THE BENENSON YOUNG ARTIST PROGRAM
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 Benenson 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.
The Benenson Young Artist Program is funded by The Edward H. Benenson Foundation.
JESSICA FISHENFELD – SOPRANO
Soprano Jessica Fishenfeld hails from Great Neck, New York, and returns to Palm Beach Opera as a second-year Young Artist, singing the roles of Mabel (The Pirates of Penzance Family Performance) and Kate Pinkerton (Madama Butterfly), and covering Gilda (Rigoletto). Last season, she made her company debut in the roles of Frasquita (Carmen), Najade (Ariadne auf Naxos), and Norina (Don Pasquale Family Performance). Other recent credits include the title role in Lakmé and Zerlina in Don Giovanni at Manhattan School of Music; Zerlina in Dona Vaughn’s masterclass “Don Giovanni: Love is a Battlefield” at the Metropolitan Opera Guild; Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro at Miami Summer Music Festival; Tytania (A Midsummer Night’s Dream) and Annina (La Traviata) at Highlands Opera Studio; and Adele (Die Fledermaus) at NYU Steinhardt. Jessica was a finalist in the 2015 Alan M. and Joan Taub Ades Vocal Competition. Sponsored by Roseanne Williams.
DANIELLE MACMILLAN – MEZZO SOPRANO
Returning to Palm Beach Opera, Danielle is known for her “deep plumy sound” Paula Citron, Classical 96.3fm and “a good foil” Opera in Review, Opera Canada, Toronto native Danielle MacMillan was a member of the COCs Ensemble Studio. Ms. MacMillan made her COC debut as the Second Niece in Britten’s Peter Grimes. She holds a BFA honors in classical vocal performance from York University with additional training at IVAI Istituzione Teatro Lirico Sperimentale di Spoleto, and The Glenn Gould School (GGS). Her credits include Diana in Cavalli’s La Calisto, Second Lady in Mozart’s The Magic Flute and Véronique in Bizet’s Le Docteur Miracle (GGS). During the 2014 season at the COC Ms. MacMillan also appeared as Dorabella in the Ensemble Studio performance of Cosí fan Tutte: “Act 2’s Danielle MacMillan has a bright sound and beautiful legato phrasing with spinto qualities that speak to heavier roles in the future. It is a surprisingly big voice at this early stage of a career” Paula Citron. Ms. MacMillan recently completed her first year as Young Artist at Palm Beach Opera. Sponsored by Drs. Marsha and Henry Laufer.
KASIA BOROWIEC – SOPRANO
Praised for her “beautiful singing” (Superconductor) and named a “standout” by Opera News, soprano Kasia Borowiec is quickly establishing herself as a young artist to watch. This summer, she will be a member of the Apprentice Singer Program at Santa Fe Opera. Then, Kasia will join the Young Artist Program at Palm Beach Opera where she will cover the role of Cio-Cio San in Madama Butterfly and sing the roles of the Page in Rigoletto and
Isabel in The Pirates of Penzance. During the 2015-2016 season, Kasia was an Artist in Residence at Dayton Opera, where she sang the role Kate Pinkerton in the company’s production of Madama Butterfly and covered the role of Desdemona in Otello. She also performed in two outreach school tours (Shakespeare Sings! and Cooking Up Opera) and collaborated with members of the Dayton Philharmonic in a chamber recital at the Dayton Art Institute. In the summer of 2015, Kasia was a studio artist at Chautauqua Opera, where she sang the Second Apparition in Macbeth and performed scenes as Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus and the Countess in Le nozze di Figaro. In 2014, she made her Philadelphia debut as Tatiana in Eugene Onegin with Russian Opera Workshop at the Academy of Vocal Arts. Her other operatic credits include Marguerite in Faust, Giulietta in I Capuleti e I Montecchi, and covering the role of Female Chorus in The Rape of Lucretia all at Manhattan School of Music, First Lady in The Magic Flute with New York Lyric Opera Theatre and Miss Jessel in The Turn of the Screw with the Bay Area Summer Opera Theatre Institute. In 2013, Kasia also sang the role of Angel More in Manhattan School of Music’s production of The Mother of Us All and is featured on the official recording produced by Albany Records. An active recitalist and concert soloist, Kasia has performed concerts throughout the US and parts of Italy. She has been the soprano soloist in Mahler’s 4th Symphony with the Columbia University Orchestra, Beethoven’s Mass in C, and Bach’s Cantata no. 140 among others. An art-song enthusiast, Kasia was a young artist with SongFest in 2012, where she worked on recital repertoire with Margo Garrett, Graham Johnson, Martin Katz, William Bolcom, and Amy Burton among others. During that same summer, Kasia was also a young artist at The CoOPERAtive Program in Princeton, NJ. Originally from Summit, NJ, Kasia holds degrees from Columbia University (B.A.) and Manhattan School of Music (M.M.). In 2011, she also studied at L’Accademia Internazionale della Musica in Milan, Italy. She is the recipient of the Richard and Brooke L. Rapaport Prize for Summer Music Study from Columbia University and a Chautauqua Opera Guild Award. Kasia currently resides in New York City where she studies with Nikki Li Hartliep. Sponsored by Teeda and Salvatore Nuzzo.
TARA CURTIS – MEZZO SOPRANO
Mezzo-soprano, Tara Curtis, is quickly establishing herself as an ” impressively full-voiced, dramatic” singer of operatic and concert repertoire. Her “keen, bright mezzo, darkened with raw edges” has been hailed as “a natural fit for Verdi.” She joins Palm Beach Opera’s Young Artist Program for the first time this season, covering the role of Suzuki in Madama Butterfly, singing the role of Giovanna and covering the role of Maddalena in Rigoletto and singing the role of Kate while covering/singing the family performance of Ruth in The Pirates of Penzance. She just recently finished covering the role of Azucena in Il Trovatore with St. Petersburg Opera. This past summer, she returned to San Francisco as a member of the Merola Opera Program, where she sang scenes as Baba the Turk in The Rake’s Progress and La Prieure in Dialogues des Carmelites. She was also a member of the Studio Artist program at Sarasota Opera’s 2016 winter festival, where she covered the role of Amneris in Aida and sang the role of Imelda in La Battaglia di Legnano.
Role highlights include Lucretia in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia, Cornelia in Handel’s Giulio Cesare, Zita in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, Mrs. Herring in Britten’s Albert Herring, Mother Marie in Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites, Third Lady in Mozart’s Magic Flute, Inez in Verdi’s Il Trovatore, and Berta in Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia. She has been the mezzo-soprano soloist in many concert performances including Verdi’s Requeim, Beethoven’s Mass in C Major and Choral Fantasie, Handel’s Messiah, Haydn’s Stabat Mater, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Bach’s Mass in B Minor, Vivaldi’s Magnificat, Brahms’ Liebeslieder Waltzes, Elgar’s Sea Pictures and Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder.
Tara has been a Merola Opera Career Grant winner, a Regional Finalist in the Metropolitan National Council Auditions – Midwest Division and a second-place winner in the art song division of The American Prize.
SPENCER VIATOR – TENOR
Spencer Viator is a native of Cincinnati, Ohio. He attended the College Conservatory of Music (CCM) in Cincinnati for both his undergraduate and graduate degrees. During his time at CCM he had the pleasure to of performing a multitude of roles including Don Ramiro in La Cenerentola, Monostatos in The Magic Flute, Daniel Buchanan in Street Scene and King Ouf in L’Etoile. Spencer was a prestigious Gerdine Young Artist with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis for the past two seasons. There he sang both Streznik in The Kiss and 1st Priest in The Magic Flute. He also covered Beppe in I Pagliacci and L’Aumonier in The Dialogues of the Carmelites. Just recently out of his master degree Spencer also made his New York City debut as Liverotto in Donizetti’s Lucrezia Borgia with LOFTOpera. A promoter of new works and new music Spencer has worked closely with composers like Ricky Ian Gordon, the composer of Morning Star in which Spencer sang Soldier Hymie in the World Premiere with Cincinnati Opera. Sponsored by Sue and Paul Efron.
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Timothy Cheung, Head Coach
Greg Ritchey, Associate Conductor and Chorus Master