Jane & Steven Akin Emerging Artists

“There is never-ending career support, coachings, and wonderful singing opportunities, but the most important thing has been the enormous change in my self-confidence! Being an Emerging Artist has changed my life.”
– Michelle Trainor, BLO Emerging Artist


The pursuit of a successful career in opera is a challenging—and expensive—undertaking. Singers must continually hone their talents with regular coaching, expand their repertoire by learning new roles, and find opportunities to make themselves heard. BLO recognizes that the next generation of opera stars needs to be nurtured in order to flourish and that the future of the art form depends on their success. To that end, BLO has proudly expanded the opportunities we provide to Emerging Artists:

  • Public auditions allow hundreds of singers to be heard
  • Role and audition preparation in one-on-one sessions with both BLO’s Music Director, David Angus, and BLO coaches
  • Understudy key leading roles to broaden their résumés
  • Perform principal and comprimario roles in BLO productions
  • Additional paid performance opportunities at BLO events
  • Professional mentorship from Stanford Calderwood General & Artistic Director Esther Nelson provides career guidance and support
  • Feedback auditions with Director of Artistic Operations Nicholas Russell provide invaluable advice on repertoire choices
  • Introduction of BLO Emerging Artists to key artists’ managers
Emerging Artist Chelsea Basler sings at the 2015 Opera Gala.Jane & Steven Akin Emerging Artists are identified during the casting process of each Season’s repertoire. The Artists have, in most cases, already established themselves professionally and are drawn primarily from the post-graduate and post-young artist fields. In certain exceptional cases, younger candidates who are appropriate for specific repertoire with the Company are considered.

These benefits and opportunities require a great deal of financial and Company resources, and we need your help to continue this important work. To support Jane & Steven Akin Emerging Artists, make a donation online or call 617.542.4912 x227. Your unrestricted support will enable Boston Lyric Opera to feature and nurture emerging operatic talent, and ensure the future of opera in Boston and New England for generations to come.

2015/16 Jane & Steven Akin Emerging Artists

Stephen Shrestinian Award for Excellence

This cash award was created to help an exceptional young artist in the BLO chorus further his or her career by supporting advancement activities such as coaching a new role; taking a movement, dance or acting class; or paying a portion of graduate school tuition or travel expenses. It is awarded annually in memory of one of BLO’s beloved chorus members who passed away suddenly at the age of 29.

Heather Gallagher 120x150Heather Gallagher  mezzo-soprano
Ms. Gallagher is a graduate of New World School of the Arts and the University of Florida. She is becoming increasingly sought after for her “standout” and “arresting” performances in opera and on the recital stage. As an Emerging Artist for the 2014/15 Season she appeared in all four operas, and she will appear in BLO’s three Shubert Theatre operas during the 2015/16 Season. Ms. Gallagher is also a Resident Teaching Artist with BLO’s Music! Words! Opera! program.

2015/16 Class


Heather Gallagher 120x150 Jon Jurgens 120x150 Omar Najmi 120x150
Heather Gallagher
Jon Jurgens
Omar Najmi
Brad Raymond 120x150 Untitled Vera Savage 120x150
Brad Raymond
Emma Sorenson
Vera Savage
Bruce Stasyna 120x150 Nathan Troup 120x150 Vincent Turregano 120x150
Bruce Stasyna
Nathan Troup
Vincent Turregano

Previous Years’ Classes & Award Winners