MIAMI – JUNE 4, 2014 - Florida Grand Opera (FGO) is pleased to announce the members of its 2014-15 class for its Young Artist Program. These artists, consisting of both new and returning members, were selected from more than 600 aspiring young singers who applied for the coveted program.
Dr. Julie Maykowski, Director of Artistic Administration and Head of the Young Artist Program, stated, “The auditions for the program were outstanding, and the returning Young Artists were extraordinary last season. This year promises some captivating performances by these talented young singers. I can’t wait for our audience to experience the best new artists of the future.”
Tenor Daniel Bates is currently a member of the Apprentice Singer Program at the Santa Fe Opera. He was also recently a Resident Artist with Shreveport Opera, where he was seen as Pong (Turandot) and Nanki-poo (The Mikado). In 2013, Daniel was a Studio Artist with Opera Saratoga, and was previously a Festival Artist with Utah Festival Opera in 2012. A native of Elmira, New York, Daniel holds a master's degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and a bachelor's degree from Ithaca College.
Baritone Isaac Bray is a recent graduate of the Boston University Opera Institute, where he performed Don Giovanni (Don Giovanni) and Riolobo (Catán’s Florencia en el Amazonas) in 2014, Owen Wingrave (Britten’s Owen Wingrave) in 2013, and Barone Douphol (La Traviata) and Des Grieux (Massenet’s Le portrait de Manon) in 2012. This summer, Isaac returns to Central City Opera as an Apprentice Artist to sing the role of Sam (Trouble in Tahiti) and to cover the role of Joseph De Rocher (Heggie’s Dead Man Walking)
Returning Young Artist and mezzo-soprano Raehann Bryce-Davis’s numerous opera credits include her Florida Grand Opera debut as Albine (Thaïs) in 2014, Mama McCourt (Moore’s The Ballad of Baby Doe) with Chautauqua Opera in 2014, Zita (Gianni Schicchi) with Aspen Opera Theater Center in 2013, and the Owl (Chin’s Alice in Wonderland; American premiere) with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis in 2012. She is a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music and the University of Texas at Arlington.
Soprano Hailey Clark’s recent highlights include Leila (The Pearl Fishers) with Fort Worth Opera in 2014, and Despina (Così fan tutte) with North Carolina Opera and Lauretta (Gianni Schicchi) with Opera on the James in 2013. She is also a two-time regional finalist of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, in 2013 and 2011. Hailey received her Master’s Degree in Voice Performance from the University of Michigan, and her bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland.
Cuban-American soprano Betsy Diaz returns to the Florida Grand Opera Young Artist program for a second season after previously appearing as Anna (Nabucco) in 2014. Betsy has been a regional finalist with the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, a semi-finalist in the Marcello Giordani International Voice Competition, and a prize winner in the Palm Beach Opera and Florida Suncoast Opera Guild competitions.
Bass-baritone Chance Eakin’s recent roles include numerous credits with the Butler Opera Center such as Sweeney Todd (Sweeney Todd) in 2014, and Leporello (Don Giovanni) and Harry Hopkins (Hagen’s A Woman in Morocco; world premiere) in 2013. He has also recently appeared with Austin Lyric Opera, Aspen Opera Theater Center, and Opera Saratoga. Originally from Central Texas, Chance holds a master’s degree from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and recently completed doctoral coursework at the University of Texas at Austin.
Cuban-American soprano Rebecca Henriques recently performed the roles of Lucy (The Telephone) with Florida Grand Opera in 2014, Pamina (Die Zauberflöte) with Frost Opera Theater in 2013, Contessa Almaviva (Le Nozze di Figaro) with Frost Opera Theater in 2012, and Miss Wordsworth (Albert Herring) at the University of Illinois in 2010. In 2013, she received the first prize in lyric singing at the Concorso di Escuzione Musicale in Matera, Italy. Rebecca reprises the Contessa with the Miami Summer Music Festival in June before returning to Florida Grand Opera for her second season as a Young Artist.
Baritone Will Hughes recently received his Master of Music Degree in Voice Performance and Pedagogy from Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey. Recent roles with Westminster Opera include Marco (Gianni Schicchi) and Schlemi/Crespel (Les Contes d'Hoffmann) in 2013, and Demetrius (Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream) in 2012. Will hails from Dallas, Texas and earned his Bachelor of Music Degree in Voice Performance from Wheaton College, where he was the recipient of the Ben Heppner Prize.
Soprano Vanessa Isiguen's recent appearances include Beatrice Russo (Catàn’s Il Postino; New York debut) with Mannes Opera in 2014, and High Priestess (Aida) in 2012 and Jou-Jou (Lehar’s The Merry Widow) in 2010 with Opera Tampa. This summer she joins the Glimmerglass Festival to perform the role of Roberta Alden (Picker's An American Tragedy). She was a prize-winner at the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and the Bel Canto Competition, among others. She holds a master’s degree from the Boston Conservatory and is currently an artist diploma candidate at Mannes College – The New School for Music.
Mezzo-soprano Carla Jablonski has sung with the Wolf Trap Opera Company, Chautauqua Opera, Central City Opera and Manhattan Opera Studio. During the 2013-14 Season, she was a Studio Artist with Opera Santa Barbara, where she performed the role of Vera Boronel (The Consul). As a former member of Florida Grand Opera’s Young Artist Program, Carla was seen on the FGO stage as Annina (La Traviata) and Third Lady (Die Zauberflöte) in 2013. Next season, Carla joins the Metropolitan Opera as a chorus member (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg), under the baton of James Levine. Carla received her master’s degree from the Juilliard School.
Mezzo-soprano Caitlin McKechney returns to Florida Grand Opera’s Young Artist Program for a second year after being seen as Myrtale (Thaïs) and Inez (Vores’ No Exit) in 2014. Additional recent engagements include Flora (La Traviata) with Opera North in 2014, and Third Lady (The Magic Flute) and Tisbe (La Cenerentola) with Nashville Opera in 2013. Additionally, she is a member of the New York-based new music ensemble Hotel Elefant, and is one of the founding members of The Opera Cowgirls, a touring group that brings opera to the masses in a really fun way.
FGO's Box Office is located at the Doral Center, 8390 NW 25th Street, Miami, FL 33122, and is open to the public from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Tickets may also be purchased by phone at 800-741-1010 or online at www.FGO.org.
About Florida Grand Opera
Florida Grand Opera (FGO), the oldest performing arts organization in Florida, celebrates its 74th year of continuously producing grand opera during the 2014-15 Season. The main stage operas of the season include: Giacomo Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, November 15 – December 6; Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Così Fan Tutte, January 24 – February 14; Georges Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers (Les pêcheurs de perles), February 28 – March 14; and Gian Carlo Menotti’s The Consul, May 9 – May 16.
Founded in 1941 as Greater Miami Opera and later merging with The Opera Guild Inc. in 1994, FGO presents a mixture of standard repertoire and contemporary works as well as commissions new productions – all featuring projected translations in English and Spanish. FGO, recognized for funding by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, the Florida Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Funding is also provided, in part, by the Broward County Board of County Commissioners as recommended by the Broward Cultural Council and the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, Cultural Affairs Council, the Mayor and the Miami-Dade County Board of County Commissioners and the Miami-Dade County Tourist Development Council. Program support is provided by the City of Miami Beach, Cultural Affairs Program, Cultural Arts Council. Florida Grand Opera is a Resident Company of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County and a member company of OPERA America. American Airlines is the Official Airline, Intercontinental Miami is the Official Hotel and Steinway & Sons is the Official Piano of Florida Grand Opera.