About Aaren

ARivardSelect credits: Gianni Schicchi (Rinuccio) with Social Distance Opera; Don Giovanni (Don Ottavio) with Wichita Grand Opera; Il trovatore (Ruiz, Messenger) with Pensacola Opera; Le nozze di Figaro (Basilio/Don Curzio), Romeo and Juliet (Romeo), La Traviata (Gastone, Alfredo cover), and Hansel and Gretel (Witch) with Opera Colorado; Le nozze di Figaro (Basilio), L’elisir d’amore (Nemorino), La Clemenza di Tito (Tito), and Béatrice et Bénédict (Bénédict) with Wichita State University.
Awards: Moriarty Award winner (Central City Opera, 2019), Naftzger Young Artist Auditions (Wichita Symphony, 2018)—Vocal Prize winner, Wichita State University Concerto/Aria Competition (2017)—Winner, National Association of Teachers of Singing Competition (West Central Region, 2016)—Regional Winner.
Education: Wichita State University (Master of Music, 2018), University of Southern Maine (Bachelor of Music, 2015).

 

To Watch

Virtual Sing-In, Part 3

 

Young Artist Interview

AarenQ: What is your hometown?
A: I'm from South China, Maine, but when I tell people that I usually get confused looks. So, I've started saying Portland, Maine instead; I've lived there for years, and it's one of my favorite cities!

Q: What was the first opera you saw and how old were you?
A: My first full opera was  La bohème on dvd, the San Francisco Production with Pavarotti and Freni, I was doing a project on Luciano in High School. 

Q: What was the first opera in which you performed?
A: My first opera was Freshman year of undergrad, H.M.S. Pinafore by Gilbert and Sullivan.

Q: Opera features some pretty iconic characters. Who is your favorite operatic character and why?
A: It's hard to pick one! So many characters in opera carry ideals that I can definitely relate to, but I think Nemorino in L'elisir d'amore is one of my favorites. Sure he's naive and not so smart, but he's incredibly honest, and has one of the biggest hearts in all of opera.

Q: Who are your opera singing idols?
A: I have had the privilege of singing with some of the most awe-inspiring performers, even in just the few years I've been working professionally. That being said, Luciano Pavarotti will forever be a singer I will turn to for inspiration and motivation.

Q: What do you love most about opera?
A: I've always been drawn to music, and to telling stories. Opera has always been, for me, the greatest way to mix those two mediums. And in a way that assimilates all other forms of art!

Q: Chautauquans love their ice-cream! What is your favorite flavor?
A: The hardest question of them all; Ben and Jerry's Vegan Cinnamon Roll ice cream.

Photo caption: Aaren Rivard singing in a "Jukebox Gala" with Pensacola Opera, Photo Credit: Meg Burke.

About Michael

Michael Colman HeadshotPast Chautauqua Opera Company Credits: Studio Artist 2019 – Basilio in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Chorus in The Ghosts of Versailles, covered Atzuko in ¡Figaro! (90210).
Select credits: Scalia/Ginsburgh (The Commentator) with Opera Carolina, reprised at Opera Grand Rapids and Toledo Opera; Rigoletto (Ceprano/Sparafucile cover), Trial by Jury (Foreman of the Jury), and Aida (King of Egypt) with Toledo Opera; Così fan tutte (Guglielmo) with Opera Grand Rapids; Pirates of Penzance (Sergeant of Police/Pirate King cover) with Dayton Opera; La bohème (Schaunard) and Star-Crossed Lovers (workshop, Friar Laurence) with Indianapolis Opera; La Traviata (Dottore Grenvil) with Opera on the James.
Education: Indiana University (Performance Diploma, 2021), University of Kansas (Master of Music, 2015), Baylor University (Bachelor of Music, 2012).

Visit Michael's Website

 

To Watch

Virtual Sing-In, Part 1

Week One Master Class

 

Young Artist Interview

Michael Colman 5Q: What is your hometown?
A: Cedarville, OH.

Q: What was the first opera you saw and how old were you?
A: When I first started showing an interest in singing around the age of 13, my dad brought home three DVDs for me: Guys and Dolls, Chicago, and La Bohème with Pavarotti and Freni at the Met. I had never heard anything like that and have been hooked ever since! 

Q: What was the first opera in which you performed?
A: My first role was Superintendent Budd in Albert Herring at Baylor University. I vividly remember basing most of the character on my dog, Lando, lots of looking confused and licking my chops.

Q: Opera features some pretty iconic characters. Who is your favorite operatic character and why?
A: Leporello is such a complex character with some of the best music ever written (especially for bass!) Is he a coward or just lazy? Brilliant manipulator or bumbling idiot? So much depth to plumb.

Q: Who are your opera singing idols?
A: Definitely Samuel Ramey (that voice... that hair...), Bryn Terfel, and George London

Q: What do you love most about opera?
A: I love the act of singing. Technically speaking, singers are vibrating each and every air molecule in the room without any amplification. We are literally moving the audience with the sound of our voice. When I can do that while bringing an affecting story to life, it is the greatest experience in the world for me.

Q: Chautauquans love their ice-cream! What is your favorite flavor?
A: Hmmmm... Ben & Jerry's came out with a non-dairy 7 layer coconut caramel icecream and it is life-changing. 10/10, 5 stars, all of that and more. (Just don't take the last one if I'm headed to the store after a long day of rehearsal).

Photo caption: Michael Colman as the Sergeant of Police in Pirates of Penzance at Dayton Opera.

About Eric

Eric Botto Headshot 2019Select credits: Roméo et Juliette (Roméo) with Natchez Music Festival; The Little Prince (Vain Man/Lamplighter) with First Coast Opera; Roméo et Juliette (Roméo), La bohème (Rodolfo), and Turandot (Pong) with Mississippi Opera; Roméo et Juliette (Roméo), Iolanthe (Earl Tolloller), and The Consul (The Magician) with Alabama School of the Arts; Sweeney Todd (Pirelli) with Opera Fort Collins; La Cenerentola (Don Ramiro) and Madama Butterfly (Goro cover) with Operafestival di Roma.
Awards: National Association of Teachers of Singing Competition (Alabama, 2019)—First Place, Colorado State University Singer of the Year (2016)—Finalist.
Education: University of Mobile (Master of Music, 2020), Colorado State University (Bachelor of Music, 2017).

 

To Watch

Virtual Sing-In, Part 1

 

Young Artist Interview

Eric BottoQ: What is your hometown?
A: Houston, Texas, born and raised

Q: What was the first opera you saw and how old were you?
A: I was 14 when I saw Houston Grand’s La bohème. Gorgeous voices, and that set was just breathtaking.

Q: What was the first opera in which you performed?
A: It was Franz Lehár’s charming operetta Die lustige Witwe, performed in English. My very first role was Raoul de St Brioche.

Q: Opera features some pretty iconic characters. Who is your favorite operatic character and why?
A: I would have to say Werther. The guy is arguably one of the most distraught, broken characters in the canon. It is both emotionally and musically a marathon of a role.

Q: Who are your opera singing idols?
A: For the living, I would definitely say Bryan Hymel and René Barbera. They are such different types of tenors, both so committed to their craft and artistry, and it shows in their work. Regarding the late greats, I would have to go with Corelli and Pavarotti. You just can’t beat those instruments!

Q: What do you love most about opera?
A: The freedom of self-expression and utter vulnerability. On that stage, the world temporarily stops and people leave their trials & tribulations at the door, leaving the musicians & audience with total empathy. 

Q: Chautauquans love their ice-cream! What is your favorite flavor?
A: This is a tough question! I periodically get hooked on a new flavor, but I seem to always go back to Cookies and Cream.

Photo caption: Eric Botto as Roméo in Roméo et Juliette at Alabama School of the Arts. Photo Credit: Ally Judkins.

About Jared

Jared V. Esguerra Select credits: West Side Story (A-Rab) at the Edinburgh International Festival; Moby Dick (Greenhorn cover) and Rita (Beppe cover) at Chicago Opera Theater; Carmen (La Remendado) with Fort Wayne Philharmonic; Falstaff (Fenton) with Crested Butte Music Festival; Così fan tutte (Ferrando) with Floating Opera Company. 
Awards: Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions (Illinois District, 2017 & Wisconsin District, 2019)—District Winner.
Education: DePaul University (Bachelor of Music, 2012).

 

To Watch

Virtual Sing-In, Part 3

 

Young Artist Interview

Jared EsguerraQ: What is your hometown?
A: Glen Ellyn, IL

Q: What was the first opera you saw and how old were you?
A: Falstaff at Lyric Opera of Chicago with my music theory AP class when I was 17.

Q: What was the first opera in which you performed?
A: The Mikado by G&S as part of the chorus.

Q: Opera features some pretty iconic characters. Who is your favorite operatic character and why?
A: Carmen. She's a confident, strong woman who does what she wants and goes out on her terms.

Q: Who are your opera singing idols?
A: Matthew Polenzani and Lawrence Brownlee

Q: What do you love most about opera?
A: When things go right, they go right in the best way. 

Q: Chautauquans love their ice-cream! What is your favorite flavor?
A: I love a funky savory type of flavor but in a pinch, a good ole cookies n' cream will do!

Photo caption: Eric Botto in concert singing "Maria" from West Side Story at the Crested Butte Music Festival, as part of the Festival's Bernstein 100 celebration. Photo Credi: Xavier Fane.

About Shafali

Shafali JalotaSelect credits: La Calisto (Giunone) with Opera NEO; Street Scene (Rose), Die Zaubernacht (Toy Fairy), Town Hall (Mina, World Premiere), Le nozze di Figaro (Countess Almaviva), and Dialogues des Carmélites (Blanche cover) with Maryland Opera Studio; Trouble in Tahiti (Girl 1) with Capital City Symphony Orchestra; Dido and Aeneas (Dido) with UNC Opera; Suor Angelica (Suor Genovieffa) with Halifax Summer Opera Festival.
Awards: Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions (Washington, D.C., 2019)—Encouragement Award, Camille Coloratura Competition (2019)—Second Place, Carolyn Bailey and Dominick Argento Vocal Competition (2019)—Finalist, Lucy Washington Vocal Competition (2017)—First Place.
Education: Maryland Opera Studio at University of Maryland (Master of Music, 2019), University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Bachelor of Music, 2017).

Visit Shafali's Website

 

To Watch

Virtual Sing-In, Part 1

Week One Master Class

 

Young Artist Interview

ShafaliQ: What is your hometown?
A: Silver Spring, MD

Q: What was the first opera you saw and how old were you?
A: I saw Madama Butterfly live at the Kennedy Center, and I think I was around 12. Before that, I fell in love with recording of La Bohème.

Q: What was the first opera in which you performed?
A:When I was 12, I was in the children's chorus of The Dream of the Pacific, an opera specifically for young people about the Lewis and Clark expeditions that the Washington National Opera produced. I loved every second of the experience - from being a tree to flying a bird across the stage!

Q: Opera features some pretty iconic characters. Who is your favorite operatic character and why?
A: Wow, what a huge question! I love every character I get to play because I always learn so much from living in their skin the way you have to as a performer. Of operatic characters I haven't performed, I'd have to say Scarpia in Tosca - the most evil villain of all time. The Te Deum always gives me chills.

Q: Who are your opera singing idols?
A: Maria Callas, Mirella Freni, Carolyn Sampson, Cecelia Bartoli, Felicity Lott, Joan Sutherland

Q: What do you love most about opera?
A: Honestly, I love everything about opera! To me, it's about characters and timeless stories. I love the details - why a character makes a decision, all the different emotions they feel. And I love the grand spectacle of the genre as well. It still amazes me that someone can make gorgeous, expressive sounds with their voice that can fill a huge hall.

Q: Chautauquans love their ice-cream! What is your favorite flavor?
A: Right now, I'm loving Pistachio ice cream...But I love ALL flavors :)

Photo caption: Shafali Jalota as the Toy Fairy in Kurt Weill's Die Zaubernacht with the Maryland Opera Studio. Photo credit: Dave Andrews.