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Opera Santa Barbara Announces 2016 Mosher Studio Artists

Opera Santa Barbara has named four outstanding young vocalists Mosher Studio Artists for 2016. Under a previously announced expansion of the company’s artist residency program, the four standout singers and an apprentice vocal coach will take part in Opera Santa Barbara productions, community events throughout Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, and coachings and masterclasses with top industry directors and conductors over a 17-week period that began Jan. 18, 2016.

The new program’s inaugural participants are soprano Rachel Blaustein, mezzo-soprano Molly Clementz, tenor Lee Steiner and baritone Tim Petty. They will be joined by pianist Kyle Naig.

“I am very excited to work with these talented and dynamic young artists, and I know that their voices and faces will soon become familiar to audiences all over Santa Barbara and beyond,” said Kostis Protopapas, who was named artistic director of Opera Santa Barbara in July 2015.

Under its original artist residency program, founded eight years ago, Opera Santa Barbara hosted four singers for about five weeks of training and rehearsals prior to each of the company’s three annual opera productions, culminating in on-stage appearances as secondary performers.

The effort was originally known as the Young Artists Program and was later renamed the Studio Artist Program. The Mosher Foundation, which supports educational, healthcare and performing arts institutions in the Santa Barbara area, funded an expansion of the program in 2014.

Under the new Mosher Studio Artist Program, participants will tour elementary schools in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties as part of the company’s Opera Lab, which uses improvisational theater techniques to encourage children to create their own operas. 

In addition, they will perform six free noontime concerts at the Santa Barbara Public Library; present previews of Opera Santa Barbara productions to community groups such as retirement homes and Rotary clubs; and take part in a new series of pop up or flash mob performances from Thousand Oaks to Santa Maria.

The pop up performances will be presented at shopping malls, public libraries, farmers markets, school lunchrooms and similar locations. To schedule a pop up performance, contact Opera Santa Barbara at 805.898.3890 or [email protected].

Mosher Studio Artists also will perform secondary roles in Opera Santa Barbara’s upcoming productions of Gaetano Donizetti’s romantic comedy L’elisir d’amore (The Elixir of Love) March 4 and 6, and Puccini’s great one-act operas Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi April 22 and 24.

Featuring popular and lesser-known operatic repertoire with piano accompaniment, the free noontime concerts will be offered at the Santa Barbara Public Library’s Faulkner Gallery Feb. 17 and 24 and March 2 (in advance of L’elisir d’amore), and April 6, 13 and 20 (Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi).

Additional concerts will likely be scheduled at other regional public libraries.

Through a related partnership, qualified UC Santa Barbara voice students will be eligible to participate in the Mosher Studio Artist Program.

Opera Santa Barbara is seeking local homeowners to serve as housing donors for Mosher Studio Artists. Donors will receive a stipend of $2,000 for the full 17-week period. Each artist requires a private bedroom and bathroom and wireless internet access.

For more information, contact Opera Santa Barbara at 805.898.3890 or [email protected].

2016 Mosher Studio Artists

A native of Olney, Md., soprano Rachel Blaustein recently earned a master’s degree at Johns Hopkins University’s Peabody Institute.

Last summer she made her mainstage debut as Barena in Janáček’s Jenůfa with Des Moines Metro Opera. She will return to Des Moines this year to cover Eurydice in Orphée et Eurydice.

As a studio artist with Chautauqua Opera in 2013 Blaustein covered the role of Nannetta in Falstaff. While attending Peabody, she appeared as Konstanze in Die Entführung aus dem Serail at the Baltimore Lyric Opera House and was seen as the Sandman/Dew Fairy in an outreach production of Hansel and Gretel.

Blaustein made her Kennedy Center debut in 2015 and received an Encouragement Award from the 2014 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from Hofstra University.

Born in Charles, Ill., mezzo-soprano Molly Clementz is a doctoral candidate at UC Santa Barbara, where she studies with Linda Di Fiore.

Last year she performed in Opera Santa Barbara’s production of Don Giovanni and in the Amalfi Coast Festival’s summer production of Die Zauberflöte.

She made her Opera Santa Barbara debut in 2014 as Page in Rigoletto. Clementz performed the lead role of Viola in the West Coast premiere of Joel Feigin’s Twelfth Night last year.

While studying abroad in Austria, she was a finalist in the American Institute of Musical Studies’ Meistersinger Competition in Graz. In 2013 she performed the title role in Cendrillon at the University of North Texas.

Clementz received undergraduate degrees in music and English from Luther College, where she performed as Cupid in Orpheus in the Underworld.

A native of Greensburg, Penn., tenor Lee Steiner most recently made his Des Moines Metro Opera debut as Harry in La fanciulla del West.

Earlier in 2015 he appeared in nearly 90 performances with OPERA Iowa as Ramiro in La Cenerentola and Ernesto in Davies’s The Billy Goats Gruff, followed by a turn as Tamino in Salt Marsh Opera’s production of The Magic Flute.

Steiner has also performed with Opera North in Lebanon, N.H., appearing as Sam in Weill’s Street Scene and Giuseppe in La Traviata.

While earning a master’s degree at the University of Illinois, he appeared with the Illinois Opera Theater as Tamino, Arcadio in Catán's Florencia en el Amazonas, Orpheus in Orpheus in the Underworld, Macheath in The Threepenny Opera and Pane in Cavalli’s La Calisto.

Baritone Tim Petty recently completed tenures at Opera Saratoga and Tulsa Opera, where he was seen as Slim in Of Mice and Men, Mercutio in Roméo et Juliette and Frank Lloyd Wright in Daron Hagen’s Shining Brow.

He also covered the role of Jeff for the world premiere of Jeremy Howard Beck and Stephanie Fleischmann’s new work, The Long Walk.

His previous roles include Dr. Falke in Die Fledermaus, Guglielmo in Così fan tutte, the Revival Singer in Elmer Gantry, Sergeant Morales and Le Dancaïre in Carmen, the Husband in The Breasts of Tiresias, Harlequin in Ariadne auf Naxos, Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby and Count Carl-Magnus Malcolm in A Little Night Music.

Pianist Kyle Naig hails from Des Moines, Iowa. He recently worked on productions of Catán’s La hija de Rappaccini and Heggie’s Three Decembers at Des Moines Metro Opera, a production of Don Pasquale at Opera Bozeman and a production of Le nozze di Figaro at the University of Kansas. He is active in opera and theater in Kansas City, recently assisting at Lyric Opera of Kansas City as well as the University of Kansas (where he studied with Steven Spooner and Jack Winerock).

Next summer he will return to Des Moines Metro Opera for productions of Manon and Glass’s Galileo Galilei. He also performs solo piano repertoire and chamber music.

Tim Dougherty represents Opera Santa Barbara.


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