Chapman Opera Alumni Are Enjoying "Bravura" Success

To discover what alumni of Opera Chapman have been up to lately, look no further than what some of the critics have been saying. Of tenor Daniel Curran ’08, The New York Times wrote that his performance in the title role in La descente d’Orphée aux enfers with Gotham Chamber was “precise and penetrating, with careful diction and an affecting sense of seriousness. Mr. Curran ably met the demands of the role.”

Likewise, LA Opera tenor Ben Bliss ’08 earned New York Times approval with his charming portrayal of Pedrillo from Mozart’s comic The Abduction from the Seraglio in A Concert of Comic Operas,  produced by the Metropolitan Opera and the Juilliard School.

And that’s just to start. The voices of Opera Chapman alumni are filling major performance venues around the world. Reports of such achievements truly are music to the ears, says Peter Atherton, DMA, the Lineberger Endowed Chair in Music and director of Opera Chapman at the Hall-Musco Conservatory of Music.

“It speaks highly of our program that so many graduates are enjoying success in their careers,” Atherton says. “We’re extremely proud of them and look forward to even more outstanding performances in the future.”

A Look at Their Achievements:

  • Bliss will sing the tenor solos in Haydn’s Creation, with conductor James Conlon, at the Cincinnati May Festival. This summer he will sing Belmonte, the lead tenor in Die Entführung aus dem Serail with Des Moines Metro Opera,and the role of Tony in highlights of West Side Story on tour with Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic in New York, Vail, Colo., and Santa Barbara.
  • Curran’s engagements this season included the role of Gilbert Griffiths in An American Tragedy at Glimmerglass Festival, Cassio in Otello and Orphée in Cegeste at Pittsburgh Opera, First Jew in Salome at Opera San Antonio, Florencia in Florencia in el Amazonas at Washington National Opera, Tonio in La fille du régiment at Pittsburgh Opera and Will Ladislaw in Middlemarch in Spring with Composers, Inc. This June he will sing the role of Nebuchadnezzar in The Burning Fiery Furnace at Ballet Opera Pantomime in Montreal.
  • Lyric coloratura soprano Katie Dixon ’10, hailed by Opera News as “a natural with a sparkling personality and top notes to match,” was recently seen as Johanna in Sweeney Todd with Nevada Opera, and at Avery Fisher Hall in Babes in Toyland with the Little Orchestra Society in New York City.
  • Kevin Gino ’14 just completed his first year of graduate studies at San Francisco Conservatory of Music and received a full scholarship to The Music Academy of the West for summer 2015, during which he will sing the tenor solos in the Beethoven Ninth Symphony performances.
  • Erin Gonzalez’08, a studio artist with Florentine Opera in Milwaukee,was a Metropolitan Opera Regional Finalist this year and sang the title role in Cinderella with Pacific Symphony in February.
  • Lyric soprano Rachel Rincione ’02 is understudy for the role of the factory girl who intercepts Fantine’s letter in the current Broadway production of Les Misérables. In addition, she is a swing for the production, which means she covers all eight ladies ensemble tracks and sometimes plays two or three roles in the same show. “It’s nuts!” she says.
  • Weston Olson ’04 is a swing in Les Miz. Like Rincione, he enjoys bouncing between roles in the Broadway production, in which he is understudy for 12 different ensemble roles and features. “I constantly have to check in with myself onstage and off to make sure I know who I am and what I’m doing,” he says in a recent post on the official Les Miz Tumblr feed.
  • Baritone Efrain Solis ’11, a San Francisco Opera Adler Fellow,portrayed Prince Yamadori in Madame Butterfly, Christian in A Masked Ball and Dandini in Cinderella.This summer and fall he’ll sing in the company’s productions of The Marriage of Figaro and The Magic Flute.

Dawn Bonker

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