The Fletcher Institute is proud to welcome its class for 2012-2013
Master of Music
- Kate Farrar, Mezzo-soprano
- Jonathan Johnson, Tenor
- Jennifer Lazarz, Mezzo-soprano
- Steven Slupe, Baritone
Professional Artist Certificate
Jesse Darden, Tenor
Jesse Darden received the BM from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro on a Cooper Music Scholarship studying with Dr. Robert Wells. He received the MM from The Ohio State University under the tutelage of Dr. Robin Rice.
While at Ohio State, Mr. Darden performed Fenton in Falstaff and the title role in Albert Herring. Mr. Darden has also performed roles in Carmen and Gianni Schicchi with Capitol Opera and Greensboro Opera. At UNCG, Mr. Darden performed in Amahl and the Night Visitors, The Ballad of Baby Doe, HMS Pinafore as well as outreach projects.
Kate Farrar, Mezzo-soprano
Mezzo-soprano Kate Farrar is a second year fellow at the Fletcher Institute pursuing a Masters of Music degree. A native of Hillsborough, North Carolina, she is currently a student of Marion Pratnicki.
Kate completed her BM at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, graduating magna cum laude with music honors and a French minor. She performed various roles with the UNC-Greensboro Opera Theatre including Katisha in The Mikado, The Mother in Amahl in the Night Visitors, and Rosemary (cover cast) in the World Premiere of Libby Larsen’s Picnic.
Jonathan Johnson, is in his second year as a fellow of the A.J. Fletcher Institute of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts pursuing a Master’s of Music, studying under Dr. Marilyn Taylor.
While an A.J. Fletcher Institute Fellow, Mr. Johnson performed the role of Fenton from Otto von Nicolai’s Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor. He also made his Piedmont Opera debut in the role of Ezekiel Cheever in Robert Ward’s The Crucible. He recently performed the role of Azael in Debussy’s L’enfant prodigue and next February he will sing Ruggero in the Fletcher Institute’s production of La Rondine.
Jennifer Lazarz, Mezzo-soprano
Jennifer Lazarz, mezzo-soprano, is originally from the Chicago suburbs. She joined Opera Tampa as one of their New Artists for the 2010-2011 season and is thrilled to continue into 2012. She made her debut with Opera Tampa as Dodo in Maestro Anton Coppola’s adaptation of The Merry Widow. Other recent engagements include the “Night of Stars” program during which Opera Tampa which paid tribute to Placido Domingo.
Jennifer’s recent roles include Isolier in a staged concert version of Le Comte Ory with Katydid Productions and Meg Brockie in Music by the Lake’s production of Brigadoon. Jennifer attended Augustana College in Rock Island, IL where she performed the roles of Zita in Gianni Schicchi, Ma Moss in The Tenderland, and Prince Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus. Jennifer has also performed both Carmen and Mercedes in scenes from Carmen, die Dritte Dame in scenes from die Zauberflote with the Colorado Vocal Arts Symposium.
Catherine Park, Soprano
Catherine Park, a native of Raleigh, North Carolina, received her Bachelor of Music from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2010, where she studied under Dr. Terry Rhodes and Andrea Edith Moore. She received her Masters of Music in Voice in May 2012 from the A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. She is currently a third year fellow at the A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute, pursuing her Professional Artist Certificate, studying under Dr. Marilyn Taylor.
In her time at the A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute, Ms. Park has been seen as Despina in Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte, Veronique in Pasatieri’s Hotel Casablanca, Anne Page in Nicolai’s The Merry Wives of Windsor, and most recently as Ruth Ann Putnam in the Fletcher Institute’s joint production with Piedmont Opera of Ward’s The Crucible.
Steven Slupe, Baritone
Baritone Steven Slupe is originally from Caldwell, Idaho, where he received his bachelor’s degree, Summa Cum Laude, in May of 2011 from The College of Idaho. While studying with Dr. Mari Jo Tynon at The College of Idaho, Mr. Slupe appeared in every music department production since his freshman year, taking leading roles in Dido and Aeneas, Trouble in Tahiti, The Tales of Hoffman, and The Telephone. He also sang in several Opera Idaho productions, including an appearance as Papageno in their May 2011 educational outreach presentation of The Magic Flute.
During the summers, Mr. Slupe sang in young artist programs across the country and abroad, including the Colorado College Vocal Arts Symposium in Colorado Springs, the Johanna Meier Opera Theatre Institute in Spearfish, South Dakota, and the Bel Canto Institute in Florence, Italy.
Kristin Schwecke, Soprano
Kristin Schwecke is in her second year of post-graduate studies as a Fellow with the AJ Fletcher Opera Institute.
This past year Kristin performed the role of Alice Ford in UNCSA’s production of The Merry Wives of Windsor. She also performed the role of Abigail in Robert Ward’s The Crucible, a joint production with UNCSA and Piedmont Opera. She is currently studying with Dr. Marilyn Taylor.
This past summer, she placed 2nd in the Rosen-Schaffel Young Artist Competition. In 2010 Kristin was named District winner at the Metropolitan Opera National Councils Auditions in Wisconsin and went on to receive and Encouragement Award at the Regional level. She also placed first with the Elgin Opera Annual Vocal Competition and 2nd with the Schubert Club Bruce P. Carlson Scholarship Competition. Internationally, Kristin was awarded 5th place with the Czech and Slovak International Singing Competition in 2009.
David Weigel, Bass-baritone
David Weigel is a first year fellow at the A.J. Fletcher Institute, pursuing a Professional Artist Certificate. He is a student of Dr. Marilyn Taylor. This year with the Fletcher Institute, David is singing Rambaldo in La Rondine and Spencer Coyle in Owen Wingrave. He made his Piedmont Opera debut earlier this season as Moralès in Carmen and is returning later this spring as Fiorello in Il barbiere di Siviglia. This summer, David will be a Young Artist at the Merola Opera Program, singing Collatinus in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia and covering Antonio and Bartolo in Le nozze di Figaro.
David was a member of the Janiec Opera Company at the Brevard Music Center last summer, where he sang Colline in La bohème and Don Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia. He was a Young Artist with Opera North in the summer of 2011, singing Antonio in the mainstage production of Le nozze di Figaro and Horace Tabor in scenes from The Ballad of Baby Doe. Other operatic roles include Leporello in Don Giovanni, Frank in Die Fledermaus, Curtis in the world premiere of George Lam’s The Persistance of Smoke, Dr. Gregg in Douglas Moore’s Gallantry, Melchior and Balthazar in Amahl and the Night Visitors, and Death in Gustav Holst’s Savitri.