Sara Tucker Study Grants

Sara Tucker Grants are supported by a generous grant from the Agnes Varis Trust

Kayleigh Decker mezzo-soprano


Mezzo-soprano Kayleigh Decker began her 2018-19 season as an ensemble member of the Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago. Her mainstage work in the company’s season includes Dorothée in Cendrillon and Cretan Woman No. 2 in Idomeneo, both under the baton of Sir Andrew Davis. She also covers Idamante in Idomeneo and Prince Charmant in Cendrillon. The 2017-18 season included two title role debuts for Decker: La Cenerentola with Queen City Opera, and Ariodante with CCM Opera at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. She was also a Schwab Vocal Rising Star with Caramoor and the New York Festival of Song. Decker has been a young artist at the Glimmerglass Festival, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Utah Festival Opera, and the Houston Grand Opera Young Artists Vocal Academy. At Carnegie Hall, as a part of the Weill Music Institute, she has been a participant in the Joyce DiDonato Masterclass Series, as well as in the inaugural SongStudio, under the auspices of Renée Fleming. Decker has received awards from the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, the MacDowell Society, the Three Arts Scholarship Fund, and the CCM Opera Scholarship Competition. She was awarded the Faustina Hurlbutt Grant and the Louis and Marguerite Bloomberg Greenwood Grant from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. Decker is an alumna of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, where she earned a Master of Music degree, and from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where she earned her Bachelor of Music degree.

Mathilda Edge soprano


Soprano Mathilda Edge has been praised for her “pure voice and alluring stage presence” (Bay Area Reporter). In May 2019, she joins the prestigious Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago. In summer 2018, she covered the title role in Ariadne auf Naxos as an Apprentice Artist at Santa Fe Opera. In summer 2017, she was a member of San Francisco Opera’s Merola Opera Program, singing an extended scene in the title role of Thaïs at the Schwabacher Summer Concert, where she gave “a performance ready for the whole opera” (San Francisco Classical Voice). Later that summer, she made her War Memorial Opera House debut, singing a selection from I vespri siciliani in the Merola Grand Finale Concert. In 2017, Edge was a semifinalist for the Houston Grand Opera’s Eleanor McCollum Competition and took third place in the Cooper-Bing Competition at Opera Columbus. In 2016, she placed in the both the Washington International Competition for Voice and the National Association of Teachers of Singing Artist Award Competition. Additional roles include Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte, Erste Dame in Die Zauberflöte, Sandman in Hänsel und Gretel, Romilda in Xerxes, The Milliner in Der Rosenkavalier, and the title role in Madama Butterfly. Originally from Chandlerville, Illinois, she is a graduate of Illinois College and the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.

Jessica Faselt soprano


American soprano Jessica Faselt hails from Iowa. She is currently in her first year of the Lindemann Young Artist Program at the Metropolitan Opera, where she made her debut as the Novice in Puccini’s Suor Angelica and her Met: Live in HD debut as Helmwige in Wagner’s Die Walküre. Faselt was a winner of the 2018 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, performing with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in the Grand Final Concert. As a Studio Artist at Florida Grand Opera, she covered the title roles of Richard Strauss’s Salome and Daniel Catán’s Florencia en el Amazonas. She was a Gerdine Young Artist at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, covering the title role of Ariadne auf Naxos. Faselt received her Master’s of Music from the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, where she was selected for the prestigious Corbett Award, after earning a Bachelor’s of Music with honors from the University of Iowa School of Music.

Miles Mykkanen tenor


Tenor Miles Mykkanen has garnered recognition on the world’s concert and operatic stages for his “focused, full-voiced tenor” (New York Times). The 2018-19 season sees Mykkanen make debuts at Minnesota Opera as Lt. Sprink in the Pulitzer Prize-winning opera Silent Night, at Opera Philadelphia as Flute in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and with the Cleveland Orchestra as Brighella in fully staged performances of Ariadne auf Naxos. He joins the roster of the Bavarian State Opera, where he covers the role of Admète in Gluck’s Alceste in a new production by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. On the concert stage, he sings solo in Messiah with the National Symphony Orchestra and University of Michigan’s Musical Society and in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony for his return to the Sarasota Orchestra.

Mykkanen’s recent credits include appearances at the Canadian Opera Company, Arizona Opera, and Palm Beach Opera; with the New York Philharmonic and the Atlanta, Indianapolis, and New Jersey symphonies; and at the Bard Music, Marlboro, Mostly Mozart, Ravinia, and Tanglewood festivals. Mykkanen is featured in a masterclass with Tony Award-winner Sutton Foster in PBS Great Performances’ 2015 documentary about Renée Fleming’s American Voices festival. His honors include winning youngARTS Gold, the Juilliard School’s Joseph W. Polisi Award, the Novick Career Advancement Grant, and prizes from the Sullivan and Toulmin foundations. A student of Cynthia Hoffmann, he recently graduated from Juilliard with Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees and an Artist Diploma in Opera Studies.

Alexandria Shiner soprano


Soprano Alexandria Shiner continues to garner critical acclaim for her “blazing soprano” (Wall Street Journal) and “powerful soprano voice” (Washington Classical Review). She returned to Washington National Opera’s Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program for the 2018-19 season, appearing under Lidiya Yankovskaya’s leadership as Kayla in the world premiere production of Kamala Sankaram’s Taking Up Serpents, and as Mirra in the North American premiere of Liszt’s long-lost opera, Sardanapalo. She launched the 2017-18 season with her Washington National Opera debut in the title role of Handel’s Alcina in the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Performance led by Jane Glover. She went on to appear at the company as the Celestial Voice in Don Carlo and as Berta in Il barbiere di Siviglia, a role she later reprised for her Glimmerglass Festival debut in summer 2018. In summer 2019 she looks forward to making her title role debut in Ariadne auf Naxos at Wolf Trap Opera.

Richard Trey Smagur tenor


Tenor Richard Trey Smagur, of Clarkesville, Georgia, has been noted for his “attractive lyric tenor” and “vivid presence” (Opera Today). He was named a winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 2017. As a current member of the Houston Grand Opera studio, Smagur’s role debuts included Gastone de Letorières in La traviata, Young Servant in Elektra, Steuermann in Der fliegende Holländer, and Count Almaviva in select performances of Il barbiere di Siviglia at Houston’s Miller Outdoor Theater. In summer 2018, Smagur was seen as Tybalt in Roméo et Juliette at Wolf Trap Opera. In the 2018-19 season, Smagur returns to Santa Fe Opera to make his role debut as Števa Buryja in Jenůfa and sings solo in Mahler’s Das klagende Lied at the Cincinatti May Festival. Smagur appears with the Tucson Symphony in Handel’s Messiah in December 2019.

Sara Tucker Study Grant Winners 1998-2018

  • 2018 Eric Ferring, Theo Hoffman, David Leigh, Brian Michael Moore, Gabriella Reyes, Zoie Reams, Kyle van Schoonhoven
  • 2017 Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen, Alexander McKissick, Christian Pursell, Cody Quattlebaum, Taylor Raven, Jack Swanson, Vanessa Vasquez
  • 2016 Michael Brandenburg, Nicholas Brownlee, Samantha Hankey, Megan Mikailovna Samarin, Laura Wilde
  • 2015 Julie Adams, D’Ana Lombard, Sean Michael Plumb, Reginald Smith, Jr.
  • 2014 Benjamin Bliss, Anthony Clark Evans, Patrick Guetti, John Holiday, Amanda Woodbury
  • 2013 Tracy Cox, Anthony Kalil,Will Liverman, Zachary Nelson, Lauren Snouffer
  • 2012 J’nai Bridges, Brandon Cedel, Scott Connor, Mark Diamond, Margaret Mezzacappa
  • 2011 Jennifer Johnson Cano, Ryan Speedo Green, Cecelia Hall, Andrew Stenson, Elizabeth Zharoff
  • 2010 Leah Crocetto, Nathaniel Peake, Nadine Sierra, Rachel Willis-Sørensen
  • 2009 Paul Appleby, Valentina Fleer, Joélle Harvey
  • 2008 Caitlin Lynch, Heidi Melton, Tamara Wilson
  • 2007 Michael Fabiano, Amanda Majeski, Lisette Oropesa, Alek Shrader
  • 2006 Stephen Costello, Ann McMahon Quintero, Trevor Scheunemann
  • 2005 Jordan Bisch, Michael Todd Simpson, Dimitri Pittas
  • 2004 Carolyn Betty, Sarah Coburn, Quinn Kelsey, Laquita Mitchell
  • 2003 Brian Mulligan, Garrett Sorenson, Christian Van Horn
  • 2002 Meredith Arwady, Michael Maniaci, Erin Marie Wall, Kristine Winkler
  • 2001 Jennifer Check, Ian Greenlaw, Jossie Pérez, Barbara Quintiliani
  • 2000 Eric Cutler, Latonia Moore, Celena Nelson Shafer, Joshua Winograde
  • 1999 Galen Scott Bower, Patrick Carfizzi, Theodore Green, Jennifer Welch
  • 1998 Sari Gruber, Mark McCrory, William Andrew Stuckey, Maris Vipulis

Robert M. Jacobson Study Grants 1988-1997

  • 1997 John Autry, Daniel Belcher, Meagan Miller, Charles Reid
  • 1996 Jill Grove, Nicole Heaston, Thomas Studebaker, Gregory Turay
  • 1995 Eric J. Owens, John Packard, Emily Pulley, Laura Tucker
  • 1994 Richard Clement, Christine Goerke, John Packard, Laura Tucker
  • 1993 Kelly Anderson, Margaret Lattimore, Gary Lehman, Janelle Robinson
  • 1992 Janice Chandler, Mary Dunleavy, Derrick Lawrence, Marie Plette
  • 1991 Steven J. Condy, Daniel Smith, Tracey Welborn
  • 1990 Denyce Graves, Camellia Johnson, Mark Oswald, Angela Randell
  • 1989 Michael Forest, Phyllis Pancella, Tichina Vaughn
  • 1988 Jeff Mattsey, Christopher Robertson, LeRoy Villanueva