The Atlanta Opera Welcomes Six Members to 2017-18 Studio

By: Sep. 06, 2017

Following a successful inaugural season in 2016-17, The Atlanta Opera announces the six members of the 2017-2018 Atlanta Opera Studio.

The Studio includes three returning and three new artists, selected from 300 applicants and nearly 150 live auditions. Tomer Zvulun (General & Artistic Director), Lauren Bailey (Director of Artistic Administration), Rolando Salazar (Interim Chorus Master/Music Administrator), and Wade Thomas (Artistic Services & Studio Manager) conducted the auditions.

This season, Studio members will take on roles in the Discoveries series and on the mainstage, and will be featured at Opera with an Edge on October 29.

The Atlanta Opera Studio provides talented emerging artists with valuable performance experience working alongside internationally acclaimed operatic professionals. The artists will participate in masterclasses and specialized instruction, enhancing and deepening their professional education through coaching in language, stage skills, and career development. Curriculum this year will also include workshops with the Center for Puppetry Arts and lessons with visiting voice faculty.

This season, artists in The Studio will appear in featured and supporting roles in mainstage and Discoveries series productions. The artists will perform throughout metro-Atlanta as part of the Studio Tour, which reaches more than 10,000 students annually. The Studio Tour production this season will be Mozart's The Magic Flute. The Studio Tour will perform at schools from October 10 - 20, 2017; January 4 - 31, 2018; May 7 - 18, 2018. The artists will also perform in the Student Short production of The Daughter of the Regiment in February. The Student Short is a fully-staged, abbreviated version of the mainstage production, and also features The Atlanta Opera Orchestra and Chorus. Carefully selected highlights are threaded together, providing students the performance experience through the ArtsBridge program at Cobb Energy Centre.

"This crop of talented young artists marks the second season of our newly launched program. The inaugural year of the Studio program was a resounding success," said Tomer Zvulun. "We are excited to see some of these talented artists return and welcome the new ones to The Atlanta Opera family."

The Studio program helped launch the career of tenor Santiago Ballerini, who performed this past season at The Metropolitan Opera, Teatro Colon in Argentina, and Teatro Municipal in Brazil. Ballerini will return to Atlanta as Tonio in The Daughter of the Regiment this season. Brenna Corner, who directed the 2016-17 Studio Tour, will return as director of Carmen on the mainstage.

First-year Atlanta Opera Studio artists:

- Gina Perregrino, Mezzo Soprano from Wilmington, Delaware
- Christopher Dunham, Baritone from Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
- Justin Stolz, Tenor from Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada

Returning Atlanta Opera Studio artists:

- Bryn Holdsworth, Soprano from New York, New York
- Valerie Pool, Pianist and Vocal Coach from Marietta, Georgia
- Brenna Corner, the Jerry & Dulcy Rosenberg Young Artist Stage Director, given in honor of Tomer Zvulun from Alberta, Canada

The artists of The Atlanta Opera Studio will perform at Opera with an Edge, the annual season preview concert, on Sunday, October 29 at 3pm at Cobb Energy Centre. The program will be approximately 75 minutes in length and feature bite-sized moments from upcoming mainstage productions of Carmen, The Flying Dutchman, The Daughter of the Regiment, and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

Tickets may be purchased at or through The Atlanta Opera ticket office at 404-881-8885. Tickets are free for subscribers and $8 for non-subscribers.

About the Artists in the 2017-18 Atlanta Opera Studio:

Gina Perregrino
Mezzo Soprano - Wilmington, Delaware

This season, mezzo soprano Gina Perregrino will make her Atlanta Opera debut as Anna I in Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill's The Seven Deadly Sins this September. She will cover the role of The Marquise of Birkenfeld in The Daughter of the Regiment and perform the same role in the Student Short. Praised by Opera News as a "standout," Ms. Perregrino has already garnered attention nationwide for her colorful timbre and expressivity. Recent operatic debuts include two productions at Minnesota Opera, singing Stéphano in Romeo et Juliette and Clizia in L'arbore di Diana. Most recently, she performed the title role in Carmen at Central City Opera as an apprentice artist and sang Blindwoman in the world premiere of Shalimar the Clown with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. A graduate of Manhattan School of Music, she performed the leading role (Marquise de Merteuil) in Conrad Susa's Dangerous Liaisons under the baton of George Manahan.

Christopher Dunham
Baritone - Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada

Baritone Christopher Dunham will make his Atlanta Opera debut as Brother in The Seven Deadly Sins, perform the role of Corporal in The Daughter of the Regiment and cover Manfred in Out of Darkness. A native of Niagara Falls, Ontario, Mr. Dunham has captivated audiences across Canada and as far as the Adriatic coast of Italy with his lyric baritone voice. A recent graduate from L'Atelier Lyrique de l'Opéra de Montréal, his roles included: Figaro in The Barber of Seville, Mercutio in Romeo et Juliette, Escamillo in Carmen, Don Giovanni in Don Giovanni, Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus, and Dandini in La Cenerentola. Christopher can be seen with Pacific Opera Victoria this season, singing Argante in Handel's Rinaldo and is thrilled to be joining the Studio at The Atlanta Opera.

Justin Stolz
Tenor - Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada

This season, Justin Stolz will perform the role of the Steersman in The Flying Dutchman and Remendado in Carmen. Praised for his "exceptionally emotional" (Ontario Arts Review) and "effortlessly powerful" voice (The Chronicle Journal), the Canadian tenor is establishing himself as an exciting young performer. Following his graduate studies under the tutelage of Timothy Noble at Indiana University, he is thrilled to be joining The Atlanta Opera as a Studio artist for the 2017-2018 season. A recent recipient of the first prize in The S. Livingston Mather Competition of Cleveland, Ohio, Mr. Stolz began his vocal studies in his hometown of Thunder Bay, Ontario, under Mary McGhee and is a graduate of The Glenn Gould School (The Royal Conservatory of Music), where he studied under Monica Whicher.

Bryn Holdsworth
Soprano - New York, New York

Returning to The Atlanta Opera this season, Soprano Bryn Holdsworth will perform in Kurt Weill's The Seven Deadly Sins, sing the role of Krysia in Out of Darkness: Two Remain, cover the role of Marie in The Daughter of the Regiment and perform the role in the Student Short. Ms. Holdsworth made her Atlanta Opera debut last season in Silent Night as Madeleine Audebert, performed in the Studio Tour production of Cinderella, covered Norina in Don Pasquale and performed the role in the Student Short. Praised by The New York Times for her "limpid-toned, articulate" singing, the young soprano and recent Manhattan School of Music graduate made her Lincoln Center debut last season at Alice Tully Hall as the soprano soloist in Orff's Carmina Burana with The New York City Master Chorale, and as Rachel Dowling in Patience and Sarah with New York Opera Fest. She was a National Finalist in The New York Lyric Opera competition and a National Semifinalist in both the Classical Singer and Palm Beach Opera competitions.

Valerie Pool
Pianist and Vocal Coach - Marietta, Georgia

This season, Valerie Pool will accompany the Studio Tour production of The Magic Flute and serve as rehearsal pianist/coach for The Daughter of the Regiment. As part of the 2016-17 Atlanta Opera Studio, Ms. Pool was the accompanist for the Studio Tour production of Cinderella. Prior residencies include Tulsa Opera (2014-2016) where her assignments included Samson et Dalila, A Streetcar Named Desire, La bohème, Of Mice and Men, and a studio performance of Florencia en el Amazonas. During the summer months (2014-2016), she has been a pianist and member of the music staff at Cincinnati Opera. Additionally, she has worked as pianist, coach, and répétiteur with Opera Saratoga (New York), Cincinnati Chamber Opera, Nashville Opera's Mary Ragland Young Artist Program, and Capitol City Opera (Atlanta).

Brenna Corner
The Jerry & Dulcy Rosenberg Young Artist Stage Director, given in honor of Tomer Zvulun - Alberta, Canada

This season, Brenna Corner will direct the mainstage production of Carmen and the Studio Tour's The Magic Flute. Last season, she directed the Studio Tour production of Cinderella. Ms. Corner previously worked as a director, actor, singer, choreographer, and fight director across Canada, the United States and Europe. Last season, she made her directorial debut with Vancouver Opera as the director of their new production of Hansel and Gretel. Ms. Corner is also the artistic director of Prince George's new opera company, Fraser Lyric Opera, as well as Winnipeg's indie opera company, Manitoba Underground Opera. Past directing projects include: The Four Note Opera (Yulanda M. Faris Vancouver Opera Young Artist Program), Cendrillon and Alcina (Manitoba Underground Opera), and Béatrice et Benedict (Fraser Lyric Opera). Ms. Corner has a degree in music from The University of Manitoba, and theatre diplomas from Grant MacEwan College and The British American Drama Academy.

The Atlanta Opera is one of the finest regional opera companies in the nation. In 2013, the company recruited internationally recognized stage director Tomer Zvulun as its General and Artistic Director. In the 2014-2015 season, the company launched the acclaimed Discoveries series of operas staged in alternative theaters around Atlanta. The program was recognized by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution as part of its Best of 2015 awards and the company was nominated for the International Opera Awards in London in 2016. The Discoveries series has grown from three to sixteen performances in the past four seasons. In the 2016-2017 season, the company expanded its mainstage season from three to four productions at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. The Opera works with world-renowned singers, conductors, directors, and designers who seek to enhance the art form and make it accessible for a sophisticated, 21st century audience. The Atlanta Opera was founded in 1979 and to this day adheres to its mission to enrich lives through opera.

The Atlanta Opera's annual season preview concert gives both opera lovers and the opera curious a sneak peek at the romance and adventure that awaits in the 2017-18 season. The concert will be held on Sunday, October 29 at 3 p.m. at Cobb Energy Centre. Opera aficionado and long-time Atlanta Opera supporter Bob Edge and General & Artistic Director Tomer Zvulun host this entertaining afternoon. Special guest singers (to be announced) and members of The Atlanta Opera Studio will perform the most memorable musical moments from Bizet's Carmen, Wagner's The Flying Dutchman, Donizetti's The Daughter of the Regiment, and Stephen Sondheim's Broadway classic, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. All selections will be performed live on the set of The Flying Dutchman.


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