Meet our Class of 2007. We are proud and delighted to be able to support and provide a “career bridge” for these talented young performers.
José Álvarez, Countertenor, born in Los Angeles, California, and raised in El Paso, Texas, Mr. Álvarez currently resides in Union City, New Jersey.
Mr. Álvarez earned a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Arts from the University of Southern California, and holds a Master of Arts in Music and Music Education from Columbia University, Teachers College.
In the summer of 2007 Countertenor José Álvarez was heard an Apprentice Artist with Des Moines Metro Opera. An avid recitalist, he has performed in concert and recital in Los Angeles, El Paso, Las Cruces, Alamagordo, Carlsbad, New Canaan, and Juarez, Mexico.
Mr. Álvarez is a winner of the Francis Ramo Cusumano Memorial Award from the 2007 Florida Grand Opera. He was a finalist in the 2007 Fritz & Lavinia Jensen Foundation Voice Competition, a finalist in the 2007 Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation International Vocal Competition, and a finalist in the 2007 Marian Anderson Prize for Emerging Classical Artists.
Robert Balonek, Baritone, recently graduated from the Purchase College Conservatory SUNY, where he performed the roles of Jailor in Francis Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites, Figaro in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, and was featured in the 2007 production of Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea as Ottone. Last summer he was accepted as Young Artist in Colorado’s Central City Opera Program. Robert is a student of Jacque Trussel. Robert has been chosen as a recipient of the Charles Riecker Award in recognition of his special talent and potential.
Steven Ebel, tenor, was born and raised in Jefferson, Wisconsin, where he attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison for voice. There he performed as “Nanki-Poo” in The Mikado, “Orpheus” in Orpheus in the Underworld, “Arturo” in Lucia Di Lammermoor and “Dr. Miracle” in Dr. Miracle.
In 2003, he made his New York Debut in the role of “II Postiglione” in La Fanciulla del West with the New York City Opera. He has performed two solo recitals in New York: “A Tenor’s Songbook” and a program of music by Benjamin Britten entitled “Sonnets and Songs of the Isles.” Prizes include the New York Oratorio Society Solo Competition and the Long Island Masterworks Paul Straney Award.
Mr. Ebel spent last summer singing the role of Peter Quint in Opera Cleveland’s new production of Turn of the Screw. In addition, Steven won second place in the prestigious Montreal International Musical Competition.
Megan Hart, Soprano, a native of Oregon, earned both her Bachelors degree in Voice Performance and her Masters degree in Opera Theater at Oberlin Conservatory, she was a Gerdine Young Artist with the Opera Theatre St. Louis and covered the role of Juliet in Romeo and Juliet. That summer she was also a Young Artist at Opera North, singing Gianetta in The Gondoliers and The Bat in L ‘enfant et les Sortileges. In the summer of 2006 she performed the roles of Amina in La Sonnambula (Centre Studi Italiani), and Fiordiligi in Cosifan tutte (BASOTI). In 2006 she made her mainstage debut at Opera North as Gretel in Hansel and Gretel. Recently Ms. Hart won the Oregon District division of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Future performances include Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi at the Crested Butte Music Festival. Megan is enrolled in the Young Artist Program with the Seattle Opera.
Jesus Ibarra, was born in Mexico City, studied at the Conservatorio Nacional de Mexico and is a recent graduate from the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia. Recent performances include Raphael and Adam in The Creation by Haydn with the OFUNAM Orchestra in Mexico, and Ferrando in Il Trovatore at the Opera North.
Mr. Ibarra won the 2001 Concurso Carlo Morelli, the Regional Metropolitan Council Auditions (2005), Second Prize in the James Parkinson Opera Competition (2005) and Second Prize in the IX Concurso Internacional de Canto Lirico Trujillo-Peru.
Jesus Ibarra spends the 2007-2008 opera season at the at the Palm Beach Opera, singing the Mandarin in Turandot, Don Fernando in Fidelio, Dulcamara in the Opera in One Hour Performance of L’Elisir d’Amore, and Dottore Grenvil in La Traviata
Michael Anthony McGee, Bass-baritone, holds both a Bachelor and a Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance from the Manhattan School of Music Mr. McGee made his mainstage debut with New York City’s DiCapo Opera Theater in 2005 as “Colline” in Puccini’s La Boheme.
In 2006, he was a Seattle Opera Young Artist, Additionally, a winner of the New York district 2006 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and spent last summer in San Francisco as a Young Artist with the Merola Opera. Future engagements for the twenty five year old bass-baritone include a summer residency with the prestigious Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Singer Program, and a return to the Seattle Young Artist Program.
Katrina Thurman, Soprano, holds a Master of Music from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and a Bachelor of Music from Oklahoma City University. She has performed with opera companies such as Opera National de Lyon, France, Oper Bonn, Germany, Opera Omaha, Utah Symphony & Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Aspen Opera Theater Center, Natchez Opera Festival, among others.
This season Ms. Thurman can be seen as “Musetta” in La Boheme with Piedmont Opera and as “Martha” in Romulus (by Louis Karchin) with American Opera Projects and the Guggenheim Museum’s Works & Process series. In the summer of 2007, she will join the Young American Artist Program at Glimmerglass Opera. Additional upcoming engagements include Erste Dame in Die Zauberflote with Tulsa Opera. Katrina has been part of distinguished training programs, Glimmer Glass, Natchez Opera Festival’s Apprentice Artist Program, Des Moines Metro Opera’s Apprentice Artist Program and Opera in the Ozarks.
Joanne Urn, is a graduate student at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and received her undergraduate degree at the University of Southern California. Ms. Urn won the Grand Prize at the Sigma Alpha Iota Vocal competition, the 2006 Berkley Piano Club Van Waynen competition and the 2006 Stewart Brady Competition, among others. She most recently appeared as “Papagena” in the San Francisco Lyric Opera and Livermore Opera’s production of Die Zauberflote, and “Zerlina” in Don Giovanni with Pacific Union Concert Series. Oratorio credits include soprano solo in Fauré Requiem and Mozart’s Exsultate Jubiulate with the Oakland Symphony chorus. Joanne has been chosen as a recipient of the Charles Riecker Award in recognition of her special talent and potential
Tammy Wapinsky,Soprano, has been noted by Opera News for displaying vocal promise in her debut performance of Gianni Schicchi with the Chautauqua Opera Company. She has appeared with the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, The Bay Shore Lyric Opera, and the Tri-Cities Symphony Orchestra, where she was the soprano soloist in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.
She is a prizewinner of the Giulio Gari Competition, The Joan Kreitzer Snyder Award, the Metropolitan National Council Regional Auditions and the Opera Index Competition.
In the 2006, season she joined the Merola Opera Center in San Francisco, to sing Tallulah Carter in the world-premiere of Thomas Pasitieri’s “A Hotel Casablanca.” I Tamara was just named an Adler Fellow for a two year residency at the San Francisco Opera.