A truly happy homecoming awaits for nearly 80 Chapman University alumni who have been invited to perform in the Grand Opening concert in Musco Center of the Arts on March 19, 2016. The group spans seven decades of Chapman history and includes Musco grandson Alex David ’09 as emcee, a 70-voice chorus, and eight exciting and accomplished soloists:
Ben Bliss ’08, tenor, has been named a recipient of the prestigious Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Award for 2016. In the Metropolitan Opera’s 2015-2016 season, Bliss performed as Belmonte in Die Entführung aus dem Serail, conducted by James Levine, and will make his European debut in the same role with Glyndebourne Festival on tour. He also recently returned to Los Angeles Opera, where he appeared as Tamino in Die Zauberflöte. On the concert stage, Bliss will debut with the New York Philharmonic singing Tony in Bernstein’s West Side Story with Alan Gilbert, Haydn’s The Creation and Cassio in Otello at the Cincinnati May Festival with James Conlon, and in holiday concerts with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Lexington Philharmonic. Bliss concludes the season with his company debut at Santa Fe Opera as Flamand in a new production of Capriccio directed by Tim Albery.
Deborah Domanski ’98, mezzo-soprano, brings an extraordinary combination of scintillating musicality and captivating stage-presence to the opera world. Recent engagements include the role of Lazuli in L’Etoile with Austin Lyric Opera, the title role of La Cenerentola and Cherubino both with Opera Southwest. She has sung with Opera Hong Kong, Michigan Opera Theater, Tulsa Opera, New Orleans Opera, and Pittsburgh Opera. Concert appearances include those with The Santa Fe Pro Musica, Asheville Symphony, the Laredo Symphony, The New Mexico Philharmonic, and an engagement with the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Maestro Esa-Pekka Salonen in Mozart’s Requiem. In 2011 Deborah released her first album entitled Arias & Songs with Maestro Robert Tweten on piano. In January 2005, Deborah made her Weill Concert Hall debut as part of the Marilyn Horne Foundation’s The Song Continues. She holds degrees from Chapman University, Manhattan School of Music, and The Juilliard School.
Dennis Kelly ’67, baritone, graduated from Chapman College and went directly to Melodyland Theater in Anaheim for a season of summer stock, then toured for five years with the Norman Luboff Choir. While living in New York City he performed with the Camerata Singers, Collegiate Chorale, Musica Sacra,
Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops, Leopold Stokowski and the American Symphony Orchestra, Robert DeCormier Singers and the Bach Aria Group. On Broadway, he was nominated for an Outer Critics Circle Award in the 1994 revival of Damn Yankees. He played Buffalo Bill in Annie Get Your Gun starring Bernadette Peters, and Cinderella’s Father in Into the Woods starring Vanessa Williams. His national tours include Jekyll and Hyde, Urinetown, Anything Goes and Damn Yankees. His television appearances include The Dollmaker, episodes of Law & Order, Chicago, Lady Blue, Detroit 1-8-7, as well as sketches on Late Night with Conan O’Brien.
John Nuzzo ’91, tenor, is a Tokyo-born Japanese American. His first professional engagement was as soloist in Bach’s B minor Mass with the Master Chorale of Orange County. He joined the Vienna State Opera in 2000 and quickly established his career in Austria, appearing in Bernstein’s West Side Story at the Volksoper Wien and in Zemlinsky’s King Kandaules at the Salzburg Festival. In 2003, he made his Metropolitan Opera debut in Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos and Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress. In subsequent seasons he has returned for performances of Romeo and Juliette, Fidelio, Cosí fan Tutte, Don Giovanni, and Il Trittico which was broadcast in HD around the world. He was awarded the 13th Idemitsu Music Award, and when he was invited to sing in Japan’s longest-running New Year’s Eve Concert on TV, his fame in Japan spread overnight. His first full album Tenorissimo was recently released from Universal Music.
Weston Olson ’04, baritone, is a proud, enthusiastic 2004 alumnus of Chapman University. Having toured the U.S. and Canada with the 25th anniversary production of Les Misérables, he is currently on Broadway in the same production as an Enjolras cover and ensemble swing. Other credits: City Center Encores Presentation of Where’s Charley?, Geva Theatre Center’s production of Sweeney Todd, Squire Dap in Camelot for the PBS Broadcast of Live From Lincoln Center in Avery Fisher Hall with The New York Philharmonic, The Hollywood Bowl production of Les Misérables, and Valentine in Babes In Arms at The Barnstormers Theater. Weston has also been a concert soloist for The Boston Pops and with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in the West Coast premiere of The Lord of the Rings Symphony.
Bruce Sledge ’94 is one of today’s most in-demand tenori di grazia. He has made the Duke in Rigoletto and Paolo Erisso in Maometto Secondo, two of his signature roles with performances at The Santa Fe Opera, Vancouver Opera, Canadian Opera, and the Metropolitan Opera in the Parks. Sledge made his Metropolitan Opera debut as Almaviva in The Barber of Seville and went on to star in The Magic Flute, Cosí fan tutte, and Thomas Ades’ The Tempest. His career has taken him to the stages of New York City Opera, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Los Angeles Opera, Paris Opera, La Fenice and beyond. His discography includes the role of the Fox in Janacek’s The Cunning Little Vixen for the BBC with Kent Nagano conducting. He can also be seen on the NBC sitcom Scrubs and heard on the soundtrack of the motion picture The Sum of All Fears.
Mexican-American baritone Efraín Solís ’11 is a recent graduate of the Adler Fellowship at San Francisco Opera. He made his Company debut as Prince Yamadori in Madama Butterfly and appeared as Christian in Un Ballo in Maschera, Sciarrone in Tosca, and Dandini in La Cenerentola. In the spring of 2013, he joined Opera Santa Barbara as a member of their Studio Artist Program, where he sang the role of Il Notario and covered Dr. Malatesta in Don Pasquale. As a participant of the 2013 Merola Opera Program, he sang Junius in The Rape of Lucretia and covered Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro. Chosen as a finalist for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and the 2013 Houston Grand Opera’s Eleanor McCollum Competition, Solís holds degrees from Chapman University and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where he performed the title role of Don Giovanni, Guglielmo in Così fan tutte, and the title role of Gianni Schicchi. Solís recently appeared as Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet with both Opera Carolina in January 2016 and Virginia Opera in February 2016.
Soprano Stacey Tappan ’95 has distinguished herself as an exceptional musical artist in the United States and abroad. Recent engagements for Ms. Tappan have included starring roles in A Streetcar Named Desire, La cenerentola, Albert Herring, and Krenek’s Das Geheime Königreich, all with the Los Angeles Opera. She also appeared in the world premiere of Adamo’s The Gospel of Mary Magdalene and Wagner’s Ring Cycle with San Francisco Opera. Ms. Tappan’s concert work has included appearances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic singing Wing on Wing, composed and conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen, Mahler’s Symphony of a Thousand at the Hollywood Bowl, and Mendelssohn’s Midsummer Night’s Dream at Ravinia Festival. Ms. Tappan made her professional debut with Houston Grand Opera as Beth in Little Women, broadcast on PBS’ Great Performances and released on CD by Ondine and on DVD by Naxos.
Although concert-only tickets are sold out for the star-studded extravaganza, which includes performances by legendary tenor Plácido Domingo, soprano Deborah Voigt, and mezzo-soprano Milena Kitic, there are still tickets available for the special Gala package which includes orchestra-level concert seating, a champagne reception, and gala dinner with Domingo. Visit muscocenter.org/event/grand-opening/ for more information or to order tickets.