The Royal Opera are delighted to announce the new cohort of Jette Parker Artists (JPA) for the 2023-24 Season. Committed to nurturing the next generation of artists, the two-year programme offers performers of outstanding talent career-changing opportunities preparing them for staged performances, concerts and recitals across the Royal Opera House main stage, Linbury Theatre and beyond. Graduates of the Programme starring in roles across the current season include Masabane Cecilia Rangwanasha (Turandot) Filipe Manu (The Magic Flute), Aigul Akhmetshina (The barber of Seville) and David Butt Philip (Rusalka). 

Soprano’s Isabela Díaz and Valentina Puscas, baritone Grisha Martirosyan, mezzo-soprano Veena Akama-Makia, bass Jamie Woollard, and tenor Ryan Vaughan Davies will join the JPA community in September 2023.  

The appointments were made following an extensive international search. The audition panel included; ROH Music Director, Antonio Pappano, Director of the Royal Opera Oliver Mears JPA Artistic Director David Gowland, Head of JPA Elaine Kidd, ROH Head of Music Richard Hetherington, Royal Opera Director of Casting Peter Katona, soprano Yvonne Kenny, and Royal Opera repetiteur Susanna Stranders

Oliver Mears, Director of The Royal Opera, said: ‘We’re delighted to welcome such exceptional British and international artists onto the Programme. It is more important than ever that we support young operatic talent, and I am delighted to see the Jette Parker Artists go from strength to strength. These company artists receive coaching from in-house experts and leading artists, preparing them for international careers and enhancing the UK’s reputation as a leading creative force in the world.’ 

Head of JPAP Elaine Kidd said: ‘We’re really excited to have a full roster of ten singers again for the first time since the pandemic.  These wonderful young artists have experienced a broad programme of coaching with us as part of our final audition process, so they already feel at home here and are looking forward to taking to our stages.’ 

Now in its 21st year, the Programme provides a bridge to a career with the world’s leading opera companies and gives the artists first-hand experience of a major international producing house. Over the last 21 years, the Programme has trained and supported over 140 young singers, directors, conductors and pianists from across the globe, providing access to all areas of opera, music and theatre production. As well as performing repertory roles, singers may also cover roles for more established cast members, stepping into another artist’s shoes at short notice, and will receive coaching and mentoring to further their technical abilities and help evolve their artistic identity. 

Applications for the 2024-25 intake of singers will take place this summer, with live auditions in November – click here for further information. 

The Jette Parker Artists Programme is made possible thanks to the exceptional generosity of Oak Foundation  



Isabela Díaz – Soprano 

Chilean soprano Isabela Díaz is currently completing her studies at the University of Chile. Roles at Teatro Colón include Serpetta and Sandrina (La finta giardiniera), Ingrata (Altri Canti d’amor), Norina (Don Pasquale) and Susanna and Zerlina in the Mozart Lyric Gala and, for the Juventus Lyrica Company Pamina (The Magic Flute) and Valencienne (Die Lustige Witwe).  

As soprano soloist she has appeared in concerts of baroque music and opera at the Teatro Colón (Selva Morales e Spirituale, Theodora), Teatro Argentino de la Plata (Handel’s Dixit Dominus and Solomon), at the Municipal Theatre of Santiago (Vivaldi’s Gloria, Bach’s Magnificat) and at the SODRE Theater. In 2019 she won the Alejandro Cordero Competition at the Teatro Colón and performed concerts in New York City (Manhattan School of Music, Embassy of Argentina and Americas Society).  

Grisha Martirosyan – Baritone 

Armenian baritone Grisha Martirosyan took first prize, the audience prize and the Dame Joan Sutherland Prize at the Veronica Dunne International Singing Competition 2022 and was awarded first prize at the Gohar Gasparian Armenian National Singing Competition 2019.  

He is currently a member of the Mascarade Emerging Artists programme in Florence with whom he performed role extracts including Tonio (Pagliacci) and Dr Malatesta (Don Pasquale) in Venice’s La Fenice theatre.  Martirosyan graduated from the Yerevan State Conservatory in Armenia where roles included the title role in Eugene Onegin, Belcore (L’elisir d’amore), Figaro (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Germont (La traviata) and Enrico (Lucia di Lammermoor).   

Jamie Woollard – Bass 

British Bass Jamie Woollard is currently studying at the Royal College of Music Opera Studio. At RCM Jamie has performed roles including Sarastro (The Magic Flute), Jupiter in Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld, and the Immigration Officer in Dove’s Flight, and he will perform Il Re in Respighi’s La bella dormente nel bosco in March 2023. In Summer 2023, Jamie will join Glyndebourne Festival to cover Snug in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and to play Thierry in Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites. In concert Jamie has recently performed Mozart’s Requiem (St Martin in the Fields), Bach’s Cantata 215 (Wigmore Hall), and Verdi’s Requiem (Leith Hill Music Festival), as well as the title role in Handel’s Saul (Exeter Bach Choir), and in the premiere of Teresa Barlow’s Requiem (Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra).   

Woollard performed in the premiere of three micro-operas including bass aria ‘Detritus’ (Reid/Nwosu) for the Jette Parker Programme (Lost and Found, March 2022), and covers Segeste and Tullio in Handel’s Arminio for JPA at the Linbury Theatre in April. 

Veena Akama-Makia – Mezzo Soprano 

Cameroonian/Ugandan American mezzo-soprano Veena Akama-Makia is currently a Young Artist at the Chicago Opera Theatre and a professional diploma candidate at the Chicago College of the Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. 

At Chicago Opera Theatre (COT), Akama-Makia performed the roles of Tawny Betty in the world premiere of Quamino’s Map (Wallen/Brevoort) and Tree Spirit in The BeeKeeper (Lu/Rourke) as part of COT’s Vanguard Initiative. She has covered the roles of Mercedes (Carmen) and Ib (Becoming Santa Claus). For COT in the 2022/23 season roles include Nancy in Albert Herring and Kendra in the world premiere of The Cook-Off (Okpeboho/Campbell). 

In summer 2022, Akama-Makia joined the San Francisco Opera’s Merola Opera Programme as a Young Artist, where she performed the role of Dritte Dame (Die Zauberflote) and was soloist in the Merola Grand Finale.  

Valentina Puscas – Soprano 

Transylvanian soprano Valentina Puscas is currently employed at the National Theatre of Miskolc, Hungary, and has worked as a soloist with Bucharest National Opera, Transylvania Philharmonic, Oradea State Philharmonic, ‘Ion D. Sirbu’ Theatre Petrosani, Deva’s Theatre of Arts and ‘Queen Mary’ State Theatre Oradea. She has a master’s degree from the National University of Music Bucharest. 

Puscas’ repertoire includes Mimi (La boheme), Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni), Contessa Almaviva and Marcellina (Le Nozze di Figaro), Pamina (Die Zauberflöte), and excerpts of the role of Siegrune (Die Walküre). 

In 2021, Puscas was awarded the Grand Prize at the Elite Musicians International Competition, Iași, Romania, and won 2nd prize at the Musicum Laude International Singing Competition and Masterclass. 

Ryan Vaughan Davies – Tenor 

Welsh tenor Ryan Vaughan Davies is currently a student of the Royal Academy of Music’s Opera School where he is a Bicentenary Scholar, and generously supported by The Norman Ayrton award, The John Clemence Trust, The Arts Society Moor Park, The Ryan Davies Memorial fund and The Bryn Terfel Foundation. He previously received his Master’s of Music degree from the Royal College of Music and Bachelor of Music from the Royal Northern College of Music. He will join the Jette Parker Artists Programme in the 2023/24 Season. 

Operatic highlights of recent seasons include Beppe (Pagliacci) for Iford Arts, Prunier (La Rondine) for IfOpera, and for RAM Rinuccio (Gianni Schicchi)Torquemada (L’heure Espagnole), Der Tenor (Ariadne auf Naxos)Interrogator (WITCH) and Tom Rakewell (The Rake’s Progress). He has also previously appeared with the Garsington Opera Festival, the Grange Festival, Longborough Opera Festival and Buxton Opera Festival.   

In concert, Davies sang the Lover (Il tabarro) with Hallé and Sir Mark Elder at the BBC Proms, and with the Ulster Orchestra in performances of Messiah with conductor Nicholas Chalmers. He has previously made appearances at the Southbank Centre, Grieghallen Bergen, and in the US with the North American Festival of Wales. 

This season, Davies makes his Wigmore Hall debut singing Schumann’s Liederkreis Op.24 before making his company debut with Welsh National Opera covering the role of Tamino The Magic Flute.