Charleston Heights Arts Center
June 17th & 18th at 7:00PM
June 19 at 3:00PM
Tickets: $25 | $19 tickets use code BSR6OFF
Vegas City Opera presents a new immersive concert experience that brings a moment of history to life in this re-telling of a day at Black Swan Records, the first black-owned and operated recording company that sold popular music to black audiences. Black Swan Records specialized in jazz and blues recordings, but it also became the first company to record black classical musicians. Black Swan Radio Hour is a fictional presentation of the creation and presentation of that classical album which contained classical, blues, spiritual, and sacred music.
Black Swan Radio Hour is written by Doctoral UNLV Alumni and celebrated operatic tenor, Dr. Richard L. Hodges, currently touring in the new opera X: The Life and Times of Malcom X. The music presented is curated off the original album with research by Dr. Hodges as to the most authentic version from the 1920’s presented.
Charleston Heights Art Center:
800 Brush St, Las Vegas, NV 89107
Richard L. Hodges, is a native of Greensboro, N.C. Richard is a 2019 nominee for Best Lead in an Opera/ Musical with the Las Vegas Valley Awards for his role in Gianni Schicchi with Vegas City Opera. His other recent roles include the Preacher in Sweet Land with The Industry L.A., Michele in Il Tabarro, , and Hamlet in the opera Hamlet to name a few. Some of his other roles include Frank in Die Fledermaus, Porgy from Porgy and Bess and Peter in Hansel and Gretel. He is an Emerging Artist in the Institute for Young Dramatic Voices program and has received several awards. Most notable he was a finalist in the American Institute of Musical Studies, Meistersinger Competition. He was also one of the 2018 UNLV Concerto Competition Winners. He has been featured in numerous orchestral and chamber concerts which include performances of various operatic arias and scenes as well as master works such as Here and Now by Christopher Theofanidis with the UNCG Orchestra and combined choirs and the Messiah by Handel. Mr. Hodges has been a featured soloist and recitalist performing with Angels Vocal Arts, The Industry LA, Vegas City Opera, Opera Las Vegas, Henderson Symphony Orchestra, the UNLV String Orchestra, the famed UNLV Wind Orchestras, Greensboro Opera Company, North Carolina Opera Company and other organizations throughout his career. Mr. Hodges is a writer, director and composer. Black Swan Radio Hour is his fourth premiere with Vegas City Opera including, Women of the Black Panthers, Maya Angelou: A Caged Bird, Coretta Scott King: My Journey, Harriet Tubman: Road to Freedom and Sojourner Truth: Ain't I Am Woman. Richard received his Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Master of Music at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and Bachelor of Music from North Carolina Central University. He currently serves as the Assistant Professor of Music, Director of Voice Studies at Western Washington University.
Dr. Sheronda McKee-Dollar, originally from Phoenix, Arizona has been appearing on stages in both the United States and Europe. She finished her D.M.A, at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, under the guidance of Dr. Alfonse Anderson. Recent accolades include 1st place and Youtube Audience favorite in the 2020 Lillian Channelle Sing! Vocal Competition. Upcoming roles include Odessa Clay, in the 2023 production of Approaching Ali, with Opera Las Vegas. Previous roles include Woglinde (Das Rheingold), Gerhildre (Die Walküre) with Vegas City Opera and Mademoiselle Siblerklang (Der Schauspieldirektor) with Opera on Tap, Las Vegas. Directoral achievements include working with Hamiltunes - Las Vegas and raising money for the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. She enjoys performing with local companies and groups such as Vegas City Opera, Opera Las Vegas, Hamiltunes - Las Vegas, and Opera on Tap Las Vegas. When she is not performing or directing, she is balancing her time as the Diversity Coordinator for Opera Las Vegas and working for Tripadvisor, as an Office Experience Specialist.
Mezzo-Soprano, Courtney Ankerfelt, is a Minnesota native currently residing in Las Vegas, NV after attending the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music in Southern California. While attending conservatory, along with performing in both full productions and opera scenes, Miss Ankerfelt, was the Concerto Competition winner, the mezzo soloist for Mahler’s 2nd symphony, received a grant from the Opera Buffs organization and found her love for negro spiritual. Courtney was a part of the American Wagner Project for three years through the Institute for Young Dramatic Voices. Miss Ankerfelt’s recent engagements have included; The Ring: Las Vegas as Flosshilde/Waltraute with Vegas City Opera, the Voices of Women concert series with Vegas City Opera where she recently performed selections from Maya Angelou’s Calypso Blues collection with Vegas City Opera in, Caged Bird: A Celebration of Maya Angelou, and the Opera in the Movies touring concert with Vegas City Opera. Upcoming engagements include Jenny in Vegas City Opera’s production of The Three Penny Opera and the benefit concert for the Jessye Norman School of the Arts in Augusta, GA.
Maria Kolesnyk is a Ukrainian pianist who began her piano studies at age 5. During her years in Ukraine, Maria collaborated with various orchestras to perform concertos and symphonic works by Mozart, Liszt, and Turina. In 2013, she moved to the United States to study under the guidance of Dr. Mykola Suk at UNLV. During her undergraduate years, Maria participated in numerous competitions and performances. She was awarded scholarships to attend Vianden Music Festival and School in Luxembourg and IKIF (New York). While participating in many masterclasses over the years, she worked with internationally renowned musicians such as Jerome Rose, Jerome Lowenthal, Lang Lang, as well as collaborating with a flutist in a masterclass with Sir James Galway. Maria has also been featured as a soloist with different orchestras, performing Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue with the Henderson Symphony Orchestra and Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 3 with the UNLV Symphony Orchestra. She has also been invited to give solo recitals in numerous venues in Las Vegas, as well as San Juan, Puerto Rico and Kiev, Ukraine. Currently, she works at UNLV as a part-time piano faculty, and also as a piano instructor and collaborative pianist at Nevada School of The Arts. Maria is also an active freelance participant in the music community in Las Vegas, working as an accompanist for vocalists and instrumentalists as well as maintaining a private studio designed for students of varying ages, levels, backgrounds, and goals.
Travis is thrilled to be making his Vegas City Opera debut this season. A native of Lansing, Michigan, Travis holds degrees from Lansing Community College, Western Michigan University, and will be finishing his master’s degree in vocal performance at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, this spring. He currently studies under the guidance of Dr. Alfonse Anderson. He would like to thank his teachers, friends, and family for their undying love and support. Travis made his professional role debut as Spoletta in Opera Las Vegas’s production of Tosca.
De Reginald Cornelius Lewis aka Rege Lewis is an American actor from Brooklyn, NY by way of Augusta, Ga., who is most noted for his role as Bernard ‘B-Ball’ Ball in the Official Sundance Selection; and Official White House Film of the Year; The Inevitable defeat of Mister & Pete. He also has notable Guest Star appearances in Dick Wolf’s, Chicago PD and FBI; and HBO’s Emmy Award winning series, Boardwalk Empire. Rege is a current member of the 2023 UNLV MFA Department of Theatre cohort and works as a Graduate Assistant Professor of Acting. He is a graduate of the esteemed William Epser Studio located in the heart of New York City, where he matriculated under the tutelage of the late great Bill Esper. In between acting and teaching, Rege spends his time working with the youth via his anti-bullying platform. He is the founder of the Anti-Bullying Team, Inc., an initiative and stage play designed for elementary and middle school students. Rege is proud to be making his Las Vegas debut with the Vegas City Opera.
Nicole Harris, soprano, is an emerging artist from Las Vegas, Nevada. She received her Bachelors of Music and Masters of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. There, she studied with Dr. Michelle Latour and Dr. Tod Fitzpatrick. In 2014, she made her operatic debut with Vegas City Opera as Third Spirit in their production of The Magic Flute. Other productions with them include La Perichole (Hinoyosa), L’Etoile (Chorus), Pagliacci (Chorus), Seven Deadly Sins (Brother), The Pirates of Penzance (Ward), Das Rheingold (Wellgunde), and Die Walküre (Rossweisse). For 9 years, Nicole was an active member of the Las Vegas Master Singers, under the direction of Dr. Jocelyn Jensen and David Weiller. With them she was able to perform alongside the Las Vegas Philharmonic and sing major works including, Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, Brahms’ Ein Deutches Requiem, and Mahler’s 9th Symphony. Nicole currently teaches piano and voice and is a roster singer with Opera on Tap Las Vegas..
The baritone Alexander Norton III grew up singing at church and at school in Las Vegas, NV. He then moved to Salt Lake City, UT to pursue his Bachelors of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Utah. Alexander sang various roles such as Masetto from Mozart’s Don Giovanni and King Melchior from Gian Carlo Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors. He also sang various operatic and musical theatre excerpts during composer Leonard Bernstein’s centennial birthday in a concert entitled “A Bernstein Bash.” Alexander then performed in a recital that hosted and celebrated animals, and he also performed in an evening of British art song at the University of Utah Museum of Fine Arts for a visiting British landscape painting exhibition. Last year, Alexander moved to Montreal, Quebec to pursue a Masters in Opera and Voice at McGill University. He recently performed as Le Directeur in Poulenc’s Les Mamelles de Tirésias and as Leporello in Don Giovanni. Last month, Alexander sang in “Integration: A Voice Recital” where he sang classics by Beethoven but also works by underrepresented Black composers such as Florence B. Price and William Grant Still. Alexander expresses himself in new, creative ways. As a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, Alexander’s performance practice pushes the needle toward a more inclusive classical music industry. He carries a spirit of openness and joy whenever he sings.
James Davis III is a classical trained actor originating from Baltimore, MD. He has over 15 years of experience in theatre, commercial, and film productions. His most recent credits are We Own This City, Rustin, and Gravediggers with other projects debuting later this year and throughout 2023. He is ecstatic to add onto to this talented Black Swan roster with the goal to help give a great memorable performance for all to experience!
Ricky Gray Jr., is a Las Vegas-born actor that first got his start in theater as a child. From there, his passion for stage performing began. Focusing mostly on comedic and improvisation, Ricky has branched into film. As a writer, he works as a journalist for multiple publications. A short film written by Gray Jr. was recently featured in a Las Vegas film showcase.
Born in New York raised in Philadelphia PA. Studied music in public schools at a very young age. Studied the drums under the direction of Mariam Curtis, the Founder of " The Curtis Institute Of Music" in Philadelphia PA. Has Developed over many years of study to become a well seasoned drummer/entertainer for well over five decades that has performed in front of thousands all across the country and in many different countries abroad. Now,I am very excited to venture into this new world of theater.
Mickey Roark has spent over the last decade as a character actor on stage in Las Vegas using his chameleon-like presence and comedic timing to make any role he takes memorable. With a bachelor's degree in Journalism/Media and Theatre from the UNLV, Mickey’s some of his most notable roles have been loveable a-hole Scotty in “Evil Dead the Musical,” 1950s Dad Harry MacAfee in "Bye Bye Birdie", Harvard Law Professor Callahan in "Legally Blonde the Musical", Ghost Drag Queen Sharon DeWealth in "Death is a Drag", Astral Projecting Jerry in “Kiss My Astral Projection,” and USO hopeful Lawrence Andrew in “The Andrews Brothers.” He will be making his feature film debut the Summer of 2022 as the Dealer in the Ronnie Nanos directed, and Patel Films produced horror movie "Death Club."
Tommy Watanabe has an extensive theater background including performances in shows such as Gypsy, The Explorer's Club, Jesus Christ Superstar, and most recently Kiss My Astral Projection at Las Vegas Little Theater. This year, Tommy was named runner-up in LVLT's New Works Contest with his original script God Awful. When not on the stage you can find Tommy in the ring as independent pro wrestler Tommy Purr or in front of the camera as the host of Tommy Likes It!, a review show dedicated to toys and collectibles.