Winter Opera News

Meet the Chorus of La fille du régiment!

Jeremy Bates – tenor

Jeremy Bates is a native of Pacific, Missouri. He attended East Central College in Union, Missouri and studied under Dr. Leon Burke before graduating with an Associate of Arts in Music in 2015. Bates continued his studies at Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau and studied under Dr. Christopher Goeke. While at SEMO, he participated in several operas and opera scenes, including playing the role of Jenik in Smetana’s The Bartered Bride before graduating with a Bachelor of Music Education in 2018. In 2017, Bates traveled to Angers, France for the Franco-American Vocal Academy where he studied French, performed in several recitals and an opera. Bates is currently a student of Dr. Jacob Lassetter at Webster University as a graduate vocal performance major.

Alexandra Billhartz – soprano

Alexandra Billhartz is a native of New Baden, IL and is thrilled to be making her debut with Winter Opera St. Louis as a chorus member in Donizetti’s La fille du Régiment! Most recently, she has performed the roles of Despina (Così fan tutte), Musetta (La Bohème), Ida (Die Fledermaus), Zerlina (Don Giovanni), Gretel (matinee performances) (Hansel and Gretel). Recent honors include representing the School of Music as the graduation soloist at Ball State University’s Spring 2019 Commencement Ceremony, placing second in the 2019 Ball State Graduate Vocal Competition, and being chosen as a semi-finalist in the 2019 Orpheus National Vocal Competition. A winner of the Vukovich Concerto Competition, she performed with the University of Evansville Symphony Orchestra in April 2017. Ms. Billhartz earned her BM in Vocal Performance from the University of Evansville in 2016, graduating summa cum laude, and her MM in Vocal Performance from Ball State University in 2019.

Kara Born – mezzo soprano

Kara is delighted to be returning to Winter Opera Theatre of St. Louis. Kara received her Bachelor of Music from Webster University. She enjoys performing locally in the St. Louis area, and currently studies under the tutelage of Johanna Nordhorn. Kara has just recently begun to delve back into her musical studies after the birth of her first child. She lives in St. Louis with her husband and toddler.  Kara is thrilled to be performing alongside such talented performers with WOSTL.

Journee Carter – mezzo soprano

Journee Carter is excited to be performing in her first production with Winter Opera. She is a recent graduate of Webster University with a degree in Vocal Performance. Her scenes repertoire includes Tisbe (La Cenerentola), Zerlina (Don Giovanni), Despina (Così fan tutte) and 2nd Lady (Die Zauberflöte). She has also participated in Union Avenue’s Crescendo program and performed at the Saint Louis Symphony and Carnegie Hall with Webster University choral ensembles.

Aleksandar Dragojevic – baritone

Aleksandar Dragojevic was born in Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina. After studying flute in his teens, he enrolled in University of Sarajevo Music Academy and studied voice. After graduating he worked as a choir member of Opera in Sarajevo National Theater, and as a voice teacher. He has performed in concerts and cultural events all over Bosnia and Herzegovina. Together with his colleagues he formed a non-profit organization Figaro, dedicated to promote opera and classical music in Bosnia. He made his operatic debut as Pluto in Offenbach’s ”Orpheus in the Underworld”, performed by the National Theater of Republic of Srpska. After moving to the USA, he made his American debut with the Winter Opera Saint Louis as Morales in ”Carmen”. He also appeared as Schaunard in ”La Boheme” for Hot Summer Nights Festival and as a chorus member for Union Avenue Opera’s production of ”Nabucco”.

Grace Fisher – soprano

Grace Fisher, Japanese-American soprano, has performed both operatic and musical theater roles primarily in the St. Louis area since 2011. Her musical theater credits include Irene Castle/Principal Dancer from Red Hot and Cole, Rapunzel from Into the Woods, Tintinabula from A Funny Thing Happened and Nancy from Bye Bye Birdie. Her operatic credits include Clotilde from Norma, Mrs. Shields from Doubt, Pamina from Die Zauberflöte, the Bat and the Country Lass from The Bewitched Child, and Monica from The Medium. Grace holds a B.A. in vocal performance from Mckendree University and a M.M. in vocal performance along with a vocal pedagogy certificate from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. She is thrilled to return for her third season with Winter Opera St. Louis as a chorus member in their production of Pirates of Penzance and La fille du régiment.

David Goldman – tenor

David Goldman has been a choral singer for most of his adult life.  He has sung with several local choruses including the St Louis Symphony Chorus and the Ambassadors of Harmony, and has been a member of the St Louis Chamber Chorus for the past 13 years.  Recent credits include Union Avenue Opera’s productions of H.M.S. Pinafore and Lost in the Stars.  This is his third season with Winter Opera.

Caitlin Hadeler – soprano

Caitlin Hadeler is a performer and educator throughout St. Louis and the Metro East.  Caitlin received her Masters in Opera Performance from Longy School of Music of Bard College.  While in New England she performed with several local companies and after moving back to the Midwest she has sang with Union Avenue Opera, Hard Road Theatre, SIUE Summer Showbiz, as well as appearances as a guest soloist throughout her community.  She also teaches private voice, music and theatre classes, and is an adjunct professor of voice at Greenville University.  She is thrilled to be joining Winter Opera this season.

Anthony Heinemann – tenor

Anthony returns to Winter Opera after most recently performing in their productions of The Merry Widow, Le nozze di Figaro, and Tosca. He is active in arts in St. Louis, having previously performed with Union Avenue Opera (Candide, Borsa: Rigoletto, Gastone: Traviata), Gateway Opera(Mozart’s Impresario, The Boor: Servant), Muddy River Opera(Curzio: Figaro), and Dance St. Louis. He is a proud alumnus of Washington University in St. Louis.

Liya Khaimova – soprano

Liya is an Azerbaijani-American singing actor, residing in St. Louis, Missouri. Liya has performed a variety of operatic roles including the Taumännchen (Dew Fairy) from Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel, Sorella Infermiera from Puccini’s Suor Angelica, and Papagena in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte. Liya sang the role of Adele in Lamont Opera Theatre’s scenes production of Die Fledermaus. She was in the world premier of Frau Schindler at USC with the USC Thornton Symphony and Thornton Opera. Most recently Liya performed with Union Avenue Opera’s production of Candide, alongside St. Louis native Christine Brewer.Liya holds her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music and her Master of Music in Vocal Arts from the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music. ​Liya currently studies with soprano Karen Kanakis in St. Louis.

Sarah Lally – soprano

Sarah M. Lally is extremely proud to be joining the casts of Pirates of Penzance and Daughter of the Regiment. A Saint Louis native, Sarah is a recent graduate from the Media School at Indiana University and alumnus of Visitation Academy. Sarah has always loved the theatre, and participated in programs through high school and college, including participating in the Artists in Training Program with the Opera Theatre of St. Louis and training through the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. Her stage experience includes roles in musicals like Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Cinderella.

Andrew Larson – baritone

Andrew Larson is a recent graduate of Vocal Performance at Missouri Baptist University.  He has participated in multiple collegiate opera, musical, and straight play productions as well as the Midwest regional premiere of The Hunchback of Notre Dame.  This is his second season performing with Winter Opera St. Louis. He would like to thank his family and Jesus Christ for their continued love, support, grace, and strength.  Soli Deo gloria. 

Randell McGee – baritone

A graduate of Vocal Performance and Music program from Webster University, Randell has previously performed with Opera Theatre St. Louis Fire Shut Up In My Bones and Union Avenue Opera (La Boheme). He is also a former Young Artist of St. Louis Symphony and Opera Theatre’s Gerdine Young Artist program. This is Randell’s first season with Winter Opera.

Emily Moore – soprano

This is Emily Moore’s third season with Winter Opera and is thrilled to be back! Her previous roles include Dinah in Trouble in Tahiti, The 2nd Lady in Die Zauberflöte and Alice in The Addams Family.  Music directing credits include Man of La Mancha, Suessical the Musical Jr. and Once on this Island Jr.  She currently serves as the Director of Vocal Music at McCluer High School in the Ferguson-Florissant School district and holds a BMED from Webster University and a MM from Southern Illinois University of Edwardsville. 

Michael Oelkers – baritone

Michael Oelkers is a season veteran of Winter Opera and has appeared in the chorus of nineteen different shows. He is excited to make La fille du régiment his twentieth! Highlights include Lackey in The Student Prince, and General Kromow in The Merry Widow, with the famous kick line and tambourine dance being a particular favorite.  In addition to his singing and acting, his many years of partner dance experience make him a valuable member of the ensemble. When Michael isn’t in a Winter Opera show, he is an application engineer for a local Financial Advisory firm.

Janelle Pierce – mezzo soprano

Janelle Pierce recently moved to the St. Louis area from San Antonio, TX. Janelle Pierce holds a B.A. in Vocal Performance from St. Mary’s University.  Pierce studied drama in college, holds an extensive background in dance and has twelve years experience teaching music. She has directed and choreographed routines for championship choirs, public performances and private parties. In her free time, Pierce enjoys traveling to new places, exploring the outdoors and playing the ukulele.  

Jonathan Richey – tenor

Jonathan enjoys performing and directing in his hometown of St Louis, and can’t believe it’s already his fourth season with the company. Thank you so much to everyone who has come to see the opera and supports fine arts in the city, and be careful with those champagne toasts! Toi toi toi!

Joel Rogier – baritone

Joel Rogier, baritone, is making a name for himself with opera companies across the Midwest.  Rogier is a frequent performer with Winter Opera St. Louis, with notable roles including Ascanio in the premiere of Borgia infami, Lucas in The Student Prince, and Cascada in The Merry Widow.  This season Rogier can also be seen touring in Opera for the Young’s production of The Pirates of Penzance as the Pirate King and the Major General.  He previously appeared with Opera for the Young as Powerhouse in the premiere tour of their children’s opera, Super Storm! This summer, Rogier could be seen in Union Avenue Opera’s production of Candide, starring Christine Brewer.  Other notable performances with Union Avenue include his roles of the Judge in Lost in the Stars and the Working Man in Doubt.  Other favorite roles include Count Almaviva (Le nozze di Figaro), King Melchior (Amahl and the Night Visitors), and Ben (The Telephone).  He received his Masters of Music in Opera Performance from Wichita State University, where he studied with Alan Held.

Thomas Taylor – tenor

Thomas Taylor is returning to Winter Opera for his third season. Thomas hold a bachelor’s degree in General Music, Vocal Principle and a Master’s of Performance. A 2nd place finalist in 2017 NATS Advanced Men’s Division, Thomas’s scenes repertoire includes the roles of Ferrando (Cosi fan tutte), John Valjean (Les Miserables), and Caliph (Kismet). Thomas has worked with Springfield Muni Opera, La Musica Lirica training program, and Handel Oratorio Society.

Sarah Vlodek – soprano

Sarah Vlodek is thrilled to be returning to WOSTL for her third season!  Sarah received her degrees in Musical Theatre and Vocal Performance from Waldorf University in 2016, and has since been performing and teaching in the St. Louis area.  Some favorite shows that she has been a part of include: Die Fledermaus (chorus), Norma (chorus), L’elisir d’amore (chorus), The Turn of the Screw (Mrs. Grose), Don Giovanni (Donna Elvira), Urinetown (Pennywise), The Last Five Years (Kathy) , and Carousel (Julie Jordan).