Chrisman Studio Artist Program

Named in recognition of the support of Sarah and Roger Chrisman, the Chrisman Studio Artist Program has now refocused to employ California based artists for  360º training opportunities both on stage and off.


Information about our new Chrisman Studio Artist Program: 

  • PROGRAM EXPANSION AND REGIONAL FOCUS: Beginning with the 2021-22 season Opera Santa Barbara will shift from our traditional, seasonal 4 artists-in-residence program, to a new model that aims at providing training and performance opportunities to a larger and more diverse group of promising young artists based in California.
    Artists will be selected based on their career potential in performance and other areas of the performing arts industry.

  • TRAINING ON-STAGE AND OFF: Our studio artists will have free access to year-round training with top industry professionals. Training opportunities may include voice lessons, vocal coachings, dramatic coaching, movement, masterclasses, and more. In addition to performance training, Chrisman Studio Artists will receive training and hands-on experience in all aspects of performing arts administration and production, according to their individual interests and skills. The overall goal of the Opera Santa Barbara Chrisman Studio is to better prepare artists for an industry that increasingly requires them to be enterprising individuals as well as performing at a high level.

 

  • SHORT-TERM RESIDENCIES & CONTRACTS: Along with the free training opportunities, Chrisman Studio Artists will be offered short performance contracts for assignments customized to each artist’s strengths and skill level. These opportunities may include community concerts, mainstage roles, cover assignments, educational programming, digital content creation, and more. By focusing on California artists, scheduling training opportunities on weekends, and offering intermittent, short residency contracts, it is our hope to make participation possible for young artists who may need to stay close to home and make a living from multiple sources.

 

2021|2022  Chrisman Studio Artists

Omar Rodriguez

Baritone Omar Rodriguez has been a featured soloist in opera, oratorio, and recital performances throughout the United States. Some of his recent role highlights include Count Almaviva in Mozart's le nozze di Figaro, Papageno in The Magic Flute, and Guglielmo in Così fan tutte. He has been a frequent soloist with Ensemble Monterey Chamber Orchestra as the bass soloist in Purcell’s Mass to St. Cecilia, Handel’s Messiah and Israel in Egypt, the title role in Mendelssohn’s Elijah and Britten’s Rejoice in the Lamb. Omar has had the honor of performing as a soloist in venues such as Carnegie Hall, the Basilica San Marco in Venice, Vienna’s Votivkirche and the Salzburg Residenz Palast. This summer, he attended the Middlebury Language School German for Singers program, learning German in a complete immersion environment and performing scenes from Mozart's operatic catalogue. January 2022 will see his debut with Espressivo in a performance of Ravel's Trois poèmes de Mallarmé and covering the role of Melchior in the world premiere of Befana: A Christmas Fable by Kirke Mechem. Omar will be performing the role of the Marchese d’Obigny in La Traviata with Opera Santa Barbara in Spring of 2022. Also in the works is an upcoming full-length album with the Canada-based symphonic metal band, Dusk Meridian. Mr. Rodriguez holds a BM in Vocal Performance from California State University Fullerton, and an MM in Vocal Performance from Boston University. Omar speaks English, Spanish, and German. He currently studies with Matthew Worth.

Cambria Metzinger

Cambria Metzinger is a San Diego based mezzo-soprano from Santa Barbara, California. She has been praised for her charming stage presence and wide stylistic range. Cambria has an extensive background in a variety of musical genres including jazz and musical theater with a primary focus in opera. She is on track to receive her BM in classical vocal performance from San Diego State University where she has performed a variety of principal roles, including the Stewardess in Jonathan Dove’s Flight, Dafne in Peri’s Euridice and Anna in Kurt Weill's The Seven Deadly Sins. She most recently performed the role of Prince Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus with Pacific Lyric Association Opera. Cambria’s voice has been consistently lauded by distinguished organizations such as the National Association of Teachers Singing (NATS), the Music Teacher Association of California (MTAC) and the Santa Barbara Music Club (SBMC). Cambria has been accepted into Opera Santa Barbara’s Chrisman Studio Artist program for the 2021-2022 season. She will be making her Opera Santa Barbara debut as a seamstress in Puccini’s Il Tabarro. She can also be seen performing as the Cantadora in SDSU’s upcoming production of La verbena de la Paloma as well as a soloist for the Mozart Requiem in D minor, K. 626 with the SDSU orchestra. Cambria is currently in the process of applying to graduate school, where she intends on pursuing a MM in vocal performance.

 

Norman Espinoza

Norman Espinoza, a Bass from San José, California is excited to be part of the Chrisman Studio Artist program for Opera Santa Barbara’s 2021-2022 season. He has performed internationally and with numerous opera companies around the nation. Norman is a graduate from San José State University where he obtained both his M.M. and B.M. in Vocal Performance. 

Recognized for his powerful low notes, he has sung for the Berlin Opera Academy, the Montefeltro Music Festival in Italy, Opera San José, Lyric Opera of Orange County, Opera Las Vegas and most recently at the Al Ringling Theatre in Baraboo, Wisconsin. Roles Norman has sung include; Alidoro, Reverend Hale, Il Commendatore, Sparafucile, Leporello, Bartolo, Seneca and Sarastro to name a few. 

Off stage, Norman and his wife run a financial services business. They are passionate about educating others about how money works. They also serve on the board for Lyric Opera of Orange County as their Treasures. Together they are a great team and love giving back to their community.

Raphaella Medina

Commended for her colorful timbre and moving performances,
mezzo-soprano Raphaella Medina has made appearances in opera, concert, musical theater, and theater throughout the United States and internationally.

In the 2021 - 2022 season, Raphaella joins Opera Santa Barbara as a Chrisman Studio Artist, performing the role of Diana in the mariachi opera, Cruzar la cara de la luna.

This past summer, Raphaella was a Summer Concert Artist with Florentine Opera, performing concerts throughout the Lake Michigan region.

During the 2019/20 season, Raphaella joined Opera Columbus as a Resident Artist, covering Rosina in The Barber of Seville, Ottavia in an innovative production of L’incoronazione di Poppea, as well as giving concert performances with the New Albany Symphony Orchestra and the Central Ohio Symphony. She was also named a Bonnie Bell Encouragement Award winner by the James Toland Vocal Arts Competition.

In the 2018/19 season, Raphaella made her debut with BARN Opera as Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia, originated the roles of Shop Woman and Mrs. Leak in the world premiere of Lolly Willowes (MATCH, Houston), debuted as a soloist with the Simpson University Symphony and the Paradise Symphony, co-wrote and premiered a devised theater work, SMALL UMBRELLAS, and made her television debut as Isabella in Shakespeare's Measure for Measure with Spiritus Productions/KIXE Channel 9 in collaboration with the PBS documentary series, Shakespeare Uncovered. Raphaella was also named a San Francisco District Winner and a Western Region Finalist in the 2018/19 Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions.

Previous season highlights include Raphaella’s role and house debut as Zweite Dame in Die Zauberflöte with Opera in the Heights (2017), originating the role of Oldest Daughter in the world premiere of The Woman of Salt (2017), singing the title role in The Ugly Duckling with Opera Saratoga (2018), and being announced the winner of Mobile Opera’s Madame Rose Palmai-Tenser Competition (2018).

Raphaella has performed roles with Opera in the Heights, BARN Opera, Opera Saratoga, Seagle Music Colony, Moores Opera Center, and the FSU Opera. Favorite roles include Rosina, Stéphano, Dorabella, Dolly Oblonsky (Anna Karenina), and Isabela (La hija de Rappaccini).

In addition to her work on the opera stage, Raphaella has participated in Carnegie Hall’s series of masterclasses led by Joyce DiDonato which were broadcast internationally by Medici.tv. She has also participated in Marilyn Horne’s Carnegie Hall masterclass series The Song Continues and has appeared in recital with Stephanie Blythe.

Raphaella holds a Master of Music from the Moores School of Music at the University of Houston. She completed her undergraduate studies at the Florida State University College of Music.

Sunwoo Park

SUNWOO PARK, from Seoul, South Korea, is a Graduate Certi?cate student studying under Professor Elizabeth Hynes at the Thornton School of Music, University of Southern California. She will be joining as Opera Santa Barbara Chrisman Studio Artist this year and performing the world premiere piece called All the Truths We Cannot See: A Chernobyl Story by Ulias Pulkis as a “Bear” in Helsinki, Finland in Spring 2022. She was invited to perform Papagena in The Magic Flute and to cover First Sprite in Rusalka at The Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Singer Program and Witness 1, Singer 1 and Woman 1 in Lessons in Love and Violence by George Benjamin at Lyric Opera of Chicago and also to perform as a “Calisto” in Cavalli’s La Calisto at USC Opera in 2020. However, those scheduled performances were canceled due to COVID-19. During the summer of 2019, she covered Musetta in La Bohème at The Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Singer Program. At USC Opera, she performed as a “Susanna” in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro in 2019 and “Le Feu (The Fire)” in Ravel’s L’Enfant et les Sortilèges and a “Lady with a Hand Mirror'' as a Operetta Singer in Dominick Argento’s Postcard from Morocco in 2018. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in vocal performance from the Seoul National University where she graduated cum laude with the Eminence scholarship. She also recorded songs in the advertisement of Nikon Camera in Japan and the main title song of "Tachikoma" which is a famous animation movie in Japan.

 

Marlaina Owens

The American soprano, Marlaina Owens, a native of Los Angeles, has concertized throughout Austria, France, Germany, and the United States. Her operatic credits include Adele and Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus, Nella in Gianni Schicchi, Second Lady in Die Zauberflöte, and the title role in Suor Angelica. Equally home in both theater and music, Owens’ performance artistry is shaped by her captivating stage presence, stylistic versatility and keen sense of dramatic timing. Her engagements in the 2020-21 season include the roles of Adele in Pacific Lyric Association’s production of Die Fledermaus (postponed due to COVID), as well as Denise in Long Beach Opera’s imposing new work, Creative in Me. Most impressively, this operatic work has been adapted to be performed virtually, and in its entirety, via Zoom. In the 2019-2020 season, Marlaina enjoyed soloist opportunities with the LA Opera League and the Shivers Concert Series in Colorado Springs. She was a finalist in the historical NAMN Marian Anderson Voice Competition in Chicago, an emerging artist with the Berlin Opera Academy, and trained under operatic soprano, Roberta Alexander, during her time in Amsterdam. She holds a Master’s degree in Voice from University of California, Irvine, and a Bachelor's degree in Vocal Performance from Loyola Marymount University.

Matthew Peterson

Praised by the Colorado Spring's Gazzette for his "stunning" singing with "power and beauty", Matthew Peterson is an up and coming Baritone acclaimed for his rich voice and expressive acting ability.

A Colorado native, Matthew has performed with many of Colorado’s premiere musical organizations including Central City Opera, the Colorado Ballet, Opera Colorado, Boulder Symphony, the Boulder Philharmonic, and numerous others.

He has also sung nationally with Virginia Opera, the Fort Hayes Symphony, and Opera in the Ozarks. Roles include Silvio in Pagliacci, the title role of Don Giovanni, Figaro in Le Nozze di Figaro, Belcore in L’elisir d’Amore, and Polyphemus in Acis and Galatea. As a sought after soloist, he's performed in a number of large scale works including Orff’s Carmina Burana, Mozart’s Requiem, Mendelssohn's Die erste Walpurgisnacht, and premiered the dance oratorio Ode to Nature that was recorded and released by Albion Records. 

In 2019, Matthew won 1st place in the Denver Lyric Opera Guild competition. Recent performance highlights include his appearance as the Baritone soloist in the Colorado Ballet’s performance of Carmina Burana, Polyphemus in Central City Opera’s Acis and Galatea, and A-rab in a sold out run of the concert version of West Side Story with the Boulder Philharmonic.  Last summer, Matthew returned to Central City Opera to sing the Novice's Friend and cover the title role of Britten's Billy Budd. This year, Matthew has joined the prestigious Yale School of Music to study with legendary bass Richard Cross and will be involved in various performances and recitals.

Adam Lowe

Praised for his “exceptional instrument” Tenor Adam Lowe has thrilled audiences for years with his dramatic and powerful instrument. Lowe has enjoyed a varied career which has seen him perform with as a trombonist with orchestras, acting the classic works of Shakespeare, tap dancing in Cole Porter, singing in opera houses, and everything in between. This diverse education has gifted him with strong theatrical and musical gifts which he combines to give thrilling performances. During the pandemic he put his acting talents to work in San Francisco Conservatory of Music’s production of Die Fledermaus as the bumbling Dr. Blind. Equally deftly he stepped in for an ailing Don Jose in Mill City Summer Opera’s production of Carmen. After spending the whole day in fittings and combat rehearsals he answered the call and “sang valiantly” (StarTribune) the last two acts of Bizet’s masterwork. Minn Press regarded the night as “…a rare opportunity to hear two fine tenors.” He was also involved as the Lead Tenor in a revival and North American premiere of Cole Porter’s La Revue des Ambassadeurs where he was billed as “The standout vocalist, easily the best voice of the night…” (The Stages of MN). Mr. Lowe, a native of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, is a champion of Finnish Art song and regularly gives recitals to bring these rather unknown but richly melodic gems to the American arts scene. He is currently a resident of San Francisco, where he has been since finishing a Postgraduate Degree at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

 

Erin Alford

Mezzo-soprano Erin Alford has been praised for her “vocal sheen” and “stage presence that mark her as a young artist with a bright future.” This season, Erin makes her house and role debut as Second Woman and Dido cover in Dido and Aeneas with Opera San José, returns to Pensacola Opera as Zweite Dame in Die Zauberflöte, and joins Opera Santa Barbara as a Chrisman Studio Artist, covering Hannah After in As One. As a 2020-2021 Pensacola Opera Artist in Residence, Erin performed Mercédès—and covered the title role—in Carmen, Cousin Hebe in H.M.S. Pinafore, the title role in the education production Cinderella, and Giannetta in Heartbreak High. Additionally in the 20-21 season, Erin was awarded an Encouragement Award by the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Kansas City District and a Bonnie Bell Encouragement Award from the James Toland Vocal Arts Competition. A Long Beach native, Erin has performed regularly with LA Opera Connects in touring school productions and recitals, and was recently featured as Chorus Soloist on the mainstage in the world-premiere of Matthew Aucoin’s Eurydice. A passionate recitalist, Erin recently gave a recital for NATS-LA that focused on the music of women composers Other favorite roles performed include Dorabella in Mozart’s Così fan tutte, the title role in Massenet’s Chérubin, and Sister Helen Prejean in Dead Man Walking. Erin received her Master of Music in Opera Performance from the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at CSULB, and her Bachelor of Art in Music from UC Berkeley.

Lindsay Patterson Abdou

Described as “…having a voice that haunts and thrilled,” Mezzo-Soprano Lindsay Patterson Abdou is a proud performer of contemporary opera and choral music. Performance highlights include the world premiere of Anthony Davis’ The Central Park Five as Sharon Salaam with Long Beach Opera, Bow in the Industry’s Sweet Land, and The Metropolitan Opera’s 2019/2020 production of Porgy and Bess in the chorus ensemble. In addition to opera, Lindsay is a roster alto with the Los Angeles Master Chorale, Tonality, and the Pacific Chorale. She received her B.A. in Music from the University of California Riverside and M.M. in Vocal Performance from California Baptist University. When not performing, Lindsay is proud momma to daughter Vianne and son Gabriel.

Jessica Gonzalez-Rodriguez

Ms. Gonzalez-Rodriguez, Mexican-American Mezzo-Soprano, is known for her “warm tones and a lyrical upper range showed her voice to be flexible and easy to listen to” –Laurie D. Goldenhersh, LaurisList. She most recently made her Opera Santa Barbara mainstage debut as Renata in Cruzar la cara de la Luna. A three-time Opera Buffs grant recipient, highlight engagements include the role of Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro with the 2021 International Summer Opera Festival of Morelia, where she studied with superstar Soprano, Jennifer Rowley, Eufemia in Bizet’s Don Procopio with Pacific Opera Project, Frida Kahlo in Frida with the 2019 Opera Steamboat Summer Intensive, Prince Orlofsky in Vienna, Austria with the 2019 Vienna Summer Music Festival and as Marcellina with the 2018 Prague Summer Nights Festival, in collaboration with world- renowned tenor, Lawrence Brownlee and contralto, Rosalind Plowright. She is a current member of the 21/22 Chrisman Studio Artist program. Recent engagements La Seconda Cercatrice (Suor Angelica, Virtual Production), The Abbess (Suor Angelica), Mercedes (Carmen), Orfeo (Orfeo ed Euridice), La Ciesca (Gianni Schicchi), Hansel (Hansel und Gretel), Olga (The Merry Widow), Siebel (Faust), Hippolyta (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Nancy (Albert Herring) in partnership with the LA Opera Britten/100 Celebration and Suor Dolcina (Suor Angelica). She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Mount Saint Mary’s College and a Master of Music degree from California State University, Los Angeles. She has also been a member of the Santa Barbara Opera Chorus since 2018. She coaches with Douglas Sumi and studies voice under Reid Bruton.

 

Christina Pezzarossi

Hailed for her "fleet vocal technique" and "resonant, smoky mezzo", Mezzo-soprano Christina Pezzarossi is quickly gaining recognition as a distinguished and versatile young artist in the world of opera. Originally from Miles City, Montana, she received her Master's degree from the The Shepherd School of Music at Rice University.

In the 2020 season, Christina made her debut with Pacific Opera Project in a critically acclaimed drive-in performance of Cosi fan tutte (under the parody title COVID fan tutti) as Dorabella.

For the 2018/2019 season, Christina joined Pensacola Opera as a Resident Artist, singing The Witch in their touring production of Hansel and Gretel, Gertrude in Gounod's Romeo et Juliette and Paula in Catan's Florencia en el Amazonas. She also was an Apprentice Artist at Central City Opera, making her company and role debut as Kate Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly and performed in, Encore: A Musical Revue Concert. She received the John and Ginny Starky Award from Central City Opera at the end of the summer.

Christina has spent two summers as an Apprentice with Des Moines Metro Opera, covering Mrs. Segstrom in Sondheim's A Little Night Music and The Stewardess in Jonathan Dove's Flight.

Christina’s repertoire includes the title role in Handel’s Agrippina, Minerva in Monteverdi’s Il ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria, Rosina in Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia, Hermia in Purcell’s Fairy Queen, Dorabella in Cosi fan tutte, Flora in La traviata, and Alisa in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor.

She has performed with Opera San Jose, Opera NEO, The Pacific Symphony, Boulder Opera, Emerald City Opera, and received an Encouragement Award from the San Francisco District Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.

 

19|20 Chrisman Studio Artists, Photo by Zach Mendez