LA Opera announces incoming members of Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist program

(Los Angeles) June 6, 2018 — Plácido Domingo, LA Opera's Eli and Edythe Broad General Director, announced today that he has chosen the performers who will join LA Opera's Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program in the 2018/19 season. The artists were chosen from 650 applicants, 200 live auditions and, ultimately, 28 final candidates. The finalists auditioned in April for a panel led by Mr. Domingo that included Sebastian Paul and Marybelle Musco President and CEO Christopher Koelsch, the program's Artistic Advisor Susan Graham and Artistic Administrator Samuel Gelber, along with Stephen King, head of vocal instruction for the program, and Nino Sanikidze, head coach for the program.

The five singers joining the program will be baritone Michael J. Hawk, mezzo-soprano Niru Liu, soprano Erica Petrocelli, tenor Jose Simerilla Romero and soprano Sarah Vautour. Also joining the Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist program will be conductor/pianist Louis Lohraseb and pianist Brendon Shapiro, selected through special auditions for Richard Seaver Music Director James Conlon and LA Opera's music staff.

"Identifying and encouraging talented young performers has long been an incredibly important and gratifying mission for me," said Mr. Domingo. "I am both humbled and proud that opera companies around the world look to the Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program as one of the premier training grounds for the next generation of opera stars. I am thrilled to welcome these exceptionally talented young performers to the LA Opera family."

Additionally, four current members of the Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program will return during the 2018/19 season: baritone Juan Carlos Heredia, mezzo-soprano Taylor Raven, soprano Liv Redpath and tenor Joshua Wheeker. Singers in the program will be featured in LA Opera's mainstage productions throughout the season.

Meet the New Young Artists
Baritone Michael J. Hawk received his master’s degree from Rice University. Recent appearances include the Cobbler in The Juniper Tree by Philip Glass at Wolf Trap Opera, where he was a 2017 Studio Artist. This summer, he will join the Apprentice Singer Program at Santa Fe Opera, where he will cover the leading role of J. Robert Oppenheimer in John Adams' Doctor Atomic.

Chinese mezzo-soprano Niru Liu received her master of music degree from Manhattan School of Music and a graduate diploma in opera performance from the New England Conservatory. Her roles include Cherubino in The Marriage of Figaro and Prince Charming in Cendrillon. This summer, she will participate in the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, where she will be a soloist in a gala concert conducted by Valery Gergiev.

Conductor and pianist Louis Lohraseb earned his master's in conducting from Yale University and is a doctoral candidate at Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music. He has been an assistant conductor for the Rome Opera, LA Opera and the Ravinia Festival and a conducting fellow at the Chautauqua Music Festival and the Castleton Festival. This summer, he will be an assistant conductor at the Glimmerglass Festival.

Soprano Erica Petrocelli recently earned her Artist Diploma from the New England Conservatory, where she performed the title roles of Cendrillon and The Cunning Little Vixen. During the 2017/18 season, she performed several roles with Odyssey Opera in Boston. A national semifinalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, she will be an Apprentice Singer with the Santa Fe Opera this summer.

Tenor Jose Simerilla Romero, born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, has performed with Opera Orlando, Central Florida Vocal Arts and Orlando Light Opera. This summer, he will perform Rodolfo in La Bohème at the Vienna Summer Music Festival and Alfred in Die Fledermaus at the Berlin Opera Academy. Earlier this year, he performed at Carnegie Hall as part of Joyce DiDonato’s masterclass series and with Houston Grand Opera's Young Artist Vocal Academy.

Pianist Brendon Shapiro will join Boston Lyric Opera in 2019 as an Emerging Artist pianist and coach for The Rape of Lucretia. This summer, he will return to San Diego's Opera NEO, where he will work on Idomeneo and The Merry Widow. He has worked with Opera North, Boston Opera Collaborative, Opera Fayetteville and Juventas New Music Ensemble. He holds a master's degree in collaborative piano performance from Boston University.

Soprano Sarah Vautour earned her master’s degree at Rice University. She has performed the title role in Maria Stuarda and Morgana in Handel’s Alcina with CCM Opera d’arte; Rose Maurrant in Street Scene with Harrower Opera; and the dual role of Mozart / Donna Anna in Stephen Stucky’s The Classical Style at the Aspen Music Festival. Most recently, she participated in the Des Moines Metro Opera's 2018 Apprentice Program.

About the Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program
Identifying and encouraging talented young artists with enormous potential is essential to the future of opera. Since its inception, LA Opera has been committed to nurturing a resident ensemble of young singers and pianists who would benefit from long-term professional development. The Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program, launched in 2006, boasts some of the finest leadership of any post-graduate artist training program in the country and, in turn, attracts some of the world’s most promising young singers to participate in the program's unique process of refining their artistry. With the renowned mezzo-soprano Susan Graham beginning her tenure as Artistic Advisor at the launch of the 2017/18 season, this felicitous relationship of mentor and mentee has gained additional depth, strength and momentum. The program's ultimate goal is to developing the talents of exceptionally gifted young artists to become performers of potentially international stature, whose first loyalty would be to LA Opera.

The Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program is generously underwritten by the Colburn Foundation and Eugene and Marilyn Stein. Special support for young artist stipends is graciously provided by The Lenore and Richard Wayne Young Artist Fellowship. The program was created with funding from the Flora L. Thornton Foundation.

To learn more about the Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program and its members, click here.

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