2019 Season Artists

Ramelle Brooks as Hercules

Currently a Doctoral Candidate at the University of South Carolina, Ramelle’s career highlights include performances as a featured soloist in Handel’s Messiah with the Cumberland Oratorio Singers (NC), Dr. Dulcamara in Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore and Dick Deadeye in Gilbert and Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore with Fayetteville University Opera. Additionally, Ramelle has appeared as a mainstage artist with Opera at USC (SC), Sandhills Broadway (NC), Cape Fear Regional Theater (NC), and Florida Memorial College (FL). In his spare time, Ramelle is a literature and travel enthusiast, and is dedicated to the cause of community building.

Chelsea Duval-Major as Dejanira

Award winner at the 2017 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions (TN), Chelsea’s career highlights include performances as the title role in Handel’s Ariodante and Idamante in Mozart’s Idomeneo with the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music (OH), and Roggiero in Rossini’s Tancredi with Opera Southwest (NM). Additionally, Chelsea has appeared as a mainstage artist with Janiec Opera Company (NC), Cincinnati Opera New Works (OH), the Virginia Arts Festival – Duffy Institute (VA), and The National Museum of Women in the Arts (DC). In her spare time, Chelsea is an avid knitter and is currently authoring and illustrating a children’s book.

Virginia Hesse as Iole

A 2017 Winner of the Opera Ithaca Vocal Competition and Opera Cultura Canto Competition, Virginia’s career highlights include performances as Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance with Opera Ithaca (NY), Elivira in L’Italiana in Algeri with Operativo Houston (TX), and Luigia Boschi in Viva La Mamma (Donizetti’s Le convenienze ed inconvenienze teatrali) with LoneStar Lyric Opera (TX). Additionally, Virginia has appeared as a mainstage artist with Charlottesville Opera (VA), Natchez Festival of Music (MS), Opera Cultura (CA), and Houston Lutheran Chorale (TX). In her spare time, Virginia is an avid baker and yodeling enthusiast.

James Brown as Lichas

Finalist in the Orpheus Vocal Competition (TN), and Jean and Harvey Picker Senior Prize and Erdman/Nixon Prize for Vocal Excellence in the Bay Chamber Concert Series (ME), James’ career highlights include performances as the Huntsman in Blow’s Venus and Adonis with the Tafelmusik Baroque Institute (ON), Polinesso in Handel’s Ariodante and the Sorceress in Purcell’s Dido & Aeneas at McGill University (MTR). Additionally, James has appeared as a mainstage artist with Shakespeare Opera Theatre (VA), American Bach Soloists Academy (CA), and the University of Southern Maine (ME). In his spare time, James is a big fan of embracing millennial culture by visiting local breweries or coffee shops and sharing the experience with new colleagues.

Michael Gray as Hyllus

Currently a Doctoral Candidate at the University of South Carolina, Michael’s career highlights include performances as Ferrando in Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte with the Florence Sypmhony Orchestra (SC), Beppe in Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci with Opera Southwest (NM), and Don Curzio in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro with Charlottesville Opera (VA). Additionally, Michael has appeared as a mainstage artist with Opera Omaha (NE), Tidewater Opera Initiative (VA), Capitol City Opera (GA), Opera at USC (SC), and Capitol Opera Richmond (VA). In his spare time, Michael is an avid outdoorsman and tiny living enthusiast.

Nisan Ak, Music Director

Currently a Doctoral Candidate at the University of South Carolina, Nisan has conducted concerts in various halls in Vienna including the Wiener Konzerthaus and Palais Eschenbach, as well as various music festivals around the world in cities such as Pärnu, Vienna, Luzern, Istanbul, and the United States. Festival and company highlights include the Eastern Music Festival (NC), Pärnu Music Festival Orchestra and Vienna Summer Music Festival Orchestra. Additionally, Nisan Ak is the acting Assistant Conductor of the Aiken Symphony Orchestra (SC) and makes appearances with the University of South Carolina Symphony Orchestra. In her spare time, Nisan is a student of psychology and a practitioner of mindfulness.