Tulsa Opera Filstrup Resident Artist Program
Each season, Tulsa Opera engages up-and-coming opera artists as members of the Filstrup Resident Artist program. These artists sing supporting roles on the main stage, cover principal roles, and receive multiple training and outreach performance opportunities. All positions are paid a weekly honorarium and travel and housing are provided.
2022-23 Filstrup Resident Artists
Soprano; Rapunzel in Into the Woods
Metropolitan Opera National Council Encouragement Award winner, Blair Cagney, is a young soprano on the rise. Described as having a “nice full well-centered tone [and] superb coloratura,” she is equally at home in the classical and contemporary repertoire. She has most recently sang the titular role in Emmeline and Susanna in I Due Figaro with Manhattan School of Music, Mïcaela in Carmen with Hawaii Performing Arts Festival, and covered Leïla in Les Pêcheurs de Perles with Manhattan School of Music.
V. Savoy McIlwain
Bass-Baritone; Haly in The Italian Girl
V. Savoy McIlwain, Bass-Baritone, hails from Washington, D.C., and is a graduate of Duke Ellington School of the Arts. He holds a BM from the University of Northern Iowa, MM from the University of Maryland, College Park and is currently a McNair Fellow in the University of Maryland, College Park’s DMA Vocal Performance Program. His recent credits include Marcello in Puccini’s La Bohème, Morales in Bizet’s Carmen, and Leporello in Mozart’s Don Giovanni.
J. Warren Mitchell
Tenor; Messenger in Aida
American tenor J. Warren Mitchell is an emerging star in the opera world with a voice that “can trumpet notes and make extraordinary throbbing sounds harkening back to a golden age when gods like (Giuseppe) di Stefano still roamed.” (Operawire.com) In addition to being a featured performer in concert across US and abroad in Germany, he is a 2012 Midwest Regional winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions and a 2019 Grand Finalist and Award winner in the Loren L. Zachary National Vocal Competition.
Mezzo-Soprano; Zulma in The Italian Girl
Praised as an artist who “exudes power in every detail of her body language and voice…” Mezzo-soprano Elissa Pfaender is a dynamic artist whose experience allows her to successfully perform a variety of repertoire. Highlights of this season include singing Alisa in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor with New York City Opera and is currently a 2022 Gerdine Young Artist with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis.
Soprano; Elvira in The Italian Girl
Lyric coloratura soprano Abigail Raiford is a native of Queens, New York who has caught the eyes and ears of many in the music world. This season, she made her debut with the St. Petersburg Opera Company, covering Despina in Mozart’s Così fan tutte and singing Olympia in Davies’ Pinocchio, and joined Central City Opera as a Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Studio Artist.
Filstrup Resident Outreach Artists
Paige Grilliot Dickey
Laven Sowell Artist