Meet our 2017 Chautauqua Opera Young Artists

Apprentice Artists

Chelsea Friedlander, Soprano

Chelsea Friedlander

This season at CHQ: Euridice in L'Orfeo and Soprano 1 in Hydrogen Jukebox
A New Jersey native, Ms. Friedlander’s 2016-2017 season included: Dayton Philharmonic debut; Soprano soloist in Handel’s Messiah, debut as Blonde in Die Entführung aus dem Serail (Dayton Opera) and debut as Frasquita in Carmen (Resident Artist Program, Dayton Opera), and Lucy in Menotti’s The Telephone with Light Opera of New Jersey. Performance highlights: Ohio Light Opera Company, Saratoga Opera, Martina Arroyo Prelude to Performance, Opera in the Ozarks, New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players, Light Opera of New York and Victor Herbert Renaissance Project Live! Consecutive Encouragement Award Winner at Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions (Connecticut District). Ms. Friedlander is a proud member of Actor's Equity Association. M.M. Manhattan School of Music, B.M. Cleveland Institute of Music.

Arnold Livingston Geis, Tenor

 Arnold Livingston GeisThis season at CHQ: Apollo in L'Orfeo and Ernesto in Don Pasquale

Mr. Geis graduated in May 2014 with an MM in vocal arts from USC and immediately began working as a full-time professional singer making a career in TV and film soundtracks, concert, and on the opera/theater stage. Recent debuts include numerous solo performances at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, and Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center. Other performances include Candide and Fallujah with Long Beach Opera. He made his mainstage debut with LA Opera under the baton of Placido Domingo and closed their 2016-17 season singing Parpignol in La Boheme with conductor Gustavo Dudamel. Arnold debuted as a guest soloist for Beethoven's missa solemnis with the LA Master Chorale in January and Beethoven's 9th with Pasadena Symphony in April. In 2016, Arnold won the LA district of the Met competition and shortly after, made his company debut at New York City Opera as Corpsman Harris in the East coast premier of Fallujah. Geis made his national television debut on America's Got Talent in 2015 and has since sung for TV and film soundtracks including American Crime, Godzilla, Sing, and Star Wars: Rogue One.

Helen Hassinger, Soprano

 Helen HassingerThis season at CHQ: Nymph/Spirit 3 in L'Orfeo and Soprano II in Hydrogen Jukebox 

Ms. Hassinger's roles include the title role in Emmeline, Countess (Le nozze di Figaro), Fiordiligi (Così fan tutte), Helena (A Midsummer Night's Dream), Soprano II (Hydrogen Jukebox), St. Francis' Trainer (Vinkensport...or the Finch Opera), and The Angel (Angels in America). Other projects include the title role (cover) in the Pulitzer Prize-winning opera Madame White Snake, as part of the Ouroboros Trilogy presented by Beth Morrison Projects. A graduate of St. Olaf College (BA) in Northfield, MN and Boston University (MM), she continues her development at the Boston University Opera Institute, where she studies with Dr. Lynn Eustis. Ms. Hassinger is also a classically trained violinist, formerly studying under Dr. Andrea Een (St. Olaf College) and Busya Lugovier (Viterbo University). A native of Wisconsin, Ms. Hassinger currently resides in Boston, Massachusetts. Before moving to the East Coast, she spent five years in Minneapolis as a corporate sales analyst.

Natalie Rose Havens, Mezzo-soprano

 Natalie Rose HavensThis season at CHQ: Shepherd 3/Spirit 2 in L'Orfeo and Mezzo in Hydrogen Jukebox

Ms. Havens was most recently seen as Lola in Cavalleria Rusticana with Daniel Cardona Opera in New York City. This past summer she was seem performing as The Marquise of Berkenfield in Donizetti’s La fille du régiment with Opera North. Natalie has also been seen as the Old Prioress in Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites with UNCG Opera and the title role in Richard Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier with Harrower Opera. Other roles include Miss Todd in Menotti’s Old Maid and the Thief, Harriett in The Clever Artifice of Harriett and Margaret (Scenes Competition Winner for National Opera Association), Scribe/Maria Magdalena in Phillip Glass’s Galileo Galilei, Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro, Dolly in Hello, Dolly!, and Marian Paroo in The Music Man. She obtained a bachelor’s degree from The Florida State University and a masters degree from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Mario Diaz-Moresco, Baritone

 Mario Diaz MorescoThis season at CHQ: Chorus/L'Orfeo(cover) in L'Orfeo, Malatesta (cover) in Don Pasquale, and Baritone in Hydrogen Jukebox

Mr. Diaz-Moresco is garnering attention for his versatility and strong stage presence in both Opera and Art Song. Mr. Diaz-Moresco studied at the University of Colorado and the University of Southern California. He has been a young artist with Central City Opera, The Glimmerglass Festival and a Stern Fellow at Songfest. Roles include Papageno, Guglielmo, Schaunard, Joseph De Rocher, Mercutio, Sid and Silvio. An active recitalist, his Art Song repertoire includes works by Schumann, Vaughan Williams, Poulenc, Beethoven, Bolcom and Musto. In recent seasons, Mr. Diaz-Moresco has given recitals with pianist Spencer Myer on California’s “InConcert Sierra” series, the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Series in Chicago, the Saugatuck Chamber Music Festival, and the Rocky River Chamber Music Society of Ohio. Passionate about new music, Mr. Diaz-Moresco has premiered Laura M. Kramer’s song cycle The Miracle of the Walking Fish, for voice and guitar, Julia Adolphe’s opera Sylvia, and John and Abigail by Ben Moore. In 2016, Mr. Diaz-Moresco was invited to the Professional Studies Diploma program at Mannes School of Music, where he studies with Diana Soviero and played the lead role in Robert Ashley’s Dust under the music direction of Joan La Barbara.

Evan Ross, Bass-Baritone

 Evan RossThis season at CHQ: Pluto in L'Orfeo, Don Pasquale (cover) in Don Pasquale, and Bass in Hydrogen Jukebox

Originally from Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, Mr. Ross is quickly making a name for himself in the operatic world. This season Mr. Ross will be seen as Falstaff with Opera Modo in Detroit. Recent credits include Benoit/ Alcindoro in La Boheme with Madison Opera and Selim (cover) in Il Turco in Italia with Opera Sothwest. Last season, Mr. Ross joinined the Des Moines Metro Opera Apprentice Artist Program singing Sid in La Fanciulla del West. He was also a member of the OperaIowa touring troup singing Don Magnifico in La Cenerentola and Osmin in The Billy Goat’s Gruff. Previously Mr. Ross made his debut with Opera Grand Rapids as Dancairo in Carmen and with Opera Modo as Don Alfonso in Cosi Fan Tutte. Mr. Ross was an Apprentice Artist with Michigan Opera Theater where he sang Marquis D’obigny in La Traviata and the First Immigration Officer in A View From the Bridge. Mr. Ross received his Masters of Music degree from the Boston Conservatory.

Laura Soto-Bayomi, Soprano

 Laura Soto BayomiThis season at CHQ: Chorus in L'Orfeo, Norina in Don Pasquale

Ms. Soto-Bayomi, a New Jersey native, has spent the past two seasons as a Studio Artist with Chautauqua Opera, and was most recently seen as Peep Bo in The Mikado and Soprano I in Song from the Uproar. As the Governess in The Turn of the Screw at Bard College, she “portrayed a conflicted character with expert conviction.” (The Millbrook Independent). Other roles include Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus,, Climene in L’Egisto, and Second Lady in Die Zauberflöte. In 2014, she performed as the soprano soloist in Mozart’s Requiem under the baton of Maestro Ádám Fischer. In concert, Laura has sung the soprano solos in De Falla’s El Sombrero de Tres Picos, and selections from Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn with the New England Conservatory Symphony under the direction of Hugh Wolff in Jordan Hall. Laura was a New England District Finalist in the 2015 Metropolitan National Council Auditions and a finalist in the 2014 NJ State Opera “Silipigni” Vocal Competition. As the 2012 winner of the Orchestral Performance Award from the Bel Canto Institute in Florence, Italy, Laura performed as a soloist with the Vermont Philharmonic. Laura holds degrees from Bard College Conservatory (MM ’15) and New England Conservatory of Music (’13.)

Eric Wassenaar, Tenor

 Eric WassenaarThis season at CHQ: Shepherd 1/Spirit 1 in L'Orfeo, Tenor in Hydrogen Jukebox

Mr. Wassenaar is a native of South Dakota graduated with a master’s degree in vocal performance at the University of Colorado Boulder. There he performed the roles of Mr. Snow in Carousel, Sam Polk in Susannah, Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi and was a featured soloist in Leonard Berstein’s Mass. In 2010 he performed the role of Tamino in Die Zauberflote with The Opera Theatre of the Rockies and again in 2012 with The Sounds of South Dakota. Eric earned his bachelor’s degree at Augustana University in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. As a 2013 Danis Wilson Apprentice Artist at Sugar Creek Opera he sang Lenny in Of Mice and Men and Sam in Susannah. In 2014 he was seen as Father Grenville in Dead Man Walking with DePaul University opera, Alfredo in La Traviata with the South Shore Opera Company, and Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus with the Sounds of South Dakota.



Apprentice Artists

Rachael Braunstein, Soprano

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This season at CHQ: Performing Chorus in Don Giovanni, performing Paquette in Candide
Past Chautauqua Opera Company credits: 2016 Apprentice Artist, Flora Bervoix in La Traviata, Pitti Sing in The Mikado
Select credits: Sally (Mrs. Ten Brock) with Light Opera of New York, Hansel and Gretel (Witch/Mother) with Opera Pomme Rouge at The Kennedy Center, Der Freischütz (Agathe cover) and Trickster Trilogy Education Tour (Till Eulenspiegel) with Virginia Opera, Seagle Music Colony's New Opera Workshop of Roscoe (Hattie/Gladys), Ash Lawn Opera's Young Artist Outreach production of Madama Butterfly (Suzuki), Hansel and Gretel (Witch) and Susannah (Mrs. Ott) at Seagle Music Colony, and The Mother of Us All (Anna Hope) with Manhattan School of Music Opera Theater.
Awards/Residencies: Virginia Opera Emerging Artists Program (2015, 2017), Ash Lawn Opera Young Artist Program (2015), Seagle Music Colony (2014), Centre d'Arts Orford (2013), Crittenden Opera Workshop (2010, 2011).
Education: Manhattan School of Music (M.M. Vocal Performance), University of Southern Maine (B.A. Vocal Performance)

Stephen Clark, Bass

WEB vert Stephen Clark Headshot

This season at CHQ: Performing Masetto and covering Leporello in Don Giovanni, performing Baron/Grand Inquisitor/Don Isaachar/Cacambo and covering Narrator/Voltaire/Pangloss in Candide
Past Chautauqua Opera Company credits: 2015 Studio Artist, Assassin/Chorus/Doctor(cover) in Macbeth, Chorus/Zaretsky(cover)/Captain(cover) in Eugene Onegin
Select credits: Die Zauberflöte (Sarastro), Così fan tutte (Don Alfonso), The Bear (Luka), and Le pauvre matelot (Son Beau-Pere) with Yale Opera, The Burning Fiery Furnace (Azarias), Tosca (Angelotti), The Ballad of Baby Doe (A Politician), The Impresario (Irving D. Geltman), and Carmen (Zuniga cover) with Central City Opera, Samson et Dalila (Second Philistine) and La bohème (Schaunard) with Tulsa Opera, Hamlet (Ghost of King Hamlet) and La traviata (Dottore Grenvil) with Fort Worth Festival Opera.
Awards/Residencies: Central City Apprentice Artist (2016, 2017),  Tulsa Opera Studio Artist (2015-2016), Sarasota Apprentice Artist (2014).
Education: Yale University (MMA in Vocal Performance)

Leroy Y. Davis, Baritone

cropped Leroy Davis

This season at CHQ: Performing Chorus & covering Don Giovanni in Don Giovanni, performing Maximillian in Candide
Select credits: Dido & Aeneas/Venus & Adonis (Aeneas/Adonis), Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Fiorello), Don Giovanni (Masetto), and the world premiere of Sister Carrie (Maitre D/Farley) with Florentine Opera; The Ballad of Baby Doe (Barney) with Central City Opera; Die Zauberflöte (Papageno), The Pirates of Penzance (Sergeant of Police), Turandot (The Madarin/Ping), and The Mikado (Pish-Tush) with Shreveport Opera; and the world premiere of Vinkensport (Atticus Finch's Trainer) at Bard College.
Awards/Residencies: Central City Apprentice Artist (2016), Florentine Opera Studio Artist (2015-2017), Shreveport Opera Resident Artist (2013-2014), Marc and Eva Stern Fellow at SongFest (2011).
Education: New England Conservatory (Graduate Diploma, Vocal Performance), Bard College (M.M. Vocal Performance)

Helen Hassinger, Soprano

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This season at CHQ: Performing Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, performing Chorus in Candide
Past Chautauqua Opera Company credits: 2017 Apprentice Artist; Nymph/Spirit 3 in L'Orfeo, Soprano II in Hydrogen Jukebox
Select credits: Emmeline (Emmeline)Le Nozze di Figaro (Countess), A Midsummer Night's Dream (Helena), Così fan tutte (Fiordiligi), Angels in America (The Angel), and Cendrillon (Spirit) with Boston University Opera Institute;  The War Reporter (Paul's Inner Voice/Soprano), Hydrogen Jukebox (Soprano II), and Vinkensport, or The Finch Opera (Sant Francis's Trainer) with Boston University Fringe Festival; Madame White Snake (Madame White Snake cover) with Beth Morrison Projects; and The Light in the Piazza (Tour Guide) with Theater Latté Da.
Awards/Residencies: Semifinalist in the Classical Singer Competition (2016); Institute of Bel Canto Studies at the University of Houston (2013), Minnesota Opera Chorus Member (2012-2014), Opera Arriva at the University of Minnesota (2010).
Education: Boston University Opera Institute, Boston University (M.M. Voice Performance), Saint Olaf College (B.A. Music)

Rebekah Howell, Soprano

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This season at CHQ: Performing Zerlina in Don Giovanni, performing Cunegonde in Candide
Past Chautauqua Opera Company credits: Studio Artist 2014 & 2017; Chorus in L'Orfeo, Chorus/Norina (cover) in Don Pasquale, performed the world premiere of "The Broom, the Shovel, the Poker and the Tongs" by 2017 Composer-in-Residence Gity Razaz, Chorus in Madam Butterfly, Samantha/Chorus/Sarah(cover) in The Ballad of Baby Doe
Select credits: The Magic Flute (Queen of the Night) with Opéra Louisiane; Die Fledermaus (Adele), Oklahoma! (Ado Annie), and Peter Grimes (1st Niece) at Indiana University; The Turn of the Screw (Flora), Dialogues of the Carmelites (Sister Constance), Dido and Aeneas (Belinda), and Le nozze di Figaro (Barbarina) at Baylor University.
Awards/Residencies: First PLace winner of the Mid-Texas Symphony Orchestra Young Artist Competition (2016), SongFest- Ruth Williams Scholarship Recipient (2015), Finalist in the Dallas Opera Guild Competition (2014), First Place winner of the National Finals (Young Artist Division) in the MTNA Competition (2015), Georgina Joshi International Fellowship recipient from Indiana University; Opera in the Ozarks Studio Artist (2013).
Education: Indiana University (M.M. Vocal Performance), Baylor University (B.M. Vocal Performance)

John Riesen, Tenor

John Riesen

This season at CHQ: Performing Chorus in Don Giovanni, performing Candide in Candide 
Past Chautauqua Opera Company credits: Studio Artist in 2013 & 2014, Apprentice Artist in 2015; Lensky in Eugene Onegin, Malcolm(cover) in Macbeth, 2nd Dandy/Stagedoorman in The Ballad of Baby Doe, Chorus in Madam Butterfly, Rector Adams(cover) in Peter Grimes, and Chorus in Lucia di Lammermoor
Select credits: La Traviata (Alfredo) with Tri-Cities Opera; Gianni Schicchi (Rinuccio) with Crested Butte Festival; La Bohème (Rodolfo) and Beauty and the Beast (Gaston) with Shreveport Opera, The Pirates of Penzance (Frederic) with Shreveport Opera and Opera Ithaca; Madama Butterfly (Pinkerton) and Dead Man Walking (Howard Boucher) with Pensacola Opera.
Awards/Residencies: 2nd Place winner and Audience Favorite in the Mary Jacob Smith Singer of the Year competition (2017), Regional Finalist and Audience Favorite in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions (2016), 2nd Place winner in the William C. Byrd Competition (2014), 1st Place winner and Audience Favorite in the Harold Haugh Competition (2013); Shreveport Opera Resident Artist (2014-2016), Pensacola Opera Artist in Residence (2017).
Education: Michigan State University (M.M. Voice Performance)

Alexandra Rodrick, Mezzo-Soprano

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This season at CHQ: Performing Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, performing Baroness/Sheep #2/Chorus in Candide
Select credits: Carmen (Carmen) with VEROZA Japan/Seiji Ozawa Music Academy; La Cenerentola (Angelina) with The Atlanta Opera and Opéra Louisiane; L'elisir d'amore (Giannetta cover) with San Diego Opera; Naga (Wife) with Beth Morrison Projects; Il barbiere di Siviglia (Rosina) with Opera Tijuana; A Midsummer Night's Dream, Così fan tutte (Dorabella), and Cendrillon (Le Prince Charmant) with Boston University Opera Institute; Seven Deadly Sins (Anna) and Le tragédie de Carmen (Carmen) with Boston University Fringe Festival; La traviata (Flora) with Wolf Trap Opera Company; Dido and Aeneas (Dido) with Little Patuxent Opera Institute.
Awards/Residencies: Finalist in the Deborah Voigt Vero Beach Opera Foundation Inaugural International Vocal Competition (2016), Recipient of the Phyllis Curtin Award at Boston University Opera Institute, Winner of the Virginia and Susan Hawk Memorial Scholarship Competition (2014) and the La Jolla Symphony Young Artist Competition (2014), Encouragement award winner at the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions (Western Region, 2013); Wolf Trap Opera Company Studio Artist (2012, 2013), Green Mountain Opera Festival Apprentice Artist (2014), Aspen Music Festival and School Opera Theater Center Artist (2014), Des Moines Metro Opera Apprentice Artist (2016).
Education: Boston University Opera Institute (Performance Certificate), Point Loma Nazarene University (B.A. Music)

Dennis Shuman, Tenor

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This season at CHQ: Performing Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni, performing Governor/Vanderdendur/Ragotski in Candide
Past Chautauqua Opera Company credits: 2016 Apprentice Artist; Gastone and Alfredo(cover) in La Traviata and Chorus in The Mikado
Select credits: La Traviata (Gastone) with New Orleans Opera; The War Reporter (Honderich), Le nozze di Figaro (Basilio), Emmeline (Matthew Gurney), and Hydrogen Jukebox (Tenor) with Boston University Opera Institute; Roméo et Juliette (Roméo) and Gianni Schicchi (Rinuccio) with Loyola Opera Theatre; New Orleans Opera chorus member (2015-2016), Atlanta Opera chorus member (2010-2011).
Awards/Residencies: Banff Centre Opera as Theatre Program (2009 & 2012).
Education: Boston University Opera Institute (2016-2018), Loyola University New Orleans (M.M. Voice Performance), University of Minnesota-Duluth (B.A. Voice)




Frequently Asked Questions

Check out the frequently asked questions to find more information on our application, scheduling, and audition processes, as well as other general information regarding the Young Artist program.

Chautauqua Opera's Young Artist Program was established in 1968. Now under the supervision of Artistic/General Director Steven Osgood, and Carol Rausch, Music Administrator/Chorus Master, it is recognized as one of the best training programs for young singers in America today. The program has seen over 1,000 artists benefit from this professional training experience.

Chautauqua Opera provides our Young Artists with performance tools essential to establishing a professional career in opera. All Young Artists receive extensive musical coaching from a nationally recognized coaching staff drawn from the finest universities, conservatories and houses in the US. All Artists in the program are offered classes in movement, combat, makeup, and acting, and all artists appear in the the mainstage productions. All Young Artists also have opportunities to participate in master classes given by distinguished artists, agents and voice teachers. Notable masterclass artists in the recent past have included John Fisher (Metropolitan Opera), Craig Rutenberg (Metropolitan Opera), Peter Kazaras (Seattle Opera YA Program), Marlena Malas (Juilliard, Manhattan School of Music), and Brian Zeger (Juilliard).

Each year, the Chautauqua Opera Young Artist Program attracts anywhere from 700-900 applicants, of which approximately 400 are invited to auditions in the Fall. From those auditions, 24 Young Artists are chosen to participate in the summer season. For more information about our Young Artist Program auditions please visit our Auditions FAQ Page.


There are two sections of the Young Artist Program:

APPRENTICE ARTISTS sing or cover leading, supporting/comprimario roles and/or chorus in mainstage productions, perform two concerts with the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, and perform at outreach performances under the auspices of an American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA) Apprenticeship contract.

STUDIO ARTISTS sing or cover supporting/comprimario roles and/or chorus in mainstage productions. In addition, Studio Artists perform in the "Studio Showcase Series" which includes a season-long schedule of art song recitals, community outreach "Invasion" events, educational performances, and a program of opera scenes.

ALL YOUNG ARTISTS receive extensive musical coaching from a nationally recognized coaching staff drawn from the finest opera houses, conservatories and universities. In addition, Young Artists have access to classes and individual coaching sessions with guest instructors specializing in stage combat, health and wellness, performance styles, and acting.

Housing, a weekly stipend, and a travel allowance are provided for all Young Artists.


Alumni of the Young Artist Program include; Douglas Ahlstedt, Keri Alkema, Madeline Bender, Elizabeth Bishop, Luretta Bybee, Joyce Castle, Pamela Coburn, Diane Curry, Brian Davis, Harry Dworchak, Kate Egan, Ruth Falcon, Malin Fritz, Shuler Hensley, Joshua Hopkins, Carolyn James, Anita Johnson, Peter Kazaras, Adam Klein, Sunny Joy Langton, Mimi Lerner, Kyle Marrero, Emily Martin, Lee Merrill, Julie Newell, Mari Opatz, Derrick Parker, Eugene Perry, Herbert Perry, David Pittsinger, Jane Redding, Vale Rideout, Hugh Russell, James Schaffner, Jane Shaulis, Marietta Simpson, Stephanie Sundine, Renée Tatum, Todd Thomas, Mildred Tyree, David Ward, Tracey Welborn, Julie Wright and Sherry Zannoth. In upcoming seasons, former Young Artists will be singing at The Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Seattle Opera and Opera Theatre of St. Louis among others.

Young Artist Program Alumni

Here you'll find a list of Alumni from the past five years. For a full list dating back to 1969, click the PDF link below.

Young Artists Alumni PDF



2018 Young Artists


Rachael Braunstein
Stephen Clark
Leroy Y. Davis
Helen Hassinger
Rebekah Howell
John Riesen
Alexandra Rodrick
Dennis Shuman


Brandon Bell
Brett Bode
Aaron J. Casey
Kathryn Domyan
Kimberly Hann
Emily Howes
Chandler Johnson
Quinn Middleman
Ian Murrell
Teresa Perrotta
Sidney Ragland
Spencer Reichman
Sarah Saturnino
Patrick Dean Shelton
Natalie Trumm
Kayla White