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Biography

Vocals

Soprano Mary Evelyn Hangley has been featured on the stages of the Glimmerglass Festival and Minnesota Opera, and she was a participant in the Merola Opera Program. Most recently, she performed the role of Anna Sørensen in Kevin Puts’s Pulitzer prize-winning opera Silent Night at the Glimmerglass Festival. In concert, she has sung Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Mozart’s Mass in C minor, Saint-Saëns’s Oratorio de Noel, and Schubert’s Mass in C major. This spring she appears as soprano soloist in the Verdi Requiem at SUNY Fredonia. During her two years as a resident artist with Minnesota Opera, Ms. Hangley sang leading roles for the company such as Musetta in La Bohème, Woglinde in Das Rheingold, and the Countess in Le nozze di Figaro

Second year Adler Fellow Natalie Image is a former Merola Opera Program participant, and Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Grand Finalist. She was recently seen on the annual San Francisco Opera concert and she returned to San Francisco Chamber Orchestra in February as Galatea in Handel’s Acis and Galatea. Past appearances include Cinderella in the North American premiere of Alma Deutscher’s Cinderella with Opera San José, Clorinda in Rossini’s La Cenerentola with the Merola Opera Program, Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Orchestra, Aurore in Massenet’s Le portrait de Manon, Handel’s Messiah with the Okanagan Symphony, Johanna in Sweeney Todd with Opera on the Avalon, and Mrs. De Rocher in Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking with Opera NUOVA. Ms. Image studied at the Glenn Gould School in Toronto, Canada, and completed her master’s degree at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music in 2017, studying with César Ulloa. She is from Tsawwassen, British Columbia, Canada.

A 2018 Grand Finals winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, mezzo-soprano Ashley Dixon made her San Francisco Opera main stage debut last fall in Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s It’s a Wonderful Life as an Angel First Class. As a participant of the 2017 Merola Opera Program, she sang the role of Popova in Walton’s The Bear and ended her summer season on the War Memorial Opera House stage singing an aria from Massenet’s Cendrillon. Other roles in the Merola Opera Program include La Ciesca in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi and Mrs. Nolan in Menotti’s The Medium. Ms. Dixon’s 2016–17 season included her debut with Michigan Opera Theater in Copland’s The Tender Land as Mrs. Splinters. In concert, she has appeared on the Hill Auditorium stage as soloist in Mozart’s Requiem and with the University of Michigan Men’s Glee Club in Schubert’s Ständchen, and the title role in a concert performance of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas.

South Korean baritone SeokJong Baek was a participant of the 2018 Merola Opera Program, where he was featured in the Schwabacher Summer Concert. Currently a resident artist of the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, he sang the role of Yamadori (Madama Butterfly) with that company in November. Other credits include La Traviata (Germont) with Aspen Music Festival, La Bohéme (Marcello, cover) with Martina Arroyo’s Prelude to Performance Program and Das Land des Lächelns (Tschang) and Le Roi l'a dit (Gautru) with Manhattan School of Music. In 2018 he received first place in the Alan M. and Joan Taub Ades Vocal competition, third place at the Gerda Lissner International Vocal Competition, a grant from the Giulio Gari Competition, and special prize at the Sonora International Opera Competition Francisco Araiza in Mexico. Mr. Baek is a recipient of the Presser Foundation and Mae Zenke Orvis Scholarship in Opera Studies, and earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Manhattan School of Music. 

With San Francisco Opera, bass-baritone Christian Pursell appeared as Walter Raleigh in Roberto Devereux, the Jailer in Tosca, Count Lamoral in Arabella, and an Angel First Class in Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s It’s a Wonderful Life. As a participant in the 2017 Merola Opera Program, he appeared as Dandini in La Cenerentola. His 2017-18 season saw debuts at both Houston Grand Opera (Tom in Laura Kaminsky's Some Light Emerges) and the Vienna State Opera (Second Englishman in Prokofiev's The Gambler), and he is featured on the 2017 world premiere recording of Greg Spears’s Fellow Travelers with the Cincinnati Symphony. Recent performances include Britten's War Requiem, Brahms’s Ein deutsches Requiem, and Beethoven's Symphony No. 9. Mr. Pursell’s upcoming engagements include Samuel in Handel's Saul with Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra at Walt Disney Concert Hall and Handel’s Messiah with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. 

(March 2019)