Carmina Burana Soloists

Soprano Elissa Johnston’s recent performances include Handel’s Messiah in Tokyo and Osaka with the Telemann Chamber Orchestra, the world premiere of Some Things Do Not Move by Anne LeBaron with Southwest Chamber Music, Unsuk Chin’s Akrostichon-Wortspiel, Chinary Ung’s Aura at Le Poisson Rouge in New York with the New York New Music Ensemble, and David Lang’s the little match girl passion at the Ravinia Festival. Particularly drawn to the music of J.S. Bach, she has recently performed Bach Cantatas 54 and 84 with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Cantatas 51 and 82 with the Long Beach Symphony, Bach’s Mass in B Minor with the Los Angeles Master Chorale and has appeared with Los Angeles-based Bach’s Circle at the Oregon Bach Festival. Her orchestral engagements include appearances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Colorado Symphony, Fort Worth Symphony and the San Francisco Contemporary Players.

Elissa recorded Chinary Ung’s Aura with Southwest Chamber Music, toured with the ensemble in Vietnam and Cambodia and sang Messiaen’s epic song cycle Harawi with pianist Vicki Ray at both Jacaranda Music and Piano Spheres. Elissa can be heard on dozens of film soundtracks and is featured in Danny Elfman’s Serenada Schizophrana, which was released on the Sony Classical label.

Ms Johnston appeared with the San Luis Obispo Master Chorale in November, 2014, as soprano soloist in Joseph Haydn’s Creation. In May, 2016, she was soprano soloist in the SLO Master Chorale’s performance with San Luis Obispo Symphony of Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 in C minor, “Resurrection.”



Mexican American tenor Tim Gonzales has been lauded for his “bright, sweet, tenor voice” and for having an “emotionally and musically engaging” presence on stage.  Most recently he was seen singing the tenor solos in Orff’s Carmina Burana which he also performed to great acclaim with the Los Angeles Master Chorale in Disney Hall. Mr. Gonzales made his debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 2014 in its production of I Pagliacci, singing the role of Another Villager under the baton of Gustavo Dudamel. Mr. Gonzales returned to the Phil to perform the role of Posterity in the Form of Descarte in the world premier of Andriessen’s Theater of the World.

At home in concert as well as in opera, Mr. Gonzales has been the soloist in Verdi’s Requiem, Händel’s Messiah, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony and Mass in C, Haydn’s Creation, Mozart’s Requiem and Mass in C Minor, the Evangelist in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion and St. John Passion, Vaughn Williams Five Mystical Songs, Britten’s War Requiem and many others.  

A stalwart proponent of new music, Mr. Gonzales was recently heard in Nico Muhly’s The Elements of Style and Scott Worthington’s newly commissioned piece titled Noises with the Los Angeles based new music consort, wasteLAnd.

He was a first-place winner in the San Bernardino/Riverside District of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions as well as in the Redlands Bowl Young Artists Competition.

We welcome Mr. Gonzales in his first appearance with the San Luis Obispo Master Chorale during our May 2017 performances of Carmina Burana.


Gabriel Manro has been called “a new kind of baritone: not lyric, not helden, not Kavalier, not Bariton-Martin — none of those. Rather, he’s a knock-down baritone.” –Janos Gereben, San Francisco Classical Voice.  Indeed, Manro regularly sings dramatic baritone roles – most recently: Don Carlo in La forza del destino with West Bay Opera and Andrei Shchelkalov in the Russian masterpiece Boris Godunov with Utah Festival Opera.  Opera News declared West Bay’s production a success “thanks to the major casting coup of baritone Gabriel Manro as Don Carlo.  Gifted with a striking, sinister baritone that remains strong, even and sonorous throughout the range, he tore into Verdi’s music with a vengeance.” — Opera News.

Mr. Manro made his professional operatic debut as Third Inmate in Jake Heggie’s ground-breaking opera Dead Man Walking for Opera Pacific with Frederica von Stade. He went on to perform the role of Inquisitor in Opera Pacific’s Candide. In recent years, Mr. Manro has appeared in numerous world-premiere operas: as The Computer in Los Angeles Opera’s The Fly by renowned film composer Howard Shore (Lord of the Rings Trilogy); as The Chauffeur in Opera Santa Barbara’s Séance on a Wet Afternoon by Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Godspell); and as Angry Voter in Los Angeles Opera’s Il postino, release on Sony Classical DVD. Manro created the role of President Lincoln in Golden Gate Opera’s world-premiere Civil War Epic: Lincoln and Booth.  Most recently, Mr. Manro was Joel Lynch/Father Jackson in the European Premiere and Telecast of William Mayer’s: A Death in the Family at the Hungarian National Theater and Opéra Grand D’Avignon which was voted “favorite opera” by TBS Network viewers which number in the millions.

Mr. Manro made his European operatic debut as Doctor Bartolo (Il barbiere di Siviglia) with Corfu Opera in Greece. His engagements have also included the roles of Count Almaviva (Le nozze di Figaro), Guglielmo (Cosí fan tutte), Belcore (L’elisir d’amore), Enrico in (Lucia di Lammermoor), Giorgio Germont (La traviata), Marcello (La bohème), Scarpia (Tosca) and Superintendent Budd (Albert Herring). Equally at home in Musical Theater, he has performed numerous roles including Tony (The Most Happy Fella), Abner (Li’l Abner), Schroeder (You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown) and the Governor (Man of La Mancha).  Manro has recently returned to the operatic stage after a musical run as Jafar in Walt Disney Company’s Aladdin directed by Francesca Zambello.  Upcoming engagements include: Muscovite Trader (The Ghosts of Versailles) with Los Angeles Opera, Tonio/Alfio (Pagliacci/Cavaleria Rusticana) with Opera San Luis Obispo, and The Mousling (Alice in Wonderland) with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Gabriel Manro sang with the SLO Master Chorale in Opera SLO’s “Opera Gala” in March, 2016. He also appeared with the San Luis Obispo Master Chorale in May, 2016, as baritone soloist in Joseph Haydn’s Missa in Angustiis (Lord Nelson Mass) and Handel’s Dettingen te Deum.