"Santa Fe's objectives are distinctly American, and by making opera more compelling and more relevant, it has changed the map of musical America..."

                         Phillip Huscher
                         The Santa Fe Opera
     An American Pioneer

    2013 Apprentice Singer Awards Announced




    The Santa Fe Opera’s Apprentice Singer Program attracted 968 applications this year. 43 of those young singers were chosen to come to New Mexico from all across the country to perform with The Santa Fe Opera during its 57th season. The program is among the oldest and most respected in the nation.

    The Apprentice Singer Program was founded along with The Santa Fe Opera itself in 1957 by John Crosby, who believed in the importance of training young American opera singers in a diverse repertory. It was the first program of its kind, with many companies around the world to follow suit.

    The Apprentice Singer Program affords young artists the matchless opportunity to work and perform with some of the most respected conductors, directors and singers in the classical music world. The apprentices form the backbone of the season’s five operas as members of the chorus and in supporting roles. They receive coaching, lessons in diction, period music style, and performance with faculty from The Juilliard School, the Curtis Institute of Music, San Francisco Opera, and Manhattan School of Music, as well as master classes by esteemed artists such as Harry Bicket, Christine Brewer, and Joyce DiDonato.

    Throughout the summer, the apprentices work toward the Apprentice Scenes (August 11 and 18), two evenings of fully-staged and costumed scenes from beloved operas that give each apprentice the chance to star on the main stage.

    For many young artists, the Apprentice Singer Program is a significant benchmark in their professional development.  The program has launched numerous distinguished careers, including those of James Morris, Samuel Ramey, Neil Shicoff, Joyce DiDonato, William Burden, Brandon Jovanovich, Beth Clayton, Dimitri Pittas, Julien Robbins, Kurt Streit, Patrick Carfizzi, Celena Shafer, Michelle DeYoung, Susanna Phillips, and Kate Lindsey. Many former apprentices return to sing on the main stage. This year’s former apprentices included William Burden in Oscar, Joyce DiDonato in La Donna del Lago, Michael Fabiano in La Traviata, Emily Fons, Zachary Nelson and Susanna Phillips in The Marriage of Figaro, Jonathan Michie in The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein and La Traviata, and Aaron Pegram in The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein and Oscar.

    The Santa Fe Opera’s 57th summer festival season featured 38 performances of 5 operas and ran from June 28 through August 24. The 2013 repertory consisted of The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein by Jacques Offenbach, The Marriage of Figaro by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, La Donna del Lago by Gioachino Rossini, La Traviata by Giuseppe Verdi, and the world premiere of Oscar by Theodore Morrison.   

    The 2013 operating budget for the Apprentice Singer Program was $692,760. The program is funded in part by proceeds from the Gala and Opening Weekend Celebrations, income generated from endowment funds, and contributions to the annual operating fund.

    The following young men and women were the recipients of this year’s outstanding apprentice singer awards. Each received a cash award.

    The Campbell Wachter Memorial Award is given in memory of Santa Fe Opera patron Sam Campbell and his sister June Wachter.

    Sarah Mesko                                      Mezzo-soprano                                Hot Springs, Arkansas

    The Agnes M. Canning Memorial Award is given in memory of the longtime Santa Fe Opera supporter.

    Adam Lau                                            Bass                                             San Francisco, California

    The Lillian Caroff Mayer Award is given by Santa Fe Opera patrons Natalie and Barry Beller in memory of Mrs. Beller’s mother to assist young singers with the costs associated with auditions and career development.

    Rebecca Witty                                     Soprano                                           Niagara Falls, New York

    The Anna Case MacKay Memorial Award is given in memory of the early 20th century prima donna.

    Abigail Santos Villalobos                      Soprano                                           Ciales, Puerto Rico

    John Viscardi                                      Tenor                                               Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    The Donald and Luke Graham Memorial Award is given in memory of the former member of The Santa Fe Opera Board of Directors and his wife, Luke.

    Jennifer Panara                                  Mezzo-soprano                                  Medford, New Jersey

    The Donald Gramm Memorial Award is given in the memory of the distinguished American bass-baritone who appeared with The Santa Fe Opera over a period of a dozen years, as well as other leading opera companies.

    Dan Kempson                                    Baritone                                             Wilton, Connecticut

    The Katharine M. Mayer Award is given in memory of the former president of The Santa Fe Opera Board of Directors.

    Megan Marino                                   Mezzo-soprano                                    Paoli, Pennsylvania

    The National Federation of Music Clubs Award

    Benjamin Sieverding                          Bass                                                   Sioux Falls, South Dakota

    The Judith Raskin Memorial Award for Singers is given in memory of the acclaimed American soprano who appeared with The Santa Fe Opera in many of its early seasons.

    Shelley Jackson                                 Soprano                                             Manassas, Virginia

    The Richard Tucker Foundation Award is given in memory of America’s reigning tenor of the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s.

    Theo Lebow                                       Tenor                                                Sierra Madre, California


    CONTACT: Joyce Idema, Cindy Layman                                                         press@santafeopera.org           







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