Live Opera Is Back in Central Oregon

Bring your musical appetite on March 30 at 3pm to the First United Methodist Church (680 NW Bond St, Bend) for a delectable afternoon of music. At Operalicious Melissa Bagwell (Soprano), James Knox (Baritone), and Jimena Shepherd (Soprano) will serve up many of opera’s most beloved arias, duets and trios with Jean Shrader and Jonathan Shepherd on piano.

operaliciousFrom Mozart to Verdi, Rossini, Donizetti, Bizet and Gounod, this special performance will leave your ears hungry for more!

“Many people perceive Opera as being an ‘uppity’ and inaccessible art form,” says Bagwell. “ With Operalicious, it is our goal to find a way to bring this amazing music to Central Oregon on a more regular basis, make it fun, and remove the barriers and misperceptions that make people think opera is only for the elite.  The amazing characters from all of the opera arias and duets we will be singing are timeless — you could easily transport any of their stories into 2013 and they would still ring true and touch people with their beauty.”

Knox, professor of music and director of choral activities at Central Oregon Community College, directs the Cascade Chorale, the College Choir, is the founder of the vocal jazz ensemble Central Singers, and is a sought after guest clinician throughout the Northwest.  Prior to working at COCC, he was the vocal jazz director at Portland State University and the Choral Director at Mt. Hood Community College.

His love for music has also been displayed in his acclaimed work as a baritone soloist. Knox shined in the principal role of Guglielmo” in Mozart’s Cosi fan Tutte at PSU, served as a guest artist at Seattle, Washington’s Opera Banquet, and was recognized by the Metropolitan Opera Guild as a regional finalist.

Bagwell was most recently seen in Central Oregon in CASA’s Tribute to Andrew Lloyd Webber concert at the Tower Theatre in 2012 and as Mary Sunshine in Catcall Productions’ Chicago in 2011. She has also appeared as a featured soprano soloist with the Central Oregon Symphony, Central Oregon Mastersingers, Cascade Chorale and The Victorian Carolers vocal quartet.

Bagwell holds a bachelor of music degree in vocal performance from Pacific Lutheran University, where she was a regular soloist with the Choir of the West, PLU Opera, and had the opportunity to study abroad and perform in Milan, Italy and London, England. She has played various roles with Opera in the Ozarks and Santa Barbara Opera and given vocal recitals throughout California and the Pacific Northwest. She currently studies with Eileen Heaton.

Bagwell serves as a senior marketing consultant at Zolo Media (BendBroadband) and enjoys work as a professional voice actor through her business Impact Vocals.

Jimena Shepherd has performed in many productions from Seattle’s Lyric Opera Northwest to Cascade’s Theatrical Company, Children’s Music Theatre Group and Bend Experimental Art Theatre.  Her most noted performance as Christine Daaé in CASA’s Tribute to Andrew Lloyd Webber concert was met with rave reviews at the Tower Theatre in October 2012.  As the recipient of multiple scholarships through the Sunriver Music Festival’s Young Artist Program, Shepherd has also been seen as a regular soloist at Sunriver music events.

Shepherd is on the BEAT staff as a director, musical director and instructor and is currently directing/musical directing The Pirates of Penzance Jr.  Shepherd maintains a private voice studio in Bend, studies at Central Oregon Community College and is working towards a degree in music.

Shrader is one of the busiest musicians in Central Oregon, and certainly the most in-demand piano accompanist. A graduate of Wheaton College Conservatory of Music, Jean completed master’s degree course work at Eastman School of Music and California State University, Hayward. She was a full-time music faculty member at a California community college for 12 years and also taught music theory at COCC. During its tenure in Bend, Shrader served as the music director for the Obsidian Opera Company.

She is currently the accompanist for the Central Oregon Mastersingers and the Sunriver Music Festival Young Artists Scholarship Program, and accompanies countless musical productions and soloists in Central Oregon. Jean has served as organist for numerous churches and maintains an active piano and organ studio in Redmond.

Jonathan Shepherd began playing the piano at the age of six and studied classical technique and repertoire with Central Oregon pianist Jan Saito. He has performed in many recitals and competed at the Oregon Bach Festival, where his interpretations were praised as “dramatic, expressive and “original.”

As a student at Central Oregon Community College, Shepherd focused primarily on composition, arrangement, improvisation and music theory.  He has worked steadily as the accompanist for college level choirs and voice students, as a musician at Aspen Lakes Resort in Sisters, the worship leader of Sisters Christian Church and is a certified OMTA private piano instructor. Shepherd holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music from Oregon State University with an emphasis in recording and editing. His current passion is composition and he writes for ensembles of any size. His works have been performed locally at COCC, with many pieces featuring his wife Jimena Shepherd.

Free Admission. Donations accepted.  100 percent of proceeds will benefit Polio Plus through Rotary of Bend and Rotary International.  After 25 years of hard work, Rotary and its partners are on the brink of eradicating this tenacious disease, but a strong push is needed now to root it out once and for all.

Melissa Bagwell at 541-419-6063


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