LESLEY RESIDENT ARTISTS
A discovery and training program for emerging young opera singers, the Lesley Resident Artists program offers professional experience to exceptional performers every year. This group of highly talented and driven young opera singers is selected through a nationwide audition process. Contracted for one or two seasons, they come to Fort Worth Opera to work for a professional opera company in hopes of furthering or launching their performance careers.
While in Fort Worth, Lesley Resident Artists will sing at various community, donor, and social events, perform recitals, and receive voice lessons, language and diction coaching. They will also participate in masterclasses with established artists and agents brought in by Fort Worth Opera, to foster their artistic development and provide fresh perspectives on the business of singing.
Soprano Megan Koch returns to Fort Worth Opera as a Lesley Resident Artist in 2020-2021, as part of the company’s 75th anniversary season. Ms. Koch was part of the FWO Studio Artist program, and premiered the role of Marianna and Grandmother in composer Joe Illick and Pulitzer Prize-winning librettist Mark Campbell’s family opera, Frida Kahlo and the Bravest Girl in the World. With UNT Opera, she recently debuted the roles of Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni and Zan in Regina. In 2019, she was invited to the Czech Republic to sing in the modern premiere of two lost operas by Johann Heinrich Schmelzer in the Olomouc Baroque Festival. Megan was a Division Winner in the UNT Concerto Competition, a finalist in the Classical Singer Competition and Lewisville Lake Symphony International Voice Competition in 2019. She earned her Master of Music in Voice Performance in 2019 and is currently studying with Carol Wilson while pursuing her Graduate Artist Certificate in Opera at the University of North Texas. She holds a Bachelor of Music Education from Illinois Wesleyan University.
Tenor Darius Thomas continues to make his presence known in the world of opera with his clear and rich voice. In the 2020-2021 season, Thomas will perform throughout DFW as a Fort Worth Opera Lesley Resident Artist, and be featured online through the company’s digital platform FWO Green Room, where he will perform the role of Stan in the world premiere film of Joe Illick and Mark Campbell’s Stone Soup. Last season, he made a partial role debut as Romeo in Romeo and Juliet in Knoxville Opera’s touring production, and was previously the tenor in residence for the Mary Ragland Emerging Artists program with Nashville Opera. There he performed the roles Dauber in The Cradle Will Rock, and Nathanael/Cochenille in The Tales of Hoffmann. Mr. Thomas pursued graduate studies at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville where he studied with American Tenor Andrew Skoog and served as a graduate teaching assistant. Mr. Thomas holds a Bachelors of Music Degree in Voice Performance from Southeastern Oklahoma State University. When he is not on the stage, Thomas can usually be found with his family in his hometown of Sherman, Texas.