Michael Preacely – Guest Soloist
American baritone Michael Preacely is a rising star on the operatic stage and is also known for a versatile singing ability and style that allow him to cross between genres from classical repertoire to pop, contemporary, and Broadway. He has received critical acclaim for many of his performances, including Phantom in Phantom of the Opera, Scarpia in Tosca, Ford in Falstaff, Marcello in La Boheme, the High Priest in Samson and Delilah, and Porgy and Jake in Porgy and Bess. Mr. Preacely has performed with many major and regional opera houses and orchestras in the United States and abroad. Recently, Mr. Preacely completed a European tour of Porgy and Bess where he received great reviews for his performance of both Porgy and Jake. He also toured Russia in a concert series with New York based Opera Noire, debuted with Opera Memphis in the role of Marullo with a Rigoletto Cover, and Opéra de Montréal in the role of Jake. Michael made his debut with the Butler University Symphony Orchestra opposite world-famous soprano Angela Brown in a beloved performance of the Porgy and Bess Suite. Michael has performed with Cincinnati Opera, Opera Company Philadelphia, Opera Memphis, Kentucky Opera, Cleveland Opera, Lyric Opera Cleveland, and Bohème Opera of New Jersey.
Mr. Preacely’s success on the concert stage has blossomed with some of the nation’s leading orchestras, including the Oakland East Bay Symphony, the Memphis Symphony, the Hamilton-Fairfield Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Cleveland Pops, the Cincinnati Pops, the Greater Trenton Choral Society, and the American Spiritual Ensemble.
Mr. Preacely has received numerous accolades. He was invited under scholarship to participate in the International Vocal Arts Institute with Joan Dornemann and the VOIC Experience with Sherrill Milnes and Friends. He was the First Place Graduate Winner in the Alltech Vocal Scholarship Competition at the University of Kentucky and the recipient of awards in various competitions such as the National Opera Association Vocal Competition Artist Division, the Fritz and Jensen Vocal Competition, and the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.
Currently, Mr. Preacely is working on the release of his first album, Spirituals and Hymns, followed by a series of concerts and recitals in various venues across the United States. Michael resides in Lexington, KY with his wife LeTicia and two sons, Joshua and Benjamin.
Alison Acord – Soloist
Soprano Alison Acord has been heard in more than 40 operatic roles in the United States and abroad. She has received critical acclaim as the title role in Ariadne auf Naxos. Her operatic repertoire encompasses other roles such as Lady Billows in Albert Herring, the Mother in Hänsel und Gretel, Alice Ford in Falstaff, Mimì in La Bohème, Micaëla in Carmen, La Contessa in Le nozze di Figaro, Hanna Glawari in The Merry Widow, and Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte. Dr. Acord has also been heard as soloist in orchestra concerts both in the United States and Europe in Saint-Saëns’ Christmas Oratorio, Handel’s Messiah, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem, Ravel’s Shehèrazade and in Fikret Amirov’s A Thousand and One Nights. Alison has received prestigious grant awards in the United States and Europe for championing the work of living composers. The International School of Performing Arts, The Recording Industries’ Music Performance Trust Fund, Grismer Fine Arts Fund, Havighurst Center for Russian and Post Studies and Doblinger Publishers Wien have all afforded her opportunities to perform and lecture on composers living and writing art song in The United States, Moldova, Ukraine, Latvia, Belarus, Russia, Great Britain, and Austria.
Dr. Acord has taught on the faculty of Miami University of Ohio since 1999. A native of Houston, Texas, Alison earned her Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance from Baylor University. As a Corbett Scholar, she earned the graduate degrees of Master of Music, Artist Diploma, and Doctor of Musical Arts in Vocal Performance and Vocal Pedagogy from the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music. While a student at CCM, Alison was a student of Barbara Honn’s and continues to work with her, organizing teaching seminars for Barbara each year.
Alison’s students are highly regarded and enjoy great success. They have been heard on Broadway and in regional and international opera and musical theater venues. Many have placed as finalists and winners in a variety of local, regional and international competitions, and have regularly participated in professional summer music festivals and young artist programs. Dr. Acord’s teaching career has included University of Dayton, Xavier University and the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music. In 2000, Alison began giving presentations for high school singers entitled Successful College Auditions. This has grown into a full-day workshop each fall held at Miami University known as Viva Miami! Since 2009, Alison has taught voice during the summers for the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria, where she has also given presentations yearly on The Singer’s Vocal Health. In 2011, she was invited to lecture on The Aging Voice for the Landeskrankenhaus Universitätsklinikum in Graz, Austria.
Esther Claros Berlioz – Narrator
Esther Maria Claros Berlioz is a doctoral student in the department of Educational Leadership in the Leadership, Culture, and Curriculum program at Miami University. Originally from Honduras, Esther came to the United States to pursue her undergraduate degrees in Communication and Art (Graphic Design) and a graduate degree in Organizational Leadership from Mercyhurst University in Erie, PA. As a doctoral student, she has the privilege and pleasure of working with colleagues in both the EDL department, as well as other academic departments across campus. Her research interests include social justice, immigration reform and how it affects Latino and Latin American youth, the use of art as a form of activism, and the biopolitics of citizenship. Esther will perform the narrative part in the Cantata Dreams.