This post comes from Natalie Creamer, Spring 2013 Public Relations Intern
As summer approaches imminent opera stars and trainees invited to join the Wolf Trap Opera Company’s 2013 summer residency program excitedly count down the days until their first rehearsal.
This past Saturday the Wolf Trap Opera Company hosted its First Look 2013, announcing the upcoming season of operas, concerts and recitals. In addition to revealing its core repertoire, Wolf Trap Opera Company Director Kim Witman illuminated the company’s whirlwind journey of auditioning vocalists, selecting works, allocating funds, and staging an operatic production.
|Photography by Teddy Wolff/Courtesy of Wolf Trap|
How does Wolf Trap Opera Company choose its repertoire?
Unlike traditional opera companies, Wolf Trap Opera Company’s vigorous application process and casting of singers precede the selection of the summer season’s operatic repertoire. Instead of casting based on the need of an opera’s principal and supporting roles, Wolf Trap Opera Company searches for operas that fit the voices of their summer residency program. This season the company will present new and original productions of Gioacchino Rossini’s Journey to Reims, and Giuseppe Verdi’s La traviata and Falstaff.
What’s the selection process?
Out of the more than 1,000 online applicants, just over 500 participated in live auditions, and only 36 were invited as Filene Young Artists and Studio Artists to Wolf Trap Opera Company’s 2013 summer residency program. In October 2012, the Wolf Trap Opera Company launched its month-long audition tour making stops in Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Houston, Chicago and Washington D.C..
In each city Filene Young Artist applicants invited to audition were asked to perform four arias or solo pieces specific to their voice type in different languages and styles. Studio Artist hopefuls were asked to perform two songs, one of which must have been sung in English. Unlike the Filene Young Artists, the Studio Artist applicants were required to present a one-minute contemporary language monologue written within the last 20 years.
The Wolf Trap Opera Company compiled a list and frequency of arias featured by auditioning Filene Young Artist applicants, which they divided by voice. The female parts are sopranos, highest, and mezzo-sopranos, second highest. The male voices range from tenors, baritones, to bass/ bass-baritones.
What’s the difference between a Filene Young Artist and a Studio Artist?
The Wolf Trap Opera Company has garnered nationwide prestige as a leading opera training institution for intermediate and advanced vocalists. On Saturday the Company announced its 20 Filene Young Artists and 16 Studio Artists who will be participating in their six to 10-week residency program starting in May. The number of those admitted fluctuates from year to year depending on the amount of resources available and the pool of applicants. Thanks to the generous contributions from Wolf Trap Opera Company patrons, a three-work repertoire was possible this season.
The Filene Young Artists are emerging opera professionals who are about to make it big. These young men and women have undergone extensive training, attended prestigious performing arts schools, won distinguished awards, participated in apprenticeship programs, and worked as members of opera companies across the country. The Filene Young Artists perform the principal and supporting roles of Wolf Trap Opera Company’s three mainstage operatic productions. La traviata will be performed on July 19 at the Filene Center. The Barns at Wolf Trap will host the remaining two operas, Journey to Reims, June 21, 23, 29, and Falstaff, August 9, 11, 14, 17.
The Studio Artists are undergraduate and graduate students still receiving formal operatic training. These developing singers may be undecided about whether or not they wish to pursue opera as a profession. This program offers them advantageous mentoring on life’s lessons and the music business. The Studio Artists make up the chorus and supporting roles in Wolf Trap Opera Company’s mainstage productions.
Who are this year’s Wolf Trap Opera Company Artists?
The bright-eyed roster of the 2013 Wolf Trap Opera Company includes:
Filene Young Artists
Mireille Asselin, soprano; Benjamin Bliss, tenor; Andrea Carroll, soprano; Brandon Cedel, bass-baritone; Craig Colclough, bass-baritone; Tracy Cox, soprano; Juan José de Léon, tenor; Kiri Deonarine, soprano; Ying Fang, soprano; Norman Garrett, baritone; Ryan Speedo Green, bass-baritone; Matthew Grills, tenor; Suzanne Hendrix, mezzo-soprano; Steven LaBrie, baritone; Maya Lahyani, mezzo-soprano; Nicholas Pallesen, baritone; Brenton Ryan, tenor; Aaron Sorensen, bass; Carolyn Sproule, mezzo-soprano; and Corinne Winters, soprano.
Anush Avetisyan, soprano; Vanessa Becerra, soprano; Nicholas Brownlee, bass-baritone; Alec Carlson, tenor; Ben Edquist, bass-baritone; Harry Greenleaf, bass-baritone; Shannon Jennings, soprano; Courtney Johnson, soprano; Emily Moses, mezzo-soprano; Chaazi Munyanya, mezzo-soprano; Miles Mykkanen, tenor; Grace Newberry, mezzo-soprano; Alexandra Rodrick, mezzo-soprano; Brandon Russell, tenor; Brian Vu, bass-baritone; and Brian Yeakley, bass-baritone.
After Wolf Trap Opera Company’s extensive cross-country search for the nation’s most promising young sopranos, mezzo-sopranos, tenors, baritones and bass/ bass-baritones, the season has yet to begin!
Stayed tuned for updates on tickets, rehearsals, productions, community programs, and more!
Tickets go on sale Saturday, March 16 at 10 a.m.