Copeland Woodruff


Copeland Woodruff is director of opera studies at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin. He has been on the directing and production staffs of the New York City Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, Yale Opera, Atlantic Coast Opera Festival (NJ), and Opera North (Philadelphia and New Hampshire).

Abigail Payne Sanders, pianist

Abigail Payne Sanders is on faculty at Hardin-Simmons University, where she accompanies faculty, students, HSU Chorale, and serves as musical director and pianist for the opera program. She graduated with a BA in piano from Abilene Christian University and earned an MM in Collaborative Piano from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, where she studied with Dr. Allison Gagnon. She has played under the direction of conductors such as Ransom Wilson, Denis Segond, David Itkin and Peter Isaacson.


JJ Hudson


Stage Director JJ Hudson is well known for his sensitive and dynamic productions. Engagements in 2017 included Werther for Temple University Opera, Le Nozze di Figaro for Opera in the Ozarks, Carmen for the Lakes Area Music Festival, La Bohème for Tri-Cities Opera, and I Pagliacci for Imperial Symphony Orchestra.



Marc Sanders serves as the collaborative pianist for Abilene Christian University. He has previously held positions at Hardin-Simmons and McMurry universities. He maintains a prolific performance schedule around the region, including undergraduate, graduate, and faculty recitals, operas, masterclasses, and musicals. In previous years at Red River Lyric Opera, he has collaborated on productions of Hansel and Gretel and Britten's The Turn of the Screw. Marc and his wife, Abigail (also a pianist), have a daughter, Josephine (probably a future opera singer).

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Tyson Deaton

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Known for his broad range of repertoire and versatility of style, American conductor Tyson Deaton has established a reputation for leading energetic and inventive performances. With his musical roots firmly planted in the traditions of the standard operatic repertoire from the Baroque Era to Puccini and beyond, his affinity for contemporary works is also acclaimed by audiences and critics. Read more about him on his website.


Chuck Chandler, voice

Chuck Chandler, tenor, is assistant professor of voice at Florida State University. His prior teaching experience includes Reinhardt University and Shorter College where he was director of the Guest Artist Series and New Music Series. is an active member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing

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“Dazzlingly talented” (The Sunday Mail, Zimbabwe) and wielding a “magic baton” (Brooklyn Eagle), American conductor Brian Holman has performed on four continents to great acclaim. This past season, he debuted with Cleveland Opera Theater (Amelia Lost), Marble City Opera (La Traviata), and appeared at Film Fest Tucson (The Mine With the Iron Door), and the Harare International Festival of the Arts with Baroque2000 Chamber Orchestra. He recently conducted concerts at the Mediterranean Opera Festival in Sicily, led a concert performance of Tosca at Merkin Concert Hall, and joined New York City Opera as assistant conductor for the New York premiere of Florencia en el Amazonas at Lincoln Center.


Jamie Van Eyck, voice

With polished, elegant vocalism and committed dramatic portrayals on-stage, mezzo-soprano Jamie Van Eyck appeals to audiences and critics alike as a compelling artist in opera and concert.

As a teacher, she works with a variety of singers, from those in the early stages of vocal study, to those in the midst of professional careers.  She aims to help singers release vocal tension and inhibition to find a completely individual and easily produced sound that is capable of power, projection, and broad artistic expression.


Paul Houghtaling

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Paul Houghtaling is Director of Opera Theater at the University of Alabama.  Appearances as singer and director include the Abilene, Anchorage, Baltimore, Boston Lyric, Central City, Des Moines, Knoxville, Lake George, Long Beach, Mobile, Nashville, Santa Fe, and Tacoma Operas, Opera Birmingham, and the Metropolitan Opera Guild, among others. He was the director of last season’s Alcina for Red River Lyric Opera. He has performed at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and Lincoln Center as soloist with several ensembles, as well as throughout Europe with Teatro Lirico d’Europa. He is a sought-after presenter of clinics and workshops throughout the U.S. including CMS, Classical Singer, NOA, and many colleges and universities.


Stephen F. Austin, voice

Dr. Austin joined the faculty of the University of North Texas in 2001 after several years of teaching at Louisiana State University. He Austin received a masters degree in vocal performance from UNT and continued his studies at the University of Iowa where he earned the Ph.D. in voice science from the department of communication disorders under the direction of Dr. Ingo Titze.



Esme Wong, Pianist

Born and raised in a diverse and multicultural background, Esme Wong is a Malaysian classical pianist who grew up speaking three languages and lived in three countries. Enjoying versatile performances, she has performed a wide range of works from early to contemporary. She enjoys arts in various cultures and has traveled to 15 countries. Through her unique educational experience at United World College, she is inspired by global social movements and has participated in community works in Cambodia, the Philippines, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

About the executive director

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Soprano Darla Diltz has performed a variety of repertoire including Donna Anna and Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni), Lucia di Lammermoor and Suor Angelica (Knoxville Opera), Violetta (La Traviata), Pamina and First Lady (Die Zauberflöte), Nella and Lauretta (Gianni Schicchi), Gertrude (Hansel and Gretel), Mimì and Musetta (La Bohème), the water (The Little Prince), Countess (La Nozze di Figaro), Fiordiligi (Così), Tatyana (Eugene Onegin), Madama Butterfly, Tallulah Carter (The Hotel Casablanca), Helena (A Midsummer Night’s Dream) and Older Alyce (Glory Denied).  The New York Times called her a commanding presence, who brought a firm, focused tone and emotional depth to the arias Tom Cipullo gave her in Chelsea Opera’s production of Glory Denied.  Opera News called her performance of Tallulah Carter on Albany Records recording of Thomas Pasatieri’s The Hotel Casablanca ‘soaringly sung’.  Some of her solo oratorio and concert credits include Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, Mozart’s Requiem and Mozart’s Mass in C Minor, Handel’s Messiah Haydn’s Te Deum, the Brahms Requiem, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Samuel Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915, Gorecki’s Symphony No. 3 and the tone-poem, Luonnotar by Jean Sibelius. 

Dr. Diltz is a proud graduate of Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas.  She received her Masters from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville and Doctorate from The University of Kentucky.  Currently, Darla lives in New York City where she maintains a private voice studio.  At Adelphi University, she teaches voice, vocal pedagogy, jazz history and is the director of Adelphi Opera Theatre.  She serves on the Board of Directors for the NYC Chapter of NATS (National Association of Teachers of Singing), and is a member of Opera America and the National Opera Association.  Darla was honored to serve as Executive Director of OPERA BREVE from 2012-2016.  Opera Breve is an innovative company based in NYC that provides performance opportunity’s for young artists in opera and musical theatre.  Opera Breve continues to thrive under the leadership of Lenora Eve, a brilliant voice teacher, collaborative pianist and singer.