WAYNE ALAN BEHR, Tenor – TYBALT
Tenor Wayne Alan Behr makes his return to OCB this season to sing the role of Tybalt in “Romeo and Juliet.” He has performed Hoffmann, as well as the role of Pinkerton in “Madama Butterfly,” with San Francisco Opera Center!s Merola Opera and Western Opera Theater, and portrayed Prince Karl Franz in “The Student Prince” with Chautauqua Opera and Ohio Light Opera. He played Sam in Floyd!s “Susannah” and Basilio in “The Marriage of Figaro” with Ash Lawn Opera, performed the role of the Tanzmeister in “Ariadne auf Naxos” with Lake George Opera, and sang and recorded the role of Bretschneider in “The Good Soldier Schweik” for Chicago Opera Theater, which was released on Cedille Records.
Mr. Behr was a competitions! finalist in the auditions of the Metropolitan Opera, the San Francisco Opera, the Oratorio Society of New York, and NYC!s Center For Contemporary Opera.
JACQUELYN FAMILANT, Soprano – JULIET
Soprano Jacquelyn Familant enjoys an international career spanning the genres of opera, oratorio and chamber music. The soprano has appeared with Staatsoper Stuttgart, Opera Tampa, New Jersey State Opera, American Modern Ensemble, the American Music Festival, the Martina Arroyo Foundation, Ocala Symphony Orchestra, Chautauqua Institution, Summer Stars of Ocean Grove, Ocala Symphony Orchestra, Festival Lyrique-en-Mer, the Vermont Festival of the Arts, and the Chamber Music Society of Philadelphia. Ms. Familant has won numerous awards and was named a winner of the Classical Singer Convention 2010. The soprano is featured on the Naxos recording of Paul Salerni’s opera, Tony Caruso’s Final Broadcast. Jacquelyn Familant holds a Master of Music degree from the Curtis Institute of Music and a Bachelor of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music.
Robert Garner, Baritone, sings regularly with The Metropolitan Opera extra chorus in repertoire such as: Aida, Boris Godunov, Die Meistersinger von Nuremberg, La Damnation de Faust, Simon Boccanegra, Turandot, Peter Grimes, War and Peace, Orfeo ed Euridice and Don Carlo in New York and on tour in Japan. This season he will appear in Aida, Billy Budd, Khovanschina, and Götterdämerung.
Among his numerous roles performed are: Don Giovanni, Gianni Schicchi, Rigoletto, Mercutio (Romeo et Juliette), Silvio (Pagliacci), Count (Le Nozze di Figaro), Marcello (La Boheme), Ford (Falstaff), Valentin (Faust), Germont (La Traviata), Papageno (The Magic Flute), Falke (Die Fledermaus), and Ping (Turandot).. Concert highlights include: Carmina Burana for Carolina Ballet, and the Faure Requiem for his Carnegie Hall debut.
Mr. Garner received his Bachelor of Music in Voice from the University of Alabama. He was a New York City district winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and was a winner of the Friedrich Schorr Vocal Performance Prize and the Giulio Gari Foundation Vocal Competition.
MING KWONG, Pianist
Pianist/Coach Ming Kwong is actively involved in the opera industry. He is regularly engaged to play NYC auditions for many programs including Portland Opera. He was engaged as a faculty coach at the New Jersey CoOPERAtive program this past summer.
Ming is regularly engaged by the Metropolitan Opera Guild to accompany their master class series.
His past credits include an assistant coach position at Glimmerglass Opera, Tanglewood Music Center (assisting Maestro James Levine on Don Giovanni), and an apprenticeship with Florida Grand Opera for their 2008-2009 season. He held a fellowship coach position at the Aspen Summer Music Festival and was a vocal pianist at the prestigious Music Academy of the West, where Marilyn Horne chairs the program. Mr. Kwong was the Music Director of the Undergraduate Opera Theater at Manhattan School of Music and has also worked with Maestro Jay Meetze in the past on Barber of Seville.
KRISTEN LEICH, Mezzo-Soprano – STEPHANO and BENVOLIO
Ms.Leich completed her preparatory studies at The Colorado Springs Conservatory and received her B.M. from Oberlin Conservatory of Music. She attended the Academy of Vocal arts as the recipient of the American Business Fellowship and Giardiniera Fellowship. Ms. Leich was awarded the Barbara Stanley Richman Memorial Award by The Opera Theatre of St. Louis and the Violette G. McCarthy Study Award as a Regional Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.
Ms.Leich made her New York City Opera debut in the roll of Dorabella in Cosí fan tutte under the direction of Julius Rudel. She has appeared with the Deutsche Oper am Rhein Le nozze di Figaro (Cherubino), Hänsel und Gretel (Hänsel) , Giulio Cesare (Sesto), The Cunning little Vixen (The Fox). le Grand Théâtre de Genève Il Satirino in La Calisto and Bourbon Baroque as Ruggiero in Händel’s Alcina .
PERCY MARTINEZ, Tenor – ROMEO
Mr. Martinez has sung principal roles in Manon Lescaut, Madama Butterfly, Tosca, La Boheme, Un Ballo in Maschera, La Traviata, Rigoletto, Aida, La Forza del Destino, Lucia di Lammermoor, Gounod’s Faust, Bizet’s Carmen, Mozart’s Idomeneo and Leoncavallo’s I Pagliacci. Mr. Martinez made his Bucharest National Opera debut reprising the role of Chevalier des Des Grieux in Puccini’s Manon Lescaut. Recent engagements include Samson et Delila at West Bay Opera and concert performances of Puccini’s Tosca and Bizet’s Carmen with the Opera Company of Brooklyn in NYC.
ALONZO MURPHY-JOHNSON, Bass – THE PRINCE and FRERE LAWRENCE
Alonzo Murphy-Johnson (Bass) is happy to be performing with OCB again. He has performed in major roles across the country including Die Zauberflöte, Die Entfuhrung Aus Dem Serail, Don Giovanni , Manon Lescaut, Rigoletto and in Nashville Opera’s world premiere of Surrender Road. An eclectic performer, Alonzo’s range includes opera, R&B, jazz and gospel. Some of his professional musical theatre credits include leading roles in Ragtime and Smokey Joe’s Café.
Winnie Nieh, First Prize winner in the 2012 St. Andrews Arts Council International Aria Competition, will be making her Canadian debut this summer. A Resident Artist with Opera Company of Brooklyn, she made her opera debut as Susanna while at Harvard and has since sung Pamina, Blondchen, Olympia, La Fée, Romilda, Galatea, Gilda, Sophie, Violetta, Mélisande, Juliette and Giannetta. Upcoming roles include Voce dal cielo (Don Carlo) at the Metropolitan Opera Guild, Amor (Orfeo ed Euridice) and Papagena. An all-round musician with Associate of Trinity College London diplomas in voice, violin and piano, she has also performed extensively as an oratorio and concert soloist, and continually captivates her audiences with her “fantastic facility” and exquisite “clarity of tone”.
CLAYTON OKALY, Baritone – MERCUTIO
Clayton Okaly, baritone, was most recently seen as Papageno in dell’Arte Opera Ensemble’s Die Zauberflöte, Schaunard in Opera Company of Brooklyn’s La Bohème, and the doctor in Debussy’s La chute de la maison Usher with Pocket Opera of New York. Other credits include Harlekin (Ariadne auf Naxos); Morales (Carmen); and Maestro Spinelloccio and the Notary (Gianni Schicchi); Parson (Cunning Little Vixen); Giacomo (Fra Diavolo); and Oreste (La Belle Hélène) with L’Opéra du Périgord in France. Clayton has received awards such as Delaware Contest for Young Musicians, placed first in NATS Eastern Region Auditions, and was runner-up for the West Central Region of NATS’ Artist Award Competition. In addition to performing, he has also presented at various conferences for the College Music Society, most recently at their 52nd National Conference in Portland, Oregon. Clayton holds degrees from University of Colorado – Boulder and University of Delaware.
Mezzo-soprano Barbara Staffen returns to OCB as Gertrude after performing both Frugola ( Il tabarro) and La Zia Principessa (Suor Angelica) in September 2011. In July 2011 Barbara performed Fricka (Die Walküre) and Erste Norn (Götterdämmerung) at the inaugural Wagner Intensive program at Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea Ohio, working with Jane Eaglen, Nancy Maultsby, Tim Mussard, and Eric Weimer. Of her portrayal of the Countess (Pikovaya dama) with West Bay Opera, Keith Kreitman of the San Mateo County Times raved of her “rich and lyrical mezzo-soprano… (and)… ability to dominate the stage with her well-paced dramatic presence.” Selected previous roles with OCB include Madame Flora (The Medium) and Marcellina (Le nozze di Figaro).
XAVIER TAYLOR, Tenor – GREGORIO
Originally from Maryland, Baritone Xavier Taylor has made himself known as a singer of many varying styles. Recentely moving to New York from Boston Xavier studied at the New England Conservatory under Micheal Meraw and Vinson Cole. While in Boston Xavier performed the roles of Signor Deluso(Signor Deluso,NEC) Procolo(Viva La Mamma,NEC) Bob (Old Maid and the Thief,BMO) and Sweeney Todd ( Sweeney Todd,MIT). Some other roles performed:Papageno (Die Zauberflute,BMO) Pangloss(Candide,NEC) Bobby Strong(Urinetown,CCT) Edward Rochester(Jane Eyre:The Musical). Within the last year Xavier has become very active with his side project as a folk singer/Ukuleleist. He currently is working on a underground recital series with pianist Jea Han that is to debut on Dec.13.