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.
Gabrielle Gilliam, a native of Houston, TX, joins the inaugural class of Studio Artists at The Dallas Opera. This season, Ms. Gilliam will sing A Heavenly Voice in Don Carlo, cover the roles of Contessa Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro and Sandrine/Mercedes in The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, and perform in concert for the Hart Institute for Women Conductors. Gabrielle also makes her debut this season with Tulsa Opera as Amore in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice. Praised for her “substantial and sweet timbre and bel canto flexibility”(Texas Classical), Gabrielle has been seen in previous seasons with TDO’s Outreach & Education program, portraying the roles of Bastienne in Mozart’s Bastien and Bastienne and Dorabella in John Davies’ The Bremen Town Musicians. Ms. Gilliam is a graduate of University of North Texas and has performed with Fort Worth Opera, Opera North, and American Baroque Opera Co.
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.