MEET THE TEAM

 

DR. BREE NICHOLS

FOUNDER & ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

Bree Nichols is an Arlington-based soprano, vocal educator, and arts professional who has performed across the United States and internationally. She holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from University of North Texas and a Master of Music degree from University of Georgia. A Fulbright grantee to the Czech Republic in 2021–22, Bree is known for her interpretations of Czech vocal music in addition to a diverse operatic repertoire. Her career has taken her to the stages of the North Czech Philharmonic, Opera Pilsen, Symphony of the Mountains, Capitol City Opera, Opera Roanoke, Lewisville Lake Symphony, the Olomouc Baroque Festival, and more. In 2020, she was the winner of the Presser Award in support of her performance and study of Czech opera. Off the stage, Bree Nichols is a scholar and innovator in community opera initiatives. In 2016, she founded Stafford Opera Troupe in her hometown of Stafford, Virginia, where she created the Summer Opera Program offering free training and performance opportunities to young singers. She founded Opera Arlington in October 2022, serving as General Director through the company's inaugural season before transitioning to the role of Artistic Director. During her time as General Director, Bree raised nearly $30,000 in private donations, produced Mozart's Così fan tutte and Dvořák's Rusalka in addition to numerous public and private concert performances, and employed over 60 emerging musicians at Opera Arlington.

ELIZA ESCALANTE, M.M.

GENERAL DIRECTOR

Eliza Escalante is a classically-trained singer, director, educator and arts advocate in the Dallas–Fort Worth Metroplex with over eight years of experience in the nonprofit, education, and fine arts sectors. She received her Master of Music degree from the University of North Texas and her Bachelor of Music from Iowa State University. Before stepping into the role of General Director of Opera Arlington, Eliza was the head of the Arts Department at Dallas International School and a Senior Music Instructor at the DFW Institute of Musical Advancement. She is a recipient of the Nicholas and Anna Ricco Ethics Award for her writing on the ethics of Young Artist Programs.

In the stage director's chair, Eliza’s main objective is to create fantastical productions that highlight the ever-evolving human experience. Her love of learning fuels her desire to find new and relevant ways to bring opera into the hearts and minds of audiences and musicians alike. She served as the Creative Director and Film Director for Lumedia Musicworks until 2022, where her work in short film received international recognition. During Opera Arlington’s inaugural season, Eliza Escalante co-directed Così fan tutte in 2023 before producing and directing the acclaimed production of Dvořák’s Rusalka in 2024.

 

SABATINA MAURO, M.M. 

DIRECTOR OF COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

Originally from Long Island, mezzo-soprano Sabatina Mauro is known for her diversity and flexibility as a vocalist throughout the DFW Metroplex, and her passion for bringing communities together through music. She received her Master of Music and Graduate Artist Certificate in Vocal Performance and Opera, respectively, from the University of North Texas, where she studied under pedagogue Dr. Stephen F. Austin. Sabatina is also an alumna of Adelphi University, from which she received her bachelor’s degrees in Music and Psychology. She has made her mark in DFW through her work as a Young Artist and Education Artist with The Dallas Opera and as Assistant Stage Manager with The Lyric Stage, and has been originating and debuting roles for local companies since 2021. Sabatina has performed multiple principal roles with Opera Arlington and has appeared with Amarillo Opera, the Taos Opera Institute’s Cantos Ensemble, and on recordings and in concert with Dallas Bach Society, Flower Mound Symphony Orchestra, Highland Park Chorale, Pasiόn RGV, Puccini Society of Dallas, and The Antique Harmoniums. In 2025, Sabatina will make her debut as a recording artist, and will also make her solo debut in Carmina Burana under the baton of Dr. Arturo Ortega. Sabatina’s recent roles include Ježibaba in Rusalka, Despina in Così fan tutte, Orfeo (Orfeo ed Euridice), the title role in Blitzstein’s Regina, Sorceress (Dido and Aeneas), Bianca (The Rape of Lucretia), Háta (The Bartered Bride), Estelle Oglethorpe (Later the Same Evening), and Dorabella (Così fan tutte).

 

ADVISORY BOARD

Anne Wieben

Vienna-based Soprano
Founder & Creative Director of Opera on the Lake
Executive Director of Really Spicy Opera

Cherisse Williams

NYC-based Soprano
Manhattan School of Music Alumna
CEO of The Sparkle Twins

Jourdan Laine Howell

Board Secretary
Associate Professor of Voice & Lyric Theatre at University of Texas at San Antonio | Director, Singer, and Arts Collaborator

Kate Jordan

Nonprofit Consultant
Program Director at Once Upon A Time Foundation

Megan Koch

DFW-based Soprano
2020-22 Lesley Resident Artist at Fort Worth Opera
Grantwriting Associate at Manhattan Grant Writers

Tina Sears

Board Treasurer
Vice President of Warehouse Operations at Mouser Electronics

Dr. Willem van Schalkwyk

Namibian Pianist & Coach
Opera Coach at UNT Opera