2017 Season

Bizet's Carmen

Mary Ellen Orr Auditorium
John Wood Community College
June  9, 7:00 PM
June 10, 3:00 PM


Dr. Elizabeth Thompson, Soprano - Carmen

Elizabeth Thompson, DMA, began her singing career as a mezzo-soprano but in more recent years has been noted for her warm, spinto soprano voice. Based in the Midwest, Elizabeth is an active performer with repertoire spanning the operatic stage, concert halls, and numerous recital venues, recently appearing with the Midwest Chamber Ensemble in Kansas City in a performance of Madeleine Dring’s Five Betjeman Songs. She has been seen on the operatic stage in works such as Suor Angelica (lead), Florencia en El Amazonas (Rosalba), Le Nozze di Figaro (Cherubino, then Countess), Maria Stuarda (title role), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Helena), Cold Sassy Tree (Myrtis), and The Consul (Magda). A regularly engaged performer as well as a passionate teacher she holds degrees from Houghton College, East Carolina University, and the University of Illinois. An avid performer of 20th and 21st century music, Elizabeth’s scholarly research juxtaposes this repertoire with her passion for the historical dramas of the Italian bel canto.

Dane Suarez, Tenor - Don José

A native of Princeton, Illinois, Dane Suarez is quickly establishing himself as a “warm and robust tenore spinto” with “pure earth-shaking lyricism.” He sang on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera as a 2014 National Semi-Finalist of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and this past season, made his John F. Kennedy Center debut with Washington National Opera as Ely Parker in Glass’s Appomattox. This season, Dane returned to Opera in the Heights (Rodolfo in La Bohème), Opera Memphis (30 Days of Opera), and Sarasota Opera (covering Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly and singing Flaminio in Montemezzi’s L’amore dei tre re). (Rigoletto). He was pictured on the front page of the Arts Section of the New York Times for his “beautiful, soaring, and moving” performance as Cavaradossi (Tosca). He holds a bachelor’s degree from Butler University where he studied with Muddy River Opera Company founder Mary Anne Scott and a master’s degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He currently resides in Long Island, New York with his fiancée (soprano Kerriann Otaño) and their adorable puggle Frankie.

Dr. Penelope Shumate, Soprano - Micaëla

Shumate has been praised by The New York Times for her singing with “appealing bell-like clarity and surpassing sweetness,” and The New York Concert Review has complimented “her sparkling coloratura perfection” and her “beautiful, flexible, dramatic voice.” Shumate has appeared many times as a soloist at Carnegie Hall, in addition to performances at David Geffen Hall (formerly Avery Fisher Hall) and Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City. Her upcoming and past engagements include performances with opera companies and orchestras across the U.S. including Opera Company of Philadelphia, Opera Roanoke, Des Moines Metro Opera, Utah Festival Opera, Charlottesville Opera, Annapolis Opera, Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Oklahoma City Philharmonic, Roanoke Symphony Orchestra, Rapides Symphony Orchestra, Heartland Festival Orchestra, and Distinguished Concerts International New York. She was the winner of the 2016 Oratorio Award and is also an award winner with the Gerda Lissner Foundation, Marie E. Crump Vocal Arts Competition, MacAllister Awards, New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera Vocal Competition, Annapolis Opera Vocal Competition, Kennett Symphony Orchestra Vocal Competition, and the Altamura/Caruso International Vocal Competition. In addition to her performance career, she serves as Assistant Professor of Voice at Western Illinois University and holds degrees from Louisiana State University (DMA/summa cum laude), Temple University (M.M.), and Radford University (B.S). Visit penelopeshumate.com for more information.

Dr. Steven Soebbing, Bass-Baritone - Escamillo

This marks Bass-Baritone Steven Soebbing's second appearance with Muddy River Opera. Previously, he was seen as Colline in La Bohème. Steven is the instructor of music and theater at John Wood Community College. A native of Quincy, Illinois, Steven received his doctorate in vocal performance from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He also holds an M.M. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a bachelor’s in vocal performance and English from the University of Notre Dame. His performance background has been rich and varied, having found success in opera roles such as Seneca (L’incoronazione di Poppea), Mercutio (Roméo et Juliette), The Count (Le Nozze di Figaro), and Nick Bottom (A Midsummer Night's Dream) as well as many others. He is also at home on the concert stage, having frequently been a soloist for performances of Handel’s Messiah. His latest collaboration as a librettist is with the composer Garrett Hope, The Passion of Jehanne, an opera on Joan of Arc, premiered in 2015 in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Ricardo Sepúlveda - Zuniga

Baritone and Vocologist, Ricardo Sepúlveda recently appeared as a soloist in Weill’s Das Berliner Requiem and, as Bottom in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Lyric Theatre at Illinois. Ricardo holds degrees from the Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico and from the University of Illinois, where he is a candidate for the doctorate in musical arts with a cognate area in voice science. Additionally, he is a graduate from the Summer Vocology Institute at the National Center for Voice and Speech at the University of Utah, and completed Level One of Somatic Voicework™ at the Chicago Institute for Voice Care.He has taught at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and for the last seven years, at Millikin University. Starting this fall 2017,he joins the faculty of Western Illinois University as Assistant Professor of Music.

Elizabeth Parchim - Frasquita

Elizabeth A. Parchim, is a Quincy High School graduate and studied vocal performance first at Quincy University and later at Luther College. She studied voice with Father Dennis Schafer, Mary Ann Scott and Phyllis Robertson. One highlight was singing at Carnegie Hall under the baton of Sir John Rutter performing the Rutter Requiem. Past roles include Lady Thiang in The King and I, Mary Magdalene in Jesus Christ Superstar, and The First Lady in Mozart's The Magic Flute as well as performing as a soloist with the Quincy Symphony Chorus. Elizabeth has served as the music director at Ellington Memorial Presbyterian Church for the past eight years. Elizabeth served as a Muddy River Opera Company board member and performed in Madame Butterfly and Suor Angelica.

Paul Shelor - Morales

Paul Shelor completed his B.A. in music at Clarke College in Dubuque, IA. and his Masters of Music in choral conducting from the University of Missouri at Kansas City, Conservatory of Music. Mr. Shelor has performed with Muddy River Opera in several minor roles including Dr. Blind in Die Fledermaus, Baron Douphol in La Traviata, Samuel in the Pirates of Penzance, Mr. Jenks in the Tenderland, Benoit and Alcindoro in La Boheme to name of few. He has also served as the chorus master off and on since 2001. Starting in 1995, Mr. Shelor has conducted the Quincy Conservatory of Music/ISMTA’s Piano Ensemble Festival. In addition to serving as artistic director for the Quincy Area Youth Chorus, Mr. Shelor is currently a choir director with the Quincy Public Schools where he as directed and taught since 1992.

Lisa Blake - Mercedes

Lisa Blake is a mezzo-soprano from Edina, MO. She holds a BA in Music and BMus in Vocal Performance from Truman State University, teaching certification from Culver Stockton College, and an MM in Vocal Performance from Missouri State University. Lisa’s opera roles include the Sorceress in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, Madame Rosa in Donizetti’s Il campanello di notte, Sally in Samuel Barber’s A Hand of Bridge, Stephanie in Michael Ching’s Speed Dating, Tonight!, Alice in Sean Spyres’ Alice in Wonderland: A Lesson in Honesty, the Empress in Bruce Trinkley’s St.Thomas the Carpenter, the Abbess and Princess in Puccini’s Suor Angelica, and this is her third production with Muddy River Opera Company. Lisa has studied voice with Dr. Phyllis Robertson and Dr. Carol Mathieson, and is currently studying with Dr. Ann Marie Wilcox-Daehn.

David Galant - Conductor

David Galant is a DMA candidate in orchestral conducting at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. This summer David will conduct at the Miami Music Festival, the Wintergreen Summer Music Academy in Virginia. David currently is the Music Director of the Kanesville Symphony in Council Bluffs Iowa, the Glenn Korff School of Music Campus Orchestra, the Nebraska Christian Men’s Chorus, and the Ralston Trinity United Methodist Church Chancel Choir. In his free time he directs musicals with the Lincoln Community Playhouse and OmniArts Nebraska. He conducted the orchestra for Muddy River Opera's production of Suor Anglica last summer.

Artistic Direction: Dr. Carol Mathieson, Amy Stollberg, Steven Soebbing

Stage Director: Connie Phillips

Assistant Director/Stage Manager: Drew Quintero

Chorus Master: Paul Shelor

Concert Mistress: Jane Polett

Orchestra Liaison: Vicki Daggett