It's that time again: we're now accepting applications for our 2012-2013 class of Portland Opera Studio Artists.
I have a very personal relationship to our POSA program -- I started at the company two weeks after the very first class of POSAs arrived. We were all roughly the same age, and we shared a working space. It took us a little while (I was shy) but we all became close friends. We were particularly good at pub trivia! (Scott Six, our first POSA tenor, was an absolute trivia genius). They made my first year here very special.
Now we are beginning the audition process again, and also looking forward to meeting our next batch of POSAs! In celebration of the start of another class of young singers, I thought I'd revisit our first class of "graduates" and let you know what they're up to.
Amber Opheim: Soprano
After leaving Portland, Amber spent several years in NYC before entering a Masters program in German at University of South Carolina last year. After completing a year of study, Amber was selected by the Fulbright Commission and the Austrian American Educational Commission to be a U.S. Teaching Assistant in Austria for the next academic year. She currently resides in Austria, but is spending the summer in Germany, singing Marie in Smetana's The Bartered Bride, Soprano soloist in Carmina Burana, and Soprano soloist in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony at the Bad Hersfelder Opernfestspiele. She is represented by Scott Levine Management.
Author note: Amber Opheim is one of my closest friends, so I will also inform you that she is really passionate about pie, of which there is apparently very little in Europe.
Kendra Herrington: Mezzo
Kendra moved back to her home state of Texas with her husband, Mark, once her time in the program had finished. She is currently teaching a full load of voice students, and gave birth to Avery Leigh Herrington, a baby girl, on Valentine's Day of this year.
Scott Six: Tenor
Scott returned to his home in New Jersey following the program, to be with his wife, Amy. Scott and Amy welcomed their son, Jake, three years ago.
In 2010, Scott won first place in the Wagner Division of the Liederkranz Foundation Competition, and is now exploring that repertoire more extensively. He has been on the roster of the Evelyn Lear and Thomas Stewart Emerging Singer Program (under the auspices of the Wagner Society of Washington, D.C.) since 2010. Recent appearances by Mr. Six include Opera in the Heights in Houston, TX, and the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra in Virginia. He will return to the west coast in January 2012, to sing Pagliacci in Stockton, CA, and then will perform his first Bacchus in Ariadne auf Naxos with Winter Opera St. Louis.
Scott and Amy are expecting their second child, also a boy, around Thanksgiving of this year. And he'd like you to know that, like Jake, his next son's name will "in no way be some nerdy opera name like Rinuccio or Don Whatever." Which I'll admit I find somewhat a shame, because "Don Whatever" is pretty memorable.
Jonathan Lasch: Baritone
After leaving Portland, Jonathan sang in young artist programs at both Seattle Opera and Glimmerglass Opera before returning to Cincinnati to get his Artist Diploma at Cincinnati Conservatory of Music (CCM). Some roles included Escamillo in The Tragedy of Carmen, Ford in Falstaff, Shrike in Miss Lonelyhearts, Marcello in La Boheme, Achilla in Giulio Cesare, Falstaff in Falstaff, as well as covers of Friedrich in Wagner's Das Liebesverbot and Scarpia in Tosca. He also performed Leporello in Don Giovanni with Michigan Opera Theater, and Captain Corcoran in HMS Pinafore with Piedmont Opera. He is currently finishing the AOTC program in Aspen, where he again sang Ford in Falstaff.
Last year, Jonathan got married to fellow singer Caitlin Lynch, and has decided to return to school at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where he will pursue a DMA, in hopes of being able to teach voice as part of his professional life.
Aaron Theno: Bass-Baritone
Aaron went from Portland to a young artist program at Glimmerglass Opera, where he sang the role of Le Commissaire in Philip Glass's Orphée! This past March, he created the role of Michaelis in Michael Dellaira's The Secret Agent, and will be performing that role again in Budapest, Hungary in October, as part of the Armel Festival. Aaron is currently finishing a summer in the Middlebury "German for Singers" program, where he's been learning German intensively for the last seven weeks, as well as singing Nardo in Mozart's Die Gaertnerin aus Liebe (the German title for La Finta Giardiniera). He plans to stay in Berlin this winter in order to audition at opera houses around Germany.
I'll have more POSA news for you in the next few weeks!