Participants 2005
Nicole Lee Aiossa Nathan Baer Javier Borda Victoria Browers Paulette Labbe-Chaisson Andrew Cummings Deleen Davidson
Sequina DuBose Lucy Finkel Esther Heidi Hickman Kelly Ingram Doug Jabara Janelle Laurenti Chia-Wei Lee
Robert Mack Stephanie McGuire Stacey Murdock Hector Palacio Benjamin Polite Michelle Pretto Stephanie Reiss
Ricardo Rossa Rafaelito Ross Lucia Salas Luke Scott DeAndre Simmons Jamila Sockwell Noah Stewart
Michael Szczesniak Nicole Vogel Lauren Sangwon Woo        
 
Nicole Lee Aiossa has performed such roles as Musetta (La Bohème), Alice (Falstaff), Susanna (Il Segretto di Susanna), title role in Camilla, Yum-Yum (The Mikado), Mabel (The Pirates of Penzance) and Maria (West Side Story). She has performance with the American Singer’s Opera Project, North Jersey Philharmonic and Chelsea Opera She is a Career Bridges Scholarship Winner.

   
Nathan Baer studied with Antoine Cordahi for six years. Under Cordahi’s direction and also David Effron, Jerry Floriano, John Greere, John Poole and Cinthia Alireti, Nathan has soloed in works from Baroque to Modern and from Spirituals and Broadway to opera, oratorio and Mass.
 

   
Javier Borda studied at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Vienna after reading History and History of Art at the Universidad de Navarra (Spain). He started his postgraduate studies in London at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with Rudolf Piernay He has performed roles such as Figaro, Masetto, Leporello, Don Iñigo Gómez, Collatinus and King Tartaglia (UK premiere of Jonathan Dove’s The Little Green Swallow) among others. Concerts include Aula Universität in Salzburg with the Salzburger Kammerphilharmonie. Masterclasses include names such as Graham Johnson, Malcolm Martineau, Dalton Baldwin and the prestigious Samling Foundation Masterclasses.

 

   
Victoria Browers earned a Master of Music in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy at Westminster Choir College this past May. At Westminster she sang the role of Gretel in Hansel and Gretel. In 2003, she earned a Bachelor of Music degree in vocal performance from Ohio Wesleyan University. At OWU she performed many roles including Norina in Don Pasquale and Cosette in Bohemios. In addition to her college studies, she has sung in the Crittenden Opera Studio in Boston and, for two summers, was a participant in the Songfest Young Artist Program in California.
 
   
Paulette Labbe-Chaisson will be performing the roles of Leonora and Norma at the Opera in the Heights this upcoming season. Other roles that she has performed include: Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, Olympia and Giulietta in Tales of Hoffman, Norina in Don Pasquale and Amina in La Sonnambula. She has appeared as a soloist for muliple concerts with the United Nations International Choir. In 1999-2001, she was a finalist in the Leontyne Price Competition in Dallas. She received her Bachelor of Music Degree from the University of Houston where she studied with Debria Brown. She currently studies voice with Ms. Lois Alba in Houston.
 
   
Andrew Cummings was born in Maine and is performing on concert and opera stages in the US and Europe. He performed to a rave review in a world premier of To One in Paradise with the Bachanalia Orchestra at Merkin Hall in NYC. He sang in the world premier of The Last Leaf with the North Czech Philharmonic in the Czech Republic. He has sung with Opera Delaware, Lake George Opera, the Janiec Opera Company and many more. His operatic roles include Escamillo in Carmen, Sparafucile in Rigoletto, Il Re in Aïda, and Colline in La Bohème. Andrew currently lives in Philadelphia and studies voice with Dr. Thomas Houser.
 
   
Deleen Davidson graduated in History from the University of New Orleans, with an emphasis on Fine Art, Music and German. She received a Rotary Scholarship and a Fulbright Grant to study painting and music in Germany and Austria, holding internships at the Karlsruhe Opera House, and the Feldkirch Musik Hochschule. She performs extensively in the Southern region, and is frequently on the Musical Theatre stage. She made her opera debut as Zerlina in Pergolesi’s La Serva Padrona, followed by roles with the New Orleans Opera as Countess Ceprano in Rigoletto and Lola in Cavalleria Rusticana. She is currently a student of Ruth Falcon.
 
   
Sequina DuBose most recently, she portrayed Erisbe in Francesco Cavalli’s, L’Ormindo, with George Mason Opera Theatre. She has performed with the Philadelphia Opera Company in a production of Gershwins Porgy and Bess and 2nd Lady in Mozart’s The Magic Flute, with the Intermezzo Summer Opera Festival. She has received 1st place in the Virginia District NATS Competition and the Leontyne Price Vocal Arts Competition for Emerging Artists. She currently resides in Virginia where she studies voice with Patricia Miller and pursues a Masters of Music degree in vocal performance at George Mason University.
 
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Lucy Finkel just finished her undergraduate work at Grand Valley State this spring with a degree in vocal performance under the instructions of Dale Schriemer and Kathryn Stieler. At GVSU she had the opportunity to perform the roles of Marenka in the Bartered Bride and Rose Maurrant in Street Scene. She also performed the role of Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi in 2003 with the American Singers Opera Project in New York City. She will continue her studies in the fall at New England Conservatory in Boston.
 
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Esther Heidi Hickman, a native southern Californian, is the daughter of an Austrian father and Equadorian mother. She holds a B.A. in Music Performance from UCLA and has participated in the Blanche Thebom Young Artists Opera Apprentice Program in San Francisco. Having sung leading roles in Die Zauberflöte, Dido and Aeneas, Così fan tutte, A Hand of Bridge, The Waltz King, and numerous opera scenes, she has also appeared in various solo recitals, recordings, and premières of new vocal compositions. During the upcoming year she will perform Siébel in Faust, Tebaldo in Don Carlo, and a young shepherd in Tannhäuser.
 
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Kelly Ingram is working on her Master’s degree at Brooklyn College Conservatory. There she performed Jenny in the Ned Rorem opera Three Sisters Who Are Not Sisters and Loletta in La Rondine. She completed her Bachelor’s degree at the University of NV, Reno where she performed Pamina in The Magic Flute. With the NV Opera Kelly has participated in their studio tour of The Magic Flute as the Queen of the Night.
 
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Doug Jabara was recently featured as the baritone soloist in “This Sacred Ground”, a David Diamond setting of the Gettysburg Address, with the Kingsborough Community College and Orchestra. He also recently sang a concert version of the title role of Rigoletto with the Manhattan Lyric Opera at the Mauch Chunk Opera House in Jim Thorpe, PA. This past March he sang Escamillo in Carmen with One World Symphony in New York City and the Boss in the world premier of contemporary composer Stefam Weisman’s Meeting at Princeton University. He has sung: Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia in St. Barths Music Festival and Sharpless in Opera Colorado’s Madama Butterfly. www.douglasjabara.com
 
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Janelle Laurenti was recently seen with Opera San José as Musetta in La bohème and Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni. She appeared last season with OSJ as Mercedes in Carmen. She was also seen as the 2nd Lady (Die Zauberflöte), and returned as Prince Orlovsky (Die Fledermaus). Her previous roles include the 1st Lady (Die Zauberflöte) with Apollo Opera, Frasquita (Carmen) with Sacramento Opera, and the title roles in Carmen and Tosca with Townsend Opera Players. She was the 1999 Metropolitan Opera National Council Regional Winner as well as the recipient of the Italian Cultural Institute Award, the Gertrude F. Meyer Scholarship.
 
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Chia-Wei Lee, a native of Taiwan, received his doctoral degree in voice from Ohio State University. Currently on the faculty of Trinity University, he has appeared in several productions of the Lyric Opera of San Antonio. His recent performances of Ford in Falstaff and Don Giovanni with the American Singers Opera Project in New York City have earned him considerable artistic attention. He recently made his Alice Tully Hall debut as the soloist in the Yellow River Cantata. He was also seen as Marcello in La Bohème with the North Jersey Symphony, Monterone in Rigoletto for Lyric Opera San Antonio and Germont in La Traviata for Opera Kent.
 
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Robert Mack is a native of New Jersey. His career highlights include: Goro in Madama Butterfly, Remendado in Carmen, the Ballad Singer in Of Mice and Men, Pong in Turandot, Curzio in The Marriage of Figaro, Spoletta in Tosca, Arturo in Lucia Di Lammermoor and Sportin’ Life in Porgy and Bess, all at New York City Opera. Mr. Mack also made his Opera Carolina debut as Sportin’ Life in Porgy and Bess. He was formally tenor soloist for The Alvin Ailey American Dance Company. Robert toured with the Nationally claimed “Three Mo’ Tenors” and is co-founder of Opera Noire.
 
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Stephanie McGuire made her debut with the Boston Classical Orchestra in March 2004 as Donna Eleonora in Salieri’s First the Music then the Words. In December 2004, Stephanie appeared with the Key West Symphony in an acclaimed performance of Bernstein’s Jeremiah Symphony. After singing these roles with Martina Arroyo’s Prelude to Performance training program with Maestro Willie Anthony Waters, Stephanie will cover Marcellina at New Jersey Opera Theater’s Summer Vocal Institute, with Maestro Michael Recchiuti. She holds an M.M. from the Longy School of Music and a Ph.D. in Psychoacoustics from Oxford University.
 
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Stacey Murdock is a favorite among Portland, Oregon audiences. He has performed over eleven operatic roles, including the title role in Gianni Schicchi, Figaro in Le Nozze di Figaro, Leporello in Don Giovanni, Don Magnifico in La Cenerentola, Papageno in Die Zauberflöte, and Don Quixote in Man of La Mancha. Mr. Murdock has participated in master classes with Sherrill Milnes, Marilyn Horne, Jerome Hines, Christopher Mattaliano, and several other renowned artists. His upcoming engagements include Dr. Dulcamara in L’Elisir d’Amore for the Portland Opera Fest and his Portland Opera debut as Junius in The Rape of Lucretia.
 
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Hector Palacio born in Tabasco Mexico, is a graduate of the National University of Mexico. He made his opera debut with the Opera de Bellas Artes singing the Slave in Strauss’ Salome. Since then, he has performed Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi and Hoffmann in Les Contes d’Hoffmann; Fenton in Falstaff and Rinuccio; Wataru in the U.S. premiere of Kesa To Morito, a Japanese opera; and recently, Rodolfo in La bohème with the North Jersey Philharmonic and Javier in Luisa Fernanda. This season he has appeared with Dicapo Opera and made his Carnegie Hall debut. He is a recipient of a fellowship from Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes. Future dates include Paco in La vida breve and Alfredo in La Traviata.
 
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Benjamin Polite hails from Atlanta, GA. He has appeared, on several occasions, with the Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra, The Atlanta Opera Chorus and The Atlanta Opera Company. Ben participated in the American Institute of Musical Studies (AIMS) an intensive study program in Graz, Austria. He is known for his powerful bass voice and has been touted as the next Paul Robeson.
 
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Michelle Prett graduated St. Peter’s High School in New Brunswick, NJ. She caught the opera bug at University of Arizona.  She was taught by a number of leading teachers in the field including Steven Schnurman, Rita Shane, Robert White and Mike Mitchell. In 2000, she began lessons with Loretta Di Franco, who recently retired from the Metropolitan Opera. She currently is principle cantor at St. Mary of Mount Virgin Church and at St. Francis of Assisi Church. She was a featured performer at the Shaker Mountain Performing Arts Festival in Pittsfield, MA. She was recently featured in the film Slingshot starring Juliana Margulies, David Arquette, and Balthezar Getty. She is fluent several languages.
 
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Stephanie Reiss received her bachelor of music degree at Indiana University, and is currently pursuing her master’s degree at Manhattan School of Music. She is a student of Joan Patenaude-Yarnell. Stephanie is originally from Ontario, Canada, but grew up in Ocala, Florida. Stephanie has performed a variety of scenes at both IU and MSM, and cherishes those experiences. Stephanie has given recitals in both Canada and the United States, and has been a featured soloist with the Central Florida Symphony. She was last seen in the MSM’s Baroque Aria Ensemble’s staged productions of A. Scarlatti’s Venire, Ragione, e Amore and Il primo omicido.
 
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Ricardo Rosa was born in Puerto Rico, he began his musical studies as a clarinetist at the Escuela Libre de Musica Antonio Paoli and later at the University of Puerto Rico, where his vocal talents were discovered. He has studied with Justino Diaz and Enid Gonzalez at the Conservatory of Puerto Rico. He appeared first in Madame Butterfly for Opera de Puerto then the Herald in Otello for Teatro de la Opera and the Mandarin in Turandot for the Casals Festival. Other appearances include John the Baker in the world premiere of The Queen’s Mirror, and Rabbi David in L’amico Fritz.
 
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Rafealito R. Ross is a native of Washington, DC. He earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance from George Mason University. He has performed the roles of: The First Rock Singer in Bernstein’s Mass; David in A Hand of Bridge; Ferrando in Cosi Fan Tutte; The Conductor in La Divina; King Kaspar in Amahl and the Night Vistors; Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi; and Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus. In 2003, he made his debut with the Old Bridge Chamber Orchestra as soloist in Handel’s Messiah and returned for the 2004 performances. He performed as a featured soloist in St. Moritz, Switzerland and Salzburg, Austria.
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Lucia Salas is a winner of the Forderpreis of the “Silvia Geszty” International Coloratura Singing Competition and has received several other distinctions in Mexico and abroad. She has performed as soloist with the Luxemburg Philharmonic Orchestra and Paul Constantinescu Philharmonic in Romania, as well as the most important orchestras in Mexico including Bellas Artes National Opera Orchestra, New World Orchestra and Mexico City Philharmonic Orchestra. Her 2005/2006 seasons includes the Vermont International Opera Festival, the Illinois Symphony, and the New Philharmonia of Hong Kong.
 
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Luke Scott received his Bachelor of Music in May 2005 from the Hartt School. During his studies he received awards from the Chautauqua Inst., Aspen Music Festival, and Martina Arroyo Foundation. His first operatic role was that of Guglielmo in Cosi Fan Tutte in 2001. In 2002 Luke performed the role of Quince in Midsummernight's Dream at the Chautauqua Vocal program. Other operatic roles include Junius in Rape of Lucretia, Masetto in Don Giovanni, and Sam in Trouble in Tahiti. This summer he is adding Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro and Belcore in L'elisir D'amore, to his repetoire with Prelude to Performance.
 
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DeAndre Simmons is a recent graduate of the Manhattan School of Music (M.M.) and a alumnus of the Philadelphia Music Academy (B.A.). This San Diego Native is equally at home in opera, concert, and recital. Recent engagements have included recitals in Philadelphia and New York. His roles include Papageno in Die Zauberflöte; Guglielmo in Cosi Fan Tutte; Sam in Un Ballo in Maschera; Morales in Carmen; Leporello in Don Giovanni; and others. He has performed in Mozart's Requiem, Handel’s Messiah and Dubois' Seven Last Words. He is a recipient of the Singer's Development Grant and George London Encouragement Award.
 
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Jamila Amala Sockwell is a native of Brooklyn, New York. She has performed with One World Symphony as Alice Ford from Verdi’s Falstaff and Donna Elvira from Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Vi from Gershwin’s Blue Monday and debuted with Robert Bass and the Collegiate Chorale as a Soprano Soloist in Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy in C Minor. She debuted with Regina Opera, as Countess Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro and later joined them as the Mother in Hansel and Gretel. She debuted with the North Jersey Philharmonic, as Mimi in Puccini’s La Bohème. She was a soloist in Mahler’s Second Symphony with the South Shore Symphony.
 
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Noah Stewart, A graduate from The Juilliard School of Music, has already distinguished himself in operatic roles such as Acis in Acis & Galatea for the Bach Society at Columbia University, in Susannah at The Palm Beach Opera, Aeneas in Dido & Aeneas at the Juilliard Opera Theater. Recitals have included Columbia University and the Juilliard School as well as solo performances with The Jupiter Symphony. He was a winner of the Palm Beach Opera and the Florida Grand Opera Competitions.
 
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Michael Joseph Szczesniak has recently completed degrees in Vocal and Bassoon Performance at the Ohio State University under the tutelage of Dr. Robin Rice and Prof. Christopher Weait. He has received vocal coaching from Bliss Johnson Virago, Charlie Riecker, Eduardo Villa and Rockwell Blake. A New York native, he has performanced at Carnegie Hall under Kurt Masur and Lukas Foss. He made his NYC debut in 2002 as Fenton in Falstaff and returned the following summer as Rinuccio in Gianni Schicci. He has also appeared as Henrick in A Little Night Music, as Nadir in Les Pechurs de Perles and as Rodolfo in Act III of La Bohème.
 
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Nicole Vogel spent this past season as the mezzo soprano Artist in Residence with Opera Carolina as well as appearing as Mary Stone in Long Leaf Opera’s productions of The Devil and Daniel Webster. Past roles include Jo March in the North Carolina premiere of Adamo’s Little Women, Dorabella (Cosi fan Tutte), Mother (Amahl and the Night Visitors), Meg Page (The Marry Wives of Windsor), 2nd Lady (The Magic Flute) and Virtú (l’incoranazione di Poppea). She received a Master of Music from University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a Bachelors of Music from Ithaca College.
 
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Lauren Sangwon Woo is a native of Seoul, Korea and currently resides in Boston, MA. She studied Voice Performance and Music Education at Seoul National University, Indiana University and Boston University. She has studied with Martina Arroyo, Sarah Arneson, and Chung-Hee Lee. Her roles include Donna Anna (Don Giovanni), Giunia (Lucio Silla), and Echo (Ariadne auf Naxos). She is an Assistant Music Director/Soloist at First Korean Church in Cambridge, MA and she taught choral and vocal classes at Boston Arts Academy. She is the 2nd place winner of the NATS Boston Chapter’s 2005 Song & Aria Competition.
 
 

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