The Atlanta Opera Studio Program

The Atlanta Opera is excited to announce the launch of its first-ever young artist program, The Atlanta Opera Studio. During the 2016-17 season, the artists will appear in featured and supporting roles in mainstage productions, studio tour performances, and a variety of programs and special events throughout the metro Atlanta community.

The program provides talented emerging artists with valuable performance experience working alongside internationally acclaimed operatic professionals. The artists will participate in master classes and specialized instruction, enhancing and deepening their professional education through coaching in language, stage skills, and career development.

“The Atlanta Opera is proud to launch a program that will support talented young artists at the brink of a major international career. The program will provide the studio artists with continued education, performance opportunities, and an environment that will prepare them for a successful career in the opera world. For our audiences and patrons, this will be a unique opportunity to get acquainted with young, up-and-coming artists who will establish a meaningful, lasting connection with our community.” – Tomer Zvulun, General & Artistic Director.

The six members of the 2016-17 Atlanta Opera Studio are soprano Bryn Holdsworth, New York; tenor Santiago Ballerini, Buenos Aires, Argentina; baritone Andrew Pardini, Modesto, Calif.; bass-baritone Alan Higgs, Melbourne Beach, Fla.; pianist and vocal coach Valerie Pool, Marietta, GA; and stage director Brenna Corner, Alberta, Canada.


Bryn Holdsworth

Praised by the New York Times for her “limpid-toned, articulate” singing, young soprano and recent Manhattan School of Music graduate Bryn Holdsworth is already garnering attention on stages in New York and around the country. This season Ms. Holdworth made her Lincoln Center debut at Alice Tully Hall as the soprano soloist in Orff’s Carmina Buranawith the New York City Master Chorale.

The 2016 season also included several operatic role debuts for Ms. Holdsworth, including Rachel Dowling in Patience and Sarah with New York Opera Fest, Pamina in The Magic Flute with International Vocal Arts Outreach, and the title role in Persée et Andromède with the Manhattan School of Music.

She was a National Finalist in the New York Lyric Opera competition and a National Semifinalist in both the Classical Singer and Palm Beach Opera competitions.


Santiago Ballerini

Santiago Ballerini is recognized in North and South America as one of the leading tenors in bel canto repertoire. Ballerini hails from Buenos Aires, Argentina, and has sung in all major opera houses in South America. This season, Ballerini will be covering the roles of Don Ottavio in Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Count Almaviva in Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. He returns to the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires as Italiano in Der Rosenkavalier and Three Sisters by Eötvös. In August of 2017, he will be singing the role of Count Almaviva from Rossini’s Il Barbiere di siviglia at the Savannah Music Festival.

This past season, Ballerini made his United States debut at the Caramoor Festival in New York as Fernand in La favorite with rave reviews. He will return to Caramoor in July of 2017 to sing Gualtiero in Bellini’s Il pirata. He also sang the role of Tybalt with The Atlanta Opera in the 2016 production of Romeo and Juliet. After singing the role of Conde Libenskof in Il Viaggio a Reims at the prestigious Teatro Bellas Artes in Mexico City in 2016, Ballerini returned to the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires to sing Junge Graf in Zimmerman’s Die Soldaten.

In 2014, Ballerini was awarded the Upcoming Opera Singer award in Argentina by the Congress of Argentina and the Argentine Association of Critics. He also was a featured soloist for the 50th MET Anniversary Gala honoring Sherrill Milnes. Before starting his professional singing career, Ballerini was a pianist for nine years, and also studied Music Therapy at the Universidad de Buenos Aires, specializing in addiction treatment.


Andrew Pardini

Extolled by The Baltimore Sun for his “robust work” and DC Metro Theater Arts for “a heart-stopping, high voltage bass-baritone voice,” Andrew Thomas Pardini continues to win audiences with his vibrant tone and thrilling character portrayals.

This past summer, Pardini was a Studio Artist as part of The Crested Butte Opera Studio at Crested Butte Music Festival, performing the role of Marcello in La bohème. Pardini recently made his company and role debuts with Dayton Opera as Il Principe Yamadori and Il Commissario Imperiale in Madama Butterfly, and Un Araldo in Otello, in addition to serving as Resident Baritone as part of its prestigious 2015-16 Artists-In-Residence Program.

Pardini holds a Master of Music degree in opera performance from the University of Maryland – Maryland Opera Studio, and a Bachelor of Music degree in vocal performance from the University of Southern California – Thornton School of Music.


Alan Higgs

Bass-baritone Alan Higgs is rapidly making a name for himself in the world of opera. He was recently selected as the resident bass-baritone for the The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago for the 2017-18 season. This summer he made his debut with Santa Fe Opera as an Apprentice Artist for their 60th anniversary season where he performed the role of Jose Castro in La fanciulla del West and covered roles in Vanessa and Capriccio.

He is a 2016 award winner at the Regionals of the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions. His other recent engagements include Gregorio in Roméo et Juliette with The Atlanta Opera, Raphael in Haydn’s Creation with the Georgia State Symphony Orchestra as well as the Pirate King in the Atlanta Opera Studio tour of The Pirates of Penzance.

Mr. Higgs, who resides in Atlanta, attended Florida State University for his master’s degree in Voice Performance, where he performed Simone in Gianni Schicchi, Prince Gremin in Eugene Onegin, and Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte.


Valerie Pool

Valerie Pool begins her first season as resident pianist/coach with The Atlanta Opera in September 2016. Prior residencies include Tulsa Opera (2014-2016) where her assignments included Samson et DalilaA Streetcar Named DesireLa bohèmeOf Mice and Men, and a studio performance of Florencia en el Amazonas. During the summer months (2014-2016), she has been a pianist and member of the music staff at Cincinnati Opera.

Additionally, she has worked as pianist, coach, and répétiteur with Opera Saratoga (New York), Cincinnati Chamber Opera, Nashville Opera’s Mary Ragland Young Artist Program, and Capitol City Opera (Atlanta). She was the Studio Pianist for the Wagner Society of Cincinnati (2012-2014), with performances including a musical analysis of ParsifalThe Wesendonck Lieder, and a collaboration with Cincinnati Opera of Die Walküre.

A native of Marietta, Georgia, Valerie completed her Artist Diploma in Opera Coaching at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. She also holds a master’s degree in Chamber Music and Accompanying from the University of Georgia and a bachelor’s degree in Piano Performance from Kennesaw State University.


Brenna Corner*

Brenna Corner has worked as a director, actor, singer, choreographer, and fight director across Canada, the United States and Europe. This season she makes her directorial debut with Vancouver Opera as the director of their new production of Hansel and Gretel. Ms. Corner is also the artistic director of Prince George’s new opera company Fraser Lyric Opera as well as Winnipeg’s Indie opera company Manitoba Underground Opera.

Past directing projects include: The Four Note Opera (Yulanda M. Faris Vancouver Opera Young Artist Program), Cendrillon and Alcina (Manitoba Underground Opera), Béatrice et Benedict (Fraser Lyric Opera), Die Lustig Witwe (Vancouver Music Academy), La Clemenza di Tito (Manitoba Underground Opera), The Turn of the Screw and Don Giovanni (Accademia Europea dell’ Opera); Summer Opera Workshop 2013 & 2012 (Indiana University).

She is also a certified member of Fight Directors Canada and has choreographed many fights for both opera and theatre. Brenna has a degree in music from The University of Manitoba, and theatre diplomas from Grant MacEwan College and The British American Drama Academy.

*The Jerry & Dulcy Rosenberg Young Artist Stage Director, given in honor of Tomer Zvulun