Meet Our Lesley Resident Artists
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.
Soprano Megan Koch returns to Fort Worth Opera as a Lesley Resident Artist in 2020-2021. Last 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 Lucia in Lucia di Lammermoor, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni and Zan in Regina. On July 4, 2020 she represented FWO and sang with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra for the America Strong Concert at Dickies Arena, alongside performances by The Cliburn and Texas Ballet Theater. 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.
Brandon Bell (he/him/his) is a baritone hailing from Suffolk, Virginia. This season, Mr. Bell makes an exciting debut with Fort Worth Opera as one of their Lesley Resident Artists. With Fort Worth Opera, Mr. Bell will appear as Gomez in the world premiere production of Zorro. Additionally, this season, Mr. Bell will cover the dynamic role of Germont and sing Baron Douphol in Fort Worth Opera’s production of La traviata.
Mr. Bell was most recently a two-year Resident Artist with Utah Opera, appearing in numerous virtual concerts including Songs for Our Time and Light on the Horizon. He appeared onstage with Utah Opera as Dr. Grenvil in La traviata, the British Major in Silent Night, Montague Somers in Gentleman’s Island, and Garcia/Zuniga in La tragédie de Carmen. Mr. Bell was also a 2021 Apprentice Artist with Des Moines Metro Opera, covering the roles of Momus in Platée and Hawkins Fuller in Fellow Travelers. He also sang the roles of General Arlie and the Bartender in Fellow Travelers. That summer, Mr. Bell was also granted a fellowship at the Ravinia Festival’s Steans Music Institute in their Program for Singers, studying and performing art song.
Additionally, Mr. Bell has humbly appeared on numerous stages across the country, including Chautauqua Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, West Edge Opera, Opera Saratoga, the California Symphony, and the Oakland Symphony.