Meet the Artists - Popera!
BRUCE SLEDGE (Tenor Leggiero) is one of today’s most in-demand tenori di grazia and sings a wide variety of repertoire with many international houses. Sledge returned to the Metropolitan Opera in two Mozart roles: Tamino in The Magic Flute and Ferrando in Così Fan Tutte. Sledge appeared as Nemorino in L’Elisir d’Amore with Atlanta Opera, Tamino in Die Zauberflöte with Opera Hong Kong, the Duke in Rigoletto with Tulsa Opera, and Count Almaviva in Il Barbiere di Siviglia with the Hamburgische Staatsoper. In concert, he returned to the San Francisco Symphony for Stravinsky’s Pulcinella. Sledge marked his return to Japan for performances of Rodrigo in Rossini’s Otello with Pesaro’s prestigious Rossini Opera Festival on tour, followed by a recital appearance for Marilyn Horne’s 75th Birthday Gala at Carnegie Hall. The tenor made a series of impressive debuts with several of the world’s most prestigious houses: the Lyric Opera of Chicago (the Italian Tenor in Der Rosenkavalier), the Deutsche Oper in Berlin (as Ernesto in Don Pasquale), La Fenice (Léopold in La Juive), the Royal Danish Opera (as Alfredo in La Traviata) and the Pittsburgh Opera (Ferrando in Così Fan Tutte), and returned to the Teatro Comunale di Bologna for their tour to Savonlinna in La Fille du Régiment. Sledge made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera as Almaviva and returned to the New York City Opera as Ernesto in Don Pasquale. Other concert works include concerts of Don Giovanni in Lisbon with the Gulbenkian Foundation as well as Brahms’ Liebeslieder Walzer with the New York City Ballet. Sledge received his master’s degree in vocal arts from the University of Southern California, being awarded the most outstanding music masters graduate.
JAMES WESTMAN (Baritone) is internationally acclaimed Canadian baritone and a former boy treble, and has toured with the American Boys Choir, the Paris Boys Choir and the Vienna Boys Choir. Known as Jamie Westman, he was the first boy to perform the fourth movement of Mahler's Symphony No. 4 (Childs View of Heaven) and toured this work with the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra in Austria, Poland, Czechoslovakia, East and West Germany and Russia, performing in the Musikverein, Roy Thompson Hall and Carnegie Hall at the young age of 12. His critically acclaimed performances at the San Francisco Opera include Guglielmo (Cosi Fan Tutte); Marcello (La Boheme); Sylvio (I Paggliaci); Germont (La Traviata); Renato (Un Ballo in Maschera); Sid (Albert Herring); and the First Philosopher (Louise). This young verdi-baritone has performed the leading roles of Verdi, Puccini, Massenet, Donizetti, Yanacek, Bizet, Britten and Mozart for many principal Opera houses in North America and Europe including the Houston Grand Opera, Santa Fe, Montreal, Chicago, Vancouver, English National Opera, Los Angeles, San Francisco Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, New York, Detroit, Dallas Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Wexford Festival Ireland, Graz, Cologne and many more. He has sung Handel’s Messiah with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, National Arts Orchestra, Ottawa, Vancouver Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Detroit Symphony and the Kitchener-Waterloo Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra. He performed Carmina Burana with the Cleveland Orchestra, Berlioz seldom performed Romeo and Juliette with the Edmonton Symphony and the Toronto Symphony, and Mendlessohn’s Elijah and Bach’s Mass in B Minor with the Vancouver Symphony. Previous season performances include Sharpless in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly for Dallas Opera and Santa Fe Opera; Germont in Verdi’s La Traviata for Vancouver Opera; Talbot in Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda for Opera de Montreal; Sandy Keith in Tovey’s The Inventor for Calgary Opera; Messiah with the Kitchener Waterloo Philharmonic Choir; and recording and performing Britten’s War Requiem in Japan under Seiji Osawa for Decca Records. He performed at Houston Grand Opera’s 50th anniversary Gala with Sir Elton John, Bryn Terfel, Frederica Von Stade and Renee Fleming, hosted by Sir Roger Moore. Westman lives by the Avon in Stratford, Ontario, Canada with his wife Nadine (Dini) and their two sons, Liam and Hardy.
Winner of the Prix Lyrique Français, French-Canadian JULIE BOULIANNE (Mezzo-soprano) has been acclaimed for the agility and expressive power of her dark-hued mezzo-soprano in a wide repertoire, with a special focus on the music of Mozart and Rossini. In the summer of 2012, Boulianne makes her role debut as Miranda in a new production by Robert Lepage of Thomas Adès’s modern masterpiece The Tempest, under the baton of the composer at the Festival Opéra de Québec. She also makes her Japanese debut at the Saito Kinen Festival in Honegger’s Jeanne d’Arc au bûcher, and her Mostly Mozart Festival debut in Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin at Lincoln Center. During the 2012-2013 season, Boulianne returns to the Metropolitan Opera as Ascanio in Francesca Zambello’s production of Les Troyens, conducted by Fabio Luisi, which will be seen internationally as part of the Met Live in HD cinemacast series. She also appears at the Met as Siébel in Faust, directed by Des McAnuff, and returns to the Opéra de Rheims as Romeo in Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi. Career highlights include appearances at the Metropolitan Opera as Diane in Stephen Wadsworth’s production of Iphigénie en Tauride, conducted by Patrick Summers, and as Stéphano in Roméo et Juliette, under the baton of Plácido Domingo; her New York City Opera debut as the wily Lazuli in Chabrier’s comedic opera L’Étoile, directed by Mark Lamos; Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro at Vancouver Opera and at Opéra de Montréal; the title role in Massenet’s Cendrillon at l’Opéra de Montréal and at l’Opéra de Marseille; Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia for her debut at Minnesota Opera; and the title role in La Cenerentola at Aspen Opera Theater, Florida Grand Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, and Pacific Opera Victoria; and Fragoletto, the young hero of Offenbach’s opéra bouffe, Les Brigands, at both Opéra de Toulon and Opéra Comique in Paris. In March 2009, Naxos Records released a recording of Shéhérazade and L’enfant et les sortilèges featuring Julie Boulianne and the Nashville Symphony, which was nominated for the Grammy® Award for Best Classical Album. A graduate of McGill University’s Schulich School of Music, Boulianne won the First Prize in both the Canadian Music Competition and the Joy of Singing Competition in New York. She has also been awarded the International Vocal Arts Institute’s Silverman Prize, and in 2007, the Prix de la Chambre des Directeurs for Most Promising Career at the Concours International de Chant de Montréal.
Praised by Opera News for her “bright, well-focused tone,” MICAELA OESTE’s (Soprano) 2012-13 season includes debuts with Los Angeles Opera as Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Opéra National de Montpellier as Virtù and Pallade in L’incoronazione di Poppea, as well as with Gotham Chamber Opera as Flavia Gemmira in Cavalli’s Eliogabalo. In future seasons, she sings Pedro in Don Quichotte with San Diego Opera. Last season, Oeste sang her first performances of Zerlina in Don Giovanni with Polish National Opera and Croyble in Thais and L’Infante in a concert performance of Le Cid in a return to the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía. She also joined Placido Domingo in concerts for the inauguration of the new Royal Opera House in Muscat, Oman, as well as with the Zagreb Philharmonic in Croatia and at the Auditorio Nacional in Mexico City. While she was previously in the company’s prestigious Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program, she triumphed in her second season in Ophélie’s famously difficult and ethereal mad scene in Hamletas she stepped in mid-performance for Acts III and IV of the opera. Also while at Washington National Opera, she sang Nannetta in Falstaff, the Woodbird in Siegfried, First Niece in Peter Grimes and Annina in La traviata. She made her international debut at the Piccinni Festival in Bari as the title role in the composer’s La Cecchina, La buona figliuola and while a young artist with Opera Santa Barbara, she covered the role of Adina in L’elisir d’amore. She holds a Master of Music from Northwestern University and earned her Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Central Arkansas.