Carmen 2023 Cast
Carmen - Nina Yoshida Nelsen
Hailed as a “richly powerful singing actress” (Broadway World), Nina Yoshida Nelsen captivates audiences throughout North America and Europe with her world-class voice and magnetic stage presence. In the upcoming 2023-2024 season, Ms. Nelsen joins Indianapolis Opera for the title role in Carmen, sings Melissa in Alcina with Seattle Opera, reprises Suzuki in Madama Butterfly with Opera Carolina, and sings the role of Mother Chen in American Soldier with the Perelman Performing Arts Center. Last season, Ms. Nelsen reprised the role of Suzuki in Madama Butterfly with Atlanta Opera and New Orleans Opera, performed selections of orchestrated lieder by Alma Mahler with the Toledo Symphony, and returned to Seattle Opera as Khanh in Bound. Joining her home company of Opera Santa Barbara, she also performed Mama in An American Dream and Fricka in the Dove reduction of Die Walküre.
In the 2021-2022 season, Ms. Nelsen made her Boston Lyric Opera debut as Mama Lucia in Cavalleria Rusticana and her Bard Opera debut singing Mother Chen in Huang Ruo’s An American Soldier, returned to Opera Santa Barbara for a double bill of El Amor Brujo and Frugola in Il Tabarro, and made her Chicago Opera Theater debut singing Queen Sophine in Mark Adamo’s Becoming Santa Claus. She also performed in the Uplifting Asian Voices concert at Boston Lyric Opera, joined Santa Fe Opera for a performance of Huang Ruo’s Angel Island, made her Washington National Opera debut as Phoung Tran in the world premiere of The Rift (Ruo/Hwang), sang Mama in Jack Perla’s An American Dream at Kentucky Opera and performed as the alto soloist in Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with the Rhode Island Philharmonic.
In 2019-2020, Ms. Nelsen made her Portland Opera debut as Suzuki in Madama Butterfly and
performed in the world premiere of Blood Moon at the Prototype Festival in New York City.
Additionally, this season marked a return to the Lyric Opera of Chicago, where she covered Suzuki
in Madama Butterfly. Performances canceled due to COVID-19 included a return to the Santa
Barbara Symphony to perform Beethoven's Mass in C and a reprisal of the role of Khanh in Huang Ruo's Bound at The Juilliard School.
Don José - Adam Diegel
Korean American tenor Adam Diegel regularly earns international acclaim for his impassioned dramatic sensibilities, powerful voice, and for his classic leading man looks. From a performance as Cavaradossi in Tosca at Glimmerglass Opera, Opera News raved: “The opera became a showdown between Adam Diegel’s impulsive, shaggily handsome Cavaradossi and Lester Lynch’s fearsome, animalistic Scarpia… (Diegel’s) spacious, Italianate tenor…delivered a stirring ‘Recondita armonia’ and built ‘E lucevan le stelle’ masterfully from hushed intimacy to an unfettered cri de coeur.”
Adam Diegel made his Metropolitan Opera début as Froh in Robert Lepage’s landmark production of Das Rheingold conducted by Maestro James Levine, and later reprised the performance under Fabio Luisi. Further appearances at The Met include Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly under Plácido Domingo and Ismaele in Nabucco under Paolo Carignani. Other notable recent U.S. engagements include: Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly at Atlanta Opera, Fort Worth Opera, Arizona Opera, Opera San Antonio, and Kentucky Opera; Ismaele in Nabucco at The Metropolitan Opera and at Opera Philadelphia; Cavaradossi in Tosca at Vancouver Opera, Palm Beach Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Seattle Opera, Opera Santa Barbara, and Arizona Opera; Don José in Carmen at San Francisco Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Florida Grand Opera, Arizona Opera, and Madison Opera; and Rodolfo in La Bohème at Teatro Nacional Eduardo Brito (Dominican Republic), Minnesota Opera, Opera Omaha, The Princeton Festival, and Pensacola Opera. He has also performed Froh in Das Rheingold and Narraboth in Salome, both with the Atlanta Opera.
Other international appearances include: Don José in Carmen at English National Opera, Lithuanian National Opera and at Opera Australia’s Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour; Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly with West Australian Opera (Perth Australia), Opera Hong Kong, Lithuanian National Opera, The Savonlinna Opera Festival, and on tour in China at the Guangzhou Opera House in Anthony Minghella’s acclaimed production; Don Carlo at Lithuanian National Opera. Maurizio in Adriana Lecouvreur at The National Theatre in Budapest, where he later performed Cavaradossi in Tosca; and David Alden’s new production of Luisa Miller for Opéra National de Lyon.
Micaëla - Kearstin Piper Brown
Kearstin Piper Brown has become one of the most sought-after lyric sopranos in the US.
In 2024, she will make her company debuts with Florida Grand Opera as Nedda in I Pagliacci as well
as with the Metropolitan Opera as Evelyn in Fire Shut up in My Bones. She will also perform the
world premiere of Two Corners with Finger Lakes Opera in cooperation with Cincinnati Opera. On
the concert stage, she will sing with Atlanta and Oregon Symphony.
In 2023, Ms. Brown made her debut at the Lyric Opera of Chicago in the world premiere of The
Walkers by Daniel Bernard Roumain, sang Wendy Torrance in Paul Moravec’s The Shining, first with
Opera Parallèle in San Francisco and subsequently with Atlanta Opera as well as Micaëla in Carmen
with Indianapolis Opera.
In 2022, she resumed performances in the lead role of Esther in Ricky Ian Gordon’s opera Intimate
Apparel with Lincoln Center Theater (as part of the joint Metropolitan Opera’s New Works
Program), for which she won several awards, including the World Theater Award for “Outstanding
Debut Performance in an Off-Broadway Production”. Intimate Apparel is featured on PBS’ Great
Other career highlights of her recent past were Musetta and Bess, both with New Orleans Opera,
Dorothy Jean Hamer in Chandler Carter’s This Little Light of Mine with Santa Fe Opera as well as
Clara in Jake Heggie’s It’s a Wonderful Life with San Francisco Opera, where she also covered
Dame Shirley in John Adam’s Girls of the Golden West.
On the concert stage, she performed Nkeiru Okoye’s Songs of Harriet Tubman with the Rochester
Philharmonic and premiered Nailah Nombeko’s Fortitude at the Skaneateles Festival. She made
her debuts at Carnegie Hall with the Cecilia Chorus of New York, with the National Philharmonic
Orchestra in Handel’s The Messiah, and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra in a musical celebration of
Juneteenth. She also had resounding successes with recitals dedicated to the music of Black
composers at Steven Blier’s New York Festival of Song and the Berkshire Opera Festival.
Escamillo - Young Kwang Yoo
Praised by Opera News for "Vocal dexterity and outstanding Italian diction — Mr. Yoo showcased a rich, reverberant baritone.” Baritone Young Kwang Yoo, native of South Korea, is a graduate of the College of Music, Seoul National University. He received his Master of music degree from the Manhattan School of Music.
Young Kwang Yoo made his debut with Florida Grand Opera as Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia. Upcoming engagements include Marcello in La bohème with Intermountain Opera Bozeman.
Previous credits include Carmen (Escamillo) with Festival Opera, La bohème (Marcello),
Lakmé (Frederic) and Luisa Miller (Miller) with Manhattan School of Music, Emmeline (Mr. Maguire), Le nozze di Figaro (Il Conte), The War Reporter (Paul Watson) and Pelléas et Mélisande (Pelléas) with Opera institute, La tragedie de Carmen (Escamillo) with the City Lyric Opera in NYC and L'enfant prodigue (Siméon) with Camerata New Jersey Foundation. He sang Don Pasquale (Malatesta) and Madama Butterfly (Sharpless) with Martina Arroyo Foundation. He performed three operas with Cleveland Opera Theater, Madama Butterfly (Sharpless), La bohème (Marcello) and Il barbiere di Siviglia (Figaro) which was hailed by Cleveland Classical, "Baritone Young Kwang Yoo brought an ultimate suavity, and a special combination of tone and power to Figaro."
His awards include 1st place winner in Osaka International Competition hosted in Japan and 2nd place in the Manhattan International Music Competition. He also has been awarded the Grand Prize of Opera Division in the 2019 Metropolitan International Vocal Competition.
Frasquita (Micaëla cover) - Victoria Korovljev
Victoria Korovljev is a rising young soprano with a warm lyrical timbre. She is the Resident Artist Soprano for Indianapolis Opera this Spring of 2023, where she is debuting as Zweite Dame and covering Pamina in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte. Victoria celebrated her Caribbean heritage with a debut as Elsa in the world premiere of The Pirate’s Daughter, commissioned by Romanza Lyric Opera. In the Fall of 2022, she was featured as Siren in Minnesota Opera’s production of Rinaldo. Also in 2022, she made her debut with Opera Grand Rapids as Female Soloist 2 in the world premiere of Stinney: An American Execution, which was recorded for PBS. In addition, Victoria made her role debut of Countess Almaviva with Trentino Music Festival. At TMF, she placed as a Finalist in their Young Artist Competition. Most recently, Victoria qualified as an alternate finalist with the Opera Birmingham Voice Competition. Furthermore, with much acclaim from the judges, Victoria qualified as a Semi-Finalist in the Palm Springs Opera Guild Competition and Jacques Offenbach Grand Prix. In the upcoming 2022-2023 season, Thursday Musical of Minneapolis selected Victoria as a featured solo artist in their Artist Series. During the pandemic, Victoria recorded two episodes introducing children to opera for Minnesota Public Radio and Minnesota Opera. Shortly thereafter, she was a visiting artist with Northern Light Opera Company, where she sung the character Catherine in Pippin. Other recent engagements include singing the role of Frasquita, as well as being a Finalist in the American Prize Competition for Women in Opera. Before the shutdown, Victoria took part in the workshops and premiering ensemble for Minnesota Opera’s newest commission, Edward Tulane.
Mercédès (Carmen cover) - Liz Culpepper
Liz Culpepper, mezzo-soprano, is thrilled to be joining Indianapolis Opera as a Resident Artist this season. She was educated at the University of Texas (B.A. Music - Voice; 2015) and received her Master’s in Voice from Indiana University in 2017. While she was at IU, Liz sang the following roles: Suzuki (Madama Butterfly), Mrs. Sedley (Peter Grimes), Madame de Croissy (Dialogues des Carmélites), La Zia Principessa (Suor Angelica), and Serse (Serse). She has also appeared at a number of summer music festivals. Notable appearances include Brevard in 2018, where she reprised the role of Suzuki in Madama Butterfly, in 2019 at the Princeton Festival in Nixon in China as the First Secretary, and with Teatro Nuovo in the 2022 season. Most recently, Liz made her solo debut at Lincoln Center with Teatro Nuovo as La Comare in Crispino e la Comare and was an Apprentice Artist at Sarasota Opera for their 2023 Winter Season. Liz is based in New York City where she is a core singer with Teatro Nuovo and she studies with Will Crutchfield. Prior to her Master’s degree, Liz specialized as an Early Music soprano with a special emphasis on the works of Bach. Through her work with Will Crutchfield and Teatro Nuovo, Liz has shifted her focus to historically informed performances of the Bel Canto repertoire with a special interest in Rossini. One of her long-term career goals is to sing all of his heroines. Coming up, Liz will perform with Teatro Nuovo in their 2024 season.
Le Remendado (Don José cover) - David Silvano
David Silvano is an emerging Peruvian-American tenor with a powerful, yet vibrant and flexible voice and a natural talent for acting. While he has a particular passion for the Romantic and post-Romantic repertoire, he is at home in a wide variety of styles. He looks forward to performing his role premiere as Don José in Bizet's Carmen in the Summer of 2023 with Chicago Summer Opera. He is also very pleased to have the opportunity to work with Indianapolis Opera as a Resident Artist in 2023, and to perform the role of The Duke of Mantua in Rigoletto with Mobile Opera in 2024. Mr. Silvano has most recently performed with the Handel Messiah Society of Grand Junction as a tenor soloist, and the role of Martin in Copland's The Tender Land, with the Ralph Opera Program at Colorado State University. In the Summer of 2022, he sang the role of Theodore Billings in the staged premiere of Clint Borzoni and John de los Santos's The Copper Queen with Marble City Opera where he was praised by Arts Knoxville for bringing "a deliciously romantic lyrical side" to the character. He also performed the role of Ferrando in Mozart's Così fan Tutte and Aeneas in Purcell's Dido and Aeneas with the Ralph Opera Program. He has appeared in productions with Boulder Opera Company, Art Song Colorado, Opera Fort Collins, and Loveland Opera Theatre among others. A native of Colorado, Mr. Silvano holds a BM from Colorado Mesa University and a MM from Colorado State University where he studied with John Lindsey.
Zuniga (Escamillo cover) - Andrew Boisvert
Andrew Boisvert, Bass, has been hailed as “thundering” (San Diego Story) with a “deep warmth”
(The Rutland Herald). He is a graduate of the Maryland Opera Studio at the University of Maryland (MM) and previously attended the University of Hartford, where he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance. Recent performance highlights include returning to Sarasota Opera to cover Il
Commendatore in Don Giovanni and Lo zio Bonzo in Madama Butterfly, singing Il Re di Scozia in Opera Neo’s production of Ariodante (August 2022), covering Sergeant Sulpice in St. Petersburg Opera’s production of La fille du Régiment (June 2022), and performing as Sam in Fargo-Moorhead Opera’s production of Trouble in Tahiti (March 2022) as well as covering Alidoro in their performance of Rossini’s Cinderella (April 2022). Other past opera engagements include covering Cadmus and Somnus in Semele with St. Petersburg Opera, performing Don Basilio in Opera Theater of Connecticut’s The Barber of Seville, and singing Banco in Act I of Verdi’s Macbetto with Opera Avant. Earlier, in 2020, Boisvert performed with Opera North as Sarastro in The Magic Flute as part of their Summerfest Series and Sarasota Opera, where he covered Il Pedone in Catalani’s La Wally, Count Capulet in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette, and Il Conte di Ceprano in Verdi’s Rigoletto. He performed as Olin Blitch in Floyd’s Susannah and covered Count Capulet in Roméo et Juliette with the Janiec Opera Company at the Brevard Music Center (2019) and performed as Frank Maurrant in Weill’s Street Scene with the Maryland Opera Studio, earlier that year. Boisvert is a student of internationally renowned bass-baritone, Kevin Short.
El Dancairo - Zachary Angus
Zachary Angus is a 2019 alumnus of the Indianapolis Opera Resident Artist program, during which he served as cover for Lancelot in Indianapolis Opera’s Camelot. Last summer Mr. Angus was featured at the International Summer Opera Festival of Morelia, Mexico in the title role of Gianni Schicchi. He also served as cover for Seid in Opera Festival Chicago’s production of Verdi’s Il Corsaro. Mr. Angus has deep ties to Indiana, receiving his bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame and serving as an Emerging Artist with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic. He has since relocated to Philadelphia, recently performing Jennifer Higdon’s song cycle Civil Words at the Philadelphia Fringe Festival. Other roles include Friedrich Bhaer (Little Women), Claudio (Béatrice et Bénédict) with Eugene Opera; Guglielmo (Così fan tutte, Tuscia Opera Festival); Alfio (Cavalleria Rusticana, Main Street Opera); Bartley (Riders to the Sea), Belcore (L’elisir d’amore) with Salt Creek Chamber Orchestra; Captain Corcoran (H.M.S. Pinafore, The Savoyaires of Evanston); Pangloss/Cacambo/Martin (Candide, Opera Notre Dame); and as bass soloist in The Little Match Girl Passion (Facility Theatre) and Handel's Messiah (Salt Creek Orchestra).
Moralès - Colin Anderson
Colin Anderson, baritone, is a passionate artist who uses musical storytelling to create emotional
connections with audiences. With recent performances as Amanasro in Utah Festival Opera’s
2023 production of Verdi’s Aida, Anderson has portrayed Peter in Humperdink’s Hansel und
Gretel, Ford in Verdi’s Falstaff, Bottom in Benjamin Britten’s A Midsummer Nights Dream at the
Miami Classical Music Festival and Oberlin Conservatory, Sam in Leonard Bernstein’s Trouble
in Tahiti, and Antonio in The Marriage of Figaro by Wolfgang Mozart. Along with performing
the many classics of the opera world, Anderson has also delved into 21st century opera through
performances of Du Yun’s Angels Bone, Rachel J. Peter’s Wild Beasts of the Bungalow, and even
played a silent role in Missy Mazzoli’s Proving Up. In each contemporary production, he has
enjoyed working closely with composers and librettists. Along with his operatic career,
Anderson has a love for art song of many styles. He has a particular interest in music by
underrepresented minority groups, showing that classical music is more diverse than one might
believe it to be. Anderson recently graduated with a Masters in Vocal Performance and is
currently working in his Performance Diploma at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music
under the tutelage of Dr. Brian Horne.
The Carmen Artistic Team
Layna Chianakas - Guest Director
Stage Director, Layna Chianakas believes that her three-decade career as a mezzo-soprano
has given her a unique understanding of singers and what they need to be successful. Her
stage directing credits include, Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, Cavalli’s L’Ormindo, Offenbach’s
Orpheus in the Underworld, Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, the National Opera Association’s award-
winning Postcard from Morocco by Argento, Ravel’s The Bewitched Child/L’enfant et les
Sortilèges, Strauss’ Die Fledermaus/The Revenge of the Bat, and a fully-staged and
conceptualized Mendelssohn’s Elijah, among others, for the San José State Opera Theater. For
Opera San José, she directed La Voix humaine, Hansel & Gretel, Carmen and Il barbiere di
Siviglia. She has directed Verdi’s Nabucco for West Bay Opera, and a double-bill of
Zemlinsky’s Eine florentinische Tragödie and Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi for Livermore Valley
Opera, which received first place in the 2021 American Prize in Opera Performance. Most
recently, she directed a double bill of Falla’s El amor brujo and Puccini’s Il Tabarro, and Tosca
for Opera Santa Barbara, Ching’s Speed Dating, Tonight! (Opera Santa Barbara’s Chrisman
Studio Artists), a Classical Voice award-winning Otello for Livermore Valley Opera, and
Madama Butterfly for the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra with Yulan Piao in the title role. Last
spring, Ms. Chianakas returned to Opera Santa Barbara to direct The Light in the Piazza for the
Chrisman Studio Artists, La Bohème for the Santa Cruz Opera Project, and Tosca for Amarillo
Opera. This Carmen marks her directorial debut with Indianapolis Opera.
Maestro Alfred Savia
Recently appointed Artistic Advisor and Principal Conductor of the Indianapolis Opera, Alfred Savia is no stranger to the Indianapolis musical scene. Savia served as Associate Conductor of the ISO and Artistic Director of Symphony On the Prairie from 1990 to1996. In 2019-20, Maestro Savia celebrated his 31st and final season as Music Director of the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra. Under his leadership the Orchestra added a Youth Orchestra program, Philharmonic Chorus, and Eykamp String Quartet. He initiated many new programs including Messiah, Nutcracker, Music Alive residencies, and fully staged opera presentations. Savia’s American guest conducting appearances include the Orchestras of Saint Louis, Detroit, Phoenix, Columbus, Memphis, San Antonio, Louisville, New Orleans and Naples (FL). Internationally, he has conducted orchestras extensively in Europe (Florence, Belgrade), Central and South America (Santiago, Montevideo, Quito; Toluca, and Jalapa in Mexico), and Asia (Korea Philharmonic). Festival appearances include Chicago’s Grant Park Symphony and the Wintergreen Summer Music Festival. He recorded Russell Peck’s The Thrill of the Orchestra with London’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and, with pianist Antonio Pompa-Baldi and the Evansville Philharmonic, Respighi’s Piano Concerto. A native of Livingston, New Jersey, Savia graduated from Butler University. Conducting studies at the ASOL Institute of Orchestral Studies and the Tanglewood Music Center led to his first professional appointment as Assistant Conductor of The Omaha Symphony. Subsequently, he served as Resident Conductor of the Florida Philharmonic and New Orleans Symphony Orchestra, Associate Conductor of the Florida Symphony Orchestra and Music Director of the Orlando Opera....
Morgan Hunkele - Pianist
Morgan Hunkele is an active collaborative pianist, vocal coach, and conductor in the United States and Europe. Currently the Resident Artist Pianist and Vocal Coach at Indianapolis Opera, Ms. Hunkele began working as a staff vocal pianist at Wake Forest University at the age of nineteen. She was a Collaborative Piano Fellow at Musiktheater Bavaria for the 2023 summer season and will also be working with Virginia Opera for their 2024 production of Frida Khalo and the Bravest Girl in the World. Recent conducting engagements include the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, where she was a 2023 summer conducting fellow of Markand Thakar. As a pianist, Ms. Hunkele has appeared as a guest artist in the Music for a Great Space concert series (Greensboro, NC), as a soloist with the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra, as a returning guest artist of the North Carolina Bach Festival, and as a featured pianist alongside the Winston-Salem Festival Ballet for the performance of three Rakowski etudes. She has been a finalist and prize winner in several piano competitions, including the Ronald Sachs International Music Competition and the Charlotte Steinway Piano Competition. Ms. Hunkele holds degrees in piano performance as a full-scholarship student from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (MM) and as a recipient of the Chancellor's Excellence Award from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (BM and High-School Diploma). Additionally, she has studied and performed at Meadowmount School of Music, Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival, Brevard Music Center, Rebecca Penneys Piano Festival, Baltimore International Piano Festival, Bowdoin International Music Festival, and Vivace International Music Festival.
Dr. Jessica Burton - Resident Assistant Director
Jessica Burton is excited to be working with Indianapolis Opera as Resident Assistant Opera Director. She has assistant directed at Austin Opera, Amaillo Opera, LOLA (Local Opera Local Artists), UT Austin, Spotlight on Opera, and FAVA France. Past directing credits include Little Women, At the Statue of Venus, Speed Dating Tonight, Das Lied von der Erde (UT Austin), Cendrillon, Pomme d'api (FAVA France), Angels in America, The Laramie Project and Bent (Avenue 10). She has a Doctor of Musical Arts in Opera Direction from UT Texas at Austin, as well as a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance and a Bachelor of Science in Technical Theatre from West Texas A&M University. Jessica's passion is cultivating community engagement among the next generation of opera goers.
Chorus Director - Dr. Cara Chowning
Dr. Cara Chowning is currently the vocal coach and voice area coordinator at Ball State University. She has served on faculties of the Cleveland Institute of Music, Simpson College, Oklahoma City University, and the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Her students and private coaching studio singers can be heard in young artist programs, in opera houses such as the Metropolitan Opera, Minnesota Opera, San Francisco Opera, and Utah Opera.
Chowning is in demand as coach, music director, and collaborative artist; she performs extensively throughout the US, South America, and Europe as duo partner and chamber musician. Internationally, Chowning has been guest coach for the American Institute of Music Studies in Graz, Austria and Teatro Bicentenario in San Juan, Argentina. She has lectured and performed for Road Scholars, Uniworld cruises and been broadcast on Public Television and Radio.
Chowning has prepared opera and musical theater productions at the professional, young artist, and collegiate level. She is music director for the vocal series of the Bar Harbor Music Festival and has served on the music staff of Lyric Opera Cleveland, Opera Cleveland, Finger Lakes Opera, Kansas City Lyric Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, and Cleveland Opera where she created and prepared nationally recognized opera educational programs for performance in schools across Northeast Ohio.
Indianapolis Opera Chorus