Tennessee native, Camron Gray, began his vocal studies in his undergrad program 10 years ago which led him to participate in opera workshops and young artists programs since then. Last summer he attended the Glimmerglass Festival and is currently completing his Artist’s Diploma at the University of Michigan.
Seeking to move people with honest portrayals of characters, Camron is proud to have performed in Blue at the Glimmerglass Festival. “That work merged my passion for social activism with my love for music and truthful storytelling.” Though his passion for music and the human voice is what has brought Camron to this point in his career, he looks forward to using his platform to help move someone and inspire them through his music-making.
His performance work includes Tom Snout in Benjamin Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2017), Larry Renault in William Bolcom’s latest opera Dinner at Eight, as well as the authoritative, fully-revised version of George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, as Robbins and Crab Man in February 2018 in conjunction with the University Musical Society (UMS). He performed as part of the Cincinnati Opera chorus in La Traviata (Verdi), The Flying Dutchman (Wagner), and Another Brick in the Wall (Bilodeau).
Camron looks forward to future performances of Blue and to performing some of his dream roles in La Boheme, Faust, and La Traviata. As well as taking part in many of the new works being created. Keep an eye on Camron’s upcoming performances at https://www.camrongraytenor.com.
“The first opera I saw was Aïda at Hawaii Opera Theatre and the drama and emotions that could be conveyed through music stuck with me.” Robert Ellsworth Feng began his operatic career in the chorus of Turandot which led to a life-long passion. “I knew I had a story to tell and a voice to tell it with.”
As a singer and librettist, Robert sees his role as giving back to the world by offering his truth and story. His performance work has included traditional repertoire including Don Giovanni (Il Commendatore) with Kor Productions, La sonnambula (Count Rodolfo) and Così fan tutte (Don Alfonso) with Opera Alchemy. And he has also premiered new works including Tony Small’s operetta Qadar, Nick Peros’ monodrama Lamentation of Ruin, and with Christman Opera in their Voices Rising Voices series.
Since the COVID-19 outbreak, Robert has been active through Social Distance Opera's production of Street Scene as Henry Davis and was an Emerging Artist with Seagle Music Colony. He has also been a featured artist for Tony Small's Virtual Masterclass series for the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Washington. A highlight of his professional career, Robert has enjoyed participating in Small’s Project 31, an education series to introduce young kids to opera.
A lover of the Horror genre, his dream opera is a new opera based on a horror story. “The Magnus Archives is a recent favorite of mine for horror.” Until then, his upcoming projects include Don Giovanni (Conmendatore) with Kor Productions, Mikado (Ko-Ko) with Hawaii Opera Theatre, Voice Acting with Circle Round WBUR, and continuing Tony Small’s Project 31.
Stay connected to Robert’s upcoming performances and explore some of his written work at https://www.robertfeng.com.
David Radamés Toro's career as a stage director really began at the age of 10 when he would set epic battles, dramatic scenes, and grand parades with his X-men figures to classical music or movie soundtracks like Star Wars or Citizen Kane. It wasn’t until he was in graduate school studying voice that he formalized his training at Ohio State, where he trained in physical theater and Meisner Technique. Since then his work has been seen at companies like Minnesota Opera, the Wexford Opera Festival, Washington National Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Central City Opera, Opera Saratoga, and Opera Neo.
David applies his background in physical theater to direct, especially utilizing his skills as a mime. “The idea of mime is to concentrate on an idea to create clarity for the audience, which I believe invites the audience to follow the emotional journey of the characters more honestly without relying on emotional manipulation.” He also draws inspiration from silent film (Charlie Chaplin and German silent film), his theater mentors (Jeanine Thompson at Ohio State, Greg Goldsten - Mime, Peter Kozma at Opera Neo) and the movies of Guillermo DelToro, especially Hellboy 2 and Pan's Labyrinth.
A proud Latin artist, David dreams of developing a new work that explore his Mexican and Puerto Rican heritage. He had the opportunity to feel the impact of Latinx representation in opera as an assistant director, working with Leonard Foglia, on El Pasado Nunca Se Termina at Fort Worth Opera. “I was moved everyday, not only by the story, but Latinx representation on stage and in the music from various generations of Latinx artists. I had never felt more proud to be a Latino in Opera.”
David works with a variety of musical repertoire and has an affinity for baroque and 20th/21st century works, listing Flight at Minnesota Opera among his proudest achievements. “I like to work with collaborators who are not afraid to contribute ideas outside of their field. A conductor who may have a great spin on a character or a lighting designer who feels a particular way about a scene. I truly enjoy collaborating and sharing ideas.”
See David’s work with Opera Neo and connect with him at https://www.dtorodirects.com/.
Almost two month ago, we officially launched BIPOC Arts! Since then, over 100 opera professionals have answered the call to register and have generously shared information about our site with their networks—THANK YOU!
BIPOC Arts was created out of a desire to provide a one-link response to the inevitable question around diversity - “There just aren’t enough [insert profession] of color.” My response is usually, “Have you looked?” In those moments, I have wanted to give that person one link and say, “Here you go. Do some research and find what you need. We are out there and we are ready to be hired.” BIPOC Arts is meant to be that link.
In some ways, this database is not the first of its kind. In fact, my research has led me to a plethora of community-sourced spreadsheets full of BIPOC designers, stage managers, singers, etc. Where I feel BIPOC Arts Database adds to the discourse is through creating a visible, public space for the opera industry to celebrate the work of BIPOC professionals, and a place where companies and collaborators can find talent for administrative positions and artistic productions.
This is a space for joy. There are many BIPOC individuals working in opera today—we are making art, sharing our talents, and lifting up opera organizations with our skills. BIPOC Arts is creating a space where we can celebrate each other's accomplishments and find inspiration.
For some folks working in opera, they are often the only person of color working in the organization, and one of a handful in the region. It can be difficult to feel seen, and to see other BIPOC professionals in our field. BIPOC Arts is a place where we can find each other and build our community, a place where we know that there is someone out there who we can connect to and who might better understand the complexities of being BIPOC in opera.
Whether you work as an artist or administrator, we are all creative people. We hope this is a space where BIPOC artists and administrators can find others to connect with to create new things. Whether it’s a new opera production or launching a new initiative in your organization, BIPOC Arts is a space for professionals to build new relationships with colleagues and mentors, share ideas, and build a stronger community of BIPOC opera professionals.
This is also a place for those who are hiring artists and for administrators to seek talent. Whether you’re looking for a costume designer or your next General Director, this is the place to get to know people working in the field now. Scroll through the database and get to know these individuals, connect with them, and HIRE them.
As we continue to build out the site, we will also be creating a space for job postings. This is a place where you can share open positions or production needs that will be seen by BIPOC professionals. One step to hiring racially and ethnically diverse candidates is ensuring that you have a diverse applicant pool to begin with. Here is a place to share your open positions and find talent that you may miss through your usual hiring process.
This site is currently a small sampling of all the talented BIPOC opera professionals currently working or looking to work in the opera field. As we grow, we hope that we can continue to share the great work of these individuals, to build a strong community, and to become the go-to resource for companies and recruiters as they search for new talent. We will continue to grow to meet the needs of BIPOC professionals as our field evolves and provide support to BIPOC professionals and artists in their work and professional development; and, perhaps, expand to other performing arts fields.
Join us. Register for the site, share this resource, learn about BIPOC professionals you haven’t yet met. You might find the perfect professional or collaborator you’re looking for!