L’Heure Exquise/ The Exquisite Hour
Milena Kitic, a renowned mezzo-soprano, has performed numerous roles with opera companies around the world throughout the last three decades. Perhaps best known for her signature role of Carmen in Bizet’s Carmen, Kitic has headlined in major performance venues across the United States and Europe such as the National Theater in Belgrade, Serbia (former Yugoslavia), Aalto Theater Essen in Germany, Washington D.C. Opera, Baltimore Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Opera Pacific, and Metropolitan Opera.
She received numerous accolades for her performances, including the German Music Critic’s Award for Performer of the
Season in 1998 and the Opera Pacific Guild’s Diva of the Year in 2005. The International Jeunesses Musicales Competition in Belgrade, Serbia, has established a special prize for “the best young mezzo-soprano” in Kitic’s name.
Her talent and incredible career in music earned her the inaugural Artist-in-Residence Award given by Chapman University in Orange, California, where she is an adjunct professor and master class instructor. She also works closely with the Orange County High School of the Arts and many universities and music organizations in southern California.
Kitic currently serves as chair of artistic excellence at LA Opera with whom she most recently performed the role of Carmen, Albine in Thais (with Placido Domingo), Mrs. Noah in Noah’s Flood, and Suzuki in Madame Butterfly (both conducted by J. Conlon). Among other recent performances are her roles in Carmen and Amneris in Aida with the Pacific Symphony in Costa Mesa, CA, the grand opening concert of Chapman University’s Musco Center for the Arts, the role of The Witch in Hansel and Gretel with the Symphonic Society of Orange County, and the Alto part in Mahler’s 8th Symphony with the Madison Symphony and Pacific Symphony Orchestras.
In the past year, Kitic has joined the Board of the Parnassus Society, which is committed to the growth of cultural advancement in Orange County, has established The Milena Kitic Outstanding Mezzo-Soprano Award at The Mentoris Vocal Competition in Pasadena, started mentoring students from Newport Harbor High School in opera and music, and was recognized by the Loren L. Zachary Society for the Performing Arts in Los Angeles for her work as a professional Opera Singer, Educator, and Contributor to the opera community.
Kitic presently resides in Newport Beach, California and runs her private vocal studio.
The San Francisco Chronicle exclaims, “For theatrical charisma and musical bravado, it would be hard to top the performance of baritone Efraín Solís.” He is a graduate of the San Francisco Opera Adler Fellowship where he sang his first performances of Papageno in Die Zauberflöte, Dandini in La cenerentola, Schaunard in La bohème, Silvano in Un ballo in maschera, Sciarrone in Tosca, and Prince Yamadori in Madama Butterfly. In the 2020-21 season, he joins Opera San Jose and Florida Grand Opera as Charlie in Heggie’s Three Decembers and Utah Opera as Escamillo in La tragédie de Carmen. Future engagements include Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro with Opera San Jose and a return to Opera Southwest, originally scheduled for this season. Last season, he returned to Utah Opera as Lieutenant Audebert in Puts’ Silent Night and Virginia Opera as Di Cosimo in Catán’s Il postino. His debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic as the Peasant in Schönberg’s Gurrelieder and return to the role of Schaunard in La bohème with Fort Worth Opera were unfortunately cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic.
In recent seasons he joined Houston Grand Opera, New York City Opera, and El Paso Opera as Mark in Martinez’s Cruzar la cara de la luna, Mercutio in Roméo et Juliette with Utah Opera, Opera Carolina, Virginia Opera, and Toledo Opera, Figaro in Le nozze di Figarowith Opera Memphis and Livermore Valley Opera, Slook in La cambiale di matrimonio with Nicholas McGegan conducting Philharmonia Baroque, El Payador in Piazzola’s Maria de Buenos Aires with Opera Southwest, Golaud in Pelléas et Mélisande and Glass’ Hydrogen Jukebox with West Edge Opera, Fiesque in Maria di Rohan with Washington Concert Opera, Gaspar in Rita with the New Century Chamber Orchestra, and Dick in Blitzstein’s The Cradle Will Rock with Opera Saratoga.
He is an alumnus of the prestigious Merola Opera Program in association with San Francisco Opera, at which he sang Junius in The Rape of Lucretia and covered Count Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro. A former member of Opera Santa Barbara’s Studio Artist Program, in 2013, he was a Grand Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and a finalist in Houston Grand Opera’s Eleanor McCollum Competition. He holds a Master of Music from San Francisco Conservatory of Music and a Bachelor of Music from Chapman University, with a Minor in Spanish and Latin American Literature.
Learn more at EfrainSolis.com.
“Warm, grand and rich”, Cheryl Lin Fielding’s pianism has taken her to some of the finest stages in the world, including major venues such as Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Weill Recital Hall, Merkin Recital Hall, Tanglewood Music Center, Music Academy of the West, Aspen Music Festival, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Juilliard Theater, the Mark Morris Dance Group, Musco Center for the Arts, and Soka Performing Arts Center. A sought-after recital partner and vocal coach, Fielding has been honored with the Grace B. Jackson Prize in Excellence by the Tanglewood Music Festival, recognized by the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts, and received the distinguished Gwendolyn Koldofsky Award in Keyboard Collaborative Arts. Cheryl’s musical training includes three degrees from the Juilliard School in Piano Performance and Collaborative Piano, as well as a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Keyboard Collaborative Arts from the University of Southern California with extended emphasis on vocal performance. She attributes major inspirations from those she had the great fortune to study with: Jonathan Feldman, Gabriela Imreh, Alan Smith, and Oxana Yablonskaya.
Fielding has had the honor of working alongside luminaries such as Christian Badea, John DeMain, Randall Behr, Luana Devol, Enrique Arturo Diemecke, Milena Kitic, James Levine, Timothy Lindberg, Angela Meade, George Mester, Carol Neblett, Bruce Sledge, Linda Watson, and Dolora Zajick, and has served as music director, vocal coach, pianist, adjudicator for organizations including Dolora Zajick’s Institute of Young Dramatic Voices, the Philadelphia Virtuosi, Los Angeles Opera, Opera Pacific, Operafestival di Roma, Opera Santa Barbara, Opera San Jose, OperaWorks, Pacific Symphony, Opera Chapman at the Hall-Musco Conservatory of Music, California State University at Northridge, Azusa Pacific University, the Juilliard School, and the USC Thornton Opera. Dr. Fielding is passionate about keeping the arts thriving in the communities and has recently produced several concerts with Parnassus Society at Soka Performing Arts Center, and is presently the Executive and Co-Artistic Director of Amaryllis Artis Productions. She is also on the coaching staff at Opera UCLA and Dolora Zajick’s Institue for Young Dramatic Voices.