WGOs Bold New Initiative: the Opera Academy of the Midwest

This summer, Wichita Grand Opera launches an ambitious new project: the Opera Academy of the Midwest. With cooperation and support of the entities listed below, the Academy will become an intensive training ground for the next generation of opera singers and production personnel.

Opera Academy of the Midwest is sponsored in part by:

Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission
National Endowment for the Arts
Dr. & Mrs. Dennis Ross
City of McPherson
Naftzger Fund for the Arts
Ross & Marianna Beach Foundation
Charlotte Brickler Trust
McPherson Opera House
Newman University
Central Christian College

The Academy opens on July 1, 2015 with an intensive Training Period in picturesque McPherson, KS, just 45 minutes north of Wichita, and runs through July 24, 2015. After the initial 3-week training period in McPherson, activities will move to our home base at Century II Performing Arts Center in Wichita, KS and the Academy will close at the conclusion of the Opera Season on October 19, 2015.
Aspiring young opera singers between the ages of 16 and 34, will be selected by audition or qualifications to participate in one of three categories:

ACADEMY FELLOWS:
Academy Fellows will be outstanding talents with a superior musical education, ready to transition to a fully professional career. A few selected artists will receive full or partial scholarships for their participation.

Each Academy Fellow will have a customized programs based on their voice category, evaluation of their successful audition or qualifications, and WGO’s opera productions. They may be assigned roles to sing, cover, and/or understudy and sing in the Opera Chorus. They will be given opportunities to perform in Main Stage performances alongside renowned opera stars, gala concerts in three cities, and in-home recitals.

During the Training Period, Academy fellows will receive intensive training through coaching sessions, classes in role interpretation, musical analysis, diction, master classes, and choreography, as well as guidance in career planning and development.

During the Opera Season, Fellows will cover or understudy opera roles, sing in the WGO Chorus, perform as soloists in concerts and recitals, and may be given an opera role to perform in one of the Main Stage productions.
STUDIO ARTISTS:
Studio Artists will be promising young singers with a strong musical education, ready for advanced training, and may receive full or partial scholarships, based upon availability. They may be given the opportunity to understudy roles and sing in the WGO Chorus.

Each Studio Artist will have a customized program based on their voice category, evaluation of their successful audition or qualifications, and WGO’s opera productions.

During the Training Period, Academy Studio Artists will receive intensive training through voice lessons, coaching sessions, classes in role preparation, diction, chorus, masterclasses, and choreography.

During the Opera Season, Studio Artists may or may not be invited to participate in the Opera Chorus, understudy roles, participate in Master Classes and Question & Answer Sessions, and receive Coaching Sessions. This will be determined by WGO’s available openings.
ACADEMY APPRENTICES:
Apprentices will be those in the early stages of their development, and may receive full or partial scholarships based on availability. They may be chosen to sing in the WGO Chorus, based upon available openings.

Each Academy Apprentice will have a customized program based on their voice category, evaluation of their successful audition or qualifications, and WGO’s opera productions.

During the Training Period, Academy Apprentices will receive intensive training through voice lessons, coaching sessions, classes in role preparation, diction, chorus, masterclasses, and choreography.

During the Opera Season, Apprentices may or may not be invited to participate in the Opera Chorus, understudy roles, participate in Master Classes and Question & Answer Sessions, and receive Coaching Sessions. This will be determined by WGO’s available openings.
PRODUCTION INTERNSHIPS:
Production Internships will offer the chosen participants valuable hands-on experience in all production departments, mentored by WGO’s experienced staff. They will help create the fine productions seen on the WGO stages this season. Interns will receive a weekly stipend.

OAM Tuition for Training Period
The Tuition Fee for the Opera Academy of the Midwest Training Period, July 1-24, is $3,250.00 for Academy Fellows, Studio Artists, and Apprentices. This includes all training courses and masterclasses with the faculty and guest artists, housing, three meals a day, and recreational and social activities at the McPherson Opera House, on the campus of the Central Christian College, and the McPherson Water Park, among others.

APPLICATION DEADLINE: June 19, 2015
CLICK HERE to download an application form.

OAM July 1 – 25 – McPherson, KS

  • McPherson Opera House, Home of the OAM During Training Period
  • Central Christian College Student Center, Housing
  • Central Christian College Tennis Courts,
  • Central Christian College Gym,
  • McPherson Water Park

OAM – July 26 – October 19 – Wichita, KS

  • Waterwalk Apartment, Housing
  • Century II Concert Hall
  • Wichita Old Town Square
  • Sedgwick County Zoo
  • Exploration Place
  • Wichita Wingnuts Baseball

OAM Guest Artists & Faculty
The Faculty of the Opera Academy of the Midwest and our Featured Masterclass Guest Artists includes international and renowned voice teachers, coaches, conductors, directors, and choreographers.
Featured Masterclass Guest Artists:

  • SAMUEL RAMEY, bass-baritone. The most-recorded bass in history, Mr. Ramey’s career spans over 40 years, encompassing virtually the entire standard bass-baritone repertoire at every major opera house in the world.
  • ANNALISA RASPAGLIOSI, soprano. Ms. Raspagliosi was the late Luciano Pavarotti’s co-star of choice for many years, and has enjoyed a stellar career in theaters including Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Bolshoi Opera, and Teatro Real de Madrid.
  • ALAN HELD, bass-baritone. Mr. Held is one of the world’s foremost Wagnerian baritones, starring in roles such as Wotan, Amfortas, and the Dutchman at theaters including the Vienna Staatsoper, the Metropolitan Opera, and Bavarian State Opera.
  • ZVETELINA VASSILEVA, soprano. One of the world’s top Verdi specialists, Ms. Vassileva has sung leading roles at the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Covent Garden, Houston Grand Opera, and Berlin State Opera.
  • GASTON RIVERO, tenor. Since starring in Baz Luhrmann’s Broadway production of La boheme, Mr. Rivero has become one of the world’s leading tenors, starring with artists including Placido Domingo and Anna Netrebko.
  • RICARDO TAMURA, tenor. Mr. Tamura earned rave reviews for his Metropolitan Opera debut in 2013. He has starred in opera houses all over Europe, including a stellar debut at Arena di Verona.
  • LYNNE DAVIS. Ms. Davis is an internationally-renowned concert organist and a world authority on French musical repertoire. She was awarded the honor of Knight of the Order of Arts & Letters by the French Ministry of Culture in 2012.
  • MARCUS DELOACH, baritone. Mr. DeLoach is currently a voice faculty member at Temple University. An advocate of contemporary music, he has appeared in concert with the New York Philharmonic under Lorin Maazel and Riccardo Muti.
  • SARAH HELTZEL, mezzo-soprano. Ms. Heltzel is a crossover artist, performing roles in opera and musical theater with Seattle Opera, Syracuse Opera, American Lyric Theater, and the Boston Philharmonic, among others.

Opera Academy of the Midwest Faculty:

  • MARTIN MÁZIK, Conductor, Opera Coach. Mr. Mazik is a guest conductor in high demand, conducting more than 200 performances every year in opera houses worldwide.
  • WILLIAM POWERS, Vocal & Acting Interpretation, Diction. Mr. Powers’ distinguished opera career includes more than 100 roles in leading theaters worldwide, including world premieres at the Metropolitan Opera and Lyric Opera Chicago.
  • PARVAN BAKARDIEV, Career Planning. Mr. Bakardiev has previously served as Apprentice General Director of the San Francisco Opera; Artistic Administrator of the Houston Grand Opera; Founder & General Director of the San Antonio Festival, Director of the Tennessee Williams Fine Arts Center, and consultant to the Kennedy Center, as well as the Berlin and Sakai Operas.
  • MARGARET ANN PENT, Staging, Voice. Ms. Pent, winner of the Vienna Opera Competition, has performed lead roles in Europe and the US while teaching voice. Founder and Artistic Director of the WGO, she has directed and designed many of its productions.
  • DIANE GANS, Choreography, Stage Dancing. Ms. Gans has choreographed performances for the WGO, Friends University, Wichita State University, and Wichita Collegiate School for over 20 years, and she is owner and director of the Kansas Dance Academy.
  • SHAYNA LEAHY, Stage Movement, Social Coordinator. Ms. Leahy, a WGO resident stage director, served on the staff of Martina Arroyo’s Prelude to Performance program, and is Director of Vocal Studies at Highland Community College.
  • MATTHEW SCHLONEGER, Chorusmaster, Voice, Diction. Mr. Schloneger teaches voice and choir as Chair of the Division of Humanities at Hesston College. He has appeared in tenor roles in several WGO productions.
  • NYLE MATSUOKA, Opera Coach, Accompanist. In addition to coaching artists at the WGO, Mr. Matsuoka also serves as principal coach for Austin Opera, and has previously coached for Arizona Opera and Wolf Trap Opera.
  • EDWARD LADA, Working with Conductors. Mr. Lada joined the WGO in 2007 as Music Administrator, and made his opera conducting debut last season in WGO’s Tosca. As WGO’s resident conductor, he has served as Associate Conductor and Chorusmaster.
  • YING ZHU, Rehearsal Accompanist. Ms. Zhu is an adjunct instructor of piano at Wichita State University, and has previously served on rehearsal staff at Ash Lawn Opera.

ACADEMY SCHEDULE:

Training Period:

  • July 1-24, 2015, McPherson Opera House

WGO Opera Productions:

  • Puccini’s Turandot
    • Aug. 6, 2015, 1st day of rehearsal
    • Aug. 28, 2015, Performance: Century II Concert Hall, Wichita KS
    • Aug. 30, 2015, Performance: Carlsen Center, Overland Park KS
  • Verdi’s Don Carlo
    • Sept. 3, 2015, 1st day of rehearsal
    • Sept. 25, 2015, Performance: Century II Concert Hall, Wichita KS
    • Sept. 27, 2015, Performance: Century II Concert Hall, Wichita KS
  • Offenbach’s The Grand Duchess
    • Sept. 24, 2015, 1st day of rehearsal
    • Oct. 16, 2015, Performance: Century II Concert Hall, Wichita KS
    • Oct. 17, 2015, Performance: McPherson Opera House, McPherson KS
    • Oct. 18, 2015, Performance: Century II Concert Hall, Wichita KS

Concerts:

  • July 17, 2015, “A Night at the Opera,” McPherson Opera House
  • July 18, 2015, “Opera on the Lake,” Bradley Fair Plaza
  • August 7, 2015, “A Royal Enchanted Evening,” Stiefel Theatre

Soirees Musicales:

  • July 12, 2015, Private residence, McPherson, KS
  • Aug. 16, 2015, Private residence, Wichita, KS
  • Sept. 13, 2015, Private residence, Wichita, KS
  • Oct. 11, 2015, Private residence, Wichita, KS