Jukebox Gala 2022
In honor and memory of Drs. Jim & Nell Potter
DATE & TIME
Friday, Sept. 23, 2022
Sanders Beach – Corinne Jones Resource Center
913 S. I St. Pensacola, FL 32502
Jukebox Gala is Pensacola Opera’s signature fall fundraising event. Over a gourmet four-course dinner, world-class opera singers serenade you and your guests tableside. A preview of our upcoming season starts off the night – but the rest of the entertainment is up to you! The evening’s entertainment is determined by guests as they bid on popular selections from opera and musical theatre to be performed for them course by course. All proceeds directly support professional opera performances and educational programs that enrich the culture of our community.
Honoring Dr. James and Nell Potter
At this year’s Jukebox Gala, it is our sincere pleasure to honor and remember Dr. James and Nell Potter, two of our treasured founding members and supporters since 1983. James and Nell worked in all capacities behind the scenes—everything from sewing costumes, to auditioning and rehearsing singers, to designing and printing programs. The Potters were so very generous with their time, talent, and treasure within the Pensacola community, especially the Performing Arts. We are so profoundly grateful for their extraordinary gestures of generosity and support throughout the years. This organization would not be what it is today without their guidance, leadership and passion for the art form.
Jukebox Gala Artists
Dimitri Pittasas Tenor
Dimitri Pittas has appeared on leading opera stages throughout North America and Europe, including the Bavarian State Opera, the Vienna State Opera, the Royal Opera House Covent Garden and the Canadian Opera Company. He is a graduate of The Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program and has been heard on the Met stage as Rodolfo in La bohème, Macduff in Macbeth, Nemorino in L’elisir d’Amore, Cassio in Otello, Alfred in Die Fledermaus and Tamino in Die Zauberflöte. His repertoire includes performances as the title role of Don Carlo, Riccardo in Un ballo in maschera, Alfredo in La traviata, Tebaldo in I Capuletti e i Montecchi, Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor, Oronte in Verdi’s rarity, I Lombardi, the Duke of Mantua in Rigoletto and Michele in the world premiere of La Ciociara (Two Women) by Marco Tutino with San Francisco Opera, directed by Francesca Zambello. For his debut with The Canadian Opera Company as the Duke, the Toronto Star said, “Dimitri Pittas comes off the best as The Duke of Mantua, with a flexible voice that can express real love and shallow desire with equal conviction.” Dimitri is a member of the faculty at Manhattan School of Music, and co-founded Holy City Arts & Lyric Opera (HALO) in Charleston, South Carolina, where he serves as Artistic Director.
Leah Edwardsas Soprano
Having been hailed as an “eloquent, versatile soprano” with an “entrancingly beautiful voice,” Leah Edwards has forged a unique career path, captivating audiences as an actress, singer, dancer and pianist. She made her Broadway debut in 2011 as a member of the company of Terrence McNally’s Master Class and, Off-Broadway, regularly joins the company of the Encores! series at New York City Center. Leah can be seen in the Emmy-nominated production of Carousel with the New York Philharmonic, has appeared as a musical guest on A Prairie Home Companion, and recorded the most recent cast album of George and Ira Gershwin’s Lady, Be Good. She has been presented in concert at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, with the New York City Ballet Orchestra and nationally with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, Rochester Philharmonic, Las Cruces Symphony and the Utah Festival Opera Orchestra. She is also sought after for her experience with new music, which has resulted in world premiere recordings for the Opera America Songbook. An award-winning pianist, Leah appeared as a guest artist at The Gilmore International Keyboard Festival, enjoyed the honor of performing as the musical ambassador to the Chinese Consulate, and her presentation of Prokofiev’s Third Piano Concerto was a featured segment on National Public Radio. In 2019, Leah co-founded Holy City Arts & Lyric Opera (HALO) in Charleston, South Carolina, where she serves as General Director.
Jonathan Beyeras Baritone
Jonathan Beyer is a baritone who has performed with several opera companies including the Metropolitan Opera, Chicago Lyric Opera, Teatro Petruzzelli, Oper Frankfurt, Vancouver Opera, Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic, Netherlands Radio Orchestra. He has given recitals through the Vocal Arts Society at the Kennedy Center, Marilyn Horne Foundation, Carnegie Hall Foundation, and Philadelphia Chamber Music Society. He has degrees from the Curtis Institute of Music and the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. As a voice teacher, Jonathan has taught at the Curtis Institute of Music, Manhattan School of Music, Chautauqua Institution, University of British Columbia and others. Jonathan has also been seen on HGTV, the Food Network, is an official judge for the Miss America Program and is the co-host of The Skating Lesson YouTube channel.
Sandra Piques Eddyas Mezzo-soprano
Sandra Piques Eddy, praised for her “dark, sensuous mezzo and charming stage presence” (Opera Magazine) ‘a lustrous voice” (Opera News) “a fine technique, a range of colors from honeyed to bright and charm to burn” (New York Times) celebrates her twentieth year as a professional mezzo soprano this season.
Recent career successes include a reprise of her acclaimed Carmen with the legendary Maestro Seiji Ozawa on tour in Japan, a company debut with Opera New Zealand as Rosina in their Il barbiere di Siviglia tour, critical praise as the title character in The Coronation of Poppea with Opera North on tour in England, performing and recording the role of Mistress Revels in Carlisle Floyd’s Prince of Players, and creating the role of Young Wife in the World Premiere of Scott Wheeler’s Naga, part of the Ouroboros Trilogy, produced by Beth Morrison Projects in Boston. Sandra recently added several new roles to her growing repertoire; Dido in Dido and Aeneas with Florentine Opera, Orfeo in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice at Portland Opera, Paula in Florencia en al Amazonas with Pittsburgh Opera, Suzuki in Madama Butterfly with Inland Northwest Opera, and Meg Page in Falstaff with Opera Colorado Opera.
Emily Michiko Jensenas Soprano
Praised for her “theatrical instincts and intriguingly versatile instrument,” Japanese-American soprano Emily Michiko Jensen was most recently an Apprentice Artist with Chautauqua Opera covering the title role of Tosca. She also performed the role of Angel More in The Mother of Us All and covered Susan B Anthony.
During the 2021-2022 season, Ms. Jensen was a Resident Artist at Pensacola Opera, where she sang First Lady while covering Pamina in Die Zauberflöte and covered Berta in Il Barbiere di Siviglia. In recital, Emily performed Wagner’s Die Wesendonck lieder in March 2022. Ms. Jensen made her Florentine Opera debut as Jessie in Weill’s Mahagonny: Ein SongSpiel and was slated to perform Maguelonne in Viardot’s Cendrillon while covering the title role and was also supposed to cover Mimi in La bohème (COVID-19).
Originally from San Diego, California, Ms. Jensen received a Graduate Diploma & MM in Vocal Performance from New England Conservatory. She holds a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from the Eastman School of Music.
Allanda Small Campbellas Soprano
Lyric soprano Allanda Small is an award winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions (Gulf Coast Region), the NATSAA Young Artist Award, and the American Prize Competition (opera). Operatic roles include Countess Almaviva (Le Nozze di Figaro), Micaëla (Carmen), Mrs. Jenks (The Tenderland), Mrs. Gleaton (Susannah) and Elektra (Idomeneo). She is a graduate of William Carey University and The University of Southern Mississippi having earned her Doctorate of Music Arts in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy. As a solo artist, she presents recitals, concerts and master classes throughout the year. In conjunction with the Dream Consortium of Chicago, she presented Vision, a recital celebrating the art songs and spirituals of African-American composers with acclaimed baritone, Robert Sims, as well as a music tour of Spain as soloist with Triumph Chorale. Concert performances include Mozart’s Requiem, Bach Magnificat in D, Handel’s Messiah, Saint-Saëns Christmas Oratorio, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass, multi-city performances of Felix Mendelssohn’s Elijah with The Leipzig Youth Symphony Orchestra, Michael Tippett’s A Child of Our Time with the Carolina Master Chorale and Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms and Tarik O’Regan’s Triptycb with the Choral Society of Pensacola. Recently, Allanda debuted with West Bay Opera’s (Palo Alto, CA) production of Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida as the Voice of the High Priestess and cover for the title role. In a performance review by Opera News Magazine, the article noted that, “In their debut, Allanda excelled as the High Priestess…” Regionally, she also premiered the opera, The Crossing, a second part of the Slavery Trilogy by Odaline de la Martinez in New Orleans. Allanda is a New York native who resides in Mobile, AL. She serves as part of the music faculty at The University of West Florida.
Hayley Abramowitzas Soprano
Hayley Abramowitz, soprano, is dually based in Houston, TX and Washington, DC. They hold degrees from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music (MM ’20, PD ’21) and from the University of Maryland School of Music (BM ’18), where they studied with Carol Vaness and Delores Ziegler respectively.
Hayley spent the 2021-22 season as a chorister with the Houston Grand Opera, performing in Carmen, Dialogues of the Carmelites, Die Zauberflöte, and Turandot. They also presented a recital as part of the Living Arts Concert Series, featuring Mozart’s rarely performed concert aria, Popoli di Tessaglia.
Favorite roles include Romilda (Serse), Nella (Gianni Schicchi), Blumenmädchen (Parsifal), Lucy (The Telephone), and Mme. Herz (Die Schauspieldirektor). A third-place winner in the inaugural Cincinnati SongSLAM, Hayley is also a passionate advocate of new music, having presented numerous premieres in the past several years. Particularly dear is William Kenlon’s Longfellow Mosaic for soprano and Pierrot ensemble.
Kayla Nantoas Mezzo-soprano
Kayla Nanto is a dynamic mezzo-soprano with a lush and versatile sound who is based in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. This season, Kayla joined Pensacola Opera as a Jan Miller Studio Artist where she appeared as Nettie Fowler in Carousel and as a featured soloist in various concerts. She is a recent winner in the Georgia District of The Metropolitan Opera’s Laffont Competition.
During the 2021-2022 season, Kayla was a winner in the Colorado/Wyoming District of The Metropolitan Opera’s Laffont Competition. This past summer, sang the title role in Carmen with Painted Sky Opera and was recently a Studio Artist with Fort Worth Opera, with whom she made her mainstage debut as Flora in La traviata. In addition, she returned as a Performing Artist with The Dallas Opera’s Education and Outreach program.
Some of Kayla’s other recent engagements include Second Witch in Dido and Aeneas and Eustazio in Rinaldo with American Baroque Opera Company, Alto soloist in Messiah with Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, Frida Kahlo/Mother in the world-premiere of Frida Kahlo and the Bravest Girl in the World with Fort Worth Opera, Alto Soloist in Petite Messe Solenelle with University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, Suzuki (cover) in Madama Butterfly with Opera Fort Collins, Ulisse in Achille in Sciro with Orchestra of New Spain, and Edith in Pirates of Penzance with Loveland Opera Theatre.
Kayla holds degrees from University of North Texas (Master of Music) and University of Northern Colorado (Bachelor of Music). During her time at University of North Texas, she performed the roles of Siébel in Faust, Petra in A Little Night Music, and Flora in La traviata. While at University of Northern Colorado, she performed the roles of Angelina in La Cenerentola and the title role in Carmen.
Randy Hoas Tenor
Complemented on his “affectionate vibrato” (OperaWire), tenor, Randy Ho is looking forward to joining the team at Pensacola Opera as an Artist in Residence. This season, Mr. Ho will be singing as Parpignol and covering Rodolfo (La bohème), and singing Enoch Snow (Carousel).
Born and raised in Denver, Colorado, Mr. Ho is a recent graduate of the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University. Mr. Ho holds a Bachelor of Music and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration concentrating in Marketing from the University of Denver.
Most recently, Mr. Ho will be showcased in Pittsburgh Festival Opera’s scenes program singing excerpts from Faust, La Traviata, and Carmen. Previously, Mr. Ho has been featured as a studio artist at Carnegie Hall’s Song Studio led by world-renowned Soprano Renee Fleming, Peabody Opera Theater productions of La scala di seta (Dorvil), Hin und Zurück(Robert), Postcard from Morocco (Man with old Luggage), Lamont Opera Theater’s production of Il trittico (Rinuiccio), and as a soloist with The National Repertory Orchestra, Denver Opera Collective, and The Denver Spirituals Project.
Scott Leeas Baritone
A native of Statesville, North Carolina, baritone Scott Lee has been praised for his “…substance and velvety bass voice” by the Winston-Salem Journal. In recent years, he has performed with Piedmont Opera, The Princeton Festival, Opera Theater of the Rockies and Magnolia Baroque. In 2020, Lee received the Ron Payne Encouragement Award at the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in Charlotte, NC. His most recent engagement was the role of Antonio in Donizetti’s Linda di Chamounix, where “the opportunity to experience a staging of Linda di Chamounix was a rare gift to UNCSA’s audiences, but singing such as Lee’s is still rarer not only in student production but upon all the worlds stages.” (Voix des Arts) Lee received his Bachelor of Music degree and Master of Music degree from UNCSA. In addition to performing, Lee is a seasoned teaching artist, having served as a member of UNCSA’s ArtistCorps. He is a student of Dr. Marylin Taylor.
Cody Martinas Pianist
American conductor Cody Martin was recently named Music Director at Pensacola Opera, where he was previously the Director of Education and Director of the Artists in Residence Program since 2017. During the 2023-24 season, he leads a production of Lucia di Lammermoor and serves as associate conductor and chorus director for Die Fledermaus, in addition to continuing his work with the company’s nationally respected Jan Miller Studio Artist Program. Recent seasons have seen Cody leading productions of Carousel, Die Zauberflöte, Don Giovanni, As One, Florencia en el Amazonas, Man of La Mancha and María de Buenos Aires in Pensacola, in addition to various concert appearances. He made his debut with Fargo-Moorhead Opera conducting Jake Heggie’s Three Decembers in 2019. Other companies Cody has enjoyed working with include Des Moines Metro Opera, Arizona Opera, Opera Birmingham, Virginia Opera, and the Janiec Opera Company at Brevard Music Center.
Cody holds degrees from Murray State University and Florida State University. He lives in Pensacola with his former shelter dog, Rosina, a corgi/dachshund mix (@rosinathelongdog).
Nathan Ciceroas Pianist
Thank You to Our Event Sponsors!
Jan and Ron Miller
Ruth & Rick Harper
Azalea Trace Retirement Community
Bobby and Karen Emmons / Thompson-Walden Insurance
Lisa S. Minshew Attorney and Mediator
Michael V. Riesberg MD, The Opera Doc
Diamond Record Sponsors
Bobby & Sheila Dunn
Brian & Marie Baumgarder
Gold Record Sponsors
Blues Angel Music
Cat Country 98.7/NewsRadio 1620
Dr. Joanne Bujnoski
Emerald Coast Realty-Kim Gibbons
Harry & Pam Schwartz
Lt Col David and Lyndi Kessler
Meg Burke Photography
Scott & Lois Benson
Silver Record Sponsors
Clair & Robert Montgomery
Dr. James & Katherine Miller
Dr. Juliet DeCampos & Keith M. Kundahl
Jerry Shannon & Charlie Smoke
Nan Harper & John Pinzino
Paul & Lynne Tobin
Pat & Donna Quinn in Honor of Gulf Breeze Zoo
Ralph & Jan Peterson
Stuart Bugg & Mary Poss
Vista Event Pro
Bronze Record Sponsors
Drs. Robert & Karen Huang
Jeff & Lydia Abram
Mike Johnson – State Farm Insurance
Richard & Judy Cannon