FLORENTINE OPERA NAMES 08-09 STUDIO ARTISTS
MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin-July 16, 2008-The Florentine Opera Company is pleased to name soprano Greer Davis-Brown of Chicago, IL, mezzo soprano Colleen E. Brooks of Cincinnati, OH, tenor Rafael Luquis of Bayamón, Puerto Rico and baritone
Todd von Felker of Chicago, IL, as participants in the 2008-09 Florentine Opera Studio. The Studio program, which offers a full season of artist-in-residence employment for talented singers beginning their professional careers, will run from October 2008 through April 2009 and provide promising young artists the experience and training necessary in order to grow professionally in the opera art form.
Studio artists will sing supporting and comprimario roles during the opera season while serving the mainstage, educational and outreach goals of the Florentine Opera Company.
Additionally, artists will perform in studio concerts, as well as for donor functions, outreach and education initiatives and the Florentine's in-school touring opera program. They will also have the opportunity to gain continuing training and career advice through masterclasses and coachings with visiting artists and master teachers.
The planning process for this extensive inaugural effort is provided by the Richard
and Ethel Herzfeld Foundation.
FLORENTINE OPERA STUDIO ARTIST CONCERT
The Florentine Opera Studio artists will make their debut in a recital, hosted by Florentine General Director, William Florescu and accompanied by Maestro Joseph Rescigno, the Florentine's Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor. The inaugural concert will take place at the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts on Sunday, October 19, 2008. Artists will perform pieces from their repertoire including arias and ensembles and opera favorites. The recital is part of the Emerging Artists Opera weekend at the Wilson Center.
WHAT: Florentine Opera Studio Artist Concert
WHEN: Sunday, October 19, 2008 - 2:30pm
WHERE: Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts, Brookfield, WI
19805 W. Capitol Drive, Brookfield
TICKETS: $35 general public
$30 for Florentine Subscribers
$15 for students
Group rates available: For every 10 student tickets purchased,
receive one free.
Tickets are available through the Wilson Center Box Office at:
(262) 781-9520 or www.wilson-center.com.
ABOUT THE STUDIO ARTISTS
Greer Davis-Brown ~ Soprano
Greer Davis-Brown has been hailed as a "vibrant" performer by Chicago Time Out Magazine and is a frequent performer in the Chicago area. Most recently, she sang the role of Frasquita in Bizet's Carmen, presented by Chamber Opera Chicago, and Phyllis in Iolanthe with the Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company in Hyde Park (Chicago). Last fall, she performed the role of Clorinda in Rossini's La Cenerentola, presented by the Lyric Opera of Chicago's "Opera in the Neighborhoods." As a Young Artist at Chicago Opera Theater, she sang in the first fully staged performances of John Adams's A Flowering Tree as well as Mozart's Don Giovanni, Berlioz's Béatrice et Bénédict. Other operatic performances include Abigail in Ward's The Crucible, and several Mozart roles, including Despina in Così fan tutte, Silberklang in The Impresario, and both Pamina and Papagena in Die Zauberflöte.
Frequently appearing in concert, Ms. Davis-Brown's recent appearances include performances at the Pianoforte Salon Series in Chicago (broadcast on WFMT Chicago), the Union League Club and the Lincolnwood Concert Series. Abroad, she has sung a guest recital at the Bangalore School of Music in Bangalore, India, as well as with the Opera Theater and Music Festival of Lucca, Italy. Ms. Davis-Brown is the recipient of several awards, including the Annemarie Gerts Award from the Musician's Club of Women (Chicago) and a Bravo Award from the Bel Canto Foundation.
Ms. Davis-Brown holds degrees from the University of Kansas and the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. Originally from Minneapolis, she currently resides in Chicago.
Colleen Brooks ~ Mezzo soprano
Colleen Brooks will soon complete her DMA degree in vocal performance at the College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) in Cincinnati, OH. She holds a master's degree in vocal performance from Indiana University as well as bachelor's degrees in both vocal performance and biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has had the privilege of coaching with current American composers such as Thomas Pasatieri, Jake Heggie, and William Bolcom and even performed with Mr. Heggie at the Grandin Music Festival in Cincinnati in 2006. Ms. Brooks was an award winner in the Metropolitan Opera Wisconsin District Competition in both 2005 and 2006, and she was a Central City Opera Studio Artist in the summer of 2004. This summer she will study and perform with the Aspen Opera Theater Center in the Aspen Music Festival (Aspen, CO). Ms. Brooks will perform the roles of Kate Pinkerton (Madama Butterfly) and 3rd Lady (Die Zauberflöte) in Florentine Opera's upcoming 2008-09 season. Roles performed include Rosina, Hansel, Nora in Vaughan William's Riders to the Sea, Donna Elvira, Fiordiligi, Catherine in A View from the Bridge, Piramo in Piramo e Tisbe, and Mrs. Webb in a workshop performance of Rorem's Our Town. She has also performed as a concert soloist in Mozart's C Minor Mass and Stravinsky's Les Noces.
Rafael Luquis ~ Tenor
A native of Bayamón, Puerto Rico, tenor Rafael Luquis has recently earned his Master's degree in Vocal Performance with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Opera Studio. Recent performances during his studies there include Alfredo in La Traviata, Paco in La Vida Breve, Fritz in L'Amico Fritz and Paolino in Il Matrimonio Segreto. In 2004, he graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Music from Puerto Rico Conservatory of Music, where he also received the Voice Performance Medal.
He has trained with the International Vocal Arts Institute in Puerto Rico, and studied under many acclaimed coaches, including Thomas Schleis, Marks Ensley,
José Meléndez, Justino Díaz, Joan Dornemann, Céasar Ulloa, Eduardo Chama,
Mikhail Hallak, Robert Cowart, Hemdi Kfir and Nathan Gunn.
Todd von Felker ~ Baritone
Baritone Todd von Felker is originally from Elizabethtown, KY and now resides in Chicago, IL. Most recently Todd made his New Orleans Opera debut as Pierrot in I'le de Merlin, which was performed in association with Music at Madewood, a music festival at Madewood Plantation where the Times-Picayune Paper said his performance was played with "impish delight." He also recently completed a residency with Pensacola Opera where he performed the title role in Gianni Schicchi, Schaunard in La Boheme, and Speaker in The Magic Flute.
In the fall of 2007 he performed in the American premiere of Franz Lehar's Mitislav the Modern as Jerzabinka with Chicago Folks Operetta and returned to the Florentine Opera stage where he took part in Lehar's better known work, The Merry Widow as Kromov. Other recent credits include Dancaïro in Carmen with Des Moines Metro Opera and Fiorello in Il Barbiere di Siviglia with The Florentine Opera. He has sung with Chicago Opera Theater, Opera Theater North, Intimate Opera Chicago, Chicago Cultural Arts Center, Music of the Baroque, Northwest Indiana Symphony, and La Musica Lirica in Novafeltria, Italy. His repertoire includes the title role in Falstaff, Marcello in La Boheme, Sharpless in Madama Butterfly, Pappageno in The Magic Flute, Don Alfonso in Cosí fan Tutte, Warden Frank in Die Fledermaus, King Melchior in Amahl And The Night Visitor and Bob in Menotti's Old Maid And The Thief.
He has been a young artist with Pensacola Opera, Chicago Opera Theater, Des Moines Metro Opera and La Musica Lirica. In 2003 he was a Chicago District winner and Regional Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera Competition.