Our final program of the season features one of Verdi's supreme masterpieces, the Messa da Requiem, featuring Michelle Bradley, soprano, Jennifer Johnson Cano, mezzo-soprano, Stuart Neill, tenor, PeiXin Chen, bass, and the wonderful Cabrillo Symphonic Chorus under the direction of Cheryl Anderson.


Michelle Bradley, Soprano

A native of Houston, Texas, Soprano Michelle Bradley is in her second year of the Metropolitan Opera's Lindemann Young Artist Development Program.

She was the 2014 grand prize winner of The Music Academy of the West’s Marilyn Horne Song Competition and completed a nationwide recital tour in May 2015. She has participated in master classes with Stephanie Blythe, Anne Sofie von Otter, Marilyn Horne, Deborah Voigt and James Morris. In October 2014, she performed the role of Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte with Opera Ebony. Ms. Bradley recently performed in Carnegie Hall’s Neighborhood Recital Series in honor of Marilyn Horne, and is the 2016 recipient of the Hildegard Behrens Foundation Award.

She received her Masters of Music in Vocal Performance from Bowling Green State University.


Jennifer Johnson Cano, Mezzo-Soprano

Jennifer Johnson Cano is a naturally gifted singer noted for her commanding stage presence and profound artistry with a warm, velvety timbre that has garnered critical acclaim. Ms. Cano joined The Lindemann Young Artist Development Program at The Metropolitan Opera after winning the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 2008, and made her Met debut during the 2009-2010 season. As First Prize winner of the 2009 Young Concert Artist International Auditions, she has given stunning recital debuts with husband and pianist Christopher Cano in New York at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, in Washington, DC, at the Kennedy Center and in Boston at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Among her honors is a 2011 Sara Tucker Study Grant, 2012 Richard Tucker Career Grant and 2014 George London Award.

Ms. Cano has given over 100 performances at The Metropolitan Opera, with recent roles including Bersi, Emilia, Hansel, Meg Page, Mercedes, Nicklausse, Wellgunde and Waltraute. Other operatic appearances included Orphée in Orphée et Eurydice with Des Moines Metro Opera, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni with Boston Lyric Opera and Arizona Opera, Marguerite in Berlioz’s La Damnation de Faust with the Tucson Symphony, The Sharp Eared Fox in Janacek’s Cunning Little Vixen with the Cleveland Orchestra and Diana in La Calisto with Cincinnati Opera. She has worked with an impressive array of conductors, such as James Levine, Franz Welser-Möst, Manfred Honeck, Marin Alsop, Gary Thor Wedow and Sir Andrew Davis.

This season, Ms. Cano bows as Carmen with Boston Lyric Opera, as the Priestess in Aida with The Metropolitan Opera, and as Wellgunde in the concert version of Wagner’s Das Rheingold with the New York Philharmonic in one of Alan Gilbert’s closing conducting engagements in his tenure with the orchestra. Other orchestral engagements include Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with Juanjo Mena, and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Markus Stenz, with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra; Bruckner’s Te Deum with Christopher Warren-Green and the Charlotte Symphony; and Bach’s Cantata No. 34 with the Cleveland Orchestra and vocal ensemble Seraphic Fire, conducted by Franz Welser-Möst. Cano also makes her European debut on a tour of John Adams’s El Niño with appearances in London and Paris with the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Mr. Adams, as well as The Radio Filharmonisch Orkest with Markus Stenz in Amsterdam, and finally with the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Grant Gershon.

A dedicated recitalist and chamber musician, she performs at Mt. Gretna Playhouse with Christopher Cano with a program including songs and arias by composers Hugo Wolf, Enrique Granados, Antonín Dvořák and Jonathan Dove, and she appears in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh with Nathan Hughes (oboe), Rafael Figueroa (cello), and Ken Noda (piano). At Bravo! Vail Music Festival, Ms. Cano performed Manuel de Falla’s Three Cornered Hat with the New York Philharmonic.

In addition to her continued relationship with The Metropolitan Opera, New York Philharmonic and The Cleveland Orchestra, Ms. Cano has appeared with such esteemed orchestras as the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Atlanta, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Utah Symphonies and Orchestra of St. Luke’s. She toured with Musicians from Marlboro singing Respighi's Il Tramonto and Cuckson's Der gayst funem shturem, recorded live for the Marlboro Recording Society. A live recording of Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde featured conductor George Manahan, tenor Paul Groves and St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble in a rare arrangement by Arnold Schoenberg and Rainer Riehn. At the invitation of Mrs. Carol Armstrong, Jennifer Johnson Cano was particularly honored to sing the Anderson/Weill September Song at the private funeral for American icon and astronaut Neil Armstrong. In 2014, she released her debut recital recording, Unaffected: Live from the Savannah Voice Festival, recorded completely live and unedited.

Ms. Cano is a native of St. Louis, Missouri and made her professional operatic debut with the Opera Theater of St. Louis. She earned her degrees from Webster University and Rice University.


Stuart A. Neill, Tenor

Through his successful performances in the world's finest opera houses and concert halls with leading conductors and orchestras, Stuart A. Neill has established himself as one of the most important tenors in the classical singing world.

Mr. Neill has appeared at The Metropolitan Opera, Teatro alla Scala, Teatro La Fenice, Vienna Staatsoper, The Royal Opera Covent Garden, Teatro Colón, Alte Oper Frankfurt, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Dallas Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Israel Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Boston Symphony Orchestra and Dresden's Staatskapelle.

Stuart Neill has collaborated with conductors Gustavo Dudamel, Daniel Barenboim, Zubin Mehta, James Levine, John Neshling, Pinchas Steinberg, Sir Andrew Davis, Lorin Maazel, Edoardo Müller, James Conlon, Michael tilson Thomas, Sir Roger Norrington, nello Santi, as well as the lates Carlo Maria Giulini, Sir Colin Davis, Wolfgang Sawalisch, Michelangelo Veltri, Giuseppe Sinapoli and Anton Guadagno.

Mr. Neill is internationally recognized for his interpretation of the tenor role in Verdi´s Requiem, having performed the role more than 200 times, including four recordings of the work.

Mr. Neill received formal education at The Academy of Vocal Arts, Philadelphia, PA where he was a student of Maestri Christofer Macatsoris, Richard Raub and William Schuman. Mr. Neill studied privately with Roberta Knie, Elizabeth N. Colson and the late Peter S. Harrower at Georgia State University - Atlanta.


Peixin Chen, Bass

A recent graduate of the Houston Grand Opera Studio, and a student of Dr. Stephen King, Peixin Chen is recognized for his majestically resonant bass voice and for a keen dramatic instinct that he brings to a wide range of roles on the international opera stage. His repertoire spans from the comic parts of Donizetti, Mozart, and Rossini to the strong and serious of Puccini, Verdi, and Wagner. Peixin Chen has worked with an illustrious array of conductors and directors including Harry Bicket, Sebastian Lang-Lessing, Lorin Maazel, Giancarlo del Monaco, Andrés Orozco-Estrada, David Paul, Michel Plasson, David Pountney, James Robinson, Patrick Summers, and Francesca Zambello.

In the current season Peixin Chen joins the Metropolitan Opera for productions of Aida and Salome and returns to his artistic home, Houston Grand Opera, to sing concert performances of the Verdi Requiem conducted by Music Director Patrick Summers. He makes a Detroit Symphony Orchestra debut with Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony led by Leonard Slatkin having sung this work recently with Andrés Orozco-Estrada and the Houston Symphony and the bass joins Edo de Waart for staged performances of Le nozze di Figaro with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.

Le nozze di Figaro featured prominently in the bass’ 2015-16 season assaying the title role in a new production by David Paul for Opera Saratoga and bowing as Bartolo at the Houston Grand Opera conducted by Harry Bicket in the company’s acclaimed production by Michael Grandage.

Recent company debuts include the roles of Sparafucile in Rigoletto at the Santa Fe Opera and Dulcamara in L’elisir d’amore for Washington National Opera. Mr. Chen has bowed as the King in Aida under the baton of Zubin Mehta as well as both Bartolo in Le nozze di Figaro and Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia at the National Center for the Performing Arts (NCPA) in Beijing, and in The Passenger at the Lincoln Center Festival at the Park Armory.

The bass’ roles with Houston Grand Opera have included Ferrando in Il trovatore, Bonze in Madama Butterfly, Montano in Otello, Sarastro in The Magic Flute, and Hunding in Die Walküre. As a member of the Merola Program under the auspices of San Francisco Opera, Peixin Chen sang Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia.

Venues & Dates

Classic Evening

7:30pm Saturday, May 6th 2017
hosted at the

Santa Cruz
Civic Auditorium

in Downtown Santa Cruz, CA

Encore Matinee

2pm Sunday, May 7th 2017
hosted at the

Mello Center for the
Performing Arts

in Watsonville, CA

Venue Details

Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium

Mello Center for the Performing Arts

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