2021 Season

Opera edwardsville at DUNHAM HALL

DECEMBER 18, 2021 | SIUE Arts & Issues Series

Opera Edwardsville was honored to be invited to perform as part of the Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville's Arts & Issues Series. OE is proud to be the first local organization presented as part the University's series, joining illustrious past guests including Maya Angelou, Ken Burns, George Winston, and more. OE's signature holiday concert debuted with Arts & Issues on December 18, 2021 at Dunham Hall.

This concert was be broadcast live from Dunham Hall in a special online broadcast through WSIE 88.7 FM, a first for both OE and the SIUE Arts & Issues series in an effort to ensure the safety and comfort of audiences in a continued effort to navigate the unprecedented challenges of the global pandemic.

A spectacular line-up of guest soloists included sopranos Mathilda Edge and Liv Redpath, contralto Lauren Decker, tenor Jonathan Johnson, baritones Evan Bravos and student spotlight Miles Wadlington, harpist Caroline Robinson, and pianist Joseph Welch. OE’s annual December concert will featured operatic highlights by French composers Gounod, Saint-Saëns, Bizet, Offenbach, and more, alongside festive selections from the timeless classic, White Christmas.

Meet the Artists

OE’s annual December concert featured operatic highlights by Gounod, Saint-Saëns, Bizet, Strauss, and more. OE welcomed sopranos Mathilda Edge and Liv Redpath, contralto Lauren Decker, tenor Jonathan Johnson, baritones Evan Bravos and student spotlight Miles Wadlington, harpist Caroline Robinson, and pianist Joseph Welch.












Baritone & Student Spotlight






OE celebrated its debut on the SIUE Arts & Issues series with the music of Saint-Saens, Offenbach, Bizet, Gounod, Strauss, and more. Guest artists performed a program that highlights their favorite arias, opera's great hits, and holiday classics.

Operatic selections were performed in their original languages.

90 minutes of music, with an intermission.

Part I

Oratorio de Noël

Camille Saint-Saëns

Prelude (In the style of J.S. Bach) | Joseph Welch

Tecum principium | Liv Redpath, Jonathan Johnson, & Evan Bravos

Samson et Dalila

Camille Saint-Saëns

Mon coeur s’ouvre a ta voix | Lauren Decker


Camille Saint-Saëns

Le rossignol et la rose | Liv Redpath

Ave Maria by Charles Gounod (Meditation on First Prelude of J.S. Bach) | Mathilda Edge


Charles Gounod

Salute, demeure chaste et pure | Jonathan Johnson

Avant de quitter ces lieux | Evan Bravos

Roméo et Juliette

Charles Gounod

Je veux vivre | Liv Redpath

Cantique de Noël by Adolphe Adam | Mathilda Edge


Part II

Les Contes d’Hoffmann

Jacques Offenbach

Belle nuit, ô nuit d'amour | Mathilda Edge & Lauren Decker

Les Pêcheurs de Perles

Georges Bizet

Au fond du temple saint | Jonathan Johnson & Evan Bravos

Der Rosenkavalier

Richard Strauss

Hab mir’s gelobt, Ihn lieb zu haben | Liv Redpath, Mathilda Edge, & Lauren Decker

The Christmas Song by Nat King Cole | Miles Wadlington, Student Spotlight

White Christmas

Irving Berlin

Snow | Full ensemble

Love, you didn’t do right by me | Lauren Decker

The Best Things Happen While You’re Dancing | Jonathan Johnson

Sisters | Mathilda Edge & Lauren Decker

White Christmas | Full ensemble




Ms. Edge launched her 2021 season at the Grant Park Music Festival singing “Un bel dì vedremo” from Puccini’s Madama Butterfly in Pritzker Pavilion for thousands at Millennium Park prompting critics to write, “[she] showed palpable charisma and bell-like vocal clarity” (Chicago Tribune). Ms. Edge recently performed as the First Lady in Mozart’s Die Zauberflote at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. As a member of the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Ryan Opera Center, she made her house and role debut in 2019 singing Berta in Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia for which she was hailed as a “vocal tour de force….yielding an enormous sound with remarkable point” (Chicago Tribune). Ms. Edge went on to cover the role of Donna Anna in Mozart’s Don Giovanni conducted by James Gaffigan and was scheduled in the spring to perform Gerhilde in Die Walküre, in addition to covering Gutrune & 3rd Norn in Götterdämmerung and Freia in Das Rheingold for Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen directed by Sir David Pountney. She sang scenes from Verdi and Strauss operas at the 2020 “Rising Stars in Concert” gala in Chicago. Ms. Edge is the recipient of a 2019 Sara Tucker Study Grant from the Richard Tucker Foundation. She has also won or placed in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Houston Grand Opera’s Eleanor McCollum Competition, Washington International Competition for Voice, National Association of Teachers of Singing Artist Award Competition, and many others. A native of Chandlerville, Illinois, Ms. Edge is an alumna of Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music where she earned her Master’s Degree in Vocal Performance.


Liv Redpath is one of the most promising young sopranos on the opera and concert stage today. During the 2020-21 season, Ms. Redpath sang a program of the Saint-Saëns Oratorio de Noël and Schubert Mass in G under Vasily Petrenko in her debut with the Radio Filharmonisch Orkest as well as perform a holiday concert with the Minnesota Opera. Later she made her debut with the Bregenzer Festspiele as Woglinde in a concert version of Wagner’s Das Rheingold with the Wiener Symphoniker led by Andrés Orozco-Estrada. Ms. Redpath was scheduled to open the Los Angeles Philharmonic season at Disney Hall, sharing a program with Lang Lang under the direction of Gustavo Dudamel before traveling to New York to open the Carnegie Hall season with the same program; join Alan Gilbert to make her debut with the Boston Symphony Orchestra singing Nielsen’s Symphony #3; sing Poulenc’s Gloria and a world-premiere new composition by Peter-Jan Wagemans conducted by Karina Canellakis with the Radio Filharmonisch Orkest; perform Handel’s Messiah with the New York Philharmonic and National Symphony, both conducted by Fabio Biondi; return to the Metropolitan Opera to cover Rosina in Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia under Roderick Cox and sing the role of the fifteen-year old girl in Berg’s Lulu led by Sebastian Weigle; take on the title role of Haydn’s Armida with the Bregenzer Festspiele, and make her debut with La Monnaie singing Madame Herz in Mozart’s Der Schauspieldirektor conducted by Alain Altinoglu in performances at the Palais des Beaux-Arts. Ms. Redpath was one of twelve finalists worldwide at the 2019 Operalia competition and sang under the baton of Plácido Domingo in Prague for the final round concert. She received second prize, as well as the special French opera prize and audience favorite, at the 56th Tenor Viñas International Contest at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona and subsequently sang the winners concert held at Teatro Real in Madrid. A graduate of Harvard University and The Juilliard School, Ms. Redpath is a former Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist with the Los Angeles Opera.


Rising star, Lauren Decker, possesses a booming contralto with “amber low notes” that is in a league of its own. She is lauded for “pouring out a dark, chocolatey sound with a plushness of tone and amplitude of voice rarely heard in a young singer”. As part of the Ryan Opera Center of the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Ms. Decker performed a variety of roles in their productions of Die Zauberflöte, Dead Man Walking, Elektra, Il trovatore, I puritani, La traviata, Massenet's Cendrillon, Les Troyens, and Faust. She also appeared in their productions of David Pountney’s “brilliantly imaginative”, new Ring Cycle. She also made a triumphant debut with the San Francisco Symphony in Elgar’s Sea Pictures, and performed in concert with the South Dakota Symphony in Mahler 8, the Apollo Chorus/Elmhurst Symphony in the Verdi Requiem, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, and the Harare International Festival of the Arts in Zimbabwe. This summer she joined the Aspen Music Festival performing in their opening night concert of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony as well as their productions of The Magic Flute and Rodelinda. Lauren was a quarterfinalist in the 2019 Operalia competition in Prague. She is a recent recipient of the Richard F. Gold career grant and was a national semifinalist in the 2018 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.


Rising young tenor Jonathan Johnson’s many recent engagements have included Prince Phillip in Moon Tea at Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Anthony Hope in Sweeney Todd at Opera Omaha, The Prince in The Love of Three Oranges with Opera Philadelphia (where he was named as one of their Emerging Artists), Jonathan Dale in Silent Night with Utah Opera, Beppe in I Pagliacci with Opera Colorado, the title role in Candide with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, Utah Symphony Orchestra, and Des Moines Metro Opera; Hervey in Anna Bolena at Canadian Opera Company, Arturo in Lucia di Lammermoor at Lyric Opera of Chicago, Frederic in The Pirates of Penzance and Lensky in Eugene Onegin at the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, and Fenton in Falstaff at San Diego Opera. He has also appeared with the Detroit Symphony in Messiah and with Cincinnati Symphony for Schumann’s Das Paradies und die Peri. Hailing from Macon, GA, Mr. Johnson is a graduate of the Patrick G. & Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. He holds a Master’s degree and Professional Artist Certificate from the A.J. Fletcher Institute of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and earned a Bachelor of Music from Townsend School of Music at Mercer University.


Greek-American Baritone Evan Bravos, marked as a “young talent to watch” by the Chicago Tribune, has received critical acclaim for his “lovely lyric baritone” (Opera News) in artful interpretations of opera, oratorio and art song repertoire. Mr. Bravos’ 2021-22 season includes Handel’s Messiah with Santa Fe Symphony and the role of Hannah Before in Laura Kaminsky’s As One with Opera Santa Barbara. He also performs the role of El Dancaïro in Chicago Opera Theater’s widely anticipated production of Carmen, featuring superstars Jamie Barton and Stephanie Blythe. Bravos received an Encouragement Award in the 2014 Metropolitan National Council auditions, was a finalist in the National Opera Association Dominic Argento competition, a recipient of the Central City Opera Apprentice Artist Award and a winner of the Pasadena Opera Guild competition. A native of St. Charles, IL, he studied at Lawrence University Conservatory (B.M.) and Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music (M.M.), where he will pursue his Doctorate of Musical Arts in the fall of 2021.


Miles Wadlington is currently pursuing a business degree with plans to become an arts administrator. Since making his OE debut as the Wolf in Pinocchio he has served as the Education Intern with Opera Theatre of St. Louis and won first place in Riverbend’s Got Talent with his original song, “Nostalgia”. Recent performances include: Union Avenue Opera’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann (Chorus), Union Avenue Opera’s La Boheme (Chorus), and Amahl and the Night Visitors (King Melchior) with SIUE. Miles has been recognized for his vocal artistry by the Rubinstein Music Club of St. Louis, the NAACP, the National Association for Music Education, the National Association of Teachers of Singing, and Opera Theatre of St. Louis.


After earning his Doctor of Musical Arts in Collaborative Piano and Vocal Coaching at the University of Minnesota, Joe returned to his hometown and began collecting work. As an adjunct instructor at McKendree University, Blackburn College, and Southern Illinois University Carbondale, he teaches Collaborative Piano Lessons, Applied Piano Lessons, Applied Vocal Coaching, various accompanying skills, and Music Appreciation. He also maintains a private studio, and previously taught a year of class piano and piano proficiency skills at St. Charles Community College. Mr. Welch’s performing career spans the Midwest. As a coach, he works for the Opera Theatre St. Louis Artists-in-Training program. He also coaches and music directs at OTSL’s Spring Training and SIUE’s Musical Theatre Workshop. Music directing credits include productions at McKendree University, SIUE’s Summer Showbiz, Marble City Opera, and Midwest Institute of Opera. As a vocal accompanist, he performs recitals frequently. He is the Founder and Artist Director of St. Louis Art Song. In 2015, 2016, and 2018 he accompanied Christine Brewer at Arts and Faith St. Louis. In the choral field, he currently accompanies the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra’s Holiday Festival Chorus and Blackburn Voices, and was recently featured along with John Cargile as duo pianists accompanying Manchester United Methodist Chancel Choir in concert.


Caroline Robinson has been sharing her passion and love for the harp since the start of her training in 2012. The unique sound and artistry has allowed her to actively perform for a variety of events and Venues. Ms. Robinson is a graduate of the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University with a Bachelor’s degree in Harp Performance where she studied under the direction of Elżbieta Szmyt. Caroline is an active freelance harpist playing with orchestras, chamber ensembles, jazz bands, private events, and recording studios. She has played professionally as the principal harpist for Opera Edwardsville, St. Louis Avenue Opera, several Indiana University orchestras, and with a St. Louis jazz-soul band, “Focus.” In addition to harp, Caroline is an arts administrator as well as musician. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Arts Management through the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University.


Chase Hopkins is currently serving as the general director of Chicago’s leading early music ensemble, Haymarket Opera Company, and the artistic director of Opera Edwardsville. Hopkins has led Haymarket into its 10th Anniversary Season featuring three innovative cinematic productions of Handel operas receiving praise from international press as “an inspiring and relevant modern production” (Operawire) and “a superb document of a Handel opera” (Chicago Tribune). Hopkins brings expertise to Opera Edwardsville as both a performer and creative producer. His own singing career includes a strong focus on Baroque opera, and he has performed with distinguished conductors at festivals across Europe and the United States. On the operatic stage, Hopkins has been described as a “strong and convincing presence” (Opera Today) and has been praised for delivering “thoughtful and disciplined” performances (Operawire). He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Performance and Arts Administration from Northwestern University and a Masters degree in Performance from the Royal Northern College of Music in the United Kingdom. In the spring of 2022, Hopkins will pursue executive training at the Harvard Business School.


This concert would not have been possible without the generous support of the 2021 OE Business Sponsors and individual donors. OE's 2021 Season was presented by the City of Edwardsville, Lewis Rice, Stifel, and the Rotary Club of Edwardsville. Additional sponsorship came from 222 Artisan Bakery, Bank of Madison County, Friends of the Wildey Theatre, SIUE Meridian Society, and the SIYAO Vocal Competition. Special thanks to the Great Rivers and Routes Tourism Bureau, the SIUE Arts & Issues Series, and the many individual donors who made our 2021 season possible.

Rotary Club of Edwardsville

City of Edwardsville

Lewis Rice, LLC


Bank of Madison County

222 Artisan Bakery

Junior Service Club

SIUE Meridian Society

2021 OE Donors

Once Films


Friends of the Wildey