Opera Memphis and Iris Orchestra Celebrate Up-And-Coming Musicians
With their upcoming event, WORDS + MUSIC, Opera Memphis and Iris Orchestra celebrate four emerging musicians with an intimate concert featuring chamber music from Haydn to Brahms, vocal performances, and instrumental pieces. The evening will showcase the talents of Opera Memphis Handorf Company Artists Tahanee Aluwihare (mezzo-soprano) and Jake Stamatis (baritone), and Iris Artist Fellows Amaro Dubois (viola) and Carrington Truehart (cello). All four artists are rising professionals in their fields, and their time with Iris Orchestra and Opera Memphis is intended to further propel their careers onto national and international stages. See them perform on Saturday, November 23, 7:30PM at the beautiful Dixon Gallery and Gardens. For tickets, CLICK HERE.
About the ARtists
A native of Sri Lanka, mezzo-soprano Tahanee Aluwihare made her debut with the Symphony Orchestra of Sri Lanka at the age of 17 and has since performed in Asia, Europe and North America. She made her operatic debut as Lola in Mascagni’s Cavelleria Rusticana in Germany with Opera Classica Europa. In the 2017-2018 season, she sang Idamante in Mozart’s Idomeneo in Crete with Lidal North, and Beppe in Mascagni’s L’amico Fritz as an alumna artist with the Longy School of music of Bard College. Venturing outside of the traditional operatic canon, she sang the role of Sinang in the Tagalog language production of Felipe de Leon’s Le Opera Noli Me Tangere with Opera Brittenica, as part of a national revival of the work. Ms. Aluwihare has also sung the roles of Zita in Gianni Schicchi, and La Badessa and La Maestra della Novizie in Suor Angelica, while covering La Zia Principessa, in a double-bill of Puccini’s works in Germany with the Berlin Opera Academy. In the summer of 2017, she covered the title role in Carmen with Opera Noord-Holland-Noord. In the same season, she premiered the roles of the Monkey Queen and Lord of the Tigers in Houston Grand Opera’s (HGOco) touring Spring 2018 production of the new work Monkey and Francine in the City of Tigers by Kamala Sankaram. Ms. Aluwihare received her B.A. from Mount Holyoke College with concentrations in Music and Anthropology, and her M.M. in Vocal Performance from the Longy School of Music of Bard College under the tutelage of Carol Mastrodomenico.
Brazilian violist Amaro Dubois is the 2019-20 season’s viola fellow in the Iris Artist Fellowship program (IAF). Amaro earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Violin Performance (with a specialty in chamber music) from the Brazilian Conservatory of Music and his Master’s Degree in Viola Performance from the University of Alabama. He has played for groups such as the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra, the Tuscaloosa Symphony Orchestra, the Mobile Symphony Orchestra, the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra. and more.
Jake Stamatis, born in Tunkhannock, Pennsylvania, has performed a variety of roles on the operatic stage. His repertoire includes Papageno in Die Zauberflöte (Mozart), Schaunard in La Boheme (Puccini), Figaro in Le Nozze di Figaro (Mozart), Leporello in Don Giovanni (Mozart), Frosch in Die Fledermaus (J. Strauss), Ko-Ko in The Mikado (Gilbert & Sullivan), and the Bass-baritone in Hydrogen Jukebox (Glass). Jake has been a fellow at Music Academy of the West, a resident artist with Tri-Cities Opera, a guest artist with Opera Ithaca, a professional fellow with the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival, a fellow with the CoOPERAtive Program, as well as a participant in Bel Cantanti Opera’s Summer Festival, where he also served as staff choreographer. Jake received his Bachelor's Degree in Vocal Performance at Susquehanna University, and his Masters Degree in Opera at Binghamton University.
Memphis native Carrington Truehart is this season’s cello fellow in the Iris Artist Fellowship program (IAF). Truehart received his Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education and Master’s Degree in Cello Performance from the University of Memphis. He has been a member of the Jackson Symphony, PRIZM ensemble, and more. Truehart deeply values Iris Orchestra’s commitment to supporting diversity and community outreach.This will be his second year in the IAF program.
About the Programs
The Iris Artist Fellowship and the Handorf Company Artist Program are experience-based programs aimed at providing rising professional artists the tools they will need to take that next step up in their respective careers. For Handorf Artists, this means a robust performance calendar, personalized goals and coaching, and a sharpened entrepreneurial mindset to champion the world of opera in the 21st century.
"Many of our artists have completed their graduate studies, but at Opera Memphis we continue their education with coaching sessions from Music Director Michael Sakir and General Director Ned Canty, as well as visiting artists and coaches. They are learning not just skills and techniques for opera as an art, but also tools for opera as a profession. From topics like social media branding and public speaking, to tax-preparation and audition wardrobe consultations, these various training sessions are crafted by Opera Memphis professionals to suit each artist's needs and ensure their success."
Opera Memphis artists are also encouraged to develop community relations during their residency through programs like 30 Days of Opera, collaborations with various community organizations, and the spring Educational Tour which takes them (and opera) into the heart of Shelby County schools. It's 8-months of hard yet rewarding work yielding professional artists fine-tuned and ready for the next level in their opera career.
The Iris Artist Fellowship echoes the same goals and direction, with a slightly more specialized approach:
"IAF is a program for rising professional musicians with a passion for engaging music as a tool for social justice while growing in their own artistry. Designed to address the under-representation of African-Americans and Latinx in the classical music realm, the fellowship program is directed toward musicians of those populations... Fellows focus on chamber music, education, youth development, community-building projects, and collaborations."
Iris Orchestra gives their fellows the opportunity to build their career through performances, experiences, and nationwide networking. At the heart of it all, though, is the education component. Whether the fellows are mentoring and teaching young aspiring-musicians, or being mentored by Maestro Stern, resident and visiting artists, or educational specialists, it's all about musical instruction, mentorship, inspiration, and social equity.
To support the Opera Memphis Handorf Company Artist Program, CLICK HERE.
To support the Iris Artist Fellows Program, CLICK HERE.