Featured Artists

The Messiah Festival of the Arts is thrilled to welcome …

Come back soon!  The 2015 Guest Soloists will be announced in November.



2014 Guest Soloists:

Soprano, Jennifer Lindshield


Jennifer Lindshield, a native of Lindsborg, Kansas, studied voice and violin at Wichita State University, and opera performance at Arizona State University. During her studies, she developed an active performing career with the roles of Pamina and Erste Dame in Die Zauberflöte, Fräulein Silberklang in Der Schauspieldirektor, Bubikopf in Der Kaiser von Atlantis, and Nerone in L’incoronazione di Poppea. She was the recipient of several awards and prizes including regional finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.

Her singing career brought her to New York City where she gave successful concert performances of Handel’s Messiah, Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater and Mozart’s Great Mass in C minor. On the operatic stage, her repertoire broadened to include Euridice in Orfeo ed Euridice, Fanny Legrand in Sapho, the title role in Suor Angelica, and she made her Carnegie Hall debut with Donna Anna in Don Giovanni with Pacific Opera.

Now residing in Berlin, Ms. Lindshield has kept an active recital and concert schedule with performances throughout Europe and the U.S. Her upcoming engagements include performances in Paris and Rennes with the program ‘Vox Amerika’. In collaboration with pianist, SooJin Anjou, the program features American composers past and present. Ms. Lindshield is also a member of the a capella vocal quartet, ‘Juxtapose’ which performs in Germany and France.


Mezzo, Rebekah Ambrosini

Rebekah Ambrosini Headshot 2012 075 NEW


Rebekah Ambrosini, contralto, has performed leading roles with Sarasota Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Tulsa Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Music Theatre of Wichita, the Festival de Lille in France, and is a regular solo artist with many major American Symphonies.

Ms. Ambrosini was a Regional Winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and made her Carnegie Hall debut with Musica Sacra as the alto soloist in Mozart’s Requiem. Recent solo performances include Handel’s Messiah with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra and Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Monterey Symphony and the Classical Music Festival of Austria, Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir conducted by Keith Lockhart, Hansel in Hansel and Gretel with the National Symphony Orchestra of Taiwan conducted by Maestro Jahja Ling , Sorceress in the OETA/OU film of Dido and Aeneas by Purcell, the Mother in Mavra by Stravinsky with the OU Opera Theater and Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 under the baton of Gilbert Kaplan.

In the 2012-2013 season Rebekah performed Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 with the Helena, Montana Symphony, Beethoven Symphony No. 9 with the Ft. Wayne, Indiana Symphony,

Beethoven Mass in C and C.P.E. Bach’s Magnificat with the OU Accademia Filharmonica, Bach’s Magnificat in D with Canterbury Chorale and the Oklahoma City Symphony and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Reading Symphony Orchestra of Pennsylvania. In the 2013-2014 season she will be performing as soloist with the Tulsa Oratorio Choir in the Saint-Saëns Requiem, in Handel’s Messiah with Ft. Wayne Symphony and in Mozart’s Requiem with Symphony Orchestra Augusta, Georgia.  Rebekah is currently Associate Professor of Voice at Southern Nazarene University and a board member for Cimarron Opera in Norman, Oklahoma.


Tenor, Roy Heilman

Roy Heilman headshot


Roy Heilman, tenor, is a lover of old music and an enthusiast of new music.  His talents have been heard in performance with organizations like The Oratorio Society of Minnesota, The Bach Society of Minnesota, Skylark Opera, and The Minnesota Orchestra.  He has studied voice with Dale Kruse, Susan Fischer Clickner, and John DeHaan, and coached the works of J.S. Bach with Timothy Sawyer, Thomas Lancaster, and Christopher Cock.

Mr. Heilman received his musical training from Gustavus Adolphus College, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Music with Honors in Performance, and from The New England Conservatory of Music, leaving with a Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance.  In those formative years he became the versatile musician he is, and developed the skills that have served him well as a singer of opera, oratorio, chamber music, new music, and early music.  Since then, Roy has been in demand to sing as tenor soloist in a wide spectrum of works.  He is most often engaged to sing the high tenor parts of the large oratorio works of the Baroque and Classical eras, but has enjoyed much time spent singing new compositions, art songs, opera roles, arias in Bach’s cantatas, and assorted freelance work.  Since 2007, he has served as tenor section leader and soloist at Central Lutheran Church in Minneapolis.  Along with his solo exploits, Roy has sung with many excellent ensembles including The Rose EnsembleConsortium CarissimiGlorious Revolution Baroque, and the innovative chamber ensemble Silver Swan.   

Highlights from the 2012-2013 season included appearances as soloist in several Mozart masses, Evangelist in Bach’s St. John Passion, and in the chorus at Oregon Bach Festival.  In store for the 2013-2014 season include appearances as Evangelist and tenor soloist for the Messiah Festival of the Arts in Lindsborg, Kansas; Evangelist in Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and St. John Passion; tenor soloist in the U.S. premiere of Lenten Meditations by Patrick Hadley; and much more.


Bass, Will Browning

Browning pic

William Browning was raised on a cattle ranch in the Flint Hills, outside of Madison, Kansas (population: 700). It was in the Kansas prairie that he developed an active imagination and penchant for the dramatic. In later years he sang with rock bands, but once he discovered opera, there was no turning back.

To support his operatic pursuits and help pay his tuition, William worked as an over-the-road truck driver (intermittently over fourteen years). William furthered his opera education by attending opera programs in Italy: La Musica Lirica in Urbania and Canta in Italia in Florence. He became a young artist for the Wichita Grand Opera. William received the Samuel Ramey Vocal Fellowship at Wichita State University, where he earned his Master of Music in Opera.

During graduate school, William attended the Aspen School of Music, was a member of the San Francisco Opera’s prestigious Merola Opera Program, and was a finalist for the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Ryan Opera Center.

After the completion of graduate school and numerous roles as a resident artist at the Wichita Grand Opera, William lived in New York for two years, where he made his debut as the Four Villains in Les contes d’Hoffmann with Vertical Player Repertory.  He also performed the lead role of Eddie Carbone in A View from the Bridge with the Vertical Player Repertory and Figaro in ll barbiere di Siviglia at the Bleecker Street Opera.

William now resides in Norman, OK, where he studies voice with Kim Josephson and is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Musical Arts in voice at the University of Oklahoma. His most recent productions have been the title roles in Don Giovanniand Falstaff as well as Oreste in Iphigénie en Tauride.

William Browning’s career highlights have included appearances with the Wichita Grand Opera as Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Joyce DiDonato and Stefano de Peppo; Zurga in Les pêcheurs de perles; Valentin in Faust with Kallen Esperian, Samuel Ramey, and Hector Sandoval; Mercutio in Roméo et Juliette with Hector Sandoval; Benoit / Alcindoro inLa Bohème with Kallen Esperian and Marcello Giordani; and Sciarrone in Tosca with Samuel Ramey and Annalisa Raspagliosi.

Bach baritone, Dr. Les Flanagan

Les Flanagan at Wigmore Hall


Australian baritone Leslie John Flanagan has performed throughout Australia, Europe and the USA, including performances at the Sydney Opera House, in London at ENO’s Coliseum, the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden, the Royal Albert Hall and Wigmore Hall, and the Janacek Theatre in Brno and at the Edinburgh Festival. Recent operatic performances include Mitrovsky in the première of Twice Upon a Birthday for The Metropolitan Opera Guild, and Guglielmo (Cosi fan tutte) with Southern Plains Opera.

Dr. Flanagan earned the bachelor’s degree in music from the Queensland Conservatorium in Brisbane, Australia, and the master’s degree in opera performance from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (now the Royal Conservatoire of Music) in Glasgow, Scotland. Upon completion of his master’s studies, he became an inaugural member of English National Opera’s prestigious Jerwood Young Singer’s Programme in London. He received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Oklahoma and this accepted the position of Vocal Arts Coordinator and Director of Opera and Musical Theater at Mid America Christian University.

Roles with English National Opera, included Rossini’s Figaro, Guglielmo Cosi fan tutte, Schaunard La Boheme, Morales Carmen, Barney in the world première of Mark Anthony Turnage’s The Silver Tassie alongside Gerald Finley, Donner Das Rheingold, and Ned Keene Peter Grimes. Other credits included Guglielmo in Paris, Escamillo Carmen for the Longbourough Festival Opera, Silvio Pagliacci for Haddo House Opera, the title role in Don Giovanni (Edinburgh Festival), Smirnov The Bear, and Demetrius A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Papageno The Magic Flute in Australia and Le Dancaïre Carmen with the Fort Worth Opera. Dr. Flanagan is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Australian Singing Competition’s RSAMD Award, the Sir Alexander Gibson Memorial Scholarship, the Texaco Opera Prize, the Shreveport Singer of the Year Competition Delbert Chumley Award, and the Benton-Schmidt Competition; he was a Semi-Finalist in the Kathleen Ferrier Awards, Quarter-Finalist in the Montreal International Singing Competition and the audience prizewinner and first runner-up in the Birmingham Opera Competition.

Dr. Flanagan’s concert engagements include Mendelssohn’s Elijah with the Canterbury Choral Society and the Oklahoma City Philharmonic, Carmina Burana with Sir David Willcocks at the Royal Albert Hall, London, Mahler’s Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen with the Birmingham Philharmonic Orchestra, Britten’s War Requiem at the Bratislava and Brno International Music Festivals, a concert performance of Prokofiev’s War and Peace at the BBC Proms, and a recital of German Lieder with pianist Wolfram Rieger at London’s Wigmore Hall. He has worked with many of opera’s  and classical musics leading conductors, accompanists  and directors, including Sir Charles Mackerras, Edward Gardner, Paul Daniel OBE, David Parry OBE, Graham Johnson, Sir Jonathan Miller, Keith Warner, Deborah Warner, David Freeman and Spanish director Calixto Bieto.

Dr. Flanagan’s professional recording credits include the First Apprentice on Chandos’ recording of Wozzeck, Barney in ENO’S live recording of The Silver Tassie, also available on DVD from the BBC, Bach’s St. John Passion with the BBC, and on Roger Webster’s Travels with my Trumpet with English soprano Janis Kelly.

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