EMILY BARNASH, SOPRANO
Soprano, Emily Barnash, has been hailed as a young singer with a “large lyric voice with exceptional promise, displaying a strong top, sure intonation and refined pianissimo” and also having “a natural comic sense and personal ease onstage” (The Washington Post). She has recently been seen as a Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Studio Artist with Central City Opera Company and as Mrs. Patrick DeRocher in the fully staged Chicago premiere of Jake Heggie's opera, Dead Man Walking at Northwestern University. Other roles include Suor Angelica and Suor Dolcina in Suor Angelica, Arminda in La Finta Giardiniera, Dido in Dido and Aeneas, Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus, Lady Billows in Albert Herring, Kate Pinkerton in Madame Butterfly, and Ms. Pinkerton in The Old Maid and the Thief. Musical theater roles include the Witch in Into the Woods, Susan in [title of show], Penelope Pennywise in Urinetown, and Lily Vanessi in Kiss Me, Kate. She was the winner of the Nei Stëmmen International Vocal Competition in 2010 and also placed first in the Florida Suncoast Opera Guild Young Artist Competition in 2009. Originally from St. Petersburg, Florida, Ms. Barnash completed her B.M. in vocal performance at DePauw University and is currently pursuing a M.M. in vocal performance at Northwestern University where she studies under W. Stephen Smith.
ALAINA CARLSON, MEZZO-SOPRANO
A native of Racine, Wisconsin, Alaina completed her undergraduate studies at Lake Forest College in Illinois, where, apart from many choral and opera scenes performances, she played ‘Leading Player’ in Pippin and the Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors. She then worked in Chicago as a choral singer and private teacher, pursuing her musical training independently. Solo performance highlights include her work in the Opera Training Institute of Chicago’s scenes program and the role of ’Metella’ in Northeastern Illinois University Opera’s production of La vie parisienne. Alaina also sang as a member of the Chicago Symphony Chorus under the direction of Riccardo Muti. She is now pursuing her Master of Music in vocal performance at UW – Madison, where she has sung the roles of ‘Nancy’ in Albert Herring and ‘Third Spirit’ in Die Zauberflöte. She will be playing ‘Cherubino’ this fall in Le Nozze di Figaro and continuing her studies with James Doing.
LYDIA ROSE EICHE, SOPRANO
Praised for her “pinpoint security,” “handsome tone,” and “impressive purity,” soprano Lydia Rose Eiche has sung as soloist with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra in the Vivaldi Gloria. Her operatic roles include Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro, which she performed at Opera Orvieto, in Italy. She sang Zerlina in Don Giovanni and Dalinda in Handel’s Ariodante at the University of Wisconsin, and the title role in John Duke’s comic one-act Captain Lovelock at Southern Illinois University. Concert appearances include as soloist for the Mozart Solemn Vespersand Schubert Mass in G with the Plymouth Chorale of Milwaukee. Lydia’s awards include First Place in the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Auditions in both Wisconsin and Illinois. She is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Opera and Musical Theater at SIU, studying with Dr. Diane Coloton. She earned her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from UW, where she studied with Mimmi Fulmer. A native of suburban Milwaukee, Lydia is especially grateful for the foundation laid by her first teacher, Marlee Sabo at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music.
ZACHARY FRANK, BARITONE
Zachary Frank (22 years) is an aspiring classical baritone going into his final year of undergraduate studies. Over the past two years Zachary has performed for the young artist program, La Musica Lirica, and the UW-Whitewater Theater/Dance Company with various roles including: Gianni Schicchi from Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, Bonze from Madama Butterfly and Top from Copeland’s The Tender Land. Additionally Zachary has performed non-operatic solos, including the baritone solo from Brahms’ Requiem and the solo quartet from Mozart’s Mass in C Minor with the UW-Whitewater Music Department. Currently Zachary is enrolled in a Bachelor’s of Music program for Secondary Education at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, eventually planning to pursue his passion for music with post-graduate studies in Vocal Performance.
CHRISTEN HORNE, SOPRANO
Due to her dynamic singing and dramatically infused performances, young American soprano Christen Blair Horne has been making a name for herself on both the operatic and concert stage. Upcoming performances for Ms. Horne include the title role in Handel’s Alcina with the University of Kansas. In 2014-15, Ms. Horne made role debuts of, Eleonora in Martinu’s Tears of the Knife with Bodhi Tree Concerts San Diego, as well as Adele in Die Fledermaus, La Fée in Massenet's Cendrillon, Gretel in Hänsel und Gretel, and Musetta in La Bohème, all with Point Loma Opera Theatre. Past operatic successes include Despina in Così fan tutte with Point Loma Opera Theatre, Zemfira in Rachmaninoff's Aleko with the East County Youth Symphony, Nella in Gianni Schicchi and Blanche in Dialogues des Carmelites, both with Opera Academy of California, Valencienne in Die lustige Witwe, Arminda in Mozart's La finta giardiniera, the title role in Massenet's Cendrillon, all with Point Loma Opera Theatre. Ms. Horne is a three time winner of the San Diego Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 2011, 2012, and 2013. Ms. Horne holds a B.A. in Music (Honors) from Point Loma Nazarene University, and is currently earning her M.M. in Opera Performance at the University of Kansas.
CRISTOPHER KENNEY, BARITONE
A native of Hawley Minnesota and graduate of Concordia College, Christopher is making a name for himself while under the tutelage of Cynthia Lawrence, and Mark Calkins of Lexington Kentucky. A recent first round winner of Kentucky's Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, he was recently a last minute replacement as Leporello in Mozart's Don Giovanni for Prague Summer Nights Festival at the Estates Theater in Prague. Other roles include Dappertutto and Lindorff in Les Contes d'Hoffmann, Masetto in Don Giovanni, Sweeney Todd in Sweeney Todd, and Kromov in The Merry Widdow. He was recently an invited participant in Sherrill Milnes Voice Experience and received training from Fabrizio Melano, Maria Zouves, and Sherrill Milnes, himself. His upcoming performances include in Luther Billis South Pacific and Guglielmo in Così fan tutte. An avid aviation enthusiast, and private pilot, Christopher also strives for perfection in the air, as well as in musical his expressions. With a ardent desire to perform with the most passionate of artists, Christopher welcomes the challenges that the industry has to offer and looks forward to becoming the best artist he can grow into becoming.
REUBEN LILLIE, BARITONE
Reuben L. Lillie is an American baritone, composer, and scholar of music and theology from Greenville, Pennsylvania. On stage Reuben has performed with Sugar Creek Opera in The Magic Flute (Papageno) and Die Fledermaus (Frank), The Santa Fe Opera’s world premiere of Oscar (Jury Foreman), and covered in Des Moines Metro Opera's Le Comte Ory (Raimbaud) as an Apprentice Artist. In concert Reuben has cofounded Fourth Coast Ensemble as an inaugural Vocal Chamber Music Fellow with Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago. He has been a soloist with Gaudete Brass Quintet and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago chamber ensemble. Reuben is a graduate of Olivet Nazarene University and the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. At CCPA he presented the title role in Gianni Schicchi and the Chicago premiere of Vaughan Williams’ orchestrated Songs of Travel at Symphony Center, receiving subsequent broadcasts on 98.7 WFMT. Reuben was a Central Region Finalist to The Metropolitan Opera National Council. Off stage he is coordinating his Master of Divinity studies at McCormick Theological Seminary with The University of Chicago Divinity School as a licensed minister through the Church of the Nazarene. Reuben and his wife Stephanie reside in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood.
THOMAS LEIGHTON, TENOR
Thomas Leighton, from Saugerties, NY holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY with graduate studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Recent engagements include Julia Adolphe’s Sylvia, at NYC’s Bargemusic, and with Milwaukee’s “Present Music.” As a Studio Artist with Madison Opera in the 2014-2015 season, he appeared in Fidelio and Sweeney Todd. Last season also included the role of Tamino in University Opera’s production of Die Zauberflöte. In the 2015-2016 season Mr. Leighton will join the Florentine Opera Studio, appearing in Madama Butterfly and Die Fledermaus, and will appear in concert with the symphony orchestras of both Madison and Milwaukee.
ANNA POLUM, SOPRANO
Anna Polum has placed 2nd at the NATS competition as well as 3rd at the Anchorage Choral Competition, both in the spring of 2013.She placed 1st in the collegiate division of NATS in the spring of 2014, as well as 1st in the Anchorage Choral Competition in the spring of 2014, and now has placed 1st in the Advanced Artist category of the NATS competition in 2015. Also in the spring of 2014, she sang a principal role, Meg, in the world premiere of The Color of Gold, composed by Emerson Eads. She was selected as the 2014 Opera Fairbanks Young Artist Apprentice by the Metropolitan Opera's conductor Gregory Buchalter. This season, Anna has performed the role of Fantine in Les Miserables with Fairbanks Light Opera Theater as well as Voluptua in Seymour Barab's La Pizza con Funghi with Opera Fairbanks, as well as one of the Ladies of Charity in Opera Fairbanks production of Rumpelstiltskin, and in July 2015 sang the Dew Fairy in Engelbert Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel. As of May 2015, Anna Polum has finished two degrees at the University of Alaska Fairbanks in Music Education and Vocal Performance. Anna is currently pursuing a Master’s of Music in Voice Performance at the University of Wisconsin – Madison.
JOSHUA OGNENOFF, TENOR
Tenor Joshua Ognenoff, a native of Mayville, Wisconsin, is currently a junior BM major in Vocal Performance at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater where he is a student of Brian Leeper. During the summer of 2015, Joshua performed the roles of Gherardo in Gianni Schicchi and Prince Yamadori in Madama Butterfly directed by Dejan Miladinovic at La Musica Lirica in Italy. While in Italy, Joshua also coached with Joseph Rescigno and Ubaldo Fabbri and studied voice with John DeHaan. At UW-Whitewater, Joshua has performed the roles of Martin in The Tender Land and Monsieur Vogelsang in Der Schauspieldirektor and recently performed with the UW-Symphony Orchestra as the winner of the 2015 Concerto-Aria Competition. Joshua was also a Wisconsin NATS Finalist at the 2013 and 2014 auditions, and is currently in rehearsal for the role of Tamino in Die Zauberflöte.
AUSTIN SANDERS, BARITONE
Austin Sanders, lyric baritone, is a native of Onalaska, Wisconsin. He is in his final semester at Viterbo University as a music performance major and is a voice student of Daniel Johnson-Wilmot. Austin just finished performing the role of Polypheme in Viterbo University’s music department production of Acis and Galatea this October at the Weber Center for the Arts in La Crosse. Austin has sung the role of Ko-Ko in The Mikado, Don Magnifico in La Cenerentola, and Don Annibale in Il campenello di note at Viterbo University as well as numerous opera scenes in Viterbo’s summer opera workshop.
Austin placed second in the 2014 Wisconsin NATS Audition. He went on to be a second place winner in the North Central Regional NATS Audition and was a semi-finalist in the NATS National Student Audition in Greensboro, North Carolina this past July. He was finalist and an honorable mention at the Bruce Carlson Schubert Club Audition in St. Paul Minnesota last March. In 2014 he received an encouragement award at the MONC Auditions. Austin’s future plans include graduate studies in voice and pursuing a performance career in opera
SAMUEL SCHULTZ, BARITONE
Praised by Opera News as possessing a "smoky-dark baritone," Samuel Schultz will sing in Houston Grand Opera’s upcoming production of The Little Prince by Rachel Portman. He will also be featured on the world premiere recording of Gettysburg by William Bolcom. Samuel has appeared with Houston Grand Opera as Dr. Falke in Die Fledermaus, Mr. Lindquist in A Little Night Music, Morales in Carmen, and Perückenmacher in Ariadne auf Naxos. He made his Houston Symphony Orchestra debut singing Ravel’s Don Quichotte and Ramiro in L’Heure Espagnole. Samuel sang the role of Dandini in Rossini’s La Cenerentola for Baltimore Concert Opera and performed Junius in The Rape of Lucretia in performances at the Aspen Music Festival conducted by Jane Glover CBE. He covered the role of Howie in the world premiere of Champion at Opera Theatre of St. Louis and sang Berio's rarely-performed Coro, conducted by Sir Simon Rattle, at the Lucerne Festival. Samuel Schultz is an alumnus of the United States Senate Page Program and had the prestigious honor of singing for the United States Congress. He received advanced degrees in voice performance from The Shepherd School of Music at Rice University
TIANA SORENSON, SOPRANO
Soprano Tiana Sorenson, a native of Racine, Wisconsin, is in her last year of study at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee (UWM). She is pursuing her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Voice under the tutelage of Dr. Tanya Kruse Ruck. Earlier this year at UWM she was seen as the First Alms Sister in Suor Angelica and Papagena in Die Zauberflöte. Tiana also has been seen in operatic scenes as Blondchen in Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Nannetta in Falstaff, and Second Lady in Die Zauberflöte. This summer she attended the Up North Vocal Institute in Boyne City, Michigan, where she made appearances as Madame Goldentrill in The Impresario and Mrs. Nordstrom in A Little Night Music. Tiana has been a featured soloist with UWM’s Community Orchestra and with the Fond du Lac Symphonic Band.
ANN MARIE WHITE, SOPRANO
ANN MARIE WHITE is a coloratura soprano currently based in Chicago, IL. Ann Marie relocated to Chicago after completing her graduate studies in May 2013. In Chicago Ann Marie is a company member of VOX3 and has recently performed in Yeomen of the Guard, Trial by Jury, and Die Zauberflöte. Outside Chicago Ann Marie performed in the premiere of The Lost Childhood with the National Philharmonic; Guinevere in Camelot, Maria in The Sound of Music, and Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady in West Texas. Read more at annmariewhitesoprano.com.
ANNA WHITEWAY, SOPRANO
A native of La Crosse, Wisconsin, Anna is in her last year of undergraduate studies in Vocal Performance at the University of Wisconsin – Madison and is a student of visiting professor Elizabeth Hagedorn. Anna is currently in rehearsals for the University Opera production of Le Nozze di Figaro, in which she is singing the role of Susanna. Through the UW Opera program she has previously sung Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, as well as Héro in Berlioz’s Béatrice et Bénédict, a role for which she was praised as displaying “an instrument not just of power and beauty, but of nuanced control” (Madison Magazine). As a sophomore she sang Ginevra in Handel’s Ariodante and was noted for having “a confidence and artistry of professional quality already” (Isthmus). In high school Anna placed first in the Schubert Club Scholarship Competition and third in the Classical Singer Competition. She has also received first place four times at the Wisconsin NATS Auditions. This summer, Anna was in France for the Franco-American Vocal Academy’s study program and performed in Ravel’s L’Enfant et les Sortileges as Le Feu/Le Rossignol. Anna has previously studied voice with Daniel Wilmot-Johnson and Julia Faulkner.
ALEXANDER YORK, BARITONE
Baritone Alexander York, from Muskego, Wisconsin, recently made his professional debut, going on in a last-minute cover situation, as Don Quixote/Cervantes in Man of La Mancha with Central City Opera in Colorado, where he appeared as a Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Apprentice Artist. Last winter, York made the Chicago-area fully-staged premiere of Joseph DeRocher in Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking at Northwestern University, where he was also played Artemis Overtop in Mozart Magic, a modern production of Mozart’s Der Schauspieldirektor. A 2014 graduate of Lawrence University and the studio of Steven Paul Spears, York was featured there as Sid in Britten’s Albert Herring, Harry Easter in Weill’s Street Scene, and Cinderella’s Prince in Sondheim’s Into the Woods, among other things. York has attended the Oberlin in Italy summer program as a Concert Artist and the Aspen Opera Theatre Center, where he appeared as Papageno in several scenes programs and covered the role of Maximillian in Bernstein’s Candide. In 2014, he sang the role of Belcore in Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’amore in Novafeltria, Italy at the La musica lirica program. He currently is in the master’s program at Northwestern, studying with W. Stephen Smith.
AVERY BOETTCHER, SOPRANO
Soprano Avery Boettcher has begun what most assuredly will be a very promising career. A recent graduate of Viterbo University, Avery has already performed several roles both here in the US and abroad to wide acclaim such as Yum-Yum in The Mikado, Clorinda in La Cenerentola, Sieglinde Lessing in Jerome Kern's Music in the Air and, in her European debut, Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro with La Musica Lirica in Novafeltria, Italy. Avery is also a three-time 1st place winner in the Wisconsin NATS competition, a finalist in the 2013 Schubert Club competition in St. Paul Minnesota, and a second round winner of the 2015 Classical Singer competition. She is currently continuing her studies with Dr. Ann Schoenecker.
REBECCA BUECHEL, MEZZO-SOPRANO
Rebecca Buechel is a 22-year-old mezzo-soprano from Joliet, IL. In May of 2015, she graduated from Illinois Wesleyan University with a B.M. in Vocal Performance. While at Illinois Wesleyan, she performed as Hänsel in Hänsel and Gretel, Prince Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus, The Third Lady in The Magic Flute, and Zita in Gianni Schicchi. In 2013, she was a winner of the Henry Charles Memorial Concerto-Aria competition with Illinois Wesleyan’s Civic Orchestra. In 2014, she was the president of Illinois Wesleyan’s Collegiate Choir. Presently, she attends the University of Wisconsin-Madison for her M.M. in Vocal Performance. She currently studies voice with Jim Doing, and has previously studied with Dr. William Hudson, Dr. Justin Vickers, and Jeff Ray.
EE MING CHUA, COUNTERTENOR
Born and raised in Malaysia, EeMing Chua is an emerging countertenor gaining recognition for his vocal power, unique tone color, and commanding stage presence. His most recent performance was Oberon in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with the Chicago Summer Opera. The Chicago Stage Standard reviewed that EeMing Chua gave “a lyrical, yet surprisingly muscular performance”. His vocal flexibility allows him to perform a variety of works, including Mozart tenor roles Bastien (Bastien und Bastienne) and Monsieur Vogelsang (Der Schauspieldirektor). As a diverse performer, his appearance in the musical She Loves Me marked his exceptional acting ability. Equally committed to new music, he is performing the premiere of a newly composed opera with the Chicago College of Performing Arts in Fall 2015, as well as Nero in L'incoronazione di Poppea in Spring 2016. He is currently pursuing his M.M. in Vocal Performance at the Chicago College of Performing Arts. EeMing holds a B.M. in Vocal Performance from the Eastman School of Music and also a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Oklahoma State University. EeMing currently lives in Chicago, and continues his voice studies with Mark Crayton.
LAUREN DECKER, CONTRALTO
Lauren Decker, contralto, is a Milwaukee native singer currently studying with Dr. Connie Haas. Recently, Ms. Decker was an encouragement award recipient at the Upper Midwest region of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and the peoples choice and winner of the Wisconsin District auditions. Ms. Decker received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in vocal performance at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She is currently a chorus member with the Florentine Opera, having most recently performed in Wagner's Der Fliegende Holländer, Floyd's Wuthering Heights, and Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore. Ms. Decker's operatic role and scene credits include La Zia Principessa in Puccini's Suor Angelica, Gaea in Strauss' Daphne, Marquise of Birkenfeld in Donizetti’s La fille du régiment and Ulrica in Verdi's Un ballo in maschera. She has just returned from her second summer at the renowned Institute for Young Dramatic Voices where she studies under the tutelage of mezzo- soprano, Dolora Zajick. This past April, she was a featured young artist at the inaugural recital of the American Wagner Project with the Wagner Society of D.C.
MEGHAN FOLKERTS, MEZZO-SOPRANO
Mezzo-soprano Meghan Folkerts, a native of Scottsdale, Arizona, just completed her master's degree in Voice Performance from the prestigious Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University (IU). Her IU Opera Theatre credits include the Third Lady (Die Zauberflöte), Maharanee (The Last Savage), Hansel (Hansel and Gretel), Dido and First Witch (Dido and Aeneas), and Fifth Fairy (Cendrillon). Last fall, she sang the title role in the University Gilbert & Sullivan Society’s inaugural production of Iolanthe. Recent performances include the role of Nicklausse/Muse/La Voix (Les Contes d’Hoffmann) with Opera in the Ozarks this past summer. She has performed opera scenes with Opera in the Ozarks, IU Opera Workshops and Northwestern University under the direction of Robert Swedberg, Heidi Grant Murphy, and W. Stephen Smith. Favorite roles include Carmen (Carmen), Octavian (Der Rosenkavalier), Sesto (La Clemenza di Tito), Cherubino and Marcellina (Le Nozze di Figaro), and Maddalena (Rigoletto). She received her bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from Wisconsin Lutheran College (WLC) and studied with Carolyn Fons. While at WLC, she performed roles in many theater productions, including Mopsa (The Winter’s Tale), the Doctor (New York), and Anita (West Side Story). Folkerts frequently appeared as a concert soloist at WLC, including Mass in G Minor by Vaughan Williams and Liebeslieder, Op. 52 by Brahms.
JENNIFER HANSEN, SOPRANO
Described as having a regal sound with precise, effortless coloratura, soprano Jennifer Hansen is a multi-faceted vocal artist, most recently appearing in Opera Reimagined: Singed as part of the OperaWorks Advanced Artist Program in Los Angeles, CA. Highlights from 2015 include a recital performance with Grammy-winning contralto Meredith Arwady in Opera for All: A Celebration of Opera’s Astounding Variety; Gwynnie Bradley in the workshop premiere of Thank You, Next… with Milwaukee Opera Theatre; and as a backup singer for the legendary Rolling Stones on the Summerfest stage. Past roles include appearances as Konstanze (Die Entführung aus dem Serail), First Lady (Die Zaüberflote), Celia (Iolanthe), The Girl (26), Mabel (Pirates of Penzance), Laetitia (The Old Maid and the Thief), Gretel (Hansel and Gretel), and Constance (The Sorcerer). Oratorio credits include Handel’s Messiah, Schubert’s Der Hirt auf dem Felsen, Bach’s Magnificat and Jauchzet Gott in Allen Landen, and Mozart’s Exsultate Jubilate. Ms. Hansen was previously an apprentice artist for Milwaukee Opera Theatre’s 2011-2012 season after earning her Bachelor of Arts degree in Music from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside in 2011. She currently attends the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she will complete her graduate studies in 2016.
BENJAMIN KAWSKY, TENOR
Tenor Benjamin Kawsky is from Warsaw Indiana. He is currently finishing his M.M. at the Chicago College of Performing Arts, where he studies with Allan Glassman and Dr. Dana Brown. This summer Benjamin was an apprentice artist with the Astoria Music Festival in Astoria Oregon. Past roles include Cléon in L’Ivrogne Corrigé with CCPA, Soldate in L’incornazione di Poppea with CCPA, 1st Armored Man/1st Priest in Die Zauberflotë with the Astoria Music Festival, Nemorino in L’elisir d’more with the MasterWorks Festival, and Martin in The Tenderland with the MaterWorks Festival. His Theater roles include Reuben in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat with the Booth Tarkington Theater, and Peter in The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Theater Company.
JOELLE KROSS, SOPRANO
Joelle Kross, coloratura soprano, is currently pursuing an MM in Voice Performance at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, studying with Judith Haddon. Praised as “a vocal knockout” (Hub Review) and “petite, spritely, and utterly delightful in every scene” (Theater Mirror), Joelle has performed extensively in the opera and musical theatre communities in her hometown of Boston. Favorite roles include Le Feu/Le Rossignol in L’enfant et les Sortilèges, Anne Egerman in A Little Night Music, and Chava in Fiddler on the Roof. In the 2015-2016 season, Joelle will sing Amore in L’incoronazione di Poppea, and the premieres of Heidi Joosten’s chamber opera Connla and the Fairy Maiden and Patrick Greene’s song cycle Year of Glad, inspired by David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest.
YOUNG EUN LEE, SOPRANO
Korean soprano Young Eun Lee is furthering her training and education in the United States and she starts her Graduate Performance Degree in vocal performance from the Peabody Conservatory. At the conservatory she is a student of Dr. Steven Rainbolt. She is a lyric coloratura and her singing has been described as “both sweet and flexible . . . crystaline and limpid.” Ms. Lee has performed a number of operatic roles including scenes performances in operas such as Die Zauberflöte, Le Nozze di Figaro, Cosi fan tutte, La Clemenza di Tito, Gianni Schicchi, Rigoletto and the cover for the Fairy Godmother in Massenet’s Cendrillon. Young Eun completed her Masters of Music Degree in vocal performance from the Peabody Conservatory. She also has a BM and MM degree from Sungshin Women’s University in South Korea and she graduated both degrees at the top of her class, and was a scholarship student. In Korea she has appeared in a number of prestigious concerts, most notably the Young Budding Artists of Korea Celebration in 2008 and 2012. Ms. Lee is certainly a young budding artist on the rise and she has a career of distinction ahead of her. She hopes to continue her training the United States.
GISELLA MILLA, SOPRANO
Peruvian soprano Gisella Milla recently received her Bachelor’s Degree from The Chicago College of Performing Arts. She performed as soprano Soloist for the Annual Holiday Messiah Concert 2014/2015 season with Hinsdale Chorale. Gisella also received the Presser Foundation Undergraduate Scholar Award (2014-2015) for her senior year and she performed as the leading role of Calisto in the opera “La Calisto” at Roosevelt University. In the past two years, she won 3rd place in the Chicago Nats College Classical Competition in the second year graduate division twice and performed the United States national anthem along with the Peruvian national anthem for the Consulate General of Peru in Chicago as part of their Independence Day celebration. Gisella started her voice training in 2008 while finishing her Major in Communications in Peru and since then she has been completely devoted to following her passion for opera performance. She gained on-stage experience performing as a soloist and among others in the Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Perú and with the Peruvian National choir in several Peruvian opera seasons and throughout her Roosevelt study time. Most recently, Gisella performed as a soloist in the 140th Anniversary celebration of the Hispanic Masonic community of New York and participated as a finalist for a full time resident artist position in the Heartland Sings organization. She is currently strongly concentrated on her singing career and she is preparing for upcoming competitions and auditions.
ANNA PARKS, MEZZO-SOPRANO
Anna Parks is a young Wisconsin-based lyric mezzo-soprano, currently earning her masters degree in voice at Chicago College of Performing Arts through Roosevelt University, where she is a student of Mark Crayton. Anna recently performed under the direction of Christopher Bell and Carlos Kalmar in the Grant Park Chorus’ Apprentice Chorale during the summer of 2015. Recently performing in the Chicago premiere of Respighi's La bella dormente nel bosco, Anna will also be premiering a new opera, Connla and the Fairy Maiden, by composer Heidi Joosten this coming fall. This world premiere will be showcased in CCPA's annual Opera Fest. Anna will also be performing the role of Nerone in Montiverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea this coming season. Anna was recently seen as The Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors by Menotti with the La Crosse Symphony Orchestra, Lola in Douglas Moore's Gallantry, as well as Belinda in Purcell's Dido and Aeneas. Anna grew up performing in the Minnesota Opera's youth chorus, as well as in their summer opera programs. She is currently a performance workshop instructor at Chicago Performing Arts Academy, teaching performance and audition technique to children.
SARAH RICHARDSON, SOPRANO
Sarah Richardson, soprano, holds a Master of Music degree from UW-Milwaukee and a Bachelor of Music degree from Viterbo University. A native of Wisconsin, Sarah is now pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at UW-Madison, studying with Paul Rowe. After winning Bel Canto Chorus’s Regional Artists Competition in 2013, Sarah performed as their soprano soloist in Carmina Burana. Sarah was recently seen as Barbarina (Le Nozze di Figaro) with the Lyric Opera Studio Weimar in Germany. She performed the roles of Miss Wordsworth (Albert Herring and Königin der Nacht (Die Zauberflöte) for the University Opera in Madison. Other opera credits include Phyllis (Iolanthe), Eurydice (Orpheus in the Underworld), and Laetitia (The Old Maid and the Thief). Sarah currently resides in Milwaukee and is also an avid performer of chamber and concert work.
CATHERYNE SCHUMAN, SOPRANO
Catheryne Shuman, soprano (Fishers, Indiana) has been seen on the stages at Chautauqua Opera (Apprentice Artist 2015) where she covered Lady Macbeth, Sarasota Opera (Studio Artist 2014) where she covered Leonora in Il Trovatore and sang Isaure in Verdi's Jerusalem, and Chicago Opera Theater (Young Artist 2012-2013) where she covered several roles including First Lady in The Magic Flute and the title role in Verdi's Giovanna d’Arco. She also had the pleasure to perform in the Chicago premiere of Daron Aric Hagen’s Amelia as Aunt Helen. Catheryne won the Second Prize in the Young Patronesses of the Opera Competition (2015), was a Wisconsin District Winner of the Metropolitan National Council Auditions (2014), and was a semifinalist in the international competition, the Elizabeth Connell Prize for Dramatic Sopranos (2014).
KATHERINE WEBER, SOPRANO
Katherine Weber, a native of Holmen, Wis., is a recent graduate of the Master of Music program at Indiana University and is a student of Costanza Cuccaro. Weber received her bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from Viterbo University and was a student of Dan Johnson-Wilmot. While at Indiana she was the recipient of the Bain Fellowship. During her time at Indiana she performed the role of Suor Genovieffa in Suor Angelica, and the title role of both Catherine in A View from the Bridge, and Hanna Glawari in The Merry Widow. This past summer Katherine was an apprentice artist at Central City Opera where she covered Violetta in La Traviata and performed Violetta in the Family performance. She performed the role of La Paysanne in Don Quichotte chez la Duchesse. She also spent the summer of 2014 at Central City Opera as a Bonfils-Stanton Studio artist. While there she covered the role of Kitty Hart in Deadman Walking, and performed in the chorus of Le nozze di Figaro, and Sound of Music. She also performed numerous scenes. Ms. Weber received the Award in Excellence and Lew Cady Memorial Award during both her summers at Central City Opera. This spring Katherine performed in a program for PBS in celebration of Viterbo University’s 125th Anniversary. Her other opera credits include Cathleen in Riders to the Sea, Katie in Plain and Fancy, and Suor Angelica in Suor Angelica. Katherine is a four time encouragement award winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Weber is also the winner of both the Intermediate and Advanced Voice categories at the Schubert Club competition in St. Paul, Minnesota. She also performed at the Ordway Center in St. Paul, Minn., for its twenty-fifth anniversary celebration concert. Weber is the winner of the National Society of Arts and Letters voice competition.
LUKE SELKER, TENOR
Luke Selker is a full-voiced American tenor based out of Appleton, WI. Luke recently completed his B.M. at Belmont University in Music Performance, and has spent the year thereafter studying with vocal acoustician and teacher, Kenneth Bozeman in Wisconsin at the Lawrence Conservatory privately. Some of Luke’s achievements include being a multiple-time NATS finalist, winning Belmont’s Concerto Competition, working part time with the Nashville Opera in college as a singer, performing as the tenor soloist in the world premiere of Ian Good’s On Death with the NCO recently, and winning the opportunity to study in a Masterclass setting with world-renowned Mezzo-Soprano, Denyce Graves. Roles Luke has performed include Chevalier de la Force from Dialogues des Carmelites, Vasek from Prodana Nevesta, Peter Quint from the Turn of the Screw, Alberto from L’Occasione fa il Ladro, Sweeney Todd in Sweeney Todd, and Don Basilio from Le Nozze di Figaro.
SHEILA WILHELMI, MEZZO-SOPRANO
Sheila Wilhelmi is a senior from Cary, IL. A mezzo-soprano studying with Professor James Doing, Sheila is pursuing a degree in Music Education. Through the University Opera program at UW-Madison, Sheila has had the opportunity to play a Second Lady in Die Zauberflöte and Florence in Albert Herring. Additionally, she was in the chorus of Medea with the UW Madrigal Singers. In high school, Sheila played Fantine in Les Misérables and Hope Cladwell in Urinetown. Sheila is the recipient of the Gertrude Cunningham Campbell & John Ray Campbell, Jr. Scholarship in Voice as well as the JoAnne Brown-Krause Music Education Excellence Award.