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Jan Miller Studio Artists

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

Founded in 2003, the Jan Miller Studio Artist Program (formally known as the Artists in Residence Program) has been an important incubator for emerging operatic talent for 20 years. In residence from September through March, Studio Artists perform and/or cover roles in mainstage productions, sing for numerous educational and community outreach programs, and star in an annual showcase at the Pensacola Opera Center. In recent seasons, Studio Artists have been featured in staged scenes programs, concerts with orchestra, and chamber operas at the Opera Center. The Studio Artist coach/pianist works as the music director for the educational outreach performances, in addition to serving as rehearsal pianist for mainstage productions and performing with the Studio Artist singers at a variety of events throughout the season.

In addition to numerous performance opportunities, Studio Artists 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. Past Studio Artists have gone on to enjoy successful careers on stage and behind the scenes throughout the US and internationally.

For information about auditions for the 2023-24 Miller Studio Artist Program, please visit our Auditions & Employment page.

Jan Miller

In 2022, the program was renamed as part of a sustaining gift by Jan Miller, a generous, longtime Pensacola Opera trustee, supporter, and advocate. Jan was President of the Board when the organization established the Artists in Residence Program, making it one of the focal points of our mission in 2002. She has also been a fierce fundraiser and promoter for our in-school programming, which reaches over 10,000 area children each year. Her dedication to and belief in our education programs over the past 20+ years have been the driving forces in her impactful fundraising efforts for the company.

Join the Studio!

Applications for the 2024-25 Jan Miller Studio Artist Program are now open! Submissions are due by Sunday, October 15, 2023. Visit our Auditions & Employment page for more details.

2023-24 Studio Artists

Nicole Heinensoprano

During the 2022-23 season, soprano Nicole Heinen made her debut with Opera Louisiane as the soprano soloist in the double bill of Bernstein's Bonne Cuisine and Hoiby's Bon Appétit!, appeared with New Orleans Opera as the Dew Fairy (Hansel & Gretel), and returned to Florentine Opera for a role debut as Despina (Così fan tutte). She also made her debut TV appearance as "Iolanta" in AMC's "Interview with a Vampire." In the 2022 summer season, Ms. Heinen made her Chautauqua Opera debut as Henrietta M. (The Mother of Us All) and covered Mukhtar Mai (Thumbprint) and Lillian Russell (The Mother of Us All). Ms. Heinen has won the Mary Ellen Clancy Memorial Award (MIOpera Competition), the Wisconsin District twice (Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition), and 4th place in the Mary Jacobs Smith Singer of the Year Competition at Shreveport Opera. She has competed as a finalist in the John Alexander Vocal Competition and Handel Aria Competition, and was a semi-finalist in the Premiere Opera Foundation Competition and the Orpheus Vocal Competition.

This season at Pensacola Opera, Nicole covers the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor and appears as Adele in Die Fledermaus.

Alexandra Sanchezmezzo-soprano

Praised for her colorful voice and sparkling stage presence, American mezzo-soprano Alexandra Sanchez has been dazzling audiences in her hometown of San Antonio and across the United States. Ms. Sanchez will be a young artist with Finger Lakes Opera during their 2023 Summer Season, where she will be covering Amneris in Aïda.

Ms. Sanchez made her San Francisco Opera debut singing Sister Claire in Dialogues of the Carmelites under the baton of Music Director Eun Sun Kim. She was also selected to be a Fellow at the Festival Napa Valley’s Manetti Shrem Opera Program, where she participated in the 2022 Summer Festival, which included a concert with celebrated violinist Joshua Bell. Ms. Sanchez earned her Artist Diploma (2022) and Master of Music Degree (2021) in Vocal Performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, under the guidance of mezzo-soprano Catherine Cook. She also holds a Bachelor of Music Degree in Vocal Performance (2019) from Louisiana State University.

This season at Pensacola Opera, Alexandra sings the role of Alisa in Lucia di Lammermoor, and appears as Ida, covering Orlofsky, in Die Fledermaus.

Zachary Taylortenor

Tenor Zachary Taylor is a New Jersey native and a recent Master’s graduate of UNC Greensboro, where he studied under tenor Robert Bracey. Previously, he received his Bachelor’s from Towson University, where he studied with tenor Min Jin. Zachary just completed his summer as an Apprentice Artist with Des Moines Metro Opera for their 2023 season, where he covered the Master of Ceremonies in The Love for Three Oranges. In 2022, Zachary performed Don José in Carmen with Music on Site, the Father in Kurt Weill’s Die sieben Todsünden with the Charlotte Symphony, and sang with the Aquilon Music Festival, Greensboro Opera, and North Carolina Opera. Other recent roles include Ferrando in Così fan tutte, Vašek in The Bartered Bride, the Witch in Hansel and Gretel, and Mozart in Mozart and Salieri with UNCG Opera Theatre. Zachary received an Encouragement Award in 2023 from the North Carolina District of the Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition. This season on the Pensacola Opera mainstage, he performs the roles of Normanno in Lucia di Lammermoor and Dr. Blind in Die Fledermaus.

Bernardo Medeirosbaritone

Brazilian-American baritone Bernardo Medeiros has performed multiple roles in his young professional career. Bernardo was a 2021 Apprentice Artist with Central City Opera and portrayed the titular role in Rigoletto. He then performed Jigger (Carousel) and Masetto (Don Giovanni) with Indianapolis Opera. In 2022, Bernardo worked with BARN Opera, Opera Project Columbus, and Chautauqua Opera. Roles performed include Malatesta (Don Pasquale), Sciarrone (Tosca), and Virgil Thomson/Donald Gallup (Mother Of Us All). As a current Resident Artist with Syracuse Opera and Tri-Cities Opera, Bernardo will portray Mr. Gobineau (The Medium), King Melchior (Amahl and the Night Visitors) and Antonio (Le nozze di figaro). As a 2023 Apprentice Artist with Santa Fe Opera, he is covering the Shepherd (Pelleas et Melisande) and Jailer (Tosca). This season at Pensacola Opera, Bernardo will cover Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor and Dr. Falke in Die Fledermaus, and perform Frank in Die Fledermaus.

Tongyao Lipianist/coach

Tongyao Li is a Chinese pianist and opera coach who joins the 2023 Songfest Program and Opera Coaching Fellowship at the Aspen Music Festival and School this summer. Ms. Li has performed on stages throughout China and US, including Carnegie Hall, Harris Hall and Wheeler Opera House in Aspen, Shanghai Symphony Orchestra Music Hall, and Shanghai Concert Hall. Additionally, she was a vocal coach while studying at the Manhattan School of Music, and held the position of opera coaching fellowship in the Aspen Opera Theater and VocalARTS of Aspen Music Festival in 2022.  

In addition, Ms. Li has worked with some of today’s finest artists like Andy Einhorn, Hartmut Höll, Chìa Patiño, and she played masterclasses of Anthony Roth Costanzo, Isabel Leonard, Rachelle Fleming, Renée Fleming, Rod Gilfry, and Thomas Hampson. Tongyao Li studied piano performance at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music in China and collaborative piano at the Manhattan School of Music in New York City and Michigan State University. She studied with Keng Zhou, Kenneth Merrill, and Zhihua Tang.

This season at Pensacola Opera, she will serve as music director and pianist for all education performances, as well as music staff and pianist for Lucia di Lammermoor and Die Fledermaus.

Studio Artists Alumni

2022-23

Hayley Abramowitz, soprano
Kayla Nanto, mezzo-Soprano
Randy Ho, tenor
Scott Lee, baritone
Nathan Cicero, pianist/coach

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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