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Opera in Eight Parts

Opera in Eight Parts is a digital series of 8 episodes guiding viewers through the history and development of the operatic art form, from its beginnings in the 1600’s to the present day. Musicologists Dr.  William Everett and  Dr. Alison DeSimone of UMKC  and  Dr. Martin Nedbal of KU will host the episodes, which will be enriched by musical examples from the period and illustrated with images of artworks from the collection of the Nelson-Atkins Museum as curated by William Keyse Rudolph, Deputy Director of Curatorial Affairs. Participating singers include Daniel Belcher, Kelly Morel, Scott Conner, Kaylie Kahlich, Keith Klein, Vanessa Thomas, Kelli Van Meter, and Michael Wu.

This digital series is available in two packages, each approximately one hour in length. Each package has four episodes, each representing a different period of time.

Digital links are $100.

This program is available to stream for educational purposes through June 30, 2021.


Episode Guide

Included in this package:

  • Episode 1 – The Birth of a Genre: 1600-1650
    Featuring Musicologist Dr. Alison DeSimone and performances by Kelly Morel and Daniel Belcher
  • Episode 2 – The Glories of the Baroque: 1650-1750
    Featuring Musicologist Dr. Alison DeSimone and performances by Kelly Morel and Scott Conner
  • Episode 3 – Classical Opera in the Age of Gluck and Mozart: 1760s-1790s
    Featuring Musicologist Dr. Martin Nedbal and performances by Kaylie Kahlich, Kelly Morel and Daniel Belcher
  • Episode 4 – Italian Opera in the Nineteenth Century
    Featuring Musicologist Dr. William Everett and performances by Michael Wu and Scott Conner
  • Episode 5 – Opera and Nineteenth Century Romanticism
    Featuring Musicologist Dr. William Everett and performances by Kelli Van Meter, Vanessa Thomas and Scott Conner
  • Episode 6 – Exoticism and National Identity in the Late Nineteeth Century
    Featuring Musicologist Dr. Martin Nedbal and performances by Kelli Van Meter and Scott Conner
  • Episode 7 – New Horizons Around the Turn of the Twentieth Century
    Featuring Musicologist Dr. William Everett and performances by Kelli Van Meter and Kelly Morel
  • Episode 8 – Crossing Boundaries in the Twentieth Century
    Featuring Musicologist Dr. William Everett and performances by Vanessa Thomas, Kelly Morel, Keith Klein and Scott Conner



Daniel Belcher, Baritone
GRAMMY® Award-winning baritone Daniel Belcher has performed in many of the world’s music capitals, including Paris, London, New York, San Francisco, Berlin, Stuttgart, Amsterdam, Geneva, Madrid, Toronto, Montreal, Tokyo, Seoul and Houston. With a repertoire of more than 80 roles, Belcher has championed roles from the Baroque to those composed expressly for him. His roles with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City include Papageno in The Magic Flute, Sharpless in Madama Butterfly, Father Palmer in Silent Night, Chou En Lai in Nixon in China, Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Dandini in La Cenerentola and Guglielmo in Così fan tutte.

Scott Conner, Bass
Internationally acclaimed Kansas native Scott Conner has been lauded by major critics and audiences as an extraordinary talent on the rise. Mr. Conner’s warm, flexible voice and elegant stature brings proficiency in a wide range of repertoire, including Mozart, Rossini, Handel, Donizetti and Verdi. Originally from Olathe, Kansas, Mr. Conner has in recent years ascended into the international opera scene making significant debuts with the leading opera houses across North America, Europe and the United Kingdom. Recent seasons have included returns to the Metropolitan Opera as the Police Commissioner in Der Rosenkavalier, the Santa Fe Opera as Mustafa in L’Italiana in Algeri and reprisals of the roles of Nerbulone and Tiferne the Gladiator in Cavalli’s Egliogabalo with Dutch National Opera in Amsterdam and the Paris National Opera.

Kaylie Kahlich, Soprano
Texas-born soprano Kaylie Kahlich has enjoyed performances across the United States in both concert and operatic repertoire. Ms. Kahlich is an alumnus of the Resident Artist program at the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, and received her musical training at the Moores School of Music at the University of Houston and Baylor University.



Keith Klein, Bass-Baritone
Keith Klein is an operatic bass-baritone native to Kansas City, Missouri. A graduate of the Eastman School of Music and Florida State University, Keith has a wide musical background including classical, jazz, folk, and pop singing. He began his career by winning the 2014 KC Superstar competition and appearing on Season 10 of America’s Got Talent. He studies classical technique under the tutelage of Jan Opalach and David Okerland.


Kelly Morel, Mezzo-Soprano
Originally from Los Angeles, California, mezzo-soprano Kelly Morel now makes her home in Kansas City, Missouri, where she completed her Doctorate of Musical Arts Degree in 2017 at the University of Missouri- Kansas City and was a Resident Artist with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City from 2018-2019. Recent roles with Lyric Opera of Kansas City include Kate Pinkerton in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly and Alisa in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor. Last summer Ms. Morel joined the Aspen Music Festival & School to perform the roles of Désirée Armfeldt in Sondheim’s A Little Night Music and Marcellina in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro.

Vanessa Thomas, Soprano
Vanessa Thomas is known for her seamless vocal range of five octaves, unique versatility and command in a variety of musical genres including opera, jazz, blues, gospel and music theatre. She has sung for a decade with Grammy-award winning trumpet virtuoso Doc Severinsen. Highlights include Robert Ray’s Gospel Mass–where Thomas sang the soprano, alto, and tenor solos for her debut at Carnegie Hall last year., Ms. Thomas has performed in the world-premiere of Kirke Mechem’s opera John Brown with Lyric Opera of Kansas City, the Hollywood Bowl in L.A. with Doc Severinsen, and has sung with most of the major symphonies in the country. Recently, Thomas was the soloist for the Kansas City Symphony’s Christmas Festival with Sonic Era Jazz Orchestra and Holiday Pops shows with the Florida Orchestra and West Virginia Symphony.

Kelli Van Meter, Soprano
Soprano Kelli Van Meter has been praised for her stage comportment and “impressive vocal command”. She is pursuing her doctorate at the UMKC Conservatory of Music under the instruction of Dr. Maria Kanyova. Recent roles include Alice Ford (Falstaff), Rosalinde (Die Fledermaus), Arminda (La Finta Giardiniera), Gretel (Hansel und Gretel), Elle (La Voix Humaine), and Violetta (La traviata). Kelli has been featured as a soloist with the UMKC Conservatory Orchestra and the Hastings Symphony Orchestra and has been selected as UMKC’s 2019 Chancellor’s Competition winner as well as the division winner of the 2019 Naftzger Young Artist Competition.

Michael Wu, Tenor
Michael Wu, tenor, recently graduated with his master’s from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He performed Belfiore (La finta giardiniera) and Albert (Albert Herring) with the UMKC Conservatory Opera program. Mr. Wu recently performed with Lyric Opera of Kansas City as a featured soloist for the Soundscapes in the City concert series and sang in the chorus in The Pearl Fishers, The Abduction from the Seraglio, and Lucia di Lammermoor. Other recent engagements include Nemorino (L’elisir d’amore) at The Little Patuxent Opera Institute and singing for the Sonic Blossom performance-art exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery.

Piotr Wisniewski, Piano
Piotr Wiśniewski is a polish pianist, opera coach, conductor, and the Head of Music Staff and Chorus Master for the Lyric Opera of Kansas City. Winner of Fryderyk Chopin Society Competition and the Polish National Piano Competition in Warsaw, Mr. Wiśniewski is an avid supporter and representative of polish music both at home and internationally, performing recitals throughout Europe, the United States, and Latin America. He is also an active chamber musician and collaborative pianist. He has had the privilege of performing recitals with world-renowned instrumentalists, as well as Metropolitan Opera and Wiener Staatsoper stars including Carol Vaness, Patricia Wise, Teresa Kubiak, and Carlos Montane. He also serves as an opera coach at the International Music Festival AIMS in Graz, Austria, as well as a head conductor and director of the collaborative piano program at OperaMaya International Music Festival in Mexico.


Dr. Alison DeSimone
Alison DeSimone is Assistant Professor of Musicology at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She has a forthcoming monograph entitled The Power of Pastiche: Musical Miscellany and Cultural Identity in Early Eighteenth-Century England (Clemson University Press). With Matthew Gardner, she edited Music and the Benefit Performance in Eighteenth-Century Britain (Cambridge University Press). She has published articles in the Journal of Musicological Research, A-R Online Anthology, Händel-Jahrbuch, and Early Modern Women. In 2018, she won the Ruth Solie Prize for an Outstanding Article on British Music from the North American British Music Studies Association. Currently, she serves as an Associate Editor for The Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation.

Dr. William Everett
William A. Everett, PhD is the Curators’ Distinguished Professor of Musicology at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory, where he teaches courses ranging from medieval music to American musical theater. His books include biographies of operetta composers Sigmund Romberg (2007) and Rudolf Friml (2008) and Music for the People: A History of the Kansas City Philharmonic Orchestra, 1933-82 (2015). He is contributing co-editor of The Cambridge Companion to the Musical (2002; 2nd ed., 2008; 3rd ed., 2017) and The Palgrave Handbook of Musical Theatre Producers (2017). Everett serves as series editor for Elements in Musical Theatre, published by Cambridge University Press.

Dr. Martin Nedbal
Martin Nedbal is Associate Professor of Musicology at the University of Kansas. His research focuses on opera history and cultural politics in Central Europe. His book, Morality and Viennese Opera in the Age of Mozart and Beethoven, was published by Routledge in 2017. He has published in numerous journals, including The Musical Quarterly, Journal of Musicological Research, and Opera Quarterly. He has contributed chapters to many collected volumes, including the Cambridge Companion to The Magic Flute, the Cambridge Haydn Encyclopedia, and the Oxford Handbook of Music Censorship. He is currently working on a monograph about the reception of Mozart and nationalism in Prague between 1791 and 1945.

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