Participants 2015
Miloslav Antonov Emma Bonanno Alexander Boyd Maria Brea Robin Bradley Jacopo Buora Jonathan Callison
Claire Coolen Marisan Corsino Samantha DeStefano Spencer Hamlin Sydney Gabbard James Hunter Jon Jergens
Dominic Johnson Hyona Kim Taekwan Ku Alexander Lee Chungfeng Li Shaina Martinez Lindsay Mecher
Tommy Petrushka Karolina Pilou Xela Pinkerton Brandie Sutton Onadek Winan Hangzhi Yao Young Kwang Yoo
Miloslav Antonov (Sharpless Cover) is a native from Sofia, Bulgaria. He is happy to return to the Martina Arroyo’s program for a third time. Previous engagements with the company include the role of Don Alfonso in 2012 and Figaro (cover) in 2014. He performed the role with Regina opera this past season. As an undergraduate and graduate student at Mannes College he had the opportunity to learn many roles including: Masetto in Don Giovanni; Junius in The Rape of Lucretia; Don Alvaro in Viaggio a Reims; Germano in La scala di seta,; Marco in Gianni Schicchi and most recently Minsk Man in Flight by J. Dove. In 2014 he made appearance in Weill Hall, Carnegie Hall for a recital concert as part of the “Musical Treasures”.
Emma Bonanno (Suzuki Auditor/Mother) is a first-year student at Montreal’s McGill University, pursuing a Master’s degree in Opera and Voice. She completed her undergraduate degree at DePaul University in Chicago, where she performed the roles of Betty in The Threepenny Opera, the Owl in The Cunning Little Vixen, and Inez in The Gondoliers with DePaul Opera Theatre, portions of Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire, and the premiere of Kurt Westerberg’s Vision and Prayer (2011) with the DePaul Ensemble 20+. She also placed 3rd in the DePaul University Kleinman Competition for Voice in 2013. After graduating from DePaul, Emma worked with Chicago Opera Theater’s ‘Opera for All’ outreach program in Chicago public schools, and toured Illinois with Chicago Opera Playhouse’s outreach production of Hansel and Gretel, in which she sang the roles of the Mother and the Witch. In 2013 she gave a recital of Russian and Romantic art songs and arias as part of the Chicago Philharmonic’s NEXT! Initiative, and was a finalist in the Donald Chen Young Artist Award in Chicago in the spring of 2014. Emma has also studied recorder and cello at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music Pre-College Program for eleven years, and has performed as an orchestral musician, chamber musician, and instrumental soloist throughout the United States.
Alexander Boyd (Yamadori) is a baritone from Purcellville, Virginia. Mr Boyd majored in vocal performance at Oberlin Conservatory, and is now based in New York. He placed second in the New York Lyric Opera Theater's 2012 vocal competition, and attends the Manhatan School of Music, where he studies with Mark Oswald. Mr. Boyd was a young artist at both Sarasota Opera and Opera New Jersey in 2012. He has performed Count Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni and Leporello in Don Giovanni, Guglielmo and Don Alfonso in Cosi fan tutte, Papageno in Die Zauberflöte, Belcore in L'elisir d’amore, Krusina in The Bartered Bride, Escamillo in Carmen, Sharpless in Madama Butterfly and Sam in Trouble in Tahiti
Robin Bradley (Marquise cover) a native of Paris, is an undergraduate student at The Juilliard School, where she studies with Edith Bers. She has been awarded a Juilliard Alumni Fund Scholarship, a Leona Gordon Lowin Memorial Scholarship, and is currently a Jerome L. Greene Fellow. She made her operatic debut with the Radio France Philharmonic at age 15, singing the lead role in Henri Tomasi’s Le Colibri at salle Olivier Messiaen in Paris. She was Le feu and Le rossignol in Ravel’s l'Enfant et les sortilèges with the Paris National Opera’s Children’s Choir. She also sang in the Massy Opera house in Vivaldi and Donizetti programs, and made her recital debut in Paris’ salle Cortot. Recently she sang in Charpentier's Acteon with conductor William Christie in New York and Virginia, and she was Bastienne in Mozart's Bastien und Bastienne with the Massy Opera. She sang Lucia in Juilliard production of Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia, she made her Carnegie Hall debut. She has been chosen to participate in Houston Grand Opera young artists program and will be Clara next season in Porgy and Bess with the Baltimore Symphonic Orchestra and conductor Marin Alsop. Ms. Winan’s competition prizes include Jury's Prize in the International Singing Competition of Marmande, 1st prize in Les Maitres du chant Francais,and Most Promising Singer Prize in the Canari Vocal Competition. She graduated from the Ecole Normale de Musique and studied at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musiqueboth in Paris. She also graduated from the Conservatoire National de Région where she studied piano and music theory.
Maria Fernanda Brea (Marie) is a native of Caracas, Venezuela. She recently made her debut with West Bay Opera in Palo Alto, CA. In 2013 she participated in the Martina Arroyo Foundation’s Prelude to Performance program in New York City. In 2010, She has performed Donna Anna in Don Giovanni at the Teatro Don Bosco and Teatrex. Ms. Brea was the soprano soloist in the premiere of The Missa Appassionata by Steven Schalchlin in June 2014 at the Christ Church Bay Ridge. She sang with the Russian Romance Songs ensemble in Manhattan School of Music’s Winter Chamber Festival directed by Raymond Beegle. In Caracas, Ms. Brea has presented concerts at the Ateneo de Caracas’ Museo del Transporte and Museo de Bellas Artes. She is currently a student of Ashley Putnam at the Manhattan School of Music, where she will receive her Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance in 2015. Shehas participated in master classes with Diana Soviero, Eric Owens, Tito Capobianco and Susanna Frangi. Ms. Brea received her first musical instruction at the “Escuela Superior de Musica Jose Angel Lamas” in Caracas and Music Education at “Instituto Pedagogico de Miranda”. Ms. Brea comes from a family ofmusicians. Marias’s father cultivated in her the practice of traditional Venezuelan music since the age of four.
Jacopo Buora (Sulpice) is an Italian bass-baritone currently residing in New York City. He recently performed Bartolo and Antonio in Le nozze di Figaro with Regina Opera, Count Walter in Luisa Miller with dell'Arte Opera Ensemble, Pasquale in the American premiere of Donizetti's Olivo e Pasquale, and Schaunard in La bohème, both with Amore Opera. He has studied music from an early age, and also holds Master's degrees in Philosophy and Psychology. He currently studies with Armen Boyajian.
Jonathan Callison (Hortensius) baritone, is a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music with his master’s degree in vocal performance. While in school, John performed the role of Donald Gallup in The Mother of Us All, and also performed in Thaïs and Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny. Since graduation in 2013, John has performed as Marchese D’Obigny in the Martina Arroyo Prelude to Perfomance’s production of La Traviata, The Drunken Poet in dell’Arte Opera Ensemble’s production of The Fairy Queen, Tom/John in Chelsea Opera’s The Face on the Barroom Floor. Next up is Guglielmo in Così fan tutte with Opera at USC.
The rising young soprano Claire Coolen (Marie cover) is a recent graduate of the Manhattan School of Music where has performed Gilda in Rigoletto, Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, Nanetta in Falstaff, Marie in La Fille du Régiment, and Mrs. Winemiller in Lee Hoiby’s Summer and Smoke. The New York Times described her performance as “Winningly portrayed” and the New York Daily Post quoted “Claire Coolen stole the show”. This coming season she will sing the role of Gilda in Rigoletto with Opera Tampa. Last season she debuted Opera Tampa as Papagena in The Magic Flute. She has also performed the Governess in Britten’s Turn of the Screw at the Banff Opera Theatre in Banff, Alberta where she received the Royal Bank of Canada Award in Excellence and the Calgary Herald quoted “Best of all, though, was the convincing portrait created by soprano Claire Coolen’s in the central character of the opera”. Most recently she performed Dorinda in Handel’s Orlando with the Siena Music Festival in Siena, Italy, and the role of Hannah in Martin Bresnik’s new opera My Friends Story at The international Festival of Arts and Ideas at Yale University. Claire is presently filming the role of Musetta in the motion picture film The Bohemians, a modern adaptation of Puccini’s La Boheme due for release in May 2013. (
Mezzo-soprano Marisan Corsino (Suzuki cover) has captivated audiences with her deep and honey tone voice and alluring stage presence. Her operatic credits include the roles of Carmen with the UGA Opera Theatre and the Sherman Symphony, Florence Pike in Britten’s Albert Herring with the Meadows Opera Theatre, Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro with the Amalfi Coast Music Festival, Prince Orlovsky in Die Fledermaus with the Regal Opera and Giannetta in L’Elisir d’amore with the Musica e Musica Festival in Italy . She has also preformed scenes in Bellini’s Norma (Adalgisa) and Rossini’s L’Italiana in Algeri (Isabella) with the Rossini Orchestra in Italy, and Verdi’s Rigoletto (Maddalena) with the Janiec Opera Company. While pursuing her studies at the New England Conservatory of Music she performed several operas including Cavalli’s La Calisto and Mozart’s The Magic Flute. Ms. Corsino was a soloist with the Fort Worth Symphony in 2013. In Europe she has performed in Spain, Austria and Italy. She studied at the New England Conservatory of Music, graduating with a Bachelor and a Master of Music in Vocal Performance.
Samantha DeStefanoo (Marie Auditor) is a former Young Artist with Opera Theater of Pittsburgh where she covered the roles of Stella in Les Contes d'Hoffmann and Mrs. Nordstrom in A Little Night Music. She has also been seen as the title role in Princess Ida and as Princess Zara in Utopia Limited with The Pittsburgh Savoyards. During her college career, Ms. DeStefano performed several roles including Angelina in Trial by Jury, Liberty from Milton Granger’s The Proposal, and Frasquita in Carmen. She most recently joined Pittsburgh Opera’s professional chorus and was seen appearing as Bianca in their season opening production of Verdi’s Otello. As a local sports fan, Ms. DeStefano has been heard singing the National Anthem for her hometown team, the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. Ms. DeStefano is a native of Pittsburgh, PA, and holds a B.M. in Vocal Performance from the West Virginia University College of Creative Arts.
With extraordinary vitality, Sydney Gabbard (Marie Auditor) is infusing a fresh presence into the opera world, establishing herself as a young artist on the rise. Sydney has performed both in Europe and throughout the United States. Her captivating energy brings characters to life in ways seldom seen before on the operatic stage. Critics adored Sydney’s portrayal of Musetta in Puccini’s La Bohème, with Local Reference suggesting she “seized her scenes with vocal strength and projected a different comically energetic, occasionally erotic, view of the character.” Sydney’s clarity of tone coupled with her natural rich sound fuels her versatility as an artist. Sydney has performed the roles of Emily Webb, in the Pacific Northwest debut of Ned Rorem’s Our Town, Gretel, Hansel and Gretel, Lucia in the The Rape of Lucretia, and most recently Despina, in Cosi fan tutte. Press appreciated Sydney’s Despina, or her blazing, almost manic energy, that she brought to the stage.
Spencer Hamlin (Tonio) is currently pursuing a Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance at the University of Connecticut studying under Dr. Constance Rock. Spencer was named one of the Graduate Winners of the 2013 UConn Concerto Competition. He received 1st place in the College II Division of the 2012 NATS Competition. Most recently he received an Honorable Mention in the 2014 Amici Competition with Opera Theater of Connecticut. While at UConn, Spencer’s roles have included Count Almaviva in Barber of Seville, the title role in Albert Herring, Tamino in Magic Flute, Judge Danforth in The Crucible, Fritz (cover) in The Grand Duchess of Gérolstein, and Dr. Blind in Die Fledermaus. Spencer sang the role of Percy Grainger in the U.S. premiere of Justin Dello Joio’s Blue Mountain. He sang the role of Laurie in Little Women as well as Henrik Egerman in A Little Night Music with Hartford Opera Theater. This past Summer Spencer made his debut with Opera Theater of Connecticut as Parpignol in La Bohème, and will be singing the role of Dr. Blind in their 2015 production of Die Fledermaus. Spencer also recently debuted with Connecticut Lyric Opera as the Vendor of Pets in Der Rosenkavalier, and Count Almaviva in Barber of Seville. Spencer also sings with VOCE. This Spring, Spencer will sing the role of Nemorino in Elixir of Love with UConn Opera Theater.
James Hunter (Goro cover) is a second-year masters student in Opera Performance at The Boston Conservatory. Hunter most recently sang the role of Lindoro in Rossini’s L’Italiana in Algeri (The Boston Conservatory) with other operatic credits including Tamino in Die Zauberflöte (TBC) as well as covering the role of The Ringmaster last summer in The Bartered Bride (Boston Midsummer Opera). Upcoming projects include covering the role of Tom Rakewell in The Rake’s Progress (TBC). A versatile artist, this coming May will mark Hunter’s New England debut as a concert soloist, joining the Newburyport Choral Society for performances of Mozart’s Mass in C minor. His engagements have taken him around the greater DC Metropolitan area to Christ Lutheran Church, St. Luke's Church, St. Ambrose Catholic Church, the Takoma Park Seventh-Day Adventist Church, and the University United Methodist Church. In May 2013 he graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park with a degree in Vocal Performance and a minor in Germanic Studies where he studied with soprano Carmen Balthrop. While attending University of Maryland he performed scenes from Mozart's Idomeneo, Così fan tutte, as well as in the chorus of the Maryland Opera Studio's productions of Die Zauberflöte, Dominick Argento's Miss Havisham's Fire, and Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia. He made his operatic stage debut as Monostatos in Die Zauberflöte (Hub Opera Ensemble). Hunter currently studies with Patty Thom.
Dominic Johnson (Imperial Commissioner), will perform Masetto in Don Giovanni and cover the role of Father in Hansel and Gretel in the Opera Memphis 2014-2015 season. Mr. Johnson will also be performing the title role in Le Nozze di Figaro at the University of Memphis this fall. Other roles include Leporello in Don Giovanni, Junius in Rape of Lucretia, Sam in Trouble in Tahiti, Papageno in The Magic Flute, and Guglielmo in Cosi Fan Tutte. Mr. Johnson was The Lyric Opera of Kansas City Apprentice from 2012-2014. He has also appeared with Seagle Music Colony in New York, Opera in the Ozarks, and The Boston Early Music Festival. He received his M.M. at The University of Kansas and his B.M. at Oberlin Conservatory. Mr. Johnson is an Opera Memphis Artist-in-Residence, and he is pursuing an Artist Diploma at the University of Memphis
Jon Jurgens (Pinkerton cover),hailed by Opera News as, “…a surprise discovery, an affable, open-throated Italianate tenor with a full, easy top and real lyric bloom…” established himself as a versatile young talent with a wide range of repertoire. Most recently, he performed the roles of Steuerman in Der fliegende Holländer and Raymond in Verdi’s rarely performed Jérusalem, both with Sarasota Opera. As a studio artist with Sarasota, he has also sung the roles of Curley in Of Mice and Men, Borsa in Rigoletto and has covered Edoardo in Un giorno di regno and the Duke in Rigoletto. Jon is very excited to make his Boston Lyric Opera debut as Gastone in La traviata while covering the role of Alfredo. Also in the 2013-2014 season, Mr. Jurgens had the pleasure of making his debut with Chautauqua Opera, performing the roles of Fenton in Falstaff and Bob Boles in Peter Grimes. In 2012, Mr. Jurgens was a member of the Indianapolis Opera Ensemble. He was also and apprentice artist at Des Moines Metro Opera where he covered the role of Ruggero in Puccini’s La rondine. The highlight of Mr. Jurgens’ 2011 season was performing the role of Ruggero with Martina Arroyo’s Prelude to Performance program. Mr Jurgens completed his graguate work at The Ohio State Univerisity, where he performed the title role in the American stage premiere of Handel’s Faramondo. Other credits at the university include Mr. Upfold in Albert Herring, and Don Basilio in Le nozze di Figaro.
Hyona Kim (Suzuki) was a finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions to perform with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra conducted by Marco Armiliato at Lincoln Center. In 2013, she was the Grand Winner of the Joy in Singing Competition and performed the Recital in Merkin Concert Hall in New York City. She was also a First Prize winner of the Gerda Lissner Competition, and a multiple grant winner at the Licia Albanese-Puccini and Giulio Gari Competitions. She has won the Suri Competiton and the Schubert Lied Competition in her native country, South Korea, where she received her Bachelor’s degree at Ewha Womans University. She earned her Master’s degree and Professional Studies Diploma from Mannes College of Music in New York City. While with the Mannes Opera, she performed many roles under Maestro Joseph Colaneri such as Dorabella in Cosi fan tutte and Marcellina in Le nozze di Figaro. Apart from Mannes College of Music, she has performed in opera and concert, including Hermia in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Israel’s International Vocal Arts Institute, Suzuki in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly with Opera Lancaster and Dame Quickly in Verdi’s Falstaff with the Martina Arroyo Foundation. She made her Houston Grand Opera debut originating the role of Hal-Mo-Ni (grandmother) in Jeeyoung Kim’s From My Mother’s Motherat HGOco. She has sung with the Nashville Symphony and the Sinfonia da Camera as the soloist in Handel’s Messiah and Verdi’s Requiem respectively
Taehwan Ku (Pinkerton), is a first-year master's degree candidate at Manhattan School of Music under the tutelage of Mark Oswald. Taehwan was selected for the project of dispatching students to the ‘Junge Oper’ course at the Hanover Opera Theater in Germany in February 2012. He receive the grand prize in vocal music and the first prize in the university students section at the Music Journal Competition. and he also receive the grand prize and the first prize in the university students section at '2013 Korea Young artist competition' at 2013 december. He played Rodolfo in La Bohème with Yonsei University at 2012 and also Tom Muraco’s Rodolfo in La Bohème with Manhattan School of Music. And other Scene works include Alfredo in La Traviata, Il Duca in Rigoletto, Tamino in Die Zauberflöte, Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus with Yonsei University. Sacco in Sacco and Vanzetti with Manhattan School of Music.
Alexander Lee (Goro) is D.M.A. (Doctor of Music Art) candidate at Mason Gross School of Art, the State University of New Jersey under the tutelage of Dr. Frederick Urrey. This year, he has performed the title role of Candide by Leonard Berstein and going to perform Acis in Acis and Galatea with Opera at Rutgers. In last two years, Alexander performed Ghosts of Versailles, Die Verschworenen, L'Incoronazione di Poppea, Rise and Fall of City of Mahagonny. Mr. Lee was a Soloist of Korea National Theater and K.B.S. (Korean Broadcast station). Also, Mr. Lee was a Sergeant of M.N.D. (Ministry of National Defense) band. He worked as a singer and composer. Moreover, His solo work includes work with Turkish National Symphony Orchestra and Korea National Korean Music Symphony. In addition Mr. Lee was a Pianist of K.B.S. He was the winner in the Korea Singing Competition, Seoul.
Chungfeng Li (Sulpice cover) is a dramatic and very expressive singer. His voice has metallic texture. His acting on stage was described as overwhelming. He performs as an operatic soloist on three continents. He has sung the roles of Bartolo in Le Nozze Di Figaro, Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia, and Masetto in Don Giovanni in concert settings in Italy and France and will perform Osmin from Die Entführung aus dem Serail with Peabody Opera Theater in the Baltimore Lyric Opera House in 2015. ChunFeng won a silver award in Jilin division of the CCTV National Young Singers’ Competition, organized by China Central Television, in 2010. He was awarded Best Performance at Italy’s Orvieto International Vocal Competition in 2007; the same year, he participated in Marmande International Vocal Competition in France and obtained a full scholarship from Marseille Opera Institute. At the Institute, he received private coaching with Jean Paul, a professional coach at the Paris National Conservatory of Music. ChunFeng graduated from Guangzhou Xinghai Conservatory of Music with a Bachelors in Vocal Performance. He currently attends the Peabody Institute as a Masters of Music student under the tutelage of Dr. Stanley Cornett, where he is the recipient of Merit Scholarship.
Shaina Martinez (Marie Auditor/Cousin in Madama Butterfly) has recently graduated from the University of Maryland, majoring in Vocal Performance and minoring in Italian. As a Director’s Scholarship recipient, she studies with Carmen Balthrop and Carlos Cesar Rodriguez. Recently she gained success with her first lead role, Salud, in Manuel de Falla’s La Vida Breve, with the Washington Post hailing her as a “muscular, piercing soprano”. Other operatic experience includes: Die Zauberflöte (Second Lady) and Cendrillon (cover/Prince Charming) at the Siena Opera Festival 2013, Die Zauberflöte (ensemble) and Idomeneo (ensemble) with the Maryland Opera Studio, and an English adaptation of La Clemenza di Tito (ensemble) and several of zarzuela events with The In Series. She was the first undergraduate vocalist to reach the UMSO Concerto Competition Finals in 2013 and was the vocal soloist in DMA Recitals devoted to Brahms and Duparc. She was a soloist in the UMSO performance of Stravinsky’s Mass as well as in the UMRO performance of Carmina Burana. She has performed with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and National Symphony Orchestra for 6 years under the baton of conductors like Mairin Alsop, Matthew Halls, Christoph Eschenbach, and Helmuth Rilling. She traveled to South Korea with the UMD Chamber Singers, as a soloist for the 10th World Symposium on Choral Music. She also received 2nd place in the Sue Goetz Ross Vocal Competition. Upcoming performances include the ensemble for Opera Lafayette's production of L'epreuve villageoisie.
Lindsay Mecher (Kate Pinkerton) is currently a first year fellow at the A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. With the Institute opera scenes program, she has performed the roles of Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Dorabella in Così fan tutte, and Angelina in La Cenerentola. Upcoming roles with the Institute include Prince Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus, and The Secretary in The Consul. She will also make her Piedmont Opera debut as the Third Spirit in The Magic Flute. In connection with the Fletcher Opera Institute, Lindsay has portrayed the title role in John Davies’ Pinocchio in the Outreach Program for Piedmont Opera. Lindsay was recently the soloist in Saint-Saëns’ Oratorio de Noël in Charleston, SC with the Christ Presbyterian Church Concert Choir. This past summer, Lindsay was a young artist at the Chautauqua Institute Voice Program, where she was featured in the scenes program as the Second Lady in The Magic Flute, and Isabella in L’italiana in Algeri and worked with American composer Ricky Ian Gordon. Lindsay is the first place winner of the College Classical Division of the 2013 Chicago NATS competition, and the 2012 North Park University Music Performance Awards and is a three-time recipient of their Bravo Award for Outstanding Performance, which includes the named Marvin and Bruna (Bergonzi) Stevens Memorial Award in 2012, and The Primavera Award in 2013. Lindsay is a graduate of North Park University in Chicago where she was a soloist in Messiah, and sang roles of Mozart and Puccini.
Tommy Petrushka (Corporal) is a Sophomore Vocal Performance and Business Operations dual major at The Ohio State University. Tommy currently studies with Dr. J. Robin Rice and has worked with Dr. C. Andrew Blosser. Tommy has performed roles such as Kenickie from Grease and Jud from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! and will take on the role as Il Commendatore from Mozart’s Don Giovanni in 2015. A native of the Columbus area, Tommy is developing his vocal career in Central Ohio.
Karolina Pilou (Marquise) was born and raised in Athens, Greece where she begun her studies. She continued at Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London, where she gained her BMus(Hons) in 2006. In 2011 she graduated from Mannes, New School in New York, receiving her Professional Studies Diploma. She has sung the roles of Azucena in Verdi’s Il Trovatore at St.Jame’s Piccadilly with E.O.S , Zita in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi in Tel Aviv and Older Woman in J.Dove’s Flight for the British Youth Opera,which lead to her winning the HSBC scholarship prize that year. She also sung the role of Mistress Quickly in the Mannes Opera 2011 Production of Verdi’s Falstaff conducted by Maestro Joseph Colaneri and later that summer reprised the role at the Aspen Music Festival's Production of Falstaff. She won an Encouragement Prize at the Gerda Lissner International Vocal Competition 2010 and 2011, a Grant at the Licia Abanese-Puccini Foundation Vocal Competition 2010 and was also a finalist at the Giulio Gari Foundation Vocal Competition the same year. And in 2012 she was a Grant Winner with Career Bridges Foundation . She was a Young Artist with Des Moines Metro Opera and was accepted as an advanced singer at Dolora Zajick's Institute for Young Dramatic Voices.
Xela Pinkerton (Cio Cio San cover), is currently in her second season with Opera Carolina’s Opera Chorus and was featured as Marguerite in Mosaic Arts’ production of Faust presented in collaboration with Opera Carolina. Xela made her main stage debut with Opera Carolina as the High Priestess in Aida in 2013. In July 2014, Xela made her international debut with the Tucia Operafestival, in Tarquenia, Italy as the title character in Puccini's Suor Angelica. Xela was the recipient of an Encouragement award by the Metropolitan Opera National Council (District of South Carolina) in 2008 and her other awards include Young artist Competition Winner 2007 (Converse College), First Place in category in the National Association for Teachers of Singing Competition in South Carolina and Second Place In the Mid-Atlantic NATS Competition. Xela Pinkerton is a proud graduate of the Converse College Petrie School of Music in Spartanburg, South Carolina where she received both a Bachelors of Music Degree and a Masters of Music Degree in Vocal Performance.
Brandie Sutton (Cio Cio San) first embraced classical music during her undergraduate studies at Oakwood University where she received her B.A. in Music, and immediately following her M.M. in Vocal Performance from The Benjamin T. Rome School of Music at The Catholic University of America. She has performed in most of the United States, Bermuda, St. Maarten, Italy, and Poland. She made her recital debut at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, sponsored by the Vocal Arts Society of Washington, D.C., and a second appearance there with the National Symphony Orchestra shortly after. Ms. Sutton also made her Manhattan recital debut in the Kaufman Music Center's Merkin Concert Hall located in New York City's Lincoln Center. She has guest soloed with the Radio Orpheus Symphony Orchestra out of Moscow, the Krasnoyarsk Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, in the region of Siberia, and the Royal Danish orchestra in Copenhagen, Denmark. Opera performances for Ms. Sutton include the roles of Pamina in Mozart's The Magic Flute, Cleopatra in Handel's Giulio Cesare, Mimi and Musetta in Puccini's La Bohème, Giulietta in Les Contes D'Hoffmann in Martina Arroyo's most prestigious Prelude to Performance program for young emerging artists, and Clara and Bess in Gershwin's Porgy and Bess, debuting Bess in Mexico City's famous Palacio de Bellas Artes. She is a district winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.She credits her gift and all accomplishments to the One who is mostly responsible for them- God.
Hangzhi Yao (Bonzo) is a first-year Master’s student at Manhattan School of Music and studying with Mark Oswald. Has performed as a soloist for Central Conservatory of Music 70 years Celebration, performed in the opening concert for International Enviromental Protection Organization. on behalf of Central Conservatory of Music, performed in Beijing University for Memorial Concert of Schubert, on behalf of Central Conservatory of Music, performed tour in music schools of Beijing as a soloist. Scene work includes Marcello in La Boheme, Germont in La Traviata and the title role in Rigoletto in Central Conservatory of Music.
Young Kwang Yoo (Sharpless) was born in South Korea, where he graduated from the Seoul National University. He is a first-year Master’s degree candidate at Manhattan School of Music under the tutelage of Mark Oswald. Also, he is a recipient of Merit-based Scholarship from Manhattan School of Music. Young Kwang was a 1st-prize winner in the Osaka International Competition, Japan. Previous credits include the title role in Verdi's Rigoletto with Seoul National University, Marcello in La Bohème with Manhattan School of Music and Ben in The Telephone with Te Art Ro Production. Scene work includes Rigoletto, Falstaff with Seoul National University and the Count in Le Nozze di Figaro with Manhattan School of Music. Mr. Yoo has had lots of invited concert and recital in Korea.