Alumni

Thousands of singers have come through the VOICExperience program since its founding in 2001. We celebrate the successes of our many alumni, including:

James Wright

Described by critics as “tremendous,” “entertaining” and “talented,” baritone James Wright is a favorite among audiences for his charismatic presence and warm tone. His recent operatic roles include the Sacristan in Tosca, Rev. Gruffydd in Roger Ames’ How Green was My Valley with El Paso Opera, Angelotti in Tosca with Nickel City Opera and Papageno in The Magic Flute with Undercroft Opera of Pittsburgh. This season James will be appearing as Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro and Bob in The Old Maid and the Thief with Nickel City Opera and Richard White in Michael Ching’s Alice Ryley with The Savannah VOICE Festival.

Other operatic roles include The Pilot in Portman’s The Little Prince, John Sorel in The Consul, Valentin in Gounod’s Faust, Dr. Malatesta in Don Pasquale, Schaunard in La Bohéme and King Melchior in Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors.
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Matthew Anchel

Bass Matthew Anchel, called “a voice to watch” by the Wall Street Journal, was a Grand Finalist in the 2013 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Engagements during the 2015-16 season include #8 in Conrad Susa’s Transformations with the Merola Opera Program, Beethoven Mass in C with Spoleto Festival USA, and engagements with Annapolis Chorale, Savannah Voice Festival, Canterbury Chorale and American Lyric Theater. Next season includes a debut with Anchorage Opera as Sparafucile (Rigoletto) and a return to theMetropolitan Opera for Idomeneo, The Magic Flute, and Der Rosenkavalier.

 Engagements during the 2014-15 season included joining theMetropolitan Opera for a second season for their productions of Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, Die Zauberflöte and Die Meistersinger von Nurnburg, and debuts with Opera San Antonio as First Soldier in Salome, with LOFTOpera as Don Alfonso in Lucrezia Borgia, and with the Annapolis Chorale for Bach’s St. John Passion

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Jessica Ann Best

Jessica Best gave a spine tingling rendition of Lloyd Webber’s “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina” that bewitched everyone in the audience.” – South Magazine

Ms. Best returned to the Savannah Voice Festival this summer to sing the title role in Alice Ryley by Michael Ching and Gertrude in Roméo et Juliette. The 2016 season is exciting and filled with modern opera; including three world premieres and five role premieres. Ms. Best recently performed the role of Mrs. Foster in Shot! with Nickel City Opera. Earlier in the year she sang the roles of Ettalina and Stelladora in John Musto’s Bastianello with the Rochester Lyric Opera, The Mother inAmahl and the Night Visitors with Nickel City Opera and the title role in the world premiere of Alice Ryley, by Michael Ching and The Savannah Voice Festival. She looks forward to  singing the roles of Bessie and Mary Rivers in the world premiere of Jane Eyrewith the Center for Contemporary Opera in New York City in October 2016. Ms. Best is a returning artist with the Savannah Music Festival, giving concerts of the operatic and musical theater repertoire. Her credits include: Gotham Chamber Opera, The Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Program, Opera Tampa,  Finger Lakes Opera, The Savannah Music Festival, The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, The Rochester Oratorio Society, The Rochester Bach Festival, The Rochester Chamber Orchestra, First Inversion and The Rochester Early Music Festival.
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Edwin Cahill

Edwin Cahill is an award winning director, actor, and producing artistic director.  His work has led critics to acclaim that “Cahill has perhaps invented a new style of opera…punk opera comique” (dosavannah.com) and that he created “by far the most enjoyable and thought-provoking Don Giovanni New York has heard in many a year.” (Opera News)

Upcoming productions include the fourth season of Fire Island Opera Festival; the Berlin premiere of Gluck’s L’Arbre Enchanté; a return to Los Angeles to direct two one acts: Bastianello by John Musto and Lucrezia by William Bolcom at SongFest at the Colburn School; a new production of Le Nozze di Figaro in Tel Aviv with conductor Ryan McAdams, the world premiere of the dance monodrama Lost Goddess starring Laura Careless in Santa Fe, the Off-Broadway workshop of his new adaption of Carmen, and the inaugural season of the Capri Festival in Italy.

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Santiago Ballerini

Santiago Ballerini, born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, is a graduate of Buenos Aires University (UBA) and studied Music Therapy. In addition to formal training of the piano, Santiago works with vocal coaches around the globe. (Alejandra Malvino, Reinaldo Censabella and Arthur Levi in NYC.) He currently studies at the Institute of Art of Teatro Colon and was a participant in the Opera Studio of the Teatro Argentino. This is the second year that Santiago has the honor to be part of the VOICExperience program. Last year, he was chosen to be part of the Pittsburgh theatre opera summer fest.

His most important roles performed are: “Belmonte” from Die entfürung aus dem Serrail; “Ferrando” from Cosi fan Tutte, Mozart; “Cardona” from Doña Francisquita, Vives; “Alfredo” La Traviata, Verdi; “Alfred” from Die Fledermaus, Strauss. Also his debut at Teatro Colon as “Prometeo” in Prometeo, Luigi Nono. The “Petit Messe Solennelle” of Rossini and the “9th Symphony” with the Symphony Orchestra of Bogota in Bogota’s theatre, Colombia. Singing competitions: Santiago was semi-finalist of the competizione dell’Opera 2010 in Dresde, Germany; winner of the San Juan Opera Competition 2011 in Argentina; winner of the American Society competition 2012,NYC USA; winner of “Festivales Musicales 2013″ singing competition, Argentina; and semi-finalist at the”Neue Stimmen” 2013 singing competition in Güthersloh, Germany.  Performances of 2014 include: “Lord Percy” from Anna Bolena, Donizetti; “Lindoro” from L’Italiana In Algeri, Rossini; “Don Ottavio” from Don Giovanni, Mozart; “Romeo” from Romeo et Juliette, Gonoud.
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Meechot Marrero

Puerto Rican soprano Meechot Marrero, hailed by El Nuevo Día as, “a revelation…a young Puerto Rican star with a great career ahead” is a recent master’s degree recipient of the Yale School of Music, and in the 2016/17 season, will join the Deutsche Oper Berlin ensemble, after being awarded the American-Berlin Scholarship from the Opera Foundation. At Deutsche Oper Berlin, Ms. Marrero will perform the roles of Frasquita in Carmen, Giannetta in L’Elisir d’Amore, Papagena in Die Zauberflöte, Belinda in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas and Bianca and Gabriela in La Rondine. This past summer, she returned to the Savannah Voice Festival as Juliette in Roméo et Juliette.

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Tiago Matos

Tiago Matos, baritone, was a member of Atelier Lyrique of the Paris National Opera between 2012 and 2014. During these two seasons he performed Enrico (Isola Disabitata), Bonafede (Il Mondo della Luna), Junius (The Rape of Lucretia) and the title role in Don Giovanni. He also did several concerts in Amphithéâtre Bastille and Palais Garnier. In this season, Tiago made his debut in the Paris National Opera performing Fiorello (Barbiere di Siviglia), along with Un Chevalier (Le Roi Arthus). He joined the Les Caprices de Marianne cast, playing Le Chanteur de Sérénade, for a two season tour in France with the Centre Français de Promotion Lyrique. Last June, Tiago was also part of the Mozart Residency in the Academy of the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence in France.

Next season he will play the role of Ceprano (Rigoletto) in the Paris National Opera.

 

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Matthew Morris

Matthew Patrick Morris has garnered international recognition for the depth and versatility of his artistry as an actor and singer. He is as equally at home on the opera, concert, and Broadway stages as he is on film and television.

In the past few years Morris has debuted at the American Repertory Theater, on The West End, at the Bouffes du Nord in Paris and the Piccolo Teatro in Milan, with the El Paso, Gotham Chamber, and New York City Operas, with the Boston, American, London, and Leipzig MDR Symphony orchestras, starred in the National Tour of Scrooge: The Musical, and appeared on Law & Order and in the movie The Producers!

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Micaëla Oeste

Praised for her “crystalline voice…with the chic and class of Grace Kelly”, soprano Micaëla Oeste regularly appears at many of the world’s largest venues in both concert and opera. Micaëla’s 2015-16 season includes her debut at the Wiener Konzerthaus with Hungarian violinist Zoltan Maga and a return to the Savannah Music Festival for a series of concerts.  She will also join Placido Domingo for concerts in Tokyo with the Tokyo Philharmonic, in China with the Macau Orchestra, Russia and Ireland.  Her 2014-15 season included her debut with the Savannah Music Festival as Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi and Opera Santa Barbara as Stella in Previn’s Streetcar named Desire.  She also appeared on the concert stage with Placido Domingo in Belgrade at the Kombank Arena and in Istanbul’s Ülker Arena.

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Nathaniel Olson

Chicago native Nathaniel Olson made his Carnegie Hall debut in a master class with Jessye Norman as part of Marilyn Horne’s The Song Continues in January 2013. Mr. Olson was also featured in a Carnegie Hall Neighborhood Concert last March. His appearances include two summers as a fellow of Ravinia Festival’s Steans Music Institute; various performances with Welz Kauffman, president of the Ravinia Festival; a summer with the Franz Schubert Institute in Baden bei Wien; performances with Timothy Noble at Hanover College; and tour performances with soprano Julianne Park. Mr. Olson also toured South Korea and performed at the Tucson Desert Song Festival. He appeared on the WTVP-PBS special The American Songbook with mentor, coach, and collaborator Kevin Murphy.

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Amy Shoremont-Obra

Soprano Amy Shoremount-Obra made her much anticipated Metropolitan Opera Debut in October 2014 as “First Lady” in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, singing all nine performances of the opera, three of which were Sirius XM Satellite Broadcasts. In previous seasons at the Met, she has covered the roles of “Queen of the Night” (also in Die Zauberflöte), “Clotilde” in Norma, and “Aksinya” in Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk. Ms. Shoremount-Obra’s other recent operatic appearances have included “Donna Anna” in Don Giovanni with Opera Las Vegas, The Savannah Voice Festival, and NYC’s new Venture Opera, “Musetta” in La Bohème with the Savannah Philharmonic, “Marchesa” in Verdi’s Un Giorno di Regno with Odyssey Opera of Boston, “Fiordiligi” in Cosi fan tutte with Annapolis Opera, and most recently, “Leonore” in Beethoven’s Fidelio with Grand Harmonie. Later this year will see her return to the Metropolitan Opera to cover “Anna” in Nabucco, “First Lady” in Die Zauberflöte, and “Donna Anna” in Don Giovanni (in 2017).

 

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Christopher Tiesi

Christopher Tiesi returned to the Semperoper Dresden in the 2014 – 2015 season as Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore, as well as the Captain in Simon Boccanegra, Mario Caraccini in Nachtausgabe, among others. He also debuts at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis as Count Almaviva in a new production of The Barber of Seville. Mr. Tiesi began the 2013 – 2014 season with his debut at Glyndebourne as Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore and returns to Semperoper Dresden again as Nemorino, as well as Ferrando in a new production of Così fan tutte. He also debuted with the Los Angeles Philharmonic as Beppe in Pagliacci under Gustavo Dudamel at the Hollywood Bowl. He made an acclaimed European debut in the 2012 – 2013 season as Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore at Semperoper Dresden and was seen as the Electrician in Ades’s Powder Her Face at Opera Philadelphia.

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Mark Walters

Being touted as one of the next great American Verdi baritones, Opera News describes Mark Walters as “a force to be reckoned with.” He is currently being lauded for his performances throughout the United States in the title role of Rigoletto, Germont in La traviata, Renato in Un ballo in maschera and Di Luna in Il trovatore. For his performance in La forza del destino, The Chicago Sun Times commended his “vocal fury”. Walters has sung over 50 roles in the baritone repertoire and is a singer to watch in the demanding Verdi arena.

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