Chrisman Studio Artist Program

Named in recognition of the support of Sarah and Roger Chrisman, Opera Santa Barbara’s Chrisman Studio Artist Program provides high-level performance opportunities and valuable training to some of the country’s most talented up-and-coming opera singers. These singers work with top industry directors, conductors, and coaches in masterclasses, individual coachings, and public performances including cover and mainstage role assignments.

Alumni have gone on to perform roles with companies around the world including the Metropolitan, Washington National, Santa Fe, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Dallas, Sarasota, Fort Worth, and Virginia Operas, and internationally with the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Opernhaus Zürich, Heidelberg Opera, Hong Kong Opera, Teatro Regio of Torino, Aix-en-Provence, Beijing’s Reignwood Theater and Austria’s Bregenzer Festspiele as well as appearances with the Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh Orchestras, the Netherlands Radio Orchestra and the Opera Orchestra of New York.

2019|2020 Studio Artists

Kelly Guerra

Peruvian-American mezzo-soprano Kelly Guerra was most recently noted as a "standout" in the Wall Street Journal for her performance at the Tanglewood Music Center as Mrs. Doc in Leonard Bernstein's A Quiet Place. She has been featured at the Lucerne Festival in Switzerland, Tanglewood Music Center, and the Bard Music Festival. Ms. Guerra has performed with a variety of ensembles including the Albany Symphony, Santa Barbara Symphony, Garden State Philharmonic, The Orchestra Now, Contemporaneous, Opera Parallèle and BluePrint. She is in candidacy for her DMA in Vocal Performance at the University of California Santa Barbara.

2019-20 Chrisman Studio Artist

Chandler Johnson

American tenor, Chandler Johnson is excited to join the 2019-2020 Chrisman Studio program. This season Chandler will be covering roles  in all three productions and singing Tybalt in Roméo et Juliette. This past season, Chandler covered Governor/Vanderdendur/Ragotski in Candide and was featured in a fully staged scenes program as a Studio Artist with Chautauqua Opera. Chandler also sang Goro in Madama Butterfly with Opera Columbus, Geppetto in Pinocchio with St. Petersburg Opera, and covered the title role of Candide with The Knights NYC. Chandler is a recent graduate from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory (CCM).

2019-20 Chrisman Studio Artist

Julia Metzler

Los Angeles-based soprano Julia Metzler is an active up-and-coming opera singer and concert soloist. Recent roles include Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro with Pacific Opera Project and Blanche de la Force in Dialogues of the Carmelites with San Francisco Conservatory of Music. As a roster member of the Los Angeles Master Chorale, Ms. Metzler can frequently be heard performing at the Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Hollywood Bowl. She has performed as a soloist with both the Los Angeles Philharmonic and with the Chorale, most recently in Bach’s Magnificat and Handel’s Messiah. A frequent opera competitor, Ms. Metzler was a 2018 Metropolitan Opera National Council Awards National Semi-Finalist, after winning First Place in the Western Region finals in January of 2018.Ms. Metzler holds degrees in vocal performance from San Francisco Conservatory of Music and from UCLA.

2019-20 Chrisman Studio Artist

John Allen Nelson

A native of St. Paul, Minnesota, baritone John Allen Nelson is an audience favorite with a “deliciously hearty sound” (Boston Musical Intelligencer). He recently made his New York City Opera debut as Giordano in the world premiere of Stonewall, commissioned as a  2019 Pride Initiative production.  He also debuted with Boston Lyric Opera in a workshop of a new Hamlet and returned to his home state of Minnesota this summer for Opera on the Lake’s Die Fledermaus as Dr. Falke. He will make his OSB debut as Mercutio in Romeo & Juliet. Mr. Nelson completed his residency at Boston University Opera Institute in spring 2016. He holds a Master of Music degree from the University of Missouri Kansas City Conservatory of Music and a Bachelor of Arts in Vocal Performance from St. John’s University.

2019-20 Chrisman Studio Artist
Photo by Zach Mendez