Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

44 Apprentice Singers For 2023 Season

Former Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Singer Emilie Kealani performs in the Apprentice Scenes on the stage of The Crosby Theatre. Photo by Norman Doggett

SFO News:

SANTA FE — The Santa Fe Opera (SFO) announces the 44 members of its 2023 Apprentice Program for Singers.

The roster includes promising young vocalists from across the USA including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, as well as from East Africa, Australia, Canada, China, South America and South Korea. The 2023 class was selected from a pool of more than 1,000 applicants by Program Director Gayletha Nichols; Manager, Casting and Apprentice Program for Singers Chandler Johnson; Chief Artistic Officer David Lomelí; and Chorus Master Susanne Sheston through a competitive pre-screening and audition process.

Says Nichols, “I’m looking forward to this summer’s work with both new and returning apprentice singers; offering them unique performance opportunities that will advance their skills and set them on a stronger path to becoming in-demand opera stars. In addition to their individual and collective work, this extraordinary Santa Fe Opera community will feed their souls and clarify their dreams of living the artist’s life.”

General Director Robert K. Meya notes, “This season’s class of apprentice singers is the most international and diverse group in the Santa Fe Opera’s history. Auditioned and selected from a group of over 1,000 applicants, the Santa Fe Opera’s Apprentice Program is one of the most sought-after and coveted professional training programs in the world today.” He adds, “Congratulations and I look forward to welcoming you all to Santa Fe this summer!”


  • Caitlin Aloia*, Doylestown, PA;
  • Cadie J Bryan, Baton Rouge, LA;
  • Adia Evans, Baltimore, MD;
  • Caitlin Gotimer, Malverne, NY;
  • Lydia Grindatto, Tijeras, NM;
  • Nicole Elyse Keeling, Levelland, TX;
  • Ilanah Lobel-Torres, Brooklyn, NY;
  • Amber R. Monroe, Youngstown, OH;
  • Gemma Nha, Sydney, Australia;
  • Amber Norelai*, Caracas, Venezuela;
  • Taylor Lake, Las Vegas, NV.


  • Rebekah Daly, Sharon, MA;
  • Lucy Evans*, Bellingham, WA;
  • Tessa Fackelmann, Ottawa, ONT, Canada;
  • Karen Kelley, Jefferson City, MO;
  • Gretchen Krupp*, Woodbridge, VA;
  • Michelle Mariposa, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines;
  • Quinn Middleman, Vancouver, WA;
  • Kaylee Nichols, Cincinnati, OH;
  • Meridian Prall, Edwardsburg, MI;
  • Emma Rose Sorenson, Chicago, IL


  • Luke Elmer, Flower Mound, TX.


  • Matthew Corcoran, Ipswich, MA;
  • Garrett Evers, Orlando, FL;
  • Spencer Hamlin, Mansfield, CT;
  • Lawrence Barasa Kiharangwa, Nairobi, Kenya;
  • Philippe L’Esperance*, Grafton, MA;
  • Jordan Loyd*, Springfield, OH;
  • Jehu Otero Mateo, San Juan, Puerto Rico;
  • Wayd Odle, North Platte, NE;
  • Andrew Turner*, Tacoma, WA;
  • Samuel White, Columbia, SC.


  • Joel Balzun, Calgary, AB, Canada;
    Brandon Bell, Suffolk, VA;
    Bernardo Medeiros, Tulsa, OK;
    Michael Pandolfo, Forth Worth, TX;
    Spencer Reichman, Austin, TX.


  • Ben Brady*, Denver, CO;
    Le Bu, Yancheng, China;
    Sam Dhobhany, Brooklyn, NY;
    Dylan Gregg, Salisbury, MD;
    Luke Harnish, Lancaster, PA;
    Christian Simmons, Washington, DC.


  • Younggwang Park, Seoul, South Korea.

*Denotes second-year apprentice singer

Established upon the Santa Fe Opera’s 1957 founding, the company’s Apprentice Program for Singers has since provided training, performance opportunities and international exposure to young singers in transition from academic to professional life. The first of its kind in America, now more than 1,500 aspiring singers have participated in the internationally recognized program.

Former singing apprentices have gone on to careers as professional performers and include Joyce DiDonato, John Holiday, Michael Fabiano, Rachel Willis-Sorensen, Sylvia D’Eramo, Jonah Hoskins, Will Liverman, Brandon Jovanovich, Kate Lindsey, William Burden, Zachary Nelson and Five Operalia 2022 winners: Anthony León, Duke Kim, Maire Therese Carmack, Jongwon Han and Anthony Ciaramitaro. Others are now teachers, coaches and administrators at major opera companies and universities.

In addition to mainstage opera performances, this year’s participants will appear in two special Sunday evenings featuring the opera’s singing and technical apprentices in staged Apprentice Scenes at 8 pm Aug. 13 and 20. Each singer will also have the opportunity to work with renowned voice faculty, participate in masterclasses with notable artists and audition for opera executives from major companies.

The 2023 season

Scheduled in the Santa Fe Opera’s 66th Festival Season are 38 performances including two evenings of Apprentice Scenes. The company holds to its mission and time-tested programming model: a balanced and varied repertory of new, lesser-performed and standard works. Opening June 30 and July 1 are two standard works, Tosca and The Flying Dutchman, followed by two lesser-performed works, Pelléas et Mélisande and Rusalka, July 15 and July 22. Rounding out the season and presented for the first time July 29 will be Monteverdi’s seminal Orfeo with a world premiere orchestration by American composer Nico Muhly. Tickets are on sale now at santafeopera.org.

About The Santa Fe Opera

The Santa Fe Opera annually draws 85,000 people from New Mexico and around the globe. Nestled atop a mountain vista in northern New Mexico, the company’s iconic Crosby Theater is open on three sides, allowing visitors to enjoy performances complemented by the elements. Since 1957, the company has presented over 2,000 performances of 179 operas by 91 composers spanning five centuries of opera, creating a legacy of 45 American premieres and 18 world premieres.

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