JTVA is pleased to announce the 7 finalists in each tier for our third annual Vocal Competition. These fine singers will come to Oakland, CA to participate in the master classes and competition finals on June 23 and 24 at Holy Names University. This video, which was shown at The Finalists Revealed!, our annual gathering of wine cheese and song, on Sunday, April 30, is a brief compilation of excerpts from the finalists’ applications. We are thrilled with the wonderful talent displayed by all of our applicants and are looking forward with great excitement to the competition weekend! All events are open to the public and tickets are available at Brown Paper Tickets.


Julie Adams • Soprano
San Francisco CA

A winner of the 2014 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, 2015 George London Award, and recipient of a 2015 Sara Tucker Study Grant, soprano Julie Adams is an alumna of the San Francisco Opera Adler Fellowship Young Artist Program, and alumna of the 2014 Merola Opera Program, where she performed the role of Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire. During her studies with César Ulloa at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where she holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees, she performed the roles of Blanche in Les Dialogues des Carmélites, Mimi in La Bohème, Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte, and Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi. Other credits include Lia (Debussy’s L’Enfant Prodigue) at the International Vocal Arts Institute in Tel Aviv; Pamina (Die Zauberflöte) at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara; and Magnolia Hawks (Show Boat) and Rose (Street Scene) with the Oakland East Bay Symphony. Adams is a former studio artist with Opera Santa Barbara.

Nicholas Brownlee • Bass-Baritone
North Hollywood CA

The first prize winner of the 2016 Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition, the Zarzuela prize at Operalia 2016, 2016 Sara Tucker Study Grant and 2015 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, bass-baritone Nicholas Brownlee enters his final season as a Domingo-Coblurn-Stein Young Artist at Los Angeles Opera.

In the 2016 – 2017 season, Nicholas Brownlee will make his Metropolitan Opera debut as the First Soldier in Salome conducted by Johannes Debus and returns to Los Angeles Opera for productions of Tosca and Salome. He will debut at Teatro de São Carlos in Lisbon as Escamillo in Calixto Bieto’s production of Carmen. He sings Stravinsky’s Les Noces with the Los Angeles Master Chorale. Recent role debuts at Los Angeles Opera include Sprecher in Die Zauberöte, the Bonze in Madama Butterfly and Captain Gardiner in Moby-Dick, all conducted by James Conlon in the 2015-2016 season. He also sang Colline in La bohème conducted by Gustavo Dudamel at LA Opera, as well as debuted at Atlanta Opera in the same role. With the LA Philharmonic, he was seen as the Doctor in Pelléas et Melisande with Esa-Pekka Salonen conducting.

Recently, Mr. Brownlee made his Los Angeles Philharmonic debut under Gustavo Dudamel in Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy and returned for performances of a new multimedia staging by Netia Jones of Chin’s Alice in Wonderland under Susanna Mälkki, which traveled to the Barbican in London with the BBC Symphony. As part of the LA Opera Young Artist Program, he covered Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro under James Conlon and Bluebeard in Barrie Kosky’s production of Bluebeard’s Castle. In the summer of 2015, he returned to Santa Fe Opera to sing the 1st Soldier in Salome, as well as cover Monterone in Rigoletto, Sulpice in La fille du régiment, and Stobrod/Blind in the world premiere of Cold Mountain. Mr. Brownlee spent the summer of 2014 as an Apprentice Artist with the Santa Fe Opera, where he made his debut as Don Fernando in a new Stephen Wadsworth production of Fidelio under the baton of Harry Bicket.

Sandra Hamaoui • Mezzo-Soprano
New York NY

French-American soprano Sandra Hamaoui is a young and promising artist on the rise. Described as heartfelt, convincing, and passionate, her true talent lies not just in her effortless vocal technique and musicality, but also in her ability to fully captivate her audience. 

This season, Ms. Hamaoui will compete as a semi-finalist in The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions after being announced first place winner in the New England Regional Finals. She will appear in a recital honoring Ned Rorem alongside Thomas Muraco at Opera America. In the fall, she will join the Ensemble of Deutsche Oper Berlin to sing the roles of Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, Ninette in L'amour des trois oranges, and Annina in La Traviata, among other appearances.     

In previous seasons, Ms. Hamaoui made her debut as the title character in Gounod's Roméo et Juliette with the Canadian Vocal Arts Institute and as Adina in L'elisir d'amore with the San Francisco Conservatory of Music at the Kennedy Center. Her other notable engagements include Amore and Damigella in L'incornazione di Poppea, and Papagena in Die Zauberflöte.

Ms. Hamaoui is the recipient of numerous awards, including a major award from the Opera Index Vocal Competition, top prize from Career Bridges, first prize in the Mary Trueman Competition (Art Song Preservation Society of New York), first prize in the West Bay Opera League Competition, and an encouragement award from the Giulio Gari Foundation. She is the recipient of scholarships from The Opera Foundation, The Schuyler Foundation, and the Henry & Maria Holt Memorial Fund.

Ms. Hamaoui completed her Bachelor of Music degree at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Prior, she attended the Juilliard School's Pre-College Program. A native of New York City, the young soprano was born in 1993 to French parents. Her non-music activities include practicing yoga, cooking, spinning, and travelling. She is fluent in English, French, Italian, and Spanish.

Samantha Hankey • Mezzo-Soprano
New York NY

American mezzo-soprano Samantha Hankey has been acclaimed by O pera News as an “ingenious ... square-shouldered beauty with a maple-flavored mezzo” and as “serious” and “penetrating” by The New York Times . This season she will sing the title role in Handel’s A grippina and Varvara in Janáček’s K atya Kabanova at Juilliard. She will also perform selections of Richard Strauss in Songfest. Last season, Ms. Hankey was seen as Diana in Cavalli’s La Calisto and was a recipient of a 2016 Sara Tucker Study Grant from the Richard Tucker Foundation. Ms. Hankey is a proud recipient the Kovner Fellowship at The Juilliard School.

Andrew Manea • Baritone
San Francisco CA

Romanian-American Baritone Andrew G. Manea has been praised for his, “…robust baritone…” He has recently been seen at the Merola Opera Program performing #7 in Conrad Susa’s Transformations. In the 2016 season Andrew has performed Escamillo in Carmen in Wuhan, China, The Forester in Janacek’s The Cunning Little Vixen, Don Giovanni in Don Giovanni, and competed in competitions such as the MONC auditions (Regional finalist and Encouragement award recipient), the Jensen Foundation Vocal Competition (finalist), the Opera Columbus Cooper-Bing International Voice Competition (2nd and audience favorite), the Giulio Gari Foundation (career grant recipient), and the Shreveport Opera Singer of the Year Competition (1st and audience favorite). Andrew has worked with opera greats such as Marilyn Horne, Warren Jones, Lorin Maazel, and James Morris. In January of 2017 Andrew will join San Francisco Opera’s Young Artist Program and be a part of the Adler Fellowship. Andrew is a student of Bill McGraw.

Daniel Moody • Countertenor
New York NY

Countertenor Daniel Moody has garnered praise for his “vocal resonance, [which] makes a profoundly startling impression” ( The New Yor k Times) and for his “vivid and powerful” voice ( The Boston Musical Intell igencer). Mr. Moody has performed at the Boston, Indianapolis and Washington Early Music Festivals and recent concert and opera performances include Handel’s Giul io Cesare , Rinaldo, Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Bach’s St. Matthew Passion and Handel’s Messiah with Charleston Symphony and Winston-Salem Symphony. He participated as one of four vocalists in Joyce DiDonato's Carnegie Hall workshop in 2016, broadcast on Medici TV. Highlights of 2016-17 include the American premiere of George Benjamin’s Dream of the Song at Tanglewood’s Festival of Contemporary Music, engagements with Mark Morris Dance Group, Apollo’s Fire and Boston Symphony Orchestra. Daniel is a graduate of Peabody Conservatory and Yale’s Institute of Sacred Music. www.DanielMoodyCountertenor.com

Mason Gates • Tenor
San Jose CA

Bay Area native Mason Gates received his Bachelor's of Music from Brigham Young University in Utah, and his Master's of Music from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.  Two-time recipient of the encouragement award from the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Mason was a festival artist at Utah Festival Artist, as well as a Vocal Fellow at the esteemed Music Academy of the West.  Recent operatic roles include The Steuermann (Der fliegende Holländer), Nanki-Poo (The Mikado) the title role of Albert Herring, Basilio/Don Curzio (Le nozze di Figaro), El Remendado (Carmen), The Man with Old Luggage (Postcard from Morocco), Spoletta (Tosca), Grigori (Boris Godunov), Rodolfo (La Boheme), Ferrando (Cosi fan tutte), Monostatos (Die Zauberflöte), and Edwin the Defendant (Trial by Jury).  He has most recently been seen performing with Lamplighters, Livermore Valley Opera, West Bay Opera, Opera San Jose, and Utah Opera.


Clare Demer • Soprano
Tucson AZ

Clare Demer is an undergraduate vocal performance major at The University of Arizona, where she performed the role of Monica in Menotti's The Medium and L'Enfant in Ravel's opera, L'Enfant et les Sortileges.  Last summer, Clare participated as a fellow in the CoOPERAtive program in Princeton, New Jersey, and the International Vocal Arts Institute in Montreal.

Among her awards are Encouragement Awards in the Arizona district of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Encouragement Award in the James Toland Vocal Competition, and she was the winner of both the undergraduate and graduate divisions of the Amelia Rieman Opera Competition.

Emilie Faiella • Soprano
San Dimas CA

Emilie Faiella, soprano, is from Southern California. Emilie is a SongFest Young Artist and recent participant in Houston Grand Opera’s YAVA program. Most recently, Emilie received an Encouragement Award from the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, MN District, and was a finalist in the Hennings-Fischer Young Artists competition. Her recent opera roles include Gretel in Hänsel und Gretel and Ginevra in Ariodante. Emilie acquired her BM in Vocal Performance at Azusa Pacific University. She considers it an honor to continue work with her teacher Dr. Melanie Galloway, and to have worked with many fine coaches such as Douglas Sumi, Michael Schütze, and Bradley Moore.

Maya Kherani • Soprano
Palo Alto CA

Coloratura soprano Maya Kherani returns to the Bay Area from her two-year residency at the Boston University Opera Institute, where she sang the roles of Tytania (A Midsummer Night's Dream) and La Fée (Cendrillon). Most recently, Maya triumphed as Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro at West Bay Opera, praised for her "sparkling" and "delightful" portrayal by San Francisco Classical Voice. Last summer, Maya sang the lead role of Altisidore in Boismortier’s Don Quixote at Central City Opera, where she received the McGlone Award. In 2014, Maya made her Houston Grand Opera (HGOco) debut as Meera in the world première of River of Light. Past roles include covering Madame White Snake (Gilgamesh) in a world première with Beth Morrison Projects, Gilda (Rigoletto), Savitri (Savitri) and Meera (River of Light) with Festival Opera, Adele (Die Fledermaus), Eurydice (Orfée aux enfers), Despina (Cosí fan tutte), Rosina (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Mabel (The Pirates of Penzance), Poppea (Agrippina), and Monica (The Medium). Prior to her singing career, Maya graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University with a degree in Mechanical Engineering.

Julia Metzler • Soprano
Los Angeles CA

Julia Metzler holds a Master’s of Music in Opera from UCLA, and a Bachelor's of Music from San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Ms. Metzler’s recent and upcoming roles include Micaëla in Bizet's La tragédie de Carmen, Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte, the Countess in Mercadante’s I Due Figaro, the roles of Ortensia, Ettalina and Stelladora in Musto’s Bastianello, Lady Billows in Albert Herring, 2nd Lady in Die Zauberflöte, and Blanche de la Force in Dialogues of the Carmelites.

A frequent opera competitor, Ms. Metzler has appeared in the Western Region finals of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 2016 and 2015. In 2011 she was the 1st Place winner of the Pacific Musical Society Competition, the Grand Prize winner in the Mondavi Center Young Artists Competition, and a finalist in the Palm Springs Opera Guild Competition. This summer she will attend Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California. www.juliaheronmetzler.com

Erin O’Meally • Soprano
San Francisco CA

Erin O’Meally, known for performing “dreamy and sensuous” melodies, is a soprano from the Jersey Shore. Her recent performances include “Musetta” in Pocket Opera’s production of La bohème. One of her most noted performances was as a Featured Soloist in Purcell’s Fairy Queen at San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where she recently completed her masters degree. Erin is an active singer at Lamplighters Music Theatre Company where she has sung title roles in A Song to Sing O, The Mikado, and Ruddigore over the past year. She is currently studying voice with Jane Randolph.

William Ottow • Tenor
Pittsburgh PA

William Ottow, a tenor from La Crosse, currently resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, studying at Carnegie Mellon University. In 2016-17 he sang Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus with CMU Opera and Milo in My Opera Nemesis as a part of CMU and Pittsburgh Opera's CoOperative collaboration featuring new works by student composers. The previous year, while in Madison, William served as Studio Artist with Madison Opera during the 2015-16 season, singing Parpignol in La Bohème, covering Laurie in Adamo's Little Women and singing the role of Nathanaël in The Tales of Hoffman. Also during 2015-16 he sang the role of #6 in Conrad Susa's Transformations with UW Opera

Sean Stanton • Baritone
Chicago IL

The twenty-six year old baritone Sean Stanton made his debut as Curio in the Handel Week Festival’s production of Giulio Cesare, performed in Requiem for Peace with the North Shore Choral Society as the 2016 Donald Chen Young Artist Award Winner, and was a 2016 scholarship recipient from the Evanston Music Club. This past summer Sean was a semi-finalist for the NATS Artist Award, took 3rd place in the NATS National Student auditions, and sang for Renée Fleming at the NATS National Conference.

An active performer, Sean has sung with Dupage Opera, American Chamber Opera, Schubertiade Chicago, VOX3, Chicago Symphony Chorus, and Grant Park Chorus.

On the competition circuit, Sean has received numerous awards including first place at the Central Region, Illinois, Chicago, and Northern NATS auditions. He has competed in the Bel Canto Foundation Competition as a grand finalist in the emerging artist division, receiving both Bravo and Bella Voce awards for his performances. Sean was also a prize recipient at Luminarts, Opera Idol, and The American Prize in opera.

Currently he is finishing his master of music degree at North Park University where he won the 2014 and 2016 School of Music Performance Awards. Sean studies with Annie Picard, focusing on a holistic approach to singing and musicianship