January 25, 2018

More Information:
For Media Only: Jessica A. Kaufman (585-274-1057,

Spotlights Rising Vocal Stars

Eight Eastman School of Music voice and opera students will compete in the finals of the Friends of Eastman (FEO) Opera Voice Competition at 8 p.m. Friday, February 9, in Kilbourn Hall. The FEO event gives local audiences the opportunity to hear rising vocal talents early in their careers while providing singers the chance to compete for cash prizes and perform for a recognized conductor, stage director, or impresario serving as judge.

This year’s adjudicator is Catherine Malfitano, a renowned opera singer and teacher whose stage repertoire of more than seventy roles spans the entirety of operatic history.

For the finals, singers prepare three arias in two different languages; each sing a work of his or her choice, with the adjudicator picking the second aria. The top three winners will be announced at the end of the recital with total prizes given in the amount of $4,050. The first prize of $1,500 is the Lynne Clarke Vocal Prize, donated by Friends of Eastman Opera founding member John Clarke in memory of his wife. A reception open to everyone will be held on the Cominsky Promenade following the competition.

This year’s finalists are:

  • Therese Carmack, mezzo-soprano, second year master’s degree student
  • Krysten Chambers-Jones, mezzo-soprano, first year master’s degree student
  • Mark Hosseini, baritone, second year master’s degree student
  • Athene Mok, soprano, Doctorate student
  • Brianna Robinson, soprano, second year master’s degree student
  • Mariya Vasilevskaya, mezzo-soprano, first year master’s degree student
  • Adam Wells, baritone,second year master’s degree student
  • Sarah Yaden, soprano, senior, undergraduate degree

Catherine Malfitano’s interpretations extend from Monteverdi’s Poppea and Erisbe in Cavalli’s L’Ormindo to Annina in Menotti’s Saint of Bleecker Street; from Gluck’s Euridice to Polly Peachum in Weill’s Three Penny Opera; from Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor to Humperdinck’s Gretel and many more. Ms. Malfitano has appeared at all the world’s leading opera houses including the Metropolitan Opera, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Vienna State Opera, La Scala, the Bavarian State Opera, the Paris Opera, and the Royal Opera Covent Garden. Her Emmy-award winning portrayal of Tosca, broadcast live from the actual Roman settings of the opera, was seen by more than one billion viewers worldwide. Ms. Malfitano will be giving a brief Q&A after the awards are given.The Friends of Eastman Opera is a volunteer group that supports Eastman opera students, programs, and productions, and promotes Eastman Opera Theatre in the Rochester community.

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About Eastman Opera Theatre:

Eastman Opera Theatre offers a comprehensive program of training and performance opportunities.  Many Eastman graduates, like distinguished alumni Renée Fleming, Anthony Dean Griffey, and Nicole Cabell, enter the operatic profession as a natural extension of this experience.

A minimum of three productions are mounted yearly, each within a different-sized performance venue at the Eastman School, including the recently renovated 2300 seat Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre, the 450-seat Kilbourn Hall, and the 75-seat Opera Studio. Productions feature a wide range of musical styles, most are performed in the original language, and depending on the venue, many use full orchestral accompaniment. Studio productions, scenes programs, and outreach events are also presented to further enhance the variety of performance experience. Eastman Opera Theatre utilizes a “class and degree blind” approach to casting, meaning that roles go to the singer with the best audition, starting their Junior year in school and with the approval of their studio voice teacher. Most of our productions feature a mix of upper class undergraduates (juniors and seniors), masters, and doctoral students.

Recent productions include Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi; Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte, Le nozze di Figaro; Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amorePuccini’s La Rondine and La Boheme; Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Albert Herring; Kander and Ebb’s Cabaret; Sondheim’s A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd and Assassins; Floyd’s Susannah; Handel’s Xerxes, Orlando; Rossini’s Il Turco in Italia; Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortileges; Bock’s She Loves Me; Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites; Lehár’s The Merry Widow and Weill’s Street Scene; Monteverdi’s  L’Incoronazione di Poppea (The Coronation of Poppea).

About Eastman School of Music: 

The Eastman School of Music was founded in 1921 by industrialist and philanthropist George Eastman (1854-1932), founder of Eastman Kodak Company. It was the first professional school of the University of Rochester. Mr. Eastman’s dream was that his school would provide a broad education in the liberal arts as well as superb musical training. The current dean is Jamal Rossi, appointed in 2014.

About 900 students are enrolled in Eastman’s Collegiate Division– about 500 undergraduate and 400 graduate students. Students come from almost every state, and approximately 20 percent are from other countries. They are guided by more than 95 full-time faculty members. Six alumni and three faculty members have been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Music, as have numerous GRAMMYÒ Awards. Each year, Eastman’s students, faculty members, and guest artists present more than 700 concerts to the Rochester community.

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