Fall 2017: A Look Back

So far, this season at AVA has been a most memorable one. As the holiday season and break soon approaches, let’s take a look back at at all of the things our Resident Artists have been up to so far this year…

AVA has put on a number of incredible recitals and performances so far this year! Check below to reminisce:

AVA’s 2017 New Resident Artist Recital: 


The new Resident Artists displayed their talent in this recital back in September. We were so happy to welcome them and are thrilled to see what they have in store in these next four years! Meet the new Resident Artists here.

Giargiari Bel Canto Competition

In early October, AVA’s Resident Artists competed in the annual Giargiari Bel Canto Competition, held at the Kimmel Center’s Perelman Theater. AVA alumnus and world-renowned bass-baritone James Morris, The Metropolitan Opera’s Joshua Winograde and Palm Beach Opera’s Scott Guzielek presided as the evening’s judges and award the prizes. The audience also had the opportunity to vote for their favorite singer! Philadelphia blogger Marissa Baum recapped the evening on her blog here.

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Congratulations to:
Claire de Monteil and Alexandra Razskazoff – First Prize Winners (tie)
Piotr Buszewski – Second Prize
Meryl Dominguez – Audience Favorite Prize

WRTI Winners
Roy Hage – First Place
Alexandra Nowakowski – Second Place
Piotr Buszewski
 – Third Place

Congratulations to all!

Verdi’s Il trovatore 

Next up, AVA’s stunning performances of Verdi’s classic Il trovatore in November. This was AVA’s first production of Verdi’s immortal classic in 20 years. This extraordinary opera started off AVA’s season in just the right way!

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Claire de monteil and Mackenzie Gotcher

With raving reviews from the Philadelphia Inquirer and DC Metro Theater, Il trovatore was definitely one to remember.

Along with performing here at AVA, many of our Resident Artists are experiencing amazing opportunities outside of these walls! Here are a few:

Resident Artist Roy Hage deserves congratulations on his performance as First Armored Man back in September in Opera Philadelphia‘s Die Zauberflöte!

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In October we congratulated fourth-year Resident Artist soprano Alexandra Nowakowski who won the Second Prize in the 2017 Gerda Lissner Lieder/Song Competition!

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Also, third-year Resident Artist soprano Meryl Dominguez won the Alfonso Cavaliere Memorial Scholarship this past October! Bravo!

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Resident Artist tenor Marco Cammarota sang the role of Cavaradossi in Arizona Opera‘s production of Puccini’s Tosca in November. You can check out the full cast here.

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Another artist to make an exciting debut was John Matthew Myers who performed as the tenor soloist a few weeks ago at Carnegie Hall with the Canterbury Choral Society!

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AVA Resident Artist Claire de Monteil will be making her French debut this December, as she will be singing the role of Simone in the comic opera Les Mousquetaires au couvent at Opéra Grand Avignon!

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Hannah Ludwig, mezzo-soprano will make her debut with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in Handel’s Messiah!


Vanessa Vasquez earned a great review in Opera News for her performance of Liù in Des Moines Metro Opera’s production of Madama Butterfly.

Vanessa review

Congratulations to all of our Resident Artists for all of their hard work.

Even though the beginning of the season is coming to a close, the new year is just around the corner!

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Still to come this December: an evening of Russian Romances at AVA. The December 14th performance includes an event for young professionals!

Join us at AVA for three more incredible operas and three more incredible chances to see our Resident Artists shine! The first opera we will be performing is Das Rheingold opening on January 20. The next is Ariadne auf Naxos opening on February 24. And opening on April 21 Verdi’s classic, La traviata.

You do not want to miss out on this opportunity to see our Resident Artists take on these operas. We hope to see you in the new year!

Written by AVA PR/Marketing Intern Madison Miner


AVA’s Favorite Winter Activities

AVA Snow

The weather outside is getting frightful…which means one thing; winter is almost upon us! To celebrate the season of cuddling up by fires listening to your favorite opera score, we asked some of the AVA Resident Artists what their favorite winter time activity is! Keep reading for a peek into what some of our artists enjoy doing during the cold months!

Daniel Noyola: Fifth-Year Bass-Baritone

Favorite winter activity? “I like having ponche, which is a traditional Mexican winter hot beverage. It’s made of tamarindo, cinnamon sticks, guava, and sugar cane. For parties we like to add tequila. It tastes really good and keeps you warm!”

Oliver Sewell: First-Year Tenor

Favorite winter activity? “I like a hearty stew and mulled wine after a day of outdoor activities in the cutting cold of the American winter!”

Piotr Buszewski: Third-Year Tenor

Favorite winter activity? “I like to wear my Lensky’s fur coat, riding on a horse drawn sleigh, then spending an evening by the fire drinking a hot beer and looking at my portrait on the wall.”

Abraham Bretón: Second-Year Tenor

Favorite winter activity? “I love to do anything in the snow; I have never built a snowman or gone skiing but I really want to! I also love Christmas songs!”

Hannah Ludwig: Fourth-Year Mezzo-Soprano

Favorite winter activity? “Sitting on the couch with a nice hot cup of tea and turning on the fireplace.”

Alexandra Nowakowski: Fourth-Year Soprano

Favorite winter activity? “Making fall and wintery soups like pumpkin soup, and chili.”

Roy Hage: Second-Year Tenor

Favorite winter activity? “Visiting family and skiing in New Hampshire at Lake Sunapee. I’ve been skiing since I was a kid; I learned when I was in Lebanon. Also, binge watching the Harry Potter series!”

Alexandra Razskazoff: First-Year Soprano

Favorite winter activity? “Skiing, since I’m from Minnesota!”

Lukasz Zientarski: First-Year Baritone

Favorite winter activity? “I like ice skating.”

John Matthew Myers: Second-Year Tenor

Favorite winter  activity? “Sitting in front of the fireplace with a hot cup of cocoa or ice skating.”

Timothy Renner: Second-Year Baritone

Favorite winter activity? “Going to Christmas markets.”

Matthew White: Third Year Tenor

Favorite winter activity? “Surfing and bass-fishing on the shore. It’s the best when you show up at 6:00 AM and its totally quiet in the brisk cold salt air and there’s snow on the ground. It’s the best feeling.”

Meryl Dominguez: Third-Year Soprano

Favorite winter activity? “I used to be a figure skater, so I love going ice skating! Baking is also more fun in the winter. Winter is my favorite season!”

Pascale Spinney: First-Year Mezzo-Soprano

Favorite winter activity? “Sitting by the fireplace reading a novel and drinking some eggnog.”

Ethan Simpson: Third-Year Baritone

Favorite winter activity? “I hate winter.” (Thanks for your honesty, Ethan! 😉 )

Anthony Whitson-Martini: Third-Year Baritone

Favorite winter activity? “Baking Christmas cookies.”

Gabriela Flores: First-Year Mezzo-Soprano

Favorite winter activity? “Watching movies and drinking hot chocolate.”

We hope you enjoyed learning a bit more about our Resident Artists and their favorite winter activities. Now it’s your turn; tell us your favorite winter hobby! And don’t forget to get your ticket for our Russian Romances recitals on December 12 and 14 at 7:30 PM! You can purchase tickets by clicking here or calling AVA at 215-735-1685.