Current Lesley Apprentices

A discovery and training program for emerging young opera singers, the Hattie Mae Lesley Apprentice Artists offers professional experience to four exceptional performers every year.

The Hattie Mae Lesley Apprentice Artists is our resident young artist training program in partnership with Texas Christian University Opera Studio, and is made up of four young artists chosen for their special talents and future potential.

At the heart of our educational programs are the Lesley Apprentices. This group of four highly talented and driven young opera singers is selected through a nation-wide audition process. The singers have all completed master’s level training and have participated in additional training programs for young artists. They come to Fort Worth Opera in order to work for a professional opera company in the hopes of launching their full operatic careers.

Lesley Apprentices

  • Bronwyn WhiteSoprano

    Bronwyn White, soprano, was most recently seen as a Festival Artist at Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theater, where she appeared as the Cousin (Madama Butterfly) and covered Esmeralda (Hunchback of Notre Dame) and Anne Boleyn and Elizabeth in Rex. Other recent credits include Magnolia Hawks (Show Boat) with the Natchez Opera Festival, Lauretta (Gianni Schicchi) with and Eliza (Dark Sisters) with Texas Christian University Opera, Océanide (Prométhée Enchaîné) with the Atlantic Music Festival, Frasquita (Carmen) with New Jersey Verismo Opera, Pamina (Die Zauberflöte) with OperaOggiNY, Gretel (Hansel and Gretel) with Capitol Heights Lyric Opera, Patience (Patience) with Utopia Opera. Bronwyn has won the Distinction Award at the Metropolitan International Music Festival Competition, First Place at the Friday-Woodmere Music Club Competition, was named a Finalist in the New Jersey State Opera Competition, a Finalist in the Michael Ballam Concorso Lirico International Opera Competition, and won the TCU Concerto Competition. She has been featured as a soloist with the Atlantic Music Festival Orchestra, the New York Opera Exchange and Orchestra, the Texas Christian University Wind Symphony, the TCU Symphony Orchestra, the TCU Collegium Musicum, the Purchase Symphony Orchestra, the University of Texas at San Antonio Orchestra, and the Anchorage Concert Chorus and Orchestra. As a recitalist, she has performed at the San Antonio Festival of French Culture and the TCU Festival of American Song. As an Apprentice Artist at Fort Worth Opera, Bronwyn will appear as Pig/Teen Duck in the outreach tour of The Ugly Duckling.

  • Bridget CappelMezzo-soprano

    Bridget Cappel, mezzo-soprano, is a current young artist at Fort Worth Opera and is working toward an Artist Diploma at Texas Christian University under the direction of Twyla Robinson. Her most recent performances include Eliza Doolittle (My Fair Lady), and Alfred in the piano/vocal premiere of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead by Herschel Garfein at Seagle Music Colony. Ms. Cappel graduated with her Master’s in Music from Boston University where she performed the roles of Cherubino (Le nozze di Figaro), Mrs. Bass (Emmeline), Mezzo-soprano (Hydrogen Jukebox), and Dorabella (Cosí fan tutte). Other roles include Hattie and Gladys in the world premier of Even Mack’s Roscoe (2016) and Alma Hix (The Music Man). Bridget received first place in the Kalamazoo Bach Festival Competition in 2015 and was a semi-finalist in the AIMS Meistersinger Competition in Graz, Austria. She received bachelors degrees in Voice Performance and Film, Video, and Media Studies from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

  • Joshua FriendTenor

    Joshua Friend is an upcoming tenor, currently completing his artist diploma at Texas Christian University under the tutelage of David Brock. Joshua’s recent engagements include him being a soloist for Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra and appearing alongside the American Institute of Musical Studies Orchestra, in Graz, Austria, as Siegmund from Wagner’s Die Walküre and Otello, from Verdi’s Otello. For TCU, Joshua has performed the roles of Gherardo (Gianni Schicchi), Brandon (Male Identity), Lennie (Of Mice and Men), Don José (Carmen) and Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni) in their operas and opera scene programs. Joshua was the cover-study for Don José (Carmen) at Fort Worth Opera’s latest festival and has sung in the chorus there for both Carmen and The Barber of Seville. Joshua gives regular song recitals in Fort Worth, the most recent being a fully staged performance of Schubert’s Die Winterreise, and he is excited to begin work as one Fort Worth Opera’s new Hattie Mae Lesley Apprentice Artists.

  • Sam ParkinsonBass-Baritone

    American bass-baritone Sam Parkinson is excited to join Fort Worth Opera as a Hattie Mae Lesley Apprentice Artist for the 2017-2018 season.While receiving BM and MM from The Boston Conservatory Parkinson was seen singing  Bartolo, Le nozze di Figaro; Dr. Grenvil, La traviata; Immigration Officer, Flight; Collatinus The Rape of Lucretia; Sarastro, The Magic Flute; and Haly, L’Italiana in algiers; Father Truelove, The Rake’s Progress. Parkinson has been a featured artist at the Trentino Music Festival where he sang Superintendent Budd, Albert Herring; and The Forester, The Cunning Little Vixen. Parkinson has been a featured soloist with the Boston Pops and the BSO in Symphony Hall and at Tanglewood. A multidimensional artist, Parkinson has worked on the production staff at SpeakEasy Stage Company, Guerilla Opera, Boston Opera Collaborative and Opera in the Ozarks as well as producing and directing Jake Heggie’s To Hell and Back and Menotti’s The Old Maid and the Thief.

  • Stephen CareyPrincipal Pianist & Vocal Coach

    Now entering his sixth season as Fort Worth Opera’s principal pianist and vocal coach, for eleven seasons, Stephen Carey was the assistant artistic director, director of the artist-in-residence program, chorus master, and principal pianist/vocal coach for Opera Memphis. During his tenure with Fort Worth Opera, Mr. Carey has been heavily involved with the young artist program, as well as having served as rehearsal pianist and vocal coach for such productions as Glory Denied, With Blood, With Ink, La Traviata, Poe Project (Buried Alive and Embedded), and Voir Dire.  He has also served as chorus master for the productions of With Blood, With Ink, and the 2017 production of Carmen.  In addition he has served as one of the pianists, vocal coach, and one of the conductors for Fort Worth Opera’s Frontiers program.  He finished his eleventh season with the Utah Festival Opera this summer, serving as cover conductor, chorus master, and head of the coaching staff. Stephen’s conducting credits include The Barber of Seville with Mississippi Opera; a performance of the world premiere of Michael Ching’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Opera a cappella with Opera Memphis; The Barber of Seville and Annie with Ash Lawn Opera; and cover conductor for numerous operas including La BohemeLa TraviataBoris Godunov, and Porgy and Bess, with Utah Festival Opera. He has served on the artistic staffs of summer programs such as the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria; Opera in the Ozarks; Ash Lawn Opera; Chautauqua Opera; and the Utah Festival Opera.

     

  • Sheran Goodspeed KeytonCOORDINATOR OF EDUCATIONAL OUTREACH AND CUSTOMER SERVICE

    Sheran Goodspeed Keyton began her career more than 20 years ago in the DFW area as a performer of stage, commercial, radio and film. She quickly became known as “DFW’s Darling Diva”. She has since gone on to add Director, Producer, Writer and Educator to her list of many talents. While, as a performer, she enjoys traveling the world, her passion lies with enriching the lives of the youth in the community. Since 1996, she has written, directed, produced, and/or coordinated educational or community outreach programming for many organizations in DFW including, but not limited to: Jubilee Theater, Casa Manana, DVA Productions, Imagination FW, Big Thought, Tarrant County Black Historical and Genealogical Society, The City of Irving. Other past partners include: Dallas ISD, Keller ISD, Aledo ISD, Everman ISD, Ft Worth Public Library, Forest Hill Public Library, Young Audiences of Greater Dallas, Feed by Grace, Fort Worth Afterschool Program, Samaritan House, Lockheed Martin, Garland Public Library, Boys & Girl’s Club,  YMCA Afterschool, 21st Century Afterschool, and Clayton YES! Sheran intends to continue her work in the community, and to assist with the development of innovative and interactive arts integrated programs through her new position as Coordinator of Educational Outreach at Fort Worth Opera.

  • David GatelyDirector of the Lesley Apprentice Program & Stage DirectorWebsite

    Stage director David Gately is known for his vivid storytelling and lively and clever productions. Last season his concert staging of Angels in America with the BBC Symphony Orchestra was praised for being “brilliantly resourceful” (This Is London) and it was reported that “Gately’s dynamic semi-staging made a strong argument for a full production of Angels.” (The Independent) With the Manitoba Opera his direction of Il Barbiere di Siviglia was said to use “nuance and creative physical comedy, resulting in a superb production brimming with energy.” (Winnipeg Free Press).

    Recent productions of note include his direction of L’Elisir d’Amore with Dallas Opera, Madama Butterfly with Seattle Opera, La Bohème with Florida Grand Opera, Carmen in New Orleans, Les Contes D’Hoffman in Edmonton, Die Zauberflöte with the Cincinnati and Vancouver Operas, A Midsummer Night’s Dream with both the Florentine Opera and Glimmerglass Opera, Falstaff with Opera Omaha, and Rigoletto with Utah Opera. His hugely successful “wild west” production of Don Pasquale which was most recently hailed as a “contemporary classic” by the Denver Post has been mounted by San Diego Opera, Kentucky Opera, Opera Colorado, Calgary Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Virginia Opera, Dayton Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Opera Omaha, Edmonton Opera and the Fort Worth Opera.

    Mr. Gately spends the 2010-11 season directing La Bohème with Atlanta Opera, Lucia di Lammermoor with Calgary Opera, both Hansel and Gretel and Little Women with Utah Opera, Faust with San Diego Opera, and Giulio Cesare with Fort Worth Opera. Upcoming seasons include engagements with Opera Colorado, San Diego Opera, and Fort Worth Opera among others.

    During the 2009 – 2010 season he directed Il Barbiere di Siviglia with Washington National Opera, Opera Colorado and Manitoba Opera, L’Elisir d’Amore with Atlanta Opera, Simon Boccanegra for its premiere with L’Opéra de Montréal, and the World Premiere production of Before Night Falls with the Forth Worth Opera where the Dallas Morning News wrote that he “supplies a physically gripping staging.” In addition, he directed Angels in America with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican Centre in London for the United Kingdom premiere of the work.

    Over the course of the last several seasons he directed productions of Hansel and Gretel with the Washington National Opera, Rigoletto with Arizona Opera, La Cenerentola with Atlanta Opera, Cosi Fan Tutte with the Florida Grand Opera, Carmen and Ariadne auf Naxos with Vancouver Opera, Don Pasquale with Opera Colorado Le Nozze di Figaro with the Utah Opera, Carmen with Austin Lyric Opera, and Lucia di Lammermoor with L’Opéra de Montréal where his direction was called “elegant, realistic and almost balletically integrated with the music.” (The Gazette) In addition, he directed two productions with the Fort Worth Opera: La Cenerentola and Dead Man Walking, where he was praised for “his keen combination of insight and imagination…creating an aura of day-to-day reality on stage that in turn gave the opera its gripping emotional effect.” (Theater Jones)

    His recent production of La Cenerentola with the Connecticut Opera was called “a triumph. It was funny and clever, full of youthful energy and razor-sharp musicianship. Stage Director David Gately was inspired. The placement and movement of characters onstage was clever and often allowed sound to move in stereo from side to side.” (Courant) At the Fort Worth Opera he directed the North American premiere of Angels in America where he was praised for his “immense level of creativity,” (Pegasus News) as well as Lucia di Lammermoor where he was hailed for his staging which was both “savvy and sensitive.” (Dallas News)