Studio Artist Program


Each year, Tulsa Opera contracts 4-6 young professional singers as the company’s Studio Artists. Studio Artists take residence in Tulsa from September through April and perform small roles and large role covers for Tulsa Opera’s mainstage productions, visit schools with the Opera on Tour! program, perform outreach functions for the company, and make up the cast for the annual Studio Artist production. Studio Artists are provided with housing, a travel allowance, and a weekly stipend during their time in Tulsa.

2013-14 Tulsa Opera Studio Artists

Stefan Barner


Stefan Barner is quickly gaining recognition in the lyric tenor repertoire.  This year, Mr. Barner has performed in Des Moines Metro Opera’s production of Romeo et Juliette in the role of Benvolio, and with Tulsa Opera in Verdi’s Aida as the Messenger and in Loesser’s The Most Happy Fella as Ciccio. Mr. Barner also performed the role of Joe Crowell in Monadnock Music Festival’s production of Ned Rorem’s new opera, Our Town, based on the play by Thornton Wilder. Other notable performances include Jacey Spuires in The Glimmerglass Festival’s production of The Music Man, performing at the Royal Opera House in Muscat, Oman; and Trin in Nashville Opera’s production of La Fanciulla del West. Mr. Barner remains active in the oratorio community, singing the tenor solos in Handel’s Messiah and Orff’s Carmina Burana with the Bartlesville Choral Society and Tulsa’s Signature Symphony. Mr. Barner will be featured as the tenor soloist in Bach’s Magnificat with the Akron Symphony in the spring of 2014.  Upcoming engagements include Don Curzio in Le nozze di Figaro, Frank Shallard in Elmer Gantry, and El Remendado in Carmen with Tulsa Opera as a member of the 2013-2014 Studio Artist Program.

In 2011, Mr. Barner was a member of Nashville Opera’s Mary Ragland Young Artist Program. With Nashville Opera he performed the roles of Don Basilio and Don Curzio in Le nozze di Figaro and El Remendado in Carmen, along with the role of Wilhelm Grimm in the American premiere of The Brothers Grimm for an outreach tour. Mr. Barner has also performed with Knoxville Opera as Borsa in Rigoletto and Normano in Lucia di Lammermoor, and was a member of the 2010 Young American Artists Program with Glimmerglass Opera in Cooperstown, New York. Mr. Barner made his international debut in 2009, singing B. F. Pinkerton in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly with La Musica Lirica in Novafeltria, Italy.

A native of Oskaloosa, Iowa, Mr. Barner has been selected numerous times as a finalist in both the NATS and MTNA Iowa competitions.  Mr. Barner was awarded second place in the Baru Atlanta Competition in 2009 and in 2010 was a winner at the Metropolitan National Council Auditions, East Tennessee district. Mr. Barner completed his Bachelor of Music at Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa and his Master of Music at The University of Tennessee-Knoxville.

Timothy Petty

Equally at home in a diverse range of repertPettyheadshotweboire from baroque to 21st century, Tim Petty is a fine singing actor with subtle dramatic range and a resonant voice.  This year at Tulsa Opera he will be performing Antonio in Le nozze di Figaro, the Revival Singer in Elmer Gantry and Morales and El Dancairo in Carmen.  He will also be singing the role of Loco in Hector Armienta’s The Coyotes and the Rabbits for the Tulsa Opera Opera on Tour! outreach program, and Morpheus in Daron Hagen’s Little Nemo in Slumberland with the Tulsa Youth Opera.

He recently finished his studies at The University of Texas at Austin, where he performed such roles as Guglielmo in Così fan tutte, Papa in Daron Hagen’s New York Stories and Dr. Falke in Die Fledermaus.  While there he was a frequent performer with the Bach Cantata Project.

This summer he returned to the Land of Enchantment Opera Institute where he sang the role of Harlequin in Ariadne auf Naxos and filled in as a last minute replacement as Collatinus in Spotlight on Opera’s production of The Rape of Lucretia.  Last season he performed in Tulsa as Brundibar in Hans Krása’s Brundibar with Tulsa Youth Opera, and Clem in The Most Happy Fella with Tulsa Opera.

Elizabeth FischbornElizabeth Fischborn

This summer Ms. Fischborn performed Papagena (Die Zauberflöte) and covered the roles of Adina (L’elisir d’amore) and the Queen of the Night (Die Zauberflöte) with Crested Butte Music Festival as part of the Marcello Giordani Young Artist Program. She sang as a young artist with Wichita Grand Opera, covering Adele and Norina in the mainstage productions of Die Fledermaus and Don Pasquale, and performing Norina at a young artist performance of the production in McPherson, Kansas.

Last spring, she performed the role of Lady with a Hand Mirror in the Tulsa Opera Studio production of Postcard from Morocco. In the summer of 2011 she sang in scenes programs and various performances with Taos Opera Institute and Atlantic Music Festival. During her time at the University of Oklahoma, she performed Servilia (La clemenza di Tito) and the title role in Le Rossignol. Various leading roles with Cimarron Opera include Snow White (Snow White and the Seven Dwarves), Rose Maybud (Ruddigore) and the role of Me in the school tour of the educational operetta The Owl, the Tree and Me. She also performed the title role of La Périchole with the University of Central Oklahoma.

Her undergraduate degree in music education is from Southern Nazarene University. Ms. Fischborn just completed her master’s degree in vocal performance from the University of Oklahoma.

Ashley Cutrightcutrightheadshotweb

Ashley Cutright, mezzo-soprano, was most recently seen in the roles of Cecilia March in Little Women and Alisa in Lucia di Lammermoor with Opera North.  Earlier this summer Ms. Cutright sang with Skylark Opera, where she appeared as Katisha in The Mikado.  Ms. Cutright was a 2013 Artist in Residence with Pensacola Opera, where she performed the roles of Berta in Il barbiere di Siviglia and Ottavia in L’incoronazione di Poppea.

In the fall of 2013 she will be joining Tulsa Opera for their 2013-2014 as a studio artist for their 2013-2014 season, performing the role of Mercédès and covering the title role in Carmen; covering the role of Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro; and performing the role of Tour Guide and covering Sharon Falconer in Elmer Gantry. Ms. Cutright was a 2011-2012 Apprentice Artist with Des Moines Metro Opera, where she sang the role of Sister Mathilde in Dialogues of the Carmelites and covered the role of Olga in Eugene Onegin. She also performed the roles of Papagena and Third Lady in The Magic Flute with Opera Iowa.  Other opera credits include Zita in Gianni Schicchi, Sorceress in Dido and Aeneas, Florence Pike in Albert Herring, Newspaper Woman in Les mamelles de Tirésias, Lolette in La Rondine, Woman 1 in Grapes of Wrath, Ellen in Three Sisters, and the role of Katia in the world-premiere of The Singing Violin. Other companies with which she has performed include Opera on the Avalon, Hawaii Performing Arts Festival and Irving Community Theatre.

In 2012 Ms. Cutright was awarded the Encouragement Award in the Regional Metropolitan Opera Competition and was a finalist in the 2012 Dallas Opera Guild Competition. She has received artistic and academic scholarships for her college-level studies, and in 2010 she won a grant through the Schuyler Foundation.

Ms. Cutright holds a Master of Music degree in vocal performance from Manhattan School of Music.  She is a native of Dallas, Texas, and received her Bachelor’s Degree from Southern Methodist University.

Whitney Hollishollis

This is Ms. Hollis’s third season with Tulsa Opera. Last spring she was accompanist for the Studio Artist performance of At the Statue of Venus and All Wounds Bleed at the Philbrook Museum. She was accompanist and tour manager for The Silence Tree and Mooch the Messy, both part of Tulsa Opera’s Opera on Tour! program to bring opera to grade schools in Oklahoma. This season she will be the pianist for the touring children’s show, The Coyotes and the Rabbits, as well as a rehearsal accompanist for the mainstage productions of Le nozze di Figaro and Elmer Gantry.

Ms. Hollis has her Bachelor’s Degree from Shenandoah University Conservatory, where she studied piano and voice. She played Marcellina in their production of The Marriage of Figaro. She was on stage with Tulsa Opera in the chorus for Madame Butterfly, and this summer she performed the role of Cosette in Les Misérables at Riverside Center in Fredericksburg, Virginia.