2018 Season


Mozart's Magic Flute (German: Die Zauberflöte)

Mary Ellen Orr Auditorium

John Wood Community College

June 15, 7 :00 PM

June 16, 3:00 PM

Sung in English.

An opera insight will begin 30 minutes prior to each performance.



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.