The 2021/22 season marks the third year of the Opera Columbus-Capital University Resident Artist Program. During the year (August 2021-June 2022), Resident Artists will perform as mainstage and educational artists for Opera Columbus and serve as voice instructors/classroom assistants for the Conservatory of Music at Capital University. In addition, artist development opportunities (including possible voice lessons and dramatic coaching) will be an important part of this program. This joint residency is designed to bolster and mentor the next generation of performer-teachers by providing both professional performance experience and collegiate teaching opportunities.
MEET OUR 21-22 RESIDENT ARTISTS
Praised for her “big, beautiful voice with an attractive edge and sparkle” soprano, Adia Evans is quickly establishing herself as an up-and-coming operatic talent. During her tenure in Knoxville, Evans has been featured as Adina in University of Tennessee Opera Theater (UTOT)’s production of L’elisir d’amore, Laetita in Old Maid and the Thief, Ms. Dara in An Embarrassing Position, and La Zia in Knoxville Opera’s production of Madama Butterfly. This year, Evans won Second Place and Audience Choice in the Harlem Opera Theater Vocal Competition and Fourth Place and Audience Choice in Opera Columbus’s Cooper-Bing Competition.
Evans holds a Bachelor of Music from University of Maryland College Park and a Master of Music from the University of Tennessee Knoxville. Evans is a proud alumna of the Baltimore School for the Arts. Devoted to social action and advocacy, Evans completed two terms as an AmeriCorps member in Washington DC, through Public Allies. She works in diversity and inclusion, volunteer engagement, education and arts administration when she is not on the stage.
Aryssa Leigh Burrs
Vocalist Aryssa Leigh Burrs is hailed for her “rich sound and thoughtful musical ideas” while “transcending vocal styles and genres with flexibility and ease.” Ms. Burrs spent the Summer ’21 season as an Apprentice Artist with Central City Opera. While with CCO, she performed a solo Al Fresco Concert, covered the role of Sorceress in Dido and Aeneas, and was a featured ensemble member in a paired down production of Carousel. Aryssa will return as a Resident Artist with Opera Columbus-Capital University, where she was be seen singing the role of Zerlina in their spring 2021 production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni. Other recent engagements include Elvis Costello’s The Juliet Letters with UrbanArias and Mame Dennis in Mame at The Seagle Festival. Ms. Burrs is a recent graduate of Northwestern University, where she obtained a Masters of Music in Voice and Opera Performance. At Northwestern, she performed in numerous opera productions (Orlofsky, Die Fledermaus; Captain, Dog Days; Baba the Turk, The Rake’s Progress), while also appearing as a soloist with various choral and orchestral ensembles (Am I born, David T. Little; Terra Nostra, Stacy Garrop; The Branch Will Not Break, Christopher Cerrone). As she is committed to using music for cultural and social justice causes, one of Ms. Burrs’ most cherished performances includes her orchestral debut with the Charlotte Symphony as a featured soloist with the acclaimed drag queen production of Thorgy and the Thorchestra. Ms. Burrs also had the honor of performing a set of musical theater and operatic hits for the incomparable Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at a “thank you” dinner.
During the pandemic, Aryssa Leigh got to continue to hone her passion for progressive concert work and a lifelong interest in exploring musical styles through story and song. In January ’21, Aryssa created, produced, and performed in the virtual debut performance of her concert entitled Identify, which raised funds for the non-profit organization “Phenomenal Womxn” to launch their summer camp to teach empowerment through the arts to young girls. This concert looks at Aryssa’s personal pillars of identity through the musical and visual arts that help her to feel challenged, curious, and ultimately empowered in those bits of herself; all with the intent of inviting audience and collaborators alike to join her in the use of art in their own explorations. Identify, to be performed again for many seasons to come, encompasses styles ranging from english baroque, french mélodie, german romanic opera, to contemporary feminist pop.
Ms. Burrs holds both a Bachelor of Music Degree in Voice Performance and a Bachelor of Music Education Degree in Choral/General Music from the University of Maryland in College Park. Ms. Burrs has taught K-12 General and Choral Music in Montgomery County, MD Public Schools, while maintaining a private voice and piano studio. DC Metro Theater Arts states, “From the moment she burst onstage, Aryssa [Leigh] Burrs charmed and dazzled the audience with her rich, full voice…she has the knack for singing pop and jazz music exceptionally well without compromising her vocal technique.”
Venezuelan bass-baritone Miguel Pedroza recently graduated with a Master’s degree in Vocal Performance from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, studying under professor William McGraw and coaches Donna Loewy, Kathleen Kelly, and Marie-France Lefebvre. His engagements at the conservatory included Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte (Sarastro), Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro (Figaro), and Cavalli’s La Calisto (Sylvano). Prior to his time at the conservatory, Miguel received a Bachelor’s in Vocal Performance from the University of Houston. Miguel has been contracted with Cincinnati May Festival, Opera in the Ozarks, and Opera in the Heights, with appearances in Milhaud’s Le Pauvre Matelot (Son Beau-Père), Cimarosa’s Il Matrimonio Segreto (Geronimo), and Bizet’s Carmen (Zuniga). He has performed as a chorus member with Cincinnati Opera and Houston Grand Opera and as a soloist in concerts across the US, including Bach’s Magnificat and St. Matthew Passion, Schubert’s Mass in G minor, and Mozart’s Spatzenmesse. Miguel is a second-year Opera Columbus-Capital University resident artist, and his previous include Masetto (Don Giovani) Colline (La bohème).
Creative Programs Director + Cooper-Bing Associate Producer
OCCU RESIDENT ARTIST ALUMNI
Aryssa Leigh Burrs, mezzo-soprano
Monica Daly, accompanist
Patrick Graham, baritone
Miguel Pedroza, bass-baritone
Anthony Benz, pianist/coach
Scott Clark, baritone
Catherine Goode, soprano
Raphaella Medina, mezzo-soprano