Detroit Opera Announces the 2024-25 Resident Artists - Detroit Opera

Detroit Opera Announces the 2024-25 Resident Artists

Detroit Opera Announces 2024-25 Season Resident Artists

Meet the Artists

After an international search, Detroit Opera has announced the five singers who will train in Detroit Opera’s Resident Artist Program during the 2024–25 season: soprano Brianna J. Robinson, mezzo-soprano Kendra Faith Beasley, tenor River Guard, and baritones Cole Bellamy and Cameron J. Rolling. The five were chosen from more than 830 artists who applied to the program, which is spearheaded by Detroit Opera’s Associate Artistic Director, soprano Christine Goerke, and Head of Music Nathalie Doucet. This is the third season of Detroit Opera’s Resident Artist program, which builds on the strong foundations of the Studio Artist program founded in 2015 by Dr. David DiChiera, the company’s founder. While embodying the forward-looking leadership of Yuval Sharon, Gary L. Wasserman Artistic Director, and President and CEO Patty Isacson Sabee, this program embraces individualized study and direct performing experience to provide world-class educational opportunity to the next generation of opera talent.

The five Resident Artists have committed to an intensive program while living in Detroit from September 2024 through May 2025, training directly with Goerke, Doucet, and guest faculty in specially crafted and individualized curricula of voice, movement, language and career guidance. In addition to their hands-on training and performances in Detroit Opera in mainstage productions, Resident Artists work with guest artists, directors, and conductors. Professionals who have worked with Resident Artists in the past two years include sopranos Wendy Bryn Harmer, Ana Maria Martinez, and Janet Williams; mezzo-soprano Susan Graham; bass-baritone Alfred Walker; conductors Valerio Galli, Roberto Kalb, and Francesco Milioto; coaches Ellen Rissinger, Ricardo Herrera, and Timothy Cheek; and Yuval Sharon, Detroit Opera’s Artistic Director. In keeping with Detroit Opera’s longstanding focus on making opera accessible to the surrounding community, Resident Artists forge direct ties to Detroit through recitals, concerts, and other collaborations with local schools, nonprofit organizations, businesses, and institutions. They perform regularly for patients at Henry Ford Hospital and in public concert series at Christ Church Cranbrook and The War Memorial. All Resident Artists begin on a one-year contract, and selected artists are invited to participate in a second year.

Goerke was instrumental in reshaping the Resident Artist Program in 2022 to keep pace with the spirit of innovation, outreach, and community-building that has characterized Detroit Opera's programming and administration since the arrival of Yuval Sharon as artistic director. Goerke appointed internationally renowned opera coach and pianist Nathalie Doucet as Director of the program; together they created a program that offers individualized study to cater to the unique needs of each artist and aligns with the country’s top training programs.

“When I was asked to design the Detroit Opera Resident Artist Program, I knew that I wanted it to be something special,” says Goerke. “I am proud that what has been created here in Detroit is a space where emerging artists feel safe in their environment: a place where they can connect with their colleagues and our community in an atmosphere where they can explore who they are and what they want to say as artists. I am so fortunate to have created lasting relationships with incredible artists worldwide over the course of my career, and happy that they love to be part of this remarkable artistic mentorship in Detroit. Most important, our Resident Artists have the opportunity to experience “the future of American opera unfolding in Detroit,” as the New York Times put it, by spending time observing and working with our incredible Artistic Director, Yuval Sharon. It is my great honor to oversee this intimate training program, and to have a hand in fostering the artists who will be our storytellers for the 21st century.”

“Serving as Director of the Detroit Opera Resident Artist Program for the past two years has been an absolute honor and privilege,” says Doucet. “It is profoundly inspiring to witness the caliber of singers we attract, not only in vocal skill but in sheer artistry. My lifelong passion is to foster and guide the next generation of singers, offering them a nurturing haven to blossom and thrive in their musical journeys. Every day spent alongside these remarkable artists during their residencies in Detroit fills me with great joy, as we strive together to empower and prepare them for success in the demanding profession of the performing arts.”

“I am so excited and grateful to be returning to Detroit Opera as a Resident Artist for a second year,” says tenor River Guard. “This first year has been valuable in preparing me for a career on the operatic stage, and has given me the tools and the confidence to present my best artistic self every time I sing. A highlight of the year for me was singing the roles of Harlekin and the Soldat in Der Kaiser Von Atlantis by Viktor Ullmann. This piece allowed me to explore my interpretive skills as an artist, and pushed me to grapple with difficult subject matter while still maintaining a solid vocal technique. Another highlight was covering B.F. Pinkerton in our mainstage production of Madame Butterfly. This role challenged me immensely as a singer and actor, and through the preparation I received from Detroit Opera's Resident Artist program, I now feel capable of taking on such a demanding role in the future. I am so happy to be returning for a second year and am eager to see what will come from these crucial years of learning and development at such an amazing company.”