Merolini

Meet the 2022 Young Artists

The Merola Opera Program announces this year's 31 young artists, selected from more than 1,300 international applicants. The artists come from as far away as China, Costa Rica, South Korea, Taiwan, and Uzbekistan, as well as across the U.S. and Canada. Below you can browse these young artists to learn more.

 

Veena Akama-Makia
Veena Akama-Makia
Voice Type: Mezzo-soprano
Hometown: Little Rock, AR
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    Merola Roles: Schwabacher Summer Concert; Third Lady (Die Zauberflöte)

    Schools & Young Artist Programs: Roosevelt University; Eastman School of Music; University of Central Arkansas; Finger Lakes Opera Tomita Young Artist Program; “Si parla, si canta!”

    Teachers: Judith Haddon, Kathryn Cowdrick, Dr. Martha Antolik

    Major Roles: Gloria (Freedom Ride); Mother, Grandmother (Little Red’s Most Unusual Day); Mezzo 1 (The Tibetan Book of the Dead); Gertrud (Hänsel und Gretel); Zita (Gianni Schicchi); La Zia Principessa (Suor Angelica)

    Upcoming: Chicago Opera Theater: Tawny Betty (Quamino's Map); Lyric Opera of Chicago: Chorus (Fire Shut Up in My Bones)

    Awards: Metropolitan Opera Eric and Dominique Laffont Competition Illinois District, Encouragement Award Winner 2021; NANBPWC, Inc. National Vocal Arts Competition, First Place 2021; Friends of Eastman Opera Competition, Third Place 2019

    Interests: Graphic and digital design, photography, reading, traveling, and eating West African food

    Merola Sponsors: Otto Guth Fund; Barbara Ross; James Heagy in memory of Janey Heagy

Amanda Batista
Amanda Batista
Voice Type: Soprano
Hometown: Manchester, NJ
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    Merola Roles: Schwabacher Summer Concert; Chorus (Die Zauberflöte)

    Schools & Young Artist Programs: The Juilliard School; Mason Gross School of the Arts —Rutgers University

    Teachers: Darrell Babidge, Eduardo Chama

    Major Roles: Contessa, Marcellina (Le nozze di Figaro); Nicklausse (Les contes d'Hoffmann); La Frugola (Il tabarro); Florence Pike (Albert Herring)

    Upcoming: The Juilliard School: Frau Fluth (Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor)

    Awards: Houston Grand Opera Eleanor McCollum Competition, Second Place Winner 2022; Metropolitan Opera Eric and Dominique Laffont Competition New York District, Encouragement Award Winner 2022

    Interests: Travel, poetry, badminton, and swimming

    Merola Sponsors: Anthony I. Balestrieri Endowment Fund; James Heagy in memory of Janey Heagy

Cody Bowers
Cody Bowers
Voice Type: Countertenor
Hometown: Newnan, GA
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    Merola Roles: Schwabacher Summer Concert; Third Spirit (Die Zauberflöte)

    Schools & Young Artist Programs: University of Cincinnati, College–Conservatory of Music; Rice University; Opera Neo Summer Opera Festival; Amherst Early Music Baroque Academy Opera Project; Boston Early Music Festival Young Artists Training Program; Tanglewood Music Center

    Teachers: William McGraw, Barbara Clark, Lynn Eustis

    Major Roles: Ottone (L'incoronazione di Poppea); L'Enfant (L'enfant et les sortilèges); Oberon (A Midsummer Night's Dream); Tolomeo (Giulio Cesare); Teseo (Arianna in Creta); Orlando (Orlando)

    Upcoming: The Metropolitan Opera Eric and Dominique Laffont Competition National Semifinals; Parthenia Viol Consort: A Reliquary for William Blake; The Thirteen and Dark Horse Consort: (1610 Vespers)

    Awards: Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions North Carolina District, First Place 2020; Metropolitan Opera Eric and Dominique Laffont Competition South Carolina District, First Place 2021; University of Cincinnati, College–Conservatory of Music Opera Scholarship Competition, First Place 2013; Rita C. Handley-Bollinger Endowed Voice Scholarship 2017

    Interests: Taking care of my 40 houseplants, crocheting, my two cats (Lily and Leonard), and my geriatric 3-legged chihuahua (Bruiser)

    Merola Sponsors: Albert L. Mosher and John E. McCormick AIDS Memorial Fund; Shenson Family Fund; Janet Cluff; Scott and Andrea Nagelson

Le Bu
Le Bu
Voice Type: Bass-baritone
Hometown: Yancheng, China
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    Merola Role: Sprecher (Die Zauberflöte)

    Schools & Young Artist Programs: Manhattan School of Music; Wichita State University; Shanghai Conservatory of Music; Aspen Music Festival and School; iSING! International Young Artists Festival

    Teachers: James Morris, Michael Sylvester, Liao Changyong

    Major Roles: Dr. Bartolo (Le nozze di Figaro); Simone (Gianni Schicchi); Carl Olsen (Street Scene)

    Upcoming: Manhattan School of Music: Figaro (Le nozze di Figaro)

    Awards: Metropolitan Opera Eric and Dominique Laffont Competition, Winner 2022; Barbara Rondelli Kansas Statewide Classical Voice Competition, Winner 2018

    Interests: Weightlifting, cooking, and taking naps

    Merola Sponsors: Zheng Cao Opera Fund; Jennifer & Chris Brahm; Alma Brooks Walker Fund

Andres Cascante
Andres Cascante
Voice Type: Baritone
Hometown: San José, Costa Rica
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    Merola Roles: Schwabacher Summer Concert; Second Priest (Die Zauberflöte)

    Schools & Young Artist Programs: The Juilliard School; Yale School of Music; Opera Neo Summer Opera Festival; Internationale Opernwerkstatt Waiblingen; Institute for Young Dramatic Voices; Central City Opera; Bel Canto Institute of San Miguel

    Teachers: Darrell Babidge, Dolora Zajick, Stephen Wadsworth, Steven Blier, Nicolò Sbuelz

    Major Roles: Gianni Schicchi (Gianni Schicchi); Marcello (La bohème); Riolobo, Alvaro (Florencia en el Amazonas); Count di Luna (Il trovatore); Count Almaviva, Figaro (Le nozze di Figaro); Escamillo (Carmen); Eugene Onegin (Eugene Onegin)

    Upcoming: The Juilliard School: Herr Fluth (Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor)

    Awards: Opera Index Vocal Competition, Winner 2017; Yale School of Music Franz H. Hasl Prize; SAS Performing Arts Vocal Competition, Dramatic Voice Award 2021

    Interests: Languages, entrepreneurship, soccer, plucked instruments (Baroque guitar, lute), Latin American music, and Renaissance music

    Merola Sponsors: Al Garren Fund; Susan York; San Francisco Opera Guild East Bay Chapter

Shawn Chang
Shawn Chang
Pianist/Coach
Hometown: Taipei, Taiwan
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    Schools & Young Artist Programs: Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University; The Juilliard School; Manhattan School of Music; Schwab Vocal Rising Stars at Caramoor; SongStudio

    Teachers: Kenneth Merrill, Lydia Brown, Jonathan Feldman, Brian Zeger, Steven Blier

    Coaching Experiences: The Consul, Sir John in Love, Regina, La Cenerentola, Falstaff

    Upcoming: Walter W. Naumburg Foundation International Vocal Competition Winner’s Concert: (Pianist)

    Awards: Sparks & Wiry Cries songSLAM, Composition Commission Prize 2022; David Garvey Scholarship; Paul Jacobs Memorial Scholarship; SongFest Brown Loranger Fellowship

    Interests: Cooking and reading news

    Merola Sponsor: Anthony I. Balestrieri Endowment Fund

Edwin Jhamaal Davis
Edwin Jhamaal Davis
Voice Type: Bass
Hometown: Utica, MS
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    Merola Role: Sarastro (Die Zauberflöte)

    Schools & Young Artist Programs: Jackson State University; Manhattan School of Music; Maryland Lyric Opera Young Artist Institute; Portland Opera Resident Artist Program

    Teachers: Dr. Phyllis Lewis-Hale, James Morris, Mark Oswald, William Stone, Greta Damrau

    Major Roles: Simone (Gianni Schicchi); Wurm (Luisa Miller); Osmin (Die Entführung aus dem Serail); Will (Brother Nat: Rise. Revolt. Redemption.); John Brown (What Lies Beneath); Sparafucile (Rigoletto)

    Upcoming: Michigan Opera Theatre and Opera Omaha: Bass Ensemble (The Life and Times of Malcolm X)

    Awards: Marian Anderson Vocal Arts Grand Prize, 2019; Annapolis Opera Vocal Competition, William and Carrie Ray Award, 2021; Opera Columbus Cooper-Bing Competition, Second Prize 2021

    Interests: Medical Science research, museums, learning languages (currently French and Portuguese), reading (a lot), and learning as much as possible about everything that entices my curiosity

    Merola Sponsors: San Jose Opera Guild and Stephen & Connie Zilles; Jean E. Bennett, Jr. Fund; Anne L. Morton; Karen Broido

Daniel Luis Espinal
Daniel Luis Espinal
Voice Type: Tenor
Hometown: Sarasota, FL
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    Merola Roles: Schwabacher Summer Concert; First Priest (Die Zauberflöte)

    School & Young Artist Program: Manhattan School of Music

    Teachers: Robyn Rocklein, James Morris, Shirley Close

    Major Roles: Adam (REV. 23); Alfredo (La traviata)

    Upcoming: Manhattan School of Music: Tamino (Die Zauberflöte)

    Interests: Cooking, hiking, tennis, and dancing

    Merola Sponsors: A. Barlow Ferguson Endowment Fund; Five Arts Foundation; Yermack Family Fund

Adia Evans
Adia Evans
Voice Type: Soprano
Hometown: Baltimore, MD
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    Merola Roles: Schwabacher Summer Concert; First Lady (Die Zauberflöte)

    Schools & Young Artist Programs: The University of Tennessee, Knoxville; The University of Maryland, College Park; Opera Columbus, Capital University; Knoxville Opera Studio

    Teachers: Dr. Kimberly Roberts, Laura Brooks Rice, Gran Wilson, Robert Cantrell

    Major Roles: Tosca (Tosca); Bastienne (Bastien und Bastienne); Laetitia (The Old Maid and the Thief); Adina (L'elisir d'amore)

    Upcoming: Opera Columbus: Vanqui (Vanqui)

    Awards: Metropolitan Opera Eric and Dominique Laffont Competition Tennessee District, Encouragement Award 2022; Cooper-Bing Vocal Competition—Opera Columbus, 4th Place and Audience Choice Award Winner 2021; Harlem Opera Theater Vocal Competition, Second Place and Audience Choice Winner 2020

    Interests: Animals, anime, cooking (and eating), gaming, writing, reading, make-up, and skincare

    Merola Sponsors: Mary & Tom Foote; Gerard Gagnon Endowment Fund; Delta Sigma Theta Sorority - San Francisco Alumnae Chapter

Gongming Jiang
Gongming Jiang
Pianist/Coach
Hometown: Shanghai, China
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    Schools & Young Artist Programs: University of Cincinnati, College–Conservatory of Music; The University of Texas at Austin; Eastman School of Music; The University of North Texas College of Music; Chicago Summer Opera; Queen City Opera

    Teachers: Jean Barr, Benton Hess, Rita Sloan, Tamara Sanikidze, Kelly Kuo, Douglas Kinney Frost, Kathleen Kelly, Marie-France Lefebvre, Donna Lewis, Lisa Hasson, Kenneth Griffiths

    Coaching Experiences: La clemenza di Tito; Eugene Onegin; Così fan tutte; Don Giovanni; L'elisir d'amore; Fidelio; Le nozze di Figaro; Trouble in Tahiti; L'Amour à trois; The Women; Mansfield Park; The Turn of the Screw; Hänsel und Gretel; Galileo Galilei; Eva and the Angel of Death; L'Amant Anonyme

    Awards: The First Collaborative Piano Festival - Central Conservatory of Music Competition, Third Prize 2014; 4th Shigeru Kawai International Piano Competition, Fifth Prize 2013; The Third Gnessin International Chamber Music Competition, Third Prize 2008; Yamaha Piano Scholarship 2013; The International Clara Schumann Competition, Certificate of Appreciation 2021; Canadian International Music Competition, Certificate of Excellence 2021; The 5th Moscow International Music Competition, Diploma 2021; VI Tokyo International Music Competition, Honorable Diploma 2021; Global Genius Music Competition, Winner and Excellent Interpretation Special Prize 2022

    Interests: Conducting, playing the accordion, cooking, boating, and hiking

    Merola Sponsors: Nicholas & Mary Ann Gannam Endowment Fund; Gropper Memorial Fund

Chance Jonas-O'Toole
Chance Jonas-O'Toole
Voice Type: Tenor
Hometown: Dallas, TX
 
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    Merola Role: Monostatos (Die Zauberflöte)

    Schools & Young Artist Programs: The Juilliard School; Tanglewood Music Center; Opera Theatre of St. Louis

    Teachers: Sanford Sylvan, William Burden

    Major Roles: Jo the Loiterer (The Mother of Us All); Mercury (Hippolyte et Aricie); Ramiro (La Cenerentola); Nebuchadnezzar (The Burning Fiery Furnace)

    Award: Novick Career Advancement Grant 2020

    Interests: Cooking, reading, hiking, and cycling

    Merola Sponsors: Gerard Gagnon Endowment Fund; Faye Wilson

SeungYun Kim
SeungYun Kim
Voice Type: Bass-baritone
Hometown: Cheongju, South Korea
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    Merola Role: Second Armored Man (Die Zauberflöte)

    Schools & Young Artist Programs: Lyric Opera of Kansas City; Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Program for Singers; New England Conservatory of Music; Conservatorio di Musica "Giuseppe Verdi"; Seoul National University

    Teachers: Vinson Cole, Lorraine Nubar, Bianca-Maria Casoni, Bonaldo Giaiotti, Sung-Kil Kim

    Major Roles: Figaro, Bartolo (Le nozze di Figaro); Leporello (Don Giovanni); Don Pasquale (Don Pasquale); Gianni Schicchi (Gianni Schicchi); Colline (La bohème); Gus O'Neill (Later the Same Evening)

    Upcoming: Hankyung Philharmonic Orchestra: Masetto (Don Giovanni); Art Center Incheon: Monterone (Rigoletto)

    Awards: S. Livingston Mather Vocal Competition, Winner 2018; Concorso Lirico Città di Monterosso, Winner 2016

    Interests: Reading plays and visiting art galleries

    Merola Sponsors: Paul & Ellen McKaskle; Nicholas & Mary Ann Gannam Endowment Fund; Anneliese Gruenberg-Bremer Fund

Maggie Kinabrew
Maggie Kinabrew
Voice Type: Soprano
Hometown: West Hartford, CT
 
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    Merola Roles: Schwabacher Summer Concert; Queen of the Night (Die Zauberflöte)

    Schools & Young Artist Programs: Indiana University Jacobs School of Music; Oberlin College and Conservatory

    Teachers: Carol Vaness, Salvatore Champagne, Daune Mahy, Louise Fauteux

    Major Roles: Queen of the Night (Die Zauberflöte); Tytania (A Midsummer Night's Dream); Nuria (Ainadamar); Zegner Daughter, Taller (Proving Up); Teseo (Teseo)

    Awards: The Louis and Marguerite Bloomberg Greenwood Prize, Excellence in Voice 2020

    Interests: Crocheting, historical sewing, hiking, and baking

    Merola Sponsors: Gerard Gagnon Endowment Fund; John L. Garfinkle; Leona Gordon Lowin Memorial Fund

Scott Lee
Scott Lee
Voice Type: Baritone
Hometown: Statesville, NC
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    Merola Role: Papageno (Die Zauberflöte)

    Schools & Young Artist Programs: A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute – UNCSA; University of North Carolina School of the Arts; Vocal Arts Festival – Opera Theatre of the Rockies

    Teachers: Marilyn Taylor, Dan Pardue, Marion Pratnicki, James Allbritten

    Major Roles: Alidoro (La Cenerentola); Don Fabio (Un avvertimento ai gelosi); Ramiro (L'heure espagnole); Antonio (Linda di Chamounix); Voltore (Volpone)

    Awards: Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions North Carolina District, Encouragement Award 2020; National Association of Teachers of Singing Mid-Atlantic Region, Honorable Mention 2017

    Interests: Going on walks, hiking, running, outdoors, sports, exercising, and eating good food

    Merola Sponsors: Jean & Lindsay MacDermid; Amici di Merola Fund; Gerard Gagnon Endowment Fund

Chelsea Lehnea
Chelsea Lehnea
Voice Type: Soprano
Hometown: Chattanooga, TN
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    Merola Roles: Schwabacher Summer Concert; Pamina (Die Zauberflöte)

    Schools & Young Artist Programs: Merola Opera Program; Lee University; University of Maryland; Harrower Summer Opera Workshop; Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Singer Program

    Teachers: Virginia Horton, Carmen Balthrop, Doug Han, James Schmidt

    Major Roles: Clorinda (La Cenerentola); Musetta (La bohème); Gilda (Rigoletto); Lucia (Lucia di Lammermoor); Donna Anna (Don Giovanni)

    Awards: The Sullivan Foundation Awards, Winner 2021; Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Southeast Regionals, Encouragement Award 2020; Camille Coloratura Awards, First Prize 2019

    Interests: Deep diving into opera videos on YouTube, vegan cooking, tiny house living, hiking, and traveling

    Merola Sponsors: Shenson Family Fund; James R. Meehan; Hugh J. Coughlin

Yang Lin
Yang Lin
Pianist/Coach
Hometown: Shanghai, China
 
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    Schools & Young Artist Programs: Lyric Opera of Kansas City; Indianapolis Opera; University of Cincinnati, College–Conservatory of Music; Pittsburgh Festival Opera; Canadian Vocal Arts Institute; Aspen Music Festival and School; New England Conservatory of Music; Shanghai Conservatory of Music

    Teachers: Cameron Stowe, Jonathan Feldman, Kathleen Kelly, Fugen Wei, Katherine Chu

    Coaching Experiences: Tosca, The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, Don Giovanni, The Bartered Bride, La clemenza di Tito, Dinner at Eight, Cendrillon, Die Zauberflöte, Hänsel und Gretel, Gianni Schicchi, La bohème, Otello, Lohengrin, Die Fledermaus

    Interests: NBA, Formula One, transportation, engineering, and finance

    Merola Sponsors: Donna Lee Grassman Memorial Fund; Miss Ursula Grunfeld

Celeste Morales
Celeste Morales
Voice Type: Soprano
Hometown: San Antonio, TX
 
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    Merola Roles: Schwabacher Summer Concert; Chorus (Die Zauberflöte)

    Schools & Young Artist Programs: Merola Opera Program; Living Music Institute Emerging Artist Intensive Program; Manhattan School of Music; Musiktheater Bavaria; Opera San Antonio Resident Artist; Spotlight on Opera

    Teachers: Bill Schuman, Shirley Close, Oliver Worthington, Annalisa Mendiola

    Major Roles: Suor Angelica (Suor Angelica); Mimì (La bohème); Claire (SIX); Mrs. Grose (The Turn of the Screw); Mother (Hänsel und Gretel); Madame Lidoine (Dialogues des Carmélites); Donna Anna (Don Giovanni); Micaela (Carmen)

    Awards: Living Music Institute Aria Competition Winner 2020; Jensen Foundation Vocal Competition Grant Recipient 2020; Margaret Hoswell van Der Marck Scholarship in Opera 2016-2018; Texas State Concerto and Aria Competition Winner 2015; Theresa Gordon Opera Excellence Award 2014

    Interests: Hiking, reading autobiographical books, singing ballads, watching documentaries and classic horror films, baking, cooking, and traveling

    Merola Sponsors: Bernice Lindstrom; A. Barlow Ferguson Endowment Fund; Charles Rolle, M.D. Endowment Fund

Artyom Pak
Artyom Pak
Pianist/Coach
Hometown: Tashkent, Uzbekistan
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    Schools & Young Artist Programs: Uspensky Republic Special Music Academic Lyceum; Mannes School of Music; Manhattan School of Music

    Teachers: Tamara Borisova, Warren Jones, Eteri Andjaparidze, Elmira Mirkasikova

    Coaching Experiences: Aida, Rigoletto

    Awards: Puerto Rico International Piano Festival and Competition, First Prize 2018; Young Talents with Orchestra Competition – Milan, First Prize 2014; Ettore Pozzoli International Piano Competition, 2013

    Interests: Attending ballet performances, cooking, baking, and collecting and listening to live opera recordings

    Merola Sponsors: Rusty & Mike Rolland Fund; Anthony I. Balestrieri Endowment Fund

Jonghyun Park
Jonghyun Park
Voice Type: Tenor
Hometown: Seoul, South Korea
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    Merola Roles: Schwabacher Summer Concert; Chorus (Die Zauberflöte)

    Schools & Young Artist Programs: Yale University; Seoul National University

    Teachers: Gerald Martin Moore, Richard Cross, Kwangchul Youn

    Major Roles: Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni); Tamino (Die Zauberflöte); Rodolfo (La bohème); Tebaldo (I Capuleti e i Montecchi); Ruggero (La rondine); Edgardo (Lucia di Lammermoor); Comte des Grieux (Manon); Luigi (Il tabarro)

    Upcoming: Yale Opera: Nemorino (L'elisir d'amore)

    Awards: Premiere Opera Foundation International Vocal Competition, Third Prize 2021; Vocal Music Competition of Daegu, Encouragement Prize 2018; Nanpa National Music Competition, First Prize 2016; Classical Music Magazine Music Competition, Second Prize 2016; Herald Music Competition, First Prize 2014; The Korean Voice Competition, Third Prize 2010

    Interest: Exercising

    Merola Sponsors: Drs. Phyllis A. Kempner and David D. Stein Fund; Zheng Cao Opera Fund

Olivia Prendergast
Olivia Prendergast
Voice Type: Soprano
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
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    Merola Roles: Schwabacher Summer Concert; First Spirit (Die Zauberflöte)

    Schools & Young Artist Programs: Northwestern University; Indiana University; SongFest; Savannah Voice Festival; Russian Opera Workshop

    Teachers: Paul Spencer Adkins, Beth Roberts, Karen Brunssen, Timothy Noble, Heidi Grant Murphy

    Major Roles: Flora (The Turn of the Screw); Lisa (Dog Days); Adele (Die Fledermaus); Clorinda (A Royal Feast); Romilda (Serse); Lisette (La rondine)

    Awards: Metropolitan Opera Eric and Dominique Laffont Competition Tennessee District, Winner 2022; James Toland Vocal Arts Competition, Director's Award 2021; NSAL Voice Competition, Bloomington Chapter, Larry Davis Memorial Award 2021

    Interests: History, socializing, playing tennis, and baking

    Merola Sponsors: Gerard Gagnon Endowment Fund; Dorothy Schimke

Nikola Adele Printz
Nikola Adele Printz
Voice Type: Mezzo-soprano
Hometown: Oakland, CA
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    Merola Roles: Schwabacher Summer Concert; Chorus (Die Zauberflöte)

    Schools & Young Artist Programs: Merola Opera Program; San Francisco Conservatory of Music; Opera Memphis; Green Mountain Opera Festival; iSING! International Young Artists Festival

    Teachers: Patricia Craig, Sheri Greenawald

    Major Roles: Carmen (Carmen); Dido (Dido and Aeneas); Elle (La voix humaine); Ermelinda (Ermelinda); Aldonza (Man of La Mancha); Orfeo (Orfeo ed Euridice); Agamemnon (Iphigénie en Aulide); Old Lady (Candide); Rosina (Il trionfo dell'onore); Isabella (L'italiana in Algeri); Flora (La traviata); Cherubino (Le nozze di Figaro); Dorabella (Così fan tutte); Rosina (Il barbiere di Siviglia); Unsere Mama (Uksus); The Fox (The Cunning Little Vixen); Olga (Eugene Onegin); Lucretia (The Rape of Lucretia)

    Upcoming: Digital Project (La voix humaine); Pocket Opera (La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein); Opera Steamboat: (As One); Ars Minerva (Leonardo Vinci's Astianatte)

    Awards: Mary Jacobs Smith Singer of the Year Competition, First Place 2018; Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions West Tennessee, Encouragement Award 2017; Steve Silver's Beach Blanket Babylon Scholarship for the Arts 2009

    Interests: Aerial Circus arts, dance, mutual aid and activism, WWE wrestling, motorcycles, bicycles, playing small stringed instruments, piano, and portrait photography

    Merola Sponsors: Bruce and Fran Walker; The Leontyne Price Endowment Fund

     

Maggie Reneé
Maggie Reneé
Voice Type: Mezzo-soprano
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
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    Merola Roles: Schwabacher Summer Concert; Second Spirit (Die Zauberflöte)

    Schools & Young Artist Programs: The Juilliard School; Santa Fe Opera; Institute for Young Dramatic Voices; Teatro Nuovo

    Teachers: Dolora Zajick, Marilyn Horne, Adam Nielsen, Thomas Muraco, Denyce Graves, Stephen Wadsworth, Edward Berkeley, Steven Blier, Gary Thor Wedow, Diane Richardson, David Moody

    Major Roles: Olga (Eugene Onegin); Carmen (La Tragédie de Carmen); King Egeo (Teseo); Goffredo, Eustazio (Rinaldo); Mother Marie (Dialogues des Carmélites); Sorceress (Dido and Aeneas); Cherubino (Le nozze di Figaro)

    Upcoming: The Juilliard School: Un Récitante (La Damoiselle élue)

    Awards: Metropolitan Opera Eric and Dominique Laffont Competition, Finalist 2022; Metropolitan Opera Eric and Dominique Laffont Competition, New York District Winner 2021; Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions District Winner and Regional Encouragement Award Winner 2020; Talents of the World, Inc. Competition, Encouragement Award and Carnegie Hall Performance Winner 2019; California Philharmonic Young Artist Competition, Winner 2019; Village Voices Music Competition, First Place 2017, 2018, 2019

    Interests: Music production, video editing, social media, and creative projects

    Merola Sponsors: David Miller; A. Barlow Ferguson Endowment Fund; James Heagy in memory of Janey Heagy

Deborah Robertson
Deborah Robertson
Pianist/Coach
Hometown: Springfield, MO
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    Schools & Young Artist Programs: Brigham Young University; Louisiana State University; University of Cincinnati, College–Conservatory of Music; OperaFest Sewanee; Houston Grand Opera Young Artist Vocal Academy; Collaborative Piano Institute

    Teachers: Kathleen Kelly, Marie-France Lefebvre, Ana María Otamendi, Elena Lacheva, Scott Holden

    Coaching Experiences: Galileo Galilei; Le nozze di Figaro; Gianni Schicchi; Dido and Aeneas; Theodora; Suor Angelica; La bohème; The Lost Children of Hamelin

    Awards: NOLA Chamber Fest, Third Place; The NFMC Virginia Allison Collaborative Award; BYU Philharmonic Orchestra Concerto Competition, Winner; E. Mona Smith Memorial Scholarship

    Interests: Community concerts, service, and outreach through church and local programs, engaging children with music, farmers markets, making music videos, baking cakes, soup, long walks, teaching, British sitcoms, and fairy tales

    Merola Sponsors: Jacobs Family Endowment; The Sidney and Phyllis Blair Fund

Ashley Marie Robillard
Ashley Marie Robillard
Voice Type: Soprano
Hometown: Norton, MA
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    Merola Roles: Schwabacher Summer Concert; Papagena (Die Zauberflöte)

    Schools & Young Artist Programs: Merola Opera Program; Wolf Trap Opera Studio Artist; Opera Philadelphia Emerging Artist; Curtis Institute of Music

    Teachers: Julia Faulkner, Mikael Eliasen, Deborah Birnbaum, Grant Loehnig

    Major Roles: Musetta (La bohème); Tatyana (Eugene Onegin); Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni); Lucia (The Rape of Lucretia); Jeanette (Le maréchal ferrant); Echo (Ariadne auf Naxos); Jessie (Mahagonny: ein Songspiel); Poussette (Manon); Papagena (Die Zauberflöte)

    Upcoming: Amarillo Symphony: Soprano Soloist (Exsultate, jubilate)

    Awards: Manhattan International Music Competition, Silver Medal Recipient 2020; Opera Index Vocal Competition, Encouragement Award 2019

    Interests: Tabletop role-playing games (like Dungeons and Dragons), drag and cabaret, the HBO show Succession, and Mozart

    Merola Sponsors: John & Lois Crowe; Querita Eybel Endowment Fund; Milton J. Mosk and Thomas E. Foutch Endowment Fund

Arianna Rodriguez
Arianna Rodriguez
Voice Type: Soprano
Hometown: Fairfax, VA
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    Merola Roles: Schwabacher Summer Concert; Chorus (Die Zauberflöte)

    Schools & Young Artist Programs: George Mason University; Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University; Opera North

    Teachers: Samuel L.E. Bonds, Stanley Cornett, Elizabeth Daniels

    Major Roles: Musetta (La bohème); Lauretta (Gianni Schicchi); Krysia (Out of Darkness: Two Remain); Mademoiselle Silberklang (Der Schauspieldirektor); Despina (Così fan tutte); Barbarina (Le nozze di Figaro)

    Awards: Metropolitan Opera Eric and Dominique Laffont Competition Florida District, Winner 2022; NATS American Negro Spiritual Competition, First Place 2021; Peabody Institute—James Winship Lewis Endowed Memorial Prize, 2019; Peabody Institute—George Castelle Memorial Fund Award, 2019

    Interests: Learning how to cook delicious snacks, spending time with people I care about, and beating my friends in Mario Kart

    Merola Sponsors: Al Garren Fund; Michael H. Kalkstein and Susan English

Sahel Salam
Sahel Salam
Voice Type: Tenor
Hometown: Houston, TX
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    Merola Role: Tamino (Die Zauberflöte)

    Schools & Young Artist Programs: Academy of Vocal Arts; Music Academy of the West; Glyndebourne Festival Opera; Royal College of Music; The University of Texas at Austin

    Teachers: Bill Schuman, William L. Lewis

    Major Roles: Rodolfo (La bohème); Duke of Mantua (Rigoletto); Nemorino (L'elisir d'amore); Edgardo (Lucia di Lammermoor); Fernand (La favorite); Vincent (Mireille); Ferrando (Così fan tutte); Italian Singer (Der Rosenkavalier); Tamino (Die Zauberflöte)

    Upcoming: Academy of Vocal Arts: French Recital, Jubilate! A Concert of Sacred Music; Rodolfo (La bohème)

    Awards: Alice Templeton Scholarship Royal College of Music 2017; Charles Branchini Scholarship Royal College of Music 2018; Academy Vocal Fellowship David Poleri Fellowship 2018

    Interests: Professional soccer, Frisbee, tapas, and justifying my consumption of chocolate

    Merola Sponsor: Amy Roth and Robert Epstein

Moisés Salazar
Moisés Salazar
Voice Type: Tenor
Hometown: Santa Ana, CA
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    Merola Roles: Schwabacher Summer Concert; First Armored Man (Die Zauberflöte)

    Schools & Young Artist Programs: University of Toledo; Fullterton College; Palm Beach Opera Benenson Young Artist Program; Opera Theatre of St. Louis Gerdine Young Artist Program

    Teachers: Michael Paul, Jennifer Rowley, Micah Graber

    Major Roles: Remendado (Carmen); Tebaldo (I Capuleti e i Montecchi); First Priest, First Armored Man (Die Zauberflöte); Ferrando (Così fan tutte); Borsa (Rigoletto); Rinuccio (Gianni Schicchi); Alfred (Die Fledermaus)

    Upcoming: St. Brioche (Die lustige Witwe)

    Awards: Orpheus National Vocal Competition, Second Place 2018; Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Great Lakes Regionals, Third Place 2018; Ohio Chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, First Place 2017; Orpheus National Vocal Competition, Second Place 2017; Ohio Chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, First Place 2016

    Interests: Cooking, woodworking, and bladesmithing

    Merola Sponsors: Anthony I. Balestrieri Endowment Fund; Merola Members Fund; Jean Shuler

Matthew J. Schulz
Matthew J. Schulz
Stage Director
Hometown: Waverly, IA
 
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    Merola Role: Stage Director, Merola Grand Finale

    Schools & Young Artist Programs: The University of Texas at Austin; Buena Vista University

    Teachers: Chía Patiño, Robert DeSimone, Bethany Larson, Merrin Guice Gill

    Directing Experiences: Der Kaiser von Atlantis; L'elisir d'amore; L'Amour à trois; The Medium; XOR (world premiere); Good Country: a chamber opera (world premiere); Carmen; Don Giovanni; Eugene Onegin; Falstaff; The Rape of Lucretia

    Interests: Learning, discovering, and discussing the meaning of life

    Merola Sponsors: The Lotfi Mansouri Stage Director Endowment Fund; Jean Donnell Fund

Olivia Smith
Olivia Smith
Voice Type: Soprano
Hometown: Penticton, British Columbia, Canada
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    Merola Roles: Schwabacher Summer Concert; Chorus (Die Zauberflöte)

    Schools & Young Artist Programs: Curtis Institute of Music; Houston Grand Opera Young Artists Vocal Academy

    Teacher: Julia Faulkner

    Major Roles: Berta (Il barbiere di Siviglia); Cathleen (Riders to the Sea); First Witch (Dido and Aeneas); Mrs. Gobineau (The Medium); Suor Genovieffa (Suor Angelica); Barbarina (Le nozze di Figaro)

    Awards: Houston Grand Opera Eleanor McCollum Competition, Ana María Martínez Encouragement Award and Online Viewer's Choice Award 2022; George London Foundation, Encouragement Award 2019

    Interests: Trying new foods, new recipes, new restaurants, experiencing different flavors and cuisines, painting, and doodling

    Merola Sponsor: Vivienne E. Miller Scholarship Fund

William Socolof
William Socolof
Voice Type: Bass-baritone
Hometown: White Plains, NY
 
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    Merola Roles: Schwabacher Summer Concert; Chorus (Die Zauberflöte)

    Schools & Young Artist Programs: The Juilliard School; Opera Theatre of St. Louis Gerdine Young Artist Program

    Teacher: William Burden

    Major Roles: Don Alfonso (Così fan tutte); Daniel Webster (The Mother of Us All); Colline (La bohème)

    Awards: Young Concert Artists International Auditions, First Prize; Walter W. Naumburg Foundation’s International Vocal Competition, Second Prize

    Interests: Trying new vegan recipes, Joni Mitchell, and James Joyce

    Merola Sponsors: Gerald B. Rosenstein Fund; James A. Noe, III

Erin Wagner
Erin Wagner
Voice Type: Mezzo-soprano
Hometown: El Paso, TX
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    Merola Roles: Schwabacher Summer Concert; Second Lady (Die Zauberflöte)

    Schools & Young Artist Programs: The Juilliard School; Manhattan School of Music; Aspen Music Festival and School Renée Fleming Artist Program; SongStudio; Chautauqua Institution; SongFest; Scuola di Belcanto

    Teachers: Darrell Babidge, Warren Jones, Brian Zeger, Lydia Brown, Steve Blier, Donald Palumbo, Marianne Barrett, J.J. Penna, Cameron Stowe, Bénédicte Jourdois, Adam Nielsen, David Paul, Kenneth Merrill, Joan Patenaude-Yarnell

    Major Roles: Second Lady, Knabe (Die Zauberflöte); Unulfo (Rodelinda); Anne (The Mother of Us All); Romeo (I Capuleti e i Montecchi); Hippolyta (A Midsummer Night’s Dream); Mrs. Herring (Albert Herring); Son (Now/here Sea/son, premiere)

    Upcoming: Naumburg Recital at Carnegie Weill Hall

    Awards: Walter W. Naumburg Foundation’s International Vocal Competition, Winner 2021; The Juilliard School Vocal Arts Honors Recital, Winner 2021; The Juilliard School Novick Grant Recipient 2021; The Houston Saengerbund Competition, Second Place 2021; The Gerda Lissner Foundation Lieder Competition, Grant Recipient 2021; Sparks & Wiry Cries NYC songSLAM Commission, Winning Duo with Shawn Chang 2022

    Interests: Going to art museums, collecting flamingoes, and spending time with friends

    Merola Sponsor: David Hugle and Haggai Niv

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