Truly outstanding cast of singers will be joining the CLO and the CVCO for it’s upcoming production of CARMEN.


CARMEN: Tamra Grace Jones
DON JOSE: Daniel Juarez
ESCAMILLIO: Justin Ryan (Nov. 9, 18), Ivan Konrad (Nov. 11, 17)
MICHAELA: Jurate Svedaite (Nov. 11, 18), Mary McCue (Nov. 9, 17)
ZUNIGA: Daniel Klein
FRASQUITA: Chelsea Pall
MERCEDES: Rebecca Batista de Almeida, Sara Trenner
MORALÈS / LE DANCAÏRE: Scott Ballantine
LE REMENDADO: Joel Edwards Jr.,
LIGHTS DESIGNER: Joe Mamurano – Thunder & Lightning
PIANIST: Blake Hansen

Special thanks Knaus Constructions for donating set elements.

TAMRA GRACE JONES is a Boston-based soprano. Most recently she won silver at the Vancouver International Music Competition and received top vocalist from the Philharmonic Society of Arlington’s Young Artist Competition. She has also won the American Spirituals Contest and the National Association for Teachers of Singing Advanced College Women competitions. Her roles include Marguerite (Faust), Siegrüne (Die Walküre), the Witch Hansel and Gretel), and Ms. Todd (the Old Maid and the Thief). Tamra graduated with a Master of Music in Vocal Performance from the New England Conservatory under teacher Bradley Williams and coach John Moriarty.
Tenor DANIEL JUÁREZ is becoming well-known to New England opera audiences, having performed with Connecticut Lyric Opera, Opera Theater of Connecticut, MetroWest Opera, Western Connecticut State University Opera Studio, and in various recital and concert venues throughout the region. His recent operatic credits include Don José in Bizet’s Carmen, the title role in Gounod’s Faust, Rodolfo in Puccini’s La Bohème, The Italian Singer in Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier, Pinkerton in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, and Erik in Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman. Of a recent performance Faust, The Town Times of Middletown, CT said “Juarez… sang a Faust of both great refinement and passion, and his top notes flowed freely and effortlessly.” The Day of New London, CT said of his performance of Erik in Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman: “Juarez almost stole the show Saturday, his full-throated tenor filing the hall with anger and frustration…” Of his Don Jose in Bizet’s Carmen, the Town Times said: “…the real revelation of the evening was tenor Daniel Juarez as Don Jose… he flooded the theater with big, burnished, baritonal sounds, a powerful top, and plenty of gut-wrenching passion…” The Day of New London, CT described his performance in Carmen as “a riveting evening of musical drama by tenor Daniel Juarez” and further noted, “His growing vocal ardor, a smooth and powerful tenor well-suited to this French material, and stagecraft through the final two acts . . . were character development writ large. From the Act 2 aria “La fleur que tu m’avais jetée” through the impassioned duets that followed to the finale, Juarez was the evening’s emotional epicenter.” Daniel has also been featured as the tenor soloist in a number of oratorio and concert performances, including Handel’s Messiah, Mozart’s Requiem and Vesperae Solennes de Confessore, J.S. Bach’s Magnificat, Ariel Ramirez’ Misa Criolla, Heinrich Schütz’ Sieben Worte Jesu Christi am Kreuz, and Theodore Dubois’ Seven Last Words of Christ. Of a performance of Rossini’s Stabat Mater the New Canaan (CT) News said: “The most spectacular of the arias was “Cujus Animam,” which takes the tenor soloist to a stratospheric high d-flat. Dan Juarez made it look easy. He has a full dramatic sound, somewhat dark, but flexible, undaunted by Rossini’s demands that took him all over his range.” Daniel is a graduate of the Yale University School of Music, a former Minnesota Opera Studio Artist, and onetime finalist in the Southwest Region Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions.
Possessing a vocal artistry and stage presence capable of “transfixing audiences with moments of opera magic,” Lithuanian soprano, Jūratė Švedaitė, has performed on four continents with organizations such as the Lithuanian National Chamber Orchestra, the Israel Chamber Orchestra, Connecticut Lyric Opera, Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra, Connecticut Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra, ProLirica de Medellin (Columbia), Kaunas (Lithuania) Chamber Orchestra, Classical Orchestra of Piła (Poland), the Lithuanian National Ensemble “Lietuva”, Schlern International Music Festival (Italy), Greve Opera Festival (Italy), San Gimignano Music Festial (Italy), Pazaislis International Music Festival (Lithuania), among others, in venues as varied as Carnegie Hall, the Lithuanian National Philharmonic and Teatro Metropolitan (Columbia). On the stage, Ms. Švedaitė has performed more than 20 leading roles including Cio-cio San in Madama Butterfly, the diva Tosca, Violetta in La Traviata, Mimi in La Bohème, Contessa in Le Nozze di Figaro, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, Desdemona in Otello, Senta in Die Fliegende Hollander, Marguerite in Faust and Micaela in Carmen. An active perfomer of sacred works and oratorios as well, her credits include Bach’s Mass in B minor, Mozart’s Requiem, Brahm’s Ein Deutsches Requiem, Verdi’s Requiem and Orff’s Carmina Burana, while orchestral works include Strauss’ Vier letzte Lieder, Barber’s Knoxville Summer of 1915, Respighi’s Il Tramonto and a number of Bach’s secular cantatas. The granddaughter of one of Lithuania’s most revered composers and arrangers of traditional music, Jonas Švedas, Ms. Švedaitė attended the Lithuanian Music Academy where she earned Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Opera Performance and Vocal Instruction. She now resides in the United States where she an Associate Professor at Connecticut College as well as teaches voice at Choate Rosemary Hall and Thames Valley Music School.
MARY MCCUE, SOPRANO, earned a Bachelors in Music from the University of Connecticut in 2009. While there, Ms. McCue was a member of the opera theater program where she performed one of her most memorable roles as Cathleen in Vaughn Williams’ Riders to the Sea. She joined CLO in 2017 for the Greve Opera Academy & Music Festival in Chianti, Italy where she performed the role of Fiordiligi in Mozart’s Cosi fan Tutte. Since then, she has performed for CLO in several productions including: Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas (Belinda), Mozart’s Die Zauberflote (First Lady), Verdi’s Aida (chorus). She returned to the Greve program this summer to sing Countess in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro. Ms. McCue has also been the featured soloist in Requiem settings by Faure, Mozart, and Brahms and most recently Schubert’s Mass No.2 in G Major. She is currently the cantor for St. Cyril & St. Methodius Church in Hartford, CT.
In recent seasons, BARITONE JUSTIN RYAN has achieved success across the United States with his interpretations of new works by American composers, including his debut with New York City Opera as the painter Edward Hopper in Stewart Wallace’s Hopper’s Wife, and as Walt Disney in the American Premier of Philip Glass’s new grand opera, The Perfect American, with Long Beach Opera and Chicago Opera Theater. Most recently at Chicago Opera Theater, he appeared opposite Patricia Racette in Gian Carlo Menotti’s The Consul. Previously at Connecticut Lyric Opera, Justin appeared as Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro, and he can be seen later this winter as Starbuck in Moby Dick with Opera San Jose in California.
IVAN CONRAD (cavalier baritone) is a commanding actor with a powerfully cutting, yet artistically versatile voice. Of over forty operatic roles performed internationally, highlights of Conrad’s career include both Figaro and Il Conte in Le nozze di Figaro, the title role of Der Fliegende Holländer, Zuniga and Escamillo in Carmen, and Silvio in I Pagliacci. This season Conrad made his Carnegie Hall solo debut, gave a three week concert tour of East Germany including Berlin and Bayreuth, sang three operatic roles in Syros, Greece, and was an artist at Sarasota Opera and Natchez Festival of Music. Other credits include New York Philharmonic; a guest artist at the Juilliard School; Chautauqua Opera; Internazionale Festival Della Cultura in Bergamo, Italy; the Santa Fe Desert Chorale; Opera Southwest, Connecticut Lyric Opera, the New Mexico Philharmonic; Opera Moderne; and 2 former appearances with Long Island Opera in Rigoletto and La Traviata.
Imaginative, adventurous, and occasionally downright terrifying, audiences have found in BASS-BARITONE, DANIEL KLEIN an exciting example of versatility. Recent appearances include Don ‘Donnie Pizarro in Heartbeat Opera’s acclaimed Black Lives Matter Fidelio which he will reprise this November; Marcello in La Boheme and Baron Gondremark in La vie Parisienne with Long Island Opera; Fra Melitone in La Forza del Destino with New Amsterdam Opera; Hyde in the New York Premier of Carlisle Floyd’s The Prince of Players with the Little Opera Theater of New York and the bass soloist in Mozart’s Coronation Mass and Handel’s Messiah with Garden State Symphony. Other recent credits include the title role Frank London’s new opera Hatuey: A Memory of Fire at the Sundance Theater Lab, Don Bartolo in Il Barbiere di Siviglia of which the New York Times said he was ‘an unusually dark and steely Bartolo.’ He joined the Altamura/Roundtop Festival as Geronimo in Il Matrimonio Segreto, and returned to Opera Company of Middlebury as Ping in Turandot where he has performed Marcello in La bohème, Rambaldo in La rondine and Mustafà in The Italian Girl in Algiers (L’Italiana in Algeri), Monterone in Annapolis Opera’s Rigoletto, Tonio in Opera Providence’s Pagliacci, and as the Recluse in Frank London’s Talmudic-Klezmer Oratorio A night in the Old Marketplace in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Canadian SOPRANO CHELSIE PALL is from Grande Prairie Alberta. She holds both a Master’s Degree and a Bachelor Degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Western Ontario. Recent performance credits include; Susanna in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro (CLO Greve 2018), Gretel in Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel (Grande Prairie Opera 2018), Second Spirit in Mozart’s Magic Flute (CLO 2017) Michal in Handel’s Saul (Grande Prairie Opera 2017) and Despina in Mozart’s Cosi fan Tutte (CLO Greve 2017). Previous roles include Tigrane in Handel’s Radamisto (2016), Sirene and Mago in Handel’s Rinaldo and Barbarina in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro (2014). Chelsie looks forward to making her debut performance as Frasquita in CLO’s production of Carmen.
An ebullient and enthusiastic musician, REBECCA BATISTA DE ALMEIDA is a diversely experienced pianist and singer. The Brazilian born musician has performed in notable venues in the US and South America, and has been involved in many internationally renowned festivals, workshops and masterclasses. She has also made appearances as a pianist on radio in Brazil. Having always had a passion for singing, it was not until three years ago that Rebecca decided to pursue training with her current teacher Vàlerie Sorel, and coach Eric Trudel. She performs with the CT Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra and has been involved with the CT Lyric Opera since the 2013-14 season. She performed the role of Bradamante in Handel’s Alcina with the East Coast Chamber Opera, and recently during the 2016-17 season she performed Fillipevna in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin with the CT Lyric Opera. Rebecca is also an active choral singer, and has been on choir tours in South America and Europe.
SARA TRENNER is a recent graduate of UConn, receiving her Bachelor of Music last year. She performed in the opera choruses as well as outreach operas with the university, and was very active in the choirs. Sara performed the comedic role of Frosch in UConn’s production of Die Fledermaus last year. Most recently, Sara attended the American Institute of Musical Studies program in Graz, Austria. There she performed the character Prince Orlofsky’s selections from Die Fledermaus with the festival orchestra in concert. After Magic Flute, Sara will be singing in the chorus for CT Lyric Opera’s production of Aida next spring.
Baritone, SCOTT BALLANTINE, was recently seen as a young artist with the Janiec Opera Company in Brevard, NC. There, he had his role debut as Sharpless in Madama Butterfly, covered the role of Maximillian in Candide, was a Street Singer Soloist in Bernstein’s Mass under the baton of Maestro Keith Lockhart. Following his performances in North Carolina, Ballantine joined the Southern Vermont Lyric Theatre as Baron in La Traviata. This season, Ballantine returns as a young artist with Boston Opera Collaborative (BOC) to sing the title role in Don Giovanni. Previous credits with BOC include Schaunard in La Bohème, Hannah Before in As One and Valmont in The Dangerous Liaisons. He also looks forward to bolstering his specialty in contemporary opera as Father in their 2019 production of The Scarlet Ibis. Other contemporary performances include John Brooke in Little Women, and as the title role in Tobias Picker’s Fantastic Mr. Fox. A native of Colorado, he left the mountain west to pursue his Master’s of Music in Voice Performance at the Boston Conservatory.
JOEL EDWARDS Jr. is delighted to be making a role and house debut with Connecticut Lyric Opera. The Boston native recently completed an MM in opera performance from the Longy School of Music of Bard College. Recent roles include Don Jose in Halifax Opera’s Carmen in Nova Scotia, the title role in Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann and Nemorino in Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore with Longy Opera Theater. He was contracted as a festival artist in the summer of 2016 to sing Nelson and Crabman in Porgy & Bess, and Noodler in Peter Pan, along with covering the role of Luigi in Il Tabarro. In May of 2018, the tenor looks forward to singing the Messenger in Verdi’s Aida, also with CLO.
CLO Chorus-Master DARA BLACKSTONE sang before she talked having grown up in a family whose gatherings always included singing around the piano. Perhaps because there was NO TV and only 4 records in the house, (Carmen, Boheme, Swan Lake and Chicken Fat) dramatic singing was a normal way of communication. Although prepped for a science career, it is no surprise that Dara has a BS in Voice and Music Education. Dara has sung in most of the major European cathedrals and on many stages around the world including the MET, La Scala, Vienna Staatsoper, and Poznan, Poland (although all the stage singing was done during the backstage tour). Opera credits include singing stints with Nutmeg Theatre, Connecticut Opera, Salt Marsh Opera, UCONN Opera Workshop and CT Lyric Opera. While teaching at Tolland High School and UCONN, Dara completed a M.Mus and PH.D in conducting performance. Currently, Dara conducts The Griswold Players Community Chorus, United Church of Stonington Senior Choir, the Ad Hoc Carolers, OBesa Cantavit and is chorus master for CT Lyric Opera. Other conducting credits include Annual 9.11 performances of Requiem Masses (usually Brahms, Faure or Mozart but Verdi coming), one act operas like Amahl and the Night Visitors (Jan.2019) and concerts featuring the music of living 20th and 21st century women composers. Always a teacher first, Dara maintains a private voice & coaching studio, is the author of several unpublished music theory books including: Singers CAN Count! and serves as an EMT/EMS (Emergency Music Teacher offering Emergency Music Sabbaticals), guest conductor and general trouble shooter for colleagues throughout New England. Dara is thankful for the existence of opera companies like CLO that give opportunities to young artists and relishes learning new opera choruses for each production.