The Royal Opera are thrilled to announce the Jette Parker Artists (JPA) for the 2022/23 Season. Committed to generating opportunities for the next generation of musical professionals, the JPA Programme offers apprenticeships for curious artists of exceptional talent looking to intensify their training and professional development. JPAs perform across the Royal Opera House – including on the Main Stage, in the Linbury Theatre and in front of house spaces.  

Singers Sarah Dufresne (soprano), Gabrielė Kupšytė (mezzo soprano), Michael Gibson (tenor) and Josef Jeongmeen Ahn (baritone) will join conductors/répétiteurs André Callegaro and Edward Reeve, and stage directors Eleanor BurkeHarriet Taylor, and Mathilda du Tillieul McNicol. Conductor, composer, and pianist Edo Frenkel will return to continue working with the music staff of The Royal Ballet as the Jette Parker Artist Programme Ballet Conductor. Edo will also continue his involvement with Northern Ballet, where this Season he conducted two performances of the company’s Casanova at Sadler’s Wells and two at The Lowry in Salford. 

The cohort will work alongside leading international artists and experts in musical style and interpretation to prepare repertory for staged performances, concerts and recitals. 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.  

Head of JPA Elaine Kidd said: ‘We are delighted to welcome this international group of extraordinary artists: our first auditioned cohort since pre-pandemic times. They arrive with some incredible experience under their belts and will spend the next year immersed in work across all the Royal Opera’s stages. There should be no doubt about how central their talent is to the success of our productions.’ 

Established in 2001, 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. For next season, the Programme rebrands as the Jette Parker Artists in order to acknowledge the Artists’ work as company principals or as key members of The Royal Opera’s music and directing staff. The word ‘young’ was understood differently by different people and so often the artists on the Programme already had significant experience. This inclusive reframing reflects the fact that the group are a vital part of the wider professional ROH teams. 

Over the last two decades, the Programme has trained and supported 140 young singers, directors, conductors and pianists from across the globe, providing access to all areas of opera, music and theatre production. The JPA Programme also gives participants the opportunity to work with partner companies in the UK and elsewhere, preparing artists for global careers and encouraging international collaboration. 

Public booking for the Artists’ first performance of the Season – Meet the Jette Parker Artists Juke Box in the Linbury Theatre – opens on Wednesday 27 July 2022. In the meantime, the last opportunity to catch the outgoing Young Artists is the Programme’s 20th Anniversary Summer Celebration with Antonio Pappano and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House on the Royal Opera’s main stage on Saturday 23 July 2022 at 7pm. The performance will be semi-staged by incoming JPA director Mathilda du Tillieul-McNicol, who will also direct the JPA chamber production of Handel’s Arminio next Spring. 

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

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BIOGRAPHIES 

Sarah Dufresne | Soprano 

Canadian soprano Sarah Dufresne joins the JPAP following a 2-year artist residency at the Atelier lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal. Concert performances with the Atelier lyrique include soprano soloist in Handel’s Messiah for Chorus Niagara and Nora in Vaughn-William’s Riders to the Sea for Opéra de Montréal. 

Dufresne has performed with companies and orchestras across Canada, including Waterloo Chamber Players, Grand Philharmonic Choir of Kitchener Waterloo, Opera McGill, Halifax Summer Opera, and with Orchestre Métropolitain under the baton of Nicolas Ellis.  She has completed residencies at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity and the Lachine International Vocal Academy.   

In 2019 Dufresne won the Stingray Music Rising Star Award in L’Opéra de Montréal’s talent gala, was an award winner at the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions (Buffalo/Toronto District) and was awarded the Jacqueline Desmarais Grant for Young Canadian Opera Singers.  

In the 22/23 Season, Sarah’s roles for The Royal Opera include Papagena (Die Zauberflöte), Barbarina (Le Nozze di Figaro) and Tusnelda in JPAP’s production of Handel’s Arminio. 

Gabrielė Kupšytė | Mezzo Soprano 

Lithuanian mezzo-soprano Gabrielė Kupšytė is a recent graduate of the Mascarade Opera Studio in Florence and holds an Advanced Diploma in Opera from the Royal Academy of Music, London.  She previously graduated with honours in Vocal Studies from the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre. During her time at RAM, she was a recipient of the Carr-Gregor Trust Scholarship and the Isabel Jay Memorial Prize for Singing. Kupšytė twice attended the George Solti Accademia, where she worked with Roberto Frontali, Barbara Frittoli, Grace Bumbry and Richard Bonynge. 

Kupšytė performed the title role in Rossini’s La Cenerentola (New Generation Festival) and Veronique in Bizet’s Le Docteur Miracle (L’Orchestre de Chamber de Genève).  For Royal Academy Opera she has sung the title role in Chérubin, Prince Athamas in Semele, The Dog in The Cunning Little Vixen and La chatte/L’écureuil in L’enfant et les sortilèges.  She makes her debut this season at the Lithuanian National Opera House as Romeo (I Capuleti e I Montecchi).   

For the Royal Opera her roles this season include Second Lady (Die Zauberflöte), Second Nymph in Rusalka and the title role in JPAP’s production of Arminio in the Linbury Theatre. 

Michael Gibson | Tenor 

Scottish tenor Michael Gibson is a graduate of the Royal College of Music’s International Opera Studio, where he studied with Professor Janis Kelly and held the Aldama Scholarship. Prior to this, he graduated from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland with a B.Ed. in Music before completing his postgraduate studies at the Royal Northern College of Music. 

Gibson was a member of the Glyndebourne Chorus in 2019 and 2021. His operatic roles include cover Sellem (The Rake’s Progress) for Glyndebourne tour, Tamino (Die Zauberflöte), Azael (L’enfant Prodigue) and Ecclitico (Il mondo della Luna) for RCM Opera Studio, and Le Prince Charmant (Cendrillon) and Rinuccio (Gianni Schicchi) for RNCM. Gibson has performed concert works including Mozart’s Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle, Bach’s St John Passion, Finzi’s Dies Natalis and Puccini’s Messa di Gloria, as well as song cycles including Dichterliebe, Die schöne Müllerin and Ludlow and Teme.   

Gibson is a Samling Artist, was a Making Music Phillip and Dorothy Green Young Artist 21-22, and was runner-up in the 2021 Clonter Opera Prize. He has participated in public masterclasses with artists including Thomas Allen, Ann Murray, Susan McCulloch & Graham Vick.   

His roles this season for the Royal Opera include Pong (Turandot), Gastone (La traviata) and Varo in the JPAP production of Handel’s Arminio. 

Josef Jeongmeen Ahn | Baritone 

Korean baritone Josef Jeongmeen Ahn studied at the University of Music and Performing Arts Munich, Seoul National University, and Mainz School of Music. From 2017 to 2019, he attended the Bavarian Theatre Academy August Everding in Munich, and in 2021/22 trained at the National Opera Studio in London. His opera appearances include Marcello (La bohème) at Schloss Weikersheim, Raphaël (L’ancêtre), Teufel (Der Teufel mit den drei goldenen Haaren) for Prinzregententheater Munich, and Guglielmo (Così fan tutte) with Kammeroper Munich. 

Ahn has won several international singing competitions including the 29th Tokyo Music competition (2016), the Richard Strauss Competition (2018), 1st prize at the Marmande Competition in France (2019) and the Lieder Prize at the Debut Competition in Weikersheim (2019). In 2021 he took 3rd Prize in the ARD Music Competition in Munich.  

His roles for the Royal Opera this season include Angelotti (Tosca), Fiorello (Barbiere) and Segeste in the JPAP production of Handel’s Arminio. 

André Callegaro | Conductor / Répétiteur 

German-Brazilian conductor and répétiteur André Callegaro studied orchestral conducting at Musikhochschule ‘Franz Liszt’ Weimar.  During his studies, he conducted orchestras including the Staatskapelle Weimar, Jenaer Philharmonie, North Czech Philharmonic Teplice and Karlovy Vary Symphony Orchestra.   He studied with Mark Stringer at Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien and in masterclasses with Christian Thielemann, Peter Eötvös, Giancarlo Andretta and Jorma Panula. As a Lied pianist he was rewarded with a special price for outstanding accompaniment at the International Brahms Lied Competition Pörtschach in 2015. 

Callegaro was member of the International Opera Studio of Bayerische Staatsoper from 2016-18 before he joined Mainfrankentheater Würzburg as Head of Music, where he conducted, among others, Hänsel und Gretel, Rigoletto and King Arthur.  He became a vocal coach for the Opera Programme at Theaterakademie August Everding and Hochschule für Musik und Theater München in 2020.  As assistant conductor and répétiteur, he worked on Madama Butterfly at Oper Leipzig, an abridged Der fliegende Holländer for children at Bayreuther Festspiele and Fidelio at Landestheater Bregenz. 

Last season he was assistant conductor and répétiteur at Bayerische Staatsoper on Il tabarro with Daniele Rustioni, at Theater an der Wien on La Wally with Andrés Orozco-Estrada and at Festspielhaus Baden-Baden on Pique Dame with Kirill Petrenko. 

Edward Reeve | Conductor / Répétiteur 

Conductor, pianist, répétiteur and organist, Edward Reeve has previously worked at the Bayreuth Festival as Assistant Chorus Master on productions of Der fliegende Holländer, Tannhäuser, Lohengrin, Tristan und Isolde, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Götterdämmerung and Parsifal.  Edward has also appeared regularly on the Music Staff at Glyndebourne since 2018, including as a répétiteur and chorus répétiteur on productions of Saul, Die Zauberflöte, Le nozze di Figaro, Il turco in Italia, La traviata, Tristan und Isolde, Rusalka and Káťa Kabanová.  He has also recently worked as an Assistant Conductor at Opéra de Rouen Normandie. 

Edward was Organ Scholar at Queens’ College, Cambridge, graduating with a Double Starred First in Music in June 2017.  He was subsequently awarded the Aliki Vatikioti Graduate Scholarship to study for a PhD in the orchestration of Wagner’s operas.  Whilst at Cambridge, Edward founded the Cambridge Brahms Festival, an annual week-long celebration of the life and music of Johannes Brahms, and The Empyrean Ensemble, with whom he has conducted operas including Handel’s Jephtha, Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte and Così fan tutte, Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore, Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel and Puccini’s Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi.   

Eleanor Burke | Stage Director 

Opera director Eleanor Burke is the Founder and Artistic Director of Green Opera, the first environmentally sustainable opera company.  

Eleanor graduated with a First-Class Degree in English Literature from Trinity College, Cambridge where she was also a choral scholar. She was a Fellow at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama from 2020-21, working closely with the Opera School. A trained ballet and contemporary dancer, she has expanded her interests to include fight and intimacy choreography, studying with the British Association of Dramatic Combat.   

She is currently a staff director at Theatern Krefeld und Mönchengladbach, Germany where her revival productions have included Don Pasquale, Rusalka, Die Zauberflöte, Dialogues des Carmélites and Carmen.  In the UK Eleanor has worked for Opera Holland Park, English Touring Opera, Silent Opera, British Youth Opera and Royal Academy Opera among others.    

Eleanor’s forthcoming productions include the UK-premiere of Le Loup-garou (Gothic Opera), Bluebeard’s Castle (Green Opera: Grimeborn, The Asylum Chapel) and The Cunning Little Vixen (Hampstead Garden Opera). Recent productions include Tide (Aldeburgh Festival), The Rape of Lucretia (Opera Asteria in aid of Refuge); Isolated Incidents, a series of new operas commissioned by Green Opera; Iolanthe: a lockdown operetta (Green Opera); The Crocodile of Old Kang Pow (Tête-à-Tête), A Rose by Another Name (Marginalia Performance); Tosca (Bridgetower Ensemble), and Carmen (West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge).  
 

Harriet Taylor | Stage Director 

Harriet Taylor is an American director working across theatre, musical theatre, and opera. She completed her BFA in Drama at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and worked in various capacities on/off-Broadway before moving to London to study for an MA at RADA. 

In the UK Harriet has directed at venues including Battersea Arts Centre, The Pleasance, Theatre 503, and the Rose Theatre in Kingston where her work won the Audience Choice Award at the International Youth Arts Festival. As an assistant, Harriet has worked at the Edinburgh Fringe, The Coronet Theatre, and worked on the Jette Parker Young Artists’ live-streamed production from the Royal Opera mainstage of Weill’s The Seven Deadly Sins and Mahagonny Songspiel. 

This year, Harriet’s short film debut, The Vagina Musical, was an official selection at several BAFTA qualifying festivals and won Best International Film at the Ridgewood International Film Festival. 

With her company, Nothing to Perform (N2P), Harriet has directed multiple fringe productions, staged readings, free monthly networking events and, most recently, a new commission for VR. 

Mathilda du Tillieul McNicol | Stage Director 

British director Mathilda du Tillieul McNicol studied at the University of Manchester where she graduated with a first-class music degree and was awarded the Hargreaves composition prize as well as the prize for academic achievement. She was formerly assistant producer for the Linbury Theatre, and previously worked on the production team at Opera Holland Park. She was a member of the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme opera director training cohort, working with Katie Mitchell among others. She was also a member of The Young Vic’s Springboard and satellite programmes.  

Mathilda has directed La boheme for Nevill Holt Opera and Panic for Montpellier Opera.  For the Jette Parker Artists Programme she will semi-stage the 20th Anniversary Summer Celebration scenes and she also created a filmed version of Haydn’s monodrama Arianna a Naxos. During the 2020/21 season Mathilda was on a new work residency with Montpellier Opera and developed two new chamber works with composers. 

As assistant director, Mathilda worked with Richard Jones on Valkyrie at English National Opera; Rumpelstiltskin, a feature film produced by The Ballet Boyz, and La Clemenza di Tito and Frankenstein!! both for ROH and assisted Oliver Mears on the Royal Opera’s Rigoletto.  Other assisting credits include La traviata at Nevill Holt Opera, The Cunning Little Vixen at ENO, Nixon in China at Scottish Opera, and Rigoletto and Die Zauberflöte for Verbier Festival.