Lyric Opera of KC Names New Resident Artists

Lyric Opera of KC Names New Resident Artists

General Director and CEO Deborah Sandler today announced the selection of the inaugural class of the Resident Artists Program. They include: soprano April Martin, mezzo-soprano Samantha Gossard, tenor Casey Candebat, baritone John Viscardi and pianist Kyle Naig. They will perform in various roles throughout the 2016-17 season on the mainstage at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts as well as at community outreach and education events. The artists were selected after a rigorous national audition of more than 100 singers. Led by Vinson Cole, UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance faculty member and one of the leading artists of his generation, Resident Artists Program signals the creation of the first-ever Resident Company for the Lyric Opera of Kansas City.

During their Residency, in addition to appearing in mainstage roles, the Resident Artists will work with visiting guest artists' conductors and directors, participate in master classes, career coaching, study leading roles, make musical appearances in the community, and appear in their own intimate musical performances as a part of Lyric Opera of Kansas City's new 'Explorations' series, which will focus on intimate gems of the vocal music repertoire. The Resident Artists will have completed their post-graduate education and may have some professional experience. The Resident Artists will have a full time 8-month contract for one or two years.

"Since my arrival here, four years ago, I had hoped to create a Resident Artists Program," stated Sandler. "Our intent is to contribute to the training of these talented, young, emerging professional artists and grant them experience with our field's leading conductors, directors, and principal artists. Through this new initiative, Lyric Opera will develop a resident group of young artists who will perform on our mainstage as well as in the community. In so doing, Lyric Opera joins the ranks of other distinguished opera companies in North America who commit to nurturing the next generation of exceptional artists for opera."

The program's launch is made possible by a generous donation from the late Richard Hill, Charter Sponsor of the Resident Artist Program.

About the Resident Artists

Soprano April Martin recently performed a thrilling depiction of the Governess in Britten's thought provoking opera, Turn of the Screw. In November 2015, she sang the 2nd Wood Sprite in Dvo?ák's, Rusalka, with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City and in the spring of 2016 Ms. Martin sang Frasquita in Bizet's Carmen. This summer, Ms. Martin will make her debut with Finger Lakes Opera. Other credits include Antonia (Man of La Mancha) with the Central City Opera Company as an apprentice artist, Musetta (La bohème) with the Bar Harbor Music Festival in Maine, Fiordiligi (Così fan tutte), Niece 1 (Peter Grimes), Anne Egerman (A Little Night Music) and Blanche de la Force (Dialogues of the Carmelites). April has won awards in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, the Heafner/Williams Vocal Competition (2nd Place) and the Opera Carolina Guild Competition (2nd Place). She studies under the tutelage of renowned American tenor, Vinson Cole.

As a Resident Artist for the 2016-2017 season, Ms. Martin will perform the roles of Dew Fairy in Hansel and Gretel, Barbarina in The Marriage of Figaro, Kitty Hart in Dead Man Walking and Isabel in Pirates of Penzance.

Mezzo-soprano, Samantha Gossard, is recognized by critics and audiences alike for her rich, warm voice and powerful stage portrayals. This past spring, Ms. Gossard sang on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera as a National Semi-Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Earlier last season, she made her "stunning" role debut as Zerlina in Don Giovanni with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City (KC Metropolis) and also appeared as Mercedes in Carmen and the Third Woodsprite in Rusalka. She was previously an Apprentice Artist for Lyric Opera of Kansas City and performed the roles of Zulma in L'italiana in Algeri and Madeleine Audebert in Silent Night. Ms. Gossard was a Gerdine Young Artist with the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis in 2015, and has also been an Apprentice Artist with Central City Opera in Colorado, where she covered and performed Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro. Other favorite opera credits with these companies include Dead Man Walking, La Rondine, Emmeline, Die Fledermaus, and La Traviata. Ms. Gossard was a New Horizon Fellow with the Aspen Music Festival and School for two summers and is a former student of the Aspen Opera Theatre Center.

As a Resident Artist for the 2016-2017 season, Ms. Gossard will perform the roles of Cherubino in the production of The Marriage of Figaro, Jade Boucher in Dead Man Walking, and Kate in Pirates of Penzance.

Tenor Casey Candebat, a native of New Orleans, has been hailed by the Los Angeles Times as having "the big, straightforward Italian sound" and by the San Francisco Chronicle as being "one of the up and coming stars of opera." A recent two-time participant in the illustrious Merola Opera Program, Mr. Candebat performed the role of Il Podestà in Mozart's La Finta Giardinera, and covered the role of Mr. Owen in Argento's Postcard from Morocco. He returned to Merola Opera in 2014 to perform the role of Mitch in Andre Previn's A Streetcar Named Desire and a highly acclaimed scene from Mascagni's L'amico Fritz. A frequent performer with the New Orleans Opera, he has been featured in their productions of Dead Man Walking, Salome, Madama Butterfly, Rigoletto, Il Trittico, Manon Lescaut, La Bohème, and Turandot. Mr. Candebat has been a young artist at Chautauqua Opera in their 2009 and 2010 seasons. He has also been a young artist at Opera North where he performed the role of Dr. Cajus in Verdi's Falstaff.. Mr. Candebat has won several prestigious vocal competitions, including the Grand Prize in the Bel Canto Foundation Voice Competition, 2011, a four-time regional finalist at the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and the Chautauqua Opera Guild's Encouragement Award, 2010. Mr. Candebat is a graduate of Northwestern University and Loyola University New Orleans.