Brava! Opera Theater and James M. Collier Young Artist Program


San Francisco Opera Adler Fellows Grand Opera Concert

Sunday, January 26, 2:00 pm, 2020

at SOU Music Recital Hall in Ashland


(January 3, 2020 – Ashland, OR) Brava! Opera Theater and James M. Collier Young Artist Program presents the 2020 resident artists of the San Francisco Opera, the Adler Fellows in a Grand Opera Concert on Sunday, January 26 at 2:00pm, 2020 at SOU Music Recital Hall in Ashland, 450 South Mountain Ave, Ashland, OR 97520. Join us for an exciting concert of unforgettable music with the renowned San Francisco Opera Adler Fellows performing staged excerpts from grand operas. The San Francisco Opera Adler Fellowship is one of the world’s most prestigious multi-year performance-oriented residencies for opera’s most promising young artists. The Adler Fellows, selected from artists participating in the Merola Opera Program, also gain valuable experience by performing supporting roles in San Francisco Opera’s mainstage productions. The program has launched the careers of many of the artists performing on stages around the world including Patricia Racette, Ruth Ann Swenson, Elza van den Heever, Deborah Voigt, Dolora Zajick, Alek Shrader, Lucas Meachem and many more.


The singers who will perform in Ashland include sopranos Elisa Sunshine (San Clemente, California) and Esther Tonea (Buford, Georgia); mezzo-soprano Simone McIntosh (Vancouver, Canada); tenor Zhengyi Bai (Linyi, China), baritone Timothy Murray (Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin) and bass Stefan Egerstrom (Brooklyn Center, Minnesota). The pianist will be Andrew King (Syracuse, New York). They will perform 14 arias, duets and ensembles from the operas Così fan tutte by Mozart, The Daughter of the Regiment by Donizetti, The Barber of Seville by Rossini, Ariadne auf Naxos by Strauss, Ernani by Verdi, Die Entführung aus dem Serail by Mozart, Lucrezia Borgia by Donizetti, Turandot by Puccini and Die Fledermaus by J. Strauss.


Tickets are Adults $25, Students $5 Online at Box office at 1-541-414-5337 ($4 per phone order) Brava! Opera Theater Phone 541-261-5776


Brava! Opera Theater and James M. Collier Young Artist Program is an opera company created in 2010 by Artistic Director Willene Gunn, General Director Lorrie Hall and James M. Collier. Since 2010, Brava! Opera Theater has held ten Opera Master Classes with Concerts that trained 121 singers, presented nine operas, held nine Vocal Competitions with 652 singers from across the USA with $71,000 in prizes distributed and presented six Vocal Competition Winner’s Concerts and two San Francisco Opera Adler Fellows Concerts.



Brava! Opera Theater and James M. Collier Young Artist Program

Presents two one-act Chamber operas

The Old Maid and the Thief and The Telephone, by Gian Carlo Menotti 

Fri, Sat, March 1, 2, 8:00 pm, Sun, March 3, 3:00 pm at Camelot Theatre in Talent


January 30, 2013


Brava! Opera Theater and James M. Collier Young Artist Program will present two one-act comedies, The Old Maid and the Thief and The Telephone, by Gian Carlo Menotti  performed in English on Friday and Saturday, March 1st and 2nd at 8:00pm and Sunday, March 3rd at 3:00pm at Camelot Theater in Talent.The Old Maid and the Thief is a tale of gossip, small town stereotypes, and the lengths to which people will go for love. In The Telephone, two lovers face a different challenge caused by a young woman’s obsession with her phone. Menotti’s witty libretto and ingenious music and a richly talented national cast of professional opera singers and instrumentalists will delight opera novices and aficionados alike. Baritone, Jose Rubio, mezzo-soprano, Beth Madsen Bradford, sopranos Emma McNairy and Ellie Holt-Murray have performed internationally in opera houses such as New York City Opera, Portland Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, San Antonio Opera and Opera New Jersey. Tickets are available at Camelot Theatre at 541-535-5250 or online at 


Opera Scenes Concert on November 11, 2013 at Camelot Theater


October 18, 2012


Brava! Opera Theater and James M. Collier Young Artist Program will present an Opera Scenes Concert at 8:00 pm on Sunday, November 11, 2012 at Camelot Theater. Tickets are $10 Adults and $5 Students and can be purchased at or 541-535-5250. The concert features emerging and professional opera singers in 11 staged scenes from the operas Norma, The Magic Flute, Don Pasquale, The Pirates of Penzance, The Marriage of Figaro, Cenerentola, The Crucible, Idomeneo, Les Mamelles de Tirésias and La fille du regiment. The Stage Director is Willene Gunn and the Music Director and Pianist is Laurie Anne Hunter. The singers are Colin Campbell, Shelly Cox, Kenneth Depp, Amanda Gerig, Dan Gibbs, Karli Krueger, Mandee Light, Eoghan McDowell, Brian Munguia, Michaela Nuss, Lindsay Panero and Dianna Richardson. This concert is a wonderful opportunity for audience members to experience a large variety of operas composed from the 1700’s through 1967. Director Willene Gunn will introduce each scene. A “Meet the Artists” reception will follow the concert.

Opera Concert featuring soprano Marina Boudart Harris,
first place winner of our National Vocal Competition


April 1, 2012


Brava! Opera Theater and James M. Collier Young Artist Program will present an Opera Concert at 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 29, 2012 at SOU Music Recital Hall in Ashland featuring the first place winner of their recent National Vocal Competition. The winner, 26 year old Marina Boudart Harris, soprano, is currently under contract with San Francisco Opera as an Adler Fellow. The concert will include opera arias and art songs from a variety of composers including Mozart, Debussy, Strauss and more with pianist Laurie Anne Hunter. Praised in the San Francisco Chronicle for her “powerhouse vocal display” and “flair and well-placed high notes,” Ms. Harris is exciting critics and audiences alike. As a first year Adler Fellow, this season she will be covering the role of First Lady in Mozart’s The Magic Flute and the role of Elsa in Lohengrin with the San Francisco Opera.Also upcoming for Miss Harris is the lead soprano role in the world premiere ofLove/Hate, a new opera commissioned and produced by the San Francisco Opera Center

The national James M. Collier Young Artist Program Vocal Competition was created to recognize and encourage promising young operatic talent. The competition was held in Ashland and San Francisco in January, 2012.  Fifty singers from across the country competed for three prizes totaling $5,000. The first place winner was awarded $3,500 and will present a concert in southern Oregon. The Second Place Winner, Lindsay Ohse, 28 year old soprano, is a Portland Opera Studio Artist and received $1,000. TheThird Place Encouragement Award was given to Alison King, 22 year old soprano, who is a student of mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne.


Ms. Harris is from Los Angeles, California and is a recent graduate of the prestigious Merola Opera Program, the USC Thornton School of Music and the Music Academy of the West.  She was a Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Regional Finalist in 2009, and took home the Special Encouragement Award.  In 2010, she was chosen as a Western Regional Finalist for the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions and was the Second Place Winner in the Finals. Miss Harris was a vocal fellow at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California in 2010 where she was a student of legendary mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne and received the Encouragement Award Winner at the Marilyn Horne Foundation Vocal Competition for her performance of art song repertoire.  During 2011, she was selected from 800 applicants as one of 20 singers to be in San Francisco Opera's Merola Program. She went on to be selected as one of only four singers to continue on as Adler Fellows.  Each year, a select group of exceptionally gifted singers from Merola Opera Program is invited to continue their education as Adler Fellows. These singers represent who the classical music world can and should expect to see on celebrated opera house stages throughout the world in the very near future.


Reviews of Ms. Harris

Her reviews from a recent San Francisco Chronicle article titled “Young Merola Opera talent gets sparkling showcase” stated "Leading the charge for the women, meanwhile, was soprano Marina Boudart Harris, who brought bounteous sound and elegant, sumptuous phrasing to the final scene of Richard Strauss' "Arabella." Sopranos who can sing Strauss' music this well are rare, and to be treasured”. From the San Francisco Classical Voice, “Harris went on Saturday to give one of Merola Grand Finale’s most memorable performances, a consistent, elegant Arabella, conveying Richard Strauss’ complex, ultra romantic music with purity, without ego."



Judges for the competition included Willene Gunn, Artistic Director of Brava! Opera Theater and James M. Collier Young Artist Program and former 30 year Director of the Opera Program at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Kathryn Cathcart, Opera Conductor and Coach, San Francisco Conservatory of Music and San Francisco Opera and Opera Center, Mark Morash, Director of Musical Studies for San Francisco Opera’s Opera Center and Merola Staff, Martin Majkut, Conductor, Rogue Valley Symphony and Dr. Paul French, Southern Oregon University Director of Choral Studies and Conductor.


The concert is free though donations are gratefully accepted. For more information, visit or contact Lorrie Hall at 541.261.5776 or

August 24, 2011


New Opera Company Comes to the Rogue Valley:


Brava! Opera Theater and James M. Collier Young Artist Program


A new opera company has formed that will expand on current operatic programs and events in the Rogue Valley.  Primarily supported by opera devotee and renowned philanthropist James M. Collier, the new Brava! Opera Theater and James M. Collier Young Artist Program is the creation of Artistic Director Willene Gunn and General Director Lorrie Hall. 


Brava! Opera Theater and James M. Collier Young Artist Program was formed in 2010 and gives the Rogue Valley another opera company.   Mr. Collier has a long history as an opera patron and supports both Brava! Opera Theater and the Rogue Opera. 


The mission of Brava! Opera Theater and James M. Collier Young Artist Program is to train the complete singer/actor, recognize and showcase young operatic talent and present high quality concerts and professional chamber operas. 


Brava! Opera Theater and James M. Collier Young Artist Program is an opera company with an emphasis in three areas:

  • Opera workshops involving theater games and improvisation, in addition to staging operatic scenes culminating with two concerts

  • National James M. Collier Young Artist Vocal Competition held in San Francisco and Medford with two winner’s concerts

  • One annual fully staged professional chamber opera (beginning in spring 2013)


“We are passionate about developing opportunities for gifted young singers and expanding the scope of what’s available in our region,” says Ms. Hall.  “With Mr. Collier’s help, we will present an annual chamber opera, opera workshops to train young singers and the national James M. Collier Young Artist Program Vocal Competition that willrecognize, and encourage young operatic talent through cash prizes and concert performances. These programs are unique to the Rogue Valley and will result in what are sure to be one-of-a-kind concerts and performances.”


Ms. Gunn served as Director of the Opera Program at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music from 1975 to 2005.  She had an extensive career as a professional singer, actress, stage director and educator.  She spent 30 years performing in major opera houses, 50 years directing operas and now conducts master classes, workshops and has directed operas in southern Oregon. She is the co-author of the text book “Teaching Opera-The Role of Opera Workshop with Scene Catalog.”


“It is exciting to have opera so well represented in the Rogue Valley,” says Mr. Collier, longtime opera lover and patron of the arts.  “I am passionate about developing young singers, and have been a long time supporter of the Des Moines Metro Opera Apprentice Artist Program. With Ms. Gunn’s expertise and program direction by Ms. Hall, we are anticipating a year of wonderful workshops, concerts and performances featuring professional singers and opera stars of tomorrow.”


Ms. Gunn served as the Artistic Director of Rogue Opera from 2006-2009.  Ms. Hall is the former Executive Director of Rogue Opera and is a professional singer, non-profit arts consultant and grant writer. Brava! Opera Theater and James M. Collier Young Artist Program staff also includes Laurie Anne Hunter as pianist and vocal coach. Laurie is on staff at SOU, a well known collaborative pianist and former Assistant Conductor and Vocal Coach at the New York City Opera. Elaine Plaisance, formerly of Rogue Opera and SOU Foundation is the Development Director.


Brava! Opera Theater and James M. Collier Young Artist Program’s first event will be the Opera Workshop in October and November of 2011. Auditions to participate in the 33 hour opera workshop and two concerts will be on September 10, 2011. The workshop fee is $25 to participate. Ten singers will be selected for the workshop to be held over six weekends with the final concerts on November 12 and 13, 2011. The next event will be the National James M. Collier Young Artist Program Vocal Competition held at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and in Medford in January 2012. The vocal competition winners’ concerts will be in the spring of 2012. Brava! Opera Theater will present their first chamber opera in the spring of 2013 with auditions taking place in May of 2012.


For more information, please contact Lorrie Hall at 541.261.5776 or