Ainsley Wray

Years Auditioned: 2017

  • Soprano
  • Age: 30

Ainsley is a recent graduate of the University of Toronto, where she completed her Masters of Music in Voice Performance. At this time, she studied with Nathalie Paulin and Patrick Raftery. She began her studies at the University of Manitoba where she completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Voice Performance and a Post Baccalaureate Diploma in Voice Performance. During this time she had the privilege of studying with Lois Watson-Lyons and Tracy Dahl. Recent roles include Pamina in Die Zauberflöte (AEDO), Pallade/Amore 2 in L'incoronazione di Poppea (COSI), and Lucia in Angela and her Sisters (The University of Manitoba). Ainsley has…

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Amanda Kasem

Years Auditioned: 2017

  • Soprano
  • Age: 27

Amber Gauthier

Years Auditioned: 2017

  • Soprano
  • Age: 30

Andrea Lett

Years Auditioned: 2017

  • Soprano
  • Age: 26

Praised for her "clear voice soaring to stratospheric heights" (Opera Canada, 2015) soprano Andrea Lett is thrilled to be part of the 2017 Metropolitan Opera National Competition. Miss Lett completed her Masters at the University of Toronto, studying with Mary Morrison. Her warm and versatile tone earned a spot in the Canadian Opera Company Centerstage Competition Gala in November 2016. Previous roles include Pamina and Queen of the Night (Die Zauberflöte), Fido (Paul Bunyan), Monica (The Medium), Gretel (Hansel and Gretel), Cendrillon (Cendrillon), and Frasquita (Carmen).

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Ariana Douglas

Years Auditioned: 2017

  • Soprano
  • Age: 26

Austin Sanders

Years Auditioned: 2016, 2017

  • Baritone
  • Age: 25

Austin Sanders, a native from Onalaska, Wisconsin, is a Baritone in his final semester at Viterbo University as a student of Daniel Johnson-Wilmot. Austin just finished performing Acis and Galatea this October and he starred as the role of Polypheme. He’s also been Ko-Ko in The Mikado, Don Magnifico in La Cenerentola, and Don Annibale in Il campenello di note throughout his time at Viterbo. He placed second at the NATS competition last year, a finalist and an honorable mention at the Schubert Club Audition, and received an encouragement award at the MONC Auditions as well.

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Benjamin Dickerson

Years Auditioned: 2017

  • Baritone
  • Age: 24

Benjamin Sieverding

Years Auditioned: 2016, 2017

  • Bass
  • Age: 30

Bass Benjamin Sieverding, from Sioux Falls, SD, is a four-time district winner and regional finalist of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. This season he returns to Minnesota Opera as a Resident Artist, performing the roles of Frère Laurent in Roméo et Juliette, Max Kane in the premiere of Dinner at Eight, and Colline in La Bohème. The previous season included: Truffaldino in Ariadne auf Naxos, Sarastro and Sprecher in Die Zauberflöte, and Sacristan in Tosca. Sieverding makes his Madison Opera debut this season, singing Le duc in Roméo et Juliette. He recently appeared as Peter Quince in A Midsummer…

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Benjamin Taylor

Years Auditioned: 2017

  • Baritone
  • Age: 29

Brian Wallin

Years Auditioned: 2017

  • Tenor
  • Age: 27

Chad Sonka

Years Auditioned: 2017

  • Baritone
  • Age: 26

Chad Sonka is quickly becoming a sought after American baritone. In the Summer of 2016, he joined Central City Opera as an Apprentice Artist, covering Scarpia in Tosca. Previous performing credits: Gianni Schicchi (Marco) with Savannah Music Festival; Man of La Mancha (Don Quixote) and Carmen (Dancïro) with Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre; The Mother of Us All (Virgil T.), The Rape of Lucretia (Junius), and Elijah (Elijah) with Manhattan School of Music, and Amahl and the Night Visitors (King Melchior) with Nevada Opera. Mr. Sonka has been a participant of Dolora Zajick’s Institute for Young Dramatic Voices, as well as…

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Christopher Colmenero

Years Auditioned: 2017

  • Tenor
  • Age: 29

Christopher Trapani

Years Auditioned: 2017

  • Tenor
  • Age: 29

Emilie Faiella

Years Auditioned: 2017

  • Soprano
  • Age: 23

Emilie Faiella is a soprano from Southern California. With the guidance of her teacher, Dr. Melanie Galloway, Emilie was accepted into Houston Grand Opera’s Young Artists Vocal Academy and the semi-finals for Academy of the West and the Eisteddfod Voice of the World competition in Llangollen, Wales. Her performance of opera roles include Gretel in Hänsel und Gretel, Ginevra in Ariodante, and Zerlina in Don Giovanni. Emilie acquired her BM in Vocal Performance at Azusa Pacific University. She considers it an honor to continue working with Dr. Galloway, and to have worked with many fine coaches such as Douglas Sumi,…

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Emily Dyer

Years Auditioned: 2017

  • Soprano
  • Age: 25

Emily Pogorelc

Years Auditioned: 2017

  • Soprano
  • Age: 21

Praised for her “lively, incisive soprano” by the New York Times, Emily Pogorelc is currently in her third year at the Curtis Institute of Music. This season, Emily performs as le Feu in Ravel’s L’Enfant et les Sortilèges, Lucia in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia and Lisette in Puccini’s La Rondine. She also returns to the Glimmerglass Festival to sing Romilda in Handel’s Xerxes. Previously, Emily sang the roles of Musetta in Puccini’s La Boheme and Barbarina in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro with Curtis Opera Theatre, Johanna in Sweeney Todd and Berenice in Rossini’s L’occasione fa il ladro with…

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Eric McEnaney

Years Auditioned: 2017

Eric McEnaney enjoys a multifaceted career as one of America’s foremost opera pianists and vocal coaches, having assisted on the musical preparation of more than 90 productions for companies throughout the country. He maintains active associations with Florentine Opera Company as Principal Pianist and Coach, Minnesota Opera as Master Coach, and Central City Opera as Assistant Conductor, and has worked as a guest coach for Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Virginia Opera, Opera Southwest, Skylark Opera, and Lyric Opera of the North, among others. Dr. McEnaney is an alumnus of young artist programs at Music Academy of the West, Wolf…

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Gina Perregrino

Years Auditioned: 2017

  • Mezzo-Soprano
  • Age: 25

Helen Zhibing Huang

Years Auditioned: 2017

  • Soprano
  • Age: 27

Janel Mercado

Years Auditioned: 2017

  • Soprano
  • Age: 25

Soprano Janel Mercado, hails from Texas and is currently working toward her Master's degree in Vocal Performance at the University of Minnesota in Duluth. Her upcoming engagements include the title role of Puccini's Suor Angelica at UMD and the supporting role of the Page in The Lyric Opera of the North's summer production of Rigoletto. Mercado received her Bachelor's degree in Vocal Performance at Texas Tech University in 2014. There she performed the roles of Mrs. Segstrom in A Little Night Music by Sondheim, Iolanthe in Iolanthe by Gilbert and Sullivan, and Poppea in L'incoronaztione di Poppea by Monteverdi. During…

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Jeffrey Martin

Years Auditioned: 2016, 2017

  • Baritone
  • Age: 30

Jessica Faselt

Years Auditioned: 2017

  • Soprano
  • Age: 24

Known for her “keen expression and impressive delivery” (Music in Cincinnati), soprano Jessica Faselt hails from Iowa. Jessica completed her Masters Degree at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and was the recipient of the Corbett Award and her Bachelor of Music from the University of Iowa. Jessica sang with the Institute for Young Dramatic Voices, studying with mezzo-soprano, Dolora Zajick and will return there in 2017. She was a Gerdine Young Artist with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis in 2015 and was engaged there in 2016 covering the role of Ariadne in Ariadne auf Naxos. Other roles include:…

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Jessica Kos-Whicher

Years Auditioned: 2016, 2017

  • Soprano
  • Age: 25

Winnipeg born soprano, Jessica Kos-Whicher graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree and Post-Baccalaureate diploma in vocal performance under the guidance of Tracy Dahl and Monica Huisman at the University of Manitoba. Most recently Jessica appeared as Pamina in The Magic Flute...Retold with Manitoba Underground Opera. Other recent highlights include Elle in Poulenc's La Voix Humaine with Opera NUOVA and L'UniThéatre in Edmonton, AB and Sister Rose in Opera NUOVA’s production of Dead Man Walking, Susannah in Susannah (Opera NUOVA Scenes), and Almirena in Rinaldo with the University of Manitoba Opera theatre. Jessica is currently preparing the roles of Tatiana…

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Kara Smoot

Years Auditioned: 2017

  • Soprano
  • Age: 27

Known for her rich vocal color and expressivity, soprano Kara Smoot shows promise as an up and coming singer. This season, she returns to Opera San Antonio to debut the role of Lady of the Creek in the world premiere of Las Fundaciones de Béjar. She was recently seen making her role debut as Violetta in La Traviata with the Mediterranean Opera Festival in Sicily, as well as Ines in Il Trovatore with Opera San Antonio. Other career highlights include singing Zerlina in Don Giovanni, The Sleep Fairy in Hansel and Gretel, Zweite Dame in Die Zauberflöte, Luisa Fernanda in…

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Kelsey Park

Years Auditioned: 2017

  • Mezzo-Soprano
  • Age: 28

Praised by the Chicago Tribune for her lustrous voice, mezzo-soprano Kelsey Park is a recent graduate of Northwestern’s voice and opera program, studying under Theresa Brancaccio. As a studio artist with Madison Opera, Park appeared as Antonia’s Mother in The Tales of Hoffmann and returns this season to perform Second Lady in The Magic Flute. While at Northwestern, she was seen as Sister Helen in the critically-acclaimed Chicago premiere of Dead Man Walking. Park also appeared in Northwestern’s productions as Dorabella in Cosi fan tutte and Jo in Little Women.

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Lara Secord-Haid

Years Auditioned: 2017

  • Soprano
  • Age: 28

Canadian Soprano, Lara Secord-Haid has been praised for her "flinty acuity" (New York Times) and her "grace and genuine warmth" (Opera Canada). Recent appearances include a concert tour in China (2016), Canada-Mexico concert (San Miguel, Mexico), Marzelline in Fidelio (Manitoba Opera), Miss Jessel in The Turn of the Screw and Tytania in A Midsummer Night's Dream (Opera on the Avalon), Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni (Banff Center), 3 Settings of Celan by Harrison Birtwistle (Lincoln Center). She was recently awarded Jeune Espoir Lyrique Canadien (2016) and the Mexican, Russian and Chinese Lyric Bursaries (2015) by Theatre L20, Opera San Miguel…

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Lauren Estelle Carter

Years Auditioned: 2017

  • Mezzo-Soprano
  • Age: 30

Mariya Kaganskaya

Years Auditioned: 2017

  • Mezzo-Soprano
  • Age: 26

2015 MONC Western Regional Encouragement Award winner, Russian-American Mezzo-Soprano Mariya Kaganskaya is currently a Studio Artist at Arizona Opera, where she appears in the 2016-17 Season as Third Wood Sprite (Rusalka), Suzuki (Madama Butterfly), and Tisbe (La Cenerentola). In Summer 2017, she returns as a second-year Apprentice Singer to the Santa Fe Opera, where she will premiere the role of Teacher in The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs and cover the role of Amelfa in The Golden Cockerel. A former Studio Artist at Opera Santa Barbara and Young Artist at the iSing International Festival, as well as an alumna of the…

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Mark Covey

Years Auditioned: 2017

  • Tenor
  • Age: 30

Mary Evelyn Hangley

Years Auditioned: 2017

  • Soprano
  • Age: 28

Mary Jo Gothmann

Years Auditioned: 2016, 2017

Accompanist Mary Jo Gothmann enjoys a varied career as a chamber musician, soloist, opera coach and organist. Mary Jo performs frequently with the Minnesota Orchestra and St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and has appeared as soloist with the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra and the St. Paul Civic Orchestra. She has worked for some of the most prestigious opera companies in the United States, including the Metropolitan Opera, Santa Fe Opera, and Minnesota Opera, in recitals with singers from the Metropolitan Opera, and with instrumentalists from many of the country's major symphony orchestras. Mary Jo is a graduate of the Metropolitan Opera…

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Matthew Clegg

Years Auditioned: 2017

  • Tenor
  • Age: 30

Natalia Salemmo

Years Auditioned: 2017

  • Soprano
  • Age: 29

Nathaniel Mattingly

Years Auditioned: 2017

  • Bass-Baritone
  • Age: 27

Bass-Baritone, Nate Mattingly—a native of DFW—is a Festival Young Artist for Fort Worth Opera. Nate has performed with: Des Moines Metro Opera as Pistola (cover) in Falstaff and 2nd Guardsman in Manon; Opera on the James as Don Bartolo in Le nozze di Figaro and Colline in La bohème; Fort Worth Opera as Horatio in Hamlet; Seagle Music Colony as Javert in Les Misérables, Don Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia, and Rev. Olin Blitch in Susannah; and Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro at the Boston Conservatory. Nate is an alumnus of the University of North Texas (Bachelors and…

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Olivia Yokers

Years Auditioned: 2017

  • Soprano
  • Age: 25

American soprano Olivia Yokers is quickly being distinguished as a force in both opera and musical theatre. Recently, she was reviewed by the Washington Post as "making the most out of Berta" in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Virginia Opera. Yokers’ other per-forming credits include, Sardula in The Last Savage, Josephine in HMS Pina-fore, and Daughter in Ahknaten at Indiana University. She has performed with Cincinnati Opera, Indianapolis Opera, and Ash Lawn Opera. Upcoming engagements include con-tinuing with Virginia Opera as a Herndon Emerging Artist and performing Mabel in Pirates of Penzance and Gertrude in Seussical with Utah Festival Opera.

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Rachel Arky

Years Auditioned: 2017

  • Mezzo-Soprano
  • Age: 30

Praised for her “golden tone” and handling of “difficult music with a glorious ease” (Edge Media Network Miami), mezzo-soprano Rachel Arky is an emerging singing actress swiftly gaining attention for her dramatic and musical versatility. This season Ms. Arky makes her debut at Mississippi Opera as Maddalena in Rigoletto, a role she first performed at the Natchez Festival of Music. During the 2015 – 2016 season she appeared as Madame Larina in Eugene Onegin and the Lady in Waiting in Macbeth, both at Chautauqua Opera; Marquise (cover) in La fille du régiment and Tamara (cover) in the premiere of Ben…

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Rebecca Kidnie

Years Auditioned: 2017

  • Soprano
  • Age: 29

Regina Ceragioli

Years Auditioned: 2017

  • Soprano
  • Age: 25

Reuben Lillie

Years Auditioned: 2017

  • Baritone
  • Age: 29

Known for his “virile sound” and “reliable technique” (OPERA TODAY), baritone Reuben L. Lillie has performed most recently in with Des Moines Metro Opera, Sugar Creek Opera, Vero Beach Opera, and The Santa Fe Opera. In concert Reuben has served as soloist with Gaudete Brass Quintet, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, and Downers Grove Choral Society. In competition Reuben has received first prize from the Chicago Chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing and been named a regional finalist by the Metropolitan Opera National Council.

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Robert Erlichman

Years Auditioned: 2017

  • Tenor
  • Age: 28

Samantha Schmid

Years Auditioned: 2017

  • Soprano
  • Age: 28

Samantha Schmid, lyric soprano—dedicates herself to exploring culture & communication. Recently named winner of The American Prize in Vocal Performance, Schmid began the 2016–17 season as an ensemble member in the Ouroboros Trilogy (world premiere). Upcoming performances include Eugene Onegin (ensemble), Ariadne auf Naxos (Ariadne cover), Rubinstein’s The Demon (Tamara cover), & Rusalka. A champion of contemporary & Slavic music, Schmid’s previous engagements include Donna Elvira, Constance (L. Hurley’s The Body Politic, world premiere), Tina (Flight), Iolanta, Liza (The Queen of Spades), Iphigénie (en Tauride), & the Fox (The Cunning Little Vixen). Schmid currently resides in Boston & studies voice…

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Siena Forest

Years Auditioned: 2016, 2017

  • Soprano
  • Age: 27

Siena Forest, a lyric coloratura soprano, sets herself apart with her dynamic stage presence, facile voice and deftness in bringing new works to life. In October 2016, Siena was a semi-finalist in the Mildred Miller Competition and placed 4th in Piccola Opera's Third Annual Opera Competition receiving a contract with Opera New Hampshire in their upcoming “Three Divas” performance tour. Siena is elated to return to Minnesota Opera in the 2016-2017 season where she will be premiering the role of Paula Jordan in William Bolcom and librettist Mark Campbell’s new opera Dinner at Eight. Performances March 11th-19th. In August 2017,…

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Stephen Maus

Years Auditioned: 2017

  • Baritone
  • Age: 30

Tomás Dominguez

Years Auditioned: 2017

  • Tenor
  • Age: 29

Tomás Dominguez is an american tenor born and raised in south east Wisconsin. He received his BM from UW- Eau Claire and his MM from DePaul University, where he studied with Met tenor Michael Sylvester. Recently, he was heard as Prince Ramiro in La Cenerentola in Weimar, Germany. He is currently portraying Jimmy Reno in Opera for the Young's Elixir of Love. Upcoming, he will sing his first full Messiah in Des Plaines, IL, Winter 2017. He is currently an associate lecturer of voice at UW-Green Bay.

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Tyler Williams

Years Auditioned: 2017

  • Tenor
  • Age: 30

Whitney Morrison

Years Auditioned: 2017

  • Soprano
  • Age: 27