Emerging Artist Testimonials

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“Multitude of Opportunities” “St. Petersburg Opera offers artists in its Emerging Artist Program a multitude of opportunities that are on par with the programs of Houston Grand Opera, the Lyric Opera of Chicago and San Francisco’s Adler Fellow Program…As an Emerging Artist, I was assigned a full-length cover role and a main stage role and was able to work directly with Maestro Sforzini on all of the musical components in one-on-one coaching sessions.”

-Eric McKeever, Le nozze di Figaro Emerging Artist Program, Figaro Cover and performed Antonio


“So much time devoted to emerging artists” “I was consistently impressed with the attention they gave to the young performers in the program. In no other company I have dealt with has so much rehearsal time been devoted to emerging artists. At every rehearsal, after every scene with the principal singers, they would take time out to run the scene with the emerging artists.”

-Adam Hall, Rigoletto Emerging Artist Program, Duke of Mantua Cover


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“Extremely high quality productions” “In tough economic times, SPO continues to put together extremely high quality productions in original language with full orchestra. As a developing artist this is invaluable beyond words!!”

-Jennifer Kosharsky, Samson et Dalila Emerging Artist Program, Dalila Cover


“Offers vital tools for the opera profession” “The St. Petersburg Opera Company has played a major part in my professional development as a performer and in the expansion of fine arts in the community.  The EA program is a well rounded training program that offers vital tools for growth and adaptation into the opera profession.”

– Phoenix Gayles, Carmen Emerging Artist Program, Frasquita Cover

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“Fantastic Opportunity” “Unique to being an Emerging Artist with St Petersburg Opera is the fantastic opportunity to perform a role in its entirety. Just as the principal artists, we work with the director and conductor, including stage rehearsals, a sitzprobe, etc., to making certain every aspect of the production is prepared and performed to the highest level”

– Keith Smith, Don Giovanni Emerging Artist Program, Masetto Cover



“Personalized Attention” “…I was afforded a level of feedback and personalized attention that helped me grow as much in three weeks as I had in the previous two years.”

– Nova Safo, L’elisir d’amore Emerging Artist Program, Nemorino Cover

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“Wonderful Guide” “I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in the St Petersburg Opera’s Emerging Artist Program. The program is rigorous. I learned alot about the strength, skill, and love it takes to succeed in this business, and I found a mentor. Maestro Sforzini took a deep personal interest in my development as an artist and a musician. He is a superb musician and a wonderful guide.”

– Anna Marie Linvill, L’elisir d’amore Emerging Artist Program, Adina Cover

“Fine, Energetic Professionals” “This is a wonderful opportunity. I learned an incredible amount by singing my first Adele with the benefit of full orchestra rehearsals, costuming and staging. Working with Mr. Sforzini and so many fine, energetic professionals, I can see my growth as a young artist. I am extremely proud of my work with St. Petersburg Opera.”

– Candice Hoyes, Cover Artist

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“A Memorable Experience” “The cover program for the St. Petersburg Opera is truly a great experience for young singers. It gave us a chance to learn roles in a friendlier situation. We had rehearsal time with the orchestra, as well as performing at other venues around the city to promote the show. This was a very memorable experience for someone just starting a career in music performance and I would love to do it again.”

– Jeff Bakken, Cover Artist



“Fun and Interactive” “The cover program at the Palladium Theatre was both fun and interactive. I was able to sing my entire role with full orchestra at a cover rehearsal and actually performed it for a live audience at a great venue called: Bella Brava. In addition, myself and the other covers received dialogue coachings and were able to work very closely with and learn from our lead counterparts while singing in the chorus. It was a great experience and I definitely left the Palladium ready to perform my role with other companies!”

– Brianne Sura, Cover Artist



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“A Nurturing Environment” “The Emerging Artist Program at the Palladium Theater has been one of the most influential experiences that I have been a part of. The warm atmosphere provided by the principal artists and staff creates a nurturing environment to learn and grow, while the dramatic and musical standards of conductor, Mark Sforzini, and stage director, Jon Truitt, establish the air of precision and refinement as found in the work of any excellent artist. The Emerging Artists are given numerous opportunities to perform solo with orchestra as well as in other venues around the city during the program. The instruction and knowledge gained from my time at the Palladium has been invaluable to my development as a young artist just as much as the friends and peers who I met during each production.”

– Jacob Pence, Cover Artist

“Treated as a Professional” “My experience in the Emerging Artist’s program with St. Petersburg Opera was a great and positive one. I was treated as a professional from the very beginning. It’s a program that gets you ready for what it’s going to be like in the professional world. They have a very supportive staff. The other singers in the program were also very supportive and friendly. It made the program a very comfortable environment to let go and try new things. The program is one of the few programs where the artist gets the opportunity to study, learn and perform a complete opera. The program stresses the importance of the complete study of a role and the opera by encouraging the artist to research and read any and all materials relating to the opera before it was actually an opera. In addition to that, the artist must concentrate on who the character is, why the character is important to the story and how the character relates to the other characters. This program taught me how to better study a role and a complete opera. The master classes with Mark Sforzini and John Truitt were very educational and enjoyable. The chance to sing with an orchestra and learn an entire role is rare in many programs. I now have more tools for my trade and I know being a part of this program will open many doors for my future.”

– Marisa Arzillo,La Bohème Emerging Artist Program, Musetta Cover

“Musicians and Artists of the Highest Caliber” “The St. Petersburg Opera Emerging Artists program gives me the opportunity to work with other musicians and artists of the highest caliber. The extensive and thorough rehearsals, which also include master classes and various community performances allows a cover artist to hone his or her skills by truly learning and internalizing a role. For me, a soprano of a “certain age” singing as an Emerging Artist is a privilege and a fantastic opportunity not often afforded to those whose college years are past. I believe the St. Petersburg Opera cover program is unique in it’s professionalism, musicianship, and for the extensive opportunity offered to participants to excel as professional singers. ”

– Michelle Rego, Emerging Artist, Elixir of Love and Don Giovanni

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