Resident Artist Program



Grace Wipfli, soprano

Grace Wipfli, from Toledo, Ohio, has proven to be an impressive, charming, and promising young soprano. Her performance highlights include Sa femme in Milhaud’s Le Pauvre Matelot, Donna Anna (Don Giovanni), The Governess (The Turn of the Screw), Ann Truelove (The Rake’s Progress), The Beggar Woman (Sweeney Todd), and the Baker’s Wife (Into the Woods). Most recently, she performed at Carnegie Hall as the Soprano Soloist for Ralph Vaughan William’s Dona Nobis Pacem, conducted by Dr. Lynda Hasseler. In 2019, she received an Encouragement Award from the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in the Wisconsin District and was also a finalist for the Northwestern University Concerto/Aria Competition. Ms. Wipfli has completed the Summer Concert Residency with Florentine Opera, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and performed with the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival. She earned her Master of Music at Northwestern University where she studied with Sunny Joy Langton. She completed her undergraduate studies at Capital University while studying with Jacqueline Barlow-Ware. While at Capital, Ms. Wipfli won the 2017 Concerto Competition in Performance and the Richard Miller Award for Fine Singing from the Ohio chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing. She is overjoyed to be returning to her hometown as the Soprano Resident Artist for Toledo Opera’s 2020-21 season.

Olivia Johnson, mezzo soprano

Olivia Johnson, born in Jacksonville, NC, is a graduate of the University of Michigan, where she earned her Master’s degree while studying under Professor George Shirley. After performing the comprimario role of the Girlfriend in Daniel Sonenberg’s The Summer King at Michigan Opera Theatre in 2018, Ms. Johnson made her second appearance with MOT in the role of La Ciesca (Gianni Schicchi) followed by Buoso’s Ghost by Michael Ching. She performed Mathilde in Opera MODO’s innovative re-telling of Poulenc’s Dialogue of Carmelites. A former member of Michigan Opera Theatre’s touring ensemble, Ms. Johnson has performed throughout the Metro Detroit area premiering new and creative works. Ms. Johnson made her soloist appearance with the Rackham Choir in Richard Einhorn’s “Voices of Light” at the Detroit Institute of the Arts and her solo debut with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in their annual Classical Roots Gala. Ms. Johnson was the first-place winner of the 2017 National Vocal Arts Competition for Emerging Artists sponsored by the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Club, Inc. She also appeared in the role of Mercédès (Carmen) at the Martina Arroyo Foundation, Prelude to Performance. Ms. Johnson attended the American Institute of Musical Studies (AIMS) in Graz, Austria making two solo appearances with their orchestra.


Andrew Payne, baritone

Andrew Payne hails from Waynesboro, Pennsylvania and is a graduate of Northwestern University where he earned a Master’s degree in voice and opera studying with W. Stephen Smith. He graduated from Temple University with a B.M. in Voice Performance where he studied with Marcus DeLoach. Past operatic roles include Howard (Dog Days), Sam (Trouble in Tahiti), Guglielmo (Così Fan Tutte), Benoît/Alcindoro (La bohème), Johann and Albert understudy (Werther), Nick Shadow (The Rake’s Progress), Frank (Die Fledermaus), and the Gendarme (Les Mamelles de Tirésias). Mr. Payne has also been the baritone soloist in Stacey Garrop’s Terra Nostra. Recently, he traveled to London and performed in a world premiere of a musical theatre production of The Mad Hatter in the West End. This summer Andrew will be attending the Milnes Voice Studio in Savannah, Georgia where he will be playing the role of Leporello (Don Giovanni). Andrew recently won first place in Opera Idol hosted by Sherrill Milnes, third place in the NATS Philadelphia Chapter in 2015, and was a recipient of the Middleburg Music Scholarship in 2017. He has performed in masterclasses with Sherrill Milnes, Warren Jones, Anthony Michaels-Moore, and Brenton Ryan. Andrew is very excited and honored to begin his post-grad life and career with a wonderful company that is Toledo Opera.

Emily Morin, pianist

Pianist Emily Morin explores her interest in a wide range of solo repertoire and frequently collaborates with vocalists, instrumentalists, and composers. As a participant in the 2018 soundSCAPE Composition and Performance Exchange in Cesena, Italy, she performed as a soloist with a chamber orchestra and in various ensembles. She then returned to soundSCAPE in 2019 as a staff accompanist for the festival’s vocal masterclasses, in addition to chamber music performances. Currently based in Toledo, Ohio, Emily enjoys accompanying students in a variety of educational settings and competitions (most recently, the NATS Great Lakes Region Auditions). Emily completed her Master of Music degrees in Piano Performance and Collaborative Piano at Bowling Green State University (BGSU), studying with Dr. Solungga Liu. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music from Providence College, where she studied with Dr. Sang Woo Kang. While at BGSU, she and Nicholas Kottman were awarded first prize in the Dr. Marjorie Conrad Art Song Competition. After joining Toledo Opera as a Resident Artist in 2019, Emily is thrilled to continue with the company for their 2020-2021 season.

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