Monday, February 4, 2013

Gala 2013: Bios

Karen Vuong - Soprano - Age 28 - Region Finals Winner

Quando m'en vo- La Bohème - Puccini
Adieu notre petite table - Manon - Massenet
Come scoglio immoto resta - Così fan tutte - Mozart

American Soprano Karen Vuong is currently in her second year as a member of the Juilliard ADOS program. There she has performed the role of Zhou in the world premiere of Peter Maxwell Davie’s Opera Kommilitonen!, and the role of Donna Anna in Mozart’s Don Giovanni. Later this year she will perform the role of the Fox in The Cunning Little Vixen at Juilliard. Karen was also an inaugural member and two-year participant in Los Angeles Opera’s prestigious Domingo-Thornton Young Artist Program. Next season she will join the Frankfurt Opera as a fest singer.

Her debut season at LA Opera included performances in Wagner’s Tannhäuser, and Massenet’s Manon (as cover for Pousette). Karen also starred as Mimi in LA Opera’s student production of Puccini’s La Bohème, which was conducted by Plácido Domingo. In 2008, she debuted at the Kentucky Opera as Sophie in Massenet's Werther. She has also appeared in the role of Frasquita in Bizet’s Carmen performed at the Hollywood Bowl, with Denyce Graves in the title role. In 2009, Karen performed internationally in Hong Kong in a concert performance of Symphony No. 8 by Mahler. In 2010 she made her Seattle Opera debut as Trang and the Nurse in the world premiere of Amelia, directed by Stephen Wadsworth. In 2012 she made her Santa Barbara Opera debut as Susanna in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro.

Karen has received several notable honors. In 2011 she was the Grand Prize Winner of the Marilyn Horne Song Competition. In 2006, she won the Prize CulturArte at the distinguished Operalia International Competition in Valencia, Spain. Other honors include 4th Place at the 2009 Loren L. Zachary Competition, and 3rd Place at the 2003 and 2010 Palm Springs Opera Guild Vocal Competitions. 

Takaoki Onishi - Baritone - Age 27 - Rohatyn Great Promise Award and Harold Bruder Award

Per me giunto - Don Carlo - Verdi
Ah! per sempre - I puritani - Bellini
Tanzlied - Die tote Stadt - Korngold

A native of Tokyo, Japan, baritone Takaoki Onishi is a second-year graduate diploma student at The Juilliard School, studying with Dr. Robert C. White, Jr. In the span of a season, he won the First Prize winner in the Opera Index Inc. Vocal Competition, the Third Prize in the Gerda Lissner International Vocal Competition, was a grant winner in the Giulio Gari International Vocal Competition and was the recipient of an Encouragement Award in the Licia Albanese – Puccini International Vocal Competition. Mr. Onishi is also an inaugural First Prize winner of IFAC-Juilliard Prize Singing Competition in Japan, whose reward was a full scholarship to attend The Juilliard School.

At the Musashino Academy of Music in Tokyo, Mr. Onishi performed the title role in Don Giovanni and Adam and Raphael in Haydn’s Die Schöpfung. He has also performed the role of Guglielmo in Così fan tutte. At Juilliard, he performed the role of Second Clerk in the American premiere of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies’ Kommilitonen!, Blansac in La scala di seta, and Masetto in Don Giovanni. Mr. Onishi made his Lincoln Center debut in the Juilliard Vocal Arts Honors Recital at Alice Tully Hall. He has been awarded a fellowship at the Aspen Music Festival & School and the Makiko Narumi Prize for outstanding singer by The Juilliard School. Mr. Onishi earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from Musashino Academy of Music in Tokyo.

Felicia Moore - Soprano - Age 24 - Region Finals Winner

Einsam in trüben Tagen - Lohengrin - Wagner
Come in quest'ora bruna - Simon Boccanegra - Verdi
Il est doux, il est bon - Hérodiade - Massenet

American soprano Felicia Moore is quickly establishing herself as an exciting up-and-coming young dramatic voice. She is currently finishing her graduate studies at Mannes College of Music and is studying with Ruth Falcon and Lucy Arner. Future engagements include singing Female Chorus in The Rape of Lucretia with Mannes Opera under the tutelage of Joseph Colaneri, and performing scenes from Guillaume Tell, Iphigénie en Aulide, Dialogues of the Carmelites and Der Rosenkavalier in March as a Mannes Young Artist. She will also be making her solo debut at Carnegie Hall this April with The Cecilia Chorus of NY with Mark Shapiro. For the summer, Ms. Moore will be participating in the Crested Butte Music Festival as a Marcello Giordani Young Artist.

Her past engagements include performing The Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors with Nevada Opera and performing as a Fate in the American premiere of Wolfgang Rihm’s Proserpina at Spoleto Festival USA. She has also been heard in scenes from Don Giovanni, Die Zauberflöte, Così fan tutte, Ariodante and Beatrice et Benedict. Ms. Moore has also attended numerous admired summer programs such as International Vocal Arts Institute with Joan Dornemann, Institute for Young Dramatic Voices with Dolora Zajick and OperaWorks with Ann Baltz. Ms. Moore holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Westminster Choir College.


Dan Franklin Smith is a resident of New York City but performs in colleges,universities, museums and concert halls throughout the US and Europe. He has beendescribed as “an incredibly sensitive player” and “a master pianist.” Accolades such as“breathtakingly beautiful,” “technical wizardry,” “brilliant technique andemotional fervorappear in every review. An Aliso Viejo, California, headlineproclaimed, “Classical Pianist Moves Audience to Tears.”

He graduated as a piano major from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, and madehis European recital debut in 1997 just outside of Stockholm, Sweden, where hereceived a standing ovation and rave reviews. The following year he made his Europeanorchestral debut in Stockholm at Sofia Kyrkan and was later featured on Swedish TV. Adebut recording with the Gävle Symfoniorkester soon followed, and not long afterward,a recording with the Stuttgart Philharmonic. These premier recordings received outstanding reviews and are broadcast on dozens of classical stations throughout the US.
As Music Director and recital soloist with the international festival, Elysium:Between Two Continents, he is showcased in performances here and in Europe. MajorGerman newspapers praise his work for “stirring emotionalism, precision with keenintensity, the subtle hesitations and shifts that constitute great expression.” He hasreceived high praise time and again from Munich’s Süddeutsche Zeitung as well as theMünchener Merkur, Coburger Tageblatt and Neue Presse.

Recent and future highlights include performances in Maryland, Georgia, Minnesota,Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee, New York, Virginia, Florida, Washington, D.C.,Wisconsin, Arizona, New Mexico, Canada, and California, where he played performances of Brahms’ First Piano Concerto and toured again in 2010. His European engagements have included Bernried, Dessau, Coswig, Wittenberg, and Leipzig in Ger-many, Oslo, Paris, London, including recitals at St. Martin-in-the-Fields, and appearancesin Sweden. In past summer seasons he performed in Berlin, Munich, Bernried, Coburg,Offenbach, Neuwied, Brussels, London, Zagreb, Warsaw, Lodz, and Kiev. In fall 2010 heappeared at the Bruckner Festival in Linz and the Mozarteum in Salzburg.

As chamber musician and vocal accompanist, he has performed at venues such as TheNational Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.—where he recently presented a solorecital--the Cleveland Museum's Distinguished Artist Series, and Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City, as well as tours in Bermuda, Taiwan, and Puerto Rico. He is the recipient of a Performing Artist Grant from the American-ScandinavianFoundation of New York City, which provided funds for him as piano soloist in anorchestral performance in Stockholm. He is a member of the Recording Society as well asthe American Matthay Association, and frequently performs at their yearly conferences.

Acclaimed for his commanding stage presence and inventive artistry, American bass-baritone Eric Owens has carved a unique place in the contemporary opera world as both an esteemed interpreter of classic works and a champion of new music. Equally at home in concert, recital and opera performances, Owens continues to bring his powerful poise, expansive voice and instinctive acting faculties to stages around the world.

Eric Owens opens the 2010-2011 season of the Metropolitan Opera as Alberich in Das Rheingold in a new production by Robert Lepage, conducted by James Levine. He essays the title role in Peter Sellars’s new production of Handel’s Hercules, conducted by Harry Bicket at Lyric Opera of Chicago; returns to San Francisco Opera as Ramfis in Aïda, conducted by Giuseppe Finzi; and joins Riccardo Muti and the Chicago Symphony as Lodovico in concert performances of Verdi’s Otello both in Chicago and at Carnegie Hall. His concert calendar includes Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with Donald Runnicles and the Atlanta Symphony; Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius with Jaap van Zweden and the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic; Mozart’s Requiem with the Handel & Haydn Society under Harry Christophers; Brahms’s Ein Deutshces Requiem at Carnegie Hall with James Bagwell and the Collegiate Chorale; and Berlioz’s Roméo et Juliettewith the Utah Symphony, conducted by Thierry Fischer.

During the 2009-10 season, Owens returned to Washington National Opera, as Don Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia, and as the determined protagonist Porgy in Francesca Zambello’s wildly successful production of Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, a role he debuted to great critical acclaim at San Francisco Opera. Owens’s concert calendar included John Adams’s Walt Whitman-inspired The Wound Dresser, conducted by the composer, and holiday performances of Handel’sMessiah, both with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center. Owens also joined Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic for concert performances of György Ligeti’s apocalyptic opera Le Grand Macabre, as well as Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis. Additionally, Owens performed Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Bernard Haitink, as well as Mozart’s Requiem both with James Levine and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and with Hans Graf and the Detroit Symphony.
The previous season marked Owens’s Metropolitan Opera debut in John Adams’s Doctor Atomic, broadcast live in high definition on movie screens nationwide. Owens also made his Carnegie Hall solo recital debut at Weill Recital Hall, one of four Carnegie Hall engagements throughout the season. Owens sang the title role of Mendelssohn’s Elijah with the Los Angeles Master Chorale, and reprised his role as the Storyteller in John Adams and Peter Sellars’s A Flowering Treewith the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Additionally, Owens returned to the Metropolitan Opera as Sarastro in The Magic Flute, and appeared opposite Anna Netrebko and Elina Garanca in Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

Owens' career operatic highlights include his San Francisco Opera debut as Lodovico in Otello conducted by Runnicles; his Royal Opera, Covent Garden debut as Oroveso in Norma; Ramfis in Aida at Houston Grand Opera; Sparafucile in Rigoletto, Ferrando in Il Trovatore and Colline in La Bohème at Los Angeles Opera; the Speaker in Die Zauberflöte for his Paris Opera (Bastille) debut; Fiesco in Simon Boccanegra and Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte with the Washington Opera; Rodolfo in La Sonnambula at the Bordeaux Opera; the King of Scotland in Ariodante and Seneca in L'Incoronazione di Poppea at the English National Opera; Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor and Alidoro at Pittsburgh Opera; Leporello in Don Giovanni at Florida Grand Opera; Sparafucile in a new production at the Oper der Stadt Köln and at Minnesota Opera; Banquo with Opera Pacific and Sarastro and Banquo with the Opera Company of Philadelphia. He sang Collatinus in a highly acclaimed Christopher Alden production of Britten's The Rape of Lucretia at Glimmerglass Opera. A former member of the Houston Grand Opera Studio, Owens has sung Sarastro, Mephistopheles in Faust, Frère Laurent, Angelotti in Tosca, and Aristotle Onassis in the world premiere of Jackie O (available on the Argo label) with that company.

Owens is a regular guest of the major American and European orchestras. His appearances have included performances with the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony, Seattle Symphony, National Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Toronto Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony and Detroit Symphony among others. He has worked with today's leading conductors including Wolfgang Sawallisch, Lorin Maazel, Michael Tilson Thomas, Yuri Temirkanov, Christoph von Dohnanyi, Franz Welser-Möst, John Nelson and Robert Spano. Owens is featured on a Telarc recording of Mozart's Requiem with Donald Runnicles and the Atlanta Symphony.

Eric Owens has created an uncommon niche for himself in the ever-growing body of contemporary opera works through his determined tackling of new and challenging roles. He received great critical acclaim for portraying the title role in the world premiere of Elliot Goldenthal's Grendel with the Los Angeles Opera and again at the Lincoln Center Festival, in a production directed and designed by Julie Taymor. Of Owens' performance, The New Yorker's Alex Ross raved, "His hefty, tonally focused, richly colored voice cut through the tumult of Goldenthal's score, and his vital, naturalistic acting gave heart to a high-tech spectacle." Eric Owens also enjoys a close association with John Adams, for whom he created the role of General Leslie Groves in the world premiere of Doctor Atomic at the San Francisco Opera, and of the Storyteller in the world premiere of A Flowering Tree at Peter Sellars' New Crowned Hope Festival in Vienna. Adams has also conducted the American bass-baritone in his setting of Whitman's The Wound Dresser in a live broadcast with the BBC Proms at Royal Albert Hall, and with the American Composers Orchestra at Carnegie Hall. Owens made his Boston Symphony Orchestra debut under the baton of David Robertson in Adams' Nativity oratorio El Niño.

In addition to great popular and critical acclaim, Eric Owens has been recognized with multiple awards, including the 2003 Marian Anderson Award, a 1999 ARIA award, and first prize in the Plácido Domingo Operalia Competition, the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and the Luciano Pavarotti International Voice Competition. Other awards include first prize in the MacAllister Awards Voice Competition, first prize in New York's Opera Index Career Grant Auditions, first prize in the Palm Beach Opera National Voice Competition, and first prize in the Mario Lanza Voice Competition. Owens was also an ARTS Award recipient in The National Foundation for Advancement in Arts' 1988 Arts Recognition and Talent Search.

A native of Philadelphia, Owens began his music training as a pianist at the age of six, followed by formal oboe study at age eleven under Lloyd Shorter of the Delaware Symphony and Louis Rosenblatt of the Philadelphia Orchestra. He later studied voice while an undergraduate at Temple University and then as a graduate student at the Curtis Institute of Music, and currently studies with Armen Boyajian. He serves on the Board of Trustees of both The National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts and Astral Artistic Services.

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