Five Young Artists Join the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artists Development Program

Five Young Artists Join the 

Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artists Development Program


Nine Lindemann Young Artists return to the program to continue their training


New York, NY (July 12, 2017) – Beginning in the 2017-18 season, the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artists Development Program welcomes five new young artists into the acclaimed program established by Met Music Director Emeritus James Levine in 1980. Along with the returning nine participants, the program will train a new generation of artists, including opera singers, coaches, and pianists.

The Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, named after Mr. and Mrs. George Lindemann in recognition for their generous support, was founded to help young artists transition to careers in opera. Since then, 173 artists have graduated the program with notable alumni including Stephanie Blythe, Christine Goerke, Nathan Gunn, Mariusz Kwiecien, Sondra Radvanovsky, and Dawn Upshaw. The Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artists Program is considered one of the most prestigious programs for artists because of the quality and scope of resources available to its participants.

This year’s participants starting the program include Kidon Choi, baritone, (Seoul, South Korea); Emily D’Angelo, mezzo-soprano, (Ajax, Canada); Gabriella Reyes de Ramírez, soprano, (Meriden, CT); Nate Raskin, pianist/coach, (Boston, MA); and Adrian Timpau, baritone, (Chisinau, Moldova).

The roster of young artists returning to the program are Michelle Bradley, soprano, (Versailles, KY); Rihab Chaieb, mezzo-soprano, (Sousse, Tunisia), Zalman Kelber, coach/pianist, (New York, NY); Ian Koziara, tenor, (Chicago, IL); David Leigh, bass, (New York, NY); Petr Nekoranec, tenor, (Nové Dvory, Czech Republic); Hyesang Park, soprano, (Seoul, South Korea); Valeriya Polunina, coach/pianist, (Tashkent, Uzbekistan); and Kang Wang, tenor, (Harbin, China).

Along with access to daily rehearsals and advanced studies, singers are presented with the unique opportunity to perform on the Met’s stage and serve as covers for featured artists. Pianists are considered for assistant conductor duties on the company’s music staff.

During the 2017-18 season, all returning young artists will be featured in the following productions: Bradley will sing Clotilde in Bellini’s Norma; Chaieb will sing Sandman in Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel, Lola in Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana, and Laura in Verdi’s Luisa Miller; Koziara will sing Enrique in Thomas Adès’s The Exterminating Angel and the Fourth Esquire in Wagner’s Parsifal; Leigh will sing le Surintendant in Massenet’s Cendrillon; Nekoranec will sing the Third Esquire in Parsifal and le Doyen in Cendrillon; Park will sing Barbarina in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro and the Dew Fairy in Hansel and Gretel; Wang will sing Mitrane in Rossini’s Semiramide; Polunina will be on the music staff of Puccini’s La Bohème; and Kelber will be on the music staff of The Exterminating Angel. First year artist Choi will also sing Yamadori in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly during the upcoming season.




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2017-18 Met Opera Lindemann Young Artist Biographies:


Michelle Bradley: Soprano, 3rd year

(Versailles, Kentucky)


Soprano Michelle Bradley will sing the role of Clotilde in the Met’s new production of Norma to open the 2017/18 season.   Other highlights of the upcoming season include her role and house debut as Donna Anna in Mozart’s Don Giovanni at Teatro Municipal de Santiago (Chile), a return to Santa Cruz Symphony for Strauss’s Vier letzte Lieder, and a debut with the New World Symphony as part of their chamber music series.She made her Met house debut this past season as a Cretan Woman in Mozart’s Idomeneo and performed the High Priestess in Verdi’s Aida, all of which was preceded by her company debut as part of the Summer Recital Series in 2016.


Her recent concert appearances include Verdi’s Requiem and a Russian tour featuring the music of Gershwin. An avid recitalist, Ms. Bradley has appeared at Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, Park Avenue Armory, Carnegie Hall’s Neighborhood Concerts, and with Miami Chamber Music.  She was the 2014 grand prize winner of The Music Academy of the West’s Marilyn Horne Song Competition and completed a nationwide recital tour in May 2015. She earned a master’s degree from Bowling Green State University and is a recipient of the Richard F. Gold Career Grant and Hildegard Behrens Award.


Michelle Bradley’s participation in the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program is sponsored by the Elroy and Terry Krumholz Foundation.




Rihab Chaieb: Mezzo-soprano, 3rdyear

(Born in Sousse, Tunisia, raised in Montreal, Canada)


Mezzo-soprano Rihab Chaieb will sing the roles of Lola in Cavalleria Rusticana, Laura in Luisa Miller, and Sandman in Hansel and Gretel in the Met’s 2017-18 season.  She debuts with Opera Philadelphia in the world premiere of David Hertzberg’s The Wake World in fall 2017. She made her Met debut this past season as Zulma in Rossini’s L’Italiana in Algeri and appeared as a Cretan Woman in Idomeneo, both under the baton of James Levine.  She was recently featured in recital at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris.


Ms. Chaieb made her debut with Glyndebourne Festival in summer of 2015 as Mercédès in David McVicar's production of Bizet’s Carmen and returns there this summer to sing Flora in Verdi’s La Traviata. Other notable appearances include Tebaldo in Verdi’s Don Carlo at the Opéra National de Bordeaux and Waltraute in Atom Egoyan’s production of Wagner’s Die Walküre at the Canadian Opera Company, where she was an Ensemble Studio member for two seasons. She was a grand prize winner of the Christina and Louis Quilico Awards Vocal Competition, as well as a prize winner of the George London Foundation Competition and of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Ms. Chaieb earned her bachelor’s degree at the Schulich School of Music at McGill University.


Rihab Chaieb’s participation in the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program is sponsored by the Kern Family, in memory of Ralph W. Kern.




Kidon Choi: Baritone, 1st year

(Seoul, South Korea)


Kidon Choi will make his Metropolitan Opera debut in the 2017-18 season as Yamadori in Madama Butterfly. Prior to joining the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, he was most recently a student at Mannes School of Music, where he sang Don Alfonso in Mozart’s Cosí fan tutte and Dulcamara in Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore. He has appeared at the Chautauqua Music Festival in the title role of Verdi’s Rigoletto and as Marcello in La Bohème.   At the Manhattan School of Music, he was heard as Rodomonte in Haydn’s Orlando Paladino and as Peter in Hänsel und Gretel. He has performed the role of Amonasro in Aida with the Seoul Metropolitan Opera,and appeared in concert at the Smetana Hall in Prague.


Kidon Choi received First Prize in the 2017 Alfredo Silipigni Vocal Competition, Third Prize in the 2017 Opera at Opera at Florham Vocal Competition, Second Prize in the 2016 Gerda Lissner Foundation International Vocal Competition, the Major Award in the 2016 Opera Index Vocal Competition, and was a grant winner in 2016 The Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation International Vocal Competition.


Mr. Choi earned his professional studies diploma from the Mannes School of Music; he completed his master’s degree at Manhattan School of Music, and his bachelor’s degree at Hanyang University in Seoul.




Emily D’Angelo: Mezzo-soprano, 1st year

(Ajax, Canada)

Italian-Canadian mezzo-soprano Emily D'Angelo made her European debut in the summer of 2016 at the Spoleto Festival dei Due Mondi as Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro, as well as her North American debut in the winter of 2017 with the Canadian Opera Company as Zweite Dame in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte and covered the title role in Handel’s Ariodante. In June 2017, she made her American debut with the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis as Annio in Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito

A winner of the 2016 Metropolitan Opera National Council Audition Finals, Ms. D’Angelo was also a First Prize winner of the 2017 Gerda Lissner Foundation International Vocal Competition, the 2017 Canadian Opera Company Christina and Louis Quilico Awards Competition, the 2016 American National Opera Association Competition, and the 2015 Canadian Opera Company Centre Stage Competition. 

In the 2016-17 season, Ms. D’Angelo gave the world premiere of Ana Sokolović's song cycle dawn always begins in the bones in Toronto, as well as the Canadian premiere of Matthew Aucoin's The Orphic Moment with the COC Orchestra. She was invited by the Weill Music Institute at Carnegie Hall to sing in The Song Continues and was a two-time fellow at the Ravinia Steans Music Institute in 2015 and 2016.  

Ms. D'Angelo received her Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance from the University of Toronto, where she was the winner of the Norcop Prize in Song and the Tecumseh Sherman Rogers Graduating Award. She is a graduate of the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio.


Zalman Kelber: Coach/pianist, 2nd year

(New York, New York)  


Zalman Kelber makes his Met debut in the 2017/18 season joining the music staff for the new production of The Exterminating Angel by Thomas Adès. This summer Zalman Kelber serves as coach/pianist for the Crested Butte Music Festival in Colorado and Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute in Illinois. 


Last summer, Mr. Kelber served as coach/pianist for Summer Opera Tel Aviv's production of Le Nozze di Figaro.  In the 2015-16 season, he was a Young Artist with Palm Beach Opera, where he served as assistant coach on Carmen, Don Pasquale, and Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos. He was also pianist and continuo player for Don Giovanni at New York's Venture Opera and was on the Music Staff at American Lyric Theatre for their workshop of The Life and Death(s) of Alan Turing.  In the summer of 2015, he was a Young Artist at the Glimmerglass Festival, assisting on productions of Verdi’s Macbeth, Vivaldi’s Catone in Utica and a workshop of Philip Glass's revised version of Appomattox.  Mr. Kelber has been an Opera Coaching Fellow at Aspen Music Festival (L'incoronazione di Poppea and Eugene Onegin) and Resident Artist Pianist and Chorus Master at Shreveport Opera (L'Elisir d'Amore, The Mikado, and Turandot).  He also spent several summers under the tutelage of Lorin Maazel at the Castleton Festival as coach, pianist and harpsichordist (Suor Angelica, El Retablo de Maese Pedro and A Little Night Music) and served as Music Director for the educational outreach tours of both Shreveport Opera and Opera Saratoga.  


Zalman Kelber gained his Bachelor of Music in Piano and a Bachelor of Arts in African History from Northwestern University.  He earned his Master of Studies in Harpsichord and Musicology at the University of Oxford, UK.  




Ian Koziara: Tenor, 2nd year                                                                                                                                      

(Chicago, Illinois)


Tenor Ian Koziara will make his Met debut in the 2017-18 season singing the roles of Enrique in The Exterminating Angel and Fourth Esquire in Parsifal. He also appears with pianist Bradley Moore in recital under the auspices of Carnegie Hall Neighborhood Concerts. This summer, he joins Aspen Music Festival to sing the title role of La Clemenza di Tito. Recent appearances include Monteverdi’s Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda in Weill Recital Hall, Ezekiel Cheever in Ward’s The Crucible at Glimmerglass Festival, The Marquis in John Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles at Wolf Trap Opera, and the Witch in Hansel and Gretel at Rice University. He was a fellow at Ravinia Festival’s Steans Music Institute and completed training programs at Glimmerglass Festival, Wolf Trap Opera, and Des Moines Metro Opera, Houston Grand Opera’s Young Artist Vocal Academy, and Carnegie Hall’s The Song Continues.


 Mr. Koziara has been a district winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and a finalist of the Houston Grand Opera Eleanor McCollum Competition. He earned his master’s degree at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, and his bachelor’s degree, summa cum laude, from Lawrence University Conservatory of Music.




David Leigh: Bass, 2nd year

(New York, New York)


Bass David Leigh will make his Met debut in the 2017-18 season singing the role of le Surintendant in Cendrillon. This past season, he performed the role of Il Commendatore in Don Giovanni with the Florentine Opera, a role he repeats at Aix-en-Provence this summer, and in Nancy and Luxembourg in the fall.  In summer 2016, he was an apprentice at the Santa Fe Opera where he covered Frère Laurent in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette and Ashby in Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West. He is also an alumnus of training programs at Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Music Academy of the West, Chautauqua Opera, and Ravinia’s  Steans Music Institute.


Mr. Leigh was a finalist in the 2016 Francisco Viñas Competition and a regional winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 2015. He has garnered additional awards from Fort Worth Opera’s McCammon Voice Competition and the New York Foundation for the Arts.


Mr. Leigh holds a bachelor’s degree in composition from Yale University and master’s degrees in voice from Mannes College and opera from Yale University.




Petr Nekoranec: Tenor, 2nd year                                                                                                                           

(Nové Dvory, Czech Republic)


Czech tenor Petr Nekoranec made his Met company debut as part of the Summer Recital Series this year, and makes his house debut in the 2017-18 season singing the roles of the Third Esquire in Parsifal and Le Doyen in Cendrillon. He also performs Rossini’s Le Comte Ory in Brno and the tenor solo in Bruckner’s Te Deum in Prague.


In January 2017, Mr. Nekoranec was awarded both first prize and the Domingo prize in the Francisco Viñas Competition in Barcelona.  Prior to his arrival at the Met, he was a member of the Opera Studio at Munich’s Bayerische Staatsoper, where he sang the title roles of Britten’s Albert Herring and Le Comte Ory, as well as Fabrizio in Martinů's Mirandolina. He has also been heard on the Bayerische Staatsoper’s main stage as Ruodi in Rossini’s Guillaume Tell, Parpignol in La Bohème, Albazar in Rossini’s Il Turco in Italia, the Animal Trainer in Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier, and an Officer in Ariadne auf Naxos. Other previous engagements include Lindoro in L'Italiana in Algeri at the Teatro Nuovo in Torino and Vašek in The Bartered Bride at Prague’s National Theatre.


Mr. Nekoranec earned his diploma in classical voice from the Pardubice Conservatory, Czech Republic.




Hyesang Park: Soprano, 3rd year

(Seoul, South Korea)


Soprano Hyesang Park will sing the roles of Barbarina in Le Nozze di Figaro and the Dew Fairy in Hansel and Gretel in the Met’s 2017-18 season. She made her Met debut this past season as the First Wood Nymph in Mary Zimmerman’s new production of Dvořák’s Rusalka. This summer, she performs Najade in Ariadne auf Naxos at Glyndebourne Festival and debuts at Bayerische Staatsoper as Despina in Così fan tutte.  Last season, in her native South Korea, she performed a concert with Plácido Domingo and the role of Juliette in Roméo and Juliette. Previously, she sang Amina in the MET+Juilliard production of La Sonnambula and Fiorilla in Juilliard Opera’s production of Il Turco in Italia.  She made her professional opera debut as Violetta in Korea National Opera’s production of La Traviata in 2009. 


Ms. Park won the Montreal International Competition in 2015, the Queen Elizabeth Voice Competition in 2014, and received second prize in the 2015 Operalia Competition.  She has attended the Georg Solti Accademia in Italy and the Verbier Festival in Switzerland, conducted by Sir Richard Bonynge. She has also sung at Carnegie Hall as part of The Song Continues in master classes with Marilyn Horne and Anne Sofie von Otter.


Ms. Park received her master’s degree and the Advanced Diploma of Opera Studies from The Juilliard School.





Valeriya Polunina: Coach/pianist, 2nd year                                                                                       

(Tashkent, Uzbekistan)


Valeriya Polunina makes her Met debut this season when she joins the music staff for La Bohème. She has recently appeared in recital at Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris and the Park Avenue Armory. She has also been engaged as a guest coach by The Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow.


Ms. Polunina served as a rehearsal pianist in the Juilliard Opera’s 2015 production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute conducted by David Stern and as a rehearsal pianist for Juilliard’s 2016 biannual Gala (Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream) conducted by Alan Gilbert. She was vocal coach and rehearsal pianist for Juilliard’s production of Le Nozze di Figaro conducted by Gary Thor Wedow.


Ms. Polunina has also served as a vocal coach and rehearsal pianist at Crested Butte Music Festival, for the Marcello Giordani Young Artist Program for Il Barbiere di Siviglia.  Other recital engagements have included concerts with soprano Sophia Fomina in London at The Travellers Club, with her trio, Trio Rodin, for South Florida Friends of Music, and the Tchaikovsky Competition Winners’ Recital, hosted by Valery Gergiev at Carnegie Hall.  


Ms. Polunina was a participant of the Solti Peretti Répétiteurs course 2015, Tel-Hai International Piano Festival, and the International Keyboard Institute and Festival.  Valeriya Polunina made her orchestral debut at the age of 15 with Russia’s renowned BACH Chamber Orchestra. 


She received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at Gnessin’s Academy of Music in Moscow, Professional Diploma in Piano Solo Performance at Chicago College of Performing Arts, and Master of Music in Collaborative Piano at the Juilliard School.


Gabriella Reyes de Ramírez: Soprano, 1st year

(Meriden, Connecticut)


Nicaraguan-American soprano Gabriella Reyes has just completed a year’s training at Boston University’s Opera Institute. She was invited to join the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program after reaching the Grand Finals of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.


In 2017, Ms. Reyes de Ramírez performs the soprano solo in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9  with the New Haven Symphony. She made her debut with the Boston University Opera Institute in fall 2016 as the soprano in Philip Glass’s Hydrogen Jukebox, followed by the title role of Tobias Picker’s Emmeline. In the spring of 2017, she sang the Countess in the Institute’s production of Le Nozze di Figaro, directed by David Paul. She has also sung Minskwoman in Jonathan Dove’s Flight, and a Greek Woman and Priestess in Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride. In the summer of 2016, she debuted in OperaHub’s production of Montsalvatge’s El Gato con Botas as La Princesa and was selected by Houston Grand Opera to participate in the Young Artists Vocal Academy. 


Ms. Reyes de Ramírez received her bachelor’s degree from the Boston Conservatory.




Nate Raskin: Pianist/coach, 1st year

(Boston, Massachusetts)


Nate Raskin this summer serves on the coaching faculty of the Chautauqua Institution Voice Program. He has previously served on the faculty of the Merit School of Music in Chicago and the music staffs of North Park University and the Castleton Festival. In 2017, he performed in Marilyn Horne's The Song Continues, a series of masterclasses in Carnegie Hall, as well as in concert in Alice Tully Hall and on a live-streamed masterclass with conductor Emmanuel Villaume at the Juilliard School.


Mr. Raskin holds a master's degree in collaborative piano from the Juilliard School, as well as degrees in piano and German from Northwestern University. He furthered his studies in Vienna, at the Middlebury College Language Schools and as a fellow at the Aspen Music Festival.


Adrian Timpau: Baritone, 1st year

(Chisinau, Moldova)


Baritone Adrian Timpau is a recent graduate of Opernhaus Zürich’s Opernstudio where he sang roles including Schaunard in La Bohème and Dancaïro in Carmen. Born in Moldova, Timpau made his professional debut at the country’s National Opera as Robert in Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta and went on to build his repertoire with such roles as the title role of Eugene Onegin, Escamillo in Carmen, and Prince Yeletsky in Pique Dame. In the current season, he returns as a guest to Opernhaus Zürich to reprise the role of Schaunard and makes his Glimmerglass Festival debut as Eustachio in Francesca Zambello’s new production of Donizetti’s L’assedio di Calais. He will also sing Escamillo at Szczecin, Poland’s Opera Na Zamku and debut the same role with Opera Philadelphia in spring 2018.  Mr. Timpau has been successful in a number of international singing competitions, and was a participant in the 2016 Internationale Meistersinger Akademie in Neumarkt, Germany.


Mr. Timpau completed studies at the Moldovan Academy of Music.




Kang Wang:  Tenor, 3rd year                                                                                                                    

(Harbin, China)


Australian-Chinese tenor Kang Wang will sing the role of Mitrane in Semiramide and cover the role of Arturo in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor in the Met’s 2017-18 season. Other engagements for next season include the tenor solos in Rossini’s Stabat Mater with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Mendelssohn’s Elijah with San Antonio Symphony.


He made his house debut this season as Narraboth in Strauss’s Salome and also appeared as the First Prisoner in Beethoven’s Fidelio. He made his Met company debut as part of the 2016 Summer Recital Series. He also previously sang the role of Elvino in the MET+Juilliard coproduction of Bellini’s La Sonnambula


Prior to his arrival at the Met, Mr. Wang was a member of the OperAvenir studio at Theater Basel during the 2014-15 season. Highly praised in competitions, he was a finalist in the Cardiff Singer of the World Competition 2017. He placed second in the Dallas Opera Guild 2016 Vocal Competition and also won the People’s Choice Award.  He also won the People’s Choice Award in the Dame Joan Sutherland National Vocal Award and won the Clonter Opera Prize in the UK in 2014 and was a semi-finalist of the 2011 Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition in Vienna. 


Kang Wang earned an artist diploma from Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester and completed his master’s studies at Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University in Australia.  He is a recipient of the Hildegard Behrens Award.