Rising tenor Limmie Pulliam has been praised for his captivating stage presence and his “stentorian, yet beautifu,l” voice. The 2017-18 season includes Mr. Pulliam’s company debut and second foray as the Moor of Venice in Verdi’s Otello with Springfield Regional Opera and a highly anticipated recital appearance as part of Vashon Opera’s season.
Previous seasons include appearances in concert with the Delta Symphony Orchestra, a much acclaimed role and company debuts with Vashon Opera as Canio in I Pagliacci; and at the Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice as the title character in Verdi’s masterpiece, Otello. Mr. Pulliam also appeared as tenor soloist with The Concord Chorale in Mozart’s Requiem and as tenor soloist in Stainer’s Resurrection in The Villages, FL. He has appeared on multiple occasions as tenor soloist with the internationally renowned Gloriae Dei Cantores in Mendelssohn’s Elijah and as featured soloist in the works of Gerald Finzi (Ode to St. Cecilia and Intimations of Immortality).
In 2016, he performed at the National Opera Association’s convention in honor of Lifetime Achievement Award recipient and 2015 National Medal of Arts honoree, legendary tenor George Shirley.
Mr. Pulliam, who trained with the late renowned pedagogue Richard Miller, is a former artist-in-residence with Cleveland Opera, Opera Delaware and Opera Memphis.
He was the 2012 Artist Division Winner of the National Opera Association Vocal Competition, and was a winner in the 3rd Annual Marcello Giordani International Vocal Competition in Catania, Sicily in 2013.
Jennifer Forni is quickly distinguishing herself as a dynamic soprano possessing a strong, robust voice while maintaining the ability to effortlessly float stunningly-spun pianissimi above the staff. Ms. Forni excels in the heroines of Puccini, Bizet, Mozart, and Tchaikovsky. In her role debut of Cio-Cio-San in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, Russian American had this to say of her performance, “Jennifer Forni showed her amazing singing talent and dramatic flair as fragile Cio-Cio-San in Puccini’s classic Madama Butterfly. Ms. Forni as Madama Butterfly is at the top of game, shaping a highly believable character and never losing the strength of her beautiful vocal delivery”. In February 2013 she made her Metropolitan Opera debut in the role of the First Esquire in the Metropolitan Opera’s new production of Wagner’s Parsifal, broadcast in movie theaters around the world. In 2011, Ms. Forni joined the roster of the New York City Opera, where she understudied the role of Rita Clayton in Stephen Schwartz’s world premiere opera of Séance on a Wet Afternoon at Lincoln Center. She returned the following season to understudy the role of Violetta in La Traviata.
Early in her career at the prestigious Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Program, while understudying the role of Nannetta in Verdi’s Falstaff, she was requested to take the stage at a moment’s notice. After her towering performance she was asked to complete the run.
Other operatic engagements include: Tatyana in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, Musetta in Puccini’s La Bohëme, and Micaëla in Bizet’s Carmen with Portland Opera; La Contessa in Le Nozze di Figaro with Springfield Regional Opera; Alice Ford in Verdi’s Falstaff and Donna Anna in Mozart’s Don Giovanni while in residence with Opera San Jose; Micaëla in Bizet’s Carmen with Opera San Jose and Springfield Regional Opera. While she was a member of the Portland Opera Studio: Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti, Monteverdi’s Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda, and Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel. She has also appeared at the Opera Theater of St. Louis and the Maryland Opera Studio, in such roles as Tatyana in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, Fiordiligi in Mozart’s Cosí Fan Tutte, and Helena in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Concert engagements include performances as the Soprano Soloist for the International Sacred Music Festival in Rome for John Rutter’s Mass of the Children; Fauré & Rutter Requiems with MidAmerica Productions at Carnegie Hall; Vaughan Williams’ A Sea Symphony with the New York Choral Society at Carnegie Hall; Samuel Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with the Oregon Mozart Players; Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 with the Greeley Philharmonic, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with both The Springfield Symphony and the Sunriver Music Festival, and Richard Strauss’ Four Last Songs with the Portland Opera.
Dr. Todd Payne is a native of Munford, Tennessee, Metropolitan Opera District Winner & Regional Finalist, and tenured-full Professor of Music (Voice) at Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri, Tod's voice has been described as "Magnificent", "Impassioned", and "Stentorian". He is sought after for his commanding presence, ringing tones and intense work ethic in opera, recital, oratorio, etc.
Todd was last heard in the role of Malatesta in Springfield Regional Opera’s production of Don Pasquale. In February 2017, he was the bass soloist in Beethoven 9th with Springfield Symphony Orchestra. In January he reprised the role of Hero/Louis Armstrong in Dave Brubeck’s Jazz Opera The Real Ambassadors in Memphis, Tennessee; a role he first sang in a collaboration with Opera Memphis/Rhodes College in April 2016. Also in April, Todd made his Topeka Symphony Orchestra debut as the bass soloist in The Verdi Requiem. Summer 2016, Todd appeared in concert as guest soloist with the Memphis Wind Ensemble.
In the summer of 2014, Todd was heard in the title role in Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess” with the Princeton Opera Festival in Princeton New Jersey and received review following review:
“Richard Todd Payne conveys the spirit of his character, and the opera, before he even opens his mouth. You like this Porgy the minute he makes his entrance. Payne’s physical stature is of a piece with his spiritual resolve. There’s a solidity in his manner, and you just know there is nothing that will keep him down, totally at variance with his status as Catfish Row’s crippled beggar. When he sings “I Got Plenty o’ Nuttin’,” you believe icebergs would glance off the prow of this man, and you suspect the menacing Crown is in for a world of hurt.”
Todd has performed the title roles in Tartuffe, Gianni Schicchi, Rigoletto Porgy & Bess and The Marriage of Figaro. Other roles include Ned in Treemonisha, Dr. Bartolo & Don Basilio in The Barber of Seville, Don Magnifico in La Cenerentola, Don Pippo in L'Oca del Cairo, Escamillo in Carmen, Marcello in La Boheme and many others.
Professional credits include performances with Princeton Opera, Opera Memphis, Indianapolis Opera, Illinois Opera Theater, Houston Grand Opera, Union Avenue Opera Theatre, Springfield Regional Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Opera Theatre St. Louis, Chicago Opera Theatre, Princeton Opera, Memphis Symphony, Champaign-Urbana Symphony, Danville Symphony, Eastern Illinois Symphony, Rockford Symphony, and the Memphis Youth Symphony.
Todd is represented by Dietsch Artists International in Orange County, New Jersey. Todd reminds us:
“The key to his success is first and foremost, his Strong Faith in God and the profound belief: If your mind conceives it, your heart believes it, you can achieve it.”
Paula Patterson has performed over 30 roles in opera, operetta, and musical theatre. Opera companies with whom she has sung include the Spanish National Opera in Madrid, San Diego Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Ohio Light Opera, Texas Opera Theatre out of Houston, Opera Carolina, and Heartland
Opera Theater in Joplin. During the last few years, she has performed recitals at Qingdao University in China, New York, Ohio, Memphis, and Spivey Hall in Atlanta. Locally, her most recent stage roles include the Senior Authority Figure in Hairspray and Amanda Wayne in Leap of Faith with Tent Theatre and Miss Andrew in Mary Poppins at the Landers Theatre. Her performances with Springfield Reginal Opera
include the 2015 Gala, Opera Goes to Hollywood, Rosina, Suzuki in Madame Butterfly, Maddalena, Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors, Flora in La Traviata, Second Lady in Magic Flute, Mercedes in Carmen, Marcellina in Marriage of Figaro, Gianetta in Elixir of Love, and Miss Todd in Menotti’s Old Maid and the Thief. She was a regional finalist and education grant recipient of the Metropolitan Opera auditions as well as a finalist in the San Francisco Opera Center, Chicago Lyric Opera and Pittsburgh Opera Center auditions. She completed a Masters of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of
Texas at Austin and a Doctorate at the University of Missouri. She has worked at Missouri State University for the last 25 years and is currently Associate Professor of Voice and President of the Ozarks Chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing.
Tonight will be character tenor Stephen Bomgardner’s eleventh performance with Springfield Regional Opera since moving to Springfield just twelve years ago. He previously sang the roles of Basilio and Curzio (The Marriage of Figaro), the Counselor (Trial by Jury), King Kaspar (Amahl and the Night Visitors), the Youth (The Wise Women), Goro (Madama Butterfly), Mr. Erlanson (A Little Night Music), Spoletta (SRO/SSO joint Tosca), and three SRO gala concerts. His professional operatic repertoire includes thirty-two character tenor roles. As a recitalist, he has performed over 130 solo and chamber music recitals in Boston, Minneapolis, Kansas City, Seattle, Los Angeles, San Antonio, Houston, and numerous other cities across the United States. In oratorio and concert works, he has performed as soloist in thirty-six different works by such composers as Bach, Handel, Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn and Britten. He is Professor of Music and Chair of the Department of Fine and Performing Arts at Drury University. Previously, he taught at Minnesota State University-Mankato, Gustavus Adolphus College, Pittsburg State University and the University of Texas-Pan American. He also spent four summers teaching at the Boston University Tanglewood Institute (BUTI), the high school component of the Tanglewood Music Festival. He holds the Doctor of Musical Arts in Voice Performance from Boston University's School of Music, the Master of Music from Rice University's Shepherd School of Music, and the Bachelor of Music from Fort Hays State University.
Soprano Genevieve Fulks recently portrayed the role of Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro with Opera in the Ozarks in its 67th season, reprising the role she debuted with
Springfield Regional Opera in its 2016 production of Figaro. Ms. Fulks is southern raised and trained, originally from the delta of Jonesboro, Arkansas. During her undergraduate studies at the University of Central Arkansas Schedler Honors College,
she was named a Fulbright National Scholar Finalist in the area of vocal performance. She is a graduate of the University of Tennessee Opera Theatre, where she performed
Musetta (La boheme), Monica (The Medium), and Genovieffa (Suor Angelica). She was also a member of the Knoxville Opera Studio and Knoxville Opera Chorus. Ms. Fulks has received many accolades in competitions. She was named winner of the
voice category in the Delta Symphony Orchestra Young Artist Competition and won first place in the advanced division of the Ozark Chapter NATS auditions. She was named one of five regional finalists in the most recent NATS Artist Awards competition, placed as finalist in the Savell Vocal Competition, and was awarded second place in the Beethoven Club Young Artist Competition. Ms. Fulks made her professional debut with Opera Experience Southeast as Nella and Lauretta cover in Gianni Schicchi. She has since performed with Springfield Regional Opera, Opera in the Ozarks, Opera in the Rock, Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Arkansas Symphony Youth Orchestra, The Messiah Project, Forum Sinfonia of Krakow,
Poland, Ozark Family Opera Company, Conway Dinner Theatre, Springfield Little Theatre, and Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre. She is also an active recitalist, performing both faculty and guest artist recitals where she showcases not only works of
twentieth century composers, but also the premieres of regional composers. Upcoming roles include Serpina in La serva padrona with Classical Arts Inc. In October, Ms. Fulks
will premiere the song cycle Genevieve’s Cats by composer Michael Murray. Genevieve’s favorite roles performed are Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro), Pinocchio (Pinocchio), and Papagena (The Magic Flute). She enjoys playing maids, birds, and boys, and she looks forward to the day she will portray her next dream role- Oscar in Un ballo in maschera.
Tenor, Brandon Scott Russell, is a native of Springfield, MO and is currently an Artist Diploma student in Opera Performance at the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music where he recently received his Master of Music degree under the tutelage of William McGraw. During his Master’s he was highly involved with the Opera Fusion New Works Project through CCM/Cincinnati Opera, premiering the roles of John Doe in Catan’s final opera, Meet John Doe and Shalimar in Jack Perla’s new work Shalimar the Clown collaborating with Opera Theatre of St. Louis. He has performed in concert opera with the CCM Philharmonia performing the roles of Narraboth in Salome and singing as Roméo in Roméo et Juliette. Most recently at CCM, Russell performed the title role in the Mainstage production of Mozart’s Idomeneo.
Russell completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance where he performed in the Mainstage productions of Dialogues des Carmelites (Le Chevalier), La Tragédie de Carmen (Don José), and in Die lustige Witwe (Camille de Rosillon), where he was praised by KCMetropolis of Kansas City, MO as being a “strong, ringing tenor capable of both power and feeling”.
Beyond collegiate work, Russell has participated in prestigious apprentice and studio artist programs across the United States. He has performed with The Wolf Trap Opera Company, Cincinnati Opera, Opera Saratoga, Houston Grand Opera’s Young Artist Vocal Academy, and Des Moines Metro Opera. Russell was recently seen in Cincinnati Opera’s summer 2017 festival covering Rodolfo in La bohème, Tamino in Die Zauberflöte, and performing the roles of Parpignol and 1st Armored Guard respectively.
This upcoming season Russell will be seen in Springfield Regional Opera’s 2017-2018 productions of Verdi’s Otello (Cassio) and Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte (Tamino).