DAYTON, OH (January 23, 2020) – Dayton Opera is pleased to welcome four young opera singers to the Dayton area for its 2019–2020 Artist-in-Residence Program. They are soprano Maya Vansuch, mezzo-soprano Annalise Dzwonczyk, tenor Benjamin Krumreig, and baritone Scott Ballantine. They begin their official residency with Dayton Opera at the beginning of February, joined by music director and accompanist John Benjamin.
The Dayton Opera Artists-in-Residence (AIR) program was established in 1987 as a professional training program for young singers, providing a bridge for the move from the university/conservatory education experience into the arena of a professional opera company. The four artists are selected each year by Dayton Opera’s Artistic Director from competitive national auditions. This season marks the 33rd year of this successful opera training program with Dayton Opera.
The Artists-in-Residence, together with music director John Benjamin, will be appearing at numerous schools throughout the community to present educational programs that introduce Dayton area students to the art of opera. This season, they will be performing an in-school version of Cinderella Trilogy. The Artists-in-Residence will perform their production of the Cinderella story, told through three musical settings, in Dayton area schools in cooperation with Dayton’s nationally recognized arts education organization, The Muse Machine.
Two of the four singers performed together for the first time in Dayton this past December in Dayton Philharmonic’s annual presentation of Handel’s Messiah. All four Artists-in-Residence will perform in Dayton Opera’s upcoming mainstage production of La Cenerentola (Cinderella).
Soprano Maya Vansuch is a native of Dayton, Ohio and is excited to be joining the Artists-in-Residence program for the 2019–2020 season. She recently received her Bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance from Indiana University, studying under Alice Hopper. Recent roles include Najade in Ariadne auf Naxos with the IU Opera Theatre, the title role in Patience with the University Gilbert and Sullivan Society, the Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute with Reimagining Opera for Kids, and Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance with the University Gilbert and Sullivan Society. While growing up in Dayton, Maya studied privately with Marcia Weygant and was a member of the Kettering Children’s Choir. She was a winner of the 2013 WDPR Young Talent Search as well as winning first place in the Dayton Opera Guild High School Voice Competition in 2014. She looks forward to making her Dayton Opera debut as Clorinda in La Cenerentola.
Mezzo-soprano Annalise Dzwonczyk grew up in Avon Lake, Ohio. She is currently based in Philadelphia, where she is a member of the Opera Philadelphia ensemble and has been a soloist with the Main Line Symphony Orchestra. She is an alumna of the Wolf Trap Opera Studio and Houston Grand Opera Young Artists Vocal Academy. Annalise holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), where favorite roles included Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia, L’enfant in L’enfant et les sortilèges, Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro, Drusilla in L’incoronazione di Poppea, and Pepik in The Cunning Little Vixen. During her studies, Annalise was a four-time prize recipient in the Opera Guild of Dayton Tri-State College Vocal Competition. She is excited to make her Dayton professional debut as mezzo-soprano soloist in Handel’s Messiah and Tisbe in La Cenerentola.
Tenor Benjamin Krumreig is a Cleveland native and received his Bachelors in Music from the Baldwin Wallace University Conservatory of Music and his Master of Music from the University of Illinois. A versatile performer, Benjamin’s repertoire includes opera, operetta, and musical theatre. Performing highlights include the title role in Leonard Bernstein’s Candide, Tom Rakewell in Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress, Ralph Rackstraw in Gilbert & Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore, Arcadio in Daniel Catán’s Florencia en el Amazonas, Fenton in Verdi’s Falstaff, Marcellus Washburn in The Music Man, and Pluto in Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld. An avid light opera performer, Benjamin spent six summers with the Ohio Light Opera, where he was well praised particularly for his interpretations of characters in the Gilbert & Sullivan canon. Recently, Benjamin has appeared under the baton of Yannick Nézet-Séguin for the Philadelphia Orchestra’s productions of Leonard Bernstein’s MASS, West Side Story, and Candide. Benjamin currently studies voice with Mark Schnaible.
Baritone Scott Ballantine maintains a busy performing schedule year-round in New England and across the United States. A native of Colorado, he left the mountain west in pursuit of his Master’s of Music in Voice Performance at The Boston Conservatory in 2015. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Voice Performance from Northern Arizona University in 2013. Scott has worked with opera companies across the country, including St. Petersburg Opera Company, Utah Festival Opera, Natchez Festival of Music, Boston Lyric Opera, Opera Wilmington, Connecticut Lyric Opera and the Janiec Opera Company. In the 2019–2020 season, Ballantine looks forward to several company and role debuts including Opera Theater of Cape Cod (Marcello in La Bohème), Barn Opera (Papageno in The Magic Flute), Opera for the Young (Pirate King in The Pirates of Penzance), St. Petersburg Opera (Marullo in Rigoletto), and Mississippi Opera (Pâris in Roméo et Juliette). Some of his favorite roles to date include the title role in Don Giovanni, Mercutio in Roméo et Juliette, Schaunard in La Bohème, Hannah Before in As One, John Brooke in Little Women, and the title role in Tobias Picker’s Fantastic Mr. Fox.
Pianist John Benjamin, Music Director and Accompanist for the 2019-2020 Artists-in-Residence program, has spent a great deal of his musical life as a collaborative musician: chamber musician, coach/accompanist, and opera and choral accompanist. However, he also regularly assumes the roles of church organist, choral director, musical theater conductor, and cast member in opera and musical theater. Mr. Benjamin was appointed Artist-in-Residence in piano at the University of Dayton in 2000 where he is one of the founding members of the Aviatori Piano Trio, a faculty ensemble. In addition to extensive performing, he teaches piano in private and group settings. He holds degrees from the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music and the University of Akron. Mr. Benjamin is also director of music at Epiphany Lutheran Church, Centerville.
Dayton Opera and the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance welcome these artists and their contribution to the educational and season programming for the 2019–2020 season.
About the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance
The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance was formed in July 2012 as the result of a groundbreaking and innovative merger between the Dayton Ballet, the Dayton Opera, and the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra. Together, they are the largest performing arts organization in the community, offering a tremendous variety of performance and education programs and setting a new standard for artistic excellence. Dayton Performing Arts Alliance performances are made possible in part by Montgomery County and Culture Works, the single largest source of community funds for the arts and culture in the Miami Valley. The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance also receives partial funding from the Ohio Arts Council, a state agency created to foster and encourage the development of the arts and to preserve Ohio’s cultural heritage. Funding from the Ohio Arts Council is an investment of state tax dollars that promotes economic growth, educational excellence, and cultural enrichment for all Ohio residents. In 2013, The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance was thrilled to be one of five performing arts organizations in the country selected to receive a three-year “Music Alive” grant from New Music USA and the League of American Orchestras. The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance is the proud recipient of a 2017-2018 Art Works grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.