Houston—After an international search, Houston Grand Opera (HGO) has chosen five new singers and one new pianist/coach for the 2018–19 HGO Studio. One of the most respected and highly competitive young artist programs in the world, the HGO Studio provides comprehensive career development to young singers, pianist/coaches, and conductors who have demonstrated potential to make major contributions to the field of opera.

First-year HGO Studio artists are:
Lindsay Kate Brown, mezzo-soprano, Third-place prize winner at Concert of Arias 2018
Dorothy Gal, soprano, Second-place prize winner at Concert of Arias 2018
Geoffrey Hahn, baritone, Finalist in Concert of Arias 2018
Leia Lensing, contralto, First-place prize winner at Concert of Arias 2018
Kyle Naig, pianist/coach
Daniel Noyola, bass-baritone
Nardus Williams, soprano

Returning HGO Studio artists are:
Yelena Dyachek, soprano
Thomas Glass, baritone
Jonathan Gmeinder, pianist/coach
Blair Salter, pianist/coach
Richard Trey Smagur, tenor

The HGO Studio received applications from 506 singers and 19 pianists; of those, 284 were heard in auditions in New York, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Los Angeles, and Houston. For singers, the audition process culminates in HGO’s annual Eleanor McCollum Competition Concert of Arias, held this year on February 1.

During a residency of up to three years, HGO Studio artists receive specialized training in voice, movement, and languages and are afforded numerous performance opportunities. Studio artists are often cast in major and supporting roles in mainstage productions, giving them the opportunity to work with world-renowned artists, directors, and conductors. They also participate in recital series and perform in venues across the city and state for numerous events. The HGO Studio trains young artists in their chosen discipline of classical singing, piano and coaching, or conducting.

“These accomplished artists will enhance the musical life of our company, the city of Houston, and the field of opera,” said HGO Studio Director Brian Speck. “We believe they are destined for major careers, and we are excited to share and develop their extraordinary talents through the HGO Studio program.”

Founded in 1977 by HGO’s then–General Director David Gockley and composer Carlisle Floyd, the HGO Studio was established to help young artists transition from their academic training to careers in opera. Members commit to an intense, individualized study program while living in Houston from mid-August through May.


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