CAMELBACK BIBLE CHURCH: Thursday, December 15th, 2022
MESA ARTS CENTER: Friday, December 16th, 2022
PINNACLE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH: Saturday, December 17th & Sunday, December 18th, 2022
Tito Muñoz, conductor
Tiffany Choe, soprano
Lauren Cook, mezzo-soprano
Brad Bickhardt, tenor
Schyler Vargas, baritone
The Phoenix Symphony Chorus
Thomas Bookhout, chorus master
With the “Hallelujah” chorus at its heart, Messiah has become synonymous with Christmas celebration. Tito Muñoz conducts this magnificent sacred masterpiece with The Phoenix Symphony Chorus and soloists. This season, The Phoenix Symphony is pleased to offer four performances of the masterwork in three locations around The Valley.
Download Libretto (.pdf file, 8 pages, 8.5 X 11)
About Tiffany Choe
Soprano, Tiffany Choe is a Korean American soprano born and raised in Southern California. She received her Performance Diploma, Bachelors and Masters degrees in vocal performance from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music under the tutelage of Kevin and Heidi Grant Murphy. In 2021/2022, she was the recipient of the Georgina Joshi Fellowship. With the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, she was an Encouragement Award winner in the Western Region in 2021, winner of the district region in Indianapolis in 2020, and an Encouragement Award winner in the Southeast Region in 2019. Choe attended the Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute as a fellow this past summer. She also performed as Mimí in La Bohème with the Tel Aviv Summer Opera Program. With IU Opera Theater, she has been in 11 productions. Most recently, Choe was seen as Magda in IU Opera Theater’s production of La Rondine. She was also seen as Mimí in La Bohème, Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro, Constance in Dialogues of the Carmelites, Rosalia in West Side Story, and Laoula in L’Étoile.
About Lauren Cook
Praised for her captivating stage presence, “full bodied” (Indie Opera) and “nuanced voice” (Boston Musical Intelligencer), mezzo-soprano Lauren Cook is quickly establishing a name for herself in repertoire ranging from Monteverdi to Mazzoli. In 2022, Cook returned to Virginia Opera to perform Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro, which was followed by her company debut with OperaDelaware in the same role, returned to Painted Sky Opera to reprise the role of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in Scalia-Ginsburg, and will make her company debut with Arizona Opera performing Komponist in Ariadne auf Naxos.
Other notable stage credits include Poppea (L’incoronazione di Poppea), Mélisande (Impressions de Pelléas), Hannah After (As One), Blanche de la Force (Dialogues of the Carmelites), Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro), Wellgunde (Das Rheingold), Tisbe (La Cenerentola), Antonia (Man of La Mancha), and Second Lady (The Magic Flute).
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Cook was scheduled to sing The Mother in Madama Butterfly with Opera Philadelphia, as well as Edith in Pirates of Penzance with Opera Saratoga. Cook has appeared with Opera Philadelphia, Des Moines Metro Opera, Opera Naples, Opera Iowa, Opera Company of Middlebury, Opera Louisiane, Guérilla Opera, Odyssey Opera, Seagle Festival, and the Louisiana Opera Outreach Program.
Cook has performed as a soloist with the Albany Symphony Orchestra, and in Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center and Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, and will make her debut with the Phoenix Symphony this December as the Alto Soloist in Handel’s Messiah. Cook was also a featured soloist in Boston Symphony Hall at a gala hosted by Alan Cumming.
About Brad Bickhardt
Praised for his “healthy and soaring tenor voice” (The Herald Times), Korean American Brad Bickhardt is a vibrant and versatile performer in both the operatic and musical theatre canon. Highlight performances have included Nemorino ( L’elisir d’amore ), Tony (West Side Story), and Alfredo (La Traviata), as well as originating the role of Colin in We Wear the Sea Like a Coat . Additional 2021-22 appearances have included filming Stone Soup for Tri-Cities Opera, appearing in recital with Chelsea Opera and Maryland Opera, and as a guest artist at Baldwin Wallace Conservatory. Bickhardt has previously appeared with Opera Saratoga in their critically acclaimed production of Man of La Mancha under the baton of Broadway conductor, Laura Bergquist, as well as in Opera Naples’ productions of West Side Story and La Traviata . Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, he was on the roster of The Glimmerglass Festival in productions of Wagner’s Die Feen as well as The Sound of Music , and in 2019, was a member of the prestigious Wolf Trap Opera Studio in which he covered and performed principal roles in L’heure espagnole , Lîle de Merlin, Der Kaiser von Atlantis , and Ariadne auf Naxos . On the concert stage, he has appeared as the tenor soloist in Schubert’s Mass in G , Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy , and Mozart’s Miss Brevis in Bb.
Bickhardt received his undergraduate and graduate degrees in Vocal Performance from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music where he appeared in 13 productions with IU Opera Theater as well as serving as an Associate Instructor of Voice. His graduate thesis consisted of compiling an anthology of musical theatre repertoire for undergraduate tenors and their pedagogical applications, and he was named an Encouragement Award from the Central Region of the Metropolitan Opera National Council. Bickhardt is a proud alumnus of the rosters of Tri-Cities Opera, The Glimmerglass Festival, Opera Naples, Wolf Trap Opera, Opera Saratoga, and Charlottesville Opera. He can be seen later this season with Arizona Opera as Tamino (The Magic Flute).
About Schyler Vargas
Schyler Vargas, Mexican-American baritone, is establishing himself as a versatile young talent, bringing interdisciplinary performances to the operatic, theatrical, and concert stage. Noted as a “distinguished” (Washington Classical Review) and “powerful baritone,” (Washington Post) his recent work in the dramatic song cycle UNKNOWN by Shawn Okpebholo and commissioned by UrbanArias has been featured on PBS News Hour and NPR, among other publications.
His 2022-2023 season includes joining the Marion Roose Pullin Studio at Arizona Opera performing Homecoming Soldier in The Falling and the Rising, Harlekin in Ariadne auf Naxos, Rolf in The Sound of Music, and Papageno in Die Zauberflöte. In the spring of 2022, Schyler made his Holy City Arts & Lyric Opera debut as Cinderella’s Prince and the Wolf in Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods and returned to Opera Theatre of Saint Louis as Morales in Carmen.
Previously, he has been seen in main stage roles at The Atlanta Opera, the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, The Glimmerglass Opera Festival, Dayton Opera, and the Château de Versailles Spectacles in France. Schyler’s notable roles include: Count Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro by W. A. Mozart, Gabriel von Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus by Richard Strauss, Maximilian in Candide, and Riff, Diesel, and Chino in West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein with original Jerome Robbins choreography, and Frank Schultz in Show Boat by Jerome Kern, among others.
On the concert stage, Schyler has performed as the baritone soloist for Orff’s Carmina Burana, Rossini’s Petite Messe Solenelle, Schubert’s Mass in Ab, and Mark Hayes’ Requiem. An award winning performer, Schyler has seen success in competitions with notable awards including: 1st place in Tri-Cities Opera’s Vocal Competition, two time winner of the Rocky Mountain District in the Laffont Competition with the Metropolitan Opera, 2nd place and Audience Favorite in the Harold Haugh Light Opera Competition, 2nd place at the Denver Lyric Opera Guild Aria Competition, and District Winner in the Dorothy Lincoln-Smith Voice Competition.
Prioritizing new music in his career, Schyler has proudly worked on various commissions for new operas and song cycles with the Houston Grand Opera, Cincinnati
Opera, The Glimmerglass Festival, and Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. Schyler received his Master of Music degree from the renowned University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and his Bachelor of Music with a minor in Business Administration from Colorado State University.
Note: Programs, dates, times, and prices are subject to change.