Spotlight on Opera's distinguished faculty and staff

CINDY SADLER, Founder and Executive Director Mezzo-soprano Cindy Sadler is well-known in the classical community as a singer, teacher, writer, and consultant; and increasingly, as a stage director. A busy professional singer and frequent lecturer on the business of singing, she brings current experience to her students. Most recently, she has appeared as Carmen with the Irving Symphony Orchestra, The Marquise de Berkenfeld in La fille du regiment with Austin Opera and Intermountain Opera Bozeman; as Gertrude in Romeo & Juliette with Austin Opera and Atlanta Opera, Marcellina in The Marriage of Figaro with New Orleans Opera, Mrs. Quickly in Sir John in Love with Odyssey Opera, and the Marquise de Berkenfield in The Daughter of the Regiment with Mill City Summer Opera. In 2016, she traveled to Caltagirone, Sicily to direct Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi and perform concerts at the Mediterranean Opera Festival before returning to Spotlight to direct Carmen. Ms. Sadler has appeared on the stages of Chicago Lyric Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Opera Pacific, Arizona Opera, Sarasota Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, the Princeton Festival, San Antonio Opera, Fort Worth Opera, Kentucky Opera, Opera Santa Barbara, Austin Lyric Opera, Opera Idaho, New Orleans Opera, and the Hollywood Bowl, among many others. She has published over 100 articles in Classical Singer Magazine and is widely recognized for her Ask Erda advice column. She travels the country to consult with singers and lecture on singing careers in her Business of Singing, most recently to the Des Moines Metro Opera Young Artists Program, Sieur Du Luth Summer Opera Training Program, UCLA, the CoOPERAtive program at Westminster College of the Arts, Portland State University, and the Classical Singer Convention. After six years on the music faculty of St. Edward's University, she left to pursue her singing career fulltime. She has served as Executive Director of the Astoria Music Academy in Oregon, and this is her tenth year as Director of Spotlight on Opera. For more information, please visit,, and

KRISTIN ROACH, Music Director/Conductor A native of San Antonio, Kristin Roach is in demand across the nation as a conductor, pianist, organist, and vocal coach. She is Music Director of Alamo City Opera, now completing its fifth season. As Music Director of Spotlight on Opera, and Lecturer in Opera at Texas State University. She has prepared productions for the San Francisco Opera, San Diego Opera, Tulsa Opera, Utah Opera, San Antonio Opera, San Antonio Symphony, Brevard Music Institute, Aspen Music Festival, Breckenridge Music Institute, Taos Opera Institute, Opera Theatre of Rochester, Eastman Opera Theater, Buffalo Opera Unlimited, Spotlight on Opera, Texas Tech University, and Texas Lutheran University. Upcoming engagements include La Hija de Rappaccini with Alamo City Opera.

Reviews of Kristin’s performances include phrases like “revelatory” and “infectious high-spirits”.  She has appeared as piano soloist with the San Antonio Symphony, Mid-Texas Symphony, San Antonio Wind Symphony, and Eastman Philharmonia, and as chamber musician with Camerata San Antonio, Chamber Music Amarillo, Olmos Ensemble, Musical Offerings, and Cactus Pear Music Festival.  She has toured Europe with the Children’s Chorus of San Antonio and St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, performing on the historic organs of the Cathedral of Notre Dame, the Church of the Madeleine, Ely Cathedral, Bristol Cathedral and York University.  Her recordings include the Trinity Jazz Project, a self-produced collection of her original arrangements of hymn tunes, and classical works with the New World Symphony for Decca Records and with the Eastman Wind Ensemble for Sony Classical Records.  Her recording of chamber works by Miguel del Aguila with Camerata San Antonio, Salon Buenos Aires, was nominated for two Latin Grammy® awards.

 Ms. Roach received her education at the Eastman School of Music, earning a Bachelor of Music in Applied Music (Piano), the Performer’s Certificate in Piano, and a Master of Music in Piano Performance/Literature and Piano Accompanying/Chamber Music.

GALE ODOM, Voice Instructor

SHAWN MARIE JEFFERY, Manager/Acting Coach Shawn Marie Jeffery joined the ADA team in 2005, bringing with her a wide array of performance, directorial, and administrative experience. Her work with ADA has taken her to companies throughout the US. Deeply dedicated to providing the next generation of artists with the tools to succeed, she often speaks with young artists sharing her insight on business and artistic trends within the industry, having presented at the Classical Singer Convention, Ash Lawn Opera, The Castleton Festival, Opera New Jersey, Seagle Music Colony, Opera North, and Spotlight on Opera. She has served as a panelist for feedback auditions at the Classical Singer Convention and as a frequent judge of the AMICI Vocal Competition sponsored by the Opera Theater of Connecticut.  Previously Shawn held the position of Director of Education for Opera New Jersey for whom she created and directed abridged versions of The Magic Flute, Hansel and Gretel, La Cenerentola, and The Pirates of Penzance.  Her adaptations toured schools throughout New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York. Additionally, she took her original program “So, this is OPERA?” into primary schools, introducing opera to young students in New Jersey through an interactive presentation. Shawn recently made her main stage directorial debut staging Christopher Theofanidis' new work "Virtue" for the New Haven Symphony Orchestra. During her 12 year career as a mezzo-soprano Shawn was highly regarded for her keen dramatic abilities, and she now shares her dramatic tools and insights into character development in private consultations and coachings through her studio “Stage and Self.”

BRUCE CAIN, Stage Director/Voice Instructor Baritone Bruce Cain is an Associate Professor of Music at the Sarofim School of Fine Arts at Southwestern University, where he is the principle voice teacher and director of the Opera Theatre. His career began as an apprentice with the Chautauqua Opera and then on to Chicago, where the Sun-Times hailed his debut with the Chicago Symphony as "an eloquent soloist" and the Chicago Tribune joined in praising his "sensitivity" as an artist. Dr. Cain’s most recent operatic appearance was at the Natchez Opera Festival playing Papageno in Mozart’s Magic Flute, and in Chicago portraying Ford in L’Opera Piccola’s Falstaff. His other roles include Dr. Lomax in Austin Lyric Opera’s premier of Floyd’s Cold Sassy Tree, Belcore in The Elixir of Love, Dr. Blind and Falke in Die Fledermaus, Marcello and Schaunard in La Bohème, Guglielmo in Cosi fan tutté, and a gambler in Prokofiev’s The Gambler, with the Chicago Lyric Opera. He has often appeared with the Austin Symphony, the Austin Vocal Arts Ensemble, and the Georgetown Festival of the Arts, as well as in concert venues across the U.S. and at the famed Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Recent performances include: Mozart’s Requiem with the St. Edward’s University Madrigal Singers, the role of Schoenberg, in Southwestern’s premier of Jason Hoogerhyde’s The Color of Dissonance, and the role of Kraus in Mendelssohn’s Son and Stranger, with the Georgetown Festival of the Arts.

MARC VERZATT, Acting, Movement, Fitness Instructor Mr. Verzatt maintains an active career directing opera, operetta, and musical theater throughout the United States, South America, and Europe. He is a noted acting coach and teacher for singers., and his work has taken him throughout the USA as well as to Germany and Sweden. He began his theatrical career as a dancer with the Metropolitan Opera after studying drama at Rutgers University. He made his professional directing debut with a production of Offenbach’s Les contes d’Hoffmann with Opera Columbus. He has since directed productions with the Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, and the Florida Grand Opera. As faculty member of Yale University’s School of Music Graduate Opera Program from 2002 to 2106,  he directed the Acting and Movement workshops and many main-stage  productions. In 2005 he returned to the Metropolitan Opera stage for a speaking role in Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos. In 2006 he was named Outstanding Stage Director of the Year by Classical Singer Magazine.

JOSH MILLER, Stage Director/Costume Designer

TONY HOWELL,  Branding and Social Media Coach

NICHOLAS SIMPSON, Stage Director/Voice Instructor
Praised by the Corriere di Rimini, tenor Nicholas Simpson “possesses a voice that is flexible, but powerful...he literally stunned the public with his technical and expressive capability.” Opera News states that his performances  “immediately seized attention with his full-bodied, brightly projected voice.” This season, Mr.Simpson has appeared in Apotheosis Opera’s La fanciulla del West as Johnson, Don José in the Maryland Symphony’s production of Carmen, and the tenor soloist in Carmina Burana with the Flint Symphony. Mr. Simpson has also recently appeared as Giovanni in Alamo City Opera’s La hija di  Rappacini, King Charles II in Little Opera Theatre of New York’s production of Carlisle Floyd’s Prince of Players, and Paul in Korngold’s Die Tote Stadt with Opera Circle Cleveland. Cleveland Classical noted that “Tenor Nicholas Simpson was splendid as Paul, negotiating a punishingly high and demanding vocal line with strength and agility.” Mr Simpson has also sung the title role in Wagner’s Tannhäuser with Apotheosis Opera, and made his debut with Fort Worth Opera as the Kronprinz in Kevin Puts’ Pulitzer Prize winning opera Silent Night. With Hub Opera, he has performed Rodolfo in La bohème and Peter Quint in Britten’s The Turn of the Screw. Mr. Simpson is a noted interpreter of the tenor soloist part in Beethoven's 9th Symphony, having performed it with Chorus Austin, the Altoona Symphony and the Hershey Symphony, and Performance Santa Fe. Mr Simpson’s other appearances include Sarasota Opera, Union Avenue Opera, and Utah Festival Opera. He is an alumnus of Spotlight on Opera.

JEREMIAH JOHNSON, Financial Counselor Jeremiah Johnson is a financial counselor and performer with a passion for keeping other artists from making the same mistakes he did. After graduation from the Cincinnati Conservatory, he realized he had the education he always wanted and the six figures of student loan debt to go with it. He also had no clue what to do, or how to make it go away. He started educating himself about budgets, money, and the power of personal finance. Then he slowly started fixing all his mistakes. In doing so, he realized his mission in life was to help educate other artists before they messed up like he did! He now teaches clients how to manage their money, budget for the future while being musicians, and reach long term life goals they never thought they could achieve.

ADAM PHILLEY, Voice Instructor (Musical Theater)

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