Lauren Woody, soprano
2008 Career Bridges Winner, soprano Lauren Woody, recently made her international operatic debut in Beijing, China, and is quickly garnering recognition for her full, beautiful vocal timbre and ringing high notes. In China, she was one of the first of a new generation of singers to perform Western and Chinese opera in Mandarin, through the prestigious Young Artist program, I SING BEIJING. She studied and performed operatic works in Mandarin under the tutelage of internationally acclaimed faculty members, including Metropolitan Opera bass, Hao Jiang Tian, and coach Katherine Chu. The program culminated in a gala concert at the famous National Center for the Performing Arts (the “egg”) in Beijing, conducted by Maestro Paul Nadler.
A native of Connecticut, her talent for singing and music was evident from a young age. She played the viola for 10 years, sang in vocal competitions, and performed in several musical theater productions.
But it wasn’t until her musical studies at the University of Connecticut that Ms. Woody discovered a passion for opera and started training to be a classical vocalist.
Shortly after obtaining her Master of Music degree from the UConn School of Music, she made her professional debut with the Hartford Festival Orchestra’s “Opera al Fresco” concert series. She also went on to graduate from the Bay Area Summer Opera Theater Institute, where she premiered the role of Lepido in the first U.S. performance of Handel’s opera, Silla.
Lauren Woody has been described as possessing a “wonderful lyric soprano voice capable of many styles and genres.” Over the years, she has been tackling leading roles in The Magic Flute (Second Lady), Haydn’s La Vera Costanza (Rosina), and the title roles in Gilbert and Sullivan’s Patience and Iolanthe. Her performances have been characterized as “superb… engaging the audience with both her singing and acting.”
Currently based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Ms. Woody studies with world-renowned soprano and San Francisco Opera Center Director, Sheri Greenawald, focusing on lyric soprano repertoire by Puccini, Mozart, Verdi, and Gounod.
You can visit her at www.laurenwoody.com
Laurence Broderick, Tenor
Birthplace: Bronx, New York. Recently praised in the New York Times for his passionate singing the title role of Huang Ruo Dr. Sun Yat-Sen, and in the Hartford Courant for an impressive performance Xian’s Yellow River Cantata and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9:
Career highlights. Engagements with the Martina Arroyo Foundation: Fenton in Verdi’s Falstaff, with New York City Opera: La Fanciulla del West, Of Mice and Men, L’Etoile, The Capulets and the Montagues, The Barber of Seville, and Ariodante, with Sarasota Opera: Falstaff, Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Oberto Conte di San Bonifacio, La Boheme, Un Ballo in Maschera, and La Rondine, with the Utah Festival Opera: Susannah, Naughty Marietta and South Pacific.
Selected Concert Appearances: Soloist in the award-winning television concert “Idol Tiers”; appearances with the Jerusalem Symphony, Westchester Arts Council, the National Arts Council, the Rich Forum in “A Night at the Opera,” Opera Ischia, The Pueblo Symphony in Colorado, The Sergio Franchi Memorial Concert, The Maria Kraja Concert with Symphony Orchestra in Tirana, Albania, which was broadcast across Europe, and the CBS produced “Who Wants to Be an Opera Star,” which featured a performance at Symphony Space in New York. Selected Oratorio performances: Handel’s Chandos Anthem No. 11, Mozart’s Regina Coeli and Great Credo Mass K. 257 with the Mystic River Chorale, Mozart’s Requiem and Bach’s Mass in B Minor at Carnegie Hall, and Schubert’s Mass in E flat major with the St . Cecilia Orchestra.
Awards: The Schuyler Foundation for Career Bridges, The Sergio Franchi Foundation.
It was only two years after Younghoon Lee received his 2005 Career Bridges Winnners’ Grants, that he made his debut as Don Carlo in Santiago, Chile in June of 2007. Since then, Yonghoon Lee has established himself internationally as a leading lirico-spinto tenor. In the 2010/2011 season he made several important international debuts. Mr. Lee began the 2010/2011 season with this debut at the Lyric Opera of Chicago as Don Jose in Carmen. He debuted at the Metropolitan Opera in the title role of the new production of Don Carlos and then made his debut at the Teatro alla Scala in January of 2011 as Turridu in Cavalleria Rusticana.
Yonghoon returned to the Metropolitan Opera in the fall of 2011 as Ismaele in Nabucco. He appeared at the Deutsche Oper Berlin as Riccardo in Un Ballo in Maschera and returned to the Vienna State Opera for performances of the original 1867 French version of Don Carlos. Covent Garden, in Carmen. He will also return to the Metropolitan Opera in 2012 as Don Jose opposite Elini Garanca in Bizet’s Carmen.
Soprano Angela Meade is a 2006 Career Bridges grant winner, winner of the 2011 Richard Tucker Award and the 2012 Beverly Sills Artist Award from the Metropolitan Opera. Less than four years after her professional debut, she has quickly become recognized as one of the outstanding vocalists of her generation. The New York Times said of Ms. Meade, “Norma counsels peace in “Casta Diva,” and Ms. Meade sang it beautifully, filling the long-spun lines with rich, unforced sound, shaping the phrases with bittersweet poignancy, gracing the melody with tasteful embellishments and lifting her voice to majestic highs.” Angela Meade excels in the most demanding heroines of the nineteenth century bel canto repertoire as well as in the operas of Verdi and Mozart.
Angela Meade joined an elite group of history’s singers when she made her professional operatic debut on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera as Verdi’s Elvira in Ernani substituting for an ill colleague in March 2008. Ronald Blum of the Associated Press wrote of the debut, “she showed a vibrant voice with nice color and an assured technique and sang like an old pro from start to finish.” She had previously sung on the Met stage as one of the winners of the 2007 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, a process that is documented in the film The Audition recently released on DVD by Decca. The New York Times noted Angela Meade as “an impressive soprano who powered out a ‘Casta diva’ from Bellini’s Norma that left everyone breathless.
In the 2011/12 season, Angela Meade will return to the Metropolitan Opera in the title role of David McVicar’s new production of Donizetti’s Anna Bolena, conducted by Marco Armiliato. She will also return to the Metropolitan Opera to the role of her professional debut in a reprise of Verdi’s Ernani as Elvira, opposite Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Ferruccio Furlanetto, also conducted by Marco Armiliato. This production will be seen live in HD around the world. Ms. Meade will make her debut with the Deutsche Oper Berlin, singing Lucrezia in a concert version of Verdi’s I Due Foscari opposite Ramón Vargas and Leo Nucci. She will also make her Canadian debut with the Orchestre Metropolitain, singing the Zemilinsky Lyric Symphony, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin.
Career Bridges 2011 Gala
Our 9th annual Gala was held in New York City at the Jumeirah Essex House on May 17, 2011. In addition to presenting our 2011 Career Bridges Winners in concert, the evening featured a silent auction which included the jewelry and handbags of Rafael Sanchez, vacation trips, restaurants and artwork. Celebrities who came to the pre-concert cocktails and dinner included Mario-Max Prince Schaumburg-Lippe who was interviewed for Channel 7 and Berlin TV station SFB for future broadcasts. Other celebrity guests attending were Metropolitan Opera sopranos Roberta Peters and Elinor Ross, Margaret Juntwait (the voice of the Metropolitan Opera), Celeste Holm, Frank Gentile, KT Sullivan and Marni Nixon. Our Distinguished Achievement Award winners were Metropolitan Opera Stars Denyce Graves and Lucine Amara.
(Lucine Amara, Denyce Graves, Margaret Juntwait, Alexander Kisselev)
News of our Career Bridges Winners
Jose Alvarez (2008 Winner) debuts in 2011 with Boston Lyric Opera as Narciso in Agrippina and Fort Worth Opera as Tolomeo in Giulio Cesare. In 2010, he joined the Houston Grand Opera roster for their production of Xerxes.
Sarah Heltzell (2010 Winner) is singing the role of Suzuki in Madama Butterfly with four companies: Indianapolis, Syracuse, Opera on the James and Nevada Opera, as well as Der Komponist in Ariadne auf Naxos with Winter Opera Saint Louis.
Yonghoon Lee (2005 Winner) began the 2010/2011 season with this debut at the Lyric Opera of Chicago as Don Jose in Carmen and a debut at the Metropolitan Opera in the title role of the new production of Don Carlo. His debut at the Teatro alla Scala in January of 2011 as Turridu in Cavalleria Rusticana was followed in March 2011 at the Semper Oper in Dresden in Tosca and a debut in the same work at the Vienna State Opera in April 2011. In May 2011 he returned to the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma as Arrigo in Verdi’s rarely performed La Battaglia di Legnano. He sang Don Carlo on the Metropolitan Opera’s tour of Japan in June of 2011 and will return to the Metropolitan Opera in the fall of 2011 as Ismaele in Nabucco.
Rebecca Jo Loeb (2009 Winner) is singing this summer at the Aix-en-Provence Contemporary Music Festival before she joins the ensemble of the Hamburgishche Staatsoper where she will be singing Siebel in Faust, Rosina in il Barbieri di Siviglia and Hansel in Hansel und Gretel, among other roles.
Jonathan Michie (2009 Winner) has been kept busy singing with the San Francisco Merola Opera Program and at Florida Grand Opera. He was recently praised in San Franciso for his Figaro: “Michie, a dazzling young baritone, took the title role of Figaro and turned it into a vehicle for both vocal mastery and theatrical panache. His singing was fluid, precise and full of burnished colors, and he brought a seemingly effortless charisma to everything he did.” He appears this fall with the Slovenia Philharmonic in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
In a performance of H.M.S. Pinafore at the Caramoor International Music Festival in June, Jorell Williams (2008 Winner) impressed a New York Times critic who said, “Jorell Williams was a magnificent, rich-toned Captain Corcoran. His comic timing was perfect.” He makes a featured baritone appearance at the Ravinia Music Festival in Chicago this summer.
“Who Wants to be an Opera Star?”
“Who Wants to be an Opera Star?”came to life on November 17, 2009, at the Leonard Nimoy Thalia at Peter Norton Symphony Space in New York City to answer that very question. The gala concert featured 5 of our talented young Career Bridges Grant Winners who sang before a panel of celebrity judges with the audience casting ballots to choose their favorite singer. Those who competed for the grand prize of a concert appearance in Vienna were Soprano Samantha Grenell-Zaidman, Soprano Valentina Fleer, Tenor Laurence Broderick, Baritone Jorell Williams, and Baritone Jonathan Gabriel Michie. (Soprano Michelle Trovato was also scheduled to sing, but had to withdraw due to illness.) Jorell Williams won the expensepaid recital in Vienna, Austria in April 2010, and was received there to great acclaim. A DVD of “Who Wants to be an Opera Star?” will soon be released.