Detroit Opera Resident Artists - Detroit Opera

Detroit Opera Resident Artist Program 2023-2024

Five singers have been selected to train in Detroit Opera’s Resident Artist Program during the 2023–24 season: soprano Melanie Spector, mezzo-soprano Lisa Marie Rogali, tenor River Guard, and baritones Rolfe Dauz and Ben Reisinger.

Individualized study.

Direct performing experience.

The next generation of opera talent.

I know without a doubt that I would not be where I am today without having benefited from various training programs. Having a space to grow, explore, learn, test boundaries, and even fail in a safe place allows us to craft the artist that we will become. I am so proud to oversee the Detroit Opera Resident Artist Program and to support the creation of the next generation’s stars."
- Christine Goerke, Associate Artistic Director, Detroit Opera

My top priority is nurturing the next generation of singers, providing a safe space for them to develop and flourish in their careers. It brings me great joy to work with these exceptionally talented artists every day during their residencies in Detroit, supporting them and equipping them to excel in this competitive industry."
- Nathalie Doucet, Head of Music and Resident Artist Program Director, Detroit Opera

Our 2022–23 Resident Artists told us they have had extraordinary experiences with our organization and the Detroit community. An unprecedented number of artists applied for five positions in the 2023–24 season, which reflects the need for individualized, nurturing training programs for early-career professionals."
- Wayne S. Brown, Detroit Opera President & CEO

2023-2024 Resident Artist Biographies

Melanie Spector, soprano

Praised for her “beaming soprano” by Operawire, Melanie Spector was born and raised in New York City. She is a second-year Resident Artist at Detroit Opera, where she made her debut as the High Priestess in Verdi’s Aida singing next to operatic stars Angel Blue and Christine Goerke. For this performance, Melanie received critical acclaim for her “exceptional pitch, pristine sound, and unwavering commitment to operatic excellence” (Operawire). Other recent performances include Brahms’ Liebeslieder Walzer, Op. 52, Mozart's “Vorrei spiegarvi, o dio” K. 418 and Requiem with the Midland Symphony Orchestra and Orff’s Carmina Burana with the Wayne State Wind Symphony at Detroit Symphony’s Orchestra Hall. In her first season at Detroit Opera, she has covered the roles of Atalanta in Handel’s Xerxes and Margarita Xirgu in Golijov’s Ainadamar. She has been recognized by prestigious organizations including the Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition and the Gerda Lissner Foundation. Melanie's recent highlights include Despina in Mozart’s Così fan tutte at Michigan’s Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival, and in August she will make her role debut as Donna Anna in Mozart’s Don Giovanni at Savannah Opera during the 2023 Savannah VOICE Festival.

During Detroit Opera's 2023-2024 main stage season, Melanie will be featured as a soloist in Arias and Overtures, Beyond the Pit and in John Cage's Europeras 3 & 4. Melanie will also sing the role of Chochulka in Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen.

Lisa Marie Rogali, mezzo soprano

Lisa Marie Rogali, mezzo soprano

Award-winning mezzo-soprano Lisa Marie Rogali has been praised for her “nuanced voice” and “spontaneity” on the stage. She is quickly establishing herself as a versatile performer of opera, musical theater, contemporary, and concert music.  During the 2022–23 season, she debuted the roles of Princess/Lucy/Fancy Doll #1 in Minnesota Opera’s world premiere of Paola Prestini and Mark Campbell’s Edward Tulane and performed her first Hansel in Opera Birmingham’s production of Hansel and Gretel. On the concert stage, she was featured as a soloist with the Naples Philharmonic, the Masterwork Chorus, and Williamsport Symphony Orchestra. This summer, she will return to the Glimmerglass Festival to sing Stéphano in Roméo et Juliette and Paquette in Candide. Lisa has been featured in roles on the stages of companies including Minnesota Opera, the Glimmerglass Festival, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, and Opera Saratoga. Lisa has earned top accolades from the Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition, Jensen Foundation, Giulio Gari Foundation, Gerda Lissner Foundation, American Traditions Vocal Collection, Lotte Lenya Competition, and many more. Lisa holds a master of music degree in vocal performance from the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music and a bachelor’s degree in music education from Pennsylvania State University.

During Detroit Opera's 2023-2024 main stage season, Lisa will be featured as a soloist in Arias and Overtures, and Beyond the Pit. Lisa will also sing the role of Kate Pinkerton in Puccini's Madame Butterfly, the role of The Dog in Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen and will cover the role of Dodo in Missy Mazzoli's and Royce Vavrek's Breaking the Waves.

River Guard, tenor

River Guard is a Canadian tenor from Hamilton, Ontario, living in Montréal, Québec. He holds a bachelor’s degree in music and an opera diploma from Wilfrid Laurier University, and a master’s degree in opera from the University of Toronto Opera School, where he studied with Wendy Nielsen. River is a 2021 recipient of the Rebanks Family Fellowship and International Performance and Residency Program from the Royal Conservatory of Music’s Glenn Gould School. He is an alumnus of the Aspen Music Festival and School and the Opera in the 21st Century program at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. Past roles include Lensky in Eugene Onegin (Highlands Opera Studio), Male Chorus in The Rape of Lucretia (Glenn Gould School), Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi (Canadian Vocal Arts Institute/CVAI), Miles in Missy Mazzoli and Royce Vavrek’s Proving Up (Aspen Music Festival and School), Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni (Highlands Opera Studio), Don José in La tragédie de Carmen and Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus (l’Atelier d’opéra Université de Montréal). This summer at the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, River will cover the roles of Cavaradossi in Tosca and Sam Polk in Susannah, and he will be a participant in the American Institute of Musical Studies (AIMS) in Graz, Austria.

During Detroit Opera's 2023-2024 main stage season, River will be featured as a soloist in Arias and Overtures, Beyond the Pit and in John Cage's Europeras 3& 4. River will also cover the role of Pinkerton in Puccini's  Madame Butterfly and will sing the role of Pasek in Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen.

Rolfe Dauz, baritone

Filipino-American baritone Rolfe Dauz is quickly becoming recognized for his beautiful voice, sensitive artistry, and compelling stage presence and has garnered international acclaim for his "focused baritone, perfect diction, and dramatic acting” (Calgary Herald). He was selected as a Vocal Fellow at the prestigious Tanglewood Music Center this summer, when he will perform in concerts and recitals curated by soprano Dawn Upshaw, who leads the Vocal Arts Program. Rolfe was a 2022 Festival Artist the Chautauqua Opera Company, performing roles in Virgil Thomson’s The Mother Of Us All and Kamala Sankaram and Susan Yankowitz’s contemporary opera-theater work Thumbprint. During the 2021–22 season, Rolfe performed the role of Wotan/Hingaan Jann in composer Yadi Nursalim Anugerah and librettist Miranda Lakerveld’s new opera Ine Aya’ at the renowned Holland Festival; he reprised the role in a Holland Festival touring production throughout Indonesia. His vocal-piano duo with Lithuanian pianist Gabrielė Žemaitytė, Youth and Love, was awarded second prize at the 2021 International Copenhagen Lied-Duo Competition, and he performed a livestream recital in the Grote Zangers series at the Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ concert hall in Amsterdam.

During Detroit Opera's 2023-2024 main stage season, Rolfe will be featured as a soloist in Arias and Overtures, Beyond the Pit and John Cage's Europeras 3 & 4.  He will also sing the roles of Yamadori and The Imperial Commissioner in Puccini's Madame Butterfly,  and will cover the role of Jan in Missy Mazzoli's and Royce Vavrek's Breaking the Waves.

Ben Reisinger, baritone

Ben Reisinger, baritone

Ben Reisinger, a baritone from Rochester, New York, living in Lansing, Michigan, returns as a Detroit Opera Resident Artist for the 2023–24 season. Last season, he made his professional debut with Detroit Opera, performing as Wagner in Gounod’s Faust and Maestro in Osvaldo Golijov’s Fountain of Tears (Ainadamar). He also covered the roles of Valentin (Faust) and Elviro (Handel’s Xerxes). Reisinger is a two-time District of Michigan winner in the Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition and a proud recipient of the Dr. David DiChiera award in 2020 and 2021. During his studies at Michigan State University, Ben worked with composer Ricky Ian Gordon during a production of Gordon’s Grapes of Wrath. Reisinger has participated in masterclasses led by artists including renowned singers Renée Fleming, Christine Goerke, and Ana Maria Martinez and conductors Roberto Kalb and Francesco Milioto. Ben was selected as a Northeast Vocal Finalist for the esteemed Michael Feinstein’s Great American Songbook Competition in New York City, and he will perform this July as a finalist in the James Toland Vocal Arts Competition in San Francisco.

During Detroit Opera's 2023-2024 main stage season, Ben will be featured as a soloist in Arias and Overtures, and Beyond the Pit. Ben will also cover the role of Sharpless in Puccini's Madame Butterfly, and will cover the role of Terry in Missy Mazzoli's and Royce Vavrek's Breaking the Waves.

About the Program

The Resident Artist Program is spearheaded by the celebrated soprano Christine Goerke, Detroit Opera’s Associate Artistic Director, and Detroit Opera’s Head of Music, Nathalie Doucet. Goerke was instrumental in reshaping the Resident Artist Program in 2022 to keep pace with the spirit of innovation, outreach, and community-building that has characterized Detroit Opera’s programming and administration since the arrival in 2020 of Yuval Sharon as the company’s Gary L. Wasserman Artistic Director. Goerke appointed renowned opera coach and pianist Nathalie Doucet as Director of the program; together they created a program that offers individualized study to cater to the unique needs of each artist and aligns with the country’s top training programs. Detroit Opera serves as a nurturing home for these rising stars, supporting and helping them achieve their full potential in the highly competitive opera industry. The program builds on the strong foundations of the Studio Artist program founded by the late Dr. David DiChiera, the company’s founder, while embodying the forward-looking leadership of Yuval Sharon and President and CEO Wayne S. Brown.

Resident Artists commit to an intensive program while living in Detroit from September 2023 through June 2024, training directly with Goerke, Doucet, and other members of the Detroit Opera community in specially crafted and individualized curricula of voice, movement, language and career guidance. In addition to their hands-on training, Resident Artists have opportunities to perform with Detroit Opera in mainstage productions, giving them access to work with guest artists, directors, and conductors. Guest artists and industry professionals who worked with the 2022–23 Detroit Opera Resident Artists include Richard Cox, Valerio Galli, Wendy Bryn Harmer, Ricardo Herrera, Matthew Horner, Dr. Paul Kwak, Ana María Martinez, and Janet Williams. In keeping with Detroit Opera’s longstanding focus on making opera accessible to the surrounding community, Resident Artists forge direct ties to Detroit through recitals, concerts, and other collaborations with local schools, nonprofit organizations, businesses, and institutions. Resident Artists perform regularly during the season for patients at Henry Ford Hospital and in public concert series at Christ Church Cranbrook and The War Memorial. All Resident Artists begin on a one-year contract, and selected artists are invited to participate in a second year.

For more information about the Resident Artist Program, please contact: Jessie Neilson, Resident Artist Program Assistant, at

Concert Series

The War Memorial Concert Series

September 14, 2023 - April 25, 2024

Prepare to be captivated once again as The Alger Center at The War Memorial and the Detroit Opera Resident Artists proudly join forces, rekindling a partnership following the wonderful recital series of 2023-2024. We are overjoyed to announce a second recital series that shines a spotlight on the exceptionally talented Resident Artist Program!



Meet the 2024-25 Resident Artists!


Detroit Opera Announces 2024-25 Season Resident Artists