The concert program will feature Saint Augustine soprano Lisa Lockhart; Orlando
mezzo-soprano Taylor-Alexis Dupont; Jacksonville jazz singer Mama Blue; and bass-baritone Carl DuPont from Charlotte, North Carolina.
She later sang at the presidential inaugurations for both Dwight D. Eisenhowerand John F. Kennedy. In 1955, she became the first black singer at The Metropolitan Opera in New York. She was
among the first class of artists to receive the Kennedy Center Honors.
FCO performs at a variety of venues. This is the company’s first performances at both
St. Cyprian’s in Saint Augustine, and Players by the Sea in Jacksonville Beach.
Based in Saint Augustine, First Coast Opera is northeast Florida’s premier opera company, annually producing concerts and staged operas featuring both local performers and guest artists from across the country. It has received support from the National Endowment for the Arts, Florida Division of Cultural Affairs, and the St. John’s Tourist Development Council. Its current season will conclude with a Family
Opera Festival, March 30 – April 7, 2019.
Bass-baritone Carl DuPont returns to First Coast Opera, having sung in company productions of Don Giovanni and La Vie Parisienne. Currently Assistant Professor and the Coordinator of Vocal Studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, he is equally engaged in performing, teaching, and research. He has sung leading roles with The Glimmerglass Festival and Opera Carolina, and performed world premieres, including the title character in Dennis Rodman in North Korea as well as Why Peace is Always a Good Idea at Carnegie Hall. He is a leading singer and scholar of songs by black composers, and recently released The Reaction, a solo debut album including many of these works never performed or recorded before. Dr. DuPont trained at the Eastman School of Music, Indiana University, and University of Miami.
Taylor-Alexis DuPont has performed in recent seasons with Sarasota Opera, Opera Orlando, St. Petersburg Opera, and The Glimmerglass Festival in New York. The Orlando native is a Florida State University graduate and received her Master of Music degree from the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, where she studied with world-renowned mezzo soprano Denyce Graves. In 2016, she sang in the iSing! Music Festival in Suzhou, China, where she sang both western opera and Chinese folk opera in Mandarin. She is pleased to make her First Coast Opera debut.
Soprano Lisa Lockhart sang Countess Almaviva in FCO’s recent The Marriage of Figaro, also appearing with the company as the Mother in last season’s Amahl and the Night Visitors. She has given numerous European and U.S. performances of Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, and sung leading roles with Palm Beach Opera, Opera in the Heights in Houston, and the Opera Company of Brooklyn, among others. A graduate of The Boston Conservatory of Music, Lisa moved to Saint Augustine from the NYC area four years ago. She enjoys teaching voice and working as the cantor/soloist and choir director at Corpus Christi Catholic Church.
Mama Blue is a Jacksonville original. She attended the city’s Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, then Jacksonville University, and she continues to be a leading musical voice in northeast Florida. Often singing her own songs, she sings about the joy and pain of love, about being a mother, and about the social forces that influence our lives. Among her musical inspirations are Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Alicia Keyes, and Nina Simone. Mama Blue can often be heard in Saint Augustine during the Romanza Festival and at the St. Cyprian’s Episcopal Church Jazz Vespers. She performed the title role in Classic Theater’s world premiere of “Sweet Emmaline: The Musical Journey of Debbie McDade.”
Bonita Sonsini Wyke, pianist, has performed frequently with First Coast Opera as well as with many of the First Coast’s leading vocalists, instrumentalists, and music ensembles since 1985, earning the reputation as a musician of sensitivity, technical skill and artistry. Originally from Los Angeles, her career spans more than four decades of chorales, chamber and orchestral ensembles, opera and music theater, ballet and modern dance. In addition to coaching seasoned performers, Ms. Wyke works with student musicians from area universities and the Jacksonville Symphony Youth Orchestra, teaches privately, and maintains a busy recital schedule.