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  • Voice Faculty

    • Ron Ulen headshot
      Minnesota State University
      BM Music Education
      Florida State University
      MM Voice Performance
      MM Opera Production

      Has been teaching at TXST since 2010
      Contact Mr. Ulen
      Personal site:

      The American baritone, Ron Ulen, made his professional debut as Guglielmo in Mozart's Cosi fan tutte with the National Opera Company.  This led to appearances throughout United States, for example as Malatesta in Don Pasquale, Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Count Eberbach in Der Wildschütz, Mr. Ford in The Merry Wives of Windsor, and Marcello in La bohème.

      Mr. Ulen made his European debut in Il Trovatore at the renowned Opera House in Zürich, Switzerland. As a resident leading artist in Coburg, Germany, he sang the title roles in Verdi´s Falstaff, Tschaikowky´s Eugen Onegin, Bartok´s Bluebeards Castle, Zar Peter I. in Lortzing´s Zar und Zimmermann as well as Sharpless in Puccini´s Madame Butterfly and Tarquinius in Britten´s The Rape of Lucretia.

      He was also engaged as the resident leading baritone at the Staatstheater in Schwerin, the Staatstheater in Mainz and the Opera House of Augsburg. His roles included Germont in Verdi´s La Traviata, Belcore in L´Elisir d´Amore, Conte Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro, Valentin in Faust, Conte di Luna in Il Trovatore, Renato in Un Ballo in Maschera, the Four Villains in The Tales of Hoffmann, and Miller in Luisa Miller.

      An active and versatile performer who feels equally at home on the opera, concert, or recital stage, Mr. Ulen has performed over 90 roles in nearly 2000 performances. His career has taken him to opera stages and concert halls around the world including those of Vienna, Rome, London, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, New York, Munich, Paris, Chicago, and Berlin.

      He has enjoyed great success as Nabucco in Verdi’s opera of the same name in numerous venues. Additional productions have included Ariadne auf Naxos, La Finta Giardinieri, Aida, Lucia di Lammermoor, Tannhäuser, Der Fliegende Holländer, and La Forza del Destino.

      In addition to his teaching, Mr. Ulen continues to maintain an active performing schedule. He has conducted master classes at various universities and conservatories in Europe and the United States as well as being in demand as an adjudicator and jury member of various voice competitions, including the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.

      He earned his Bachelors Degree in Music Education from Minnesota State University Mankato followed by Masters Degrees from Florida State University, in Vocal Performance and Opera Production. Further studies led him to Vienna, Austria and the Metropolitan Opera.

      Mr. Ulen's current and former students are represented on the rosters of numerous European and American opera houses. 

    • Karanas
      Southeastern Louisiana University
      BM Vocal Performance
      Arizona State University
      MM Opera Performance

      Teaching at TXST since 2018
      Contact Ms. Karanas
      Personal site:

      Greek-American mezzo-soprano Daveda Karanas joined the School of Music faculty in the Fall 2018 semester as an Assistant Professor of Voice. She has been hailed for her “capacious power” and “a voice lustrous and exciting.” (San Francisco Chronicle)

      Ms. Karanas opens the current season with her Carnegie Hall debut in Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 with the Athens Philharmonic, Yiannis Hadjiloizou conducting. Additional engagements include a role and house debut as Herodias in Salome at Hawaii Opera Theatre and a house debut at Teatro Real (Madrid) as Lise in The Passenger, a signature role. Last season she made her debut at the Israeli Opera singing Lise in The Passenger, a role she has performed at Florida Grand Opera and Michigan Opera Theater following her successful debut of the role at Lyric Opera of Chicago. Other recent engagements include a major role debut as Kundry in Parsifalat the Lyric Opera of Chicago under Andrew Davis, and debuts at the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis as Mother Marie in Dialogues of the Carmelites and with the Auckland Philharmonia as Brangäne in concert performances of Wagner's Tristan und Isolde

      Ms. Karanas made her German debut at Oper Frankfurt as Marfa in Khovanshchina and debuted at the Canadian Opera Company as Brangäne in Tristan und Isolde conducted by Johannes Debus and directed by Peter Sellars. She joined the roster of the Metropolitan Opera in their production of the Berlioz masterpiece Les Troyens covering the role of Cassandre and made an acclaimed European debut at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino as Judit in Bluebeard’s Castle under Zsolt Hamar in the festival’s 75th Anniversary. Daveda debuted the role of Azucena in Il trovatore at Opera Grand Rapids and sang her first performances of Amneris in Aida at Arizona Opera, followed by Vancouver Opera, and The Glimmerglass Festival in a new production by Francesca Zambello. She made her New Orleans Opera debut as Hasbeena in Burlesque Opera Tabasco and made her role debut as Ježibaba in Rusalka at Arizona Opera.

      Ms. Karanas completed her first complete Ring Cycle at San Francisco Opera under Donald Runnicles. In Francesca Zambello’s staging, she sang both Waltraute and the 2nd Norn in the new production of Götterdämmerung and Waltraute in Die Walküre. Other San Francisco Opera credits include Suzuki in Madama Butterfly, covering Amneris in Aida, and Mistress of Novices in Suor Angelica. She also covered Brangäne in Tristan und Isolde with Seattle Opera. 

      Ms. Karanas is a winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. She also received an encouragement award from the George London Foundation, was an international semi-finalist in the Neue Stimmen Competition, an Encouragement Award recipient at the Marilyn Horne Foundation Competition, and grand prize winner of the Arizona Opera League Competition.


    • Richard Novak headshot
      Stephen F Austin State University
      BM Voice Performance
      MM Voice Performance
      University of North Texas
      DMA Voice Performance

      Has been teaching at TXST since 2016
      Contact Dr. Novak

      Richard Novak has established a national reputation as a professional tenor and voice teacher.  Dr. Novak has performed with Washington Concert Opera, Opera Carolina, San Antonio Opera, Alamo City Opera, Opera Piccola, Annapolis Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Wichita Grand Opera, The Living Opera, Wagner Society of Washington, San Antonio Symphony, San Antonio Chamber Choir, San Antonio Choral Society, Chautauqua Symphony, Prince William Symphony, the Monroe Symphony, the Texas Concert Opera Collective, the Conservatorio di Musica Agostino Steffani in Castelfranco Veneto (Italy), the Institute of Culture in Culiacán and Mazatlán (Mexico), and the Sulzbach-Rosenberg International Music Festival (Germany).  Among Dr. Novak’s operatic credits are Rodolfo, Pinkerton, Alfredo, Don José, Nemorino, Ernesto, Werther, Eisenstein, Tamino, Sam, Lippo, Roméo, and Tybalt. Training programs include the Chautauqua Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Wichita Grand Opera, Wesley Balk Singing/Acting Institute, and the Evelyn Lear/Thomas Stewart Emerging Singers (at the request of Evelyn Lear). In 2005 and 2006, Mr. Novak won the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions (Tulsa District). He is also a former 1stPlace winner of the Texoma NATS ‘Singer of the Year’ award. Recent engagements include a lecture-recital for the South Texas Chapter of N.A.T.S (Liszt: In Love & Lust), the soloist in the World-Premiere of Kevin Salfen’s Birding Super Flumina Babylonis, Handel’s ‘Messiah’ with the San Antonio Choral Society, the tenor soloist in Richard Danielpour’s An American Requiemat Stephen F. Austin State University, the tenor soloist in Missa Criollaby Ariel Ramirez with the San Antonio Choral Society, a recital and masterclass with Opera Viva(Verona, Italy),Letter to Lisbon 1-5by Ken Metz at the College Music Society (South Central) conference, the roles of Werther (Werther) and Sam (Susannah) with the Texas Concert Opera Collective, Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn, and Strings at Texas State University, and ‘A Forgotten Composer of Terezin: Songs of James Simon’  at the 2018 International Czech Music Festival. Dr. Novak performed and taught at the 2018 & 2019 Interharmony International Music Festival in Sulzbach-Rosenberg, Germany.  In the Fall of 2019, Novak will join TXST colleagues, Ames Asbell and Joey Martin, and perform songs by Rachmaninoff and Vaughan Williams at the International Viola Congress held in Poznàn, Poland. Furthermore, he will repeat ‘A Forgotten Composer of Terezin: Songs of James Simon,’ with April Golliver and Elvia Puccinelli, at the 2019 N.A.T.S. Texoma Regional Conference. Dr. Novak holds a BM and MM in Vocal Performance from Stephen F. Austin State University, and the DMA in Vocal Performance from the University of North Texas. Richard is Assistant Professor of Voice at Texas State University, where he teaches voice and vocal pedagogy.  In addition, Dr. Novak currently serves as a board member of the Hill Country Youth Chorus, TXST as the Faculty Liaison for the Spencer-Lockett Scholarship Concert, and the South Texas Chapter of N.A.T.S. the current President of Auditions. Prior to TX State, Dr. Novak taught voice at the University of the Incarnate Word, Trinity University, George Mason University, Oklahoma State University, the University of Louisiana-Monroe, and Angelina College. Dr. Novak lives in New Braunfels with his wife and children, and is Director of Music Ministries at New Braunfels Presbyterian Church.

    • Hartgraves
      Whitworth College
      BA Vocal Performance
      University of Texas at Austin
      MM Vocal Performance
      DMA Voice

      Has been teaching at TXST since 2018
      Contact Dr. Ramo
      Personal site:

      Suzanne Ramo joins the School of Music faculty in Fall 2018 as an assistant professor of voice. Lauded by the San Francisco Chronicle for an ease with coloratura that one hears “blazing forth brightly” as well as her “lyrical phrasing sweetly rendered,” soprano Suzanne Ramo has appeared several times in Amarillo, most recently during the 2017-2018 season with Chamber Music Amarillo in Mahler’s 4th Symphony, and with Amarillo Opera as Violetta in La traviata, a performance that was broadcast on Panhandle PBS. A frequent performer in the state of Texas, she has brought her crystalline soprano to Orff’s Carmina Burana with Ballet Austin, and returned to the Laredo Philharmonic Orchestra for the title role of Donizetti’s Rita. As Constance in Les dialogues des Carmélites with Austin Opera, she earned a nomination for an Austin Critics’ Table Award as best singer of the 2008-09 season. Declared “always a highlight of any Austin Opera production she joins” by the Austin American-Statesman, she has previously joined the company as Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus, Stella in Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire, and Zerlina in Don Giovanni. She received a second nomination from the Austin Critics’ Table Awards for her performance in Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem with the Texas Choral Consort in the 2013-14 season. She also added the soprano solo in Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 to her repertoire with a performance with the Laredo Phil.

      Other roles include Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro with Berkshire Opera; Musetta in La bohème; Violetta in La traviata, Micaela in Carmen, Madame Mao in Adams’ Nixon in China; and Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte. With the San Francisco Opera, she sang the title role of The Ballad of Baby Doe, Der Königin der Nacht in Die Zauberflöte, Woglinde in both Das Rheingold and Götterdämmerung, Der Waldvogel in Siegfried in addition to joining the company for its productions of Rigoletto, Falstaff, Der Rosenkavalier, and Semele. Also under the auspices of San Francisco Opera, she sang title role of La Calisto, Miss Wordsworth in Albert Herring, and Elvira in L’italiana in Algeri in California as well as Violetta in La traviata on tour with the Western Opera Theater.

      A prolific interpreter of oratorio repertoire, she has joined the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra under the baton of Nicholas McGegan for Beethoven’s Christus am Ölberge, Modesto Symphony for Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Stanford University as guest soloist for Mozart’s Mass in C minor, another Carmina Burana with the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Panamá at the Alfredo Saint-Malo Music Festival, as well as the Strata Trio for Schubert’s Der Hirt auf dem Felsen at Concerts at the Point in Massachusetts. Especially sought after for concert performances in her home of Texas, she has sung acclaimed performances of Strauss’ Vier letzte Lieder and Dubois’ Seven Last Words of Christ with the Laredo Philharmonic Orchestra, Handel’s Messiah and Poulenc’s Gloria with the Austin Symphony Orchestra, Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with the Victoria Symphony, Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem with the Brazos Valley Symphony, Mozart’s Requiem with Musica Ecclesiae in Austin, and University of Texas Wind Ensemble, in addition to concerts of Broadway favorites with the San Antonio Symphony and Victoria Symphony. With the Southeastern Festival of Song, she has presented recital programs that included “Dio cor mio” from Handel’s Alcina along with the works of Berlioz, Poulenc, Heggie, Musto, and Porter.

      In addition to performing, Dr. Ramo has been an Attaway Scholar at the Centenary College of Lousiana, where she presented her research on the Father-Daughter Relationship in Verdi’s Luisa Miller, Rigoletto and La traviata.

      Ramo holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Texas at Austin. Her previous teaching was as Assistant Professor of Voice and Director of Opera Workshop at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas.


    • Cheryl Parrish headshot
      Baylor University
      BM Voice Performance
      Texas State University
      MM Voice Performance

      Has been teaching at TXST since 2002
      Contact Ms. Parrish

      Soprano Cheryl Parrish, a member of the voice faculty of Texas State University in San Marcos since 2002, made her Houston Grand Opera debut in the 2011 production of Dead Man Walking as Kitty Hart.  She has sung performances on opera stages around the world. Her career began at San Francisco Opera, where she appeared in such roles as Sophie in Richard Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier, Blondchen in Mozart's The Abduction from the Seraglio, Susanna in Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro, and Marzelline in Beethoven's Fidelio. She made her European debut as Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier with the Zurich Opera and performer Sophie with the Cologne Opera, in Florence, Italy at the Maggio Musicale, the Santa Fe Opera, the Canadian Opera Company and the Portland Opera.

      She has appeared in concert with such ensembles as the Chicago Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony, the Vancouver Symphony and Minnesota Orchestra. She also appeared on Live From Lincoln Center's Pavarotti Plus! Ms. Parrish's recent credits include Despina in Mozart's Così fan tutte, Cunegonde in Bernstein's Candide with Austin Lyric Opera, and Rosina in Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia at Austin Lyric Opera; and the title role of Moore's The Ballad of Baby Doe at New Orleans Opera and Austin Lyric Opera. She has also sung Gilda in Verdi's Rigoletto at Vancouver Opera, and Denver Opera; Norina in Don Pasquale with the San Diego Opera and Tulsa Opera.

    • Vassian
      Baylor University
      BM Voice Performance
      Western Carolina University
      MA Voice
      Biel Opera Studio
      Artist Diploma - Opera

      Has been teaching at TXST since 2017
      Contact Ms. Vassian
      Personal site:

      Lecturer Myra Vassian grew up in the mountains of North Carolina, where some of her earliest musical influences were Appalachian folk music, jazz standards and opera. After receiving degrees in vocal performance from Baylor University and Western Carolina University, she was awarded an International Rotary Scholarship to attend the Conservatory of Music in Zürich, Switzerland. She remained in Switzerland for five years, earning a Performing Artist Diploma from the Biel Opera Studio. She made her European debut in the role of “Lauretta” from Gianni Schicchi and continued to sing the roles of “Norina” from Don Pasquale, “Zerlina” from Don Giovanni and “Madeleine” from Le postillon du Lonjeumeau in opera theaters throughout Switzerland. Upon returning to the United States, she performed the role of “Susanna” in The Marriage of Figaro with Opera Carolina and taught voice at Davidson College. From 1997 to 2007 she was Director of Music at The City Church, New York, and most recently served on the voice faculty of the Evening Division of the Juilliard School of Music for 10 years. Ms. Vassian has maintained a studio of private voice students in Manhattan since 1996 and in recent years enjoyed performing cabaret shows at the Metropolitan Room and the Duplex and Laurie Beechman theaters.

    • Cates
      The University of California
      BM Voice Performance
      The University of Texas - Austin
      MM Opera Performance
      DMA Voice Performance, Voice Pedagogy Specialization

      Has been teaching at TXST since 2018
      Contact Dr. Cates

      Blythe Cates currently serves as a lecturer of voice at Texas State University after terms at the University of Texas at El Paso and the University of the Incarnate Word. Originally from Southern California, she received her doctorate in vocal pedagogy at the University of Texas at Austin under Darlene Wiley and Ruth Ann Swenson. She also has a master’s in Opera Performance from UT Austin under the direction of Dr. Robert DeSimone. Dr. Cates began teaching in 2007 and specializes in vocal health, age-appropriate material, musical interpretation and applying classical vocal technique to many genres, including opera, classical, pop, folk and musical theater. An active soloist with many orchestras and ensembles, she has most recently performed with the Inland Master Chorale, Missouri Symphony, Riverside Opera, and the Texas Music Educators Association. She has performed operatic roles in Lakmé, The Old Maid and the Thief, Summer and Smoke, The Rape of Lucretia, The Consul, Der Schauspieldirektor, Die Zauberflöte, Carmen and I Pagliacci and has extensive experience in performing musical theater.

  • Opera Faculty

    • Miller
      Brigham Young University
      BM Vocal Performance
      University of Texas at Austin
      MM and DMA Opera Directing

      Has been teaching at TXST since 2018
      Contact Dr. Reynolds

      Marc Reynolds has accepted an appointment at Texas State University as Assistant Professor and the new Director of the Texas State Opera Theater. A native of Los Angeles, Reynolds received his undergraduate degree in Vocal Performance from Brigham Young University, Master of Music degree with an emphasis in Opera Directing from The University of Texas at Austin, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree with an emphasis in Opera Directing at The University of Texas at Austin. He has held administrative positions including Associate Administrative Director and Resident Stage Director for Utah Lyric Opera, and founding associate director for The University of Texas at Austin’s Butler Opera Center Young Artist Program.

      Dr. Reynolds has taught for Westminster College, Utah Valley University, The University of Texas at Austin, The Butler Opera Center Young Artist Program, Brigham Young University, Texas A&M Corpus Christi, Sparkling City Light Opera’s Vocal Arts workshop, Utah Vocal Arts Academy Workshop, and the Cornish-American Song Institute. He has also given master classes and workshops across the United States and abroad.

      As a stage director Marc Reynolds has enjoyed success in directing including The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat for Austin Lyric Opera, Carmen, Falstaff, Die Fledermaus, and The Merry Widow for Utah Lyric Opera, The Mikado, The Old Maid and the Thief, La Cenerentola, The Magic Flute, and Amahl And The Night Visitors for Sparkling City Light Opera, La Serva Padrona for La Follia Austin Baroque, as well as La Curandera, Albert Herring, and Cosi Fan Tutte for the University of Texas at Austin’s Butler Opera Center. His work has received awards, nominations, and acclaim from the press and critics. 

  • Graduate Assistantships

    • This assistantship is responsible for working closely with the opera program.  It offers a 25% FTE load, while is an average of 10 hours a week of instructional program support work.

    • This GIA position works with both the Voice Area as a whole and the Opera Program in a support position. 

    • This GTA position is a teaching position where the Graduate Student is the Teacher of Record for the Voice Class course and Applied Voice for non-majors.  It is roughly 37% FTE, or 13 hours a week of work depending on the semester.

      Only graduate students with 18 credit hours are eligible to apply.


Curricula Vitae and Course Evaluations

To see certain music department faculty CV's, what they teach, and their course reviews/syllabi, click here for the Texas State HB2504 Web Site,  Note: not all courses or faculty are listed, only those necessitated to be compliant with HB2504.