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December 12, 2018

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They will solo at Sunday's "Messiah"

123rd performance of Handel's oratorio Sunday at 4 p.m.

• Note: While tickets are free, they must be reserved at https://tickets.bluffton.edu or at Marbeck Center.

• The event will also be livestreamed at https://livestream.com/bluffton.

Bluffton University’s music department has announced the soloists for its 123rd performance of Handel’s “Messiah,” at 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9, in Yoder Recital Hall.

Soloists are Crystal Sellers Battle, soprano; Katherine Rohrer, mezzo-soprano; Tyler Nelson, tenor; and Jonathan Beyer, baritone.

Sellers Battle is an associate professor and chair of the department of music at Bluffton, where she teaches voice and vocal pedagogy and conducts the university and community gospel choir.

Recently, she has been serving as a recitalist, judge, vocal clinician and honors choir conductor for various areas around the state. At The Ohio State University, where she earned her doctorate in voice performance, she was the first doctoral student to complete the Singing Health Specialist interdisciplinary graduate specialization. In that program, she studied medical tactics for repairing vocal injuries and rehabilitation of professional vocalists.

Her DMA document is titled “‘I sing because I’m Free:’ Developing a Systematic Vocal Pedagogy for the Modern Gospel Singer.” A Bluffton faculty member since 2009, Sellers Battle earned a postgraduate artist diploma from Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester, England, and master’s and bachelor’s degrees in voice performance from Roosevelt University, Chicago, and Bowling Green State University, respectively.

Rohrer has been impressing audience members internationally with her warm, expressive tone, vocal agility, and dramatic, emotionally gripping performances. A former Adler Fellow and National Metropolitan Opera finalist,

Rohrer garnered critical acclaim in some of the world’s most prestigious opera houses and symphonies including, Opera Colorado and Florida Grand Opera, Oper Frankfurt, the Malaysian Philharmonic, and the Saint Louis Symphony, Vlaamse Opera, Glyndebourne, Thèâtre de Genève, Teatro Municipal in Santiago de Chile, New York City Opera, Opera Lyon, San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago and Glimmerglass Opera.

In autumn 2013, she joined the faculty at The Ohio State University as an assistant professor of voice. Rohrer received her undergraduate degree from Stetson University, a master’s degree from New England Conservatory and a Ph.D. with a focus in Music, Communication Sciences and Disorders and Health and Wellness Professions from Ohio University. 

Nelson is one of America’s most promising young tenors. Already enjoying success in a wide variety of concert repertoire, recent engagements have included debuts with New Orleans Opera as Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni,  Dayton Opera as Belmonte in Die Entführung aus dem Serail, the Utah Symphony and Opera as Le théière/ Le petit vieillard in L’enfant et les sortileges.

Other performances were with Opera Naples as Alfred in Die Fledermaus, Opera Omaha as Trin in La fanciulla del West, Wide Open Opera in Ireland as Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia, and in Handel’s Messiah with Augustana College as well his return to Le Festival Lyrique International de Belle-Île en Mer as Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore, Ferrando in Così fan tutte and as the tenor soloist in Beethoven’s Mass in C, Mozart’s Vesperae solennes de confessore and Requiem.

His 2017-2018 season included Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni with Opera on the James, Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Opera Tampa, Handel’s Messiah with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and Paul in Rocking Horse Winner and the Magician in The Consul, both with Opera Saratoga.

Beyer is a baritone who has performed with the Metropolitan Opera, Oper Frankfurt, Florida Grand Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Dallas Opera, St. Louis Opera Theater, Austin Lyric Opera, Vancouver Opera, Opera Darmstadt, Fort Worth Opera, Hong Kong Opera, Teatro Petruzzelli, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Boston Lyric Opera.

Also with Opera de Montreal, Royal Opera House in Oman, Chicago Lyric Opera, Opera Naples and others. He has also appeared with the Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, Netherlands Radio Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic, Baton Rouge Symphony, Vermont Symphony, Lansing Symphony, Southwest Michigan Symphony, Detroit Symphony, the Erie Philharmonic and the Festival at Aix-en-Provence.

Beyer was a National Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Competition. He was the first place winner at the Marian Anderson Prize for Emerging Classical Artists. He has degrees from the Curtis Institute of Music and the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University.

Dr. Bo Young Kang, director of choral activities, will make her debut conducting the oratorio at Bluffton.