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The premier opera company bringing history to life in New Orleans

OperaCréole Givonna Joseph and Aria Mason, Founders

Meet the singers on the OperaCreole Roster

Givonna Joseph, Founder and Artistic Director

Ms. Joseph is committed to the culture of New Orleans, city of her birth. This is most evident in her research on 19th Century classical music of New Orleans Free People of Color.

The mezzo-soprano, as founder of the 2018 Classical Arts Award winning OperaCreole, was recently honored as a finalist in the Arts-Based Business Pitch at the 2017 New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (NOEW), and interviewed for The New Yorker, and NPR for her research. She previously as a "Standard Bearer " of Louisiana culture by being featured on "Le Grand Tour" a documentary for French TV, and with a radio interview on WWNO Radio/NPR. 

Ms Joseph was last seen as Sister Marie Josephine Charles in Les Lions de la Reconstruction, the original production she wrote for New Orleans Tricentnnial. She sang the roles of Leonor in our La Flamenca, and Marie Laveau, in our 2015 production of Minette Fontaine. She also sang the role of Sylvia in production of Wading Home, and opera of New Orleans written by Mary Alice Rich and Rosalyn Story of Dallas, Tx., and was alto soloists for Messiah with Symphony Chorus of New Orleans at the Orpheum Theater. She sang the role of Gudrun in our 2012 production of Samuel Coleridge Taylor's lost opera Thelma.

Givonna has had featured roles in many New Orleans Opera Productions. Roles included: Mrs Noah's Gossip in Noah's Flood, Lily in two production of New Orleans Opera's Porgy and Bess, and one of the three Abati in New Orleans Opera's Manon Lescaut, and. She has been a member of the professional Opera Chorus for many years.

An award winning arts educator, and music therapist, Ms. Joseph currently teaches voice privately, is a Master Teaching Artist with Young Audiences of Louisiana, lectures on the science of music, and performs for schools through New Orleans Opera's MetroPelican program.

Ms. Joseph has performed in concert at such venues as The American Church In Paris in Paris, France and La Chiesa di Santa Susanna in Rome, Italy. She has been a soloist with the William Grant Still Orchestra, the Symphony Chorus of New Orleans, and served as a cantor for Blessed Teresa of Calcutta's New Orleans visit. In the 2006-2007 season, she was a chorister with Houston Grand Opera. The creator of "WomanSong", a one woman show, she was also heard as an opening artist for Ray Charles in concert at Jones Hall in Houston, TX.

Ms. Joseph, a Loyola University alumna, has studied with Charles Paddock, Philip and Ellen Frohnmeyer, George Shirley (Metropolitan Opera, U. of Michigan), Patricia O'Neil (LSU), and Kathleen Kaun (Rice U.)

Prior to Hurricane Katrina, Givonna served as Music Director/Cantor at St. Rose of Lima Church, and Director of Education for the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra.

The arts advocate, researcher, and writer, is also on the Boards of LA Creole (Louisiana Creole Research Association), and Alliance Française. Ms. Joseph is a member of American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA) and The Louisiana Touring Directory. Video and audio clips of Ms. Joseph can be found at

Aria M. Mason, Co-founder, Production Director, mezzo soprano

Ms. Mason, Co-Founder of OperaCreole, and Board Member, sings Rosalia in our 2017 production of La Flamenca. She sang the leading role of Madame DiNoyan in our production of Minette Fontaine.

Ms. Mason was recently featured on "Le Grand Tour" a documentary for French TV, has been seen and heard on C-Span, EWTN, WLAE-TV, WWL-TV, and has performed in Boston, New York, Washington, D.C., Paris, France, and Rome, Italy, in addition to her native city of New Orleans and locales in the Gulf Coast.

The mezzo-soprano is a member of the nationally acclaimed New Orleans Opera Chorus, and was recently featured in the role of Annie in the 2010 production of the Gershwins' "Porgy and Bess". She previously served as choral director and director of music ministry at Our Lady of the Rosary Church.

Ms. Mason is a graduate of The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., where she studied voice with Regina McConnell. She received bachelor degrees in History and Music, and was the recipient of the Student Activities Award. At CUA, she was featured in the role of Second Lady in a production of Die Zauberflote, and was in productions of La Traviata and The Tender Land. She is also an alumna of Benjamin Franklin High School and the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts. She has been a featured soloist in works by Mozart and Bach at the Cathedral-Basilica of St. Louis, King of France in New Orleans, and has been featured in concert and recital around the Gulf South.

Aria has continued to show her commitment to the renaissance of the New Orleans community. Through her work on the inaugural faculty at Morris Jeff Community School (and past service as a founding member of City Year Louisiana and as the New Orleans Outreach Coordinator at S.J. Green and Arthur Ashe Charter Schools), she has demonstrated her commitment to work toward providing greater opportunities for success for the next generation of New Orleanians. She also owns an online boutique: Belle Lafaye: Creations by Aria Listen to audio clips of Ms. Mason at

Terrance Brown, baritone

Mr. Brown, who New Orleans enjoyed in the role of Robbins, in New Orleans Opera's Porgy and Bess, was last seen as Edmond Dédé in our production of Les Lions de la Reconstruction. He made his debut with OperaCréole in the role of Jackson in La Flamenca, and also was Ned in Treemonisha. He is a native of West Blocton, Alabama. Dr.Brown was awarded a Bachelor of Music degree from Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, and Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from Louisiana State University. Dr. Brown has quickly made a name for himself as a versatile singer and conductor. 

 An active teacher and stage performer, Dr. Brown has traveled extensively throughout the United States and Europe as a concert artist, recitalist, and operatic artist. He is known for his rich, lyrical baritone voice that is capable of performing a variety of musical styles. His performance credits include: Count Capulet in Gounod?s Romeo et Juliette, Bob in Menotti?s Old Maid and the Thief, Peter in Humperdinck?s Hansel and Gretel, Sarastro in Mozart?s Die Zauber Flöte, Collatinus in Britten?s Rape of Lucretia, Boaz in James Niblock?s Ruth and Naomi, Germont in Verdi's La Traviata, Voltaire in Bernstein's Candide, Salieri in Rimsky-Korakov?s Mozart and Salieri, Jake/Robbins in Gershwin's Porgy and Bess, Le Baili in Massenet's Werther, Le Marquis in Poulenc's Dialogues of the Carmelites, and Dashwood in Mark Adamo?s Little Women. 

 As an active recitalist and concert artist, Dr. Brown has performed as feature soloist with the Canterbury Choral Society, Texarkana Symphony, Chesapeake Chamber Opera, Rapides Symphony Orchestra, Oklahoma City Ballet, Austin Symphony Orchestra, Baton Rouge Symphony, New Orleans Opera, Mobile Opera, Opera Louisiane, Huntsville Symphony Orchestra, Memphis Symphony Orchestra, as well as many other noted performing ensembles. Dr. Brown currently serves as Chair of the Department of the Department of Music and Conductor of Opera at the University of North Alabama.

Tyrone Chambers, II, tenor

Mr. Chambers is a Founding and Principle Tenor with OperaCréole was last seen as Basile Barés in our production of Les Lions de la Reconstruction. He sang the leading role of Torres in La Flamenca and the role of Diron Hachard in our 2015 production of Minette Fontaine. In 2012, he was Eric in our production of Thelma. He has been most recently seen in several performances of his own show: American Portraits- which he, in collaboration with pianist Jonathan Levin and soprano Elana Gleason, created, programmed, and produced in New Orleans, Mississippi, and North Carolina, most recently at Levin's Clayton Piano Festival. Earlier this year, Mr. Chambers made his Swiss debut, singing the role of Joe in Gershwin's Blue Monday with L'Orchestre de chambre de Genève, Maestro Arie van Beek conducting. In New York he was tenor soloist in Schubert's B-flat Mass with the Richmond Choral Society, Gastone in Martina Arroyo's Prelude to Performance production of La Traviata, and King Nebuchadnezzar in Harlem Opera Theater's production of The Burning Fiery Furnace. He has also performed various roles with New Orleans Opera: El Remendado inCarmen, Philistine Messenger in Samson et Dalila, and Second Jew in Salome. He was also Governor/Gambler in Loyola University's production of Candide.

This native of New Orleans, LA earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in music from Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA and a Master of Music degree from the University of Oklahoma in Norman. Mr. Chambers now resides in Bingen, Germany and is performing quite a bit. Over the summer he was seen in performances of Die Zauberflöte. Over Christmas and New Year's he'll be singing the role of Hans in Léon Jessel's Schwarzwaldmädel and next summer, Belmonte from Die Entführung aus dem Serail.

Kenya Lawrence Jackson, soprano  

Ms. Jackson, our Principal Soprano, was last seen as Mother Juliette Gaudin in our original production of Les Lions de le Reconstruction. In 2017, she sang the title role of Treemonisha. She also helped OperaCréoleke history in the title role of Flamenca in La Flamenca. 

Kenya currently serves as the Director of Music and Worship at St. Timothy United Methodist Church in Mandeville, LA where her duties include coordinating a large and diverse music program. A native of Hammond, LA., Ms. Jackson, has studied and performed throughout the country and in Italy and Germany. Kenya's operatic roles include Despina in Cosi Fan Tutti, Laurie inThe Tenderland, and Gianetta in The Gondoliers with companies such as Studio Lirico in Anghiari, Italy, Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival in Fairbanks, Alaska, and Opera Works in Northridge, California. She has also been heard in various music theater performances.

gram. She conducts the much anitcipated Christmas on the Northshore, showcasing the talents of the 100-voice St. Timothy Choir and the Northshore Orchestra, an ensemble of over 40 local musicians. She also created, produces and directs the annual Of Thee I Sing patriotic celebration each Memorial Day weekend. Kenya has also produced many children's theater productions, including Seussical the Musical, Alice in Wonderland, and Godspell Jr, in addition to several original productions.Kenya has been recognized as a finalist with the National Opera Association competition, and was winner of the Dallas area NATS competition in Spring of 2000. 

Ms Jackson has completed intensive language studies in Urbino, Italy and in Weimar Germany, where she also studied voice with tenor David Brewer. She holds a Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance from Southern Methodist University, where she studied with Barbara Hill-Moore. She also holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance from Southestern Louisiana University, where she was recognized with the James Wilcox Award for Outstanding senior. She currently studies with LSU Professor, Dr. Lorraine Sims. 

Jonathan Parham, tenor

Jonathan made his debut with OperaCréole as Paul Trévigne in our 2018 production of Les Lions de La Reconstruction, and is a regular singer with the company.Mr. Parham received his Bachelors degree at Reinhardt University and his Masters at University of Kentucky.

He has performed leading roles in opera such as Tales of Hoffman, Sweeney Todd, Porgy and Bess, Magic Flute, Ballad of Baby Doe,and La Canterina at UK Opera Theater, Princeton Festival and Shorter University. His concert and oratorio work has included Romancero Gitano at Reinhardt University, and They Will be Done, with the Lexington Philharmonic.

Valencia Pleasant, mezzo-soprano

Valencia made her debut with OperaCréole as Madame Trévigne in our production of Les Lions de la Reconstruction, and is now a regular singer with the company.

Ms. Pleasant has a Masters of Music from New York University.and her Bachelors from Mississippi State University. At NYU she sang leading roles in operas such as Carmen, Cosi Fan Tutti, The Maid of Orleans, and Suor Angelica.

Keturah Heard, soprano

K Keturah is the newest soprano to join the OperaCréole roster. She debuted asZizi in our production of Les Lions de la Reconstruction. She has both an opera and musical theater background.

Her operamost recent opera roles have been Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi, Ida inDie Fledermaus, and Barbarina in Le Nozze di Figaro, with outheastern LA Opera. We was also a featuresd soloist for their 75th Aniverssary Gala. In Musical Theater, she was most recently seen as Chiffon in C

utting Edge Theater's Little Shop of Horrors, and Lena Horne in Bob Hope and His All-Star Pacific Tour- BBS Stage Door Canteen at the National WWII Museum, She was also in Cutting Edge Theater's Rockin' Sounds of The 60s, and Hit It! a Musical Revue at the Center For Performing Arts. She has also performed with the NOVA Chorale. Ms. Heard has appeared regularly as a soloist in Of Thee I SingL Patriotic Concert, and Christmas on the Northshore with St. Timothy's Church in Mandeville, LA. Keturah is study for a Masters in Music at LSU. She has a Bachelors of Music from Southeastern Louisiana

Tyrone Hayes, Baritone

Mr. Hayes made his debut with OperaCréole as Mazaquil in Treemonisha, is a native of New Orleans, Louisiana. Hayes is currently a Doctor of Musical Arts candidate in Voice Performan

ce and Pedagogy at the University of Southern Mississippi. He received his Masters degree in Voice Performance from Southeastern Louisiana University and Bachelor's degree in Music from the Unive

Roles that Mr. Hayes has performed include Marcello in La Bohème, Renato in Un Ballo in Maschera, Count Monterone and the title role in Rigoletto, the title role Gianni Schicchi, Tonio in I Pagliacci, The Wolf in Seymour Barab's Little Red Riding Hood, Frank in Die Fledermaus, Count Almaviva in The Marriage of Figaro, and Dr. Bartolo in The Barber of Seville. On the concert stage he has been a soloist in the premiere of Edwin Penhorwood's An American Requiem, Faure'sRequiem, Mozart's Requiem, and Charpentier's Christmas Oratorio.rsity of New Orleans. His teachers include Dr. Maryann Kyle, Dr. David Bernard and Dr. Valerie Francis. He has worked with vocal coaches Janna Ernst, Wayne Wyman, Dr. Jeffrey Peterson and Jerome Shannon.

Prentiss Mouton, Tenor

Prentiss, our Resident Tenor, sings his first role with us as Remus in Treemonisha, He made his debut with us in 2013. The 2015 winner of the national George Shirley Competition. Mr. Mouton spent last summer performing in Italy, and will graduate in August from Louisiana State University with a bachelor's degree in Vocal Music Performance. He is a Memphis, Tennessee Native. Prentiss holds a strong background in Musical Theatre, but made his professional debut in The 9th Ward Opera Company's Summer production of George Gershwin's "Blue Monday" in the leading role of Joe at The Marigny Opera House in New Orleans, Louisiana. He has also covered for the role of Alexander in Louisiana State University's Production of "The New Moon", in which he was also a chorus member. This past year, Prentiss competed in his first NATS Competition for the Southern Louisiana Divisions in Fall and Spring, and received first place in his category both times. He is also a member of the Louisiana State University A Cappella Choir. Prentiss is under intense vocal and performance study with Baritone Dennis Jesse, Alexander Technique instructor Patricia O'Neil, and acting coach Josh Talley. After receiving his Bachelor's Degree, Prentiss plans to pursue further Graduate studies in classical music

Brandon Richardson, baritone  

Brandon, Resident Baritone, made his debut with OperaCréole in 2012. He sang the roles of Madame DeNoyan's Guest and a French Market Vendor in our production of Minette Fontaine.

Prior to his tour of service with the U.S. Army in Iraq, the graduate of Northeast Louisiana University was a featured soloist at Cambridge University in England for the "Symposium of African American Composers" at the invitation of Dr. Akin Euba, composer of "Ornumela's Voices-Songs From the Beginning of Time".

Brandon has been heard in several roles for Shreveport Opera, to include the Physician in "Macbeth", Second Philistine in"Samson and Delila", Paris in "Romeo and Juliette", and A Capaddocian in "Salome". He was Ornumela in the 2002 World Premier of "Ornumela's Voices-Songs From the Beginning of Time" with the Jefferson Performing Arts Society.

The baritone has been a professional chorister with The New Orleans Opera Association since 2001, and has also performed as a soloist with the Northlake Performing Arts Society. He has stu

died voice with Louis Nabor at University of Louisiana at Monroe, and Steve Rushing at Southeast Louisiana University.

Mark-Anthony Thomas, tenor

Emerging young tenor Mark-Anthony Thomas, Andy in Treemonisha,is a native of New Orleans, Louisiana. He is graduate of the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts, where he studied vocal music and received a Certificate of Artistry under the tutelage of Phyllis Treigle. He was selected as a winner of the New Orleans Junior Philharmonic Society competition in 2009. In 2012 Mark-Anthony traveled to Italy to study opera with the Siena Summer Music Festival under the direction of Metropolitan Opera veteran Dana Talley. Mark-Anthony is also a member of the New Orleans Opera Association chorus and has appeared in its productions of Madame Butterfly, La Bohème, Carmen, Tosca, Die Fledermaus, and Sweeney Todd. He performed the title role in the world premiere of Chris Burton?s The Self Portrait of Jonathan Jenkins with New Fangled Opera, and in 2013 performed in Jennifer Jolley?s Krispy Kremes and Butter Queens as the Angel/Announcer #2. He also has performed various roles and concerts in the greater New Orleans area, specifically productions at Loyola University New Orleans, including Puccini's Gianni Schicchi (Gherardo), Gounod's Romeo and Juliette (Tybalt), and most recently, Kurt Weill's Street Scene (Daniel Buchanan). Mark-Anthony appeared in Nicholls State University's production of Gershwin's Porgy and Bess (Peter) in 2016.

Mark-Anthony received his Bachelor of Music from Loyola University New Orleans in 2017 and is now working there towards his Master's, studying with internationally acclaimed artist Luretta Bybee.

Ebonee Davis, soprano 

Ms. Davis, Principle Soprano, is a native of New Orleans, LA. Ebonee sang the roles of Monisha in Treemonisha, and Piquita in La Flamenca. She also sang the role of Clarice in our production of Minette Fontaine. Ebonee made her debut with OperaCréole in 2013, and is a member of the Board of Directors. 

She is an Adjunct Professor of Music in Loyola University's Commercial Music Division and Instructor of Voice, Piano and Piano Theory at Loyola Prepartory ArtsProgram. 

She received her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Music degrees from the University of New Orleans, as well as a Performer Diploma in Classical Voice from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. Upon completion of her masters degree, Ebonee went to Oderzo, Italy where she was a Young Artist with EPASCO (Ezio Pinza Council for Amerian Singers of Opera). While there, she coached with Claudia Pinza, Enza Ferrari, Maurizio Arena, Maria Chiara, and Vivica Genaux. Ebonee made her Italain concert debut in Motta di Livenza and Oderzo, and studied the roles of Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, Mimi in La Boheme, Desdemona in Verdi's Otello, and Marguerite in Faust.

Ms. Davis, a section leader and soloist at Rayne United Methodist Church, was recently presented in concert at St. Mary's Church, French Quarter, to benefit the Bishop Perry Center.

Ebonee appeared as both a soloist and chorister with the New Orleans Opera Association in their 2002 production of Porgy and Bess. She subsequently performed with the company in their productions of Tosca, Cavalleria Rusticana/I Pagliacci, and La Traviata. Some of Ebonee's opera roles have included: Madeline/Isabelle in The Face on the Barroom Floor, Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus, and both Sis.Gerald and Madame Lidoine in Les Dialogues des Carmélites. She has performed scenes as: the title role in La Traviata, Mimi in La Boheme, Antonia in The Tales of Hoffmann, and Fiordiligi in Cosi fan tutte. She is also continuing her own vocal studies with her long-term voice teacher,Dr. Raquel Cortina, while actively pursuing a full-time performance career in opera and classical music.

Guest Artists  

Richard Hobson, baritone

Richard Hobson, Metropoliton Opera baritone, is acclaimed for "the strong dramatic persona" he brings to his performances.  

He made is debut with OperaCréole as Dr. Louis Charles Roudanez, in out production of Les Lions de la Reconstruction.

He is an Affiliate Artist at Southern University where he teaches voice and is The Director of Opera. He has sung professionally for over twenty years in Europe, Australia, the United States, Canada an in South America. The New York Sunwrote of his Rigoletto "... the staff was extremely lucky to draw baritone Richard Hobson as the jester. Here was a voice of deep power and burnished color. In addition to some of the best shading I have heard in some time, Mr. Hobson is an excellent actor who sent chills at the appropriate moments. His scene with the courtiers was really quite memorable. The character might have been stooped by his his infirmities, but his voice towered over his peers". 

Mr. Hobson has sung on the roster of The Metropolitan Opera for ten consecutive seasons in operas including Madama Butterfly, Carmen, Rigoletto, Boris Goudanov,Les Troyens, Andrea Chenier, Le Rossignol, Was And Piece, Macbeth, Samson Et Dalila, Doktor Faust, Don Carlo, The Nose and Die Frau Ohne Schatten.

At New York City Opera, Mr. Hobson was heard in the title role of Porgy in Porgy And Bess, as Zuniga in Carmen, Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro and Schaunard inLa Boheme.

In 2001 Mr. Hobson made his Italian debut as Amonosro in a new production of Aidawhich celebrated the centennial of Giuseppe Verdi's death. The production was directed by Franco Zeffirelli at Teatro Streheler (Piccolo Scala) in Milano, Italy.

In addition to opera, Mr. Hobson made his Broadway in Hal Princes' Showboat singing the role of Joe. He also sang in St. Louis Woman and Treemonisha. Upcomingengagements include Rigoletto with Lighthouse Opera in Bronx, NY, Aida withGateway Classical Music Society in Bridgeport, CT and Alberich in Siegfried withTrilogy Opera in Newark, NJ.

Ivan Griffin, bass-baritone

American bass-baritone Ivan Griffin has delighted audiences in

Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Holland, and South Africa. He was mostly recently seen as Angelotti in New Orleans Opera's production of "Tosca"

Mr. Griffin was recently seen as Rodolphe Desdunes in our production of Les Lions de la Reconstruction. He made his debut with OperaCréole in 2012 as King Olaf in Thelma, and was Lucien in our production of Minette Fontaine, was most recently seen as Robbins in the Spoletto Festival's Porgy and Bess, and Angelotti in New Orleans Opera's Tosca. Other engagements have included Lawyer Frazier in Michigan Opera Theatre's Porgy and Bess, a role that he was invited to reprise during a European tour of the opera. He has also appeared as Rev. Olin Blitch in Susannah with Buffalo Lyric Opera, Count Almaviva in The Marriage of Figaro and Papageno in The Magic Flute with Fayetteville Summer Opera and Western New York Opera Theater, respectively.

Mr. Griffin's many roles with New Orleans Opera have also included: Zuniga in Carmen, and Benoit in La Boheme. He has premiered several new works written for his voice. They include Songs of Winter, a song cycle for baritone and piano; and The Little Thieves of Bethlehem (Centaur Records), both by Rochester, New York-based composer Paul Stuart. With the South Bend Symphony, he was the featured soloist for the world premiere of Requiem for the Innocent, an oratorio by Spanish composer Jorge Muñiz. Of his work the South Bend Tribune said, Griffin was particularly heroic, maintaining his pacing and poise while switching from language to language and culture to culture. Additional oratorio repertoire includes performances of Mendelssohn?s Elijah, Handel's Messiah, Bach's St. John Passion, Dvorak's Stabat Mater and the requiems of Brahms, Duruflé, Fauré and Mozart.

In addition to the South Bend Symphony, Ivan has appeared with the orchestras of New Orleans, Rochester, Toledo, South Carolina, Nashville, Savannah, Bangor, Flint and Southeast Texas.

Recital appearances have taken him to various venues within the United States. They include Morehouse College, Eastman School of Music, Indiana University South Bend, Shippensburg University, Fisk University, Voorhees College, Covenant College and Middle Tennessee State University, to name a few. He has also performed for such audiences as the World's Fair, the International Thomas Merton Society, and the 1996 Summer Olympic Celebrate Faith and Arts Atlanta Concert Series. A frequent soloist with the internationally renowned American Spiritual Ensemble, he has appeared in concert at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and New York?s Riverside Church.

A versatile artist, Mr. Griffin has been praised for his excellent diction and superb sense of theater. He has been featured in such productions as Guys and Dolls at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium, Sophisticated Ladies at Detroit's Music Hall, Big River at Croswell Opera House, She Loves Me at Performance Network in Ann Arbor, and The All Night Strut at Boarshead Theatre in Lansing. He has also shared the stage with the late legendary stage and screen personalities Roscoe Lee Brown and Ossie Davis. See video of Ivan on his website at, and find him on Facebook. 

Ashley Renée, soprano

ASHLEY RENÉE is an accomplished performing artist and teaching artist, currently a part of the prestigious faculty for Lincoln Center Education and the 92nd Street Y Center for Education Outreach. Ashley Renée is a classically trained vocalist who has often ventured into other styles of music but has taken it to the next level with the release of her debut R&B single "Red Wine". The New Orleans native has been based in New York City since 2014 ? the year she appeared on NBC?s America?s Got Talent live at Radio City Music Hall with her opera and multi-genre duo ACTE II. The duo has been making their own way creating exciting concerts for audiences around the U.S. and internationally. They took their show Music Our Way on tour in 2017 thrilling their crowds with opera, jazz, musical theater and gospel tunes. Ashley Renée has always been in love with these styles and is adding R&B to her vocal arsenal. With the 2019 release of her debut EP she will further highlight both her vocal versatility as well as her skills as a thought-provoking songwriter. Past credits include performing as a guest of the Brooklyn Nets at the Atlantic Barclay?s Center of Brooklyn, NY, appearing with the American Spiritual Ensemble at the formerly named Avery Fisher Hall of Lincoln Center, being presented in concert at the National Christmas Tree of Washington D.C., and the Apollo Theater of Syros Greece. Ashley Renée has glistened in roles such as Bloody Mary in South Pacific, Lady Thiang in The King and I, Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus, La Contessa in Le Nozze di Figaro, Mimì in La Bohème, the Foreign Princess in Rusalka and Donna Anna in Don Giovanni. She attended Dillard University in her hometown of New Orleans and completed her bachelor?s and master?s degrees in voice and opera studies at the University of Oklahoma.

Chauncey Packer, tenor 

American tenor Chauncey Packer, first honored OperaCréole by joining in concerts in 2014. He is an exciting talent on the stages of opera houses in Europe and the United States.

Mr. Packer was recently seen as Samuel Snaer in our production of Les Lions de la Reconstruction.

In recent years, Mr. Packer has performed the roles of Steuermann DER FLIEGENDE HÖLLANDER with New Orleans Opera, Amon AKHNATENwith Atlanta Opera, Alfredo LA TRAVIATA with Pensacola Opera, and Rodolfo LA BOHÈME with Mobile Opera. This young tenor is highly in-demand for his captivating portrayal of Sportin' Life PORGY AND BESS. In 2011 he sang the role inder the baton of Maestro Lirin Maazel to rave reviews. He has also performed the role with San Francisco Opera, New Orleans Opera, Atlanta Opera, Opera Birmingham, Mobile Opera, Opera Grand Rapid, Pensacola Opera, Tulsa Opera and in many major European cities with the Munich-based New York Harlem Productions tour.

He has performed PORGY AND BESS in Japan and with an additional tour with Opéra Comique where he sang Mingo and covered Sportin' Life in Paris, Caen, Granada and Luxembourg. He is also featured on the PORGY AND BESS recording conducted by John Mauceri with Nashville Symphony, released in 2006 on Decca.

In addition to the companies aforementioned, Mr. Packer has also performed with the Utah Festival Opera, Opera Grand Rapids, Shreveport Opera, Nashville Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera and LSU Opera in such roles as Pinkerton MADAMA BUTTERFLY, the title role in WERTHER, Pong TURANDOT, Sam SUSANNAH, RuggeroLA RONDINE, Dr. Blind DIE FLEDERMAUS, Revival Singer ELMER GANTRY, Tamino DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE, Edmondo MANON LESCAUT, Larry/Matt THE FACE ON THE BARROOM FLOOR, ArturoLUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR, Remendado CARMEN, and Beppe PAGLIACCI.

He has also performed concerts with Edmonton Opera, Opera Noire of New York, Baton Rouge Symphony, Mobile Symphony, Gulf Coast Opera, New River Valley Symphony, Grand Rapid Symphony, and Pensacola Symphony, in such works as Haydn PAUKENMESSE, Bruckner TE DEUM, Schubert MASS IN G MAJOR, Handel MESSIAH, Beethoven MASS IN C MAJOR and NINTH SYMPHONY.

Mr. Packer has been the recipient of several prestigious awards, including the Huel Perkins Fellowship at Louisiana State University for doctoral studies. He has won several vocal competitions including National Associations of Teacher's Singing Competition, Rose Palmai-Tenser Competition, and Shreveport Singer of the Year, and was a finalist in Ducrest International Competition. He placed several times in the regional finals of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and in 2005, won at the regional level and was a national semi-finalist.

Chauncey Packer is originally from southern Alabama where he received his undergraduate degree from University of Mobile and his master's degree in music from University of New Orleans.

Mr. Packer is featured on New World Record's TREEMONISHA recording in the role pf Remus with Paragon Ragtime Orchestra. This recently released recording is receiving top critical acclaim by The New Yorker, BBC Music Magazine and countless others.

Mr. Packer's future engagements include concerts with Boston Symphony Orchestra and the premiere of an opera commissioned about the historic 1960's civl rights bus rides to New Orleans entitled FREEDOM RIDES in New Orleans.

Dara Rhaming , soprano

The Bahamian-born soprano made her OperaCréole debut in the title role in Minette Fontaine in our 2015 production.

Dara Rahming received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Xavier University of Louisiana and a Masters of Music from the University of Miami. Soon after completing her education she sang her first contracted role in her native Bahamas singing the role of Ginain the Bahamian Opera 'Our Boys' composed by Cleaphas Adderley. Our Boys', commissioned by the Bahamian government, in 1998, for the celebration of the Bahamas 25th year of Independence was a first for the country and a great success. Since then Ms. Rahming has performed with numerous opera companies in the United States and Europe. She has sung with the Lyric Opera of Chicago and performed in the revival of Scott Joplin's 'Treemonisha' and the revision of Dominick Argentos' Miss Havisham's Fire with the Opera Theatre of St. Louis. In 2004 Dara sang the role of Medora in Verdi's Il Corsaro', with the Sarasota Opera and went on to sing her first Tosca with the same company later that season. The Sarasota Opera duly recognized her hard work by making her the recipient of the Daniel R. Mandelker and Marlene N. Harris Fund Grant. That summer she sang the role of Serena in the Gershwin's Porgy and Bess' at the Linz Landestheatre in Linz, Austria. Later that year, she performed the same role at the Bunkamura Orchestra Hall in Tokyo, Japan and the Alte Oper in Frankfurt, Germany.

Eldric Bashful, tenor

A native of New Orleans, LA, Eldric, a founding singer with OperaCréole, has traveled the world with his music, enjoying a varied career on the performing stage. 

Between Kansas City and New York City, he was a frequent soloist with Unity Temple on the Plaza, Unity Church of New York and Unity Center of Vero Beach, FL. Other concert soloist performances in such venues as the Metropolitan Museum with Opera Ebony, Avery Fisher Hall, former member of Spiritus Ensemble and numerous other stages throughout Germany, France, Spain, Switzerland and recently Italy.

Recent roles: Cavalleria Rusticana (Turiddu); Cosi Fan Tutte (Ferrando); La Bohème (Rodolfo); Dialogue des Carmélites (Father Confessor); Amahl and the Night Visitors (King Kaspar); The Rape of Lucretia (Male Chorus). Other roles in preparation: MacBeth (Macduff); Rigoletto (Duke); L'Elisir d'Amore (Nemorino); Porgy & Bess (Sportin Life). 

Awards: Arizona NATS-LV 1st Place Winner 2009, NATS 2nd Place Winner 2006; Lexington Opera Society Scholarship 2005; American Institute of Musical Studies (AIMS) Meistersinger 8th Place Winner 2003; Jerry Herman Foundation Winner 2006. 

Currently studying under the guidance of tenor Dr. Alfonse Anderson of University of Nevada Las Vegas, Eldric holds a Master?s of Music Opera Performance from Arizona State University. 

Teachers/coaches: Janna Ernst (New Orleans Opera), Louis Salemno (Washington National Opera), Laurie Rogers (Opera Company of Philadelphia ), Carole FitzPatrick (ASU), David Britton (ASU), Gustavo Halley (UMKC), Wayne Sander (Opera Ebony), Everett McCorvey (UK), Dale Dreyfoos (ASU), Beaumont Glass, Bodo Igesz. 

Crystal Morris, soprano

Ms. Morris, is a founding singer with OperaCréole. She sang the title role in our 2012 production of Thelma by Samuel Coleridge Taylor. Crystal was the 2014 Second Place winner, Young Professionals category, in the MS Opera Voices of Mississippi vocal competition, and the winner of an Encouragement Award from the 2015 Regional Metropolitan Opera Council Auditions. Crystal received her Masters in Music at LSU, and is a graduate in Music Vocal Performance from Xavier University. She hails from Jackson, Mississippi. She was one of the funeral solosists in New Orleans Opera's "Pogy and Bess" Her previous roles include Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, with LSU Opera. Monica in The Medium, which was her first fully stage operatic role, Mrs. Florentino in Street Scene and Eva from An Embarrassing Position. Crystal has also been the Soprano soloist for numerous oratorios, such as John Rutter's Requiem and Magnificant, and Haydn's Lord Nelson Mass and The Creation. Crystal spent the summer in Italy singing with the La Musica Lirica Opera Company singing in the Chorus of La Traviata and sang the role of Adina in L'Elisir D'amore. She also sang on several concerts while in Italy. Crystal is a member of the New Orleans Opera Chorus. Last semester, Crystal sang Sussana in The Marriage of Figaro in Xavier Opera Workshop. Crystal is also a soloist and chorus member at Trinity Episcopal Church. After her completion of her degree at Xavier, Crystal plans on continuing her operatic studies in a graduate school program. Crystal currently studies with operatic soprano Dara Rahming. Crystal is a member the National Opera Association, NAACP and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.

Kendrick D. Williams, baritone

Dr. Claude Dupre in our production of Minette Fontaine, Mr. Williams is a native of Bennettsville, South Carolina. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music from Claflin University in Orangeburg, SC and has a Master's Degree in Music Performance at Loyola University in New Orleans, Louisiana. He is a young baritone with a big repertoire that includes works by Schumann, Mozart, Donizetti, Thomas, Rossini, Haydn, and Monteverdi. Kendrick has been afforded a wide range of performance opportunities, while also giving back to the community by doing various recitals and concerts. In the 2010 - 2011 season he performed the operatic role of Jake in Gershwin's Porgy & Bess with the Claflin University Lyric Opera program, Bass soloist for Handel 's Messiah presented by the Claflin University Concert Choir. Williams also competed in the 2010 Atlanta Heritage Festival Solo Spiritual Competition where he finished fifth. Continuing with the Claflin University Lyric Opera program in the 2011 - 2012 season Kendrick delivered the roles of Papageno in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte, and King Melchoir in Menotti's Amahl & the Night Visitors. Competing statewide and on the regional level He received first place in the 2012 National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Competition and second place in the 2012 Mid-Atlantic Regional round. In 2011 Kendrick was named the first place winner for the state of South Carolina in the National Association of Negro Musicians (NANM ) scholarship competition. After Performing the role of Simone in Puccini's Gianni Schicchi in the 2012 - 2013 season, Williams decided to make musical theater an extension to his musical career appearing in Alice Walker's The Color Purple, singing the theatrical role of Mister, also the role of The Ghost of Christmas Future in Christmas is Comin' Uptown with the Claflin University Theater ensemble. While being enrolled at Loyola University New Orleans, Kendrick is involved with the Loyola University Opera Theater Company, as well as the New Orleans Opera Chorus. During the 2013-14 academic year at Loyola Kendrick was heard as the Speaker in Loyola Opera Theatre's production of The Magic Flute and performed in excerpts from Trouble in Tahiti (Sam) and Les Contes d'Hoffmann (Dapertutto) on the H2Opera! scenes program. As a member of the New Orleans Opera Chorus he was seen onstage in the company's 2014 productions of La Bohème and Carmen. More recently Kendrick competed as a semi-finalist in the Giulio Gari International Vocal Competition in New York

Romel Brumley-Kerr, bass-baritone, is the first Afro-Costa Rican male Opera Singer in Costa Rican history. He began singing as a boy soprano as an early age with the order of the Hermana Oblatas de Siquirres Limon, Costa Rica. The baritone is a successful artist who won the second prize of the vocal competition by the Association of the Negro Business Women's Club INC of the district of New Jersey. This same association indulged him with the honor to sing at Carnegie Hall and then proclaimed him as an emerging young artist in February 2007.

While in New York, Mr. Brumley-Kerr performed as a soloist in the Messiah by Handel, Rossini?s Stabat Mater, Faure?s Requiem, Theodore Du Bois' The Last Word of Christ, and Felix Mendelssohn?s Elijah. Mr. Brumley-Kerr has participated in several important opera programs in New York City. He was part of the prestigious Martina Arroyo Program in which he learned and performed the role of Figaro from Le Nozze Di Figaro by Mozart under the direction of Legendary Soprano Martina Arroyo in 2007. In the same year, he sang with the prestigious Pacific Opera in New York singing twice at Carnegie Hall and the Golden Hall in NYC. He was member of The Long Island Opera workshop in which he performed the role of Marco in Puccini?s Gianni Schicchi.

 After coming to University of New Orleans, studying under Dr. Raquel Cortina, he reprised the role in Gianni Schicchi, sang the role of Tom in Henry Mollicone?s Face on the Barroom Floor, and Hansel and Gretel.

Romel has been a member of the New Orleans Opera Chorus since 2004. 

Young Artists:

Micah Turner, bass

Young Artist Micah Turner made his debut with OperaCréole as Parson Alltalk in our 2017 production of "Treemonisha".

While attending Xavier University of Louisiana as a Music Major vocal performance, he was a member of Concert Choir, University Chorus, Opera Workshop, the New Orleans Black Chorale and One Sound Music Organization. Since Xavier, he has performed with the New Orleans Black Chorale and New Orleans Philharmonic Orchestra twice in Mexico City, Mexico (Treemonisha and Porgy & Bess), "Blue Monday" with the Marigny Opera House. He is now teaching music at ARISE ACADEMY as the marching band director and performing with his group Black Magic Music Group LLC

Kentrell Roberts, baritone

Kentrell Eugene Roberts, Simon (and Ned cover) inTreemonisha, is a profound lyric baritone hailing from New Orleans, LA. He is a proud Alumni of the prestigious HBCU Dillard University where he earned a bachelor's degree in music vocal performance. While at Dillard his love for classical and operatic music began to emerge. Mr. Roberts was a member of the University's male quartet and later became the assistant to the director of the concert choir. His first professional debut was with the 9th ward Opera company in their production of George Gershwin's Blue Monday. In 2015 Kentrell was casted as Cleon in the New Orleans Opera Creole's production of Minette Fontaine. Currently Mr. Roberts is the director of the Abundant Life Church young adult praise team and is a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity INC. He is also attending Loyola University studying for his master's degree in music. In 2018 he will be performing with the New Orleans Opera productin of Champion by Terence Blanchard.

Evan Hammond, baritone 

Evan made his debut in the role of Tampico in La Flamenca.

He is a studying for his Master in Music at LSU, and is a graduate of University of North Alabama. 

At UNA Opera/Musical Theater he sang to role ofMarcello in La Boheme,Mercutio in Romeo et Juliet,Baker in Into The Woods, Le Baron Pictardu in Cendrillion, and Pagageno in The Magic Flute.

At Summer Stock at The Ritz he sang the role of Jigger Craigin in Carousel, and was in the ensemble forSouth Pacific.

Christian Patterson, tenor

Christian made his debut as Truxillo in La Flamenca. He recently received his Bachelor 's Degree in Vocal Performance from Loyola University, studying with Tyler Smith and Luretta Bybee. 

Christian sang the role of Sam Kaplan in Loyola's 2017 production of Street Scene, his first tenor leading role. His past credits include Mercutio in Romeo and Juliette, and Marco in Gianni Schicchi This past summer he had the opportunity to study in Verona, Italy with the Opera Viva intensive opera program, where he performed in many venues througout the city. . 

Cameron-Mitchell Ware, tenor

Cameron-­Mitchell Ware , Zodzetrick in Treemonisha. is a theatre/teaching artist from New Orleans, actively creating and performing in New York City and Los Angeles. Recent New Orleans credits include: Coalhouse Walker Jr. in RAGTIME -(2017 Big Easy Award Winner- Best Actor in a Musical; Cripple Creek Theatre Co.), Dudley in A Kingdom, A Chasm (Vagabond Inventions), and Jesus in Reefer Madness (Storyville Collective). Other credits include: Passing Strange (Stew) at Columbia University, numerous appearances at Midtown's 'Don't Tell Mama' Cabaret, and Off-Broadway in Deployed: A New Musical. As a teaching artist, CM has held residencies and facilitated interactions with theatre & dance for learners across the country with various Arts organizations including: The Wolftrap Arts Institute, KIDsmART, Theatre for A New Audience, Young Audiences, and The Contemporary Arts Center of New Orleans. Cameron-Mitchell holds degrees in Musical Theatre and Sociology from Loyola Marymount University. 

Our Wonderful Pianists!

Wilfred Delphin, DMA, Founding Pianist

Our Founding and Principle Pianist, and rehearsal coach was recently honored with a Lifetime Achie,vement Award from the Tribute to the Classical Arts Awards. and a Recognition Award from the Louisiana Creole Research Association, for his contribution to the Arts and the greater good of the community.

Dr. Wilfred Delphin, one half of the internationally renowned piano duo Delphin and Romaine, retired from the Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIUC) School of Music in 2004. He volunteered with the United States Peace Corps for several months in the West African country of Senegal after his retirement, leaving that country for New Orleans to help with the recovery effort after Hurricane Katrina.

Delphin debuted in 1977 at Carnegie Hall with Edwin Romaine. The two of them toured the United States, South America, Europe and Asia. After Romain passed in 1995, Delphin continued performing and teaching. His fans include former President Jimmy Carter, for whom he played a solo recital in the East Room of the White House. He is part of Baldwin Piano's "World's Best" promotion and is a South Carolina Arts Commission Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Award winner. Currently, he is a faculty member and artist-in-residence in the Department of Music at Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans, where he is also an alumnus.

Ronald Joseph, Resident Pianist 

Mr. Joseph, the 2018 Big Easy Award nominee, was the pianist for our 2015 production of Minnette Fontaine. 

He is staff accompanist at Loyola University College of Music, and piano instructor at Piano Street NOLA at Riverbend Studios.

Ronald has served as Music Director for many local musical theater productions as well.  

He holds a B.A. in music from Bard College, and a Master of Music from the University of New Orleans. He studied piano at the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts, and as an active performer has appeared with the Bard Orchestra, the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, the Boston Pops Orchestra, and the American Symphony Orchestra. 

A winner of the Junior Philharmonic Society Competition and the Ursuline Bach Festival, he was a semifinalist in the PianoArts competition in Milwaukee, WI and was featured in the PBS show "From the Top Live at Carnegie Hall". 

Ronald's teaching expierence includes working with the Irvin Mayfield School of Music, Young Audiences of Louisiana, and the NOCCA Music Preparatory program.

Dr. Marcus St. Julien, guest pianist   

Dr. St. Julien has often accompanied our founder and singers during our summer tours throughout Louisiana. He is a native of New Orleans, where his training included piano study with Marie Théard and organ study with Anne L. Ganucheau, Elise Cambon and Herndon Spillman. He holds the Bachelor of Music degree in organ performance from Loyola University, and the Master of Music degree in music theory from Indiana University. Dr. St. Julien earned the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in organ performance from the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, under the direction of Clyde Holloway.

From 1983 to 2004 Dr. St. Julien was Organist-Choirmaster at the Church of St. Thérèse of Lisieux in Sugar Land, Texas, and played for many functions of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. In April of 1992 he won first prize at the graduate level of the twenty-first annual Wm. C. Hall Pipe Organ competition in San Antonio, Texas. He has been heard in recital throughout the South, including a program for the 1989 national convention of the Organ Historical Society in New Orleans, as well as the dedication recital of the Dobson pipe organ at St. Joseph's Abbey in Covington, Louisiana in 2001. His recording of the St. Joseph?s Abbey dedication program was released in 2004 by Raven Records.

Dr. St. Julien is an Assistant Professor of organ, music theory and voice in the College of Music and Fine Arts at Loyola University in New Orleans. He is the organist and choir director of Temple Sinai Reform Congregation, and organist of Rayne Memorial United Methodist Church. He has presented five previous faculty recitals for Loyola University, including the complete organ works of César Franck in a three-part recital series jointly sponsored by Loyola and Temple Sinai.

Ashalen Sims. pianist

Ashalen Sims is in her first season with OperaCréole. She has served as rehearsal accompanist for several operas including Dialogues of the Carmelites, The Old Maid and the Thief, the Pirates of Penzance, and The Marriage of Figaro. She works as a staff accompanist at Loyola University, where she plays primarily for singers in lessons, recitals, and masterclasses. Ashalen earned a BM in piano performance from Howard University in 2010 under the tutelage of Dr Charles Timbrell, and in 2016 followed with an MM in accompanying as a student of Valerie Trujillo at Florida State University. Between her degree programs, she worked as a freelance vocal accompanist at Kansas State University for three years. Two summers ago she was a studio pianist for La Musica Lirica, a summer program in Novafeltria, Italy. In addition to her work at Loyola, she also operates a small teaching studio with special focus on teaching piano to singers.

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"Kudos to Givonna Joseph and OperaCreole! We asked the OperaCreole ensemble come on as the musical guests on a live late night talk show which features New Orleanians. Hearing ..."

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