Katherine Christenbury, from Wilmington Delaware, has been singing since she was just a child, participating in her church choir. By the age of 12, she began taking voice lessons and shortly thereafter began competing in state and regional competitions. She placed first in the Delaware NATS competition in 2011 and, she placed second in the Eastern Regional competition in 2012 and first in 2013. She also competed in the Delaware MTNA competition in which she was an alternate in both 2010 and 2011. She has also participated in her nationally acclaimed high school chamber choir, The Master Singers, which concluded with two solo performances at Carnegie Hall in 2013 as part of the National Youth Choir program. She participated in the 2012 Washington National Opera summer program which culminated in a solo performance on the Millennium stage at the Kennedy Center. In 2015 she participated in the Musik Theater Bavaria summer program. During her time at Peabody she has participated in several of their opera scenes programs as well as their opera productions such as the role of Sprite in Cendrillon (2014) and the role of Sandman in Hansel und Gretel (2017). She is also a proud recipient of the G. Raymond Ziegler Endowed Scholarship (2013-2017) as well as the Rosa Ponselle Scholarship in voice (2016-2017). She is also the recipient of the Annie Wentz Prize in Voice (2017). She participated in the AIMS in Graz summer music festival in 2017 and most recently, she participated in the Patti and Allan Herbert Frost School of Music at Salzburg in the summer of 2018.
Claire Cooper is a lyric mezzo soprano from Raleigh, North Carolina. Ms. Cooper has most recently performed with New York Lyric Opera as Dorabella in Così fan Tutte and in the same month made her Carnegie Hall debut as Donna Elivra in scenes from Don Giovanni. Other notable performances include The Magic Flute (Second Lady) with NY Lyric Opera, Le Nozze di Figaro (Barbarina) with the Amalfi Coast Music Festival, and scenes from L’incorinazione di Poppea (Nerone) with UNC Opera. In addition to performance, Ms. Cooper possesses passion for teaching and directing. While completing her Bachelor’s degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Ms. Cooper assistant directed UNC Opera’s 2017 Fall Opera Scenes. Additionally, she is credited for music directing musicals and song cycles such as Mel Brooks’ The Producers, Songs for a New World, and The Last Five Years by Jason Robert Brown with Company Carolina. Before attending Peabody, Ms. Cooper also taught voice lessons to young singers ages 8-16 at the Chapel Hill School of Musical Arts. Ms. Cooper is thrilled to be portraying the role of Toledo in Peabody Opera’s upcoming performance of The Falling and the Rising in February of 2019.
Mezzo soprano Madilyn Crossland is pursuing her Master of Music at the Peabody Institute under the tutelage of Elizabeth Futral. A California native, she graduated with her bachelor’s degree from the Hall-Musco Conservatory of Music at Chapman University. Her operatic scene experience includes the title role in La Grande Duchesse du Gerolstein, Miss Jones in Street Scene, and Dame Quickly in Falstaff with Opera Chapman, as well as Idamante in Idomeneo and Ruggiero in Alcina with the Taos Opera Institute. Full opera production experience includes La Maestra della Novizie in Suor Angelica with Opera Chapman and Une Autre Fille in Cherubin with Peabody Opera Theatre.
In the 2017-18 season, she was seen as the alto soloist in Haydn’s Harmoniemesse with the Peabody Symphony Orchestra and Peabody Choirs. She sang the role of Girl 3 in Errollyn Wallen’s ANON which performed in a variety of venues, including the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage. She also participated in Peabody Opera Theatre’s “Bernstein and Friends” scenes production as Dinah in Trouble in Tahiti and Miss Todd in The Old Maid and the Thief. In the 2018-19 season, she will be featured as a soloist in Leonard Bernstein’s MASS, under the baton of Marin Alsop. She will also be seen as Hansel in Peabody Opera Outreach’s production of Hansel and Gretel. And in March of 2019, she will play the role of La Ciesca in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi.
Kasey Cwynar-Foye is a rising first year Master’s student at the Peabody Conservatory studying vocal performance under Elizabeth Futral, as well as vocal pedagogy. As an undergraduate at Peabody she performed the roles of Destino and Eco in La Caliso, Cunegonde from Bernstein’s Candide, and covered the role of Nina in Massenet’s Chéruben. In the Fall of 2015, Kasey was awarded scholarship to study abroad in Singapore through the Peabody and Young Siew Tow Conservatory joint degree program, and was the youngest vocalist to perform in the final round of the Harold HAUGH Light Opera Competition in the Winter of 2016. Through Young Artist programs including La Musica Lyrica in Northern Italy, Musiktheater Bavaria in Northern Germany, Pittsburgh Festival Opera, and the Frost School of Music’s Summer Festival in Austria she has performed scenes as Susanna and Barbarina from Le Nozze di Figaro, as Anna from Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor, and Zerlina from Don Giovani. Last July, Kasey performed as Maria in The Sound of Music with the Bethesda Summer Festival.
Versatile soprano Abigail Hart is known for entertaining audiences on opera and concert stages with her lively interpretations and seamless coloratura. Hart is inspired by the beautiful and complex stories of opera, and breathes life into the most dramatic and comedic characters with relatable charm and elegance. This season Hart will perform a new staging of Errolyn Wallen’s ANON with Peabody Opera. She most recently appeared in Janaček’s The Cunning Little Vixen as Chief Hen (Chocholka). She also graced the stage as Blanche de la Force in Dialogues of the Carmelites with University of Arizona Opera Theater and as First Daughter in Beauty and the Beast by Giannini. Hart has also been honored with grants from the Opera Guild of Southern Arizona and Peabody Conservatory. Hart is a graduate of Furman University with a Bachelors in Vocal Performance. She also studied at the University of Arizona, and trained at Miami Music Festival. Hart is currently pursuing her Masters at Peabody Conservatory studying with Elizabeth Futral.
Ashley Higginbotham is pursuing her Master’s Degree in vocal performance with a pedagogy concentration at the Peabody Conservatory studying under Elizabeth Futral. Ashley is best-known onstage for dynamic, expressive performances and sparkling tone. Offstage, she is a fiercely dedicated voice teacher. Ashley’s undergraduate studies at West Chester University with Dr. Emily Bullock solidified that her passion for performance is matched with her dedication to teaching the art of singing. While at West Chester University, she performed roles such as Konstanze in Die Entführung aus dam Serail, Miss Titmouse in Too Many Sopranos. Upon graduation, Ashley studied with famed soprano Benita Valente and participated in the Florence Voice Seminar with Ms. Valente alongside Sally Wolf and Kevin Langan. At this time, Ashley also developed an award-winning vocal program at the Betsy Daily School of Performing Arts. She is now a Program Director at Stages Music Arts, where she has developed thriving voice and piano studios and endeavors to help artists achieve long, fulfilling careers in music.
Emma Hils has been singing for most of her life, in various ways. She is originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. There she participated in various esteemed choirs around town, such as The Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Chorale and the Junior Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh,
where she performed solo as well as with the groups. She attended the Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts Academy in downtown Pittsburgh. There she explored various genres of song such as jazz as well as classical. She attended the summer program, the Ezio Pinza Council for American Singers of Opera, which took her to Italy. There she received lessons from experienced musicians and performed as a soloist as well as part of some opera scenes. She was immersed in the culture and found her love of opera and classical voice. This inspired her to pursue music professionally. She began attending Peabody last year and has been involved with some performances around campus, as a chorus member and soloist.
Katherine Holobinko, soprano, from Avon, Connecticut, is a third-year Vocal Performance major and French Dual Degree student, studying under the direction of Elizabeth Futral. She has performed as a soloist in numerous venues across Connecticut including with the Farmington Valley Chorale singing Handel’s Messiah, renditions of “The Lord’s Prayer” with the All Saints Orthodox Cathedral Choir of Hartford, and was honored as the musical artist for the 2014 “9-11 Remembrance Event” held in Hartford, Connecticut. Katherine began her formal voice training at the age of eleven. At the age of sixteen, she was invited to study under Joanna Levy, Voice Chair of the Hartt School of Music. During the summer of 2016, she was accepted into the Middlebury College German for Singers Program and was cast in their pastiche as the role of Dardané. Last season at Peabody, Katherine performed the roles of L’Eternità/Furia 1 in Cavalli’s La Calisto and a child in the Childrens’ Chorus of Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel. She also was the Soprano 2 of the voice trio in John Adams’ Grand Pianola Music with the Peabody Concert Orchestra. After performing the role of Sister Genovieffa in Puccini’s Suor Angelica at the Amalfi Coast Music Festival this past summer, she is looking forward to singing the role of Nina in Massenet’s Chérubin in the spring.
Samantha Hornback is a second year master’s student and studies with Elizabeth Futral. She received her Bachelor of Music degree from Simpson College. There, she performed in all eight operas produced, which included singing leading roles in four of them. Some of the highlights of her time there include Julie Jordan (Carousel), Calisto (La Calisto), The Child (The Child and the Magic Spells), and Susanna (The Marriage of Figaro). She appeared at the University of Arizona as Beauty (Beauty and the Beast) and Sister Constance (Dialogues of the Carmelites). She is also an avid choreographer, and has worked with Simpson College’s Singing Actor camp for the last four years. She has also had experience with stage direction, when she taught “Operatic Stage Techniques” last year in Arizona, where she coached and directed students in short scenes. Samantha has also been a part of many large-scale choral works, including Beethoven’s “Missa Solemnis,” Mendelssohn’s “Elijah,” and Stravinsky’s “Les Noces.” Last year at Peabody, she sang and acted the roles of Girl 2 and Actor 1 in the Outreach production of ANON. This year, she will appear as the Sandman and Dew Fairy in Peabody’s Opera Outreach production of Hansel and Gretel.
Alicia Hurtado, soprano, is a first year Masters student studying with Prof. Futral. This year at Peabody, you may see her as The Sandman and Dew Fairy in Hansel and Gretel and The Lover in Il Tabarro. Alicia received her undergraduate degree in Vocal Performance from The University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. Her operatic role experience includes Le Feu in L’enfant et les sortileges with Opera Theatre of the Rockies, La Fée in Cendrillon and Adele (cover) in Die Fledermaus with New York Lyric Opera, Fortuna (and Drusilla cover) in L’incoronazione di Poppea and Peaseblossom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream with The University of Illinois, and Little Bo Peep in Babes in Toyland with Chicago Folks Operetta. Highlights from her scenes experience includes her Carnegie Hall debut as Miss Silverpeal in The Impresario with New York Lyric Opera, Flora in Turn of the Screw and Romilda in Serse with The University of Illinois, Norina in Don Pasquale, Despina in Cosi fan Tutte, and Lisette in La Rondine with Scuola Italia. Alicia also loves musical theatre and straight theatre and has played roles such as Estragon in Waiting for Godot with Penny Dreadful Players, Jojo in Seussical with Greensboro Light Opera and Song, and Christine in Phantom of the Opera with Fox Valley Theatre Company. Alicia’s Turn of the Screw scene won First Place in the National Opera Association’s Opera Scenes competition, and at The University of Illinois, Alicia received the Elizabeth M. Frauenhoffer Award.
Bailey Jo Hutton, a soprano from Edwardsville, Illinois, is in the first year of her Masters Degree studies at the Peabody Conservatory, studying with Elizabeth Futral. In her undergraduate studies at Peabody, she sang in Dialogues des Carmélites, Cendrillon, performed Queen of the Night and First Lady in Papageno, and Johnna in Naomi in the Living Room. During summer seasons, she was most recently a Young Artist at the Songfest festival in Los Angeles. She has interned with the Opera Theatre of St. Louis, and traveled to Italy to perform the role of 1st Spirit in Die Zauberflöte with the Amalfi Coast Music and Arts Festival. In the Baltimore area, she has performed with the Handel Chorus of Baltimore, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and is a soprano with the Emmanuel Episcopal Church Choir. This season, she looks forward to performing the role of Norina in Don Pasquale for the Peabody Opera Department’s Scenes Program.
Chuyan Luo, Soprano, is pursuing the Master of Music degree in Voice Performance as a student of professor Elizabeth Futral. During her studies in China, Chuyan had been chosen to sing in several operas, concerts and master classes. In 2013, Chuyan was successfully admitted to the Sichuan Conservatory of Music, where she studied with professor Liejing Yang. In 2015, she attended to the China-US opera workshop in Beijing that was hold by Peking University Opera Research institute and Trinity University, performed as Santuzza in opera Cavalleria Rusticana by Mascagni. In the same year, she was chosen to perform in Bellini’s opera I Puritani in Sichuan Conservatory of Music Concert Hall. In 2016, Chuyan attended to the fifth Chinese Peafowl award for voice and broke into the finals and received excellence award. In the same year, she received second- class scholarship from Sichuan Conservatory of Music, and was rated one of the top ten voice student in the conservatory. In 2017-18 season, Chuyan will perform in Peabody Conservatory Opera scenes featured as Camille in Louise by Gustave Charpentier.
Lexie Modica is a soprano, and a first year bachelors student of voice at Peabody Conservatory. She is currently studying under Elizabeth Futral. Previous opera roles include, La Fee in Cenrillon, and Josephine in HMS Pinafore. She has also done several musical theater roles, such as Mary Poppins in Mary Poppins, and Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz.
Emma Rocheleau, soprano, from Lexington, South Carolina, is a transfer student at the Peabody Conservatory where she studies under Elizabeth Futral. Prior to attending Peabody, she attended the University of South Carolina where she was involved on and off stage with Opera at USC in Bernstein’s MASS (2018), La Finta Giardiniera (2017), The Lanny & Sidney Palmer One-Act Series (2017), and Sunday in the Park with George (2016). In 2018, she was the winner of South Carolina NATS. During the summer, she has attended programs such as Berlin Opera Academy (2018), where Roshe sang Sandmann in Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel, and the Austrian-American Mozart Academy (2017), in which she sang Papagena in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte. She is a member of the Peabody Singers.
Sarah Spivack, soprano, has most recently been seen as Barbarina in Le nozze di Figaro with the Rowan University Opera Company, in the chorus of the Young Victorian Theatre Company’s The Mikado, and Girl 1 in the contemporary opera ANON on the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage with Peabody Institute’s outreach opera program. She is delighted to join Peabody’s outreach program again as the Mother in Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel. She is a second year GPD student in the studio of Elizabeth Futral.
Soprano Melanie Walker is a second year Masters of Music student studying Voice Performance in the studio of Elizabeth Futral. She made her Peabody debut last season as Girl 2/Actor 2 in Peabody Opera Outreach’s production of Errolyn Wallen’s ANON, and her most recent performances include Laurentia (The Beautiful Bridegroom), Jaffette (Noye’s Fludde) and the Chorus for Opera Grand Rapids production of Roméo et Juliette. She additionally has been a featured soloist for works including Vivaldi’s Gloria, Mozart’s Laudate Dominum and Bach’s Der Herr ist mein getreuer Hirt, and in the fall of 2016 premiered an original composition at Michigan State University entitled I wanna fly by Duncan-Peterson Jones. She has participated in various summer voice programs, including the American Institute of Musical Studies (AIMS) in Graz, Austria, Opera Maya in Playa del Carmen, Mexico and the Royal School of Church Music (RSCM) in London, England. Ms. Walker has worked with artists including Christina Haan, Molly Fillmore, Stephanie Weiss and Linda Watson and has performed in masterclasses given by Patricia Craig, Ellen Hargis and George Shirley. This season, she looks forward to performing the role of La sorella infermiera in Peabody Opera’s production of Puccini’s Suor Angelica.
Alexandria Zallo, mezzo-soprano, is an undergraduate sophomore from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She attended Opera in the Ozarks in 2018 where she played Samantha (The Ballad of Baby Doe), Carmen (Scenes), Stepmother/Queen in an outreach performance of Cinderella, and was in the chorus of Die Fledermaus. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s of Music under Elizabeth Futral.
Shanhong is a professional singer, and she won a lot of awards, such as winning the 2nd prize in Voice Performance of Korea-China International Music Competition in Busan, 2016; Won Excellent Award for Folk of Higher College and University Arts Professional Group of International Chinese Vocal Competition of 4th International Chinese Art Festival in Taipei, 2014; won the 1st prize of Young Singers’ Competition held by TV station of Zhuozhou, 2012. Furthermore, she got many scholarships from China Conservatory, such as “the first-class scholarship” and a title “outstanding student” in 2015; “the second-class scholarship” in 2014 and the title “Merit award of social practice” in 2012. She did a lot of performances and got a great progress. She performed as a nun in the “Dialogues of the Carmelites” by Francis Poulenc and as a fairy in the opera “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” by Benjamin Britten, those are held by the University of Arizona. She also was a member of Arizona Choir that conducted by Dr. Bruce Chamberlain, and she attended all of the performances in the whole academic year, the works including “Les Noces” of Stravinsky, “Elijah” of Mendelssohn, “Apparebit Repentina Dies” of Paul Hindemith. In 2016, she graduated from China Conservatory and got the bachelor degree in Beijing. In the same year, she was as a master student and joined to Elizabeth Futral’s Studio at the University of Arizona, and then she transferred her master’s degree to Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University in 2017.
Learn more about Elizabeth Futral in her bio.