Resident Artist Program

2018-2019 Artists in residence

To learn about our opera on wheels program for 2018-19, click here!

Alicia Russell, soprano

Alicia Russell, soprano, has been singing throughout the United States since 2013, making her debut performance in her hometown with the Asheville Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Russell’s recent performances include The Great Gatsby (Daisy Buchanan), Service Provider (Charlene), Don Giovanni (Donna Elvira), Savitri (Savitri), Later the Same Evening (Elaine), Die Fledermaus (Rosalinda), and Die Zauberflöte (Pamina). She has also performed as the soprano soloist in Honneger’s King David, Handel’s Messiah, Mozart’s Requiem and Missa in C Minor, and Vivaldi’s Dixit Dominus rv. 807. Ms. Russell is the recent winner of the 2018 Northwestern University Aria/Concerto Competition, the Ginger Meyer Scholarship in the 2018 Musicians Club of Women Competition and was a semi-finalist in the 2017 Bel Canto Foundation Competition. She is a graduate of Northwestern University (Master of Music, 2018) and Furman University (Bachelor of Music, 2016). Her past summer residencies have included Boston University Tanglewood Institute, SongFest, CoOPERAtive, and the Brevard Music Center.

Katherine Fili, mezzo soprano

Heralded as "hilarious & impressive" by DC Metro Theater Arts, Katherine Fili is a graduate of The Maryland Opera Studio. While completing her master’s degree, Katherine performed the Nurse in Lee Hoiby's Romeo and Juliet, both Nancy and Florence (Albert Herring), and Prince Orlofsky (Die Fledermaus). During her undergraduate studies at Carnegie Mellon University, she performed roles including The Sorceress (Dido and Aeneas) and Bessie (Das Kleine Mahagonny). Katherine has been seen in Tobias Picker’s Fantastic Mr. Fox (Mrs. Fox) with the Microscopic Opera Company and has performed with The Pittsburgh Opera Theater. Ms. Fili spent the 2015 – 2016 season as the resident mezzo soprano with The Florentine Opera Company before returning to The University of Maryland as a guest alumni artist to sing Bianca (The Rape of Lucretia). She debuted with the In-Series Company as Puck (Oberon) and the Second Lady (The Magic Flute) during its 2017 season.

Gibran Mahmud, tenor

Indonesian-American Tenor Gibran Mahmud has recently earned acclaim for his musical performances in the Los Angeles area. At home in opera, concert, and musical theatre, Gibran's recent credits include the West Coast premiere of Frank Martin's The Love Potion (Kaherdin), Pacific Overtures (The Fisherman/Dutch Admiral), and the world premiere of Hail Poetry! (George Power). Mr. Mahmud has also joined the Principal/Education Artists of Long Beach Opera and the company of Opera A La Carte, along with singing in the professional opera choruses of LA Opera, Cincinnati Opera, and Dayton Opera. He has sung with the summer programs of Angels Vocal Art, SongFest as a Professional Fellow and for The VOICExperience Foundation with Sherrill Milnes. Mr. Mahmud has placed in competitions and received awards from the Center Stage Opera Vocal Competition, Classical Singer Competition, and Buckeye NATS. Mr. Mahmud hails from Dayton, OH and is an alumnus of USC Thornton School of Music (MM) and Miami University (BM). www.gibranmahmud.com

James P. Held, baritone

James P. Held is a versatile performer “with a ringing voice, superb diction, and a genuine eloquence." In 2018, Mr. Held was an Apprentice Artist with Des Moines Metro Opera where he covered Frank (Die Fledermaus). Recent roles include Sacristan (Tosca), Marcello (La Bohème), and Dulcamara (cover) (L’elisir d’amore). In 2017, he was the baritone soloist in Brahms’s Ein Deutsches Requiem with the Leipzig Symphony. Mr. Held sang Second Priest/Second Armored Man while covering Papageno (Die Zauberflöte) and sang Paris while covering Mercutio (Roméo et Juliette) with Madison Opera. Previous roles include Sacristan (Tosca), Guglielmo (Così fan tutte), The Pirate King (The Pirates of Penzance), The Father (Hänsel und Gretel), Sid (Albert Herring), Dick McGann (Street Scene), Flynt/Gremio (Kiss Me, Kate), and Leporello (Don Giovanni). Mr. Held holds degrees from the University of Colorado-Boulder and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Elizabeth Chua, pianist

Pianist Elizabeth Chua received her Doctor of Musical Arts degree in collaborative piano and coaching from the University of Minnesota, and a Masters of Music in collaborative piano and piano performance from Middle Tennessee State University. Her previous productions include Carlisle Floyd's Susannah, Kurt Weill's Lady in the Dark, Benjamin Britten's Rape of Lucretia, Mozart’s Idomeneo, and Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld with the University of Minnesota; Strauss' Capriccio with Apotheosis Opera in NYC; Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel with Garden of Song Opera in St Paul, MN; and Jonathan Dove's The Enchanted Pig with Opera Steamboat in Colorado. Ms. Chua was the 2018 Pittsburgh Festival Opera Resident Artist pianist for La Bohème. She is also the pianist and music director for the 2019 Mary Ragland Emerging Artist Program with Nashville Opera.

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