Support the Palm Springs Opera Guild of the Desert by becoming a member CLICK TO JOIN



A steamboat passage through the fabled rainforest becomes a mystical voyage of discovery, each passenger harboring secret hopes of what the trip will bring. Among them, a famous prima donna hopes to recapture the great love of her life. Reality and fantasy intertwine as the dangerous splendors of the Amazon test the travelers’ preconceptions of their hopes and dreams.

The sensational Chilean soprano Verónica Villarroel returns as Florencia, joined by a stellar cast that also includes fast-rising soprano Lisette Oropesa. A ravishingly beautiful score by Daniel Catán, the beloved composer of Il Postino, shimmers with passionate melodies and sumptuous orchestrations reminiscent of Puccini and Debussy. Inspired by the writings of Gabriel García Márquez, Florencia en el Amazonas paints an intoxicating portrait of the transformative nature of love.


Click here to read Mark Swed’s review in the LA Times


Click here for more information and to purchase tickets


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:

2013 Bass Adam Lau won 2nd place in our Competition 2 years ago before winning First Place in 2013.  Adam received his MM degree from Rice and his BA in Vocal Performance from Whitman College and was in the Florida Grand Opera Young Artist program.   In the 2012/13 season, Adam appeared as Leporello in West Bay Opera’s production of Don Giovanni.  Shortly after this production, he headed up north to debut with the Anchorage Symphony Orchestra singing Boris’ Coronation Scene from Boris Godunov.  Later that same season he returned to the LA Philharmonic to cover Masetto in the company’s first fully produced opera, Don Giovanni, led by Gustavo Dudamel.  In June 2013, Adam returned to Los Angeles where he covered both Antonio and Bartolo in Le nozze di Figaro again under the baton of Gustavo Dudamel.  He appeared as the High Priest of Babylon in Nabucco, Angelotti/Sciarrone in Tosca and Palemon in Thaïs this spring at Florida Grand Opera in Miami.  He sang the role of Antonio in Le nozze di Figaro at Dallas Opera this fall and next spring appears in the role of Leporello in Don Giovanni at North Carolina Opera and as Don Alfonso in Cosi fan tutte at Opera Naples, Florida next February.  Next spring Adam will be singing with the Opera Theater of Saint Louis in Handel’s Richard The Lionheart and covering the role of  Basilio in The Barber of Seville.

2012 Mezzo-soprano Renée Rapier made her professional debut in 2011 as Stephano in Gounod’s Romeo et Juliette with LA Opera, where she was a member of the Domingo-Thornton Young Artist Program. She recently returned to Los Angeles to perform the title role in Britten’s Rape of Lucretia under the baton of James Conlon. As an Adler Fellow, she made her San Francisco Opera debut in the fall of 2012 as Giovanna in Rigoletto.  Last fall she returned to the SFO stage as Meg Page in Verdi’s Falstaff.   Renée has also frequently performed with the Boston-based early music ensemble La Donna Musicale, with concerts at both the Connecticut and Boston Early Music Festivals; she appeared on La Donna Musicale’s CD “Anna Bon: La Virtuosa di Venezia”.  Renée 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 and appeared in Opera in the Park here in the desert this past April 6th.   She sang this summer at Wolf Trap and the Ravinia Festival and appeared at the Seoul Arts Center this fall.  Renée will perform the role of Cherubino in Ghosts of Versailles and Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro at LA Opera next year.

2011 Soprano Anush Avetisyan, a student of Vladimir Chernov, sang the role of Euridice in Opera UCLA’s Orpheus in the Underworld, and the title role of Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea.  In June of 2011, in UCLA’s Opera Gala, she sang the role of Amelia in excerpts from Simon Boccanegra and the role of Leonora in an excerpt from La forza del destino. Also in 2011 she 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 and is being featured in a professional recording released with Mr. Sheffer conducting.  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 in 2013 and performs regularly for Guild events including last year’s Opera in the Park.

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 will be coming to Los Angeles next summer.

2009 Soprano Tracy Cox, a student of Vladimir Chernov, has appeared in over 11 UCLA opera productions.  She was named winner of the 2012 Marilyn Horne Song Competition at the Music Academy of the West.  The Music Academy co-presented a song recital featuring Tracy at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica last April.   She has performed lead roles as a featured soloist at LA Opera, the Colburn School, Royce Hall, the Filene Center at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts and the Fox Theater, under the batons of such maestros as Placido Domingo, James Conlon and Stephen Lord.  Tracy participated in the Guild’s 2011 student Outreach and is now a second year resident performer with LA Opera.  Tracy won 1st Prize at the Western Regional District Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and then went on to win the 2012 Marilyn Horne Song Competition.  In 2013 she appeared in The Rape of Lucretia at the Opera at the Colburn in Los Angeles.  She sang in Debussy’s La Damoiselle élue as part of the Cincinnati May Festival and appeared in three productions at Wolf Trap: Il Viaggio a Reims in June, Aria Jukebox in July and as Alice Ford in Falstaff in August.  Tracy was named winner of the prestigious 2013 Operalia Birgit Nilsson Prize.  She performed in Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with the Pasadena Symphony on February 15th at the Ambassador Auditorium and sang in Mahler’s 8th Symphony at the Cincinnati May Festival on May 17.  Earlier this year Tracy won the 2014 George London-Kirsten Flagstad Award for a potential Wagnerian singer at the George London Foundation Competition in New York. She appeared at Wolf Trap this summer.  She sang the title role of Aida this October at Opera San Luis Obisbo and will appear in Verdi’s Requiem next spring in Waterbury, CT.

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 received a Bachelor’s degree from The University of Akron in Music Performance, studying with Dr. Laurie Lashbrook, and a Master’s degree in Music Performance from Arizona State University, under the direction of Jerry Doan, where she was a frequent soloist. She is pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts from Arizona State University in Voice Performance and is a vocal instructor at the University of Akron School of Music. She is also one of four Graduate Teaching Assistants at Arizona State University.  Amy’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 has worked with conductors such as Paolo Olmi, Renato Palumbo, Joseph Rescigno, Francois-Xavier Roth and Long Yu. 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.”   2010/11 saw Amber Wagner’s return to the Lyric Opera of Chicago to sing Elsa in Lohengrin conducted by Sir Andrew Davis; she performed the same role for her debut at the Savonlinna Opera Festival.  Symphonic highlights included a return to the Grant Park Music Festival for Verdi’s Requiem and as Sieglinde in Act 1 of Wagner’s Die Walküre in concert with the Colorado Symphony conducted by Christian Arming.  Debuts for the 2011/12 season included concert performances of Ariadne auf Naxos at the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia in Valencia, her appearance at Oper Frankfurt performing Sieglinde in Wagner’s Die Walküre and her Metropolitan Opera debut as Anna in Verdi’s Nabucco. She returned last year to Lyric Opera in Chicago to cover the title role in Aida.  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.  Symphonic engagements included Mahler’s 8th Symphony with the Aspen Music Festival, Strauss’ Four Last Songs with the Oregon Symphony, Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder and Verdi’s Requiem with both the Tucson Symphony and the Orchestre Métropolitain du Grand Montréal.  She received a glowing review for her performance last fall in La Forza del Destino at Washington National Opera.  She was one of the featured singers at SummerStage, the Met’s summer recital series. (Read review from NY Times.) Amber is scheduled to perform at Chicago Civic Light Opera in the 2014-2015 season as Leonora in Anna Bolena 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 made her professional operatic debut on the stage of the Met as Elvira in Verdi’s Ernani substituting for an ill colleague in March 2008. She sang the title role in Anna Bolena and Elvira in Ernani (live in HD) for the Met in the 2011/12 season and had an ambitious schedule with appearances as Norma with the Astoria Music Festival, Operetta concerts with Oper Kiel, Leonora in Il Trovatore with the Peralada Festival in Spain, concerts of arias/duets with both the Cleveland Orchestra at the Blossom Summer Festival and the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Elena in I Vespri Siciliani with the Wiener Staatsoper, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni with LA Opera and Verdi’s Requiem with the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia.  She was the 2011 recipient of the Richard Tucker Award.  She received rave reviews for an impressive solo debut recital for Washington National Opera at Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater last year and sang the title role in Bellini’s Beatrice di Tenda with the Collegiate Chorale at Carnegie Hall.   Angela sang the role of Leonora in Il Trovatore at the Met and was featured in Norma at Washington National Opera.  She appeared in Norma again last year at the Met and returned for Falstaff.  Angela wowed the audience at the 2014 Richard Tucker at 100: An Opera Celebration on PBS.  She recently appeared in a concert version of Edgar at Oper Frankfurt, in Verdi’s Requiem in Jacksonville, Florida and in Torino singing in William TellShe had a busy schedule this past summer appearing in La Traviata at the Astoria Music Festival, Lucrezia Borgia at Caramoor and in William Tell at the Stressa Music Festival in ItalyAngela is featured on the current cover of Opera News and is singing in Beethoven’s 9th in the UK this month. She will be singing in William Tell in December in Toronto, New York and Ann Arbor.  Among other engagements next year, Angela will be featured  in the Met production of Ernani in March/April, 2015.

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 Chicago Lyric Opera debut that same year. He made his Metropolitan Opera debut in 2009 in Der Rosenkavalier and Les contes d’Hoffmann.  Along with his many roles with Chicago Lyric, he has also appeared at opera companies in Houston, Wolf Trap, Pittsburg, Tulsa and Cleveland. In the summer of 2009 he originated the role of Ong Chi Seng in the world premiere of Paul Moravec’s The Letter at Santa Fe Opera.  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 last year and sang the role of Spoletta in Tosca at LA Opera.  He just finished a run with LA Opera in the role of Bardolph in Falstaff and as Monostatos in Die Zauberflöte.  Mark Swed’s  LA Times review of his portrtayal of Monostatos said “Rodell Rosel makes him {Monostatos} the kind of vampire you’d like to take home as a pet.”  Rodell performed in the desert in January at the “Singing The Praises” fundraiser honoring Patty and Arthur Newman and appeared recently with Houston Opera in Das Rheingold.  He reprises the role of Spoleta next year with Chicago Lyric and is slated to return to Chicago Lyric 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 recently performed at an event 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 24 membership Thank You party at Smoke Tree Ranch.

1999 Filipino Baritone Andrew Fernando was the First Prize winner of the prestigious 2003 Loren L. Zachary National Vocal Competition and an alumnus of the San Francisco Opera Merola Program. He was also 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 recently sang with the Met in two Mozart roles: Tamino in The Magic Flute and Ferrando in Così fan tutte.  Additionally, Mr. Sledge made his debut with the Minnesota Opera in a new role, Leicester, in Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda, followed by Tamino with the Manitoba Opera and Almaviva in Hamburg before making his debut in Avenches, Switzerland, as the Duke in Rigoletto.  In concert he was heard in Mozart’s Requiem with the San Francisco Symphony and in Schubert’s Mass No. 6 with the San Diego Symphony. Bruce appeared in several Met productions last year as well as at the Spoleto Festival in Charleston.  He was featured in Maria Stuarda at the Welsh National Opera last year and  sang in Rigoletto with the Boston Lyric.  He sang at Santa Fe Opera last summer as Mon. Popescu in The Impressario and The Fisherman in Le Rossignol.
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, while still a member of the Lyric Opera Center for American Artists.   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. She was engaged by San Francisco Opera for La Forza del Destino (as Leonora), and Cavalleria Rusticana (as Santuzza).  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.  His first professional engagements were with LA Opera (as a resident artist) where he gained experience performing over one hundred performances of various supporting roles.  Upon leaving Los Angeles, he was accepted into the Met’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, where he made his debut singing the role of Beppe in I Pagliacci with Placido Domingo on the opening night of the 1999-2000 season.  Mr. Castronovo later recorded the same role with Decca on the 2000 release of I Pagliacci with Jose Cura, conducted by Riccardo Chailly.  From there he went on to make a series of important role debuts as Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni) and Ernesto (Don Pasquale) with Boston Lyric Opera  and Fenton (Falstaff) with  Pittsburgh Opera.  European engagements soon followed with continuing successes in all the major opera houses.  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 appears in Die Zauberflöte, L’elisir d’Amore and Don Giovanni at Bayerische Staatsoper.

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 Artistic Director of the Orange County High School of the Arts in Santa Ana, CA.

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 including Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Paris Opera, Teatro alla Scala, Vienna State Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera and the Met.  In 2010 she opened the Canadian Opera Company’s season in the title role of Aida.  She has had success in recent years as Leonora, notably in David McVicar’s production of Il Trovatore at the Met.  Placido Domingo has been a noted champion of her career.  She sang last year in Un Ballo in Maschera at the Met, hosted the Met broadcasts of Francesca da Rmini and Otello and sang 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.  She recently sang in Tosca at the Gran Teatre del Liceu, in Roberto Devereux at Canadian Opera and in June she reprised the title role of Tosca at Royal Opera Covent Garden.  She sings the role of Anne Boleyn in Anna Bolena at Chicago Civic Light Opera this winter.

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. She has collaborated with such leading conductors as Christoph Eschenbach, Charles Dutoit, Carlos Kalmar, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Hans Graf, Eliahu Inbal, Kent Nagano, Paavo Jarvi, Bruno Weil, Gerard Schwarz, Pinchas Zukerman, Stefan Lano, Bernard Labadie, Bramwell Tovey and Yoav Talmi.  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.





Official Calendar

For information on how to attend the following events please contact Joanne at the Guild office at 760.325.6107.



2014-2015 Season


  • Sunday, December 7, 2014 – 6pm – Allegro reception at the home of Valerie Mahabir and Narendra Patel.
  • Friday, February 6, 2015 – 6pm -SINGING THE PRAISES” GALA honoring Peggy Cravens, a black tie gala featuring operatic entertainment and special tributes.  Watch this site for more information.  Agua Caliente Casino Resort & Spa
  • Tuesday, February 24, 2015 – 8pm -  Susan Graham recital at McCallum Theatre
  • Wednesday, March 4, 2015 – 6:30pm – Allegro black tie dinner at Heather James Gallery, Palm Desert.
  • Wednesday, April 15, 2015 – 3pm – Thank You Party at Smoke Tree Ranch courtesy of Yvonne and Steven Maloney.
Events subject to change