Opera Saratoga and Artists From Juilliard Collaborate on AMERICA SINGS at Caffè Lena

Performances will take place on February 4 & April 7, 2024.

By: Jan. 19, 2024
Opera Saratoga and Artists From Juilliard Collaborate on AMERICA SINGS at Caffè Lena

Opera Saratoga's America Sings recital series continues with a unique spin - passing the mic to young artists from The Juilliard School. With a collaborative history dating back to 1985 when second General Director David Lloyd ran the Juilliard American Opera Company, Opera Saratoga and Juilliard connect again for two concerts full of inspiration and musical integrity. Under the leadership of General and Artistic Director (and Juilliard faculty member) Mary Birnbaum, two visionary singers from the school will carefully curate recitals that reflect their unique musical inspirations, passions and creativity.


In a season that pays homage to Saratoga Springs' history as a pleasure-seeker's paradise, Birnbaum challenges these young artists to show us their personal pleasures: the music that drives their passions. These musicians bring their talents to the stage of Saratoga's thriving Caffè Lena with the support of Opera Saratoga's outstanding audiences.

Sunday, February 4, 2024 at 1 pm EST (followed by Opera Saratoga's Annual Meeting)

Featuring Shavon Lloyd, baritone

With Francesco Barfoed, pianist


“The Heart's Mirror”

Music from Robert Schumann, Jacques Ibert, H. Leslie Adams, Lori Laitman, Gabriel Kahane, W.A. Mozart, Frank Loesser, Charles Strouse, Jason Robert Brown, Irving Berlin, and Jerry Herman exploring the complexities of love, the bittersweet nuances of loss, and fluid intricacies of identity.

Sunday, April 7, 2024 at 1 pm EST


Featuring César Andres Parreño, tenor

With Liza Armistead, pianist


“Latinidad: a Tour of South America”

A potpourri of South American art songs. Travel with composers from Ponce, Guastavino, Guevara, Violeta Parra, Chía Patiño, Santoro, Villa-Lobos and Ginastera.



Caffè Lena - 47 Phila Street, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866


Tickets: $35 (General), $25 (OS Guild Members/Caffè Lena Members), $10 (Student)

To buy tickets for February 4th, click here.

For livestream information and tickets for April 7th, please visit operasaratoga.org.



Shavon Lloyd (b. 1997) is an award-winning composer, baritone, conductor, and music educator. As a young musician, he has already had the opportunity to perform for a wide variety of audiences and compose for numerous ensembles from K-12 to professional groups.


From Middletown, NY, Lloyd began his journey as a dedicated musician in 2014 when he won his first composition contest at the age of 17. His piece, “Untitled”, was selected as the grand prize winner of the Manhattan Choral Ensemble's “New Music for New York” composition contest. After that moment, Lloyd solidified his decision in studying music at The Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam. Here he continued his compositional journey under the tutelage of Dr. David Heuser, winning a second contest in Washington, D.C. for his choral piece, “So Breaks the Sun”, which was premiered by the 18th Street Singers in July of 2018. Since then Lloyd has been commissioned for works at the K-12 levels, collegiate choral programs, and established professional concert choirs. Recently he won a third composition contest in July 2019, sponsored by the Orpheus Chamber Singers in Dallas, Texas. In March 2020, the group premiered his work for double choir, “Alleluia.” Since then, Lloyd has been commissioned by such groups as Cappella Festiva and The ABC Bel Canto Choir.


Lloyd is an active participant in the New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA), contributing to both the Belonging, Equity, Diversity, and Representation (BEDR) Committee, and the Composition Committee. Regarding music education, his interests include student-centered learning through democracy and creativity in the music classroom. For the past three years, he has put this mindset into practice as the Vocal/General Music Teacher at Indian River High School in Philadelphia, NY.


As a baritone, Lloyd has had the opportunity to perform alongside Patti LuPone, Lisa Vroman, Canadian Brass, and other professional soloists and ensembles. While studying with Dr. Lonel Woods, he became a 2-time winner of the CFLNY-NATS Singing Competition, and featured soloist throughout New York. At Crane, he had the pleasure of soloing in Vaughan Williams' Serenade to Music and Mozart's Mass in C Minor under the baton of Maestros Duain Wolfe and Kent Tritle, respectively. In May 2020, Lloyd won the Classical Singer Musical Theatre Competition for Pre-Professionals with his performance of “Soliloquy” from Rodgers and Hammerstein's Carousel. Lloyd is currently pursuing his Master of Music in Vocal Performance degree at The Juilliard School in New York City. Here, he has performed in multiple productions, including Händel's Atalanta (Nicandro - cover), Purcell's King Arthur (Grimbald/Cold Genius), and Puccini's Gianni Schicchi (Betto). Lloyd was recently selected to be a Gerdine Young Artist for The Opera Theatre of Saint Louis in 2023. He will be performing in Puccini's Tosca (Sacristan cover). He will also make his professional debut as Simon in an all-black production of Joplin's Treemonisha, including a world premiere of Damien Sneed and Karen Chilton's prologue and epilogue detailing moments in Joplin's life.


Francesco Barfoed is a Danish-Italian pianist, born and raised in Copenhagen. A young artist on the rise, he frequently collaborates with singers and has twice won the Young Concert Artists International Auditions; with mezzo-soprano Megan Moore (2020) and baritone Joseph Parrish (2022). Megan and Francesco also won 1st prize in the Copenhagen Lied-Duo Competition and 2nd prize at the Naumberg Foundation International Vocal Competition, and they have performed throughout the United States, including in Birmingham, Alabama, Des Moines, Iowa, the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., and Merkin Hall at Lincoln Center.


Recently, Francesco performed song recitals at the Usedomer Musikfestival in Germany, Berkshire Opera Festival in Massachusetts, partnered with Carnegie Hall Citywide in NYC, and was broadcast on WQXR, New York's Classical Music Radio Station. Upcoming highlights include song recitals in New York and South Carolina, performances with members of the Austin Symphony Orchestra in Texas, and NYFOS@Juilliard with Steven Blier.


Francesco works extensively in opera and has assisted Juilliard with the productions of Donizetti's L'Elisir d'Amore, Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress (which he co-arranged and performed for two pianos), and Puccini's Gianni Schicchi and Suor Angelica. He also assisted Aspen Music Festival with Mozart's Don Giovanni and has been on the coaching faculty at Saluzzo Opera Academy.


Francesco has participated twice in Renée Fleming's SongStudio at Carnegie Hall (2021 & 2022) as well as in SongFest as a fellow, and has performed in Masterclasses with renowned pianists such as Martin Katz, Roger Vignoles, Malcolm Martineau, and Leif Ove Andsnes.


Francesco is currently pursuing the Doctor of Musical Arts degree at The Juilliard School, where he also completed a master's degree as a Kovner Fellow. He holds degrees from The Royal Danish Academy of Music and Rutgers University, where he won the concerto competition. The area of focus in his doctoral studies is Danish songs, and he specializes in coaching singers in the Danish language.


Francesco is a passionate promoter of cultural exchange between Denmark and the United States. In addition to collaborating with the Museum of Danish America in Iowa, his studies in the U.S. have been supported by several prizes and scholarships from organizations like Denmark-America Foundation, Bikuben Foundation, and perhaps most notably the Victor Borge Scholarship.


Francesco holds Italian citizenship, and is fluent in Danish, Italian, and English.


Tenor César Andrés Parreño is a native from Manabí, Ecuador. In early 2020, Parreño made his Peter Jay Sharp Theater soloist debut in NYFOS@Juilliard, and has performed in two other NYFOS concerts since. In 2021, Parreño made his Juilliard Orchestra soloist debut on Stravinsky's Pulcinella conducted by Barbara Hannigan. Last season at Juilliard, Parreño starred as “Tom Rakewell” in The Rake's Progress and sung Momo in Luigi Rossi's L'Orfeo with Juilliard 415. In 2022, Parreño became an alumni of the Schwab Vocal Rising Stars program, a week long residency at Caramoor focused on song repertoire, concluding with a concert at Merkin Hall, in New York City.


In the summer, as a Gerdine Young Artist, Parreñomade his debut with Opera Theater of Saint Louis as Le Remendado in Bizet's Carmen and later portraying Dr. Caius in Verdi's Falstaff with Aspen Music Festival with Bryn Tefel as the title role. While at Opera Theater of Saint Louis, Parreño stepped into the role of Dan White in the world premiere of Stewart Wallace's Harvey Milk: Reimagined for 5 out of 6

performances. He also received the Elihu Hyndman Memorial Award from Opera

Theatre of Saint Louis. In February 2023, César became an inaugural winner of the Duncan Williams Voice Competition in the Emerging Artist division.


This spring at Juilliard, Parreño will debut as Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi under the baton of Daniela Candillari. This coming summer season, Parreño will return to

Opera Theater of Saint Louis with the role of Elder Hayes in Floyd's Susannah and then to Aspen as a Renée Fleming fellow. In Aspen, Parreño will perform as Gen Watanabe in Jimmy Lopez' Bel Canto and also as Gran Sacerdote di Nettuno in Idomeneo with Matthew Polenzani as the title role.


César Andrés Parreño is a proud Kovner Fellow in Darrell Babidge's studio at Juilliard, where he is the first Ecuadorian to ever attend the institution.


Liza Armistead is a pianist from Virginia who is currently based in New York City. She graduated from The Juilliard School in 2022 with a degree in Collaborative Piano under Lydia Brown and Jonathan Feldman. Upon graduation, she was selected as the recipient of the generous Juilliard Career Advancement Fellowship for demonstrating “tremendous talent, promise, creativity, and potential to make a significant impact on the performing arts.'' Liza now holds the Piano Fellow position at Juilliard where she has the pleasure of rehearsing, coaching and performing operas with students of the Vocal Arts program. Notable operas include Puccini's Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi, Nicolai's Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor, and Mozart's Der Schauspieldirektor and La Clemenza di Tito. Other notable positions include vocal coach at the Chautauqua Conservatory and studio artist at Renée Fleming's Song Studio in 2021 and 2022. Liza made her solo debut in Carnegie Hall at the age of sixteen, and since has gone on to perform as a solo and collaborative pianist in venues in NYC, Washington D.C., Vienna, Salzburg, Oxford, London, and Paris.