Back Home: Through the Stage Door

Back Home: Through the Stage Door

Streaming online!
Available to Members Starting: Friday, August 13
Public Release Date: Friday, August 27
Back Home: Through the Stage Door is a celebration of the joy of making and performing music together — a joy so many of us have been deprived of during these challenging times. Filmed at San Francisco’s magnificent Herbst Theater and using classics and lesser known gems of the vocal repertoire as its words and music, the film seeks to capture the many moments, small and large, that comprise singers’ lives as they return to creating music together for the stage. Back Home will feature all 2021 Merola young artists as they, too, celebrate a return ‘home’ to the theater and the many precious joys that come with it.
Program

Program

 

Vorfrühling
by Anton Webern
Johanna Will, soprano
Shiyu Tan, piano

"Un soave non so che"
from La Cenerentola
by Giaochino Rossini
Gabrielle Barkidjija, mezzo-soprano
Philippe L'Esperance, tenor
Marika Yasuda, piano

"Avec vous, vieux Lacouf"
from Les mamelles de Tirésias
by Francis Poulenc
Andrew Dwan, bass-baritone
Gabriel Hernandez, tenor
Anna Smigelskaya, piano

"Ah, quel trouble"
from L'Amant Anonyme
by Joseph Bologne
Ashley Marie Robillard, soprano
Tianchi Zhang, tenor
Andrew Dwan, bass-baritone
Shiyu Tan, piano

Hold Fast To Dreams
by Florence Price
Celeste Morales, soprano
Erica Xiaoyan Guo, piano

"E voi ridete?"
from Così fan tutte
by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Gabriel Hernandez, tenor
Samson McCrady, baritone
Ben Brady, bass-baritone
Shiyu Tan, piano

"Ah, perdona al primo affetto"
from La clemenza di Tito
by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Magdalena Kuźma, soprano
Nikola Printz, mezzo-soprano
Erica Xiaoyan Guo, piano

"Komm mit mir zum Souper"
from Die Fledermaus
by Johann Strauss II
Philippe L'Esperance, tenor
Laureano Quant, baritone
Bryan Banowetz, piano

"Esci omai, garzon malnato"
from Le nozze di Figaro
by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Emily Blair, soprano
Samson McCrady, baritone
Bryan Banowetz, piano

"An' we'll live off the fat of the land"
from Of Mice and Men
by Carlisle Floyd
Victor Cardamone, tenor
Thomas Lynch, baritone
Anna Smigelskaya, piano

"Son nata a lagrimar"
from Giulio Cesare
by Georg Handel
Jesse Mashburn, mezzo-soprano
Nikola Printz, mezzo-soprano
Marika Yasuda, piano

"Lady with a Hand Mirror"
from Postcard from Morocco
by Dominick Argento
Catherine Goode, soprano
Marika Yasuda, piano

"Sì, fino all'ore estreme"
from Norma
by Vincenzo Bellini
Mikayla Sager, soprano
Gabrielle Beteag, mezzo-soprano
Erica Xiaoyan Guo, piano

"Pria di partir oh Dio"
from Idomeneo
by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Emily Blair, soprano
Nikola Printz, mezzo-soprano
Edward Graves, tenor
Anna Smigelskaya, piano

Je cherche un Millionaire
by Mistinguett
Ben Brady, bass-baritone
Bryan Banowetz, piano

"Contessa perdono... Questo giorno di tormenti"
from Le nozze di Figaro
by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Ashley Marie Robillard, soprano
Mikayla Sager, soprano
Gabrielle Barkidjija, mezzo-soprano
Laureano Quant, baritone
Ben Brady, bass-baritone
Marika Yasuda, piano
Chorus - Tutti Merolini
 

Back Home: Through the Stage Door is sponsored by William and Edie Dwan.
David Paul is sponsored by Darla and Richard Bastoni.

David PaulDirector David Paul (Photo Credit: Da Ping Luo)
 
David Paul, Director

David Paul is an award-winning director for opera, theater, and film. Born in Germany and based in Brooklyn, his work spans material from five centuries and all genres, and strives to make performance a medium for direct, human communication, regardless of the platform. His work has been praised by the New York Times and Washington Post for its energy, humor, and emotional depth, and has been seen across four continents in five languages.

As a director for opera, Paul is in high demand across the world. Recent credits include productions for LA Opera, the Metropolitan Opera / Juilliard, Washington National Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Arizona Opera, North Carolina Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, Opera Saratoga, and Music Academy of the West. On the theatrical stage, he has directed at Washington’s Shakespeare Theatre Company, Alaska’s Perseverance Theatre, Columbia University, and served as Assistant Director on the Broadway production of Terrence McNally’s Master Class.

Driving innovation in the arts, Paul has been involved in several major genre-bending ventures. He developed, wrote, and directed the film Dichterliebe: POETLOVE, a cinematic adaptation of classical songs from the 19th Century by Robert Schumann, winning awards from the Hong Kong Art House Film Festival, Geneva Film Festival, and IndieFest, and screening at festivals around the world.

afterWARds, his 80-minute, 4-character reinvention of Mozart’s Idomeneo, celebrated its world premiere at Pittsburgh Opera in 2019. He also co-curated The Romeo and Juliet Project, a new retelling of the classic story through words, music, and dance, based on the various classic adaptations in different genres, which celebrated its triumphant premiere at the Chautauqua Institution during the 2013 season. Ongoing ventures include Opera in VR, a set of short films featuring operatic scenes shot in 360-degree virtual reality; The Baron, an adaptation of the life story of tennis legend Gottfried von Cramm; as well as various music and video related projects.

Equally passionate about training the next generation of singing actors, Paul has rapidly gained recognition as one of his generation’s most dynamic directors and acting teachers for young singers. He is on faculty at the Metropolitan Opera’s Young Artist Development Program, the Adler Fellowship Program, and the Juilliard School, and has directed projects with emerging artists at the Santa Fe Opera, Lyric Opera Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, Arizona Opera, Boston University’s Opera Institute, Rice University, Juilliard, Berlin Opera Academy, the Tel Aviv Summer Opera Festival, and Westminster Choir College. He has also given master classes in Japan, China, Israel, and throughout the United States. In 2020, Paul founded Top 10 Role Study, an online learning platform focused on role study projects and audition preparation.

David Paul studied acting and directing at Columbia University, and apprenticed with directors Robert Falls, Michael Kahn, Rebecca Guy, and Stephen Wadsworth. Highlights of the 2019/20 season included new productions of Die Zauberflöte for North Carolina Opera and Cosi fan tutte for the Juilliard School, as well as his return to Arizona Opera for Puccini’s La bohème and Wolf Trap Opera for The Orpheus Project.

CAST

Bryan Banowetz, piano
Gabrielle Barkidjija, mezzo-soprano
Gabrielle Beteag, mezzo-soprano
Emily Blair, soprano
Ben Brady, bass-baritone
Victor Cardamone, tenor
Andrew Dwan, bass-baritone
Catherine Goode, soprano
Edward Graves, tenor
Erica Xiaoyan Guo, piano
Gabriel Hernandez, tenor
Magdalena Kuźma, soprano
Philippe L'Esperance, tenor
Thomas Lynch, baritone
Jesse Mashburn, mezzo-soprano
Samson McCrady, baritone
Celeste Morales, soprano
Nikola Printz, mezzo-soprano
Laureano Quant, baritone
Ashley Marie Robillard, soprano
Mikayla Sager, soprano
Anna Smigelskaya, piano
Shiyu Tan, piano
Johanna Will, soprano
Marika Yasuda, piano
Tianchi Zhang, tenor

Creative Team


David Paul

Director
 

HEATH ORCHARD

Director of Photography
 

CARRIE-ANN MATHESON

Music Director
 

DAVID BOWLES

Audio Recording Producer
 

AMBARISH MANEPALLI

Film Editor
 

MAGGIE WHITAKER

Costume Designer
 

ERIC JOHNSON

Art Director
 

Maurisa Rondeau

Hair & Make-Up
 

AUDREY CHAIT

Assistant Stage Director
 

Kathy Rose

Production Manager
 

Cathy Fazio

Stage Manager
 

Alina Novotny

Assistant Stage Manager
 

MARA BERTON

Health and Safety Coordinator
 

MASAE AITOKU

Herbst Theatre Technical Coordinator
 

YOUNG ARTISTS


Bryan Banowetz
Bryan Banowetz
Pianist/Coach
 
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    Schools & Young Artist Programs: University of Cincinnati, College–Conservatory of Music; Luther College

    Teachers: Kenneth Griffiths, Donna Loewy, Andy Villemez, Dr. John F. Strauss, Nicholas Shaneyfelt

    Coaching ExperienceThe Sound of Music; Hand of Bridge

    Awards: Luther College Distinction in Accompanying and Collaborative Piano (2015, 2016); Luther College Concerto Competition, Winner 2015

    Merola Sponsors: Donna Lee Grassman Memorial Fund, Patricia Yakutis Endowment Fund, Charles Rolle, M.D. Endowment Fund

Gabrielle Barkidjija
Gabrielle Barkidjija
Mezzo-Soprano
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    Schools & Young Artist Programs: Boston University Opera Institute; Northwestern University; Central City Opera; Aspen Music Festival and School

    Teachers: Penelope Bitzas, W. Stephen Smith, Karen Brunssen, Elizabeth Hynes

    Major Roles: Proserpina (L’Orfeo); Fanny Price (Mansfield Park); Captain (Dog Days); Béatrice (Béatrice et Bénédict); Mrs. Grose (The Turn of the Screw); Zerlina (Don Giovanni); Mère Marie (Dialogues des Carmélites); Estelle (Later the Same Evening)

    Awards: National Opera Association Carolyn Bailey and Dominick Argento Competition, Finalist 2021; Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions - Boston District, Encouragement Award 2020; Orpheus Vocal Competition, Second Place 2021; Classical Singer Music Vocal Competition, Second Place 2017

    Merola Sponsors: A. Barlow Ferguson Endowment Fund, James Heagy in memory of Janey Heagy

Gabrielle Beteag
Gabrielle Beteag
Mezzo-Soprano
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    Schools & Young Artist Programs: Chautauqua Opera; Georgia State University; University of West Georgia

    Teacher: Kay Paschal

    Major Roles: Woman in a Hat, Duchess (The Ghosts of Versailles); Augusta Tabor (The Ballad of Baby Doe); Lady Billows (Albert Herring); Madame de Croissy (Dialogues des Carmélites); Katisha (The Mikado); Secretary (The Consul)

    Upcoming: The Michael O'Neal Singers Atlanta Choir: Alto Soloist (Haydn's Lord Nelson Mass)

    Awards: The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Winner 2020; Opera Birmingham Vocal Competition, Finalist 2019; Kristin Lewis Foundation Vocal Scholarship Auditions, Grand Prize Winner 2018; Georgia State University Brumby Concerto/Aria Competition, Winner 2018; Opera Guild for Atlanta Vocal Scholarship Competition, Graduate Division Winner 2017

    Merola Sponsors: Amici di Merola Fund, Zheng Cao Opera Fund, Anthony I. Balestrieri Endowment Fund, Dr. David D. Stein and Dr. Phyllis A. Kempner

Emily Blair
Emily Blair
Soprano
 
 
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    Schools & Young Artist Programs: Indiana University; Mannes School of Music; Palm Beach Opera Benenson Young Artist; CoOPERAtive Program; Opera on the Avalon

    Teachers: Nova Thomas, Amy Burton, Timothy Cheung, Ksenia Lelëtkina

    Major Roles: Rosalinde (Die Fledermaus); Liù (Turandot); Tatyana (Eugene Onegin); Donna Anna (Don Giovanni); Pat Nixon (Nixon in China)

    Awards: The Young Patronesses of the Opera/Florida Grand Opera Voice Competition, Semi-Finalist 2017; Opera Birmingham Vocal Competition, Semi-Finalist 2017; The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions New York District, Encouragement Award 2014

    Merola Sponsors: The Sidney and Phyllis Blair Fund, Anthony I. Balestrieri Endowment Fund, C. Bradford Jeffries

Ben Brady
Bass-Baritone
 
 
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    Schools & Young Artist Programs: University of Michigan

    Teachers: James Toland, Julia Nielsen, Stephen West

    Major Roles: Zaccaria (Nabucco); Banquo (Macbeth); The Page (Roberto Devereux)

    Upcoming: James Toland Vocal Arts Tier I Vocal Competition, Finalist 2021

    Awards: James Toland Vocal Arts Tier II Vocal Competition, First Place, Audience Favorite 2018; The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Semi-Finalist 2020; The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions San Francisco District, Finalist 2018; The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Los Angeles District, Finalist 2019

    Merola Sponsors: Nicholas and Mary Ann Gannam Endowment Fund, Querita Eybel Endowment Fund, Stephen and Connie Zilles

Victor Cardamone
Tenor
 
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    Schools & Young Artist Programs: Wolf Trap Opera Studio; University of Cincinnati, College–Conservatory of Music; Brevard Music Center; Ball State University; Asheville Lyric Opera; Opera Western Reserve; Youngstown State University

    Teachers: Tom Baresel, Jon Truitt, Misook Yun

    Major Roles: Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni); La théière, Le petit vieillard, La rainette (L'enfant et les sortilèges); Jeník (The Bartered Bride); Scaramuccio (Ariadne auf Naxos); Soldier (Der Kaiser von Atlantis); Larry Renault (Dinner at Eight); Don Ramiro (La Cenerentola); Rinuccio (Gianni Schicchi); Ralph Rackstraw (H.M.S. Pinafore); Lippo (Street Scene); Ferrando (Così fan tutte); Alfred (Die Fledermaus)

    Awards: University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory Opera Scholarship Competition, Andrew White Memorial Award 2021; Washington National Opera, Finalist 2020; The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Central Region, Finalist 2019; University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory Opera Scholarship Competition, Ralph Corbett Award 2019; University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory Opera Scholarship Competition, Seybold-Russell Award 2018; The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Central Region, Encouragement Award 2017

    Merola Sponsors: Anthony I. Balestrieri Endowment Fund, Jean and Lindsay MacDermid, Faye Wilson

Audrey Chait
Audrey Chait
Stage Director
 
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    Schools & Young Artist Programs: Faculty, Northern Kentucky University, 2019-presen; Brown University; University of Cincinnati, College–Conservatory of Music; Des Moines Metro Opera; Santa Fe Opera; The Glimmerglass Festival

    Teachers: Erik Ehn, Robin Guarino

    Directing ExperienceGallantry; Marie Begins (world premiere); The Telephone; L'inganno Felice; Don Pasquale; The Bartered Bride; La fille du régiment; St. John Passion; Dinner at Eight; La Cenerentola; L'elisir d'amore; Scalia/Ginsburg; Die Zauberflöte; Monsieur Choufleuri restera chez lui; The Turn of the Screw; Die Fledermaus

    Awards:  National Opera Association JoElyn Wakefield-Wright Stage Director Fellowship, 2019; St. Louis Theater Critics Circle Award, Nominee for Best Opera 2019; University of Cincinnati, College–Conservatory of Music Opera Scholarship Competition, Ralph Corbett Award 2018-2020

    Merola Sponsors: Lotfi Mansouri Apprentice Stage Director Endowment, Jean Donnell Fund, Barbara Bruser and Richard Clark

Andrew Dwan
Andrew Dwan
Bass-Baritone
 
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    Schools & Young Artist Programs: Merola Opera Program; University of Southern California; University of the Pacific; Music Academy of the West; Aspen Music Festival and School

    Teachers: Mark Schnaible, Fred Carama, Elizabeth Hynes, Daniel Ebbers

    Major Roles: Dulcamara (L'elisir d'amore); Figaro (Le nozze di Figaro); Fortunato (Fortunato); Collatinus (The Rape of Lucretia); Kecal (The Bartered Bride); Seneca (L'incoronazione di Poppea); Arnold (The English Cat); Aldous Huxley (LSD: The Opera)

    Awards: The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions New York District Winner, 2019

    Merola Sponsors: Al Garren Fund, Janet Cluff

Catherine Goode
Catherine Goode
Soprano
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    Schools & Young Artist Programs: University of Houston; Michigan State University; Kentucky Opera; RISE Camp at Cresed Butte Music Festival; Opera Columbus; Des Moines Metro Opera; Virginia Opera; Seagle Festival

    Teachers: Cynthia Clayton, Melanie Helton, Dr. Chad Payton

    Major Roles: Lucia (Lucia de Lammermoor); Drusilla (L'incoronazione di Poppea); Cunegonde (Candide); Controller (Flight); Adina L'elisir d'amore); Königin der Nacht (Die Zauberflöte); Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro); Olympia (Les contes d'Hoffmann); Mabel (The Pirates of Penzance)

    Upcoming: Kentucky Opera: Amor (Orfeo ed Euridice)

    Awards: Harold Haugh Light Opera Vocal Competition, First Place 2020; The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Great Lakes Region, Finalist 2020; Opera Birmingham Vocal Competition, Semi-Finalist 2019; Young Texas Artists Music Competition, Silver Medal, Audience Choice Award 2018

    Merola Sponsors: David Miller, Anthony I. Balestrieri Endowment Fund, Dorothy Schimke

Edward Graves
Edward Graves
Tenor
 
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    Schools & Young Artist Programs: Towson University; Indiana University; The Glimmerglass Festival; Florentine Opera; Michigan Opera Theatre

    Teachers: Aaron Sheehan, Patricia Havranek, Connie Haas, Gran Wilson

    Major Roles: Bastien (Bastien und Bastienne); Rinuccio (Gianni Schicchi); Policeman 2/Congregant 2 (Blue); Robbins (Porgy and Bess); 1st Armored Man (Die Zauberflöte); Grimoaldo (Rodelinda)

    Upcoming: InSeries: Tamino (Black Flute)

    Awards: The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Wisconsin & Michigan District, Encouragement Award, 2017 and 2019

    Merola Sponsors: Al Garren Fund, Bernice Lindstrom, San Francisco Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Erica Xiaoyan Guo
Erica Xiaoyan Guo
Pianist/Coach
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    Schools & Young Artist Programs: University of Maryland; New England Conservatory of Music; Hochschule für Musik und Theater München; Manhattan School of Music; Aspen Music Festival and School; Pittsburgh Festival Opera

    Teachers: Rita Sloan, Kathleen Kelly, Cameron Stowe, Jonathan Feldman, Antti Siirala, Solomon Mikowsky

    Coaching Experience: La finta giardiniera, Owen Wingrave, Die Zauberflöte, Falstaff, Partenope, The Bartered Bride, Proving Up, Le nozze di Figaro, La bohème

    Merola Sponsors: Rusty and Mike Rolland Fund, Diana C. Yee

Gabriel Hernandez
Gabriel Hernandez
Tenor
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    Schools & Young Artist Programs: Bel Canto at Caramoor; Fargo Moorhead Opera; dell'Arte Opera; Florida State University; University of South Florida

    Teachers: Jeremy Silver, Chuck Chandler, Brad Diamond

    Major Roles: Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni); Tom Rakewell (The Rake's Progress); Alfredo (La traviata); Mozart (Mozart and Salieri); John Adams (The Mother of Us All)

    Upcoming: No Dominion Theatre Co.: Leopold (Hindsight: A New True Crime Opera world premiere); Opera on the James: Spoletta (Tosca); Fargo Moorhead Opera: Turiddu cover (Cavalleria rusticana)

    Awards: Career Bridges Grant Award, 2019; Florida State University Hannah J. Beaulieu Award, 2017; Florida Federation of Music Clubs, Stephen Foster Award 2016; Florida State University Carlisle Floyd Opera Endowment, 2015

    Merola Sponsors: A. Barlow Ferguson Endowment Fund, James R. Meehan, L. Henry Garland Memorial Fund

     

Magdalena Kuźma
Magdalena Kuźma
Soprano
 
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    Schools & Young Artist Programs: Yale School of Music; Oberlin College and Conservatory; Music Academy of the West; SongStudio at Carnegie Hall; Chautauqua Institution; The Bach Institute at Emmanuel Music; The Juilliard School Pre-College Division; Académie Internationale d'Eté de Nice

    Teachers: Gerald Martin Moore, Lorraine Nubar, Marlene Rosen, John Churchwell, Howard Watkins

    Major Roles: Lila (Cold Mountain); Blanche (Dialogues des Carmélites); Giannetta (L'elisir d'amore); Anna (Die sieben Todsünden); Miles (The Turn of the Screw); Drusilla (L'incoronazione di Poppea); Hélène (La belle Hélène)

    Upcoming: Ravina Steans Music Institute Vocal Fellow 2021

    Awards: National Opera Association Competition, 3rd Place Winner & Audience Favorite 2021; The Margot Bos Stambler '84 Professional Development Award, 2019; Oberlin College and Conservatory Concerto Competition, Finalist 2019; International Festival Foundation Grant, 2016; George London Foundation Scholarship, 2014; Arlene Shrut New Triad for Collaborative Arts Competition, Winner 2014

    Merola Sponsors: Drs. Phyllis A. Kempner and David D. Stein Fund, Drs. John and Lois Crowe, Jean E. Bennett, Jr. Fund, Greer and Thayer Hopkins

Philippe L'Esperance
Philippe L'Esperance
Tenor
 
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    Schools & Young Artist Programs: New England Conservatory; The Hartt School, University of Hartford; Manhattan School of Music; Chautauqua Institution Voice Program; Opera Theatre of Saint Louis; Palm Beach Opera Bailey Apprentice Artist

    Teachers: Bradley Williams, Craig Rutenberg, Steven Blier

    Major Roles: Alessandro (Il re pastore); Lucano (L’incoronazione di Poppea); Ferrando (Così fan tutte); Tito (La clemenza di Tito); Peter Quint (The Turn of the Screw); Don Ramiro (La Cenerentola); Nemorino (L'elisir d'amore); Karl Franz (The Student Prince); Sándor Barinkay (Der Zigeunerbaron); Tamino (Die Zauberflöte); Sam Kaplan (Street Scene); Alfred (Die Fledermaus)

    Upcoming: New England Conservatory: Alessandro (Il re pastore); Palm Beach Opera: Prince of Persia (Turandot)

    Awards: Chautauqua Institution Sigma Alpha Iota Voice Competition, Winner 2018; The Alan M. and Joan Taub Ades Vocal Competition, Third Prize 2018

    Merola Sponsors: Susan York, Nicholas and Mary Ann Gannam Endowment Fund

Thomas Lynch
Thomas Lynch
Baritone
 
 
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    Schools & Young Artist Programs: Westminster Choir College, Rider University; Boston Conservatory at Berklee; Bel Canto at Caramoor; Seagle Music Colony; Opera Colorado; Hawaii Opera Theatre

    Teachers: Elem Eley, Dr. Rebecca Folsom

    Major Roles: Monkey King (Monkey and Francine in the City of Tigers); Sergeant Raymond Shaw (The Manchurian Candidate); John Sorel (The Consul); Le Marquis de la Force (Dialogues des Carmélites); Beau (Service Provider); Nick (The Great Gatsby); Captain (Candide); Company Commander, Eugene Onegin (Eugene Onegin); Guglielmo (Così fan tutte); Don Fernando (Fidelio); Gran Sacerdote (Aureliano in Palmira); Falstaff (Falstaff); Jephté (Jephté); Judas (St. Matthew Passion); Buonafede (Il mondo della luna)

    Award: The Gerda Lissner Foundation Lieder/Song Competition, Encouragement Award 2017

    Merola Sponsors: San Jose Opera Guild, Shenson Family Fund, Opera Standees Association

Jesse Mashburn
Jesse Mashburn
Mezzo-Soprano
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    Schools & Young Artist Programs: University of Maryland, Maryland Opera Studio; Oberlin College and Conservatory; Central City Opera

    Teachers: Delores Ziegler, Lorraine Manz

    Major Roles: Forester's Wife, Owl (The Cunning Little Vixen); Polinesso (Ariodante); Bradamante (Alcina); Madame Flora (The Medium); Marcellina (Le nozze di Figaro); Nicklausse (Les contes d'Hoffmann); Madame de la Haltière (Cendrillon); Bianca (The Rape of Lucretia)

    Awards: Marilyn Horne Rubin Scholarship, 2017

    Merola Sponsors: Mary and Tom Foote, A. Barlow Ferguson Endowment Fund, Yermack Family Fund

Samson McCrady
Samson McCrady
Baritone
 
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    Schools & Young Artist Programs: University of Cincinnati, College–Conservatory of Music; Roberts Wesleyan College; Cafritz Young Artists of Washington National Opera; Opera Theatre of Saint Louis; Aspen Opera Theater and VocalARTS Program

    Teachers: Laura Brooks Rice, Neil Shicoff, William McGraw, Constance Fee

    Major Roles: Papageno (Die Zauberflöte); Mr. Johannes “Pa” Zegner (Proving Up); Gianni Schicchi (Gianni Schicchi); Jesus (St. Matthew Passion); Belcore (L'elisir d'amore)

    Awards: Classical Singer Music Vocal Competition, First Place 2016; The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Capitol District, First Place 2020

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

Celeste Morales
Celeste Morales
Soprano
 
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    Schools & Young Artist Programs: Living Music Institute; Texas State University; Manhattan School of Music; Opera San Antonio Resident Artist; Musiktheater Bavaria; Spotlight on Opera

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

    Major Roles: Claire (SIX); Mimì (La bohème); Mrs. Grose (The Turn of the Screw); Gertrude (Hänsel und Gretel); Madame Lidoine (Dialogues of the Carmelites); Donna Anna (Don Giovanni)

    Awards: Living Music Institute, Aria Competition Winner 2020; Vienna Summer Music Festival Competition, Winner 2019; Margaret Howell van Der Marck Scholarship in Opera, 2016-18; Texas State Aria Concerto, Winner 2015; South Texas NATS Aspiring Artist Grant, 2015; Tuesday Music Club Young Artists Competition, 2015; Teresa Gordon Opera, Excellence Award 2014

    Merola Sponsors: Susan York, Merola Members Fund, Leona Gordon Lowin Memorial Fund

Nikola Printz
Nikola Printz
Mezzo-Soprano
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    Schools & Young Artist Programs: Banff Centre: Opera in the 21st Century program for 2020/2021; San Francisco Conservatory of Music; Opera Memphis; Green Mountain Opera Festival; I SING International Young Artists Festival

    Teachers: Patricia Craig, Sheri Greenawald

    Major Roles:  Carmen (Carmen); Aldonza (Man of La Mancha); Elle (La voix humaine); Orfeo (Orfeo ed Euridice); Old Lady (Candide); Isabella (L'italiana in Algeri); Cherubino (Le nozze di Figaro); Dorabella (Così fan tutte); The Fox (The Cunning Little Vixen); Rosina (Il barbiere di Siviglia); Lucretia (The Rape of Lucretia); Dinah (Trouble in Tahiti)

    Awards: Mary Jacobs Smith Singer of the Year Competition, First Place 2018; The Metropolitan National Council Auditions Gulf Coast Region, Finalist 2019; Steve Silver's Beach Blanket Babylon Scholarship For The Arts, 2009

    Merola Sponsors: Bruce and Fran Walker, In Honor of Leontyne Price Fund

Laureano Quant
Laureano Quant
Baritone
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    Schools & Young Artist Programs: Merola Opera Program; SongStudio; SongFest; Manhattan School of Music; Pontificia Universidad Javeriana

    Teachers: James Morris, Carolina Plata

    Major Roles: Figaro (I due Figaro); Mr. Maguire (Emmeline); Zurga (Les pêcheurs de perles); Prince Ragotsky, Captain (Candide); Demetrius (A Midsummer Night's Dream)

    Awards: The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Middle/East Tennessee District Winner, 2020; Mae Zenke Orvis Opera Scholarship, 2018-2020; Concurso de Canto Ciudad de Bogotá, First Prize 2018; ICETEX Jóvenes Talentos, Winner 2018; Jóvenes Talentos of Banco de la República de Colombia, Winner 2018; Concurso Nacional de Canto OFB, Second Prize 2016

    Merola Sponsors: Maureen Clarke, Albert L. Mosher and John E. McCormick AIDS Memorial Fund, Querita Eybel Endowment Fund, Barbara J. Ross

Ashley Marie Robillard
Ashley Marie Robillard
Soprano
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    Schools & Young Artist Programs: Opera Philadelphia Emerging Artist; Wolf Trap Opera Studio Artist; Curtis Institute of Music, B.M. and M.M.

    Teachers: Julia Faulkner, Mikael Eliasen

    Major Roles: Musetta (La bohème); Papagena (Die Zauberflöte); Echo (Ariadne auf Naxos); Bubikopf (Der Kaiser von Atlantis); Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni); Tatyana (Eugene Onegin); Sandrina (la finta giarginiera); Barbarina (Le nozze di Figaro); Poussette (Manon); Lauretta (Gianni Schicchi); Jessie ( ein Songspiel)

    Awards: Opera Index Vocal Competition, Encouragement Award 2019

    Merola Sponsors: David Hugle, Haggai Niv, Helen B. Breck, Kirby Wilcox

Mikayla Sager
Mikayla Sager
Soprano
 
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    Schools & Young Artist Programs: Manhattan School of Music; Teatro Nuovo; Highlands Opera Studio; SongFest; Canadian Vocal Arts Institute

    Teachers: Darrel Babidge, Rachel Willis-Sorensen, Carol Vaness, Jonathan Kelly, Joan Dornemann, Deborah Birnbaum

    Major Roles: Anna Bolena (Anna Bolena); Vitellia (La clemenza di Tito); Fiordiligi (Così fan tutte); Violetta (La traviata); Micaëla (Carmen); Donna Anna, Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni); Norina (Don Pasquale); Mimì (Leoncavallo’s La bohème); The Fox (The Cunning Little Vixen)

    Upcoming: Jensen Foundation Finalist; Loren E. Zachary Competition; Manetti Shrem Prize Recipient, nominated by Nadine Sierra (Festival Napa Valley, 2022)

    Awards: Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, 2021; National Opera Association Competition, Finalist 2021; Vienna Int' Music Competition, Second Place 2021; Opera Index Competition, Finalist 2019; Tenor Viñas Competition, Final Round participant (postponed to 2022); Mildred Miller Int' Voice Competition, Finalist 2018; Annapolis Vocal Competition, Semi-Finalist 2021; James Toland Competition, Semi-Finalist 2020; Ryan Opera Center Ensemble Auditions, Finalist 2019

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

Anna Smigelskaya
Anna Smigelskaya
Pianist/Coach
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    Schools & Young Artist Programs: Manhattan School of Music; Music Academy of the West; University of Houston, Moores School of Music; Sam Houston State University; Musical College N.A. Rimsky-Korsakov of Saint Petersburg

    Teachers: Warren Jones, Ana María Otamendi, Nancy Weems, Ilonka Rus, Sergio Ruiz, Svetlana Karzina, Olga Vinogradskaya

    Coaching Experience: Cold Mountain; Emmeline; Suor Angelica; Così fan tutte

    Awards: Texas Music Teachers Association Piano Performance Contest, First Place 2014

    Merola Sponsors: Amy Roth and Robert Epstein

Shiyu Tan
Shiyu Tan
Pianist/Coach
 
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    Schools & Young Artist Programs: Manhattan School of Music; Shanghai Conservatory of Music; Aspen Music Festival and School

    Teachers: Warren Jones, Cristina Stanescu, Kenneth Merrill

    Coaching ExperienceIl barbiere di Siviglia, The Turn of the Screw, The Cunning Little Vixen

    Merola Sponsors: Otto Guth Fund, Patricia Yakutis Endowment Fund, Gropper Memorial Fund

Johanna Will
Johanna Will
Soprano
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    Schools & Young Artist Programs: Mannes School of Music; Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg

    Teachers: Ruth Falcon, Arthur Levy, Kamal Khan, Carolyn Grace James, Kurt Widmer, Glenn Morton, Neal Goren, Ted Taylor

    Major Roles: Suor Angelica (Suor Angelica); Fiordiligi (Così fan tutte); Mimì (La bohème); Colombina (Die Feuersbrunst); Bridesmaid (Der Freischütz); Annika (Brundibár)

    Awards: Bel Canto Rolex Scholarship, 2012; Elise Meyer International Vocal Competition, First Prize 2018; Gustav Mahler Competition, First Prize 2016; Mozart Competition, Second Prize 2016; Maritim Competition, Third Prize 2016; International Richard Strauss Competition, Third Prize 2014; Classic Lyric Arts France Thierer Family Foundation Grant, 2019; Saxony State Scholarship for Classical Voice, 2009

    Merola Sponsor: Vivienne E. Miller Scholarship Fund

     

Marika Yasuda
Marika Yasuda
Pianist/Coach
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    Schools & Young Artist Programs: Indiana University; Oberlin College and Conservatory; Ravinia's Steans Music Institute; Tanglewood Music Center; SongFest

    Teachers: Kevin Murphy, Anne Epperson, Alvin Chow, Philip Highfill

    Coaching ExperienceIl barbiere di Siviglia, La bohème, Gianni Schicchi; The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs; West Side Story; In America (world premiere)

    Awards: Indiana University Associate Instructorship (2015-present); Oberlin College and Conservatory Dean Talent Award (2011-2015); Oberlin College and Conservatory Senior Concerto Competition, Winner 2015; Oberlin College and Conservatory Piano Accompaniment Prize, 2015

    Merola Sponsors: Jacobs Family Trust, Patricia Yakutis Endowment Fund, Alma Brooks Walker Fund

Tianchi Zhang
Tianchi Zhang
Tenor
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    Schools & Young Artist Programs: Shandong University of Arts; Mannes School of Music; NY Summer Opera Scenes; Pittsburgh Festival Opera

    Teachers: Arthur Levy, Joshua Greene

    Major Roles: Rinuccio (Gianni Schicchi); Nadir (Les pêcheurs de perles); Edgardo (Lucia di Lammermoor); Ernesto (Don Pasquale); Alfredo (La traviata)

    Awards: Career Bridges Grant Award, 2019; Verismo Opera Vocal Competition, Third Prize 2019; The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Eastern Region, Encouragement Award 2019

    Merola Sponsors: Zheng Cao Opera Fund, Diana C. Yee

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