Soprano Stephanie Jabre
Hometown: Natick, MA Age: 29
Favorite Opera : Le nozze di Figaro and La Bohème
Dream Role: Mimi in La Bohème "I have been singing ever since I can remember! I loved the movie The Sound of Music when I was a kid and wanted to be just like Julie Andrews. I like opera because it combines all of the most beautiful art forms (Singing, acting, drama, dancing, costumes, and sets) and puts it all into one creating something truly unbelievable!"
Soprano Rachael Anacker
Hometown: Highland, CA
Age: 26 "My favorite opera is Don Giovanni. I started singing in choirs when I was 5 but really started to get serious about it in high school. I like opera because it combines beautiful music, wonderful poetry, amazing stories, languages, and literature, all of which I love. My dream role right now is Constanze from The Abduction from the Seraglio--I love her arias, one of which I'm singing for the auditions!"
Soprano Jessica Fishenfeld
Hometown: Great Neck, NY
"I come from a very musical family, started singing in elementary school at talent shows, and eventually went to USDAN summer camp for musical theater, which became my passion through high school. However, in addition to musicals, Great Neck South High School - a public school on Long Island - had exceptionally talented music staff members and students, and managed to produce full-length operas in the original language with supertitles every year. I sang the Queen of the Night when I was 15 years old, and have been in love with the drama, vocal challenge, beautiful complex music, and compassion that opera provides ever since!
My favorite opera is Verdi's La Traviata. I've seen it/listened to it hundreds of times and the music and story never gets old for me. Also, my dream role is Violetta in La Traviata. The music Verdi wrote for her is not only stunning to me, but she is also based on a real person, and experiences such an intense emotional and physical journey as a character that I feel like it would be a very meaningful experience to portray her and share her story, hopefully instilling passion, compassion, and the meaning of sacrifice into an audience's heart."
Sopranos Cherisse & Cherissia Williams
Home: Brooklyn, NY
"We have two favorite operas: La Bohème & L'elisir d'amore. The orchestration of La Bohème is absolutely beautiful & the ending gets us every time. L'elisir is such a great comedy we always enjoy seeing & hearing it. We started singing at age 3 & come from a very musical family. My identical twin & I would sing duets all the time. Singing came natural to us & we have always loved it. Our parents would have us watch PBS to see The MetOpera's productions, but what really inspired us to become opera singers at the age of 6 was the movie The Fifth Element. My sister & I were obsessed with the singing alien, Diva Plavagaluna! She sang Lucia's aria "Il dolce suono" & at the time we had no clue that that was opera. That day we knew we wanted to be just like the singing alien. As native New Yorkers, The MetOpera and Carnegie Hall were places that you dream of either going to or singing at. Growing up, our parents had us & our 3 older siblings take music lessons & other activities. We started taking voice lessons at age 12. We were also in choirs practically our whole lives. It is no surprise that my twin & I attended Westminster Choir College for our undergraduate studies. Whenever we sang in a choir as children, other children would cover their ears because "we sang too loud." In our ballet class, we were more interested in the music being played than actually dancing! Our teachers saw that we loved music & encouraged us to attend a specialized middle school, The Bay Academy for the Arts & Sciences & then to a specialized high school, Fiorello H. LaGuardia H.S. for the Performing Arts. Opera is an amazing work of art that combines all artistic forms. We love opera because it takes you to places that you have never dreamed of in your wildest imagination. It helps you feel intense emotions whether good or bad. The storytelling of opera and how it is captured through music is a feeling that cannot be put in just one word. Opera is for everyone! Anyone can relate to opera, you just have to find the right one(s)."
Mezzo-Soprano Mary Kathryn Monday
Hometown: Knoxville, TN
"I love exploring the emotions behind the character and finding a way to evoke those feelings in the audience. With opera, there is always something new to discover, to interpret, and to breathe life into as an artist. I truly appreciate how opera embodies all of the arts in one form. I started singing when I was very young and also took dance, violin, and piano lessons throughout my childhood. The collaboration amongst the arts allows for infinite possibilities of interpretation making it such a thrill to bring to life!"
Soprano Juliet Morris
Hometown: Dobbs Ferry, NY
Favorite Opera: Lucia di Lammermoor
"I was singing before I was talking. There are videos of me performing happy birthday at around 18 months old. I preferred singing as my main form of communication (I still do).
I LOVE opera because you become immersed in these high intensity, highly powerful universes that the only way to journey through them is through extreme vocals. But more so, most operas that are in the general repertory were written before 1900, however, they can still be interpreted and re-interpreted today in the 21st century. I think opera evolves daily, which is why I love to perform as much of it as I can.
My dream roles are Lucia, Zerbinetta and Konstanze."
Soprano Chelsea Lehnea
Hometown: Chattanooga, TN
Age: 26 "I started singing onstage as young as three years old at my local church. I started singing opera in college when my voice teacher inspired me to try something new. I'm so glad she did as it has become my passion! I love opera as it is just an explosion of human expression. With the vibrations and emotions from the human voice telling a story combined with the sound of a full orchestra, it is the stuff of magic. Verdi's La Traviata was my first experience with opera when I watched it on PBS. The "croce e delizio" that is audible throughout the entire score touched my heart in a way I'd never experienced. My dream role is Violetta Valery as I want to experience that music on the stage."
Soprano Kinneret Ely
Hometown: New York, NY
Age: 29 "What I love most about opera is how the art form challenges a singer to be both as powerful yet as vulnerable as possible. It's an art form in which the singer has no technology helping you (even microphones!) to hide behind. This is especially true with a role like Violetta in La Traviata, which I debuted last summer; it requires everything in your dramatic and vocal palatte. When I'm not singing, I fundraise for arts organizations and also tour guide (in English, Hebrew, Italian, French, and German(!) I'd like to think guiding in these languages will keep me sharp!)"