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 performance experience. With nearly 400 young singers auditioning annually, the program features some of the most talented upcoming voices nation-wide.

2019/20 Studio Artists

American mezzo-soprano, Bridget Cappel, has been praised for her “beauty of tone and honesty of feeling” (The Boston Musical Intelligencer). Originally from Detroit, Michigan, Mrs. Cappel has been proud to call Texas home for the past two years. Bridget was recently named a winner in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions at the district level in Tulsa, Oklahoma. This summer, Bridget will join Des Moines Metro Opera as an Apprentice Artist, covering Paquette (Candide). Recently, Bridget performed the title role in Carmen and Meg Page in Falstaff with Texas Christian University (TCU) Opera. Other roles include: Hermia (A Midsummer Night’s Dream) and Toledo in the world premiere of The Falling and the Rising in collaboration with the United States Army Field Band Soldiers’ Chorus. She also covered Maria (Maria de Buenos Aires) and performed Hansel (Hansel and Gretel) as a Hattie Mae Lesley Apprentice Artist with Fort Worth Opera. Bridget was also an Apprentice Artist with Charlottesville Opera. Her other roles include: Eliza Doolittle (My Fair Lady), Alfred in the piano/vocal premier of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead by Herschel Garfein, and Hattie and Gladys in the world premiere of Roscoe (2016) at Seagle Music Colony. Mrs. Cappel received her Masters from Boston University where she performed the roles of Cherubino (Le nozze di Figaro), Mrs. Bass (Emmeline), Mezzo-soprano (Hydrogen Jukebox), and Dorabella (Cosí fan tutte). Bridget received first place in the Kalamazoo Bach Festival Competition in 2015 and was a semi-finalist in the AIMS Meistersinger Competition in Graz, Austria. She received her Bachelors degrees in Voice Performance and Film, Video, and Media Studies from Western Michigan University.

Antonio Cruz is a baritone from Arizona who has participated in numerous competitions. He was a winner in the 2018 Metropolitan Opera National Council Arizona district auditions and has also tied for first in Southern Arizona Opera Guild’s 2017 Quest for the Best Opera Competition in Tucson. As a concert artist, Antonio was a soloist for the Fauré Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, and selections from Mozart’s Don Giovanni. He has performed with the University of Arizona and University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM). Some of his performance experiences include: Betto in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, Belcore in Donizetti’s L’Elisir D’Amore by Donizetti, and L’Horloge Comtoise in Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges. Antonio is currently preparing rolls at CCM, which are Dan Packard in Bolcom’s DInner at Eight and Publio in Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito respectively. In 2016, Mr. Cruz performed as Aeneas in Lawrence Opera Theatre’s production of Dido and Aeneas by Purcell, and also participated in the Redwoods Opera Workshop under the direction of Elizabeth Vrenios. Antonio will be graduating in Spring 2019 from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, where he is a master’s student in vocal performance with Kenneth Shaw. He also holds a degree from the University of Arizona Fred Fox School of Music where he studied with Dr. Andrew Stuckey.

Johanna Kvam is a native of Rochester, MN.  Most recently, she has been a Herndon Foundation Emerging Artist Apprentice Coach with Virginia Opera for the past 3 seasons, playing for productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Lucia di Lammermoor, Street Scene, Don Giovanni, and L’elisir d’amore, as well as serving as pianist for outreach productions and The Variations concert series. Previous highlights include: U.S. premiere of the Hebrew translation of Grigory Frid’s The Diary of Anne Frank for Opera in Williamsburg, of which the Virgnia Gazette wrote that she “couldn’t have been a more powerful companion to the words and music.”  She also served as Rehearsal Pianist/Coach for DC Public Opera’s 2017 production of Turn of the Screw and completed a weeklong artistic residency at Macalester College in St. Paul, which culminated in “Seen/Unseen,” an art song recital that included the world premiere of Victoria Malawey’s song cycle “Chansons Innocentes,”.  Johanna also performed for the U.S. premiere of Jonathan Dove’s Mansfield Park with Peabody Opera in February 2015. She has also been an orchestral keyboardist for several VA Opera productions, from piano/celesta in Street Scene to celesta/harpsichord in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. A two-time recipient of the Clara Ascherfeld Award in Accompanying, Johanna holds a BA degree in solo piano from Macalester College in St. Paul, MN, and a Master’s in Vocal Accompanying from the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins.

“Perhaps the most captivating performance of the whole night should go to Chelsea Miller.”

Soprano Chelsea Miller is the darling of Opera Memphis, a nationally acclaimed company based in her hometown of Memphis,TN. She has sung over eight leading roles with the company and will be returning to end the season as The Soldier in the new opera, The Falling and the Rising. Chelsea began 2019 as Josephine in H.M.S. Pinafore with Opera Memphis, reprising a role performed the previous fall with Anchorage Opera. This summer, she will be returning to Ohio Light Opera (OLO) to play Cinderella in Into the Woods and Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance. She made her debut with OLO last summer as Cundegonde in Bernstein’s, Candide. Her performance was, according to The Daily Record, both “a revelation” and “divine”. In 2017, Chelsea sang with Des Moines Metro Opera as Mrs. Nordstrom in A Little Night Music, where critics remarked that “you will likely never hear a finer sung rendition of this score.” In summer 2016, she joined the prestigious Chautauqua Opera starring as Yum-Yum in Ned Canty’s acclaimed, off-the-wall production of The Mikado. Other past roles include Gretel, Thérèse/Tirésias (Les mamelles de Tirésias), Queen of the Night, Mabel, Zerlina (Don Giovanni), and Madame Silberklang (Impresario). Chelsea recently placed second in the National Opera Association’s annual voice competition. She holds a master’s degree from Louisiana State University and an artist diploma from The University of Memphis.

Murrella Parton, soprano, from Seymour, Tennessee returns to the Kentucky Opera Barbara and Halsey Sandford Studio Artist Program this fall to sing the role of Older Alyce in Tom Cipullo’s Glory Denied and where she performed the roles of Erste Dame in The Magic Flute and Sheva/ Hannah in Ben Moore’s Enemies, A Love Story last season. This summer she returns to Cincinnati Opera to join in the choruses of Le Nozze di Figaro and Roméo et Juliette. Ms. Parton has performed the roles of Nella in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, Ginevra in Handel’s Ariodante, Elettra in Mozart’s Idomeneo, Sylviane in Lehar’s The Merry Widow, Fiordiligi in Mozart’s Così fan tutte, and workshopped the role of Sabina in Rufus Wainwright’s new opera Hadrian. This year she was a Semi-Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and received Second Prize and Soprano Prize in the Young Patronesses of the Opera National Voice Competition. She was awarded Second Prize in the Cooper Bing Competition and is the recipient of the Italo Tajo Award at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music Opera Scholarship Competition, where in recent years she received both the Andrew White and Seybold-Russell Awards. Ms. Parton is a graduate of the University of Tennessee Knoxville and University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

Adrian Sanchez, baritone, returns to Kentucky Opera to perform Dancaïre (Carmen) and Antonio (Le nozze di Figaro) as part of the Kentucky Opera Barbara and Halsey Sandford Studio Program. Later this season, he will debut at Winter Opera Saint Louis as José Castro (La Fanciulla del West). The 2018-19 season featured his company debut as the Speaker and Second Armored Man (The Magic Flute), King Melchoir (Amahl and the Night Visitors), and Marullo (Rigoletto); a debut with Opéra Louisiane as Moralès (Carmen); Marcello cover (La bohème) as a Des Moines Metro Opera Apprentice Artist; and the baritone solo in Fauré’s Requiem in East Lansing, Michigan. In his 2017-18 season, Sanchez covered Jud Fry (Oklahoma!) and Marullo (Rigoletto) as an Apprentice Artist at Charlottesville Opera; debuted at Indianapolis Opera as the Marquis d’Obigny (La traviata) as a Resident Artist, and performed as an Apprentice Artist with Sarasota Opera. In recent years, he has sung Schaunard (La bohème) with the Muddy River Opera Company and Don Alfonso (Così fan tutte) with the Oberlin In Italy summer program. A native of Haslett, Michigan, he is the second place winner of the 2018 Lois Alba Aria Competition and semi-finalist of the 2019 Orpheus Vocal Competition.

A native of Merritt Island, Florida, tenor Alexander Scheuermann is currently engaged as an Artist in Residence with Pensacola Opera for the 2018-2019 season. This spring, he will perform the role of Tybalt in Gounod’s Romeo et Juliette, cover Arcadio in Florencia en el Amazonas, and perform as a featured soloist in the Some Enchanted Valentine’s Day concert, featuring the music of Rodgers and Hammerstein, and the Rossini Stabat Mater.Alexander holds a bachelor’s degree from Florida State University and master’s degree from the University of Houston. Recent roles include Laurie in Little Women, with Opera in the Heights, Dr. Caius in Falstaff  with the Crested Butte Music Festival, Siegfried in Das Barbecü with HGOco, Le Jeu in Les Plaisir de Versailles, with Ars Lyrica, The Barber in Man of La Mancha and Giuseppe in La Traviata with Central City Opera, and Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore at the Moores Opera House. Concert work includes performances as a soloist with the Houston Bach Society, the Three Texan Tenors, the Lone Star Lyric cabaret series, Kingwood Chamber Orchestra, and lieder recitals across Houston.