Wolf Trap Opera’s Virtual Season Launch: MMN is There!

Hey there, Music Nerds!

I’ve been invited to participate in a blog rally for Wolf Trap Opera, a company that has been making opera hip for nearly 40 years by initiating talented young singers into the opera biz through its Young Artists programs. Today, it is my pleasure to turn the Music Nerd Bully Pulpit over to Kim Witman, who in turn will introduce you to the next generation of opera supahstahs! 🙂

For more details on the 2010 season, visit Kim’s WTOC blog.

Take it away, Kim!

I’m thrilled that Miss Music Nerd is letting me guest post today as part of Wolf Trap Opera’s Evil Plan for Total Web Domination. Seriously, I’m just infiltrating a few colleagues’ blogs to celebrate the announcement of our 2010 summer season.

Although I didn’t actually get to meet Miss Music Nerd, our paths kind of crossed two weekends ago at the GRAMMYs®. She was an official guest blogger, and I was there because the recording of our 2007 production of John Musto’s Volpone was one of 5 nominees in the Best Opera Recording category. We didn’t take home the statue, but we thoroughly enjoyed our fifteen minutes of fame.

Since “classical music is cool” chez Miss Music Nerd, I thought I’d focus on the coolest aspect of our operation: our singers. Every summer I have the privilege of working with 15-20 of the opera industry’s most amazing emerging professional singers. It’s a wild ride.

Meet Wolf Trap’s 2010 Roster of Filene Young Artists!

First, a bit of a nerdy demographic snapshot of this year’s 16 singers; then some cool and silly fun facts.

2010 Wolf Trap Opera Company Filene Young Artists
Average age: 28 (Age range: 25-34)


• Beaver Dam, WI    • New Canaan, CT    • San Antonio, TX   
• Dallas, TX    • New Orleans, LA    • Seoul, Korea   
• Ft. Mitchell, KY    • New York, NY    • South Bend, IN   
• Humble, TX    • Odessa, TX    • Washington, DC   

(OK, what was in the water in Texas about 28 years ago?)

Degree-granting institutions attended (grad and undergrad)

• Academy of Vocal Arts • Ohio University
• Columbus State University • Rice University
• Curtis Institute of Music • Schulich School of Music, McGill University
• Indiana University • Seoul National University
• Juilliard Opera Center • The Juilliard School (2)
• Loyola University New Orleans • University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (2)
• Manhattan School of Music (4) • University of Houston (2)
• Mannes The New School for Music • University of Louisville
• Michigan State University • University of Michigan
• Northwestern University • University of North Texas(2)
• University of Notre Dame • Yale School of Music

The Tenors

  • Paul Appleby cut his teeth on stage as the lead singer of a Bruce Springsteen tribute band, The Heroes We Thought We Had to Be.
  • Nathaniel Peake was a total band nerd and always thought he’d be conductor of a high school band.
  • David Portillo studied to be a music teacher, but the first day he saw a class of kindergarten students, he changed his mind and decided on the far easier career of opera singing.

Mezzos, the Salt of the Earth

  • Eve Gigliotti dreams of producing an opera-reggae album with her little brother, a founding member of the popular Philadelphia band, Crucial Reggae.
  • Catherine Martin has a bad habit of reading multiple books at once and not finishing any.

The Countertenor

  • Ryan Belongie is a huge fan of both the Green Bay Packers fan and interior design.

The Low-Voiced Guys

  • Kenneth Kellogg almost changed majors in undergrad so that he could play basketball for Ohio University.
  • Nicholas Masters’ hobbies include guiding DC area traffic and taking kettlebell class at Equinox Fitness.
  • Michael Anthony McGee almost made it onto MTV’s Real World at age 20, but isn’t too disappointed. Who really wants to live in a house filled with cameras and a bunch of crazy people in Las Vegas anyway?
  • Daniel Billings is becoming a photoshop expert.
  • Chad Sloan has two of the best nieces in the world with whom he spends much of his time teaching them to make rude faces at dinner. His sister loves him for this.
  • Michael Sumuel grew up singing gospel and R&B and is a sports junkie (Go Cowboys! Hook ’em Horns!).

Sopranos and Other Divas

  • Rena Harms spends her spare time with the sweetest dog on earth, her shih tzu, Pete.
  • Angela Mannino is a proud native of New Orleans, and her family and friends are Katrina survivors.
  • Hana Park’s dream was to be a concert pianist, for she began playing piano at the age of five as she was growing up in Seoul, Korea.
  • Ashlyn Rust is an avid hiker, and last summer she hiked Longs Peak, the highest peak in Rocky Mountain National Park at 14,259 feet. She completed it in 13 hours despite being caught in a lightning storm above tree line.

If you’re in the Washington DC area this summer, check us out! There’s some fabulous opera to be seen and heard, and I promise we’re not stuffy. Drop by and say hi.

And if you know someone who lives in the Vienna, VA area (northern Virginia, near Tysons Corner) who just might have space in their home to house one of our artists for the summer, write me at wtoc [at] wolftrap [dot] org!



Wolf Trap Opera’s Virtual Season Launch: MMN is There! — 3 Comments

  1. I never really got the hang of RSS, but have you tried using http://missmusicnerd.com/feed/ ?

    If that doesn’t work, it may be because my domain is mapped to wordpress.com hosting. I am working on switching to my own hosting, and that should be completely very soon, so stay tuned… 🙂

  2. My name is Piter Jankovich. oOnly want to tell, that your blog is really cool
    And want to ask you: is this blog your hobby?
    P.S. Sorry for my bad english