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Artists in Residence

career training through coaching and performance

Each year, five talented artists join us for a season-long residency, appearing throughout our community and receiving invaluable career guidance and individualized instruction.

About the Program

Pensacola Opera’s Artists in Residence program, now in its nineteenth season, continues to provide training and performance experience for young opera professionals. In residence from September through March, these artists perform comprimario roles and cover principal roles in the mainstage productions, sing for numerous educational and community outreach programs, and present an annual showcase at the Pensacola Opera Center.  The Artist in Residence coach/pianist works as the music director for the educational outreach performances, in addition to serving as rehearsal pianist for mainstage productions. In addition to numerous performance opportunities, Artists in Residence also receive regular musical coaching from Pensacola Opera’s music staff, as well as guest coaches and voice teachers, who work to prepare these artists for a successful professional career.

For information about auditions for the 2022-23 Artists in Residence program, please visit our Auditions & Employment page.

2022-23 Artists in Residence

Hayley Abramowitzsoprano

THIS SEASON AT PENSACOLA OPERA
Featured soloist, Forty Forward; Musetta (cover), La bohème; Carrie Pipperidge, Carousel

ARTIST BIO
Hayley Abramowitz, soprano, is dually based in Houston, TX and Washington, DC. They hold degrees from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music (MM '20, PD '21) and from the University of Maryland School of Music (BM '18), where they studied with Carol Vaness and Delores Ziegler respectively. Hayley spent the 2021-22 season as a chorister with the Houston Grand Opera, performing in Carmen, Dialogues of the Carmelites, Die Zauberflöte, and Turandot. They also presented a recital as part of the Living Arts Concert Series, featuring Mozart’s rarely performed concert aria, Popoli di Tessaglia. Favorite roles include Romilda (Serse), Nella (Gianni Schicchi), Blumenmädchen (Parsifal), Lucy (The Telephone), and Mme. Herz (Die Schauspieldirektor). A third-place winner in the inaugural Cincinnati SongSLAM, Hayley is also a passionate advocate of new music, having presented numerous premieres in the past several years. Particularly dear is William Kenlon’s Longfellow Mosaic for soprano and Pierrot ensemble.

Kayla Nantomezzo-soprano

THIS SEASON AT PENSACOLA OPERA
Featured soloist, Forty Forward; Featured ensemble/Nettie Fowler (cover), Carousel

ARTIST BIO
Mezzo-soprano Kayla Nanto is an emerging artist based in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  She is currently a Studio Artist with Fort Worth Opera, with whom she will sing the role of Flora in La traviata in April 2022.   For the past four years, she has also been a Performing Artist with The Dallas Opera's Outreach and Education Program. This season, Kayla was a winner in the Colorado/Wyoming District of The Metropolitan Opera’s Laffont Competition.  She will join Pensacola Opera as an Artist in Residence for their upcoming 2022-2023 season. ​Some of Kayla’s recent engagements include Second Witch in Dido and Aeneas and Eustazio in Rinaldo with American Baroque Opera Company, Alto soloist in Messiah with Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, Frida Kahlo/Mother in the world-premiere of Frida Kahlo and the Bravest Girl in the World with Fort Worth Opera, Suzuki (cover) in Madama Butterfly with Opera Fort Collins, Ulisse in Achille in Sciro with Orchestra of New Spain, and Edith in Pirates of Penzance with Loveland Opera Theatre. Kayla holds degrees from University of North Texas (Master of Music) and University of Northern Colorado (Bachelor of Music).

Randy Hotenor

THIS SEASON AT PENSACOLA OPERA
Featured soloist, Forty Forward; Parpignol/Rodolfo (cover), La bohème; Enoch Snow (Carousel)

ARTIST BIO
Complemented on his “affectionate vibrato” (OperaWire), tenor, Randy Ho is looking forward to joining the team at Pensacola Opera as an Artist in Residence. This season, Mr. Ho will be singing as Parpignol and covering Rodolfo (La bohème), and singing Enoch Snow (Carousel). Born and raised in Denver, Colorado, Mr. Ho is a recent graduate of the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University. Mr. Ho holds a Bachelor of Music and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration concentrating in Marketing from the University of Denver. Most recently, Mr. Ho will be showcased in Pittsburgh Festival Opera’s scenes program singing excerpts from Faust, La Traviata, and Carmen. Previously, Mr. Ho has been featured as a studio artist at Carnegie Hall’s Song Studio led by world-renowned Soprano Renee Fleming, Peabody Opera Theater productions of La scala di seta (Dorvil), Hin und Zurück(Robert), Postcard from Morocco (Man with old Luggage), Lamont Opera Theater’s production of Il trittico (Rinuiccio), and as a soloist with The National Repertory Orchestra, Denver Opera Collective, and The Denver Spirituals Project.

Scott Leebaritone

THIS SEASON AT PENSACOLA OPERA
Featured soloist, Forty Forward; Customs Sargeant/Marcello (cover), La bohème; Jigger Craigin/Billy Bigelow (cover), Carousel

ARTIST BIO
A native of Statesville, North Carolina, baritone Scott Lee has been praised for his “...substance and velvety bass voice” by the Winston-Salem Journal. In recent years, he has performed with Piedmont Opera, The Princeton Festival, Opera Theater of the Rockies and Magnolia Baroque. In 2020, Lee received the Ron Payne Encouragement Award at the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in Charlotte, NC. His most recent engagement was the role of Antonio in Donizetti’s Linda di Chamounix, where “the opportunity to experience a staging of Linda di Chamounix was a rare gift to UNCSA’s audiences, but singing such as Lee’s is still rarer not only in student production but upon all the worlds stages.” (Voix des Arts) Lee received his Bachelor of Music degree and Master of Music degree from UNCSA. In addition to performing, Lee is a seasoned teaching artist, having served as a member of UNCSA’s ArtistCorps. He is a student of Dr. Marylin Taylor.

Nathan Ciceropianist/coach

THIS SEASON AT PENSACOLA OPERA
Music staff for Forty Forward, La bohème, and Carousel

ARTIST BIO
Pianist Nathan Cicero is an energetic and engaging performer, who thrives on working collaboratively with other musicians.  As a conductor, coach, and educator, he is known for his down-to-earth, congenial style, and pursuit of unique and nuanced musical experiences. In the summer of 2022, Nathan will make his conducting debut with Chicago Summer Opera, leading performances of Handel’s Serse and Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea, having previously served as scenes program music director for the same organization.  Most recently, he joined the music staff of Sarasota Opera for their winter 2022 season, assisting with performances of Tosca and La fille du régiment.  Formerly a resident of Minnesota, Nathan worked with many arts organizations in the Twin Cities, including Saint Croix Valley Opera and Skylark Opera Theatre. Nathan holds a Master of Music degree from the Peabody Conservatory, where he studied with Eileen Cornett. While at Peabody, he worked on numerous productions with Peabody Opera Theatre, as well as accompanying in the vocal studios of Denyce Graves, William Sharp, and Stanley Cornett. A native of Wisconsin, Nathan earned his Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 2016.

Artists in Residence Alumni

2021-22

Emily Michiko Jensen, soprano
Imara Miles, mezzo-Soprano
Robert Hartfield, tenor
Ron Dukes, bass
Andrew Pham, pianist/coach

2020-21

Alyssa Dessoye, soprano
Erin Alford, mezzo-Soprano
Brian Skoog, tenor
Jack Chandler, baritone
Anthony Benz, pianist/coach

2019-20

Bizhou Chang, soprano
Emily Triebold, Mezzo-Soprano
Aaren Rivard, tenor
Corey Gaudreau, baritone
Stephen Variames, pianist/coach

2018-19

Andrea Baker, soprano
Christina Pezzarossi, Mezzo-Soprano
Alexander Scheuermann, tenor
Corey Gaudreau, baritone
Kelvin Ying, pianist/coach

2017-18

Evelyn Saavedra, Soprano
Camille Sherman, Mezzo-Soprano
Eric Wassenaar, tenor
Brent Hetherington, baritone
Nola Strand, Music Director/Pianist (Fall)
Deniz Uz, Music Director/Pianist (Spring)

2016-17

Evelyn Saavedra, Soprano
Gillian Lynn Cotter, Mezzo-Soprano
Frederick Schlick, tenor (Fall)
John Riesen, tenor (Spring)
Brent Hetherington, baritone
Joshua Horsch, Music Director/Pianist

2015-16

Allison Nicholas, Soprano
​Amanda Fink, Mezzo-Soprano
​​Nicholas DeMeo, Tenor
Thaddeus Ennen, Baritone
Xavier Suarez, Music Director/Pianist
Jessica Myers, Stage Manager

2014-15

Ariana Wehr, Soprano
Juliana Curcio, Mezzo-Soprano (Spring)
Eliza Bonet, Mezzo-Soprano (Fall)
Eamon Pereyra, Tenor
Matthew Konopacki, Baritone
Karl Anderson, Stage Manager
Nick Place, Music Director/Pianist

2013-14

Anne Slovin, Soprano
Eliza Bonet, Mezzo-Soprano
Eamon Pereyra, Tenor
Ted Federle, Baritone
Karl Anderson, Stage Manager
Nick Place, Music Director/Pianist

2012-13

Jennifer Juilfs, Soprano
Ashley Cutright, Mezzo-Soprano
Joe Shadday, Tenor
Mitchell Hutchings, Baritone
Ashleigh Dawn Kriegh-Fleming, Stage Manager
Emily Senturia, Music Director/Pianist

2011-12

Jennifer Juilfs, Soprano
Samantha Korbey, Mezzo-Soprano
Joseph Shadday, Tenor
Mitchell Hutchings, Baritone
Carrington Konow, Stage Manager
Dana Sadava, Music Director/Pianist

2010-11

Ami Vice, Soprano
Jennifer Trombley, Mezzo-Soprano
Eric Bowden, Tenor
Gabriel Preisser, Baritone
Emilia Allen, Stage Manager
Michael Sakir, Music Director/Pianist

2009-10

Ami Vice, Soprano
Candra Savage, Mezzo-Soprano
Patrick Kelley-Alvarado, Tenor
Jason Coffey, Baritone
Sarah Coffey, Stage Manager
Joshua Pepper, Pianist​

2008-09

Anna Steenerson, Soprano
Dawn Pierce, Mezzo-Soprano
Patrick Kelley-Alvarado, Tenor
Justin Hopkins, Baritone
Jenny Bossa, Stage Manager
Cate Doss, Music Director/Pianist

2007-08

Anna Steenerson, Soprano
Dawn Pierce, Mezzo-Soprano
Zechariah Baker, Tenor
Todd Van Felker, Baritone
Jarod Wilson, Stage Manager
Melissa Gilbert, Music Director

2006-07

Shelia Murphy, Soprano
Alissa Anderson, Mezzo-Soprano
Zechariah Baker, Tenor
Sean Damm, Baritone
Sarah Stanley, Stage Manager
Christian Crans, Music Director/Pianist

2005-06

Kimberly Monzon, Soprano
Alissa Anderson, Mezzo-Soprano
Nicholas Larson, Tenor
Carlos Monzon, Baritone
Jaira Jorcha, Stage Manager
Blake Riley, Music Director/Pianist

2004-05

Annie Burridge, Soprano
Elise Quagliata, Mezzo-Soprano
Kelly Markgraf, Tenor
Chip Cothran, Baritone

2003-04

Katherine Jolly, Soprano
Kelli Geogham, Mezzo-Soprano
Thomas Rowell, Tenor
Patrick Jacobs, Baritone

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