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Opera Colorado Announces Young Artists for 2015-2016 Season
Monday, July 27, 2015
Opera Colorado announced the five singers chosen for its 2015-2016 Young Artist Residency, the hallmark of the company’s Education & Community Engagement Programs. Soprano Emily Robinson, mezzo-soprano Danielle Lombardi, tenor Casey Candebat, baritone Charles Eaton and bass-baritone Brad Walker were chosen from amongst hundreds of applicants from across the country to participate in the eight-month-long residency. As part of the 2015-2016 residency the Young Artists will perform abridged operas on tour throughout the state, take on leading roles in a student matinee World Premiere performance of The Scarlet Letter for 2,000 students and appear in supporting roles in Opera Colorado’s mainstage productions.           

Reflective of Opera Colorado’s commitment to staging classic repertoire while also inspiring audiences and providing opportunities for emerging young talent, the 2015-2016 season will include a traditional staging of Verdi’s Aida alongside the World Premiere of Lori Laitman’s The Scarlet Letter.   

“As one of Opera Colorado’s most rewarding and important initiatives, we are incredibly proud of our Young Artist Program. It continues to gain national attention as one of the country’s most effective and highly sought-after programs for aspiring artists,” noted General Director Greg Carpenter. “The Young Artists bring an infectious amount of enthusiasm, talent and dedication to everything they do, adding real vitally to the community.”     

Through touring productions, field trips and in-school programs, Opera Colorado’s Education & Community Engagement Programs reach over 35,500 Coloradans of all ages each year, many of whom have never before experienced opera. Touring productions for the 2015-2016 season include Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel and Bizet’s Carmen. Abridged to one hour in length and performed in English with piano accompaniment, these productions offer an accessible experience to a broad audience. The Young Artists will perform these touring productions throughout the fall and spring, with a Western Slope tour scheduled for spring of 2016. In addition, the Young Artists will perform the lead roles in the student matinee; a World Premiere of Lori Laitman’s The Scarlet Letter, for over 2,000 students at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House, and they will perform supporting roles in Opera Colorado’s mainstage productions.

“We received hundreds of applications for the 2015-16 program. Knowing that we only have five slots means that we have to be very selective,” stated Cherity Koepke, director of the program. “These slots go to the artists who grab our attention and show us they are ready for a program of this nature, and that is what we saw in each of these artists. The Young Artists joining us this season are incredibly talented and I am excited to begin working with them and seeing where the year takes us. It is going to be a demanding season, but I have no doubt that each of the Young Artists will step up to the challenge. Touring productions, a huge Verdi opera and a World Premiere… the Young Artists are going to be a part of it all and that is really exciting.”


Emily Robinson, soprano
Originally from Windsor, CT, Emily completed her undergraduate work at the University of Chicago and received her Master’s Degree from New England Conservatory. Emily completed a Performer’s Certificate from the Moores School of Music at the University of Houston, where she was most recently seen in the title role of Thomas Pasatieri’s Frau Margot and Beatriz in Daniel Catán’s Rapaccinni’s Daughter. Other past roles include; Love Simpson (Cold Sassy Tree), Magda (The Consul), Mimi (La Boheme) and Silverpeal (The Impresario). While at New England Conservatory she debuted the role of June Jenkins in Dan Shore’s NOA prize winning opera An Embarrassing Position. She will be seen this season at Opera Colorado as Gretel and Micaëla in the company’s touring productions of Hansel and Gretel and Carmen respectively. On the main stage she will sing the role of the High Priestess in Aida and she will sing the role of Hester Prynne in the Student Matinee performance of The Scarlett Letter. Emily is delighted to be joining Opera Colorado as a Young Artist this season.

Danielle Lombardi, mezzo-soprano
Originally from Erie, Pennsylvania, Danielle received her Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance from Oberlin Conservatory and is a recent graduate of Rice University's The Shepherd School of Music. Her operatic roles include Annio in La Clemenza di Tito, 1st Trio Member in Trouble in Tahiti, Dorabella in Così fan tutte, Mrs. Herring in Albert Herring, Ericlea in Monteverdi's Il Ritorno d'Ulisse in Patria and Sandman in Hänsel und Gretel. In addition, during the summer of 2012 Danielle was a Gerdine Young Artist with the Opera Theater of St. Louis. While there, she covered the role of Dorabella in Così fan tutte and sang in the chorus of Carmen, Così fan tutte and Alice in Wonderland. As an Opera Colorado Young Artist, Danielle will sing Carmen in the touring production of Carmen and Hansel in the touring production of Hansel and Gretel. She will sing in the chorus of Aida and for the Student Matinee production of The Scarlet Letter, she will sing the role of Mistress Hibbons. Danielle is excited about this opportunity with Opera Colorado and can't wait to delve into these complex characters and beautiful music.

Casey Candebat, tenor
Casey is a native of New Orleans and is a graduate of Northwestern University and Loyola University New Orleans. A recent two-time participant in the Merola Opera Program, Casey performed the role of Il Podestà in Mozart's La Finta Giardinera and covered the role of Mr. Owen in Argento's Postcard from Morocco. He returned to Merola Opera in 2014 to perform the role of Mitch in Andre Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire. Recently, Casey has been heard as Mitch in Streetcar with Opera Grand Rapids and Opera Santa Barbara. He was also featured in New Orleans Opera's productions of Salome, Madama Butterfly, Rigoletto, Il Trittico, Manon Lescaut, La Bohème and Turandot. Casey has been a young artist at Chautauqua Opera in their 2009 and 2010 seasons. He has also been a young artist at Opera North where he performed in Verdi's Falstaff. Casey is looking forward to joining Opera Colorado this season. In Opera Colorado’s touring productions, he will sing the roles of The Witch (Hansel and Gretel) and Don José (Carmen). He will also sing the Messenger in Verdi’s Aida and the role of Arthur Dimmesdale in the Student Matinee of the world premiere of Lori Laitman’s The Scarlett Letter.

Charles Eaton, baritone

Originally from Connecticut, Charles recently received his Master of Music degree from the University of Minnesota. In 2013, Charles received his Bachelors of Music at the University of Connecticut, where operatic credits included Papageno (Die Zauberflöte), Thomas Putnam, (The Crucible) and Willis Parkham (An Embarrassing Position). In the summer of 2013, he performed the role of John Brooke (Little Women) with the Hartford Opera Theater. Operatic credits with the University of Minnesota Opera Theatre included Micha (The Bartered Bride), Masetto (Don Giovanni), the Forrester (The Cunning Little Vixen) and Il Conte (Le Nozze di Figaro). In the summer of 2014, Charles sang Belcore (L’elisir d’amore) with La Musica Lirica, a program based in Novafeltria, Italy - he returned for a second season in 2015 to perform the role of Taddeo in L’italiana in Algeri. He is extraordinarily excited to have the opportunity to sing with Opera Colorado as a 2015-2016 Young Artist, where he will sing the Father in Hansel and Gretel and Zuniga in Carmen (touring productions). He will also sing in the chorus of Aida, and sing the role of Governor Bellingham for the Student Matinee performance of the world premiere of The Scarlet Letter.

Brad Walker, bass-baritone

Originally from Lake Zurich, IL, Brad just graduated from the Yale School of Music where he starred as Colline in La Boheme and Figaro in Le Nozze di Figaro. Brad spent the summer of 2015 participating in the Merola Opera Program, singing the role of Betto in Gianni Schicchi. Previous to his summer at Merola, he spent summers with Chautauqua Opera, where he was seen as the Bonze in Madama Butterfly and sang William Jennings Bryan in an excerpt of The Ballad of Baby Doe. Brad also made his Lincoln Center debut in Dvorak’s Stabat Mater. In addition to an Artist Diploma from Yale, the Chicagoland native received a Bachelor’s from Michigan State University and a Master’s Degree from the University of Kansas. Brad has performed with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City and Des Moines Metro Opera. Some of his favorite credits include, Don Magnifico in Rossini’s La Cenerentola, King Melchior in Amahl and the Night Visitors, Gugleilmo in Cosi fan tutte, Pangloss in Candide and Olin Blitch in Susannah. Brad is thrilled to being singing The Sandman and Escamillo in Opera Colorado’s esteemed touring productions of Hansel and Gretel and Carmen (respectively), as well as the chorus of Aida and the role of Roger Chillingworth in the Student Matinee of the world premiere of Lori Laitman’s The Scarlet Letter.

About Opera Colorado’s Education & Community Engagement Programs
Opera Colorado offers Education & Community Engagement Programs to students and adults across the Rocky Mountain region. The programs are designed to entertain as well as educate, providing teachers with resources for training and curriculum that align with Colorado Academic Standards. In addition to field trips to the Ellie Caulkins Opera House for backstage workshops, student dress rehearsals and matinees, Opera Colorado Teaching Artists travel across the state presenting abridged touring productions, recitals and popular in-school programs. For more information on the Education & Community Engagement Programs visit          
About Opera Colorado
A cornerstone of Denver’s cultural community, Opera Colorado presents operas annually at its downtown Denver home, the Ellie Caulkins Opera House. The Company presents new works alongside standard repertoire, and reaches more than 35,500 students and community members throughout the Rocky Mountain region through a variety of Education & Community Engagement Programs. Opera Colorado Young Artists, an eight-month residency for singers at the beginning stages of their careers, provides training for the next generation of American opera performers. The 2015-2016 Season features performances of Verdi’s Aida (November 7-15, 2015) and the World Premiere of a new American opera, Lori Laitman’s The Scarlet Letter (May 7-15, 2016).

Opera Colorado’s 2015-2016 season is sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth T. Barrow. Season sponsors for the 2015-2016 Season include the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD), The Denver Post, 5280 Magazine, Yellow Scene Magazine, Magnolia Hotels, KCNC-TV CBS4, The Edge Restaurant & Bar, The Four Seasons Hotel and Rassman Design.

The Scarlet Letter World Premiere is sponsored by Kenneth and Donna Barrow, Dave and Pam Duke, Noël and Thomas Congdon, Jeremy and Susan Shamos, Joy Dinsdale, Daniel L. Ritchie, National Endowment for the Arts and Opera America.

June, 2018
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