Voice and Diction
Yvonne Marmolejo began her career at the age of 18, singing the role of Cio Cio San in an El Paso Civic Opera production of Madama Butterfly. Her travels led her to performances throughout Argentina, Northern Mexico, Syria and Spain. Today, El Paso audiences have acclaimed her performances with El Paso Opera, including the title role in the company's 1994 premiere performance of Tosca. El Paso Opera welcomed her back as Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, Micaela in Carmen and Liu in Turandot. Most recently, she performed the role of Musetta with El Paso Opera. Opera New stated that "Yvonne reveled in the lyricism of Micaela's music". Some of her other roles include Mimi, Countess Almaviva, Susanna, Violetta and Santuzza. El Paso audiences have also heard her performances with the El Paso Symphony, El Paso Chorale and El Paso Zarzuela. Around her busy teaching schedule she has performed in recitals including performances at the Dallas Meyerson Symphony Hall and the Houston Opera Wortham Theatre.
Ms. Marmolejo, a past 10 year faculty member at El Paso Community College, was the Music Director of VIVA El Paso for seven years, and has been the music theater teacher at St. Joseph's School for 18 years. Ms. Marmolejo also was conductor and board member of the El Paso Youth Choir for two years, and in 2005 began as Music Director and Conductor of the El Paso Choral Society Youth Choirs. Her choirs have performed with the El Paso Symphony, El Paso Opera, Las Cruces Symphony and other regional music organizations. The Young Ladies Choir has toured Italy, Canada, New York and this year Santa Fe, New Mexico. Next year they will sing in Austria. This group of young singers has been featured on NPR's From The Top and have performed with the American Boy Choir and the Tucson Boys Choir.
Ms. Marmolejo has a B.M. and M.M. in voice from the University of Texas at El Paso and doctoral work at the University of North Texas.
Voice, Conducting and Sightreading
J. Prentice Loftin has been changing the music scene in El Paso since returning to his home-town in 1981. During his eleven years as Director of Choirs and Assistant Professor of Voice at UTEP, his choirs won international performance awards in Europe on three separate occasions. His private voice students have been heard on the world's greatest stages including The Met, Chicago Lyric and San Francisco Opera. As a musician, Mr. Loftin began his career as a singer, performing many of the lyric tenor operatic and oratorio roles.
In 1993, Prentice Loftin and a new board of directors formed El Paso Opera, now in its thirteenth season. As General Director, he guided the new arts organization to the forefront of the El Paso Arts Music scene. His productions have gained an excellent reputation around the U.S., being favorably reviewed by Opera News many times. In the same year, 1993, he became the Music Director and Conductor of the El Paso Chorale, and the 24 voice professional singing ensemble, the El Paso Chamber Choir. His organization performs regularly with the El Paso Symphony, El Paso Opera, as well as recent performances with the Chihuahua Symphony, Flickinger Center and Zarzuela El Paso. Each year the Chorale organization and youth choirs perform the popular Christmas Concerts at the Union Depot.
Mr. Loftin has a B.M. from the University of Texas at El Paso, a Master of Church Music at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and doctoral work in voice at the University of North Texas and doctoral work in conducting at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. In 2004, Mr. Loftin and his wife Yvonne organized and began the El Paso Conservatory of Music.
El Paso Conservatory of Music is proud to welcome Heather Dials to our voice faculty!
Heather Dials (Soprano) began her professional career at the age of twelve as Flora in The Santa Fe Opera production of "The Turn of the Screw." She was accepted at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia at the age of seventeen, the youngest voice student accepted to date since Anna Moffo. Dials made her New York, Alice Tully Hall debut at the age of twenty-one while still a student at the Curtis Institute of Music. She has shared the stage with many of today’s biggest names in opera including, Luciano Pavarotti, Juan Diego Florez, Anna Netrepko, Eric Owens and Stephanie Blythe to name a few.
Ms. Dials has performed principle roles with the Opera Company of Philadelphia, Santa Fe Opera, San Francisco Opera, Skylight Opera Theater, European Opera Center International tour, San Francisco Opera’s Merola National Tour, San Francisco Symphony, Savannah Symphony, West Virginia Symphony, and New Mexico Symphony Orchestra. On the concert and opera stage Dials has sung under the baton of conductors including, Leonard Bernstein, Edo de Waart, Michael Tilson Thomas, and Maurizio Barbacini. She has received acclaim for her portrayal of operatic heroines including, Contessa Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro, Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Mimi and Musetta in La Boheme, Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi, Elizabeth in Tannhauser, Juliette in Romeo and Juliette, Marguerite in Faust, Gilda in Rigoletto, Anne Trulove in The Rakes Progress about which Opera News wrote, “Ms. Dials was sublime in the slower, melancholy passages. Her last act lullaby was ravishing.” As Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, the Chicago Tribune remarked, “Taking all the high options in una voce poco fa, Dials delivered this tour de force with personal touches but without self-importance.”
Dials has won numerous awards and competitions including the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions, first place in the Rosa Ponselle International Competition, first place in the Mario Lanza Competition. She was a recipient of the Sullivan Foundation Career Grant and Nominated for the prestigious Richard Tucker Career Grant. She has been heard in several live broadcasts for the Opera Company of Philadelphia and featured in the press by Opera America.