Resident Artist Program
Inaugurated in the 2016-2017 season, the Resident Artist Program launched Lyric Opera of Kansas City’s first true Resident Company. Artists are chosen following a series of local and national auditions and are overseen and mentored by Vinson Cole, UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance faculty member and one of the leading artists of his generation.
During their residency, in addition to appearing in mainstage roles, the Resident Artists work with visiting guest artists, conductors, and directors; participate in master classes and career coaching; study leading roles; make musical appearances in the community, and appear in Lyric Opera’s Explorations Series, which focus on intimate gems of the vocal music repertoire. The Resident Artists also receive training in acting, movement, and stage combat. The Resident Artists have completed their post-graduate education and may have some professional experience.
Resident Artists Program is sponsored by The Estate of Richard Hill, Charter Sponsor of the Resident Artists Program, The Ingram Family Foundation, and a generous Anonymous Donor.
2019-2020 Resident Artists
The Resident Artists were selected after a rigorous national audition.
Morgan Balfour, soprano
Balfour appears as Mrs. Grady in The Shining as well as both Explorations programs. Balfour holds a Bachelor’s degree from Queensland Conservatory and a Master’s degree from San Francisco Conservatory, where she performed as Young Alyce in Tom Cipullo’s Glory Denied, the title role in Rodelinda, Governess in The Turn of the Screw, and Meleagro in Atalanta. Recent engagements include Voice of the Dawn in La Rondine with Pocket Opera, Cephise in Pigmalion with Pinchgut Opera, Honour in King Arthur at the Brisbane Baroque Festival, and Pamina in The Magic Flute with Hawaii Performing Arts Festival.
Joseph Leppek, tenor
Leppek is slated to perform as Pedrillo in The Abduction from the Seraglio, Arturo in Lucia di Lammermoor, and Delbert Grady in The Shining, as well as the Explorations programs. Recent appearances for Lyric Opera include Glad Hand in West Side Story as well as High Fidelity Opera and Mack the Knife is the Man I Love. He has also appeared as Tony in West Side Story with The Glimmerglass Festival; Mr. Martini in the world premiere of It’s a Wonderful Life at Houston Grand Opera; Giachomo de Wisants in The Siege of Calais at The Glimmerglass Festival; and The Priest in Il Postino with Opera Saratoga.
Seungyun Kim, baritone
Kim earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Seoul National University, and recently earned a Graduate Diploma from New England Conservatory, where he performed the title roles in The Marriage of Figaro and Gianni Schicchi; Gus O’Neill in Later the Same Evening, and Speaker in The Magic Flute. Other roles include the title role in Don Pasquale, Colline in La bohème, Leporello in Don Giovanni, Baron Douphol in La traviata, Marullo in Rigoletto, and Sacristan in Tosca. In Summer 2018, Kim was a voice fellow at Music Academy of the West; he was a 2019 Apprentice Artist at Santa Fe Opera.
John Livingston, pianist and coach
Livingston has worked extensively as a collaborative pianist and performer since the age of 13 in classical and musical theater projects. While completing his graduate studies at UMKC Conservatory, he served as rehearsal pianist for UMKC Opera productions of Hansel & Gretel, La voix humaine, La finta giardiniera, Die Fledermaus, and others; he also accompanied lessons and recitals for vocalists and instrumentalists. Other credits include Bon Operatit! with Opera 180, and My Fair Lady and other musicals with Pentacle Theater. Livingston is a founding member of Choral Spectrum in Kansas City.