Learn a little bit more about the performers in the Opera Scenes!
By Pollyanna Eyler, dramaturg
Ariana Abadia. I am from Ecuador. Second semester as a Master in Vocal Performance. Vocal performance. I have sung the 1st Lady in The Magic Flute by Mozart, Diana in Crossing the Face of the Moon by P. Martinez, Ilse in Spring Awakening and Bastienne in Bastien und Bastienne by Mozart. Also, two opera scenes as a Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro and Fiordiligi in Cosi fan tutte by Mozart. Also, I have sung the “Requiem” by Mozart and the “Gloria” by Vivaldi. In the immediate future I will be doing a summer program. I want to graduate from BYU and apply to some Young Artist Programs. I want to thank my parents and siblings that are always my support, and no matter how far they are, I always feel their love and company. Also, I want to thank all my past professors from Ecuador that gave me the tools and knowledge to be here at BYU and all my professors here at BYU that believe in me and help me to improve. I am very glad for all the hard work, support and encouragement that Professor Owens has shown to us in all this process. I especially want to thank Dr. Reich for all the love, commitment, and patience that she shows me as her student, I am very happy to learn from her.
Camilla Anderson. Freshman. Classical Vocal Performance. I have been training in classical voice for nearly 10 years, and was also very involved with both my high school’s and community’s theatre programs. My favorite memories include roles from productions of Hunchback of Notre Dame, Into the Woods, and Bright Star, as well as a locally written and produced show titled Shine On. I hope to continue my training in this program at BYU; after finishing my undergraduate degree, I hope to pursue my Master’s Degree at Indiana University. I’m incredibly grateful to be here at BYU, and I would like to thank everyone involved in my college application and decision process, including my parents, voice instructor, and choir directors.
Rachael Anderton. Second year music graduate student. Vocal Performance emphasis. Covered the title role in Zémire et Azor Fall 2021 at BYU and is excited to be on stage again. Thanks to my wonderful family for all the sacrifices of time and energy you have made for me to be able to be here!
Olivia Aurich. Sophomore/Junior. Vocal Performance (Classical). I have been involved in vocal classes since I was twelve and have continued to build my vocal experience throughout “Union High School” and at “Clark College”before coming to BYU. I am currently involved in another opera called He Shall Prepare a Way as a chorus member that will be taking place in April! I hope to have many more experiences in opera and in music making. To my family, music teachers, and friends through the years who have been supportive of my aspirations as a musician.
McKenzie Bahr. Sophomore. Vocal Performance. I played Shprintze in BYU’s Fiddler on the Roof January 2022 and sang in the ensemble of BYU’s Die Fledermaus Winter 2020. I’ll be auditioning for BYU’s The Merry Widow this year and attending the BYU School of Music’s study abroad to Vienna in spring. I’d like to thank my parents for supporting my musical aspirations all these years! I’d also like to thank Dr. Jennifer Youngs for helping me grow as a singer. Lastly, I’m grateful to Professor Shea Owens for helping me grow more comfortable being on stage and becoming a character.
Spencer Baldwin. Sophomore. Choral Music Education. Spencer loves to sing, to perform in general. Some of his recent work includes playing Sander in BYU’s production of Zémire et Azor, Lehi in CJ Madsen’s He Shall Prepare a Way, and Hal the bounder in The Scarlet Pimpernel at the SCERA Center for the Arts. He is also a proud member of the BYU Singers. When Spencer isn’t on the stage he loves to write and arrange music and play the piano.
Nicole Dayton. Sophomore in the Vocal Performance program. Vocal Performance major, minoring in Theatre Arts Studies and Creative Writing. Sang the role of Mrs. Kneebone in the spring opera at BYU in 2021 and has sung other roles in opera scenes at BYU, FIO ITALIA, and Sun Valley Music Festival. Current member of the BYU Singers, and former member of BYU Women’s chorus. To my wonderful family who have always supported my ambitious journey, through both the exciting and difficult times. And to my many dear friends, who consistently encourage and serve me.
Madison Ecker. Freshman. Music Education. She is a member of BYU Singers. She will sing the role of Martha in “A Voice for Good’s” production of Lamb of God. I would like to thank my boyfriend, Matthew,for encouraging me to try new things and always supporting me. And thanks to Becca Meiss for keeping me sane.
Alexis Hopkins Fowler. Senior. Vocal Performance. I recently starred in a one-woman opera called Bon Appetit, I also played Orlosky in Die Fledermaus. After graduation, I am excited to build my own private voice and piano studio. Thank you to my sweet husband who is supportive of me and my dreams. I also feel so grateful for my family and their encouragement. Last but not least, I am immensely grateful for Dr. Reich and the other voice faculty who saw the potential in my voice and gave me the tools to develop my talent.
Kyra Fowler. Junior. Music Education. I have been in many community musical theatre performances, but this is my first opera! I can’t wait to teach children and be surrounded by music for the rest of my life. Thanks to my husband for his constant support, love, and help to allow me to do the things I enjoy! I love you!!!
Sanae Fujii. Freshman. I’m majoring in Classical Vocal Performance. I want to thank my mother and father for their constant and unwavering support of my passion for music. I would not be at BYU doing what I love without you. Thank you. I also want to thank my siblings and extended family: In the words of Mr. Bennet, “I have a high respect for your nerves. They are my old friends.” Thank you for listening to my loud opera for “these twenty years at least.”
Cassie Hyatt. Junior at BYU. Vocal Performance. I am from Highland Utah and have enjoyed performing for many years. Some of my favorite roles have included The Narrator in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Lisbé in Zémire at Azor. I am excited to continue studying at BYU. At the end of this semester, I will be getting married to my best friend Hunter, and couldn’t be more excited about it! We’re excited to see what the future holds for us! Special thanks to my family and friends who never fail to support and encourage me. I couldn’t do it without you guys!
Anna Low. Junior at BYU. Vocal Performance Major. My favorite past roles include Susan in A Dinner Engagement, Janet in The Drowsy Chaperone, and Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance. This summer I’m excited to travel to Italy where I will be a part of FIO ITALIA’s summer program playing the role of Nanetta in Verdi’s Falstaff. I want to give a big thank you to BYU and my voice teacher Dr. Diane Reich for all the opportunities they have provided me over the past couple years. Also thank you to my wonderful parents who have supported me since the beginning of my musical career.
Rennan McConkie. Junior. Family & Consumer Science Education, music minor, business minor. In the future I hope to graduate, be a mom. Thank you to Lindsay Whitney, who I took voice lessons from for a semester. She presented the idea of getting involved with opera scenes! Also, thank you to Natalie Dunkley, a past mission companion, who talked me into auditioning!
Ellie Niver. Senior. Classical Vocal Performance. I grew up constantly singing around the house! We had songs for Halloween, thanksgiving, basically anything you could think of! I learned a lot of basic skills through song! This summer I am excited to attend The Institute for Young Dramatic Voices with Dolora Zajick in Reno Nevada. I want to thank my wonderful parents. I could not do it without their constant support, love, and guidance.
Matthew Paez. Sophomore. Vocal Performance. Serves as a conductor for A Voice For Good Choirs in Provo. Azor in BYU’s Zemire et Azor. Chorus Member in Lamb of God: The Concert Film. Will portray “Laman” in the premiere of CJ Madsen’s He Shall Prepare a Way in April. I would like to thank my girlfriend, Madison for all the love and support she gives me. To Professor Owens for putting an invigorating cast and production together. To my fellow cast members, for making every moment count.
Grace Parry. is a Junior in the Vocal Performance program at BYU, studying Classical Voice. She has performed with BYU Singers for three years, and hopes to perform with professional choirs in the future. She is particularly interested in early music ensembles. Grace wants to thank her husband, Brayden, for expressing such excitement about her passions and encouraging her to keep pushing forward with music, even when it is difficult, because he knows how much it means to her.
Allie Pugmire. Sophomore. Pre-Business, hoping to get into the Experience Design and Management program. Performed in Southern Virginia’s Production of Trial By Jury. I want to thank my family and friends for constantly listening to my crazy singing all day every day and for encouraging me to do things I didn’t think I could.
Logan Reid. Senior Year. Vocal Performance. I really have enjoyed everything that I have been offered to perform here at BYU, so it is super difficult to say that one thing was my favorite. But the two roles that I have enjoyed doing the most have been Ali in Zemire et Azor and Aeneas in Dido and Aeneas. I want to be an opera singer. Wherever that takes me I don’t much care, but opera is in my soul and I want to perform wherever is sensible for me to do so! Thank you to my family, teachers, and collaborators for helping me learn to improve my craft every day.
Rebekah Schnepf. Sophomore in the Vocal Performance Program, minoring in Family Life. Sang in the cast of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella in high school. At BYU, sang various roles in opera scenes. Currently a member of BYU Concert Choir, and performing the roles of Sandman and Gianetta in Opera Scenes this semester. Hoping to perform a lead role in the Fall Opera, finish a composition to be premiered by BYU Choirs and establish a successful vocal and piano studio. To all my voice professors for all their inspiring coaching. And to my loving husband for all his love and support of all interests.
Ethan Simpson. Born in Eagle, ID, couldn’t imagine life without music. Ever since he was a child, he’s immersed himself in the arts, putting himself on the stage as much as possible. Some of his favorite performances include Frank in Annie Get Your Gun, (Huckleberry Star Theater, 2021), Sander in Zémire et Azor (BYU opera, 2021), and a chorus member in Rob Gardner’s Lamb of God: The Concert Film. Ethan is a sophomore in the Vocal Performance program at BYU and, in his future time in the program, looks forward to more time spent in the practice room! When he’s not singing, Ethan enjoys cooking, Piña coladas, and getting caught in the rain.
Emily Steele. Junior at BYU. Vocal Performance. I have been in 3 opera productions at BYU (Ensemble in The Magic Flute, Ida from Die Fledermaus, and Fatme from Zemire et Azor), and played the role of the Dew Fairy in Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel at the Vienna Summer Music Festival. I will be attending the BYU Music Vienna Study Abroad this spring. I also look forward to auditioning for and participating in BYU’s production of The Merry Widow this fall. I would like to thank my peers and co-stars for their hard work and the support they’ve given me. Thank you to Barbra Allen for the time and help she has offered through our coachings, as well as Maestro Giusti for his elaborate conducting. Huge thanks to my family and friends for their constant support, locally and from afar. And last but certainly not least, thank you to our fabulous director, Professor Shea Owens, for his time, patience, and detailed direction and teaching. We are so blessed to have him as our new opera director at BYU!
Katie Stull. Freshman at BYU. Majoring in Family History with a minor in Molecular Biology. My favorite performances I participated in during high school were Mary Poppins and Lion King. I want to thank my cast members for making my first BYU performance so memorable and exciting. You guys are amazing! I am also grateful for my vocal teachers who have helped me develop my voice over the years: Emily Melgr, Natasa Dikanovic, and Mary Matthews. Thanks mom for coming to see the show!
Bella Thurgood. Freshman. Vocal Performance. I have enjoyed performing with the BYU Concert Choir for the past two semesters. I would like to give a big thank you to Professor Owens, the cast, and all the coaches and directors for the great learning experience. I’m grateful for my parents who cheer me on from Virginia, and I’m especially grateful to my Mom and Great Uncle Richard for fostering my love of opera from a young age.
Blake Wayment. Junior at Brigham Young University, Sophomore in the BYU School of Music. Music BA – Classical Vocal Performance emphasis // Minor in Business. Future plans are to receive an MBA and continue on in a career of entrepreneurship and business management! I’d like to thank my mom for instilling a love for music in me at a very young age, as well as all of the teachers and instructors that I’ve had.
Lindsay Whitney. 2nd year Grad Student. Masters in Vocal Performance. While at BYU Lindsay has had the opportunity to perform as Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus, Lady Dunmow in A Dinner Engagement, and Shaindel and Yente in Fiddler on the Roof. She also went to Saluzzo Opera Academy last summer in Saluzzo, Italy and had the opportunity to sing Marcellina in The Marriage of Figaro. Lindsay will graduate this semester and hopes to continue performing and teaching and later pursue a doctorate.
Marianne Wood. Freshman. Classical Vocal Performance. I’m excited to join the School of Music’s study abroad to Vienna this spring, and then plan on serving a mission afterwards! Future plans include lots of performing and then eventually attending law school.
Scott Young. Junior. Communications. This is my first experience in operatic performance. My previous theater experience includes performances of Mary Poppins, Crazy For You, Footloose, and The Ark, as well as serving the summer of 2021 as a Young Performing Missionary in Nauvoo, Illinois. I will be performing in an April production of He Shall Prepare a Way, by CJ Madsen. Thank you to Shea Owens for giving me the opportunity to explore opera as a new form of art for me! And to all of my past music educators who have instilled a deep love of the arts within me.