2017 Featured Artists
Santiago Ballerini is recognized in the Americas as one of the leading tenors in Bel Canto repertoire. Respected and celebrated by his colleagues, directors and theaters around the world, Ballerini hails from Buenos Aires, Argentina, and has sung in all major opera houses in South and North America. Ballerini covered the roles of Don Ottavio in Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” and Count Almaviva in Rossini’s “IlBarbiere di Siviglia” at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City in season 2016- 2017. He also returns this season to the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires as il Tenor Italiano in “Der RosenKavalier” from Strauss and As Ramiro on Rossini’s Cenerentola.This past season, Ballerini made his United States debut at the Caramoor Festival in New York as Fernand in “La Favorite” to rave reviews.Read More
Jessica Ann Best
Jessica Best gave a spine tingling rendition of Lloyd Webber’s “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina” that bewitched everyone in the audience.” – South MagazineRead More
Megan Ann Cleaveland, soprano, is a third year fellow with the A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA), where she is pursuing a Master’s of Music degree under the tutelage of Dr. Marilyn Taylor.
During her time as a Fletcher fellow, Megan has enjoyed performing the roles of Olympia in Offenbach’s Les Contes D’Hoffmann and Serpetta in Mozart’s La Finta Giardiniera as well as Adele in Die Fledermaus and The Foreign Woman in Menotti’s The Consul. Professional engagements include Papagena in Die Zauberflöte and Mrs. Nordstrom in A Little Night Music, both with Piedmont Opera. She was recently the soprano soloist for UNCSA’s Carmina Burana.
The past two summers included scenes from Lucia di Lammermoor during Opera Theatre of the Rockies’ Vocal Arts Festival and a performance of the title role in Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen, where she studied with soprano Renata Scotto in Mezzano, Italy.
Angela De Venuto
Chicago native, soprano Angela De Venuto most recently won first place in the Classical Singer competition as an Emerging Professional, and the Lynne Harvey Foundation Scholarship in the Musicians Club of Women competition. She recently performed a solo recital at Preston Bradley Hall in Chicago through the Musicians Club of Women, as soprano soloist in Mozart’s Requiem at Nichols Concert Hall in Evanston, Illinois, as Lauretta in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, and as Drusilla in Monteverdi’s L’Incoronazione di Poppea with DePaul Opera Theatre, Susanna in scenes from Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, and Rosina in scenes from Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia with Savannah Voice Festival, Despina in DuPage Opera’s production of Così fan tutte, and Miss Jessel throughout Chicago Fringe Opera’s sold out run of Britten’s The Turn of the Screw to critical acclaim. Read More
Angela’s oratorio experience includes soprano soloist for Vivaldi’s Gloria, Handel’s Messiah, Fauré’s Requ
Later this season Angela will be singing the role of Mrs. Grose in Britten’s The Turn of the Screw with DePaul Opera Theater, singing a solo recital sponsored by the city of Page, Arizona, and singing as soprano soloist in Mozart’s Mass in C minor .
Angela earned her B.M. in Vocal Performance from DePaul University, and is currently a Master of Music candidate at DePaul University studying with Nicole Cabell.
Peter Lake just finished performing as a Resident Artist for Opera North in his role and house debut as Paris in La belle Hélène. Last summer Peter worked as a young artist at Central City Opera where he won the 2016 Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Apprentice Award. In the fall he travelled to Virginia Opera as a Herndon Foundation Young Artist where he covered Count Almaviva in Il Barbiere di Siviglia. Read More
During the spring of 2017 along with multiple concert engagements Peter performed the Duke in Mississippi Opera’s youth/cover performance of Rigoletto. In May he made his role debut as Count Almaviva in Il Barbiere di Siviglia for Natchez Festival of Music. Other notable roles for Peter include: Spoletta in Tosca and Vogelsang in The Impresario with Central City Opera, Remendado (José cover/youth performance) in Carmen with Mississippi Opera, and Triquet in Eugene Onegin with Chautauqua Opera.
A recipient of the prestigious Leonore Annenberg Fellowship in the Arts, young baritone Alex Lawrence has been recognized for his rich voice, sensitive musicians hip and commanding stage presence. Since his professional debut in Basel, Switzerland in 2011, Lawrence has appeared with some of the great opera companies in the United States and abroad.Read More
Formerly a member of the ensembles of Theater Basel and Opernhaus Zürich, Lawrence has sung several roles in Switzerland, including The Hunter in Rusalka, Moralès in Carmen and L’Ami in Debussy’s rarely performed La Chute de la Maison Usher. Since then, he has gone on to make several significant role debuts in Zürich, including Silvio in Pagliacci under Alexander Vedernikov, Ned Keene in Peter Grimes under Erik Nielsen, and the three baritone roles of Bohuslav Martinu’s rarely performed Juliette, under Fabio Luisi.
In the 2016/17 season, Alex will debut the title role in Le Nozze di Figaro with Vancouver Opera. Previous noteworthy engagements included his principal role debut with the Glimmerglass Festival in Cooperstown, NY, singing Belfiore in Verdi’s King For a Day, of which the New York Times noted the debut of a “sensational” new talent. In 2014, Lawrence performed in a high profile gala concert for the 85th Anniversary of the Ópera de Bellas Artes alongside legendary tenor Franzisco Araiza, soprano Maria Katzarava and bass Eric Halfvarson. He made his Lucerne Festival debut as Don Quixote in Manuel De Falla’s El Retable del Maese Pedro conducted by Clement Power, performed as the baritone soloist in Mendelssohn’s Die Erste Walpurghisnacht with the Orchestra Symphonique de Mulhouse, and debuted the role of Sam in Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti for the opening festival of Opernhaus Zürich’s 2012/13 season.
A 2007 B.M. graduate of Northwestern University, Alex Lawrence received an Artist Diploma from the Academy of Vocal Arts in 2011. In addition to the honor of an Annenberg Fellowship in the Arts, he has been a top prizewinner at some of the most prestigious competitions in the United States, including the Opera Index Foundation, Licia Albanese Puccini Foundation, and Gerda Lissner Foundation.
Puerto Rican soprano Meechot Marrero, hailed by El Nuevo Día as, “a revelation…a young Puerto Rican star with a great career ahead” is a recent master’s degree recipient of the Yale School of Music, and in the 2016/17 season, will join the Deutsche Oper Berlin ensemble, after being awarded the American-Berlin Scholarship from the Opera Foundation. At Deutsche Oper Berlin, Ms. Marrero will perform the roles of Frasquita in Carmen, Giannetta in L’Elisir d’Amore, Papagena in Die Zauberflöte, Belinda in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas and Bianca and Gabriela in La Rondine. She performed at Savannah Voice Festival in 2016 as Juliette in Roméo et Juliette.Read More
Bass-Baritone Jeffrey Martin, a native of Maryland, recently finished his Masters Degree at The Peabody Conservatory at The Johns Hopkins University. Mr. Martin’s Peabody career took flight with The Peabody Conservatory as The Man with the Cornet Case/Puppet-master from Argento’s Postcard from Morocco, of which The Baltimore Sun said: “Jeffrey Martin brings solid tone and exemplary diction…”Read More
This formidable voice was heard singing the roles of Osmin (Die Entfürung aus dem Serail), Sam (Trouble in Tahiti), Sergeant Bouncer (Cox and Box), and the Speaker (Die Zauberflöte) with Hubbard Hall Opera Theater in Cambridge, NY. Jeffrey has soared in opera scenes as Cecil (Maria Stuarda), Leporello, Osmin, and Colline (La Boheme). During his tenure in Baltimore, Jeffrey performed Leporello (Don Giovanni) in Peabody’s collaboration with Lyric Opera Baltimore on the Lyric Opera stage. Recent concert performances include Mozart’s “Great” Mass in C Minor, Mozart’s Requiem Mass, Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezin and other guest soloist engagements with groups around the country. Internationally, Jeffrey was found performing the role of Raimondo (Lucia di Lammermoor) with La Musica Lirica Festival in Novafeltria, Italy. Perforamnces with the University of Minnesota include Escamillo in the Peter Brooks adaptation of Bizet’s Carmen, the title role in Le nozze di Figaro and the role of Rev. Olin Blitch in Carlisle Floyd’s Susannah. Most recently he sang the role of Jesus in a staged version of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with the University of Minnesota in Collaboration with the Hochschule für Musik Detmold in Detmold, Germany. Jeffrey is currently attending the University of Minnesota pursuing his Doctorate in Vocal Performance.
Chelsea Miller, a native of Memphis, received a bachelor’s degree in music education at Drury University in Springfield, MO. After graduating, she moved to Baton Rouge to study at Louisiana State University, where she received a Master of Music in vocal performance. While there, she performed the roles of Micaëla in La tragédie de Carmen and Tisbe in La Cenerentola.Read More
The following summer, she sang Nannetta in Falstaff at the Bay Area Summer Opera Theater Institute. Ms. Miller made her Opera Memphis debut as Miss Silverpeal in The Impresario. In recent seasons she has performed several roles with Opera Memphis, including Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Gretel in Hansel and Gretel, and the Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflöte, while also earning an Artist Diploma from the University of Memphis. Last summer she appeared as Yum-Yum in The Mikado at Chautauqua Opera. Her upcoming roles include Serafina in Il campanello di notte, and Ruth Baldwin in Later the Same Evening, with IRISOrchestra and Opera Memphis.
Carlton Moe, tenor, debuted at Carnegie Hall with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra as the Brother in Kurt Weill’s The Seven Deadly Sins and has performed as soloist in major works such as Verdi’s Requiem, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, Mozart’s Requiem, and Handel’s The Messiah with such orchestras as the Oregon Symphony, Portland Chamber Orchestra, Walla Walla Symphony, and the Charlottesville Symphony Society.
Heralded by the New York Times as an “ardent tenor” his previous opera credits include Lakmé (Gerald), I Capuletti e I Montecchi (Tebaldo), The Mother of Us All (John Adams), Ernest Bloch’s Macbeth (Malcolm), with Manhattan School of Music Opera Studio, Roméo et Juliette (Tybalt) with Aspen Music Festival, Albert Herring (Albert) with Napa Music Festival, and The Elixir of Love (Nemorino) with the Student Opera Association of PSU. For his portrayal of Chevalier de la Force in Portland State University Opera’s production of Dialogues des Carmélites, Mr. Moe “made a lasting impression that drew an additional helping of bravos at the end of the performance” (oregonmusicnews.com). Carlton also sang the role of Sparky in the premiere recording of Kenneth Froelich’s opera Valentine with Heretic Opera.Read More
Nan Qin, bass-baritone, is a native of Yucheng city, Shandong Province, China. Mr. Qin got his Master’s degree in Vocal Performance from University of North Texas, where he performed the roles of Balli in Werther, Leporello in Don Giovanni, Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor, Capulet in Romeo et Juliette, Devin in Le Devin du Village, and Pandolfe in Cendrillon. He is the finalist of Classical Singer Competition and Lois Alba Aria competition.
Accomplished mezzo-soprano, Emily Righter has been enchanting audiences “…with her gorgeously controlled mezzo voice and emotive, physically adept presence to match.” (The Star-Ledger). After her performances of Alessandro in Eliogabalo, Alex Ross wrote in The New Yorker, “Emily Grace Righter stood out for her impassioned, idiomatic delivery of the role of Alessandro. In 2015, Ms. Righter gave several master classes and workshops at prestigious universities along with a Guest Artist Series recital at Mercyhurst University. Most recently, Ms. Righter was heard in Philadelphia as the Mezzo Soprano soloist in Rossini’s Stabat Mater, Verdi’s Requiem and John Rutter’s Magnificat. In February 2017, Emily made her Tampa Opera debut as Angelina in La Cenerentola. Ms. Righter was recently heard at Carnegie Hall in October 2016 and will be singing for various benefit concerts throughout 2016/17.Read More
Emily’s various European performances include roles at the Salzburger Landestheater in Austria, where she appeared as Jacqueline in La Cage aux Folles, Dardané in Pilgrims from Mecca (performed also in Istanbul), Olga in Eugene Onegin, and Annio in La Clemenza di Tito. At the Landestheater, she also created the role of Sophia in the German-translated premier of Sound of Music, along with roles as Tisbe (whilst covering Angelina) in La Cenerentola, Clomiri in Imeneo, Flora in La Traviata, and Margaret in Wozzeck. At the Summer Festival of the Tyrolean Festspielhaus in Austria, she has been seen as Flora in La Traviata, Ines in Il Trovatore, and Maddalena in Rigoletto, and was the alto soloist in Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. At the Festival dei Due Mondi in Spoleto, Italy, Ms. Righter debuted the role of Miss Jessel in Turn of the Screw, and the same season made her debut in Tyrol, Austria and Trento, Italy as Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro. In 2010, Ms. Righter was chosen for the Young Singers Project (YSP) at the Salzburger Festspielhaus (Austria) and covered the roles Stephano in Romeo et Juliette and Die Garderobiere/Der Gymnasiast in Lulu. In the U.S., Ms. Righter made her NYCO debut in 2013 singing Amenofi in Mosé in Egitto, and she has made national professional debuts at the Santa Fe Opera, Carnegie Hall, Chicago Opera Theater and Vero Beach Opera. Her U.S. concert appearances include performances with Boston’s Handel and Haydn Society as the mezzo soloist in Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, the Marcello Giordani Fundraising Gala Concert in New York City, along with various benefit concerts supporting victims of homelessness.
Ms. Righter received her master’s degree in opera performance at Yale University in 2009 and her B.F.A. at Carnegie Mellon University in 2007.
Scott Russell, bass, is from Roanoke, Va. and currently lives in New York City. Scott is enjoying a career ranging from opera and music theater to oratorio and church music at home and abroad. He is the recipient of many awards including the NYC district and regional winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Some recent credits include: Gianni Schicchi (Simone) with the Savannah Music Feststival; La bohème (Colline) with Savannah Philharmonic and V.O.I.C.Experience, Don Giovanni (Il Commendatore), Schwabacher Summer Concerts, and 2 Grand Finale concerts with Merola Opera program of San Francisco Opera;Read More
Kristin Schwecke has been heralded as “A name to keep in mind…Her voice filled the house and dominated the stage. Simply spectacular! What a promising dramatic soprano!” – Opera Lively
On the operatic stage, Kristin has recently appeared as La Contessa in Le nozze di Figaro with Hubbard Hall Opera Theater, First Lady in The Magic Flute with Piedmont Opera, Magda in La Rondine with the AJ Fletcher Opera Institute, Abigail in Robert Ward’s The Crucible with Piedmont Opera, and 2nd Sprite in Rusalka with North Carolina Opera. As a Young Artist, Kristin has been engaged as a Festival Artist with the Sherrill Milnes’ Savannah Voice Festival for several summers. She was an Apprentice Artist with Chautauqua Opera where she performed in Benjamin Britten’s Peter Grimes and Verdi’s Falstaff and was a featured soloist with the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra. Kristin is a former Young Artist with the Crested Butte Music Festival where she sang Mimi (La bohème) in concert under the baton of Covent Garden’s David Syrus. Read More
Chad Sonka is quickly becoming a sought after American baritone. This summer, he joined Central City Opera as an Apprentice Artist, covering Scarpia in Tosca. Most recently, Chad performed the role of Don Quixote in The Man of La Mancha with Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre. Previous performing credits: Gianni Schicchi (Marco) with Savannah Music Festival; Carmen (Dancïro) with Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre; The Mother of Us All (Virgil T.), The Rape of Lucretia (Junius), Faust (Wagner), Elijah (Elijah) with Manhattan School of Music, and Amahl and the Night Visitors(King Melchior) with Nevada Opera. Mr. Sonka has been a chosen participant of Dolora Zajick’sInstitute for Young Dramatic Voices, as well as Sherrill Milnes’ VOICE Studio at the Savannah Voice Festival for four summers.Read More
Described by critics as “tremendous,” “entertaining” and “talented,” baritone James Wright is a favorite among audiences for his charismatic presence and warm tone. His recent operatic roles include the Sacristan in Tosca, Rev. Gruffydd in Roger Ames’ How Green was My Valley with El Paso Opera, Angelotti in Tosca with Nickel City Opera and Papageno in The Magic Flute with Undercroft Opera of Pittsburgh. This season James will be appearing as Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro and Bob inThe Old Maid and the Thief with Nickel City Opera and Richard White in Michael Ching’s Alice Ryley with The Savannah VOICE Festival.Read More
Baritone Nicholas Giovanni Yaquinto is an active member of the Atlanta music scene, and a native of Savannah, Georgia. Mr. Yaquinto recently made his professional debut at the Atlanta Opera as Paris in their production of Roméo et Juliette. In the 2016 summer season he performed the title role of Roscoe Conway in Seagle Music Colony’s world premiere production of Roscoe by Evan Mack. Read More
Since receiving his BMA from Georgia State University in May of 2015, he was a winner of the Atlanta District Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, received both the Casa Italia Vocal Scholarship and the FAVA Excellence in French Repertoire award at the 2015 CS Classical Singer Competition in Chicago, and premiered at the Atlanta Symphony as Papagano in their production of My Family Valentine. Mr. Yaquinto has been seen performing several roles across the United States including Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Schaunard in La Bohème, Demetrius in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Guglielmo in Così fan tutte, Marullo in Rigoletto, and Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro.