Wolf Trap Opera Announces Filene Artists and Studio Artists | Wolf Trap

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Wolf Trap Opera Announces Filene Artists and Studio Artists

Two Wolf Trap Opera Training Program Alumni Compete 
in Cardiff Singer of the World Competition


Vienna, Virginia (March 5, 2019) – Wolf Trap Opera (WTO) is pleased to announce the artists selected for its competitive summer training residency programs, Filene Artist and Studio Artist. The summer program offers emerging professional singers one of the best career development and performing experiences in the nation. Through a rigorous annual audition tour, WTO selects its artists from among the best classical vocalists in the country.


Filene Artist

Named for Wolf Trap’s founder, Catherine Filene Shouse, WTO’s Filene Artists are already on their way toward significant careers. Many alumni credit WTO with preparing and propelling them down the path to success. Filene Artists get to experience the rigorous demands, and of course the thrill, of performing center stage in professionally produced operas.


The most dramatic evidence of WTO’s artist-driven philosophy is its audition and casting process. WTO is one of the only companies in the world to prioritize the selection of the most talented singers and allow that selection to drive the choices for each season’s repertoire.


Unlike most residency programs, WTO casts Filene Artists in all principal roles. Filene Artists are at a critical point between their academic and professional (most have been in other non-academic residency programs) training and are pursuing full-time professional careers. They have finished graduate or professional degree programs from the top music schools in the country and have often participated in year-long young artist programs and summer residencies. Many of them have already won prestigious awards and are establishing themselves within the industry.


The 2019 Filene Artists include:


  • Shannon Jennings (Former Studio Artist, Orlando, FL, Florida State University
  • Alexandra Nowakowski (Former Studio Artist), Chicago, IL, Academy of Vocal Arts, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Alexandria Shiner, Waterford, MI, University of Tennessee and Western Michigan University


  • Lindsay Kate Brown, Waterloo, NY, Rice University, Binghamton University, and Mansfield University
  • Megan Esther Grey, Cedar Falls, IA, University of Northern Iowa
  • Niru Liu, Guangdong, China, Manhattan School of Music, Xinghai Conservatory of Music
  • Taylor Raven (Returning Filene Artist), Fayetteville, NC, University of Colorado-Boulder and University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill


  • Joshua Blue, Haywards Heath, United Kingdom, The Juilliard School and Oberlin Conservatory of Music
  • Christopher Bozeka, Akron, OH, Capital University, University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music
  • Ian Koziara (Returning Filene Artist, Former Studio Artist), Chicago, IL, Rice University and Lawrence University
  • Joshua Lovell, Victoria, British Columbia, University of Victoria, University of Michigan
  • Ian McEuen, Bethesda, MD, University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music and Carnegie Mellon University School of Music


  • Joshua Conyers (Returning Filene Artist), Bronx, NY, University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Indiana University
  • Ben Edquist (Returning Filene Artist, Former Studio Artist), Lake Jackson, TX, Rice University and Vanderbilt University
  • Johnathan McCullough (Returning Filene Artist), Los Angeles, CA, Curtis Institute of Music
  • Conor McDonald, Minneapolis, MN, Northwestern University, University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music


  • Calvin Griffin (Former Studio Artist), Columbus, OH, Rice University and The Ohio State University
  • Patrick Guetti (Returning Filene Artist), Highland Park, NJ, The Catholic University of America, Academy of Vocal Arts
  • Daniel Noyola, San Luis Potosí, Mexico, Academy of Vocal Arts, Conservatorio Nacional de Música
  • Anthony Robin Schneider (Returning Filene Artist), Auckland, New Zealand, Academy of Vocal Arts, University of Auckland


Studio Artist

Through its Studio Artist program, WTO selects a group of young singers each year with significant potential who are current undergraduate juniors or seniors, or who are currently enrolled in a master’s program. During this important period in their academic training, WTO provides singers with the professional opportunities to take their talents to a higher level. Studio Artists cultivate and polish the skills needed to present themselves with confidence and authority in a very competitive field.


The Studio Artists participate in a skill-enhancing and career-building curriculum designed to advance their audition and performance techniques, personal artistry, and the business aspects of being a singer. Studio Artists gain invaluable professional experience by performing in small roles and choruses, performing in their own scenes program, as well as covering larger roles in WTO’s main-stage operas and recitals.


The 2019 Studio Artists include:


  • Meagan Rao, Auburn, CA, San Francisco Conservatory of Music
  • Ashley Robillard, Norton, MA, Curtis Institute of Music
  • Rachel Shaughnessy (Returning Studio Artist), Traverse City, MI, Rice University and Michigan State University


  • Theresa Kesser (Returning Studio Artist), Poway, CA, Yale School of Music, Indiana University, University of Denver
  • Anastasiia Sidorova (Returning Studio Artist), St. Petersburg, Russia, Rimsky-Korsakov Music College, Curtis Institute of Music
  • Isabel Signoret, San Juan, Puerto Rico, Rice University and University of Michigan


  • Bradley Bickhardt, Columbia, NJ, Indiana University
  • Victor Cardamone, Pittsburgh, PA, University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Ball State University, and Youngstown State University
  • Seiyoung Kim, Seoul, Korea, New England Conservatory and The Juilliard School


  • Justin Burgess, South Lyon, MI, University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and University of Michigan
  • Blake Denson, Paducah, KY, Rice University and University of Kentucky
  • Michael Pandolfo, Fort Worth, TX, University of Kentucky
  • Wilford Kelly, Plantation, FL, San Francisco Conservatory of Music and University of North Florida
  • Ron Dukes, Indiana, IN, Indiana University, University of Indianapolis
  • Jeremy Harr, Grosse Pointe, MI, University of Maryland, Oberlin Conservatory


Filene Artist Alumni Compete in Cardiff Singer of the World Competition

WTO is proud to recognize two alumni, Richard Ollarasaba and Patrick Guetti, who are participating the 2019 Cardiff Singer of the World competition. The BBC Cardiff Singer of the World, a competition known throughout the classical music world, is the premier showcase for opera and concert singers at the outset of their careers. It has launched the careers of prominent opera stars. This year’s competitors include:


Richard Ollarsaba, bass-baritone, was a WTO Filene Artist in 2016 and 2017. While at Wolf Trap he performed in the roles of Fallito in Gassman’s L’opera seria and also in appeared as Asdrubale in Rossini’s The Touchstone, Agelotti in Puccini’s Tosca , and as Luciano in John Musto’s Bastianello .


Patrick Guetti, bass, was a WTO Filene Artist in 2018 and performed as Sparafucile in last summer’s Filene Center production of Rigoletto. He is returning for the 2019 as a Filene Artist and will perform the role of Basilio in The Barber of Seville.





Since 1971, Wolf Trap Opera (WTO) has served as the resident opera company of Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts. WTO offers adventurous repertoire in original productions in the intimate 18th-century Barns, and well-known grand opera performed in the Filene Center; it has mounted more than 130 productions of over 80 different operas at both venues. Central to its mission is its education and professional development programs. WTO has contributed to the career development of nearly 700 emerging professional singers from across the country. Through its summer residency program, WTO is dedicated to discovering and developing talent in the opera field and serving emerging professional artists through carefully curated training and performance opportunities, which lie at the core of WTO’s mission.


WTO conducts a highly competitive and rigorous annual audition tour, selecting its artists from among the best classical vocalists in the country. Fewer than 3% of applicants are chosen for its flagship Filene Artist roster. Because WTO selects the participating artists before choosing its repertoire, each season’s productions are chosen to play to the artists’ individual strengths. WTO productions also feature the work of rising directors, conductors, designers, coaches, stage managers, scenic artists, and technicians.


WTO alumni can be found working in every top opera house in the U.S., Europe, and beyond and go on to have long and healthy careers on stage. Many of the leading singers of our time started out as Wolf Trap Opera artists. Distinguished alumni include: Stephanie Blythe, Lawrence Brownlee, Michelle DeYoung, Christine Goerke, Denyce Graves, Nathan Gunn, Alan Held, Dawn Upshaw, and Eric Owens.



Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, produces and presents a full range of performance and education programs in the greater Washington area, as well as nationally. Wolf Trap features three performance venues: the outdoor Filene Center and Childrens Theatre-in-the-Woods, both located at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, and The Barns at Wolf Trap, located down the road from the national park and adjacent to the Center for Education at Wolf Trap. The 7,028-seat Filene Center is operated in partnership with the National Park Service and annually showcases an extensive array of diverse artists, ranging from pop, country, folk, and blues to classical music, dance, and theatre, as well as multimedia presentations, from May through September. The Barns at Wolf Trap is operated by the Wolf Trap Foundation year round, and during the summer months is home to the Grammy-nominated Wolf Trap Opera, one of Americas outstanding resident ensemble programs for young opera singers. Wolf Traps education programs include the nationally acclaimed Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts, Childrens Theatre-in-the-Woods, a diverse array of arts education classes, grants, and a nationally recognized internship program.


Media Information

(Please do not publish contact information)


Emily Stout
Manager, Media Relations
703.255.4096 or emilys@wolftrap.org


Erick Hoffman

Director, Communications

703.255.1917 or erickh@wolftrap.org


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