Described as having “A rich, glowing lyric sound destined for the heights" (Opera News), soprano Amelia Watkins has performed with leading orchestras and opera companies in North America, Europe and Asia, including the Los Angeles Opera, New York City Opera, Prague National Opera, Carnegie Hall, Weill Hall, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Verbier Festival, Leipzig Gewandhaus, National Arts Center, and in concert in Hong Kong. Embracing musical styles from Bach to Berio and beyond, Amelia specializes in the works of living composers. She recently drew praise for her performance as Brainy Woman in Michael Gordon and Deborah Artman’s Acquanetta, directed by Daniel Fish at the 2018 Prototype Festival. Ms. Watkins can be heard on Albany Records in New Growth, the Grammy nominated Bobby McFerrin album Vocabularies, Missy Mazzoli’s Song From the Uproar, the upcoming studio recording of Acquanetta, and in various film and television scores. A familiar face at the Norwalk Symphony, she is always delighted to make music with Jonathan Yates, as a recital partner or conductor! www.ameliawatkins.com
Devony Smith is a versatile soprano excelling in both contemporary and traditional repertoire with her “sensuous” and “strong” voice (New York Times). A California native, Devony makes her mark on New York City as a professional member of Musica Viva NY, where she recently performed the soprano solos for Vivaldi’s Gloria, Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem, and Carmina Burana. This year, Devony was the recipient of the Lyndon Woodside award in the Lyndon Woodside Oratorio-Solo Competition at Carnegie Hall. Also at Carnegie, she participated in the prestigious Song Continues Workshop with Marilyn Horne, Renée Fleming, and Graham Johnson. In 2019, she will present a recital in a partnership with Carnegie Hall’s Citywide Concerts.
Recently on the operatic stage, Devony performed Kate Soper’s self-accompanied opera Here Be Sirens at National Sawdust, the title role in the workshop of Matt Aucoin’s new opera Eurydice as a part of Cincinnati Opera’s Opera Fusion: New Works program, Micaëla (Carmen) at the Axelrod Performing Arts Center, Violetta (La Traviata) at the Narnia Festival, Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro) with Bronx Opera, and the title role in Cendrillon with Utopia Opera.
Devony relishes the opportunity to perform contemporary works. As a Sorel Fellow at Songfest, she performed John Harbison’s “Simple Daylight” at Zipper Hall. As a 2017 fellow at Ravinia Steans Music Institute, she collaborated with composer William Bolcom in a concert of his music. Also at Songfest, she performed the world premiere of Ben Moore’s “John and Abigail” and the west coast premiere of John Musto's “Six Scottish Songs.”
Augusta Caso, mezzo-soprano, made her Metropolitan Opera debut in the 2017-2018 season as a Flowermaiden in Wagner’s Parsifal under the baton of Maestro Yannick Nézet-Séguin, and her LA Opera debut as First Twin in Getty’s Canterville Ghost, a role she also sang with Center for Contemporary Opera (CCO). She sang Isaura in Tancredi rifatto at Teatro Nuovo with Maestro Will Crutchfield and covered the title role in the mainstage production of Tancredi; she also sang the title role of Carmen with New York Opera Collaborative. The New York Times called Ms. Caso’s 2016 performance of Andriessen’s Anaïs Nin with CCO “compelling” and “courageous”; she then made her European debut in the same role at the Musiekgebouw aan’t IJ (Amsterdam), which Volkskrant called “a star role.” She looks forward to returning to Anaïs Nin in Europe in 2019, again in Amsterdam and at Opera Rotterdam; she also sings the title role of Artemisia in a new opera by Laura Schwendinger, and creates the character of Marilyn Monroe in a new work by composer JacobTV in 2020. Last season, Ms. Caso made her mainstage debut at the Spoleto Festival USA as Gilade in Vivaldi’s Farnace; sang the roles of Suzuki in Madama Butterfly and Hélène in La Belle Hélène with Opera North; and sang Blanche in Dialogues of the Carmelites with Resonanz Opera. Other recent performances include Dorabella in Così fan tutte; Prince Charming in Cendrillon; the title role in La Cenerentola; Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle; Mahler’s Rückert-Lieder; and Berlioz’s Les nuits d’été. Augusta holds degrees from Williams College and the University of Oklahoma. She grew up in Phoenix, Maryland and studies with Andrea DelGiudice.
A native of Richmond, Virginia, tenor William Ferguson appeared with the Santa Fe Opera as Caliban in the North American premiere of Thomas Adès’ The Tempest and bowed in Sydney with Opera Australia singing Truffaldino in a new production of The Love for Three Oranges—a recording of which has since been released on the Chandos label. In New York, Ferguson has performed Beppe in I Pagliacci at The Metropolitan Opera as well as Candide, Nanki-Poo, the Funeral Director in A Quiet Place, Hérisson de Porc-Épic in L’Étoile, and most recently The Electrician in Powder Her Face at New York City Opera. Additional credits include appearances as George in Our Town at Central City Opera; Don Basilio/Curzio with the Los Angeles Philharmonic (Dudamel conducting) and Milwaukee Symphony (de Waart conducting); Remendado, Spoletta, and Guillot de Morfontaine at The Dallas Opera; a staged production of Handel’s Messiah with the Pittsburgh Symphony (Honeck conducting); Powder Her Face at Opéra Festival de Quebec; Andres in Wozzeck at Opera Festival of New Jersey; Male Chorus in Rape of Lucretia at Opera Memphis; Ferrando in Cosi fan Tutte at Aspen; Fenton in Falstaff and Gonzalve in l’Heure Espagnole at Tanglewood (both with Maestro Ozawa); Bentley Drummle in Miss Havisham’s Fire at Opera Theatre of St. Louis; Frederick, Nanki-Poo, and Jupiter in Semele at Opera Omaha; Frederick at Virginia Opera; Dido and Aeneas with Gotham Chamber Opera, Turandot with Opera Philadelphia, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream at both The Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia in Valencia, Spain, and Teatro Massimo in Palermo, Sicily. He holds both a Bachelor’s and Master’s of Music degree from The Juilliard School.
A passionate concert and recital performer, Mr. Ferguson has appeared with The American Symphony Orchestra, BBC Orchestra (London), Boston Symphony Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (England), Houston Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Milwaukee Symphony, Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, Musica Sacra New York, National Symphony Orchestra, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Opera Orchestra of New York, Oratorio Society of New York, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Radio Filharmonisch Orkest (Netherlands), and San Francisco Symphony; as well as the local symphony orchestras of Bellingham, Duluth, New Haven, Omaha, Orlando, Richmond, Santa Barbara, South Dakota, Wheeling, and Winston-Salem. Furthermore, he has performed for the 92nd Street Y, Bard Music Festival, Marlboro Music Festival, and New York Festival of Song. Prizes include First Place in the Oratorio Society of New York Solo Competition, The Alice Tully Debut Recital Award, and awards from Opera Index, The Bagby Foundation, and Opera Orchestra of New York. Mr. Ferguson appears as Brian on the recording and DVD of Not The Messiah, an oratorio based on Monty Python’s Life of Brian recorded live at the Royal Albert Hall.