Trapped in the spirit world, the ghost of Marie Antoinette bitterly reflects on her final suffering. Her favorite playwright tries to entertain the melancholy queen with the continuing adventures of his beloved characters from The Barber of Seville and The Marriage of Figaro. But sneaky Figaro refuses to play by the script, breaking free from the opera-within-the-opera in a surprise bid for a better life.
LA Opera proudly presents the first full-scale production in this century of John Corigliano’s grand opera buffa, one of the most acclaimed operas of our time. Extravagantly scaled, gloriously tuneful, supremely touching and yet uproariously entertaining, The Ghosts of Versailles turns history on its head as love attempts to alter the course of destiny.
The role of Cherubino will be sung by the Palm Springs Opera Guild’s 2012 Vocal Competition First Place winner Renée Rapier and Count Almaviva will be performed by Joshua Guerrero, who has sung in a number of Palm Springs Opera Guild events.
Many of the Palm Springs Opera Guild Vocal Competition First Place winners are enjoying exciting careers. We’ve been tracking their growth and are pleased to present the following update:
2014 Bass-baritone Nicholas Brownlee won First Prize in the Met Western Regionals in November. He is covering for the LA Opera production of Le nozze di Figaro later this year and covered for Charlie Soong in Santa Fe Opera’s Dr. Sun Yat-Sen last year. Nicholas has appeared in productions at Rice, Wolf Trap and Tel Aviv and will be appearing in the Guild’s Opera in the Park this April 12. Among other engagements he has been cast in the role of Colline in the LA Opera production of La bohème in 2016.
2013 Bass Adam Lau won 2nd place in our Competition 2 years ago before winning First Place in 2013. In June 2013, Adam covered both Antonio and Bartolo in Le nozze di Figaro under the baton of Gustavo Dudamel in Los Angeles. He appeared as the High Priest of Babylon in Nabucco, Angelotti/Sciarrone in Tosca and Palemon in Thaïs last spring at Florida Grand Opera in Miami. He sang the role of Antonio in Le nozze di Figaro at Dallas Opera last fall and Don Alfonso in Cosi fan tutte at Opera Naples earlier this year. In April he appears in the role of Leporello in Don Giovanni at North Carolina Opera. Later this year Adam will sing with the Opera Theater of St. Louis in Handel’s Richard The Lionheart and interpret the role of Papa in the Seattle Opera world premier of An American Dream on August 21 and 23. This fall he sings the role of Martino in Rossini’s L’occasione fa il ladro with Gotham Chamber Opera.
2012 Mezzo-soprano Renée Rapier is the recipient of the Chautauqua Studio Artist Award, a winner in the Schubert Club Scholarship Competition, a national finalist of the Bel Canto Vocal Scholarship Foundation and a 2011 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions national semifinalist. She was the featured soloist at the Allegro Black Tie dinner at the Heather-James Gallery in February 2014 and appeared in Opera in the Park last year. She sang last summer at Wolf Trap and the Ravinia Festival and appeared at the Seoul Arts Center in the fall. Renée is performing at LA Opera this year in the role of Cherubino in Ghosts of Versailles and Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro opening March 21. She sings the role of Anna in Maria Stuarda for Seattle Opera in February-March, 2016.
2011 Soprano Anush Avetisyan created the role of Alice B. Toklas in the world premiere of a new chamber version of Jonathan Sheffer’s Blood on the Dining Room Floor with text by Gertrude Stein in 2011. In 2012 she was a prize winner in the Loren L. Zachary Society Competition and also won First Place in the Mondavi Center Young Artists Competition. She was a Wolf Trap Studio Artist and performs regularly for Guild events including Opera in the Park in 2013.
2010 Soprano Jacquelynne Fontaine co-hosted and sang in the 2011 Opera in the Park in Palm Springs and was a prize winner in the 2010 Zachary Competition in Los Angeles. She completed an engagement with Rogue Opera and performed in the Guild’s 2011 Student Outreach program. In 2012 she sang in A Room With A View at the Globe in San Diego and then in The King And I at the Lebanon Opera House in New Hampshire. A Little Night Music followed at the Indianapolis Repertory Theater and La Traviata at the Pantages Theater in Tacoma, Washington. She recently appeared in The Sound of Music at the Northshore Playhouse in Beverly, Maine and is starring as Carlotta in the current National Tour of Phantom of the Opera which comes to Los Angeles this summer.
2009 Soprano Tracy Cox, was named winner of the 2012 Marilyn Horne Song Competition at the Music Academy of the West and winner of the prestigious 2013 Operalia Birgit Nilsson Prize. That same year she performed in Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with the Pasadena Symphony and sang in Mahler’s 8th Symphony at the Cincinnati May Festival on May 17. Tracy won the 2014 George London-Kirsten Flagstad Award for a potential Wagnerian singer. She appeared at Wolf Trap last summer and sang the title role of Aida in October at Opera San Luis Obispo. Tracy appears in Verdi’s Requiem on March 14 at Royce Hall, UCLA and again in April in Waterbury, CT. In May she sings the title role in Ariadne auf Naxos with the Pacific Opera Project in Los Angeles.
2008 Baritone Joseph Kyung Teak Lim made his professional debut singing the title role in Don Giovanni in 2008 with the Seoul Metropolitan Opera. He was one of the Metropolitan Opera Council Auditions Finalists in March, 2011. During his tenure with the USC Thornton Opera program, he appeared in Don Giovanni and Das Liebesverbot. He was named USC Thornton’s Marilyn Horne Scholar and was the baritone soloist in Maher’s Symphony No. 8, Mozart’s Missa Brevis in C Major, Mass No.15 in C Major “Coronation” and Handel’s Messiah.
2007 Soprano Amy Yekel‘s awards include: the Arizona Lyric Opera Scholarship, The Canton Civic Opera Scholarship, The Akron Symphony Chorus Scholarship, Tuesday Musical Club Scholarship, The McDowell Scholarship, The Mary S. Bower’s Scholarship, The John Macdonald Scholarship, The Fairlawn United Church of Christ Scholarship, Tuesday Musical Club Finalists Scholarship, The First Grace United Church of Christ Scholarship, and The University of Akron’s Vocal Performance Scholarship.
2006 Bass Apollo Wong has sung the roles of Superintendent Budd in Britten’s Albert Herring, Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Ariodante in Handel’s Serse, Frère Laurent and Le Duc in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette, Un Mandarino in Puccini’s Turandot, Zuniga in Bizet’s Carmen and Barone Trombonok in Rossini’s Il Viaggio a Reims. He is presently enjoying a successful career as a conductor in Hong Kong, is the Music Director Laureate of The Hong Kong Youth Choir and has been Music Director of the Learners Chorus since 2005.
2005 Soprano Amber Wagner was a winner of the 2007 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Grand Finals and was featured in the documentary “The Audition.” Chosen by OPERA NEWS as one of twenty-five artists poised to break out and become a major force in classical music in the coming decade, Amber returned to the Met as Amelia in Un Ballo in Maschera and then appeared in Lyric Opera of Chicago’s “stars of lyric” program featuring excerpts from Cavalleria Rusticana. In 2014 she received a glowing review for her performance in La Forza del Destino at Washington National Opera and was one of the featured singers at SummerStage, the Met’s summer recital series. Amber performed at Lyric Opera of Chicago this year as Leonora in Il Trovatore and Elisabeth in Tannhäuser.
2004 Tenor Kalil Wilson lives in Barcelona. He is a renowned jazz and classical singer who has performed at the Met as well as at Disney Hall and is currently enjoying a successful singing career in Europe. He continues to appear in various venues in Spain.
2003 Soprano Angela Meade was the 2011 recipient of the Richard Tucker Award. She sang the role of Leonora in Il Trovatore at the Met and was featured in Norma at Washington National Opera in 2013. Angela wowed the audience at the 2014 Richard Tucker at 100: An Opera Celebration on PBS. She had a busy schedule last summer singing in La Traviata at the Astoria Music Festival, Lucrezia Borgia at Caramoor and in William Tell at the Stressa Music Festival in Italy. Angela is featured on the November, 2014 cover of Opera News. She sang in Beethoven’s 9th in the UK in December and sang in William Tell at the end of the year in Toronto, New York and Ann Arbor. Angela presented a recital in Myrtle Beach, SC, appeared in the George London Recital in New York and performed with the NY Philharmonic in Verdi’s Requiem last month. She recently traveled to Seville, Spain to appear in the title role of Norma. Angela will be featured along with Placido Domingo in the Met production of Ernani in March/April after which she appears in Oviedo, Spain in Verdi’s Requiem on April 26. Angelenos will get to see/hear her this November and December when she sings the title role of Norma at LA Opera. More about Angela here.
2002 Baritone David Babinet is an acclaimed cantor in New York City. He has sung with companies in Chicago, Tel Aviv, Portland, San Jose, CA. and in Los Angeles alongside Placido Domingo in the Young Artists Program.
2001 Tenor Rodell Rosel was a 2005 winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Grand Finals and made his Lyric Opera of Chicago debut that same year. He made his Metropolitan Opera debut in 2009 in Der Rosenkavalier and Les contes d’Hoffmann. He sang with LA Opera in Madama Butterfly in 2012 and appeared in the title role of Britten’s Albert Herring at Florentine Opera in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Rodell performed in the Guild’s Opera in the Park in 2013 and sang the role of Spoletta in Tosca at LA Opera. He sang with LA Opera in the role of Bardolph in Falstaff and as Monostatos in Die Zauberflöte in 2014. Rodell performed in the desert in January, 2014 at the “Singing The Praises” fundraiser honoring Patty and Arthur Newman and then sang with Houston Opera in Das Rheingold. He reprised the role of Spoleta this year with Lyric Opera of Chicago and is slated to return to Chicago and Houston Opera in 2016.
2000 Baritone Gregorio Gonzalez has sung with Theatre an den Wien in Vienna, Nederlands Opera, Opera de Panama, Opera de Tijuana, Opera de Guanajuato, Connecticut Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera and San Diego Comic Opera. He began a 3 season residency with LA Opera in 2002 and in 2010 appeared in the world premiere of Il Postino. He sang with the Dana Point Symphony, in Il Segreto di Susanna at UCLA and in David Conte’s America Tropical at the Plaza de la Cultura in Los Angeles. Gregorio performed at an event in Palm Springs honoring Lilli Joseph, Joe Giarrusso and other valley residents for their contributions to the arts and was the featured soloist at the Guild’s April, 2014 membership Thank You Party at Smoke Tree Ranch.
1999 Filipino Baritone Andrew Fernando was a prize winner in the Met National Auditions in the Los Angeles district and in the Pacific region, the Grand Prize winner in the Pasadena Opera Guild Vocal competition in 2004, a recipient of the Opera Buffs scholarship funds and a grand finalist in the Licia Albanese Puccini International Vocal Competition held in New York in 2003. In 2008 Andrew performed the title role in Rigoletto in Modesto and reprised the role with Opera San José. The 2007-2008 season included appearances in the New York City Opera’s productions of Cendrillon and Tosca as well as Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem with the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.
1998 Tenor Bruce Sledge sang with the Met in two Mozart roles: Tamino in The Magic Flute and Ferrando in Così fan tutte. In 2013 Bruce appeared at the Spoleto Festival in Charleston and was featured in Maria Stuarda at the Welsh National Opera. In 2014 he sang the role of the Duke in Rigoletto with Boston Lyric Opera and the role of Percy in Anna Bolena in Bordeaux. In addition he was featured at Santa Fe Opera as Mon. Popescu in The Impressario and The Fisherman in Le Rossignol. He is scheduled to join the Canadian Opera Company in the 2015-16 season.
1997 Soprano Erin Wood came to public attention at the Lyric Opera of Chicago when she replaced Deborah Voigt on short notice as Sieglinde in Die Walküre, singing with great success. Other roles she performed with the company include Lisa in The Queen of Spades, Berta in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Gutrune and the Third Norn in Gótterdämmerung, Ortlinde in Die Walküre, the Lady-in-Waiting in Verdi’s Macbeth, Marianne in Der Rosenkavalier, plus roles in Street Scene and Susannah. She has appeared onstage at San Francisco Opera and Opera Colorado as Amelia in Un Ballo in Maschera. Elsewhere Ms. Wood performed Lisa in The Queen of Spades for Opera Grand Rapids, Lady Billows in Albert Herring for the Music Academy of the West, Mavis in The Fantastic Mr. Fox for LA Opera and productions of The Flying Dutchman and The Magic Flute for Opera Pacific.
1996 World-renowned tenor Charles Castronovo has sung with virtually all of the world’s major opera companies and symphonic organizations. Charles recently appeared in Lucrezia Borgia at Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich and in the role of Tamino in Die Zauberflöte at Royal Opera Covent Garden. His ambitious summer schedule included appearances as Alfredo in La Traviata at Staatsoper Berlin and Ruggero in La Rondine at Royal Opera Covent Garden. This winter he appeared in L’elisir d’Amore and Don Giovanni at Bayerische Staatsoper and in Gounod’s Cinq-Mars in both Vienna and Versailles. He has numerous engagements throuhout the year which you may read about here.
1995 Soprano Robin Follman has performed with the Houston Grand Opera, LA Opera, New York City Opera, Washington Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, Opera Pacific, Florentine Opera, Singapore Lyric Opera, Lyric Opera of Malaysia and Hawaii Opera. Her impressive list of appearances includes signing the title role in Turandot at Mobile Opera and Nedda in I Pagliacci for Cleveland Opera. She is currently CEO of the Follman-Young Foundation For The Arts in Santa Ana.
1993 Soprano Jessica Siena has performed with the Stockton Opera, the New York City Opera touring company, the Los Angeles Music Theatre Company, on the concert stage with the Stockton Symphony, the New Pacific Trio and Livermore Valley Opera. She currently resides in Stockton, CA.
1990 Soprano Sondra Radvanovsky has performed in every major opera house in the world. Recent appearances include Un Ballo in Maschera at the Met, hosting the Met broadcasts of Francesca da Rmini and Otello and singing the title role in LA Opera’s Tosca. Sondra appeared in Verdi’s Requiem last July at Bayerische Staatsoper, in Norma in August at the Festival de Peralada and reprised the role last October to overwhelming acclaim at the Met. Sondra gave a recital for LA Opera this past November. She sang the title role in Anna Bolena at Lyric Opera of Chicago and the title role in Norma at the Gran Teatre del Liceu. She travels to Moscow for a concert in March. Read more here.
1989 Mezzo-soprano Anita Krause has performed with many of North America’s leading orchestras, including the Chicago Symphony, l’Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, the Baltimore Symphony and the Toronto Symphony. The Canadian singer has also appeared with the Utah Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic, the Grant Park Festival, Lanaudiere Festival and Les Violons du Roy, as well as with the orchestras of Vancouver, Calgary, Quebec, and Edmonton. Past engagements include Tippett’s A Child of our Time for the Oregon Bach Festival, Verdi’s Requiem for the National Arts Centre Orchestra and Chorus Niagara, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 for Tafelmusik, Mozart’s Requiem with the Colorado Symphony and Das Lied von der Erde for Orchestra London.
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