Possessing a voice with “fine security of tone and dramatic focus in high, delicate passages,” soprano Sara Peeples McNatt has been hailed as “impressive,” “moving,” and “charming” (John Fleming, St. Petersburg Times). Her opera credits include the roles of Gilda (Rigoletto,) Euridice (Orfeo ed Euridice,) Rosina (Il Barbieri di Siviglia,) Susanna (Le Nozze di Figaro – in concert), Frasquita (Carmen,) and Musetta (La Boheme.) Ms. Peeples has performed with Opera Tampa, the St. Petersburg Opera, New Century Opera, Treasure Coast Opera, the Florida Lyric Opera, and Sunstate Opera Society. She has also sung concert and oratorio works with Savannah Philharmonic Orchestra, Anna Maria Island Orchestra, and Pinellas Park Orchestra.
Melissa Misener is a native of Tampa and is a Resident Artist of the St. Petersburg Opera Company. With SPO she has played the roles of Mrs. McLean in Carlisle Floyd’s Susannah 2014, Madame Flora in Menotti’s The Medium 2013, Zita in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi 2011,
Giovanna in Verdi’s Rigoletto 2011 and Mrs. Anderssen in A Little Night Music by Sondheim 2010. As an Emerging Artist with the St. Petersburg Opera Company she covered the roles of Mrs. Lovett in Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd 2012, Marcellina in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro 2012, Prince Orlofsky in Strauss’s Die Fledermaus and Dorabella in Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte 2010.
Melissa sings regularly as a soloist with Opera Tampa as an Opera Tampa singer and has been since 2012. Melissa sang as a section leader with the Opera Tampa chorus under the direction of Anton Coppola 2007‐2010 and she was featured in the 2009 production of Suor Angelica as “La Conversa”.
Melissa Misener made her professional opera directing debut this year with St. Petersburg Opera Company’s Production of Leoncavallo’s I Pagliacci. She began directing in the spring of 2013 with the USF production of Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel and returned in 2014 to direct Menotti’s The Old Maid and the Thief.
Melissa runs her own voice studio in Tampa and enjoys teaching students of all ages.
Opera News praises tenor Jason Ferrante for “singing up a stylish storm” and for getting “the gold star for trills” and the Berkshire Eagle says he “seems to light every stage he mounts”.
This season, the Baltimore-native debuts with Atlanta Opera as both Goro in a new production of Madama Butterfly and as Don Basilio in Le Nozze di Figaro, sings a recital with pianist Caren Levine at the Manchester Music Festival in Vermont, performs as the tenor soloist in Messiah with the Sarasota Choral Society. returns to Florida Grand Opera as The Magician in The Consul and a sings in his debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at Ravinia under the baton of James Conlon as the Fourth Jew in Salome.
In the 2013-14 season, the Baltimore native made his debut with the Boston Symphony Orchestra as the In Fourth Jew in Salome under the baton of Andris Nelsons, returned to Florida Grand Opera as Spoletta in Tosca, joined soprano Mary Wilson in recital in Sarasota, and was the tenor soloist in Handel’s Messiah at the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra and the Boise Philharmonic. In the 2012-13 season, he returned to New York City Opera to cover Aronne in Mose in Egitto, debuted with Palm Beach Opera as the Fourth Jew in Salome, and made returns to the Orlando Philharmonic as Don Basilio in Le Nozze di Figaro and to the Bard Summerscape as Basile in Le Roi Malgré Lui.
Ferrante earned both Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the Juilliard School where he held the Alice Tully Voice Scholarship and studied with the legendary Beverley Peck Johnson. His additional studies included three years at the Aspen Music Center, two years as an opera fellow at Tanglewood, and two years as a Filene Young Artist at Wolf Trap, where he was also a two-time winner of a Filene Shouse Grant.
He is quickly becoming a sought-out teacher of voice and singing. His students are singing around the world with opera companies including the Met, Covent Garden, English National Opera, Santa Fe, San Francisco, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Glimmerglass and Wolf Trap. They have been winners in competitions including Operalia, Met National Council, Zachary Foundation, Sullivan Awards, the George London Foundation and members of young artists programs and major conservatories and universities. He currently serves as a vocal consultant to the young artists training programs at Arizona Opera, Nashville Opera and Florida Grand Opera. In 2014 he was a national panelist for the YoungArts competition and awards. He currently resides in Miami, FL.
Joseph Ryan, baritone, is pleased to be singing again with the Sarasota Choral Society this December. He graduated from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music with a Masters in Vocal Performance in 2006, and has performed with Central City Opera, Sarasota Opera, and the Opera Theatre of Lucca, Italy, as a member of their young artist programs. In his hometown, he sang with the Cincinnati May Festival under Maestro James Conlon, the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra with Maestro Eric Kunzel, and sang for eight seasons with the Cincinnati Opera.
Recent credits include the baritone soloist in Carmina Burana with the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra in Punta Gorda, soloist in the Brahms’ Liebeslieder Walzer with the Encore Chamber Music Series at the Palladium Theater, and Monterone in Rigoletto with St. Petersburg Opera. In past productions with St. Petersburg, he covered the roles of Germont in La traviata and Escamillo in Carmen, and performed Rapunzel’s Prince in Into the Woods. This summer he appeared with Opera Naples in their Eurofest concert and with the Opera Tampa Vocal Arts Festival in their presentation of A Composer’s Symposium: Carlisle Floyd, a concert staged and presented by the composer.
Joe currently cantors at Temple Beth Israel on Longboat Key, as well as First United Methodist and St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Sarasota. He is a member of Gloria Musicae, and this fall became the bass section leader of Key Chorale. Locally, he has performed with the Sarasota Music Archive (Kurt Weill recital, November 2010), the Anna Maria Island Community Chorus and Orchestra (Frank in Die Fledermaus, March 20th 2011), the Artist Series of Sarasota (highlights from The Student Prince, May 2011), and has sung the solos in Handel’s Messiah with the Brandon Choral Society as well.