Barbara and Halsey Sandford Studio Artist Program

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Training Tomorrow's Stars Today!

The acclaimed Barbara and Halsey Sandford Studio Artist Program at Kentucky Opera brings young professional opera singers to Louisville to train and expand their experience as they prepare for their careers. With nearly 400 young singers auditioning annually, the program features some of the most talented upcoming voices in North America.

2017/18 Studio Artists

Arthur Bosarge, A native of Fairhope, Alabama, is a pianist and coach whose experience spans a variety of styles, including opera, recital, sacred, ballet, and music theater. Arthur returns to the Barbara and Halsey Sandford Studio Artist Program at Kentucky Opera for the 2017-2018 season as pianist/coach for Ariadne auf NaxosDead Man Walking, and The Barber of Seville. Recent engagements include Kentucky Opera (Madama ButterflyThe Abduction from the SeraglioThe Mikado), Natchez Festival of Music (Camelot, The Barber of Seville), The Prizery (Into the Woods, The Addams Family), and a recital series on the Gulf Coast with baritone André Chiang. During the 2015-2016 season, Bosarge was a Herndon Foundation Emerging Artist at Virginia Opera, serving as pianist for the fall and spring Education Tours. Other collaborations include Natchez Festival of Music (Carmen, Show Boat), Opera North (La fille du régiment, Evita, Street Scene, My Fair Lady, La traviata), 92Y Harkness Dance Center, American Ballet Theater Summer Workshop, Mannes Opera, and the University of Alabama Opera Theatre. Bosarge holds degrees from Mannes School of Music and The University of Alabama.

Jorgeandrés Camargo, bass, is a native of Houston, Texas. He joins Kentucky Opera as the resident bass in the Barbara and Halsey Sandford Studio Artist Program, where he can be seen as Bartolo in the tour of Rossini’s The Barber of Seville. Previous roles include Leporello in Don Giovanni, Don Alfonso in Cosí fan tutte, Bartolo in Le nozze di Figaro, Kecal in The Bartered Bride, Geronimo in Il matrimonial segreto, Capitan in Florencia en el Amazonas, Pandolfe in Cendrillon, Prophet/King in Dark Sisters, Judge in The Trial of B.B.Wolf, Quince in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Roy Cohn in Angels in America. He has previously worked with Ojai Music Festival, CoOperative, Crested Butte Music Festival, Opera Breve, First Coast Opera, American Lyric Theater, and Boston Lyric Opera. Upcoming performances include Pistola in Falstaff, and Dr. Specialist in The Cradle Will Rock as a Young Artist with Opera Saratoga this summer. Camargo holds performance degrees from  Eastman School of Music and Boston University Opera Institute.

Isaac Frishman, tenor, is already making a name for himself with a voice described as “shining” by the Bay Area Reporter, and has been praised as “a true Rossini tenor with fine coloratura and great high notes” (St. Louis Post). Frishman makes his debut with Kentucky Opera as the resident tenor in the Barbara and Halsey Sandford Studio Artist Program, where he will sing the roles of Brighella in Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos, Howard Boucher in Heggie’s Dead Man Walking and as Count Almaviva in the tour of Rossini’s The Barber of Seville. Recent engagements include a debut with Winter Opera Theater St. Louis as Don Ramiro in Rossini’s La Cenerentola, a role debut of Nemorino in Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore, The Prince in Susa’s controversial fairytale opera, Transformations, and Ferrando in Mozart’s Così fan tutte. Upcoming engagements include the tenor solo from Orff’s Carmina Burana, and an apprenticeship with Des Moines Metro Opera. Frishman holds degrees from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and Michigan State University. He is a student of the famed Metropolitan Opera tenor, Richard Fracker.

Joanna Latini, soprano and New Jersey native, has been praised for “her crystal clear diction and her ringing bell-like soprano” (Edge Media Network). Latini joins Kentucky Opera as the resident soprano in the Barbara and Halsey Sandford Studio Artist Program, where she will be seen as Naiad in Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos, as well as covering Kitty Hart in Heggie’s Dead Man Walking. In the summer of 2016, Latini was a member of the Wolf Trap Opera Studio, where she covered Lucia in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia, and Musetta in Puccini’s La bohème. Additionally, Latini was a featured soloist in the “America the Beautiful” concert with the National Symphony Orchestra in the Filene Center. Upcoming engagements include joining the Apprentice Singer Program at The Santa Fe Opera where Latini will cover Morgana in their production of Handel’s Alcina.

Conor McDonald, baritone and Minneapolis native, returns to Kentucky Opera in the Barbara and Halsey Sandford Studio Artist Program where he can be heard as Harlekin in Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos.  McDonald has previously been seen with Kentucky Opera as Yamadori in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly and as Pish-Tush in Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado. Recent engagements include performances as a Young Artist at the Glimmerglass Festival, Traveler in Britten’s Curlew River with Mark Morris Dance Group, Cardinal / Priest in Glass’ Galileo Galilei with Des Moines Metro Opera, Dandini in La Cenerentola with Opera Iowa and Junius in The Rape of Lucretia with CUNY Queens. As a vocal fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center, McDonald sang the songs of Ravel, Schumann, Dessau and Berlioz, among others, in recital. As a student at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, McDonald was heard as Jesus in Bach’s St. John Passion, Malatesta in Don Pasquale, Papageno in Die Zauberflöte and in workshops of newly commissioned operas in collaboration with Cincinnati Opera. Upcoming engagements include Hercules in Hercules Vs. Vampires as an Emerging Artist at Nashville Opera.

Clara Nieman, mezzo-soprano, has been praised for her “artistry and poise,” and returns to Kentucky Opera as Dryade in Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos, Jade Boucher in Heggie’s Dead Man Walking, and both Rosina and Berta in Rossini’s The Barber of Seville. Last season she debuted with Kentucky Opera as Suzuki in Madama Butterfly and Pitti-Sing in The Mikado, Crested Butte Music Festival as Zita in Gianni Schicchi and Théodorine in L’île de Tulipatan, Opera Fayetteville’s “Opera in Bloom” new works festival, and the Lexington Philharmonic as mezzo-soprano soloist in Stephen Paulus’ “To Be Certain of the Dawn.” Nieman’s other roles include 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), and Sor Rosa in With Blood, With Ink (Fort Worth Opera, recorded for Albany Records). Her concert engagements include performances with the Opera Saratoga Orchestra, the Chautauqua Symphony, the Fifth Avenue Chamber Orchestra, the Las Colinas Symphony, the Hall Ensemble, and the Cliburn Foundation. She is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music and Indiana University.

John Tibbetts, baritone, has been praised for his “mature voice and sensitivity” in the arena of opera and concert alike. Tibbetts is thrilled to join Kentucky Opera in the Barbara and Halsey Sandford Studio Artist Program where he will debut Fiorello in Rossini’s The Barber of Seville,and later return to the role of Figaro in the touring production. Recent engagements include Yasha in The Cradle Will Rock (Opera Saratoga), Il conte Robinson in Il matrimonio segreto (Queen City Opera), 2nd prisoner in Fidelio (Cincinnati Opera). Other roles include John Procter in The Crucible, John Brooke in Little Women, Il Signor Bruschino in Il Signor Bruschino, Pandolfe in Cendrillon, and Iron Hans in Transformations. A frequent recitalist, Tibbetts has appeared on the Trinity Concert Series in Watertown, NY and will be appearing in the All Saints’ Concert Series in Atlanta, Georgia. In 2017 he was a featured artist in the inagural SongFest Winter Intensive in Carmel Valley, California. Tibbets has been a young artist with Opera Saratoga, Opera Theater Saint Louis, and Central City Opera. In 2015 Tibbetts was a Carolyn Bailey & Dominick Argento Competition Finalist and a recipient of the Georgia District Metropolitan Opera Competition Encouragement Award.