About Wan

Wan Zhao FotorPast Chautauqua Opera Company Credits: Apprentice Artist 2019 – Soon Yi-Nam in ¡Figaro! (90210) and Gossip 3/Chorus in The Ghosts of Versailles.
Select credits: Eugene Onegin (Olga), Vanessa (Erika), Le nozze di Figaro (Marcellina), and The Rake’s Progress (Baba the Turk) with Mannes Opera; Suor Angelica (Infermiera) with the Martina Arroyo Foundation; Hansel and Gretel (Hansel) with New York Lyric Opera Theatre; The Ghosts of Versailles (Cherubino) with Miami Music Festival. 
Awards: Premiere Opera Foundation International Vocal Competition (2018)—Semi-Finalist;
Education: Mannes School of Music (Professional Studies Diploma, 2019; Master of Music, 2017), Shanghai Conservatory of Music (Bachelor of Music, 2015).


To Watch

Virtual Sing-In, Part 2

Opera Invasion 1: Ballads on Balconies, Tour D

Opera Invasion 3: Miller Bell Tower Sing-a-long

Cocktails, Concerts, and Conversations, Week 7

”Hometown” (Chautauqua Opera Song Cycle)

Week Seven Master Class

Week Eight Master Class

Opera Invasion 4: Grand Finale - A Musical Tour of the Institution Grounds

Young Artist Interview

Wan 2Q: What is your hometown?
A: I'm from Wuhan, China.

Q: What was the first opera you saw and how old were you?
A: The first opera I saw in life was La Bohème when I was 18 years old at the Shanghai Grand Theater when I was in Shanghai doing my undergrad.

Q: What was the first opera in which you performed?
A: I was singing Erika in Vanessa by Samuel Barber with Mannes Opera while I was doing my first-year Master's degree at Mannes School of Music in NYC. It was my first operatic role. It was very challenging for me at the time but I'm grateful that I had the chance to do it! The process taught me basically everything about being an opera singer. I still remember all the pressure and nervousness during rehearsals and the excitement and fulfillment of performance!

Q: Opera features some pretty iconic characters. Who is your favorite operatic character and why?
A: My favorite character is Carmen (also my dream role!). I like how independent, charming, and free she is, fighting for what she wants no matter what it takes. Also, it's a female operatic character that has a lot of modern meaning especially nowadays.

Q: Who are your opera singing idols?
A: Christa Ludwig, Régine Crespin, Elina Garanca, Kate Lindsey, Giulietta Simionato, Marilyn Horne, Teresa Berganza... Too many wonderful Mezzos out there!

Q: What do you love most about opera?
A: The combination of the range of sound and storytelling. The richness of the orchestral sound and voices. I think the most fascinating thing about opera is once you get the overwhelmed (in a good way) overall feeling of it, you'll never get tired of it!

Q: Chautauquans love their ice-cream! What is your favorite flavor?
A: Another question which I can go on and on about but classic Vanilla and chocolate would never go wrong!

Photo caption: Wan Zhao during Chautauqua Opera's 2019 Opera Pops Concert with the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra. Photo Credit: Dave Munch.

Spotify Playlist

Each week, two of our Young Artists will draw inspiration from Chautauqua Institution’s weekly theme and weekly interfaith theme to curate Spotify playlists for your listening pleasure. We hope these playlists provide inspiration, joy, and a chance to engage with these themes in a different way.

For Week Seven, Wan drew inspiration from the interfaith theme The Spirituality of Us

She says:

“An opening of the heart is an essential aspect of true spirituality. I’m an opera singer, but I’m also a big fan of pop music from an early age. I’d like to take this chance creating a playlist to show off some of the pop songs and music which makes me have a sense of spirituality but is also open to interpretation. I think everybody has their own opinion about spirituality, so I’ll leave it to the listeners to have their own definition.”