Meet our 2021 Young Artists
Michael Colman, Bass-Baritone
Lyric bass Michael Colman, recently hailed by Opera News for “fielding a fine, dark bass-baritone”, has performed roles with many premier regional opera companies including Basilio (Il barbiere di Siviglia) with Chautauqua Opera and Virginia Opera, The Commentator (Scalia/Ginsburg) with Opera Carolina and Opera Grand Rapids, Guglielmo (Così fan tutte) with Opera Grand Rapids, Imperial Commissioner (Madama Butterfly) with Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Sergeant of Police (The Pirates of Penzance) with Dayton Opera, as well as concert performances as the Bass Soloist (Messiah) with the Dayton Philharmonic and the Bass Soloist (Mozart Requiem) with The Virginia Consort.
Jared V. Esguerra, Tenor
Filipino-American tenor, Jared V. Esguerra, is a dedicated performer of vocal works ranging from opera to concert repertoire and musical theater. The Chicago native has been praised for his “pleasing tenor” voice and continues to be in high demand.
In addition to his role debut as Fenton in Verdi’s Falstaff at the Crested Butte Music Festival in 2018, he has portrayed Miles in The Turn of the Screw with Chicago Fringe Opera and Ferrando in Cosi fan tutte with the Floating Opera Company. He has also sung Pirelli in Sweeney Todd with the Janiec Opera Company at Brevard Music Center, the Messenger in Il Trovatore at Sarasota Opera, and the Englishman in Angélique, Luiz in The Gondoliers, and Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus all at DePaul University, of which he’s an alumnus.
On the concert stage, Jared recently appeared as the tenor soloist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in Now Let’s Sing and with Chicago Sinfonietta in its MLK Tribute concert series.
After a sold-out run of West Side Story as A-Rab at the Edinburgh International Festival in 2019, Jared returned to appear with Chicago Opera Theater in the critically acclaimed world premiere of Freedom Ride in early 2020. He will return to Chicago Opera Theater in their production of La hija de Rappaccini as Giovanni (cover) in April 2021.
Yazid Gray, Baritone
Yazid Gray, originally from Gaithersburg, MD, is currently a Resident Artist with Pittsburgh Opera where he is scheduled to perform in all four mainstage productions of their revamped 2020/21 season. These roles will include Guglielmo in Così fan Tutte, Soldier in David T. Little’s Soldier Songs, Athamas/Apollo in Semele, and Dizzy Gillespie in Charlie Parker’s Yardbird. He has performed with companies such as Opera Santa Barbara, Chautauqua Opera, and Maryland Lyric Opera. Yazid received his B.M. in Voice from DePauw University and is a graduate of University of Michigan where he received his M.M. in Voice.
Kelly Guerra, Mezzo-Soprano
Peruvian-American mezzo-soprano Kelly Guerra was noted as a “standout” in the Wall Street Journal, for her performance with the Tanglewood Music Center as Mrs. Doc in Leonard Bernstein’s A Quiet Place. In 2021, Kelly will sing Zweite Dame in Lighthouse Opera’s Die Zauberflöte, has been featured with the Metropolitan Opera Guild, and continues to workshop Iphigenia by Wayne Shorter and Esperanza Spalding. During the 2019-2020 season, Guerra was an Opera Santa Barbara Chrisman Studio Artist where she covered the roles of Suzuki in Madama Butterfly and Donna Rosa in Il Postino. Guerra has been featured at the Lucerne Festival, Tanglewood Music Center, and the Bard Music Festival. As a first-generation American and native of Southern California, Kelly is passionate about producing projects that raise awareness and monetary aid for detained immigrants in the USA as well as premiering and championing contemporary vocal works.
Chasiti Lashay, Soprano
Chasiti Lashay hails from Houston, TX. Chasiti was a finalist in the 2020 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. This past summer, Chasiti participated in Chautauqua Opera’s 2021 virtual Opera Invasion doing virtual performances and 3 masterclasses. She was also set to be a resident artist at the Lyric Opera of Kansas City for the 2020-2021 season which was unfortunately cancelled due to COVID-19. Chasiti was announced as a finalist in the Tri-Cities Opera TCO Next virtual competition where she was the second place winner. She has performed the role of Primadonna in the Prologue of Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos, Suor Angelica in Puccini’s Suor Angelica and covered the role of Countess in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro. She has also performed the following partial roles: Countess from Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, Mimi in Puccini’s La Boheme, Desdemona in Verdi’s Otello, Cleopatra in Barber’s Antony and Cleopatra, Mère Marie in Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites, Blanche in Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire, and Arabella in Strauss’ Arabella. Chasiti is a recent graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM). She earned her Postgraduate diploma in May 2020 and Master of Music in Voice at SFCM in May 2019 and completed her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration at Tuskegee University in 2014.