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.

2016 Season

American Soprano Jessica Fishenfeld joins Palm Beach Opera’s Young Artist Program this season, singing the roles of Frasquita (Carmen), Najade (Ariadne auf Naxos), and covering/singing the family performance of Norina in Don Pasquale. Recent credits include Lakmé 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, receiving accolades for her “crystalline and pure” voice and “spot on comedic timing” at Miami Summer Music Festival; Tytania (A Midsummer Night’s Dream) and Annina (La Traviata) with Highlands Opera Studio; Musetta cover (La Bohème) at North Shore Music Festival; Adele (Die Fledermaus), and Clara (The Light in the Piazza) at NYU Steinhardt; Dew Fairy/Gretel cover (Hansel and Gretel) with Hubbard Hall Opera Theatre. She is a finalist in the 2015 Alan M. and Joan Taub Ades Vocal Competition. Sponsored by Roseanne Williams.

Liana Guberman Headshot

Soprano Liana Guberman, from New York, NY, is a second-year Young Artist with Palm Beach Opera for the 2015-2016 season, where she will sing Echo in Ariadne auf Naxos and cover Micaëla in Carmen. During the 2014-2015 Palm Beach Opera season, Liana covered Mimì in La Bohème and covered Masha and sang Hannah in the world premiere of Ben Moore’s Enemies, A Love Story. In 2015, Liana sang Lia in Debussy’s L’enfant prodigue directed by Anthony Laciura and conducted by Sesto Quatrini with new opera company, Bare Opera in NYC. In 2014, Liana was a Fellow at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, CA where she covered Micaëla in Carmen and sang the soprano solo in Mahler’s 4th Symphony with the MAW faculty orchestra and conductor James Gaffigan. Other recent roles include: Mimì (La Bohème) and Countess (Le Nozze di Figaro) with Loft Opera, and Parasha (Mavra) and Donna Anna (Don Giovanni) with Mannes Opera. Liana recently won the St. Louis district of the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions and advanced to the Midwest regional auditions in February 2015. She is also a 2015 grant winner of the Gerda Lissner Foundation Competition.  Sponsored in part by Mickey and Allan Greenblatt, Ruth Nelson Kraft Foundation

Mezzo soprano Fleur Barron was the 1st Prize Winner of the 2013 Liederkranz Competition (Art Song division) and she made her Carnegie Hall debut in the Winner’s Concert. In 2015, Fleur joined the young artist program at Glyndebourne Festival Opera, performing in Carmen, Donizetti’s Poliuto, Handel’s Saul, Ravel’s L’Enfant et les Sortileges, and the title role in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas. Fleur was also invited by Brigitte Fassbaender to participate in a week of public masterclasses at the Liederhalle, Stuttgart. Upcoming performances include a recital at the prestigious Oxford Lieder Festival (U.K.) and joining the Palm Beach Opera young artist program, where she will sing Mercedes and cover the title role in Carmen, and sing Dryad in Ariadne auf Naxos and Pepa in Goyescas (Granados). In 2014, Fleur performed the title role in Carmen at the Aspen Opera Center, and returned to Opera Theater of Saint Louis to cover Mere Jeanne and Mere Marie in Dialogues of the Carmelites and sing Third Spirit in The Magic Flute under the baton of Jane Glover. In 2013, Fleur covered Frugola in Il Tabarro with Opera Theater of Saint Louis and subsequently appeared as a vocal fellow with the Steans Institute (Ravinia Festival), where she debuted with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as the alto soloist in Vaughn Williams’ Serenade to Music and performed several recitals. Fleur has also participated in the young artist programs of the Caramoor Festival (2012), Lyric Opera Virginia (2011-2012) and the Martina Arroyo Foundation (2010). Fleur holds a Master’s degree from Manhattan School of Music and a B.A. in Comparative Literature with highest honors from Columbia University. She studies with Dr. Stephen King and Cynthia Hoffmann. Sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. L. David Callway.

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. Sponsored by Drs. Marsha and Henry Laufer

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.

Tenor Robert Watson, a native of Kansas City, MO, made his professional debut as a Noble in Wagner’s Lohengrin in 2012 with San Francisco Opera. This season he will sing the roles of Remendado in Carmen, Brighella in Ariadne auf Naxos, Fernando in Goyescas and will cover the roles of Don Jose and Bacchus as a young artist with Palm Beach Opera. In June 2016 Watson makes his hometown debut with the Kansas City Symphony in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 under the baton of Michael Stern. In the 2016-17 season Watson will join the Deutsche Oper Berlin where he will perform a multitude of roles as part of the ensemble, including Grigorij the Pretender in Boris Godunov and will cover the role of Erik in Wagner’s Die Fliegende Holländer. Last summer, Watson made his role debut as Lieutenant B.F. Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly with the National Symphony Orchestra and as Bergearss in Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles as a Filene Young Artist at Wolf Trap Opera. Past credits include Matelot in Milhaud’s Le pauvre matelot, Remendado in Carmen with Wolf Trap Opera, the tenor soloist in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Henry Cox in the world premiere of Picker’s Dolores Claiborne at San Francisco Opera, the Male Chorus in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia with Merola Opera, Cavaradossi cover in Tosca and Nika Magadoff with Opera Santa Barbara. Watson placed second in the 2014 Irene Dalis Award. He is a recipient of a Richard F. Gold Career Grant from the Shoshana Foundation and a Catherine Filene Shouse Education Career Grant. He is a two-time Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions regional finalist. He attended the San Francisco Conservatory, and is a graduate of Oklahoma City University. Sponsored by Teeda and Salvatore Nuzzo

Jason Duika

Baritone Jason Duika is quickly making a name for himself in the classical music world. Being praised by Oregon music news for having a, “big, warm voice” and, “spot-on comic timing”. This past April, he sang the famous tenor/baritone duet, Si pel ciel, from Verdi’s Otello opposite tenor Andrew Lunsford, and the aria, Di provenza from Verdi’s La Traviata at Carnegie Hall’s Isaac Stern auditorium, and in April of 2013, sang the baritone solos in Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana in Alma Colleges spring 2013 masterworks concert. In the summer of 2012, Jason covered Metropolitan Opera Baritone Kyle Pfortmiller in the role of Valentine in Gounod’s Faust at Utah Festival Opera in Logan, and in the winter of 2013, joined Wichita Grand Opera to cover the roles of The Count, in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro and the great villain Iago, in Verdi’s Otello. While in graduate school at Portland State in the spring of 2009, Jason sang the role of Ford, in Verdi’s Falstaff opposite veteran Metropolitan opera Baritone Richard Zeller. Among Jason’s other performance credits are the title roles in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin at Portland State, and Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi. Jason holds a Bachelor of Arts in voice from Alma College, a Masters of Music in voice performance from Portland State University, and a Performer Diploma in opera from the world renowned Indiana University Jacobs School of music, where he performed the title role of Dr. Falke in Strauss’ Die Fledermaus. Sponsored by Estelle Fassler, In Memory of Leon Fassler with additional support from the Ruth Nelson Kraft Foundation.

Andrew Bogard hails from central Ohio and recently graduated with a Master of Music degree from the Curtis Institute of Music, and holds a Bachelor of Music degree from The Juilliard School. Operatic highlights include Nick Shadow in The Rake’s Progress, Alidoro in Rossini’s La Cenerentola, Dulcamara in L’Elisir d’Amore, Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte, Mephistopheles in Gounod’s Faust, Leporello in Don Giovanni, Simone in Gianni Schicchi, and Colline in La Bohème. Andrew has sung numerous roles with Opera Philadelphia, Curtis Institute of Music, Ballet Opera Pantomime (Montreal), and Chautauqua Music Festival and School. Oratorio performances include Jesus/bass soloist in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, bass soloist in Handel’s Messiah, and Raphael/Adam in Haydn’s The Creation. Andrew won first place in the 2014 Mario Lanza Scholarship Competition, and was a Mid-Atlantic regional finalist and encouragement award recipient in the 2015 MET Competition. Sponsored by Drs. Marsha and Henry Laufer.

Pianist and coach Zalman Kelber joins PBO for its 2015-2016 season where he will assist on Carmen, Ariadne auf Naxos and Don Pasquale as well as the Young Artist production of Goyescas.  Last summer he was a Young Artist at Glimmerglass, as an assistant coach on Macbeth and Vivaldi’s Catone in Utica, as well as a workshop of Phillip Glass’s Appamatox.  He spent the summers of 2013 and 2014 as a fellow at the Aspen Festival where he worked on Eugene Onegin and Poppea in addition to performing Reimann’s song cycle Nachtstuck. During the 2013-2014 season he was a Resident Artist at Shreveport Opera, where he served as Chorus master and rehearsal pianist for L’Elisir d’Amore, The Mikado and Turandot.  He has also been on the staffs of the Castleton Festival and Opera Saratoga.  He received his Master’s in Harpsichord and Musicology from Oxford and has soloed with the Oxford University String Ensemble, Northwestern University’s Baroque Music Ensemble and Chicago’s period instrument ensemble, Baroque Band.  He received his undergraduate degrees in Piano and African History from Northwestern. Sponsored by the Gladys and Sy Ziv Foundation.

Timothy Cheung, Head Coach
Greg Ritchey, Associate Conductor and Chorus Master

Dramatic and Improvisation Preparation
Daniel Ellis, Stage Director, One Opera in One Hour and Opera Cabaret

Guest Vocal Coaches
Rachelle Jonck, Head Coach and Assistant Conductor at Caramoor and Westminster Choir College
Danielle Orlando, Principal Opera Coach, Curtis Institute and Academy of Vocal Arts

Craig Rutenberg, Director of Musical Administration, The Metropolitan Opera

David Stern, Chief Conductor, PBO (Carmen)
Antonino Fogliani (Don Pasquale)
Andreas Delfs (Ariadne auf Naxos)

Stage Directors
John de los Santos (Carmen)
Fenlon Lamb (Don Pasquale)
Daniel Witzke (Ariadne auf Naxos)

Would you like more information about auditions?

For more information about our 2017 Benenson Young Artist Program and auditioning, click here.