Where Are They Now?

At MetroWest Opera we have the privilege of working with some of the finest young singers in the Boston area and beyond. MetroWest Opera provides a platform for these talented singers to be seen and heard after their undergraduate and graduate training, with the opportunity to obtain professional performance credits, and the experience that will move them to the next level of their careers.  Whether this experience gets them their next gig in Boston, or to the Metropolitan Opera stage, we are so proud of our MetroWest Opera alums.  Read below to see where some of the MetroWest Opera family is now!

Heather Gallagher HeadshotHeather Gallagher, Mezzo-Soprano

Dinah in Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti, 2015 Season
Carmen in Bizet’s Carmen, 2012-2013 Season

A recent transplant to the Boston scene, Heather Gallagher, mezzo-soprano, is becoming increasingly sought after for her “standout” and “arresting” performances in opera and on the recital stage. Ms. Gallagher is a Boston Lyric Opera Emerging Artist for their 2014/15 Season. Upcoming projects include Katya Kabanova and Don Giovanni with BLO, Les lettres de Werther (Charlotte) with Boston Opera Collaborative and Trouble in Tahiti (Dinah) with Metrowest Opera.

Previous credits include The Love Potion with Boston Lyric Opera (Isolt’s Mother), the Boston premiere of Mohammed Fairouz’s Sumeida’s Song with Boston Opera Collaborative (Asakir), Dido in Dido and Aeneas with Harvard Early Music Society, Albert Herring (Nancy) with Boston Opera Collaborative, the title role in Carmen (Metro West Opera), Le nozze di Figaro (Cherubino, Vero Beach Opera) and the much lauded productions of I Puritani, The Magic Flute, Die fliegende Hollander and Madama Butterfly with Boston Lyric Opera. Ms. Gallagher is a member of Boston Opera Collaborative and Opera on Tap.

Ms.Gallagher is a recipient of an Encouragement Award from the Licia-Albanese Puccini Foundation (2011), First Place in Metrowest Opera’s 2014 Competition, and a Two Year Fellowship from the Atlantic Music Festival.

Heather Gallagher is a graduate of New World School of the Arts and the University of Florida.

Eric PetersenEric Petersen, Baritone

Escamillo in Bizet’s Carmen, 2012-2013 Season

Eric Petersen, dramatic baritone, is a native of Fort Madison, Iowa. He has sung the title role in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, the Gendarme in Les Mamelles des Teresias, and the father in Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel. In the Fall of 2007 he made his international debut as Mengotto in Piccini’s La buona figliuola at Teatro Bari. He has participated in of Sarasota Opera’s Apprenticeship program for three seasons, covering the roles of Nicholas in Vanessa and Monterone in Rigoletto. MetroWest Opera is looking forward to following Mr. Petersen’s promising career!

Kathryn GuthrieKathryn Guthrie, Soprano

Zerlina in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, 2011-2012 Season
La Fee in Massenet’s Cendrillon, 2010-2011 Season

Soprano Kathryn Guthrie is quickly becoming recognized as an artist of unusual artistic versatility, equally praised for her performances of the traditional operatic and concert repertoire and her vibrant and sharp-­‐ witted interpretations of contemporary works. Her 2013 Philadelphia premiere of Osvaldo Golijov’s “Ayre” with Astral Artists was praised by the Philadelphia Inquirer by saying, “No matter what she did, she still sounded like herself and maintained fierce dedication to the music’s inner meaning.” After debuting at New York City Opera in 2012 as Marie in Rufus Wainwright’s Prima Donna, Kathryn has since appeared with Mr. Wainwright twice at Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center and Madrid’s Teatro Real to great acclaim. A champion of new music, Kathryn has enjoyed other performances with New York City Opera that have included the VOX 2012 concert performing Osnat Netzer’s The Wondrous Woman Within, and the educational production of Unsuk Chin’s Alice in Wonderland as the Cheshire Cat. She also recently premiered the workshop performance of Justine F. Chen and David Simpatico’s The Turing Project as Sara Turing with American Lyric Theater. Prized roles in traditional operas have included include La Fée in Massenet’s Cendrillon, Adele in Strauss’ Die Fledermaus, Zerlina in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, and Romilda in Handel’s Xerxes. Ms. Guthrie was a member of the Ravinia Festival’s Steans Institute Program for Singers and Glimmerglass Opera’s Young American Artists Program, where she performed as First Witch in Dido and Aeneas and covered Clorinda in La cenerentola. No stranger to musical theater, she has recently worked with Broadway conductor Patrick Vaccariello, performing in an Andrew Lloyd Webber/Rodgers & Hammerstein revue and a reading of the new musical The Ballad of Little Jo. Ms. Guthrie is the recipient of awards from the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Houston Grand Opera, Palm Beach Opera, the Fort Worth Opera, and AIMS Graz. MetroWest Opera is looking forward to following Ms. Guthrie’s promising career! For more, visit: http://www.kathrynguthriesoprano.com/

Meredith HansenMeredith Hansen, Soprano

Miss Silverpeal in Mozart’s The Impresario, 2008-2009 Season

In the world of classical vocalism, the name Meredith Hansen and the words ‘high caliber’ are becoming regularly linked. Her “Standout” performance as Antonia in Les Contes d’Hoffmann (Ted Medrek of the Boston Herald) is one of a long list of successes. Recently announced and immediately moving to paramount among those accomplishments is her Metropolitan Opera House debut as Woglinde in Wagner’s Ring Cycle during the coming 2012-13 season. Following 2011-12 engagements that have included appearances with Boston Lyric Opera in the new production of The Inspector by John Musto; Carmina Burana with the Charlotte Symphony; Poulenc’s Gloria with the Plymouth Philharmonic; Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with the Greensboro Symphony; concerts at Boston’s Hatch Shell with the Landmarks Orchestra (singing Tatyana, Rosina and Countess Almaviva), Miss Hansen is a young singer with a rapidly rising star. During the 2010-11 season, Meredith was a featured performer with the Boston Lyric Opera’s Signature Series (alongside Opera Great Joyce Castle), and made her Opera Boston debut as Marzelline in Beethoven’s Fidelio, for which she was deemed “a real find” by Opera Magazine (UK). Opera News Magazine stated: “As Marzelline… soprano Meredith Hansen was a bright, clever presence, and the size and color of her voice matched the role perfectly. She succeeded where very few singers do, making perfect dramatic sense of a romantic comedy figure essentially stranded in this otherwise dark and serious work.” She also performed her first Gretel in Boston Lyric Opera’s “Hansel and Gretel” during that season. Other engagements included her Jordan Hall debut as Donna Anna in Rob Kapilow’s “What Makes It Great: Don Giovanni,” as well as Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with the Bozeman Symphony. Miss Hansen has a truly prestigious list of professional singing awards to her credit. In addition to receiving Grant Support from the Gerda Lissner Foundation, she was chosen for the Final Rounds of The 45th Annual Francisco Viñas Singing Contest in Barcelona, Spain, and awarded First Place in the Charles Lynam Competition, the Violetta DuPont Vocal Competition, and the Opera Birmingham Competition (chosen there also as ‘Audience Favorite’). Ms. Hansen has been a Regional Semi-Finalist and Regional Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and was the 2010 recipient of the Stephen Shrestinian Award for Excellence from the Boston Lyric Opera. BLO has recently singled Miss Hansen out again by naming her to their select list of Emerging Artists for the 2011-12 season. MetroWest Opera is looking forward to following Ms. Hansen’s promising career! For more, visit: http://www.meredithhansen.com/

Jaime KorkosJaime Korkos, Mezzo-Soprano

Cendrillon in Massenet’s  Cendrillon, 2010-2011 Season

A student of Luretta Bybee, San Francisco native mezzo-soprano Jaime Korkos sang the title roles in Gluck’s Orfeo and Hoffman’s La Périchole, and the roles of Doralice in La Gazzetta and Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni among others during her Graduate and Artist Diplomas at the New England Conservatory. She was a Gerdine Young Artist at Opera Theatre of St. Louis for the 2012 and 2013 seasons, including having a small principal role as Edith in The Pirates of Penzance this past season. Ms. Korkos has also participated in Boston’s local companies, including the title roles in MetroWest Opera’s Cendrillon and Diva Day’s Rusalka, as well as playing Mother in Longwood Opera’s Hansel and Gretel. This fall, she commenced a four-city tour with Phillip Gossett and the Italian chamber orchestra Ensemble Nuove Musiche performing art songs of Verdi and his contemporaries. As for concert experience, she also sang the 4th and 5th movements of Maher’s Symphony No. 3 with full orchestra at Jordan Hall. In addition, Ms. Korkos also gave a full recital in Jordan Hall in March 2013, in which she sang sets by Schumann and Hahn, as well as Peter Lieberson’s Neruda Songs. MetroWest Opera is looking forward to following Ms. Korkos’s promising career!

Natalie PolitoNatalie Polito, Soprano 

Donna Anna in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, 2011-2012 Season
Madame Goldentrill in Mozart’s The Impresario, 2008-2009 Season

Natalie Polito, hailed as “one of the finest young sopranos in Greater Boston” by The Patriot Ledger, recently made her international debut in concert at the National Academy of Music in Hanoi, Vietnam. The 2013-2014 season includes her return to Vietnam for the world premiere of a new song cycle by Boston-based composer Larry Bell with the Vietnam National Symphony Orchestra, a return to Virginia Opera as First Lady and Queen of the Night (cover) in The Magic Flute, her debut with the Pioneer Valley Symphony as the Soprano Soloist in Vaughn Williams’ A Sea Symphony, and performances with the Boston Lyric Opera as a member of the ensemble for I Puritani. During the 2012-2013 season, Ms. Polito made her Virginia Opera debut as the First Bridesmaid and Countess (cover) in Le nozze di Figaro, Stella (cover) in A Streetcar Named Desire, and Gretel in their touring production of Hansel and Gretel. The season also included her debut with the Lake Placid Sinfonietta in their “It’s D’Amore!” opera celebration concert, and her return to Opera by the Bay as Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance. The 2011 recipient of the Santa Fe Opera’s Lillian Caroff Mayer award, Ms. Polito joined Santa Fe’s prestigious Apprentice Singer Program during the summer of 2011, where she covered Kitty in The Last Savage, Marie in Wozzeck, and appeared as The Controller in scenes from Flight and Ilia in scenes from Idomeneo. In addition, she was recently heard at the Green Mountain Opera Festival in Vermont as Musetta in La Bohème under the baton of internationally renowned conductor Leonardo Vordoni, and with the Santa Fe Symphony as the Soprano Soloist in Bach’s Cantata No. 51 and Villa Lobos’ Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5. Ms. Polito’s other recent performances include the title role in The Merry Widow with Cape Cod Opera, Nancy Shedman in the world premiere of Larry Bell’s Holy Ghosts at the Berklee Performance Center, the Soprano Soloist in Handel’s Messiah with Commonwealth Opera, and The Girl in the premiere of James Yannatos’s Rocket’s Red Blare with Intermezzo: The New England Chamber Opera Series. Ms. Polito is an alumna of the Sarasota Opera Apprentice Program, where she covered the Königin der Nacht in Die Zauberflöte and was the recipient of the 2010 Sarasota Opera Guild Special Artist Award. In 2009, she joined the Studio Artist Program of Opera New Jersey, where she covered Konstanze in Die Entführung aus dem Serail. She won Third Place in the 2008 Duxbury Music Festival Solo Competition for her stunning performance of the Queen of the Night’s Vengeance Aria. In addition, Ms. Polito was also a 2011 Semi-Finalist and 2009 Finalist in the Peter Elvins Vocal Competition, and a 2009 Semi-Finalist in the New Hampshire Opera Idol Competition. MetroWest Opera is looking forward to following Ms. Polito’s promising career! For more, visit: http://nataliepolito.com/

Rachel Schmiege

Rachele Schmiege, Soprano

Donna Anna in Mozart’s  Don Giovanni, 2011-2012 Season
Pamina in Mozart’s  The Magic Flute, 2009-2010 Season
Lola in Moore’s Gallantry, 2007-2008

Stunning soprano Rachele Schmiege, hailed for possessing a “silvery, brilliant” voice, is equally at home with the new and avant-garde as she is with legendary operatic repertoire. In the 2013-2014 season, Ms. Schmiege will sing Gilda in Rigoletto with Cape Cod Opera Outreach, Michaela in Carmen with Hubbard Hall Opera Theater, Amy in Little Women with Opera on the James.  On the concert stage this season, she will sing the soprano solos in both Handel’s Messiah with Boise Philharmonic and Bach’s Magnificat with Akron Symphony Chorus, as well as a concert tour in upstate New York with Hubbard Hall Opera Theater, and several solo and trio recitals in the Boston area. Most recently, Ms. Schmiege was the soprano resident young artist with Opera on the James, performing educational outreach and understudying Adina in L’Elisir d’Amore.  In 2011, Ms. Schmiege was the Nashville Opera Mary Ragland soprano Young Artist singing main-stage as Frasquita in Carmen and as Barbarina in Le nozze di Figaro in a joint production with Nashville Opera and Opera Columbus.  Ms. Schmiege also sang the United States premiere of The Brothers Grimm by Dean Burry with Nashville Opera’s outreach tour.  Other recent performances also include Valencienne in The Merry Widow with Opera Providence, Pamina in Die Zauberflöte with MetroWest Opera and Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi with Flagstaff in Fidenza.  Additional operatic credits include Donna Anna, Fiordiligi, Beth in Little Women, First Witch and Spirit in Dido and Aeneas, Nella and La Ciesca in Gianni Schicchi, and Laetitia and the title role in Susannah. As an active and long-standing member of the Boston Opera Collaborative, a Boston based, non-profit arts organization, Ms. Schmiege’s 2010 performance as Beth in Little Women with the company prompted the Boston Theatre Review to rave. Also with BOC, Ms. Schmiege performed Frasquita in Carmen, the Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute, Voluptua in Barab’s Pizza con Funghi, Blanche de la Force in Dialogues of the Carmelites, and the role of the Goddess Diana in the company’s inaugural production of Gluck’s Iphigenie en Aulide. In 2008, Ms. Schmiege sang the world premiere of Mohammad Fairouz’s Bonsai Journal in Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall.  Later, she reprised this piece at the Miller Theater, New York University with the Mimesis Ensemble, accompanied by Biljana Milovanovic of the Ibis Camerata.  Again, with the Ibis Camerata, Ms. Schmiege performed this work on a recording titled Boston Diary on Albany Records.  In the past two years, Ms. Schmiege has performed the Bonsai Journal in numerous concerts, aiding in the growth and popularity of this innovative composition.  Ever active in the new music world, Ms. Schmiege has also performed works by Kareem Roustom at the Mainly Mozart Festival in Coral Gables, Florida and Eric Ewazen at the Juilliard School.  Other concert performances include oratorio works as soprano soloist in Bach’s Cantata #78, Saint-Saëns’ (Oratorio de Noël, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass, Handel’s Messiah, Purcell’s Sing Unto the Lord and Faure’s Requiem. In competition, Ms. Schmiege recently placed second in the Jenny Lind Competition in Bridgeport, CT.  Other awards include Finalist in the MetroWest Opera, National Association of Teachers of Singing and the Orpheus Competitions.  Ms. Schmiege completed her Master of Music degree at the New England Conservatory of Music and her Bachelor of Music at Western Michigan University. MetroWest Opera is looking forward to following Ms. Schmiege’s promising career! For more, visit: http://www.racheleschmiege.com/

Sonja KrenekSonja Krenek, Soprano

Micaela in Bizet’s Carmen, 2012-2013 Season

Boston-based Soprano, Sonja Krenek, was recently heard only days after the Boston Marathon bombings and MIT shooting, as the Soprano soloist in the Brahms Requiem. Taking place at MIT, the performance raised nearly $15,000 for the One Fund Boston to benefit the victims of the horrific events. This May, Ms. Krenek earned her Performance Certificate at the Boston University Opera Institute, studying under Sharon Daniels. Sonja performed Mrs. Coyle (Owen Wingrave), Aurore (Le portrait de Manon), Constance (Dialogues of the Carmelites), Carolina (Il matrimonio segreto), and Beatrice (Three Decembers). Other appearances this season include Micaëla in Carmen with MetroWest Opera and Irena (The Seduction of a Lady) at Boston University. In the summer of 2012, Ms. Krenek was a Studio Artist with Central City Opera. She performed Monica (The Medium), and won the Yellow Rose Award. She returned in the summer of 2013 as an Apprentice Artist, covering the role of Julie in Showboat. Sonja received her Bachelor’s in Vocal Performance from the University of California, Irvine and a Master’s in Vocal Performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where she performed Anne Trulove (The Rake’s Progress) and won the Vocal Concerto Competition performing Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915. Ms. Krenek is the winner of several awards including the MetroWest Opera Young Artist Competition, the Tony Cuevas Memorial Award, and the East Bay Opera League Competition Award. Sonja received her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of California, Irvine and a Master of Music degree in vocal performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. She was most notably seen as Anne Trulove in their The Rake’s Progress and was the winner of the Vocal Concerto Competition performing Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915. This past December 2013, Ms. Krenek performed with Project Bread as the Soprano Soloist in a performance of Handel’s Messiah to support the Walk for Hunger. MetroWest Opera is looking forward to following Ms. Krenek’s promising career!

Thea LoboThea Lobo, Mezzo-Soprano

L’enfant in Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges, 2008-2009 Season

Hailed as “excellent”, “impeccable”, “limpidly beautiful”, “impressive”, “stunning”, and “Boston’s best”, mezzo-soprano Thea Lobo has appeared under conductors Gunther Schuller, Harry Christophers, Martin Pearlman and Helmut Rilling, and has been featured by the Firebird Ensemble, Carmel Bach Festival, The Bermuda Festival, and Europäisches Musikfest Stuttgart.  A proponent of new music, she has worked as a soloist under the direction of composers Steve Reich, Howard Frazin, Fred Lerdahl, Christian Wolff, and covered the role of narrator, Xiao Qing, for the world premiere of Zhou Long’s Pulitzer Prize-winning opera, Madame White Snake, with Opera Boston.  Ms. Lobo’s dedication to early music, especially the music of J.S. Bach, has seen her tour Japan performing Bach’s St. Matthew Passion solo-voice with Cambridge Concentus & Joshua Rifkin, at the Carmel Bach Festival as an Adams Fellow, a prizewinner at the Bach Vocal Competition for American Singers, and a Lorraine Hunt Lieberson Fellow with Emmanuel Music.  As an interpreter of art song & chamber music, she has been a grant-recipient of the Julian Autrey Song Foundation, a finalist in the Liederkranz Art Song Competition, a featured recitalist at the Boston Portuguese Festival with tenor Zachary Wilder, and is a founding member of the innovative vocal chamber group, Gamut.  Her 2013-14 season includes performances with Collage New Music, Boston Early Music Festival, Tucson Chamber Artists, Handel & Haydn Society, New England Classical Singers, Emmanuel Music, The Boston Conservatory New Music Festival, and New Vintage Baroque. MetroWest Opera is looking forward to following Ms. Lobo’s promising career! For more, visit: http://www.thealobo.com/