Tucson Desert Song Festival
|January 9, 2022|
Hailed by the New York Times as “a beautiful woman who commands the stage” and “a major soprano,” Ailyn Pérez is in demand at the world’s leading opera houses and cultural capitals. She won the 2012 Richard Tucker Award, becoming the first Hispanic recipient in the award’s 35-year history. As Opera News observes, “The phrase ‘an embarrassment of riches’ might have been invented to describe the combination of talents that belong to Ailyn Pérez, … who truly seems to have it all.
|January 9, 2022|
Abdiel Vázquez is a New York based conductor, pianist, and vocal coach.
He is Artistic Director of the Philharmonic Orchestra La Súper in Monterrey, Mexico, a Steinway & Sons Artist, and Founder and Artistic Director of Vincerò Academy, an online mentorship platform connecting young singers globally with today’s greatest opera stars.
|January 26, 2022|
As a coveted performer with a diverse repertoire, American soprano Michelle Areyzaga has performed operatic roles with New York City Opera in Telemann’s Orpheus as well as in its VOX series, and has appeared in leading roles with Chicago Opera Theater, Lyric Opera of Chicago’s In the Neighborhoods programs, Opera Birmingham, the Ravinia Festival, and the Orquesta Sinfónica del Estado de México.
|January 26, 2022|
Cuban-born René Izquierdo is a unique artist and passionate educator whose career has been dedicated to inspiring individuals and connecting communities. Through his “unforgettable versatility, sensitivity and sublime musicianship” (Classical Guitar Magazine), René has firmly established himself as one of the world’s classical guitar virtuosos. He is celebrated for his ability to weave an unparalleled technical command of his instrument with his gift of storytelling, accomplishing an intimate musical experience with his audience.
|February 1, 2022|
Alabama-born soprano Susanna Phillips is a recipient of the Metropolitan Opera’s 2010 Beverly Sills Artist Award. Known for her sparkling portrayal of Musetta in La bohème, Phillips has sung at the Met for 12 consecutive seasons in the roles of Musetta, Pamina, Donna Anna, Rosalinde, Antonia/Stella, Micaëla, Donna Elvira, and most recently as Countess Almaviva, a role very close to her heart. Role highlights at the Met include Fiordigili, which the New York Times called a “breakthrough night,” and Clémence in the Met premiere of Kaija Saariaho’s L’amour de Loin. Phillips was also a featured artist in the Met’s Summer Recital Series.
|February 11, 2022|
Susan Graham – hailed as “an artist to treasure” by the New York Times – rose to the highest echelon of international performers within just a few years of her professional debut, mastering an astonishing range of repertoire and genres along the way. Her operatic roles span four centuries, from Monteverdi’s Poppea to Sister Helen Prejean in Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking, which was written especially for her. A familiar face at New York’s Metropolitan Opera, she also maintains a strong international presence at such key venues as Paris’s Théâtre du Châtelet, Santa Fe Opera and the Hollywood Bowl. She won a Grammy Award for her collection of Ives songs, and has also been recognized throughout her career as one of the foremost exponents of French vocal music. Although a native of Texas, she was awarded the French government’s prestigious “Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur,” both for her popularity as a performer in France and in honor of her commitment to French music. She currently serves as the Artistic Advisor to LA Opera’s young artist program.
Graham’s earliest operatic successes were in such trouser roles as Cherubino in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro. Her technical expertise soon brought mastery of Mozart’s more virtuosic roles, like Sesto in La clemenza di Tito, Idamante in Idomeneo and Cecilio in Lucio Silla, as well as the title roles of Handel’s Ariodante and Xerxes. She went on to triumph in two iconic Richard Strauss mezzo roles, Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier and the Composer in Ariadne auf Naxos. These brought her to prominence on all the world’s major opera stages, including the Met, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Covent Garden, Paris Opera, La Scala, Bavarian State Opera, Vienna State Opera and the Salzburg Festival, among many others. In addition to creating the role of Sister Helen Prejean at San Francisco Opera, she starred in Washington National Opera’s recent revival of Dead Man Walking, making her triumphant role debut as the convict’s mother. She also sang the leading ladies in the Met’s world premieres of John Harbison’s The Great Gatsby and Tobias Picker’s An American Tragedy, and made her Dallas Opera debut as Tina in a new production of The Aspern Papers by Dominick Argento. As Houston Grand Opera’s Lynn Wyatt Great Artist, she starred as Prince Orlofsky in the company’s first staging of Die Fledermaus in 30 years, before heading an all-star cast as Sycorax in the Met’s Baroque pastiche The Enchanted Island and making her rapturously received musical theater debut in a new production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The King and I at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris.
It was in an early Lyon production of Berlioz’s Béatrice et Bénédict that Graham scored particular raves from the international press, and a triumph in the title role of Massenet’s Chérubin at Covent Garden sealed her operatic stardom. Further invitations to collaborate on French music were forthcoming from many of its preeminent conductors, including Sir Colin Davis, Charles Dutoit, James Levine and Seiji Ozawa. New productions of Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride, Berlioz’s La damnation de Faust and Massenet’s Werther were mounted for the mezzo in New York, London, Paris, Chicago, San Francisco and beyond. More recently, she made title role debuts in Offenbach’s comic masterpieces La belle Hélène and The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein at Santa Fe Opera, as well as proving herself the standout star of the Met’s star-studded revival of Les Troyens, which was broadcast live to cinema audiences worldwide in the company’s celebrated “Live in HD” series. Graham’s affinity for French repertoire has not been limited to the opera stage, also serving as the foundation for her extensive concert and recital career. Such great cantatas and symphonic song cycles as Berlioz’s La mort de Cléopâtre and Les nuits d’été, Ravel’s Shéhérazade and Chausson’s Poème de l’amour et de la mer provide opportunities for collaborations with the world’s leading orchestras, and she makes regular appearances with the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Orchestre de Paris and London Symphony Orchestra.
Graham recently expanded her distinguished discography with Nonesuch Records’ DVD/Blu-ray release of William Kentridge’s new treatment of Berg’s Lulu, which captures her celebrated role debut as Countess Geschwitz at the Met. She has also recorded all the works described above, as well as appearing on a series of lauded solo albums, including Virgins, Vixens & Viragos on the Onyx label, featuring songs and arias by composers from Purcell to Sondheim; Un frisson français, a program of French song recorded with pianist Malcolm Martineau, also for Onyx; C’est ça la vie, c’est ça l’amour!, an album of 20th-century operetta rarities on Erato; and La Belle Époque, an award-winning collection of songs by Reynaldo Hahn with pianist Roger Vignoles, from Sony Classical. Among the mezzo’s numerous honors are Musical America’s Vocalist of the Year and an Opera News Award, while Gramophone magazine has dubbed her “America’s favorite mezzo.”
|February 11, 2022|
A seasoned recitalist and orchestra soloist, pianist Christopher Cano has performed with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, the Tucson Civic Orchestra, the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra, the Catalina Chamber Orchestra, and the University of Arizona Symphony Orchestra. Recital appearances have been in Europe, across the US, Mexico, Israel and the Far East.
Mr. Cano has won numerous awards including the Green Valley Scholarship Competition, Emilio Osta Scholarship Competition, Tucson Symphony Orchestra Young Artist Competition, and is a recipient of the Theodore Presser Scholarship. He is also a two-time winner of the University of Arizona President’s Concert Concerto Competition. Mr. Cano made his recording debut with The Catalina Chamber Orchestra in an acclaimed performance of Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No.1, Op.35.
As a collaborative artist, he has played in the Master Classes of the late Fedora Barbieri, the late Anna Moffo, Lauren Flannigan, Martin Katz, Craig Rutenberg, and Suzanne Mentzer. Mr. Cano has also played for the master classes of Marilyn Horne in New York City at Carnegie Hall. As a studio pianist, Mr. Cano has had the distinct privilege of working with some of the great artists and teachers of singing including Marilyn Horne, Sherrill Milnes, Luciano Pavarotti, Marni Nixon, Patricia McCaffrey, Joan Patenaude-Yarnell, Rita Shane and Diana Soviero.
Mr. Cano has performed as a guest soloist and chamber musician at the Killington Music Festival in Vermont, the Alamos Music Festival of Sonora, Mexico, and has participated as a pianist at the International Vocal Arts Institute in Tel Aviv, Israel and Blacksburg, Virginia.
Mr. Cano has been a member of the music staff at the Festival Lyrique en Mer in Belle Isle, France, Toledo Opera, San Diego Opera, Utah Festival Opera, Opera Company of North Carolina, Florida Grand Opera, and Opera Theatre of Saint Louis.
Mr. Cano has also served on the faculties of The Intermezzo Music Festival, Manhattan School of Music Summer Voice Institute, the CoOPERAtive Program of Westminster College for the Arts and V.O.I.C.Experience, a summer program for promising young singers in New York City, Orlando and Savannah under the Artistic Direction of acclaimed baritone, Sherrill Milnes.
Recent recital appearances include collaborations with some of today’s most promising young vocal talent including, Jennifer Welch-Babidge, Jossie Perez, Wendy Bryn Harmer, Elaine Alvarez, Timothy Mix and Young Concert Artists Winners Jeanine DeBique and Jennifer Johnson Cano.
Currently, Mr. Cano maintains his private studio in New York City where he has prepared singers for appearances at the Metropolitan Opera, Teatro alla Scala, Chicago Lyric Opera, and orchestral appearances with the New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Berlin Philharmonic among others.
A native of Southern Arizona, Mr. Cano holds a Bachelor and Master of Music degree in Piano Performance from the University of Arizona where his teachers included the late Ozan Marsh, Nicholas Zumbro, Dr. Paula Fan and Rex Woods.
Mr. Cano and his wife, Mezzo-Soprano Jennifer Johnson Cano currently reside in New York City where he was a full-scholarship student in the Professional Studies Program of Vocal Accompanying at the Manhattan School of Music. He currently serves on the vocal coaching faculty of that institution where he was a student of renowned pianist, Warren Jones.