On Saturday, December 3, 2022, at 3:00 p.m. at Westminster Presbyterian Church, The Meistersingers Chorus will be joined by soloists Stacey Trenteseaux (soprano), Myka Murphy (mezzo-soprano), Derek Meler (tenor), and Paul Houghtaling (baritone), as well as members of the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, and Jay Dean, conductor, for a special performance of Handel’s Messiah (Part 1, plus additional; excerpts.).


Handel’s Messiah, one of the most-performed works in musical history, is a musical commentary on the Nativity, Passion, Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus Christ. It begins with God's promises through the prophets and ends with Christ's glorification in heaven. This performance will be the traditional Christmas portion (Part I) which is about the birth of Christ, plus “The Trumpet Shall Sound,” “Worthy Is the Lamb,” and, of course, the world famous “Hallelujah Chorus.” Messiah is the most often performed oratorio of all time!

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Jay Dean, Conductor

Jay Dean, the Artistic Director of Opera Mississippi, and the Natchez Festival of Music, is also the Founding Artistic Director of FestivalSouth.He received a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from The University of Texas at Austin. From 1988 until 2018, he was the Director of Orchestral Activities for the University of South- ern Mississippi Symphony Orchestra. 

At USM he also served as the Director of the School of Music and as the Associate Dean for Arts and External Relations in the College of Arts and Sciences. He now works part-time for USM as the Executive Director of the Arts Institute of Mississippi and the founder of the Ambassador Series on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

His work as a conductor and educator spans orchestras in the United States, Central and South America, Europe and Asia. His recruiting efforts turned the USM Symphony Orchestra into a multinational conglomerate that included students from numerous countries.


Unique partnerships developed under his leadership that allowed the orchestra to achieve a spirit and reputation of superior musicianship that brought international acclaim to the university and to the state of Mississippi. The orchestra became known for “Bringing the World to Mississippi.”

The artistic programs he has directed at USM and throughout the state are projects that have enhanced the lives of many. For his work, he has received the Governor’s Award for Leadership in the Arts and the Excellence for Global Arts and Culture award from the Mississippi World Trade Center. He was inducted into the USM Alumni Hall of Fame and is a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the USM Research Council. In 2017, he and Opera Mississippi received the Governor’s Award for Artistic Excellence, and in 2018 he was honored by the Mississippi State Legislature for his artistic work in Mississippi.



Stacey Trenteseaux, Soprano

American soprano Stacey Trenteseaux has sung in concerts and productions with various companies in the United States and, since 2018, in Germany.

Her German debut was as Luisa in Verdi’s “Luisa Miller” with Münchens Kleinstes Opernhaus at Pasinger Fabrik in Munich and at Semper Zwei of the Dresden Semperoper in American composer Liam Wade’s opera “Eine Oktoberfest Oper.” 

Other operatic roles include Rosalinda in Strauss’ “Die Fledermaus,” Juliette in Gounod’s “Romeo et Juliette,” Micaëla in Bizet’s “Carmen,” Fiordiligi in Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte, Hanna in Lehár’s Die lustige Witwe, Angelica in Puccini’s Suor Angelica and First Lady in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte

One of Stacey’s fondest concert experiences was singing the 2016 premier of “PostSecret: A Song Cycle” by award-winning young composer Jonathan Posthuma at the New Music Composer’s Symposium in Hattiesburg, Miss. 

Stacey enjoys collaborating with artists to present solo concerts that tell a story and express a unique artistic voice, including “A Night of Love Songs” and “Moonlight and Magic!” with Chinese American pianist Zhaolei Xie performed in Jackson and Hattiesburg, Miss.; “Fierce Femmes,” a virtual concert collaboration with Israeli American mezzo soprano Michal Doron sponsored by Opera Mississippi; and “Mondenschein” performed in Dresden with American pianist Ellen Rissinger at the Robert Schumann concert hall in the Coselpalais.

Stacey earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Florida and a Master of Music Performance degree from the University of South- ern Mississippi. She serves as Executive Director of Opera Mississippi and works as a coach, teacher, and artistic consultant.

Myka Murphy, Alto

Myka Murphy is a mezzo-soprano who has been described as “a (vocal) powerhouse...with an abundant quality of strength.” (OperaWire).

She performed in Opera Mississippi’s double-bill as La Principessa in Suor Angelica and Zita in Gianni Schicchi. She recently performed as Lady Bertram in a filmed production of Mansfield Park and Baba the Turk from The Rake’s Progress at Boston University.

Past highlights include a Jackson Symphony debut as the mezzo soloist for Beethoven’s 9th Symphony and a portrayal of the Sorceress in the Juilliard School’s stage production and touring production of “Dido and Aeneas” with Juilliard’s Historical Performance ensemble—Juilliard 415. In that production, she made her debuts in London’s Holland Park and Versaille’s Opéra Royal.

Myka earned a master’s degree in Voice from The Juilliard School and a bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Southern Mississippi.

In 2021, she completed her performance certificate with the Opera Institute at Boston University and is now developing song cycles with Juilliard composing alums Trey Makler and Ivan Enrique Rodriguez. 


Derek Meler, Tenor

Derek Meler has performed in numerous operas, musicals and concerts with such companies as the Nashville Opera, Nashville Symphony, Opera Naples, Belle Meade Baroque, Vocal Artists Nashville and Seagle Music Colony (Young Artist). 

He made his professional debut with the Nashville Opera as the worker in the world premiere production of the opera “Elmer Gantry.” Working closely with the composer Stephen Schwartz, he premiered the character of Mr. Clayton in “Seance on a Wet Afternoon,” a career high point for him.

Some of Derek’s favorite roles include Nemorino in L’Elisir d’Amore, Tamino in Die Zauberflöte and Lysander in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

He is currently pursuing a music conducting degree at the University of Southern Mississippi.

Paul Houghtaling, Bass-Baritone

Paul Houghtaling has sung a diverse repertoire throughout the United States and abroad. Career highlights include the Philip Glass soundtrack to Reggio’s film “Naqoyqatsi” for SONY; several Carnegie Hall solo appearances with Cecelia Chorus of New York, American Composers Orchestra, and others; United States tours with the Waverly Consort, including Kennedy Center appearances; and “Opera Buffa: Comedy on Stage” in Lincoln Center’s “Meet the Artists” series. 

He has appeared with Opera Mississippi as Ko-Ko in The Mikado and the Major General in The Pirates of Penzance, in addition to Gilbert and Sullivan and opera reviews in the fall 2018 and 2019 seasons.

Additional engagements include Ko-Ko in The Mikado with Anchorage Opera, Natchez Festival of Music and Opera Saratoga; Sir Joseph in H.M.S. Pinafore for Nashville Opera; stage director and Angelotti in Tosca with Mobile Opera; another Angelotti with Opera Las Vegas; and his debut with Opera Birmingham as Dulcamara in L’Elisir d’Amore.

Currently the Director of Opera at the University of Alabama, Paul has also appeared with the Central City, Baltimore, Boston Lyric, Knoxville, Long Beach, Opera on the James, and Santa Fe Operas and the Metropolitan Opera Guild. He has also created roles in works by Lee Hoiby, Michael Ching and others.