned to his home Provo after obtaining degrees in opera at the Oberlin College Conservatory (B.M., M.M.), Temple University (M.M.), teaching voice at Texas State University, and performing throughout the States. With over 40 operatic roles to his credit, Christopher has been featured by companies such as Austin Opera, Central City Opera, Eugene Opera, Opera Idaho, Phoenix Opera, and San Antonio Opera.
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Conducted by Efrain Amaya

American conductor and composer Efrain Amaya was born in Venezuela, where he began his musical training. Continuing his studies in the United State, he earned two Bachelor's of music degrees in composition and piano from Indiana University, and a Master's degree in orchestral conducting from Rice University. After retuning to Venezuela, Maestro Amaya became the Music Director & Conductor for one of the "El Sistema" Youth Symphony Orchestras based in the "Nucleo La Rinconada". He then returned to the USA where he held the position of Resident Conductor and Artist Lecturer in Music Theory at Carnegie Mellon University from 1993 to 2009.
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Elias Mokole, Zuniga

Elias Mokole, baritone, is equally at home in recital, musical theatre, and orchestral concerts, as well as opera. Praised by both Opera News and the Washington Post for his "powerful, rich warm baritone," Elias Mokole’s performance highlights include the title role in Verdi’s Rigoletto, Germont in La Traviata, Sharpless in Madame Butterfly, Scarpia in Tosca, Juan Perón in Evita, the title role in Gianni Schicchi, and soloist for the Brahms' Requiem. Mokole has performed over 800 professional performances as a soloist with various opera companies and symphony orchestras throughout Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, and South America. He will be performing the role of Germont in La Traviata with State Opera Stara Zagora in Bulgaria in the summer of 2021.
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Evan Putt, Morales

Evan is a second year music performance student with a dual concentration in voice and saxophone. He is involved in many musical groups in both classical and jazz/pop styles. He is the current president of MSU's Campus Players and likes to fill his time with as much music and theater as he can.

Ted Christopher, Stage Director

Ted Christopher has been the artistic director of Penn State Opera Theatre since 2008. He has overseen and directed several successful and innovative operatic performances at Penn State, including Hansel and Gretel (2009), The Marriage of Figaro (2010), Gianni Schicchi (2011), MASS (2013), La Bohème (2015), Così fan tutte (2017), and Suor Angelica (2019) among others. He has also expanded the artistic relationship between the School of Music and the School of Theatre, and several of Opera Theatre’s productions have been held up as models of collaboration and interdisciplinarity, which is a hallmark of Penn State’s mission and work.
Dr. Christopher received baccalaureate and master’s degrees in vocal performance and opera from the Curtis Institute of Music, where his teachers included Mikael Eliasen and Marlena Malas. He supplemented his studies as a member of the Juilliard Opera Center, where he worked with Frank Corsaro, and San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program, where he coached with renowned soprano Régine Crespin. He received his doctorate in musical arts (performance and literature) from the Eastman School of Music in 2009.
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Toxic relationships, obsession, betrayal and murder, anyone?

The premiere of the opera Carmen by French composer, Georges Bizet, was delayed because of fears that these themes would offend audiences. In fact, Bizet died only a few months after its premiere, believing that this now most famous of operas was a failure.

Carmen emerges in this opera as a beguiling Roma (Gypsy) girl who seduces a soldier. The soldier (Don José) is captivated by her despite her warnings that loving her is dangerous. He gives up everything– his career and reputation– only to have Carmen tire of him for a dashing Toreador (bullfighter). Our obsessed soldier stalks Carmen and her Toreador to the arena where he will perform. Just as her new boyfriend delivers the final stab to the heart of the bull, our obsessed and now enraged soldier, stabs Carmen to death.
Corporate Sponsors:
Gate City Bank
Broadway Family Dentistry
Clute Office Equipment Inc.
Dakota Dental Health Center
Eagle Springs Ranch
Kim Albert Allstate Insurance
Liens Jewelry
MBS Studios
Osborne Construction
Ryan Family Dealerships
Triple T Ranch
West Hills Dental
Individual Sponsors:

Season Sponsors:
Clint Severson & Conni Ahart
Fred & Joyce Evans

Principal Artist Sponsors:
Jane & Stan Hirst (Carmen)
Ken & DeVera Bowles (Don José)

Music Sponsors:
Wanda Jandrisch
John and Ann Jermiason
Brenna Neuhalfen Family
Dr. Rob Thomas & Eric Johnson
Kim Albert

Costumes Sponsorship:
Jeff & Janelle Verhey

Promotional Sponsorship:
Margaret Nordell
John Keck

Spotlight Chorus Sponsorship:
Tim & Christine Baumann
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