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Introducing Dialogues of the Carmelites fabulous cast

Blanche de la Force - Catherine Antonia Samartin

Cuban-American soprano, Catherine Antonia Samartin, has been described as a passionate, and expressive performer with her dance, modeling, and stage/film-acting background adding a higher level of artistry and depth to each performance.

Most recently, she sang the role of Sally in Pacific Opera Project’s new libretto of Die Fledermaus, The Bat’s Revenge, and the principal role of Murderess-Charlotte Corday in the West Coast Premiere of Girondines. Other operatic roles consist of Juliette in Romeo et Juliette, Musetta in La Boheme, Gilda in Rigoletto, Countess Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro, and Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, performed in Berlin and most recently in Los Angeles. Alongside her operatic roles, she has had opportunity to perform major works including Stabat Matter Op. 58 - Dvorak, Symphony No. 2 Op. 14 - Shostakovich, and appeared as the Primary Soprano Soloist in Requiem D Minor K. 626 - Mozart, Magnificat in D Major BWV 243 - Bach, and Messiah HWV 56 - Handel.

Upcoming roles include Valencienne in Mission Operas production of The Merry Widow, June 2024, and Maritza in Mesopotamian Opera Company’s new opera, The Blur, August 2024.

Alongside her passion for music, she volunteers her time with Young Women's Task Force of Los Angeles working with homeless shelters assisting women with children, and manages a private scholarship fund supporting aspiring young musicians throughout Los Angeles. She hopes to one day continue her philanthropic efforts by combining her love of giving back to her community and music, with her own after-school music program catered towards the inner city high schools of Los Angeles, her hometown. Check her website at

Marquis de la Force - David Ingram

Described as having “a stellar voice” (Hollywood Fringe Festival) David Ingram is a graduate from the University of Arizona with a bachelor's degree in Vocal Performance and a Master’s in Vocal Performance from CSUN. David has over 15 years of experience performing for audiences, having performed in China, Mexico, and all over the US in recognizable roles such as Belcore, Escamillo, and Marcello. Mr. Ingram has a strong interest in new works, with two world premieres of new operas under his belt as well as several U.S.A. premieres. David most recently performed the role of Escamillo in Lawrence Opera Theater’s production of Bizet’s “Carmen” as well as Papageno in CSUN Opera’s production of Mozart's Die Zauberflöte.

Chevalier de la Force - Timothy Simon

Timothy Simon is a captivating opera singer whose voice resonates with power, nuance, and emotion. He is a Tenor based in Los Angeles but was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona. He has honed his craft through years of dedicated training and performance, immersing himself in the richness of operatic tradition. His operatic journey has included performances with esteemed programs such as Arizona Opera, the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, and Lawrence Opera Theatre, as well as in school productions at the University of Arizona and California State University, Northridge.

With a vocal musicality that melts the heart and a stage presence that commands attention, Timothy transports audiences into the world of opera with each exquisite performance. From the timeless arias of Mozart and Donizetti to contemporary compositions, Timothy’s seamless transitions showcase a remarkable versatility, infusing each performance with a kaleidoscope of vocal colors and emotions, leaving an enduring impression that leaves the audience member wanting more.

Currently, he is pursuing his Master’s in Music from CSUN, where he continues to showcase his vocal prowess and dramatic intensity. His most significant roles include Le Remendado (cover) in Carmen by Bizet (Arizona Opera), Tamino in Die Zauberflöte by Mozart (CSUN), Heraldo in the U.S. Premier of Cenicientaaa! by Marta Lambertini (CSUN) and Dieter (upcoming) in The Path to Heaven by Adam Gorb (Lawrence Opera Theatre). Beyond the operatic realm, Timothy finds inspiration in his relationships with the friends and family around him, discovering new depths of emotion and understanding through their shared experiences and perspectives.

With a commitment to preserving and evolving the rich tradition of opera, Timothy is not only a consummate performer but also a passionate advocate for the enduring power of Opera. Through his sublime voice, unparalleled talent, and unwavering dedication, Timothy continues to enchant audiences, leaving an indelible mark on the world of opera.

Madame de Croissy, Prioress of the Carmelite Convent - Alexis Wesley

Versatile actor/mezzo-soprano Alexis Wesley is a frequent performer with IOC. Equally at home in opera, oratorio, musical theatre, stage plays and film, she is also a writer and producer of independent film and theatre. Locally, she has performed principal roles with Pacific Opera Project, Mission Opera, The Definiens Project and IOC. Favorite roles include Mrs. Lovett (Sweeney Todd), Charlotte (A Little Night Music), Prudie Cupp (Pump Boys & Dinettes), Miss Todd (The Old Maid and the Thief), Madame Flora (The Medium), Kashcheevna (Kashchey the Immortal), Spring Beauty (The Snow Maiden), Prince Orlofsky (Die Fledermaus), Princess Anhilte (The Gipsy Princess), Gertrude (Roméo et Juliette) and Marcellina (Le Nozze di Figaro). Favorite oratorio solo work includes Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Handel’s Messiah, Kodály’s Missa Brevis, Buxtehude’s Jesu Meine Freude and Vivaldi’s Gloria. She is a frequent soloist at churches across LA County. Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, she holds an MM in Voice from CSUN and is a graduate of the Stella Adler Conservatory of Acting in NYC. By day, she is a graphic designer.

Madame Lidoine, the new Prioress - Ashley Becker

Acclaimed for her “Fierce soprano with intense high notes” Ashley Becker has been hailed by The New York Times for her “lovely, fully supported sound and thoughtful nuanced phrasing”. As Aunt Lydia in Poul Ruders A Handmaids Tale with Glow Lyric Theatre in Greenville, SC Operawire noted “Becker’s voice exhibited impeccable control over the extremes of her range”. Ashley’s performances have been nationally praised for her vocal clarity and ability to capture the emotional nuances of complex roles. In 2024 Ashley sang in the world premier of two new operas; she originated the role of the Queen of Hearts in Brooke de Rosa’s Alice in Wonderland at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre and sang the role of Merilee the Giantess in Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Fallen Giant with Opera Modesto. 

Ashley returned to Opera51 in June, 2023 to sing the title role in Tosca and the Boston Musical Intelligencer noted: “Her warm, vulnerable Tosca summoned images of Desdemona and Butterfly”. In October 2023 Ashley reprised the role of Olympe de Gouges in the West Coast premiere of Girondines with Mission Opera, after originating the role with Wilmington Concert Opera in 2022. 


Other recent performances include the title role of Turandot with Opera51 in Boston, MA in 2022, and Krystyna in Jake Heggie's Two Remain with Lyric Opera of Orange County in 2023. She also joined the Bellingham Symphony Orchestra as the soloist for Bernstein’s Jeremiah.

Mother Marie of Incarnation - Shannon Moore

Rising young mezzo-soprano Shannon Alise Moore enjoys an increasingly busy schedule in various venues and styles in the Los Angeles area. Specializing particularly in the Italian repertoire of Verdi and Donizetti, she has also essayed operetta and musical theater roles. With a voice described as “both powerhouse and poignant,” the mezzo has appeared with Landmark Opera, Independent Opera, Opera Santa Barbara, and Mission Opera Companies, at Carnegie Hall, and with the Kansas City Symphony Chorus and Golden State Pops Chorale. When she isn’t performing opera, Shannon is all over Los Angeles in studio sessions, singing jazz in both privately and in clubs, and composing her own works as well. For more on Moore, please visit her website:

Sister Constance of St. Denis - Rachel Yeo

Rachel Yeo is a classically trained high soprano. A Los Angeles native, she has been an active member of the local performance arts industry since a young age. Ms. Yeo will be joining Tonality, an award winning ensemble, for their 24/25 season and the LA Opera Chorus in 2025 for Ainadamar

In past seasons, she has performed with LA Opera Connects in their production of On Gold Mountain, Independent Opera Company in their productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream as Cobweb and Cesar Cui's Puss in Boots as The Princess, and at Boston Court for a workshop premiere of a new opera, Dojyoji.

Ms. Yeo is an experienced choral singer and recitalist. She made her international solo debut with the Roger Wagner Chorale during their 2022 Japan Tour. She was a featured artist in the LA Korean Cultural Center’s 2022 Ari Project and in the St. Andrew Church’s 26th and 27th Annual Bach to Broadway Concert series. She is soprano section leader at St. Edmund's Episcopal Church in San Marino. Rachel received her Bachelor of Arts in Vocal Performance from Mount Saint Mary’s University where she attended with a full scholarship. 

Mother Jeanne of the Child Jesus -  Theresa Patten-Koeckert

A native of Los Angeles, Theresa Patten-Koeckert has sung professionally as a soloist in Germany, Italy, and the Czech Republic. She has performed in over 20 opera productions as a member of the Bavarian State Opera chorus in Munich. Her choral experience includes the Backakademie's Gaechinger Kantorei (Stuttgart), the Bavarian Radio Choir (Munich), the Oregon Bach Festival (Eugene), and the Los Angeles Master Chorale. She currently divides her time as a professional singer and business development manager in the entertainment industry.

Sister Mathilde - Rae Shrum

Mezzo-soprano Rae Shrum is gaining increasing notice on both concert and operatic stages, including recent debuts with Overtone Industries as Sue in Songs and Dances of Imaginary Lands and in Santa Monica as L'Opinion Publique (Orphée aux Enfers). Specializing particularly in “pants parts,” favorite roles include Cherubino, Stéphano, Hansel, and Nicklausse. Other recent performances include Charlotte (Werther), Prince Orlofsky (Die Fledermaus), and Oksana (The Cossack Beyond the Danube).

With a voice hailed by critics as “agile and enticing,” the mezzo has been featured in concert series throughout Southern California and beyond, including Pacific Symphony Outreach, Leipziger Kammerchor, Konzertchor Leipzig, Long Beach Camerata Singers, and the Los Angeles Chorus. Ms. Shrum spent all of 2023 in studying and performing in Leipzig, Germany under the tutelage of internationally-renowned mezzo-soprano Elvira Dreßen. This summer, she looks forward to returning to Germany to participate in the Internationale Sächsische Sängerakademie Torgau.

Off-stage, Rae serves as Director of Marketing for Sierra Madre Playhouse, Digital Content Manager for Pacific Opera Project, and Director of Early Childhood Music at South Pasadena Arts & Music Academy. She holds a Bachelor of Music in Classical Voice Performance from Chapman University.

The Father Confessor of the Convent - Jacob Walters

Jacob Walters is a multi-genre vocalist whose youthful, but powerful voice touches the Heart as much as it does the Ear. Having begun training in music at 8 years old, taking lessons in both voice and piano, Walters has developed and refined his musical flexibility and passion for the art form. Throughout his life, he has performed in productions that span the entirety of the classical/contemporary spectrum, including his own compositions and arrangements. In addition to singing and songwriting, he has served as Music Director and Piano Accompanist for several youth theatre companies, including Troubadour Theatre and Gaslight Youth Theatre in Tucson, and Sierra Canyon Dance Studio in Los Angeles. An Arizona native, he received his Bachelor of Music in Voice from The University of Arizona, and recently earned his Master of Music in Voice from California State University, Northridge. He is currently teaching voice and performing in the Los Angeles area. When not partaking in musical projects, you’ll probably find him enjoying a big helping of pasta! Visit him on instagram at @khakijake

1st Officer - Alex Perkins

Alex Perkins, tenor, has always had a passion for music. Alex studied voice at El Camino College in their Applied Music Program under the tutelage of Rhona Klinghofer, M.M., Julliard, and was a featured soloist with the El Camino College Orchestra. It was also there where he debuted his first opera role, King Kaspar in Amahl and the Night Visitors. Alex continues to study voice with Ms. Klinghofer and has since performed with Long Beach Opera in their productions of The Death of Klinghofer and Difficulty of Crossing a Field. He is also an alumnus of the Angel Vocal Arts program under the baton of Kristof Van Grysperre, performing in several of their arts and oratorio recitals. For the past 11 years, Alex has performed with The Ensemble, a South Bay based group of classical singers who produce an annual concert series of opera favorites. In 2023, Alex had the pleasure of working with Source/Filter Music Collective in the Los Angeles debut of Doggone! A Micro Opera by Gary Carpenter, text by Simon Nicholson. Since 2020, Alex has had the pleasure of working with Independent Opera Company in their productions of Die Fledermaus, Puss in Boots, and The Love For Three Oranges.

2nd Officer, Thiery, a valet, M. Javelinot, a physician - Bedjou Jean

Bedjou Jean "discovered" opera in 2018 and loved it so much he went to Valley College just to study voice for two years. He recently appeared in Landmark Opera's production of Gianni Schicchi and Nocturne Theater's production of the musical Jekyll & Hyde. He is honored to have the chance to be part of this Independent Opera production.

Carmelite nuns

Cathy Cagle

Cathy began singing at the age of five and soloing at the age of fourteen. She studied Music, voice, musical theatre, theatre arts, and dance at Fullerton College, where she was twice honored for outstanding voice and received an Associate Arts degree in Liberal Studies. Cathy also studied at South Coast Repertory and Professional Conservatory Theatre. She studied classical voice with Sarah McFerrin and sang in the Fullerton College Master Chorale.  She’s a second place winner of The National Association of Teachers’ Singing, Voice Competition 1996.


She has performed as a soloist with Fullerton Civic Light Opera in Big River, Man of La Mancha and Ragtime; with Yorba Linda Civic Light Opera in THE WIZ; with Downey Civic Light Opera in Showboat; and with Pacific Coast Civic Light Opera in MY FAIR LADY.  She has also performed in productions of Working, Guys & Dolls, Anything Goes, The Death of Bessie Smith, The Robber Bridegroom and Hair.  The famed Gospel Musical Theatre production Don't Get God Started starring actor Torean Black and Gospel singer Vanessa Bell Armstrong at the Beverly Theater.


Miss Cagle’s accomplishments include La Traviata studied the role of Flora/ Chorus with Center Stage Opera. La Boheme, Tosca, at the Redlands Community Summer Musical Festival,  Aida with Opera Pacific, and Orange County Pacific Chorale, Repertory Opera Co. Amelia Goes to the Ball Independent Opera Co. Chorus, the 27th Annual Classical Music Festival, Eisenstadt, Austria, Hayden’s Die Schopfung and Nelsonmesse.  Other projects include the national anthem for the L. A. Rams and appearances in episodes of the television production of Amen starring Sherman Hemsley.

Chandler Cummings

LA-based soprano Chandler E. Cummings (she/her) grew up in northern Michigan and received her BA in music & psychology from Wellesley College. She is thrilled to be making her debut with Independent Opera Company! A passionate student of opera, Chandler has studied and performed in Europe, Asia, and across North America. She has been featured as the soprano soloist in Fauré’s Requiem and won the Brandeis-Wellesley Orchestra Concerto Competition, performing Samuel Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with the acclaimed orchestra. Some of Chandler’s favorite previous roles include the title role in Gilbert & Sullivan's Patience, Baker’s Wife in Into the Woods, and Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi. Chandler is interested in all things art, nature, and sustainability, and is a passionate animal rights advocate.

Jessica Berns (also Blanche cover)

Jessica Berns-Garner, Dramatic Coloratura Soprano, is an up-and-coming performer in the Los Angeles area, known for her warm, rich timbre and powerful instrument. Her operatic roles have included Zerlina (Don Giovanni), Frasquita (Carmen), La Ciesca (Gianni Schicchi), Fortuna (L’incoronazione di Poppea), both First and Second Lady (Die Zauberflöte), Papagena (Die Zauberflöte) and multiple roles in Suor Angelica including Dolcina, Nursing Sister, and First Touriere. Additionally she has covered Gilda (Rigoletto), Lauretta (Gianni Schicchi), Juliette (Roméo et Juliette), die Königin der Nacht (Die Zauberflöte), Adele (Die Fledermaus) and Genovieffa (Suor Angelica). Operetta roles Jessica has sung include Gianetta in The Gondoliers, Constance in The Sorcerer, Phoebe in The Yeoman of the Guard, Countess Stasi in The Gipsey Princess and Sylviane in The Merry Widow. In addition to her operatic work, Jessica is also an accomplished concert soloist, having performed as a soloist in the Rutter Requiem, The Messiah, The Creation, and the Vivaldi Gloria. Jessica holds a Master of Music degree in Vocal Arts Performance, from California State University, Northridge, which she received in 2013, and continues to study voice with Jessica Tivens-Schneiderman.

Kristin Mcginnis (also Mm. de Croissy cover)

Kristin McGinnis is currently a student at California State University Northridge and she is studying Vocal Performance. This will be her first opera, but she has performed in a choral setting in venues across the world such as Carnegie Hall, The Mormon Tabernacle, and the Sydney Opera House!

Dina Murphy (also Mm. Lidoine cover)

Dramatic soprano Dina Murphy is a Southern California native. Her most recent operatic role debuts have been Freia in Das Rheingold with the Wagner Festival of the West, Dorabella in Cosi fan tutte, and Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni. She can also be seen as a regular performer with local Southern California opera companies including Pacific Opera Project's educational program, a guest recitalist and lecturer for Santa Ana College, as well as a frequent concert soloist throughout the region. 

Laura Barrows

Laura is thrilled to be joining Independent opera company once again. She has received her Bachelors of Music from Cal State University Northridge. She has most recently appeared as the Wardrobe in Beauty and the beast with Actors Repertory Theater of Simi Valley and Papagena in Landmark Opera’s production of The Magic Flute.  Laura has played many roles with VCGSRC including Utopia (Zara) , The Pirates of Penzance(Mabel), Patience(Patience), The Sorcerer(Aline) and Yeoman of the Guard (Elsie). With The Musician Club she performed in Dido and Aeneas (Belinda). She has been a part of Riverside lyric opera in Amahl and the night visitors, Gianni Schicchi, Suor Angelica, and HMS Pinafore. She has performed in many musicals including A Little Night Music, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Cabaret, Gypsy, Pippin and Into the Woods. She is excited to be joining this cast and crew and is grateful for this wonderful opportunity.

Janice Batzdorff

Janice Batzdorff, mezzo soprano, has sung with the chorus for numerous IOC productions including Goyescas, The Tsar’s Bride, Eugene Onegin, Romeo and Juliet, The Snow Maiden, Rigoletto, and most recently, Lucia di Lammermoor. A native of Los Angeles whose grandparents came from eastern Europe, she experiences a strong connection to the Russian operatic repertoire. With The Dialogues of the Carmelites Janice has another powerful association. She is married to photographer Ron Batzdorff, whose great aunt was Edith Stein, a German Jewish philosopher who converted to Catholicism, became a Carmelite nun, and died in the gas chambers of Auschwitz in 1942.  Edith’s life could have been spared, but she chose to accompany one of her sisters, Rosa Stein, to the concentration camp. In 1998 Pope John Paull II canonized Edith Stein as St. Teresa Benedict of the Cross. Janice attended the canonization in Rome along with her husband and son, and over 100 relatives of the Stein clan who had escaped the Nazis by relocating to four separate continents. 

Maureen Mihalik

Maureen Mihalik is a Mezzo-Soprano based in Los Angeles, CA. She regularly performs as a soloist with the “Opera Ensemble” and has performed the roles of Junon (Orpheus in the Underworld), Narrator/Lumberjack (Red Riding Hood), Armelinde (Cendrillon) and Prince Orlofsky (Die Fledermaus). 

Mariana Uchoa

Mariana Uchoa was born in Brazil where she began to dance at the age of 3. Mariana studied the Vaganova ballet method and performed with the group Jovem Ballet de Santa Catarina. She took some time off from dancing to finish her doctorate in LA and was thrilled to meet Liza Barskaya who inspired her to come back to the stage!

Lynn Wang (also Sister Constance cover)

Lynn Wang is an emerging soprano based in Los Angeles, CA. Previously she has sung in chorus for IOC’s Love for Three Oranges. She has been a soloist with The Opera Ensemble since 2013 under the direction of Rhona Klinghofer. Additionally, she has performed the roles of Cendrillon (Viardot) and Adele (Fledermaus) with Santa Monica College Opera Theater under the direction of Janelle DeStefano and Mercedes Juan Musotto. She is a MM candidate at the California State University of Northridge in the studio of Diane Ketchie, and has sung roles of Musetta and Pamina. Lynn would like to thank all of the generous and brilliant mentors who have opened their hearts and worlds to her over the years. They have all been beautiful catalysts in a journey that at one time seemed impossible.

Jiayang “Becky” Zhang

Chinese soprano, Jiayang “Becky” Zhang, is a Los Angeles based opera singer and voice teacher. Ms. Zhang is a recent graduate from Cal State University, Northridge with her Master’s in Vocal Performance. Over the years, she has performed in various countries, including China, the United States, Japan, and Spain. She was invited as a solo performer by the Madrid City Government, and has been a member of the LA Symphony chorus. Some of her favorite roles Ms. Zhang has performed includes Pamina from Die Zauberflöte, Collette from L'ivrogne corrigé, and Musetta from La bohème.

Mariana Uchoa

Angry mob

Alexei Helmbock

Alexei Helmbock has been a mainstay of several choral groups in the Los Angeles area, singing in various genres both sacred and secular. Born and raised in Boston, Alexei has been a lifelong musician who has shown repeated flexibility in the roles he has undertaken, including both tenor and bass section leader. Alexei has enjoyed singing music as varied as oratorio, opera, and bluegrass.

Allan Mancia

A Salvadoran-American born and raised in Los Angeles, music has always been part of Allan’s up-bringing, being in choir, band, marching band and jazz band during his K-12 years, while studying guitar privately. Allan has had both education and performance experience, teaching privately and in the public sector, as well as singing in an choir ensemble for Foreigner. He has had the opportunity to play in 2023 guitar festival in Granada , Spain. Allan is currently studying guitar and voice at California State University, Dominguez Hills.


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