Meet our Class of 2010. We are proud and delighted to be able to support and provide a “career bridge” for these talented young performers.

Victoria Cannizzo, soprano, most recently appeared as Violetta in VerdiÕs La Traviata with Tri-Cities Opera in Binghamton, NY. Her performance was praised as Òassured and lovely,Ó and the reviewer went on to say: Òthe famous ÔSempre LiberaÕ was a mark of artistry. Strikingly beautiful, Cannizzo captured the genesis of ViolettaÕs hopeful but tragic circumstance Ð to love and to be loved.Ó
Her debut role with the company, La Contessa in MozartÕs Le Nozze di Figaro, was met with spectacular reviews naming Ms. Cannizzo Òthe showÕs stand-outÉ She sang a particularly moving ÒPorgi amorÓ and is in possession of a darker, richer timbre than usually found in such a young singer. She is also a fine actress and made a striking figure on stage.

Ms. Cannizzo maintains an active concert schedule performing frequently with orchestra in NJ. In a recent concert with the Monmouth Symphony, a critic claimed that Ms. Cannizzo Òeffectively stole the show with a near-perfect performance of scenes from Madama ButterflyÉ she was deeply engaged with the material on all levels.

A New Jersey native who earned her undergraduate degree in music from the University of Chicago in 2004, she received a Master of Music degree in opera from Binghamton University in May 2011.

In January 2011, Ms. Cannizzo was awarded the St. Bonaventure Prize from the Liederkranz Foundation Vocal Competition and appeared in the WinnerÕs Concert on March 26th at Weill Hall, NYC. She was one of two singers from NYC in May 2011 chosen to advance to Vienna, Austria to compete in the prestigious Hans Gabor Belvedere International Singing Competition.

In July and August, Ms. Cannizzo participated in masterclasses given by Raina Kabaivanska and Renato Bruson at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena, Italy and was awarded full scholarships by both instructors.

Upcoming roles include the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor and Pamina in Die Zauberflšte with Tri-Cities Opera.

Soprano HaeJi Chang has performed both in opera and on the concert stage. Her operatic roles include Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, Mimi in La Boheme. She has performed in 400th anniversary concert of opera, concert of art songs and arias, and has also selected as a recital performer from Korean Contemporary Art Songs Composing Association of 21st century in Korea.

A winner of numerous award and honors, HaeJi Chang has received a First prize in Dong-A Music Competition, First prize in E-Hwa Kung-Hyang Music Competition, Second prize in Shin, Young-Ok Music Competition, Second prize in Schubert Lied Competition, and she was also awarded President’s Award from Manhattan School of Music. A native of Korea, HaeJi Chang holds bachelor and master’s degree from Seoul National University.

Ashley Cutright, mezzo-soprano, received her B.M. degree from Southern Methodist University, studying with Virginia Dupuy. While at SMU she performed the role of the Sorceress in Dido and Aeneas, and the role of Katia in the world-premiere of The Singing Violin. Ashley also performed in scenes and galas there, where she appeared as Mercedes in Carmen, Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro, and Rosina in The Barber of Seville. She was also a soloist in Bach’s B Minor Mass.

A native of Dallas, TX, Ashley is currently pursuing her M.M. degree at Manhattan School of Music where she studies with world-renowned soprano, Ashley Putnam. She was recently seen as Romeo in MSM’s opera scenes gala. She also starred as the Lead Mouse in MSM’s production of The Tailor of Gloucester. Ms. Cutright is an avid contemporary opera lover. She performed the role of Ellen in Ned Rorem’s Three Sisters with MSM’s Contemporary Opera Ensemble. Opera scenes performed with this ensemble include the role of the Nurse in Romeo and Juliet, and the Gay Stripper in Love/ Hate. Last year she joined the American Musical Theater Ensemble at MSM. She performed in a cabaret show as Ellen in Wonderful Town, and Lucy In Threepeenny Opera. Some of Ashley’s ensemble credits include Die Fledermaus, Cosi Fan Tutte, Le Nozze di Figaro, Amahl and the Night Visitors, and Die Dreigroschenoper.

In the summer of 2009 she attended the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival where Ricky Ian Gordon was the composer in residence. She performed the role of Woman 1 in his opera, Grapes of Wrath. At this festival she also starred in the title role of Carmen as well as Hansel in Hansel and Gretel in the scenes performance. In summers past, Ms. Cutright has been a member of Irving Community Theatre where she performed the role of Edith in Pirates of Penzance, and Princess in Once Upon a Mattress. She also performed the role of Baker’s Wife in Into the Woods.

Ashley has sung in numerous master classes including Ned Rorem, Ubaldo Fabbri, Ricky Ian Gordon, Lucy Shelton, Mary Anne Kyle, and Jonathon Pell. In these master classes, Ashley has been praised for her “unique steely timbre” and “distinctive interpretation of text”. Ashley was a founding member of the Dallas Opera Scholars and has received artistic and academic scholarships for her college-level studies. Trained in theatre, Ms. Cutright has taught college acting classes to opera students, and directed scenes. Though classically-trained, Ashley has enjoyed performing in several show choirs and jazz ensembles.

Ashley can be seen in the role of Zita in Gianni Schicchi at Manhattan School of music in May 2010. She will also be starring in the role of Florence Pike in Albert Herring at Opera on the Avalon in the summer of 2010.

Joseph Flaxman, possessing a voice that “exudes good health and promise” (Bernard Holland, NY Times), has performed with Opera Memphis, Sarasota Opera, Opera Saratoga, Des Moines Metro Opera, Tri-Cities Opera, BARD Summerscape, Ash Lawn Opera, Brevard Music Center, American Opera Projects, Bronx Opera, Chelsea Opera, Opera Company of Brooklyn, Opera Manhattan, the Martina Arroyo Foundation, the Manhattan School of Music, and at Fredonia State University. Over the past year the Liederkranz Foundation, Opera Index, the Bel Canto Foundation Scholarship, Career Bridges, the Competizione dell’Opera, the Armel Opera competition, and the MacGraw Hill Young Artist Showcase on WQXR have all recognized his talents.

Kyra Folk-Farber

Liana Brooke Guberman

Sarah Heltzel, soprano, lauded by The New York Times as “vocally striking and visually appealing,” and for her “plummy, nuanced mezzo” by Backstage, made her Seattle Opera debut as Siegrune and Flosshilde in their acclaimed Der Ring des Nibelungen. Other performances with the company include a return last season for Siegrune in Die Walküre, Flora in La Traviata, and Despina in Così fan tutte as a guest with the Young Artists. Ms. Heltzel will return again for the company’s 2013 Ring Cycle.

Upcoming engagements in the 2011-12 season include role debuts of Suzuki in Madama Butterfly with Indianapolis Opera, Nevada Opera, Opera on the James, and Syracuse Opera, as well as Der Komponist in Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos with dell’Arte Opera Ensemble and Winter Opera Saint Louis.

Haeran Hong, soprano, a native of Korea, is currently in her first year of the Artistic Diploma in Opera Studies program at The Juilliard School, where she studies with Edith Bers. Recently praised by the New York Times for her “Gleaming Tone” and “deftly negotiated lines”, Ms. Hong was named a Grand finalist in the 2010 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Ms. Hong has also performed various leading roles including Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro with the Korean National University of Arts Opera Theater and The Juilliard Opera Theater, and Adina mL’elisir D’amore with the Korean National University of Arts Opera Theater. She also performed the role of Gilda in Rigoletto with the Guang-Gin Gu Opera.

She made her professional debut as Pamina in Die Zauberflote with the Daejeon Art Center Opera. Ms. Hong also performed the role of Dalinda in Handel’s Ariodante at The Juilliard School in fall 2009. In this summer, she will be a Young American artist at Glimmerglass Opera. There, she will perform the role of Barbarina in Le nozze di Figaro and cover the role of Seleuce in Tolomeo. Ms. Hong won First Place in both the Daegu and the Georgia Christian University Competitions, and was a finalist in the 2009 Vinas International Singing Competition. She was the recipient of the Korea Ministry of Culture Award. She is a graduate of the Korean National University of Arts.

Joo Won Kang is studying Master’s of Music in Manhattan School of Music in 2009 under the tutelage of Mark Oswald. Joo Won Kang is the recipient of the Edgar Foster Daniels Scholarship in Voice. In 2009 He performed the roll of Eurimaque in Manhattan School of Music’s production of Faure’s Penelope and In 2010 He performed the roll of Rigoletto in Thomas Muraco’s Accompanying Workshop production in Manhattan school of Music. He performed in the concert of The Operatic Highlights for New Jersey Verismo Opera in April. Joo Won Kang will be singing Count in Manhattan school of Music’s production of Le nozze di Figaro. In May, He will have a recital in Kennedy Center in Washington. And He will be singing in Switzerland for Classic night 2010 in Zurich. He studied at Yonsei University (B. A. 2005) . While studying at Yonsei university, He made his professional recital debut, performed the roles of Marcello (La boheme], priest [Die Zauberflote] and won several competitions in Seoul (2003 Bethesda University Music Competition- 3rd place , 2005 Korea Mozart Competition-2nd place, 2007 Joong-ang Music Concours-2nd place, 2007 Gwang-ju International Competition-1st place ) and also He won competitions in U.S (New Jersey Verismo opera Competition winner, 2009 Metropolitan opera National Council Audition New York District Winner, 2009)

Samuel Levine, tenor, is a graduate of the Oberlin College and conservatory of Music . He has performed as an apprentice with the Santa Fe Opera Company and The Opera Theater of St. Louis, as well as performances with Chicago Opera Theater and Wexford Festival Opera. He is the recipient of numerous awards including the George London Foundation, Honorable Mention, the Eleanor McCollum Competition, Houston Grand Opera, Finalist.

Sara Ann Mitchell, emerging coloratura soprano, is known for her shimmering voice and engaging stage presence. Ms. Mitchell’s versatility is rendered by her colorful resume, which includes repertoire from: opera, operetta, musical theatre, oratorio, new music, and concert. This summer, Ms. Mitchell will join the PORTopera as a Young Artist (casting details to come). Most recently, Sara Ann performed as a Professional Resident Artist with Ohio Light Opera; where she was hailed as “a delicious Fifi…(whose) low notes are as alluring as her coloratura top” (Opera News), and “all-around excellen(t)” ( as Fifi in Mile. Modiste. Coming up on April 17th, Sara Ann will be a finalist in the Lotte Lenya Competition, sponsored by the Kurt Weill Foundation in New York City. Last March, Ms. Mitchell was awarded 1st place in the Boston NATS competition (Division IV). In 2009, two CDs were released featuring her singing: Mile. Modiste (Albany Records, Ohio Light Opera) and Yes, Yes, Jeanette (New England Light Opera).

Ms. Mitchell’s numerous stage credits include the roles of: Josephine in HMS Pinafore and Fifi in Victor Herbert’s Mile Modiste with Ohio Light Opera, Morgana in Handel’s Alcina with Boston Opera Collaborative, Papagena in Mozart’s Die Zauberflote with Boston Opera Collaborative, Jeanette in Yes, Yes, Jeanette!, a world premiere operetta with New England Light Opera, and the Dewfairy in Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel with the University of Oklahoma. Sara Ann played the role of Li-Chi in Erin Huelskamp’s world-premiere Kung-Fu opera The Year of the Serpent with Juventas New Music Ensemble in 2009. With the New England Conservatory’s Opera Theatre, Sara Ann performed roles such as: Nellie Ewell in Lee Hoiby’s Summer and Smoke, Eurydice (cover) in Darius Milhaud’s Les Malheur d’Orphee, and Pernille in the world premiere of Dan Shore’s one-act The Beautiful Bridegroom. She was also a featured performer in Jordan Hall’s production of Cole!, a revue of works by Cole Porter.

On the concert stage, Sara Ann was a featured soloist with Opera Boston Underground’s Opera without a Net at the Lizard Lounge in Cambridge. In 2009, she performed with Juventas New Music Ensemble, and sang Isaac Schankler’s Sharp! (full recording can be found on Sara Ann’s website). Ms. Mitchell was the featured soprano soloist for the Quincy Choral Society’s Berstein Birthday Bash in May, 2008 (video clips from this concert can be seen on YouTube, and She also performed with Opera Providence as a featured soloist for the Waterfire Festival in 2007.

Originally from Tulsa, Oklahoma, Sara Ann currently resides in Boston, Massachusetts. She attended the University of Oklahoma, and earned her Bachelor of Music degree in 2006. While in Norman, she also received a second degree in Spanish, and her Associates in Sign Language Interpreting. In May 2008, Ms. Mitchell was awarded her Master of Music degree.

Zulimar Lopez-Hernandez

Djoré Nance, bass, is a graduate of The Juilliard School and has appeared as bass soloist with the Opera Orchestra of New York, and The Academy of the West. In addition to the Career Bridges Award, he is also recipient of the Gerda Lissner, Giulio Gari, and the Leontyne Price Vocal Arts Competition awards.

Matthew Pena

Ricardo Rivera

Julia Katherine Walsh

Christin Wismann, Soprano, was a national semi-finalist in the Met Competition and has also recently won awards in such competitions as the Licia Albanese, Gerda Lissner and New York’s Career Bridges Grant. Most recently, Christin has made concert appearances with the Albany symphony, the Sidney Bern Art Davis Center in Ft. Meyers, FL and the Verein Opera of Switzerland. Some of her latest roles include Adrianne in the Met workshop of Senna and Marie Antoinette in the Ghosts of Versailles for the Aspen Opera Theater.

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