The Atlanta Opera announced the six members of the 2019-20 Atlanta Opera Studio, the fourth year of this growing and successful program.
The Studio has two returning artists and four new artists, selected from more than 400 applicants and nearly 150 live auditions.
The new artists are Jouelle Roberson, a soprano from Washington, D.C.; Isaac Kim, a bass from Seoul, South Korea; Álvaro Corral Matute, a pianist and vocal coach from Jerez de la Fontera, Spain; and Ellen Jackson, stage director from Cleveland Heights, Ohio. Returning artists are Elizabeth Sarian, a mezzo-soprano from Long Island, New York; and Jonathan Bryan, a baritone from Dallas, Texas.
The Atlanta Opera Studio provides talented emerging artists with valuable performance experience working alongside internationally acclaimed operatic professionals. As in years past, the artists will participate in masterclasses and specialized instruction, enhancing and deepening their professional education through coaching in language, stage skills and career development.
This season, artists in The Studio will appear in featured and supporting roles in mainstage series productions, including La Cenerentola, Porgy and Bess, Madama Butterfly and Salome. They will also appear in Frida, The Opera’s season opening Discoveries series, and the first full production at the new Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center at City Springs.
The Studio artists will also be seen in various community events and concerts throughout the season.
The Studio has helped launch the career of several young artists. Alumnus tenor Justin Stoltz, a member of both the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons, wowed audiences and reviewers this spring when he sang Lensky in Eugene Onegin on opening night after tenor William Burden contracted laryngitis.
Studio artist director Conor Hanratty restaged The Atlanta Opera’s production of Silent Night to rave reviews at Austin Opera.
Tenor Santiago Ballerini performed in the 2017-18 season on The Atlanta Opera mainstage to great acclaim as Tonio in The Daughter of the Regiment. He will also sing the role of Ramiro in this season’s mainstage opening production, La Cenerentola. He has also toured the world and performed with prestigious companies like Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires and Canadian Opera Company, as well as making his debut in Italy and Madrid this past season.
Brenna Corner, who directed both the 2016-17 and 2017-18 Studio Tour, made her Atlanta Opera mainstage debut directing the highly successful production of Carmen at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. She also restaged The Atlanta Opera’s production of The Flying Dutchman in Cincinnati last summer. She is returning to Atlanta this season to adapt and direct The Atlanta Opera Studio Tour educational program, Hansel and Gretel. In summer 2020, she will direct a new production of Don Giovanni at The Glimmerglass Festival in New York.
In addition to Ballerini, three other members of the inaugural class of Studio Artists are returning to The Atlanta Opera this fall for roles in La Cenerentola – soprano Bryn Holdsworth, bass-baritone Alan Higgs and pianist Valerie Pool.
After finishing The Studio program, Higgs went directly to the famous Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago, where he spent two seasons, and is finishing his second season as an apprentice artist at the Santa Fe Opera. He was featured in La traviata as Dr. Grenvil during The Atlanta Opera’s 2018-19 season.
Alumni Gina Perregrino, Justin Stoltz and Elizabeth Sarian are all currently apprentice artists at the Santa Fe Opera, and Holdsworth is featured at The Glimmerglass Festival this summer.