Richard B. Gibson
Founder/ President/ General Director
Richard is a South African immigrant who landed in Kansas City, MO. In 1999 he graduated from high school Summa Cum Laude in music. Twelve days after his graduation he went to boot camp at MCRD Sand Diego for the United States Marine Corps. For his duty he served as an anti-terrorism expert in a Security Forces unit in Manama, Bahrain. Then he was sent to Camp Pendelton and found himself in an infantry unit with 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, more famously known as the Dark Horse Battalion. In 2003 he invaded Iraq with them and earned his Combat Action Ribbon and a Presidential Unit Citation.
Upon his return from Iraq, he focused his life on singing opera. Within 2 years of study, he was a paid professional singing with the chorus at the Lyric Opera of Kansas City. In 2014, when the Royals made it to the World Series, he was fortunate enough to sing ‘God Bless America’ on the field at game 2 during the 7th inning stretch. With that he was able to form the ‘Voices Honoring Veterans Chorus’ where 240 members joined together to sing ‘Silent Night’ for the 100th anniversary of the WWI Christmas Truce at the National WWI Museum.
In 2015 he moved to Las Vegas with his lovely wife, Emily, so that they could further their operatic studies. One year later they found themselves in the Phoenix area while his wife attended Arizona State University to get her master's degree. Mr. Gibson has recently taken a break from his operatic singing career but still involves himself in music as the Music Director at a local church.
What pursuing opera has given to Richard is immeasurable. Overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude towards the arts, he finds himself led to give back and serve his community. Starting Chandler Opera Company is his way of doing that. Mr. Gibson is grateful for what opera has done for him and hopes that audience members find even an inkling of the affection he has for the art form.
Co-Founder/ Vice President
Originally from Kansas City, Emily Gibson is a lyric soprano and voice teacher residing in Chandler, Arizona. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music, and a Master’s degree in Opera Performance from Arizona State University.
Ms. Gibson has been acclaimed as “a star equipped with a stellar soprano voice” by Broadway World, and noted for her “blooming high notes” by Opera Today. Recent role credits include Mimì in La bohème, Giannetta in L'elisir d'amore, Tatyana in Eugene Onegin, Marie in The Bartered Bride, Musetta in La bohème, and Frasquita in Carmen.
Emily is excited to help bring more opera and fine arts to the community.
Jenny Madruga Chavez
Social Media Coordinator
Jenny Madruga Chavez is a wife, mother, and opera singer who has served the Arizona community as a voice teacher, and music educator. She is a proud student of Stephanie Weiss and completed Arizona State University's Masters program in Vocal Performance with an emphasis in opera May 2021. Throughout her time at ASU, Jenny debuted Atalanta in ASU’s Xerxes, was the stage manager for Trouble in Tahiti, and completed training at the Taos Opera Institute. She is excited to have started her professional singing career with Arizona Opera as an actor in 2022 and can’t wait to sing in the 2022-23 season as a chorus member and Community Alliances Performing Artist.
She also branches out into other art forms and medias in her small business Sing Pretty Designs in addition to being a social media manager for Chandler Opera and Premiere Opera Foundation.
A fun fact about Jenny is that she composed her first work called "A Mother's Love, Worries, and Hope" for the Arizona Women's Collaborative 2021 Cycle and enjoys creating beats in her spare time.