Meet Our Lesley Resident Artists
Praised for her “beautifully resonant vocal quality” (Texas Classical), Dallas-based soprano, Gabrielle Gilliam, is a Fort Worth Opera Lesley Resident Artist, Florentine Opera Summer Concert Resident Artist, as well as a regional finalist for the 2020-2021 Metropolitan Opera Council Auditions. This season Gabrielle makes her live, mainstage debuts at The Dallas Opera in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly as Kate Pinkerton, as well as Il Dottore in Fort Worth Opera’s re-imagined production of Verdi’s La Traviata. She will also cover the roles of Violetta in La Traviata and Luisa in the world premiere of Hector Armienta’s Zorro in the Fort Worth Opera 2021-22 season. In May 2022, Ms. Gilliam will also perform with American Baroque Opera Co. as Melia in Mozart's Apollo et Hyacinthus. Last season she starred in the world premiere of composer Joe Illick and Pulitzer Prize-winning librettist Mark Campbell’s Bernadette's Cozy Book Nook and was part of Fort Worth Opera's inaugural FWO Go program.
Despite the constraints of the Covid - 19 pandemic, Gabrielle was engaged in a number of virtual and live performances, including a music video debut of Handel’s “Furie terribili” with Lumedia Musicworks, solo recitals with The Dallas Opera’s TDO Network and Fort Worth Opera, and a virtual opera debut in American Baroque Opera Company’s production of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas. Most recently, she was a featured soloist alongside Sasha Cooke, Deanna Breiwick, and Lucas Meachem in the orchestra workshop of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, a new work by composer Joby Talbot and librettist Gene Scheer. Prior to the U.S. outbreak of Covid – 19, she was engaged to make her mainstage debut for The Dallas Opera as Amore in Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice and the Heavenly Voice in Verdi's Don Carlo for the 2020-21 season. Gabrielle was also scheduled to debut at Tulsa Opera as Amore in Orfeo ed Euridice. Originally from Houston, Gabrielle is a proud graduate of University of North Texas.
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.