Vanessa Becerra

Vanessa Becerra

Vanessa Becerra, soprano

Vanessa Becerra

Emerging soprano Vanessa Becerra has received acclaim for her “opulent” and “silvery” voice, and for her dynamic stage presence. A graduate of LA Opera’s Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program, her performances during her tenure included Papagena in Die Zauberflöte, Barbarina in Le nozze di Figaro, and Annina in La traviata. She was also featured as Gossip 2 in the Grammy-nominated recording of The Ghosts of Versailles. A native of Fort Worth, Texas, Ms. Becerra made her professional debut with Fort Worth Opera in 2014, in the highly acclaimed production of With Blood With Ink for which she was praised for her “passionate theatrical intensity” (Wall Street Journal) and her “irresistible characterization” (Opera News).

Most recently she made her Opera San Jose debut as Musetta in La bohème, sang in Hercules v. Vampires for North Carolina Opera, was heard in Handel’s Messiah with San Antonio Symphony, and returned to The Glimmerglass Festival as Laurey in Oklahoma!.

The 2017-2018 season brings a year of many debuts for Ms. Becerra. She begins the season with the LA Phil in a concert of selections from Mozart’s The Magic Flute, in which Ms. Becerra sings Papagena under the baton of Music Director Gustavo Dudamel. Other debuts include her Lyric Opera of Chicago debut in their Lyric Unlimited production of Greg Spears’ Fellow Travelers as Miss Lightfoot; her Opera Omaha debut as Glauce in Medea conducted by Jane Glover; and her Atlanta Opera debut as Johanna in Sweeney Todd. Further performances include a concert of music by Donizetti with The Dallas Opera at the Winspear Opera House and Sophie in Werther with Baltimore Concert Opera and Opera Delaware.

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Ms. Becerra enjoys a long relationship with The Glimmerglass Festival where she was a member of the famed young artist program. In the summer of 2015 she covered Pamina in The Magic Flute and returned as a young artist the following summer to portray Musetta where she was described as a “scene-stealing minx with a glorious soprano voice.” Other training programs for Ms. Becerra include the Apprentice Program at Des Moines Metro Opera (2014) and Wolf Trap Opera’s Studio Artist Program (2013). Ms. Becerra also studied at the Seagle Music Colony where she performed the roles of Zerlina in Don Giovanni and Johanna in Sweeney Todd.

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Jacqueline Echols

Jacqueline Echols

Jacqueline Echols, soprano

Beth Lytwynec

Lyric soprano Jacqueline Echols has been praised for her “dynamic range and vocal acrobatics” (Classical Voice) in theaters across the United States. Ms. Echols’ 2018/19 season begins with her return to the Kennedy Center in the title role of Verdi’s La Traviata for a new production by Washington National Opera, directed by Francesca Zambello. Following her debut with the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra for their 2017 season opening gala concert, she returns to the orchestra for her first performances of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in April. A frequent performer of both standard and contemporary repertoire, Echols debuted the role of Helen in the world premiere performances of The Summer King at the Pittsburgh Opera in 2017, and reprised the role in her hometown of Detroit with Michigan Opera Theater in 2018. She has performed the role of Pip in Heggie’s Moby Dick with the Los Angeles, Dallas, and Pittsburgh Operas, as well as the role of Sister Helen in the composer’s Dead Man Walking with Washington National Opera.

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Recent seasons have seen Ms. Echols with North Carolina Opera as Gilda in Rigoletto, the title role in La Traviata, and Musetta in La bohème, as well as with the Glimmerglass Festival as Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, Giulietta in King for a Day, and Echo in Ariadne auf Naxos. She reprised the role of Musetta in 2017 in concert with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Music Director Ward Stare. A graduate of Washington National Opera’s Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program, she was seen in previous seasons at the Kennedy Center as Micaëla in Carmen, the Unicorn in the world premiere of Jeanine Tesori’s The Lion, the Unicorn, and Me, Clorinda in La Cenerentola, and Woglinde and Forest Bird in Wagner’s full Ring Cycle conducted by Music Director Philippe Auguin. She made her debut with the Tanglewood Festival reprising the role of Woglinde in Das Rheingold, conducted by Andris Nelsons.

Additional appearances include Cincinnati Opera as Countess Ceprano in Rigoletto, First Lady in The Magic Flute, and Clara in Porgy and Bess; Micaela in Carmen with Eugene Opera; and New York Harlem Productions as both Clara and Bess in Porgy and Bess, for which she was featured in the documentary Porgy and Me which premiered in Germany in January 2010.

Ms. Echols is a 2012 second prize winner at the Gerda Lissner International Vocal Competition. She completed her master’s degree and artist diploma at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), where she appeared as the Female Chorus in The Rape of Lucretia, the Countess in The Marriage of Figaro, Anne Truelove in The Rake’s Progress, and Pamina in The Magic Flute.

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Pureum Jo

Pureum Jo

Pureum Jo, soprano

Pureum Jo

Her tone and presence described as “riveting,” “mesmerizing,” and “ravishing” by Opera News, the New York Times, and Time Out New York, soprano Pureum Jo is an alumna of Houston Grand Opera’s Studio Program, where she captivated audiences as Pamina and Papagena in Die Zauberflote, and Barbarina in Le nozze di Figaro. Equally at home in contemporary music, Ms. Jo appeared with the company as the Rose in Rachel Portman and Nicholas Wright’s The Little Prince, Becca in the world premiere of Gregory Spears and Royce Vavrek’s O Columbia, and as Miss Frayne in the latest world premiere by the legendary Carlisle Floyd, Prince of Players. In the 2016-2017 season, Ms. Jo made her San Francisco Opera debut in the company’s latest commission as Dai Yu in the world premiere of Bright Sheng’s Dream of the Red Chamber, which also traveled to the Hong Kong Music Festival in the Spring. Additional performances included her fourth appearance with New York City’s Voices of Ascension in performance of Mozart’s Esultate Jubilate and Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass, her debut with Sarasota Orchesta in performances of Mozart’s Requiem, and as Pamina with Opera Naples under the baton of Music Director Ramon Tebar.

In the 2017-2018 season, Ms. Jo joins Lyric Opera of Chicago for the first time in their production of Orphée & Eurydice. She also returns to the Sarasota Orchestra for an evening of Mozart concert arias with Music Director Anu Tali, returns to Opera Naples for her role debut as Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro, and sings Micaëla in Carmen with Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra. Additionally, she will be heard in recital in San Antonio, TX with baritone Michael Sumuel.

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Ms. Jo appeared in the title role in Toshio Hosokawa’s Matsukaze with the Lincoln Center Festival and the Spoleto Festival U.S.A., a performance for which Opera News wrote, “You could take neither your eyes nor your ears off her.” She recently sang with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra as Zerlina in Don Giovanni, and made her San Francisco Symphony debut in their 16th annual Chinese New Year Concert. She has performed regularly at the Aspen Music Festival as Juliette in Roméo et Juliette, Micaëla in Carmen, the High Priestess in Aida, and most recently as Musetta in La bohème. Other roles include Blanche in Dialogues des Carmélites, Fraarte in Radamisto, and Sandrina in La finta giardiniera.

An accomplished concert soloist and recitalist, Ms. Jo has appeared in recital with Houston Grand Opera, Alice Tully Hall, and the Aspen Music Festival. She sang in “A Concert of Comic Operas,” co-presented by The Metropolitan Opera and the Juilliard School and conducted by James Levine, and was the soprano soloist in Mozart’s Requiem Mass and Coronation Mass, Haydn’s Mass in Time of War, and in a concert of Mozart and Mendelssohn oratorio arias with New York City’s Voices of Ascension. Additionally, she has performed at Carnegie Hall in Marilyn Horne’s The Song Continues. Originally from South Korea, Ms. Jo holds two degrees from the Juilliard School.

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Toni Marie Palmertree

Toni Marie Palmertree

Toni Marie Palmertree, soprano

Beth Lytwynec

Toni Marie Palmertree is currently a second-year member of the prestigious Adler Fellowship Program at San Francisco Opera. During her time in the program, she has been heard as Barena in Jenufa, Voice of Heaven in Don Carlo, and High Priestess in Aida. Additional assignments include covering Elisabetta in Don Carlo, Violetta in La traviata, and the title role in Madama Butterfly. In November of 2016, Ms. Palmertree was called to step onto the War Memorial stage as Cio-Cio San on three hours’ notice. Of her performance, Janos Gereben from San Francisco Classical Voice wrote: “The young soprano not only met the challenge, but she claimed her place among the finest vocal interpreters of the role heard here recently.” During the coming season, Ms. Palmertree will return to the San Francisco stage as Liu for six performances of Turandot.

Other recent performances include Giorgetta in Il tabarro and the title role in Suor Angelica for West Bay Opera’s production of Puccini’s Il trittico, and a recital performance with pianist Ronny Michael Greenberg in Berkeley, CA. A 2015 participant of the Merola Opera Program, Ms. Palmertree is also a recent recipient of the The Richard F. Gold Career Grant by the Shoshana Foundation. She is proud to hold many awards including winner of The Metropolitan Opera National Council District Awards, finalist in The International Moniuszko Voice Competion, and The Classical Singer Voice competition.  Further awards include First place in the Long Leaf Opera of North Carolina voice competition, The Kennett Square Symphony Voice Competition, and The Marcella Sembrich competition.  She was awarded third place in the National Opera Association Voice Competition, the James Parkinson Opera Competition and was second place winner of the Sylvia Green Voice Competition.

'Tu, tu piccolo iddio'

by Giacomo Puccini | Excerpt from "Madama Butterfly"

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Heather Phillips

Heather Phillips

Heather Phillips, soprano

Beth Lytwynec

High lyric soprano Heather Phillips, whose recent performances of Nannetta in Falstaff with Arizona Opera were described by Opera News as “beautiful” and “shimmering”, is continuing to garner critical acclaim with reputable performances on the opera and concert stage.

During the 2017-2018 season, Miss Phillips debuts with Austin Lyric Opera as Micaëla in Carmen and on the concert stage appears as soprano soloist in Handel’s Messiah with the Boise Philharmonic, soprano soloist in Carmina Burana with both the Boise Philharmonic and the Valley Symphony Orchestra in Texas and makes her New York Philharmonic debut as soprano soloist in Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy. Future engagements include debuts with the Austin Symphony Orchestra, Canton Symphony Orchestra and a return to the Boise Philharmonic. During the 2016-2017 season, Ms. Phillips made her Arizona Opera debut as Nannetta in Falstaff and also debuted with Opera Philadelphia reprising the role of Katie in Jennifer Higdon’s Cold Mountain, a role she created at the Santa Fe Opera and on the Grammy nominated original cast recording. She returned to Opera Philadelphia later that same season for performances of the composer workshop series, Double Exposure. On the concert stage she appeared as the soprano soloist in Mendelssohn’s Elijah with the Grammy nominated ensemble True Concord and returned to the Ravinia Festival and the Tucson Desert Song Festival as a recitalist in collaboration with pianist Kevin Murphy. Other recent previous performances include Elvira in Rossini’s L’italiana in Algeri at Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Micaëla in Carmen with Kentucky Opera, Zerlina in Don Giovanni at Opera Southwest, Musetta in La bohème at the Crested Butte Music Festival and Barbarina in Le nozze di Figaro at Cincinnati Opera.

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An alumna of the Santa Fe Opera apprentice program, she joined the company for their 2014 and 2015 seasons, covering Micaela in Carmen and then Gilda in Rigoletto. She also performed as a soloist in a lieder recital with Harry Bickett at the piano for the chamber music series, Performance Santa Fe. The Santa Fe Opera apprentice scenes showcase saw her as Luisa (Verdi’s Luisa Miller) and as La Contessa (Rossini’s Il Viaggio A Reims). While as a fellow at the Aspen Music Festival, she sang the role of Helena in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream under the baton of Jane Glover.

Ms. Phillips has received many awards including top honors in the 2015 Gerda Lissner International Vocal Competition, the Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation and the Giulio Gari International Vocal Competition. She is also the recipient of one of the Santa Fe Opera’s outstanding apprentice singer awards. Also in 2014 Ms. Phillips advanced in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, winning the Connecticut district and advancing to the New England Regional Finals where she was awarded the 3rd place prize. In previous years, she has also received recognition and awards from the George London Foundation, Kurt Weill Foundation’s Lotte Lenya Competition, Marcello Giordani Foundation, Irma M. Cooper Vocal Competition, Schuyler Foundation Competition for Career Bridges, National Opera Association Vocal Competition,  Orpheus Vocal Competition, Violetta Dupont Vocal Competition, and the Anna Sosenko Assist Trust. In 2013 she made her Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall debut as a finalist in the Nico Castel Master Singer Competition and in the same year was selected to represent the United States as a finalist in the Queen Sonja International Vocal Competition in Oslo, Norway.

Ms. Phillips received both her Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees from the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music. Before her collegiate operatic studies began, Ms. Phillips trained and performed as a pianist and flautist for 10 years, performing as an adolescent with the Canton Youth Symphony Orchestra as a flautist and throughout the community as a volunteer outreach performer on piano, flute and voice with the McDowell Music Club of her hometown of Canton, Ohio. She currently resides in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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