October 12, 2020

Press Release: Portland Opera Announces 2020/21 Resident Artists

Portland Opera is delighted to announce the five artists joining the company’s Resident Artist program for the 2020/21 season: soprano Lynnesha Crump, mezzo-soprano Jasmine Johnson, tenor David Morgans Sanchez, baritone Michael Parham, and bass Edwin Jhamal Davis. Portland Opera established the Resident Artist Program in 2005 and each year, 4-6 singers join the company for a rigorous residency and training program. Since its inception, more than 35 artists have participated in the program. More than 50% of the artists who have completed the program in the last 10 years are now singing professionally, and program alumni work with opera companies nationally and internationally.

“We are so excited to welcome these five fantastic singers to Portland Opera and to Portland,” says General Director Sue Dixon. “Although this season is anything but ordinary, we remain deeply committed to this program, and to the advancement of the artistry and careers of all of Portland Opera’s resident artists. We are thrilled to support and share their work with our audiences and community.”

The 2020/21 Portland Opera Resident Artists (PORA) will work with numerous faculty members in voice lessons, musical coaching, language classes, drama and role study, and movement instruction. These faculty members include Nicholas Fox, Chorus Master & Assistant Conductor; Joseph William, PORA Coach; Daniel Mobbs, Teaching Artist in Residence and voice teacher; Angela Zagarella, Italian teacher; and Alison Wesley, yoga teacher. The artists will also work with additional guest faculty throughout the season, including Portland Opera Artistic Advisors Damien Geter and Karen Slack, and will be featured in various performance activities.

Portland Opera takes the health and wellbeing of the resident artists and their collaborators seriously. Testing and protocols are in place to launch and sustain the adapted 20/21 resident artist program. As part of the company’s commitment to the health and wellbeing of the staff, artists, company, and audience members, Portland Opera has engaged a team of medical advisors to work with staff members to review all safety procedures and protocols on an ongoing basis during the pandemic. This season’s resident artist recital series will likely shift to a live-stream digital platform, with dates and details to be announced in the coming weeks.


In recent seasons, Lynnesha Crump, soprano, was seen in numerous productions, including the Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess at the Metropolitan Opera, Frances Pollock’s Stinney: An American Execution with Prototype Festival, and she covered the role of Stella in Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffman at Aspen Music Festival. Hailing from Washington, D.C., she is a graduate of the Mannes School of Music where she received her Master of Music and Oberlin Conservatory of Music where she received her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance.

Jasmine Johnson, mezzo-soprano, made her professional debut with Opera Parallèle in the world premiere of their original opera, Amazing Grace, in 2015. Committed to new music, Johnson has also collaborated with Festival Opera on developing Wang Jie’s opera, Rated R for Rat (an eco-opera). Johnson received her Bachelor of Music, Master of Music, and postgraduate diploma from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

David Morgans Sanchez, tenor, made his Metropolitan Opera debut in their 2019/20 season production of Porgy and Bess. In recent seasons, he has also performed with New York City Opera, City Lyric Opera, Sarasota Opera, Music Theatre Heritage, Des Moines Metro Opera, and Inside Broadway. A native of Kansas City, Sanchez holds a Bachelor of Science in Music from William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri and a Master of Music from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance.

Prior to joining the Resident Artist program, baritone Michael Parham has performed with City Lyric Opera, Opera Las Vegas, Voccalis Repertory Company, and the South Florida Symphony. Parham was a 2019-20 New York district winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, a 2019 Semi-Finalist in the Premiere Opera Foundation Competition, and a 2017 Finalist in the Meistersinger Competition in Graz, Austria. He is also a member of the American Spiritual Ensemble. Originally from Chattanooga, Tennessee, Parham holds a master’s degree from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and completed his undergraduate work at Oakwood University.

Edwin Jhamal Davis, bass, made his professional debut with Mississippi Opera Company in the role of Simone in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi. Additional recent credits include performances with Pompano Beach Orchestra, Bronx Concert Singers, and Boston Paramount Theater. A native of Utica, Mississippi, Davis is an alumnus of Jackson State University where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree and he holds a master’s degree from the Manhattan School of Music.

Support for the Portland Opera Resident Artists Program comes in part from the Burns Family Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation, Dennis and Jacqueline Isiguen, Drew and Sue Snyder, Drs. Dolores and Fernando Leon, Eleanor Lieber Auditions Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation, George Rowbottom and Marilyn Crilley, Portland Opera Resident Artist Storage Fund, and The Community Foundation of Southwest Washington. Portland Opera also wishes to thank Anthropologie, Elephants Delicatessen, Ponzi Vineyards, Portland Piano Company, and Wildwood & Company, for their generous support. 


Interviews and more information available upon request.

Silja Tobin, Marketing & Communications Manager
Portland Opera