J Austin Bitner, tenor, returns to Live Arts Maryland after appearing as Enoch Snow in this season’s Carousel. He has been hailed by the Baltimore Sun as having a “…strong and glorious voice….” He is renowned for his vivid and memorable performances. A continuous Baltimore-Washington performer, Mr. Bitner is in his 18th season as a soloist and chorister with the Washington National Opera, performing alongside and under the baton of Placido Domingo during Mr. Domingo’s tenure with the company. Mr. Bitner’s solo work with the company includes roles in Menotti’s The Consul, Floyd’s Of Mice and Men, and Verdi’s I Vespri Siciliani and La Traviata. In December 2015, Mr. Bitner was engaged to perform with the Guatemalan National Symphony Orchestra in concert and as the tenor soloist in Handel’s Messiah, with performances in Guatemala City and Antigua. Residing in Baltimore, Mr. Bitner performs throughout the Mid-Atlantic region; most recently as Erstes Minnesinger in Richard Strauss’s Guntram with the Washington Concert Opera this March. He performs regularly with Live Arts Maryland, Anne Arundel Community Opera (January ’10 as Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus), and as Monostatos in The Magic Flute at Opera Vivente in 2010 as well as Lyric Opera Baltimore (La Boheme 2012), Opera Carolina, Spoleto Festival Opera, and Summer Opera (DC). In addition to operatic pursuits, Mr. Bitner has performed with Pantolites as Scratchembitem in the World Premiere British Pantomine Puss in Boots and at Young Victorian Theatre as Frederic in Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance. His repertoire includes over 25 roles including Rodolfo (La Boheme – Lancaster Opera), Laca (Jenufa – Summer Opera), and Steuermann (Der Fliegender Holländer – Spoleto Festival Opera). His next singing appearance in the region will be as the tenor soloist in DuBois’ Sevens Last Words of Christ as Woods in Severna Park. Mr. Bitner serves as the tenor cantor at Church of the Immaculate Conception, Towson, MD. In addition to his vocal pursuits, Mr. Bitner serves as the 4th Vice President of AGMA (National Officer in the union for opera singers, ballet dancers, stage directors, and production staff) and is the Associate Executive Director of The Engineers Club located at Baltimore’s National Historic Landmark, The Garrett-Jacobs Mansion. Mr. Bitner was a founding member of, the Baltimore Concert Opera now in its seventh season.
Kimberly Christie, soprano, is thrilled to return to the wonderful Live Arts Maryland stage the season finale. Her other appearances with Live Arts Maryland include Sharon (Finian’s Rainbow), Carrie Pipperidge (Carousel), Hodel (Fiddler on the Roof), Winnifred (Once Upon A Mattress), Victoria (Grand Night for Singing), Adelaide (Guys & Dolls) and Bonnie (Anything Goes!). Ms. Christie also performs with Lyric Opera Baltimore, Baltimore Concert Opera, and Washington National Opera, with whom she made her chorister debut this past September in Bizet’s Carmen. Ms. Christie is equally skilled in opera, oratorio and musical theater. In November, she performed as Clara in The Light in the Piazza with Bootless Stageworkz in Wilmington, DE, and as soprano soloist for part one of Handel’s Messiah at St. James’ Parish in Lothian, MD. In December, Ms. Christie was the soprano soloist for Central Maryland Chorale’s Poulenc Gloria and the annual Messiah sing-a-long. Ms. Christie is based in Baltimore, MD, and holds a Master of Music degree from Peabody Conservatory. Read more about Ms. Christie here.
Catrin Rowenna Davies, mezzo soprano, described as having “…bright vocalism and flawless diction…” by the Baltimore Sun, is delighted to be returning to Live Arts Maryland for the season finale. Past roles with Live Arts include Maria in The Sound of Music, Alyson in A Grand Night for Singing, Petra in A Little Night Music, and Berthe in Pippin. Ms. Davies has performed with operatic roles with Baltimore Opera, Lyric Opera of Cleveland, Annapolis Opera, Young Victorian Theatre Company, and Baltimore Concert Opera. As an oratorio soloist, she has been seen with Annapolis Chorale, Handel Choir of Baltimore, Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, Prince William Symphony Orchestra, and Peabody Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Davies is an avid recitalist, and is also in demand for straight theater, musical theater, and cabarets. Recently, Ms. Davies made a role debut as Carmen, and had the great pleasure of coaching with the inimitable Denyce Graves for those performances. Other recent performances include Lola in Cavalleria Rusticana, and the alto soloist in Bach’s St. John Passion and Handel’s Messiah. In March, she was thrilled to make her solo role debut with Lyric Opera Baltimore as Berta in Il barbiere di Siviglia. Ms. Davies specializes in Welsh repertoire, and won the mezzo-soprano competition at the National Eisteddfod in Wales in 2012. She is also a three-time first-prize winner at the North American Festival of Wales. In addition, Ms. Davies is a frequent soloist with Welsh choirs, and has performed with them at the Smithsonian, in Stratford (Canada) and Philadelphia, and in Wales. Ms. Davies is a graduate of the Peabody Conservatory and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, and also has an honors degree in History from McGill University, and a Master’s degree in Women’s Studies from Oxford University. Read more about Ms. Davies here.
David Murray‘s rich baritone voice, dramatic presence, and versatility as a performer has brought him acclaim from critics and audiences throughout the world. He began his professional operatic career in 1986 singing the role of Fiorello in Rossini’s Il Barbieri di Sivilia with Boston Lyric Opera. He has since gone on to sing the title role of Figaro (in the same opera) more than 25 times in the US, Canada and Europe. Other notable and often performed roles include Germont in Verdi’s La Traviata, Count Almaviva in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, and Eisenstein and Dr. Falke in J. Strauss’ Die Fledermaus. Equally at home on the concert stage, Mr. Murray has performed with the Boston Pops, Keith Lockhart and John Williams conducting, The Handel & Haydn Society, The Tokyo Philharmonic, The Telemann Orchestra of Japan, The New Japan Philharmonic, The Boston Academy of Music (Opera Boston), Theatre Lyrique d’Europe, Chorus proMusica, Boston Lyric Opera, Back Bay Chorale, as well as leading roles with Lake George Opera, Central City Opera, Eugene Opera, and Baltimore Concert Opera. His recent engagements include the title role in Donizetti’s Don Pasquale with Light Opera of New Jersey, Soloist in Orff’s Carmina Burana, and Bach’s B minor Mass with the Annapolis Chorale, as well as Germont in Verdi’s La Traviata, Michele in Puccini’s Il Tabarro, Gianni in Gianni Schicchi, Don Alfonzo in Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte with Baltimore Concert Opera, and Scarpia in Puccini’s Tosca with the Cambridge Symphony Orchestra at MIT. As a concert music editor, Mr. Murray has edited for publication hundreds of works for orchestra, chorus, voice and chamber ensembles. Garnering him many Paul Revere Awards from the Music Publisher’s Association for Excellence in Graphic Design and Note Setting. He is currently the Editor and Publishing Manager for Subito Music Corporation.