Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Next Generation of Opera: College of Music Alum Ranked One of Top Young Artists in the World

The opera program at the College of Music continues to produce exceptional performers who are establishing significant careers on stage around the country and throughout the world. Countertenor Ray Chenez (DM, voice performance, 2011) was recently listed among "25 Rising Stars" by Opera News. The magazine described Chenez's voice as "bold and assertive but warm-toned and luxurious" and celebrated his "electric presence" and precise diction.

Two-time winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council District Auditions and the 2014 George London Foundation Awards Competition--one of the oldest and most prestigious vocal competitions in North America--Chenez recently made his European debut as Marzia in Catone in Utica alongside Max Emanuel Cencic and Franco Fagioli at the Opéra Royal de Versailles, Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden, and the Bergen International Festival with Riccardo Minasi and Il Pomo d'Oro.

Chenez, 31, holds both a Master of Arts and Doctor of Music degree in vocal performance from Florida State University, where he studied with Wanda Brister and Roy Delp. While a student at FSU, Ray Chenez sang roles in productions of Handel's Serse and Benjamin Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Chenez currently studies with Andrea DelGiudice, Artistic Advisor and voice faculty at the Narnia International Festival in Narni, Italy.

“I’m just starting to see now what I’m going to be singing,” says Chenez. “A lot of the countertenor repertoire is quite low and doesn’t really show off the voice that I have, which is much higher. The low repertoire is still sort of the standard countertenor repertoire.”

Chenez made his professional debut in 2014 as Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro with the Pacific Opera Victoria in Victoria, BC, Canada. During the 2014-2015 season, Chenez reprised the role of Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro with Nickel City Opera, and made his Lincoln Center debut as the Sorceress in Purcell's Dido and Aeneas. In the 2015-16 season, Chenez will appear as Athamas in Handel’s Semele with Opera Omaha (Stephen Stubbs conducting), and will debut at the Roman Athenaeum in Bucharest, Romania and the Theater an der Wien as Marzia in Leonardo Vinci's Catone in Utica. He will return to the Opera Royal de Versailles to debut at the Opéra national de Lorraine à Nancy in the roles of Nutrice and Amore in Luigi Rossi's Orfeo. His Carnegie Hall debut occurred earlier this year in October.

Bravo, Ray!

Photo credit: Parnassus ARTS Productions press photo © Marielle Solan