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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

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 NEWSA lyric launching pad: Young artists laugh, learn at Palm Beach Opera – Palm Beach Daily News 3.10.13

Bridgette Gan

Bridgette Gan is thrilled to be a Young Artist with Palm Beach Opera this season. Bridgette has received top awards from The Giulio Gari Foundation, Gerda Lissner Foundation, Central City Opera, the Licia Albanese-Pucinni Competion, Opera Index Vocal Competition, the Philadelphia Orchestra Albert M. Greenfield Competition and the National Opera Association Voice Competition, among others.  Bridgette just recently sang and covered Musetta at Ash Lawn Opera and made her role debut as the Contessa in Le Nozze di Figaro with the Pacific Opera Project. She was a Gerdine Young Artist at Opera Theatre Saint Louis in 2012 where she covered Frasquita in Carmen, performed in Sweeney Todd and the American premiere of Alice in Wonderland.. Bridgette was an apprentice artist with Central City Opera in 2010 and 2011 where she performed Frasquita in Carmen, Celie in Signor Deluso, and Venus/Eurydice in Orpheus in the Underworld.  Ms. Gan completed her Masters in Opera Performance from the Maryland Opera Studio where she portrayed Konstanze in Entführung aus dem Serail  and Florencia in Florencia en el Amazonas.

Soprano, Claire Kuttler most recently performed Female Chorus in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia. Opera News wrote of her portrayal, “She released a glistening torrent of sound, railing against injustice with passion, rage and resignation.”  In recent seasons, the singing actress has been seen as Mimí in La Bohème at Central City Opera, Fargo Moorhead Opera, and Bel Cantanti Opera. Other credits include Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni with Mannes Opera, The Wife in Le Pauvre Matelot with Pocket Opera of New York, Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte at the Maryland Opera Studio, and Micaela in Carmen at the Crested Butte Music Festival.  An enthusiastic performer of American works, Claire originated the role of Elaine O’Neill in John Musto’s Later the Same Evening and sang Barber’s “Knoxville: Summer of 1915″ with the Mannes Orchestra as a winner of the conservatory’s concerto competition. She has also had the honor to sing for former President George W. Bush and for President Barack Obama while living in Washington D.C.

Mezzo-soprano Rachel Arky, whose “expressive phrasing and fine sound” are coupled with an “endearing” and “convincing” stage presence, was recently seen as Maddalena (Rigoletto/Natchez Festival of Music), Lola (Cavalleria rusticana/New Jersey Verismo Opera), Paula (scenes/Florencia en el Amazonas/Chautauqua Opera), Zellah (cover/The Mark of Cain/Chelsea Opera), and Der Trommler (cover/Der Kaiser von Atlantis/Opera Moderne). Ms. Arky’s assignments during the 2014 season at Palm Beach Opera include Berta (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Giulietta (cover/Les contes d’Hoffmann) and Lady in Waiting (Macbeth). This past year, the New York-born mezzo-soprano was a finalist in a number of prestigious competitions, including the Marcello Giordani Foundation Voice Competition (for which she also won an Encouragement Prize), the Mario Lanza Institute Scholarship Competition, the New Jersey Verismo Opera Competition, and the Arkadi Foundation Opera Idol Competition. Prior to 2012, Ms. Arky won Third Place in the Liederkranz Voice Competition (Art Song Division), was a Semi-Finalist in the Opera Columbus Irma M. Cooper Competition, and received an Encouragement Grant from Career Bridges. Rachel completed her M.M. at Manhattan School of Music and her undergraduate studies at Barnard College, Columbia University, where she graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. She currently based out of New York City and is represented by Wade Artist Management.

Mezzo soprano, JoAna Rusche, is thrilled to be returning to Palm Beach Opera again this season. Last season, she performed the roles of Rosina in the Family Performance of Il barbiere di Siviglia, Ruggiero in Alcina, and Mrs. Gibb’s in Our Town. This season, she will be performing the role of Shiva Haddas in Ben Moore’s new opera Enemies, A Love Story. She will also be singing the role of the Marquise de Berkenfeld in the Family Performance of La Fille du Régiment. Praised by Opera News as being “notably sweet-voiced,” Ms. Rusche made her debut with Opera North in the title role in La Cenerentola, where she was hailed as “an effervescent Cinderella” and was praised for managing “Rossini’s florid lines with flair and warmth.” Previous roles include the title roles of L’Enfant et les Sortileges and Hansel and Gretel, as well as Inez in Il Trovatore and Fidalma in Il Matrimonio Segreto. Ms. Rusche has received top prizes in the Birmingham Opera Competition, the Heafner Williams Vocal Competition, the Charlotte Opera Guild Auditions, the state and national levels of the National Federation of Music Clubs Student Auditions, and the Long Leaf Opera National Vocal Competition.

Joseph Dennis TenorJOSEPH DENNIS – TENOR
Joseph Dennis, lyric tenor, was born in Sacramento California to a family that loved music. He moved to McKinney Texas when he was 13 and attended McKinney High School there. After graduation, he attended Collin College in Dallas for a short stint as a theatre major performing in diverse musical roles such as the Balladeer from Sondheim’s ASSASSINS and Rick from the Bat Boy the Musical and received a nomination for best actor in a musical. Shortly after, he left school to travel, work and teach. During this time,  his twin brother Joshua Dennis began studying opera with Maestro Bruce Fowler at Stephen F Austin State University. Upon return from his missionary service, he took a voice lesson from Maestro Fowler and fell in love with performing again. At the University, he has performed in the roles of Elder Gleaton from Susannah, Alfred from Die Fledermaus, King Kaspar from Amahl and the Night Visitors, as well as Gastone from La Traviata. Joseph has been a participant in the NATS regional competition and has won first place in the Senior division, first place in the Graduate division, and has been the recipient of the Grady Harlan “2011 Most Professional Voice” award. Joseph was also a winner of the 2012 San Antonio Tuesday Music Club Competition.  Joseph attended W. Steve Smith’s training program at Northwestern in Chicago. Joseph has also performed  in the roles of Pylade in Gluck’s Iphigenie en Tauride, Fenton in Verdi’s Falstaff, and was the tenor soloist in Beethoven’s 9th symphony. He also sang in Dubois 7 Last Words of Christ along side renowned Soprano Leona Mitchell and accomplished Bass David Robinson. He is currently engaged in singing for the Apprentice Singer Program at the Santa Fe Opera in the role of Giuseppe in La Traviata and covering the role of Don Curzio in Le Nozze di Figaro.

Nicholas Nestorak has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Hillsdale College and a Master of Music Degree from the University of Michigan where he was a student of Melissa Borg Osmond and of George Shirley.  Nestorak performed the role of Don Ottavio in the University of Michigan’s Fall 2012 main stage production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, and the role of Tanzmeister in the Winter 2013 production of Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos.    Nestorak has also performed internationally, where in 2012 he sang the role of Tamino in the Lyric Opera Studio of Weimar’s production of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte in Weimar, Germany.  In November of 2012, Nestorak competed in the Great Lakes Region of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and received an Encouragement Award.  Most recently, Nestorak participated as a Marcello Giordani Young Artist with the 2013 Crested Butte Music festival, where he sang the Ufficiale and covered Count Almaviva in their production of Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Seviglia, and was awarded the Rosalind Jackson Memorial Award for Excellence.

Baritone Tobias Greenhalgh is a versatile singer on the rise, whom Opera News recently claimed was “so clearly headed for success”. Most recent credits include 1st place in the Liederkranz Opera Competition, “Dr. Malatesta” (Don Pasquale) and “Ferryman” (Curlew River) with Juilliard Opera, and “Samuel” (Pirates of Penzance) with Opera Theatre of St. Louis, in which the Wall Street Journal praised him for his “scene-stealing” portrayal. This season, Tobias will be performing the role of “Leo Stein” in Ricky Ian Gordon’s new opera “27″ with Opera Theatre of St. Louis, an opera gala in Alice Tully Hall, The St. Matthew Passion in Chicago, and a solo recital at Caramoor. Tobias has been recognized for his vocal capabilities in various competitions, including the Grand prize in The Metropolitan International Music Festival Competition, 1st place in the Mario Lanza Competition, 2nd place in The NY Oratorio Society Competition. Tobias is a recent graduate of The Juilliard School, where he earned both his Bachelors and Masters degrees in Vocal Performance. Tobias is the co-creator of “Operation Superpower”, a superhero opera for kids, which was recently featured on a PBS Newshour special on entrepreneurship in the classical arts. Tobias frequently performs with the New York Festival of Song. Tobias studies under Dr. Robert C. White.

“Peter Tomaszewski…puts his warm, hefty bass-baritone to telling use…shaping phrases with stylish flair and extracting something colorful out of nearly every syllable of text.”- Tim Smith (Baltimore Sun). Peter served as a Young Artist with Palm Beach Opera last season (2013); playing the first Nazarene in Salome, Doctor Grenvil in La Traviata and Herman Broder in a version of Ben Moore’s new opera, Enemies: a Love Story.  He returns this season to play the Physician in Macbeth, Basilio in the family show of The Barber of Seville, as well as Luther and Crespel in The Tales of Hoffmann. Other stage roles include: Nick Shadow in The Peabody Conservatory’s The Rake’s Progress, Gregorio in Annapolis Opera’s Romeo and Juliet, and Papageno in Die Zauberflöte with Maryland Concert Opera.  Tomaszewski hails from the rural outskirts of Bellingham, Washington and attended The Peabody Conservatory in Maryland where he studied with the celebrated English bass baritone, John Shirley-Quirk. There he earned a Masters of Music in Vocal Performance and the selective Opera Graduate Performance Degree.

Program Faculty
Greg Ritchey, Associate Conductor and Chorus Master, PBO
Fenlon Lamb, Assistant Director, PBO; Director, One Opera in One Hour
Timothy Cheung, Head Coach
Carl King, Movement and Fitness Instructor

Master Artist Residencies
Diana Soviero
Bernard Uzan
Rachelle Jonck

Main Stage Artist Master Classes
Bruno Praticò, Bass Baritone – Bartolo, The Barber of Seville
Mark Delavan, Baritone – The Four Villains, The Tales of Hoffmann

Guest Directors and Conductors
Bernard Uzan, Director
David Stern, Conductor

The Barber of Seville
Christopher Mattaliano, Director
Patrick Fournillier, Conductor

The Tales of Hoffmann
Jay Lesenger, Director
Christian Knapp, Conductor

Young Artist Program Application

2014-2015 SEASON

Auditions: April 29 – 30, 2014 in New York

November 15, 2014- March 29, 2015
8 singers total (2 sopranos, 2 mezzos, 2 tenors, 1 baritone, 1 bass)

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. Auditions will be only heard for the following positions with the possible assignments as follows:

Soprano – Cover Mimi- La Boheme; Cover Masha- Enemies, A Love Story
Tenor- Cover Rodolfo- La Boheme
Tenor- Cover Tonio- The Daughter of the Regiment
Baritone- Sing and/or Cover Schaunard- La Boheme
Bass- Cover Colline- La Boheme; Sing and or cover Hortensius- The Daughter of the Regiment

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 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; 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.

Foreign Nationals:

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.

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 $30.00 non-refundable application fee*
- One (1) headshot photograph
* to be submitted separately electronically

ALL MATERIALS MUST BE RECEIVED BY APRIL 15, 2014.  Audition slots will be assigned during the week of April 21, 2014.

For additional questions, please contact Scott Guzielek at 561.835.7553 or

Due to overwhelming response, all audition times have been filled.  If you would like to be considered for an audition, please contact Scott Guzielek at 561.835.7553 or