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Technical Apprentice Award Winners of 2019

The Santa Fe Opera Awards 27 Outstanding Apprentices for 2019 Season

Media Contact: Emily Doyle Moore | 505-986-5908 |


Of This Season’s 78 Apprentice Technicians and 42 Apprentice Singers, 27 Won Cash Rewards, Honoring Their Exceptional Talent and Hard Work

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Santa Fe, NM —  The Santa Fe Opera recently announced the recipients of its annual Outstanding Apprentice Awards. Each season, talented young singers and technicians take part in the Santa Fe Opera’s Apprentice Programs, where they receive intensive training and play critical roles in the creation, both on stage and off, of the season’s five mainstage productions. Their work culminates in two nights of fully staged and costumed Apprentice Scenes, created and performed solely by the apprentices. Of this season’s 78 apprentice technicians and 42 apprentice singers, 27 won cash rewards, honoring their exceptional talent and hard work.

Since the Opera’s founding in 1957, the company has worked to foster the development of young singers and technicians. Today, these professional training programs are known as some of the most rigorous and selective of their types, with many prominent singers, designers, and directors naming the program as an essential step in their careers. This season’s Apprentice Programs were funded in part by the Opera’s annual fund, income from endowment funds, and proceeds from both the Summer and Winter Gala.

The following individuals, noted with their department or voice type and hometown, are the 2019 Outstanding Apprentice Award recipients:


Mezzo-soprano Leia Lensing of Solon, Iowa received the Campbell/Wachter Scholarship, given in memory of Santa Fe Opera patron Sam Campbell and his sister June Wachter.

Bass-baritone Alan Higgs of Melbourne Beach, Florida and Baritone Benjamin Taylor of Waldorf, Maryland received the Donald Gramm Memorial Award, given in the memory of the distinguished American bass-baritone who appeared with Santa Fe Opera over a period of a dozen years, as well as other leading opera companies.

Soprano Mary-Hollis Hundley of Louisville, Kentucky received the Anna Case MacKay Memorial Award, given in memory of the early twentieth-century prima donna.

Soprano Ann Toomey of Shelby Township, Michigan received the Katharine Mayer Award, given in memory of the former president of the Santa Fe Opera Board of Directors.

Tenor Robert Stahley of Groveland, Massachusetts received the Lillian Caroff Mayer Award, 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.

Tenor Alec Carlson of Red Oak, Iowa received the Richard Tucker Fund Award, given in memory of America’s reigning tenor of the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s.

The following Apprentice Singers received a Grant Award: Tenor Anthony Ciaramitaro of Coral Springs, Florida; Soprano Sylvia D’Eramo of Tyler, Texas; Mezzo-soprano Katherine DeYoung of Traverse City, Michigan; Mezzo-soprano Kate Farrar of Lexington Park, Maryland; Soprano Jana McIntyre of Santa Barbara, California; and Mezzo-soprano Gina Perregrino of Wilmington, Delaware.


Properties Paint Apprentice Madeline Goddard of Montpelier, Vermont; Properties Carpenter Apprentice Adam Hooper of Gainesville, Georgia; and Stage Crew Apprentice Kevin Upham of Holland, Ohio received the Gustave & Jane Baumann Technician Award, given in memory of the celebrated Santa Fe artist and his wife.

Electrics Apprentice Kelly Sandoval of Santa Fe, New Mexico, received the ABQ Guild Award for an Apprentice from New Mexico, given in memory of Emmah Ellis.

Electrics Apprentice Hannah L. Mackey of Buffalo, New York and Audio/Video Apprentice Araceli Ramirez of El Dorado, Arkansas received The Katharine Mayer Technician Award, given in memory of the former president of the Santa Fe Opera Board of Directors.

Electrics Apprentice Christopher Ferranti of Edison, New Jersey received the Craig J. Miller Award, given in memory of the late lighting designer.

Scenic Art Apprentices Petra Stoppel of Petoskey, Michigan and Jacob Caire of El Paso, Texas received the Lawrence Reehling Technician Award, given in memory of the late scenic and costume designer who worked with Santa Fe Opera during many of its early seasons.

Properties Run Crew Apprentice Shasta Stewart of Callahan, California; Production Services Crew Apprentice Tara Tolar-Payne of Thornton, Colorado; and Wigs and Makeup Apprentice Lily Komarow of Vienna, Virginia received the James Irven Staley Award, given in memory of the former member of the Santa Fe Opera Board of Directors and Foundation Board.

Stage Carpenter Apprentice Natalie Kandra of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Costumes Apprentice Becca Updyke of Denver, Colorado received the Greg Teakle Memorial Award, given in memory of the late interior designer and long-time Santa Fe Opera volunteer.

Media Resources for the Santa Fe Apprentice Programs

High-Resolution Imagery
Video Feature: Celebrating the Apprentice Programs
About the Apprentice Program for Singers
About the Apprentice Program for Theater Technicians

The mission of the Santa Fe Opera is to advance the operatic art form by presenting ensemble performances of the highest quality in a unique setting with a varied repertory of new, rarely performed, and standard works; to ensure the excellence of opera’s future through apprentice programs for singers, technicians, and arts administrators; and to foster an understanding and appreciation of opera among a diverse public.

Santa Fe Opera Technical Apprentice awardees with their respective Production Department Heads. Photo by Syma Birenbaum.