Barbara and Halsey Sandford Studio Artist Program Recital
Saturday, January 14 at 6:00pm
Doors Open at 5:30pm
A reception will follow the performance sponsored by The Guild of Kentucky Opera

Central Presbyterian Church
318 W. Kentucky Street
Louisville, KY 40203
(502) 587-6935

This event is free and open to the public. No tickets or reservations required. The program will last approximately 1 and 1/2 hours.


  • Arthur Borsage, Pianist
  • Rachel Blaustein, Soprano
  • Ryan C. Connelly, Tenor
  • Conor McDonald, Baritone
  • Clara Nieman, Mezzo Soprano

The Studio Artists will perform operatic selections by composers including Georges Bizet, Léo Delibes, Gaetano Donizetti, Gilbert & Sullivan, Charles Gounod, Franz Lehar, Jules Massenet, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Richard Strauss, and Giuseppe Verdi.

Questions? Call Aubrey Baker at 502-584-4500

About the Studio Artists:

Arthur Bosarge joins Kentucky Opera as the Studio Artist coach/pianist in the Barbara and Halsey Sandford Studio Artist Program for the 2016/17 season. Mr. Bosarge’s experience spans a variety of styles, including opera, recital, sacred, ballet, and musical theater. Mr. Bosarge recently finished the 2015-2016 season as a Herndon Foundation Emerging Artist at Virginia Opera, where he served as pianist and music director for the fall and spring Education Tours. Other recent collaborations include Natchez Festival of Music; Opera North; 92Y Harkness Dance Center; American Ballet Theater Summer Workshop; Mannes Opera; Opera Birmingham; Theatre Tuscaloosa; and the University of Alabama Opera Theatre. Mr. Bosarge holds degrees from Mannes School of Music and The University of Alabama.

Rachel Blaustein joins Kentucky Opera as the Studio Artist soprano in the Barbara and Halsey Sandford Studio Artist Program, where she can be heard as Peep-Bo in The Mikado and the resident soprano in the school touring program. Recent engagements include Des Moines Metro Opera (cover for Eurydice in Gluck’s Orfée et Eurydice; Barena in Jenůfa); Mosher Studio Artist with Opera Santa Barbara (Giannetta and cover for Adina in L’elisir d’amore, First Alm Sister in Suor Angelica and Lauretta cover in Gianni Schicchi); Chautauqua Opera (Nannetta cover in Falstaff). Ms. Blaustein recently made her Kennedy Center debut in 2015 and received an Encouragement Award from the 2014 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Later in the 2017 Season, Ms. Blaustein will be joining Fort Worth Opera for their Frontiers Showcase. A native of Olney, Maryland, Rachel holds a Master of Music in Voice from The Peabody Institute and a Bachelor’s degree in Voice and a minor in drama from Hofstra University.

Ryan C. Connelly joins Kentucky Opera as the Studio Artist tenor in the Barbara and Halsey Sandford Studio Artist Program for the 2016/17 season, where he was recently seen as Goro in Madame Butterfly and Pedrillo in The Abduction from the Seraglio. Previous performances include Four Hymns (Vaughan Williams), The Land of Lost Content (John Ireland), In Native Worth (Haydn, Creation), Then Shall the Righteous (Mendelssohn, Elijah), If with all your hearts (Mendelssohn, Elijah), Messiah (Handel, tenor role), Waft her, angels (Handel, Jephte), The Seven Last Words of Christ (Dubois, tenor role). Ryan was named a Virginia Opera Emerging Artist in 2013 and was in the Des Moines Metro Opera Ensemble Artist program in 2016. Ryan is a graduate of Temple University and received his M.M. in Vocal Performance from the University of Cincinnati.


Conor McDonald joins Kentucky Opera as the Studio Artist baritone in the Barbara and Halsey Sandford Studio Artist Program, where he was recently heard as Prince Yamadori and the Imperial Commissioner in Madame Butterfly and will soon appear as Pish-Tush in The Mikado. Previous experience includes Dandini in La Cenerentola, Junius in The Rape of Lucretia, Spencer in Meet John Doe, Malatesta in Don Pasquale and Tommy McIntyre in Fellow Travelers. His oratorio, ensemble and music theater experience includes the ensemble in Jeanne d’Arc au bucherfor the New York Philharmonic, Jesus in Johannespassion for the CCM, Ensemble for Curlew River at the Tanglewood Music Center and more. Mr. McDonald has participated in the Castleton Artists in Training Seminar, the Tanglewood Music Center Vocal Fellowship and the Des Moines Metro Opera. He received his BM, BA from Northwestern Universityin 2012 and his MM at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music in 2014.

Clara Nieman
joins Kentucky Opera as the Studio Artist mezzo-soprano in the Barbara and Halsey Sandford Studio Artist Program, where she was recently heard as Suzuki in Madame Butterfly and will soon be heard as Pitti-Sing in The Mikado. In recent seasons Ms. Nieman has sung Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro (Opera Saratoga), Olga in Eugene Onegin (Chautauqua Opera), Flora in La Traviata (Fort Worth Opera, Opera Birmingham, Opera Naples), The Contralto in The Four Note Opera (Opera Naples), the Mother in Hansel and Gretel (Performance Santa Fe), Meg in The Ballad of Baby Doe (Chautauqua Opera), Madeleine Audebert in Silent Night (Fort Worth Opera), and Sor Rosa in With Blood, With Ink (Fort Worth Opera). A frequent concert performer, Ms. Nieman has performed with the Saratoga Orchestra, the Chautauqua Symphony, the Fifth Avenue Chamber Orchestra, the Las Colinas Symphony, the Hall Ensemble, and the Cliburn Foundation. Ms. Nieman is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music and Indiana University.

Soprano Emily Yocum Black is completing her Masters of Music in Vocal Performance at the University of Louisville with plans to graduate May 2017. Emily is the Apprentice Studio Artist at Kentucky Opera and is performing in the chorus for the 2016-2017 season as well as working with the outreach and education program. Last year, she served as the School of Music Graduate Teaching Assistant in Voice where she maintained a full voice studio and taught courses in voice to non-majors. Recently, Emily won First Prize in the University of Louisville Aria Competition and the 2016 Grand Prize in the Kentucky Bach Choir Audrey Rooney Vocal Competition. Last year, Emily had the pleasure of performing as a soloist in Bernstein’s Mass with the Louisville Orchestra. Upcoming engagements include performing with the University Symphony Orchestra, presenting her Graduate Voice Recital and performing the role of Laurie in The Tenderland with U of L Opera Theatre. Previous roles with the U of L Opera program are Pamina in The Magic Flute (2016), Laetitia in The Old Maid and the Thief (2015) and Silverpeal in The Impresario (2015). She is also a three-year member of the Louisville Chamber Choir.