The Florentine Studio Artist program returns for a third season
MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin—September 1, 2010—The Florentine Opera Company names Erica Schuller (soprano) of Milwaukee, WI; Julia Elise Hardin (mezzo soprano) of Lawrence, KS; Matthew Richardson (tenor) of Dubuque, IA and Scott Johnson (baritone) of Madison, WI, as resident artists for the 2010-2011 Season’s Florentine Opera Studio Program.
Ms. Schuller and Mr. Richardson are new to the Studio Artist Program, while Ms. Hardin and Mr. Johnson both return for a second year. The Studio Program offers a full season of artist-in-residence employment for talented singers beginning their professional careers, and will run from September 2010 through May 2011, to provide performing experience and training essential to career development in the opera art form.
"I am delighted that we are continuing this important initiative for a third season, when we will once again have the opportunity to showcase four exceptional artists," notes General Director William Florescu. "Both Erica and Matthew come to the Florentine with young, dynamic voices, full of potential, and a personal history with the city of Milwaukee, and we are also happy to welcome back Scott and Julia, who both return to participate in our program for a second year. These young performers demonstrate the wealth of talent present among up-and-coming singers and certainly prove that the opera art form has a bright future ahead."
The 2010-2011 Studio Artists will sing supporting and comprimario roles during each of the Florentine Opera’s mainstage performances, including the world premiere of Don Davis’s Río de Sangre in October. They will also star in The Golden Days: A Concert on November 14, 2010 at 2:30 pm in Vogel Hall of the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. The Golden Days will feature favorite American operetta arias and ensembles by composers including Sigmund Romberg, Rudolf Friml and Victor Herbert from such pieces as The Desert Song, The Student Prince, The Vagabond King, Naughty Marietta and others. This concert explores the delightful world of the operetta, an art form characterized by elegant songs, witty ensembles and rousing choruses that serves as the roots of modern American musical theater.
A major focus of the Studio Artists will be to bring the Florentine’s 2010-2011 season children’s touring opera program, The Billy Goats Gruff, to over 60 schools and community venues throughout southeastern Wisconsin. In addition to educational programs for younger students, the Studio Artists will also be featured in those targeting older students. On September 30, 2010, they will work with Guido LeBron, who will create the starring role in the world premiere of Rio de Sangre, in a special customized "Get Opera" program. In partnership with Latino Arts, Inc., this one-hour program is geared towards 8th grade and high school students, fostering an appreciation for the arts and providing cross-curricular opportunities for teachers in English, Language Arts, History, Music and Theatre. Participants will be introduced to the operatic art form, experience a special sneak peek of Río de Sangre, and their schools will be eligible to receive tickets to the mainstage performance.
Once again, the Studio Artists will also be featured soloists with other Milwaukee-area arts groups during their residency, most notably in the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra’s series of holiday performances of Handel’s Messiah in December 2010.
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