MDLO Young Artist Institute
Fall Gala Concert
The MDLO Institute Fall Concert stars young rising talents from the MDLO Institute, supported by the full MDLO Orchestra on stage
Sung in German, French, and Italian with English subtitles
Running time is about 2 hours, including one intermission
Nov 1, 2019
The Music Center at Strathmore
MDLO Young Artist Institute Fall Gala Concert
|Sarah Joyce Cooper||soprano|
|Joseph Michael Brent||tenor|
This performance features excerpts from six operas in three different languages:
Donizetti’s Don Pasquale
Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier
Meet the Artists
Minnesotan soprano Alexandra Razskazoff, acclaimed by the New York Times as a “richly faceted, slinky soprano,” whose voice is “...ample in size with an intriguing instrumental color,” (Opera News) is gaining recognition for her versatile and compelling performances on the operatic stage and in the concert hall.
Alexandra appeared with Maryland Lyric Opera (MDLO)’s Institute in a concert of grand opera scenes in November at the Strathmore Center in North Bethesda, MD. Later that month, Alexandra joined Washington Opera Society to perform the role of Liza in Franz Lehár’s rarely performed operetta Das Land des Lächelns.
In the 2017-2018 season, Alexandra was seen as a Resident Artist at The Academy of Vocal Arts (AVA) in Philadelphia, where she reprised the role of Wellgunde (Das Rheingold), and portrayed Echo (Ariadne auf Naxos) and Violetta (La Traviata). In 2016-17, Alexandra was a Resident Artist with the Minnesota Opera where she sang Wellgunde (Das Rheingold), Britomarte (Martín y Soler: L'Arbore di Diana), Miss Alden in William Bolcom and Mark Campbell’s world premiere of Dinner at Eight, and Musetta (La bohème), while covering Juliette (Romèo et Juliette).
In spring of 2016, Alexandra sang Mendelssohn's "Elijah" with the Hudson Chorale under Ira Spaulding in Irvington, NY, and sang her first "Messiah" with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra in November, 2018 under Rossen Milanov.
In Summer 2017, Alexandra participated in San Francisco Opera's prestigious Merola Opera Program, where she performed as the leading ladies in scenes from Donizetti’s Lucrezia Borgia and Leoncavallo’s I Pagliacci. Alexandra also covered the title role in Sāvitri, Gustav Holst’s rarely-performed one-act. She was seen as an Apprentice with the Santa Fe Opera, where she covered Katie in Jennifer Higdon’s world premiere of Cold Mountain in 2015, and returned in 2016 to cover Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni). Alexandra spent summer 2013 at Music Academy of the West, where she performed Erste Dame (Die Zauberflöte) and selections from Mahler’s "Des Knaben Wunderhorn" with the Academy Festival Orchestra.
In February 2019, Alexandra took First Place in the DC Chapter of National Society of Arts and Letters Dorothy Lincoln-Smith Vocal Competition, after which she went on to win Second Place in the National Round of the same competition. Alexandra continued to take First Place in Opera at Florham’s Violetta DuPont Vocal Competition. In July 2019, Alexandra was selected to compete in the 38 International Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition in Villach, Austria. In 2017, Alexandra received First Prize in AVA’s Giargiari Bel Canto Vocal Competition, and 2nd Place in the Mario Lanza Competition in Philadelphia. In 2014, Alexandra took Second Place in the Mid-Atlantic Region of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and received Third Place in Houston Grand Opera's Eleanor McCollum Competition in 2016.
At the Peabody Conservatory, where she received her B.M. in vocal performance under Dr. Stanley Cornett, she sang Blanche de la Force (Dialogues des Carmélites), Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni), Abigail Williams (The Crucible), and L’Écureuil (L’enfant et les sortilèges).
Alexandra was honored to receive the Marc von May Voice Scholarship at Peabody Conservatory, and the Toulmin Foundation Scholarship and the Novick Career Advancement Grant while at Juilliard.
Sarah Joyce Cooper
Commended for her "meltingly beautiful" (Opera News) singing, soprano Sarah Joyce Cooper performs year-round throughout the US. Recent performances include Pamina in Die Zauberflöte (CoOPERAtive), Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro (Savannah Voice Festival), Micaëla in Carmen (Martina Arroyo’s Prelude to Performance), Violetta in La Traviata (New York Opera Studio/ Elizabeth R. and Co.), Mimi in La Bohème (Boston Opera Collaborative), and Zerlina in Don Giovanni (Boston Opera Collaborative). In 2016, Sarah was a first-place winner of the Coeur d’Alene Symphony Young Artists Competition and the Westminster Choir College Voice Scholarship competition. Sarah also received the 2017 Colleen and Edward Carducci Encouragement Award at the Metropolitan National Council Auditions in Columbia, South Carolina. In 2018, Sarah earned first place in The American Prize Competition’s Opera and Operetta division and Second Place in the International Talents of the World Competition in New York City. As a TOW competition prizewinner, she made her Carnegie Hall debut in December in a tribute concert to Maria Callas. In 2019, Sarah appeared as a finalist in the George London Competition and was nominated for a Sara Tucker Study Grant from the Richard Tucker Foundation. Most recently, Sarah performed as a soloist with the Du Bois orchestra in the historic world premiere of Florence Price’s long-lost cantata, Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight. Sarah looks forward to joining the Maryland Lyric Opera Institute this coming season, where she will perform the role of La Charmeuse in a production of Massenet’s Thaïs.
Born in Ukraine, Olga Syniakova made her opera debut at Dnipro opera house, singing Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro; then Lola in Cavalleria Rusticana and the title role in Carmen. Ms. Syniakova studied in opera studio in Valencia in 2017-2019. There she made her debut in the Palau de Les Arts Valencia in roles of Ernesto (Il Mondo della Luna) under the baton of Jonathan Brandani, stage director Emilio Sagi; Second lady (The Magic Flute), conductor Lothar Koenig, stage director Graham Vick; Laura (Iolanta), conductor Henrik Nánási, stage director Mariusz Treliński; Contessa di Ceprano (Rigoletto), conductor Roberto Abbado, stage director Emilio Sagi; Alisa (Lucia di Lammermoor), stage director Jean-Louis Grinda, conductor Roberto Abbado. Under the baton of Fabio Biondi, Olga Syniakova sang in Rossini's Petite Messe Solennelle (role for alt). In September 2018, she did this part with orchestra “Europa Galante” in St. Petri Dom in Bremen, closing Bremen Musikfest. In 2019 Olga sang Anfinomo ( Il Ritorno d’Ulisse) in Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, under Fabio Biondi.
Ms. Syniakova is a prize winner for the best mezzo-soprano, season 2018-2019, in the Palau de Les Arts Reina Sofia in Valencia. Olga also has 1st prize in 2nd Singing Competition “Compostela Lírica”; and 2nd prize in 2nd Singing Competition “Ciudad de Albacete”. She was a finalist in Concours international de Belcanto Vincenzo Bellini competition, where she was awarded in three nominations: The Best Voice, Choice of Jury and Choice of Public.
Joseph Michael Brent
Tenor Joseph Michael Brent, a native New Yorker, began his operatic career as a doctoral student at the University of Georgia, Athens. Since graduating in the fall of 2014, Dr. Brent’s lyric tenor voice has continued to gain recognition around the United States and abroad. Most recently, he became the inaugural tenor resident artist of the Michigan Opera Theatre Studio, under the artistic direction of internationally acclaimed tenor Richard Leech and opera impresario Dr. David Dichiera. He completed two seasons as resident artist, ending his tenure at the Michigan Opera Theatre in the spring of 2017.
As a member of the Michigan Opera Theatre Studio Dr. Brent’s roles included Theodore “Laurie” Lawrence (Little Women), Martin (The Tender Land), the Kronprinz (Silent Night), Malcolm (Macbeth), Trin (La Fanciulla del West), and Remendado (Carmen).
Proving himself a formidable talent and a rising star to watch in the opera world, Tenor Yi Li is quickly gaining attention across the globe. Most recently, Li débuted the role of Cheng Quing in Meredith Monk’s ATLAS with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and moved into bigger repertoire, debuting the role of Dick Johnson in La fanciulla del West in Maryland Lyric Opera’s inaugural season. He subsequently returned there as Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor and Turridu/Luigi in Il Tabarro/Cavalleria Rusticana as well as returned to The Metropolitan Opera as the Young Lover in Il tabarro.
Upcoming engagements include a return to Maryland Lyric Opera for Turandot and his debut at Opera Tampa in Cavalleria Rusticana.
Other operatic engagements include the role of Nadir in Les pêcheurs de perles with Toledo Opera; Nicias in Thaïs with China National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing; Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni with Intermountain Opera Bozeman, Nashville Opera, and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra; Cassio in Otello at The National Center Performing Arts in Beijing; the role of Alfredo in La traviata with Finger Lakes Opera; and his performance in Huang Ruo’s innovative contemporary opera, Paradise Interrupted. Mr. Li has also joined the esteemed roster of The Metropolitan Opera for productions of Manon Lescaut, Roméo et Juliette, and Der fliegende Holländer.
Concert engagements include Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 with Canterbury Chorale at Carnegie Hall, Indianapolis Opera’s Opera’s Rising Stars Concert and a Chinese New Year Concert with Shenzen Symphony Orchestra at The Kennedy Center.
Mr. Li recently graduated from Washington National Opera’s revered Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program where his assignments included Rodolfo in La bohème and productions of Die Zauberflöte and Dialogues des Carmélites. At San Francisco Opera’s world-renowned Merola Program, assignments included Belfiore in La finta giardiniera, Smith in Bizet’s La jolie fille de Perth, and Lionel in Martha.
Mr. Li’s training includes an Artist Diploma in Voice from University of Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music (CCM), where he performed Tamino in Die Zauberflöte, Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni, and Ruggero in La rondine. During his time there, he also performed The Duke in Rigoletto at Cincinnati Opera and Don José in Carmen at CCM Spoleto Festival. He also holds Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from Sichuan Conservatory in China, where performances include Alfredo in La traviata, Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly, Rodolfo in La bohème, and Cavradossi in Tosca.
Finding success on the emerging artist competition circuit, Yi Li’s talent has been recognized by several elite foundations and organizations. Mr. Li was a Grand Final Winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, a finalist at Operalia: The World Opera Competition, Winner of the Sullivan Musical Foundation Award, China’s representative at the Cardiff Singer of the World Competition, 3rd Prize at the Gerda Lissner Foundation International Vocal Competition, Finalist in the 49th International Singing Competition of Toulouse, and won the Grand Prize in Opera Columbus Irma M. Cooper Vocal Competition and CCM’s Corbett Scholarship Competition. He also received a grant from Giulio Gari Foundation and performed at their annual gala.
Tenor Mauricio Miranda has recently performed with MDLO as The Emperor Altoum in Turandot by Puccini, as Il Conte di Lerma in Don Carlo by Verdi, as Don Curzio in Le nozze di Figaro by Mozart, and as Joe in La fanciulla del West by Puccini. His future roles with MDLO include The Judge in Un ballo in maschera and Doctor Caius in Falstaff by Verdi.
During his career, Miranda has performed at the Kennedy Center, Strathmore Music Center, Palacio Euskalduna and Teatro La Laboral (Spain); Teatro Goldoni (Italy), Teatro Municipal de Santiago (Chile), among others. His oratorio repertoire includes works by Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, Mozart, Rossini, Beethoven and Schubert, and he has given concerts in Chile, Argentina, Peru, France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain and the United States. He performed with conductors such as Louis Salemno, Dimitry Jurowsky, Jan Latham-Koenig, Roberto Rizzi-Brignoli, and Daniele Rustioni; and directors such as Emilio Sagi, Anne Bogart, Hugo de Ana and Jean Louis Grinda. Miranda has sung Mozart's Requiem at the Washington National Cathedral, and the role of Eros in the U.S. premiere of Debussy's opera Diane au bois. His soloist career began in South America, and he continued his training in Europe and North America with Bruno Pola in Germany, Isabel Penagos in Spain and Diana Soviero in the U.S.
He graduated from the Cafritz Young Artist Program at the Washington National Opera. Miranda received his degree in Music Theory from the National Conservatory of the University of Chile and was the winner of the prestigious FONDART scholarship.
American baritone Christian Bowers, hailed by Opera News for his "warm, well-knit baritone", and by BroadwayWorld.com for his "strong, clear voice", is quickly making a name for himself at home and abroad as a leading interpreter of the baritone repertoire. Mostly recently, Mr. Bowers made his role debut as Lord Enrico Ashton in Lucia di Lammermoor at the Festival Lyrique en mer in Belle Île, France. March 2019 performances as Guglielmo in Così fan tutte saw the completion of a Mozart/DaPonte collaboration with Teatru Manoel in Malta. Other engagements for 2018-2019 included a return to Washington National Opera as Ponchel in Silent Night, his German debut with the role of Vicomte de Valmont in Francesconi’s two person opera Quartett with Theater Dortmund. Bowers’ 2019-2020 season includes his Arizona Opera debut as Lassiter in Riders of the Purple Sage, Count Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro with Maryland Lyric Opera and a return to the title role in Don Giovanni with Festival Lyrique en mer.
Mr. Bowers’ diverse repertory spans from concert to stage and from the Bel Canto classics to new works. A busy 2017-2018 season saw Mr. Bowers returning to favorite roles such as Escamillo in Carmen (Utah Opera), Maximilian in Candide (Théâtre du Capitole de Toulouse and Opéra National de Bordeaux), Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro (Pittsburgh Opera and Teatru Manoel in Malta), and The Pilot in The Little Prince (Washington National Opera & Glimmerglass Festival). Mr. Bowers made his debut with Hawaii Opera Theater playing the roles of Hermann/ Schlémil in Les contes d’Hoffmann. He also added the roles of Emile de Becque in South Pacific (Annapolis Opera) and performed Duruflé's Requiem with the National Symphony Orchestra.
2016-2017 performances included singing Escamillo in Carmen and Captain Corcoran in HMS Pinafore with Shreveport Opera, and reprising the role of Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Opera Project Columbus. He also covered Simon Thibault and Father Arguedas in the world premiere of Bel Canto at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.
Mr. Bowers prides himself on his collaborations with leading creators of contemporary music. He worked especially closely with his long time friend and neighbor Lee Hoiby, and has also collaborated with Rachel Portman, Kevin Puts, David Little, Jake Heggie, Luca Francesconi, Lori Laitman, Huang Ruo, Jimmy Lopez, Theodore Morrison, Gene Scheer and Tobias Picker. Mr. Bowers’ performance as Clyde Griffith in Tobias Picker’s An American Tragedy at The Glimmerglass Festival in 2015 was received to great acclaim. Opera Today said, "The central role of Clyde Griffiths is a huge sing and baritone Christian Bowers was every inch the heart of the piece.”
Mr. Bowers is an alumnus of the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program at Washington National Opera. While with WNO, he performed many roles including Schaunard in La bohème, The Pilot in The Little Prince, Second Commissioner/ First Officer in Dialogues of the Carmelites, The Chirurgo in La forza del destino, Dancaïro in Carmen, and Stubb in Moby-Dick.
Prior to joining WNO, he attended the prestigious Academy of Vocal Arts (AVA) in Philadelphia, where he performed Hermann in Les Contes d'Hoffmann, Belcore in L’elisir d’amore, Renato in Un ballo in maschera and Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia. He has also participated in training programs with The Glimmerglass Festival, Santa Fe Opera and Sarasota Opera and made his professional debut in April of 2013 as Masetto in Opera Colorado’s production of Don Giovanni.
In 2014, Mr. Bowers won first prize in the Violetta Dupont Vocal Competition and was a grant winner at the Giuilo Gari Foundation International Vocal Competition. He was a finalist in the Houston Grand Opera Eleanor McCollum Competition and the George London Foundation in 2013 and won second prize in the Mario Lanza Vocal Competition in 2011. He was also a district winner at the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in Philadelphia in 2010 and 2011.
Mr. Bowers received a Masters in Opera and Vocal Performance from Temple University and a Bachelor’s of Music for S.U.N.Y Purchase Conservatory of Music.
A native of Hankins, New York, Mr. Bowers enjoyed exposure to many different genres of music while growing up in the Catskill Mountains. He attended fiddle, bluegrass, rock, and folk festivals and even had a chance to meet and work with American legend Pete Seeger. When he is not working on classical music, he enjoys hiking, kayaking, reading, and playing his ukulele and 5-string banjo.
Bass-baritone Michael Pitocchi has been described as a brilliant singer with a powerful, rich voice. Hailing from New York, he is a graduate of the Mannes Conservatory, where he performed leading roles including Dr. Bartolo and Antonio in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, Nick Shadow in Stravinsky’s The Rake's Progress, Prince Gremin and Zaretsky in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, and Frank Maurrant in Weill’s Street Scene.
In the summer of 2018, Michael was invited to perform with the prestigious Glimmerglass Festival. There, he performed in productions of Put’s Silent Night, Janáček‘s The Cunning Little Vixen, and Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia.
In 2019, Michael was awarded top prize in the Gerda Lissner Foundation’s concert series. Brooklyndiscovery.com described his “rich basso” as a voice that will “fill the void today of a lack of great dark voices.” He was later invited to attended the 2019 ICAV Institute in Montreal, Quebec where he was featured as Barbemuche in Leoncavallo’s La Bohéme.
Michael has been a featured soloist with the Fairfield County Chorale in Connecticut. Recent concerts include Mozart's Mass in C minor, J. Christian Bach's Magnificat a 4 in C major, and Handel’s Messiah.
Michael was featured in the 2019 MDLO Institute Concert performing lead roles in scenes from Beethoven's Fidelo, Gounod's Faust, and Verdi's Falstaff. Michael was privileged to cover the role of Timur in MDLO's 2022 production of Puccini's Turandot. His most recent performance with MDLO was singing the role of Antonio in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro.
Louis Salemno is the Music Director of Maryland Lyric Opera and is the principal conductor for all its performances, including the recent Thaïs, La fanciulla del West, and the MDLO Orchestra concert featuring pianist Leon Fleisher. He oversees the recruitment and training of the emerging artists of the MDLO Institute and leads the team responsible for auditioning, hiring, and managing the MDLO Orchestra and Chorus.
Maestro’s long and storied international conducting career includes posts at some of the world’s leading opera houses, including Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, and New York City Opera, among many others. He studied with Nadia Boulanger in France and was mentored by the legendary Kurt Herbert Adler, Krzysztof Penderecki, Gianandrea Gavazzeni and Bruno Bartoletti. As a pianist, he has appeared in recital with Montserrat Caballe and Denyce Graves.
As a mentor, he held the post of Resident Coach for Washington National Opera’s acclaimed Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program for nearly a decade, where he also trained conducting students as well as visiting conductors in preparation for performances. He has also mentored singers at the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía in Valencia and the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires. He studied piano with Mieczyslaw Horszowski and conducting with Max Rudolf at The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.