Kirstin Chávez is considered one of the most riveting and significant performing mezzo-sopranos today. Her powerful voice with its expansive range, the dramatic intensity of her acting, and her natural sensuality combine to make her an arresting and unique presence on the operatic and concert stages.
Ms. Chávez has captured attention and acclaim in her signature roles and is recognized as one of the definitive Carmens of today; Opera News reported that her Carmen in Graz, Austria was “the Carmen of a lifetime. With her dark, generous mezzo, earthy eroticism, volcanic spontaneity and smoldering charisma, Chávez has it all, including a superb command of French and a sense of humor.” Ms Chávez’ Carmen has taken her all around globe and into such celebrated venues as Lincoln Center in New York, the Sydney Opera House in Australia, and the Arena di Verona, in Italy.
Kirstin Chávez has earned praise for her performances in modern operas, as well, with Jo in Adamo’s Little Women (Opera Pacific), Thérèse, in Tobias Picker’s Thérèse Raquin (San Diego Opera) and Sondra Finchley in Picker’s An American Tragedy, which was her Metropolitan Opera principal debut in 2005. She then added Sister Helen Prejean in Dead Man Walking, and Sharon Falconer in Aldridge’s Elmer Gantry.
“Money-notes worth every penny,” “wonderful acting,” “movie star good looks,”and “passionate elegance” are just a few of the phrases used by critics to describe tenor Isaac Hurtado. Critically acclaimed for portrayals of Rodolfo in La bohème, Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor, Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly, Werther in Werther, the Duke in Rigoletto, Tamino in Die Zauberflöte, Alfredo in La traviata, and Roméo in Roméo et Juliette, Mr. Hurtado is “the complete package.”
In 2021–22 Mr. Hurtado will make his Utah Opera Debut as Don José in La tragédie de Carmen, and revisit the role of Rodolfo in La bohème at the Noorda Center for the Performing Arts. He will also sing the tenor solos in a new work for choir, orchestra and soloists entitled ‘A Mosaic for Earth’ at Virginia Tech University.
Mr. Hurtado has previously appeared with Opera San José, Phoenix Opera, Utah Festival Opera, Opera North, Opera Circle of Cleveland, Festival Opera at Walnut Creek (CA), Central City Opera, the Bay Area’s Midsummer Mozart Festival, Utah Lyric Opera, Sun Valley Opera, Opera at the Acorn (MI), Harbor Country Opera, and Opera Theatre of Lucca, Italy.
Mr. Hurtado was trained as a young artist with Central City Opera, Opera North and Utah Festival Opera. He holds DM, MM, and BM degrees in voice performance from Florida State University, Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and Brigham Young University respectively.
Hailed by the San Francisco Chronicle for his “theatrical charisma and musical bravado,” baritone Efraín Solís returns to Utah Opera to debut the role of Escamillo in these performances of La tragedie de Carmen. Earlier this season, he joined Opera San José in as Charlie in the company’s hit digital production of Three Decembers and Il segreto di Susanna and made his company debut with a reprisal of his critically-acclaimed performance of Charlie. He also sang his first performances of Malatesta in Don Pasquale with Opera Santa Barbera. Next this season, he sings on a digital recital of works by Latina composers for Los Angeles Opera.
Solís is a recent graduate of the San Francisco Opera Adler Fellowship and, while with the company, sang Papageno in Die Zauberflöte, Dandini in La cenerentola, Schaunard in La bohème, Silvano in Un ballo in maschera, Sciarrone in Tosca, and Prince Yamadori in Madama Butterfly. Other performances include Lieutenant Audeberet in Puts’ Silent Night previously at Utah Opera; Mark in Martinez’s Cruzar la cara de la luna with Houston Grand Opera; New York City Opera, and El Paso Opera; Mercutio in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette with Utah Opera, Virginia Opera, Opera Carolina, Toledo and Opera; Figaro in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro with Opera Memphis and Livermore Valley Opera; and El Payador in Piazzolla’s Maria de Buenos Aires at Opera Southwest.
Julia Gershkoff is an American soprano from little Rhode Island. She is a Resident Artist with Utah Opera and will return for the 2021–22 season. With Utah Opera, she will be singing Micaëla in La tregédie de Carmen arranged by Peter Brook, Tina in Flight by Jonathan Dove, and Kate in The Pirates of Penzance as well as covering Mabel. Julia has had the opportunity to perform with the Utah Symphony as the soprano soloist in filmed concerts such as Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater and Handel’s Messiah. In the summer of 2020, Julia attended the bubble version of Wolf Trap Opera as a Studio Artist where she performed in scenes as Gretel in Hänsel und Gretel, Despina in Così fan tutte, and Ginevra in Ariodante. She will be returning to Wolf Trap this summer to cover La Fée in Cendrillon by Pauline Viardot, Johanna in Sweeney Todd as well as singing in the chorus of Sweeney Todd and Savitri by Holst.
Other roles Julia has performed include Diana/Giove as Diana in La Calisto by Cavalli and Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro at USC, Joan of Arc in The Maid of Orleans at the Russian Opera Workshop, and Pamina in Die Zauberflöte at Mark Oswald’s Summer Program. She sang her first operatic role as Servilia in La clemenza di Tito at Ithaca College.
Recently Julia has been recognized as a Finalist in the Scholarship Division of the National Opera Association’s 2021 Carolyn Bailey and Dominick Argento Vocal Competition, a Semi-Finalist in Tri-Cities Opera’s “Next” Competition, The SAS Performing Arts Competition, and received an Encouragement Award from the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions- Utah District.
Julia received her M.M. in Vocal Arts and Opera while working with Elizabeth Hynes at the University of Southern California ‘20, and her B.M. in Vocal Performance while working with Marc Webster at Ithaca College ‘18.
Canceled due to COVID-19 pandemic
Brandon Bell is a baritone hailing from Suffolk, Virginia. Mr. Bell returns to Utah Opera as a Resident Artist for the 2020–21 season. He most recently appeared with Utah Opera as Montague Somers in Gentleman’s Island, the British Major in Silent Night, and Dr. Grenvil in La traviata. He was a featured soloist in concerts of Messiah and Utah Opera’s Light on the Horizon with the Utah Symphony.
Daniel O’Hearn is an emerging operatic tenor from Tinley Park, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. He is currently a Resident Artist with Utah Opera where his 2020/21 season roles have included Mr. Gray in Horovitz’s Gentleman’s Island, Lillas Pastia in Peter Brooks’ La tragédie de Carmen. In the summer of 2021, Mr. O’Hearn will be a first year apprentice artist for Santa Fe Opera, where he will cover Snout in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and the peasant in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin. There, he’ll also be singing in the chorus for Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, Corigliano’s Lord of Cries, and Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin.
In June of 2020, he graduated with a Master of Music in vocal performance from DePaul University’s School of Music in Chicago, Illinois, where he studied with tenor, Scott Ramsay. He most recently appeared in the university’s operatic productions of Britten’s arrangement of Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera as Captain Macheath, and Cavalli’s L’Egisto) as Egisto.
In addition to his operatic work, Mr. O’Hearn has also performed as a soloist in a number of classical concert works. Recently, he’s been a featured soloist in streamed concerts of Handel’s _Messiah, Stravinsky’s Pulcinella, and Utah Opera’s Light on the Horizon, all with the Utah Symphony. He also has performed solos in Handel’s Messiah with the Chicago Bar Association Symphony Orchestra & Chorus and in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the DePaul Community Chorus.
Mr. O’Hearn has also competed in several singing competitions, most recently earning an encouragement award at the Metropolitan Opera National Council’s 2020-21 Rocky Mountain and 2019–20 Central regionals, winning the MONC’s 2020–21 Utah and 2019–20 Illinois districts, winning the 2019 American Prize from Oratorio Society of Chicago, and placing first in DePaul University’s School of Music’s 2019 Kleinman Competition.
Opera, operetta, musical theater; mezzo-soprano Edith Grossman does it all. She joins the Utah Opera this season as a Resident Artist and made her debut as Elle in a modern English translation of Poulenc’s La Voix Humaine. Shortly following her success in La Voix Humaine, Edith made her Utah Symphony debut as the alto soloist in the Virtual Messiah Sing-In. This spring she can be seen as a featured soloist with Utah Opera and Utah Symphony in Light on the Horizon, Stravinsky’s Pulcinella, Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, and Peter Brooks’ La tragédie de Carmen.
Before joining Utah Opera, she created the role of Rachel in the world premiere of Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s If I Were You with the Merola Opera Program. In Merola’s Grand Finale, she shined as Hélène in an excerpt from La belle Hélène at the San Francisco War Memorial Opera House. Her opera experiences include Falstaff (Meg) with Crested Butte Music Festival, La Cenerentola (Tisbe) with Merola Opera Company, Le nozze di Figaro (Cover: Marcellina) with Opera Saratoga, Suor Angelica (The Abbess/Monitor) and the world premiere performance of In a Mirror, Darkly (Elaine) both with the Crane Opera Ensemble. With an expertise in the annals of classical musical theatre, her roles have ranged from Eliza Doolittle to Julie Jordan. Edith is equally adept at contemporary material, including Cats (Grizabella) and most recently, Ordinary Days (Claire). Edith is managed by Emcompass Arts LLC.
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