You don’t want to miss the wonderful singing of magnificent baritone Christian Pursell when he headlines our big event “The Finalists Revealed” on April 29! Christian is an Adler Fellow at San Francisco Opera and a past semi-finalist in the Met auditions. Come hear him sing and be the first to learn who the 14 finalists are for the 5th JTVA Vocal Competition! He will be joined by Paul Caccamo at the piano.
175 singers from 27 states and 7 foreign countries applied this year to compete this summer on June 16 for more than $24,000 and several performance opportunities. Judges from around the United States are reviewing the applicants’ video applications right now and we will announce the finalists on April 29 at 4:30 at the lovely show room of Piedmont Piano in downtown Oakland. Wine and refreshments will be hosted by JTVA Board of Directors at this free event!
BASS-BARITONE CHRISTIAN PURSELL
A 2016 National Semi-Finalist of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, bass-baritone Christian Pursell is swiftly gaining notice for his role in the critically acclaimed world premiere of Gregory Spears’ Fellow Travelers. Best recognized as Senator Potter’s Assistant and the priest who takes Tim’s confession, his debut season with Cincinnati Opera also included the Jailer in Tosca and a solo performance with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra.
This spring, Mr. Pursell made his Houston Grand Opera debut singing the role of Tom in the world premiere of Laura Kaminsky's Some Light Emerges. Other recent roles include Dandini in La Cenerentola (Merola Opera Program), Pandolfe in Massenet's Cendrillon (CCM), Harašta in The Cunning Little Vixen (CCM), the Herald in Rigoletto (Opera San Jose), Marcello in La Bohème (SFCM), and Belcore in L’Elisir d’Amore (SFCM) - a role Pursell also performed at the Kennedy Center.
No stranger to the concert stage, recent seasons have seen solo appearances in Britten’s War Requiem (San Jose Symphonic Choir), Haydn’s The Creation (Denison University), Faure’s Requiem (Athenaeum of Ohio), Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 (San Jose Symphonic Choir), Handel’s Messiah (San Jose Baroque Orchestra), the Fifth Jew in Strauss’ Salome (CCM), and Pilate in a staged production of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion (CCM).
A 2017 Jensen Foundation Second Award Winner and Sara Tucker Study Grant recipient, Mr. Pursell’s upcoming engagements include the Second Englishman in Prokoﬁev's Der Spieler (Vienna Staatsoper) and a reprise of his role in Fellow Travelers (Prototype Festival).
JAMIE BARTON: 2018 TIER I MASTER TEACHER
JTVA is honored to have American mezzo Jamie Barton participate in the 2018 competition as the master class teacher for the Tier I finalists. Praised by Gramophone as having “the sort of instrument you could listen to all day, in any sort of repertoire,” Ms. Barton has appeared in recital across the U.S. and U.K., and has been described by The Guardian as “a great artist, no question, with an imperturbable steadiness of tone, and a nobility of utterance that invites comparison not so much with her contemporaries as with mid-20th century greats such as Kirsten Flagstad.”
Barton’s numerous honors include the 2017 Beverly Sills Artist Award, the 2015 Richard Tucker Award, the 2014 International Opera Award in the Young Singer category, the 2014 Marian Anderson Award, the Main and Song Prizes at the 2013 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition, and grand prize winner of the 2007 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. She received a Grammy nomination for Best Opera Recording (Hasse: Marc' Antonio E Cleopatra) in 2010.
Ms. Barton’s recent operatic performances include Adalgisa (Norma) at the Met, Los Angeles Opera, and San Francisco Opera, Giovanna Seymour (Anna Bolena) at the Met and Lyric Opera of Chicago, Fricka (Das Rheingold, Die Walküre) at Houston Grand Opera, Waltraute/2nd Norn at Washington National Opera, Cornelia (Giulio Cesare) at Oper Frankfurt, and Fenena at Seattle Opera and Royal Opera House Covent Garden. Last season Ms. Barton also released her debut solo album, All Who Wander, featuring songs by Mahler, Dvorak, and Sibelius.
In the 2017/18 season, Ms. Barton appears in recital with Yo-Yo Ma and Emanuel Ax, debuts at the Teatro Real Madrid as Leonor in La favorite, and returns to many of America’s most-loved opera houses. She sings Adalgisa in Norma at New York’s Metropolitan Opera and Houston Grand Opera, Eboli in Don Carlo at Washington National Opera, and Fricka, Waltraute, and 2nd Norn in her first complete Ring cycle at San Francisco Opera. Orchestral debuts include Handel’s Messiah with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Bernstein’s Jeremiah Symphony with the London Symphony Orchestra, and Mahler’s Rückert-Lieder with the Oulu Symphony Orchestra in Finland. Following a Verdi Requiem with her hometown orchestra, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Jamie embarks on a recital tour with pianist Kathleen Kelly, including the world premiere of Iain Bell’s Of You, commissioned by Carnegie Hall. Future seasons include returns to San Francisco Opera, Bayerische Staatsoper, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, and the Metropolitan Opera.
MICHAEL HIX: 2018 TIER II MASTER TEACHER
This year’s teacher for the Tier II master class will be baritone Michael Hix. Hix has been praised by critics for his "expressive voice" and "commanding stage presence.” He is a sought after performer of concert and orchestral works with over 50 oratorio, cantata, and concert roles in his repertoire, having been featured in performances at Amherst Early Music Festival, Ashlawn-Highland Opera, Greenville Light Opera Works, Opera del Sol, Tanglewood Music Center, Oregon Bach Festival, Arizona Bach Festival, International Haydn Festival, Opera Birmingham, Ohio Light Opera, and the Boston Pops. Past concert and oratorio solo engagements have included Mendelssohn’s Elijah, J.S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, St. John Passion, B Minor Mass, Magnificat, Weihnachts-Oratorium, Handel’s Messiah, Brahms’ Requiem, Fauré's Requiem, Haydn's Creation, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Vaughan Williams' Dona Nobis Pacem, Hodie and Five Mystical Songs and Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder and Des Knaben Wunderhorn.
Included among his over 20 stage roles are Falke in Die Fledermaus, Melchior in Amahl and the Night Visitors, Noye in Noye's Fludde, the Drunken Poet in The Fairy Queen, Grosvenor in Patience, Lord Mountararat in Iolanthe, Germont in La Traviata, Don Alfonso in Cosí fan tutte, Nick Shadow in The Rake’s Progress, and Bertouf in the world premiere of A Friend of Napoleon by Pulitzer Prize winning composer Robert Ward.
Dr. Hix holds degrees in music theory, historical musicology, and voice performance. He is the Coordinator of Vocal Studies, and the Associate Chair of the Department of Music at the University of New Mexico. His students have enjoyed great success over the years appearing in opera, musical theatre, and concert performances across the United States and abroad.