Ashley Bell – Soprano
Ashley Bell has been performing from an early age, starting at age 9 as a member of the Metropolitan Opera Children’s Chorus and making her Off-Broadway debut at 16 in the world premiere of the musical The Golden Touch. Ms. Bell has since performed as a soloist in the United States, Italy, Spain, France and Russia. Performances this past season have included Norina in Don Pasquale in Logroño, Spain, Violetta in La Traviata at the Bay Street Theatre, Fiordiligi and Donna Anna at the Narni Festival in Italy with the Orchestra Filarmonica di Roma, Isabella Colbran in the premiere of Discovering Mrs. Rossini at the new Sheen Center in NYC, and Musetta at the National Opera Center. Other recent performances include Beauty in Giannini’s Beauty and the Beast, Mimi in La Bohème and Katrina in Legend of Sleepy Hollow with Di Capo Opera, the soprano soloist in the Italian Cultural Institute and the Basilica of St. Patrick Old Cathedral’s commemoration of the 175th Anniversary of Lorenzo da Ponte, Dorothée in the U.S. premiere of Offenbach’s La Bonne D’Enfant with Salome Chamber Orchestra, Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro with Teatro Lirico D’Europa and Opera New Hampshire, Adina in L’Elisir D’Amore in New York and Tuxedo Park, Violetta in La Traviata with the Hawthorne Symphony, Serpina in La Serva Padrona Off-Broadway and on tour in Arizona, and Molpe in Choreo Theatro’s world premiere of the Odyssey at the 92nd Street Y.
Other roles have included Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi in Chiari, Italy, Clarina in Rossini’s La Cambiale di Matrimonio at the Teatro Sociale in Brescia, Feu and Chauve-Souris in Ravel’s L’Enfant et les Sortilèges as a young artist at the Crested Butte Music Festival, Guadalena in Offenbach’s La Perichole with Opera du Périgord in Thiviers, France, Despina (Cosi Fan Tutte), 1st Lady (Die Zauberflöte) and Filia in Carissimi’s Jepthe.
Ms. Bell is equally at home in concert and recital. Oratorio solos include Vivaldi’s Gloria with the Waterbury Symphony, Faure’s Requiem and Schubert’s Mass in G at St. Luke’s in Darien, CT, selections from Handel’s Messiah in Naugatuck Valley, Hadyn’s Missa Brevis in F Major with the Yale Glee Club and frequent recitals with organ including a performance at Trinity College Vespers under the direction of renowned organist John Rose. She has also performed as a soloist in several zarzuela concerts in Spain with Rioja Lirica under the direction of Pablo Zinger.
Ms. Bell is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Yale University with distinction in Italian and International Studies and speaks five operatic languages fluently. She is a recipient of Yale’s Browne Irish Performing Arts Award and of a Scholarship Award at the Crested Butte Music Festival. Ms. Bell was a participant in Renata Scotto’s Opera Studio at the Accademia Santa Cecilia in Rome. Upcoming performances are to include Norina in Don Pasquale at the Bay Street Theatre, her debut as Gilda in Rigoletto with New Jersey Verismo Opera and several recitals in the US and Italy.
Benjamin Sloman – Tenor
Benjamin Sloman is rapidly emerging as one of the most exciting young Australian tenors of his generation. He has studied in Italy and the United States under the tutelage of Gioacchino Li Vigni, Nicola Martinucci, and Salvatore Fisichella, and in 2013 and 2016 was awarded fellowships from the Mediterranean Opera Studio (Italy) for intensive study with opera luminaries Marcello Giordani, Pietro Ballo, Mariella Devia, Jennifer Larmore, and Giuseppe Filianoti. In 2012 and 2013 Benjamin participated in a series of acting master classes on building the dramatic character by renowned singer-actress Lauren Flanigan and continues to study privately with her in New York.
Early professional engagements included The Duke (Rigoletto) with the New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera under the auspices of Lucine Amara; Edgardo (Lucia di Lammermoor), Riccardo (Un Ballo in Maschera) and the title role in Roberto Devereux at the Lincoln Center in New York City; Alfredo (La Traviata) and Don Jose (Carmen) with Amore Opera in New York; and Avito (L’amore dei Tre Re) with Bleeker Street Opera for which Benjamin was hailed as “an absolutely splendid voice… so heroic and resonant” by ConcertoNet.
In 2012 Benjamin became the first Australian to sing in a fully staged operatic production in New York’s Central Park in a leading tenor role when he sang the role of Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly with the New York Grand Opera under the baton of Vincent La Selva. Reviews of that performance described Benjamin in “brilliant tenor voice with torrents of golden sound” (La Voce Italiana).
In recent seasons Benjamin has performed the roles of Alfredo (La Traviata), Ismaele (Nabucco), Turiddu (Cavalleria Rusticana), Rodolfo (La Bohème), Edgardo (Lucia di Lammermoor), Riccardo (Un Ballo in Maschera), Cavaradossi (Tosca), Pinkerton (Madama Butterfly), Canio (Pagliacci), Don Jose (Carmen), Des Grieux (Manon Lescaut), Radames (Aida), Andrea Chénier (Andrea Chénier), and Calaf (Turandot), in venues spanning the globe including Theater Erfurt (Germany), Antipolis Théâtre d’Antibes (France), Teatro Dell’Orca Caltagirone (Italy), Teatro Eschilo Gela (Italy), Amphitheater di Palazzolo Acreide Siracusa (Italy), Sydney Lyric Opera (Australia); and performs extensively on the opera and concert stage throughout North America with Teatro Lirico D’Europa (FL, SC, PA, NJ, NY, CT, NH, IL, MA), Panama City Music Association (FL), Opera New Hampshire (NH), Mid Atlantic Opera (NJ), Palmetto Opera (SC), South Carolina Philharmonic – Koger Center for the Arts (SC), Jacksonville Symphony – Times Union Center for Performing Arts (FL), Daytona Beach Symphony (FL), Newberry Opera (SC), Queens Theatre (NY), F.M. Kirby Performing Arts Center (PA), Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts (PA), Mechanics Hall (MA), Taconic Opera (NY), Opera Theatre of Montclair (NJ), Regina Opera (NY), the Gateway Orchestra (CT), Opera Lancaster (PA), Opera Camerata of Washington (DC), New Rochelle Opera (NY), and Connecticut Concert Opera (CT).
For his performances as Cavaradossi in Tosca, Benjamin was celebrated as “a first rate tenor with a golden sound … masterful … his voice is exceptionally beautiful with superb breath control and a unique sense of phrasing” by the Brooklyn Eagle. In 2015, Washington DC, Benjamin created the title role in the world premiere of The Apotheosis of Aristides, an oratorio detailing the true story of Aristides de Sousa Mendes, a Portugeuse diplomat who saved the lives of tens of thousands fleeing the Nazis in World War II.
Robert Heepyoung Oh – Baritone
Baritone Robert-Heepyoung, Oh’s recent appearances include Tonio in I Pagliacci, Count di Luna in Il Trovatore, Speaker in Magic Flute, Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor, Registrar in Madama Butterfly with Tri-Cities Opera. He has sung Elijah in Elijah, King Balthazar in Amahl and the Night Visitors for the Binghamton University and Bass soloist, Faure Requiem in Midsummer Dream Music Festival, Quebec in Canada. He was a Kwang-Ju International Voice Competition; winner, Korea Voice Competition; 2nd Prize winner, Bimok Voice Competition; 2nd Prize winner in Korea.
In the U.S, his competition credits include the NATS Competition Rio Grande Chapter; Adult Division 1st Prize winner & Most Promising Singer Prize (2010), Fifth Lois Alba Aria Competition; 2nd Prize winner & Audience Choice Prize winner (2010), The Binghamton Harmony Club Adopted Artist (2011~2012 Season), NATS Competition Central New York Finger lakes Region; Advance Division 1st Prize (2012), Metropolitan International Voice Competition; Grand Prize winner (2013), NATS Competition Eastern region; Upper Advanced Division; 1st Prize winner (2013), George L. Hinman and Adele Bernstein Award (2013~2014 TCO season).
His previous oratorio solo appearances include Weber Messe in G-dur, Mozart Coronation Mass, Händel Messiah, Beethoven Symphony 9. Upcoming engagements for Mr. Oh include Escamillo in Carmen, Don Giovanni in Don Giovanni with Tri-Cities Opera and Metropolitan International Music Festival Gala Concert at Weill Recital Hall in Carnegie Hall. He holds a Master Degree from SUNY Binghamton University and has a Bachelor of Music Degree from the Korea National University of Arts.
Lauren Rathbun – Mezzo Soprano
Lauren Rathbun is a native of Salt Lake City, Utah. Since moving to New York, she has performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Symphony Space, the National Opera Center, the historic Duplex, and Don’t Tell Mama NYC. Credits include: “Hansel” (Hänsel und Gretel), “Ottavia,” “Nerone” (L’incoronazione di Poppea), “2nd Lady” (Die Zauberflöte), “Mointress,” “Abbess” (Suor Angelica), and “Lucy Brown” (The Threepenny Opera.) This year she was a regional finalist in New York Lyric Opera’s Competition, and will complete in Chicago for the finals of the Classical Singer Competition in May. She is a recent graduate of the University of Utah’s Musical Theatre Program, holding an Honors Bachelor of Fine Arts. Lauren studies with renowned soprano Andrea DelGiudice in NYC, and can be seen this summer in dell’Arte Opera Ensemble’s production of The Cunning Little Vixen. www.LaurenRathbun.net