Announcing our 11 Finalists for 2023
Mezzo-Soprano Veena Akama-Makia will be a Jette Parker Artist at The Royal Opera House for the 2023-25 seasons. For her 2022-2023 season, she will complete her final season as a Chicago Opera Theater/Chicago College of the Performing Arts at Roosevelt University Professional Diploma Candidate and Young Artist. Ms.Akama-Makia has participated in the San Francisco Opera’s Merola Opera Program, the Des Moines Metro Opera Program, the Finger Lakes Opera Program and in the Si Parla Si Canta Summer Music Festival.
Le Bu is a bass-baritone from Yancheng, China currently in his first year in the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program at the Metropolitan Opera, and 2022 Grand Finals Winner of the Met’s Laffont Competition. This season, he made his Met debut as a Flemish Deputy in Don Carlo and sang the Second Guard in Julie Taymor’s beloved holiday production of The Magic Flute. He will make his company debut this summer at Santa Fe Opera as a member of their Apprentice Artist Program, where he will sing Second Spirit on L’Orfeo and study the role of Daland in Der Fliegende Holländer. Recent operatic engagements include Dr. Bartolo in Le Nozze di Figaro at Aspen Opera Theater and the Speaker in Die Zauberflöte with the Merola Opera Program.
American Bass Eric Delagrange, a recent graduate from the prestigious Academy of Vocal Arts, has been described by Opera News as “a truly excellent bass”, and commanding “a powerful, attention-getting voice” by Parterre. This 2022-2023 season, Mr. Delagrange will sing the roles of Imperial Commissioner in Madama Butterfly, Pistola in Falstaff, and cover Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte with Palm Beach Opera. Additionally, he will return to The Princeton Festival as Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia.
Hailed as “alluring” by the Houston Chronicle, Polish-American soprano Dorothy Gal is a Houston Grand Opera studio alumna and native of Cocoa Beach, Florida. Recent performance highlights include originating the role of Ruth Bader-Ginsburg in Opera Theatre of St. Louis’ world premiere of Slanted: An American Rock Opera, Bach’s Coffee Cantata BWV 211 with Mercury Chamber Orchestra, Zerlina in Don Giovanni and High Priestess in Aida at Houston Grand Opera. In addition to having been a fellow at Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute, Marilyn Horne’s The Song Continues Workshop at Carnegie Hall, and 2nd place prizewinner of HGO’s Eleanor McCollum Competition, Dorothy has received awards from the Metropolitan Opera’s Laffont Competition, Gerda Lissner Lieder-Song Competition, Tenor Viñas Competition, and is a recipient of the prestigious Richard F. Gold Career Grant from the Shoshana Foundation.
A first-year Butler Studio artist, Armenian baritone Navasard Hakobyan won first place at HGO’s 2022 Eleanor McCollum Competition Concert of Arias. During the 2022-23 season at HGO, his roles include Baron Douphol in La traviata, Antonio in The Marriage of Figaro, and Second Nazarene in Salome. He was a member of the young artist program of the National Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet in Yerevan, Armenia since 2018. His roles there in the 2020-21 season included Silvio in Pagliacci, Giorgio Germont in La traviata, and Belcore in a new production of The Elixir of Love. He has won numerous international competitions, including first prize in the Premiere Opera Foundation International Vocal Competition and third prize in the José Carreras Grand Prix in Moscow, Russia.
Soprano Anneliese Klenetsky has most recently been seen as the title role in Handel’s Alcina, and Female Chorus in Britten’s Rape of Lucretia with Yale Opera. Other operatic highlights include Governess in Britten’s The Turn of the Screw, the West Coast premiere of Jennifer Higdeon’s Cold Mountain as Ada with Music Academy of the West and Amaranta in Hayden’s La Fedelta Premiata. Ms. Klenetsky is a graduate (B.M, M.M) of The Juilliard School, Yale School of Music (M.M.A), recent Ravinia Stean’s Insitute fellow as well as Renee Fleming’s SongStudio at Carnegie Hall.
Praised in Opera News for his “warm, hearty bass-baritone,” Evan Lazdowski is a 2022-23 Resident Artist at Pittsburgh Opera, where his performances have included Le nozze di Figaro (Figaro and Antonio) and Ariodante (Il Re). Upcoming engagements include La bohème (Colline) at the Berkshire Opera Festival, and Sweeney Todd (Sweeney Todd, cover) and La Tragédie de Carmen (Zuniga/Garcia) at Chautauqua Opera as a Studio Artist. Mr. Lazdowski holds degrees from The Juilliard School and Manhattan School of Music; he is an alum of the Gaddes and Gerdine programs at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, the Renée Fleming Artist Fellowship program at the Aspen Music Festival, and the Young Artists Vocal Academy at Houston Grand Opera.
Chinese-American mezzo-soprano Sun-Ly Pierce has given standout performances in varied operatic repertoire that includes The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs (M. Bates), Otello (Rossini), The Wreckers (E. Smyth), Xerxes (Handel), Hansel and Gretel (Humperdinck). A native of Clinton, New York, Sun-Ly Pierce holds a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance degree from the Eastman School of Music, is an alumnus of the Graduate Vocal Arts Program at Bard College Conservatory of Music and completing her training as a member of the Houston Grand Opera Studio. Ms. Pierce has performed at the San Francisco Opera, Houston Symphony, Calgary Opera, Opera Philadelphia, Aspen Music Festival, Houston Grand Opera, The Orchestra Now, Detroit Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, and more.
Soprano Alexandra Razskazoff whose “soprano [is] rich, distinctive of timbre, and penetrating, and possess[es] a lovely bloom on top” (Opera News) was most recently named a Grand Finals Winner in the 2022 Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition. In the 2022-23 season, Alexandra will make her house debut with Atlanta Opera reprising Wellgunde (Das Rheingold) and will return to Teatro Municipal de Santiago to make her role debut as Micaëla (Carmen), following acclaimed performances as Mimi (La bohème). Alexandra Razskazoff served in residency programs at Palm Beach Opera, The Academy of Vocal Arts, Minnesota Opera, Merola Opera Program and Santa Fe Opera, and attended The Juilliard School (MM) and Peabody Conservatory (BM).
Mexican-American mezzo soprano, Sarah Saturnino, is currently a young artist at the Domingo-Colburn-Stein young artist program at LA Opera and an alumna of the Santa Fe Opera, The Chautauqua Opera Company, and Shreveport Opera young artist programs. She has performed roles such as Emilia in Otello, Lucretia in the Rape of Lucretia (LA Opera), Maddalena in Rigoletto (San Antonio Opera, Amarillo Opera, Shreveport Opera), Carmen in Tragedy of Carmen (Shreveport Opera) and covered Carmen in Carmen, Meg Page in Falstaff, Marcellina in The Marriage of Figaro, and Hippolyta in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Santa Fe Opera). She graduated with honors from both Yale University and UCLA.
Colorado native, baritone Luke Sutliff, is a current member of the Butler Houston Grand Opera Studio where he has appeared as Harvey in The Wreckers, Mercutio in Roméo et Juliette, Dancaïro in Carmen, and others. Future projects include Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia with North Carolina and Seattle Opera, Silvio in Pagliacci with Lyric Opera of Kansas City and Demetrius in A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Atlanta Opera. He has received awards from The Richard Tucker Foundation, The Sullivan Foundation, and The Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition and holds a Bachelor of Music from The Juilliard School and a Master of Music from The Shepherd School of Music at Rice University.