We'll be bringing free, LIVE opera events to every zip code in Memphis this April!
Every year for nearly a decade, Opera Memphis has delivered a solid month of free, outdoor music events throughout the city with our "30 Days of Opera" program. We've sung for hundreds of thousands of Memphians in hundreds of locations. When the pandemic began last March and we had to cancel the Midtown Opera Festival, we produced a special, all-digital version of "30 Days" in April. At the time we hoped to be able to do a live version in September, but that proved impossible.
While we have been as busy as ever this past year with digital recitals, "Third Thursday" concerts on WKNO FM, and more than 80 of our "Sing2Me" performances, it's time for something more. As of today, 30 Days is back!
We know we can't do any of the large festivals or concerts we normally do, so instead, we have hired TEN additional singers to help us spread music to every corner of the city!
Meet our singers
Jake Stamatis, baritone
Jake Stamatis, born and raised in Tunkhannock, Pennsylvania, has performed a variety of roles on the operatic stage. His quick, kind, and loveable demeanor has charmed audiences in such roles as Papageno in Die Zauberflöte, Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro, Leporello in Don Giovanni, Ko-Ko in The Mikado, Schaunard in La Bohème, and Frosch in Die Fledermaus where he “never sang a note yet stole the third act with his hilarious delivery of lines” (Lee Shephard, the Broome County Arts Council). As an Opera Memphis handorf Company Artist, Jake appeared as Betto in Gianni Schicchi and Guglielmo in Cosí fan tutte (cancelled due to COVID19) and was a pioneering member of the celebrated Sing2Me program. He received his bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance from Susquehanna University and his master’s degree from Binghamton University.
Marcus King, baritone
Born and raised in Memphis, TN, Marcus King has always been musically gifted. In 2013, he made his European debut in Norfolk, England as Demetrius in the Yorke Trust Opera production of Britten’s Midsummer Night’s Dream. In 2014, he rejoined the company as Ubalde in Gluck’s Armide. He has been a young artist for the Utah Festival Opera as well as The Charlottesville Opera, formally known as Ash Lawn Opera. For Opera Memphis, he has had many solo roles such as Mr. Gobineau in The Medium, Aeneas in Dido and Aeneas, Vernon in Blue Viola, Samuel in Pirates of Penzance, Joe Harland in Later the Same Evening, and Erminio in The Triumph of Honor. This 2020/2021 season he will be company artist for Moon River Opera, Savannah GA. He will also join the cast of the Magic Flute as Papageno for The Lighthouse Opera’s 2021/22 season.
Desiree Soto, soprano
Desiree Soto, soprano, is a first-year doctoral student at the Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music at the University of Memphis, under the tutelage of Dr. Randal Rushing. Hailing from Texas, Desiree earned her Bachelor of Music degree in vocal performance from Texas Tech University. Equally at home in opera and musical theatre, some of her favorite roles include Lay Sister in Suor Angelica (Opera Memphis), Gianetta in The Gondoliers (Memphis Light Opera), Miles in The Turn of the Screw (Texas Tech Opera Theatre), Gretel in Hansel und Gretel, and Carrie in Carousel (Moonlight Musicals). She recently won the University of Memphis’ 2021 Concerto Competition and will give a victory performance in the fall with the university orchestra. In 2020, Desiree competed in the West Tennessee District of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and was awarded an Encouragement Award. In her persistence to offer music to make better her community, Desiree is an executive board member of Justice Choir Memphis. As a performer and stage director, she pledges against discrimination of any vulnerable groups and to be a voice for change on and off the stage.
Handorf Company Artist Stephanie Doche, mezzo-soprano
Praised as “explosively eloquent” (Memphis Flyer) and beholding “fervent, commanding vocal prowess,” (San Diego Story), French-American mezzo-soprano Stephanie Doche (rhymes with posh) is highly coveted for her “darkly shaded voice". Critically acclaimed for her fioratura singing, Stephanie performed her “triumphant” portrayal as Angelina in La Cenerentola with both Opéra Louisiane and Opera NEO in 2019. Stephanie joins the Florida Grand Opera FGO Studio for the 2020/2021 season anticipating to perform the roles of Flora Bervoix in La traviata and Siébel in Faust (both canceled due to COVID-19). In 2021, Stephanie performs the roles of Dinah in Trouble in Tahiti, Pamela/Mama in New York Stories (Hagen), and Rosine in Signor Deluso (Pasatieri) as part of Florida Grand Opera’s Winter Opera Series. During the 2018/2019 season she was a Handorf Company Artist with Opera Memphis, successfully performing the wide-ranging roles of Suzuki in Madama Butterfly, Cousin Hebe in H.M.S. Pinafore, and Toledo in The Falling & the Rising (professional premiere). In 2021, Stephanie is slated to appear with Opera Company of Middlebury, Opéra Louisiane, and Finger Lakes Opera, as well as make her role debut as Bizet’s iconic femme fatale, Carmen.
Shannon Redburn, soprano
Soprano Shannon Redburn is rapidly developing a reputation as a vibrant and energetic performer of both operatic and concert repertoire. Her special interests include modern American opera and English song literature, specifically the repertoire of Aaron Copland, John Duke, and Jake Heggie. In 2017, Shannon made her European operatic debut singing the role of Laurie Moss in the Bulgarian National Premiere of Aaron Copland’s The Tender Land. While in Bulgaria, Shannon was the soprano soloist in the Mozart Requiem and sang the role of Lakme in the French Opera Orchestral Gala. In 2018, Shannon premiered the role of La Bourgoise in the new adaptation of Lully’s La Chûte de Phaëton in Portland, Oregon. Other favorite operatic credits include The First Lady in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte; Despina, Così fan tutte; Miss Wordsworth, Albert Herring; Lisette, La Rondine; Papagena, Die Zauberflöte; Suor Genovieffa, Suor Angelica; Adele, Die Fledermaus; and Suzel, L’amico Fritz. Shannon received two bachelor's degrees in performance and music education from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory, a master's degree from the University of Memphis and will graduating with a DMA in Voice Performance from the University of Memphis in May of 2021.
Tanisha Ward, soprano
Tanisha Ward is a native Memphian and former Artist-in-Residence with Opera Memphis and the winner of an Emerging Artist Grant from Arts Memphis. She holds the Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Mississippi. Ward has been seen in supporting and featured roles with several Opera Memphis productions including Aida, Treemonisha, Porgy and Bess, and Turandot. She also covered the leading soprano role of Euridice in Gluck’s Orpheus. Ward was featured in a one-woman show entitled Black Roots of Opera for Opera Memphis in honor of Black History Month. She has sung with several other regional and international companies/ orchestras including Playhouse on the Square, New York Lyric Opera, Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, and Red Mountain Theater. She is currently a Company Artist with Moon River Opera in Savannah, Georgia.
Aaron Redburn, tenor
Kansas City native, tenor Aaron Redburn is rapidly cultivating a reputation as an outstanding recitalist and opera performer. Mr. Redburn studied at the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance and was honored with the prestigious Carol Dale Award, recognizing him as the university's "Most Outstanding Undergraduate Musician”. On the opera stage, Aaron is an active performer with Opera Memphis, UMKC Opera, and the University of Memphis opera program. Mr. Redburn has been seen with Opera Memphis as Gherardo in Gianni Schicchi and was scheduled to perform the title role of Mozart’s Bastien und Bastienne (cancelled due to COVID-19). In his time with the University of Memphis, he has been seen as Ferrando (Così fan tutte), Tamino (Die Zauberflöte), Prunier (La rondine), and Rodolfo (La bohème). Redburn completed his Master’s Degree in Vocal Performance at the University of Memphis under the tutelage of Susan Owen-Leinert and, in tandem with his wife, is currently pursuing his DMA at the Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music with Dr. Randal Rushing.
Alyce Tarver Wells, soprano
Alyce Tarver Wells is a soprano based in Memphis, TN pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in Vocal Performance at the University of Memphis. She is the adjunct instructor teaching musical theatre freshmen and sophomores at the University of Memphis’ Department of Theatre and Dance. Alyce’s recent engagements include Donna Elvira in the University of Memphis’ productions of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Countess Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro, Adele in Strauss II’s Die Fledermaus, and Polly Peachum in Benjamin Britten’s Beggar’s Opera. She has also regularly performed for the annual 30 Days of Opera with Opera Memphis since 2018. Her Opera Memphis credits include First Novice in Suor Angelica and chorus for Pirates of Penzance, H. M. S. Pinafore, Madama Butterfly, La Traviata, and a company member for their improvisational Christmas special “A Victorian Holiday” at the Dixon Gallery and Gardens. Alyce was selected to perform as Laetitia in Menotti’s The Old Maid and the Thief at the Curso Internacional de Música Vocal in Aveiro, Portugal in 2013. She was also a finalist in the NATS regional competition in 2013-2014 and for the Savell Vocal Competition in 2015 and 2016. Alyce holds a Bachelor of Music Degree in Vocal Performance with a piano minor from Louisiana Tech University and a Master’s of Music in Vocal Pedagogy from the University of Memphis, where she was and is a graduate assistant. She lives in Memphis, TN with her husband and two dogs, Magnolia and Belle.
Handorf Company Artist Dane Suarez, tenor
Praised for his "big, heroic voice" and "powerful emotions," tenor Dane Suarez has developed an exciting and varied career. In the winter of 2020, Mr. Suarez returned to West Bay Opera to perform the role of Macduff (Macbeth). For the remainder of the 2020 season, he was scheduled to reprise the role of Rodolfo (La bohème) with Fort Worth Opera (COVID19 postponement), perform the title role in Faust with Opera Neo (COVID19 postponement), and make his role debut as Manrico (Il trovatore) with Opera in the Heights (COVID19 postponement). For 2020-2021, Mr. Suarez is happy to have returned to Opera Memphis, he joined the Memphis Symphony Orchestra for their holiday concert, and he will perform the role of Don José (Carmen) with Festival Opera. Dane was a National Semi-Finalist of The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. He made his Washington National Opera debut in 2015 and his New York City Opera debut in 2017. He has sung leading roles with Opera San Jose, Opera Memphis, Aspen Music Festival, and more. Dane currently resides in Memphis with his wife and their two perfect dogs.
Maria Fasciano, soprano
Maria Fasciano is a three-time Metropolitan Opera Regional Finalist as well as a graduate of the prestigious Merola Opera Program at San Francisco Opera. Maria has appeared with Opera Memphis in their 30 Days of Opera in addition to various community performances. Fasciano has also sung performances ranging from Beethoven to Pops with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, and Texarkana Symphony Orchestra. Favorite roles include Lady Billows (Albert Herring), Mimì (La Boheme), Angelica (Suor Angelica), and Cio Cio San (Madama Butterfly).
Daniel Massey, tenor
Daniel Massey is currently in his fifth year as choir director at White Station High School in Memphis, Tennessee. Originally from Carriere, MS, Massey began his studies at Pearl River Community College, earned a bachelor’s degree in Music Education from William Carey University, and continued to Southern Mississippi for his master’s degree in choral conducting. Massey’s stage experience includes performances in both musical theater and opera productions at The University of Southern Mississippi, William Carey University, the University of South Alabama, and Opera Memphis. At White Station, Massey directs the choirs with his longtime friend, Joseph Powell. Massey is currently a staff singer at Grace St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.
Karen Schowalter Cooper, mezzo-soprano
Karen Schowalter Cooper, mezzo-soprano, is a native of New Orleans, where she grew up singing. She became an AGMA member of the New Orleans Opera Chorus while still a student at St. Mary's Dominican High School. Ms. Schowalter Cooper received her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in vocal performance from Louisiana State University. Karen was the recipient of numerous awards and scholarships during her years as a student at LSU. She was a National Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions and the Chicago Lyric Opera Center for American Artists auditions. Karen was a member of the Young Artist Program at Chautauqua Opera and has performed with the New Orleans Opera Association, Opera Grand Rapids, the Birmingham Opera, Opera Memphis and the Saarländiches Stattstheater in Saarbrüken, Germany. Roles have included Carmen (title role), Mercedes, Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni), Marcellina, Cherubino (Le Nozze de Figaro), Hansel (Title role), Rossweiß (Die Walküre), Wellgunde (Das Rheingold), Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors, Baba in the Medium, and the Secretary in The Consul. Karen teaches private voice and is soloist and alto section leader with the Rhodes MasterSingers Chorale and at Germantown Presbyterian Church.
Joseph Powell, tenor
Originally from Mobile, AL, Joseph Powell is a conductor and tenor from Memphis, TN. He holds degrees from the University of Southern Mississippi in music education and choral conducting. Currently, Powell is in his seventh year as Director of Choirs at White Station High School. In addition to his teaching career, Powell is an active performer, appearing with Opera Memphis and the Memphis Symphony Chorus, where he is a rehearsal assistant. Powell has performed in opera and musical theater productions with Opera Memphis, IRIS Orchestra, The University of Southern Mississippi, and the St. Paul’s Players. Powell is also a staff singer at Calvary Episcopal Church in Memphis. He resides in East Memphis with his wife, Samantha, Director of Choirs at White Station Middle School, and daughter, Ellis.
Tracy Thomas, soprano
Assistant Professor of Musical Theatre Voice, University of Memphis Department of Theatre & Dance (previously at University of North Carolina at Pembroke). More than 20 national and international tours spanning a 43 year career as a singer/actor/musician, most recently Once (Baruska, Production Musical Supervisor, 2019) Chicago (Company Manager, 2020), and The Sound of Music (Mother Abbess/Elsa understudy, int’l), Fiddler on the Roof (Associate Music Director, nat’l); Regional credits: leading/supporting roles in Once, Next To Normal, West Side Story, Grease, Guys and Dolls, Joseph...Dreamcoat, Company, Fiddler on the Roof; Leading opera/oratorio roles in Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni, Amahl and the Night Visitors, Brahms’ Requiem, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, Mendelssohn's Elijah, Mozart's Mass in C (Lincoln Center debut).
Philip Himebook, tenor
Philip Andrew Himebook is a Memphis based tenor, known for his work in both opera and theatre. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Toccoa Falls College, a Master of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Memphis and was a two-time Divisional winner of the MONC auditions. Philip first came to the public’s attention with his performance as Piangi in the University of Memphis production of The Phantom of the Opera. He went on to take center stage as Jean Valjean in two back-to-back productions of Les Misérables. Continuing to pursue his love of music theatre (including Into the Woods, The Producers, and Beauty & the Beast), he knew that the one area in his vocal journey yet to be truly ventured was the world of opera. As a resident artist with Opera Memphis for their 2018-19 season, Philip understudied as Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly, and starred as Ralph Rackstraw in the H.M.S. Pinafore, Jumper in The Falling & the Rising, returning in 2019 as Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi.
Amanda McGee, contralto
Contralto Amanda McGee has been singing with Opera Memphis since 2007. She has performed in many operas as a member of the chorus and most recently performed the roles of Mistress of the Novices in Opera Memphis’ production of Puccini’s “Suor Angelica” and the Duchess of Plaza Toro in Memphis Light Opera’s production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Gondoliers”. Amanda is also a soloist for East Win Christian Church. When she isn’t singing, Amanda enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter on their farm in Holly Springs, MS.
To ensure that singers and audiences alike can be safe and protected while experiencing 30 Days of Opera this year, we are adhering to the following guidelines:
All performances of 30 Days of Opera will be outdoors this April.
Performers will wear masks and practice social distancing. The singer will remove their mask to sing only if a safe distance is maintained.
The equipment will be doubly sanitized - once by the artist before returning it and again by an Opera Memphis team member.
30 Days of Opera has ended for the 2020-21 season.