The Palm Beach Opera Young Artist Program is funded by The Edward H. Benenson Foundation.
Additional support is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, Il Circolo, The Italian Cultural Society of the Palm Beaches, Dr. and Mrs. Marvin and Elayne Mordes, and Mrs. Bernice Lieberman.
The Palm Beach Opera Young Artist Program is a stepping stone to a successful career as an opera singer for post-graduate and emerging singers. During their five-month residency in Palm Beach they develop and polish essential stagecraft and performance skills, aided by musical and career guidance from Palm Beach Opera’s experienced artistic staff. The Young Artists are Palm Beach Opera’s community ambassadors, performing throughout the area in education and outreach concerts as well as covering lead roles and performing comprimario roles on the mainstage.
IN THE NEWS: A lyric launching pad: Young artists laugh, learn at Palm Beach Opera – Palm Beach Daily News 3.10.13
BONNIE SHERMAN BROWN – SOPRANO
Bonnie Sherman Brown, a native of Jackson, Mississippi, recently completed her studies at Manhattan School of Music where she sang the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor, and was also featured in performances as Konstanze in Die Entführung aus dem Serail , The Maid in Powder her Face, Emmeline in Emmeline, and Juliette in Roméo et Juliette. Miss Brown has been a member of the Aspen Opera Theatre Center, where she performed scenes from Zaïde and Sweeney Todd. Miss Brown was recently named a finalist in the Joan Taub Ades Vocal Competition, and received an encouragement award from the Gerda Lissner International Vocal Competition. An accomplished violinist, Miss Brown has performed with orchestras all over the world, including Washington, D.C. and New York City to The People’s Republic of China. Miss Brown has been the recipient of many awards in both classical violin and bluegrass fiddling, including the Kennedy Center National Trustees Fellowship, the Mississippi Symphony Concerto Competition Winner, MTNA state and regional winner, and the Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Association 1st place winner. Miss Brown holds a Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance from Vanderbilt University, and both a Master’s degree and Professional Studies Certificate in Voice from Manhattan School of Music.
Ms. Brown’s residency is sponsored by Mr. Arnold S. Penner and Ms. Madaleine Berley.
ALEXANDRA BATSIOS – SOPRANO
Alexandra Batsios, a native of St. Louis, has been praised for her colorful voice, crisp diction, and strong stage presence. Ms. Batsios was a young artist at Opera North for two seasons performing the Vixen in The Cunning Little Vixen, Lucy in The Telephone, Clorinda in La Cenerentola, and covering the role of Adina in L’elisir d’amore. Her previous roles include Madame Herz in Der Schauspieldirektor, Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte, Josephine in H.M.S. Pinafore, and Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro. A winner of Sigma Alpha Iota’s Graduate Performance Awards, she has been invited to participate in private coachings and master classes with Renata Scotto, Nico Castel, and Dalton Baldwin. As a soloist, her concert engagements have included Mozart’s Requiem in D minor and Mass in C minor, Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem, Orff’s Carmina Burana and Bach’s Magnificat with the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia. Ms. Batsios received a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Millikin University and a Master of Music in Voice Performance and Pedagogy from Westminster Choir College.
SHIRIN ESKANDANI – MEZZO SOPRANO
Hailed for her “pleasing and pliant voice” (Opera Today), Iranian Canadian mezzo soprano Shirin Eskandani is an avid performer on both the operatic and recital stage. During the 2011-2012 season Ms Eskandani appeared as a young artist with Palm Beach Opera where she performed the roles of Kate Pinkerton (Madama Butterfly), Gertrude (Roméo et Juliette) and Alisa (Lucia di Lamermoor) on the main stage. She also sang the role of Mercedes in Carmen with Opera Theatre of St. Louis where she was a returning Gerdine Young Artist. A frequent soloist She has performed in numerous works including Bach’s Matthaus-Passion, Haydn’s Nelson Mass, Handel’s Messiah, and Durufle’s Requiem. She has premiered several works including The Oratorio to End all Oratorios with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s performance of Handel’s Messiah Ms. Eskandani has worked as a young artist with Syracuse Opera, the Green Mountain Festival, the Ash Lawn Opera Festival, Opera on the James, and Banff Opera. She is thrilled to be returning to Palm Beach Opera this winter for their 2012-2013 season. Ms. Eskandani’s residency is sponsored by Roseanne and Dennis Williams.
MEGAN MARINO – MEZZO SOPRANO
Hailed for her “stunning” stage presence and “blooming” voice, Ms. Marino is poised on the brink of an exciting career. Highlights of her 2012/2013 season include Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Opera Fort Collins, Pitti-sing in the Mikado at Virginia Opera and Mercédès in Carmen with Opera Coeur d’Alene. She joins the Apprentice Program at Santa Fe Opera in 2013. Summer 2012, Ms. Marino debuted at Caramoor International Music Festival as the mezzo soloist in Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream conducted by Roberto Abbado with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s. She also covered Ewa Podles in the title role of Rossini’s Ciro in Babilonia at the Rossini Opera Festival and at Caramoor in a new production from Davide Livermore, conducted by Will Crutchfield. Ms. Marino is a recent winner at Fort Worth Opera’s McCammon Competition and the Lotte Lenya Competition. Roles include the title role in La Cenerentola at Baltimore Concert Opera, Tisbe in La Cenerentola and 3rd Wood Nymph in Rusalka at Opera Colorado and Anita in West Side Story at Aspen Music Festival.
MARCO STEFANI – TENOR
Marco Stefani of Pleasanton, California recently made his debut with Opera Theater of St. Louis as a Gerdine Young Artist and joins the young artist program at Palm Beach Opera in 2013 where he will be heard as Don Ramiro in the family performance of La Cenerentola. Recently Marco has been heard in the Song Continues…Master Class series with Renée Fleming at Carnegie Hall and made his professional debut with Stockton Opera singing Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi. Other roles include Fenton in Falstaff and Count Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia for Indiana University, Ferrando in Cosi fan Tutte and Ernesto in Don Pasquale for Music Academy of the West. He performed his first solo recital as his hometown debut to a sold out audience at the Firehouse Arts Center. A previous winner of the Palm Beach Opera Vocal Competition, Marco has also received awards from the Stockton Opera Guild and Marilyn Horne Song Competition. In December of 2011, Marco received his Master of Music degree from Indiana University. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of the Pacific and is a three time alumnus of the Music Academy of the West. Mr. Stefani’s residency is sponsored by Isanne and Sanford Fisher.
KYLE ERDOS-KNAPP – TENOR
Hailed by Opera News for his “shiny, sizable tenor,” Kyle Erdos-Knapp has developed a reputation as one of the most versatile young singers emerging today. While studying at the Eastman School of Music and the University of Michigan, Kyle became a member of the inaugural season of the Wolf Trap Opera Studio, as well as performed ten leading roles over three years with the Ohio Light Opera. In 2011 he joined the company of the Opera Theatre of St. Louis, where he has performed for the last two summers. He most recently appeared in St. Louis as Tobias in Sweeney Todd. A performer of extraordinary versatility, Kyle is equally at home in the worlds of opera, operetta, musicals, oratorio and concert music, early music, and straight theater. He has performed extensively with Grammy-winning luteninst Paul O’Dette, including the title role in Lully’s Thésée and Testo in Monteverdi’s Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda. As a concert singer, Kyle has performed works by Mozart, Bach, Kodály, Monteverdi, Britten, Mendelssohn, and many others. He has sung under the batons of Stephen Lord, Martin Katz, Michael Borowitz, and Kenneth Kiesler, and regularly performs with companies across the United States. He can be heard singing leading roles on the Albany Records label in recordings of The Mikado, Patience, and Sousa’s El Capitan. Kyle has is a three time prize-winner of the Metropolitan Opera Council Auditions.
SCOTT PURCELL – BARITONE
Scott Purcell, originally from Westville, New Jersey, recently completed his second season as a Young Artist with the Bel Canto program at the Caramoor International Music Festival, where he covered the role of Zambri in Rossini’s rarely performed Ciro in Babilonia. In the 2011-2012 season he made several concert appearances including the Caramoor Classics concert series. His previous roles include the Pirate King in The Pirates of Penzance with Opera New Jersey, Dick Deadeye in H.M.S. Pinafore, Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro, and Mr. Gobineau in The Medium. Scott joins the Palm Beach Opera Young Artist Program during the 2012-2013 season where he will sing Dandini in the family performance of La Cenerentola as well as Orestes in Iphigénie en Tauride for the One Opera in One Hour series. He holds a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Westminster Choir College, where he was a featured soloist in performances of Carmina Burana and Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, and appeared as Don Alfonso in Cosi fan tutte. Mr. Purcell’s residency is sponsored by The Gladys and Sy Ziv Foundation.
PETER TOMASZEWSKI – BASS-BARITONE
Opera News Magazine praised Peter Tomaszewski in the October 2010 issue for his work as the physician in Macbeth with Des Moines Metro Opera. He returned to DMMO last season to cover the title role in Don Pasquale. The Baltimore Sun wrote of Peabody Chamber Opera’s Trouble in Tahiti: “Peter Tomaszewski, as Sam, got firmly into character and sang with considerable nuance and communicative weight.” Other roles include: Nick Shadow in (which was Peabody’s Lyric-Model Performing Arts Center debut), Papageno in Die Zauberflöte, Le Comte in Manon, The Father in Hansel and Gretel, Parson/Badger in The Adventures of Sharp-Ears the Vixen, and the Armchair/Tree in L’enfant et les sortilege. Peter hails from Bellingham, Washington. He earned his BM in Vocal Performance from Western Washington University, where he was winner of the 2004 Concerto Competition performing Mussorgsky’s Songs and Dances of Death with the WWU Symphony Orchestra. Peter previously served in AmeriCorps – National Civilian Community Corps, and In 2006 he rode solo on a 6,000 mile cross-America bicycle tour. Peter graduated from The Peabody Conservatory with a Masters of Music in Vocal Performance as well as the Opera Graduate Performance Degree. His teachers include John Shirley-Quirk and Stanley Cornett.
Rebecca Mordo, Principal Coach
Greg Ritchey, Assistant Conductor and Chorus Master, PBO; Conductor, Turn of the Screw
Fenlon Lamb, Assistant Director, PBO; Director, One Opera in One Hour
Master Artist Residencies
Ruth Ann Swenson
Main Stage Artist Master Classes
Michael Chioldi, Baritone- Germont, La Traviata
Vivica Geneaux, Mezzo Soprano- Angelina, La Cenerentola
Erika Sunnegardh, Soprano- Salome
Guest Directors and Conductors
Renata Scotto, Director
Case Scaglione, Conductor
Mario Corradi, Director
Will Crutchfield, Conductor
Renaud Doucet, Director
Roberto Paternostro, Conductor
December 2, 2013 – April 28, 2014
8 singers (2 sopranos, 2 mezzos, 2 tenors, 1 baritone, 1 bass-baritone)
The Palm Beach Opera Young Artist Program (YAP) targets skills necessary to develop a successful career as an opera performer and helps further the young career of a few select artists. The ideal candidate for this program is an emerging professional artist who is at the crossroads of having participated in previous YAPs or summer apprenticeships and is just at the precipice of beginning a fully-professional career. Women should be between the ages of 20 and 30. Men should be between the ages of 20 and 35. Beginning in the 2012-2013 season and continuing in the 2013-2014 season Palm Beach Opera intends to further increase the career building aspects of the Young Artists Program by increasing the number of performance opportunities of each Young Artist. Palm Beach Opera will begin a collaboration with the Lynn Conservatory of Music at Lynn University in Boca Raton, FL to present a fully staged production. One title under consideration is El Gato con botas for this production. Consideration will be given to those candidates most appropriate for roles in The Young Artist production as well as repertoire currently being considered for the 2014 season including Macbeth, The Barber of Seville, and The Tales of Hoffmann.
Each Young Artist will:
• Receive primary consideration for main-stage secondary and comprimario roles
• Cover appropriate role(s) in mainstage productions
• Perform principal roles in Young Artists Production in collaboration with Lynn Conservatory of Music. Performance is with full orchestra, sets, costumes, etc.
• Perform principal roles in One Opera in One Hour – Project. (Abridged semi-staged version with piano accompaniment performed at the Harriet Himmel Theater at CityPlace in West Palm Beach; www.cityplace.com and other possible locations TBD), with exact Repertoire TBD
• Perform arias/excerpts of upcoming shows at Young Friends Events and Lunch & Learn
• Sing concerts in community and attend/perform at donor functions
• Sing in PBO chorus (when not singing secondary or comprimario roles)
• Participate in PBO Educational Activities Receive regular coaching with resident and visiting music staff
• Participate in masterclasses and seminars given by acclaimed guest artists and teachers, sing for managers, etc.
PBO provides each Young Artist with:
• Monthly stipend
• Housing or a housing stipend
• Extra fee per shared recital or other concert event
• Travel stipend. PLEASE NOTE: Local transportation is the responsibility of each singer and a car is highly recommended.
• Masterclasses, Professional Workshops, and Vocal Coaching with a variety of guest artists and teachers arranged by PBO during the period of the contract
Audition Requirements for Singers:
Each person granted an audition for these positions must meet at least TWO of the following:
• Participant of a high-level summer apprenticeship or resident young artist program over the past TWO seasons
• Completed performance degree from a respected conservatory or music school
• Performed a leading role in a mainstage production at their conservatory or music school, if graduated from school within the past TWO seasons
• Performed a comprimario or featured role in a regional opera company or respected summer apprenticeship program in the past TWO seasons
• Placed either 1st, 2nd or 3rd in a major vocal competition over the past 3 years
• Advanced to minimum Regional level in the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions over the past 3 years
In addition, each applicant must supply at least ONE current letter of recommendation from an established professional in the opera industry. This cannot be from the artist’s primary private voice teacher.
Singers will be asked to present an aria list of at least 4 pieces in a variety of styles and languages.
The PBO YAP is open to all young professionals regardless of nationality. Foreign nationals wishing to apply must either have a valid work visa to the United States for the entire period covering the program or must have already established themselves as a respected young professional artist in their native countries.
It is strongly encouraged that all application materials be submitted via YAP Tracker. Applications that must be mailed should be mailed to:
Palm Beach Opera Young Artist Program, 415 South Olive Avenue, West Palm Beach, FL 33401-5905
An application package should include the following:
- Completed application form
- Resume for additional information
- Copy of legal proof of age and citizenship
- A $40.00 non-refundable application fee*
- One (1) headshot photograph
* to be submitted separately electronically
ALL MATERIALS MUST BE RECEIVED BY FEBRUARY 15, 2013
For additional questions, please contact Scott Guzielek at 561.835.7553 or email@example.com.