Kennedy Center for Performing Arts Soloists
Raquel González, soprano
Originally from Lawrence, Kansas, soprano Raquel González is in her first season of WNO's Domingo-Cafritz Young Aritst Program. She recently earned a master's degree from The Juilliard School, where she also completed her undergraduate studies. At Juilliard, she has been seen as Tatiana (Eugene Onegin), Arminda (La finta giardiniera), Dido (Dido and Aeneas), and Mélisse (Armide). She has spent several summers at the Chautauqua Institution singing such roles as Donna Anna (Don Giovanni), Adina (L'elisir d'amore), and Lauretta (Gianni Schicchi). As a Gerdine Young Artist at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, she appeared in the world premiere of Terence Blanchard's Champion and returned to OTSL in the summer of 2014 as a Festival Artist in the role of First Lady (The Magic Flute) and as the cover for Blanche (Dialogues of the Carmelites). In concert, she has appeared with the New York Festival of Song at Alice Tully Hall. With William Christie and Juilliard415, she has sung Iphise in Rameau's Les fêtes d'Hébé, in Handel's Il trionfo del tempo e del disinganno, and Diane in Charpentier's Actéon. She made her debut with the New York Philharmonic as soprano soloist in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony at Avery Fisher Hall. A 2014 Eastern District winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, she has also been awarded prizes from the Liederkranz Foundation and the Gerda Lissner Foundation.
Deborah Nansteel, mezza soprano
Born in Okinawa, Japan, and raised in Havelock, North Carolina, mezzo-soprano Deborah Nansteel is in her second season of WNO's Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program. She made her WNO debut last season as Curra in The Force of Destiny and was also seen as the Cat in the world premiere of The Lion, the Unicorn, and Me; in Breaking and Uncle Alex, part of the American Opera Initiative; and as The Third Lady in WNO's new production of The Magic Flute. Recent performances include Foreign Woman in The Consul (Seattle Opera) and Mary in The Flying Dutchman (while a member of The Glimmerglass Festival Young Artists Program). She is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) and was also a participant in the Young Artists Program of Seattle Opera, where she appeared as Giulietta in Un giorno di regno and the Nursing Sister in Suor Angelica. Recent credits include Berta inIl barbiere di Siviglia with the Merola Opera Program and with CCM; other CCM performances include Marguerite in La damnation de Faust, Mother Marie in Dialogues of the Carmelites, Mother Goose in The Rake's Progress, and Bianca in The Rape of Lucretia. She has also appeared as Marthe in Faust and Lily/Strawberry Woman in Porgy and Bess with Dayton Opera. Recent concert appearances include soloist in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony with the Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi in Milan, Italy. Upcoming engagements include Nettie Fowler in Carousel (The Glimmerglass Festival), Juno/Ino inSemele (Seattle Opera), and Beethoven's Ninth Symphony (Seattle Symphony).
Yi Li, tenor
A native of Jinan, China, tenor Yi Li is in his second season of WNO's Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program. A 2014 winner of the Metropolitan National Council Auditions Grand Finals and a second prize winner at the Gerda Lissner Foundation Competition, he was recently seen as the First Armored Man in WNO's The Magic Flute. In summer 2013 he represented China in the 2013 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition. A graduate of San Francisco Opera's Merola Opera Program and University of Cincinnati's College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), he has also participated in CCM's festival in Spoleto, Italy, as well as the Opera Studio Nederland in Amsterdam. Recent performances include Tamino inThe Magic Flute, Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni, Alfredo in La traviata, Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly, Rodolfo in La bohème, and Cavaradossi in Tosca. He won first prize at the 2012 Opera Columbus Irma M. Cooper Vocal Competition; the 2009 International Singing Competition in Marmande, France; and the 2008 World Chinese Singing Competition of Taipei. He has also received prizes from the Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation and was a finalist in the 2009 Montserrat Caballé International Singing Competition. Future performances include Cassio in Otello at the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing and Rodolfo in the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Performance of WNO's La bohème.
Gerard Michael D'Emilio, bass-baritone
Bass-baritone Gerard Michael D’Emilio has been hailed for his “commanding presence” and a voice described as “thrilling” and “stentorian.” Most recently, Mr. D’Emilio was a young artist at the Glimmerglass Festival, appearing as Truffaldino in Ariadne in Naxos. Mr. D’Emilio’s roles have included King René (Iolanta), Sulpice (La fille du regiment), Stenio (Maddalena), the Villains (Les contes d’Hoffmann), Bottom (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Kecal (The Bartered Bride), Leporello (Don Giovanni), Don Alfonso (Così fan tutte), and Sarastro (The Magic Flute). Equally at home in orchestral and concert repertoire, Mr. D’Emilio has been featured as the bass soloist in Mozart’s Requiem with the Florida Orchestra, under Xian Zhang, and Pilatus in Bach’s Matthäus-Passion with the Philadelphia Orchestra, under Yannick Nézet-Séguin. An increasingly frequent presence on the competition circuit, Mr. D’Emilio has received encouragement awards from the George London Foundation, the Gerda Lissner Foundation, and the Mid-Atlantic region of the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions. Mr. D’Emilio received his M.M. from Westminster Choir College this past May, and graduated from Oberlin College in 2012 with a B.M. in Voice Performance and a B.A. with highest honors in Politics. Among his upcoming engagements is a return to Gotham Chamber Opera for their production of Montsalvatge’s El gato con botas. Mr. D’Emilio is currently a Resident Artist with the Minnesota Opera, where he will be seen at Jake Wallace/Billy Jackrabbit in La fanciulla del West and Moralès in Carmen.
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