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Fort Worth Opera Announces Eight Artists Selected For The 2018/19 Fort Worth Opera-Texas Christian University Lesley Artist Program

Fort Worth Opera (FWO) announced today the news that the FWO-TCU Lesley Artist Program, in collaboration with the TCU Opera Studio, has expanded from four to eight artists for the 2018-2019 season. These talented young singers have been selected through a highly competitive nationwide audition process and will perform in the company's productions of Hansel and Gretel and composer Michael Ching's Three Pigs Remix. This season's artists are sopranos Anne Wright and Janani Sridhar, mezzo-sopranos Bridget Cappel and Heather Weirich, tenors Jonathan Walker-VanKuren and Myles Garver, and baritones Sam Parkinson and Erik Earl Larson. This prestigious discovery and training program is led by Fort Worth Opera's Coordinator of Educational Outreach, Sheran Goodspeed Keyton, and David Gately, Director of the TCU Opera Studio.

The Fort Worth Opera Studio was established in 2002 to provide a strong foundation for young singers to pursue their career as professional opera singers. Beginning in the fall of 2015, a generous multi-year grant was established by the Hattie Mae Lesley Foundation, in honor of foundation President Joseph A. Lesley's grandmother. These singers have completed Masters level training and have participated in additional training programs for young artists. Contracted for one or two seasons, they come to Fort Worth Opera to work for a professional opera company.

While in Fort Worth, artists receive voice lessons; training in acting, languages, and diction; and participate in masterclasses with established artists. The Lesley Apprentices also travel across North Texas performing in elementary, middle, and high schools. As Fort Worth Opera's resident artists, they appear at various patron, social, and community events, as well as take on roles within our mainstage Festival productions.

Anne Wright (Soprano) Recipient of the 2017 The Marc and Eva Stern Fellowship at SongFest in Los Angeles, selected to participate in Marilyn Horne's 2017 'The Song Continues' master class and training program at Carnegie Hall. Current student of the TCU Artist Diploma Program, and FWO-TCU Lesley Artist Program. Previous studies include: the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, and TCU.

Janani Sridhar (Soprano) An alumna of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and Manhattan School of Music (Masters), and doctoral candidate at Stony Brook University. Current student of the TCU Artist Diploma Program, and FWO-TCU Lesley Artist Program. Previous competition credits include: Regional Finalist Award in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and 3rd place in the National Opera Association Vocal Competition.

Bridget Cappel (Mezzo) Graduate of Boston University with a Master's Degree in Music. Current student of the TCU Artist Diploma Program, and FWO-TCU Lesley Artist Program. Previous studies include: Bachelor's Degrees in Voice Performance and Film, Video, and Media Studies from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Heather Weirich (Mezzo) Holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Pacific Lutheran University and a Master's Degree from The Boston Conservatory. Current student of the TCU Artist Diploma Program, and FWO-TCU Lesley Artist Program. Previous work includes: Fort Worth Opera, MetroWest Opera in Boston, and the Mimir Chamber Music Festival.

Jonathan Walker-VanKuren (Tenor) Holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Music degree from Michigan State University. Current student of the TCU Artist Diploma Program, and FWO-TCU Lesley Artist Program. Previous appearances include: Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre, Savannah Voice Festival, and Opera Santa Barbara.

Myles Garver (Tenor) Studied voice performance at the University of South Alabama, and received a Master's Degree in Voice Performance at LSU. Current student of the TCU Artist Diploma Program, and FWO-TCU Lesley Artist Program. Previous appearances include: Mobile Opera, Pensacola Opera, Asheville Lyric, Brevard Music Center, Opera Louisiane, LSU Opera, and University of South Alabama Opera.

Sam Parkinson (Baritone) Received Bachelor of Music and Master of Music Degrees from The Boston Conservatory. Current student of the TCU Artist Diploma Program, and FWO-TCU Lesley Artist Program. Previous experience includes: SpeakEasy Stage Company, Guerilla Opera, Boston Opera Collaborative and Opera in the Ozarks.

Erik Earl Larson (Baritone) Attended the Opera Institute at Boston University. Current student of the TCU Artist Diploma Program, and FWO-TCU Lesley Artist Program. Previous studies includes: Madison Opera, Sarasota Opera, and Des Moines Metro Opera.

Founded in 1946, Fort Worth Opera is the oldest continually performing opera company in Texas, and one of the 14 oldest opera companies in the United States. The organization has received national attention from critics and audiences alike for its artistic excellence.FWOpera has taken a leadership role in engaging audiences beyond the operatic stage, while producing cutting-edge, contemporary operas.

Beginning in 2017, FWOpera launched the second phase of its landmark, 10-year Opera of the Americas initiative with Noches de Ópera (Nights of Opera), a groundbreaking campaign which introduces powerful operas, each reflecting the diverse cultures of American audiences.

Fort Worth Opera is sponsored in part by awards from The Arts Council of Fort Worth & Tarrant County, The City of Fort Worth, and the Texas Commission on the Arts. Additional Fort Worth Opera sponsors include: the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; the Amon G. Carter Foundation; American Airlines; Art & Seek; Crystelle Waggoner Charitable Trust, Bank of America, Trustee; The Pangburn Foundation, J.P. Morgan Chase, Trustee; the Sid W. Richardson Foundation; and WFAA Channel 8.

 


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