2022 Young Artists
Alex-Christian Luca, Baritenor
Alex-Christian Lucas is a two-time Broadway World Award Winning actor, theatre researcher, and historian who is a proud New Orleans native and a member of Equity UK, the American Guild of Musical Artists, the American Society for Theatre Research, and the New Orleans Opera Chorus. He received his Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance and minor in Theatre Arts from Loyola University New Orleans in 2020 and just completed his MA in Music Theatre in March from the University of London’s prestigious Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. He now lives in London full time and has studied in Germany, Canada, New York, and London, having performed in both New Orleans and on London’s Off-West End. He is slated next to present his original theatrical research on shrinking Broadway ensemble sizes, which he is shaping into a book for publication, in a session at BroadwayCon in NYC in July 2022. alexchristianlucas.com
ALison Post, Pianist
Alison Post is a doctoral candidate at The University of Southern Mississippi and currently resides in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, USA, where she serves as an opera and musical theater pianist with the Southern Opera and Musical Theatre Company, Opera Mississippi, and FestivalSouth. As a piano instructor at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, she performs in numerous faculty and student recitals. In her downtime Alison enjoys travel, culinary blogs, and making memories with her cherished dog Milo. Alison hopes to make an impact on the lives of those she makes music with, and she is delighted to join the IPAI 2022 family as a collaborative artist!
Allie waguespack, Soprano
New Orleans, LA.
Allie Waguespack is a second year Master’s student at Loyola University New Orleans studying Vocal Performance under the direction of Dr. Tyler Smith. She is an aspiring classical performer and hopes to one day teach Voice Studies at the collegiate level. Allie is thrilled to be on her first trip out of the US, and is beyond grateful for the opportunity to perform and work with such esteemed colleagues
Andrea Morokutti, Pianist
Andrea Morokutti is currently studying Piano Performance with a Collaborative Emphasis at Ithaca College. This past year she has collaborated with several instrumentalists, vocalists, choirs, and was the rehearsal pianist for the premiere of our main-stage opera We Wear the Sea Like a Coat by Sally Lamb McCune. She studies with Dr. Vadim Serebryany and Dr. Dianne Birr.
Ashley harms, Soprano
Ashley Harms is a recent graduate of Luther College with a major in vocal performance. During her time at Luther, she was involved in SPIN Theatre, various choral ensembles, opera scenes, and opera. This past spring, she played the role of Rosalinda in Luther College's production of Die Fledermaus. She plans to attend graduate school next fall.
audrey brokish, mezzo-Soprano
Audrey Brokish is a Mezzo-soprano who currently resides in Cleveland, Tennessee. She graduated from Lee University with her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance Degree in December 2021, and is currently pursuing her Master of Vocal Performance degree. She is a student of Dr. Chery Brendel.
bennet chew, baritone
Salt Lake City, UT.
Bennett Chew is a 22 year old baritone from Salt Lake City, Utah. This spring, Chew has graduated with his Bachelors in Music with an emphasis in Vocal Performance from the University of Utah. Past roles include Judge Turpin from Sweeney Todd (Kingsbury Hall), Count Ceprano from Rigoletto (Kingsbury Hall), Don Quixote from Master Peter's Puppet Show (Studio 115), the High Priest and King Cadmus from Semele (Libby Gardner Concert Hall), and Sharpless from Madama Butterfly (Lyrical Opera Theater). He will be performing as Captain Swabby from The Mermaid in Lock No. 7 (Studio 115) this fall, and the title character from Gianni Schicchi (Lyrical Opera Theater) next year.
Benson Graham, tenor
Benson Graham is a third-year undergraduate tenor studying Vocal Performance at Ohio University. Born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, He decided to pursue music professionally after performing in his high school’s choir. In college, Benson had found a love for opera and acting, and he is excited to work with the faculty and his fellow performers at IPAI Germany!
Cadence Dobson, soprano
Fort Meyers, FL.
Cadence Dobson is an incoming sophomore at Florida Gulf Coast University. She has been studying with her voice teacher Dr. Jeanie Darnell for about five years and she is currently pursuing a BFA in music performance. She is a winner of the Jillian Prescott Scholarship Competition and a two time winner of the Mastersingers Vocal Competition. She has most recently been seen as Mabel in Pirates of Penzance (Opera Naples) and Suzana (Le Nozze di Figaro) in the Bower School of Music’s Opera scenes. She is looking forward to her first international experience with the IPAI Germany program!
cassidy ewert, mezzo-soprano
Cassidy Ewert was born with a passion for sharing her gift of voice. As a part of the International Performing Arts Institute, Cassidy was selected as the Musical Theatre 2021 Grand Prize winner of the “Voices of Summer” Vocal Competition in Fairhope, Alabama. She is excited to return this year and continue to grow both musically and personally with the help of the wonderful facility at IPAI!
colin ring, Baritone/tenor
Lake Geneva, WI.
Colin Ring (He/Him) is about to be a senior at The University of Colorado at Boulder, where he is studying as a Bachelor of Music in Musical Theatre with a Business Minor. He is originally from Lake Geneva, Wisconsin and went to Colorado to study under Dr. John Seesholtz. Most recently Colin has performed as Gherardo & Marco in Gianni Schicchi, Gastone in La Traviata, and Harry the Horse in Guys and Dolls. Colin is very grateful for the opportunity to work with IPAI and is excited for what his future holds!
Dana portnoy, soprano
Dana Portnoy is getting a Bachelor’s of Music in Vocal Performance at the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music, with minors in psychology and writing. She’s lived in 5 states before but considers New Mexico her home state. She paints and writes poetry in her free time.
Dayela Lima, soprano
Dayela Lima is a recent graduate of Shorter University, with a degree in Vocal Performance. In February she played her first role in a fully staged opera, Suor Angelica, the role of Angelica. Last summer, she played Donna Elvira in a scene from Don Giovanni with the International Performing Arts Institute. Her past scene roles with the SU Opera Theater include: “Susanna” from The Magic of Figaro (2019), “Dorabella” from Cosi Fan Tutte (2019), and “Bess” from Porgy and Bess (2019). In past years, some of her musical theater/crossover roles with the SU Theater have included: “The Fairy-godmother” in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella (2022), “Nettie” in Carousel (2020), and “The Witch” in Into The Woods (2019). Along with opera, she has performed a plethora of church music, and just finished her fourth year as a member of Shorter’s highest chamber ensemble. As a new graduate Dayela will be taking a gap year to travel, brand herself as a young performer, and work an office job to fund her auditions. Upon completion of the gap year she plans to attend grad school. Dayela is thrilled to see what this summer has to offer, and can’t wait to get back on the stage!
Dongwook Cheon, Pianist
Dongwook Cheon was born in Seoul, South Korea, and began to study the piano at age four. Since
then, he has shown his abilities by winning many local piano competitions. He earned a double major
in Linguistics and Piano Performance from Chungnam National University, a Master’s degree in piano
performance at Oklahoma City University under Dr. Sergio Monteiro, and a master's degree in
Collaborative piano under Dr. Ana Maria Otamendi. During this period, he received several
scholarships and awards, and performed in many solo and chamber recitals. He studies a DMA
program under Dr. Michael Bunchman.
Emma Iacovella, Soprano
My name is Emma Iacovella, I am originally from Chicago, Illinois but I am currently residing in Manhattan, Kansas where I study Music Education at Kansas State University! I am so excited for this opportunity to sing with IPAI in Germany this year before I move into my last year of undergrad! One fun thing about me is that I love to create! So in my downtime, you will find me knitting, sewing, or crafting something exciting! I have even gone as far as to create some of the furniture in my apartment!
Hannah ward, Soprano
Hanna Ward is a senior at Anderson University in South Carolina pursuing a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy along with a minor in theatre. She lives in Florence, South Carolina. She is excited for the opportunity to study in Germany!
Joanna hansen, soprano
JoAnna Hansen is a Master’s student at The University of South Carolina. Going for her MM in vocal performance, she is excited to have an amazing opportunity such as this! One fun fact about her is she loves photography. When she isn’t singing in an opera or recital, you can find her behind a camera lens capturing some neat photos!
Justin Eifert, tenor
New Orleans, LA.
Justin Eifert, Tenor, is freshman vocal performance major at Loyola University New Orleans. Currently living in Alexandria, Virginia, Justin has avidly performed in a wide variety of choirs and theatre programs since high school. Most notably, he has held named roles in Houston Grand Opera’s Art of Opera Summer Program throughout high school and achieved first chair in the TPSMEA All-State Choir in 2019 and 2020. He recently made his collegiate debut as Gherardo in Loyola’s production of Gianni Schicchi, and is excited to be a part of IPAI Germany this year.
keisy peyerl, pianist
Keisy Peyerl Xavier, a Brazilian pianist, has made a name for herself as both a soloist
and a collaborative pianist. A versatile artist with a strong foundation in Classical piano
education has also musical experience in other genres such as Brazilian Jazz, Gospel,
Pop/Rock to Musical Theater.
Finalist and third place at the “Latin-American Piano Competition Rosa Mística” in
Curitiba, and at the “National Piano Competition in the Brazilian Academy of Music” in
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, she attended masterclasses with respected pianists such as
Guigla Katsarava, École Normale de Musique de Paris; Petronel Malan, South Africa;
and Carrie-Ann Matheson, Canada.
She recently finished her contract as repetiteur and primary coach for Opera
Mississippi's production of Puccini’s Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi, while
graduating from a DMA program. In April 2022, Keisy recorded a CD in Houston, TX
with one of the vocalists she met at the IPAI Fairhope 2021 program, involving the
recording of operatic arias, German lieder, and her arrangements of popular songs.
Kiana love, mezzo-Soprano
Kiana Love is a blossoming mezzo-soprano going into her Senior year at Texas Tech University where she studies Vocal Performance under the direction of soprano Dr. Rebecca Wasco-Hays. She has taken part on stage as Dorabella in Mozart's Cosí fan tutte, Marcellina in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, Nursemaid #2 in Kurt Weill's Street Scene and in the chorus in Dialogues of the Carmélites. Upcoming, she has the role of La Badessa in Suor Angelica by Puccini. She has also been an avid help off stage, being assistant stage manager for La Clemenza di Tito in Spring 2022.
Laura Barrera is a Colombian soprano who recently graduated from Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida, with a bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance. While she was in Southeastern, She received the award of most outstanding in her major. Laura has also performed in different scenes from Cosí Fan Tutte, Le Nozze di Figaro, and Les Contes d’Hoffman.
Fort Meyers, FL.
Lisa Acevedo is a junior Music Education major at Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) who studies classical voice with Dr. Jeanie Darnell. She sang the role of Hansel in (FGCU) who studies classical voice with Dr. Jeanie Darnell. She sang the role of Hansel in FGCU’s 2021 Spring production of Hansel and Gretel, and in Opera Naples, Fall 2021. She was a part of FGCU Chamber choir and FGCU Women's choir this year and played the role of Bastienna in FGCU’s 2022 Spring production of Bastien and Bastienna. When Lisa graduates FGCU in Spring 2024, she aspires to become a music educator and to manage a private voice studio.
Dr. Luciana Simões, pianist
Dr. Luciana Simões, pianist, Brazilian, has earned her Doctorate of Musical Arts (Collaborative Piano) from The University of Southern Mississippi, under the guidance of Dr. Michael Bunchman. Back in Brazil in 2021, Dr. Simões has been part of several opera productions at Theatro São Pedro (São Paulo/BR) for productions like Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro, Rossini's Signor Bruschino and Donizetti's Viva La Mamma. Luciana also maintains an active musical life performing with singers and instrumentalists, and holds a piano studio in the city of São Paulo (Brazil).
Macy Andrus is a soprano based in Denver, CO where she just completed her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance at the University of Denver's Lamont School of Music. Most recently, she sang the title role of L'Enfant in L'Enfant et les Sortilegés with the Lamont Opera Theatre. Macy will be pursuing a Master of Music at the University of Utah with Prof. Kirstin Chávez in the fall of 2023.
New Orleans, LA.
Mezzo-Soprano Margaret Branyon-Goodman is a recent graduate of Loyola University New Orleans with an M.M. in Vocal Performance. She recently performed as La Badessa in Suor Angelica and as Zita in Gianni Schicchi with Loyola Opera as well as singing with the New Orleans Opera Chorus in La Bohéme. She is excited to be attending IPAI for a second time and is looking forward to performing in Fairhope and Kiefersfelden.
Colorado Springs, CO.
Margaret Brophy lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado. She is going into her last year of school at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction, Colorado where she is majoring in Musical Theatre. After she finishes, she is hoping to attend grad school to study more acting. In her free time, she enjoys singing with her sisters, playing cello, and doing arts and crafts. She is very thankful to her parents and voice teachers for supporting her through this opportunity to travel abroad for the first time.
Mia kopera, Mezzo-Soprano
Mia Elisa Kopera is a Mezzo-Soprano currently attending school at the University of Colorado in Boulder. She is pursuing a Bachelors of Music degree in Vocal Performance under the tutelage of Dr. John Seesholtz, and she will be Senior next year. She is beyond excited to be at IPAI this summer! The combination of traveling and singing is a dream come true for her.
Monika Schweighofer,Born in Salzburg/Austria is currently studying “Musical Theatre” at the Stage School Hamburg with a full scholarship.
Before she came to Hamburg she already participated in different productions at the state theatre of Salzburg such as, “Kick it like Beckham-the musical” as Rimpy/Ensemble, “Meine Stille Nacht - the musical” as Understudy Mira and the opera “G.Puccini Tosca” as Ensemble.
At the stage school she could participate in three shows at the “First Stage Theatre”, as a soloist in singing and dancing,these were “the big Christmas show”, “die große Jubiläumsgala” and “the Monday Night”.
Monika began her Training in singing and dancing at a young age, she took private singing classes from “Annemieke Van Dam” , “Elisabeth Bice” and currently “Anja Launhardt” and took danceclasses in Ballet (12 years),Jazz dance (4 years), Modern/Lyrical (2 years) ,ballroom (2 years) and Tap dance (3 years), one of her major school was the Balletschool of the state theatre in Salzburg.
At the moment Monika is participating in the “three weeks summer intensive for Musical Theatre dance” at “Steps on Broadway “ in New York.
Nathaniel Richard is a baritone from Napoleonville, Louisiana. He has most recently performed as Simone in Loyola University's production of Gianni Schicchi as well as being a chorus member in their production of Dido and Aeneus the year prior. He has also performed with the New Orleans Opera Association for their Spring Gala Concert and will be part of their 2022-2023 season. He was ranked first in the Louisiana NATS vocal competition for 2022, as well as third in the Southern Regional NATS competition in 2021. Although Nathaniel has only been studying opera for a little under two years, he has a very heavy passion for it and is looking forward to where music will take him next.
Olivia Mathews is a rising twelfth grade highschool student. She has a
passion for all things musical. Mathews has previously done two professional
years of performances in A Christmas Carol at New Stage Theatre. Their
favorite roles include Fiona in Shrek Jr., Ariel in The Little Mermaid and
Della in Gifts of the Magi. She has also been in Frozen Jr. and The Music
Man. She has written and directed multiple shows. Mathews treasures being
able to spread the joy of theater and connection through the arts.
New Orleans, LA.
Rebecca Cálix, Mezzo- Soprano, earned her Master of Music from Loyola University New Orleans and her Bachelor of Arts from Pepperdine University, after cultivating her early musical training at the Colburn School in her hometown of Los Angeles California. A couple of highlights of Cálix’s musical career include performing Mexican Folk Songs at the White House for President Obama and the soprano soloist for the Gloria from the Lord Nelson Mass with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. She has been fortunate to perform internationally in Mexico, Italy, Czechia, Germany, Austria, and Spain. Cálix enjoys performing a variety of genres from Choral Music, Oratorio, Classical, Opera, Musical Theater, Pop, and Jazz.
Lithia Springs, GA.
Raised in Lithia Springs, Georgia, in a homeschooling family of six, Rose Livingston began singing in her church at the age of five. Always intrigued by sound, Rose followed her desire to learn proper vocal technique and honed her skills at Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music with a Vocal Emphasis and a Minor in Studio Art. At Lee, she participated in Opera Theater and several choirs, including Ladies of Lee and Choral Union. She was a finalist in the NATS Mid-South Region Competition in 2020, and in the spring of 2021, she performed the title role in the filmed version of Engelbert Humperdinck's opera Hansel and Gretel. She is delighted to be participating in both the Fairhope and the Kiefersfelden IPAI summer intensives.
Sanju Ebanks is a young performer, artist, and arranger, who is currently earning his Bachelor of Musical Performance at the University of Central Florida. He has been a part of several auditioned ensembles, as well as being a principal soloist in groups such as University Singers, Chamber Singers, Voci del Core, and Mixed Mode A cappella. He prides himself on being a versatile artist who can jump between several genres such as pop, musical theatre, gospel, opera/classical, soul, funk, and R&B.He is currently finishing up his classical education under Thomas Potter, in order to enhance his technique further, so he can sing his best, and continue to do so for years to come.
A Pennsylvania native, Sarah Hamman, is pursuing a masters of music in vocal performance at The University of Southern Mississippi under Dr. Meredith Melvin Johnson. Hamman holds a Bachelor of Music Education and Bachelor of Art in Music from Alderson Broaddus University in Philippi, West Virginia as well as a Masters of Music in Choral Conducting from USM. Hamman’s favorite stage appearances include Mame (Mame), Lucy VanPelt (You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown), Missy (The Marvelous Wonderettes), and the Witch (Into the Woods), Dew Fairy (Hansel and Gretel) as well as multiple musical theater and opera scenes performances. Hamman sings with the nationally acclaimed choir, the Southern Chorale, and is a graduate assistant for the choral activities program at the University of Southern Mississippi. IG: @saraahhamman
Savannah Poor recently graduated from West Texas A&M University with her BFA in Musical Theatre. She has attended the IPAI Global Artist Program in 2020, Fairhope in 2021, and is blessed to travel to Germany to attend IPAI this year! She’s excited to see old and new faces in the program and continues to pursue her love of performance!
Sophia magdalena klemisch, Soprano
Sophia Magdalena Klemisch, born in Bielefeld, Germany, is currently studying musical theatre with a scholarship at Stage School Hamburg, Germany.
Before she came to Hamburg, she gained a lot of experience at her “Second home“ Theatre Bielefeld, as a background actress and singing in the choir with solo parts e.g. the Child in „Jakob Lenz“- W. Rihm, directed by Nadja Loschky. In addition she worked as an assistant director in different operas and musicals for about 3 years. In her teens she participated successfully in tap dance championships, also with her own choreographies. Once she found her passion for musical theatre, she started gaining experience in different dance styles like ballett and jazz and took privat acting and singing lessons and masterclasses e.g. with Frederike Haas, Susan Rigvava Dumas and “A way of singing” by Edward Hoepelmann.
At Stage School Hamburg she already got the chance to participate in 3 shows at First Stage Theatre Hamburg i.a. in the ensemble and with a solo tap dance choreography.
Taylor j. white,Soprano
Taylor J. White hails from Jackson, MS and is a graduate of Xavier University of Louisiana where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music and received the St. Cecilia Music Award. She recently completed her Master of Music in Vocal Performance at Loyola University New Orleans where she was awarded Outstanding Graduate Vocal Student. Though White began her music career in Jazz and Mississippi Blues, she now specializes in Classical music and is a proud member of OperaCréole. In October 2021, White performed the world premier of To Meditate in His Temple, a song cycle by pianist and composer Dr. Maria Thompson Corley.
New Orleans, LA.
Taylor Witherspoon, Soprano, is from Jonesboro in Louisiana and is a graduate of Loyola
University of New Orleans in Vocal performance under the study of Luretta Bybee. Taylor has
been singing and performing since she was in high school. Her senior year of high school, she
was given the opportunity to sing with the national honors choir in Carnegie Hall and later in her
undergraduate, at University of Louisiana at Monroe, she was able to continue her craft in Italy
at a program called Music in the Marche. While performing scenes with Music in the Marche,
Taylor performed in Suor Angelica by Puccini as the title role and in L'incoronazione di Poppea
by Monteverdi as Poppea. At Loyola, Taylor worked towards becoming a great musician and
having a wonderful representation before her graduation and traveling to other countries to
further her career and education. She aspires to perform with an amazing opera company and
travel the world doing beautiful productions while inspiring others to the same.
Trey Fitzgerald is an opera tenor based out of Denver, Colorado. He graduated from The University of Denver in 2021 with a degree in classical voice performance. While studying at The University Denver he performed in 4 operas, most notably as Monostatos in The Magic Flute. During an Italian summer program he also performed the role Oronte in the opera Alcina.
Veronica Samiec is a soprano from Philadelphia, PA. She has just graduated with a Bachelor’s of Music in Vocal Performance from Loyola University New Orleans. This fall she will be attending Roosevelt University in Chicago, IL to pursue a Master’s of Music in Vocal Performance degree. She is very excited to be immersed in German culture and music, so that she may bring what she learns to her future studies.